Yahoo to Retire That Which Started it: Yahoo Directory

We confess; we had no idea the Yahoo Directory was still around. If you’ll flash back a decade or so—if not more—you might recall a time when you perused Yahoo’s hand-picked, categorical results for sites to visit.

Perhaps you were interested in gardening, so you’d hit up Yahoo’s Directory to see just what sites it was recommending you should visit. Maybe you were a time-traveler from the future and just knew that Internet cats would be a huge thing, so you attempted to contribute as many sites as you could to the directory’s feline section.

Regardless, the growth of Google basically killed off Yahoo’s Directory in spirit. Who needs a human-curated list of websites, after all, when an automated crawler can scan through the raw text of all of these sites to ensure that people are matched up with the most relevant results for their query?

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“With Yahoo, it was as if you were searching for books in a library using an old-fashioned card catalog system, where all you knew about a book was 25 words or so describing it,” write Search EngineLand’s Danny Sullivan.

“With Google, it was as if you could search through every page of every book in the library. You didn’t miss that needle in a haystack. And importantly, unlike previous search engines that used automation, you didn’t find that the ‘noise’ of looking through all those pages drowned out the important relevancy ‘signal.’ Google’s search algorithm was better than others,” he added.

Yet, the Yahoo Directory endured. It persisted even after Yahoo replaced its primary search listings with Google’s, instead of its own Directory. It persisted when Yahoo abandoned its deal with Google and set out to beat the growing search giant at its own game. It persisted when Yahoo realized the futility of its own search, outsourcing its efforts to Microsoft so it could concentrate on other ambitions. Which, now, appear to be… getting back into algorithmic search and search advertising. We shrug.

As for the Yahoo Directory, that which was such a core part of Yahoo’s early efforts—indeed, the source of the very name “Yahoo” itself, an acronym short for Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle—received a rather unceremonious death notice, published yesterday.

“Yahoo was started nearly 20 years ago as a directory of websites that helped users explore the Internet. While we are still committed to connecting users with the information they’re passionate about, our business has evolved and at the end of 2014 (December 31), we will retire the Yahoo Directory. Advertisers will be upgraded to a new service; more details to be communicated directly,” reads a blog post from Yahoo senior vice president Jay Rossiter.

What Does it Take to Bend Your New iPhone? 70–90 Pounds

Hopefully you haven’t spent the last few days freaking out about your brand-new iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus purchase. We figure it’s probably tough to maintain composure when you have everyone telling you that looking at your smartphone the wrong way might bend its aluminum shell. Heaven forbid you put it in your pocket, where even the slightest misstep in sitting could crunch your iPhone 6 in half.

Consumer Reports recently put the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and a handful of other competing smartphones to the test—a will-it-blend bit of destruction, if you replace a crazy-powerful blender with a big device that’s designed to test just how much pressure these smartphones can take before they give out. The fancy term for the crunch test is called a “three-point flexural test.” In other words, the phone sits in place on two points, like a bridge between two posts, and a device pushes down into its center from the top.

The results? Apple’s iPhone 6 required less force to ruin than Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus, but more force than what Apple itself has been claiming the iPhones can tolerate. According to those who attended a recent press tour of the company’s “torture lab” for its iPhones, an iPhone 6 can handle at least 25 kilograms of weight—around 55 pounds—in a similar three-point flexural test. Apple maintains the iPhone 6 can actually handle more weight than that, but didn’t specify how much.

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According to Consumer Reports’s tests, the iPhone 6 only started to deform, warp, or otherwise look different than it normally does once the test applied 70 pounds of weight to the smartphone. The iPhone 6 Plus held out for slightly longer, deforming at around 90 pounds.

The screen began to come lose from the iPhone 6’s case a little bit earlier than the iPhone 6 Plus. At around 100 pounds applied to its center, the iPhone 6 achieved “case separation” status. It took 110 pounds for the same result on the iPhone 6 Plus.

To put these numbers into context, the iPhone 6’s deformation weight tied that of the HTC One (M8), but was quite a bit lower than the LG G3 (130 pounds), iPhone 5(130 pounds), and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (150 pounds)—the latter, seemingly to have been constructed out of adamantium, as it also took 150 pounds to separate the smartphone’s screen from its case. The LG G3 and iPhone 5 were also tougher when it came to screen separation, requiring 130 pounds and 150 pounds, respectively, to reach that point.

“Two days ago, the Internet erupted with photos of bent iPhone 6s, and a very-viral video of a guy creasing an iPhone 6 Plus with his bare hands. It seemed like a serious concern, yet everything about the uproar was highly unscientific. We don’t like unscientific, so we promised then that we would use our lab equipment to find out just how delicate the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus really are. We also promised to run the same tests on comparable smart phones. We’ve done that now, and our tests show that both iPhones seem tougher than the Internet fracas implies,” Consumer Reports concluded.

DDoS Attack Briefly Knocks Ello Offline

Ello’s sudden rise to fame makes it the perfect target for hackers, who launched an apparent distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on the new social network over the weekend.

According to reports, users were locked out of the site for about 45 minutes on Sunday as the Ello team worked to patch the problem.

A homepage message told visitors that “The site is currently unavailable while we conduct some necessary maintenance. Follow along for any updates on our status page.”

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But the status page told a different story, telling users “we are undergoing a potential denial of service attack.”

Ello reopened by 4:50 p.m. Eastern after blocking the IP addresses responsible for the attack, according to The Next Web.

Ello did not immediately respond to PCMag’s request for comment.

The startup network exploded last week, reportedly thanks in part to Facebook’s “real name” push that forced several San Francisco-based drag queens to stop using their stage names in their profiles.

A “simple, beautiful, and ad-free” service, Ello does not have a “real name” policy; instead it preaches the idea that a social network “can be a tool for empowerment … not a tool to deceive, coerce and manipulate.”

Currently in beta, the invitation-only service is welcoming new users in small groups while it continues to roll out new features, including better security options to combat concerns from the public.

But the swarm of new Ello users may get a surprise when the free service begins implementing new fees. With no money from advertising and about $435,000 in funding from Vermont-based FreshTracks Capital, it will likely turn to a fee-based system in the future to stay afloat.

Reports tip additional charges for extra features; managing two separate Ello accounts, for instance, could set a user back $2. It remains to be seen how folks will react to a pay-for-service network—quite contrary to popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

New GoPro Lineup Appeals to Daredevils and Daytrippers

In the market for an action camera? GoPro has some new options ranging from $500 to just $129.

The company on Monday unveiled the Hero4, its highest-performance camera line ever. The Hero4 comes in two editions: the cream-of-the-crop Black version for $500 and a $400 Silver model, both of which will be available Oct. 5.

The Black edition delivers two times the performance of its predecessor, the two year-oldHero3. It can capture “cinema quality” 4K video at 30 frames per second, 2.7K video at 50fps, and 1080p video at 120fps, “virtually eliminating rolling shutter in most scenarios while allowing for time-bending slow motion effects.” The Black Hero4 also features a new audio system that captures high-fidelity sound with twice the dynamic range of previous models.

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Other enhancements include improved image quality, low-light performance, highlight moment tagging, and an improved user interface that offers easier access to key features and controls.

The silver model (right) features the same image quality as the black version, minus some of the higher performance video capture modes such as 4K30, 2.7K50, and 1080p120. It has a new built-in touch display for easier self-capture.

Meanwhile, if both of those models are a little too expensive, the company also on Monday debuted the Hero for $129. Described as the “perfect entry-level GoPro,” the Hero features a rugged, waterproof housing and is capable of capturing 1080p video at 30fps and 720p video at 60fps.

“For the past 12 years, our passion has been to make it easy for people to self-capture jaw dropping, professional quality footage of themselves engaged in their favorite activities,” GoPro founder and CEO, Nicholas Woodman, said in astatement. “That passion led us to embark on our most ambitious design and engineering effort ever, and the result is nothing short of the ultimate GoPro — the Hero4 Black. We can’t wait to see what the world captures with it.”

HP Reveals $199 Windows ‘Stream’ Laptop

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What’s cheaper than a Chromebook these days? Apparently, HP hopes to have the answer with its Stream line of budget-priced, Windows-basedlaptops and tablets.

There are two of each device: an 11.6-inch and a 13.3-inch laptop, and a 7-inch Stream 7 and an 8-inch Stream 8 tablet.

All four will come with 1TB of free cloud storage, courtesy of Microsoft’s OneDrive, for a year. They will also be bundled with one year of Microsoft Office 365 Personal (including 60 minutes a month of Skype for free), as well as a $25 gift card to use in the Microsoft Store. The four devices also feature a slew of HP services, including HP Connected Music7, HP Connected Photo8, and HP Connected Drive.

The two new Stream laptops, which join the 14-inch Stream notebook first announced this summer, come with an HD display. The 13.3-inch model offering the option of a touch screen.

The laptops have an as-yet-unnamed Intel Celeron CPU and 32GB of onboard flash storage. Both have a fanless design, and the chassis for each comes in either Orchid Magenta or Horizon Blue. HP claims that the 11.6-inch model has a battery life of 8 hours 15 minutes for HD Video playback and about 7:45 for the 13.3-inch Stream laptop. The 11.6-inch model starts at $199.99, while the 13.3-inch laptop has a base price of $229.99.

Meanwhile, the Stream 7 and 8 tablets are a little less flashy in design compared with their laptop counterparts, but will also be powered by an Intel quad-core processor, the name of which was not available as of this writing. Both come with Windows 8.1. The HP Stream 8 adds an optional 200MB of free 4G data each month, with no annual contract, for the life of the tablet. The Stream 7 starts at $99.99, and the Stream 8’s base configuration comes in at $149.99.

HP, Applied Micro Release First 64-Bit ARM Server

Applied Micro and Hewlett-Packard have teamed up to release the first commercially available 64-bit ARMv8 server, the ProLiant m400 cartridge for HP’s Moonshot server framework.

The new server is based on Applied Micro’s X-Gene System-on-a-Chip (SoC) and runs Canonical’s Ubuntu operating system. Designed for primarily for Web caching workloads, the ProLiant m400 provides power, cooling, and space savings compared with traditional rack servers to the tune of an “up to 35 percent reduction in total cost of ownership,” according to HP.

“ARM technology will change the dynamics of how enterprises build IT solutions to quickly address customer challenges. HP’s history, culture of innovation, and proven leadership in server technology position us as the most qualified player to empower customers with greater choice in the server marketplace,” Antonio Neri, senior vice president and general manager of HP’s Servers and Networking business, said in a statement on Monday.

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HP also announced the availability of the ProLiant m800, a 32-bit ARM-based server cartridge that is also intended for the Moonshot 1500 chassis, pictured above. The m800 is “optimized for real-time data processing of high volume, complex data such as pattern analysis.” Both the ProLiant m800 and m400 extend the reach of HP’s “Project Moonshot” initiative to introduce a radical new infrastructure framework for scale-out data center installations supporting Web hosting, cloud computing, search, general-purpose databases, logging, and other fast-growing “big data” activities.

But it’s the ProLiant m400, pictured at right, which is the real milestone release. ARM’s 64-bit instruction set has been used in consumer devices like Apple’s iPhone for more than a year, but it’s taken a bit longer for the first server products to hit the market. Along with Applied Micro, Advanced Micro Devices and the now-shuttered Calxeda were the main drivers of 64-bit ARM-based computing for the data center in recent years.

Now Applied Micro can claim first-to-market status with its X-Gene SoC, though AMD is sampling its own 64-bit ARM-based “Seattle” server chips to partners and shouldn’t be too far behind.

Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst for Moor Insights & Strategy, said there were several good reasons to use 64-bit ARM chips in servers, which are currently dominated by the x86 processors made by Intel and AMD.

“Two key advantages of this product, compared to other ProLiant cartridges for the Moonshot System available today, are a doubling of the addressable memory to 64GB per cartridge and significantly higher memory bandwidth made possible by X-Gene’s four memory channels,” Moorhead said in a white paper.

The analyst also touted the ProLiant m400’s improved throughput for I/O intensive workloads via a pair of 10 Gbps Ethernet channels and low latency storage access.

HP launched its first “Project Moonshot” product in early 2013, a server enclosure dubbed HP Moonshot 1500 loaded with 45 Intel Atom-based server cartridges, an open-flow compliant network switch, and supporting components.

But even as the Moonshot initiative kicked off with x86-based, CPU-driven systems, HP has also been clear that it plans to mix and match many types of computer chips and integrated circuits in future Moonshot servers, including ARM-based parts, graphics processors, APUs from AMD, field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), and digital signal processors (DSPs).

Shocker! Google Glass Distracts Drivers

Think you can safely text while driving with Google Glass? Think again.

A new study from the University of Central Florida found that Google’s high-tech headpiece is a clear distraction to drivers. The study, conducted in cooperation with the Air Force Research Laboratory, offers the first scientific look at the effects of using Google Glass to text while operating a vehicle.

“Texting with either a smartphone or Glass will cause distraction and should be avoided while driving” UCF researcher Ben Sawyer said in a statement.

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Sawyer and his team asked 40 twenty-somethings to drive in car simulator with either Glass or a smartphone, and then react to a vehicle slamming its breaks ahead. The researchers then compared reactions on each device to times when the participants were just driving without multitasking.

“Those using Glass were no better at hitting their brakes in time,” the researchers found. On a more positive note, however, Glass users were able to regain control of their vehicle faster than smartphone users after a traffic incident.

“Glass did help drivers in our study recover more quickly,” Sawyer said. “We hope that Glass points the way to technology that can help deliver information with minimal risk.”

Still, Glass did not improve their response time to the event itself, he pointed out. Messaging with either device negatively impacted driving performance.

“Compared to those just driving, multitaskers reacted more slowly, preserved less headway during the brake event, and subsequently adopted greater following distances,” Sawyer said.

The new research comes after a West Virginia state legislator last year introduced a bill that would ban the use of head-mounted gadgets while driving — a measure that was inspired by Google Glass. Several other states have since followed suit. The U.K. government has also been taking steps to ban Google Glass behind the wheel.

At the time, Google said it is “putting a lot of thought into the design of Glass because new technologies always raise new issues. We actually believe there is tremendous potential to improve safety on our roads and reduce accidents. As always, feedback is welcome.”

Google Tries to Make Ads Prettier on Mobile

Ads can be annoying no matter the platform, but they can be particularly bothersome on mobile devices where an errant tap or a too-small “close” prompt can land you in pre-roll hell.

Those ads aren’t going away, but Google on Monday revealed new mobile display ad formats and advertiser tools intended to make the ad experience on mobile a bit easier on the eye.

In the past, marketers have simply shrunk their existing display ads for mobile, making for some ugly advertising. Other times, display ads for the Web don’t even run on mobile devices or mobile browsers.

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“But now, a new generation of display ads is changing how advertisers engage with consumers on mobile devices,” Jonathan Alferness, director of product management for mobile display ads at Google, wrote in a blog post.

The new ad types include “Mobile lightbox Engagement Ads,” which will dynamically resize to fit any ad and device size; ads that stay put even when you scroll down the page, and a “magazine style” text ad format. Google is also expanding “TrueView” video ads, which have already been running in some gaming apps, to even more apps in the AdMob network.

Meanwhile, Google is also releasing some tools to help marketers with their mobile ads, including an auto-resizer that will automatically create new sizes of image ads, a Flash-to-HTML5 conversion tool for creating HTML5 versions of Flash ads, and a tool that lets you build HTML5 and in-app ads “in minutes.”

If you’re a marketer, these new ads and tools will be available across the Google Display Network, the AdMob Network, and DoubleClick. They’re designed specifically for mobile environments, and will be rolling out in coming months.

The news comes as Facebook makes moves to expand its advertising reach across the Web with the relaunch its Atlas Advertiser Suite, which it acquired from Microsoft last year. The service essentially allows advertisers to tap into Facebook’s collection of users to direct ads at people via other websites and mobile apps, creating a new revenue stream for Facebook.

Why Housing’s Android App is the Best Real Estate App

Housing.com is a venture of IIT –Mumbai alumni who have proved that mathematics has real life applications.

Housing.com is aproperty listing portalwhich is dedicated to real estate services across 11 major cities in the country. It is a portal for both buyers and sellers allowing them to list their properties for sale as well as initiate a purchase.

 

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But housing.com does not restrict itself to being a mere platform for buyers and sellers. It addresses many other questions that all buyers and sellers have in mind but are not sure how to seek the answers to. After all, the decision to purchase of a house also factors in the quality of neighbourhood, amenities and security. Additionally a lot of new buyers are parents purchasing homes and their choice of home is dictated by the amenities available for children. There are many other such questions that no real estate service can answer.

 

But housing.com has utilised data services and analytics to analyse the vast amount of data to yield such answers satisfactorily to consumers. This property listing portal also has provided its app on the android platform to allow access to its services on-the-go. The app captures all vital services that are available on the website.

 

Feature Factor

The housing app interface comprises of 4 sections. The first section allows a user to search for properties. For example, if someone is looking for apartments on sale in Hyderabad, he/she merely has to choose the city as Hyderabad and an area from a list provided. Typing thereby is reduced to a minimum and the scrolling and tapping features allow a comprehensive search.

The search results are exhibited in a list format- which can be rearranged according to price or the date posted. Alternatively, a map marked by a circle shows the top view of the property along with a visual of the adjoining areas. The radius of search can be starts from 2 kilometres. The centre of circular search area can also be dragged to a different location.

Property Details

The property detail screen has been beautifully summarised in the app. When a user selects a property, the resulting page comprises of photos (guaranteed original) along with a snapshot of property specs. Apart from details like amenities and housing structure, a ‘lifestyle quotient’ is also listed. This number between 1 and 10 showingthe overall quality of amenities and features available in the vicinity of the house. One can shortlist the property from this page or directly call the seller using a button on the bottom of the screen.

The second section allows the buyers to put their property up for sale by filling a single page format. Likewise, a buyer also has the option to key in his/her requirements (generic as well as specific). There is also a provision to add special requests.

The third section allows one to scan bookmarks and the fourth section allows a user to contact housing.com or read its blog.

In Conclusion-What Makes the App Better than Others

The housing.com app on Android effectively blends simplicity with features. Its navigation is intuitional and anyone using the app for the first time finds it easy to use. It compresses relevant information which allows a user to shortlist a property without having to visit it. The app utilises the calling feature effectively from within the result pages. It does not clutter the information on the small screen and yet provides all relevant details sought by a prospective buyer. It is a compact yet intelligent solution on-the-go.

 

 

 

McDonald’s launches its own version of Burger King’s black burger

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Burger King has attracted a lot of attention recently with the all-black burger it launched in Japan — something that we braved a taste of and gave two thumbs-up. Not to be left out of the limelight is McDonald’s, which has moved ahead with its own similar gimmick in Japan, introducing its own squid-ink offering.

You might have seen pictures of it surface on Twitter or Instagram — a burger from McDonald’s in Japan that features a very dark (though not charcoal black) bun, making it odd in appearance but not as ostensibly bizarre as Burger King’s offering. It is called the “ikasumi” burger, which means “squid ink burger”.

It would seem, then, that McDonald’s has elected to use buns colored by squid ink, and given the design of the boxes (featuring orange and a witch’s silhouette) shown in the pictures, the unique coloring might be part of some Halloween-centric theme or promotion.

It is being reported the burgers are only be offered by a limited number of stores inside of Shinjuku, so depending on where you are in Tokyo, you might have to take a bit of a trip to get one for yourself. Have you tried one? Let us know what you think!