Amazon Blocking Non-Prime Members From Buying Certain Games

Amazon Prime started off as giving you quick one-day delivery options, expanding into the market for Video and music streaming, and with its latest offer of a monthly subscription system, its popularity keeps growing. That may change if you are a fan of big time games, with the latest news revealing that certain games may be locked behind the “prime wall”.

If you go on the Amazon site now and check out games like Grand Theft Auto 5 or Fallout 4, you may find yourself welcomed by a small blue button on the right-hand side. Replacing the welcoming yellow button that said buy now, the blue button instead asks you “join Prime”. Above the buttons it states that the games are “Exclusively for Prime Members”, giving you no option but to either seek them on different sites or use Amazon Prime to order your games from Amazon.

While you will still be able to buy the games through other sellers on Amazon, if you want to buy it directly from Amazon you will need Prime membership. With a yearly membership getting you 20% off pre-orders and new releases, if you like buying big releases when they come out it may be worth checking out the deals they offer.

For gamers and non-gamers alike, do you think its fair to have your ability to buy what you enjoy locked to an exclusive membership group or does the one-day delivery (or even one-hour delivery) tempt you to grab those new games that little bit sooner?

It should be noted that while the block originally seemed to affect both Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com sales, some of the listings on Amazon.co.uk are now unrestricted, suggesting that the initial backlash may already have been enough to sway Amazons opinion on the “prime wall”. Currently, you can see the option featured on Amazon.com’s Grand Theft Auto 5 page.

Image courtesy of Engadget.

Tor Accuses CloudFlare Of Blocking Its Network

Content provider CloudFlare is no stranger to the spotlight, with being accused of protecting pro-ISIS by Anonymous causing it some issues. Now it would seem that they are instead on the throwing end of a claim, saying that requests they get from the Tor network (a network designed around allowing anonymous browsing on the web) are malicious 94 percent of the time. Tor accuses CloudFlare of mischaracterizing their users and blocking its network, with it going so far as to impact normal traffic.

Tor claims that its users are often getting stuck in CAPTCHA loops or outright failures, stopping them from accessing content in even the simplest of ways. In external research, Tor states that CloudFlare was found to block at least 80 percent of IP addresses from its service, with the number increasing over time. The CAPTCHA loop is caused by a measure CloudFlare has introduced that requires users of the Tor network to fill out CAPTCHA’s, but only users of the Tor network will see these.

Tor isn’t happy about this accusation and wants to see evidence regarding their 94 percent figure. Many are wondering how they reached this figure, or even how they deem if a connection is trustworthy. With so many people now using networks and systems like Tor, blocking or making the experience worse for users can’t be seen as a positive step when it comes to providing content.

Mozilla Bans Popular YouTube Unblocker Add-On

One of Firefox’s popular add-ons has been kicked from the repository after repeated bad behavior, and it is unlikely to come back. The YouTube add-on uses a list of proxy servers to circumvent geoblocking of YouTube videos, which in itself is a very useful feature, but one that you’ll have to find another add-on for from now on.

The latest of multiple issues with the popular browser add-on that already accumulated over 250 thousand downloads started last weekend with a user reporting an issue on the Mozilla bug tracker. After installing the add-on, his anti-virus software alarmed him right away that it had blocked a download coming from a third-party website which had been flagged as malware by Avast Anti Virus.

On further examination, the user found out that the add-on was altering the browser settings and disabled the add-on signing feature preventing unauthorized installs, AKA add-ons that haven’t been signed or certificated by Mozilla. After disabling this security feature, the YouTube Unblocker add-on then went on to download another add-on called Adblock Converter from a third-party domain via an unsecured connection, an add-on that is categorized as malware and isn’t to be found in the official add-on library. To make matters even worse, users without proper anti-virus or anti malware solutions wouldn’t even know that this extra add-on was installed as it wouldn’t show up in the about:addons page either and it would reinstall itself again if a user managed to uninstall it in safe mode.

This is far from the first time that this add-on has been under investigation for bad behavior, last time in June 2015 where they were caught circumventing the official guidelines for add-ons with update code that bypassed the official Mozilla review process. Before that, they were caught tampering with search results and sending data back to the company without the users consent or knowledge, even when the user opted out of the feature.

Luckily for users who need a geo-unblocking feature for their Firefox browser, there are plenty of other alternatives to choose from.

EK Releases MSI R9 390X GAMING 8G Full-Cover Water Block

EK WB has expanded their full-cover water blocks a lot lately and that goes for both motherboards and graphics card. The newest cooler is for the last, a graphics card, or more specifically a full-cover water block solution for MSI’s Radeon R9 390X GAMING 8G graphics card and it’s called the EK-FC R9-390X TF5.

 

The new full-cover water block replaces the original TwinFrozr V cooler that comes with the graphics card out-of-the-box, and while it is an amazing GPU cooler, you can’t integrate it into your full custom loop. The new EK-FC R9-390X TF5 actively cools the GPU, RAM as well as VRM (voltage regulation module) as water flows directly over all these critical areas. In return, it will allow you to run the card at much lower temperatures and higher overclocks.

The base is made of nickel-plated electrolytic copper while the top is made of either quality POM Acetal or acrylic depending on the variant. As usual, both versions are available which allows you to match the design you prefer. The cooler also features EK WB’s pre-installed screw-in brass standoffs that allow for a safe installation procedure.

The EK-FC R9-390X TF5 water block also features EK’s unique central inlet split-flow cooling engine design for best possible cooling performance. The system also works flawlessly with the reversed water flow without adversely affecting the cooling performance and it will also work well in liquid cooling systems using weaker water pumps.

To complete the setup, EK also offers a retention backplate made of black anodized aluminum. The backplate offers additional cooling to the backside of the circuit board, especially around the VRM area, besides giving the card a sleeker look.

The new EK WB EK-FC R9-390X TF5 is available now for an MSRP of €122.95 and the backplate will set you back an additional €29.95

Paypal Blocks VPN and UnoTelly Payments

Paypal is the default setting for a lot of people and companies when it comes to online payments, easy to implement and with a safety net of features people feel comforted by while doing online banking. With Paypal’s purchase of digital money company Xoom, it seemed like Paypal wanted to take all the money but they’ve now started blocking payments using the Candian company UnoTelly.

Under Paypal’s Acceptance use policy states that it cannot be used to send payments “for items that infringe or violate any copyright, trademark, right of publicity or privacy, or any other proprietary right under the laws of any jurisdiction”. UnoTelly offers smartDNS and VPN access, techniques which have been used to remove geo-blocks from websites, a technique that lets you watch or use sites that are often blocked in particular areas of the world. Copyright holders have often argued that VPN networks could be used to bypass copyright, enabling you to access and watch videos through services like Netflix in regions where the show is blocked.

The problem with this decision is that a lot of people, such as large businesses, use VPN’s for legitimate reasons and putting a blanket ban on VPN users making purchases through Paypal would surely only end with the services use declining.

Block Star Wars Spoilers With a Little Help

Star Wars the Force Awakens is set to be one of the largest films of the year and with generations of followers waiting for the big release this Thursday it was only a matter of time before people started posting spoilers or concepts that could ruin the film if you can’t make it to the cinema in time. The BBC posted an article explaining several ways to avoid spoilers (or the film altogether), ranging from moving country to retreating from the online world as a whole.

We at eTeknix understand that this may not always be possible (who can go without their memes these days?). One approach someone has taken is a similar one to something people use every day, an adblocker. Adblockers detect ad’s on a website and unless whitelisted, stop them from loading avoiding the onslaught of sounds and videos that loud on most web pages. Force Block, a chrome extension, aims to do the same but with spoilers for the highly anticipated film.

With a white list function you can add websites you think are being flagged incorrectly but otherwise upon loading a page you are met with a dimmed web page and a warning stating that you could be ruining the film in one of many different messages inspired by the films.

Donald Trump Wants To ‘Close Up’ The Internet

Donald Trump is known for a wide range of things, from his running as a presidential candidate, his viewpoints on certain issues and even in the UK for blocking proposals of new electric wind farms. The latest idea from Trump though is even more worrying; he wants to close off the internet.

At a campaign rally, Trump starts by saying “we are losing a lot of people because of the internet”. before going on to say that he would ring up people like Bill Gates and the others who “really understand what’s happening” and begin discussions to close up the internet. The idea behind this scheme is to prevent U.S. citizens from being recruited into acts of domestic terrorism and other groups, mainly based abroad, such as ISIS who may use the internet as a recruitment medium.

Trump goes on to say that after closing up the internet you will get people saying “freedom of speech” to which he suggested that those people are “foolish”.

Trump could be suggesting a giant firewall, similar to that in place in China and Thailand, Either way people will state that such an action goes against freedom of speech, a concept that is held very high in the United States and has seen many days in court recently.

Anonymous Claims CloudFlare Protects Pro-ISIS Sites

Anonymous started a new offensive against ISIS following the terrible attacks on Paris and while we all like that part, it’s hard for me to take them serious in any way. They surely have a few talented people with skills and connections in their group, but for the most part, their skills go as far as pressing a button in a pre-built application in order to launch DDoS attacks on a specific target.

We’ve recently learned that their offensive isn’t going all that good and now they’ve come out and accused CloudFlare of protecting pro-ISIS websites. CloudFlare makes software which prevents denial of service attacks which is the preferred method of attack from the Anonymous group, so this doesn’t come as a big surprise. Terrorists might live with a stone-age mentality, but they do know how to use modern technology. CloudFlare faced similar accusation from the group back in 2013 when they launched an offensive against Al-Qaeda websites.

CloudFlare naturally defends itself against the accusation and as they say, it wouldn’t be a good business model for them. Groups like that will most likely pay with stolen credit card credentials and that is not good for a business. The company also stated that they would cooperate with any law enforcement agency when presented with a legal warrant or court order regarding any of their customers. So maybe Anonymous should forward their evidence to those instances instead of whining on social media about a normal service used by thousands of websites and that works as intended.

ISP’s in Germany Can be Ordered to Block Piracy Websites

ISP’s are the ones responsible for giving the public access to the world wide web and everything that you can find on it. The problem with the public having access to everything is that sometimes they give access to things which they shouldn’t, a game or a movie or sometimes just designs for things which haven’t even been created. Piracy online is the concept that you either host or copy something that you don’t own, have the rights to use or the permission to run. Germany has had enough though and its supreme court has said that maybe you shouldn’t be able to access that material online.

In a recent ruling, the supreme court has ruled that ISP’s can be required to block sites if they meet two conditions first. The first condition is that the person requesting the block must have explored alternative options, this can be anything from contacting the person that uploaded the material to contacting the site that hosts the material.

The second option is that the site can only be blocked if “on balance” they are deemed to have more illegal than legal content, this means that if someone uploads one bad file to your system the chance that your system will be blocked is small.

More and more countries are making moves like this, from tracking down illegal uploaders to blocking off people’s access to the materials, where do you stand on this question. Should we be given free reign of the internet and the people who are illegally uploading materials targeted or should the people who download and use the materials illegally be acceptable targets for legal action as well?

EE Announce Plans to Block “Intrusive ads”

United Kingdom based mobile network EE (Merger of Orange and T-Mobile) have announced plans to offer ad blocking services to anyone using the mobile network.

Olaf Swantee, Everything Everywhere (EE) CEO, demonstrated this new feature himself showing what would happen to the Web if his company did block mobile ads. This feature is far from revolutionary, desktop users have been blessed with this for many years in the form of the popular Adblock Plus. In recent years, this software has made its way to mobiles and in the latest iOS 9, Apple has included a similar blocking feature for certain content.

The main use for Ad Blockers is more prominent on free to use games and services such as YouTube where an Ad may pop up between each song or every half way through a long video. By doing this, you are reducing the revenue being paid to the developers and uploaders of the content which is why we have seen a sharp rise in Pay-to-use services such as YouTube Red.

Swantee stated the aim was not to block all mobile ads, but the more intrusive ones. By this, we are assuming those highly annoying full-page ads that you sometimes encounter while trying to view certain webpages.

eMarketer predicted that UK marketers would spend around £3.2bn on mobile marketing for 2015. This list could become a marketing tool for EE who could then block all ads and sell specific ad spaces to selected companies.

Yahoo Mail Restricting Access If You Use An Ad-Blocker

So remember those days when you waited five minutes to load a video or had to browse through those five tabs to find the one which was playing a video you had no idea even existed? A lot of people still suffer this fate, having their internet traffic and experience trampled on by the online plague of intrusive adverts. To combat this a series of software, often plug-ins to web browsers, was released under the title of ad-blockers. These pieces of software blocked unwanted ad’s and allowed you to whitelist any adverts you did like or even whole sites which you knew you could trust. Companies dislike this approach because they have no control over what adverts are played and therefore, end up losing money, a big name to join the crowd to punish ad-blocker users are Yahoo mail.

As shown in the screenshot above, provided by Portnoyd on the Adblock plus forums, shows the welcome message they got when they tried to access their email and found that Yahoo ‘recommended’ disabling Ad Blocker to continue using the email system, even going so far as to say “Uh oh … We are unable to display Yahoo Mail”. This would be believable, Ad Blocker may accidentally block something if it’s designed in a certain way, the sad part is though the URL states ADBLK _TRAP, clearly showing that the redirect is built to prevent Ad blocker’s users from accessing the site, rather than the error it pretends to be.

Are you a Yahoo Mail user? Have you found this problem? Should companies just accept that we wouldn’t use Ad Blockers if their adverts didn’t disrupt us on a regular basis?

EK Unveils ASUS Maximus VIII Series Motherboards Monoblocks

EK is a brand synonymous with exquisite custom water cooling blocks and a highly respected name in the industry. The latest addition to their line-up is the M8G Monoblock which supports the Maximus VIII Hero, Ranger and Gene. Niko Tivadar, EK’s Chief of R&D said about the product announcement:

“With this release, we are bringing Full Board M8G Monoblock for three MAXIMUS VIII motherboards simultaneously and customers have much more liquid cooling options available when choosing their next ASUS ROG Z170 series motherboard.”

“Monoblock for the ASUS MAXIMUS VIII EXTREME is also already in the works.”

Designed and engineered in cooperation with ASUS®, the Monoblock utilizes EK-Supremacy EVO’s award-winning cooling engine to ensure best possible CPU cooling. This water block directly cools Intel® LGA-1151 socket type CPU and power regulation (MOSFET) module as water flows directly over all critical areas. It is a very high flow water block that can be easily used with the system using weaker water pumps.

The Monoblock’s base is constructed from nickel-plated electrolytic copper while the top is made of premium POM Acetal or acrylic glass material, depending on the variant.

From a visual standpoint, both designs are stunning.

The Monoblocks are readily available for purchase through EK Webshop and Partner Reseller Network at a cost of €119.95.

BBC iPlayer is Now Blocking UK VPN Services

The BBC has decided to restrict access to its iPlayer service if you’re using a VPN in the UK for legitimate privacy concerns. Despite the BBC’s bizarre reasoning, there are many legitimate circumstances where a VPN is essential especially in the modern age of data collection. A BBC spokesperson told TorrentFreak:

“We regularly make updates to our technology to help prevent access to BBC iPlayer from outside the UK which breaks our terms of use,” 

“BBC iPlayer is freely available to users across the UK without a VPN, and we also seek to ensure users of private VPNs such as those used by schools and companies in the UK have access.”

The broadcaster is now sending out e-mails in regards to disgruntled customers which reads:

“You have reported that your IP address is incorrectly being recognised as outside of the UK when using BBC iPlayer. However we cannot support users using VPN networks as we cannot be confident of the location of the end user. This is because our database will give us the location of the associated VPN or proxy server, rather than of the actual end user. For this reason our Geo IP database will block access to UK-restricted content.”

In the UK, residents are required by law to purchase a license fee to access traditional television broadcasts and the iPlayer streaming service. Many argue this is an outdated notion and the BBC is under extreme pressure to try to offer the taxpayer value-for-money. Putting the politics aside, the BBC is consistently displaying messages on the iPlayer service informing users that they need a TV license to continue viewing. This kind of messaging is similar to purchasing a DVD which contains copyright disclaimers before you can watch the film.

As a result, the BBC has to be very careful not to frustrate the viewing audience and create a poor user experience. Companies need to realize that the internet has no borders, and blocking can often lead to people engaging in piracy.

Anti-Drone Rifle Disables UAVs Up to 400 Metres Away

Drones are one of the latest areas of technology that the public has widely accepted. Ranging from their use at filming sports events from different angles to being used for racing, weapons and more, they are certainly adaptable and dangerous. Two months ago it was revealed that most drones could be disabled with the right sound waves. Now it would seem that a company has taken this idea and created a public sector, anti-drone weapon.

Meet the DroneDefender. Created by Battelle and weighing approximately ten pounds the device is designed to help disable UAV’s and other remote controlled aerial craft from up to 400 metres away. While the military has been keen to develop anti-drone defences, this is the first time that a company has created something for use by the general public for drone defence.

By firing an array of radio waves, specifically tuned to GPS and ISM frequencies the drone is not only disabled but it can’t receive any future commands from its operator. With the possibilities being endless for its deployment, from sports events and public gatherings to buildings like the White house or Parliment.

With drones becoming an everyday purchase, with you being able to walk down to your local shop and grab one or order several different models straight from the web. Being able to stop them when they are clearly being misused is an idea many are welcoming.

https://youtu.be/zX4XXLb_Vuw

Thank you Engadget for the information and image.

Thailand Wants To Set Up Its Own Great Firewall

Hadrians Wall, The Great Wall of China. These things have one thing in common, they were built to stop people accessing a certain area. In this day and age we can travel easily enough, but our data has even greater freedom to travel, with the ability to navigate from one side of the world to the other in the blink of an eye. This is quite a scary concept and certain countries are afraid of this, so the ‘great firewall’s were created. Every piece of communication that comes into a country or wants to leave it has to pass through this central point. China is famous for using it to monitor and control what people are able to see, even forcing people to use specific sites or reject people from seeing certain results on search engines. Thailand is the latest to announce plans for their own great firewall.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o cha, with his cabinet, has requested the help of the National Police, Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Information and Communications to set up a single internet gateway, which would in effect funnel all communication in and out of Thailand through a single government controlled point.

This doesn’t come as a surprise as they requested earlier in the month any laws that may need changing or being created in order to make this step as legal as possible.

While a great tool for checking for anything illegal or dangerous, people are always afraid of steps like this and the control and possibility of the government misusing all that information. How would you feel if your government created their own ‘great firewall’?

Thank you CNet for the information.

Image courtesy of VPNAnswers.

Gmail Now Integrates Useful ‘Block’ Button

Gmail has finally implemented a long-overdue feature which allows you to block “disruptive” senders and automatically divert their message into a spam folder. The tool was launched yesterday for Web users and should arrive on Android devices a few days later. Google also announced an ‘unsubscribe’ button to opt out of mailing lists without having to navigate to the sender’s website. A spokesperson for Google said in a blog post:

“Sometimes you get mail from someone who’s really disruptive. Hopefully it doesn’t happen often—but when it does, you should be able to say, Never see messages from this person again.”

“That’s why you can now block specific email addresses in Gmail—starting today on the web, and over the next week on Android. Future mail will go to the spam folder (and you can always unblock in Settings).”

To block any sender, all you have to do is click the ‘More’ drop-down menu and select ‘Block’ or ‘Unsubscribe’. This makes it remarkably simple to enable either of these functions but difficult enough so you can’t click it by accident. With the huge amount of spam e-mails, phishing scams, and abuse messages, this should have been implemented a long time ago. Thankfully, this should allow you to clean up your inbox and live a less stressful working environment.

Thank you DigitalTrends for providing us with this information.

Company Agreed to Payout for Blocking Mobile Hotspots

We’ve all been there, sitting on the train or in a hotel and your mobile internet connection is superior to what is being supplied and normally charged for. I use my phone while on the train thanks to 4G data speeds and use that as a tether for my laptop; much faster and far more reliable than the extortionate train WiFi charges.

Well a US based company, Smart City Holdings (SCH), has been automatically blocking users from using their phones data plans to establish a hotspot to avoid the huge $80 (£50) daily fees for using the supplied WiFi. The FCC has taken action and has come to an agreement for the stop of the practice and a settlement of $750,000 (£480,000) which SCH has agreed to abide by.

This isn’t the first time this has happened, last October the Marriott Hotel Services agreed to pay $600,000 (£380,000) for a similar incident within the hotel premises in Nashville during a conference.

The latest action started as a complaint filed back in June 2014 by a company that allows users to connect to their own mobile hotspots as an alternative to paying the fees to connect to the venue alternative. It was discovered after customers were complaining of not being able to connect to the hotspots in multiple venues that SCH operated in.

“In a statement, Smart City Holdings president Mark Haley said his company in the past used equipment that prevented wireless devices from interfering with operations of exhibitors on convention floors. The activity resulted in less than one percent of all devices being deauthenticated.

“We have always acted in good faith, and we had no prior notice that the FCC considered the use of this standardized, ‘available-out-of-the-box’ technology to be a violation of its rules. But when we were contacted by the FCC in October 2014, we ceased using the technology in question.””

Do you use your mobile data to connect to the internet and tether multiple devices from? Are you happy with your coverage by your provider? Let us know in the comments

Thank you to ArsTechnica for providing us with this information

China Bans Supercomputer and UAV Exports Based on National Security Concerns

The Chinese superpower seems to be a bit concerned about its latest tech getting into the wrong hands and has banned the export of unlicensed supercomputers and some UAV models.

The ban seems to forbid any company attempting to export machines capable of outputting eight TFlops of data or more than 2 Gbps of network bandwidth. Taking a look at the Top 500 list of supercomputers, we see China’s Tianhe-2 at the top of it, while the US occupies the 2nd and 3rd place.

The UAV ban comes from news about an Indian drone being shot down in Pakistan, suspected of using Chinese tech. Pakistan has close ties with the US and we all know how the US is keen on getting their hands on Chinese technology, so the word regarding the drone seems to have freaked out some high-ranking officers enough to ban UAV exports from China too.

However, the UAV ban seems to affect only aircraft capable of flying for more than an hour or reaching altitudes of 50,000 feet, so there aren’t many UAVs boasting those kind of specs outside of military use.

There has been no official reason for the ban in question, but speculations point to the ban as a result of the US blocking Intel’s export of high-end x86 chips to China. The race for who has the best tech has been noticed between the US and China for ages now, but signs like this just keep on cropping up. So where is all of this heading? It could be anyone’s guess, but we like to hear your own!

Thank you The Register for providing us with this information

Russia Looking Into Blocking Facebook Over Gay Emoji

Russia has been trying to push a lot of western companies out of the country for some time now. After it closed access to Google and Intel back in 2014, the country is now looking to block the world’s most popular social media platform, namely Facebook.

Russian Facebook users have been told to stop using the platform numerous times up until now, throwing a lot of accusations. However, with the addition of gay emojis, the government now believes it has actual proof to build a case that will block the social media for good.

Russian senator, Mikhail Marchenko, called an investigation to check if the emojis in question are violating the Russian anti-gay laws. This is quite interesting, since Twitter and even Apple’s own emoji keyboard come with gay emojis.

The above leads us to believe that Russia might have something personal against the social media platform, but the saddest part is that the government has high chances of succeeding. The country’s Federal Service For Supervision of Communication, Information Technology and Mass Media closed over 10,000 up to date, so blocking Facebook will just be another addition to the latter websites. But how comfortable are you with this decision? Should a few emojis be enough to get a website banned?

Thank you Tech Radar for providing us with this information

Anti-Blocking Website More Popular Than Spotify and Skype in the UK

While the UK High Court has been making busywork of blocking access to a myriad of popular torrent sites via the country’s ISPs, users apathetic to the restrictions have been using the sites anyway via the popular proxy site Unblocked.pw. Torrent fans have flocked to the site, using it to circumvent the token efforts of the UK justice establishment to control internet piracy, so much so that Unblocked.pw has become the 192nd most popular site in the country, placing it ahead of Spotify and Skype.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron loves a good block. Only this week, he was threatening to ban internet porn, because “Won’t somebody please think of the children?”. He said:

“Our one nation government is working hard to make the internet a safer place for children, the next step in this campaign is to curb access to harmful pornographic content which is currently far too widely available. I want to see age restrictions put into place or these websites will face being shut down.”

What is a “one nation government,” anyway? How is that any different from a regular government? Or, is Cameron slyly telling Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland that they don’t really count? In any case, the threat to take away the country’s porn is a deep cut, considering Pornhub, XHamster, Xvideos, and RedTube all feature within the top-100 sites in the UK, with TubeCup and YouPorn close behind:

  • Pornhub (#41)
  • XHamster (#44)
  • Xvideos (#47)
  • RedTube (#92)
  • TubeCup (#105)
  • YouPorn (#122)

At No. 44, PornHub is more popular than Netflix, even. But it was the position of Unblocked.pw that was most surprising, positioned at #192. The site, which is less than a year old, is already more popular than popular IM service Skype (#195) and music streaming site Spotify (#194).

Fighting censorship has been the primary motivation behind running Unblocked,” the site’s admin told TorrentFreak. “It’s to show that whatever regulators do to censor things online, there will always be a way around it. The initial motivation came from when The Pirate Bay was blocked in the Netherlands. We set up Proxybay.co to maintain a list of Pirate Bay proxy sites and show people how to create their own.”

If porn sites were to go the same way as torrent sites, expect to see the saucy equivalent of Unblocked.pw hit the top-200 sites in the UK soon after.

Thank you TorrentFreak for providing us with this information.

Europe Gets New Laws to Protect Net Neutrality

It’s the weekend and you decide you’re going to pop over the channel to go do a bit of shopping and enjoy a bit of Europe. While you’re abroad you realise you need to make a few quick phone calls, and maybe send a snap chat of what your buying, maybe even video chat an order from your friend for real french cheese or Belgium chocolate. Suddenly the biggest bill is your phone bill, with data roaming charging you for every single use of your phone, and even costing the people who have never left the country. This will soon change.

As of June 15th 2017, roaming charges will be scrapped in Europe. This means that everyone in Europe will pay the same price no matter which European country they are in. This does come with a catch though, in order to prevent abuse of foreign and local networks there will be a “fair use limit”. This means that after a certain amount of use you will find yourself being charged a basic fee, ultimately stopping people from grabbing cheap SIM cards abroad and using them as their main SIM.

On April 30th 2016 new net neutrality laws will come into effect, these will effectively ban not only “fast lanes” (where people pay extra for a service provider to prioritize their connection) and prevent internet service providers from blocking or throttling online content. While this seems to be a case for celebration, EU networks will be allowed to put aside a specialist part of their network for “higher quality” service. While under the condition that this doesn’t affect other people’s access to the rest of the internet, it does leave them open to a broad definition of “specialized services”.

Have you been charged for using your phone abroad? What was your biggest bill?

Thank you Engadget for the information.

Image courtesy of ItsAGadget.

Turn any Image into Lego

Lego, those magical blocks that turned children into amazing creators and sent adults to the foot doctor, has been around for many years. You can buy a random box of Lego and build whatever you want until you run out of bricks, or you could buy a kit and follow the instructions.

This new fan-made website allows you to upload absolutely any image you want and convert it into a Lego instruction kit; telling you how many bricks you need and line by line instructions to the placement.

I personally love Lego, I’m 24 and still buy the occasional set, so I ran a little test to see how it worked. With our logo, it shows me a shopping list of all of the Lego bricks needed to complete in a one block thick creation and the instructions of a row by row construction. Our logo might only be 30 rows high, but it is 200 bricks wide.

This could be a nifty little tool if you ever wanted to show off some awesome Lego skills (well not really awesome as you’re following instructions). Imagine the creations that could be made if this tool enabled image stitching for 3D models.

Would you be interested in using this web site? Let us know in the comments what sort of creations you could make or like to see be made.

Thank you to TechCrunch for providing us with this information.

U.S. Navy Doesn’t Trust Lenovo With Their Weapon Systems

You don’t trust anyone with the control of your weapon systems and it looks like the U.S. Navy isn’t too pleased with Lenovo’s recent purchase of the IBM Server division.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Navy is looking at dropping the IBM servers from some weapon systems after the company’s server line was purchased by Lenovo Group Ltd, a Chinese company.

The last years headlines have shown more than once that security and threats don’t just come from software, but that hardware is an equal access point. With something as crucial as weapon systems, one can understand that the Navy wants to be on the safe side.

On the other hand, more and more reminders of us the cold war era. Russia developing their own CPUs because they don’t trust the west, the U.S. placing trade restriction on China forbidding the sale of the most powerful supercomputers to them, and now this story.

Lenovo spokesman Ray Gorman said that the company generally declined to comment on customer contracts and as such didn’t have anything else to say to this particular case and instead pointed the finger in the direction of the Ministry of Finance.

Lenovo paid a price of $ 2.1 billion when they bought IBM’s low-end x86 server business last year.

EKWB Warns of Combatibility Issues With EVGA’s GTX 980 K|NGP|N Edition

EKWB has come out and warned users that there are compatibility issues between their EK-FC980 GTX Classy KPE full-cover water block and EVGA’s 980 GTX Classified K|NGP|N Edition graphics card.

According to the post, EVGA made last-minute changes to their PCB design that in return makes the full-cover water block designed for the card incompatible. The EK-FC980 GTX Classy KPE full-cover water block was designed for Revision 1.0 of the card and EVGA has since changed the layout not once, but twice. The revision 1.1 and 1.2 are not compatible with the current EKWB full cover water block and users should be careful to get products that match.

EKWB are working on a new version of the water block to match the new EVGA revisions and they are expected to be ready shortly.

While this news comes from EKWB, other full-cover water blocks from other manufacturers will face the same issue and K|NGP|N Edition graphics card owners that want to water cool their setup should pay extra close attention to the revision number on their cards. It isn’t any fun to order all the components you need to build the high-end system of your dreams, only to find out that the ordered parts don’t match.

Pirate Movie Streaming App Popcorn Time Blocked by UK Court

The High Court ruled yesterday that popular movie streaming platform Popcorn Time be blocked by the UK ISPs. Sky, BT, EE, TalkTalk, and Virgin Media will be forced to block access to five URLs that offer the Popcorn Time app for download.

In his ruling, Judge Briss did a marvellous job of stating the obvious regarding Popcorn Time’s legal status, stating, “It is manifest that the Popcorn Time application is used in order to watch pirated content on the internet and indeed it is also manifest that is its purpose.” Though his follow-up “No-one really uses Popcorn Time in order to watch lawfully available content” is not entirely correct, since movies on Popcorn Time are usually DVD or BluRay rips, meaning that they have to be “lawfully available” in order to be streamed. Users are just accessing them without paying for them via illegal means.

Popcorn Time has issued the following statement:

We’re pretty disappointed from the judicial system in the UK and feel pretty sorry for the citizens of England for their basic rights, like the freedom of speech and net neutrality being revoked so easily.

We hope to see some sort of protest from the citizens of the UK against this order, but given how easy it is for the judicial system there to hurt their basic rights, we doubt they will do so

We find this move they made pretty predictable and we’re sure that this is not the last of it. We’re working full force now even more than ever on making Popcorn Time fully p2p and soon the software will not be depended on any domain or centralized server to operate.

Since no ISP has challenged the order, it will come into effect soon, with access to popcorntime.io, flixtor.me, popcorn-time.se, and isoplex.isohunt.to denied to UK users. However, anyone who already has Popcorn Time installed should not see any disruption to their service. Regardless, as with the spate of blocked torrent sites over the last few years, the move is sure to prove futile, with proxies and VPNs offering savvy internet users access to any blocked content.

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

AquaComputer Releases New GeForce Titan X Full-Cover Water Blocks

EKWB already released their take on a full-cover water block for Nvidia’s GeForce Titan X graphics cards and now it’s AquaComputer’s time to do the same. The new AquaComputer Kryographics full cover water block for the GTX Titan X comes in six different versions to match your setup and preferences. It is CNC-milled from a 10mm thick high-purity electrolytic copper block and it covers both the GPU, RAM and voltage regulators.

It is CNC-milled from a 10mm thick high-purity electrolytic copper block and it covers both the GPU, RAM and voltage regulators. All relevant areas are covered by the flow path to make sure you have the best cooling everywhere for maximum potential.

The contact surface of the base is high-gloss polished and the Kryographics blocks allow for use of thermal grease instead of thermal pads on the RAM chips.

The water block comes with pre-assembled distance pieces to make sure you don’t damage your precious card when mounting your new water block. You can tighten the screws as far as they go without damaging anything and to achieve an optimal contact pressure.

The water blocks can be used with regular G1/4 fittings and the connection terminal offers threads in both directions. Those who run SLI setups can also replace the terminal with an optional Kryoconnect adapter.

There are also nickel-plated versions available and the Plexiglas cover of the acrylic glass edition and black edition is milled from a solid block, just like the base. To avoid the risk of cracks, Aqua Computer uses cast Plexiglas and the cover is held in place by a stainless steel frame instead of screws with drilled holes that could weaken the structure.

The six versions variate a little bit in price and the basic Kryographics for GTX Titan X will cost you €94.90. The acrylic glass edition, black edition, and nickel-plated version will cost you €104.90 while the acrylic glass edition and black editions with nickel plating will cost you €114.89. The new full cover water blocks are available now, so there’s nothing holding you back from taking your Titan X to the max; that is if you’re lucky enough to own one of these amazing graphics cards.

UK ISPs Start Blocking The Pirate Bay Proxies

Internet service providers in the UK have, very quietly, started to block access to websites that provide links to proxy sites for The Pirate Bay. The sites themselves do not contain any copyright infringing material and are purely informational which, presumably, is why the ISPs are being so hush-hush about blocking access to them.

A High Court order requires the six UK ISPs to block access to the world’s major torrent sites and streaming portals, though these blocks can be bypassed using proxy or VPN services. Sites that merely posts lists of website addresses, as the banned proxy list sites do, do not fall within the purview of that court order, though copyright holders are known to have put ISPs under pressure to restrict access to proxy sites.

Sites known to be blocked by Virgin Media and TalkTalk are piratebayproxy.co.ukpiratebayproxylist.com, and ukbay.org.

TorrentFreak spoke with Dan, the operator of UKBay.org, who is understandably confused over the blockade. “The new blocks are unbelievable and totally unreasonable. To block a site that simply links to another site just shows the level of censorship we are allowing ISP’s to get away with,” Dan said.

“UKBay is not even a PirateBay proxy. It simply provides links to proxies. If they continue blocking sites that link to sites, that link to sites… there’ll be nothing left.”

Source: TorrentFreak