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Entries in Web (8)

Friday
Oct262012

A Tough Week for the Internet as Major Sites Experience Outages

Photos.com/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Last week it was YouTube for a few minutes, but this week it was more than just the streaming video service that wasn't available to Internet users.

Earlier this week, Amazon's Web Services went down causing sites that rely on Amazon's servers to go down too. Popular sites like Reddit, Pinterest, and Foursquare all experienced outages as a result. The outage lasted for a few hours on Tuesday, and naturally many took to Twitter to complain about the fact that people couldn't get to their services. Twitter itself experienced its fair share of outages.

On Friday a separate outage occurred. Google's App Engine, which powers other sites, along with Dropbox and Tumblr experienced outages. The outage lasted close to two hours for many of the services.

"At approximately 7:30 am Pacific time this morning, Google began experiencing slow performance and dropped connections from one of the components of App Engine. The symptoms that service users would experience include slow response and an inability to connect to services," Google wrote on its site.

Similarly Tumblr tweeted about the outage: "Tumblr is experiencing network problems following an issue with one of our uplink providers. We will return to full service shortly." Two hours later, Tumblr tweeted that the errors had been fixed and it was back online.

"It used to be back in the day, four or five years ago, systems weren't dependent on each other. But now even standard websites -- the things people go to all the time -- are made up of 50 or 100 services that are serving ads and tracking information," Brian Gracely, a Cloud computing expert and editor of CloudCast.net, explained to ABC News. "If one of the big services or an Amazon or Google goes down it can affect hundreds of other services."

Tuesday and Friday's outages don't appear to be related, but according to the Internet Traffic Report, traffic across the web in North America declined Friday. The Next Web points out that the same report shows that there was a loss in packet data, which measures reliability of Internet connections.

These issues do not appear to be weather related either. However, many Internet providers will be preparing as Hurricane Sandy makes its way to the East Coast.

"These companies, like Google and Amazon, run the equivalent of what used to be 20th century factories. They are really large and occasionally they have an outage because they have a power failure or weather issues," Gracely said. "It happens periodically, and it used to happen more than we knew, but nowadays we are so connected we know about it more," told ABC News.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar122012

Twitter Acquires Blogging Service Posterous

SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Twitter, the popular social networking site that lets users share updates in just 140 characters, has just announced that it has acquired Posterous, a micro-blogging service.

The terms of the acquisition are not being disclosed. Both companies announced the acquisition on their respective company blogs.

Posterous Spaces, the company’s blogging platform, was an early competitor to Tumblr and allows users to share text, video and pictures with others. According to the post on Posterous’ website, the product “will remain up and running without disruption. We will give users ample notice if we make any changes to the service.”

A similar message is conveyed in Twitter’s post, although it mentions there will be instructions on how to back up content in the coming weeks.

“Acquisitions have given us people and technology that have enabled us to more quickly build a better Twitter for you,” it is also said.

Lots of hypotheses about what Twitter will do with the service are swirling around the tech industry, but there is general agreement that the message is that Twitter is looking to expand its feature set.

“It appears Twitter is looking to evolve from the status update service it started as to an information service optimized for sharing and consuming information and content,” Gartner research director Michael Gartenberg said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb082012

Creating a Smarter Reality Show with Entrepreneurial Ideas

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BOULDER, Colo.) -- A group of young social innovators with ideas that might change the world spent three months living in a house having their lives taped 24/7 for an online reality show.

It's called the Unreasonable Institute and was created during a light-bulb moment by Daniel Epstein, along with fellow University of Colorado alumni Teju Ravilochan and Tyler Hartung.

"We're very intentional about not making this into reality TV. We wanted this to be real TV," Epstein said. "We want to be showing the struggles, the ups and downs and the wins of entrepreneurship."

Competition was stiff. More than 300 people applied from 65 countries to attend the 32-day program nestled in the foothills of Boulder, Colo., and 26 were selected.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

"The Unreasonable Institute is an international accelerator for early-stage entrepreneurs who are wielding entrepreneurship as a mechanism for combating social challenges, and they're trying to take those to scale," Epstein said.

The institute's name comes from a quotation by Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw: "All progress depends on the unreasonable man." But these entrepreneurs who are selected believe they can realistically affect the lives of at least 1 million people.

Some of the ideas: utilizing worms to increase agricultural yield; providing solar cookstoves to rural regions in the Himalayan Mountains; or tackling anemia through iron fortification and testing. One young woman literally reinvented the wheel.

The water wheel is a 25-gallon drum that moves five times the amount of water possible than traditional methods, which is five gallons carried on the head, Cynthia Koenig, inventor and CEO of Wello, said. "So not only is it alleviating women and girls from this tremendous physical burden of water collection but it's also reducing the time burden. Women and girls spend about 25 percent of their time each day collecting water," she said.

Daniel and his team at the institute match the early-stage entrepreneurs with mentors such as the chief of technology at Hewlett-Packard, as well as investors who come to stay in the house and help them bring their ideas to scale.

"It's amazing what Unreasonable will do," said Myshkin Ingawale, who raised money at the institute for his company Biosense, which is helping to monitor anemia in India.

"We call it accidental productivity. So you have 26 people with ideas to change the world and they are put together in this frat house which they call the mansion. Synergy is the perfect word to describe it."

When ABC News stopped by the institute, ER Executive Producer Neal Baer was offering mentorship to the 26 entrepreneurs, teaching them how to use good storytelling techniques to help raise funds.

"When you are pitching to a venture capitalist, I want to be moved," Baer told the fellows. "The thing I found that moves venture capitalists is they want to know the story. They need to see the numbers but if they can't see it, then they're not going to be involved."

The do-gooders get by with barely any sleep for six weeks. By day, the fellows might go to the mountains with a mentor such as Baer, or potential investor. They also discuss their ideas at workshops, or take part in a large pitch where entrepreneurs present their companies to the community for feedback. By night, they have dinner at a huge table straight out of a scene from Beauty and the Beast.

"At the dinner table, we try to meet with random people we don't know so we can mingle a little bit, dinner's supposed to be fun," said Mohamed Ali Niang, CEO of Malo Traders, an organization fortifying rice in Mali.

And then it's off to town out to blow off a bit of steam. After all what is a revolution without a little dancing?

The program culminates as the entrepreneurs travel to San Francisco pitching their ideas to a group of investors, and then it's back to Boulder for the "Unreasonable Climax" one last final pitch to the community. The whole idea is to get these ideas funded and brought to scale.

This year, you can help decide who gets to go by going online to unreasonableinstiute.org/marketplace. It might be one way you can make the world a better place.

"Take Mohamed Salem, he's s providing renewable energy to off-the-grid customers in the deserts of Palestine and Israel, getting Jewish and Muslim communities to work together at the same time," Epstein said. "Philip Wilson from Guatemala is providing clean drinking water to families for $35 a year through a brilliant water filtration device they've developed. They have sold over 53,000 filters benefiting over 300,000 people in the last three years. The stories go on and on."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec302011

Reddit Targets Alleged SOPA Supporters

John Foxx/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan denied co-sponsoring the Stop Online Piracy Act in a statement Thursday but his stand may have come too late, as the wrath of the internet has come pounding on his front door.

Introduced this fall, SOPA's supporters claim the measure will protect copyrighted media from being shared online; however, its detractors say it's a way to allow governments and copyrights holders to censor the Internet and shut down sites.

The Wisconsin representative is now dealing with the hive mind of Reddit.com, the same group that successfully pressured GoDaddy into withdrawing its SOPA support this week. Redditors have found a new strategy in their fight against the controversial act: narrowing down SOPA supporters who have seats up for grabs in this year's election cycle and funding their opponents.

Suggestions quickly rose up the Reddit ranks to remove from office Senators Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., but of the many potential targets who were discussed and debated on the site, eventually Reddit landed on Paul Ryan, R-Wis. In addition to being up for reelection this fall in Wisconsin, Ryan had previously released an unclear statement regarding his stance on SOPA that had the internet pegging him as a supporter.

Once word of Reddit's plan to remove Ryan from Congress started to spread, his challenger Rob Zerban was savvy enough to embrace the community right away, participating in an "Ask Me Anything" interview with the site's users and quickly denouncing both GoDaddy and SOPA , saying the act "would devastate the free nature of the internet by allowing unilateral closing down of popular websites." After less than 36 hours, "Operation Pull Ryan" was born and over $7,500 has been donated to Zerban's campaign.

Ryan's camp was quick to respond to the negative buzz, denying any support of the act, offering a press release stating, "Contrary to false reports, Congressman Paul Ryan is not a cosponsor of H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act. He remains committed to advancing policies that protect free speech and foster innovation online and will continue to follow the House Judiciary Committee's deliberations on this issue carefully."

While Ryan's stance on SOPA is not set in stone, his opponent's firm statements against the act have been enough to captapult him to the top of Reddit's infamous front page for the last three days.

The impact of this campaign remains to be seen and it will be interesting to watch what happens with Ryan and Zerban as we near November's elections. Earlier this month, comedian Louis C.K. appealed to Reddit directly and saw over $1 million in revenue pour in for his online-only comedy special. If Reddit's campaign fundraising can come anywhere close to the bounty Louis C.K. took in a few weeks ago, there could be some serious cash in Rob Zerban's pockets before 2011 is up.

What's more, if an internet-wide rally to unseat one congressman works, it could send a huge message about the power of the internet community and its ability to change politics.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun232011

FBI Data Center Raid Disrupts Instapaper

Instapaper Logo by Instapaper

(NEW YORK) -- Instapaper, a service that stores web pages for offline viewing, recently experienced a significant reduction in performance. While performance issues frequently plague small Internet companies, Instapaper’s troubles may have been analogue, not digital.

This afternoon founder and developer Marco Arment reported on his blog that Instapaper servers were seized by the FBI during a raid on his web host’s data center. Mr. Arment cites a New York Times report that the FBI were involved with a raid on a data center in Virginia leased by DigitalOne, a Switzerland-based web hosting company, on the morning of June 21st. A press release issued by the FBI appears to confirm that the raid took place.

ABC News has reached out to Mr. Arment for a comment. According to Mr. Arment’s blog post and subsequently confirmed by the New York Times, Instapaper’s involvement was only incidental. The FBI seized over two dozen servers as a part of larger investigation of the LulzSecurity hacker group.

According to the FBI, “warrants obtained from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington and elsewhere throughout the United States led to the seizure of 22 computers and servers in the United States that were involved in facilitating and operating a scareware scheme.”

Instapaper has been able to rebound from the raid. However, recent cyber-attacks allegedly lead by groups such as Anonymous and LulzSecurity have increased public awareness of Internet security. Tuesday’s FBI raid may have a similar effect on the legal status of web data.

 

Dan Patterson

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr072011

Digging for Deals, Fashionistas Turn Sights to Web

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Look around Megan O'Brien's jewel box of a New York City apartment and you'll find evidence everywhere of her shopping obsession.

"My sheets, my pillow cases, most of the books on that shelf and down there, my throw pillows, the jewelry behind there," O'Brien pointed out as she took us on a tour of her apartment. She estimated that about 30 percent of the clothes and shoes in her closet also are from the online shopping site Gilt.

Twenty-something, single, and fashion-conscious: she's the ideal customer for online luxury retailers like her personal favorite, Gilt Groupe.

Checking online, as she does each day, she pointed out a few of the deals. "A cashmere wrap from $350 to $149...That's not bad."

Gilt Groupe is a club -- the latest trend for all fashionistas. Once they join, they have the chance to buy designer items at 40-70 percent or more off retail. Clothing, shoes, and accessories for women, men, and children. Toys and books. Home furnishings such as linens, furniture, and dishes. Even discounts on hotels and vacations.

Those discounts may be deep, but the selection is top drawer. For many, it can be addictive.

"My favorite is when they give you the price that it was, and they slash it and give you the price that they'll sell it to you for," said O'Brien. "That's what gets you every time!"

Insiders know new offerings are posted at noon, and like O'Brien, they're ready to pounce.

"12:02 they go live," said O'Brien. "Me and my coworkers, it's like the whole building kind of shuts down for like 15 minutes." Four years ago, entrepreneurs and glamour girls Alexandra Wilkis Wilson and Alexis Maybank figured out how to take the New York designer sample sale global.

"We took that experience of always sneaking out of work to try to get some of these terrific insider deals and try to bring that online to nationwide audience," said Maybank.

In the beginning, Gilt's popularity was fueled by word of mouth.-- you had to know someone to be invited to join. Then members would sign on to get deals, such as a $1,600 designer dress for $500--still pricey, but more than half off. Gilt still requires membership, though to be honest, anyone with a computer and a valid credit card can join.

Gilt Groupe CEO Susan Lyne shows took ABC News on a tour of the company's Brooklyn warehouse. It's 200,000 square feet of designer clothes, jewelry and shoes -- all waiting their turn on the web.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Nov282010

Cyber Monday: Record Number of Retailers Peddle Online Deals

Photo Courtesy - ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- While brick-and-mortar stores have Black Friday to kick off the holiday spending spree, online the world belongs to Cyber Monday. This year, record numbers of retailers are promoting special deals for the shopping day.

"Almost any retailer with a website is really getting into the Cyber Monday craziness and chaos," said Ellen Davis, vice president of the National Retail Federation. A survey conducted by the nonprofit found that nearly 90 percent of retailers have some sort of Cyber Monday promotion, up from 73 percent last year.

"What we are seeing for Cyber Monday specifically: a lot of free shipping deals, one-day sales, percentages off the entire site, which is great if you're a holiday shopper looking to save," Davis said.

Shop.org, a division of the National Retail Federation, coined the phrase "Cyber Monday" to illustrate the trend of people shopping online the Monday after Thanksgiving, when shoppers coming back from holiday travels or unsuccessful Black Friday trips started to troll websites for seasonal bargains.

Cyber Monday is still in its infancy but is slated for huge growth. Market research firm comScore reported Cyber Monday sales of $887 million last year, an increase of 5 percent over 2008. The company expects sales to grow even higher this year.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio´╗┐

Wednesday
Oct272010

Disney Study: Moms Spend 24 Hours a Week Online

Photo Courtesy - PRNewsFoto | Disney Online(NEW YORK) -- A new study shows that the typical mom spends 24 hours a week surfing the Web. Most of that time, according to Disney Online's Mom on a Mission research study, is spent connecting with family, searching for information and managing their lives.

"Our study results showed that technology and the Internet are helping to make moms' lives more manageable, so they can spend more quality time with their families,” said Paul Yanover, EVP of Disney Online.

The study, released Wednesday, included two phases: consumer immersion blogs and online quantitative study. In the first phase, nine moms interacted in a secure, online blog for one week, uploading video, images and text. The second phase was an online study of 3,300 females, ages 21-54, who were either pregnant or had one child 14 years old or younger.

The top subjects researched by moms online include deals and discounts and recipes. Other topics include family activities, entertainment and travel, personal health, arts/crafts projects, holiday planning and activities.
 
 Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio