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"Nyan Cat"

Timeless YouTube

Technology | Website experiments with much higher time limits for some videos

Issue: "Face-off," Aug. 13, 2011

YouTube is mostly the home for clips and short videos: music videos, kids singing, cats doing cute things, bloopers, and so on. In 2010, the website raised its length-per-video limit from 10 minutes to 15; a select number of users were granted longer uploads, but nearly all of the site's 790 million users still were restricted to the shorter length. Those wishing to upload significantly longer video-for instance, a full-length feature film, which generally runs 90 minutes or more-would have to slice the film into segments and upload each individually, then trust that users would keep clicking on the next video.

But lately YouTube has been toying with much higher video limits, and in June they increased the limit for some users from 15 minutes to a hefty 10 hours, long enough for all three of the Lord of the Rings movies with a little time left over for intermission. It's hard to imagine how most people will make use of those 10 hours in a single video. But the initial response was both baffling and hilarious: Popular videos like "Badger Badger," "Nyan Cat," and "Epic Sax Guy" appeared in 10-hour versions in which the short video was simply looped-a lot.

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Don't get hooked

By Alissa Wilkinson

Dave Pilibosian/iStock

Fishing is fun but "phishing"-spam emails that try to deceive recipients so as to take their personal information by posing as PayPal or a user's bank -is deadly. How can you avoid being phished? Reputable companies will never request this information through email, so don't send it. In most email programs, you can see not just the name of the sender, but the address from which an email was sent, and many phishing messages are sent from a domain other than the sender's domain (such as Gmail goes a step further and tells you when it suspects that an email is phishing. And if you're in doubt, don't send the information or click on the link-check with the sender directly.

Board games

By Alissa Wilkinson

Imagine having a bulletin board to which you can pin anything you like, for inspiration or memory preservation: pictures of an event, recipes, books you want to read, clothes you want to purchase, images of places you'd like to go. A new website called Pinterest ( is just like that bulletin board, except on the web. Pinterest users create various categories on their boards and share their finds with friends, then browse other people's finds. Users can also "like" one another's finds and can set up the account to cross-post to a Facebook page. Pinterest offers an easy "pin it" bookmarklet for browsers to make it easy to pin anything-like an image or a website-to a board, and the mobile app allows users to take pictures with a smartphone and then pin them directly to Pinterest. The site's design makes it fun to use, and there are a number of applications: recipe listings, pictures of travel locations, labels from food or drink, books worth reading, and so on. Setting up a Pinterest account is free, but new users will need to request an invite from the site in order to join.


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