Google Helpouts Lets You Buy Face Time with Experts

What’s your first instinct when trying to answer a question or solve a problem? You Google it. But sometimes that isn’t enough. That’s why the search giant is rolling out Google Helpouts, offering face-to-face tutorials and advice via video chats. 

Helpouts are video calls powered by Google+ Hangouts that involve experts selling their services in various areas of expertise. As of now these categories include Home & Garden, Computer & Electronics, Cooking& Education, Health & Counseling, Nutrition & Fitness, Fashion & Beauty and Art & Music.  The service is currently being tested, but Google said it’s inviting “people with expertise across a number of topics” to offer their input. [READ MORE]


Rackspace helps school Congress on copyright and open source


Five technology companies, Rackspace and Indiegogo among them, took to Capitol Hill on Thursday to testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee about the importance of technology to innovation. The hearing, in front of the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet, followed one last week by a group of copyright holders and their industry organizations. Amid a sea of feel-good talk about the benefits of open source, Rackspace VP of Intellectual Property Van Lindberg made some really good points about the drawbacks of current copyright law.

Believe it or not: People fake copyright claims

The core of his argument is that, although the Digital Millennium Copyright Act might be fair, it’s also very prone to abuse. Lindberg specifically cited the abuses that come from computer systems programmed to recognize a copyright holder’s content and automatically send DMCA takedown notices. He noted how one Rackspace customer, a…

View original post 631 more words

XKeyscore program indexes everyday internet activities, Snowden documents show


The Guardian has published a detailed look at XKeyscore, one of the key systems used by the NSA and its intelligence partners to suck in and search through people’s internet activities.

XKeyscore has previously been outlined in Brazil’s O Globo (in an article co-authored by Glenn Greenwald, who also wrote today’s Guardian piece) and Germany’s Der Spiegel, but the new article comes with a full look at a 2008 XKeyscore presentation leaked by Edward Snowden.

“Rolling buffer”

XKeyscore appears to take in a vast amount of data on a pretty indiscriminate basis and store it in a “rolling buffer” of around 3 days, unfiltered — this means intelligence analysts can query XKeyscore for full content retrospectively, to a certain extent. Metadata, which helps narrow down searches (we’re talking about a lot of data here) gets stored for 30 days, or at least it was back in 2008.


View original post 340 more words

Google Fiber, net neutrality & the regulatory challenges in the age of gigabit broadband


Google Fiber, the gigabit network that is live in Provo Utah and parts of Kansas City is facing its first big debate over network neutrality — it’s like a rite of passage for ISPs. As Wired reported on Tuesday, a Lawrence, Kansas resident filed a complaint with the FCC over Google’s terms of service, arguing that because Google prevented people from attaching servers to their fiber lines, Google was violating network neutrality rules.

The FCC deemed the complaint informal and passed it along to Google. Google’s defense in this matter was fourfold:

  1. Douglas McClendon, the man who filed the complaint, isn’t even a customer of Google Fiber and didn’t even live in an area the company served;
  2. Google prevents customers from operating servers on its network because Google Fiber is a residential and not business class service;
  3. The terms of service don’t violate network neutrality rules because preventing business users…

View original post 976 more words

Cord Cutters: A first look at Google’s Chromecast video streaming adapter

Another great piece of innovation from Google


Google’s new Chromecast promises to beam videos straight from your tablet, phone or laptop to your TV. Check out this episode of Cord Cutters for some first impressions.

Show notes for this episode:

  • Chromecast is available online for $35. Find out more about the device on the Chromecast website.
  • It looks like the Netfix(s nflx) promotion mentioned in our video isn’t available anymore.
  • Chromecast currently supports streaming from Netflix, YouTube(s goog), Google Play and Pandora, but others have announced…

View original post 84 more words

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 25, 2013

Bill Mullins' Weblog - Tech Thoughts

Congress nearly shuts down NSA phone dragnet, in sudden 205-217 vote – “While ultimately not successful, this vote showed that more than 200 members of Congress—including the author of the Patriot Act—oppose these programs,” said David Segal of Demand Progress in an e-mailed statement. “These programs barely survived after a full court lobbying campaign by the White House, the Intelligence community, and the NSA proper. Today’s vote shows that the tide is turning.” “This is a great first step. It’s the best vote we’ve ever had on the Patriot Act,” an ACLU lobbyist told The Guardian. It was a “sea change” in how Congress views bulk surveillance, she said, and it will at least force more privacy protections into a forthcoming intelligence authorization bill.

Feds put heat on Web firms for master encryption keys – Whether the FBI and NSA have the legal authority to obtain the master keys that…

View original post 1,772 more words