Trending December 2023 # How To Use The Hidden Apple Watch Web Browser To Browse The Web # Suggested January 2024 # Top 20 Popular

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Apple Watch supports viewing web content on your wrist, and in this tutorial, we’ll show you how to use the hidden watchOS browser to visit any website you like.

How it works

Apple Watch doesn’t have a visible Safari browser. Therefore, you won’t find it in your app list. However, Apple’s WebKit engine is integrated into watchOS, making it possible to use the internet on your wrist.

So, how do you access the web if there is no Safari browser?

How to visit websites on your Apple Watch

Open the Messages or Mail app on your iPhone and send yourself the link you want to access on your Apple Watch. This also works if someone has already sent you a text or email with a website URL.

Press the Digital Crown to see all your apps. From here, open the Messages or Mail app.

Tap the link, and it will open that web page.

When you’re done, hit Close to exit web browsing and return to the Mail or Messages app.

Controls while browsing on Apple Watch

You can interact with the web view using these gestures:

Scroll: Move your finger on the screen or rotate the Digital Crown.

Zoom: Double-tap to zoom in, and double-tap again to zoom out.

Follow hyperlinks: Tap a web link to load the underlying webpage.

Enter text: Tap a text field to type, speak, or spell out some text.

Back or Forward: Swipe left/right from the edge of the screen.

Normal Web View or Reader View: Tap the URL bar at the top.

Reload page: Tap the URL bar at the top.

Can I type in the URL bar?

Once a web page opens, you’ll see an address bar at the top which shows the site URL you’re currently on. Sadly, tapping that URL box doesn’t pop open the keyboard, and you can’t enter any other site name or address manually. However, you can tap any link on the current webpage, and it will work. For example, if iDownloadBlog is open on your Apple Watch, you can tap a link you see there (say for a post), and it will open.

How to open Google on Apple Watch

Just send yourself the chúng tôi link and open it on your watch. A mobile-optimized Google search page will show up. You can type the search query in the search box with the QWERTY keyboard (on Series 7 & later), scribble or dictate your query, as well as select the desired item from the Google homepage.

WebKit integration on Apple Watch: What’s the use?

Implementing support for WebKit is a monumental achievement. The Cupertino technology giant doesn’t feel like browsing the web on such a tiny screen would make sense—that’s why Apple Watch doesn’t ship with Safari. That said, it’s possible for your Apple Watch to render web content, albeit in a limited fashion. For example, you can check out a restaurant menu or read a quick news article without pulling an iPhone out of your pocket.

In other words, the lack of manual input significantly reduces the web browsing ability on your Apple smartwatch. However, if there are links that you must open on your wrist for any reason, then you can send yourself the link via messages or email and visit it later. Besides that, if someone sends you a link in iMessage or email, the WebKit integration allows you to have a quick look from your watch, and for a deeper experience, you can always visit that link later on your iPhone.

Old Apple Watch?

Series 2, Series 1, and Series 0 models aren’t supported. Attempting to open an attached link on an unsupported model yields an error message saying, “This link isn’t viewable on Apple Watch, but you can open it on your iPhone.”

Web pages not loading on Apple Watch

Don’t expect the watch to render all websites properly. In our experience, webpages with complex layouts with embedded widgets and JavaScript code might get stuck, resulting in a blank page or refusing to load at all. Still, it’s nice knowing that limited web content support is there should you ever need it.

Third-party browsers for Apple Watch

Apple doesn’t offer Safari on Apple Watch, but you can use a third-party app to access the web. Here are two mini browsers you can try:

µBrowser: $0.99

Parrity: Free

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How To Use The Privacy Badger Chrome Extension To Stop Web Trackers

Did you ever notice any specific ad following you across devices though you’re not looking for any similar product or services anymore? If you find this concerning, Privacy Badger Chrome Extension is your best bet.

So far there shouldn’t be any objection from your end. But the issue arises when some extra-smart digital marketers or web data analytics agencies track you using web trackers not just on a specific website but wherever you go using the internet. Many internet users like you consider this a serious privacy violation.

Though most online ad agencies and marketers don’t do this. Also, no shortage of creepy marketing agencies blatantly use web trackers to track users without their consent. If there is any consent from your end, you may not know that too!

To teach such spooky web analytics and marketing agencies a lesson on internet ethics and user data privacy, you must install the Chrome Privacy Badger add-on. Read on to find out more about the extension like what it is, how to use Privacy Badger Chrome, etc.

What Is the Privacy Badger Chrome Extension?

Privacy Badger is a web browser add-on that stops all third-party trackers from tracking your activities on the internet. For example, you visit a website and interact with its products or services.

And that’s not the end of it! The same ad may shadow you whether you visit a tech blog, read some news on Google News, and so on.

The Privacy Badger Chrome Extension blocks such persistent web trackers so that third-party websites can’t track you and violate your privacy rights.

It uses an algorithmic approach to understand the behavior of malicious web trackers. Then, it blocks the access at some point and the third-party entity who might be tracking you sees that you just vanished from their radar.

How to Get the Privacy Badger Chrome Extension

You can install the extension Privacy Badger on your Google Chrome browser by visiting this Chrome Web Store link. Once there, follow these steps to activate Privacy Badger for Chrome:

Chrome will install the extension however it won’t show up instantly.

Not on Google Chrome but like what you see here? Not a problem at all! You can get the Privacy Badger browser add-on for the following web browsers compatible with Windows PC or Mac:

At the time of writing, the Google Chrome browser for smartphones and tablets doesn’t support the installation of extensions. However, if you’re insisting on using this privacy protection tool on mobile devices, you can use Mozilla Firefox as the browser and download the extension by visiting this link.

If you use MacBook or iMac and also prefer Safari over all other web browsers, you must know that the extension isn’t yet available for Safari. However, Safari on macOS encounters very less web tracker-based monitoring of users across the web when compared with Windows 11 or 10 operating systems.

How to Use the Privacy Badger Chrome

Once you’ve installed the extension for Chrome, follow these steps to use the tool:

It would show No trackers blocked if there aren’t any trackers to block.

When the tool blocks any tracker, it would show here.

Since there’s an AI working in the back end, you don’t need to do much on the app interface. However, you may want to familiarize yourself with its Settings and the steps are as mentioned here:

On the Privacy Badger Options page, you get the tabs like General Settings, Disabled Sites, etc.

In the General Settings tab, you can check mark the Learn to block new trackers from your browsing check box to enable AI learning.

The Disabled Site tab lets you add site addresses to let the tool know that you don’t want it to prevent trackers from the excluded URLs.

Now, keep browsing many websites after installing the tool.

You’ll see a number ticker keep on increasing on the Badger icon as it blocks more persistent trackers across many locations on the internet.

Privacy Badger Extension Features

Find below its features that make personal privacy possible while browsing the wild internet filled with web trackers and other spyware to spy on you:

1. AI-Based Learning Engine

You don’t need to keep a list of URLs and trackers to be blocked. This privacy extension is an artificial intelligence (AI) based program that automatically blocks trackers when the originating website doesn’t respect multiple DNT requests.

2. Blocks the Toughest Sneaky Trackers

On the other hand, Privacy Badger efficiently blocks all these sneaky trackers if they violate multiple Global Privacy Control (GPC) signals and DNT instructions.

3. It’s Not an Ad Blocker

4. Manage Your Own Data

Suppose, you used the tool for years and now need to switch devices or re-install Windows 11. Since the tool is an AI-based program, it’ll take some time to learn after a fresh installation.

Hence, to avoid this delay, you can export a copy of the existing Privacy Badger AI data and import that into the new operating system’s Chrome browser.

5. Advanced Tracking Domains Management

For research and development purposes, you can add domains for exclusion from the monitoring by entering the domains within quote marks in the Search domains field.

6. Replace Social Media Tracking Widgets

Chrome Privacy Badger: Final Words

Now you know how to tie the loose ends after you visit a website that’s filled with sneaky and persistent trackers that don’t let you go off the radar. Just install Privacy Badger and experience the difference.

You might also like, how to protect your privacy on Telegram.

Iphone Web 2.0 Sdk – Apple Has Just Jumped The Shark

..or, in other words, a browser

Which we’ve all known about since January.  

Yes it is a very nice browser.  Safari supports most CSS and web standards very well.  It also is now on Windows…hoo-ahh!  The iPhone Safari also does some nice zooming and panning and has some nice features.  It might even make the iPhone for Business possible.

But it is JUST a browser

……..When did Steve Jobs turn into Karl Rove?

and therein lies the problem…that this message is just SPIN.  The same message could have been relayed by saying this:

No, we aren’t letting anyone into our iPhone development for the foreseable future, our platform is too delicate, AT&T won’t let us and we haven’t quite set up the proper security restrictions for an API.  We may in the future…or we may not.  It does browse the web though.

Yes iPhone!

So that is the problem here.  Every religion/political party/NGO/etc has their mantras and their view of situations – and specifically how to view a bad situation.  So let’s make no mistake about it..

Apple is telling all of its developers at its yearly World Wide Developers Conference, that its biggest product in 30 years will not have a dev kit for them but instead they should build webpages is a BAD situation.

But now I am sitting here knowing I’ve been SPUN and as a natural reaction, I am looking at the rest of the picture and wondering what else have I got at this WWDC?  

Games?  So Mac is catching up to windows/Xbox/PS3 on that.  That is kind of nice, kinda eh.

Leopard?  Yep…all of the features you knew about plus some eye candy.  ZFS?  Sun is on my shitlist now so no…well maybe

Leopard Server, nothing new that we haven’t already seen/talked about.

Safari for Windows?  What’s that got to do with me?  A). I don’t use Windows, B). I like Firefox better anyway.  Why not build Safari on Linux?  Or put the Mac OS on Windows in a Virtual Machine?

.Mac is going to suck slightly less and maybe a few of you shouldn’t stop paying us for something you can get elsewhere better, cheaper, Googlier

So what am I supposed to be getting excited about again? 

Here’s a suggestion in the hypothetical senario where this would happen again:

Today we are announcing that we aren’t providing a SDK for the iPhone?  Why?  Because it’s a phone and not a computer.  The tolerance for freezing, looping, “pinwheels” etc. for a phone is extremely small.  Also, this is a first edition and there is just enough memory and RAM to fit the things we already have built.

The good news?  This is a platform is the same as the rest of the mac lineup and in a year we’ll be on a processor as fast as a current mac Mini, have quadruple the RAM and more room to maneuver.  There will also be faster data speeds and a larger userbase.

In the meantime use AJAX webpages to interact with this phone and its computer-like browser, that’s all we can give you at the early stage of this product’s lifecycle.

Keep in mind that I am a huge fan of porting apps to to the web whenever it is possible and I don’t necessarily think that the iPhone being a closed platform is a bad idea. It is just insulting to be SPUN and detrimental to the rest of the message (WWDC). Let’s leave the “We are harvesting the forests” to the politicians.

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5 Ways To Update Your Web Browser For Free (Windows, Mac)

In today’s online world, development on the internet takes place rapidly. New standards and features get introduced every so often, and in the same manner, things get obsolete very quickly. This is why updating your browser is important, as updates add support for these new web standards, so websites and pages load properly without any issues.

Now that we have discussed all the reasons and benefits why you should consider updating your browser let us take a closer look at five ways that you can use to update your web browser. We will mainly cover five popular browsers: Chrome, Brave, Edge, Firefox, and Safari for Windows or Mac laptop or desktop.

Most modern browsers come with automatic updates enabled by default. But if, for some reason, your browser is not able to update automatically, then you can manually check for any new available update for your browser and install it. This is how to check for updates manually.

Check for Updates on Chrome, Brave, and Microsoft Edge

Step 1: On your browser, go to Settings.

When you open the About section, your browser will start looking for any new available version and download it.

Relaunching will install the update on your browser, and it will be good to go.

Check for Updates on Firefox

Step 1: Launch Firefox and open Settings.

If there is an update available, it will start downloading, after which you will be required to Relaunch Firefox.

You can also enable Automatically install updates to allow Firefox to install updates in the background.

Check for Updates on Opera

If you happen to download your browser from the Microsoft Store on Windows, you can receive new updates from the store itself, just like the rest of the apps on your PC. Browsers like Microsoft edge, Firefox, and Opera are available on the Microsft Store. Here is how to update them.

Step 1: Launch the Microsoft Store on your Windows PC from the Taskbar or Start menu.

This will download and install the latest version of your browser on your PC.

Step 2: Select App Store to open it.

Step 4: You will find updates for all your installed apps here. Check if an update is available for your Browser.

The update will soon start downloading and will be installed shortly after. If you did not find any updates for your browser in the Updates section, search for it in the App Store and check if the browser page shows any updates available.

Web browsers like Microsoft Edge and Safari come pre-installed with their respective operating systems and often get updated with a system software update. With these updates, new OS-specific features, as well as security improvements, are added. Take a look at how you can look up new system updates on Windows and macOS.

On Windows

Step 3: If an update is available, it will automatically download and install the update. This can take a while.

Step 4: Restart your PC once the update has been installed. Your PC may restart multiple times during the process.

On macOS

Step 2: Select About This Mac.

If an update is available, it will take you to the Apple Store page. Here it will display that a Software update is available along with version information.

If the above methods do not work for you and you’re having trouble getting new updates, you should consider downloading the latest version of the browser directly from their website. This way, you will have a fresh install of the browser running the latest version.

You can visit the site and download the recent version of the browser for your desktop.

These are five different ways you can update your web browser for free. We discussed the importance of updating your web browser and a few ways to update it for both Windows and macOS users. If we missed out on your preferred browser, let us know. I hope you enjoyed this guide and learned something new today. Stay tuned to Browser To Use for more such articles, guides, and How To’s.

The Man Who Lit The Dark Web

Before Chris White could help disrupt Jihadi finance networks, crush weapons markets, and bust up sex-slave rings with search tools that mine the dark Web, he first had to figure out how to stop himself from plummeting through the open gun door of a banking Black Hawk helicopter.

No hand-holding in a war zone, he thought.

It was September 2010. White was on his way to a forward operating base outside Kabul headquarters, as part of a secret intelligence cell to help confront the Taliban and al-Qaida, smash their encrypted online money stream, and win over the hearts and minds of the Afghanistan population.

Slight and lanky and 28, White felt Dukakis-ridiculous in his unwieldy body armor and bulbous helmet with “Dr. White” scrawled in marker on duct tape across the front, and with the dust from liftoff, he was finding it hard to breathe. He was still struggling with the unfamiliar seat straps when the pilot hit the stick, sending White sliding toward the hot square of the door and the desert 200 feet below.

Down there, Afghanistan was a messy, dangerous place for pretty much everybody. After nearly a decade of U.S.-led war, the American body count had hit 1,000, and civilian casualties were beyond calculation, as President Obama’s 30,000-troop surge intensified the fighting that spring. Many feared the situation was only going from bad to worse. The U.S. was escalating drone strikes across the border in Pakistan. And U.S. command was under assault after Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the surge’s architect, found himself without a job after he and his staff made disparaging remarks about the commander in chief in some music magazine.

It is hard to imagine that only a few weeks earlier, White had been just another impossibly young-looking Harvard postdoc in flip-flops looking forward to a Cambridge summer. Helicopter gunships and war zones weren’t on the radar; there were lattes in the square and rock climbing, and on the other side of campus, a prestigious fellowship in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, where he was working at the intersection of big data, statistics, and machine learning. He had earned academic pole position and had every expectation it would continue that way forever — becoming a professor, building a lab, and sniping out white papers from a tenured ivory tower.

But then his mentor asked him to attend a weekend conference at DARPA. White knew it as the alphabet soup that spelled out Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Pentagon’s scientific-innovation department, the folks who brought you bionic exoskeletons, night vision, the M16, agent orange, GPS, stealth technology, weather satellites, and the Internet. DARPA projects combined smart people, big ideas, and big government dollars. Their goal was to help the nation prevent technological surprise, and every five to 10 years, wheel out world-changing tech with a strategic edge.

By the end of a full day, White the wunderkind postdoc felt humblingly naive.

I don’t know anything about war, he thought. White had never been privy to the details from a practical, operational perspective. Increasingly, that perspective involved a need to make sense of gargantuan icebergs of raw and seemingly unconnected data, to pull plans and policies out of frozen mountains of intel.

America, it turned out, could use a guy like White in a war zone.

But first, he had to stop himself from plummeting through that chopper door. White scrabbled back to his seat, grabbed the straps, and held on as gunners slouched in the open door, watching for ground fire. These veteran warriors were like characters out of Mission: Impossible, White thought.

White was on their team but with a different role, as part of a nerd A-team in a classified DARPA program called Nexus 7. For nearly a decade, the U.S. military had been collecting intel in Afghanistan, reportedly courtesy of the CIA, the National Security Agency, GPS satellites, cellphone records, battlefield reports, digital financial streams, surveillance cameras, foreign intercepts, and fire-hose streams from every online social network out there. While this intel had been useful — for, say, a targeted drone strike — it mostly amounted to a data dump. And there was even more that the U.S. wasn’t utilizing in its quest to understand what Afghanistan’s citizens wanted and needed. These overlooked clues were, as Maj. Gen. Michael Flynn, then-head of U.S. intelligence in Afghanistan, put it, a “vast and underappreciated body of information.”

Sliding toward that Black Hawk’s open door, White assumed it was the end. It was only the beginning.

Chris White in Afghanistan in 2010, part of a data-mining nerd team. courtesy Chris White

White is not a stuttering, Beautiful Mind type of genius. He’s more of a stealth nerd. I first met up with him this past November in the lobby of a hotel in downtown Seattle. The lithe and darkly handsome Oklahoman I found in a bright blue Patagonia windbreaker by the front desk came across as something like a smaller, quieter hipster Carl Sagan. Which is to say he’s not just bright and passionate, but he’s also nice and strangely normal — qualities that might seem at odds with his role as anointed visionary whiz kid. But apparent contradiction is White’s secret sauce: He’s an accomplished Ashtanga yoga practitioner who has been to war, a former government employee on a first-name basis with celebrity Buddhists and legendary hackers, and a practiced martial artist who’s dedicated to the solitary sit-down science of staring at computer screens.

These apparent contradictions have allowed White, now 34, to bridge worlds between experts. He’s not the genius cranking out code, the analyst looking for the next big IPO, the hand-shaking CEO, or the wartime general turning a pile of intel into a plan. He’s the guy who can talk to all of those people, understand them, and combine their strengths into a matrix none individually would have imagined.

Currently, that matrix has to do with making the Internet a more interesting, useful, and democratic tool for exploring our data universe. And it turns out, that’s not a career he could plan for. Post high school, White had surprised classmates by veering into the hard sciences. He then surprised his family and himself by abandoning a pre-med track for electrical engineering. He continued to surprise them with his facility for statistics and computer science, leading to a rarefied academic byway where machine learning and big data intersected with human language.

But by the time White traveled from his Harvard postdoc to that DARPA briefing, he had already parlayed an electrical engineering degree from Oklahoma State University into a fellowship from the Department of Homeland Security, and earned his Ph.D. at the Center for Language and Speech Processing at Johns Hopkins University. He’d also worked with Microsoft, MIT, IBM, and Google. And, he says, none of that had prepared him for what he calls the “no-kiddingness” of the mission in Afghanistan.

“I was blown away,” says White. “It was scary, and it was stressful, and I was really intensely focused on the work. I knew I was contributing to something important. But I had no idea that I was making a radical life change.”

The Voorhes

At the time, DARPA was changing too. Its new director, Regina Dugan, had shepherded Nexus 7 through the Pentagon bureaucracy. She believed in the power of crowdsourcing complicated problems and wanted DARPA to take on a more active wartime role, rather than blue-skying technologies that might remake the military 10 years down the road. As she had told a Congressional panel, she wanted military leaders to know DARPA was in the fight.

Nexus 7 would be the tip of the spear. The effort was designed by DARPA project manager Randy Garrett, overseen by Dugan, and greenlit by Gen. David Petraeus. The teams were split into two groups totaling about 100 computer scientists, social scientists, and intelligence experts. The larger group remained stateside, writing code and mashing up military data sets; White was in the smaller group, looking over shoulders in military HQ tents in Afghanistan.

The Taliban and al-Qaida were military organizations committing atrocities in the name of Allah, but increasingly they operated like criminal organizations that ran not on religion, but money. That money paid for every bullet and bomb, kept troops together and villages friendly, and bought information and protection, vehicles and fuel, hearts and sometimes minds.

Like any criminal operation, most of that money came from criminal activity: physical theft, or the sale of wares such as weapons, drugs, and, increasingly, human beings for ransom, slavery, or sex.

The coalition generals in Afghanistan had known this for years, but that didn’t mean they knew all the details. Nexus 7’s larger role was to find useful needles in the haystack of U.S. intelligence — including anything that could help the generals better understand the needs of the Afghan people. White’s team focused on the source of the money, the guns, the drugs, and the human sex-traffic, figuring out where and why these transactions took place and who was involved. White played middleman between the DARPA teams coding stateside and the needs of the military commanders in Afghanistan.

“Unfortunately, that meant a lot of cold calling, a lot of asking for meetings from these big commanders. It was really stressful,” White says. “I’m not really sociable. But I knew I had to just swallow that because that was the job.”

Getting into conversations with people in a war zone who didn’t know or care why White was interrupting their job was a learning curve steeper than a Black Hawk’s takeoff, and a waking anxiety nightmare. White didn’t talk crap or sports — or, frankly, particularly like people at first. Worst of all, he was a civilian. He had no military uniform, military training, or military rank — the shorthand on the collar or sleeve for who needs to make time for whom.

“One thing about war,” White says, “is people are really busy.”

He didn’t even have a particularly military bearing. While other guys pumped iron, the lithe little yoga dude they called Dr. Spaghetti Man was stretching and breathing on the wrestling mats, an Ivy Leaguer downward-dogging in a world of booyah. Gradually, as he extended his stay from nine days to 90, and then signed on for more stints in the country over the next year and change, he became DARPA’s senior in-country lead in charge of Nexus 7, and a citizen of this military world. He learned to invoke the “Dr.” early and often, learned that the embarrassingly fancy watch his dad had given him worked like stars and bars in the government dress code. And he learned that using martial-arts skills to put big guys on their asses during rec time made a positive impression, and turned fighting men into friends. It also helped White and his team do their jobs. The specific metrics are classified, but the presidential reports and citations are clear: Nexus 7 made a meaningful contribution to the war for hearts, minds, and lives.

By the end of his time in Afghanistan, Nexus 7 had earned the respect of the commanders too, and Dr. Spaghetti Man held a DARPA rank equivalent of a one-star general. Nexus 7’s efforts also gained citations and medals from the Department of Defense and the Department of the Treasury. Among other things, White’s team was commended for creating the “large data analytic framework” that provided “unique and valuable insights against key strategic and operational questions.” White personally was cited as a credit to the agency.

But all the lacquer and ribbon came at a cost. Chris White was no longer the same wide-eyed postgrad who had boarded a jet to Kabul. “By the end, I’d dropped out of Harvard and lost my long-term girlfriend,” White says. But most changed was his view of the world.

White wouldn’t say he was shell-shocked. He hadn’t been battering doors and stepping on strange earth loaded with explosives. But for the first time, he’d seen what the enemy — what people — were capable of.

The job was over; it was time to move on from the war. But White felt he wasn’t ready to leave every battle behind. He would soon get the chance to take one battle beyond the boundaries of war.

The data White had helped track had led the people who risked their lives toward places where women and children were traded as commodities, and White had seen firsthand how vulnerable those women and children were. He also learned that those crimes didn’t exist in Afghanistan alone. And it didn’t take a plane to find them; it took a modem.

Estimates vary, but the “surface” Web, or open Web, represents between 5 and 20 percent of what’s out there. The rest resides in places that most crawlers can’t reach or index. Some data are “deep,” in password-protected places like social media and message boards, or in increasingly common dynamic websites—which are more like apps than pages from a book, and change when you interact with them, like Kayak. The rest of the Web is “dark.”

And as a business, it differs negligibly from the sale of kitty litter or crew-neck sweaters; in order for consumers to buy your product, they have to be able to find it. While the makers of Tidy Cats can take out a billboard, human traffickers need to be visible enough that their customers can find them, but hidden enough that they can’t be tracked down by authorities. Not surprisingly, that puts the majority of sex-traffic data in the deep or dark Web, or hidden in plain sight in the terabytes of the surface Web, in ways quite different from legal businesses that want to be found by consumer Web-search engines.

Chris White was given the chance to change the rules.

“Once, I’d wanted to ‘be a thing,’” White says—a respected position like a doctor or a primary investigator. “But now I realized I wanted to ‘do a thing.’”

As a DARPA program manager, White could name his project. And the “thing” he wanted to make was a new breed of search engines, capable of mining the entirety of the Internet.

In Afghanistan, there were few off-the-shelf tools for mining big data or visualizing the results; they were built mostly for experts and for specific projects. But what if they could build off-the-shelf pieces and make them available to everyone? A sort of Erector Set of super-search-engine pieces that you could assemble any number of ways.

The result was initially a three-year—and reportedly up to $50 million—project to construct that search-engine Erector Set: a suite of perhaps 20 new super-search-engine parts, coded by 17 different units from private industry and universities, and dedicated to providing better ways of interacting with and understanding the data available on the whole Internet, in ways farther reaching and more transparent than anything possible with Firefox, Safari, Google, or Bing.

They called it Memex—a name combining “memory” and “index”—borrowed from a 1945 article by the visionary former director of the Office of the Scientific Research and Development, Vannevar Bush. Memex would be a tool to visualize connections between ideas and facts. If it worked, it could empower human researchers with superhuman insights.

As White explains, data on the Internet is essentially descriptions of what happened in the real world—photos, emails, blogs, phone calls, GPS trails, and social-media posts. “The goal of an investigator is to dig through the descriptions and work backward,” White says, “to understand that real-world event.”

With a traditional Web browser, that’s no easy task.

White’s Memex project would be a portfolio approach. Some tools would dive into the dark Web and present all the hidden onion sites to be found there as a list, something previously considered too difficult to bother with. Others would index and sort the enormous flows of deep and dark Web online forums (which are otherwise unsearchable). Others would monitor social-media trends, connect photos, read handwritten information, or strip out data from Web pages and cross-index the results into data maps.

In theory, White’s search-engine Erector Set could be useful for any number of real-world applications; as a DARPA project, they needed to prove it could be effective for at least one. Ideally, that test application would attack a real-world data-rich problem that could help investigators make the world a better place, and the country safer.

White decided to focus the Memex test application on helping American law enforcement target a crime he’d been shocked to learn about in Afghanistan and found “inherently horrible”: the buying and selling of human beings.

On a computer screen in the Memex lab in Arlington, Virginia, Wade Shen, its current program manager, demonstrates how some of the Memex tools have been tweaked for sex-traffic investigating. The first is Datawake. Normally, a detective following a lead (for example, an email associated with a prostitute) plugs that info into Google, gets no exact matches but perhaps 25,300 results, and might open only a few of those before spotting a potential new clue and plugging that into the search bar instead, and moving on. Searching the entire 25,300 hits this way would take a detective two weeks of 12-hour shifts.

Tools such as these have allowed district attorney’s offices to go back to the case files of their successfully prosecuted sex cases, and reuse the phone numbers, names, emails, and physical addresses already established as evidence. The Memex tools allow these old cases to provide search terms to build new cases and prove criminal conspiracy, linking guys in prison to sex rings still operating.

Another tool, called Dig, takes that co-referenced information and sorts it into a list that looks a bit like the results of an Amazon search. Along the side, key categories and terms allow investigators to filter the results down to just the information they’re looking for. Dig also takes TellFinder’s image-search capabilities and kicks them up a notch. “It’s just another way of looking at the same problem,” Shen explains. “And these are just examples—there’s no one way to use these tools.”

Some Memex tools have been specialized to perform similar tasks in the dark Web, crawling the otherwise unsearchable sites for specific information types.

White showed me another tool back in Seattle: Aperture Tiles. It makes formerly unmanageable amounts of information— think billions of moving data points on a map—manageable. To demonstrate, he combined motel addresses associated with sex trafficking, and the location information attached to online posts made near those addresses. (“Most people have no idea that when they’re accepting the permissions on a free app, it’s them and their data that’s the commodity,” he notes.)

On December 19, 2014, Froilan Rosado sat in an idling van outside a midtown Manhattan sex hotel, a pregnant 16-year-old in the passenger seat. In his late 30s, Rosado was the kind of guy who liked to post Facebook photos of him and his family dressed like convicts for Halloween, and selfies in mirrored shades with his hair braided into cornrows, a pencil goatee framing a scowl. Rosado was a pimp. Inside the hotel was his 18-year-old prostitute, “Flora.” Undercover cops had picked her up in a run-of-the-mill prostitution-sting operation.

But really, she was the victim.

The Voorhes

On a drizzling Tuesday this past November, I met Chris White at his new office in Microsoft’s town-size campus in Redmond, Washington, about a dozen miles northeast of Seattle. White’s directions led along route 520 to a parking garage and a modern glass-fronted building marked with the number 99, and inhabited almost exclusively by Ph.D.’s.

At first he considered starting a company that would use automation and artificial intelligence to allow companies to do their own data analysis and online-security work. The idea was good enough to get interest from venture-capital groups. But then White thought about life as a startup CEO, the toll on his life with his fiancée (White married this past March), and the limited impact it would have on the world.

And so, instead of burning a decade being a CEO, White opted to make a thing—and an existence—that he considered simpler, yet bigger.

As a principal researcher in Microsoft’s Special Projects division, he gets to build on his work with Memex—making affordable, user-friendly, data-exploring and visualization tools for businesses (and journalists, and everyone else).

“The bar is even higher,” he says. “The question is no longer ‘Can we make something that works?’ It’s ‘Can we make something that works for a billion people?’”

White hopes his new project will, among other things, change people’s relationship with big data, and each other. It could also impact our democracy in ways no one has ever imagined.

Before I left, White flipped open his Lenovo ThinkPad X1 and opened a tool called Newman, a data-visualization tool that shows patterns in an email history—in this case, Jeb Bush’s email from eight years as Florida’s governor. In seconds, Newman sorted 250,000 emails into a nodal flower, showing who Bush had emailed and how often, who was CC’ed, where those were forwarded, and how quickly those emails were responded to. It was, in effect, an interactive map of influence and decision-making, the guts of democracy made transparent. White easily could have run the program over time to show relationships with lobbyists or donors, turning the candidate’s record round and round, like an apple in the hand.

“In a knowledge economy, this is power,” White says. “Right now there are only a few browsers, and they’re the only interface to the world’s information. With Memex, we thought we could really do something about that.”

Memex tools can show the movements of ISIS recruits or propaganda; links between shell companies and money laundering; the flow of illegal guns or labor; and heat maps showing the frequency of social-media mentions for words and ideas, and the intention around them, live across the map. They’ve been sought out to track an Ebola outbreak in West Africa, to understand how people moved in and out of hot zones, and to help the White House determine how to respond to the outbreak. They can also track and map moods and public sentiments as they ripple and change across the planet.

If White is correct, Memex is just the beginning of a generation of tools that can help save the Internet from becoming a glorified shopping mall. That’s good. It’s much better than what we have now. But will it be profound? Will it make us better citizens, or more-realized human beings?

White watches me a moment, then almost smiles.

“These are very interesting and very important questions,” he says.

And ones he has only begun to shine his light on.

Nine Practices To Watch Out For In A Responsive Web Design

A checklist of issues to consider in a responsive website redesign project

If there’s one thing that every Web and Digital marketing manager has had on their agenda in recent times it’s responsive design! Responsive Web Design has become the defacto standard of web sites in a very short space of time. But is it a silver bullet? Is it a magic cure for many digital illnesses our sites (and visitors!) have been suffering from? It certainly gives many challenges, and in this post I’ll share 9 key issues that site managers need to talk through with their designers.

When I first started looking at the concept of responsive websites back in 2010 – I fell in love. This seemed like a proper working implementation of the “fluid websites” that were largely a dream back in the days when we were moving from table based layouts to CSS based ones.

Over the past 2-3 years, as more and more sites have implemented responsive web designs, my love for them has taken a bit of a bashing. The reality of the situation has become more clear. There are many issues with creating, implementing, and maintaining a website that has been built to adapt automatically to the viewport of the device being used by your visitor. This compilation of display resolutions for responsive design shows just some of the mobile platforms that must be targeted.

It’s challenging, complicated, and the “best practice” is constantly evolving. Here’s a list of 9 things to watch out for when going responsive… Hold tight!

9 Tips on responsive web design

Tip 1. Big fat pages

Probably the biggest single issue facing websites with the most basic of responsive implementations is page size. With separate mobile and desktop sites, we pushed different HTML out to visitors. Back in the days of WAP sites, we made sure the size of the page being downloaded by a visitor was absolutely tiny. Every byte mattered. Responsive at its simplest pushes a desktop site onto your visitor, but sweeps some of the content under the rug just before the visitor arrives. It’s there, just not seen.

A newly launched responsive site I saw recently, had apparently been built ‘mobile first’, still managed to have a total size of just over 3MB when viewed on a mobile. Downloading this on a moving train, for example, will not be fast… You could argue that a better choice than “mobile first” would have been ‘performance first’.

Tip 2. Browser stress

Web pages are built up from a collection of documents and images. These are downloaded to your browser and processed in order to render the web page. The way in which the browser initially arranges all the parts of your page is called the DOM tree.

Making a change to the DOM tree whilst the page is loading, or after, makes the web browser work quite hard. The more disruption to the DOM tree, the most sluggish your page is (or the faster browser/computer you need).

Many responsive sites put a fair amount of additional and unnecessary stress on the browser and increase the amount of work needed to display and interact with the page. Poor programming and structuring of the HTML and CSS for a page is often the reason by you think a (mobile) web page is sluggish or unresponsive. The browser in your smartphone is working its socks off to understand what to hide, move, or add to the rendered page.

Your pages need to be efficiently programmed.

Tip 3. Focus on context not screen size

What we want to do on a website is not dictated by the screen size of the device we just happen to have to hand.

In order to deliver a fantastic user experience, we first need to understand the context of the user.

It might be more relevant for the UX to realise that a visitor is accessing your website from home sat in the sofa rather than via a mobile. Considering the context allows you to provide the right content and guidance so your visitor can complete their goals.

Knowing that they are looking at your site using a smartphone helps you make display decisions that further enhance their chances of completing their task. It’s not as simple as grouping all “mobile” users together, just as it’s not as simple as grouping all ‘desktop’ users together.

Tip 4. Break-point fixation

Responsive designs are based on what are known as “breakpoints”. At a specific viewport width, the design changes from one layout to another. It’s common that during a design project that 3 “static” designs are produced for 3 specific viewport sizes. Normally (at the time of writing) this would be desktop, tablet (iPad) and smartphone (iPhone).

These three widths, 1024px, 768px and 320px may, at the moment, cover a majority of your visitors but the variations in between those breakpoints are almost endless. This endless variation is exasperated further depending on the browser used. Chrome and Safari scale the viewport according to the device pixel density, but not all browsers do.

For example, a Google Nexus 7 (using Chrome) has a viewport width of 601px. On the same device the width becomes 800px when using Firefox or Dolphin.

The key here is to prototype as soon as possible and test on as many devices as you can. Your breakpoints should be set to where your design needs them, not according to a specific device’s screen size. Flat designs for fixed widths are of limited use to you now.

Tip 5. Responsive isn’t just mobile

The range and array of devices accessing your site isn’t limited to desktop, tablet and mobile. Anything with web access might end up visiting your site. This could be a games console, a Smart TV or an eReader. All of these will, probably, trigger one of your “breakpoints”. Perhaps with these devices (and their associated contexts) a ‘mobile’ website isn’t really what they want and need?

Don’t forget either that some people using “desktop” machines have monitors as large as 27 inches (with a viewport of over 2,500 pixels!). Smart TVs come in sizes up to a staggering 90 inches (with a viewport of almost 2000 pixels).

Your responsive ‘desktop’ design will probably start to fall apart long before it gets stretched to those sizes . I recommend that single line of text should be between 40-75 characters, never less and never more (irrespective of the responsive breakpoint in action).

With fluid columns, you could end up texts rows of over 30cm on super-large monitors and that would make reading content feel like watching a tennis match!

Tip 6. Content management, production and publication

Depending on what kind of content your site contains and what kind of responsive solution (combined with your CMS) you have implemented, you will probably be faced with the need for deploying new publishing routines and/or adjusting your existing content creation processes.

Web Editors using the WYSIWYG editor in your CMS may (without trying too hard) end up publishing content that clashes with the various styling included in your responsive design, resulting in messy or broken pages. Certain types of content (such as tables of data) might be challenging, or even impossible, to get to display correctly across all breakpoints..

The worst case scenario is that your current CMS is very inflexible with regard to what HTML it outputs, meaning that the task of shoehorning it into a responsive design could be a bit headache for your developers, and your budget.

Tip 7. Images will be a problem

One of the great unsolved issues with responsive so far is how to deal with images. Images are an issue as traditionally (and ideally) you’d serve one set of images for the webpage you’re presenting to visitors.

With responsive, you don’t want to send large, high-res images to people on mobiles (wasting their bandwidth and slowing the page down). Similarly you don’t want to send low-res images to people using larger, high-definition displays.

Some solutions to the problem involve preparing multiple versions of images and programming the page so the correct one is downloaded. The question is, do you do this automatically at the server side (same source picture scaled), or does the Web Editor deal with it manually when publishing (original pictures cropped appropriately for each size and dimension)?

What happens when another breakpoint is introduced at a later date? If you’ve got a 1000 pages with images, do you really want to crop and upload 1000 new images?

As there’s no silver-bullet solution for images, (there’s not even a bronze-bullet once CMS and DAM platforms come into the picture) expect to encounter (long term) challenges with regard to images and RWD.

Tip 8. It shouldn’t cost more… but it does

Doing everything by the book, from the beginning, should mean that a responsive site comes out with a very similar price tag to a ‘regular’ site. In reality, it’s going to cost you more. Be prepared for that.

The design stage is more complex and effectively involves a full design for each breakpoint. Programming is going to be more of a challenge, especially given how few CMS have (up to now) been built with responsive in mind.

You will have an existing site that needs to be migrated. Image problems that will need to be tackled. Testing and usability testing to perform that puts all the variations of your site through its paces.

If you’re migrating from a dedicated mobile site to responsive, then yes you’ll see savings elsewhere, but don’t expect going responsive to be a budget project.

Tip 9. You might not actually need a ‘responsive’ site

At the end of the day, despite all the positive things that a well made responsive web site can offer, the honest truth is that your site might not actually need to be responsive. Perhaps it would be more helpful to trim the fat from your existing site, reduce the page weight and speed up the page load time.

iPhones have been around since 2007, ‘smartphones’ of various types even longer. Mobile internet access has become ubiquitous in many markets. Some of you will have websites where visitors have been happily pinch-zooming your full desktop site for a number of years. They are used to this. Having the exact same website accessible from all devices fosters familiarity.

Just perhaps, right now, your budget might be better deployed on optimising other aspects of your web presence rather than a full responsive makeover? It is, at least, worth considering…

James Royal-Lawson is a Digital Strategist and Web Manager based in Stockholm. James has over 12 years’ experience with web management, helping Swedish and international organisations piece together the digital jigsaw. Since 2006 James has been a Freelance Consultant. He is also co-host of the regular UX Podcast.

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