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— Science

Big Internet Museum catalogs internet from ARPAnet to Gangnam Style

The internet only became commercialized in 1995, but its genesis goes back to the late 1960s, more precisely October 29, 1969. That was the date when Robert William Tayor, a former NASA researcher working for the Pentagon’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), launched the ARPAnet operational network, which is recognized as the precursor to what became the internet. ARPAnet provides the starting point for visitors to the recently launched The Big Internet Museum, a virtual venue for all things great and downright silly about the internet. Read More
— Science

ISS astronauts control robot on Earth via "interplanetary internet"

The internet has changed a great deal of modern society, and now it promises to change space exploration as well. In late October, International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 33 commander Sunita Williams used a NASA-developed laptop aboard the station to control a LEGO Mindstorm robot, located at the European Space Agency (ESA) European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany. Using a “space internet,” she was able to control the robot in real time despite being in orbit at an altitude of 230 miles (370 km). Read More
— Computers

AdTrap aims to block all internet advertising

Most of us are bombarded by advertisements in one form or another throughout the day. While there’s not a lot we can do about the ads in the subway, or placed up on billboards, the internet is another matter. AdTrap is a new low-power, zero configuration device which promises to banish adverts from computers, tablets, and anything else connected to the local network. Read More
— Computers

Civil Rights Captcha employs an empathy test to ward off spambots

Loathe it as we do, the captcha goes a long way to preventing websites from being inundated with spam comments produced by nefarious software. However, there’s room for improvement, and rather than tasking a user with a series of random words which must be entered in order to be allowed to comment on a website, the Civil Rights Captcha employs an empathy test to measure whether you pass muster. Read More
— Wearable Electronics

"Like-A-Hug" concept makes Facebook warm and cuddly

The internet allows us to communicate more easily than ever, but however many Facebook friends you have, there’s no substitute for a real hug – or at least there wasn’t until recently. Like-A-Hug is a concept social media vest which reacts to Facebook "likes" and posts on your wall, inflating to give you a “hug” on every such interaction. Wearers of the vest can embrace themselves in order to cause another person sporting a Like-A-Hug vest to get a hug, too. Read More

The future of online user authentication is ... graphics cards?

The anonymity of the internet is both a blessing and a curse. Not only does it make it easy to pretend you’re someone else and live out a harmless fantasy online, it also makes it relatively easy for someone else to pretend they’re you and run up a hefty credit card bill or the like with nothing but a few key pieces of personally identifiable information. European researchers propose a more secure form of online user authentication that uses common computer hardware to identify specific users. Read More
— Science

Ants invented the internet?

Ask who invented the Internet and you’ll spark off an argument with everyone championed from DARPA to Nikola Tesla. However, two Stanford scientists claim that the inventor may have had six legs, antennae and a taste for disrupting picnics. Professor of biology Deborah Gordon and professor of computer science Balaji Prabhakar say that red harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex barbatus) use the same Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) in foraging that the internet uses to manage data transmissions – making a sort of “Anternet.” Read More
— Good Thinking

ToS;DR highlights the good and the bad of website terms of service

A new website, ToS;DR (Terms of Service; Didn't Read) aims to raise user awareness of website terms and conditions by comparing like-for-like criteria across a variety of web services. Each criterion is assessed and given a rating of good, mediocre or alert (i.e. bad). The criteria are then collectively assessed to come up with an overall score for each service, ranging from Class A (best) to Class E (worst). Read More
— Telecommunications

France's Minitel shutting down after 30 years

After 30 years of service, France’s Minitel information service is shutting down for good. Launched in 1982 by the French state telephone company Poste, Téléphone et Télécommunications (PTT), which later became France Télécom, it was France’s answer to the World Wide Web before the Web was even created. However, despite remarkable initial success, it proved unable to compete with the modern internet and on June 30, 2012 it will be switched off. Read More