quick way to build a wireless network
What do Sayada, Tunisia, and Red Hook, Brooklyn, have in common?
One is a fishing town on the Mediterranean Sea. The other is
a waterfront neighborhood in an industrial section of Americas
largest city. But both are using a networking technology that
is cheap, relatively easy to set up, and remarkably resilient
a mesh network, the technology lets users connect directly to
each other rather than through a central hub. For the citizens
of Sayada, that means they can create a community network free
from government surveillance or interference. For residents of
Red Hook, the local mesh network helps them stay connected during
mesh networks arent new. Theyve been operating in
Europe for years. They are, however, relatively new to the U.S.,
where they are just starting to catch on. In Detroit, where some
neighborhoods dont have access to broadband, mesh networks
are seen as a low-cost solution to the digital divide that exists
there. And for many local governments, mesh networks are a relatively
simple way to offer high-speed Wi-Fi. Ponca City, Okla., has
adopted mesh as a means of delivering free wireless broadband
to all of its 25,000 residents.
networks operate using a hub and spoke layout -- basically, a
central broadcast tower links to users like spokes on a wheel.
With mesh networking, envision a fish net, says Georgia
Bullen, field operations technologist for the nonprofit Open
Technology Institute. Every device on the network is part
of the network.
avoids any single point of failure (a problem in Red Hook during
Hurricane Sandy in 2011), and it allows the network to bypass
obstacles, such as hills or buildings, using different signal
paths. If a local coffee shop, for example, has a wireless router
thats part of the mesh network and wants to turn off its
device when it closes at night, the network bypasses the coffee
shop. When the shop turns its router back on in the morning,
the network automatically reconfigures to run through the coffee
can start small, with just a handful of devices, but can easily
grow as demand picks up. Think of mesh networks as infrastructure
lite, Bullen says. Its similar to installing
bus rapid transit versus an underground subway system. Its
something that can be put up quickly, even moved to another location
if it isnt working well.
community groups have shown the strongest interest in using mesh
networks, but cities and towns should consider them too. Its
a way to provide citizens access to the Internet in hard-to-reach
places, such as city parks and urban corridors where buildings
might block traditional Wi-Fi signals.
does have some technology challenges and limitations, though.
Every router that forms the backbone of the network must have
an unobstructed view of another router in order to complete the
connection. Most neighborhood mesh networks are designed to operate
at rooftop level so that trees or other buildings dont
block the signal as it travels from one router to the next. Communications
can also get slow if signals have to make multiple hops from
one router to another; costs can escalate if the size or scope
of the network grows significantly; and putting together a small
network can be time consuming. Community networks that rely on
volunteer help often underestimate the amount of labor needed
to set it up.
The open wireless movement
A new movement dubbed the Open Wireless Movement is asking users
to open up their private Wi-Fi networks to total strangers
a random act of kindness with an aim of better securing
networks and facilitating better use of finite broadband resources.
The movement is supported by non-profit and pro-internet rights
organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Mozilla,
Open Rights Group, and Free Press among others. The EFF is planning
to unveil one such innovation Open Wireless Router
at the Hackers on Planet Earth conference to be held next month
on New York. This firmware will allow individuals to share their
private Wi-Fi to total strangers to anyone without a password.
More Comcast mischief
Dwight Silverman of the Houston Chronicle reports that Comcast
plans to turn 50,000 home routers into public Wi-Fi hotspots
without their users providing consent. Comcast plans to eventually
convert 150,000 home routers into a city-wide WiFi network. A
similar post on the SeattlePI Tech Blog explains the change:
interesting about this move is that, by default, the feature
is being turned on without its subscribers' prior consent. It's
an opt-out system you have to take action to not participate.
Comcast spokesman Michael Bybee said on Monday that notices about
the hotspot feature were mailed to customers a few weeks ago,
and email notifications will go out after it's turned on. But
it's a good bet that this will take many Comcast customers by
Meet the Coalition for Local internet
Why there is so little public
light of the ongoing net neutrality battle, many people have
begun looking to Google and its promise of high-speed fiber as
a potential saving grace from companies that want to create an
"internet fast lane." Well, even without Google, many
communities and cities throughout the country are already wired
with fiber â they just don't let their residents
use it. Companies like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Century Link,
and Verizon have signed agreements with cities that prohibit
local governments from becoming internet service providers and
prohibit municipalities from selling or leasing their fiber to
local startups who would compete with these huge corporations.'
60% of world's population still
doesn't have Internet
A poll of 2,000 British adults asked them to name their favourite
hobbies, with computer gaming, online shopping, social networking
and 'technology' all making the top 10.
End of land lines looming?
Chattanooga's publicly owned Internet
According to a forthcoming report from Twopcharts, a website that
monitors Twitter activity, about 40% of the 20 million accounts
that are registered on Twitter each month send at least one tweet
the month they sign up...By the time Twitter celebrates its ninth
birthday next year, Twopcharts estimates only a quarter of those
accounts will still be tweeting. To date, about 1.5 billion Twitter
accounts have been registered, according to the Amsterdam-based
Twopcharts. Of these, 955 million still exist today, but only
13% have tweeted in the last 30 days.
NSA claims Internet firms knew
about its spying
Getty frees millions of photos
for non-commercial use
Teenage angst in a cyber world
How not to be a glasshole (or
so Google thinks)
How TPP could kill the Internet
Federal judge: IP address not
enough to identifier violator
Bloggers given First Amendment
rights of other journalists
A supporter of Internet openness
explains why the recent court decision may not be as bad as it
Three miles of San Francisco getting
Theft of Ipads soar on Briitish
Wi-Fi as a source of power?
being hacked by PR firms
losing control of the Internet
Linked In accused of misusing
Personal to Bobby Ray Inman
What Chattanooga can teach the
country about the Internet
State AGs want to wreck Internet
Intel chips could let federal
spies inside your computer
How top tech companies helped
NSA attack the Constitution
Federal judge declares Internet
The hut where the Internet began
Sorry, but you won't finish this
- Apple has $30 billion tax free
in Irish accounts
- Apple's voice controlled search
system retains queries
The case against hashtags
FBI Internet plan would help criminals
Justice Department thinks emails
don't need a warrant to search
Youtube planning subscription
- The Internet in the 1990s
Bing Delivers Five Times as Many
Malicious Websites as Google
The ComScore analytics service
its 2013 marketplace outlook that one of every three minutes
of digital time now is spent with a smart phone, a tablet
or both at once.
NATO report says it's okay to kill
What the Internet looked like
in 1995 (when the Review first had a website)
The most outrageous criminal law
you never heard about
Yahoo CEO who banned working at
home built a nurse...
Sorry folks, no mass free wifi
Four top Internet sites to police:
show us your warrant
The different stories of three guys
who broke the law: Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Aaron Swartz
CBS ownership of CNET threatens one
of best cyber sites
the film industry & phone companies will kill public hotspots
Even orangutans like Ipads
Instagram backs off selling users'
Facebook screws users again
Social media sites censoring news
Culture is not a crime
How the Internet encourages conformity
What is the Internet anyway?
How the Internet cuts the costs
ATT plans re-education camps for
Letter to Facebook
TV networks trying to stop streaming
German Pirate Party's proposal
for a decent Internet
evil of web pagination
costly but lousy cable and internet service
Federal judge rules using open
Wifi is not wiretapping
Spyware can easily bust into your
Obama treaty plan would ruin Internet
How the Apple case hurts consumers
blogger's dad tries Microsoft 8:
trying to drive me to Mac?"
Why you want to be a Wall Street
pirate rather than a download pirate
Obama issues executive order falsely
claiming power to censor online media
European parliament dumps ACTA
Government censorship of Google
Plan for a visa free ship anchored
off Silicon Valley
UK officials looking into reports
of Google spying on citizens' computers
Finland: Open wifi owners not
liable for copyright infringement
15,000 in military had Megaupload
Twitter refuses to turn over Occupy
account to New York DA
Free smartphone apps are big battery
Internet is almost 5% of economy
Even your refrigerator will soon
be spyIng on you
Why politicians don't know much
about the Internet
Obamadmin claims control of any
domain with .com, .net, .org, .biz amywhere in the world
Social media engaged in censorship
Government scaring web businesses
out of U.S.
Manhattan DA supoenas Twitter
account of Occupier over minor offense
Legal help offered to Megauploaders
unfairly targeted by government
In 1963, Jim Henson introduces
business owners to
"data communications," with a highly opinionated proto-computer.
Did Obama just kill cloud storage
Obama and Congress want to censor
Orangutans into Ipads
Ipads, Kindles major blow to print
Why the tech industry doesn't
Almost 60 percent of the 18,000 8- to 17-year-olds
who were part of a British study said they had read a text message
in the past month; half said they had read on the Web. That compares
with 46 percent having read a fiction book and 35 percent having
read a nonfiction book.
Apple snubs nose at Constitution
to find an Iphone.
Who's using Google+?
Why saving to the cloud is dangerous
Tennessee makes it illegal to
When you apply for your next job,
everything you've said on social media wll be part of your record
Meet The Workers Who Make Your
iPad: 100 Hours Of Overtime, No-Suicide Pacts, Standing For 14
Hours A Day
Saving the Internet
Obama wants to make file sharing
a felony with prison up to 20 years
OBAMA WANTS TO REDESIGN INTERNET
TO PERMIT WIRETAPPING
Assange on the hazards of the
Canadians rebel politely but effectively
against Internet limits
Internet running out of addresses
Obama's plan to turn Internet
into giant spy machine
Daley part of effort to end an
Atlantic Wire - Over forty percent of those on
Twitter check their accounts "less than every few weeks
or never check it at all." That's one of the many tidbits
that's just been unearthed about the massive social networking
site, courtesy of a new Pew Research center survey.
A new way to read long things on the web
EVEN WANTS TO TRADEMARK 'FACE'
SAYS WEB ALMOST FULL
INTERNET AFFECTS OUR MINDS
Study: Internet users more social
Indicators: Internet stats
NBC found out which of its employees had uploaded this 1994
video of Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric mulling over this strange
thing called the Internet, it fired the guy. Help NBC figure
out how the Internet works by spreading this
as far as possible.
- Internet rights threatened by
new trade agreement
- Under CISPA an employer could
demand your Facebook password
BBC out to censor the Internet
Obama claims illegal secret powers
Homeland czar tries to scare us into
a bad cyber bill
Obamadmin argues cellphone tracking
should be exempt from Constitution
Reddit founder comes up with 'Bat
signal' for internet protest of anti-Internet bills
How politicians can censor Youtube
for two weeks
HilClin double talks on Interent
Firefox refuses to go along with
Homeland Security's censorship of Internet
NBC Universal threatens suppliers
to support anti-Internet bill
Reddit users planning censorship
Study: Shutting down internet
makes revolutions more effective
French plan to censor Internet
Apple planning to censor use of
Iphones at concerts
How U.S. censorship of Internet
Things to do if the government
shuts down the Internet
Lieberman & Collins wants
government to be able to shut down Internet - just like Eygpt
British school heads say Facebook
and Twitter hurt literacy
Texting and Facebook make us feel less happy
Governments asked for data on
38,000 Facebook users this year
Facebook generation losing enthusiasm
- Facebook blocks ad critical of
- Mark Zuckerberg joins the rightwing
Facebook unveils new waste of time
Facebook losing users
Facebook boss supporting Republican
How logging onto Facebook at work
could be a federal offense
Now Facebook wants you to pay to have some of your posts seen
Young not as interested in Facebook
Job seekers being asked for Facebook
What Facebook really wants
Nicholas Thompson, New Yorker
- The longtime goal
of Facebook, and of founder Mark Zuckerberg has been to build
a separate Internet. . . There are great consequences to this.
The more our online lives take place on Facebook, the more we
depend on the choices of the people who run the companywhat
they think about privacy, how they think we should be able to
organize our friends, what they tell advertisers (and governments)
about what we do and what we buy.
Facebook censors journalist. .
Facebook sued for allegedly violating
This year, 480,000 U.S. Facebook
users will die, and
1.78 million of them internationally, which works out to about
three every minute.
Facebook celebrates royal wedding
by nuking 50 protest groups
There is no reason for anyone
any chops online to be remotely involved with Facebook, except
to peruse it for lost relatives. So, next time you log on, remember
it's really AOL with a different layout. Welcome to the past.
- John Dvorak, PC Mag
FACEBOOK GETTING OUT OF CONTROL
FACEBOOK BY THE NUMBERS
21-YEAR-OLD TAKES ON TOWING COMPANY;
10,000 FOLLOW FIGHT ON FACEBOOK
TEN REASONS TO LEAVE FACEBOOK
HOW FACEBOOK'S STANDARDS OF PRIVACY
TEN REASONS YOU'LL NEVER QUIT
FACEBOOK EVEN THOUGH YOU WANT TO
KEEPING THE INTERNET FREE
GOOGLE RIPPING OFF AMERICA WITH
OFFSHORE TAX DEALS; FACEBOOK TO FOLLOW
VERIZON & GOOGLE'S PLAN TO
TAKE OVER THE INTERNET
WHY AN INTERNET KILLER SWITCH
ARE E-BOOKS FOR OLD FOLKS?
HOW THE INTERNET MAKES IT HARDER
INTERNET BILL THREATENS WHOLE
LIEBERMAN & COLLINS WOULD
LET PRESIDENT SEIZE INTERNET IN AN 'EMERGENCY'
FAIR USE BOOSTS THE ECONOMY BY
EVEN TWITTER IS GETTING BORED
WITH ONLY 140 CHARACTERS
HOW TO PRINT DIRECTLY FROM YOUR
WHY I RETURNED MY IPAD
APPEALS COURT FAVORS COMCAST OVER
ONLINE READERS DON'T WANT TO PAY
SALVADORE ALLENDE'S INTERNET
THE DIRTY BEGINNINGS OF FACEBOOK
HOW LONG WILL THE PAST REMAIN
ON THE INTERNET?
GLOBAL POLL FINDS FOUR OUT OF
FIVE THINK INTERNET ACCESS IS BASIC RIGHT
THE IDEA MILL
A TRUE GEEK MOM
WHAT NEWSWEEK HAD TO SAY ABOUT THE INTERNET
EVEN FREE, NEWSPAPERS LOSING GROUND
NET NEUTRALITY: WHAT'S IN IT FOR
AN APOLOGY FROM THE MAN WHO INVENTED
THE URL DOUBLE SLASH
U.S. INTERNET SPEED RANKS POORLY
PERHAPS THE WORLD'S ONLY ANALOG
NEW TECHNOLOGY HAS ALWAYS SCARED
SOMEONE (AND THEIR LAWYERS)
USING TWITTER FOR TWEAKING
BILL GIVING PRESIDENT CONTROL
OVER INTERNET TAMED DOWN. . . A BIT EARLIER
U.S. RANKS 28TH IN WORLD IN INTERNET
FILE SHARERS SHOULD BE TREATED
AS LEAST AS WELL AS EXXON
OBAMA SIDES WITH CORPORADOS ON
WHY THE INTERNET WORKS. . . AND
THE DANGERS OF A TWITTER REVOLUTION
LIVING UNDER THE CLOUD OF CHROME
THE FULLY PROGRAMMED IPHONE USER
90 PERCENT OF TWEETS COME FROM
TEN PERCENT OF USERS
TWITTER IS FOR OLD FOGIES WHO
WANT TO SEEM COOL
AUSTRALIA ADOPTS DICTATORIAL INTERNET
TOP INTERESTING ACRONYMS COMMONLY
USED ON THE INTERNET AND IN TEXT MESSAGES
MINNESOTA CENSORS INTERNET USE
LIBRARIES OFFERING CYBERBOOKS
AND MUSIC FOR FREE
THE SCOURGE OF VIDEOTAPE MOULD
AND CD ROT
RECOVERED HISTORY: JOHN CLEESE EXPLAINS
WHY A COMPAQ PORTABLE COMPUTER
IS BETTER THAN A DEAD FISH
AIR FORCE SEEKING CONTROL OVER ALL COMPUTERS
NOAH SHACHTMAN WIRED The Air Force wants
a suite of hacker tools, to give it "access" to --
and "full control" of -- any kind of computer there
is. And once the info warriors are in, the Air Force wants them
to keep tabs on their "adversaries' information infrastructure
The government is growing increasingly
interested in waging war online. The Air Force recently put together
a "Cyberspace Command," with a charter to rule networks
the way its fighter jets rule the skies. The Department of Homeland
Security, Darpa, and other agencies are teaming up for a five-year,
$30 billion "national cybersecurity initiative." That
includes an electronic test range, where federally-funded hackers
can test out the latest electronic attacks. "You used to
need an army to wage a war," a recent Air Force commercial
notes. "Now, all you need is an Internet connection."
THE NEW INTERNET & THE POLICE STATE
ANNALEE NEWITZ, ALTERNET [Oxford University
researcher Jonathan Zittrain] thinks we're seeing the end of
the freewheeling Internet and PC era. He calls the technologies
of today "tethered" technologies. Tethered technologies
are items like iPhones or many brands of DVR -- they're sterile
to their owners, who aren't allowed to build software that runs
on them. But they're generative to the companies that make them,
in the sense that Comcast can update your DVR remotely, or Apple
can brick your iPhone remotely if you try to do something naughty
to it (like run your own software program on it).
In some ways, tethered technologies are
worse than plain old sterile technologies. They allow for abuses
undreamed of in the IBM mainframe era. For example, iPhone tethering
could lead to law enforcement going to Apple and saying, "Please
activate the microphone on this iPhone that we know is being
carried by a suspect." The device turns into an instant
bug, without all the fuss of following the suspect around or
installing surveillance crap in her apartment. This isn't idle
speculation, by the way. OnStar, the manufacturer of a car emergency
system, was asked by law enforcement to activate the mics in
certain cars using its system. It refused and went to court.
ATT EXEC: INTERNET MAY BE OVERLOADED BY 2010
ZDNET An AT&T executive has claimed
that, without investment, the Internet's current network architecture
will reach the limits of its capacity by 2010. Speaking at a
Westminster eForum on Web 2.0 this week in London, Jim Cicconi,
vice president of legislative affairs for AT&T, warned that
the current systems that constitute the Internet will not be
able to cope with the increasing amounts of video and user-generated
content being uploaded.. . .
He claimed that the "unprecedented
new wave of broadband traffic" would increase fifty-fold
by 2015 and that AT&T was investing $19bn to maintain its
network and upgrade its backbone network. Cicconi added that
more demand for high-definition video will put increasing strain
on the Internet infrastructure. "Eight hours of video is
loaded onto YouTube every minute. Everything will become HD very
soon and HD is seven to 10 times more bandwidth-hungry than typical
video today. Video will be 80 percent of all traffic by 2010,
up from 30 percent today," he said.
SMALLER TOWNS GETTING MUNICIPAL
WI-FI BEFORE BIG CITIES
COURT CASE REVEALS EVEN MICROSOFT
EXECS DIDN'T CARE FOR VISTA
MICROSOFT'S COVERT TAKEOVER OF
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WEBSITE
PENTAGON: TREAT INTERNET LIKE AN ENEMY WEAPONS
GLOBAL RESEARCH - The Pentagon's Information
Operations Roadmap is blunt about the fact that an internet,
with the potential for free speech, is in direct opposition to
their goals. The internet needs to be dealt with as if it were
an enemy "weapons system".
The 2003 Pentagon document entitled the
Information Operation Roadmap was released to the public after
a Freedom of Information Request by the National Security Archive
at George Washington University in 2006. . .
From the Information Operation Roadmap.
"We Must Fight the Net. DoD [Department
of Defense] is building an information-centric force. Networks
are increasingly the operational center of gravity, and the Department
must be prepared to fight the net. DoD's Defense in Depth strategy
should operate on the premise that the Department will fight
the net as it would a weapons system."
It should come as no surprise that the
Pentagon would aggressively attack the information highway in
their attempt to achieve dominance in information warfare. Donald
Rumsfeld's involvement in the Project for a New American Century
sheds more light on the need and desire to control information.
The Project for a New American Century
was founded in 1997 with many members that later became the nucleus
of the George W. Bush administration. The list includes: Jeb
Bush, Dick Cheney, I. Lewis Libby, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul
Wolfowitz among many other powerful but less well know names.
Their stated purpose was to use a hugely expanded U.S. military
to project "American global leadership." In September
of 2000, PNAC published a now infamous document entitled Rebuilding
America's Defences. This document has a very similar theme as
the Pentagon's Information Operations Roadmap which was signed
by then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
From Rebuilding America's Defenses:
"It is now commonly understood that
information and other new technologies... are creating a dynamic
that may threaten America's ability to exercise its dominant
"Much as control of the high seas
- and the protection of international commerce - defined global
powers in the past, so will control of the new "international
commons" be a key to world power in the future. An America
incapable of protecting its interests or that of its allies in
space or the infosphere will find it difficult to exert global
"Although it may take several decades
for the process of transformation to unfold, in time, the art
of warfare on air, land, and sea will be vastly different than
it is today, and "combat" likely will take place in
new dimensions: in space, cyber-space," and perhaps the
world of microbes. . .
Part of the Information Operation Roadmap's
plans for the internet are to "ensure the graceful degradation
of the network rather than its collapse. . .
As far as the Pentagon is concerned the
internet is not all bad, after all, it was the Department of
Defense through DARPA that gave us the internet in the first
place. The internet is useful not only as a business tool but
also is excellent for monitoring and tracking users, acclimatizing
people to a virtual world, and developing detailed psychological
profiles of every user, among many other Pentagon positives.
But, one problem with the current internet is the potential for
the dissemination of ideas and information not consistent with
US government themes and messages, commonly known as free speech.
Naturally, since the plan was to completely dominate the infosphere,
the internet would have to be adjusted or replaced with an upgraded
and even more Pentagon friendly successor.
MICROSOFT BOMBS WITH VISTA
JET BLUE EXPERIMENTING WITH WIFI IN AIR
GALLERY: HOW TO DRESS LIKE A COMPUTER PROGRAMMER
ONLY ONE IN THREE COMPUTER GEEKS
CORRECTLY IDENTIFY PROBLEM
PERSONAL COMPUTER HISTORY NOW HAS ITS OWN PROFESSOR
SCIENTIFIC BLOGGING - The Internet, personal computers, word
processing and spreadsheets are so embedded in today's society
that it's hard to remember that just 35 years ago they didn't
exist. Thomas Haigh, assistant professor of information studies
at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, is among a very small
number of computer experts in the world who are also historians,
studying the role of technology in broader social change. These
new experts are tracing how computers have changed business and
society. Researching late 20th century technology has given Haigh
the opportunity to talk to many pioneers who developed both computers
and the software that powers them. He conducted a series of oral
history interviews for the Society for Industrial and Applied
Mathematics, and has written about the history of word processing
and the development of databases.
COMPUTER HISTORY MUSEUM
GUIDE TO COMPUTER HISTORY INFO
SOME CALL the Tandy Radio Shack Model 100 the first laptop. Reporters
loved it and some people are still using them. Many editions
of the Review's predecessor, the DC Gazette, were composed on
a Model 100 and the editor's wife wrote her 200 page master's
thesis on a Model 200 which had an external disc drive that could
only handle three pages per disc.
OLD COMPUTERS - The Tandy 100 was actually a computer made in
Japan by Kyocera. All the ROM programs were written by Microsoft,
and even a few of them were written by Bill Gates himself These
programs include a text editor, a telecommunication program,
which uses the built-in modem (300 baud), and a rather good version
of BASIC. . . The operating system uses 3130 bytes of the 8 KB
RAM. So the 8 KB models didn't sell very well. But there was
also a 24 kb model. . . The CMOS CPU allows [people] to use the
Tandy 100 for 20 hours with only 4 AA batteries. The model 100/102
is still considered and used as an excellent machine, mainly
to type texts when you're on the move (you can transfer them
to modern computers) and even to send and receive emails !
Thomas Haigh owns a suitcase-sized
"portable" computer from the 1980s. His small handheld
PDA (shown on screen) has 2,400 times more processing power and
12,500 times more storage than the 1980s machine. Haigh teaches
at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee
COMPUTER HISTORY MUSEUM - The world's most powerful computer at Columbia
University's Watson Lab in 1954. THE
T-SHIRT FINDS HOT SPOTS
(BUT NOT OPEN NETWORKS)
IF INTERNET NEUTRALITY IS LOST,
THE WEB BECOMES THE NEW CABLE TV
DC EXAMINER - Washington
wins the award for "most e-mail addicted" city in the
country, according to a new study by Dulles-based AOL. Atlanta,
New York, San Francisco and Houston rounded out the top five.
Of Washingtonians who have a portable e-mail device, 29 percent
say they can't live without it. . . The study showed that 58
percent of Washingtonians check mobile e-mail in bed in their
pajamas and 58 percent check it in the bathroom. Other locations
include church (18 percent), in the car while driving (45 percent)and
at the dinner table (47 percent).
RAMPANT SELF PROMOTION
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL'S claim that this
is the tenth anniversary of the blog - as well as some of the
critical reaction to the story - led us to our archives to find
what we could about our role in this tale.
We've tried to avoid the word blog - preferring
to call ourselves an online journal - but the phrase has a ubiquity
one can't duck.
The Wall Street Journal claimed, "We
are approaching a decade since the first blogger -- regarded
by many to be Jorn Barger -- began his business of hunting and
gathering links to items that tickled his fancy, to which he
appended some of his own commentary. On Dec. 23, 1997, on his
site, Robot Wisdom, Mr. Barger wrote: 'I decided to start my
own webpage logging the best stuff I find as I surf, on a daily
basis,' and the Oxford English Dictionary regards this as the
primordial root of the word 'weblog.'
"The dating of the 10th anniversary
of blogs, and the ascription of primacy to the first blogger,
are imperfect exercises. Others, such as David Winer, who blogged
with Scripting News, and Cameron Barrett, who started CamWorld,
were alongside the polemical Mr. Barger in the advance guard.
And before them there were "proto-blogs," embryonic
indications of the online profusion that was to follow. But by
widespread consensus, 1997 is a reasonable point at which to
mark the emergence of the blog as a distinct life-form."
While we refer to Barger as the sainted
Jorn Barger - he has been repeatedly kind to this journal over
the years - the WSJ has got things somewhat mixed up. It is certainly
true that Barger blessed or cursed us with the word blog, but
whatever you called it, something was already underway, including
at the Progressive Review. As evidence, we would quote from the
very issue cited by the WSJ: Barger's December 23, 1997 Robot
Wisdom WebLog in which he writes:
"There's a new issue of the Progressive
Review, one of the few leftwing sources that's vigorously anti-Clinton.
. . The lead story this week is Judge Lamberth's condemnation
of White House lies about the healthcare taskforce in 1993. Its
editor Sam Smith also offers a nice fantasy of what a real newspaper
should be, USA Tomorrow . . ."
Barger's contribution was not just one
of nomenclature, but of gracing the Web with an eclectic spirit
and curiosity, tapping its holistic wonders and happily mixing
technology, politics, literature, philosophy and rants. In musical
terms, Barger showed us how to swing.
A few examples from that last week of December
1997 illustrates the point (the copious links are not included)
- This Day in Joyce History. . . On this
date in 1891, Dante Riordan left the Joyce household after the
Xmas fight depicted in Portrait. In ?1893 the fictional Rudy
Bloom was born. In 1916, Portrait was published by Huebsch. In
1931, John S. Joyce died. In ?1953 John Kidd was born.
- Two of the most readable computer journalists--
John Dvorak and Jerry Pournelle-- are about to launch a Siskel/Ebert-style
weekly debate site, using 'wallet' technology to charge a dime
a week. . .
- Gorillas make gorgeous representational
art. . .
- Email from Frankie? TV.Com claims Frank
Sinatra will sometimes answer friendly email. The Sinatra Family
site is endearingly naif. . .
- A couple of x-rated essays at Salon:
Susie Bright's very sweet appreciation of the Pam Anderson/ Tommy
Lee bootleg sex video
- Sixties icon Kerry Thornley, intimate
of Lee Harvey Oswald and Jim Garrison and Robert Anton Wilson,
and author of the Principia Discordia is in poor health, and
fans are encouraged to order a copy of PD straight from the source,
autographed on request.
- The mass media's undeclared war against
the Net is nowhere clearer than in their assaults against Ian
Goddard's TWA800 website. CNN has baldly falsified a report that
Goddard recanted his site as a hoax. . .
- How has the Newt Right so successfully
blindsided the progressive Left? A dryish analysis in The Nation
argues that we don't lack the funds, but we're spending them
with self-defeating unfocus. . .
- I am having a fear of modern business
practices: A fine culture critic named Tom Frank (not to be confused
with Troll Mennie) explores Fast Company, the bastard spawn of
Wired and Forbes. . .
- Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria (age
20) has been elected Swede of the Year by the evening paper Expressen.
Last month it was announced that she's suffering from an eating
disorder. . .
- Garrison Keillor, quoted on newsgroup
misc.activism.progressive: "We're in the clutches of a bunch
of folks trying to turn the U.S. into a third world country.
Two hundred billionaires, and 260 million poor people. And they
haven't done enough damage yet to be beaten."
Duncan Riley offers this critique of the
|||| According to my history of blogging
(still No. 3 on Google BTW, and heavily researched at the time)
blogging turned 11 on January 10, the date in which the first
credited blogger (according to Wikipedia as well) Justin Hall
commences writing an online journal with dated daily entries,
although each daily post is linked through an index page. On
the journal he writes "Some days, before I go to bed, I
think about my day, and how it meshed with my life, and I write
a little about what learned me." In February Dave Winer
follows up with a weblog that chronicles the 24 Hours of Democracy
Project. Winer has often claimed that he was the first blogger,
I've long disagreed but whether it was Hall or Winer is a moot
point: both were blogging in 1996. . . ||||
According to Wikipedia, "A blog (a
portmanteau of web log) is a website where entries are written
in chronological order and displayed in reverse chronological
order. 'Blog' can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain
or add content to a blog. Blogs provide commentary or news on
a particular subject such as food, politics, or local news; some
function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines
text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other
media related to its topic.
At least as early as 1993, the Progressive
Review was sending a faxed blog-like substance to our media list
as a supplement to the print edition. The earliest mention of
an online edition that we could find comes from the August 1994
edition: "If you have an Internet address, send it to us
on a postcard or to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add you to our
Peacenet hotline mailing list. You can also find us at alt.activism
and alt.politics.clinton. Sorry, offer not good for networks
that carry e-mail charges"
There then followed a series of blog-like
But none of that really counts because
it wasn't on the Worldwide Web. But by June 1995, the Progressive
Review was on the web, where only about 20,000 other websites
existed worldwide. We announced it like this:
"The Review now has a site on the
World Wide Web. Pay us a visit at: http://prorev.com/
"Here is some of what you'll find:
The Crash of America: How this country's elite ruined the economy,
fouled the environment and left Newt Gingrich in charge. From
the March 1995 issue. The fully informed jury movement: The right
of juries to judge both the law and the fact dates back to the
trials of William Penn and Peter Zenger. . ."
Still not bloggish, as we initially only
posted longer articles. But within a few months - we were promising
that "The Progressive Review On-Line Report is found on
the Web" and our quasi-blogging had begun.
While we weren't the earliest we were certainly
in same 'hood and we may hold some sort of record for consistency.
We are still brought to you by Turnpike and we are still using
Adobe Page Mill to post our non-blog pages. A year or two ago
we ran into an Adobe sales rep at Best Buy and mentioned our
loyalty, saying that "we still love it." She looked
quite cross and said, "That's what a lot of people say."
The Web would come to value style over
substance in design and conventional loyalty over free thinking
in politics. But, inspired by a few like Jorn Borger, we have
tried to keep our layout simple and our thoughts complex. In
the game of Internet high-low poker, we went low and it doesn't
seem to have a hurt a bit.
Thanks for sticking around.
LET YOUR EYES, NOT YOUR COMPUTER, TELL
YOU WHEN YOU'RE OUT OF INK
ARSTECHNICA - A new study says that on average, more than half of the ink from inkjet cartridges is
wasted when users toss them in the garbage. Why is that interesting?
According to the study, users are tossing the cartridges when
their printers are telling them they're out of ink, not when
they necessarily are out of ink. . . Epson's printers were among
the highest rated, at more than 80 percent efficiency using single-ink
cartridges. . . Printers routinely report that they are low on
ink even when they aren't, and in some cases there are still
hundreds of pages worth of ink left.
The second issue is a familiar one: multi-ink
cartridges can be rendered "empty" when only one color
runs low. Multi-ink cartridges store three to five colors in
a single cartridge. Printing too many photos from the air show
will kill your cartridge faster than you can say "blue skies,"
as dominant colors are used faster than the others.
SCIENCE PUBS REJECT ARTICLES WRITTEN
IN WORD 2007
ROB WEIR BLOG - It
appears that Science, the journal of the America Association
for the Advancement of Science, itself the largest scientific
society in the world, has updated its authoring guidelines to
include advice for Office 2007 users. The news is not good.
"Because of changes Microsoft has
made in its recent Word release that are incompatible with our
internal workflow, which was built around previous versions of
the software, Science cannot at present accept any files in the
new .docx format produced through Microsoft Word 2007, either
for initial submission or for revision. Users of this release
of Word should convert these files to a format compatible with
Word 2003 or Word for Macintosh 2004 (or, for initial submission,
to a PDF file) before submitting to Science."
Well, so much for 100% compatibility, eh?
. . . More bad news:
"Users of Word 2007 should also be
aware that equations created with the default equation editor
included in Microsoft Word 2007 will be unacceptable in revision,
even if the file is converted to a format compatible with earlier
versions of Word; this is because conversion will render equations
as graphics and prevent electronic printing of equations, and
because the default equation editor packaged with Word 2007 --
for reasons that, quite frankly, utterly baffle us -- was not
designed to be compatible with MathML. Regrettably, we will be
forced to return any revised manuscript created with the Word
2007 default equation editor to authors for re-editing. To get
around this, please use the Math Type equation editor or the
equation editor included in previous versions of Microsoft Word."
Nature appears to have the same problem:
"We currently cannot accept files
saved in Microsoft Office 2007 formats. Equations and special
characters (for example, Greek letters) cannot be edited and
are incompatible with Nature's own editing and typesetting programs."
Reuse of existing standards is important.
When you reuse a standard, you are reusing more than a piece
of paper. You are reusing the experience and effort that went
into creating and reviewing that standard. You are reusing the
experience gathered by those who have already implemented the
standard. You are reusing the books and training materials already
written for that standard. You are reusing the interfaces for
other technologies that have already integrated with that standard
or can produce or consume output that conforms to that standard.
WHERE DID THAT @ COME FROM?
COMPUTER: HOW STUFF WORKS - What do you
call the @ symbol used in e-mail addresses?. . . The most accepted
term, even in many other languages, is to call it the at sign.
But there are dozens of different words used to describe it.
A lot of languages use words that associate the shape of the
symbol with some type of animal:
- apestaart - Dutch for "monkey's
- snabel - Danish for "elephant's
- kissanhnta - Finnish for "cat's
- klammeraffe - German for "hanging
- kukac - Hungarian for "worm"
- dalphaengi - Korean for "snail"
- grisehale - Norwegian for "pig's
- sobachka - Russian for "little dog"
Before it became the standard symbol for
e-mail, the @ symbol was typically used to indicate the cost
or weight of something. For example, if you bought five oranges
for $1.25 each, you might write it as 5 oranges @ $1.25 ea. It
is still used in this manner on a variety of forms and invoices
around the world.
The actual origin of the symbol is uncertain.
It was used by monks making copies of books before the invention
of the printing press. Since every word had to be painstakingly
transcribed by hand for each copy of a book, the monks that performed
the copying duties looked for ways to reduce the number of individual
strokes per word for common words. So, the word at became a single
stroke of the pen as @ instead of three strokes. . .
Another origin tale states that the @ symbol
was used as an abbreviation for the word amphora, which was the
unit of measurement used to determine the amount held by the
large terra cotta jars that were used to ship grain, spices and
wine. Giorgio Stabile, an Italian scholar, discovered this use
of the @ symbol in a letter written in 1536 by a Florentine trader
named Francesco Lapi. It seems likely that some industrious trader
saw the @ symbol in a book transcribed by monks using the symbol
and appropriated it for use as the amphora abbreviation. This
would also explain why it became common to use the symbol in
relation to quantities of something.
GLOBAL WEB CENSORSHIP INCREASING
NEW SCIENTIST - The
number of governments that routinely block web sites is increasing,
according to the most comprehensive survey of internet filtering
yet. Meanwhile, the same study suggests that techniques for blocking
undesirable content are growing ever more sophisticated. Previous
reports of government internet filtering have been limited to
specific countries, such as China, Iran and Cuba, says Rafal
Rohozinski, of the Open Net Initiative, which produced the report.
. . In its report, the ONI states that governments in at least
25 countries regularly block access to internet sites for political,
social or security reasons. It says that Burma, China, Iran,
Syria, Tunisia and Vietnam also filter political content, such
as sites belonging to political opposition parties. Elsewhere,
Saudi Arabia, Iran, Tunisia and Yemen filter for social reasons:
for example by blocking access to pornography, gay and lesbian
content and gambling sites. Wider restrictions
By comparing their findings to earlier
reports, the authors conclude that filtering is currently increasing
worldwide. . . Furthermore, the team discovered so-called "event-based"
filtering - an upsurge in restrictions during significant political
periods such as elections.
With a tap of your foot, switch your screen
when the boss comes in
Photo gallery of geek culture
Tech support in the Middle Ages
LAYING THE GROUNDWORK FOR THE
KIRCHER SOCIETY - When the Mundaneum
opened in 1910, its purpose was to collect all of the world's
knowledge on neatly organized 3? x 5? index cards. The brainchild
of Belgian lawyer Paul Otlet and Nobel Peace Prize winner Henri
LaFontaine, the vast project eventually totaled 12 million cards,
each classified according to the Universal Decimal Classification
system developed by Otlet.
Le Corbusier was one of many prominent
figures enthralled by Otlet's scheme of a "Universal Book."
He described it as a panorama of "the whole of human history
from its origins," and signed on to design an international
"city of the intellect," centered around the Mundaneum.
In 1919, the Belgian government
turned over 150 rooms in the Palais du Cinquantenaire to serve
as a home for the Mundaneum, but five years later revoked the
space to use it for a temporary exhibit on the nation's rubber
industry. The Mundaneum moved into a series of smaller spaces,
and eventually took over a parking garage before closing for
good in 1934, the same year that Otlet published his magnum opus
Traité de documentation. Though Otlet's name is little
remembered today outside the field of information science, he
deserves credit for developing many of the ideas behind the modern
Finally, an ergonomically correct
SYSTEM TO GET AROUND WEB CENSORSHIP
BBC - A tool has been created
capable of circumventing government censorship of the web, according
to researchers. The free program has been constructed to let
citizens of countries with restricted web access retrieve and
display web pages from anywhere. The University of Toronto's
Citizen Lab software, called psiphon, will be released on 1 December.
. . Psiphon works through social networks. A net user in an uncensored
country can download the program to their computer, which transforms
it into an access point. They can then give contacts in censored
countries a unique web address, login and password, which enables
the restricted users to freely browse the web through an encrypted
connection to the proxy server. The Citizen Lab said the system
provides strong protection against "electronic eavesdropping"
because censors or ISPs can only see that end users are connected
to another computer and not view the sites that are being visited.
It added that using small trusted networks as a delivery mechanism
made it more difficult for censors to find and shut down psiphon.
However, it also warned potential users that bypassing censorship
could violate laws, and urge them to consider potential consequences
of doing so.
120GB POCKET STORAGE
CRAVE - While slightly larger
than the usual USBs, the Pexagon Store-It portable USB 2.0 hard
drives pack in a lot. The 1.8-inch Store-It comes in a 60GB version
for $199, or 20GB for $139, and the 2.5-inch Store-It comes in
up to 120GB for $179. They all include an EZ-Touch One Button
that instantly backs-up your stuff. The idea is that in age where
more and more applications are tied to the Web, you no longer
need to carry them with you. Instead of carrying personal laptops
for trips, you can take the more portable USB drive and plug
it into any laptop at the other end to retrieve your files. The
Store-It drives are compatible with both the Mac and PC.
COURT RULES CUSTOMS CAN SEARCH YOUR
STEVE SEIDENBERG, ABA JOURNAL
- In U.S. v. Romm, No. 04-10648, the San Francisco-based 9th
Circuit ruled that customs officials can seize and search the
contents of anyone's laptop computer, even in the absence of
a search warrant or probable cause. Some attorneys say the ruling
goes too far, invading the privacy of anyone who crosses into
the United States. And the ruling may pose special problems for
attorneys who need to keep client information confidential when
they go on business trips overseas.
"What's dangerous about
this opinion is that it pushes the line for searches along the
border very far toward one end of the constitutional spectrum,"
says Shaun Martin, a professor at the University of San Diego
School of Law. "It is one thing to turn on your computer
in the airport to make sure it is not a bomb. It is another thing
for customs officials to turn on your computer and to read everything
you ever wrote and to look at everything you ever downloaded."
. . .
Even worse, the customs official
might simply demand the attorney provide the password to the
law firm's VPN. Paparelli is aware of at least one instance in
which a customs agent asked for an e-mail password so the officer
could examine the individual's e-mail correspondence. "Imagine
if that were the password of a company employee, and it led the
agent into a corporate network database," he says.
Perhaps the only way to guarantee
protection for confidential data is to leave your laptop at home
and connect to your data via a computer that stays overseas.
"People should not carry laptops across borders if they
don't want their laptops inspected by the government," Paparelli
GREAT MOMENTS IN THE INTERNET DEBATE
SENATOR TED STEVENS [R-Alaska] - There's one company now you
can sign up and you can get a movie delivered to your house daily
by delivery service. Okay. And currently it comes to your house,
it gets put in the mail box when you get home and you change
your order but you pay for that, right.
But this service isn't going
to go through the internet and what you do is you just go to
a place on the internet and you order your movie and guess what:
you can order ten of them delivered to you and the delivery charge
Ten of them streaming across
that internet and what happens to your own personal internet?
I just the other day got an internet
was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday and
I just got it yesterday. Why? Because it got tangled up with
all these things going on the internet commercially. . .
They want to deliver vast amounts
of information over the internet. And again, the internet is
not something you just dump something on. It's not a truck. It's
a series of tubes.
And if you don't understand those
tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your
message in it gets in line and it's going to be delayed by anyone
that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous
amounts of material.
Now we have a separate Department
of Defense internet now, did you know that? Do you know why?
Because they have to have theirs delivered immediately. They
can't afford getting delayed by other people. . .
Now I think these people are
arguing whether they should be able to dump all that stuff on
the internet ought to consider if they should develop a system
themselves. . .
The whole concept is that we
should not go into this until someone shows that there is something
that has been done that really is a violation of net neutrality
that hits you and me.
Only $10,000 for 48GB (Downside: only a 16Mb video card)
CYBERSPACE RUNNING OUT OF ROOM
LAURIE SULLIVAN, TECH WEB NEWS - The growing popularity of smart phones,
IPTV and other gadgets connecting to the Internet is eating up
real estate on the net, and soon techies can expect cyberspace
to run out of room, according to a Frost & Sullivan analyst
briefing. . . By 2012 about 17 billion devices will connect to
the Internet, estimates Research firm IDC Corp. Frost & Sullivan's
principal analyst for carrier infrastructure Sam Masud agrees.
"2012, that's when we estimate the world will be out of
IPv4 addresses," he said. "Between 15 and 20 years
The IPv4 Internet has room for
4.3 billion addresses. About one-third are already in use, and
more than another third are spoken for. IPv6 provides 2^128 possible
addresses. Compared with IPv4's 32bits, IPv6's address reads
128 bits long. Imagine the number looking something like this
- 360,382,386,120,984,643,363,377,707,131,268,210,929. . .
A mandate from the Office of
Management and Budget states all federal networks must have the
ability to send and receive IPv6 packets by mid 2008. Only 30
percent of the Internet service provider networks, however, will
support IPv6 by 2010, and 30 percent of user networks by 2012,
according to a study by the National Institute of Standards and
Technology (and the RTI International on IPv6 migration.
I-NET COMPANIES CENSORING MAIL
BLOGGERS WIN AS AD AGENCY DROPS SLAPP
BOSTON GLOBE - A
New York ad agency has dropped its lawsuit against a midcoast
man who had used an Internet blog to criticize the state's Internet
tourism marketing campaign. In a one-page document filed Friday
in U.S. District Court in Bangor, Warren Kremer Paino Advertising
LLC dismissed its lawsuit against Lance Dutson of Searsmont.
The agency sued Dutson last month for libel, defamation and copyright
infringement over his Web log where he posted comments of the
tourism office's Web marketing strategies developed by Warren
Kremer Paino Advertising. The lawsuit was dropped "without
prejudice," meaning it can be filed again.
The suit had claimed that Dutson's blog
contained defamatory statements that hurt the ad agency's reputation
and its business. The agency also said it owned the copyright
to certain images Dutson used in his blog and was asking for
$150,000 in damages for each work the agency said Dutson infringed.
AOL BLOCKS E-MAILS CRITICAL OF IT
[After this press release was
sent out Thursday afternoon, AOL stopped blocking email with
links to www.DearAOL.com]
ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION
- AOL is blocking delivery to AOL customers of all emails that
include a link to www.DearAOL.com. Today, over 100 people who
signed a petition to AOL tried sending messages to their AOL-using
friends, and received a bounce-back message informing them that
their email "failed permanently."
"The fact is, ISPs like
AOL commonly make these kinds of arbitrary decisions silently
banning huge swathes of legitimate mail on the flimsiest of reasons
every day, and no one hears about it," said Danny O'Brien,
Activism Coordinator of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "AOL's
planned Certified Email system would let them profit from this
power by offering to charge legitimate mailers to bypass these
After reports of undelivered
email started rolling in to the DearAOL.com Coalition, Move On
co-founder Wes Boyd decided to see for himself if it was true.
"I tried to email my brother-in-law about DearAOL.com and
AOL sent me a response as if he had disappeared," said Boyd.
"But when I sent him an email without the DearAOL.com link,
it went right through."
HEALTH PROBLEMS OF THE GEEK LIFESTYLE
DR AA, CAROTIDS - I am a currently
practicing board-certified Internal Medicine physician in a large
rapidly expanding tech-growth community. . . As a doctor in this
area over the last few years, I have discovered some unique health
problems associated with this population. . . I affectionately
call it the "geek lifestyle" because of my previous
life of programming and web design. . . I have noticed several
repeating patterns in this geek lifestyle population. . .
1. Horrible sleep hygiene, insomnia
and altered sleep patterns is one of the most common complaints
to my office. Frequently the complaint is of light sleep or of
multiple awakening throughout the night. Although this can be
a symptom of depression, this is typically caused by poor sleep
habits. It typically starts with somebody waking up in the middle
of the night and turning on the laptop or TV. This begins to
happen more and more frequently until the patient starts to worry
about waking up as soon as they go to bed at night. This stress
makes the sleep worse and worse until they finally come to see
me. The bed should only be used for two things - sex and sleep.
The fix is typically easy if the habit is not too ingrained.
The bed should only be used for two things-sex and sleep. . .
Headaches: Poor screen position,
too small font, screen too bright/too dark, poor sitting posture
are all commonly reported causes of chronic headache. Recurrent
headaches are a very frequent complaint among heavy computer
users. . . Often when I tell my patients that I suspect it is
their work environment, they come back and tell me how they fixed
it. Poor screen position, too small font, screen too bright/too
dark, poor sitting posture are all commonly reported causes of
chronic headache. When in doubt, I just tell them to trade offices
for a couple of days. If they feel better in the other office,
then it suggests that it is related to their personal work environment.
3. Back pain is a frequent complaint
in my office as well. In the general patient population, chronic
back pain is often a sign of depression; however, in the geek
this is more frequently due to work conditions or to overuse.
Poor posture, incorrectly sized chair, or poorly positioned monitors
are common culprits. . .
4. Poor Attention Span I am always
amazed at the number of people that mention to me that their
attention span is poor. Frequently they will wonder if they have
ADD. Sometimes they will even complain about the inability to
stay awake during long meetings or stay focuses on non-computer
tasks. The typical geek trains their brain to be heavily focused
while multitasking day after day. Is it surprising that this
same brain does not do well when forced to isolate down to one
task? . . .
In fact, if I question someone
about their attention span, they never, ever have problems staying
focused on their computer work. If someone is in the middle of
some exciting programming, the focus is always there. Therefore,
it is not just a generic "attention" problem. . .
TELECOMS, CABLE OPERATORS OUT TO SEIZE
JEFF CHESTER, NATION - The nation's
largest telephone and cable companies are crafting an alarming
set of strategies that would transform the free, open and nondiscriminatory
Internet of today to a privately run and branded service that
would charge a fee for virtually everything we do online. Verizon,
Comcast, Bell South and other communications giants are developing
strategies that would track and store information on our every
move in cyberspace in a vast data-collection and marketing system,
the scope of which could rival the National Security Agency.
According to white papers now being circulated in the cable,
telephone and telecommunications industries, those with the deepest
pockets--corporations, special-interest groups and major advertisers--would
get preferred treatment. Content from these providers would have
first priority on our computer and television screens, while
information seen as undesirable, such as peer-to-peer communications,
could be relegated to a slow lane or simply shut out.
Under the plans they are considering,
all of us--from content providers to individual users--would
pay more to surf online, stream videos or even send e-mail. Industry
planners are mulling new subscription plans that would further
limit the online experience, establishing "platinum,"
"gold" and "silver" levels of Internet access
that would set limits on the number of downloads, media streams
or even e-mail messages that could be sent or received.
To make this pay-to-play vision
a reality, phone and cable lobbyists are now engaged in a political
campaign to further weaken the nation's communications policy
laws. They want the federal government to permit them to operate
Internet and other digital communications services as private
networks, free of policy safeguards or governmental oversight.
Indeed, both the Congress and the Federal Communications Commission
are considering proposals that will have far-reaching impact
on the Internet's future. Ten years after passage of the ill-advised
Telecommunications Act of 1996, telephone and cable companies
are using the same political snake oil to convince compromised
or clueless lawmakers to subvert the Internet into a turbo-charged
digital retail machine.
TELECOMS PLAN TO RIG INTERNET TO THEIR
CHRISTOPHER STERN, WASHINGTON
POST - The nation's largest telephone companies have a new business
plan, and if it comes to pass you may one day discover that Yahoo
suddenly responds much faster to your inquiries, overriding your
affinity for Google. Or that Amazon's Web site seems sluggish
compared with eBay's. The changes may sound subtle, but make
no mistake: The telecommunications companies' proposals have
the potential, within just a few years, to alter the flow of
commerce and information -- and your personal experience -- on
the Internet. For the first time, the companies that own the
equipment that delivers the Internet to your office, cubicle,
den and dorm room could, for a price, give one company priority
on their networks over another.
This represents a break with
the commercial meritocracy that has ruled the Internet until
now. We've come to expect that the people who own the phone and
cable lines remain "neutral," doing nothing to influence
the content on your computer screen. And may the best Web site
CENSORSHIP GROWING ON INTERNET
WAYNE MADSEN REPORT - Internet
censorship. It did not happen overnight but slowly came to America's
shores from testing grounds in China and the Middle East. Progressive
and investigative journalist web site administrators are beginning
to talk to each other about it, e-mail users are beginning to
understand why their e-mail is being disrupted by it, major search
engines appear to be complying with it, and the low to equal
signal-to-noise ratio of legitimate e-mail and spam appears to
be perpetuated by it. . .
Take for example of what recently
occurred when two journalists were taking on the phone about
a story that appeared on Google News. The story was about a Christian
fundamentalist move in Congress to use U.S. military force in
Sudan to end genocide in Darfur. The story appeared on the English
Google News site in Qatar. But the very same Google News site
when accessed simultaneously in Washington, DC failed to show
the article. This censorship is accomplished by geo-location
filtering: the restriction or modifying of web content based
on the geographical region of the user. In addition to countries,
such filtering can now be implemented for states, cities, and
even individual IP addresses. . .
News reports on CIA prisoner
flights and secret prisons are disappearing from Google and other
search engines like Alltheweb as fast as they appear. Here now,
gone tomorrow is the name of the game.
Google is systematically failing
to list and link to articles that contain explosive information
about the Bush administration, the war in Iraq, Al Qaeda, and
U.S. political scandals. But Google is not alone in working closely
to stifle Internet discourse. America On Line, Microsoft, Yahoo
and others are slowly turning the Internet into an information
superhighway dominated by barricades, toll booths, off-ramps
that lead to dead ends, choke points, and security checks.
America On Line is the most egregious
is stifling Internet freedom. A former AOL employee noted how
AOL and other Internet Service Providers cooperate with the Bush
administration in censoring email. The Patriot Act gave federal
agencies the power to review information to the packet level
and AOL was directed by agencies like the FBI to do more than
sniff the subject line. The AOL term of service has gradually
been expanded to grant AOL virtually universal power regarding
information. Many AOL users are likely unaware of the elastic
clause, which says they will be bound by the current TOS and
any TOS revisions which AOL may elect at any time in the future.
Essentially, AOL users once agreed to allow the censorship and
non-delivery of their email.
Microsoft has similar requirements
for Hotmail as do Yahoo and Google for their respective e-mail
There are also many cases of
Google's search engine failing to list and link to certain information.
According to a number of web site administrators who carry anti-Bush
political content, this situation has become more pronounced
in the last month. In addition, many web site administrators
are reporting a dramatic drop-off in hits to their sites, according
to their web statistic analyzers.
OCTOBER 2005. . .
PHILADELPHIA LAUNCHES BIGGEST
ARSHAD MOHAMMED WASHINGTON POST - Philadelphia announced a plan to build
the biggest municipal wireless Internet system in the nation,
the latest of a growing number of cities to treat high-speed
Web access as a basic municipal service like water, electricity
and trash collection. Philadelphia said Atlanta-based EarthLink
Inc. will fund, build and manage the 135-square-mile network,
which will offer low-income residents service for as little as
about $10 a month and could threaten the profits of telephone
and cable companies.
"Increasingly, city officials
view broadband in the 21st century the same way they viewed electricity
100 years ago and telephone service 50 years ago. It's falling
into the category of a necessary and essential social service,"
said Ben Scott, policy director of Free Press, a nonprofit group
that favors the development of municipal wireless. "Cities
see this as a way to spur economic growth: on the one hand to
put tools in the hands of the underprivileged and give them a
leg up, and on the other to provide incentives to small businesses
to locate in these cities and to expand their operations,"
JUNE 20005 . . .
BRAZIL GOES OPEN SOURCE; PRESIDENT
WON'T EVEN TALK TO BILL GATES
BBC - In Brazil's Ministry for
Cities, staff are busily at work. The scene is much like any
other modern office: an open-plan work space crammed with desks,
telephones and computers. But there's one big difference. The
word 'Microsoft' is nowhere in sight. Instead, computers here
now use the Linux operating system. It has many similar functions
to Microsoft's Windows - but unlike Windows, it is available
for free. Increasingly, Brazil's government ministries and state-run
enterprises are abandoning Windows in favor of 'open-source'
or 'free' software, like Linux.
"The number one reason for this change is economic,"
says Sergio Amadeu, who runs the government's National Institute
for Information Technology. . .
Overall, the government reckons
it could save around $120m a year by switching from Windows to
open-source alternatives. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
is studying a draft decree which, if approved, would make the
change compulsory for federal departments. . .
For Lula, free software is a
development issue On the face of it, Bill Gates does not have
much to worry about. More than 90% of the world's personal computers
still use the Windows operating system. But there are signs of
nerves. In January, Mr Gates unsuccessfully sought a private
meeting with President Lula at the World Economic Forum in Davos,
MAY 2005. . .
COFFEE SHOP TURNS OFF WI-FI
GLENN FLEISHMAN, WI-FI NET NEWS
- It's too early to say whether it's a trend, but Victrola Coffee
& Art in Seattle shuts down its free wi-fi on Saturday and
Sunday: I spoke to co-owner and co-founder Jen Strongin today
after a colleague tipped me to the fact that this lovely, single-shop
coffee establishment had decided to experiment with taking back
its culture by turning off the wi-fi juice on weekends.
Strongin said that the five-year-old
cafe added free wi-fi when it seemed their customers wanted it
a couple of years ago. It initially brought in more people, she
said, but over the past year "we noticed a significant change
in the environment of the cafe." Before wi-fi, "people
talked to each other, strangers met each other," she said.
Solitary activities might involve reading and writing, but it
was part of the milieu. "Those people co-existed with people
having conversations," said Strongin.
But "over the past year
it seems that nobody talks to each other any more," she
said. On the weekends, 80 to 90 percent of tables and chairs
are taken up by people using computers. Many laptop users occupy
two or more seats by themselves, as well. . . Worse than just
the sheer number of laptop users, Strongin noted, is that many
of these patrons will camp six to eight hours - and not buy anything.
This seemed astounding to me, but she said that it was typical,
FORMER NYT EDITOR HOWELL RAINES
ON THE INTERNET: Perhaps for the first time since invention of
the printing press, a new information technology has become more
efficient at spreading disinformation than knowledge.
WORD OF THE DAY: WARDRIVING
PATRICK S. RYAN, VIRGINIA JOURNAL
OF LAW AND TECHNOLOGY - Abstract: A wardriver gets in her car
and drives around a given area. Using her laptop, freely available
software, a standard Wi-Fi card, and a GPS device, she logs the
status and location of wireless networks. The computer generates
a file and records networks that are open and networks that are
closed. Once the data is collected, the wardriver may denote
an open network by using chalk to mark a sign on a building,
called "warchalking," or she may record the location
on a digital map and publish it on the Internet.
This article will explain the
roots of the term "wardriving," and the cultural phenomenon
of the 1983 Hollywood movie WarGames that gave birth to the concept
more than 20 years ago. Moreover, this article will show that
the press has often confused wardriving with computer crimes
involving trespass and illegal access. There are inconspicuous
ethical shades to wardriving that are poorly understood, and
to date, no academic literature has analyzed the legality of
the activity. This article will argue that the act of wardriving
itself is quite innocuous, legal, and can even be quite beneficial
to society. It will also highlight the need for wardrivers -
and for anyone accessing open networks - to help establish and
adhere to strict ethical guidelines. Such guidelines are available
in various proposal-stage forms, and this article will review
these ethics within the context of a larger movement among hackers
to develop a coherent ethical code.
Keywords: Wardriving, war driving,
wardialing, phreaking, wargames, war games, hacker, wifi, wi-fi,
warchalking, wireless hacking, wireless manifesto, kevin mitnick
SENATORS PLAN NEW ASSAULT ON FILE SHARERS
WIRED - Congress appears
to be preparing assaults against peer-to-peer technology on multiple
fronts. A draft bill obtained by Wired News, recently circulated
among members of the House judiciary committee, would make it
much easier for the Justice Department to pursue criminal prosecutions
against file sharers by lowering the burden of proof. The bill
also would seek penalties of fines and prison time of up to ten
years for file sharing. In addition, on Thursday, Sens. Orrin
Hatch (R-Utah) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) introduced a bill
that would allow the Justice Department to pursue civil cases
against file sharers, again making it easier for law enforcement
to punish people trading copyright music over peer-to-peer networks.
They dubbed the bill "Protecting Intellectual Rights Against
Theft and Expropriation Act of 2004," or the Pirate Act.
So far in 2004, Leahy
has received $178,000 in campaign contributions from the entertainment
industries -- the second-biggest source of donations to Leahy
behind lawyers. Hatch has received $152,360.
All these efforts by Congress
to impose severe penalties are misguided, said P2P United Executive
Director Adam Eisgrau.
"As the 40 percent
increase in downloads over the last year makes alarmingly clear,
like it or not file sharing is likely to (continue) on a massive
scale no matter how many suits are brought and what the fine
print of copyright or criminal law says," Eisgrau said.
"Second, putting a tiny percentage of tens of millions of
American file sharers behind bars or in the poorhouse won't put
one new dime in the deserving pockets of artists and other copyright
INSIDE TECH SUPPORT
SALON - Several people
confess that they've never done more with a computer than check
their e-mail. Others admit they haven't even gotten that far.
An impromptu contest develops to see exactly who knows the least.
There are lots of contenders. I'm listening to them battle for
the crown of incompetence as I'm dealt a new hand of cards when
a frightening thought occurs to me. Our clueless bunch is now
part of the technical-support staff for one of the world's top
three computer manufacturers, and in seven days we're going to
be taking your calls...
A punter is someone who
gets rid of problems by giving them to someone else. Punters
tell customers that their problem is not really with their computer,
but with their software, their printer, their phone lines, solar
flares, whatever they can make sound believable. Then a punter
will look at the piece of paper hanging above their phone and
read you those four magic words. We don't support that. If you
want your problem fixed, a punter will tell you, you'll have
to call someone else...
Ted is someone I don't
speak to. Ted is a formatter. Ted, and those like him, have only
one solution to their customers' problems. Erase everything on
the computer's hard drive and start over from scratch. While
this can be effective for solving all sorts of software troubles,
it's like amputating someone's leg to fix an ingrown toenail.
The solution is usually worse than the problem. Most times Ted
doesn't actually follow through with his plan. The entire strategy
is just a bluff. Most people will balk at the proposition of
losing everything and decide they can live with whatever problem
they've called to complain about. At the very least they'll decide
to hang up, back up their data, and call back -- at which point
they'll become someone else's problem.
WHITNEY PASTOREK, VILLAGE
VOICE - They have created a new world order. My society, that
of the media-driven entertainment/publishing/music-business-involved/obsessed
mid-to-late twenty-something, is being divided into a caste system
that I believe in years to come will have the power to control
virtually every facet of off-line life. In order of fabulosity,
the Blogging Caste System:
* Bloggers who live in
Williamsburg and work at Condé Nast/are in a band
* Bloggers who live in
Williamsburg and know someone who works at Condé Nast/date
someone in a band
* Bloggers who live elsewhere
in Brooklyn but can get to Williamsburg easily, ideally by bicycle
* Bloggers in general (residents of other parts of the country
are fine, so long as those parts are Chicago, L.A., Seattle,
* Non-bloggers who work
at Condé Nast/are in a band
* Non-bloggers who went
to high school with someone who runs a top-tier blog
* Non-bloggers who live
in Queens and operate barely solvent literary magazines, the
literary magazine being, as we all know, the blog of 2000, the
old black, so over, etc. This last group will eventually be sent
to some sort of work camp where they will be forced to silk-screen
T-shirts and knit legwarmers out in the hot sun all day....
THE MICROSOFT KILLERS
BILL GATES PROPOSES CHARGING FOR E-MAIL
JANIS MARA, INTERNET NEWS
- Yahoo! and Microsoft are giving serious thought to the idea
of e-mail "postage" that costs senders a small fee,
company officials said. The admissions come in the wake of Microsoft
founder Bill Gates' January comments in Davos, Switzerland suggesting
the spam problem will be defeated by a number of different solutions,
but "in the long run, the monetary method will be dominant."
The monetary approach,
known as "sender pays," has different variations and
is currently being used by several anti-spam companies, including
IronPort and Vanquish. The latest company getting buzz for advocating
such an approach is a Silicon Valley start-up called Goodmail.
Under Goodmail's model, bulk e-mail senders pay outright for
"postage" that guarantees their e-mail will be delivered
to participating ISPs, who are paid for accepting the mail. Understandably,
ISPs are interested in exploring this idea, as it helps them
defray the soaring costs of handling e-mail.
Microsoft hasn't committed
to any particular company's approach, a spokesman said, "We
continue to look at these and other innovative approaches that
help change the economic model for sending spam." Its partner
in an anti-spam coalition, Yahoo!, is also investigating a number
of different options, including the solution Goodmail offers,
the start-up's CEO confirmed.
THOMAS C GREENE, REGISTER, UK - Care to register a .mil Web site of your own
for free? The DoD has gone out of its way to make it a snap.
An unbelievably badly-protected admin interface welcomes you
to register whatever domain you please (http://Rotten.mil anyone?),
or edit anything they've already got. The interface is so ludicrously
unprotected that it's been cached by Google and fails to mention
that you must be authorized to muck about with it. Incredibly,
default passwords are cheerfully provided on the page. Following
an anonymous tip from an observant Reg reader, we've encountered
the page in question in the Google cache, and after a bit of
our own poking about have also discovered an equally unprotected
(and Google-cached) admin interface encouraging us to add a new
user, like ourselves, say, which requires no authentication.
All you have
to do is find that page and you can set yourself up with a user
account, manage your new .mil Web site, fiddle about with other
people's .mil Web sites, and generally make an incredible nuisance
of yourself. We are, of course, straining against every natural,
journalistic impulse in our beings by neglecting to mention any
useful search strings with which to find it. . . Ironically,
US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recently ordered DoD to
purge military Web sites of information that might benefit evildoers.
That's all well and good, but it might behoove the DoD to stop
offering them admin privileges first.
INTERNET FANATICS ARE NOT GEEKS
REUTERS - The typical
Internet user - far from being a geek - shuns television and
actively socializes with friends, a study on surfing habits says.
The findings of the first World Internet Project report present
an image of the average Netizen that contrasts with the stereotype
of the loner geek who spends hours of his free time on the Internet
and rarely engages with the real world.
Instead, the typical Internet
user is an avid reader of books and spends more time engaged
in social activities than the non-user, it says. And, television
viewing is down among some Internet users by as much as five
hours per week compared with Net abstainers, the study added.
SPAM FILTERS THE GOOD WITH THE BAD
MICHAELL DELIO, WIRED
- Do not use profanity. Be very careful when discussing financial
or business affairs. Avoid any mention of your private parts.
Do not offer any guarantees, or refer to checks that may or may
not be in the mail. Refrain from describing anything or anybody
as "free." Abstain from the exuberant use of punctuation
marks. Shun simple salutations like "Hello," and opt
instead to craft a detailed, personalized subject line. Oh, and
don't ever use the word opt, particularly in conjunction with
the words "in" or "out."
These are fast becoming
the new rules of e-mail communication, enforced not by prim-faced
etiquette experts but by spam filters that scrutinize the contents
of incoming messages for "spammy" words and shuttle
suspects off to junk-mail holding tanks or directly into the
abyss of the deleted items folder.
As spam continues to proliferate
wildly -- within a week after the anti-spam Can-Spam act went
into effect on Jan. 1, unsolicited commercial e-mail increased
by almost 7 percent, according to spam-filtering vendor MX Logic
-- some individual users, businesses and ISPs feel forced to
filter for spam more aggressively.
And while vigorous filtering
will purge spam from in boxes, it can also act as an unintended
censor by suppressing any mention of the typical spam themes
-- and even references to spam itself -- in legitimate personal
e-mails. . .
America Online's public
relations department recently sent out a press announcement about
the company's spam-blocking efforts, and was dismayed to discover
that many reporters' e-mail filters tagged the release as spam.
AOL media reps had to
send out another mailing asking reporters to visit the company's
corporate web site to read the release.
SPAM POLICE CONFINING THE INTERNET
WHY PUNISHING DOWNLOADERS WON'T WORK
ROB WALKER, NY TIMES -
We can dismiss right away the notion that most file swappers
would stop if only they understood that what they're doing is
wrong. One of the most amusing research results from the various
studies of music piracy is the finding that most file sharers
apparently don't care if they're violating copyright laws. But
this attitude doesn't mean disdain for the marketplace. Earlier
this year Forrester Research surveyed 12-to-22-year-olds and
adults 23 and older and found that while about half the kids
had downloaded songs in the past month (compared with 12 percent
of the grown-ups), nearly half of the young downloaders said
that they were buying as many CD's as ever. . . What's more,
while 67 percent of the young cohort think "people should
be able to download music for free," the same percent claim
they are very likely to buy a CD as a result of a recent download.
The lawsuits do make downloading
riskier, but a major component of youthful experimentation is
a liberal attitude toward risk that mellows over time. Just as
important is run-of-the-mill rebellion. . . It's worth pointing
out [that] the radical anti-system ethos that supposedly underlies
file sharing is not all it's cracked up to be. The fact is, most
participants do a lot more taking than "sharing"; one
study found that nearly half the songs accessible through major
peer-to-peer networks are contributed by just 1 percent of users,
and nearly 70 percent of downloaders do not share a thing. One
of the more revelatory aspects of the record industry's strategy
is that it's picking targets based less on how much music they've
downloaded than on how much they are offering up to the world.
(Of course, this won't do much to counter the industry's reputation
as the architect of an Evil System -- nor will the fact that
the most prominent of the early targets was a 12-year-old honors
SWITCHING ON PC IS TOO TECHNICAL FOR MANY
JOHN LOCKE: THE REAL FATHER OF THE INTERNET
isn't a thing. It's an agreement. . . If you want to put a computer
- or a cell phone or a refrigerator - on the network, you have
to agree to the agreement that is the Internet." - Doc Searls
and David Weinberger, World of Ends
"The only way
whereby any one divests himself of his natural liberty, and puts
on the bonds of civil society, is by agreeing with other men
to join and unite into a community for their comfortable, safe,
and peaceable living one amongst another, in a secure enjoyment
of their properties, and a greater security against any, that
are not of it." - John Locke, The Second Treatise of Civil
Government, Chapter 8
ARNOLD KLING, TECH CENTRAL
- David Weinberger recently announced that he is a Senior Internet
Advisor to the Howard Dean campaign. However, if the architecture
of the Internet were a political metaphor, then the real Internet
candidate is not Howard Dean. It is John Locke, the Enlightenment-era
philosopher who influenced America's founders. Locke would have
appreciated the concept of the Internet as a consensual agreement
to live within a system of individual autonomy and equality with
limited central authority.
The Internet architecture
is designed to maximize the freedom of individuals to act without
interference. . . The Internet's minimalist approach to central
regulation allows the participants on the Internet to apply their
creativity and develop innovation. However, it is not surprising
that this architecture is constantly under attack by those who
would seek to "improve" the Internet -- by regulating
spam, for example. . .
In contrast with modern
politicians, John Locke took pains to distinguish government
"Paternal or parental
power is nothing but that which parents have over their children,
to govern them for the children's good, till they come to the
use of reason, or a state of knowledge, wherein they may be supposed
capable to...live as freemen under that law.' . . .
The Internet architecture
reminds me of the Constitution. It is designed as an agreement
among responsible, consenting adults rather than as a paternalistic
regulatory regime. In my opinion, the political figure who best
"gets" the Internet is John Locke.
COURT RULES POP-UPS LEGAL
PRIVATIZING THE INTERNET
BIOMETRICS ISN'T ALL IT'S CRACKED UP TO
NEW INTERNET BEING PLANNED
LOW DOWN ON GOOGLE
BLOCKING SOFTWARE DISABLING PROGRAM
BLACK & LATINO INTERNET USE GROWS
OPEN SOURCE ENCYLOPEDIA GETS 100,00TH