The Internet died two short deaths this weekend. On Friday, a thunderstorm near Washington, D.C. knocked out Amazon's servers (which also hosts Instagram and Netflix). Last night, a leap second knocked out a good bit of the Internet.
Technology is a wonderful thing, but in the words of Spider-Man's Uncle Ben, "With great power, comes great responsibility." If we are not careful, the technology we know and love could be used against us, even subtly. In the year 1984, Apple thought IBM was the bringer of "Big Brother." In reality, the technology of today better resembles George Orwell's dystopian vision than a 1980s era PC. Every day we are in the process of becoming a more connected society. With social networks, cloud computing and even more specific, less-thought-about tech such as Internet-connected home surveillance systems, we may find ourselves in a delicate balance of trust and paranoia.
Want to know why your cell phone service sucks all the time? Phone companies will tell you: it's bandwidth, man. The wireless spectrum is getting crowded and there's just not enough room. What's needed is a new way to cram more data into the same amount of space, and the solution might be to twist multiple light beams together into a vortex.
Newly-IPO'd Facebook just made a bewildering mistake that's going to piss a lot of users off. Remember Facebook email? Of course you don't. In a stunning move, Facebook apparently just changed the contact info for every user from a user-assigned email address to @facebook. Here's how you switch it back.
You see HTTP status codes all over: "404 Not Found" for mistyped URLs, "403 Forbidden" for authorization failures and traffic problems read as "503 Service Unavailable". We may now need a new one for legal restrictions, and what could be more fitting than "451" in honor of Ray Bradbury?
Who among you have been lucky enough to have won the Verizon FiOS lottery? Okay, perhaps the metaphor isn't quite precise since one cannot choose to win the lottery while one can choose FiOS over a local cable monopoly or satellite TV service. But unlike cable or satellite, FiOS isn't available everywhere, only to around 15 to 18 million homes — and mine isn't one of them. That makes those of you who can choose FiOS the aforementioned lucky lottery winners (now you see the accuracy of the metaphor), and the estimated 4.4 million of you who have chosen FiOS for your TV service and 5 million for broadband connectivity smart lottery winners. And not being a FiOS lottery winner makes me angrier than, well, someone who plays the same numbers in the lottery every week — except the week that number actually comes in. And my anger — and perhaps that of all non-FiOS lottery winners — is unlikely to be sated given the recent Verizon/FiOS news.
Australian online electronics retailer Kogan is fed-up with having to spend its resources trying to make its website render properly in Internet Explorer 7. As punishment to those who shop using IE7, it's imposing a special tax that should hopefully get more people off the outdated browser.
If you were dazzled when the Internet brought you the site that turned your words into pirate or pimp speak, you are going to have fully prepare yourself for the awesomeness that is a site that translates your words into images from the result of a Google Images search. The site, called The Image Language, is kind of like reverse charades.
Picture for a second that none of us can read, and we can only publish pictorial content. What would the Internet look like? The most interesting picture on a website would win our click. That's what.
It's been nearly two years since Verizon first started rolling out lightning fast 150Mbps FIOS Internet. Come next month, the Internet will load twice as fast — if you can afford it.