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+ - Lenovo says Hello Moto->

Submitted by Zott
Zott (61346) writes "Should we be surprised? Google is selling the U.S. handset operation Motorola to Lenovo — another mature product line the Chinese company has purchased (the other notable example being IBM's consumer laptop and PC manufacturing)."
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+ - No FiOS in Boston? We'll make an ad anyway->

Submitted by Zott
Zott (61346) writes "The Boston Globe has a front-page story about Verizon's FiOS that recounts what many of us here in Boston and some surrounding urban areas know already: Verizon won't invest in the physical plant and actually offer the fiber optic Internet and TV service here in the "hub of the universe". This hasn't stopped Verizon from launching a new advertising campaign with Donnie Wahlberg (member of New Kids on the Block, actor, and well-known Boston native) standing in Copley Square and the Charlestown neighborhood touting the product. It goes even further, though — according to the Globe's article, "'This is New England, where people tell it straight,' says Wahlberg... 'No phonies, no fakers, no shortcuts.'" Except for the shortcut in the fine print that's presumably in the ad somewhere: "FiOS not available in all areas.""
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Comment: Re:Missing option (Score 4, Interesting) 290

by Zott (#44659263) Attached to: My ISP...

Yep... clearly there's a some confusion about bandwidth v. usage.

My understanding was that Comcast capped my usage (I have a "Blast Plus" account) at 250GB/month. Seems to reset every month at 0000Z on the first.

I monitor my own usage fairly carefully, I think last month I was a bit over 300GB. But: Comcast announced that they are temporarily suspending enforcement of their cap - as of May, 2012. They have indicated that they are going to replace the cap with "new approaches", but there doesn't seem to be any mention of this since that date.

There's clearly tension between the cost of the plant necessary to support large users of data and the profit of the corporation. Without diving into that debate, I will relate what I've heard in discussions with a few other technically-oriented customers: they really didn't engineer their network to support any significant level of symmetric usage (it's designed for some multiples of download traffic over upload traffic), and the whole question of traffic shaping was a response to an actual "fear" that their network would be trashed by BitTorrent users.

I don't know whether that's actually true. But I do know that ultimately, all resources on the Internet are shared, and that without sufficient bandwidth there is lots of potential that won't be attained. I have some level of sympathy for the idea that someone may have to be throttled to keep costs for usage roughly equal for all customers of a particular class, or that pricing might have to be "reasonably" adjusted based on usage - especially peak usage (I do offsite vaulting exclusively between 0100 and 0500 local time).

I'd hope that Comcast and the other ISPs realize that the only way they are going to be able to make their business case to their customers if they operate transparently - and I know that's not the initial strategy for any large corporation. I don't think most people have an issue with paying "reasonable" fees - but, again, in the telecomm/service industry in general, that's generally how things are priced.

They are going to have to figure out how to make some profits on what anyone reading this already considers a "utility" - they sure aren't getting revenue from my pageviews of the ads on their home page. However, I've heard too many stories of how Internet connectivity delivered as a pure utility (especially by non-profits such as municipal governments) provides better service, higher bandwidth (sic) and lower costs than investor-owned corporations; if I could vote (if it were practical in my section of Boston) for that, as a public good, it'd make this discussion go away.

Comment: WebDAV and App Syncing (Score 1) 482

by Zott (#36465852) Attached to: Open Source Alternative To Dropbox?

This may or may not be helpful.

I have my own server running WebDAV. It's "stock" Apache, the DAV module is included. A couple of people have mentioned Subversion, but of course that overlays functionality that may not be necessary or practical. DAV is fairly simple, and dedicated to supporting an essential set of semantics for accessing files.

The reason this may not be useful to you is that my primary use of the server has been as my "remote" fileserver, for Mac and Windows clients. In some sense, it'd be easier if I wanted to set up CIFS (Samba) or AFP (Apple), but neither of these work all that great when you have significant latency, which is the case if the server isn't right there physically to where you're working. Many iOS apps have taken to being written to directly talk to things like Dropbox, or WebDAV. That may not be true about the Android Apps that you care about. I agree with the premise that Dropbox doesn't give a warm fuzzy security feeling, though the functionality is very nice.

Setting up WebDAV on Apache, secured with TLS, isn't all that difficult. The protocol works well in a high-latency environment. The one technical issue that I've found is that there aren't good solutions for access control - it's not easy to set up multiple user accounts for one server and enforce separate access for those users. I've looked at a few kludges but nothing that seems satisfying.

Depending on your specific need, though, don't rule WebDAV out.

Comment: Re:Typical jumping to conclusions (Score 2) 271

by Zott (#36233824) Attached to: Microsoft Kills Skype For Asterisk
Sure, I understand that Microsoft implements SIP and RTP in these products, just like Exchange implements SMTP and IMAP. But they now own the other side of the conversation - meaning that it appears you'll need a Microsoft Windows Server-based gateway to bridge SIP and Skype. This is a different proposition than a $70 licence (per channel/session, I think), which is the current cost of running the Asterisk/Skype gateway. Skype as a closed protocol is now owned by a company whose business model historically is based on closed protocols; Microsoft presumably sees the value of limiting the ability of non-Microsoft PBXs to interoperate with it. Lync Server is probably a fine solution for an environment that wishes to integrate SIP into a Windows/Exchange/AD workplace, but carries costs and risks for those not wanting to have their infrastructure assimilated, er, integrated in this manner. And the direction that Microsoft intends to take with this acquisition isn't yet clear. If Microsoft were to open the Skype protocols or migrate Skype to SIP or some other open standard, I think I'd be cheering.

Comment: Re:Typical jumping to conclusions (Score 1) 271

by Zott (#36233300) Attached to: Microsoft Kills Skype For Asterisk
The Microsoft way of doing things is to keep things closed. Skype is closed, SIP - whether you're using Asterisk or some other solution - is open. The Asterisk product was a good way to provide an organization with a gateway they could control to bridge SIP in the enterprise with Skype. Who cares about Asterisk... if there are other gateways between SIP and Skype? Except there aren't. It *appears* that this is a way to keep what's closed closed. That's the underlying pain here.

+ - New York Times site pop-up says your computer is i->

Submitted by
Zott
Zott writes "Apparently, "some readers" of the New York Times site are getting a bit more with their news: an apparently syndicated adware popup with a faux virus scan of the user's computer indicating they are infected, and a link to go download a fix now. It's entertaining when a Mac user gets it, but clearly downloading an .exe file isn't a good way to keep your computer clean..."
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Image

The Twitter Book 88

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
stoolpigeon writes "Microblogging service Twitter has undeniably been a hit, with growth rates that were at times in excess of 1400%. The growth was rapid enough that the site became well known for its periodic, and, at times, extensive downtime. Even with these issues, the service continued to grow rapidly, and with celebrities getting into the mix Twitter was quickly on the radar of mainstream media. The ubiquity of Twitter and ever-increasing coverage of 'tweets' has also brought the inevitable backlash. As with anything that gains high-profile popularity, there are plenty of Twitter haters out there, though the role Twitter has played in the recent Iranian elections seems to have brought more legitimacy to Twitter in the eyes of many. With popularity come books, and quite a few are already out there about and for Twitter, but my favorite so far is The Twitter Book by Tim O'Reilly and Sarah Milstein." Read below for the rest of JR's review.
Microsoft

+ - Macros in MS Word: Good thing for legal docs?

Submitted by
Zott
Zott writes "An interesting question came by my desk today, relating to a Microsoft Word 2007 document with a .docm extension. That's a "Macro-enabled" Word document.

What's interesting is that the context was a document that was going back and forth as a negotiation with a client. My first impulse is to suggest that sending what is effectively "code" (dynamically-modified content) is probably not a great idea if you're trying to come to an agreement with someone. There have been issues in general (likely not as serious these days with modern antivirus applications) with malware-in-a-Word-document, but more to the point does one really know what you're sending to someone if the document itself can change without user intervention?

It looks like there's a community that has generated macros to aid in formatting legal documents, which is all well and good. But I wonder whether this functionality extends to trusting one's partner not to modify the document (let's say, for the sake of argument, that this would be an inadvertent side-effect). After all, we've all been through negotiations with lots of marked-up and changed documents, and we're supposed to do a full proof-check before affixing our signature — but it does seem worrisome to me.

Or am I being impractically paranoid? Does anyone work with organizations that have guidelines in this area?"
Security

New Denial-of-Service Attack Is a Killer 341

Posted by kdawson
from the fighting-a-resource-war-with-an-unfair-advantage dept.
ancientribe writes "Hacker RSnake blogs about a newly discovered and deadly denial-of-service attack that could well be the next big threat to the Internet as a whole. It goes after a broadband Internet connection and KOs machines on the other end such that they stay offline even after the attack is over. It spans various systems, too: the pair of Swedish researchers who found it have already contacted firewall, operating system, and Web-enabled device vendors whose products are vulnerable to this attack." Listen to the interview (MP3) — English starts a few minutes in — and you might find yourself convinced that we have a problem. The researchers claim that they have been able to take down every system with a TCP/IP stack that they have attempted; and they know of no fix or workaround.

Today's scientific question is: What in the world is electricity? And where does it go after it leaves the toaster? -- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"

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