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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