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Google Chrome Currently The World’s Fastest Browser

Posted on 18. Aug, 2011 by . 2 Comments

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Anybody wondering how their browser stacks up in terms of real world speed? I mean, sure- we’ve got lab tests and official benchmarks, but those are isolated, controlled environments. In the real world, things can tend to be a little more chaotic- people use different models of computers, have different software and hardware…you get the idea. How fast a browser is and how fast that browser feels- that is, the experience of the audience- are two entirely different things, after all.

At least, that’s what Compuware’s benchmarks division- titled “Gomez”- reasoned. The project collected browsing data from over 1.8 billion individual measurements spanning over two hundred websites. So what’d they end up finding? What results did the test provide? What browser is the fastest of them all?

The answer isn’t particularly surprising- it’s Chrome.

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Chrome Game Review: Monster Dash

Posted on 17. Aug, 2011 by . 2 Comments

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Designed by Halfbrick Studios(you might remember them as the guys behind Fruit Ninja) Monster dash is a game about running really fast. And shooting monsters. And…that’s about it. Believe it or not, those are they only things the game really needs to work. And hey, their best known game is about attacking pieces of fruit with a katana, so this premise is actually a bit of a step up, if you think about it.

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Stay Connected To Google With Gtools +

Posted on 17. Aug, 2011 by . 1 Comments

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Chances are good that if you’re reading this, you’ve got at least a marginally positive opinion of Google. Assuming this is true, chances are also good that you use at least one Google service, right? Google Docs, Gmail, Google +, pretty much any of those are fair game- and all of them are pretty damned useful. Of course, chances are also good that you’re using more than one service. See where I’m going with this?

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The Internet’s A Dangerous Place: Chrome Can Make It A Bit Safer

Posted on 16. Aug, 2011 by . 3 Comments

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MALWARE by rhesusmonkey 1024x714

Here’s some rather alarming news. See, a lot of folks think that they’re safe if they simply avoid questionable websites. Staying away from suspect domain names, pornography, all the nasty stuff that exists on the underbelly of the internet. Trouble is…that’s not exactly the case anymore. Apparently, over eight million web pages have been hijacked this summer alone; set up to load malware onto the computer of unsuspecting visitors. It’s not a particularly pleasant story, and it might even sound like fearmongering.

Honestly? I wish it was.

According to research by web security firm Armorize, this latest epidemic is just part of a larger trend that’s been sweeping the internet, a new style of hacking that targets individual websites instead of the users who browse them- though the users are, ultimately, still the end target.  ”The misuse of small sites is making the Internet a much more dangerous place” said a lab analyst from Avast. “Even the unimportant sites can do big harm when misused.”

Even worse? Apparently it’s all traceable to a single criminal gang, situated somewhere in the Ukraine. This gang is using computer servers to hack legitimate websites, transforming them into zombie sites that exist only to deliver ‘drive by downloads’ to users who are visiting the site. You’ve probably already figured out that a ‘drive by download’ isn’t the sort of download you want to be involved in.  I’ll give you an idea of just how unpleasant the whole process is.

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Search Out Images With The TinEye Extension

Posted on 16. Aug, 2011 by . 4 Comments

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Tineye’s a Chrome extension that lets you search by image- as opposed to searching for image. At this point, a lot of you are probably saying “Whoa, hey, stop right there. Google’s already got image searching, they added that ages ago!” Oh, I’m well aware of that. But the thing about Google’s “Search By Image” feature is that it mainly focuses on the image title, identifiable watermarks and related keywords. TinEye’s supposedly unique in that…well, it doesn’t do that.

Instead, it actually claims to be the first image search engine to use image identification technology. According to the developer, when a user uploads an image, it “creates a unique and compact digital signature or ‘fingerprint’ for the image.” It then proceeds to compare this fingerprint to every other image in the TinEye index, retrieving matches in the process. It doesn’t usually find similar images- that’s not really its purpose. Instead, it finds exact matches to the uploaded image- regardless of whether or not those matches have been cropped, edited, or resized.

Now, you’ll notice that it doesn’t actually search images out on the internet- it creates a catalogue of sorts and searches through this catalogue when you’re looking for an image. So it’s anything but perfect, in that regard- cataloguing pretty much every image in the internet is a daunting task, to say the least. Just the same, the developer claims to be adding literally “tens of millions” of images per day to their libraries. At the very least, you’re guaranteed to find at least a few copies of the image you load into the extension.

While that’s all very, very cool and sounds rather high tech, some of you are probably scratching your heads and going “Well…what’s the point?”

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Murdoch Block Helps You Boycott News Corp International

Posted on 15. Aug, 2011 by . 1 Comments

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For those of you who don’t know, the Murdochs are the family behind a Britain-based publication known as News International. A lot of you are probably a bit confused here- why would you want to boycott a news publication? What could they have possibly done wrong? Are they a tabloid? Do they sensationalize their stories too much? I will explain- and perhaps you’ll understand why an extension like this isn’t a ‘just for fun’ sorta deal.

Fact is, there’s actually a very valid reason to want to boycott the Murdochs and their entire organization.

I feel for other journalists, I really do- sometimes, it’s really hard to get a decent story running. Journalism can be a downright cutthroat field, and if the other guys get a story before you do, well…in some cases, that could mean you’re kissing your job goodbye. You can’t really blame a guy for resorting to some…unorthodox practices in order to get their facts straight.

But this…this is something else altogether. After tirade after tirade about his disgust with British media, one would have expected better of CEO Rupert Murdoch. Turns out, a lot of News International’s success came from the fact that a lot of their sources were illegally obtained. I’m not simply talking home invasion or photos without consent- those are small time compared to what the super-powerful publication was pulling. I’m a little disgusted by some of the things they did. Want to know why? Here’s a tidbit from the article I linked above:

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Rupert Murdoch- Image via Wikipedia

…it is clear that success came with a heavy price tag – morality. Murdoch’s journalists kept circulations high by violating and exploiting the vulnerable: they hacked the private voicemails of the families of dead soldiers and of murdered children.

“Essentially, we’ve seen criminality and invasion of privacy on a staggering industrial scale,” Loz Kaye says.

But now it is clear that success came with a heavy price tag – morality. Murdoch’s journalists kept circulations high by violating and exploiting the vulnerable: they hacked the private voicemails of the families of dead soldiers and of murdered children.

“Essentially, we’ve seen criminality and invasion of privacy on a staggering industrial scale,” Loz Kaye says.

Not even the rich and powerful could escape. Then-Chancellor Gordon Brown’s baby’s photo was splashed over the front page of the Sun, his illness a sick headline, Royal family phones were hacked.

The scandal even goes right to the heart of the police force: senior police officers were bribed by journalists for tip-offs on sensitive investigations. Private lives were made public.

unnamed 43Wire tapping. Hacking. Bribery. The fact that they even went after the Royal Family at one point…yeah. Now that this is blown wide open, I don’t think News International is going to be all that powerful anymore. I know I’ll be staying the hell away from them and their sorry excuse for a newspaper. If you want to know more about the Murdochs and this whole scandal, read the article I linked above. I’m pretty sure I’ve said all I need to say here.

 

Anyway, if you’re looking to block News Corp out of your life, download the extension from the Chrome Web Store. The extension page also contains links to the source code, and information on exactly what websites are blocked.

Chrome Weekly Release Roundup: August 8-12, 2011

Posted on 14. Aug, 2011 by . 2 Comments

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It’s been yet another busy week for the Google Chrome team, and they’ve  two more major release under their belts. As you all well know, Chrome 14 is now live on the Beta channel. In addition, the Developer channel has updated a whopping five times-one of those to Chrome 15-and the stable channel got an update to 13.0.782.112 just before 14 went live on Beta.

In other words….we’ve got a pretty big list to cover this time around. As we usually do, let’s start with the developer release channel.

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New Beta Release Brings Native Client To Chrome

Posted on 13. Aug, 2011 by . 1 Comments

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Chrome 14 has finally hit the Beta channel.

On Thursday, The Chrome team officially announced the launch of Chrome 14.0.835.35 to the Beta channel on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chrome Frame. It was a pretty big update- and a rather awesome one. If there were things to be excited about with Chrome 13, that’s doubly true for Chrome 14, which comes packed with a plethora of awesome new features that I can’t wait to see hit the stable release two months down the road.

I’d argue that the most exciting aspect of this release is that it’s primarily aimed at a particular usergroup. Developers, I’m looking at you.  Several of the most touted features in this update are designed specifically to make your lives easier.

First and foremost, Native Client has now been officially released. While it’s definitely been around for quite some time, it’s not really seen much exposure- or use. As a result, it’s basically been quietly gathering dust in Chromes about: flags section. Kind of a shame given its rather incredible potential.

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NaCLBox is just one of the possible applications for Native Client.

If you’re not sure what Native Client is, don’t worry- there’s a lot of people in the same boat. The best way I can explain it is to tell you that it’s essentially a software virtualization interface designed for Google Chrome. They’ve explained it a little better on the Google Blog than I can here:

Native Client allows C and C++ code to be seamlessly executed inside the browser with security restrictions similar to JavaScript. Native Client apps use Pepper, a set of interfaces that provide C and C++ bindings to the capabilities of HTML5.

Windows applications are primarily coded in C. So, yeah. Native Client; kind of a big deal.

Second, Google’s released a new API for high performance audio, which they’ve christened “Web Audio API.” According to the Official Google Blog, “the Web Audio API supports audio effects such as room simulation and spatialization, allowing web developers to create even more interactive experiences and games.” They’ve provided some examples for the devs to toy around with, as well. Not as exciting as Native Client, but pretty cool just the same.

Also present in the new release is additional support for Mac OS X Lion, Print Preview for Mac, two new experimental APIs and a new Sync Encryption security feature. We’ll take a close look at those tomorrow, in the Weekly Release Roundup.

Via Chrome Release Blog, Google Chrome Blog

Chrome Game Review: Creatures & Castles

Posted on 13. Aug, 2011 by . 5 Comments

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If you’ve been looking for some entertaining puzzle gameplay, but coming to the sad conclusion that it might just be an itch you’re unable to scracth…I might be able to help you out. Introducing Hiive Game’s Creatures & Castles. Originally developed for smartphones (I believe it made its debut on iOS) Creatures & Castles follows a very simple premise.You’re a kid who snuck out of their parents place in the dead of night to steal treasure. There is a castle. It contains treasure. You want that treasure. You’re not in the habit of asking nicely though- and in the case of this castle, it probably wouldn’t do a whole lot of good anyway.

What follows is a mildly entertaining- and, at times, somewhat challenging- puzzle game.

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Chrome On The Eee Pad Transformer

Posted on 13. Aug, 2011 by . 1 Comments

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A very interesting series of tweets from Liam Mcullough earlier this week. For those of you who don’t know, Mcullough- also known by his nickname, Hexxeh, is the man who’s more or less been solely responsible for pretty much every Chromium OS release since Chrome first hit the market. He’s also the fellow who loaded Chrome onto a Macbook Air. With that information in mind, it was pretty clear what his intentions were when he tweeted on Sunday that he was “picking up an Asus transformer tomorrow, with the keyboard dock.” That said, he continued by establishing that he was “not interested in running Android on there.”

After spending about a day fiddling around with his new purchase(which apparently rather impressed him), Hexxeh managed to load Google’s Chrome OS onto the rig, as made evident by the screenshot above. Though it’s kind of hard to tell due to the lighting, that is none other than the Asus Eee Pad Transformer, complete with a shiny new OS- and it definitely isn’t Android.

Now, before you folks go getting all excited; there are a few things we’ll first need to establish. One; this isn’t as much of a total system overhaul as with the Macbook Air, either- in this case, he booted straight from a USB drive, in order to make it easier to work on the image. Second, the current build of Chromium on the Transformer is suffering from some…pretty nasty bugs, if Hexxeh’s to be believed. When asked about how well it ran, he responded with the following:

“runs terribly things to some huge bugs in the LDK, gonna try to work around them by patching Chromium and the WM. Basics like WiFi, touchscreen work, sound is MIA right now but that’s an easy fix.”

So….long story short, he’s still working feverishly on getting this system up and running. Those of you expecting a touch-based UI might be a bit disappointed, though. Hexxeh’s made it clear that he’s not keen on building a touch interface for the transformer at the current moment- seems likely he’s more focused on getting the basics working before he starts fiddling with the onscreen keyboard- something which is made possible thanks to the transformer’s rather excellent keyboard dock.

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Currently, Hexxeh’s managed to shave ten seconds off the boot time of the Transformer (No word on how long it takes to load, I’ll keep you posted), and the release date for this build is…basically “TBA.” According to Mcullough, when or if he releases this build hinges entirely on when he finds the time to finish it.

Considering how fast he seems to work, I’d imagine it’ll probably be some time next month.

Either way, it’s pretty exciting news- as he put it, the experiment is basically “complete proof of concept” regarding the viability of Chrome as a tablet OS. Of course, we sort of knew the concept was true from the beginning- Hexxeh’s just demonstrating it beyond a shadow of a doubt.

You can follow Hexxeh on Twitter here, or visit his blog and toss a donation his way here.

Image Credits: Hexxeh

 

App Review: Layers- Your Personalized Social Channel

Posted on 12. Aug, 2011 by . 2 Comments

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If you’re a member of more than one social network, managing your connections and feeds can sometimes feel a touch overwhelming. Having to visit each site separately in order to view your feeds and updates can be rather tedious.  What’s more, keeping track of multiple RSS feeds….it tends to get downright bloody confusing What’s more, if you want to share something to each of the networks you’re part of…chance are, you’ll have to visit each one individually.There are some applications that exist to facilitate inter-network sharing, but much of the time, they aren’t quite enough.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a dashboard from which you could view your social networks?

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Layers. 

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Google Adds Games to Google +

Posted on 11. Aug, 2011 by . 3 Comments

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It should be pretty clear by now that I’m a big fan of Google +. And hey- why wouldn’t I be? Seamless integration into Google’s other services, Google Hangouts, a simple, high quality interface, it’s not Facebook. What’s not to love about it? Of course, Facebook has had one major advantage over G + since the latter’s launch- games. Facebook has them, Google + doesn’t.

If Google + was to compete with Facebook, it needed social games- there’s no getting around that fact. Google knew that. They were well aware of the nuances of social media- and the how large a part of said media gaming truly is. If Google + was going to survive, and truly be a viable alternative to Facebook, they’d need to eliminate that chink in their armor. A great many people pointed at a lack of games as one of Google +’s biggest shortcomings.

A shortcoming that today was eliminated. That’s right, folks- gaming has finally come to Google +.

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