QuickLinks - Technology
QuickLinks - Technology
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Issue no. 408 - 25 April 2010
The State of the Internet Operating System
I've been talking for years about "the internet operating system", but I realized I've never written an extended post to define what I think it is, where it is going, and the choices we face. This is that missing post.
Issue no. 392 - 5 October 2008
EU - EU launches new hi-tech institute
The governing board of a new European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is holding its inaugural meeting in the Hungarian capital Budapest. The European Union is providing initial funding of more than 300m euros (£238m) for the institute, aimed at generating more European technological advances.
Issue no. 386 - 20 April 2008
Google tackles child pornography
Google engineers have adapted a software program to help track child sex predators and search for patterns in images of abuse on the web. Google has created the technology for the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). It was originally developed to block copyrighted videos on the company's YouTube division. The program uses pattern recognition to enable analysts to sort and identify files containing child sex abuse.
Issue no. 385 - 21 March 2008
EU - Europe funds internet TV standard
The European Union is spending 14m euros (£10.5m) to create a standard way to send TV via the net. An additional 5m euros (£3.7m) is being contributed to the project by 21 other partners including the BBC and the European Broadcasting Union. The project will create a peer-to-peer system (based on the BitTorrent technology) that can pipe programmes to set-top boxes and home TV sets.
Issue no. 381 - 8 December 2007
Spreading the load
Computing: A new wave of science projects on the web is harnessing volunteers' computers in novel ways - and their brains, too. See also
Playing or processing?
Issue no. 371 - 28 January 2007
EU - Open source gets European boost
The European Commission has added its voice to the debate about the use of open source software. A
funded by the Commission concludes that the software could offer considerable savings to organisations with little effect on their business. The report found that in 'almost all' cases long-term costs could be reduced by switching from proprietary software produced by firms such as Microsoft.
Issue no. 370 - 3 December 2006
System 'spots multimedia content'
A smart system that can recognise and label the content in photos and videos is being developed by researchers. They believe it will help people to organise, find and share the mass of multimedia data being generated by cameras, camcorders and phones. The EU-partnered project, carried out by the Acemedia consortium, is to be showcased at the Information Society Technologies meeting in Helsinki.
Web censorship 'bypass' unveiled
A tool has been created capable of circumventing government censorship of the web, according to researchers. The free program has been constructed to let citizens of countries with restricted web access retrieve and display web pages from anywhere. The University of Toronto's Citizen Lab software, called psiphon, will be released on 1 December.
Issue no. 368 - 15 October 2006
From hypertext to hypervideo
New technology that links together segments of online video delights viewers, vloggers and video-on-demand vendors.
Issue no. 365 - 15 August 2006
How the web went world wide
Few users know the details of the world wide web's growth . One key date is 6 August 1991 - the day on which links to the fledgling computer code for the www were put on the alt.hypertext discussion group so others could download it and play with it. On that day the web went world wide.
Issue no. 362 - 11 June 2006
Next-generation networks: challenges ahead
by Dan Bieler, Research Director. The shift towards next-generation networks (NGNs) is possibly the most fundamental transformation the ICT segment has ever seen. However, it is an evolutionary rather than revolutionary development, which has long-term implications. As a rough timeframe for OECD countries, we expect NGNs to be in place by around 2012 for fixed and 2020 for mobile infrastructure.
Issue no. 359 - 9 May 2006
Beginners Guide to Podcasting
You've probably been hearing a lot about podcasting, a kind of mix of RSS technology, pirate-radio sensibilities, and iPod portability. Apple has even included support for podcasting in the current version of iTunes. But what the heck is podcasting, and how can you get in on the action?
Issue no. 357 - 26 March 2006
Reinventing the internet
The design of computer networks is constrained by the need to be compatible with the internet and other systems that have grown up over the past four decades. What if network designers could start again with a clean slate, unencumbered by today's messy reality?
Issue no. 356 - 27 February 2006
EU proposes technology flagship
The European Commission has unveiled plans for a world-class institute of technology intended to boost the EU's economic competitiveness. It would consist of a small central core organising EU-wide research teams. The move is a response to surveys which show that only a handful of European universities can compete with the world leaders, which are mostly in the US.
Issue no. 352 - 18 December 2005
E-Stonia Becomes Unlikely High-Tech Hub
Estonia, a nation of 1.4 million people that just a decade ago was among Europe's poorest, is undergoing a technological revolution that has changed the way its residents do business and produced technology companies that are grabbing the world's attention.
Issue no. 349 - 27 November 2005
The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things is the seventh in the series of 'ITU Internet Reports' by the International Telecommunication Union. The report takes a look at the next step in 'always on' communications, in which new technologies like RFID and smart computing promise a world of networked and interconnected devices that provide relevant content and information whatever the location of the user. Everything from tires to toothbrushes will be in communications range, heralding the dawn of a new era, one in which today's Internet (of data and people) gives way to tomorrow's Internet of Things.
The Rootkit of All Evil
(New York Times)
Sony BMG can take two lessons from its recent wayward attempt to fend off digital piracy: One, in a world of technology-astute bloggers, it's not easy to get away with secretly infecting your customers' computers with potentially malicious code. And two, as many a politician has learned, explaining your own screw-up badly is often worse than the screw-up itself. Or as Wired News put it,
The Cover-Up Is the Crime
. See also
Real Story of the Rogue Rootkit
(Wired) by Bruce Schneier. Sony BMG Music Entertainment distributed a copy-protection scheme with music CDs that secretly installed a rootkit on computers. This software tool is run without your knowledge or consent - if it's loaded on your computer with a CD, a hacker can gain and maintain access to your system and you wouldn't know it. The Sony code modifies Windows so you can't tell it's there, a process called "cloaking" in the hacker world. It acts as spyware, surreptitiously sending information about you to Sony. And it can't be removed; trying to get rid of it damages Windows.
Issue no. 348 - 13 November 2005
Customizing Google maps at drop of a pin
(New York Times)
A Google map is no longer just a Google map. You can still search Google Maps to figure out how to get from here to there, but why would you, when you can use it to pinpoint kosher restaurants in Cincinnati, traffic cameras in Dublin, or hot spring spas anywhere in the United States? An army of programmers, most of them doing it just for fun, has grabbed the software code that generates the distinctive maps with their drop-shadowed virtual pushpins, and combined it with other data like the locations of potholes, taco trucks and UFO sightings, and even the sites of murders and muggings.
No Porn for You, Video IPod!
There's a widespread notion that pornographers eagerly jump on new technology long before it goes mainstream, but with Apple Computer's new video-playing iPod, the adult industry is largely staying away. With a couple of exceptions, porno producers are in no hurry to provide stag movies for the iPod, thanks to fears of a public outcry and a government crackdown. The industry will likely follow three guidelines regarding porn for the iPod: Customers will be age-verified through a credit card, no content will be offered for free and the material will be copy-protected so it can't be shared.
Usenet search engine preps porn for video iPod
An online search engine called Guba is set to offer vast amounts of pornography and other video files, specifically tailored for Apple's new iPods. Guba is a subscription-only search engine that culls video files from the Usenet newsgroups, a huge repository of online content - much of it adult, pirated, or both.
Issue no. 343 - 4 September 2005
A new front on Web: Shielding file-sharers
(New York Times)
At a computer security conference in Las Vegas, an Irish software designer described a new version of a peer-to-peer file-sharing system that he said would make it easier to share digital information anonymously and make detection by corporations and governments far more difficult. The issue is complicated by the fact that the small group of technologists designing the new systems say their goal is to create tools to circumvent censorship and political repression - not to abet copyright violation.
Issue no. 342 - 31 July 2005
Podcasting - Fiddly no longer
Podcasts are audio files that professionals and amateurs alike create and publish on a website, for downloading by anyone who wants to listen. Apple, which dominates the online-music business, has now integrated the requisite software into the latest release of iTunes, the jukebox software that accompanies the iPod. Finding and subscribing to podcasts, once a fiddly business, is now simple.
Issue no. 341 - 9 July 2005
US - Peer-To-Peer File Sharing Comes With Risks, Says FTC
Peer-to-peer file-sharing technology offers both benefits and risks, according to a
by the Federal Trade Commission. The report, based on comments from the FTC's P2P workshop last December, cites benefits such as fast file transfers, bandwidth conservation, and reduced storage needs. It also warns of risks related to data security, spyware and adware, viruses, copyright infringement, and pornography.
Issue no. 340 - 23 June 2005
Microsoft works on own BitTorrent
Microsoft researchers in Cambridge, UK, are developing their own peer-to-peer file-sharing software. Codenamed Avalanche, the program makes it easy to share content by dividing files such as software, audio or video, into chunks, much like BitTorrent.
New wrinkle in movie swapping
A group of anonymous programmers has released a new software tool online that threatens to raise the stakes for Hollywood studios fighting Internet movie-swapping. Dubbed RatDVD, the new software crunches video from movies into small packages, while creating a single file that keeps intact DVD 'extras' - alternate endings, outtakes, director's commentary and the like. Because it retains all these extra features, allowing them to be burned back onto a DVD or browsed on a computer, the software is already being discussed in video-focused Net circles as a potential successor to the most popular formats used for trading movies online today.
Issue no. 338 - 7 May 2005
Testing Copyright Limits
(Los Angeles Times)
Like Kazaa and other popular file-sharing programs, Grouper allows users to copy movies and pictures directly from another computer without worrying about formats or oversized e-mail attachments. Unlike those global networks with millions of users, though, Grouper also lets users pick and choose with whom they share online - and sets a strict limit of 30 people per group. In addition to limiting the size and accessibility of groups, the program requires songs to be streamed - that is, played through the Internet - not downloaded. Those limits may not add up to a legal service. "There's no family-and-friends exception in copyright law," said attorney Robert Schwartz of O'Melveny & Myers.
Links to news items about legal and regulatory aspects of Internet and the information society, particularly those relating to information content, and market and technology.
QuickLinks consists of
a free newsletter appearing approximately every two to three weeks. The newsletter is distributed by electronic mail through an "announcement only" mailing list.
a Web site with frequent updates, an events page, news items organised by category as well as chronologically by issue and full text search.
QuickLinks is edited by Richard Swetenham
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Licence