Opera Browser Adds Native Ad-Blocking

While internet browser Opera isn’t quite the technical powerhouse it used to be, the Norwegian company has announced that it is adding native ad-blocking to the software. The feature is included in the latest developer edition of the browser – but deactivated by default – and the company believes its native system is more effective than third-party apps, and that blocking ads will speed up page loads by up to 40%, on average, with some sites potentially seeing speed improvements of up to 90%.

“If there were no bloated ads, some top websites would load up to 90% faster,” Opera’s Senior Vice President for Global Engineering Krystian Kolondra writes in a post on the official Opera blog. “Today, we wanted to share with you a native ad-blocking technology in our Developer channel for Opera for computers. “Native” means unmatched speed vs extensions, since the blocking happens at the web engine level.”

“We are the first major browser vendor to integrate an ad-blocking feature, but this development should be a no surprise to anyone given the rising popularity of ad-blocking software and even Apple allowing it on its platform,” Kolondra adds.

The move is sure to be controversial, with sites such as Forbes and The New York Times blocking their content for users of ad-blocking software, but Kolondra says that Opera is only serving the desires of its users.

“Advertising fuels the internet, allowing for many services to be free for users,” Kolondra  writes. “But, as our new research shows, most webpages today are significantly slowed down by bloated ads and heavy tracking. We don’t accept it – we want the web to be a better place for us all, as users.”

It Only Took One Tweet for Microsoft to Buy Minecraft

Minecraft has been one of the most successful games this decade and by far the most impressive startup. The creator, Markus ‘Notch’ Persson, has now been honored for his accomplishments by a cover story in Forbes magazine. The article reveals a couple interesting things about Notch and among them, that it only took a single tweet from him for Microsoft to purchase his share of Mojang, the original company behind Minecraft.

Notch needed a change of scenery and on June 6th last year he tweeted that he felt exhausted, asking if anyone wanted his share of the company. It only took a couple of minutes before Microsoft was on the phone asking if he was being serious. Microsoft wasn’t the only one interested in the IP, other companies such as Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts also showed their interest.

The story isn’t all positive and Notch wasn’t happy how his after-Minecraft life was portrayed. There is the suggestion that he now spends his days running up $180,000 bar bills at Swedish nightclubs. Notch went to his favorite medium, Twitter, to deny this in a series of tweets.

He finished off with a remark to his fortune and that it would be seriously hard to party away more money than he makes just in interests.

Thanks to Forbes for providing us with this information

Imminent IBM Reorganisation Could Result in Massive Layoffs

A potential restructuring of computer hardware company IBM could result in layoffs of 26% of staff, or over 111,000 people. If true, it would be the biggest corporate layoff in history, dwarfing the previous record – coincidentally held by IBM after a 1993 reorganisation – of 60,000.

Robert X. Cringely, a Silicon Valley journalist and author of the eBook The Decline and Fall of IBM, revealed the news in his Forbes column. Cringely blames former CEOs Louis Gerstner and Sam Palmisano for mismanagement, which current CEO Virginia Rometty has done nothing to stymie.

According to Cringely, the IBM reorganisation, nicknamed Project Chrome, has been in the planning stage since before Christmas, and has been triggered by another quarter of falling revenue, the 11th in a row for the company.

He remains sceptical that the drastic Project Chrome will do anything to save the ailing company, saying, “So while IBM is supposedly transforming, they are also losing business and customers every quarter. What are they actually doing to fix this? Nothing.”

“In saying the company is in a transition and is going to go through the biggest reorganization in its history, will this really fix a very obvious customer relationship problem? No, it won’t.”

Source: IT World

I Spy With My Little Eye…. A Drone Watching Me?

Fox News reportedly got word of a first-ever case of a U.S. citizen being convicted and sentenced to prison based in part on evidence gathered by a drone. Farmer Rodney Brossart, from Lakota N.D., got a three-year sentence for his role in an armed standoff with police that began after he was accused of stealing his neighbors’ stray cattle in 2011.

Bossart reportedly was arrested after him and his family restricting ‘at gunpoint’ authorities armed with a search warrant to investigate the reports of his neighbors. But later, he was released on bail. Warrants were then issued for his three sons, but the family refused to show up in court. In this extreme case, Nelson County Sheriff Kelly Janke spoken to the U.S. Border Patrol to deploy a Predator drone in order to conduct live video surveillance of the farm.

The drone monitored the family’s movements on the farm following the armed standoff. It was not clear how long the drone was deployed or whether it gathered evidence of the alleged cattle theft. However, the drone gathered enough evidence to prompt Janke’s men to finally move in November 2011, arresting five family members on terrorizing charges. Brossart was found not guilty for the cattle theft accusations, but did get three years for his part in the armed police standoff based in part on video recorded by the drone.

The case could prove significant, because Brossart’s attorney tried unsuccessfully to have the terrorizing charges related to his standoff with police dropped because evidence was gathered by the drone without a search warrant specifically allowing for it.

Should we be worried that our privacy will not be so private in the future? According to Fobers magazine, they predict it won’t be the last time drones are used to put Americans in prison, and reported the use of drones for police missions is on the rise. Between 2010 and 2012, law enforcement agencies used CBP Predator drones for 700 missions, the media outlet reported.

Thank you Fox News for providing us with this information