Technology news related to the internet and social media

Wikipedia goes dark

Internet Protest against SOPA and IPA;

On January 18 2012, webmasters around the world protested by blacking out their website for the day.  This effort was organized to protest the SOPA and PIPA bill about to go before congress in the coming weeks.
These bills fundamentally begin to place a dictatorship style control over the internet in the United States.  There really isnt any other way else to put it.  The bills are design to place the federal government in charge of what can be seen, heard or read on the internet. With a simple phone call, from one of the many corporate sponsors of this bill, can bring down a website regardless of whether or not it is actually pirating works.  It’s purely the “shoot first ask questions later” business model.  From my experience there is little anyone can do about it after the perverdbial trigger has been pulled.  There is no due process built in and no checks and balances.  As much as the backers of this bill say that it won’t affect honest hard working webmasters and internet entrepreneurs, I beg to differ.  This bill seems to be written to be abuse our freedom of speech and eliminate net neutrality amongst ISPs and the government. The bill originally was written to pull a website through at the ISP level or DNS level.  This type of censorship tactics is shared by North Korea, China, Iran, Egypt, and many, many other free speech hating countries.  The only difference here this is to the benefit of corporate America and not a single dictator.  This portion of the bill has been removed, however the mere existence of this bill is offensive to people who believe in an open, neutral and free internet.

The idea of the government trying to regulate in any way, what I can see, read or listen to on the internet is insane. I applaud Google, Wikipedia, and the Pirate Bay for their bold gestures in participating in this protest.  Although their sites did not go dark they brought to the forefront an issue that many Americans have not been given the opportunity to understand.  This gesture has brought so much attention to this bill that American leaders have been bombarded with questions and pressure from the public to rethink their support of such a measure.  Just like the successful pressure put onto Bank of America for introducing a $5 fee to its customers, our elected officials chosen to back off this bill.  By the end of the day from the start of this protest, more than half of the sponsors of the bill have taken their names from it.  Even the author of this bill, Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, has now pulled it to have it reviewed.

I hope one day corporate America and our elected officials will learn regulating the internet only harms innovation and free speech.  Instead of fighting something corporate America doesn’t understand, they should learn from it and strive to evolve as a business.

GoFlex® Home Network Storage System

GoFlex® Home Network Storage System

I’m looking to buy this system and it really looks like the one for me.  From my research and experience with Seagate products I think this is going to be a winner.

Go Flex Home is what we refer too as a NAS (Network Attached Storage).  Simply put it is a hard drive or system hooked up to your home network without a computer.  These devices use their own network card and use their own OS to establish and maintain a connection you your network.  This allows other computers to store files or share them across a network without the bother of a large computer that needs more accessories to maintain it.

The version I want is the 2 terabyte GoFlex Home NAS.  I have been using Seagate hard drives for personal and professional applications for a few years now and found that they are very reliable, not perfect but I trust Seagate more then most other consumer available brands.

Most of the specifications to the GoFlex Home can be found on the box or on the Seagate website.  It can be used as a backup device, remote access and for file sharing.  But some the better features you have to kind of look up. Two great features are print server and media center.  It is so convenient to have a central location for your printer without the hassle of needing a computer attached to it use it.  Most people either have to share a printer by disconnecting one computer from the printer and then re connect it to the next or get a elaborate system of cables and switches to share one printer.   More advanced users have one computer turned on 24/7 and share the printer over the network.  The draw back is the computer is turned on a lot longer then what most people would like.  The media center is my favorite.  Currently I use my XBox360 to connect to my computers media center and stream my saved videos to my TV.  I love it but the draw back like the print server is that my computer has to be on all the time for my to enjoy it any time I want.  This feature would relieve my computer of streaming duties and cut down on the wear and tear on my laptop.

I hope you found my info about the GoFlex Home Network Storage system.  I would also recommend you take a look at Costco if you are thinking of buying one.  The two terabyte version is on sale right now for $129.99.  I trust that this price will change the closer we get to Christmas.

Thanks

Richard

Is your cell phone killing brain cells.

Is your cell phone killing brain cells.


I just finished watching a interview with Devra Davis on Foxnews. In the interview she talks about a recent article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concerning using cell phones and the effect cell phone microwave radiation has on brain cells. She even shows her cell phone cover that says “Can’t call it a smart phone if it kills brain cells”.  In her interview she goes on to talk about how to keep you and your loved ones safe and what she writes about in her new book. I have only a few problems with her interview. Most of what she said was misleading.

I decided to look up what she was talking about on JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) and I could only read the abstract. Since it was $30 to read the full article for a 24 hour period I had to opt out since I can’t afford it at the moment.  I am very critical of the scientific process and believe if you are a scientist or pose yourself as an expert and scientist you should lay out the facts whether they support your conclusion or hypothesis or not.  The abstract stated that the study was done with 47 healthy participants using a muted cell phone for 50 minutes at a time and the brain glucose was measured during use. Lets first say that a sample of 47 people does not make for a definitive study to create policy or state as fact.

In the study, as a whole, the brain showed no changes in the metabolizing of glucose but showed increase metabolism in the region of the where the phone and antenna was closets to the brain. As you can see I am still a skeptic that a cell phone damage the brain but I still posted that I acknowledge that there seems to be a change in glucose. However, Dr. Davis does not.

In her interview she goes on and on about changing our behavior and this huge risk of damage to men and women and especially children. Notice that she never tells the viewer to go to JAMA but instead wants you to read her book. Also she does not correct the interviewer when she begins to talk about major organs in the body.  The abstract never mentioned test done on any major organs besides the brain.  By not correcting the interviewer the good doctor allows for more fear to set in.  After all, this will help her sell her book.  In the interview, Dr. Davis also admits that cells phones have never been tested in more than 2 positions; next your head, with a spacer and on your hip.  So where does she draw the conclusion about the rate of exposure and danger to your body for men and women?  I don’t get it.  But she is able to spin her words to make it sound like there is a danger and the fact there is no tests to prove it should give you cause for concern.

Davra Davis prefers you to be scared and buy her book as well as all the products to protect yourself. Let’s not forget that she also goes on and on about all the action she is taking to protect us.  Listen to all the policy she is trying to create through this fear and using misleading statements from science to further her agenda.

Like global warming, she fails to present the viewer with all the facts and prefers to scare you into taking up her cause and buying her book. If my cell phone is killing me give me facts not your opinion and gimmicks. At the end of the JAMA abstract the author still clearly states that “This finding is of unknown clinical significance.” Yet Devra Davis has clearly found one. To buy her book.

Although there is no real technological or ROI follow up with the post.  I had to write about it.  It troubles me to watch policy being written based on the opinion of people like Dr. Devra Davis.  She will someday sit on a political action committee or be called to speak in front of congress to talk about our fear of cell phones.  And important people may change policy based on her opinion and never bother to look at the actual research.  Thanks to people like her we all pay for an additional environmental tax when we buy a TV or other electronics.  Like so many other issues in our society people like Dr. Davis convince voters and leaders to make decisions based on the amount of fear we have of it.  Yesterday it was global warming and vaccinations, today is radiation from your phone, and tomorrow will be something else that you use or do every day.

Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality is a big topic these days around people in the internet field. It’s not just the idea that a ISP can possibly control how much bandwidth you use at home or if you are a business and you post videos concerning your products or services. But it’s also the broader concept of freedom of speech and the access to legitimate information. Purists believe in absolutely no restrictions and let the chips fall where they may. No secrets and no limitations. I am closer to a realist; there should be reasonably priced internet access, with self-regulation of the internet.
Within the Net Neutrality argument between carriers/government and users (you and I), is a list of network neutrality levels. The following is an excerpt from Wikipedia:

At its simplest, network neutrality is the principle that all Internet traffic should be treated equally.[12] Net neutrality advocates have established different definitions of network neutrality:

Absolute non-discrimination

Columbia Law School professor Tim Wu: “Network neutrality is best defined as a network design principle. The idea is that a maximally useful public information network aspires to treat all content, sites, and platforms equally.”[2]

Limited discrimination without QoS tiering

United States lawmakers have introduced bills that would allow quality of service discrimination as long as no special fee is charged for higher-quality service.[13]

Limited discrimination and tiering

This approach allows higher fees for QoS as long as there is no exclusivity in service contracts. According to Tim Berners-Lee: “If I pay to connect to the Net with a given quality of service, and you pay to connect to the net with the same or higher quality of service, then you and I can communicate across the net, with that quality of service.”[1] “[We] each pay to connect to the Net, but no one can pay for exclusive access to me.”[14]

First come first served

According to Imprint Magazine, University of Michigan Law School professor Susan P. Crawford “believes that a neutral Internet must forward packets on a first-come, first served basis, without regard for quality-of-service considerations.”[15]

On December 21 2010 the FCC ruled that ISP’s could not block or discriminate against any lawful internet traffic or charge fees for delivery of content to and from the network and it cannot impose restrictions on competitors using VOIP, video or other telephony technology on their network. There is much more to this ruling on paper but that’s the jest of it.
What I found compelling is the use of the words lawful and legitimate. Just in case you are curious here is the FCC paper work (FCC). I my opinion this leaves the doors open for interpretation for the ISP or FCC to declare what is legal and legitimate. Who is to say from the FCC or ISP that my website that organizes a protest that is against the government or company is harmful to society and needs to be shut down because it is viewed as illegal or illegitimate. Sound familiar? It should, since many countries have gone to the far extreme with this concept. You know who they are. To many this FCC ruling is the start of such practice.
The ruling sounds as if it protects us but leaves loop holes that can damage our freedoms in the long run. Such rulings have the potential to stifle business and suppress ingenuity.

New tweet from Egypt

A report of a recent tweet from Wael Abbas says that about 8% of Egyptions are getting some kind of internet access currently and there is a call for all citizens that have working internet comunications to remove the passwords from their wireless access points to allow for others to use it.  As of now iternet is still down in Egypt but in Cairo, roughly 8% to 12% may have internet access.

Egypt

Covering the on going turmoil of Egypt’s need for freedom from the perspective of communication and social networks.  At 5:20 pm EST the internet activity in and out of Egypt completely halts.