Internet

Twitter battle in Turkey heats up, spreads to YouTube -- reports

Turkey's battle over Net censorship is heating up, with the government there reportedly blocking a method that let citizens sidestep a Twitter ban, the White House expressing "serious concern" over the ban, and Google reportedly refusing requests from Turkish authorities to take down YouTube videos that cast the prime minister in a critical light.

Bloomberg cited Turkish newspapers in reporting that the Turkish government had blocked on Saturday a Google service that enabled citizens to tweet. Setting a PC or mobile device to use Google's DNS IP address of 8.8.8.8 had let people … Read more

NSA top lawyer says tech giants knew about data collection

The top lawyer for the National Security Agency and others from the Obama administration made it clear to the US government's independent oversight board that tech titans knew about government surveillance while it was going on.

NSA general counsel Rajesh De told the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board on Wednesday that tech titans were aware that the NSA was collecting communications and related metadata both for the NSA's "PRISM" program and for "upstream" communications crossing the Internet. PRISM is a surveillance program designed to collect and process "foreign intelligence" that passes … Read more

NSA can reportedly record every call made in a foreign country

The National Security Agency has the capability to record "100 percent" of the telephone calls placed in a foreign country and play them back up to a month later, according to a report Tuesday by The Washington Post.

Known as MYSTIC, the surveillance system dates back to 2009, according to documents supplied to the newspaper by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The program, which wasn't fully operational until 2011, intercepts and records and stores billions of calls for 30 days on a rolling buffer that purges the oldest recordings as new ones arrive, according to one classified … Read more

Interviewly makes sense of Reddit's messy AMAs

Reddit AMAs can be interesting and even insightful, but their chaotic layout makes them less than user-friendly. A Web site called Interviewly tries to clear up the chaos.

The Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) gives people a chance to interact with celebrities, tech leaders, and other prominent people through Q&A sessions. Anyone who joins in on a Reddit AMA can throw out questions hoping for a response from the interviewee. But actually reading an AMA is a chore as questions, comments, conversation threads, and responses all get jumbled together.

Interviewly gives a new paint job to those Reddit … Read more

Scrabble to get new official word: Twerk? Derp? Photobomb?

Sneaking in a made-up Scrabble word and getting away with it is almost as much fun as playing a legitimate one that uses three Zeds -- Zyzzyva, anyone? Word nerds who attempt to sneak illegal words like "huzzah" and "bazinga" past their friends may be happy to know that they can now nominate a new word into Hasbro's official Scrabble Players Dictionary, which hasn't been updated in more than nine years.

Fans have the chance to chime in on the Hasbro Game Night Facebook Page comments section to suggest their favorite new word to be added, now through March 28. … Read more

Web inventor Berners-Lee to do Reddit AMA Wednesday

On the day the World Wide Web turns 25, Tim Berners-Lee, the man who invented the Web, will answer your questions about the past and future of the Internet with an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit.

"I invented the WWW 25 years ago", said Internet pioneer Berners-Lee when announcing the AMA, "and I am concerned and excited about its future."

The AMA takes place Wednesday, March 12, at 7 p.m. GMT, or noon PT.

CNET chatted with Berners-Lee this week, where he suggested "the anniversary gives us a chance to look back but … Read more

Shaq reveals Apple fanboy credentials

As you drifted from one ridiculous work problem to another today, as you wondered whether your tolerance threshold was being reached, you probably mused to yourself: "I wonder how much Shaq spends on apps."

Because this blog is primarily a sociopsychological service, I can help you with that question. For at SXSW, Shaquille O'Neal revealed the true depths of his inner geek to The Wall Street Journal.

"I'm not ashamed to say I'm a geek," he said. Which is good, as he might be ashamed to say he's a Laker, given that … Read more

Watch this awesome recursive 'Lego Movie,' 'Simpsons' mashup

Love "The Simpsons" and love "The Lego Movie?" Then how can you not love this terrific video, which spoofs both in one simple recursive all-brick mashup?

Made by YouTube filmmaker Monsieur Caron, the video depicts the famous opening title sequence of "The Simpsons," with the whole family dressed as characters from "Lego Movie," complete with Bart as Batman. Then, it shows them watching the famous opening title sequence from "The Simpsons." Only this time, Emmet is playing Homer Simpson, and the family that runs in and sits down on the … Read more

Bot or not? Try to tell a human poet from a computer

How good are you at telling the difference between words written by a human and words written by a computer? Maybe after taking the Bot or Not test, you'll better understand how research publishers Springer and IEEE managed to miss gibberish papers.

Developed by two Ph.D. candidates at Australia's RMIT Melbourne -- Benjamin Laird and Oscar Schwartz (who's writing a thesis on whether computers can write poetry) -- the Web site is described as a "Turing test for poetry." Alan Turing developed the Turing test to determine whether intelligence is human or artificial. … Read more

At SXSW, thousands get a Kevin Bacon number of one

I now have a Kevin Bacon number of one.

Technically, that's not true. But given that I was in the audience today, along with at least a thousand other people at South by Southwest (SXSW), listening to the famous actor talking about the now 20-year-old Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game, I'm going to stake a claim to a score of one. With an asterisk.

In 1994, after watching a couple Kevin Bacon movies, Brian Turtle, along with friends Mike Ginelli and Craig Fass, decided to figure out how many connections it would take to get from actors … Read more