Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Malware through Google search

Sunbelt Software: Google search results delivering massive malware attacks by ZDNet's Larry Dignan -- For the last two days, security software firm Sunbelt Software has been all over what could develop into a scary trend: Rigged Google search results that deliver big malware payloads. On Monday, Sunbelt reported “we’re seeing a large amount of seeded search results which lead to malware sites.” The search terms leading you to these malware [...]

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Imagining the Tenth Dimension

Bend your mind around this explanation of the Tenth Dimension

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Monday, November 19, 2007

Philly Wi-Fi Network Hits Snags, Delays

Wireless Oakland still being installed but no wireless Detroit. We miss you Detroit Wireless Project..

Philly Wi-Fi Network Hits Snags, Delays

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Alfred Zaccaria was finally going to leave the world of dial-up for high-speed access to the Internet without having to pay a lot more for service.

Or so he thought.

A 63-year-old landlord in northeast Philadelphia, he signed up for EarthLink's Wi-Fi Internet service in June for $6.95 a month, a rate that would rise to the regular price of $19.95 after six months. Five months later, he still can't get it to work despite moving his wireless modem from room to room and closer to windows to get a better signal.

"I'm paying them and they're not giving me the service," said Zaccaria, who's stuck with a one-year contract and a $70 modem whose return date has passed. "It seems unjust."

Three years after Mayor John Street announced Philadelphia would be the first major U.S. city to have its own network for wireless Internet access, the project is nearly a year behind schedule and beset by cost overruns.

Technical problems and restructuring at EarthLink Inc., the Atlanta-based Internet service provider that won the 10-year contract to set up and manage the network, slowed the process. But its future grew much murkier Friday, with Earthlink's announcement that it is considering "strategic alternatives" - in other words, a possible sale - for its municipal Wi-Fi business.

"Making significant further investments in this business could be inconsistent with our objective of maximizing shareholder value," the company has decided, Chief Executive Rolla P. Huff said in a statement.

Shares of EarthLink rose by 13 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $7.27 amid heavy trading Friday, then climbed another 85 cents, or 11.7 percent, after-hours.

Earthlink, which did not disclose what other paths the unit could follow, said the division is worth about $40 million.

The company has struggled to generate revenue as its dial-up customers have turned to high-speed services. It brokered a joint venture with SK Telecom to form wireless company Helio and launched its municipal wireless service.

Terry Phillis, Philadelphia's chief information officer, said his city's 135-square-mile network is 75 percent complete and EarthLink is committed to finishing it. Earthlink vowed Friday to continue working with its municipal partners.

It's not clear who will own or run Philadelphia's network once it's built, though the city could take it over and find another company to operate it.

Consumer complaints have reached the office of City Councilman Frank Rizzo, who said he also had trouble connecting to EarthLink's Wi-Fi hot spots around the city and has called for a hearing on it.

"I started to get e-mails from people complaining the service doesn't work well, and that bothered me," Rizzo said.

Jerry Grasso, a spokesman for EarthLink, declined to disclose subscriber figures. But municipal officials have said they were disappointing there and in other cities.

Wireless Philadelphia, the nonprofit overseeing the project, has signed up only 440 households for the "Digital Inclusion" program for low-income residents, well below the goal for June of 1,000. Participants would get a refurbished computer, training, Internet access for a year, wireless equipment and tech support.

The network initially was to be finished last spring. Now, Wireless Philadelphia said it will be completed early next year.

Some delays were technical. EarthLink had to nearly double its number of Wi-Fi nodes to more than 40 per square mile to improve connectivity. And the company didn't require residents to buy or rent equipment to boost the signal indoors as necessary.

Then, in August, EarthLink announced it would cut 900 jobs, nearly half of its work force, and reassess the business model for its municipal broadband projects.

"We will not devote any new capital to the old municipal Wi-Fi model that has us taking all the risks," Huff told analysts then. "In my judgment, that model is simply unworkable."

Earthlink pulled out of San Francisco's Wi-Fi project in August, and Chicago and Cincinnati abandoned their efforts about the same time. The company paid Houston $5 million for missing the starting deadline for that city's Wi-Fi project and was mulling whether to walk away.

The announcement on Friday puts in limbo the investment in Houston, which Richard Lewis, that city's chief information technology officer, estimated at $40 million to $50 million.

EarthLink agreed to foot the bill for Philadelphia's network, give free accounts to the city, lease spots from the city for its Wi-Fi nodes and subsidize Internet access for low-income residents.

The company's decision was "long overdue," Anthony Townsend, a research director at Silicon Valley think tank the Institute for the Future, said Friday.

"It was pretty clear that it was going to be a long road," he said. "It's a fragmented market. You're dealing with clients and governments that move slowly and are very risk averse. They really didn't have a lot of options, and it turned out to be a lot harder than they expected."

Friday, November 16, 2007

Ubuntu scores first major pre-installed server win Nov. 15, 2007

Ubuntu scores first major pre-installed server win Nov. 15, 2007

Updated: Ubuntu is extremely popular on the desktop, but it's made comparatively little progress on servers. That's about to change. Dell is expected to announce in the first quarter of 2008 that it has certified Ubuntu Linux for its server lines.

In an interview with Rick Becker, Dell Product Group's vice president of solutions, Becker said that Dell is currently in the process of certifying Ubuntu for all its server lines. "But we are still several months away from announcing a certification. I'd say it'll be announced in Q1 next year."

Dell, however, is already selling pre-loaded Ubuntu on its servers. "At the moment, if a Dell customer asks us to pre-load Ubuntu on a server, we'll do it for them. We do the same for Red Hat and SUSE. Our open-source support group will work with them as best they can, but most developers who ask for Linux probably know more than we do about Ubuntu. In fact, we may ask them for advice," said Becker.

For now, Dell will direct customers who get pre-installed Ubuntu Linux on its servers to Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, and the Ubuntu community for support. "With Linux, it's not like you can just pick up the phone [and get support], as you know. We can't go too deeply into Ubuntu support at this time. We'll pre-load and resell it, and support the hardware with our Dell support folks. We'll refer people to the Ubuntu community if we need to," said Becker.

After all, explained Becker, "We're not into operating systems much. We'll let the other companies handle those. We're much more into providing the hardware and the management software, as well as optimizing how it runs on our servers, finding bugs, making sure the drivers work well, etc."

Just a day earlier, Dell had announced that it had formally certified Sun's Solaris on its servers. By March of next year, Dell, once an almost 100 percent Windows Server shop, will be offering pre-installed RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux), SLES (SUSE Linux Enterprise Server), Solaris and Ubuntu Server to customers across its standalone, rack and blade server lines by the spring of 2008.

Gerry Carr, marketing manager for Canonical, said he was unable to comment directly on Dell's decision since "although it is our software, these are entirely Dell internal matters so we cannot comment on them. As a good partner, until and unless we are given specific permission to talk about any initiative, then we have to defer to Dell."

There is, however, no secret that Canonical has been working to get Ubuntu on the server and Dell's servers in specific. Carr and other Canonical executives are on record as saying that Canonical has been working on persuading server OEMs, and Dell in particular, of the advantages of offering Ubuntu on their servers since this summer.

Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical's CEO, added: "It would be superb for adoption--and would accelerate the positive trends we see already. We have indicators from several ISVs saying that Ubuntu is now their No. 1 or No. 2 server platform. These are more aggressive, newer ISVs, but even some proprietary heavyweights have started to come knocking about certification, support and joint sales, largely based on perceived momentum for the Ubuntu server platform among their customers.

"So I would be delighted if Dell took this step. I think it would be very reassuring to the people who are already deploying Ubuntu on the server; it would make Dell attractive to them as a supplier and it would catalyse another round of adoption by folks who require certification and support throughout their stack," Shuttleworth said.

Dell was also the first major PC OEM to offer pre-installed Linux on desktop and laptop lines. Dell began this move with Ubuntu-powered desktops and notebooks in May 2007. Sources at Dell indicate that the company will soon be offering pre-installed Ubuntu on more desktop and laptop lines with the latest version of Ubuntu 7.10.

"We have built a very productive relationship with Dell on the consumer range, which does continue to mature, and will build on that as the market requires it. The Dell folks have a knack for tracking demand and responding," Shuttleworth said.

Ubuntu's first major server success was getting Ubuntu certified on Sun's Fire T1000 and T2000 servers. Since then, Ubuntu has continued to work hard on its server support efforts. In July, for example, Canonical launched Landscape, its Web-based systems management program for Ubuntu servers and desktops, and the company has also expanded its support, training and certification efforts. In short, Canonical has been busy during 2007 setting up all the business infrastructure needed to support enterprise server customers.

As Carr said, there are no specific announcements to make at this time.

"Our position remains that we are keen to see Ubuntu on as many servers and as many desktops as we can get it onto," he said.

With Dell's forthcoming server certification, Canonical and Ubuntu are posed to make a major step forward in the server market.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols and Chris Preimesberger

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wal-Mart’s $200 PC - sold out

I thought LINUX was not popular. ;-) Go to link below to read article. This would have made an excellent gift for the Freedom Technology Christmas initiative.

No more inexpensive LINUX computer's at Wal-Mart

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

ADSL at 250 megabits per second?

This would make dealing with AT&T bearable. Would be awesome if priced at $20.00 a month.

ADSL at 250 megabits per second?

Some of you are old enough to remember that it was usual to catch a conversation between complete strangers when you were calling someone on the phone. This phenomenon, called cross-talk, also affects ADSL broadband connections today. But according to the Sydney Morning Herald, an Australian researcher, John Papandriopoulos, has developed an algorithm to reduce that interference. Of course, this means that ADSL connections can be faster. He says the new technology could deliver between 100 and 250 megabits per second. And it could become available worldwide within two or three years.

You can see on the left a photo of John Papandriopoulos, a research fellow at the Centre for Ultra-Broadband Information Networks (CUBINlab). Papandriopoulos completed his Ph.D. in 2006 within the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Melbourne, Australia. The picture on the left shows Papandriopoulos handling a “Ph.D. submission balloon” on October 25, 2006. (Credit: John Papandriopoulos)

Here are some quotes from the Sydney Morning Herald article. “‘Many years ago people used to pick up the phone and make a phone call and you’d be able to hear a faint or distant telephone conversation taking place, and that’s called cross-talk,’ Dr Papandriopoulos said when attempting to explain how his algorithm worked. ‘That is not an issue for voice calls these days but it becomes a problem when you’re trying to wring more bandwidth out of these existing copper telephone wires [which power ADSL broadband connections]. This cross-talk in current day DSL networks effectively produces noise onto other lines, and this noise reduces the speed of your connection.’ Dr Papandriopoulos said his algorithm served to minimise that interference and thus maximise the line speed.”

In an October 23, 2007 news release, the University of Melbourne announced it gave Papandriopoulos a Chancellor’s Prize for Excellence for his research. It also gives additional details. “Dr Papandriopoulos developed two methods — patented as SCALE and SCAPE — as part of his PhD in the University’s Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. He says the new techniques can dramatically reduce the interference which slows down data transmission in typical DSL networks and use less power in the process.”

But this news release doesn’t provide details about the algorithm, except this. “Dr Papandriopoulos used complex mathematical modeling and optimisation techniques to develop the system, which he says can be used with existing telecommunications networks without laying kilometers of expensive fibre optic cabling. He says to facilitate the faster data transmission speeds, telecommunications providers would need to change their operational systems and consumers purchase new modems.”

Of course, I wanted to know more and read more about Papandriopoulos research, but here is what he writes on his home page. “My Ph.D. dissertation is currently bound by a confidentiality agreement due to intellectual property issues. It will be made available on my website in PDF form as soon as these restrictions are lifted.”

I can understand why. Lots of money are involved. And by the way, Papandriopoulos got a new job at ASSIA — which stands for “Adaptive Spectrum and Signal Alignment), a start-up company developing new ways to optimize the performance of DSL networks, and chaired by Stanford University engineering professor John Cioffi. Here is what states Papandriopoulos about the future of ADSL. “Research by Prof. John Cioffi’s group at Stanford University has recently concentrated on the next-wave of DSL technology, that can offer speeds of 1-2Gbps over copper. That research, however, is likely to be many more years away from implementation and deployment. Our technology can assist with raising broadband speeds over DSL in the much shorter term.”

Sources: Asher Moses, Sydney Morning Herald, November 5, 2007; and various websites

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Meeting of the Conference Planning Committee for Blogging Whiel Brown

Blogging While Brown

Meeting of the Conference Planning Committee

Posted: 30 Oct 2007 12:23 PM CDT

Alrighty then,

Welcome new members who have indicated interest in serving on the Panels Committee. We need to have a conference call to discuss the process for determining how we are gong to select the conference workshops/sessions/seminars. Continue to post topics you are interested in seeing at the conference and continue to encourage your blogging friends and readers to weigh in.

We will need to draft the guidelines for submitting a workshop proposal, the deadlines, and also discuss the keynotes. If you have some draft guidelines from a previous conference that you have worked on, please post those on the Google Group.

If you have proposed deadlines for the various steps in the process, please post those as well so we can discuss as much as we can online before the meeting. At the conference call, please come prepared to indicate what specific responsibility or role you want to play in the process.

To the new folks, the way this works is I have listed a number of proposed meeting times, you should reply back to bloggingwhilebrown (at) indicating which times you are NOT available for a conference call. So in review, don't email me saying when your ARE available. Email me indicating when you are NOT available. As always, even if you are unable to attend, you can have input by providing feedback via email or by posting on the Google Group.

Remind folks that the deadline for early registration is November 1st. We are off to a great start considering we haven't come up with a marketing plan. The folks on the last call can attest to the fact that I stick to schedule.

So here are the proposed times ALL TIMES ARE CST:
MONDAY November 5th
11:30AM to 12:15PM CST
8:00PM to 8:45PM CST

TUESDAY, November 6th
11:30AM to 12:15PM CST
7:00PM to 7:45 PM CST

Wednesday, November 7th
11:30AM to 12:15 CST
8:00PM to 8:45CST

Again, let me know when you are NOT available. If you are not available at all then memorialize your thoughts and send them in an email. We are also looking for someone to act at the Coordinator of the Panels Committee.

If you are interested in serving on any of the conference planning committees, you need to join our Google Group. You can use the widget in the sidebar or you can send an email asking for an invitation to bloggingwhilebrown at gmail dot com.