Code Rush: The Inside Story of Netscape

Today we take great web browsers for granted -- there are several free and open options, and they all seem to work pretty well. But a decade ago, we were still used to paying cash money for new browser releases, and Netscape was doing battle with Microsoft in the courts as well as con users' desktops. In the rush to ship new and better products, and change the browser marketplace, Netscape was about to do something radical: go open source.

Netscape was also about to merge with AOL -- not exactly an awesome chapter in corporate history -- but one that makes for some great TV. Code Rush is a documentary filmed in 1998 at that crucial moment in Netscape history (and by extension, web history), and Andy Baio has posted the hard-to-find film online. If you're a certain kind of nerd (one who's into software, web/computer history, or PBS documentaries in general), you'll love this:

See more information from Baio, including a torrent of the high-quality version and information on various interviews in the program.

Related viewing: Baio also recently posted The Machine That Changed the World, a general history of computing. Also, yesterday Microsoft's Internet Explorer team sent the Mozilla team a cake to celebrate the Firefox 3 launch (read the link for what they did in 1997 to celebrate their Internet Explorer 4.0 launch...).

Google Street View Now Lets You Explore the International Space Station

Google Street View covers some amazing locations (Antarctica, the Grand Canyon, and Stonehenge, to name a few), but it’s taken until now for the tool to venture into the final frontier. As TechCrunch reports, you can now use Street View to explore the inside of the International Space Station.

The scenes, photographed by astronauts living on the ISS, include all 15 modules of the massive satellite. Viewers will be treated to true 360-degree views of the rooms and equipment onboard. Through the windows, you can see Earth from an astronaut's perspective and a SpaceX Dragon craft delivering supplies to the crew.

Because the imagery was captured in zero gravity, it’s easy to lose sense of your bearings. Get a taste of what ISS residents experience on a daily basis here.

[h/t TechCrunch]

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Bite Helper
New Gadget Claims to De-Itch Your Mosquito Bites
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Bite Helper

Summer can be an itchy time for anyone who wants to enjoy the outdoors. Mosquitos are everywhere, and some people are particularly susceptible to their bites and the itching that comes with them. A new product aims to stop the suffering. Bite Helper, reviewed by Mashable, is designed to stop your bites from itching.

Place the pen-like device over your swollen bite and it will begin to emit heat and vibrations designed to quell the itch. It’s meant to increase blood flow around the area to alleviate your pain, heating your skin up to 120°F for up to 45 seconds. It’s the size of a thin tube of sunscreen and is battery powered.

Most dermatologists advise applying cold to alleviate itching from insect bites, so the question is: Will heating up your skin really work? Bite Helper hasn’t been clinically tested, so it’s hard to say for certain how effective it would be. There has been some research to suggest that heat can help increase blood flow in general, but decrease histamine-induced blood flow in the skin (part of the body’s normal response to allergens) and reduce itching overall. In a German study of wasp, mosquito, and bee stings, concentrated heat led to a significant improvement in symptoms, though the researchers focused mostly on pain reduction rather than itching.

Bite Helper’s technique "seems like a legitimate claim" when it comes to localized itching, Tasuku Akiyama, who studies the mechanisms of itching at the University of Miami, tells Mental Floss. "The increase in the blood flow may increase the rate of elimination of itch mediator from the area." However, before that happens, the heat might also make the itch a little worse in the short-term, he cautions. This seems to be borne out by user experience: While Mashable's reviewer found that using the device didn’t hurt at all, his daughter found it too hot to bear for more than a few seconds.

If the device does in fact relieve itching, though, a few seconds of pain may be worth it.

Bite Helper is $25 on Amazon.

[h/t Mashable]


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