Archive for March, 2008

Rogers takes the hands off approach to bandwidth shaping technology

The issues raised by Rogers’ decision to impose new bandwidth caps on its users are complex. I described some of them yesterday. There is yet another issue that needs to be addressed.

While its competitor Sympatico has installed bandwidth-shaping technology, which identifies the kind of traffic you create and “shapes” it by deciding which kinds of traffic get priority, Rogers has approached the issue from the other side. Instead of slowing down bandwidth-hungry traffic such as BitTorrent, Rogers will take a “Net-neutral” approach and simply charge individuals extra for traffic over and above what Rogers identifies as “average.”

Each system is designed to slow the flood of traffic, specifically those involving file-sharing. But the comparisons stop there.

Rogers seems to be motivated by two principles. One is that raising the basic rate Rogers charges its Internet customers is inviolate, and changing it would be folly, because the backlash will be terrible. The other is the recent humiliation suffered by the U.S. cable company and Internet service provider Comcast, which went so far in its effort to use bandwidth-shaping technology that it incurred the wrath of U.S. regulators, forcing the company to retreat to a position that it does nothing with those whose use of the Internet is way beyond average. If Rogers is fearful of sharing Comcast’s fate, it is left with only one alternative: charge for what telcos (of which Rogers is one) call “overages” — a charge for use beyond a certain amount. (link)

VeriSign jacking up prices … again

Exercising its contractual right to raise prices, VeriSign is once again increasing the base registration fees for .com and .net domain names. It’s the second increase in as many years since the company extended its control of those two TLDs in 2006.
Related Stories

* VeriSign jacks up domain name prices
* VeriSign locks up .com through 2012
* .tv VeriSign’s hottest property in period of robust TLD growth
* Internationalized domain names coming next year

Currently, registrars pay VeriSign $6.42 per .com domain and $3.85 for .net domains. Come October, those prices will increase to $6.86 and $4.23, respectively. Those price hikes are the maximum 7 percent allowable (to the penny) under VeriSign’s contract (which runs through 2012) with ICANN. Chances are, registrars will pass the price increase on to customers.

In a press release justifying the higher prices, VeriSign cited increases in the amount of traffic and cyber attacks on the global TLD infrastructure it is responsible for. The company says it is boosting infrastructure capacity ten-fold by 2010 via its Project Titan, as well as increasing DNS capacity from 400 billion daily queries to over four trillion, even though it currently only processes a peak of 33 billion queries per day under current conditions. (link)

Don’t get Circuit City to install anything to your car

Circuit City caused $12,119 worth of damage to VTECnical’s 2007 Honda Civic while trying to install a Pioneer AVIC Z2 navigation system. Honda later declared VTECnical’s car a fire hazard and told him it was unsafe to drive. Despite destroying the car’s heater ducts, stock wiring harness, and dashboard, Circuit City has refunded only $3,190, and insists that VTECnical speak exclusively to their third-party insurer. Hit the jump for Honda’s damning condemnation of Circuit City’s shoddy workmanship and a video of the damage. (link)

Too lifelike? Creepy Japanese CGI girl

I don’t know what it is. The chubby jaw, the smile, the tall head, I dunno. It’s weird to be looking at your monitor and have it looking back at you. *shiver

http://cubo.cc/

11 yr old becomes network manager, pwns you

When Victory Baptist School, a small private school in Millbrook, Ala., was struggling to keep its computer network together last year, an 11-year-old student named Jon Penn stepped in as network manager.

Penn did it to help his mother, Paula, the school librarian who had computer support added to her workload a week before the school year started when the existing IT systems overseer suddenly departed. For Jon — who says his favorite reading material is computer trade magazines — it’s been the experience of a lifetime, even getting to select and install a gateway security appliance largely by himself.

“This is kind of a small school, and I’m known as the computer whiz,” the sixth grader says (For more offbeat networking stories, read our Wider Net archives.)

“We spent $2,158,” says young Penn, describing how he picked out the McAfee Secure Internet Gateway Appliance after evaluating it in a 30-day trial. He also looked at the Barracuda box — a tad more costly — and tried the Untangle open source product, which he said didn’t meet the school’s needs as well.

His school needed a gateway to protect against attacks, filter viruses and spam, and block inappropriate sites. Keeping costs down is important since the school is operating on a shoestring budget to keep its 60 aging computers, a donation from years ago, working for the roughly 200 students permitted to use them, along with the teachers.

The first thing Jon found as he leapt into the role of network manager was that he had to map out the network to find out what was on it. He bought some tools for this at CompUSA and realized there was an ungodly amount of computer viruses and spam, so he pressed the school to invest in filtering and antivirus protection. (link)

Blogs killing newspapers?

The American newspaper has been around for approximately three hundred years. Benjamin Harris’s spirited Publick Occurrences, Both Forreign and Domestick managed just one issue, in 1690, before the Massachusetts authorities closed it down. Harris had suggested a politically incorrect hard line on Indian removal and shocked local sensibilities by reporting that the King of France had been taking liberties with the Prince’s wife.

It really was not until 1721, when the printer James Franklin launched the New England Courant, that any of Britain’s North American colonies saw what we might recognize today as a real newspaper. Franklin, Benjamin’s older brother, refused to adhere to customary licensing arrangements and constantly attacked the ruling powers of New England, thereby achieving both editorial independence and commercial success. He filled his paper with crusades (on everything from pirates to the power of Cotton and Increase Mather), literary essays by Addison and Steele, character sketches, and assorted philosophical ruminations. (link)

Asus Eee PC with XP coming to a store near you

When we spoke earlier this month with Asus CEO Jerry Shen, he revealed that Windows XP versions of the Eee PC would be coming to market soon. At the time we were so interested in the new 8.9-inch versions that we forgot to ask about the 7-inch version. According to Asus, the Asus Eee PC 4G Windows XP version of its notebook will be hitting the U.S. retail market in the first half of April. The hardware of the system will remain exactly the same, but it will run Windows XP Home. The 7-inch screen system will be available at Best Buy for $399 starting April 9th.

We got our hands on the new XP system a few weeks early, check out our first impressions and a video of the system. (link)


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