Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Find: Windows 8.x growth flatlines, Internet Explorer 11 makes a splash

// published on Ars Technica // visit site

Windows 8.x growth flatlines, Internet Explorer 11 makes a splash

November was the first full month of availability for both Windows 8.1 and OS X 10.9. After the initial surge in October, Windows 8.1 increased its usage share of the Web by fifty percent. OS X 10.9, however, almost tripled its share—bringing Apple's operating system within spitting distance of Microsoft's.

In the browser space, the launch of Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 7 (as an automatic update, no less) has seen that browser more than double its share in a month.

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Friday, November 1, 2013

Internet Explorer continues to Find: Webstate - ie grows on desktops, chrome falls; on mobiles, android up, safari down

// published on Ars Technica // visit site

Internet Explorer continues to grow, and Mavericks already on 11 percent of Macs

If nothing else, the browser and operating system numbers from October showed the huge behavioral differences between Mac users and Windows users. Both Microsoft and Apple released new versions of their desktop operating systems last month, with Windows 8.1 from Microsoft and OS X 10.9 Mavericks from Apple. In raw terms, Windows 8.1 already has many more users than Mavericks—about double—but as a proportion of the actual user base of the two platforms, it's the Apple software that's in the lead. 10.9 percent of Mac users are on the latest version of the operating system. Just 1.9 percent of PC users are on the newest Windows.

In a month that also saw Microsoft release a new version of its browser, not a great deal has changed among desktop browser preference. Internet Explorer picked up 0.42 points, Firefox gained 0.10 points, and Chrome dropped 0.54 points. Safari and Opera saw a gain of 0.07 and a loss of 0.05 points, respectively.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs

Friday, September 6, 2013

Find: Google's Trojan horse: how Chrome Apps will finally take on Windows

Creating a native experience seems to require abandoning the browser itself as platform: these apps will only work on google's proprietary toolset. That said, google seems committed to ensuring that toolset exists on all major OSs. 

// published on The Verge - All Posts // visit site

Google's Trojan horse: how Chrome Apps will finally take on Windows

Today, on Chrome's fifth birthday, Google is announcing the rollout of what it's calling Chrome Apps. Don't feel bad if you're confused by the name. Chrome has been serving up web apps since 2010 when the Chrome Web Store opened up alongside the launch of the Chrome OS. Chrome Apps, however, are different than what's been offered before. They comprise Google's bid to elevate the browser into a true app platform — one that it thinks could one day be a legitimate rival to Windows, OS X, and someday iOS and even Android.

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Find: Sorry, Comcast and Verizon customers: RCN delivers faster Netflix

Nice illustration of peering. 

// published on Ars Technica // visit site

Sorry, Comcast and Verizon customers: RCN delivers faster Netflix

Netflix's "Super HD" content is only available to customers whose ISPs use Netflix's free caching service.

In our recent article "Why YouTube buffers: The secret deals that make—and break—online video," we described how battles between ISPs and streaming video providers can have a dramatic impact on video quality in customers' homes.

The chief issues? ISPs refusing to upgrade peering connections to relieve congestion and ISPs refusing to take YouTube owner Google and Netflix up on their offers of free caching equipment that puts video content closer to the last mile. To a cynical eye, it looks like ISPs either want money from Google and Netflix or want to degrade Google and Netflix quality to drive users to their own services.

But there are exceptions, mostly among small ISPs. RCN, a regional provider in Chicago, Boston, New York, Washington, DC, and parts of Pennsylvania, took Netflix up on its offer (called Open Connect), and its decision is justified by the data. Netflix has published its first regional speed index, just for the Boston area, and it showed that "the average speeds for Netflix streams on the RCN network in Boston outperformed other Internet Service Providers (ISPs) by as much as 70 percent. This means that those Netflix members who were also RCN customers enjoyed better picture quality, quicker access to their favorite TV shows and movies, and more reliable playback delivered via the Internet from Netflix, especially during peak viewing hours."

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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Find: Windows 8 more widely used than OS X, IE still on the rise

In mobile, safari constant, chrome gains at opera expense. 

// published on Ars Technica // visit site

Windows 8 more widely used than OS X, IE still on the rise

In July, Windows 8 passed Windows Vista in market share. In August, it passed every single version of Apple's OS X, combined. Internet Explorer 10 grew sharply, too, with almost one in five Internet users now on the latest version of Microsoft's browser.

Windows 8 made substantial gains in August, picking up 2.01 points of share. This is 37 percent growth on July's figure. Windows XP also fell substantially, losing 3.53 points. With luck, this might mean that Windows XP is finally on the way out. It has less than a year until it stops receiving free security patches from Microsoft; once this happens, it will essentially be in a state of permanent zero day exploits. Even this level of decline isn't enough to see the operating system eradicated in time for its end of life. That's good news for spammers, who'll have plenty of zombie machines to recruit into botnets, but bad news for everyone else.

Among desktop browsers, Internet Explorer was up 0.99 points, Firefox was up 0.59 points, and Safari was up 0.17 points. Chrome, however, was down significantly, losing 1.76 points. This means that yet again Chrome has closed in on Firefox, almost passing it, only to fall back.

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Monday, September 2, 2013

Find: Interactive map turns Dutch construction trends into epic graphics

// published on The Verge - All Posts // visit site

Interactive map turns Dutch construction trends into epic graphics

Plotting out the 320,000-plus buildings in Brooklyn and shading them according to their year of construction was a painstaking labor of love by Thomas Rhiel. And now his idea is going even bigger. Nearly 10 million buildings in the Netherlands — 9,866,539 to be exact — have been given the same treatment. Set to a black background, the hues of red, yellow, and blue that outline buildings vary depending on how long each has been standing. Much like Brooklyn, architecture of the Netherlands is a mix of old and new, but the sheer scale here is extraordinary and something to marvel. Clicking on an individual building will display its size, function (i.e. office, school, etc.) and year it was constructed. And since the tool pulls...

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Spotted: Best Practices on the Move: Building Web Apps for Mobile Devices

// published on ACM Queue - All Queue Content // visit site

Best Practices on the Move: Building Web Apps for Mobile Devices

If it wasn't your priority last year or the year before, it's sure to be your priority now: bring your Web site or service to mobile devices in 2013 or suffer the consequences. Early adopters have been talking about mobile taking over since 1999 - anticipating the trend by only a decade or so. Today, mobile Web traffic is dramatically on the rise, and creating a slick mobile experience is at the top of everyone's mind. Total mobile data traffic is expected to exceed 10 exabytes per month by 2017.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Find: Almost half of US internet users over 65 use social networks, but only 5 percent use Twitter

// published on The Verge - All Posts // visit site

Almost half of US internet users over 65 use social networks, but only 5 percent use Twitter


One of Pew's last studies may have found that teens were seeking refuge from "drama" on Twitter, but the social network still has a lot of catching up to do. In its latest poll, Pew asked around 1,900 American internet users whether they used social networks and, in a separate question, Twitter. While 72 percent said they did the former, only 18 percent reported using Twitter. Even so, that's a steady rise from 2010, when only 8 percent of internet users were on the platform. Social networks in general have grown as well: we've come a long way from the 8 percent using them in 2005, and 67 percent were on at least one network in late 2012, though the survey doesn't record how frequently they sign on.

In some cases, the conventional...

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Find: How easy is it to hack JavaScript in a browser?

// published on Ars Technica // visit site

How easy is it to hack JavaScript in a browser?

Stack Exchange

This Q&A is part of a weekly series of posts highlighting common questions encountered by technophiles and answered by users at Stack Exchange, a free, community-powered network of 100+ Q&A sites.

Jesus Rodriguez asks:

My question has to do with JavaScript security.

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Find: NSA “touches” more of Internet than Google

Imagine that the government recorded 1.5 % of all phone calls, and all texts, and knew more about what people said on phones than AT&T. 

// published on Ars Technica // visit site

NSA "touches" more of Internet than Google

Equinix's co-location facility in San Jose, California, one of the network exchange sites likely tapped by the NSA's "one-side foreign" surveillance.
Photo: Peter McCollough/

In a memo issued last Friday, the National Security Agency (NSA) provided details of its ongoing network surveillance operations intended to assuage concerns about its scope, content, and oversight. As Ars' Cyrus Farivar reported, the NSA tried to set the context of its activities with a Carl Sagan-like metaphor:

According to figures published by a major tech provider, the Internet carries 1,826 Petabytes of information per day. In its foreign intelligence mission, NSA touches about 1.6 percent of that. However, of the 1.6 percent of the data, only 0.025 percent is actually selected for review. The net effect is that NSA analysts look at 0.00004 percent of the world's traffic in conducting their mission—that's less than one part in a million. Put another way, if a standard basketball court represented the global communications environment, NSA's total collection would be represented by an area smaller than a dime on that basketball court.

The numbers are no real surprise—we've already discussed how the laws of physics would make it impossible for the NSA to capture everything, or even a significant portion of everything, that passes over the Internet. But they're also misleading. In the world of deep packet inspection, verbs like "touch," "select," "collect," and "look at" don't begin to adequately describe what is going on or what information is extracted from traffic in the process. Considering all that's within what flows across the Internet, 1.6 percent could hold a significant portion of the metadata describing person-to-person communications.

How much is 1.6 percent?

The dime on the basketball court, as the NSA describes it, is still 29.21 petabytes of data a day. That means the NSA is "touching" more data than Google processes every day (a mere 20 petabytes).

Read 14 remaining paragraphs

Find: That .gov outage this morning? Blame an error in domain name security

Like optical illusions reveal perceptual truths, web outages reveal Internet truths 

// published on Ars Technica // visit site

That .gov outage this morning? Blame an error in domain name security

This morning, citizens trying to reach US government websites got a bit of a surprise—the entirety of the .gov top level domain appeared to be offline. The reason: a hiccup in the Domain Name Service Security Extension (DNSSEC) information being distributed by .gov's registry.

According to a source at the General Services Administration, which operates the .gov registry, the registry team discovered that the DNSSEC information being distributed by its root domain name server had somehow become corrupted. The corruption affected the root domain's digital signature, making it appear not to be the authoritative server for the government's Internet names. As DNS data aged and expired, government sites disappeared from the Internet's directory and became unreachable by their host names (though the servers remained up).

The team reset the DNS server to correct the error. By around 10:20am Eastern Time today, government sites magically reappeared on the Internet. Resolution of the sites within the government's own networks was never interrupted.

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Friday, August 2, 2013

Find: Windows 8 passes Vista at last, as IE10 growth slows

Worldwide browser share: ie at 50, chrome and Firefox at 15, with chrome taking from Firefox. 

Mobile browser share: safari 60, android 20, opera 10, chrome 5. 

 // published on Ars Technica // visit site

Windows 8 passes Vista at last, as IE10 growth slows

Windows 8 has finally overtaken Windows Vista to become the third most widely used operating system in a month that saw Internet Explorer 10's rapid growth slow down, and the gap between Firefox and Chrome close sharply.

Firefox was down 0.86 points to 18.29 percent, with Chrome up 0.59 points at 17.76 percent, bringing the two browsers within spitting distance of each other. Internet Explorer gained too, up 0.46 points to 56.61 percent. The prospect of Chrome overtaking Firefox to take the number two spot is once again with us. The two browsers last looked as though they would trade positions a year ago, before Chrome lost ground and Firefox reasserted its dominance.

Safari and Android browsers maintain their dominant positions. The Chrome browser on Android is continuing to show strong growth, picking up 0.69 points last month. Internet Explorer, however, suffered significant losses, dropping 0.49 points and wiping out the gains made in May and June.

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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Find: With zero coding experience, artist building 180 webpages in 180 days

Kinda awesome. 

// published on Ars Technica // visit site

With zero coding experience, artist building 180 webpages in 180 days

One of Jennifer Dewalt's creations, this webpage lets visitors create paintings in the style of Piet Mondriaan.

117 days ago, having never done any programming in her life, Jennifer Dewalt built her first webpage. The next day, she built another, and she has kept building one new webpage every single day.

Instead of beginning with "Hello World," a class, or an interactive tutorial, Dewalt decided to just start coding, she wrote on Wednesday, day 115 of her trial by fire.

What's the best way to learn to code? After pondering this question for way too long, I decided to JFDI. But instead of just starting aimlessly, I decided to adhere to a simple and strict structure:

1. Build a different website every day for 180 consecutive days.
2. Every website must be accompanied by a blog post.
3. Any code I write must be made publicly available on GitHub (open source) so that everyone can see it.

The San Francisco resident notes that her background is in art, but she wanted to move beyond drawings and sculptures. "[W]e are no longer governed by physical media," she wrote. "We have the Internet! The Internet is awesome because it breaks down so many obstacles that used to inhibit communication. Barriers to communication are so low, in fact, that we feel compelled to create virtual identities in order to communicate and interact with each other. I think this virtual interplay is ridiculously awesome, and I'm not satisfied with just being part of the conversation. I want to be able to create the communication channel that makes these interactions possible."

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Find: Manifesto - Let my upload bandwidth flow!

On the up/down bandwidth asymmetry. 

// published on Ars Technica // visit site

Manifesto: Let my upload bandwidth flow!

Let it flow, I say.

Consumer broadband connections in the US are almost all "asymmetric" connections—that is, out of the total amount of bandwidth available, more bandwidth is allocated to the "download" direction than to the "upload" direction. This decision made sense 15 years ago when DSL connections were first gaining momentum. The Internet—and specifically the World Wide Web—was far more of a consumption-oriented construct then. People were far more interested in reading or watching content than in putting up their own. We wanted, needed, fast download speeds, and broadband providers jumped at the chance to differentiate themselves from dial-up ISPs by offering fast always-on connections and by using as much of that bandwidth as possible to send data to users.

The story today is very, very different. Download speeds are still important (by some estimates, just a bit under half of all Internet traffic is from people watching Netflix and YouTube videos), but it's become far easier to create content too. The ability to actually share anything that you've created relies on being able to upload that content.

Slow upload speeds are a problem even my mother has commented on—and when my mother starts commenting on a technical issue, that's when I know that it's absolutely a mainstream concern. She enjoys making videos of things she's painted and of new plants in the backyard garden, then uploading those videos to YouTube to share with her friends. But she's stymied by how long it takes to upload her videos, even if they're relatively short. She and my father are trapped by Comcast into an overly expensive residential cable modem plan with a grossly asymmetric download/upload ratio. Explaining the problem to her yielded the common sense observation, "Well, that's just stupid. How am I supposed to share videos if it takes longer to get them to YouTube than it does to film them in the first place?"

Read 11 remaining paragraphs

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Spotted: Adaptive Quantization Visibility Caching

Building adaptive visibility query structures for shadowing and other applications. 

// published on Computer Graphics Forum // visit site

Adaptive Quantization Visibility Caching

Ray tracing has become a viable alternative to rasterization for interactive applications and also forms the basis of most global illumination methods. However, even today's fastest ray-tracers offer only a tight budget of rays per pixel per frame. Rendering performance can be improved by increasing this budget, or by developing methods that use it more efficiently. In this paper we propose a global visibility caching algorithm that reduces the number of shadow rays required for shading to a fraction of less than 2% in some cases. We quantize the visibility function's domain while ensuring a minimal degradation of the final image quality. To control the introduced error, we adapt the quantization locally, accounting for variations in geometry, sampling densities on both endpoints of the visibility queries, and the light signal itself. Compared to previous approaches for approximating visibility, e.g. shadow mapping, our method has several advantages: (1) it allows caching of arbitrary visibility queries between surface points and is thus applicable to all ray tracing based methods; (2) the approximation error is uniform over the entire image and can be bounded by a user-specified parameter; (3) the cache is created on-the-fly and does not waste any resources on queries that will never be used. We demonstrate the benefits of our method on Whitted-style ray tracing combined with instant radiosity, as well as an integration with bidirectional path tracing.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Find: This is the future of web browsing

Html5 canvas

// published on The Verge - All Posts // visit site

This is the future of web browsing


An article shared on Sidebar today highlights the mind-blowing power of HTML5. Web developer / Mozilla evangelist David Walsh has collated nine demos that use just native web technologies to show how much can be done in your web browser without the need for plugins like Flash and Silverlight. Here are three of the best.

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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Find: With new ICANN agreement, you'll need to verify email and phone to register a domain

A good thing. 

// published on The Verge - All Posts // visit site

With new ICANN agreement, you'll need to verify email and phone to register a domain


Domain registrars like GoDaddy will soon be held far more accountable for information on those who are signing up for web domains. In the future, users will need to verify both their email address and phone number within 15 days of applying for a domain. Without verification, registrars are instructed to suspend domain registrations. The new rule, which is one among many, comes as part of a new Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) approved earlier this week by the board of directors of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) — a nonprofit which oversees everything from top-level domains to IP addresses. The updated rules, which won't take effect until a later date when registrars sign the new agreement,...

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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Find: Behind the scenes of Tumblr’s design process

Begin with sketches. 
Track what you ask users to be aware of. 
Keep it small. 

// published on Ars Technica // visit site

UX Spotlight: Behind the scenes of Tumblr's design process

Tumblr Creative Director Peter Vidani
Cesar Torres

New York City noise blares right outside Tumblr's office in the Flat Iron District in Manhattan. Once inside, the headquarters hum with a quiet intensity. I am surrounded by four dogs that employees have brought to the workspace today. Apparently, there are even more dogs lurking somewhere behind the perpendicular rows of desks. What makes the whole thing even spookier is that these dogs don't bark or growl. It's like someone's told them that there are developers and designers at work, and somehow they've taken the cue.

I'm here to see Tumblr's Creative Director Peter Vidani, who is going to pull the curtain back on the design process and user experience at Tumblr. And when I say design process, I don't just mean color schemes or typefaces. I am here to see the process of interaction design: how the team at Tumblr comes up with ideas for the user interface on its website and its mobile apps. I want to find out how those ideas are shaped by their engineering team into a final product.

Back in May, Yahoo announced it was acquiring Tumblr for $1.1 billion. Yahoo indicated that Tumblr would continue to operate independently, though we will probably see a lot of content crossover between the millions of blog posts hosted by Tumblr and Yahoo's search engine technology. It's a little known fact that Yahoo has provided some useful tools for UX professionals and developers over the years through their Design Pattern Library, which shares some of Yahoo's most successful and time-tested UI touches and interactions with Web developers. It's probably too early to tell if Tumblr's UI elements will filter back into these libraries. In the meantime, I talked to Vidani about how Tumblr UI features come to life.

Read 9 remaining paragraphs

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Find: Programmer shuns images, recreates intricate London subway map from pure web code

Kinda awesome. The web as visual medium. 

But coding isn't the right interface for building this. Adobe should be outputting this stuff. 

// published on The Verge - All Posts // visit site

Programmer shuns images, recreates intricate London subway map from pure web code


Freelance web developer John Galantini has recreated Harry Beck's iconic London Underground map using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The CSS Tube Map was created as a non-profit project to celebrate the sesquicentennial anniversary of the London Underground. Not a single image was used for the design: every symbol, line, circle, and box was created programmatically. Galantini writes that "all the symbols have been recreated using HTML entities, styled and arranged by CSS." Every line is its own unordered list containing station names and items that Galantini then positioned absolutely onscreen using CSS.

The imageless map looks almost identical to the official one provided by Transport for London, and is the result of almost 120 hours work...

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Saturday, June 8, 2013

Spotted: Swipe vs. scroll - web page switching on mobile browsers

On mobile devices, swiping between web pages beats tabs. I wonder what the wider implications are?


// published on Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems-Latest Proceeding Volume // visit site
Swipe vs. scroll: web page switching on mobile browsers
Andrew Warr, Ed H. Chi

Tabbed web browsing interfaces enable users to multi-task and easily switch between open web pages. However, tabbed browsing is difficult for mobile web browsers due to the limited screen space and the reduced precision of touch. We present an experiment comparing Safari's pages-based switching interface using horizontal swiping gestures with the stacked cards-based switching interface using vertical scrolling gestures, introduced by Chrome. The results of our experiment show that cards-based switching interface allows for faster switching and is less frustrating, with no significant effect on error rates. We generalize these findings, and provide design implications for mobile information spaces.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Internship: Brooks Bell Internship Program​

An interesting internship opportunity at brooks bell. 


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Carissa Nickel <>
Date: Wed, May 29, 2013 at 12:02 PM
Subject: Brooks Bell Internship Program
To: "" <>

Good Morning Ben,

By way of introduction, my name is Carissa and I work for Brooks Bell.  I got your name from Mike Adams and was told you might know of some aspiring developers that would be interested in our new two week intensive internship program here at Brooks Bell.  We are looking for 4 developers total that would like to participate (I have included a blurb about the program below along with a link) in this program.  It would expose these students to the online optimization business, great contacts, and it could lead to a longer-term internship or a position.

Brooks Bell is excited to announce its new Digital Testing & Optimization two-week intensive internship program that will debut this summer. For two full weeks, interns will be exposed to the testing and conversion optimization world through deep immersion classes and hands-on experience. By the end of the second week, interns will have built and completed their own test on a live website. We are looking for motivated and ambitious college juniors, seniors, or Masters program candidates with a passion for data analysis, strategy, and marketing.

There are twelve available openings for the program, which will form three teams at the beginning of the first week. Each team will consist of an analyst, a strategist, a developer and a designer. The three teams will build and run their own test, then be judged by a panel at the end of the second week. Members of the winning team will each receive a $1000 prize.


- Must be a college junior, senior, or Masters program candidate
- Must provide your own laptop
- Minimum GPA: 3.4


Click here for an application

The application says were are past the deadline, but we are extending it a couple of weeks.  Please let me know if you have any questions or have a recommendation.

Thank you,




Direct: 919-521-5276





BROOKS BELL Experts in Online Conversion

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Find: Surprise! Mozilla can produce near-native performance on the Web

Nice insight into the history of js, and the race to make it faster and more general purpose. Mozilla is focusing on a js subset. 


// published on Ars Technica // visit site

Surprise! Mozilla can produce near-native performance on the Web
Aurich Lawson / Thinkstock

In a bid to make JavaScript run ever faster, Mozilla has developed asm.js. It's a limited, stripped down subset of JavaScript that the company claims will offer performance that's within a factor of two of native—good enough to use the browser for almost any application. Can JavaScript really start to rival native code performance? We've been taking a closer look.

The quest for faster JavaScript

JavaScript performance became a big deal in 2008. Prior to this, the JavaScript engines found in common Web browsers tended to be pretty slow. These were good enough for the basic scripting that the Web used at the time, but it was largely inadequate for those wanting to use the Web as a rich application platform.

In 2008, however, Google released Chrome with its V8 JavaScript engine. Around the same time, Apple brought out Safari 4 with its Nitro (née Squirrelfish Extreme) engine. These engines brought something new to the world of JavaScript: high performance achieved through just-in-time (JIT) compilation. V8 and Nitro would convert JavaScript into pieces of executable code that the CPU could run directly, improving performance by a factor of three or more.

Read 94 remaining paragraphs

Benjamin Watson
Papa, Husband, Computer Scientist, Professor
@bunnybusatsu |

Find: Chrome 27, released today, is 5 percent faster and includes conversational search

Nice insights into how pages are loaded. 


// published on Ars Technica // visit site

Chrome 27, released today, is 5 percent faster and includes conversational search

Google has updated the stable version of Chrome to version 27. On top of the usual bug and security flaw fixes, the new version is claimed to load webpages about 5 percent faster on average.

Finding a 5 percent improvement in a browser that's already fast is no mean feat. The better performance comes from making Chrome smarter about the way it uses the network: being more aggressive to download things in some instances and being less aggressive in others.

HTML pages generally include references to many other files that the browser needs to download before it can show a complete page to the user: CSS, JavaScript, and images. These can themselves have dependencies; HTML files can embed other HTML files, CSS files can reference images or other CSS files, and scripts can cause other scripts to be loaded, for example.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs

Benjamin Watson
Papa, Husband, Computer Scientist, Professor
@bunnybusatsu |

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Find: Google going its own way, forking WebKit rendering engine

This diversity will be good, and focusing in the code components chrome needs may also make it faster. 

Shared via feedly // published on Ars Technica // visit site
Google going its own way, forking WebKit rendering engine
Aurich Lawson (with apologies to Bill Watterson)

Google announced today that it is forking the WebKit rendering engine on which its Chrome browser is based. The company is naming its new engine "Blink."

The WebKit project was started by Apple in 2001, itself a fork of a rendering engine called KHTML. The project includes a core rendering engine for handling HTML and CSS (WebCore), a JavaScript engine (JavaScriptCore), and a high-level API for embedding it into browsers (WebKit).

Though known widely as "WebKit," Google Chrome has used only WebCore since its launch in late 2008. Apple's Safari originally used the WebKit wrapper and now uses its successor, WebKit2. Many other browsers use varying amounts of the WebKit project, including the Symbian S60 browser, the BlackBerry browser, the webOS browser, and the Android browser.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs

Find: Google offers Python and Java libraries that bring SMS, voice to apps

Shared via feedly // published on Ars Technica // visit site
Google offers Python and Java libraries that bring SMS, voice to apps

Google has released a set of Python and Java libraries that help developers who use Google App Engine integrate text messaging and voice communications into their apps.

Google App Engine is Google's cloud-based development platform, which lets developers build and host applications in Google data centers. The new Python and Java libraries for App Engine add easy access to SMS and voice capabilities by working with the APIs offered by Twilio, another cloud development platform that focuses on communication-heavy applications for mobile devices, desktops, and the Web.

"Twilio Voice enables your application to make and receive phone calls," Google notes in a description of the new integration. "Twilio SMS enables your application to send and receive text messages. Twilio Client allows you to make VoIP calls from any phone, tablet, or browser and supports WebRTC."

Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Find: The battle behind a more accessible web for the deaf and blind

Shared via feedly // published on The Verge - All Posts // visit site
The battle behind a more accessible web for the deaf and blind

The web is an integral part of the way we reach out and communicate with one another, but navigating the internet can be difficult for those who are deaf and blind. The Wall Street Journal takes a look at the efforts of some individuals to force businesses to make their websites more friendly for the disabled — just as they would have to do with physical locations. Some of the battles involve the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, with those in favor of change arguing that the Act applies to the web even though it doesn't name internet services specifically. Lawsuits against companies like Netflix and Target have even proven successful, with the former company agreeing to make all of its programming closed-captioned as a result....

Continue reading…

Friday, March 15, 2013

Find: New Netflix ISP Speed Index

New Netflix ISP Speed Index

Today we launched the “Netflix ISP Speed Index,” a new Web site that gives consumers insight into which Internet Service Providers (ISPs) provide the best Netflix streaming experience.

Located at the new Web site provides an easy overview of the performance of ISPs in several of the countries Netflix is available in. Updated on a monthly basis, the site allows for easy comparison of ISPs in a country as well as international comparisons. At launch the Netflix ISP Speed Index includes data for the U.S., Mexico, Ireland, U.K., Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.

A few data points from the new Netflix ISP Speed Index, reflecting data for February:

  • At 3.35Mbps, Google Fiber in the U.S. provides the highest average Netflix streaming bitrate anywhere Netflix is available
  • After Google Fiber, Sweden’s Ownit delivers the highest average Netflix bitrate at 2.99 Mbps
  • Netflix members in Finland receive, on average, the highest bitrates, while members in Mexico have the slowest connections, on average
  • Scandinavia proves its reputation as a great broadband region, all ISPs in Denmark, Sweden and Finland delivered averages above 2Mbps
The launch coincides with the release of our February ISP Rankings, which are on the ISP Speed Index and also below for just the U.S.

The Netflix ISP Speed Index is based on data from the more than 33 million Netflix members who view over 1 billion hours of TV shows and movies streaming from Netflix per month. The listed speeds reflect the average performance of all Netflix streams on each ISP's network and are an indicator of the performance typically experienced across all users on an ISP network.

Note: the average performance is below the peak performance due to many factors including the variety of encodes Netflix uses to deliver the TV shows and movies as well as the variety of devices members use and home network conditions. These factors cancel out when comparing across ISPs.

Joris Evers is director of corporate communications at Netflix

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Find: Chrome hits 17-month low, Windows 8 still only creeping upward

Chrome hits 17-month low, Windows 8 still only creeping upward

Microsoft's browser did as well as Google's browser did badly in February. Internet Explorer's share is the highest it's been in a year and a half. Chrome's is the lowest it's been in almost as long.

Internet Explorer was up 0.68 points to 55.82 percent. Firefox was back up above 20 percent, growing 0.18 points to 20.12 percent. Chrome was down sharply, losing a surprising 1.21 (giga) points, for a share of 16.27 percent. Safari and Opera were both up slightly, with gains of 0.18 and 0.07 points for a total of 5.42 and 1.82 percent, respectively

Friday, March 8, 2013

Find: Improve your App Engine skills with Google Developers Academy

Improve your App Engine skills with Google Developers Academy

Author PhotoBy Wesley Chun, Developer Relations Team

Cross-posted with the Google App Engine Blog

Are you developing on App Engine today or interested in learning how to use it? If you've gone through all the great App Engine docs and Getting Started tutorials (Python, Java, or Go) but want to take your App Engine skills a step further, then Google Developers Academy (GDA) is the place to go! We launched GDA this past summer at Google I/O 2012, with content for beginners as well as seasoned developers. What can you find on App Engine in GDA today?

computers in a classroom

If you’re interested in getting more background on what cloud computing is and where App Engine fits into that ecosystem, then this intro class (Introduction to Google App Engine) is for you. Once you’re done with this class, you’ll be ready to tackle the Getting Started tutorial, and after that, move on to the App Engine 101 in Python class.

While some of the material found in App Engine 101 is similar to what's in the Getting Started tutorial, the 101 class targets developers who skipped the tutorial or completed it at some point in the past but don't want to repeat the exact same thing. The main differences include the following changes to the tutorial's content:

  • Use of the Python NDB API

  • Jinja2 templates

  • Discussion of data consistency and datastore indexes

You can use the relational MySQL-compatible Google Cloud SQL service as an alternative to App Engine's native non-relational...

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Find: Facebook, Twitter, Apple hack sprung from iPhone developer forum

Watering hole attack on the big guys uses a zero day java exploit. 


Facebook, Twitter, Apple hack sprung from iPhone developer forum

iPhone Dev SDK, the web forum that was at the center of the hack of Facebook and other companies in January.

The website used to infect engineers at Facebook with espionage malware has been identified as an iPhone developer forum by people close to the investigation into the hacking incident.

That page, at the iPhone developer website, was used to expose visitors to a previously undocumented vulnerability in Oracle's Java browser plugin. The "zero-day" exploit allowed the attackers to install a collection of malware on the Java-enabled computers of those who visited the site. Ars readers shouldn't visit the site because it still may still be compromised. is an example of a "watering hole" attack. These attacks compromise a site popular with a population of desired hacking victims, using security vulnerabilities to install code on the Web server hosting it, which injects attacks into the HTML sent to its visitors. In this case, the site, which hosts a Web forum for iPhone developers, netted the hackers access to the computers of software engineers and developers working on mobile application projects for a number of companies, including Facebook. The exploit was the source of the attack on Twitter that led to the theft of Twitter usernames and passwords, according to a source familiar with the attack, and was used to infect computers belonging to Apple engineers. The source requested anonymity because he was not authorized to provide the details to the press.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Find: Securing your website: A tough job, but someone's got to do it

Good survey of web security and attacks. 


Securing your website: A tough job, but someone's got to do it

In 2006, members of a notorious crime gang cased the online storefronts belonging to 7-Eleven, Hannaford Brothers, and other retailers. Their objective: to find an opening that would allow their payment card fraud ring to gather enough data to pull off a major haul. In the waning days of that year they hit the mother lode, thanks to Russian hackers identified by federal investigators as Hacker 1 and Hacker 2.

Located in the Netherlands and California, the hackers identified a garden-variety flaw on the website of Heartland Payment Systems, a payment card processor that handled some 100 million transactions per month for about 250,000 merchants. By exploiting the so-called SQL injection vulnerability, they were able to gain a toe-hold in the processor's network, paving the way for a breach that cost Heartland more than $12.6 million.

The hack was masterminded by the now-convicted Albert Gonzalez and it's among the most graphic examples of the damage that can result from vulnerabilities that riddle just about any computer that serves up a webpage. Web application security experts have long cautioned such bugs can cost businesses dearly, yet those warnings largely fall on deaf ears. But in the wake of the Heartland breach there was no denying the damage they can cause. In addition to the millions of dollars the SQL injection flaw cost Heartland, the company also paid with its loss of reputation among customers and investors.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Find: indystate, browsing - safari dominates mobile browsing at 60 %

Internet Explorer still growing as Windows 7 starts its decline

In the first month of 2013, Internet Explorer's desktop market share is continuing to slowly climb upwards, with Firefox consolidating its number two spot. There are signs that Windows 7 may have peaked as Windows 8 is slowly picking up users.

January was a good month for Microsoft's browser, up 0.37 points to 55.14 percent. Firefox also grew, up 0.12 points to 19.94 percent. Chrome fell, down 0.56 points to 17.48 percent. Safari was unchanged at 5.24 percent, and Opera up a hair, gaining 0.04 points to reach 1.75 percent.

The improvement of Internet Explorer's position masks a story that's decidedly mixed for Microsoft. Windows 7 fell for the first time in January, dropping 0.63 points from a high of 45.11 percent to 44.48 percent. Windows 8's slow growth is continuing, up 0.54 points from 1.72 percent to 2.26 percent. There's also a small number of tablet users, with 0.08 percent on Windows 8 Touch and a minuscule 0.02 percent on Windows RT Touch.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Find: on using web Apis

Leads on using web Apis

Tim O'Reilly (@timoreilly)

1/9/13, 3:31 PM

Short @Codecademy courses on how to use APIs to many common services. Nice work!

Find: the father of the Internet says that it's been monopolized

Vint Cerf: Internet competition has “evaporated” since dial-up

Internet co-creator Vint Cerf speaking at CES.

Chris Foresman

Vint Cerf, co-creator of the Internet, said today he is troubled by the prospect of companies like AT&T avoiding government regulation after the transition from traditional phone technology to all-IP networks. Already, he said, competition was decimated when the Internet moved from dial-up providers to cable companies and telcos.

Cerf—who made the Internet possible by co-developing the Internet protocol and Transmission Control Protocol technology 40 years ago—was speaking at the Consumer Electronics Show's "Silvers Summit" on technology geared toward the older population. "Some people think silver surfers don't know how to use technology. I have news for you: some of us invented this stuff," the 69-year-old Cerf noted.

This happened to be just one day after AT&T described its plans to retire the traditional Public Switched Telephone Network and become an all-IP telco. As we reported, AT&T wants to make this transition without being subject to what it calls "monopoly-era regulatory obligations," which AT&T thinks are unjustified in the Internet age. 

Find: Yikes! Extremely critical Ruby on Rails bug threatens more than 200,000 sites

Extremely critical Ruby on Rails bug threatens more than 200,000 sites

Hundreds of thousands of websites are potentially at risk following the discovery of an extremely critical vulnerability in the Ruby on Rails framework that gives remote attackers the ability to execute malicious code on the underlying servers.

The bug is present in Rails versions spanning the past six years and in default configurations gives hackers a simple and reliable way to pilfer database contents, run system commands, and cause websites to crash, according to Ben Murphy, one of the developers who has confirmed the vulnerability. As of last week, the framework was used by more than 240,000 websites, including Github, Hulu, and Basecamp, underscoring the seriousness of the threat.

"It is quite bad," Murphy told Ars. "An attack can send a request to any Ruby on Rails sever and then execute arbitrary commands. Even though it's complex, it's reliable, so it will work 100 percent of the time."

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Find: IPv6 takes one step forward, IPv4 two steps back in 2012

IPv6 takes one step forward, IPv4 two steps back in 2012

Aurich Lawson / Thinkstock

In hindsight, we reached peak IPv4 two years ago. The good news is that IPv6 is doing very well—but not nearly well enough. Is the IPv6 glass 1 percent full or 99 percent empty?

"Hi, I'd like to sign up for Internet service at my new apartment."

"That's great! We have the highest speeds at the best prices, you won't be disappointed. But unfortunately, last week Europe ran out of IPv4 addresses. We still have plenty of IPv6, though."