Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category
Take a look:. The article by Brian Fung reads:
There’s been a lot of debate about whether the United States is falling behind the rest of the world on broadband speeds. Upgrading to the latest networking technology is essential for a faster Internet in the long run. But a country’s average speed is also affected by another factor: affordability. A high-speed plan will do nothing for you if its price is out of reach for ordinary consumers. And as new research shows, Americans are still paying through the nose for what residents in some cities overseas get at a substantially lower rate.
In American cities like New York, you can buy a 500 Mbps connection that’s 58 times faster than the U.S. average. Here’s the catch: It’ll cost you $300 a month, according to the New America Foundation’s Cost of Connectivity report. In Amsterdam, however, the same connection can be had for around $86.
The same discrepancies hold when you move down the speed ladder, said New America’s Nick Russo.
“People may be opting for similar speeds [compared to foreigners] — and that may be what the average speed is — but they’re often paying more for it in the United States,” he said.
In Seoul, a triple-play package for phone, TV and Internet at speeds of 100 Mbps for both uploads and downloads will run you $35 a month. By contrast, Verizon will charge New Yorkers $70 a month for a triple-play package with Internet at 15 Mbps down and 5 Mbps up on its FiOS service. Verizon’s Internet is both more expensive and slower at the same time. . .
I don’t think so: corporate logos are still oriented to print as the medium: brochures, business cards, letterhead, print ads in magazines, and so on.
And yet… all those are giving away to digital media, and generally high-resolution, image-oriented, interactive, computer-based devices. E.g., the iPhone fits the bill, particularly the later models. A laptop, obviously.
I bet the average target customer for a middle-class demographic already consumes more reading matter (email, digital reports, digital versions of newspapers) via digital media and than via print.
So why shouldn’t the primary corporate logo be a gif of some sort? With sound for those devices that support it. Sound would be tricky: have to be quiet and pleasant and probably default to “off”. But still useful in on-line ads.
Doesn’t work. The private sector can really produce a project fubar, as it has shown on numerous occasions. Lydia DePillis has details.
I think the governor of Kentucky (whose exchange is working extremely well) had it right: “Take a deep breath and chill out.” The thing will be fixed And it should be pointed out that the problem exists only for states that refused to open their own healthcare exchanges—and most of those also refused to allow the expansion of Medicare in their state.
As of 16 October, the available figures are shown in the chart below. Note the date associat4ed with each figure. Some undoubtedly have greatly surpassed these early figures:
Companies offering secure communications in the US now have a choice: turn over everything to NSA or go out of business. I can’t help but feel the government’s determination to be able to read all communications whatsoever is a bad idea—and overkill by a long shot. Richard Chirgwin writes in The Register:
VPN service CryptoSeal has followed Lavabit’s example and shuttered its consumer service, saying its CryptoSeal Privacy service architecture would make it impossible to comply with a government order without handing over the crypto keys to its entire system.
The company, which will continue offering business services, made the announcement via a notice to users trying to log into the service, which has been posted to ycombinator here.
“With immediate effect as of this notice, CryptoSeal Privacy, our consumer VPN service, is terminated. All cryptographic keys used in the operation of the service have been zerofilled, and while no logs were produced (by design) during operation of the service, all records created incidental to the operation of the service have been deleted to the best of our ability,” the notice states.
Referring to the pen register issues that drove Lavabit’s decision to close, the post continues: . . .
I wanted to see if the first Joanna Brady mystery eased up a little on the incessant recitation of backstories that I found in her most recent. However, my library offered only a digital version, so I placed a hold on that, and this morning got an email from the Northern California Digital Library, which apparently serves as ebook repository for public libraries of the region. I was asked to choose a format for download, and in addition to PDF and Adobe EPUB, the Kindle format was available. I selected that, clicked download, and then (interestingly) was taken directly to the Amazon.com site to download the title, which I have for a while. Then when I finish, I can click a “return title” button and it will vanish from my Kindle and become available to the next person who has a hold.
Interesting service for Amazon to provide.
Da una barra di acciaio RWL-34 e un piccolo pezzo di legno di radica d’olivo nasce un prestigioso rasoio a mano libera: un capolavoro che prende vita dall’arte e dalla passione di Mastro Livi.
Very interesting. They surely could have improved security even more by having, on front and back, small “Do not counterfeit” signs.
Juan Cole writes at Informed Comment:
On Sunday, the every-other-year great solar car race (the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge) began in Australia, as vehicles powered by sunlight competed to get from Darwin to Adelaide (3000 km/ 1800 miles) as quickly as possible. An electric car with the right range and speed is crucial to solving the problem of climate change, since exhaust from petroleum-driven vehicles is a significant part of our carbon dioxide emissions. C02 in turn is causing catastrophic climate change.
Me, I can’t understand why everyone in the market for a new car and who can afford one doesn’t buy a Chevy Volt. It is a dream car; they have dropped the price on it and there is a hefty government rebate. Especially if you put in solar panels on your roof and run it off them, the combined system (panels + EV) quickly pays for itself and quickly reaches the point where the carbon emitted in its construction is surpassed by savings.
Of course, my own University of Michigan has an entrant. Here is an article on it from U-M News Service:
U-M solar car: Sleek, reliable and ready to race
ANN ARBOR—With a bold, asymmetrical vehicle that’s logged thousands of test miles on two continents, students on the University of Michigan’s top-ranked Solar Car Team say this could be their year for a world championship.
U-M’s team—currently No. 1 in the U.S.—will compete against 25 others from across the globe in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. The week-long, 1,800-mile trek across the Australian outback begins Oct. 6, which is the afternoon of Oct. 5 in the U.S.
Continue reading. Photo of the Michigan entry at the link.
It makes me wonder why Iran simply doesn’t go for solar rather than nuclear: a lot fewer headaches all round. (What to do with spent fuel rods, for example: a problem that, so far as I know, we have yet to solve.)
Joe Romm has the story at ThinkProgress:
The price of solar photovoltaic cells has dropped 99% in the past quarter century. So in an increasing number of markets around the country, solar is at or very close to grid parity.
Consider Colorado. The Denver Business Journal reported last month the results of months-long competitive bidding process:
Xcel Energy Inc. is proposing to triple the amount of utility-scale solar power on its grid in Colorado, and add another 450 megawatts of wind power….
If approved, the plan would cut Xcel’s carbon dioxide emissions by more than one-third compared to 2005 levels.
David Eves, the CEO of Xcel’s Colorado subsidiary in the state told the Journal solar power is now cost-competitive with natural gas-fired generation:
“This is the first time that we’ve seen, purely on a price basis, that the solar projects made the cut — without considering carbon costs or the need to comply with a renewable energy standard — strictly on an economic basis.”
If solar power is seeing this kind of growth strictly on a cost basis, imagine how fast it would be growing if carbon dioxide had a price reflecting its actual harm to the environment and human health.
The Journal reports that Xcel’s proposed plan includes:
- 170 megawatts of big, utility-scale solar power plants to be built in Colorado — separate from Xcel’s proposal to add 42.5 megawatts of small-scale solar power the utility proposed in July.
- 450 megawatts of new Colorado wind power, bringing the company’s total wind-based power supply in Colorado to 2,650 megawatts.
- 317 megawatts of “low-cost” power from natural gas plants the utility will use when the wind stops and the sun goes down.
Much of the credit for the sharp drop in solar prices goes to state and federal governments here and around the world for decades of R&D support, PV purchases, subsidies, and renewable energy standards.
Those who say renewables are not ready for mass deployment, that we need decades more research or more breakthroughs before renewables are ready, are living in the past. The future is now.
What an extremely clever device! I want one, in a way, though I never go camping. But if I did, …
Interesting post from Juan Cole at Informed Comment:
The recent UN report on climate change points out that the world does not have much time to switch to renewables if it is to avoid catastrophes stemming from global warming. Climate change is being driven by human beings burning coal, gas and petroleum, and we need to stop doing that ASAP. The most plausible path to green energy is solar panels, which are rapidly falling in price and rising in efficiency. My guess is that no one will bother with hydraulic fracturing (fracking) of natural gas in only a few years because solar panels will be much cheaper. Propagandists will try to convince you that solar is not important (because it is only recently growing by leaps and bounds and so is still a small part of the world’s energy mix). But that would be like complaining in April of 2010 that there weren’t many iPad tablets in consumers’ hand compared to laptop computers. The iPad was only introduced at the beginning of that month. Over three years later the world is flooded with them. Solar panels will be far more popular than iPads over time.
The sheer scale of the building out of solar capacity in various parts of the world now is mind-boggling. Here are ten items that give a sense of that scale:
1. Worldwide in 2013, it is expected that 33 gigawatts of wind power will be added But as much as 38 gigawatts of solar could be added, so that solar is beginning to outstrip wind. Since there is far more energy available from the sun than there is wind energy, this surge of solar is good news for renewables. The world uses roughly 15,000 gigawatts of energy, so we need to vastly expand the number and rate of solar installations, but their present growth is eye-popping compared to just a few years ago.
2. The price of solar panels in the US fell by 60% from January 2011 until June of 2013. Some observers suggest that we are seeing a Moore’s law for solar panels, by analogy to the principle in computer processing that data density doubles every 18 months. The efficiency of the panels has begun doubling every 2.5 years, and the cost is likewise falling rapidly.
3. India is building the largest solar farm in the world in the desert of Rajasthan, with a capacity of 4 gigawatts. It will double India’s current solar power generation (though other big solar projects are planned by state governments). It will also sell electricity at a cheaper rate than other solar installations in that country. The enormous solar complex will be four times larger than the 10 biggest such American installations. India is expected to add 2.8 gigawatts of solar power in 2014 alone.
4. Some 70% of solar power in India is now sited in Gujarat state in the country’s northwest. It has almost 1 gigawatt in solar power, filling some 4 percent of its electricity needs, and has big plans for the expansion of solar power.
5. . . .
The title (from the Wonkblog article described below) is a little odd: the NSA introduced security flaws into our communications and encryption systems. The NSA is all about making systems less secure. It would be nice if they were interested in making systems secure, but that seems (apparently) contrary to their view of their mission.
Andrea Peterson reports in Wonkblog:
n a frank discussion about the government’s approach to vulnerabilities in cyber-infrastructure during a Washington Post Live summit Thursday, former NSA chief Michael Hayden said the agency is not always “ethically or legally compelled” to help fix flaws it knows about. If the agency thinks that no one else will be able to exploit a vulnerability, it leaves the problem unfixed to aid in its own spying efforts. That approach might be convenient for the NSA, but it needlessly endangers the security of Americans’ computers.
The statement came after an audience member asked if backdoors reported in the NSA leaks introduced vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers. Craig Mundie, a Senior Adviser to the CEO at Microsoft, took a first crack at the question. He asserted that Microsoft does not engineer in any backdoors nor has there ever been any effort to “facilitate” those kind of things. However, he also noted he could not speak to government capabilities and added “any [backdoor] mechanism that anybody would put into something obviously creates another class of vulnerabilities.”
“Nobody but us”
Hayden argued the concept of vulnerabilities was not unique to the Internet and had been an issue the NSA has dealt with since its founding. “There’s a reason that America’s offensive and defensive squads are up at Fort Meade,” Hayden said, explaining “because both offense and defense at this world hinges on a question of vulnerability.” Hayden then laid out the concept of NOBUS, which stands for “nobody but us,” that he termed “very useful” for making macro-judgments about how to react to vulnerabilities, regardless of if those flaws are “preexistent, not designed, mistake, intended, implanted, [or] whatever”:
You look at a vulnerability through a different lens if even with the vulnerability it requires substantial computational power or substantial other attributes and you have to make the judgment who else can do this? If there’s a vulnerability here that weakens encryption but you still need four acres of Cray computers in the basement in order to work it you kind of think “NOBUS” and that’s a vulnerability we are not ethically or legally compelled to try to patch — it’s one that ethically and legally we could try to exploit in order to keep Americans safe from others.
You can watch the full exchange in the video embedded below. [see article at link for the video - LG]
To a certain extent, this NOBUS idea reflects the weighing of the dual defensive and offensive mission of the NSA. Sure, patching vulnerabilities might effectively make infrastructure safer on a broad scale. But we’re talking about the same agency that reportedly has a 600-some elite offensive hacker squad, Tailored Access Operations or TAO, working out of its headquarters. And NOBUS also raises a lot of questions about how the intelligence agency determines if something is likely to be exploited by adversaries.
Take the NSA’s connection to the zero-day market. Earlier this year a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request revealed that the agency had a significant contract with with Vupen, a French company that deals with zero-day vulnerabilities — security flaws not yet discovered or patched by vendors. Sometimes these zero-days are used to exploit systems by the hackers who discover them, sometimes vendors are told about them as part of bug bounty programs, and sometimes they end up in these digital gray markets.
The United States is a major player in these gray markets, although other nations are reported to be also in on the game. A Reuters’s special report from May claimed the United States was the biggest . . .
Very cute post by Kevin Drum: Our Score So Far: Kids 1, Adults 0
What’s interesting is how the incentive to crack the security of the devices was built into the program: with the security in place, really the only thing they can do at home with the iPad is to try to breach the security: it was, in effect, the only game on the machine.
That is the very epitome of “perverse incentive.” (Another example: paying quality control inspectors a piece rate based on how many pieces pass inspection per day; or or having hospitals run for a profit (which leads to cost cutting, staff overload, increased rates, and so on); or having a bond-rating agency paid by the banks issuing the bonds…. oh, wait.)
Pretty cool. As pointed out, solar panels could also be put on the sides: when driving N-S or S-N, the sides get a lot of sunlight.
Manufacturing’s Next Frontier: Materials That Assemble Themselves
I would love to ride this.