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Wayback Machine Celebrates Milestones on USENET
May 27th, 2014

Thee Internet Archive today announced a massive milestone for its Wayback Machine: 400 billion indexed webpages. The data encompasses the Web as it looked anytime from late 1996 up until a few hours ago.

To celebrate the milestone, the Internet Archive has provided a list of The Wayback Machine highlights over the years on USENET newsgroups:

2001 – The Wayback Machine launches.
2006 – Archive-It launches, allowing libraries that subscribe to the service to create curated collections of Web content.
March 25, 2009 – The Internet Archive and Sun Microsystems launch a new datacenter that stores the whole Web archive and serves the Wayback Machine. This 3 petabyte data center handled 500 requests per second from its home in a shipping container.
June 15, 2011 – The HTTP Archive becomes part of the Internet Archive, adding data about the performance of websites to the collection of website content.
May 28, 2012 – The Wayback Machine is available in China again, after being blocked for a few years without notice.
October 26, 2012 – the Internet Archive makes 80 terabytes of archived Web crawl data from 2011 available for researchers, to explore how others might be able to interact with or learn from this content.
October 2013 – New features for the Wayback Machine are launched, including the ability to see newly crawled content an hour after it’s archived, a “Save Page” feature so that anyone can archive a page on demand, and an effort to fix broken links on the Web starting with WordPress.com and Wikipedia.org.
Also in October 2013 – The Wayback Machine provides access to important Federal Government sites that go dark during the Federal Government Shutdown.

Onwards and upwards! Will The Way Back Machine have 500 billion webpages indexed by 2015? We wouldn’t be surprised if it happened sooner.

USENET still considerably pre-dates any of the milestones of the Wayback Machine but is many of the USENET community are proud to be part of the evolution that has occurred from its USENET roots.


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SSD Technology Is Getting Faster According To USENET
May 23rd, 2014

A post on technology USENET newsgroups details the announcement of the Japanese team at Chuo University that have made a breakthrough in SSD technology which will make a great drive all the better. The team has found a software/firmware solution for the major drawback inherit in all SSDs.

This could enable high-end devices to easily reach transfer speeds of 1.5GB/s as current models achieve around 500MB/s typically; 60% less power was also used in the lab tests due to the lack of additional drive writes.

The team has overcome the issue by changing the middleware that controls storage for database applications. The new method uses a “logical block address scrambler” which basically stops data being written to a new page and places it in a block to be erased in the next sweep. That means fewer pages, less copying and ultimately a better drive.

Current NAND flash drives can be adapted to work in this way meaning 55 per cent fewer write and erase cycles, extending the device’s life. Since the changes are so small but have such a huge effect we’d expect to see them appear very soon.


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Chrome Remote Desktop Allows You Control Of Your USENET Newsreader At Home
April 17th, 2014

Good news for Android users: You can now access your PC desktop  and your USENET newsreader computer directly via your smartphone or tablet.

Google announced the launch of Chrome Remote Desktop app for Android this week, which lets you access files sitting on your home PC or Mac even when you’re nowhere near it.

The move builds off its Chrome Remote Desktop app launched in 2011, which let users remotely access a desktop from another laptop or computer. The service is free — a stark contrast with costly remote-desktop software such as Parallels Access.

After downloading the Android app from Google Play, you’ll need to install the Chrome Remote Desktop extension in a desktop’s Chrome browser to connect the two systems. Then, grant access for the remote connection to work and set up a PIN code for the PC.

The PC name will then appear in the Chrome Remote Desktop page (and need to be selected) before plugging in the same PIN code within the app. Then, you’re good to go.

Microsoft also has its own remote desktop app client, as does Amazon Workspaces, which lets employees access work computers from their personal devices.


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Corning Releases 5Gbps USB 3.0 Cables
April 12th, 2014

Move over, eSATA. Corning’s new optical USB 3.0 cables are finally on sale as discussed on popular newsgroups, and they can move data faster than you could ever hope to. Almost twice as fast, as a matter of fact. eSATA peaks at about 3Gbps, while Corning’s USB3.Optical cables can achieve throughput of up to 5Gbps.

Better still, they’re capable of doing it over distances of 30 meters. That’s not quite as good as Corning’s Thunderbolt 2 version, which can handle runs of 100 meters, but USB 3.0 ports are a whole lot more common. The big downside here is that retail pricing for the USB3.Optical cables starts at about $109.99.

Price is one major reason optical cables haven’t taken off with consumers, but it certainly won’t deter professionals who work with massive files that are stored on external devices. Things like raw 1080p video and massive data sets can move at an absolutely blistering pace over Corning’s cables.

At 5Gbps, USB3.Optical cables max out the USB 3.0 spec. USB 3.1 was finalized last August, however, and it raises the speed limit to a whopping 10Gbps. Corning hasn’t commented on whether the current batch of cables will be able to keep up with USB 3.1 controllers, but they’ll at least be compatible — and it’s not like 5Gbps is slow or anything.

Still, the additional 5Gbps would provide the kind of speed necessary for USENET users working with uncompressed 4K video stored on enterprise-grade RAID devices. It seems unlikely that Corning — who first showed off the 5Gbps cables more than a year ago — won’t be ready for the big debut of SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps.


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ThunderNews Patch Prevents Heartbleed Vulnerability
April 8th, 2014

ThunderNews has patched all SSL encryption channels and users are not at risk of the Heartbleed vulnerability.

The recently discovered security weakness allows evildoers to steal the information that is normally protected by the SSL/TLS encryption used to secure communication over the Internet.

It’s a serious flaw; OpenSSL is the standard library for driving SSL and TLS encryption in a variety of software packages and information appliances; Apache and nginx, two of the most popular server packages around accounting for an estimated 66 per cent of all web servers, use OpenSSL; the library is also commonly used in other encrypted systems such as virtual private network (VPN) appliances, point-of-sale (PoS) systems and messaging servers.

The Heartbleed Bug works by exploiting the heartbeat extension of the Transport Security Layer (TLS) protocol; attackers are able to read unlimited system memory in 64KB chunks, with exploitation leaving no trace on the system. These memory chunks can be reassembled and analysed to gather usernames, passwords, encryption keys, and other privileged information which should not be exposed to the public.

It’s advised that Thundernews Members change their passwords for online services, especially email services such as gmail, yahoo, social networks such as facebook, twitter, any banking or investment sites and any other site that has used the OpenSSL library.


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New Data Cables Offer 800GBPS Speed
March 11th, 2014

After more than a decade of research, USENET posts reveal Intel’s new connector that uses light as a speedy way to shuffle data between computers is finally ready to replace slower copper cables.

It’ll give network builders blistering fast transfer speeds in the short term, and allow the chip giant to re-think how servers are built in the long-term.

The cables will contain the new ‘MXC’ connector, developed in partnership with Corning, comprised of up to 64 fibres (32 each for transmitting and receiving), meaning 800Gbps can be transferred in each direction – with up to a total of 1.6Tbps (1,600,000Mbps) running through the cable at any one time.

The cables are smaller, more durable and have a range of up to 300 meters Ethernet is slower per lane and signals could degrade on cables that are longer than tens of meters an intel spokesman said. Corning, which said it would start making cables for end customers in the third quarter, but has so far not mentioned price.

Some initial adopters of the tech include Microsoft, Huawei, Facebook via the Open Compute Project, Arista, and Fujitsu. These outfits are among those sampling the MXC cables right now; the cables will go into mass production by the third quarter of this year, we understand.

With faster data transfers on the server level means more content faster for users. How this can be implemented on USENET servers remains to be seen. Imagine for a second how much data servers can handle by being able to split the data between even more USENET servers, more quickly? The results could be amazing.


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Windows Update Comes Out Earlier For USENET Users
March 7th, 2014

Microsoft won’t be officially releasing Windows 8.1 Update 1 until after their conference in April, but late on Thursday the company accidentally leaked the update to the public. Posted on USENET newsgroups, eager users were able to make a small registry change that made the updates show up in Windows Update, or download it all through direct links to Microsoft’s servers.

Most of the changes found in the Windows 8.1 Update 1 are said to be focussed on keyboard and mouse users, as we see a desktop taskbar placed above the Metro UI-style apps, and options that enable the user to minimise, close or snap Metro UI-style apps. The Redmond-based firm is also said to add a ‘shut down’ button on the Start screen for non-touch user machines. A new search button is also seen on the top-right corner.

The Windows Update method is tricky, as it involves tweaking a setting in the Registry. And while some newsgroups members report success using it, others say that Microsoft appears to have already blocked it, such that not all of the required updates appear in Windows Update any longer.

Separate packages are available for 32-bit x86, x86-64, and ARM versions of Windows – yes, even the unloved Windows RT gets to share the Update 1 wealth – so make sure you only download the ones for the architecture you need, and don’t try to mix and match.

The date on the update file corresponds with recent reports that Microsoft had finalized this release. It’s possible that there will be additional minor changes between now and April 8, when the update is scheduled for general release.


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From USENET: Microsoft To Release Office For iOS
February 15th, 2014

Microsoft is still working on Office for iPad, and it could debut before July, reports USENET newsgroups. While newsgroups had reported that Microsoft was working on Office for iPhone and iPad some time ago, it ultimately only rolled out an iPhone version and pointed tablet users to Office Web Apps.  However, USENET newsgroup subscribers now reports that development on Office for iPad has both continued and been sped up in order to bring it to market fairly soon.

The product is “likely” to arrive before the touch-optimized version of Office that will run in the Windows 8.1 Start screen environment. Sources suggest that Office for iPad is codenamed ‘Miramar’ and was made a priority late last year. While no fixed release date has been given, it’s rumored to be in the first half of 2014.

As stated in newsgroups, Microsoft has found success on Apple’s platforms historically. The original version of Excel worked on a Mac before it was ready for Windows. Apple had a graphical interface before Microsoft, so Excel was on Apple computers first. Going iPad before Windows would just repeat the past.

The catch is that these USENET sources still don’t know if this will be an Office 365 app, just like we have for the iPhone, or if it will be a true Office suite of apps. Give the fact that the biggest factor that differentiates Windows on a tablet is Office, many newsgroup subscribers biggest bet is for this to require an Office 365 subscription, but we’ll hopefully know soon, as the sources claim that the launch will happen in the first-half of this year.


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ThunderNews Reaches 2000 Days Of Binary Retention
February 10th, 2014

ThunderNews is now able to provide even further retention benefits to its customers with 2,000 days of binary retention on more than 140,000 active newsgroups.

With over five and a half years of retention, it serves as a new mildstone for ThunderNews and the USENET industry. This allows users to research and access information on all discussion and binary newsgroups from more than 5 years ago.

Now users can dig up info from when “How I Met Your Mother” started, the death and legacy of Michael Jackson and even the first stories and discussions about the Maersk Alabama hijacking that resulted in the movie “Captain Phillips”.

The increase of retention has been achieved by our never ending pursuit in delivering the very best features and capabilities we can offer our USENET members. We hope you enjoy the service as we continue our improvements.

The increase is automatically accessible to all ThunderNews members. Stay tuned for other retention and service upgrades in the near future!


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Asus Chromebox Could Be Your Best USENET On The Go Device
February 6th, 2014

Google’s Chrome OS continues to show up on more and more devices, and while the majority of them are laptops, it looks like desktop users are going to have quite a few options as well. Joining LG’s upcoming Chromebase all-in-one is the Asus Chromebox, a headless mini-PC that goes on sale in March for $179. At 4.88″ by 4.88″ by 1.65″, it’s similar to but slightly larger than Intel’s more versatile NUC desktop in every dimension.
The Asus Chromebox is incredibly small, measuring 4.9×4.9×1.65 inches. The Intel NUC is marginally smaller, but they’re both incredibly small computers. Other than its incredibly low price, the main advantage of the Asus Chromebox is that it’s fanless — so, plug in an external hard drive, or connect it up to your NAS, and you have a fairly plucky home theater PC. It’s also a pretty solid choice if you’re looking for a small, inoffensive piece of technology to get a friend or family member onto the internet. The lack of internal storage is always going to be a bit of an issue with Chromebooks and boxes, but Google’s free-100GB-of-cloud-storage-for-two-years does ameliorate some of the pain.

A benefit that USENET members may enjoys is that the ASUS Chromebox will attach to the back-end of a VESA-based monitor, making it look like the popular all-in-one Windows 8.1 machines at the big box stores. It will also hook up to more than one display, making it a nice tool for plugging into the family TV and a computer at the same time. Watch movies on Google Play Movies or Netflix and then switch over to a computer to access the thousands of newsgroups that ThunderNews offers its members.

The box itself is a little bigger than Intel’s Haswell NUC, but we’re still talking about an extremely small form factor computer. You can expect availability sometime in March. Google will throw in 100GB of space on Google Drive for 2 years to make up for the limited internal storage.


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