Tag Archives: BitTorrent

PTJ 191 News: Advancing Torpor

Even more characters on Twitter — and we’re not even talking about the trolls!  Bloomberg is reporting that the bird-themed microblogging service will soon stop counting the characters used by web links and photos in that 140-character limit.

Microsoft has big plans this summer for its Windows 10 Anniversary Upgrade, like more ads for promoted apps on your Start Menu.  And as CNet and others have reported, Microsoft has gotten aggressive with the pop-up notifications now. Windows 7 and 8.1 users who have no plans to upgrade should pay careful attention to what those little nag-ass boxes are saying.

WhatsApp is moving into video-calling, according to those who have seen a recent beta version of the app for Android. At last,  another video calling option to compete with FaceTime, Skype, Google Chat and the other apps out there.

Amazon, the über-mega-everything store already sells thousands of name-brand items, but The Wall Street Journal is talking to sources within the company who claim that Amazon plans to introduce its own house-label products like diapers and beverages.


AT&T, on the heels of its corporate hookup last year with DirecTV, announced this week that it had acquired Quickplay Media. Not to be confused with Apple’s QuickTime multimedia software or Quick Draw McGraw, the equine sheriff of the animated Old West, QuickPlay Media is a video-streaming platform for the “TV Everywhere” initiative and other over-the-top applications.

Adobe churned out yet more patches for its Flash Player multimedia software last week, but it seems Google has had about enough of the security-addled software. Developers for the company recently laid out plans to disable Flash by default and move to HTML 5 for multimedia playback. When the move happens by the end of the year, embedded Flash files in websites viewed in the Chrome browser won’t run or acknowledge the plug-in; Flash will hang around on some sites like YouTube until the end of 2017.

The Google I/O developer conference kicks off this week in Mountain View, California. Here’s the keynote speech. Google also put out a new app called Spaces this week for “small-scale” sharing.

Have you checked out the YouTube app’s Google Cardboard modeAs of this week, it’s now available on the iOS app as it catches up to  the Android version. The mode converts any YouTube video into a Cardboard-worthy VR experience. (Disney is also after virtual reality fans with its new Disney Movies VR app out on Steam.)


Apple has finally updated its iTunes program for the desktop with an attempt to make navigation for the cluttered app more streamlined and sensible. Apple also pushed out other updates this week, including those for OS X, iOS, watch OS and tvOS for the fourth-generation Apple TV. (Speaking of the Apple TV, BitTorrent has just launched its own Live app there.) Be careful, though: According to screams from around the Twitterverse, however, the iOS update, version 9.3.2, has bricked more than one iPad Pro tablet. The OS X update 10.11.5 for El Capitan is seen primarily as a security fix.

Doom 2016 has come blasting out into stores. One reviewer over at PC World said the new modernized version of the classic first-person shooter succeeds because it knows it’s a big dumb bang-bang game.


Current C, a mobile-payments competitor to Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay and similar services, has, shall we say, “suspended its campaign” and laid off about 30 staff members. Current C, which was hacked before it ever got out of the gate, is largely considered to be stranded on the Island of Abandoned Software Projects.

The SoundHound mobile app just got an update that adds a virtual assistant. To use it, just start out saying OK, Hound, and then you can ask it to do things like play music from certain streaming services, add songs to playlists, play YouTube music videos.

For consumers of more genteel entertainment, The Daily Telegraph over in London reports that the BBC and ITV television networks plan to launch a British competitor to Netflix. The working title, of course, is Britflix. Perhaps it will show Downton Abbey.


And finally, NASA has provided funding eight projects that are based on advanced technology, but could help kick the agency’s space exploration efforts into high gear. The development grants were part of Phase II NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts program, also known as NIAC. Among this year’s projects: “Advancing Torpor Inducing Transfer Habitats for Human Stasis to Mars,” which would put human passengers in a hibernation-like state for long trips to other planets and “Further Development of Aperture: A Precise Extremely Large Reflective Telescope Using Re-configurable Elements,” for a new type of space telescope that would use a membrane-like primary mirror that could be corrected after deployment. Congratulations to all the grant winners! Thanks for making the future!

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?