The NewsDemon Blog

Text Based Messages Skyrocket In US

By Newsgroup Usenet April 21st, 2010

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Upward trending since the beginning of Usenet, text based messaging has now eclipsed even the phone itself as to become the most frequent form of communication among US teenagers. Even more surprising is that girls send more than twice as many messages as boys, according to a new study.

The study by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and the University of Michigan released Tuesday found that the average adolescent sends or receives 50 or more messages a day, or 1,500 texts per month, and one in three send more than 100 texts a day, or more than 3,000 texts a month. Much to the dismay of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, daily text messaging among American teens has shot up in the past 18 months, from 38% of teen’s texting friends daily in February of 2008 to 54% of teens texting daily in September 2009. Texting has gotten so prolific; there are even competitions now to see who can text the fastest: the LG Mobile Worldcup. This should not come as a big surprise if you simply look at the amount of communication on many throughout history on Usenet newsgroups.

However, although 71 percent of parents with teenagers aged 12 to 17 years old say they know how to and do text, kids still perceive their elders as being out of the texting loop.

Although some of the popularity of texting can be chalked up to generational trends, teens interviewed in the Pew study also cited practical and economic reasons for their enthusiasm. With some of the same initial draws to subscribing to and sharing on newsgroups, texting is quieter and easier than a phone call for brief messages, and many teenagers are on cellphone plans that limit minutes for calls but that allows unlimited texts.



300MBPS WiMax2 Coming Soon

By Newsgroup Usenet April 13th, 2010

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USENET Newsgroup access may become faster on the go as several industry heavyweights are getting behind an effort to roll out the next generation of WiMAX technology, which boasts peak rates of more than 300 Mbps.

Although WiMAX has barely carved out a place in the market, a number of WiMAX supporters have announced the next version of the technology, WiMAX2. Newsgroups report that a slew of technology and warless companies each announced commitments to both the technology and to make their devices interoperable. WiMAX2 technology, according to technology newsgroups, will provide 300-Mbits of throughput, with less latency and more bandwidth available for applications like VOIP calls.

The technology provides a low-cost, open network system with an all IP mobile Internet solution that enables efficient and scalable networks for voice, data, and video transmission.

Presently there are two forms of WiMAX – “Fixed WiMAX” (802.16d) for faster Wi-Fi Hotspot / Wi-Fi ISP style network replacement and “Mobile WiMAX” (802.16e) for use as a 3G replacement by mobile phone operators. Mobile WiMAX can deliver download speeds of up to 144Mbps (35Mbps uploads), though in a real-world environment you wouldn’t expect more than 30Mbps. WiMAX2 is designed to meet IMT-Advanced (4G) standards which require delivering 1Gbps access speeds to fixed locations and 100Mbps to fast moving mobile nodes, low latency and capacity for VoIP.

Intel suggested that the new standard could help in the eventual transition from WiMax as the platform begins to feel the strain of increased data traffic from smartphone and multimedia file transfers. The new standard, which will be endorsed by the US electronics industry body Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), will only be the first step in a three-year process before products start hitting the market. The working group, including seven other firms, expects certification of products to start by late next year, following which production can start in 2012.

According to official sources the WiMAX Forum tracks about 559 WiMAX deployments in 147 countries covering over 620 million people globally. Also it was revealed that more than 130 devices and 60 base stations have been certified by the WiMAX Forum for the 2.3 GHz, 2.5 GHz and 3.5 GHz bands.



NYC Road Runner Customers Get Free Wi-Fi Access To USENET

By Newsgroup Usenet March 25th, 2010

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Time Warner Cable this morning confirmed that it’s launching Wi-Fi hotspots for customers of its NYC RoadRunner broadband service, allowing USENET access on the go. The free Wi-Fi is now available at several Wi-Fi zones in Manhattan and Queens, including several parks and some Long Island Railroad platforms and their respective parking lots in the company’s service area.

The access to Wi-Fi allows those into USENET to login and subscribe to newsgroups at more places than ever. The free Wi-Fi allows anyone with a Road Runner account and a Wi-Fi capable device to access the service in several spots across the city.

Road Runner customers using laptops and WiFi-enabled phones can access the WiFi by entering their Road Runner ID and password when prompted. After that, any newsreader they use can then be used to access and browse USENET newsgroups.

“Road Runner customers can experience a fast, simple and easy connection from their laptops or portable Wi-Fi-enabled devices in Time Warner Cable Wi-Fi zones, meeting their growing need for mobility,” said Howard Szarfarc, executive vice president of Time Warner Cable’s New York City region, in a press release.

Time Warner Cable customers will also have access to thousands of hotspots operated by Cablevision around the area. Customers that are already signed up for Roadrunner with Time Warner Cable in one of the areas will be able to sign into the Wi-Fi hotspot using their RoadRunner screen name and password.



Microsoft Bill Gates Goes Nuclear

By Newsgroup Usenet March 23rd, 2010

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Environmental and MS Newsgroups have posted that former Microsoft CEO turned philanthropist Bill Gates is teaming up with Japanese nuclear technology giant Toshiba Corp. to develop a next-generation nuclear reactor. TerraPower, a U.S. start-up company backed by Microsoft are investigating technology for mini-reactors, which are more cost-efficient than conventional units.

Toshiba and TerraPower have begun exchanging information in a move that would bring together Gates’ ample wealth and the know-how and experience which the Japanese electronics giant has established in the nuclear power business. Mr. Gates is the principal owner of TerraPower, which investigates ways to improve emission-free energy supplies using small nuclear reactors.  Under the partnership and agreement, Toshiba would provide TerraPower with the expertise to manufacture nuclear power equipment. Gates is expected to invest his personal wealth on the development of the reactor, which could reach billions, newsgroups have reported. The hope is that the new reactors might be suitable for use in cities or emerging-market countries.

Toshiba expects to get U.S. approval for its ultra compact design this fall and start construction of the first such reactor by 2014. Mini-reactors could last up to 100 years without refueling, unlike today’s units which need replenishing every few years.  Power outputs of these units are projected to range from 100-thousand to 1-million kilowatts which is much larger than current commercialized reactors. Current light-water reactors require refueling once every several years. The company is preparing to apply for US approval to start constructing the first such reactor as early as 2014 and put it into practical use by the end of the decade.

The deal was sealed when Gates visited the Japanese maker’s nuclear research center in Yokohama near Tokyo in November. Gates, a newsgroup subscriber who is deeply involved in global health work through his private foundation, has shown a growing interest in nuclear and other energy technologies that could potentially meet the power needs of the world’s poor without contributing to global warming.



Broadband Intiative: Free Wi-Fi USENET Access Nationwide

By Newsgroup Usenet March 12th, 2010

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Could another influx of USENET newsgroup subscribers be on the horizon? At the Digital Inclusion Summit in Washington on Tuesday, Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, said his agency is considering establishing “free or very low cost” wireless Internet service for the entire nation.

“In order to ensure long-term American competitiveness, we must not leave one-third of the nation behind,” Genachowski said. “The National Broadband Plan provides a vision for federal, state and local leadership and partnerships with private and nonprofit communities that will bridge the digital divide and transform America into a nation where broadband expands opportunities for all.”

The FCC provided few details about how it would carry out such a plan and who would qualify, but will make a recommendation under the National Broadband Plan set for release next week. The agency will determine details later. The number of Americans online grew nearly threefold from 85 million to 231 million between 1998 and 2008, according to reports from Usenet newsgroups. The FCC plan would extend broadband online service to an estimated 93 million Americans who the agency describes as being “left behind in the digital age.” and could dramatically help grow the USENET newsgroup community.

Both the FCC and the National Telecommunications & Information Administration are charged with mapping out where broadband is, and isn’t, as part of the national plan to deploy broadband nationwide. Debate has already begun over the proposal to offer the cheap or free wireless broadband, which would involve taking back at least some of the privately owned TV spectrum.

The cost of the plan, which will be submitted to Congress on March 17, is said to be in the neighborhood of $25 billion. According to the FCC, 4 percent of American homes do not have access to broadband Internet, and three in 10 people in the U.S. do not have high-speed Internet because of factors such as price. A survey by the FCC provides a great detail of figures of those without access in the US.



Newsgroups: Quake Shifted Axis And Shortened Day

By Newsgroup Usenet March 2nd, 2010

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Feeling behind as if time is working against you? You may be right. Due to the magnitude of the earthquake that hit Chile recently, it may have changed the planet’s rate of rotation and shortened our days. The 8.8 earthquake has been reported by NASA scientists on space related newsgroups that earth’s axis likely shifted by about 3 inches, shortening the day by about 1.26 microseconds.

USENET newsgroups have been covering this story and have been discussing on how moving hundreds of kilometers of rock underground can change the earth’s distribution of mass, and, in turn, change the planet’s rate of rotation. When an earthquake hits with the magnitude of the one in Chile, it moves this lot of rock under the ground which has caused the earth’s axis to slightly shift and shortening the day, as the rate of speed the earth spins is how we calculate how long the day is.

If you remember your physics, changes in rotating bodies affect its rotation. The huge 8.8 earthquake in Chile has affected our rotating Earth in just such a way, making it turn a bit faster and giving us 1.26 microseconds less of time.

Some changes may be more obvious, and islands may have shifted, according to Andreas Rietbrock, a professor of Earth Sciences at the U.K.’s Liverpool University who has studied the area impacted, though not since the latest temblor. She reports that Santa Maria Island off the Chilean coast may have been raised 6 feet because of the earthquake, if past quake patterns hold true.

This is not the first, or only, time an earthquake has had such an impact, USENET newsgroups notes. The magnitude 9.1 earthquake that generated the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami shortened the day by 6.8 microseconds. The consequences of both have also taken the lives of many. More than 700 people died in the Chilean earthquake, which struck on the 27 February. NASA experts have said the Chile predictions will likely change as data on the quake are further refined.



Virgin Media Plans To Offer 100MB Connections To USENET

By Newsgroup Usenet February 26th, 2010

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UK members may be getting a speed bump when accessing USENET Newsgroups. Virgin Media, the UK’s leading cable, phone and internet service provider, has announced it will begin the roll-out of a 100Mb broadband service, the fastest available commercial product in the UK, by the end of 2010.

Various ISP and UK related newsgroups have posted that Virgin Media has added 34,200 new cable TV subscribers during the last quarter, taking the provider’s total market share to over 3.7 million. The television and broadband provider has indicated that it will introduce the high-speed internet offering to households across the country by the end of 2010. Its flagship service will also be around 24 times faster than the average speed offered by other internet service providers.

According to Virgin’s website, that would suggest no limits on downloads at all. On the face of it, the policy avoids various peak time traffic management tactics that reduce line bandwidth once a certain transfer threshold has been breached. No word on how USENET related traffic would be handled with this upgrade. The group claimed the service would allow web surfers to download a music album in as little as five seconds, an hour-long TV show in 31 seconds and an high-definition movie in less than eight minutes.

CEO Neil Berkett said: “There is nothing we can’t do with our fiber optic cable network, and the upcoming launch of our flagship 100 megabits service will give our customers the ultimate broadband experience.”

In late 2008, Virgin made its real move to compete with DSL and emerging fiber-based broadband services with its 50 Mbps downstream service, which was more than twice the speed of its 20 Mbps tier.

The new 100Mb service will help the UK catch up with other markets that are pushing ahead with broadband, such as Japan and Korea, which are rolling out 1 GB broadband.  Virgin added a total of 28,600 new subscribers in the last three months of last year, the biggest increase since the company’s creation through the merger of NTL and Telewest in 2006. With this new rollout, expect USENET access and activity in the UK to increase significantly.



FCC Promotes US Broadband Initiative

By Newsgroup Usenet February 23rd, 2010

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According to the latest study by the Federal Communications Commission, one in three people in the U.S. don’t have broadband connections. In fact, only a small minority of these 93 million Americans even use the Internet at all: some have dial-up connections and some use Web services at work or at public places like libraries, but most just abstain from the Internet entirely, according to USENET newsgroup reports that posted up the new US Commerce Department figures that reinforce what some educators believe is causing some students to fall behind.

The report posted on USENET newsgroups shows that the telephone survey of 5,005 adults last fall included 2,334 adults who said they are not broadband users at home and precedes the FCC’s delivery of a National Broadband Plan to Congress. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said Feb. 16 he wants 100 million U.S. households to have access to ultra high-speed internet connections, with speeds of 100 megabits per second by the year 2020. That would be several times faster than the download speeds many U.S. homes with broadband get now, which range from 3 MBPS to 20 MBPS. One of the first steps towards overhauling the national broadband infrastructure will be the unveiling of a new broadband plan by the FCC on March 17. The FCC began working on the national broadband plan back in April 2009. The FCC is looking at multiple methods of funding a national broadband plan including reallocation of funds collected in the Universal Service Fund.

The Federal Communications Commission’s first-ever survey on Internet usage and attitudes concludes that those who aren’t connected today need to be taught how to navigate the Web, find online information that is valuable to them and avoid hazards such as Internet scams, something that has been a long standing resource that USENET newsgroups has also assisted with. The report found that 78% of adults are Internet users, and 65% of adults are broadband adopters. It then divides users who haven’t got broadband into four groups. The Digitally Distant make up 10% of the general population; this is the group that simply doesn’t want to be online. The Digital Hopefuls make up 8% of the population; they’d like to be online but lack resources to do so; many don’t have a computer and/or don’t know how to use one, and cost of computer and broadband connection is also a big barrier. An exact number of those who routinely use USENET newsgroups while they are online were not specified.

According to the report, nearly half of the respondents said cost was one of the prohibiting factors for not having broadband service at home. What’s more, nearly the same percentage of people said they were uncomfortable using a computer. The National Broadband Plan is expected to target widespread deployment of broadband networks, fueled in part by a revamp of the Universal Service Program that will emphasize broadband rather than voice connectivity, along with a plan to phase-out of traditional phone service, instead using the broadband network to support VOIP.



Happy 32nd Birthday Computerized Bulletin Board System (BBS)

By Newsgroup Usenet February 17th, 2010

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On February 16, 1978, Ward Christensen and Randy Suess launched the first-ever dial-up BBS in Chicago. The idea stemmed during a blizzard that kept them indoors that helped create the first electronic bulletin board and ultimately, one of the first social networks. In modern usage, the term BBS may be used to refer to USENET newsgroups or other online type forums or social network outlets.

The first BBS was visionary as it created a way to circumvent the fundamental, age-old rules of socializing by responding to bulletin board ads found in the foyers of libraries and churches around the world. USENET, Twitter, Facebook, Myspace and the entirety of the World Wide Web would later catapult with the same goal in mind.

Online BBSs formed much of the the core “cyberspace” in the 1980s and paved the way for many users to find and use USENET newsgroups. BBS is short for “Bulletin Board System” which is has been a social networking platform that not only predates sites like Myspace and Facebook, but also the World Wide Web. As one of the first online communication methods, users would dial in directly to other users via modem connection and share information. Most BBS networks were not linked in real-time. Instead, each would dial up the next in line, and/or a regional hub, at preset intervals to exchange files. It was the first step of what we know the World Wide Web to be today. A better, simpler system later followed – USENET.

Rather than mirroring the meet-and-greet and services-offered format of real-world bulletin boards, BBSes very quickly became forums. Questions were asked and anonymously answered.

It was several decades before the hardware or the network caught up to Christensen and Suess’ imaginations, but all the basic seeds of today’s online communities were in place when the two launched the first bulletin board, dubbed CBBS for computerized bulletin board system. The two developers announced their creation to the world in the November 1978 issue of Byte magazine.

It’s hard to say where USENET would have been if not for the BBS. As many early adapters, the infant stage of USENET were full of BBS users that formed the most popular newsgroups that exist to this day, thirty years later.



NewsDemon.com Newsgroups Offers Free USENET Access

By Newsgroup Usenet February 11th, 2010

NewsDemon.com Newsgroups is giving back to the community and offering University faculty and staff, media and website owner’s free access to USENET.

Students, teachers, faculty and/or members of the media are now able to apply for eligibility to free USENET access provided by NewsDemon.com Newsgroups. Webmasters and Bloggers are also welcome to apply.

In an effort to demonstrate the resources that USENET newsgroups provide and by growing the online community, NewsDemon.com Newsgroups has experienced an overwhelmingly positive response since the program inception.

The program, which launched more than a year ago, offers unrestricted access to USENET newsgroups to those who qualify. Benefits include all of the features our members receive which include blazing fast access to over 107,000 newsgroups.

Assisting those that would normally not have access to USENET, the program is being extended and enrollment is open to those interested. In order to apply, visit either our Free USENET  for School page for those involved with a school or our Free USENET Access for Media page for all media and online related individuals.

Committed to excellence, NewsDemon.com Newsgroups is proud to be able to give back to the community and offer access to the valuable resources USENET provides.