Google Experimenting With Recommended Articles in Chrome

When people hear search engine there are a few that jump out at them, with many instantly going straight to Google. The popular search engine has helped create everything from the web browser Chrome to self-driving cars. One of their latest endeavours will be to recommend articles directly into your web browser.

Currently still in testing, the new feature is not available for public use or even beta but would see a list of articles recommended based on your most-visited sites. Recommended articles would appear on the new tab page for their Chrome browser, meaning that opening up a new tab could bring to a site you never even thought about visiting before.

Currently, the feature can only be uncovered by reading the tickets on Chromium Code reviews, something which VentureBeat has done with amazing detail. Amongst the discovered tickets the feature (currently known as “ChromeReader” or “Morning Reads”) uses a hard coded set of search parameters, meaning that everyone would see the same results no matter what they visit or see. This will obviously be changed before its release and would be required for the “snippets” to become something most people would use.

Snippets would include everything from a few words in the header to a brief description, with recommended features being changing how often they would fetch snippets and information based on how much power your device has or what time of the day it is.

There is no knowing what you might find on the internet, sometimes a quick ten minutes at your computer can turn into 20 minutes of YouTube videos of cats playing music before you realise what you were originally going to do.

Do you think that a new feature like this would help you? Would it just be a gimmick to give Chrome another feature on an already impressive arsenal?

5-Dimensional Disc Can Store 360TB Forever

A team of scientists from the University of Southampton have developed a new storage medium that can save up to 360TB of data indefinitely. The university’s Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) has developed a five dimensional (5D) recording and retrieval device, using on nanostructured glass and femtosecond laser writing, that can effectively store data forever.

“The storage allows unprecedented properties including 360TB/disc data capacity, thermal stability up to 1,000°C and virtually unlimited lifetime at room temperature (13.8 billion years at 190°C ) opening a new era of eternal data archiving,” the official announcement on the University of Southampton website reads. “As a very stable and safe form of portable memory, the technology could be highly useful for organisations with big archives, such as national archives, museums and libraries, to preserve their information and records.”

The ORC proposes that the technology be used to store historical records, such as Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Newton’s Opticks, Magna Carta, and the Kings James Bible, for the sake of preservation, 360TB at a time. Theoretically, these records could even outlive the human race, leaving an indelible documentation of our collective history.

“The documents were recorded using ultrafast laser,” the post continues, “producing extremely short and intense pulses of light. The file is written in three layers of nanostructured dots separated by five micrometres (one millionth of a metre).”

“It is thrilling to think that we have created the technology to preserve documents and information and store it in space for future generations,” Professor Peter Kazansky, from the ORC, said. “This technology can secure the last evidence of our civilisation: all we’ve learnt will not be forgotten.”

Private Collector Opens Apple Museum in Prague

Apple’s style and appeal are now iconic worldwide, with their products enjoying a strong market share across the globe. Not all nations have access to official Apple stores, one such country being the Czech Republic. This hasn’t stopped an Apple fanatic and private collector opening an Apple Museum in their capital city, Prague.

Holding almost every Apple product ever made, dating back to 1976, as well as paraphernalia relating to visionary Steve Jobs, the Apple Museum comprises of a whopping 472 exhibits spread across three buildings in Prague’s old town. As well as the museum itself, there are plans to open “Steven’s Food”, a raw vegan restaurant, likely serving meals that would appeal to Steve Jobs himself.

The museum may not be a permanent affair either, with its website stating that Prague is “the first city where you can see this unique exhibition.” Whether this means that the museum is planned to go on tour or not is ambiguous, but there could be even more chance to show these pieces of Apple history to its fans if it were available in other locations too.

While this is far from the only Apple museum in the world, with other such as the Italian “AllAboutApple” also boasting an extensive collection, Apple has no official museum of their own history, with Jobs closing the last one back in 1997.

If you’re in Prague or planning a holiday, the price to see these pieces of computing history is £8/€11, with all the proceeds going to charity purposes.

See more photographs from their trip to the Apple Museum here.

The Strong Museum Acquires Massive Atari Collection

It’s been about seven months since we last heard something from the Strong Museum and that was when they announced the first six titles to enter their World Video Game Hall of Fame, and now they are back with even better news for the game fanatics who love the origin of it all. The Strong Museum of Play in Rochester, New York has announced the acquisition of over 2,000 documents, drawings, photographs, mockups, proofs, and other materials that chronicle the design and creation of Atari game packaging and user manuals in the ’70s and ’80’s. from a pair of California collectors.

The new collection comes from a pair of California collectors, but whether it was sold or donated wasn’t really revealed. That doesn’t really matter anyway as everyone will be able to enjoy this collection now. It will be made available for professionals to study and review as well as be part of future displays.

The Cort and Barbara Allen Atari Packaging Design Collection (1976–1984), as it is called, includes packaging and manual design materials for the Atari 2600 home console (1982 version). There’s also unreleased Kee Games ( a company created by Joe Keenan, a friend of Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell) version of the Atari 2600, the Touch Me (1977) handheld electronic game, as well as Atari 2600 and Atari 5200 personal computers. Included are also competitor’s consoles games, such as Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, Dig Dug, Pac-Man, Pole Position, Donkey Kong Jr., Jungle Hunt, Robotron 2084, Surround, Asteroids, and Real Sports Football. Besides the NTSC versions, the collection also includes PAL region and French language materials and artist Cliff Spohn’s original package cover artwork for the 1977 Atari Video Computer System launch title Surround.

AVG Can Sell Your Browsing Activity to Ad Companies

AVG has updated its Privacy Policy in a bid to make the free version more profitable and will now collect “non-personal data” which can be sold to third parties. This is an extraordinary revelation and not what you would expect to see from a company supposedly trying to protect your privacy and security. The changes will come into effect on the 15th October and an AVG spokesperson said they are planning to adopt an opt-out data scheme:

Those users who do not want us to use non-personal data in this way will be able to turn it off, without any decrease in the functionality our apps will provide,”

While AVG has not utilized data models to date, we may, in the future, provided that it is anonymous, non-personal data, and we are confident that our users have sufficient information and control to make an informed choice.”

According to AVG, this move is designed to be as transparent as possible and clearly outline how individual’s data is sold onto third parties. Despite this, I highly doubt AVG’s free users are happy about this sudden declaration and will probably transfer to another free alternative such as Avast. Perhaps, an opt-in measure would have been a better PR exercise but AVG are well-within the amount of people agreeing to that would be minimal.

How do you feel about companies selling your browsing data?

Thank you Wired for providing us with this information.

Homeland Security Stopped This Library From Making Tor Available to Public

Browsing online became a service that people watched more carefully after Edward Snowden revealed the extent at which our online activity was being monitored, from every web address to the very content of our private and confidential emails, we were being watched. A library in Lebanon, New Hampshire, decided that in order to support the public and their online activity it would allow its users to use the Tor Service. Tor operates by bouncing your internet traffic around the world, sending it from one place to another essentially masking their online activity and making it very difficult to track down the source of online activity. After they received an email, though, the library have since decided to take another look at this policy.

The email in question comes from the DHS, the department of Homeland Security, who got in contact with the local police who then contacted the library. The initial worries that were raised and have caused the service to be halted was in the end its ability to be used for illegal means.

While the first library for the scheme, many others have apparently expressed interest in supporting the freedom that anonymous browsing would provide its patrons. Would you as a library goer like knowing that your being tracked? What about when you’re at home? Do the risks outweigh the benefits or is there a bigger problem we need to address before we block public use of systems like Tor?

Thank you Ars Technica for the information. 

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Enter Now to Play The Largest Minesweeper Game Ever on 24 Monitors!

Cinemassive has decided to honour the 30th anniversary of Minesweeper with a once in a lifetime opportunity. This competition involves the largest Minesweeper game ever devised on 24 HD monitors and 10 entrants will battle it out until victory. If you want to become involved, simply complete the contact form on the website and cross your fingers! Obviously, demand will be extremely high and it’s uncertain how the selection process is conducted; I’d imagine people are selected at random in the interest of fairness.

The lucky few who are selected have a 12 hour limit to complete the game and avoid 38,799 mines! According to the project, you will be able to play “from the comfort of your home” which suggests some kind of streaming service to conduct the challenge. I’ve always been pretty hopeless at Minesweeper but found the game thoroughly addicting. It’s been an integral part of Windows for over a decade and a good way to pass the time in the office. The latest version on Windows 10 even features daily challenges. However, you are forced to sit through adverts to compete against others worldwide.

Do you think you’re up to the challenge? Perhaps, it’s time to get hone your skills in case you get selected and aim to be the number one Minesweeper player in the world!

Thank you Cinemassive for providing us with this information.

Footage Discovered of Unreleased Crash Bandicoot Cartoon

A YouTube video has emerged from David Siller, who worked as lead designer for Universal Interactive Studios during the time of Crash Bandicoot’s development. The footage shows the introduction to a Crash Bandicoot cartoon and features a rather unusual soundtrack. Notable lyrics include, “play our game and tell your friends so we make lots of loot” which is humorous whilst being fairly cringeworthy. It does have a certain charm though and I cannot get the theme out of my head!

Siller provided information on the video’s provenance and why the cartoon was never fully pursued,

“This video (above) is test animation that was done for Crash Bandicoot,”

“Produced by Universal Animation early in the development of the game. It was based on ideas for where we were going with this IP at that time.”

“It was probably too ambitious in nature and was also trying to be humorous. It was never used or even embedded in the game as a hidden ‘easter egg’ treat.”

“Once UIS licensed the game to Sony for publication, Sony did not want it utilised since they were heavily pushing the ‘3D’ agenda.”

“There are many close to the development of the original game that do not even know that this material even existed.”

“The discussion at Universal at that time was if the game was successful (before Sony came a knockin’) then this animation was a somewhat prototype to further flesh out ideas for a possible cartoon series and inclusion into the game. This animation was influenced by Animaniacs and even a few others popular at that time. A Crash Bandicoot attraction was also discussed as our offices were right next door to where Universal Theme parks maintained a creative office to plan new park attractions. UIS even did some consulting for them.”

The Crash Bandicoot franchise holds a lot of nostalgic memories for me and I consider them to be an integral part of my childhood. It’s also fascinating to see projects which never came to fruition and whilst the cartoon has a cheesy, quirky feel, it looks pretty awful.

What do you think of the Crash Bandicoot cartoon?

Thank you DigitalSpy for providing us with this information.

Enigma Machine Sells For $232,000

Famous for being used by the Germans in World War 2 the device was used to send and receive encrypted messages, and with their destruction being commonplace in order to prevent enemies from getting their hands on one, they are thought to be extremely rare. This, coupled with their famous presence during the war and the technical brilliance of the encryption used by the devices for the time have meant that they are exceptionally rare to find and even rarer to be able to acquire.

Originally estimated to sell at Sotheby’s in London for between 50 and 70 thousand, an unnamed buyer purchased the device for a grand total of £149,000. Almost three times its lower initial estimate, and over twice the upper estimate, a price that is small compared to the impact the device has had on the world.

The enigma machine is famous for being cracked by Alan Turing and the others at Bletchley park after the creation of the Colossus, a machine considered to be one of the first implementations of modern computer design.

Thank you NBC News for the information.

Image courtesy of the BBC.

How to Delete All Information Google Knows About You

Does the fact google knows more about you than you do yourself worry you?

Many members of the global community are irritated by the vast amount of information that Google collects about their searches.

Yahoo News have released an article with a guide on how to remove the information the internet giant collects:

First, here’s how to download your history:

1. Navigate to Google’s Web and App Activity page.

2. Next, click the gear icon in the top-right corner of the screen.

3. Then select Download from the drop-down menu.

You’ll then receive a pop-up window warning you not to download your search history to a public computer, as it contains a large amount of sensitive information.

4. If you want to continue, click CreateArchive.

Once your history is downloaded, you’ll receive a link in a few seconds that lets you view your data.

If you don’t want to download your data, and would rather get rid of it, you can do that as well. Of course, there are some reasons to let Google keep your search data. For one thing, it guarantees faster search results. It also ensures that Google Now has all of the latest relevant information about you. If you delete your data, your searches won’t be as tailored to your habits.

Still want to get rid of your search history? Here’s how!

Before we get started, it’s worth pointing out that if you want to keep your information hidden, you can use your browser’s privacy option, which keeps Google from saving your data — though it can still be seen by your service provider or employer.

Simply deleting you browser history won’t clear the data saved by Google, as you’re only deleting the information stored by your browser and not what’s on Google’s servers. To do that, you’ll have to:

1. Navigate to the Web and App Activity Page and click the gear iconin the top-right corner.

2. Select Remove Items and choose the beginning of time from the drop-down menu.

3.Click Remove and kiss your data goodbye.

That’s it. All of your search history will be deleted, and you’ll never have to worry about Google knowing about the time you looked for tickets to a Justin Bieber concert.

Thank you to Yahoo News and Venturebeat for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Yahoo News

8 Years Ago Today The iPhone Was Born

There’s a constant raging debate between tech lovers over different companies and their products. Mac or PC, iOS or Android, PlayStation or Xbox, PC or Console… the list goes on. But there are a number of seminal moments in the history of technology that most of us can agree on. Those inventions or product introductions that changed everything in their industry.

One of those events occurred 9 years ago, on January 9th 2007, when Steve Jobs stood on stage at the Moscone Center in San Francisco to introduce the iPhone. There had been smartphones before it – the BlackBerry as the biggest example. But no phone had really been ‘smart’ until that point. Sure, some phones had internet access, some had touchscreens, but none of them really put all of those things together in one compelling and highly useful device.

A smartphone today really is the appropriate miniaturisation of the functions of the PC to a handheld device, with the iPhone being the first of its kind to do that properly. It essentially became the blueprint for every smartphone following it.

Bellow you can witness the iPhone keynote itself, what has been called one of the greatest and most important product introductions in history. A presentation that definitely shows Steve Jobs at his finest.

Millions of Historic Images Added to Flicker by Internet Archive

Earlier this year the Internet Archive began culling over 14 million images from their public domain ebooks, then began uploading them to the Internet Archive’s Flickr account. This means that all of the historic images are now easily searchable and downloadable, something that wasn’t really possible before without downloading each ebook and finding the images yourself, then exporting them.

The ebooks are easily searchable already thanks to the Optical Character Recognition software which was used when adding them to the archive, but it didn’t work for images. Now with the help of Flickr, those looking for historic text and images can get the best of both worlds.

“The software also copied the caption for each image and the text from the paragraphs immediately preceding and following it in the book,” said The Internet Archives Communications Technology Scholar Kavel Leetaru when speaking with the BBC.

The software used isn’t perfect, so admittedly some of the tags on images will be imprecise, but to have such a vast library of easily searchable content is great for learning purposes and the team are hoping that libraries around the world will one day follow suit and digitize their books and images.

Thank you Arstechnica for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Arstechnica.

 

Action Comics Issue 1 is on Ebay for $1.75 Million

Yes, you read that right, the first ever issue of Action Comics is on sale on eBay for $1.75 million! Why eBay you ask? I can’t answer that question, surely something of this value and importance to fictional character history would be sold at a very private auction where only extremely rich and insane people gather to spend ridiculous amounts of money on what is essentially, paper.

This comic is the alpha comic book, the grand master, this is the very first comic book ever to feature Superman, call it his debut of the world if you like. It’s “The finest known copy of the most sought after comic book in the world. A 1938 museum piece with PERFECT WHITE pristine pages”, now if anything has a description like that, you know it’s going to be worth mega bucks. The owner is lucky chap Darren Adams and he purchased the copy from a collector who kept it locked in a bank vault, guess that protection is paying off now. Adams also says “I’m hoping that the next person can enjoy it as much as I do. I’d love it if a museum purchased this book for all to see”.

This comic has been around since 1938 and for it to have pristine white pages after all this time is nothing short of amazing. You can find the auction on eBay here.

Thanks to Tweaktown for supplying us with this information.

Image courtesy of Tweaktown.

Internet Archive To Start Preserving Classic Console Games

All oldies but goldies games have been made possible to play on modern computers with the help of emulators, and they are part of gaming history too. The Internet Archive, a non-profit organization with the purpose of building a freely accessible internet library, is now taking it a step further by adding web versions of classic 70’s and 80’s video games to its collection. It will mark an expansion of its Historical Software Collection and will come in the way of the Console Living Room beta, which lets users play hundreds of classic titles from the Atari 2600, Atari 7800, ColecoVision, Astrocade, and Magnavox Odyssey.

Technical issues are still present with the emulation, so you might have to wait a bit more until roaming around this virtual archive. Not only is there still gaps in the game collection, the audio is reportedly not working as of yet. Some are criticizing the free-to-play Console Living Room beta, and rightfully so, as it does not appear to be on par with existing emulators. Having said that, it is still early and it likely won’t be long before the folks over at the Internet Archive have this thing complete and running smoothly.

There are several games available for each of the above mentioned systems despite the technicality faults, and for those of you willing to give it a try, you can head over to the Console Living Room page.

Thank you Tech Spot for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Take A Blast Back To The Past With Google BBS

For a number of us tech heads, we all like to take a trip back to the good ol’ days of dial up internet and reminisce on how things used to be. Whilst many sites – such as Google – can into the world much later than the 80’s some people wonder what things would have been like back then. Well fear not as Google has been ported to the old BBS style courtesy of the guys over at masswerk.at.

It is worth noting that this is not an official page from Google themselves, but instead a third-party creation that ports Google into the style of the 80’s desktop. Whilst there is no real function of this page and when compared to today’s standards is a millions miles away from the layout, it is a great tool in some respects for teaching the children of today what computing in the past was like.

It’s simple & fun and I’m sure there is a likely hood you’ll spend a good amount of time having fun with the image search. Do you remember what things were like back then? Can you think of any other sites that would be interesting to see in an 80’s format? Let us know below.

Source: masswerk

Ancient Mayan City Revealed In Mexican Jungle By Archaeologists

A Live Science report has revealed that Archaeologists have just discovered a Mayan City that originates from A.D. 600 to A.D. 900. This means that the time period in question coincides with the late classic Maya period. The city is located in the Yucatan Peninsula’s Campeche province and that particular region has been home to several discoveries of Mayan complexes and artefacts over the years.

Researchers were first aware of the possibility of a city in this region after studying aerial photographs.

“With aerial photographs examined stereoscopically, we found many features that were obviously architectural remains. From there we took the coordinates and the next step was to locate the ancient alleys used by tappers and loggers to reach the area,” archaeologist Ivan Sprajc stated

This city reportedly covered some 54 acres and was apparently heavily populated and very complex. Researches found remains of ball courts, plazas, homes, altars and other structures. Estimates say some of the Pyramids located there were up to 23 metres high. The site has been named Chactún by the archaeologists who discovered it.

“It is one of the largest sites in the Central Lowlands, comparable in its extent and the magnitude of its buildings with Becan, Nadzcaan and El Palmar in Campeche” Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History said in a statement.

Image courtesy of Live Science / National Institute of Anthropology and History