While we knew the Android version of Instagram was coming sooner rather than later, with the release being teased just last month at South by Southwest Interactive, the exact release date wasn’t clear. Well, the day has finally arrived.
With more than 430,000 Android users on the waiting list, Instagram is now available in Google Play. The app carries with it the same features (except tilt-shift/blur) and a similar user interface to that of the iOS version. Users are able to browse friends’ photos, view the popular photos, and upload their own photos, as you would expect.
Android users will join a community of 30 million registered users, who contribute more than 5 million photos a day. More than 1 billion photos in all have been uploaded to Instagram, strictly from iOS devices. With the addition of Android devices, these numbers are sure to grow at a considerable pace.
Are you excited to see Instagram on Android? Or are you tired of Instagram-like photos taking over your social streams? Let us know your thoughts below!
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The file-sharing landscape is slowly adjusting in response to the continued push for more anti-piracy tools, the final Pirate Bay verdict, and the raids and arrests in the Megaupload case. Faced with uncertainty and drastic changes at file-sharing sites, many users are searching for secure, private and uncensored file-sharing clients. Despite the image its name suggests, RetroShare is one such future-proof client.
The avalanche of negative file-sharing news over the past weeks hasn’t gone unnoticed to users and site operators.
From SOPA to Megaupload, there is a growing uncertainly about the future of sharing.
While many BitTorrent sites and cyberlockers continue to operate as usual, there is a growing group of users who are expanding their horizons to see what other means of sharing are available if the worst case scenario becomes reality.
Anonymous, decentralized and uncensored are the key and most sought-after features. For some this means signing up with a VPN to make their BitTorrent sharing more private, but new clients are also generating interest.
Earlier this month we wrote about Tribler, a decentralized (not anonymous) BitTorrent client that makes torrent sites obsolete. We’ve covered Tribler for more than half a decade, but it was only after our most recent post that it really took off with more than a hundred thousanddownloads in a few days.
But there are more file-sharing tools that are specifically built to withstand outside attacks. Some even add anonymity into the mix. RetroShare is such a private and uncensored file-sharing client, and the developers have also noticed a significant boom in users recently.
The RetroShare network allows people to create a private and encrypted file-sharing network. Users add friends by exchanging PGP certificates with people they trust. All the communication is encrypted using OpenSSL and files that are downloaded from strangers always go through a trusted friend.
In other words, it’s a true Darknet and virtually impossible to monitor by outsiders.
RetroShare founder DrBob told us that while the software has been around since 2006, all of a sudden there’s been a surge in downloads. “The interest in RetroShare has massively shot up over the last two months,” he said.
“In January our downloads tripled when interest in SOPA was at its peak. It more than doubled again in February, when cyberlockers disabled sharing or shut down entirely. At the moment we are getting 10 times more downloads than in December 2011.”
RetroShare’s downloads at Sourceforge
RetroShare’s founder believes that there is an increased need for security, privacy and freedom among file-sharers, features that are at the core of his application.
“RetroShare is about creating a private space on the Internet. A social collaboration network where you can share anything you want. A space that is free from the prying eyes of governments, corporations and advertisers. This is vitally important as our freedom on the Internet is under increasing threat,” DrBob told TorrentFreak.
“RetroShare is free from censorship: like Facebook banning ‘obscene’ breast-feeding photographs. A network that allows you to use any pseudonym, without insisting on knowing your real name. A network where you will not face the threat of jail, or being banned from entry into a country for an innocent tweet.”
It’s impossible to accurately predict what file-sharing will look like 5 years from now. But, a safe assumption is that anonymity will play a more central role than it ever has.
Recent crackdowns have made operators of central file-sharing sites and services more cautious of copyright infringement. Some even went as far as shutting down voluntarily, like BTjunkie.
In the long run this might drive more casual downloaders to legitimate alternatives, if these are available. Those who keep on sharing could move to smaller communities, darknets, and anonymous connections.
Avinash Arora just wrote to tell me that he has updated his amazing Star Wars’ Last Supper, with Luke Skywalker as Jesus. It’s much cleaner and crispier than the original one because it uses the Blu-ray movies.
Because of the new edition’s ratio adjustment, the new image is made with 70,448 frames instead of 69,550. He created two sizes for print: a big 200 dpi and an insanely huge 900 dpi version. If you have a plotter, you can basically print out a billboard out of this file.
You can download the files here.
T-Mobile is throwing some of its weight behind the mobile payment movement this morning, becoming the first carrier to offer Square credit card readers to a handful of retail outlets. Under the company’s new campaign, stores equipped with T-Mobile smartphones will be able to use Jack Dorsey’s readers to finalize transactions from the comfort of their palms. This should come in handy for cash-only businesses, in particular, as T-Mobile emphasized in its announcement today. It’s all part of the provider’s lineup of small business offerings, though not every retailer will be involved at launch. To see the full list of Squared-up outlets, check out the source link below.
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The tenth iteration of Mozilla’s browser is rolling out from today and we’re sat here waiting for our own go signal. As the biggest UI tweaks will arrive in v12, the majority of changes are under the hood: except that the “forward” button now only appears once you’ve pressed “back.” New APIs provide for full-screen viewing of web apps, Anti-aliased WebGL graphics and an “extended support release” that enables enterprise customers to only download security updates. CSS 3D Transitions are now supported alongside a new CSS inspector for those digging deep into the fabric of the universe internet. Java applet and moving bookmarks crashes should be a thing of the past, but it’s not all plain sailing: no new release ever is, after all. On the “to be fixed” list includes herky-jerky scrolling in Gmail, Silverlight videos not working in OS X and vertical scrolling is broken on some touch-pads. Let’s hope they get the former fixed quickly, our inbox is already overflowing ‘round these parts.
If your Windows chops extend in any capacity beyond novice, you’ve no doubt encountered the ever-cryptic Windows Registry, DLL files, User Account Control, and other tools with seemingly dark and mysterious powers—but you may not know exactly what they do. In fact, some of our favorite Windows-related tricks and hacks require the use of these tools. Here, we’ll explain some of Windows’ most confusing features, so you know exactly what’s happening when you go to edit them.
Some of these things you may already know about, but others may be unknown to even the tech savvier among you (I know I learned a few things writing this piece). We’ll be covering 5 different Windows tools here: the registry, DLL files, User Account Control, drivers, and the Group Policy Editor. Scroll down to see more about what these things are, how they work, and what you can do with them.
The registry is one of Windows’ most confusing tools, but it can also be very powerful if you know what you’re doing. The registry is, essentially, a hierarchical database that stores settings and preferences for nearly everything on your system, from drivers and services to your user passwords and user interface. In the old days, application preferences were stored in text files with the INI extension, and while some still are, they’ve been ditched for the faster, unified registry.
You can edit the registry yourself, if you wish (though you usually need to know what registry “key” you’re tweaking before you go in, since they aren’t very descriptive). Just go to the Start menu and type
regedit into the search box. From there, you can navigate the tree in the left sidebar, and double-click on the desired key in the right pane to edit it. You might also find, in your daring travels, that some people try to save you trouble by creating .reg files that make the desired registry tweaks with a double click. I’d recommend opening these up with Notepad to make sure they’re actually editing the right registry keys (after all, it’d be pretty easy to muck up one’s computer this way if one was so inclined), but as long as everything looks kosher, they’re a quick and easy way to tweak your system.
These are just a few of our favorites; you can see a lot more on our top 10 list of the best registry hacks that power up Windows.
While the registry offers some advantages over INI files, it isn’t without problems. Putting all your eggs in one basket always poses a risk. If something were to damage the registry, it could potentially cause problems with your entire Windows installation, not just that one program—which means you’d need to repair the registry or reinstall Windows altogether. This is why registry hacks, though useful, always come with the disclaimer to back up your registry first, as things can go very, very wrong very, very quickly. The registry can also build up a lot of junk if you don’t uninstall applications properly, or if the app uninstallers are poorly written.
That said, there isn’t much you can or should do about these problems, save for backing up your registry before you go a-tweaking. Registry cleaners are rarely a good idea, and backing up your registry is as simple as creating a restore point, so just stay safe and don’t mess with the registry more than you have to. It may be a faulty system, but it’s not something you or any other program can make better.
Dynamic-Link Libraries, usually found on your system as .DLL files, are libraries of code that any program can use. They serve two purposes:
DLLs can also make updating a program simpler, since you won’t always have to reinstall the program from scratch—it can just update the necessary DLL files. But, all in all, it makes your system run a bit faster and it allows for customizable, plugin-based programs, which we’re pretty big fans of.
The most common problem people see with DLL files is that they go missing. This problem isn’t quite as prevalent as it used to be, at least in my experience, but it’s good to know what to do if it does happen. If you get a “____.dll missing” error from a program, you’ll probably be tempted to go find the DLL file and download it, but that isn’t always the best idea. Instead of heading to a site like DLL-Files.com, you’re better off reinstalling the program from scratch, or at least running the “repair” option in its installation (if it has one). Usually, it’ll replace whatever it needs, unless there’s something wrong with the program itself (which a quick Google can help you figure out).
If you find this happens more than once in a blue moon, there’s probably something else going on. Make sure you have good antivirus software running and that you perform regular scans—if DLL files are missing left and right, it’s likely that you have some malware on your system, and replacing the DLL files is just going to be a Band-Aid on a bullet wound.
User Account Control is a security feature in Windows Vista and 7 that only sort of does what it sounds like. Essentially, User Account Control (UAC) is a way for certain programs to ask your permission before performing system-level changes—like if you’re installing a new program or editing system files. That way, malicious programs can’t just run without your consent—you’re forced to more closely pay attention to which programs have permission to tweak the system.
By default, UAC is set to always notify you when programs try to make changes, but not when you make changes to Windows settings. By heading to User Account Control Settings (which you can search for in the Start Menu’s search box), you can make UAC more or less strict, the least strict option being that it never notifies you of any changes. I like to slide it down one notch—to the second from the bottom—since my screen usually takes a long time to dim when popping up UAC prompts, and lowering the UAC level fixes this. Turning it off completely isn’t recommended unless you really know what you’re doing, since it can let any program run without your express permission.
While you can’t do much with the UAC, it is something that a lot of tricks require you turn off, so it’s important to know what you’re doing when you bring that slider down. Here are some examples of hacks that require UAC to be turned off:
Changing the UAC level isn’t going to ruin your computer like a bad registry or missing DLL file might, but installing something you don’t trust will—and UAC makes that just a little bit easier, since it won’t require those programs to prompt you. The best thing we can say is that UAC is not a sufficient security tool—always remember to keep a good antivirus program around. Even at its most strict, UAC won’t be able to tell viruses from regular programs; it just asks you whether you want to run certain things or not. Responsibility is the best protection against malware.
Many of you may already know what driversare, though they are still considered a “dark corner” by many—and it’s important to know not only what they are, but how to manage them properly. A driver is a piece of software that allows your hardware to communicate with Windows. So, whether that means helping your computer communicate with your network card to access the internet or communicate with your webcam so you can broadcast video over Skype, nearly all the hardware on your computer has a Windows driver that allows it to work. Many drivers are built into Windows, while some you need to get from that hardware manufacturer’s web site. Sometimes Windows has a barebones version of the driver built-in, and even though your hardware will work out of the box, downloading the official manufacturer driver will give you more features.
While I don’t really recommend using all-in-one driver update utilities, there are still a few useful tricks we’ve learned over the years when it comes to dealing with drivers:
When you first install a new piece of hardware, head to the manufacturer’s web site and download the latest drivers (don’t install the ones on the CD that came with it). This ensures that you have the latest ones, and that you have the official ones from that company, not the half-assed Microsoft drivers.
When it comes to updating drivers, don’t do it willy-nilly. If your driver is working fine, then there’s no reason to upgrade unless the new version has some awesome feature or speed enhancement you want. That means video card drivers are often the exception to this rule—each upgrade usually comes with speed enhancements and profiles for new games, so if you’re a gamer, you’ll want to take advantage of new video card drivers when you can. Of course, if the new ones start to cause problems, you can always roll back, so make a note of what version you’re currently using every time before you upgrade.
To check your driver version for any particular driver, just head to the Device Manager (by going to Start and searching for Device Manager), right-clicking on the hardware in question, and going to the driver tab. That will list your driver version, and you can compare that with the current version on the manufacturer’s web site to see if there’s a newer version available. You can then download the newer version from the manufacturer and install it. I usually avoid updating drivers from the Device Manager, since I never really know what I’m getting—I like to download it straight from the manufacturer itself.
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All of you Timeline holdouts: the holding out ends soon. “Over the next few weeks, everyone will get timeline,” says Facebook. And by “will get,” they mean “must use.” Here we go!
Luckily, anyone who hasn’t already switched over to the megascrapbook will have a seven day grace period to ease into it before their new, beautified, history-flush profile goes live. Take that time. Drink some tea. Have a hot soak. Breathe—because luckily, Timeline is pretty great. This is like being forced to wear nicer clothes. I’m predicting an all-time low in global OMG I HATE THIS Facebook redesign cheek-puffing. [Facebook via AllThingsD]
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Another file sharing website has reacted to the recent MegaUpload arrests and website suspension. This time Fileshare has decided to take action to clean themselves of any wrong doing by suspending accounts associated with piracy en masse.
Many users are signing in to their accounts today, only to find they’ve had their accounts suspended due to a violation of the Terms and Conditions. They’ve also shut down their rewards program, which allowed users to make money by uploading files and sharing the links with “friends and family”.
It’s unclear whether accounts involved with the rewards program are also being suspended as well.
This morning another popular file sharing site, FileSonic closed off its services, only allowing users to download files from their personal accounts.
MegaUpload was shut down on Friday morning and several people involved with the site were charged with violating piracy laws. The site was accused of costing copyright holders over $500 million in lost revenue from pirated music and other content. The shut-down came only a day after websites such as Wikipedia and Reddit shut down services in protest of proposals (SOPA/PIPA) intended to stop online piracy.
MegaUpload, which launched in 2005 and is one of the most popular “locker” services on the Internet, lets users anonymously transfer large files — and has generated $175 million in income for its operators through subscription fees or advertising.
Hacktivist collective Anonymous retaliated by taking down a number of music, film, copyright and government websites, inlcluding Universal Music and BMI (which is responsible for collecting license fees on behalf of songwriters).
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In the wake of the U.S. government’s shutdown of the file-sharing site Megaupload, another file-sharing and storage service has decided to make the “sharing” part of its service a thing of the past.
FileSonic — a cloud locker that grants users 10 GB of free storage for 30 days — didn’t mention Megaupload in a statement on its Web site that announced the changes over the weekend. But it was clear that the company is worried about its users sharing things they shouldn’t.
“All sharing functionality on FileSonic is now disabled. Our service can only be used to upload and retrieve files that you have uploaded personally,” says a red banner on the site’s main page.
Web services that allow customers to share and upload files should be spooked, Eric Goldman, a professor of intellectual property law at Santa Clara University told The Washington Post’s Cecilia Kang on Friday. “They will wonder if they have done anything different from Megaupload, and does that mean the Feds will come through their door,” he said.
For it’s part, FileSonic has changed the slogans and description of its service on its main page, though clicking through for more information on its premium plan does pull up a logo with the tagline, “Upload. Store. Download. Share. We don’t believe in limits.”
FileSonic did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
On Monday, the Associated Press reportedthat Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom (who officially changed his last name from Schmitz) said that he is innocent and is not a flight risk at a hearing in New Zealand. A judge is expected to rule this week on whether Dotcom will be granted bail, the report said.
Source: Washington Post
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The best Android phone to date, the Galaxy Nexus dazzles with its curved display, sleek design, fast performance, and, of course, the Ice Cream Sandwich update.
The slim and speedy Samsung Epic Touch 4G is excellent for gaming, Web browsing and watching video, but the plasticky design feels a bit on the cheap side.
Uneven call quality doesn’t stop the Evo 3D from being the best phone currently available on Sprint.
If you can deal with subpar battery life, the HTC Rezound is an excellent phone that won’t feel outdated anytime soon.
The MyTouch 4G Slide has one of the best cameras we’ve ever tested—and the rest of the phone is pretty amazing as well.
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