Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Ryan Vogt writes in the Mercury News that Shakespeare described death as 'the undiscovere'd country, from whose bourn no traveller returns.' Did you know there is a the miraculous way to resuscitate tabs sent to the 'undiscovere'd country,' a sort of Ctrl-Z for the entire Internet, that means 'no more called-out cusswords, no more wishing the back button had you covered when, aiming to click on a tab, you accidentally hit the little X on the tab's starboard.' For Macs: Command [plus] shift [plus] t reopens the last tab. For PCs: Ctrl [plus] Shift [plus] T. 'Try it right now. Close this tab and bring it back. I dare ya.' Melia Robinson's trick [described for Chrome] works in Firefox and Internet Explorer, too, so clumsy mousing won't send the the E*Trade tab you mistakenly closed all cued up to sell those 10,000 shares of stock or your long political post on your uncle's Facebook page on a one-way trip to the undiscovere'd country in those browsers, either." No guarantees on the stock trading.
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An outage of one company's servers might only affect that company's customers — but when a major data center for Amazon hits kinks, sites that rely on the AWS cloud services all suffer from the downtime. That's what happened today, when several major sites or online services (like Instagram and AirBnB) were knocked temporarily offline, evidently because of problems at an Amazon data center in Northern Virginia. From TechCrunch's coverage of the outage: "The deluge of tweets that accompanied the services’ initial hiccups first started at around 4 p.m. Eastern time, and only increased in intensity as users found they couldn’t share pictures of their food or their meticulously crafted video snippets. Some further poking around on Twitter and beyond revealed that some other services known to rely on AWS — Netflix, IFTTT, Heroku and Airbnb to name a few — have been experiencing similar issues today."
sfcrazy writes "Bad news for all ChromeCast users who were thinking of being able to stream local content to their HD TVs. Google has pushed an update for ChromeCast which has broken support for third-party apps like AirCast (AllCast) which allow users to 'stream' local files from their devices to ChromeCast connected TV sets."
The National Post is carrying a report of an exciting discovery for cartographic historians: an ostrich-egg globe purchased last year at the London Map Fair is now believed to be the oldest to show any part of the New World. "In a lengthy essay published in the latest issue of The Portolan, the peer-reviewed journal of the Washington Map Society, Belgian map collector and historical researcher Stefaan Missinne argues that the ostrich-egg globe not only predates the Hunt-Lenox Globe but was probably used as the model for casting the more famous copper object. If true, then the small, unnamed island shown to the far north in the 'Mundus Novus' portion of the egg-globe’s western hemisphere — a crude depiction of the 'New World' as it was understood just a few years after the discovery voyages of Christopher Columbus, John Cabot and others — is the earliest image of Newfoundland or any other part of Canada on any surviving globe in the world." More at the Washington Map Society's page.
iFixit's been breaking devices and voiding warranties for years now; latest on their chopping block is the new Moto X from Motorola, a phone hawked as much for its customizability and place of manufacture (the U.S.) as for anything else. You might expect a highly hyped, ultra-customizable phone to be made of high-end components and ultra-repairable as well. iFixit's teardown commentary has both some good and only-middlin' things to say about the innards, but very little bad. They call out the highly modular headphone jack, and say "a considerable amount of effort went in to the internal design of this device; the number of clips and contacts we've found so far is a great testament to that."
First time accepted submitter TimBur1e6 writes "Suppose you had just moved 1000 miles away from your significant other, but you wanted to continue to create shared life experiences. You could text, or talk by voice, or even video chat. And those would all be good things to do. However, there's a difference between telling someone about your day, and actually spending time together. What are some fun and constructive ways of spending time together on the net? In particular, what are good things to do with a significant other who is less into combat, and more into collaboration, exploration, creativity, and storytelling?"
bfwebster writes "Michael Swaine — long-time, well-known and very prolific author/editor in the programming and personal computing worlds — has just devised a new twist on the Peter Principle: the Peter Pinnacle, 'meaning to get promoted so high and to be so unqualified for your job that the company tells you that you can name your price just to go away.' I'm sure the timing of the neologism is just a coincidence."
McGruber writes "According to documents seen by Germany's Der Spiegel, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) successfully cracked the encryption code protecting the United Nations' internal videoconferencing system. NSA first breached the UN system in the summer of 2012 and, within three weeks of initially gaining access to the UN system, the NSA had increased the number of such decrypted communications from 12 to 458. On one occasion, according to the report, while the American NSA were attempting to break into UN communications, they discovered the Chinese were attempting to crack the encryption code as well."
poofmeisterp writes "It's about time. Windows 8.1 will be released to end users in October, and RTM is being released now: 'Windows 8.1, codenamed "Blue," is introducing a number of changes designed to make the new operating system more palatable to current Windows users. Windows 8.1 is adding a Start Button, a boot-straight-to-desktop option; the ability to unpin all Metro apps; built-in tutorials; an improved Windows Store and a host of other consumer- and business-focused features. Microsoft launched its one and only Windows 8.1 consumer preview test build in late June.'"
A long-term plan created by 14 cooperating space agencies around the world could mean that a Canadian astronaut may get to visit the moon sometime close to 2030. The International Space Exploration Coordination Group, of which Canada is a part, released last week an updated roadmap laying out intended projects, including a lunar visit. "[CSA space exploration director Jean-Claude Piedboeuf] suggested astronauts could again be moon-bound in about 15 years. It would be the first human visit to the shining orb since 1972, when NASA astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmidt spent 75 hours there. This time, there could well be Canadian visitors. Their specialty: robotics. 'We're proposing a vision where Canada could have an astronaut, effectively a Canadian who will be in lunar space, either in orbit or on the moon and could operate a Canadian rover in the same way that Canadians operate a Canadarm on the space station,' Piedboeuf said."
Google has captured lots of attention with its municipal fiber efforts in Kansas City and Austin; Amazon, say some anonymous sources, is experimenting with a networking project of its own (distinct from its Whispernet 3G content delivery service) to connect users' devices to the internet. Rather than fiber, though, Amazon's tests involve spectrum controlled by satellite communications company Globalstar Inc., according to sources "who asked not to be identified because the test was private. ... Amazon continually tries various technologies, and it’s unclear if the wireless network testing is still taking place, said the people. The trial was in the vicinity of Amazon’s Lab126 research facilities in Cupertino, the people said. Lab126 designs and engineers Kindle devices."
Daniel_Stuckey writes "A NASA veteran, aerospace entrepreneur, and space-based solar power (SBSP) expert, [John] Mankins designed the world's first practical orbital solar plant. It's called the Solar Power Satellite via Arbitrarily Large PHased Array, or SPS-ALPHA for short. If all goes to plan, it could be launched as early as 2025, which is sooner than it sounds when it comes to space-based solar power timelines. Scientists have been aware of the edge the "space-down" approach holds over terrestrial panels for decades. An orbiting plant would be unaffected by weather, atmospheric filtering of light, and the sun's inconvenient habit of setting every evening. SBSP also has the potential to dramatically increase the availability of renewable energy."
ilikenwf writes "For a cool $10,000,000.00, the prototype of a surveillance rock full of spy gadgets could be yours! More importantly, server backups from the gentleman's time at Lockheed are included, being the real valuable in this auction, as it contains schematics and such. The seller seems to think that the current xBee radio products are actually based on his work with Lockheed. The proceeds will go towards legal action the seller is apparently taking against his former employer." This may be the most unusual eBay product description I've ever encountered, and one of the most interesting, too.
Calibre is a feature-laden, open source e-book manager; many readers mentioned in light of the recently posted news about Barnes & Noble's Nook that they use Calibre to deal with their reading material. Reader Trashcan Romeo writes with some news on its new 1.0 release, summing it up thus: "The new version of the premier e-book management application boasts a completely re-written database backend and PDF output engine as well a new book-cover grid view."