If it were up to us, everything would be faster by at least one order of magnitude, but the laws of physics often get in the way of unlimited speed and efficiency. Take fiber optic data transfer: the pulses of light carrying data through the worldwide network of fiber optics move really fast, but alas, cannot go any faster than they do. However, scientists at Cornell University have figured out a way to pack more data into those pulses of light, using a system they're calling a "time telescope," which has the potential to increase fiber optic data speeds by 27 times.
No less than the open freedom of the Internet is at stake in the war over net neutrality. Now FCC chairman Julius Genachowski has waded into the fray with two new proposals and a clear message: an open and nondiscriminatory Internet is a must for the future.
That stance emerged today in Genachowski's address at the Brookings Institute in Washington. He laid out problems such as the limited competition among ISPs, the economic incentives for ISPs to sell bundled phone and TV service with Internet, and the burden of growing Internet traffic that puts pressure back on ISPs.
Moving computing from the desktop to the 24/7 data centers of the "cloud" may be the way forward (just ask Google), but it will come with a hefty energy price. Teams at MIT and Carnegie Mellon University, however, are developing a smart algorithm that could reroute Internet traffic to where energy is cheapest at any given moment, potentially saving millions of dollars in energy usage.
We all know the web browser will soon become the central figure in the world of computing. That's why we care about a few compelling new hints from Khronos Group, the consortium behind such standards as OpenGL, about WebGL, a web standard that promises to bring 3-D acceleration to browsers without the need for plugins.
That would open up a fresh world of possibilities for what can be done within the once-humble confines of a browser window.
Welcome to another installment of The Grouse's semi-annual lambasting of poor practices on the Web. When I compiled my first list of all things online and terrible six months ago, I thought I'd been fairly comprehensive. CAPTCHAs, tooltip ads, bottomless dropdown menus and audio ads were among the archaic and ill-conceived online "experiences" thrown on the fire. But just six months later, I find myself with a host of new grievances to air.
HP is hoping there’re a lot of people out there with mass printing needs but without regular Internet access. Their new PhotoSmart Premium printer has a Wi-Fi-enabled touchscreen on the front that allows a user to print directly from the Internet. The idea is that the printer would be a quick way of printing out online directions, pictures, movie tickets, and so forth, without the need of a computer.
Heard of Bing yet? If not, you soon will. Backed by a reported $100-million-dollar promotional campaign, Bing is Microsoft's latest grasp at double digits in the war for search engine market share, of which Redmond now owns between 5 and 6 percent (according to Net Applications' Market Share report). After months of beta testing followed by a public preview, Bing officially took over this week as THE search engine powering all of MSN. So, if you use any Microsoft services with even limited frequency, you'll be getting friendly with Bing whether you know it or not, and whether you like it or not.
But Microsoft isn't going to carve out a fatter slice of market share unless it can convince a new, non-MSN audience to abandon Google and to make Bing its second brain instead. Of course, there has to be good reason to do that. Very good reason. So this week I installed the official Bing add-on to Firefox and put the new kid on the block to the test.
This Thursday marks twenty years since China's military ended the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democratic demonstrations by killing off hundreds of students, workers, and ordinary civilians. It's fitting, then, that in celebration of the anniversary, the government is once again curbing free speech. Censors have been at it for weeks, but now they've even begun cutting citizens off from Twitter, Flickr, Hotmail, and Microsoft's live.com.
With the collective brainpower of Google, Wikipedia, and IMDB always just a few keystrokes away, is there really a need for another source of knowledge, factoids, and trivia on the Internet? Wolfram|Alpha sure thinks so
Wolfram|Alpha ... what a name, huh? And I mean that in the worst way possible. Dismal chances of ever entering the lexicon aside, there's a lot of excitement surrounding Wolfram|Alpha, which officially launched last week. If you're not familiar with it, Wolfram|Alpha is billed as a "computational knowledge engine" and is the brainchild of British mathematician Stephen Wolfram. Unlike Google and other search engines you've used before, Wolfram|Alpha doesn't return links to relevant Web pages.
While most people just use Craigslist for finding roommates and discount furniture, there is an undeniably large segment of users that turn to the site for more erotic reasons. With the killing of a masseuse hired through the site dominating tabloid front pages, Craigslist representatives will meet this week with States Attorney Generals from Missouri, Illinois, and Connecticut to work at reducing the number of illegal services offered on the site.