Technical Website Issues and Web News

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This website uses dymaic web slicing on some pages that are updated on a daily (or sometimes an hourly) basis. A page contains a web slice if you see this icon in the toolbar. This feature was introduced with IE 8, which allows users to subscribe to content and receive notification of updates on the browser tool bar. This was implemented for the employment page in January, 2010 and the Article Alert service in March 2010. The video link is an introduction to the use of web slicing. Further details about web slicing and how it works can be found here.


RSS stands for 'Really Simple Syndication'. It has become the standard method to send news and information from websites directly to the user who wishes to keep up to date.

Extensive use is made of RSS feeds on this website. The most obvious is Bulletin, which you can subscribe to by clicking on the RSS symbol . Whenever I make a major addition or change to the site it will be announced on this feed. I sometimes also use it to notify subscribers of more general language testing news.

Many pages also contain information that is generated by RSS feeds, but filtered using software that selects content using keywords and strings, before aggregating the information on the page. Examples of this are the article aggregation, and article alert services, which scan journals for language testing content and updates this page whenever new articles are published. This makes keeping up to date extremely easy, especially in the latter case where it is combined with web slicing. Developing the filters for some pages has taken over a year, such as on the employment page. However, some 'rogue' jobs still get through, particularly from the fields of computing, health care, and engineering. I continually update the filters to reduce such instances, but cannot eradicate them completely.

If you would like to know more about how aggregation works, there is a useful Wikipedia entry that you can consult.

DigitalP: 15 Apr 14: FutureEverything Manchester
Click travels to back to the future ? to 2018, and a pop-up city in a corner of Manchester at the FutureEverything Festival

Industry voice: What is the Deep Web and why should you care about it?
17 April, 2014

In the last six months or so, the mainstream media has had a bit of a hay day with the Deep Web, largely in part thanks to the break up of The Silk Road website, which was found on the anonymous TOR network.

Such was the drama associated with the reporting of this incident that rather than acting as a warning to companies, many simply rejected it as an anomaly. But trust me, dismissing the deep web is a serious mistake that could be very costly to your business.

The Deep Web

First, let's take a step back. What exactly is the deep web? Well its content that is part of the Internet that seeks to deliberately avoid being indexed by search engines.

Estimating its size is nigh on impossible because the Internet has evolved so rapidly, but is thought to be approximately 500 times the size of the Surface Web (content that can be indexed by search engines).

If you think the volume of content Google and co give you access to is vast, in reality indexed searches are the tip of the iceberg. And we all know what they say about icebergs - it's what's below the surface that you need to worry about.

The reason the Deep Web is such a concern for companies is because it has essentially become a marketplace for a wide variety of illegal content from child abuse images, money laundering, copyright infringement and unauthorised leaks of sensitive information to name but a few.

Key Challenges

From an enterprise perspective the Deep Web poses two key challenges. Firstly, how can you ensure that employees don't unintentionally or otherwise access the Deep Web whilst at work? And secondly, if you can't see the Deep Web, how do you keep the bad guys out?

The seemingly unstoppable rise of anonymous proxies means that employees have more means at their disposal than ever before to bypass network security.

Many employees use anonymous proxies without realising the possible ramifications, but in doing so they can unwittingly open a back door to the corporate that can be exploited. This raises the possibility of companies being forced to wave goodbye to their priceless IP, whilst a hacker gets rich selling it on the Deep Web.

This whole situation presents something of a Catch 22. The Internet is increasingly a valuable economic resource, so shutting it down simply isn't viable, but equally companies need to protect themselves. The key here is to make sure that you have a real-time security landscape.

All too often security technologies only alert a company once an incident has happened - but by then it's too late. A delay of even a minute is too much. Real-time security that responds immediately to user requests is essential in the fight to ensure companies don't fall victim to the Deep Web.

Charles Sweeney is CEO of Bloxx. He has worked with a number of successful high-growth SMEs across a variety of sectors including medical devices, animal health and software development.

Windows Phone How To: Open A Private Tab (Incognito Mode) On Internet Explore...
17 April, 2014
With the recent Windows Phone 8.1 update, the software giant as included a much needed, private browsing feature, which can be enabled in the following way: - Click on the Tabs icon - Click on the three dots that are located at the bottom right corner - Click ?New Inprivate Tab? Enjoy your Christmas shopping.

Google shares fall on ad concerns
17 April, 2014
Shares in Google fall 5% despite reporting first-quarter profit of $3.45bn in response to worries over future income from advertising.

Google points to Nest, other acquisitions as hurting first quarter earnings
16 April, 2014

Don't worry, guys. Google isn't going hungry tonight.

But it's first quarter earnings weren't quite up to snuff as far as Wall Street was concerned as the search giant only pulled in $12.19 billion (about 7.2b, AU$12.9b) of net revenue, missing investor expectations of $12.3 billion (about 7.3b, AU$13.1b).

Earnings per share also failed to meet an anticipated $6.33 (about 3.77, AU$6.75) per share, instead totaling just $6.27 (about 3.73, AU$6.68) per share.

Despite the disparity between expectations and reality, Google's consolidated revenue of $15.42 billion (about 9.1b, AU$16.4b) was 19% higher than it was in the first quarter of last year. So all in all, not a bad quarter for Mountain View.

You win some, you buy some

The company's biggest earnings centered on digital advertising and Google Play app and media sales. CFO Patrick Pichette also called out Chromecast, but failed to provide sales numbers for the TV dongle.

Money intake from cost-per-click, a constant in Google's financials, dropped 9% from the same quarter last year. However, they were constant from the fourth quarter of 2013. Paid clicks, which include clicks related to ads served on Google and sites belonging to its network members, were up 26% from the first quarter of 2013 but were down 1% from the quarter previous.

Google's financial talking heads fielded question after question from analysts and investors during an earnings call about why figures were lower than expected, and Pichette and Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora repeatedly stressed that Google was busy on the buying front during Q1.

The company picked up heavyweight Nest and other firms like DeepMind and Boston Dynamics, among various other firms.

The Nest deal cost Google $3.2 billion (about 1.9b, AU$3.4b), and taking on the smart thermostat maker's team also put a dent in Google's wallet. Pichette called out the Nest deal as one of the reason's Google's finances weren't as stellar as most expected.

Google also notably sold Motorola Mobility to Lenovo during the quarter, though it retained arguably its most promising assets, including the team behind Advanced Technology and Projects, which is developing its Project Tango and Project Ara smartphones.

To that point, Google's R&D spending hit nearly half a billion dollars in the quarter, accounting for 14% of its total revenue. With ambitions moonshot projects seemingly announced every week, the company seems content to spend its billions on innovation.

Still it may take a while before these outer branches to bear fruit, and, unfortunately for Google, investors are a fidgety bunch. We'll see what tone the next earnings call takes in three months' time.

Will drones help Google make more money?

Cyborg glasses express fake emotions
16 April, 2014
A Japanese researcher creates glasses that show computer-generated eyes that express emotions so that the wearer does not need to bother.