Much ado about's new openness

Fans of President Barack Obama, or perhaps just those who dislike former President George W. Bush, seem to think there's something notable about the way the new White House Web site is configured to deal with search engines.

That configuration file is called robots.txt. It's designed to let Webmasters ask search engine robots not to include certain areas of a Web site in their index. Well-behaved robots will comply.

The Obama revamp of included a shorter robots.txt file, which called "a sign of greater transparency and change." A BoingBoing poster … Read more

Obama inauguration traffic not good for everyone

While dozens of social and media Web sites saw high or record traffic on President Obama's Inauguration Day, not all Web sites shared the wealth. At least one commercial online hosting service saw its customers take a beating during the ceremony. MerchantCircle (review), which hosts small business Web sites, saw a dramatic drop in traffic to its sites. Once the meat of the inauguration started to wind down, though, it looks like people went back to their usual browsing and buying behaviors.

Satellites, balloons, and math used to count inauguration crowd

U.S. President Barack Obama was sworn in on Tuesday in Washington. But the number of people who braved the frigid D.C. weather to watch the historic event could have been anywhere between 800,000 and 3 million, depending on who you talk to.

Researchers have projected widely varying figures for the event's attendance, based on satellites circling above the clouds, aerostat balloons tethered blocks away, television coverage of the crowd, and good old-fashioned mathematics calculations.

Steve Doig, a journalism professor at Arizona State University who specializes in crowd counting, said he is estimating there were 800,000 … Read more

Obama's inauguration: The most interactive

WASHINGTON--Barack Obama was sworn in as president Tuesday in what many spectators viewed as the nation's most interactive inauguration ceremony so far.

As millions of people in Washington and around the globe watched a weekend of festivities, culminating with Tuesday's ceremony, they gave their instant feedback online and through text messages and other means to family, friends, and anyone else listening. At the same time, event organizers were able to give spectators live updates about the state of affairs in the nation's chilly, crowded capital.

Most people who watched the inauguration did it through traditional television broadcasts, … Read more

Google search helps provide inauguration subtext

Itzhak Perlman? Isabel Toledo? Simple Gifts? Huh?

During Tuesday's inauguration of President Barack Obama, people curious about unfamiliar references used Google to supply the footnotes for the ceremony. The phenomenon was visible on Google Trends, a service that shows which search terms are rapidly rising in use.

According to the U.S. results, Toledo, who designed First Lady Michelle Obama's dress, bubbled up to fifth place on the list earlier in the day. Once the ceremony began, up came violinist Perlman (ninth place), cellist Yo-Yo Ma (12th place), composer John Williams (26th place), and the variation on the … Read more

Microsoft's Photosynth captures inaugural moment

Microsoft's Photosynth is an impressive tool for stitching together dozens of photos to allow a place or event to be viewed from multiple angles.

The only hard part is it really takes 75 photos or more to get the optimal experience. That's a lot of work for one photographer. But, with big events, one can also rely on crowdsourcing. Which is what CNN has done with the inaugural, asking viewers to send in their photos of Barack Obama's swearing in.

The resulting Photosynth is pretty cool. (It requires Silverlight for viewing.)

For Microsoft, it marks a high-profile … Read more

CNET News Daily Podcast: Hail to the new tech chief

The 44th president of the United States got sworn in on a very historic Tuesday. He's got a wider display of technology tools at his disposal than any of his predecessors, but will Barack Obama's White House become the most transparent in history? CNET News' Declan McCullagh weighs in on the tech transition.

Listen now: Download today's podcast

Today's stories:

Complete coverage: Obama administration transitions into power

Much ado about's new openness

Obama's launches, with problems

Inauguration Day, by the numbers

McKinnon extradition on hold until February

Awaiting Microsoft's cutsRead more

Inauguration Day, by the numbers

Updated at 6:41 a.m. PST on Wednesday to update statistics from CNN and Akamai.

From what early numbers are indicating, the historic swearing-in of President Barack Obama was not the biggest traffic day for the Internet. But for many social networks and digital-media sites, Inauguration Day shattered traffic and usage records regardless.

Here are the ones we've heard from so far. We'll be updating this list as we hear more:

Akamai. The content delivery network has some numbers out that indicate traffic on the Web peaked right before noon Eastern time, with about 5.4 million … Read more

Obama's launches, with problems

As President-elect Barack Obama began his inaugural address at noon on Tuesday, his aides were busy switching over

Until 11:59 am EST, the Web site featured a photograph of former president George W. Bush leaving the White House for the last time. The relaunched site's most prominent feature is an oversize photo of the new president next to the slogan: "Change has come to America."

Because the presidential Web site launched under Bill Clinton's tenure, this is only the second time that has changed hands. The Clinton-Bush handover was not without … Read more

Five technologies the Obama administration should (but won't or can't) adopt

Today we have a new president to lead a new American path through what will be a tumultuous time. But President Obama won't be able to do it alone. He and his administration need to work together, and communicate with one another and the country, to ensure everything is running well.

That's why I've compiled a "cheat sheet" for the Obama administration, listing five services it should use in the White House. Sadly, it probably won't. Record-keeping laws and security concerns will ensure that none of my suggestions take effect.

AIM for White House … Read more