Episode 51 News: Oh, What a Tangled Web

Just a month after Facebook was rumored to be the buyer, Google announced this week that it closed the billion-dollar deal on the Waze traffic and social-mapping service. The addition of Waze to the Google portfolio is expected to make the traffic-tracking in Google Maps more powerful and also boost the company’s social-networking services.

Amazon, which has been testing its AmazonFresh delivery service around its hometown of Seattle, is now dropping off produce, meat and other supermarket staples to certain areas of Los Angeles. As a page on the site explains after a free 90-day trial, your $79 Amazon Prime membership gets automatically upgraded to an Amazon Prime Fresh membership, which costs $299 a year  AmazonFresh is expected to expand into San Francisco later this year and into at least 20 more cities in 2014.

Comcast is doing some expanding as well, adding 3,800 hotspots for its Xfinity Wi-Fi network around Washington, DC. The company is also using its Xfinity Internet subscribers to increase the reach of the Xfinity Wi-Fi network by having home users broadcast two network signals from their Comcast Xfinity Wireless Gateway router/modem combos — one for the private family network and one for the public wireless network. (Comcast is part of the Cable WiFi Alliance, a group of other cable companies that offer 150,000 WiFi hotspots for their customers to use outside the home.)

Another cable company, Time Warner, is probably not too thrilled with this, but the season finale of Game of Thrones set a new BitTorrent record, with 171,000 people sharing the episode and a million people downloading it in one day.

allseeingeyeThe uproar over that National Security Agency surveillance program that collects phone records and user data from social sites shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. The Guardian promises more to come, but it’s not the only one revved up by the revelations.

Members of Congress are calling for investigations, the American Civil Liberties Union is filing a lawsuit, Google, Microsoft and Facebook have asked the government to let them share details of their involvement and Edward Snowden, (aka The Leaker) has been fired from his $122,000-a-year job based in Hawaii and is now fighting extradition from Hong Kong. This story has more legs than a centipede and it’s gonna be a long summer. (Need some summer reading? George Orwell’s 1984 and Franz Kafka’s The Trial are getting new attention.)

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web back in the 20th century, is not happy with the way his creation has been handled by corporations and world governments. As reported by the Daily Telegraph in London, Sir Tim also said in a recent speech that “companies and governments in different places all over the world trying to take control of the Internet in different ways” and that net neutrality should be protected.

While the Web opened to the general population on April 30, 1993, Mr, Berners-Lee had been working on it since 1990 at CERN, using one of the NeXT computers (the black boxes Steve Jobs was involved with between his two separate stints at Apple). Now, researchers are trying to locate an original version of his very first Web page. Professor Paul Jones at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, heard the team was looking for it and produced a copy of the page from 1991 that he’d had all along. Professor Jones, who also had a NeXT computer, worked with Berners-Lee when he was town. Although Jones copied the first Web page off the NeXT computer at one point, he thinks the old machine may hold other ancient Web artifacts — but he can’t remember the password. Raiders of the Lost NeXT, anyone?

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