Data network connectivity developments, networking business news, and related computing items.
Ken Novak's Weblog
Saturday, July 31, 2004
Reporters sans frontières - The Internet under surveillance 2004
: "Obstacles to the free flow of information online,
" reported by country for about 40 countries. Also, in the article On a Filtered Internet, Things Are Not As They Seem
, RSF reports that many countries have gone beyond blocking web sites: "The past year has brought a rise of new filtering methods that, intentionally or by happenstance, are considerably more confusing. Try using Google in China : Most searches work fine.. But run a search on a controversial policy area, and Google will stop working for perhaps half an hour. ..
Still more subtle are the "modified mirrors" sometimes used in Uzbekistan. Rather than simply blocking access to sites of political dissenters, Uzbek authorities make copies of the controversial sites - then change the copies to undermine or weaken the unsanctioned positions. The key step : When Uzbek users request the controversial sites, they automatically receive the altered copies in place of the authentic originals. Experts might realize something is wrong, but this tampering is exceptionally difficult for ordinary users to notice or detect. " 10:33:53 PM
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
Sunday, July 25, 2004
: Audioblog.com is an audio publishing service that puts your voice in your weblog or online journal.
- Record over the Web user BlogRecorder™
- Supports popular weblog services and tools
- Add and configure multiple weblogs
- Moblog by phone (up to 60 minutes)
- Upload an MP3 or WAV file
- Organize your audioblogs with playlists
- Customize your player's style and color "
Starts at $5/mo for up to 1 GB of transfers. 1:34:14 AM
Saturday, July 24, 2004
Global Relief Technologies
: Combines GPS, GIS, and field data gathering on PDA's. "Global Relief Technologies’ integrated solution contains two basic service components – the SMART™; (Satellite Mapping and Rapid Telecommunications Software) and the Virtual Internet-enabled Network Operations Center (or VNOC) information management capability.The SMART™ software currently reflects humanitarian standards as established by the United Nations and the US Agency for International Development and can be modified to suit other field data collection requirements. " 8:58:40 AM
Thursday, July 22, 2004
LocustWorld Mesh Access Points: "The MeshBox is a box about the size of a small video recorder. It has a number of ports for connecting other devices and one or more on-board WiFi radios. It is a multi-purpose device, but its core function is creating wide area wireless broadband. This means that each MeshBox communicates with other MeshBoxes nearby and the internet signal is passed from one box to the next, over the air, until it reaches the final destination. ..
There are no plans to commercialize the core LocustWorld MeshAP device, this will always be available to download from the website as an open product. "
It's a linux application. The standard box has Prism2 wireless, 32mb CF boot media, 128mb ram, 500mhz CPU. Small form-factor and battery-powered boxes available. Example hardware models: standard, outdoor (each about $400). 11:08:10 PM
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
A new social convention for email?
"Early in June, Lawrence Lessig, a professor at Stanford Law School, found himself confronting an extreme version of a problem familiar to many of us-an overflowing e-mail box. .. One of Lessig's mail folders [is] called Reply To, stuffed with messages from strangers he felt deserved some kind of response-had ballooned to intolerable proportions.
By June, Reply To contained almost a thousand messages. That's when Lessig had an epiphany. 'I realized I wasn't ever going to be able to reply to it all,' he says. 'I have a son who's 10 months old. I saw that I could spend the time answering e-mail, or I could spend the time with my son.
So .. he gave up. .. 'Dear person who sent me a yet-unanswered e-mail,' Lessig wrote in a rueful form letter to each of his would-be correspondents. 'I apologize, but I am declaring e-mail bankruptcy.' Under the terms of this 'bankruptcy,' Lessig explained, he would ignore all the messages in his brimming folder, but he would allow the senders to write back to him if they really, truly wanted to get his attention. 'It was an extraordinarily liberating act,' Lessig says now. He mailed out hundreds of the bankruptcy notices, and only about 30 people sent back further missives." Hmmm. Could be a lot of potential bankruptcy cases out there. " 2:11:36 AM
T-Mobile UK Gets It
: One card and one service for mulitple radios: "T-Mobile's selling a PC data card for GBP 199, then for GBP 70 per month, users get unlimited 3G and GPRS mobile data, and unlimited use of T-Mobile's Wi-Fi hotspots. Not only is T-Mobile significantly undercutting Vodafone
3G data plans, which charge GBP 100 and GBP 75, respectively, for 1GB, but it's done the smart thing and thrown Wi-Fi into the mix. Although the system can't hand off from the mobile network to Wi-Fi hotspots, giving users the ability to access the highest-speed option, regardless of location, without having to worry about price is the best way forward.
Users aren't interested in keeping track of separate logins and pricing plans, or having to swap out a 3G card for a Wi-Fi one, and they certainly aren't interested in keeping track of their usage to make sure they don't go over their alloted amount of data in a month and pay overage fees." 1:54:27 AM
Real-Time Tracking of Parolees Taking Off
: "Portable Tracking Devices (or PTDs) have long been used by law enforcement to keep tabs on parolees and house-arrest prisoners, but most don't operate in real time. Instead, they upload location data periodically, typically at the end of each day. These "delayed reporting" systems are less expensive to use than real-time devices, because they don't need to make as many mobile calls. But local and state governments are beginning believe that the value of real-time tracking devices
, particularly when used to monitor violent offenders with poor impulse control, outweigh the costs. Such devices can instantly warn police when a wearer comes close to a park, schoolyard, or other predetermined "zone of exclusion." Just how costly is real-time tracking? In Tennessee, it'll run about $290 per month per felon.
" 1:47:13 AM
The Bluetooth Burglar Alarm
: "Bluetooth, after some initial stumbling, is now shipping over 2 million chips per week. While there have been some random security issues, it looks like some researchers are coming up with unique and unexpected ways of using the technology now that it's gone mainstream. Researchers at Leeds University have worked out a way to determine the distance between two Bluetooth-enabled devices
, which they believe can be useful as a cheap theft prevention .. (or, realistically, movement-prevention)" mechanism. 1:43:59 AM
Saturday, July 10, 2004
Cringely improves broadband:
How to get the most out of broadband -- using both a cable modem and a DSL line. "[A] Xincom XC-DPG402 TwinWAN router allows me to simultaneously use both the Comcast cable modem and Megapath ADSL. In theory I have 4.5 megabits-per-second downstream and 640 kilobits-per-second upstream, but what I really have is both a belt and suspenders. At $99, the Xincom is no BGP router, but it gets the job done. It offers downstream load-balancing of a sort, pretty fair security, puts the mail server on a DMZ and makes the network feel significantly snappier. Best of all, when Comcast fades to black for a minute or two I don't even notice." He also uses old 3com linux-based network appliances, now resold on ebay for about $100. 5:19:44 AM