Data network connectivity developments, networking business news, and related computing items.
Ken Novak's Weblog
Friday, January 28, 2005
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
Soaring global warming 'can't be ruled out': Results from the world's largest climate modeling experiment, reported in Nature. "The Earth may be much more sensitive to global warming than previously thought, according to the first results from a massive distributed-computing project. The project tested thousands of climate models and found that some produced a world that warmed by a huge 11.5°C when atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations reached the levels expected to be seen later this century. This extreme result is surprising because it lies far outside the 1.4°C to 4.5°C range predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for the same CO2-level increase..
"We have anecdotal evidence that people tend to tune their models to be similar to other people's," says David Stainforth, from the University of Oxford, UK. "Nobody wants to have a model that's terribly different, particularly when there are only 8 or 10 in the world," he explains. Stainforth and his colleagues set up www.climateprediction.net to see what happened when models were not tuned in this way. "
About the calculations: "From Uruguay to Uzbekistan and Sierra Leone to Singapore, 95,000 people from 150 countries are taking part in the climateprediction.net experiment to explore the possible impact of global warming. By downloading free software from www.climateprediction.net on their personal computers, participants run their own unique version of Britain's Met Office climate model. While their computer is idle, the program runs a climate simulation over days or weeks and automatically reports the results to Oxford University and other collaborating institutions around the world. Together, the volunteers have simulated more than 4 million model years, donated 8,000 years of computer time and exceeded the processing power of the world's largest supercomputers. The first results of the continuing experiment are reported in the latest edition of the science journal Nature." My computers have been running these models since the project started. Amazing how well-behaved the software has been, running imperceptibly in the background. 6:00:33 PM
Friday, January 21, 2005
'Inch of snow' shuts down air marshals: "Hundreds of federal air marshals were grounded and unable to access critical information to pinpoint potential terrorist activity for eight hours on the eve of President Bush's inauguration after snow paralyzed the Mission Operations Center in Washington, said several air marshals and a supervisor. .. hundreds of flights were rerouted because of the snow, and marshals seeking information on reports of a dirty bomb in Boston were unsuccessful. ..
"The guys in the field were stuck and didn't know what was going on, other than they were not to call MOC because they did not have enough people staffing it," the supervisor said. "The president's inauguration was the whole purpose of increased coverage. If they can't handle one inch of snow, what if it is truly an emergency? It was just a total meltdown," the supervisor said. .. When told the "meltdown" was caused by weather delays in Washington, the air marshal said: "It's called the Weather Channel. They should watch it and be prepared to staff for it." " Michael Helfrich sees an IT opportunity: "the tactical edge of the Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS) relies heavily on the phone and PDA as a form-factor. Given the complete availability of HTTP services through WIFI, CDMA, and GSM-enabled devices, there is a huge opportunity for the distribution of information and other services for organizations like FAMS." 11:07:21 PM
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Wired 13.01: The BitTorrent Effect: Nice intro to the software and its effects. "One example of how the world has already changed: Gary Lerhaupt, a graduate student in computer science at Stanford, became fascinated with Outfoxed, the documentary critical of Fox News, and thought more people should see it. So he convinced the film's producer to let him put a chunk of it on his Web site for free, as a 500-Mbyte torrent. Within two months, nearly 1,500 people downloaded it. That's almost 750 gigs of traffic, a heck of a wallop. But to get the ball rolling, Lerhaupt's site needed to serve up only 5 gigs. After that, the peers took over and hosted it themselves. His bill for that bandwidth? $4. There are drinks at Starbucks that cost more. "It's amazing - I'm a movie distributor," he says. "If I had my own content, I'd be a TV station." [Update: It just passed 1 TB.] ..
[In] November Jon Stewart made a now-famous appearance on CNN's Crossfire. Stewart attacked the hosts, Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson, calling them political puppets. .. Delighted fans immediately ripped the segment and posted it online as a torrent. Word of Stewart's smackdown spread rapidly through the blogs, and within a day at least 4,000 servers were hosting the clip. One host reported having, at any given time, more than a hundred peers swapping and downloading the file. No one knows exactly how many people got the clip through BitTorrent, but this kind of traffic on the very first day suggests a number in the hundreds of thousands - and probably much higher. Another 2.3 million people streamed it from iFilm.com over the next few weeks. By contrast, CNN's audience for Crossfire was only 867,000. Three times as many people saw Stewart's appearance online as on CNN itself..
"Blogs reduced the newspaper to the post. In TV, it'll go from the network to the show," [and for that matter, MP3 reduced the album to the song]
The P2P technology company Kontiki produces software that, like BitTorrent, creates hyperefficient downloads; its applications also work with Microsoft's digital rights management software to keep content out of pirate hands. The BBC used Kontiki's systems last summer to send TV shows to 1,000 households. And America Online now uses Kontiki's apps to circulate Moviefone trailers. In fact, when users download a trailer, they also download a plug-in that begins swapping the file with others. It's so successful that when you watch a trailer on Moviefone, 80 percent of the time it's being delivered to you by other users in the network. Millions of AOL users have already participated in peercasting - without knowing it."
Monday, January 17, 2005
Looks nifty. $70. "The RadioSHARK can record any AM or FM radio broadcast in real time. You can also program it to record a scheduled show, or to ‘pause’ live radio so you can return right where you left off .. The RadioSHARK connects to and is powered by USB. The fin-shaped device acts as an antenna and can be positioned for best reception and recording. Any recorded broadcast can be transferred to an iPod or any other AIFF-compatible digital music player to replay on the go." 10:23:12 PM
Saturday, January 08, 2005
Attack of the Killer Xanga
: How a blog entry on Xanga turned into a denial-of-service attack on another website (in this case, slashdot search). The comments about and by the hackers involved give a view into their motivations. 10:21:49 AM