Jan 31 2009

Eircom and Illegal File Sharing

Category: NetworksTeknovis @ 11:31 am

I remember reading a while ago that some of the record companies were taking legal action against Eircom, because Eircom would not police and prevent illegal P2P music sharing within its network. I think that Eircom would have been mad to do this!

Like many other people, I think that the record labels are still living in the past by spectacularly ignoring the realities of current technology!

So I was very interested in reading this week that this action has been settled out of court. The agreement seems to centre on the record labels detecting illegal downloading themselves without any special access to Eircom’s network. They can then pass the relevant IP addresses to Eircom, and Eircom will serve the offending user with a warning. If the record companies detect that the user persists in sharing illegal music files then Eircom will disconnect the user.

I think that this is a big win for Eircom, and a big loss for the record companies, for the following reasons:

  • Eircom does not need to modify or police its network.
  • The record companies must do the policing themselves. I am sure they would have loved to pass that burden to Eircom!
  • The record companies will not get any special access to the network. So, they will have as much detection abilities as I do!
  • Consequently, it will be relatively easy for users to avoid detection.
  • The record companies will not get access to any personal details of users who are performing illegal downloading.

The full details about this are in Big four music labels and Eircom in landmark piracy settlement.

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Jan 30 2009

Blackberry Storm

Category: Mobile ComputingTeknovis @ 6:44 pm

I just read TechCraver Review: BlackBerry Storm. Wow! The Blackberry Storm just seems to be getting more and more bad reviews! Actually, I do not think that I have seen or heard of a single review that was predominantly positive!

Blackberry Storm

Blackberry Storm

The most common complaint seems to be that the touch-screen interface is far too slow, and that the text appearing on the screen while writing a message significantly lags behind the finger movements!

Perhaps this is best summarised by Stephen Fry in Gee, One Bold Storm coming up…

Watching someone writing an email on a Storm is like watching an antelope trying to open a packet of cigarettes.

The main idea of this PDA was to introduce touch-screen technology to Blackberry users who were looking longingly at the iPhone! I bet many of them will still buy this device, and then they will try not to be disapointed :o

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Jan 29 2009

Google ISP Performance Tools

Category: NetworksTeknovis @ 9:28 pm

Google is developing a set of tools that will enable users to determine if their ISPs are interfering with their packets. That should be very useful, especially if more users become aware of the fact that some ISPs might do this!

More details about this are described in Google Introduces A New Weapon In The Fight For Net Neutrality: Measurement Labs.

I am not necessarily an advocate of Net Neutrality. I do not think that a very small proportion of users should be allowed to negatively impact the majority of users. However, this can be ensured through network management without necessarily compromising on Net Neutrality. However, I do think that ISPs should clearly state their network management policies. This enables consumers to make the final decision!

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Jan 28 2009

UCD Students Enjoy Improved YouTube Experience

Category: Networks,Third LevelTeknovis @ 11:21 pm

UCD students will soon be able to enjoy an improved YouTube experience, thanks to the fact that its Internet connection is being upgraded from 1Gbps to 10Gbps :)

OK, I am joking when I write that the purpose of this increased bandwidth is to improve the YouTube experience :P

I wonder how much of this increased bandwidth is needed to keep pace with users’ requirements. I also wonder what sort of new and exciting projects can be undertaken to utilise this increased bandwidth.

For more details about this see UCD gains super-fast connectivity via HEAnet.

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Jan 27 2009

You Can Do Anything

Category: EntrepreneurshipTeknovis @ 11:07 pm

The publishers of the Irish Entrepreneur magazine have launched a competition for 250,000€. To be included you must subscribe to their magazine, as described in ‘You Can Do Anything’ Competition.

This competition is part of a wider campaign to encourage people to become more entrepreneurial during the current economic downturn. In order to promote this campaign the publishers invited The Naked Cowboy to Dublin. The Naked Cowboy’s story is perfect for this caimpaign, and he has given some really great advice such as:

Just do something you love and find a way to make money from it.

More details about the Naked Cowboy’s visit are described in Naked Cowboy here to give recession the boot and Nakedly optimistic star says we can do anything. He also did interviews on both the Tubridy Tonight show, and the Xposé show, both of which are available to view online :)

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Jan 26 2009

Skype Conference Call

Category: TelecomsTeknovis @ 8:19 pm

I was supposed to participate in a conference call today, and this conference call was hosted by a large and well known organisation. I was really surprised to see from the invite email that the call bridge was being provided by Skype!

This is the first time that I have seen Skype being used within the corporate market. There certainly was, and perhaps still is, a perception that Skype is only suitable for individuals.

Roll on Skype!

Yes, I am a big fan of it ;)

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Jan 25 2009

Vatican Meets YouTube

Category: InternetTeknovis @ 4:25 pm

In an effort to reach out to the masses, the Vatican has launched its own official channel on YouTube. You can see it at www.youtube.com/vatican. Apparently, it is not getting much attention :o

On a slightly related note, I never realised that the Vatican’s ccTLD was .va, although not many domain names appear to use it!

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Jan 23 2009

All Ireland Broadband

Category: eGovernment,TelecomsTeknovis @ 7:46 pm

Yesterday the Irish Minister for Communications announced details of the all Ireland broadband Internet access roll-out scheme. The essence of this is that every part of Ireland will have broadband Internet access by 2010, thanks to an investment of 223€ million by the Irish Government.

At the moment 10% of the population do not have broadband Internet access, and these 10% live in areas that represent 33% of the area of the country.

Three has won the contract to supply this broadband Internet access, and it will do this using 3G technology. I might be incorrect, but I think that BT actually installed, commissioned, and operates the 3G network in Ireland for Three.

More details about this can be read in Plan to bring broadband to entire country by 2010.

The Irish Minister for Communications seemed quite ecstatic when he was announcing this yesterday. He seems to have the opinion that this will enable significant numbers of new companies to develop, and that these companies will employ many people, and this will lift Ireland out of recession. Yes, really!

I have a more sceptical view :o

From the maps that I saw in the television interviews it seems that the areas in Ireland that will benefit from this scheme are all in really rural locations (mostly the West and South-West). The population densities are very low in these areas! Also, the existing levels of business activity in these areas is extremely low! I do not think that broadband Internet access will change any of this!

So ultimately I think that this scheme means that the majority of Irish tax payers will subsidise a very small minority. I also think that people who live in these rural areas must accept that they cannot expect to have the same levels of service as people who live closer to metropolitan areas. (This of course works both ways.)

Damien Mulley also got some air-time to comment on this government initiative on the RTE news yesterday. I am not sure why, but I feel that he gave a more positive response to it in the television interview than he does on his blog article National Broadband Scheme Launch. Maybe I am wrong about this, because I only saw the television interview once.

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Jan 22 2009

Web 2.0 Plans for the White House

Category: eGovernmentTeknovis @ 11:18 pm

There is lots of news these days about Barack Obama’s attempts to bring Web 2.0 to the White House. Perhaps most obvious is the fact that the web site got a face-lift, and it now includes an official blog! That is impressive! Is this the first ever official blog of a political leader?

Another change is that Macon Philips has been appointed as the director of New Media at the White House. I understand that this role is another first!

According to White House plans open government, Barack Obama’s main aim is to improve openness and transparency.

In one memo he spelled out his desire for an “an unprecedented level of openness in Government”. The other said government bodies should err on the side of clarity when considering if information should be disclosed. “In the face of doubt, openness prevails,” he wrote.

I really like the contract between the new approach and the old approach!

The moves were welcomed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which said the memoranda stood in stark contrast to a memo issued by John Ashcroft soon after 9/11. This called on government bodies to only release information after exhausting all strategies, including legal action, to withhold it.

This article also describes how the robotos.txt file has been modified to allow all of the White House web site to be crawled. However, I have read other articles that suggested the old robots.txt blocked access to some content, such as printable versions of web pages, to prevent their contents from being indexed twice.

However, not everything is going so smoothly within the White House from a technology point of view, according to New job challenges in the White House.

Barack Obama also has plans for the wider Internet in the US, and these are described in Obama unfurls master plan for US cybersecurity. He really is not wasting any time!

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Jan 21 2009

Cloud Computing in 2009

Category: Cloud ComputingTeknovis @ 10:05 pm

Cloud Computing is certainly a term that I keep hearing more and more about, but yet I am not really sure what it means. I certainly think that it is overused and abused ;) (I am going to resist all cloud related puns in this post!)

More importantly, I am not yet convinced that it will be the solution to as many problems as some people claim. Yes, I think that there are some areas that will benefit greatly from cloud computing, but I do not think that anybody really knows exactly which areas these are yet.

I read a good introduction to cloud computing recently in A crack in the madness of clouds. The author tries to identify the different application areas where cloud computing might make an impact, and he provides examples where possible. The application areas that he identifies are:

  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service
  • Storage-as-a-Service
  • Data-as-a-Service
  • Platform-as-a-Service
  • Software-as-a-Service

Salesforce is perhaps the most widely known example of a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) application. I think that it is quite significant because it started many people using SaaS applications without them actually knowing that they were doing this. I think that one of the dangerous of this has been that people do not realise the disadvantages of these types of applications. However, I think that people will quickly gain a negative perspective as incidents of these SaaS applications becoming unavailable occur more frequently. For example, over 900,000 customers were recently unable to use SalesForce for over an hour according to Salesforce.com outage exposes cloud’s dark linings.

Perhaps it is not surprising then that SalesForce are developing a new form of cloud computing, known as the Service Cloud! The idea of this appears to be to unify in a cloud all of the information that is exchanged with customers using the different interfaces that are supported by a company. For more details about this see Salesforce.com tackles customer service with the Service Cloud.

I wonder will 2009 be a decisive year in the life of cloud computing!

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