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Google

New Study Accuses Google of Anti-competitive Search Behavior 116 116

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-feeling-lucky dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Columbia Law School professor Tim Wu — the man who coined the term "network neutrality" — has published a new study suggesting that Google's new method of putting answers to simple search queries at the top of the results page is anticompetitive and harmful to consumers. For subjective search queries — e.g. "What's the best [profession] in [city]?" — Google frequently figures out a best-guess answer to display first, favoring its own results to do so. The study did some A/B testing with a group of 2,690 internet users and found they were 45% more likely to click on merit-based results than on Google's listings. Wu writes, "Search engines are widely understood as key mediators of the web's speech environment, given that they have a powerful impact on who gets heard, what speech is neglected, and what information generally is reached. ... The more that Google directs users to its own content and its own properties, the more that speakers who write reviews, blogs and other materials become invisible to their desired audiences."
Networking

Scientists Overcome One of the Biggest Limits In Fiber Optic Networks 61 61

Posted by timothy
from the ok-everyone-this-time-together dept.
Mark.JUK writes: Researchers at the University of California in San Diego have demonstrated a way of boosting transmissions over long distance fiber optic cables and removing crosstalk interference, which would mean no more need for expensive electronic regenerators (repeaters) to keep the signal stable. The result could be faster and cheaper networks, especially on long-distance international subsea cables. The feat was achieved by employing a frequency comb, which acts a bit like a concert conductor; the person responsible for tuning multiple instruments in an orchestra to the same pitch at the beginning of a concert. The comb was used to synchronize the frequency variations of the different streams of optical information (optical carriers) and thus compensate in advance for the crosstalk interference, which could also then be removed.

As a result the team were able to boost the power of their transmission some 20 fold and push data over a "record-breaking" 12,000km (7,400 miles) long fiber optic cable. The data was still intact at the other end and all of this was achieved without using repeaters and by only needing standard amplifiers.
The Internet

Charter Hires Net Neutrality Activist To Make Policy 70 70

Posted by Soulskill
from the cats-and-dogs-living-together dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The Federal Communications Commission has been at loggerheads with many ISPs lately, after the agency pushed through net neutrality rules that have now gone into effect. The defeat of Comcast's attempted acquisition of Time Warner Cable was hailed by many net neutrality activists as a victory, but then came the news that Charter was looking to buy TWC instead — which brought the worries back. But now Charter has taken the unusual step of hiring one of those activists to help develop its policy: Marvin Ammori. He says, "Charter hired me—which, to be honest, took some humility on its part since I have helped lead public campaigns against cable companies like Charter—to advise it in crafting its commitment to network neutrality. After our negotiation, I can say Charter is offering the strongest network neutrality commitments ever offered—in any merger or, to my knowledge, in any nation. In fact, in the end, I personally wrote the commitments." Put briefly, Charter agreed to abide by the interconnection mandates and prohibition of paid prioritization — regardless of the outcome of pending litigation from the ISPs fighting it — for a minimum of three years. The company has also promised no data caps and no usage-based billing.
Software

Ask Slashdot: User-Friendly, Version-Preserving File Sharing For Linux? 199 199

Posted by timothy
from the when-diff+cron-isn't-the-right-answer dept.
petherfile writes: I've been a professional with Microsoft stuff for more than 10 years and I'm a bit sick of it to be honest. The one that's got me stuck is really not where I expected it to be. You can use a combination of DFS and VSS to create a file share where users can put whatever files they are working on that is both redundant and has "previous versions" of files they can recover. That is, users have a highly available network location where they can "go back" to how their file was an hour ago. How do you do that with Linux?

This is a highly desirable situation for users. I know there are nice document management things out there that make sharepoint look silly, but I just want a simple file share, not a document management utility. I've found versioning file systems for Linux that do what Microsoft does with VSS so much better (for having previous version of files available.) I've found distributed file systems for Linux that make DFS look like a bad joke. Unfortunately, they seem to be mutually exclusive. Is there something simple I have missed?
Networking

Huawei, Proximus Demo 1Tb/sec Optical Network Transmission 40 40

Posted by timothy
from the speed-of-light dept.
Amanda Parker writes: Proximus and Huawei have demonstrated speeds of 1 Terabit per second (Tbps) in an optical trial. The speed, which equates to the transmission of 33 HD films in a second, is the first outcome of the partnership between the two companies which was formed in January. The trial was conducted over a 1,040 kilometre fibre link using an advanced 'Flexgrid' infrastructure with Huawei's Optical Switch Node OSN 9800 platform.
Space

OneWeb Secures "Largest Ever" Rocket Acquisition For Satellite Internet Launch 45 45

Posted by samzenpus
from the sending-them-up dept.
Mickeycaskill writes: Virgin, Airbus and Qualcomm-backed satellite Internet venture OneWeb has acquired 65 rockets and $500 million in funding to launch its satellites by 2019. OneWeb has partnered with Airbus to produce 900 microsatellites which will provide "affordable", fast, low-latency Internet to remote parts of the world and to ships, planes and oil rigs. It has also been suggested the network will be a cheaper way for mobile operators to expand coverage in rural areas. Other partners include Bharti Enterprises, Hughes Network Systems, Intelsat, Coca-Cola and Totalplay, all of whom have committed financial, technical or manufacturing support to the project.
Wireless Networking

WiFi Offloading is Skyrocketing 145 145

Posted by samzenpus
from the getting-a-little-help dept.
dkatana writes: WiFi Offloading is skyrocketing. This is the conclusion of a new report from Juniper Research, which points out that the amount of smartphone and tablet data traffic on WiFi networks will will increase to more than 115,000 petabytes by 2019, compared to under 30,000 petabytes this year, representing almost a four-fold increase. Most of this data is offloaded to consumer's WiFi by the carriers, offering the possibility to share your home internet connection in exchange for "free" hotspots. But this article on InformationWeek Network Computing also warns that "The capacity of the 2.4GHz band is reaching its limit. [...] the growing number of WiFi devices using unlicensed bands is seriously affecting network efficiency. Capacity is compromised by the number of simultaneously active devices, with transmission speeds dropping as much as 20% of the nominal value. With the number of IoT and M2M applications using WiFi continuously rising, that could become a serious problem soon."
Programming

Ask Slashdot: Is C++ the Right Tool For This Project? 295 295

Posted by Soulskill
from the yes-no-maybe dept.
ranton writes: I am about to start a personal project which I believe should be done in C/C++. The main reasons I have for this are the needs to manage memory usage and disk access at a very granular level and a desire to be cross-platform. Performance is also important but I am unlikely to spend enough time optimizing to be much faster than core libraries of higher level languages.

On the other hand, network access is also a critical part of the project and I am worried about the effort it takes to make cross platform code for both network and disk access. I have been working in the Java / C# world for the past decade and things like TCP/IP and SSL have just been done for me by core libraries. Do libraries like Boost or Asio do a good job of abstracting these aspects away? Or are there other options for doing granular memory and disk management with more high level languages that have better cross-platform library support? I am willing to brush up on my C/C++ skills if necessary but want to spend as much time as possible developing the unique and potentially innovative parts of my project. Thanks for any advice you can provide.
The Internet

Study: Major ISPs Slowing Traffic Across the US 181 181

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-really-you-don't-say dept.
An anonymous reader writes: A study based on test results from 300,000 internet users "found significant degradations on the networks of the five largest internet service providers" in the United States. This group includes Time Warner Cable, Verizon, and AT&T. "The study, supported by the technologists at Open Technology Institute's M-Lab, examines the comparative speeds of Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), which shoulder some of the data load for popular websites. ... In Atlanta, for example, Comcast provided hourly median download speeds over a CDN called GTT of 21.4 megabits per second at 7pm throughout the month of May. AT&T provided speeds over the same network of of a megabit per second." These findings arrive shortly after the FCC's new net neutrality rules took effect across the U.S.
Android

IT Pros Blast Google Over Android's Refusal To Play Nice With IPv6 287 287

Posted by Soulskill
from the do-as-we-say-not-as-we-do dept.
alphadogg writes: The widespread popularity of Android devices and the general move to IPv6 has put some businesses in a tough position, thanks to Android's lack of support for a central component in the newer standard. DHCPv6 is an outgrowth of the DHCP protocol used in the older IPv4 standard – it's an acronym for 'dynamic host configuration protocol,' and is a key building block of network management. Nevertheless, Google's wildly popular Android devices – which accounted for 78% of all smartphones shipped worldwide in the first quarter of this year – don't support DHCPv6 for address assignment.
Encryption

Two Years After Snowden Leaks, Encryption Tools Are Gaining Users 69 69

Posted by Soulskill
from the cryptic-response dept.
Patrick O'Neill writes: It's not just DuckDuckGo — since the first Snowden articles were published in June 2013, the global public has increasingly adopted privacy tools that use technology like strong encryption to protect themselves from eavesdroppers as they surf the Web and use their phones. The Tor network has doubled in size, Tails has tripled in users, PGP has double the daily adoption rate, Off The Record messaging is more popular than ever before, and SecureDrop is used in some of the world's top newsrooms.
Facebook

Facebook's Absurd Pseudonym Purgatory 289 289

Posted by Soulskill
from the how-not-to-encourage-discussion dept.
An anonymous reader sends a story from a writer whose Facebook account was locked because somebody reported it as using a pseudonym. It doesn't, but Facebook demands a look at identification documents before releasing control over the account. Anyone whose name doesn't sound "real" to Facebook is at risk for this, and the social network doesn't even have a consistent stance on what an "authentic" name is. "Aside from the complexity of identity, the policy is haphazardly enforced at best. At worst, it’s dangerous and discriminatory, and has demonstrably and repeatedly been used to target people who often already are marginalized and vulnerable." Matt Cagle, attorney for the ACLU, says, "By controlling the identity of the speaker with this policy, Facebook has the effect of both reducing speech and eliminating speakers from the platform altogether. This is a particularly concerning move to the ACLU because forums like Facebook serve as the modern-day equivalent of the public square for a lot of communities.
Networking

5G Network Speed Defined As 20 Gbps By the International Telecommunication Union 81 81

Posted by timothy
from the twenty-twenty's-only-average dept.
An anonymous reader writes with a report at Mobipicker (linking to a Korea Times story) that a 12-member committee from the International Telecommunication Union has hashed out a formal definition of the speed requirements for 5G mobile networking; the result has been designated IMT-2020, and it specifies that 5G networks should provide data speeds of up to 20Gbps -- 20 times faster than 4G. From the Korea Times story: The 5G network will also have a capacity to provide more than 100 megabits-per-second average data transmission to over one million Internet of Things devices within 1 square kilometer. Video content services, including ones that use holography technology, will also be available thanks to the expanded data transmit capacity, the ministry said. ... The union also decided to target commercializing the 5G network worldwide by 2020. To do so, it will start receiving applications for technology which can be candidates to become the standard for the new network. Consequently, the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games will be the world's first international event to showcase and demonstrate 5G technology.
Media

Turning Neural Networks Upside Down Produces Psychedelic Visuals 75 75

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-literally-upside-down dept.
cjellibebi writes: Neural networks that were designed to recognize images also hold some interesting capabilities for generating them. If you run them backwards, they turn out to be capable of enhancing existing images to resemble the images they were meant to try and recognize. The results are pretty trippy. A Google Research blog post explains the research in great detail. There are pictures, and even a video. The Guardian has a digested article for the less tech-savvy.
Network

June 30th Leap Second Could Trigger Unexpected Issues 232 232

Posted by Soulskill
from the quick,-everybody-expect-them-instead dept.
dkatana writes: On January 31, 2013, approximately 400 milliseconds before the official release of the EIA Natural Gas Report, trading activity exploded in Natural Gas Futures. It is believed that was the result of some fast computer trading systems being programmed to act, and have a one-second advance access to the report. On June 30th a leap second will be added to the Network Time Protocol (NTP) to keep it synchronized with the slowly lengthening solar day. In this article, Charles Babcock gives a detailed account of the issues, and some disturbing possibilities: The last time a second needed to be added to the day was on June 30, 2012. For Qantas Airlines in Australia, it was a memorable event. Its systems, including flight reservations, went down for two hours as internal system clocks fell out of synch with external clocks.

The original author of the NTP protocol, Prof. David Mills at the University of Delaware, set a direct and simple way to add the second: Count the last second of June 30 twice, using a special notation on the second count for the record. Google will use a different approach: Over a 20-hour period on June 30, Google will add a couple of milliseconds to each of its NTP servers' updates. By the end of the day, a full second has been added. As the NTP protocol and Google timekeepers enter the first second of July, their methods may differ, but they both agree on the time.

But that could also be problematic. In adding a second to its NTP servers in 2005, Google ran into timekeeping problems on some of its widely distributed systems. The Mills sleight-of-hand was confusing to some of its clusters, as they fell out of synch with NTP time. Does Google's smear approach make more sense to you, or does Mills's idea of counting the last second twice work better? Do you have a better idea of how to handle this?
Twitter

Twitter To Introduce Curated Information Stream 37 37

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-don't-care-what-you-had-for-breakfast dept.
stephendavion writes: Twitter will start curating tweets on live events, the microblogging service said, as it plans major changes to make its real-time news feed more user friendly. Dubbed Project Lightning, the changes will let users follow events instead of just people, and instantly upload photos and videos that can be shared across websites, social news and entertainment website Buzzfeed reported on Thursday. Another reader points out coverage at Wired, which argues that this is a bigger change for Twitter than it sounds: "What Project Lightning represents, more than anything, is the long-overdue death of the Twitter timeline. (Or its demotion, at the very least, in the hope it’ll quietly resign.) With this change, Twitter doesn’t have to look like an endlessly flowing, context-free stream of tweets; instead, you can see a hand-curated set of tweets, links, images, and videos related to what’s happening right now. ... In short, this effort puts a stake through the idea that Twitter is a social network. It’s not. It never should have tried to be. It’s not about people, jokes, and #brands. It’s about information, about news and pictures and stories."
Google

Google Pulling Back the Veil On Its Custom-Built Data Centers 47 47

Posted by samzenpus
from the show-and-tell dept.
jfruh writes: In the mid-'00s, as Google scaled up its data centers to meet increasing demand, "we could not buy, for any price, a data-center network that would meet the requirements of our distributed systems," says Amin Vahdat, the company's networking technical lead. So they had to build their own software-defined networks inside what were essentially vast warehouse-sized computers. And now the company is starting to tell the world how they did it.
Security

Encryption Would Not Have Protected Secret Federal Data, Says DHS 142 142

Posted by samzenpus
from the might-as-well-give-up dept.
HughPickens.com writes: Sean Gallagher reports at Ars Technica that Dr. Andy Ozment, Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity in the Department of Homeland Security, told members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that in the case of the recent discovery of an intrusion that gave attackers access to sensitive data on millions of government employees and government contractors, encryption would "not have helped" because the attackers had gained valid user credentials to the systems that they attacked—likely through social engineering. Ozment added that because of the lack of multifactor authentication on these systems, the attackers would have been able to use those credentials at will to access systems from within and potentially even from outside the network. "If the adversary has the credentials of a user on the network, they can access data even if it's encrypted just as the users on the network have to access data," said Ozment. "That did occur in this case. Encryption in this instance would not have protected this data."

The fact that Social Security numbers of millions of current and former federal employees were not encrypted was one of few new details emerged about the data breach and House Oversight member Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) was the one who pulled the SSN encryption answer from the teeth of the panel where others failed. "This is one of those hearings where I think that I will know less coming out of the hearing than I did when I walked in because of the obfuscation and the dancing around we are all doing here. As a matter of fact, I wish that you were as strenuous and hardworking at keeping information out of the hands of hackers as you are in keeping information out of the hands of Congress and federal employees. It's ironic. You are doing a great job stonewalling us, but hackers, not so much."
Security

E-Detective Spy Tool Used By Police and Governments Has Major Security Holes 64 64

Posted by samzenpus
from the we-got-a-problem dept.
DavidGilbert99 writes: A controversial intercept tool called E-Detective from Taiwanese based company Decision Group has a major security hole which could allow a hacker to remotely execute code and read all the data captured by the software. Considering over 100 law enforcement agencies and governments around the world use E-Detective, this could be a big problem. According to the International Business Times story: "E-Detective works by 'sniffing the network' it is monitoring and captures data packets before sending them to be reassembled and decoded. Unlike other products E-Detective promises to 'reconstruct the data to its original format' for the end users so that it will be seen the same way that it was seen on the network. E-Detective also advertises as a network forensic tool for private enterprises to "protect sensitive data from data leakage".
Businesses

FCC To Fine AT&T $100M For Throttling Unlimited Data Customers 205 205

Posted by samzenpus
from the pay-up dept.
New submitter Wargames writes: According to the article in the New York Times, AT&T is getting fined $100,000,000 for its doublespeak redefinition of the word "Unlimited". The FCC says AT&T failed to adequately notify its customers that they could receive speeds slower than the normal network speeds AT&T advertised and that these actions violated the FCC's 2010 Open Internet Order. “Unlimited means unlimited,” Travis LeBlanc, the F.C.C.’s chief of the enforcement bureau, said in a statement on Wednesday. “As today’s action demonstrates, the commission is committed to holding accountable those broadband providers who fail to be fully transparent about data limits.”