May 28, 2005

CIA war game simulates major Internet attack

The CIA is conducting a cyber-war game this week geared to simulate a major Internet attack by enemy computer hackers, an intelligence official said Thursday.

Dubbed "Silent Horizon," the three-day unclassified exercise is based on a scenario set five years in the future and involves participants from government and the private sector.

"These are people who could likely be affected or enlisted in a real situation," the intelligence official said.

"Its goal is to help the United States recognize indicators of a large-scale cyber attack."

Continue reading ...

06:11 AM in Games, News, Web/Tech | Permalink

April 20, 2005

Slooh brings star hunting to your basement

New York-based Slooh (who’s site seems totally hosed right now) has two Internet-connected telescopes on Mount Teide in the Canary Islands that they hope you’ll pay $50 a year to play around with. For that price you’ll be able to watch the telescopes when they’re pointed at pre-selected sites, or for the more adventerous, you can book one of the telescopes for five minutes at a time and point it anywhere you like. To help things along, the company will even give extra time to select amateur astronomers who say they’re using service to search for supernovae, asteroids and comets.


06:00 AM in News, Web/Tech | Permalink

January 29, 2005

Tales from Panchatantra - version 2003

Once upon a time, there was a software engineer who used to develop programs on his Pentium machine, sitting under a tree on the banks of a river.

He used to earn his bread by selling those programs in the Sunday market.

One day, while he was working, his machine tumbled off the table and fell in the river. Encouraged by the Panchatantra story of his childhood (the woodcutter and the axe), he started praying to the
River Goddess.

The River Goddess wanted to test him and so appeared only after one month of rigorous prayers. The engineer told her that he had lost his computer in the river.

As usual, the Goddess wanted to test his honesty. She showed him a match box and asked, "Is this your computer ?" Disappointed by the Goddess' lack of computer awareness, the engineer replied, "No."

She next showed him a pocket-sized calculator and asked if t! hat was his. Annoyed, the engineer said "No, not at all!!"

Finally, she came up with his own Pentium machine and asked if it was his.

The engineer, left with no option, sighed and said "Yes."

The River Goddess was happy with his honesty. She was about to give him all three items, but before she could make the offer, the engineer asked her, "Don't you know that you're supposed to show me some better computers before bringing up my own ?"

The River Goddess, angered at this, replied, "I know that, you stupid donkey! The first two things I showed you were the Trillennium and the Billennium, the latest computers from IBM!". So saying, she disappeared with the Pentium!!

Moral: If you're not up-to-date with technology trends, it's better keep your mouth shut and let people think you're a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

08:58 AM in Web/Tech | Permalink

January 19, 2005

VoIP Howto

Voice Over IP is a new communication means that let you telephone with Internet at almost null cost. How this is possible, what systems are used, what is the standard, all that is covered by this Howto.

06:03 AM in News, Web/Tech | Permalink

January 12, 2005

New optical disk offers huge storage

A Japanese electronics giant has developed an optical disk with a storage capacity of up to 510 gigabytes - or just more than half a terabyte.

With its huge storage capacity, Pioneer's 12cm thick silver platter will store the amount of data that would require 100 typical DVDs today. An ultraviolet laser will be used to write to the disk.

In order to attain such storage capacity, scientists had to develop a new laser technology, which emits shorter wavelengths raised than blue lasers, the type used today for the highest-capacity optical disks.

The new ultraviolet laser beam allows "data holes," which are used to store data on optical disks, to be separated by only 70 nanometres, about 20 times better than with blue lasers.

While such a high storage capacity sounds impressive today, it may leave users still wanting more when they find out that such a disk can only hold about 3.5 hours of high-definition television programming.

It is not yet clear when the new high-capacity disks, or the technology necessary to write to them, will be in stores.

06:03 AM in Web/Tech | Permalink

December 27, 2004



screenshotOn the way to the information superhighway, few things have changed as dramatically as the computer interface -- those pointers, file folders, and hourglasses that appear on your monitor whenever you start your PC or Mac. Whether you're a diehard geek or casual computer user, this history of the GUI (affectionately pronounced gooey) is impressive in its scope. But mostly, it's a hoot to look back on the ancestral lineage of today's Microsoft Word, including some rather rudimentary Windows 1.01 office applications. Early interfaces for Amigas, Apples, and Acorn Archimedes -- groundbreaking for their time -- have a certain quaint charm now. The gallery of magazine ads shows just how far manufacturers have come in designing and flogging their wares. So, take this exit ramp off the information superhighway onto the GUI back-country lane.

06:07 AM in Web/Tech | Permalink

November 04, 2004

Economist IT Survey

The Economist writes that "the next thing in technology is not just big but truly huge: the conquest of complexity."

Steven Milunovich, an analyst at Merrill Lynch, another bank, offers a further reason why simplicity is only now becoming a big issue. He argues that the IT industry progresses in 15-year waves. In the first wave, during the 1970s and early 1980s, companies installed big mainframe computers; in the second wave, they put in PCs that were hooked up to “server” computers in the basement; and in the third wave, which is breaking now, they are beginning to connect every gadget that employees might use, from hand-held computers to mobile phones, to the internet.

The mainframe era, says Mr Milunovich, was dominated by proprietary technology (above all, IBM's), used mostly to automate the back offices of companies, so the number of people actually working with it was small. In the PC era, de facto standards (ie, Microsoft's) ruled, and technology was used for word processors and spreadsheets to make companies' front offices more productive, so the number of people using technology multiplied tenfold. And in the internet era, Mr Milunovich says, de jure standards (those agreed on by industry consortia) are taking over, and every single employee will be expected to use technology, resulting in another tenfold increase in numbers.

Moreover, the boundaries between office, car and home will become increasingly blurred and will eventually disappear altogether. In rich countries, virtually the entire population will be expected to be permanently connected to the internet, both as employees and as consumers. This will at last make IT pervasive and ubiquitous, like electricity or telephones before it, so the emphasis will shift towards making gadgets and networks simple to use.

UBS's Mr [Pip] Coburn adds a demographic observation. Today, he says, some 70% of the world's population are “analogues”, who are “terrified by technology”, and for whom the pain of technology “is not just the time it takes to figure out new gadgets but the pain of feeling stupid at each moment along the way”. Another 15% are “digital immigrants”, typically thirty-somethings who adopted technology as young adults; and the other 15% are “digital natives”, teenagers and young adults who have never known and cannot imagine life without IM (instant messaging, in case you are an analogue). But a decade from now, Mr Coburn says, virtually the entire population will be digital natives or immigrants, as the ageing analogues convert to avoid social isolation. Once again, the needs of these converts point to a hugely increased demand for simplicity.

The question is whether this sort of technology can ever become simple, and if so, how. This survey will analyse the causes of technological complexity both for firms and for consumers, evaluate the main efforts toward simplification by IT and telecom vendors today, and consider what the growing demands for simplicity mean for these industries.

06:36 AM in Web/Tech | Permalink

November 01, 2004


06:12 AM in Web/Tech | Permalink

October 24, 2004

Microsoft Home smarter at age 10

A glass panel in the kitchen is one monitor and workspace. By touching the screen, one can arrange babysitters, see who's at the door, etc. And if the screen gets messy, just lift the glass and clean it.

07:41 PM in Web/Tech | Permalink