The NewsDemon Blog

FCC To Offer Free Online Access To Schools And Libraries

By Newsgroup Usenet September 22nd, 2010

Schools and libraries around the country are now free to turn themselves into internet speed-demons and share the broadband wealth with their neighbors, thanks to a Tuesday policy change by the FCC intended to put competitive pressure on the nation’s telecoms.

Taking a new step in the direction of the “anchor institutions” agenda, the FCC Tuesday announced that soon the $2.25 billion E-Rate funding program will be made available to schools and libraries, helping them to gain access to unused fiber-optic connections – which are sometimes called “dark fiber” lines – around the country.

The move will result from a proposed overhauling of the E-Rate program – also known as the Schools and Libraries Program – which has been suffering from a supposed identity crisis in the recent times. As a part of the FCC’s Universal Service Fund that offers subsidized phone service in rural areas and to low income residents, E-Rate program reimburses these institutions for computer and networking equipment.

The FCC has assured that if the changes are passed, it will become “easier for schools and libraries to get the highest speeds for the lowest prices by cutting red tape and increasing their options for broadband providers.”

Genachowski said the FCC will consider expanding the “School Spots” program, where schools can choose to provide Internet access to the surrounding community after students go home. The National Broadband Plan includes a goal of connecting a school or library in every community to an affordable, high-speed broadband pipe. Newsgroups is an active contributor to schools and libraries offering free Usenet access to both professors and librarians. More information on how to apply and receive free Usenet newsgroup access can be found here: Free Usenet For Professors and Librarians Newsgroups Gives Away Free USENET Access

By Daniel Li September 9th, 2010

In August alone, Newsgroups has given away over 115 free months of USENET to current members. As part of the advantages of being a member of Newsgroups, members and referrers alike are able to benefit from our referral program features.

We offer free access and benefits for friends or family members that Newsgroups members refer. Both the referred subscriber as well as the members receive a free month of USENET newsgroup access.

As a Newsgroup member, all they have to do is share the link provided to them within their member control panel. Anyone that signs up using that link will automatically receive a free month of premium USENET access.

Additionally, once the friend or family joins the Newsgroups family, the referring member also receives a free month of USENET access.

This long running program has seen great success with hundreds of accounts credited with free USENET access by our member referrals. All new subscribers that are referred get the same quality features and services provided to our premium Newsgroup members.

Creating and participating on online communities is what USENET is all about. The member referral program and its benefits follows this culture by bringing in growing the community further.

For new members, we also are currently offering a free two weeks of service with any monthly subscription plan. With the additional 14 days of free USENET service, we encourage our users to fully use our premium services including 650 days of binary retention, a free newsreader and for our unlimited customers, online storage provided by StorageNinja.

Some of the best things in life are free. With either way you join, Newsgroups offers convenient options to enjoy our premium USENET newsgroup features absolutely free.

Don’t Panic! Two Asteroids Avoid Near Earth Collision

By Newsgroup Usenet September 8th, 2010

Amateur astronomer newsgroups and other space related newsgroups are abuzz with the recent finding from NASA scientists that said one of two small asteroids passed between the Earth and the moon on Wednesday.

The first one passed by early Wednesday morning. The second rock, estimated to be 20 by 46 feet long, is on the same course and is scheduled to pass late Wednesday afternoon.

On our side to help us from these dangers of the Universe,  Asteroid hunters at the CfA monitor and research what these asteroids may or may not do,

According to their calculations, the asteroids will not clash with Earth but they will pass our planet at a relatively close distance.  The asteroids will be visible from amateur telescopes.

The first one, 2010 RX 30, is at least 30 meters long. Its closest pass: about 154,000 miles. That’s 40 percent closer than the Moon. The second asteroid, 2010 RF 12, is about 20 meters long; it will miss us by a mere 49,000 miles. That’s about 80 percent closer than the Moon.

Once every 10 years, one of those 10-meter asteroids sails into the atmosphere. Most of  them burn up – but every now and then, a space rock comes swooping down and burns up through our atmosphere without causing any significant damage.

The second asteroid pass won’t be visible to the naked eye. However, as it has been reported on USENET, it can be seen through an amateur telescope.

It’s unknown exactly how much damage such objects would do if they did hit Earth. On space newsgroups, published reports of simulations showing that a 30 to 50 meter asteroid could cause substantial damage to Earth’s surface by depositing energy several kilometers up in the atmosphere, and causing a jet of expanding gas to plunge to the ground.

A large meteorite exploded above Siberia a hundred years ago – and flattened 80 million trees. The last time a really big asteroid hit the Earth was about 700 B.C. in what’s now Estonia.

Asteroid Hunters Keep Planet Safe

By Newsgroup Usenet August 30th, 2010

An asteroid or a comet may be on their way to destroy Earth. In seconds the cataclysmic explosion could devour our entire planet.

Luckily, a group of unsung heroes is on the case to find out if and when such an occurrence can happen here on our planet. No, it’s not Superman, Wonder Woman or any other member of the Super Friends.

The “Hall of Justice”  that harbor these heroes are not hovering above the earth in a space station. Rather, these less than selomly heard from group of researchers, scientists and others share a small space at the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA).

Here, they monitor, research and determine if the leads and information they receive from other astronomers and other researchers pose a threat to our planet.

Having to calculate a great many variables, this research team lead by Timothy B. Spahr (director of the Minor Planet Center)  are the call center for suspicious objects found throughout the Universe.

It’s reported that this team has taken the task for years now to compile and evaluate whether such an occurrence is even possible on a variety of space related newsgroups.

Credited on newsgroups from such reports such as the Juno asteroid and as well as a solar system, they use the information gathered to definitively determine what these objects may be and how they can affect us.

No other country in the world has a group with as many resources or size to this matter as the one found at the CfA. They’re seen as the authority throughout the world that can determine whether or not our existence is in immediate peril from runaway space objects flinging towards us.

As of now, the CfA has marked us as safe from all that they’ve found for now. But their job is not done. Many objects speeding close to the speed of light are not always seen dashing across the vastness of our universe. These objects have the possibility of coming around through our galaxy at any moment.

It’s the job of these superheroes, alongside other gastronomists and scientists, to keep looking up and looking out before it’s lights out for us.

Free 14 Days Of USENET Newsgroup Access!

By Newsgroup Usenet August 26th, 2010

Six weeks are better than Four. For a limited time, Newsgroups is proud to offer new members a free additional 14 days of newsgroup access with any monthly subscription package.

Enjoy an additional 14 days of free USENET access and features from Newsgroups for the first month of your membership. Simply join at any time during this limited time promotion, and have your first recurring billing date 45 days after you sign up, giving you a total of 14 days of blazing USENET acccess absolutley free.

How It Works

Join on any day, and the initial price you pay for the Unlimited access membership will entitle you to 45 days of Usenet access before being rebilled. For instance, if you join on September 1st, your next rebill date will be on October 15th. Afterwards, your normail billing cycle will recur on the 15th of every month. No additional costs for the two weeks of additional Unlimited access!

That gives you 14 days of all the acclaimed Usenet features and access that Newsgroups provides. As a Newsgroups member, you’ll receive Unlimited access to over 107,000 uncensored newsgroups with 50 blazing fast connections to the closest US or EU server available.

NewsDemon Features

On top of the free two weeks, Unlimited Plus members also receive a free premium online storage account provided by StorageNinja for the length of your membership. As a Newsgroup member, you’ll get 30GB of space to upload all of your files that you can access anytime, anywhere.

This limited time offer is available now without any coupon codes or special reference. Sign up for any subscription plan and you’ll automatically be entitled to two weeks of free access! You must remain a member for at least the first forty five days in order to take advantage of this free two week deal. Cancellations before this date will result in a rebill after the first 30 days.

The free 14 days of USENET newsgroup access provided by Newsgroups are part of our continuous effort to give our members the most out of their USENET experience.

With over 600 days of binary retention, dual servers in both the United States and Europe to thousands of uncensored newsgroups make this the best time to use the blazing speeds and access that only Newsgroups can provide.

Join now to take advantage of this free two week of Unlimited access offer.

Television Still Trumps Online Streams

By Newsgroup Usenet August 23rd, 2010

Despite the best efforts of top tech companies from Apple to Google, cable companies are only increasing their control over American living rooms.

Indeed, a New York Times/CBS News poll this month found that 88% of respondents paid for traditional TV service, while, just 15% of those subscribers had even considered replacing it with Internet video services like Hulu and YouTube.

“In the battle for the living room, 2010 seems to be the year that the incumbent is strengthening its foothold,” writes The New York Times.

“The proliferation of Internet video has led to much talk of ‘cord-cutting’ — a term that has come to mean canceling traditional pay TV and replacing it with programming from a grab bag of online sources,” The Times writes. “But so far Americans are not doing this in any meaningful numbers.”

Why? For one, the Web-connected set-top boxes offered by Apple and others are still not as easy as to sign up for as cable or a satellite service. Meanwhile, as The Times notes, the television business has gone out its way to avoid the same fate as the music and publishing industries. “Heavyweight distributors and producers have protected their business models by ensuring that some must-see shows and live sporting events cannot legally be seen online.”

“Unlike the newspapers, books and music, the cable companies have been able to fend off the challenge from the Internet,” writes Business Insider.

Still, “There’s plenty of web video sites, and plenty of devices trying to put that web video on your TV,” Business Insider adds. “The problem is none of them offer live, high quality content, and it’s rare that you’ll find live sports available for viewing, too.”

“This is what makes Google and Apple’s attempts to crack the market this fall interesting. Apple has already failed once in the TV market. Google is meeting a brick wall when it tries to get partners for Google TV. Even Microsoft has tried to break the cable model with Xbox, but it hasn’t left much of an impact.”

At the end of the day, “The cable vs. television war is not about price … but more about ease of use,” insists one newsgroup subscriber. “Though someone could argue that there is a usability curve that can be overlaid across ease of use (we pay more for simpler, pay less for complex). Cable is mature and has worked through the majority of the usability kinks in its product; thus, consumers find it easy to use. We pay a premium for this.”

McAffee Warns Cameron Diaz Is A Threat

By Newsgroup Usenet August 19th, 2010

It appears there truly is Something About Mary. Searching for “Cameron Diaz” online carries a one-in-ten chance of landing on a website or on a newsgroup post festering with malicious software that can infect your computer, according to security tech company McAfee.

McAfee compiles a list of the high profile celebrities whose names are used by cybercriminals to lure people online to download items loaded with malicious software.

Sneaky cybercriminals often use the names of popular celebrities to create traps and lure people to sites that are loaded with with malicious software such as spyware, adware, and viruses. Once a computer is infected, criminals will steal victims’ online banking passwords and e-mail passwords.

For the fourth year, The McAfee Most Dangerous Celebrities Study researches which sites and newsgroups are risky to search for celebrity names online. The top 10 celebrities with the highest percentages of risk this year are:

1. Cameron Diaz

2. Julia Roberts

3. Jessica Biel

4. Gisele Bündchen

5. Brad Pitt

6. Adriana Lima

7. Jennifer Love Hewitt, Nicole Kidman

8. Tom Cruise

9. Heidi Klum, Penelope Cruz

10. Anna Paquin

McAfee’s study even unearthed some surprises. Justin Bieber, one of the most popular celebrities at the moment is not only missing from the top, but is way down the list at position #46. Lady Gaga, another widely acclaimed star is also poorly positioned – or well, depending on how you look at it – at number 36.

“This year, the search results for celebrities are safer than they’ve been in previous years, but there are still dangers when searching online,” said Dave Marcus, security researcher for McAfee Labs

McAfee has published the list four years in a row now to boost sales of its SiteAdvisor program that vets online sites and usenet for malware and performs other online security pat-downs.

Smartphones Vulnerabilities Reveal Private Information

By Newsgroup Usenet August 9th, 2010

If you’re one of the thousands who uses a smartphone to hold all of your data, you might want to reconsider what you put on there.

As some newsgroups point out, although smartphones are great at providing turn-by-turn directions, help you find the closest gas station and keep you updated on social network sites, most also store all of this information which is extremely valuable for bad guys.

Loose your phone, and you may find more things revealed about yourself than you’d imagine. Forensic experts have said that iPhones and other smartphones can provide extensive amount of both digital fingerprints as well footprints. This can allow crooks who may get in possession of your phone to exact where you’ve been, who you’ve communicated with and other personal information.

“There’s plenty of information an iPhone hangs onto,” Jonathan Zdziarski, author of iPhone Forensics “For example, the iPhone takes a screen shot every time you hit the home button, including shots of your e-mail with the time stamped on it.”

Since most nowadays come equipped with a GPS, camera, browser and other online tools, a wealth of information could be at the fingertips of someone you’d probably rather not want to share with, including:

Mapping software will store locations you’ve searched or directions you’ve received.

The auto correcting typing feature of iPhones actually stores words you’ve typed, which could potentially be accessed months after a message was sent and deleted.

Photos taken with the phone can contain information about where, when and with which device the image was captured.

Web browser information is also often stored, such as reservations the owner has made or sites they have visited.

The iPhone may be in the limelight for this type of information, but the Blackberry, Windows Mobile and even Android phones also can be dangerous.

Another thing to note is that text messages, other than those stored on your phone, are in most cases kept by your service provider as well. Having access to your phone, it may be easier for some to grab a hold of personal information to retrieve those records as well.

Be cautious when using your phone and pay close attention to how you use it and where you keep it. As Jonathon states: “People need to be aware that that racy picture you took is still going to be on there even after you delete it,” he warned. “So figure out what information is valuable to you, and don’t put that on your phone.”

Search Wars: Bing vs Google

By Daniel Li August 3rd, 2010

Bing Vs Google

On search engine realated newsgroups, posts are laying out the respective search strategies of Google and Microsoft, both of which revolve chiefly around fancy new features and services. And, increasingly, Microsoft’s Bing seems to be winning.

Bing still handles a small slice of Web searches in the United States, 12.7 percent in June, compared with Google’s 62.6 percent, as measured by comScore, the Web analytics firm. But Bing’s share has been growing, as has Yahoo’s, while Google’s has been shrinking.

Google has even taken on some of Bing’s distinctive look, like giving people the option of a Bing-like colorful background, and the placement of navigation tools on the left-hand side of the page. The decision to change its layout and then to undo the change shows that Google is feeling the pressure of Microsoft going hard into the search space.

And this wasn’t the first time Google’s hand was forced by Microsoft. In October, Microsoft announced at an industry conference that it was integrating Twitter results into Bing. Google was upstaged, since it hadn’t announced a Twitter deal yet. The company scrambled to get Twitter integration, which it announced just hours later.

“There is a cold war going on,” says one analyst. “Bing’s competition is forcing Google to try and catch up.”

Bing, for example, will compare airline prices for customers, and predict whether they’ll go up or down.

Google officials have conceded that there is more competition, but say they aren’t simply playing a reactionary role. The result of this competition is a raft of new tools and features for consumers, resulting in richer, more relevant answers to increasingly complicated queries. It remains to be seen whether Google’s departure from the clean and simple search engine that made it famous will nip Bing’s growth the bud.

Prince Declares Internet Dead

By Newsgroup Usenet July 9th, 2010

Is it time to shut the Internet and Usenet down? Prince thinks so. Explaining why he’s giving his new album away free to readers of the Daily Mirror this weekend, Prince tells the paper that the web, on which some prominent media corporations have bet the farm, is now obsolete.

“The internet’s completely over,” he explained. “I don’t see why I should give my new music to iTunes or anyone else. They won’t pay me an advance for it and then they get angry when they can’t get it.

He added: “The internet’s like MTV. At one time MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated. Anyway, all these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can’t be good for you.”

Of all people to respond, Mr. G or Kenny G, says that if the Internet is dead, “then I must be dead too, ’cause I use it all the time,” adding with a laugh, “Maybe I’ve got a sixth sense, and I can only see dead people. I don’t know.” Unlike Prince, Kenny G said the Internet is vital to promoting his work.

Prince was an early adopter of internet-release platforms, making a number of records available through his music club subscription service, which was shut down in 2006 after five years. Since then, Prince has been a fierce opponent of content sharing, even threatening to sue a woman who put up a YouTube video of her baby dancing to one of his songs in 2007.

He’s surely fighting a lone battle against the internet, shutting his own website down and threatening to sue every legal an illegal download service out of existence. The singer-songwriter will give away his new album 20Ten with copies of The Mirror and Daily Record on July 10. The album will not be available to download.