Apr 19 2009

Linux Virus

Category: Humour,LinuxTeknovis @ 09:39

I have never used Linux as my desktop operating system, but I am currently in the process of changing that. I hope to write about it here.

So I thought that I would start with some humour! I recently came across this really good, but nerdy, joke: “Why GNU/Linux Viruses are fairly uncommon” from Charlie Harvey.


Apr 16 2009

Skype to go Public

Category: BusinessTeknovis @ 18:29

Yet another Skype story this week…

The founders of Skype were unable to reach a deal with eBay regarding the sale of Skype.  So instead eBay will try to float Skype. That should be interesting to watch, if it gets to that stage!

For more details about this story see eBay set to float Skype.

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Apr 15 2009

Spy Pen

Category: HardwareTeknovis @ 08:32

Is it a pen? No! It is a dictaphone? No! Is it a mobile phone? No! Is it a Bluetooth hands free headset that also functions as a pen? Yes!

Spy Pen (Copyright Gsm-Earpiece)

Spy Pen (Copyright Gsm-Earpiece)

According to the French manufacturer Gsm-Earpiece, the device is intended for the following purpose:

The Gsm Pen was specially designed for students who need some help at their examinations. During their exam or test they can get the necessary information from their friends over the cell phone. Keeping the phone in their pocket they can talk to the pen that they are using for writing and listen to the correct answers with the micro earpiece in their ear.

Some other more general uses for Gsm-Earpiece’s products are also described in Spy Earpiece – What is it for?.

If you really are interested in learning more about this headset, then visit Gsm Pen – What is it for?. (Note the interesting spelling sell phone while you are there ;)


Apr 14 2009

Skype Founders Consider Buying Skype back from eBay

Category: Business,TelecomsTeknovis @ 17:31

Another Skype story…

Rumour has it that the founders of Skype are considering buying Skype back from eBay. The full story can be read in Four years later, Skype’s founders looking to buy it back.

I actually think that this would be a great move for both companies. I do not really see any business or technological reasons why either company is of significant interest to the other. I actually think that they are in totally different market segments – Skype is in telecoms and eBay is in online auctioneering.

Furthermore, I know that many of the Tier 1 telcos see Skype as a significant competitor. I think that independence from eBay would allow Skype to become an even bigger competitor!

I think that the challenges for Skype are to grow its customer base, and to generate more revenue from its customer base. I think that the first challenge is being addressed by increasing penetration into both the mobile market and the business market. I am less clear how the second challenge can be addressed. In my experience, the Skype users that I know have all progressed from the free voice and video calls to buying SkypeOut credit. I wonder what percentage of Skype’s users have actually gone on to make a purchase from Skype.

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Apr 13 2009

Skype Considering SIP

Category: Software,StandardsTeknovis @ 13:11

I just read that Skype is considering the use of SIP in Skype Opens Up To SIP, Finally Eyes Enterprise Customers The Way It Should. (For an explanation of SIP see Session Initiation Protocol.) The main motivation of this would be to bring Skype to the business community. (Although in my experience Skype is already used extensively by both small and large businesses.)

Skype currently uses a propitiatory protocol to exchange VoIP data, and this protocol masquerades as HTTPS. SIP is a mature open standard for VoIP, and therefore there are already many compliant hardware and software solutions.

In general, I am a big fan of open standards. However, in this case I think that the biggest advantage of SIP is also its biggest disadvantage. In particular, because SIP is an open standard is is very easy to identify it on the network, and treat it differently. The advantage of this is that VoIP traffic can be given higher priority. The disadvantage is that VoIP traffic can easily be blocked :( I have experienced Internet connections in many hotels that block all outgoing traffic except HTTP and HTTPS. In these situations Skype still works perfectly :)

If Skype can successfully incorporate SIP functionality without compromising on the existing propitiatory protocol over HTTPS then I think that would be a great solution!

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Apr 12 2009

Web Trend Map 2009

Category: InternetTeknovis @ 09:30

A friend sent me this cool Internet based subway map last week. (Click to see the original 2.6MB version.)

Web Trend Map 2009 (Copyright Information Architects)

Web Trend Map 2009 (Copyright Information Architects)

It was developed by Information Architects, and you can read more about it in Web Trend Map 4 – Final Beta.

Apr 11 2009

Yoggie Computer Security Solutions

Category: Networks,SecurityTeknovis @ 10:35

I tend to connect to the Internet a lot with my laptop in public places. I have no confidence in the security provided by Windows (2000 or XP), and I am am extremely sceptical of any software based firewalls for Windows. I am a firm beliver of hardware based security!

So I am very interested in some products by Yoggie that I saw recently. This video explains them:

In particular, I like the Gatekeeper Pro in inline mode. I think that this would be perfect for me if only it also included WiFi.

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Apr 10 2009

Record Traffic For Second Irish Budget 2009

Category: NetworksTeknovis @ 16:27

Last October I described the format of the Irish budget, and how it is broadcast online by RTE, in Record Traffic For Irish Budget 2009 Announcement. At that time INEX had a record throughput of approximately 5.3Gbits/s.

Last Tuesday the Irish Minister for Finance had to announce a second annual budget for 2009 because he got the first one wrong. (I will not comment on his incompetency on this blog ;) It appears that this caused a new record throughput of approximately 7.2Gbits/s according to the INEX traffic statistics.

I should have thought of putting a copy of the Day Graph here earlier in the week :(

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Apr 09 2009

The Weakest Link in the Security Chain

Category: SecurityTeknovis @ 13:15

You work in a large organisation that deals primarily with very sensitive information. You develop procedures to ensure that this sensitive information is handled correctly at all times. You invest in hardware solutions to ensure that your systems remain secure. You develop access control models that are based on biometric identification. You use the most secure protocols and algorithms to encrypt data. Indeed, you do everything that you can think of to ensure you have the strongest security possible.

Then some photographer in the right place, and at the right time, uses his digital camera and zoom lens to capture a photograph of a very sensitive document.

If you are not sure what I am referring to, then take a look at Police chief quits over blunder. It is actually a great example of why security requires an all encompassing multi-faceted approach.


Apr 08 2009

Science Foundation Ireland Strategic Research Clusters

Category: Fourth LevelTeknovis @ 22:04

Earlier this year Science Foundation Ireland announced the creation of five new Strategic Research Clusters with an investment of 23.9€ million. (I should have written about these at the time, but better late than never :)

Two of these projects are of interest to me (because they are ICT related):

  • Clique is analysing data graphs and networks. This project is based in UCD.
  • FAME is investigating end-to-end communications over heterogeneous networks. This project is based in TSSG.

For more details about this announcement see Tánaiste announces establishment of 5 New Science Foundation Ireland Strategic Research Clusters, and for the complete set of Strategic Research Clusters projects see Strategic Research Clusters.

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