Category Archives: Web News

Internet related news

Amazon Mturk Dying?

Ever since the recent increase in pricing for requesters, its been harder for me to find decent work. And by work, I mean surveys. Ive recently discovered Mturks as a nice way to make coffee money on my downtime and I can barely break $5/day where I use to be able to pull in $15-$20 with half the effort I do now. В Lets look at the politics of Mturk and the recent drama. Continue reading Amazon Mturk Dying?

Bing Rewards Gives Users A Reason To Switch From Google

Bing Rewards

Since May 10th of 2011, I officially made the switch from Google to Bing. I was using Bing as my main search engine ever since the Panda update that changed Googles search algorithm. This was an unofficial switch as I spend some time reviewing the alternative. Surprisingly, I liked using Bing. I find the home page to be more modern andВ pleasant but looks isnt everything, of course. TheВ search quality is whats important. With Google, what use to take me 1-2 pages to find what Im looking for now takes me 3+ pages. There seemed to be an increase in web spam on Google over the month before my switch. В Ive found more relevant search results with Bing during the Panda update compared to Google and Ive used it ever since. On May 10th, I made a Bing search and made Bing my official search engine after a pop-up invited me to earn credits that IВ canВ redeem for goods and gift cards.

 

 

What Is Bing Rewards?

Basically, Bing Rewards is a loyalty rewards system much like the ones you find in most department stores. Think of it as a Stop and Shop card or GameStop Rewards card. Every time you use Bing to search, they give you an opportunity to earn points. You can then redeem these points for novelty goods like Bing Gear which are generic products that have the Bing brand on it. What got me interested was not these merchandise, but the gift cards. Each gift card seems to vary in points but they generally hover a little over 3,000 credits for a $25 card. For example, the $25 Best Buy gift card can be redeemed at the cost of 3187 credits. Thats 127.48 credits per $1.

 

 

 

 

How Do I Earn?

In order for you to start earning, you must have a Hotmail account or a Windows Live account. I choose to create a new Live account for this purpose. Then you can start earning points. Its not a fast process by any means. To earn 1 point, you have to make 5 Bing searches and you can earn up to 6 points this way per day. However, each day, Bing offers you little tasks that lets you earn instant points. Usually 6 credits. These are usually very simple. I earn 6 points by making Bing my homepage. They will also give you points by promoting some of their services. For example, I earn another 6 points by clicking a link that displayed video games. These little tasks are very simple and notВ obtrusiveВ at all. Some are even interesting. I even earned points by trying out Bing places which seems to be a competition to Googles local search. Even still, it can take a long time to earn anything significant. When you sign up, they give you a bonus 200 credits which is a nice touch. Im up to 321 credits at the moment. ThatsВ equalВ to $2.51.

 

 

Is This a Scam?

I highly doubt that Microsoft will scam us with this. In the past, I had a similar experience before Bing came into existence. It was a rewards system offered by Microsoft in partnership with eBay. Basically, you can find hidden treasures when you use Windows Live to search for products and sometimes, there would be an eBay promotion of that product. In my experience, I was looking for Bosch Fatpacks which areВ power-toolВ batteries. They go for about $180 apiece at the time but the promotion offered 30-50% off. I ordered 3 Fatpacks at 50% off which was $270 discount. Yes, Microsoft honored the offer. From this experience, I have confidence that when it comes time for me to redeem my credits, they will honor it.

 

 

The Alternative?

I could always use Google but Ive used them for over a decade and made thousands of searches. Maybe more. Never once did I ever thought I would actually get something from these searches. There is a catch though. As we grew wiser, we realize nothing in life is free and these points are no exception. When you agree to this program, you allow Microsoft to retain you search history. Whatever they do with this information is up to them. We are living in a time where privacy is a big concern. When we use Google search, they retain our information anyways so if you haveВ privacy concerns, maybe this isВ a lesser of two evils. And hey, at least you can get a $25 gift card in the process.В Bings search quality is comparable to Google in myВ opinionВ and the trade-off is worth it. These two corporation both retain our private information. At least with Bing, Ill get something back eventually. Ill report back when I redeem me credits.

 

 

Why Im Holding Off On YouTubes HTML5 Video

YouTube HTML5

Ive tested HTML5 and WebM on YouTube for about a month now and it isnt perfect. HTML5 video (WebM)on YouTube looks like the future replacement for Flash but is it really a good thing? I wrote a guest post talking about this on Konnessi if you want to check that out. Not faulting them completely, it is in testing and there are a few known issues. One of these issues is full screen playback. When you try to watch videos in full screen, it only maximizes to fill the window. You can download some extensions to fix this but seeing that this is in testing, I decided to wait full them to roll out a fix. I see no point in installing an extension or fix to have it work in the future. Besides a different playback control, there really isnt anything to brag about. On a good note, video ads are(currently)В not implemented on this new format. This is a Restriction but dont worry. Google say, we are working on this! Please guys, no rush!

 

 

 

As far as functionality, Its pretty much the same except video annotations are not supported. Playback has been fine for a while but then things got ugly. Apparently, there seems to be some sort of memory leak or CPU issue. I would have Chromium opened to a YouTube video and all of a sudden, my computer bogs at 60% CPU usage. VideoВ frame-rateВ then drops significantly and my computer responds just as slow. Killing Chromium doesnt solve this problem. I would have to restart my machine to get it up to speed. I am not used to a slow bogging computer since I left Windows. I have tested this on multipleВ occasionsВ and concluded that it only happens with the HTML5 trial running on YouTube. Isolating the problem, I have decided to leave the trial. Googles move to push WebM seems premature. The format is buggy and every video take about 5 seconds longer to load compared to the normal Flash counterpart. I decide to be fair and try it out but as of right now, its not worth it. I have to restart my computer after watching 5 videos and wait longer to watch them. Are you on the HTML5 trial? What is your experience? If you want to try HTML5 video for yourself, click here to enter the trial.

 

Google Video Officially Ends April 29, 2011

Google Video

Today, many Google Video users got a sad email stating that Google Video will officially end on the 29th of this month. This news doesnt come as a big shock since their purchase of YouTube in 2006. While I do think maintaining both YouTube and Google Video may seem redundant, I will miss it. I actually prefer watching 30+ minute videos on Google Video over YouTube. It was a nice niche for documentary style video while YouTube was more of a quick fix. Here is a copy of the official email:

 

 

 

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Dear Google Video User,
Later this month, hosted video content on Google Video will no longer be available for playback. Google Video stopped taking uploads in May 2009 and now were removing the remaining hosted content. Weve always maintained that the strength of Google Video is its ability to let people search videos from across the web, regardless of where those videos are hosted. And this move will enable us to focus on developing these technologies further to the benefit of searchers worldwide.
On April 29, 2011, videos that have been uploaded to Google Video will no longer be available for playback. Weve added a Download button to the video status page, so you can download any video content you want to save. If you dont want to download your content, you dont need to do anything. (The Download feature will be disabled after May 13, 2011.)
We encourage you to move to your content to YouTube if you havent done so already. YouTube offers many video hosting options including the ability to share your videos privately or in an unlisted manner. To learn more go here.
Heres how to download your videos:
Go to the Video Status page.В To download a video to your computer, click the Download Video link located on the right side ofВ each of your videos in the Actions column.
Once a video has been downloaded, Already Downloaded will appear next to the Download Video link.
If you have many videos on Google Video, you may need to use the paging controls located on the bottom right of the page to access them all.
Please note: This download option will be available through May 13, 2011.
Thank you for being a Google Video user.
Sincerely,
The Google Video Team


Google was kind enough to remind its users and provide a download option for those who dont already have video download plugins on their browsers. We have about a month to grab whatever we can before itВ disappearsВ forever. Well, maybe not forever. Most of these videos will likely be mirrored on YouTube or archived somewhere else. Either way, download whatever you can while these videos are still up.

 

 

Here is the official Google notes. :(

 

An Alternative Browser: Opera 11.10 Stable Released

Opera 11.10

Yesterday, April 11th, Opera released the stable version of 11.10. I got the update from the Opera Repository this morning. I also have the experimental beta Repository in my package list so I upgraded from the beta. This new upgrade features some new changes. Most of these changes are internal bug fixes but the most immediate visual change is the new Speed Dial. Now it has a default of 4В columns. You can also add additional sites to your Speed Dial. If you want the old 3 x 3 layout, click the Configure button at the top-right corner and you can customize how many columns you want. You can also hide the + sign. Opera claims thatВ Opera Turbo is improved so thats always a good thing. For those who are not familiar with Opera, Opera Turbo is a feature that compresses the data of web content and delivers them to you at a lower quality. This makes pages load faster. This powerful feature is great forВ congestedВ networks like cafes and heavily populated WiFi hotspots. One other addition to this new update is the support for WebP image format. Currently, two web browsers support WebP: Opera and Chromium. 3 if you include Google Chrome. Hit up this page to see if your browser supports it. WebP is a new image format looking to take over JPG and PNG with some serious image compression and tiny file sizes.

 

 

 

 

 

For those who may have used Opera in the past or may have overlooked it, heres yourВ chance to try itВ out again. What always surprises me about Opera is how light and featured-packed it is. With Opera Turbo, Opera Unite, and Opera Links, it has what it takes to be my main Internet browser. Opera is probably the most underrated modern browsers used today. This may be the welcoming many users need as Firefox can feel a bit bloated these days. Click the link above to check it out for yourself. Opera is available on Windows,В Mac,В andВ Linux.