Wednesday, July 31, 2002
Tuesday, July 30, 2002
Posted By Allen at 11:30 AM
BW Online has a story about some of the challenges that face Wi-Fi in the coming years. I'm not sure that it is really as dour as they say, but there are some legitimate concerns here.
Thursday, July 25, 2002
Posted By Allen at 4:34 PM
Slashdot has a good conversation going on right now about automated testing on Linux and the Mac. I'm a tester by trade, and I've found some good resources on this thread, so if you are interested in automated testing, check it out.
Wednesday, July 24, 2002
Posted By Allen at 7:21 PM
Janna Levin did a piece on the National Public Radio program All Things Considered about an art project called Longplayer. You can hear the piece here. The basics are that Longplayer is an algorithm designed to play continuos non-repeating music for 1000 years. You can hear the live stream of Longplayer here
Posted By Allen at 9:30 AM
Julian Bond posted the following message to the BAWUG yesterday. It goes right along with the story I posted last week about open wireless networks. I did an experiment last night on my way to a networking event in London, UK. I ran Netstumbler on a Laptop in the top box of my scooter as I rode from the City to the West end. A distance of about 2.5 miles. I picked up 50 WLANs of which 15 were unencrypted. Of these, at least 3 were using defaults out of the box and 1 looks like a consume.net style deliberately open hotspot.
Saturday, July 20, 2002
Posted By Allen at 8:01 AM
Last night I was playing around with the newest version of Lindows. I haven't worked with the OS much to date, because it didn't have support for my Cisco Aironet card. Since the card was the only way laptop can connect to the network I didn't want interrupt that ability. Anyway, yesterday a college of mine told me that Lindows now had support for wireless cards. So, I took the plunge and installed the OS on my laptop. The first thing I noticed, after the installation completed, was that my wireless card was blinking. I thought that the Lindows install had grabbed the settings for my card before it wiped windows off the machine. So I started trying to download software and access my network resources. Then I noticed that the network seemed really unresponsive. I started looking more closely at the network, and found that Lindows had not grabbed my previous settings, and I was associated with someone else's access point. To be sure I went to the default router address with a www browser, and found that it was a linksys. Well, I thought, that isn't too strange, I have a linksys on my network too. So I tried to log in, but it wouldn't take my password. So I tried the default password on a linksys router "Admin" and I got in. Then I realized that I wasn't logged into my network at all. I was getting to the net through somebody else's access point somewhere else in the network. This person had never bothered to do anything to secure his network. Upon further inspection with a sniffer, I found that I could grab all of his traffic off the air in my office. He was using no encryption and no access control. I could browse the shares on his computer, I could see his password flying by. If I only knew where he lived, I could go tell him, and help him set up something more secure. All I know, however, is a general direction from my condo, South. This goes to show how important it is for vendors to stress security with their wireless products. Information is becoming more and more of a commodity, and the information that describes us is moving around on the Internet every day. When we install new technology, it is the responsibility of a vendor to explain the security consequences. It was obvious in the case of my mysterious neighbor that he hasn't installed any security on his network. It is quite possible he isn't even aware of the security hole he has opened onto his data. Something to think about.
Posted By Allen at 7:55 AM
Original Source politech For a documentary film about the threat to civil liberties post Sept 11th (with the advent of the USA Patriot Act etc.) we are seeking stories about: People (preferably students, preferably in the DC or SF Bay Areas) who who have been directly affected by the "New McCarthyism." Specifically, we are looking for people who have been affected by technology surveillance...someone who may have experienced serious repercussions for going to a given web site or expressing a certain view on line. We are also looking for a college student (or recent grad) who might be willing and able to speak more generally about the new threats to on-line privacy post-Sept. 11th. We would, of course, also welcome stories about people otherwise affected by the USA Patriot Act...but the technology issues are our priority focus at the moment. By way of some background info ... my colleague Vivian Kleiman and I are independent filmmakers based in Berkeley, California. We have been asked to produce a short (20-minute) film for an organization in Washington DC called the Alliance for Justice (www.afj.org). The piece will screen mostly on college campus; the goal being to raise awareness and activism among students around these issues. If you have story ideas, please contact me at: email@example.com Thank you! Jen ************** Jennifer Petrucelli Producer/Director 2600 10th Street, Ste. 105 Berkeley, CA 94710 510.549.1443 415.596.4970 cell 510.549.1474 fax firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, July 19, 2002
Posted By Allen at 2:52 PM
Infoworld.com is reporting that WECA is talking about changing the name of it's 802.11 certification for 802.11a networks. Currently it's called Wi-Fi5, and 802.11b certification is called Wi-Fi. One of the names they are considering is "Wi-Fi Certified", wow what a change. There is a similar story on Cnet.
Posted By Allen at 2:45 PM
Wired.com has a story about the possibility of making a roll-up TV commercially available in 2004. This screen would be printed on a very thin plastic. There are all kinds of potential uses for thin plastic displays, including military and civilian uses. I'd love to be able to hand a 60 inch TV on the wall, and not worry about any special mounting. I'd also love the fact that I could roll it up and move it like a large poster if I needed to. There is a similar story on Cnet
Friday, July 12, 2002
Posted By Allen at 10:15 PM
Kevin Maney's Column, speculating on how Bill Gates could wind up owning the Internet. Here is a response to that story, from Rick Adams who was the Chairman of the UUNet board during the MFS merger: ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- From: "Rick News" email@example.com Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2002 19:34:53 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org I don't understand. Is this supposed to be fiction based on fact or pure fiction? UUNET was using MFS to carry internet traffic on MFS's virtual Ethernet product as early as 1992. MFS was certainly aware of UUNET and the internet as a large consumer of bandwidth early on. I have a record of a meeting in January 1994 where we discussed MFS investing in UUNET. I think we discussed them buying us out as early as 1993; Certainly well before this mystical 1995 meeting. As I remember it, Jim Crowe had to convince Walter Scott why he wanted to spend $2 billion on UUNET. Scott is a smart guy, but Crowe is the only telecom guy I ever met who "got" the internet. He certainly didn't need Scott to teach him. I don't understand the part about Microsoft owing 14.7% of UUNET being relevant. I owned more than that and I also don't remember asking Gate's permission to sell the company. Microsoft was not in a position to force or stop a sale. (I think I could have stopped it, but I don't think anyone else could have.) I doubt very much that Gates told Crowe he'd only sell if he kept Sidgmore. No one wanted Sidgmore to leave. It was not something that was contemplated at any time. Frankly, I doubt Gates and Crowe discussed it, but I have no first hand information on their confirmations (unlike all of the other items I am correcting) When WorldCom bought MFS Scott, Crowe and Sidgmore were already very wealthy (Scott measured in billions. Sidgmore and Crowe on the order of $100 million). I doubt very much if the WorldCom purchase made a significant financial difference in their effective wealth - certainly not enough to influence any decisions or create large "favors" I can't comment on the rest as I wasn't there, but it's clear that everything up to and including the WorldCom acquisition of MFS is pure fiction. I have to assume the rest is also. (Except for the part about Crowe hating Ebbers - but then he was just five years ahead of most people wasn't he?) Somehow conspiracy theories never stand up to scrutiny - even the juicy ones. My opinion of USAToday as a "news" source remains as low as ever. Rick Adams UUNET Board Chairman at time of MFS merger P.s. how did the conspiracy theorist miss the fact that Scott is on Berkshire Hathaway's Board of Directors?
Posted By Allen at 10:07 PM
At a recent conference, heard this anecdote: "If you bought $1,000 worth of Nortel stock one year ago, it would now be worth $49. "If you bought $1,000 worth of Budweiser (the beer, not the stock) one year ago, drank all the beer, and traded in the cans for a nickel deposit, you would have $79."
Wednesday, July 10, 2002
Posted By Allen at 7:32 PM
PCWorld.com says that SyChip will release an SD 802.11b chip based on the SDIO standard. This is really cool. SD cards are the expansion slot that many palms and handheld PCs use. The cards are about the size of a stamp. This card should work with palms so that they can access 802.11b networks. It is based on the Prism 3 chipset from Intersil.
Posted By Allen at 7:25 PM
Apparently it's not ok to question the sobriety of airline crews on America West. According to the Associated Press a woman was escorted off an America West plane this week after asking a flight attendant, "Have you checked the crew for sobriety?" America West is the airline that had to fire two of it's pilots last week for attempting to fly drunk. I think asking about a flight crew's sobriety is a valid question given the circumstances. I guess, that I won't be flying America West anytime soon. Which is a shame since they had the really cheap fares to Las Vegas.
Tuesday, July 9, 2002
Posted By Allen at 10:37 PM
Wired News has a small blurb titled "Promising Chapter in E-Book Story", with some very impressive numbers. According to the article traffic to eBookWeb.org has grown to more than 500,000 pageviews a month, McGraw-Hill's e-book sales are up 55 percent over this time last year, and Palm Digital Media (My Favorite E-Book Seller), sold 180,000 titles in 2001. The article goes on to state that PerfectBound sold more e-books in the first five months of 2002 than in all of 2001. I've been doing most of my pleasure reading on a Palm for the last year or so, and I have to say that the experience is quite good. I have found that I read much more than I did before, and I am also able to get through books that I just had to put down before. A good example is a Sci-Fi book that I bought in paper last year. I couldn't finish it, but it recently came out for the palm ebook reader, and I was able to finish it in just a couple of days. I think the big difference with ebooks, is that you have them with you all the time. I carry a library of almost 100 titles in my pocket, and that means that I always have something to read. Now, those times when you have a few extra minutes can be put to good use.
Posted By Allen at 10:22 PM
CNET.com has a story about how Micro$oft is going to gang up with Visa and Mastercard to require people to type in their passport username and password when using the cards for an online purchase. Is it just me or do others think this is a really bad idea. I don't trust Microsoft, especially when it comes to valuable online purchasing data. I don't want the worlds biggest computer monopoly to start profiling me and selling my online identity to the highest bidder.
Posted By Allen at 10:31 AM
Conference Presentation Judo is a presentation about giving presentations at conferences. It was posted on slashdot last week, and I just got around to looking at it. The tips are mostly common sense, but it's nice to see all of this kind of information in one place. Some of the pictures are a little crude, so don't say I didn't warn you.
Monday, July 8, 2002
Posted By Allen at 3:42 PM
Linksys is getting ready to release a wireless ethernet bridge. This is a device that allows you to put any ethernet ready networking device on a wireless network. So, you can put your ethernet TiVO on the wireless network in your house.
Posted By Allen at 7:25 AM
Steve Friess wrote an interesting article about working at China's only English language daily, the China Daily. Steve was working there as an editor, and summed up his experience with the following paragraph: They promised to fly me over and back, put me up, give me a month's vacation, and pay me four times the average Beijing wage. For all this, I promised to make the English writing of the Chinese staff as readable as possible -- and ignore how ridiculous, inept, and often outrageously false the substance is.
Sunday, July 7, 2002
Friday, July 5, 2002
Posted By Allen at 1:50 PM
Froguts is just what it advertises. An "Amazing online virtual dissection of a frog". It's much more thorough than the dissection that I remember doing in High School, and it doesn't smell nearly as bad. This is a valuable education site, and an excellent use of www technology.
Posted By Allen at 1:32 PM
Spanish physicists have shown how the photons in a beam of laser light might be able to condense into "light droplets" with certain liquidlike properties. Laser light, passing through a nonlinear optical medium, can undergo self focusing: the very presence of the intense light, with its strong electric and magnetic fields, can modify the material's index of refraction, causing the material to act like a lens. At some point the streams of laser light making up the beam would have converged sufficiently to form a condensed state in analogy with the Van der Waals forces which create liquid drops from a gas cloud. These "droplets" would not be at rest but would continue to move at the speed of light. Humberto Michinel (email@example.com) and his colleagues at the Universidade de Vigo, the Universidade de Santiago, and the Chalmers Tekniska Hogskola (Goteborg, Sweden) argue that the light condensates can be considered as droplets because his study shows that they have these properties in common with liquids: they have a surface tension (elastic resistance to being deflected) and can sustain vortices like those in superfluids. The light droplets, not yet demonstrated in the lab, would be useful as robust information bits in future optical computers. (Michinel et al., Physical Review E, June 2002; text at http://www.aip.org/physnews/select) PHYSICS NEWS UPDATE The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Physics News Number 596 July 2, 2002 by Phillip F. Schewe, Ben Stein, and James Riordon