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Check out this Internet Map 

31/07 (1836 hrs IST:)  Heard of this interesting Online experiment called The Internet Map? It’s a representation of the various Sites found on the Internet (using Google Maps) according to their relative size to each other.

The map is a bi-dimensional presentation of links between Websites on the Web. Every Site is a circle on the map, & its size is determined by Website traffic. The larger the amount of traffic, the bigger the circle. Users’ switching between Websites forms links, & the stronger the link, the closer the websites tend to arrange themselves to each other.

Essentially, if you key in Google, it will pop up as the largest planet on this map, while a smaller blog will be represented by a tiny dot. 

The map’s makers claim that it encompasses over 350,000 Websites from 196 countries. Unfortunately, when we tried to work it, it would not show some popular Sites. It would not even respond to a country name like United States of America, though it did throw up Sites from India & the UK. 

The Internet Map is the brainchild of Ruslan Enikeev, who has said it is "my personal non-commercial project.".

Check the strength of your WPA account...& more

30/07 (1923 hrs IST:)There's now an Online cracking tool called Cloudcracker which claims to test the security of your Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) or WPA2 networks or break document encryption, all for US $200.

Developers can test their networks or crack password hashes using this tool. IfCloudcracker can break it, developers can then re-set their passwords, if it does not, it means their networks' security passwords are almost unbreakable. 

More users of Facebook

27/07 (0603 hrs IST):Social Network Facebook has said it has 955 million monthly active users & 552 million daily active users. The numbers were part of the statement the company released to its shareholders because of its 2nd quarter results (it's a listed company now). When Facebookhad last reported its user numbers, it had just more than 900 million monthly active users and 525 million daily active users.

On or still off? 

27/07 (0603 hrs IST): Has the problem with Google Talk been resolved? Google Apps guys had this message put out: The problem with GoogleTalk should be resolved. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support. Please rest assured that system reliability is a top priority at Google, and we are making continuous improvements to make our systems better. If you are still experiencing an issue, please contact us via the Google Help Center.  
So, is it on or still off?

Google Talk is down

26/07 (1843 hrs IST): Instant messaging service Google Talk has gone down in many parts of the globe. It's been so for over 2 hours now. The guys at Google are trying to resolve it.  A remark by the Apps team: Our team is continuing to investigate this issue. We will provide an update... with more information about this problem. Thank you for your patience.  

More Social media users in Germany than other EU nations: Report

24/07 (1905 hrs IST): Digital intelligence firm eMarketeer has said there were more Social Media users in Germany than any other country in Western Europe, with the total expected to reach 29.2 million at the end of 2012. This put it ahead of the country with the No. 2 spot in the region, the UK, by more than 3 million users.

Users in Germany were active with brands on Social Media Sites, as well. According to an April survey of brand fans in Germany conducted byTomorrow Focus Media, 66.8% of those who followed brands on Social Media read the posts & messages of brands or products that they followed.

Despite high user numbers however, Social Media in Germany, said the article, was still comparatively undeveloped. Out of the EU-5 countries of France, Germany, Italy, Spain & the UK, Germany had the lowest social media penetration among Internet users, at 51.1% in 2012, leaving more room for growth.

New features to FB Page 

24/07 (0705 hrs IST): Social Network Facebook has just announced a slew of measures for its Pages to help market an App or brand, better. 

In a Post on the FB Developer's Blog a few hours ago, Omid Saadati has said FB had recently added several powerful features that simplify managing & sponsoring Page posts. All of these are available in both Page admin UI & the API, except the first one below:

* Scheduled Page Posts:

Using Pages Graph API, you can create a page post & schedule it to be published at a future time that is between 10 minutes & 6 months from the time the post is created. 

* Unpublished Page Posts:

Another new feature is the ability to create Page posts that don't show on your Page's timeline. Admins frequently want to create Page posts that they can sponsor. However, these Page posts usually contain information that are relevant to only a segment of the Pages's audience. Moreover, these stories do not contain information that is relevant to the Page's identity. Unpublished page posts allow for posts that can be promoted as sponsored Page posts, but they don't show up on the Page's timeline. Such promoted page posts appear only on the right hand side column, & not on the news feed. To create unpublished posts using Graph API see Pages Graph API.

* Page Admin Permissions:

Many Page admins use 3rd party tools for Page Content creation, moderation, engagement, or ad creation. These cases require a Page admin to grant permissions for managing the Page to a 3rd party App. However, usually such an App doesn't require full admin permissions. The Page admin can add the admin of the ads platform as a Page admin with Ads Creator permission. Then, the Page's access token that the ads management platform receives, will be granted with only managing ads and reading insights permissions for the Page.   

Pinterest locks up some accounts

22/07 (0940 hrs IST): Online pinboard Pinterest has locked an undisclosed number of user accounts as a result of a spam outbreak.

Online reports suggested that all such accounts which "were associated with a specific piece of spam," may have been compromised, Pinterestreportedly acknowledged. But the company blamed recent leaks of user log-in credentials from other Websites, rather than a data breach of its own.
Last Monday, Pinterest asked users whose accounts had been locked to respond to a survey. Of late, credentials involving LinkedIn & Yahoowere leaked.

Do not open this email

19/07 (110 hrs IST): If you get an email purportedly from Social Network Facebook saying a photo on FB has been tagged, beware!  Chances are high it could be carrying a virus.

A warning put out by nakedsecurity, a research Site from Sophos Labs, says it had intercepted a spammed-out email campaign, designed to infect recipients' computers with malware.  

So how to recognize it from a genuine FB email? The 'from' address misspells Facebook as Faceboook with 3 "o"s

If you click on the link in the email, you are not taken immediately to the real Facebook Website. Instead, your Browser is taken to a Website hosting some malicious iFrame script.

China has 538 million Internet users

19/07 (110 hrs IST): A report by the China Internet Network Information Center has said that the number of Web users in that country has risen by 11% year-on-year to reach 538 million.

The report further stated that China has 388.25 million mobile Internet users or about 40% of its over 1 billion population.
That figure means that the number of Internet users that have access to the Web on their phone has passed 70 % for the first time. 
The data from the government endorsed organisation also showed that China had added 25 million new Web users since the end of 2011.

Funding for Africa specific Startups 

18/07 (1736 hrs IST): If you have a Startup that in some way will be of benefit for the African market, you could probably apply to the 88mph kickstarter fund.
An on-going fund, it operates on a three month cyclic basis. The deadline for the present cycle ends on August 15. The list of eligibility criteria includes you building a product aimed at the African market, which is scalable in the future.88mph funds the Startups against equity. The maximum it funds is US $6k per founder up to US $24k for a 6 to 18% equity in exchange. The 3-month accelerator program means you having to move to Nairobi for that period, & includes mentoring, too.

Approx 300 million images are uploaded on Facebook every day

18/07 (1113 hrs IST): Guess how many image are uploaded every day on Social Networking Site Facebook? Hold your breath - 300 million.  Clearly, photographs are at the core of the Facebook experience.
This revelation was made In a Blogpost yesterday by Rick Ambrust, Business Development, FB. The Post was addressed to developers onFacebook,  telling them how they need to further tap into this enthusiasm by creating a variety of Apps that make sharing photos more fun & that help people to easily enhance images. 

Africa gets an Online presence, officially 

17/07 (1321 hrs IST):  Africa will finally get its own Internet domain name - dot Africa. It will take 18 months for it to come into existence, though. 

According to Online news agency reports, this is because the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will take that long to complete its evaluation for over 500 applications from various Registry Operators across Africa who have shown interest to run & manage the domain name.

All of you know that ICANN is the the global company responsible for allocating Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. The outcome of the 500applications will be out in early part of 2013.

Reports quoted Kenya Internet Governance Steering Committee chair at the Ministry of Information Alice Munyua as saying the name would help market African investors to the outside world through the Internet. Till now, there have been dot.Ke for Kenya but this is different; the entire continent will have a domain name now.

Microsoft launches new Office suite

17/07 (0612 hrs IST): Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer today unveiled the next version of Office.

There seems to be some confusion over it's name. Microsoft named the new edition Office 2013, but according to some Online media reports, throughout the news conference, Ballmer and others kept referring to it as "the new Office" or "the new Office 365". The latter is the name of the suite subscription program that it's already been offering to small businesses.

Microsoft also launched a preview of the Office 365 (see video below this report). The new Office suite comes in 4 versions -  Office 365 Home Premium, Office 365 ProPlus, Office 365 Small Business Premium and Office 365 Enterprise.
The new Office will come in numerous Online and offline versions, as well as the already semi-announced version for Windows RT Tablets. In essence, Office 365, which is just a set of Online tools, will become a subscription service. Microsoft will also continue to make Office available as traditional desktop software with a perpetual license.

There's no word on pricing yet. 

Revised Chinese dictionary adds more Internet words 

16/07 (1028 hrs IST): This was bound to happen. A report in the China Daily says a newly revised Chinese dictionary, published on Sunday, has included words used frequently Online. 

These included geili (awesome), leiren (shocking), zhainan (indoor man) & zhainu (indoor woman), have been added to the 6th edition of the Contemporary Chinese Dictionary, the authoritative Chinese language dictionary and a reference work on modern standard Chinese.

The new edition contains about 69,000 entries, including characters, words & expressions, idiomatic phrases & idioms. More than 3,000 words and expressions are new entries, the report said.

The new words were judged according to whether they have a recognized and unified pronunciation and spelling, a theoretical base from linguistics and stable circumstances for usage.

Wikipedia is 10 years old. Happy Birthday, Wiki....

14/07 (1301 hrs IST): It's been 10 years since it came Online, & since then, it has risen to become one of the Top 10 Sites in the world.
Wikipedia, the public knowledge Website, the repository of the largest information bank Online, is a decade old today. It is the world's largest free encyclopedia edited by volunteer editors. Available in almost all the major world languages, it's English edition has over 4 million articles.
Here are some Wiki facts
  • The name Wikipedia is a combination of the words, Wiki (a technology for creating collaborative websites, from the Hawaiian word Wiki, meaning "quick") & encyclopedia.
  • Wikipedia's articles provide links to guide the user to related pages with additional information.
  • Jimmy Wales, the Wikipedia founder is still the public face of the project. 
  • Wikipedia is written collaboratively by largely anonymous Internet volunteers who write without pay. 
  • Anyone with Internet access can write & make changes to Wikipedia articles, except in limited cases where editing is restricted to prevent disruption or vandalism.
  • Users can contribute anonymously, under a pseudonym, or, if they choose to, with their real identity. 
  • The fundamental principles by which Wikipedia operates are the Five pillars.
  • The Wikipedia community has developed many policies and guidelines to improve the encyclopedia; however, it is not a formal requirement to be familiar with them before contributing.
  • Since its creation in 2001, Wikipedia has attracted 470 million unique visitors monthly as of February 2012.
  • There are more than 77,000 active contributors working on over 22,000,000 articles in 285 languages.
  • As of today, there are 4,000,638 articles in English.
  • Every day, hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world collectively make tens of thousands of edits & create thousands of new articles to augment the knowledge held by the Wikipedia encyclopedia.
  • Wikipedia is a live collaboration differing from paper-based reference sources in important ways. Unlike printed encyclopedias, Wikipediais continually created and updated, with articles on historic events appearing within minutes, rather than months or years. 
A two-day event, the 'Wikimania' event, was held a few days ago in Washington, USA, which was attended by 100s of members of the 'wiki' community. The group focused  on ways & means of improving Wikipedia.

Two diverse views emerged. Some in attendance said Wikipedia needs upgrading in an era where people are turning to Social Media. The other said it should carry on in its current form.

Digg goes for US $500,000?

13/07 (0545 hrs IST): Remember Digg? The News Site built around a Social platform could be going for a mere US $500,000, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The report, quoting unnamed sources, said New York based technology development firm Betaworks was buying Digg. Online reports said the sale price was far below one offered by Google in 2008 of US $ 200 million. At last count, Digg had a community of about 7 million users.  

Yahoo! reportedly admits to breach 

13/07 (0525 hrs IST): Yahoo! has confirmed that an old file from the Yahoo!Contributor Network, previously known as Associated Networks, had been hacked and passwords stolen.
According to a report in CBR Security OnlineYahoo! has released a statement saying the incident happened on July 11. While offering an apology the portal has asked users to change their passwords.  

Yahoo! investigating compromise of IDs 

12/07 (1821 hrs IST): Yahoo! has issued a statement saying it was investigating the claims of a compromise of Yahoo! user IDs.

She said it was unclear which part of the network was affected. Earlier, a Yahoo! spokesman told the BBC that the problem had originated atYahoo!Voice, its IP telephony services.
US security firm Trustedsec said the compromised Yahoo! passwords were associated with a variety of email addresses including those from yahoo.com, gmail.com & aol.com. There was no confirmation of this from Yahoo!, though.
It is also suspected that the same group behind the recent hacking of passwords of Q&A service Formspring are behind this attack too. They call themselves D33Ds. 
Our Advisory: Play safe if you use any of the Yahoo! services & change your password.

Yahoo!Voices user passwords stolen

12/07 (1243 hrs IST): Here's another case of hacking in recent times. Yahoo! Voices, a contributor network of the Portal which allows you to post your opinions on any subject has had its user passwords hacked. To add insult to injury, the hackers have even listed the passwords, Online.

The story broke in Website Mashable today. The report said a list titled, `Owned and Exposed' which is `brought to you by the D33Ds Company' was posted Online, revealing a number of details for the service including all of the email addresses & passwords for nearly half a million of  Yahoo! Voices users.

The site hosting the information is intermittently down, the report added.

At he end of the hacked passwords list, the hackers have written, “We hope that the parties responsible for managing the security of this subdomain will take this as a wake-up call, and not as a threat,” the document says. “There have been many security holes exploited in webservers belonging to Yahoo! Inc. that have caused far greater damage than our disclosure.

“Please do not take them lightly. The subdomain and vulnerable parameters have not been posted to avoid further damage.”
We are now awaiting a word from Yahoo! though is no mention of this episode on the Yahoo! Voices Site.

Disable gadgets & sidebar features of your Windows 7 or Vista right now 

12/07 (0715 hrs IST): Software maker Microsoft has issued a warning users to disable the Gadgets & the Sidebar features in Windows Vista &Windows 7 or else be open to "attacks".

For the uninitiated, both features allow users to add small programs like a fancy clock, a music player & so on your desktop. 

Microsoft Advisory # 2719662 warns that an attacker who successfully exploited a Gadget vulnerability could run arbitrary code in the context of the current user. If a user is logged on with administrative user rights, an attacker could take complete control of the affected system. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.
Shorn of all that jargon, the warning means someone else can take control of your PC if you continue running the 2 features on Vista orWindows 7. 
Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights, says the advisory.

Applying the automated Microsoft Fix It solution described in the advisory disables the Sidebar & all Gadget functionality.
Other versions like Windows XP remain unaffected for now. 

Google on verge of agreeing to pay huge fine for fiddling with privacy controls 

11/07 (1627 hrs IST): All the major news agencies are reporting that Search giant Google may agree to pay a US $22.5 million fine to settle a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) case linked to the Internet company's alleged unauthorized fiddling with the privacy settings on Apple's Safari Web Browser.
The act reportedly enabled Google Inc. to monitor the Online activities of millions of Web surfers. The proposed fine is still to be approved by the FTC's 5 commissioners. If they do, this is the highest fine FTC has imposed on any corporate entity, ever.
It was about 5 months ago when a Standford University research paper had pointed out that Google had overridden Safari's in-built privacy safety measures, making it easy for the Search Engine to monitor the activities of millions of Safari users. It had sparked off a batlle of words with Apple.
Google had quickly  withdrawn the controversial technology. It continues to maintain, though, that it follows very strict privacy standards. And, it will not reportedly admit to any wrong doing even while settling the case before the FTC.   
Watch this space for updates.

Formspring user passwords hacked 

11/07 (0505 hrs IST): Question & answer Social Site Formspring has been breached. The service said some unknown people had got away with user passwords.  In response to this hacking attempt, Formspring has gone and disabled all its user passwords, the company said in its Blogpost.
The management of Formspring has listed several steps for users while keying in their new passwords. There was no word, however, on how or who attacked the service firewall.

Backplate: The people behind Lady Gaga's Social Network 

11/07 (0505 hrs IST): This is not a story for Lady Gaga lovers. She launched her very own Social Networking Site a few hours ago, sending her fans into a tizzy.
What's New On The Net though went behind the scenes only to discover that a Startup called BackPlane  was responsible for getting Lady Gaga's Network Online. That was enough for us to start digging, due apologies to the Lady.
The folks at Backplane have said they aim at creating "a new type of Social corridor." They think the future lies not in Networks that revolve around individuals but communities. Lady Gaga is their 1st client. 
This is what we found written on the Backplane Site - We believe that audiences seek new and more meaningful ways to connect and engage with each other. Backplane fills a gap in the current social spectrum by empowering sharing and conversation that is effortless but not automatic. The Lady Gaga Social Network is the 1st in the series of such community driven Sites.
The Backplane team includes designers, technologists, artists, developers, disruptors (whatever that means) & visionaries who are working together to define the next generation of the consumer Web. The Startup is located in Palo Alto, California, USA (aren't they all?)
Oh, yeah, by the way, Lady Gaga's Social Network's called Little Monsters.com 

Relax, the threat of the DNS Changer passes on  

10/07 (0500 hrs IST): USA Today & reports by other Online agencies suggest that the threat posed by the DNSChanger malware has passed, without causing the expectant havoc. No significant outages were reported on Monday as the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) removed a safety net erected last November to protect some 577,000 Windows-based PCs.

USA Today said a minute after midnight, Monday, some 277,000 PCs including 64,000 in the U.S., remained infected & at risk as the FBI took down its safety net.The malware had first surfaced in 2007 & was able to reroute a PC's Web traffic without the knowledge of the user.DNSChanger managed to do this by manipulating the Domain Name System (DNS) routing service for infected computers, hence its name.

The FBI in 2011, along with other law enforcement agencies, had brought down the Estonia-based criminal gang responsible for the malware.

Browser wars: This video shows the erosion of Explorer between 2008-12 

09/07 (1836 hrs IST): Internet Browser wars have become quite intense in the last few years. Of late, its been quite close between Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) & Google's Chrome. In between is Mozilla's Firefox.
Without doubt, IE has been steadily losing its position as world leader. Barking at its heels is Chrome.
Now, StatCounter, a Web analytical company, has produced an animated video & published it on YouTube which shows how the world is changing its Browser habits. In 2008, almost the entire globe is shown as covered in blue, the color used to denote the use of IE. By the time the animation film reaches 2012, a major portion of blue has been replaced with yellow, for Mozilla & green for Chrome.
StatCounter data is based on over 15 billion page views per month (4 billion from the US; 800 million from the UK) to StatCounter's network of about 3 million websites. The company is independent & transparent, & publishes full information about its methodology.
We bring you the video: 

Some tools to check whether you will be disconnected from the Net this Monday

07/07 (1936 hrs IST): As we had told you much before others on the Internet (scroll down this Page) that come Monday, thousands of people are gonna drop off the Web, thanks to an action by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), it is now almost certain that approx 250,000 subscribers are gonna be affected.
So, will you be one of them?
Here are some tools to check whether the DNAChanger virus, as it is being called, will affect you. Click here to check it out.  

Twitter makes Search more dynamic 

07/07 (0812 hrs IST): As was expected, Micro-blog Twitter has revamped its Search feature.
It has introduced Search auto-complete and ‘People you follow’ Search results. According to a Blogpost posed by Frost Li, Engineer, Search & Relevance, in addition to recent improvements like related query suggestions, spelling corrections & more relevant Search results, these updates make it even easier to immediately get closer to the things users care about.

Search auto-complete basically is a feature wherein it shows you the most likely terms for your query as you enter it — especially useful if you’re trying to follow the hashtag for an event or you’re looking for a certain Twitter account. Users can select a query from the drop-down menu even before they have you finished typing it.

 Find out whats up on Twitter with this App

06/07 (0540 hrs IST): Confused when you are on Micro-blog Twitter? Wanna keep tabs on what's really happening there? For one, of course you can find out whats tweeting by using the trending topics.

Now there's another way of keeping tabs on the Twitter meter.  There;'s an App called ShowMeTrend that shows you whats trending on Twitterat any moment in time, & even the links that are associated with them.
We have a video below that explains it all 

Thousands of Internet users may be logged out on July 9 

05/07 (0721 hrs IST): Atleast 360,000 users, largely located in the US & Canada, & some around the globe, using rogue Internet servers will find themselves disconnected from the Web on July 9. This is because the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will shut down these servers, following a long-drawn legal process.

Online reports seem to suggest that major companies & US government agencies could be amongst those that could be blocked out. Around 20,000 other users in Germany, INdia and the United Kingdom, too, will be affected by the shutdown.

The blackout will affect systems infected with the DNSChanger Trojan, a malware program that altered user searches & redirected them to a Web Pages offering fraudulent products.

It was in last November that the FBI had arrested & charged 6 Estonian men behind the malware as part of Operation 'Ghost Click'. These hackers had reportedly racked in millions of dollars by way of ads placed on their fraudulent Websites. The FBI, as part of its Operation, had installed 2 temporary Internet servers that would prevent infected users from losing access to the Internet once the DNSChanger botnet was shut down. These users were advised to take steps to get rid of the malware on their computers. A DNSChanger Working Group was also set up by the computer industry & law enforcement to come up with a plan to phase out the surrogate servers.  

Many of the 360,000 unique Internet addresses are still using the rogue servers, with most of them based in the US.  At its peak several years ago, up to 6 million systems worldwide had been infected with the malware.

One second more to world clocks sends Sites crashing

04/07 (0613 hrs IST): On the Internet, it's been compared to the Y2K scare at the end of the last decade.
Over the week-end, a 1 second correction in the world's atomic clocks send some Websites crashing as their server & computer internal clocks could not "adjust" to this extra second. Included were big names like Reddit & Mozilla.
One report in Wired.com said many Sites had experienced brief technical problems on Saturday evening, when their software "choked" on the “leap second”. This happened because many computing systems use Network Time Protocol which is in sync with the atomic clocks.
At 12:00 am Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), all of the atomic clocks across the world inserted a leap second, or paused for a second so that they could remain in unison with the rotation of the planet. It's happened 24 times since 1972, said one report. The result was Sites were down for hours, as administrators worked to re-boot.  But not everyone was affected. In fact, Google Inc seemed well-prepared, having anticipated the move. Google had anticipated this months ago, & was ready with its answer, the Leap Smear. We shall not get too technical about this but essentially, what Google engineers seemed to have done was to modify its servers in such a manner that at the end of every day, the server clocks would keep adding extra micro seconds. And, when the big day came, they were ready for the adjustment. 

Your professional profile may be completely naked on the Net, thanks to Reachable

03/07 (1853 hrs IST): 1st a question - Ever heard of 7 Degrees Inc? Till mid-August last year, it was the provider of a Social business solution known as PeopleMaps. Then it went & changed its name to Reachable, Inc & the solution name to...you guessed it right,  Reachable.
What Reachable claims to do is mind blogging - its software consolidates contacts from Social Networking Sites,email clients & other public data sources, adds new contacts from its database of...hold your breath,  65 million professionals, to uncover new connection paths to almost any other professional or company.
Reachable, according to a report in the Business Intelligence, is planning to do something more.  

Some FB users find timeline missing

01/07 (2142 hrs IST): A section of Social Network Facebook users today found the real-time news ticker on the right side of their Home Page missing.
Online reports though seem to suggest that it should reappear soon. There was no response from Facebook itself, neither was anything  posted to Facebook’s Known Issues Page.
The ticker shows abbreviated stories about almost every action taken by your friends.