The NewsDemon Blog

Microsoft Build Online Time Machine

By Daniel Li March 21st, 2012


Mining personal data to discover what people care about has become big business for companies such as Facebook and Google. Now a project from Microsoft Research is trying to bring that kind of data mining back home to help people explore their own piles of personal digital data according to Microsoft USENET newsgroups.

Software called Lifebrowser processes photos, e-mails, Web browsing and search history, calendar events, and other documents stored on a person’s computer and identifies landmark events. Its timeline interface can explore, search, and discover those landmarks as a kind of memory aid.

Lifebrowser’s interactive timeline looks like a less polished version of Facebook’s recently introduced Timeline feature. However, as USENET posts point out, the design predates Facebook’s and doesn’t rely on a user to manually curate it. Photos, e-mails, and other documents and data points appear in chronological order, but Lifebrowser’s timeline only shows those judged to be associated with “landmark” events by artificial intelligence algorithms. A user can slide a “volume control” to change how significant data has to be if it is to appear on the timeline. A search feature can pull up landmark events on a certain topic.

Behind the scenes, Lifebrowser uses several machine-learning techniques to sift through personal data and determine what is important to its owner. When judging photos, Lifebrowser looks at properties of an image file for clues, including whether the file name was modified or the flash had fired. It even examines the contents of a photo using machine-vision algorithms to learn how many people were captured in the image and whether it was taken inside or outdoors. The “session” of photos taken at one time is also considered as a group, for cues such as how long an event was and how frequently photos were taken.

Lifebrowser looks for clues about whether a file is especially significant, and asks for extra hints if it’s unsure. A screen saver prompts a user to inform Lifebrowser if certain photos are of “landmark” events or not, and a simple dialogue does the same for calendar invitations. Over time, the system learns what’s important to you, and adapts.

The technology is fairly new and its still to be seen whether or not it will also pull up posts and topics pulled from USENET newsgroups over time.

New Payment Options Available From Newsgroups

By Newsgroup Usenet February 8th, 2012 Newsgroups is proud to announce new methods to accept payments from our customers. Our new WorldPay payment options now allows users to pay for any of our subscription or block accounts with either the Australian Dollar or South African Rand. Newsgroups has long offered a variety of convenient methods of payment for our customers. Currently, we provide Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover payments as well as those with PayPal and WorldPay.

With the new payment options available, customers in both South African and Australia will no longer have to pay any conversion fees for payment. With the new WorldPay options, their native currency is accepted without any additional conversion or rate exchange charges.

In order to access these new payment options, select of our USENET access subscription based or block account plans and while at checkout, choose our WorldPay option. Once directed through our secure WorldPay payment page, a selection box will allow customers to pay in US Dollar, Euro, Pounds Sterling, Australian Dollar or South African Rand. For subscription subscribers, these options will save for additional payments made for your monthly accounts.

With industry leading features and services provided by Newsgroups and now with more flexible payment options than ever before, we hope to make choosing Newsgroups your choice as a leading premium USENET access provider.

If you have any questions or require any assistance, take advantage of our 24/7 customer service where one of our trained associates can gladly assist.

Limited Time Super Unlimited USENET Deal from NewsDemon

By Newsgroup Usenet February 2nd, 2012

Have you been curious about USENET and wanted to see what it was all about? Newsgroups is making it easier and more affordable with our new $7.00 Super Unlimited plan.


Normally $19.95 a month, this heavily discounted special offers Unlimited access to over 107,000 uncensored newsgroups. Without data caps or throttling, you can access all you want in privacy with our 256 bit SSL encrypted connections.


If you’re new to USENET or a longtime user, the current Super Unlimited USENET plan offers everything you need:

  • Free pre-configured newsreader helps you get up and going quickly without the hassle of working with other software that might not even work correctly.
  • 50 simultaneous connections allow you to access USENET newsgroups quickly and easily.
  • Multiple server locations means you get the fastest speeds available and consistently.
  • No limits with Unlimited access set your mind at ease without ever having to worry about download caps.
  • Customer support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with knowledgeable and friendly technicians that can assist with any questions or issues you may encounter with your account.


The introductory offer of just $7.00 for the first month gives you the opportunity to try Newsgroups and find out for yourself why it’s America’s #1 Premium Usenet provider. After the first month, it’s still a low $10.00 a month for the lifetime of the account. That’s an annual savings of $126.40


Additionally with this account, Newsgroups is offering 30GB of Secure Online Storage from StorageNinja (a $20 a month savings). With your storage account, you can upload, keep and access your files securely anywhere online. This account is FREE for as long as you remain a Newsgroups customer.


This special offer is only available for a limited time. So if you’re ready to try out and join the thousands who have made the switch to USENET, get in on this super offer from Newsgroups. We’re confident you’ll enjoy our award winning services and support and look forward to having you part of the Newsgroups family.

USENET Post Reveals Tremendous Forecast Of Online Users

By Newsgroup Usenet January 31st, 2012

The Internet economy among G-20 nations is expected to nearly double by 2016, reaching $4.2 trillion (up from $2.3 trillion in 2010), according to a projection released today on USENET Newsgroups.

The big drive in the web economy over the next few years will be a massive influx of new users — with 3 billion users in 2016, up from 1.9 billion in 2010. The ‘new’ Internet is no longer largely Western, accessed from your PC. It is now global, ubiquitous, and participatory.

While the projections sound like a major shift, they’re actually slightly more conservative than other estimates posted recently. Anoter newsgroup post reports for example, estimates that we’ll see 5 billion mobile data subscribers by 2016.

Come 2016, almost 70 percent of Internet users in G-20 nations will be from emerging markets, the report projects, whereas it was just 56 percent in 2010. The newsgroup post also estimates that China will have 800 million Internet users by then — “about the same number as France, Germany, India, Japan, the U.K., and the U.S. combined,” it wrote in the release today.

The big takeaway for business owners is that they’ll have to pay even more attention to the Internet over the next few years if they want to survive. Boston Consulting notes that businesses that make extensive use of social media and USENET grow faster, according to a survey of over 15,000 businesses. U.S. companies with high and medium web presences are expected to grow 17 percent in the next year, compared with just 12 percent growth for those not online.

USENET Stats Regarding Technology Sales

By Newsgroup Usenet December 30th, 2011

Apple sold 925 iPhone 4S handsets each minute during the device’s debut weekend, and it sells 81 iPads every 60 seconds on average. Research In Motion sells 103 BlackBerry phones, Amazon sells 18 Kindle Fire tablets and Microsoft sells 11 Xbox 360 consoles every minute. More than 700 computers are purchased around the world every 60 seconds, and 232 of them are infected by malware. That malware stat seems surprisingly low, however, when you consider that 2 million people watch online porn every minute. Read on for more.

A picture passed along on USENET newsgroups recently spread a variety of technology-related stats out across an infographic and the result helps us put a lot of things in perspective. Beyond the scary amount of Internet porn watched around the world, we can see just how entrenched various consumer electronics and digital goods and services have become in modern life.

Eleven million conversations take place using various instant messaging platforms every 60 seconds, 2,100 people check in using foursquare and 1,100 acres of virtual land are farmed in FarmVille. Thirty-eight tons of e-waste is generated around the world every minute, though we’re not sure if that stat includes all of the virtual land in FarmVille.

Every minute, $219,000 worth of payments are made using PayPal, $10,000 of which is sent from mobile devices. EBay is used to purchase over 950 items each minute and more than 180 of those purchases are made using mobile phones or tablets.

Surprisingly, perhaps, physical media maintains a huge presence in our lives despite the advent of the digital age. Four hundred and fifty Windows 7 discs are sold, 1,400 Redbox DVDs are rented and a staggering 2.6 million CDs containing 1,820 terabytes of data are created each minute. Four thousand USB devices are sold every 60 seconds as well, along with 2,500 ink cartridges.

It’s amazing how much happened every 60 seconds in 2011 and as the year draws to a close, we can’t wait to see what each minute will hold in 2012.

USENET Finds The Force

By Newsgroup Usenet December 12th, 2011

If confirmed next week, this will be the biggest news in the history of physics since the birth of the Theory of Relativity: USENET newsgroups report that CERN scientists may have already found evidence of the existence of the elusive Higgs boson. THE FORCE, Luke!

Newsgroups cite that a respected scientist from the Cern particle physics laboratory has reported that he expects to see “the first glimpse” of the Higgs boson next week.

That would be tomorrow, when two Large Hadron Collider teams would reveal the results of their research, highlighting ten candidates that show evidence of Higgs. Those ten candidates were found from the remains of about 350 trillion collisions using the ATLAS and CMS detectors.

What’s the Higgs boson?

According to most physicists, there’s a Higgs field that is everywhere. The elusive Higgs particle would be the carrier of that field, interacting with all the other particles, “sort of the way a Jedi knight in Star Wars is the carrier of the “force”, as National Geographic eloquently put it when the Large Hadron Collider was being built. Or like Obi Wan said, “the Force surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.”

Why is it important?

The Higgs boson is a pivotal part of the standard model of particle physics but nobody has ever found evidence of its existence. It’s one of the main reasons of why the Large Hadron Collider was built. Other than time travel and opening portals to alternate dimensions, that is.

The discovery of this particle is fundamental to our understanding of how the Universe works. So important that—according to the former theoretical physics lead at CERN, John Ellis—”we’ve been living with Higgs theory now for almost 50 years… it’s become our Holy Grail.” Ellis said the excitement among all scientist at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland is very high. That may not sound impressive, given that Switzerland is the most boring country on Earth after Belgium, but if they call it the God Particle, you know it has to be important.

When would we get a photo of the God particle?

Not yet. Tomorrow’s data will not be confirmed until they are able to produce repeated evidence in future experiments. Scientists expect this to happen around next summer.

As Sergio Bertolucci—director of research at CERN—puts it: “It’s too early to say…I think we may get indications that are not consistent with its non-existence [but] we are on a good path to the discovery.”

Happy Binary Day USENET

By Newsgroup Usenet November 10th, 2011

Today, 11/01/11 (or 11/1/11 – the choice is yours) is one of a select few dates solely composed of only 0s and 1s. In fact, the year 2011 has 9 binary days, just like every other binary date-capable year.

But enjoy it while it lasts. After November 11, which is perhaps one of the most booked days for weddings ever, you’ll have to wait a whole century before the calendar hits a binary date. (If you can make it until January 1, 2100, we’ll be impressed.)

As some USENET newsgroup subscribers are quick to describe, binary is a numbering scheme in which there are only two possible values for each digit: 0 and 1. The term also refers to any digital encoding/decoding system in which there are exactly two possible states. In digital data memory, storage, processing, and communications, the 0 and 1 values are sometimes called “low” and “high,” respectively.

In any case, the date is a great excuse to play with the code that lies at the core of modern computing. Though the fundamental coding method has been replaced by much more sophisticated and functional coding languages like Java, C++ and Python, that doesn’t mean it’s lost its place in the hearts and minds of nerds everywhere.

We use the decimal system in everyday life because it seems more natural (we have ten fingers and ten toes). For the computer, the binary system is more natural because of its electrical nature (charged versus uncharged).

Speaking of binary, did you know that Newsgroups supports over 1,179 days of binary retention on all 107,000 active uncensored newsgroups?


Windows XP Turns 10 On USENET

By Newsgroup Usenet October 25th, 2011

Windows XP officially turned 10 years old on USENET newsgroups on Tuesday. Microsoft introduced the software back in 2001, following development under the code name Whistler. It featured numerous enhancements compared to its most immediate predecessor, Windows 2000. XP introduced a streamlined, task-based user interface that allowed advanced users like USENET newsgroup subscribers to more quickly find their go-to applications and files through the Start Menu or lockable Taskbar.

Windows XP didn’t boast exciting new features or radical changes, but it was nonetheless a pivotal moment in Microsoft’s history. It was Microsoft‘s first mass-market operating system in the Windows NT family. It was also Microsoft’s first consumer operating system that offered true protected memory, preemptive multitasking, multiprocessor support, and multiuser security.

When it launched, Windows XP was brilliant. It looked cool and modern compared to Windows 95, 98 and – yikes! – Windows Me, and it introduced a whole bunch of important improvements.

Windows Explorer was overhauled, the system was made much more reliable, driver support was massively improved, ClearType improved legibility for incoming LCD displays, the networking was beefed up, security was tightened, the graphics system was improved… upgrading to XP especially for USENET newsgroup subscribers was a big deal.

By 2006, XP had reached a milestone of 400 million active copies, according to an IDC analyst. The successor Windows Vista was launched in January of 2006, but enthusiasts as well as the notebook segment held on to XP and widely rejected Vista. Microsoft announced the discontinuance of Windows XP several times, but delayed the end of retail sales until June 30, 2008. OEM distribution of XP ended on October 22, 2010. Extended support for XP users is still available until April 8, 2014.

Even if it is a decade old, Windows XP is far from being dead. Industry discussion groups on USENET suggests that Windows XP lost its OS market share leadership position to Windows 7 this month. Windows 7 has 40.41 percent of the market, while XP has fallen to 38.51 percent. This is still far more than Vista ever reached; Vista peaked at 23.60 percent in October of 2009. The new and revised Windows 8 is due out sometime early next year.

Is Microsoft Manipulating Ratings to Call IE the Safest Browser?

By Newsgroup Usenet October 18th, 2011

At risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, could Microsoft manipulate browser ratings so that its Internet Explorer always comes out on top? USENET newsgroup subscribers are noting the point in many Microsoft related newsgroups.

“Microsoft has always been fond of paying analysts to say that its products are best,” one USENET post reads, “or having partners release reports showing how their rivals’ products are second-rate, and, now, Web sites that ‘show’ how Internet Explorer (IE) is better than Chrome and Firefox when it comes to security.”

They argue that Microsoft manipulates the important aspects of rating browsers. Explorer was given high marks for including the SmartScreen malware detection program that allows software signed using a trusted certificate will be allowed to run, while Chrome allows unknown dangerous programs to be saved but stored in a sandbox to make it difficult to attack the system. Automatic updates with Chrome keep security at a high level, though. Microsoft does not, yet no points were deducted for this shortcoming.

Just as browsers should take security seriously, so should Usenet providers. If you’re in the market for a Usenet provider, make sure they offer SSL encryption security technology to protect your data and system while you browse and share on Usenet. Newsgroups offers SSL security encryption for its subscribers.

FCC Plans to Bring Broadband to Rural Areas

By Newsgroup Usenet October 11th, 2011

The Federal Communications Commission plans to bring access to broadband service to Americans currently unable to take advantage of the service. The plan is to adapt the Universal Service Fund to allow the FCC to bring broadband to those who do not have access.

The fund is a 14-year-old government fund worth about $8 billion that helps to bring telecom services to low income and rural areas. The new plan would transfer some of that money dedicated to phone services to a broadband fund. The idea is that by making broadband access more readily available in these areas it will help the country keep pace with the growing technological market.

“If we want the United States to be the world’s leading market for innovative new products and services that drive economic growth, job creation and opportunity, we need to embrace the essential goal of universal broadband, and reform outdated programs so that we are investing in 21st century communications infrastructure all over the country,” said FCC chairman Julius Genachowski.

The FCC will vote on the new plan at the end of October. It would help to bring broadband access to hundreds of thousands of homes in 2012, and would help to cut in half the number of Americans that are currently unable to access broadband internet over the next five years. The goal is to achieve universal broadband access within the next ten years.

With greater broadband access, business in the area would be better connected, which could allow for business growth in those areas. The FCC also points out the job creation that could take place in the construction industry from building the new infrastructure in the areas.

Usenet, an active community of sharing, debate and discussion of varying topics, could see an increase in its community as more people have access to high-speed internet. Premium providers such as NewsDemon typically allow users connection speeds as high as is allowable by their internet provider. With higher speeds, files download faster and activity could increase in those areas.

Usenet has been around since before the Internet and continues to benefit from the new technologies and greater internet access around the world.