New Study Shows Americans Are Using Their Mobile Internet More

Everything is changing, from the device in your pocket to your way we communicate with the whole world, we see something new come out every week. With Samsung hosting meetings for 5G connections, it’s only a matter of time before your phone is as good as any home line when it comes to the internet speed you get. A recent study shows that this may already be the case in America where the use of mobile internet may be replacing home lines.

The recent study by the US Census Bureau revealed that there are now a number of American households which have ditched the internet coming in on the home line in favour for the internet their mobile phones give them. The exact numbers show that the 82 percent of households used DSL, cable or fiber connections back in 2013, a number which now sits at just 75% while mobile internet usage has doubled from 10% to 20% in the same period.

What doe that mean? According to these figures, it means that one in five houses now relies on mobile internet. These figures may change how companies look at new projects and programs with the like of Facebook pushing for faster wireless internet speeds.

Google Fiber Has Dropped Its Free Tier In Kansas City

Google Fiber is Googles way of providing the internet for a variety of users, with a wide range of choices to help people in all situations. Their $70 gigabit internet access was their most commonly known option, but for those in Kansas City you could also get 5Mbps internet for a small construction fee, or at least you could as it would appear that Google Fiber has now dropped its free tier. The free 5Mbps option is now longer available for selection

The free 5 Mbps option is no longer available for selection, with a new 100 Mbps costing $50 a month and the $100 installation fee waived in exchange for a one-year commitment. Those who are currently on the tier have until the 19th May to say they want to keep it, but with the option also being available in Austin and Provo, the question is will they soon lose the low-cost option.

With the removal being unannounced and no word from Google yet regarding the removal, it is up to anyone’s guess why they have made this move. It could simply be that the days of fiber being considered a luxury experiment are over and with so many people now offering fiber connections for cheap prices, Google fiber may just need to start making money.

Tor Accuses CloudFlare Of Blocking Its Network

Content provider CloudFlare is no stranger to the spotlight, with being accused of protecting pro-ISIS by Anonymous causing it some issues. Now it would seem that they are instead on the throwing end of a claim, saying that requests they get from the Tor network (a network designed around allowing anonymous browsing on the web) are malicious 94 percent of the time. Tor accuses CloudFlare of mischaracterizing their users and blocking its network, with it going so far as to impact normal traffic.

Tor claims that its users are often getting stuck in CAPTCHA loops or outright failures, stopping them from accessing content in even the simplest of ways. In external research, Tor states that CloudFlare was found to block at least 80 percent of IP addresses from its service, with the number increasing over time. The CAPTCHA loop is caused by a measure CloudFlare has introduced that requires users of the Tor network to fill out CAPTCHA’s, but only users of the Tor network will see these.

Tor isn’t happy about this accusation and wants to see evidence regarding their 94 percent figure. Many are wondering how they reached this figure, or even how they deem if a connection is trustworthy. With so many people now using networks and systems like Tor, blocking or making the experience worse for users can’t be seen as a positive step when it comes to providing content.

Scientists Use Fibre Optic Cable to Transmit 57Gbps

How fast is your internet? 1Mbps? 10Mbps? Are you lucky enough to get a 1Gbps? With governments all over the world now racing to deliver the best internet to everyone, the speed of your internet is quickly becoming a topic of hot debate. For those with speed hate, I am sorry. It would now seem that it is possible to transmit 57Gbps down a fibre optic cable. Sorry.

I apologise because like many I am someone who has been promised great speeds, but more often than not you find those speeds don’t seem to exist and you can almost hear that digital bleeping from dial-up coming to haunt you as you call it a night, letting your movie buff or your game download.

Researchers from the University of Illinois have pushed fibre optic technology to a new level by transmitting 57 gigabytes of data per second through a fibre optic cable, a whole 17 Gbps extra compared to those reported last year. What’s better about this you ask? The speed was achieved with no errors and then to prove the point they went and send 50Gbps while at temperatures of 85 degrees celsius.

The reason the temperature is important is because electrical components get warm over time (like the bottom of the laptop you’ve had resting on your lap while watching Netflix in bed), which can lead to reduced performance and damaged components. The team behind the idea hope that by showing that these speeds are available from room temperature to 85 degrees, companies will have no reason to push these systems out to the public.

You can read the paper that’s been published on the experiments here and begin to imagine how many games you could delete and download at 50 Gbps. So many games.

Quantum Break to Require Internet Connection

Quantum Break is set to be one of the biggest games to grace Windows 10 this year, and with the game using directX 12 (DX12) you will have to buy it through the app store. This may be a problem for some as those who purchased the rather silently released Gears Of War Ultimate Edition found that the game was more than lacking in terms of performance and stability. It may come as a shock to some then that the next nail in the Windows 10 gaming experience is the constant online connection that you will require for Quantum Break.

Why is this a big deal you may ask? The problem people will have with this is that the game is a single player game, requiring an online connection means that should your internet drop out or you want to play on the go you won’t be able to. The reason given by Microsoft is  that you will require a high-speed internet connection to enjoy the cutscenes in the game, which is considered story heavy.

It was recently revealed that the Xbox One version of the game will be 44.09GB in size, a whole 8GB more than the 36.18GB. It now seems that the size difference is because Xbox one will be downloading the video content as well, requiring only PC gamers to have a constant online connection. With the Xbox One video being limited to 1080p video files, a mere shade of the 4K content the PC will enjoy, some people will argue that for a single player game, downloading the video at a lesser quality may be worth saving the hassle of an always online connection.

First a bad release for Gears Of War and now the news that always online single player games are Microsoft’s hope for Windows 10 games, are you likely to pick up the game and if so do you think that Microsoft has done the right thing?

Mac Update Disables Ethernet

In this day and age, most laptops and devices come with a wireless adapter built-in, even the latest Raspberry Pi includes wireless. This is lucky for when you can’t get to the router in your house, or the cable just won’t reach your favourite seat, or when your ethernet connection is disabled by an update.

Some people found this out the hard way this morning when Apple published an update over the weekend which disabled the ethernet port in the El Capitan distribution of their operating system. The reason for the disabled port? An update for the System integrity protection system, a system designed to keep your computer secure by disabling malicious kernel extensions (kext) (the equivalent of drivers for Windows or Linux users). Sadly a small update blacklisted the ethernet ports kext.

While an update was quickly released to fix the issue, some people still had the issue of it disabling their system before they were able to update to the latest version. The idea is that it’s all done behind the scenes, without you having to select the update or even know about it, kexts are updated silently. These updates run even if you have disabled the standard automatic update.

Do you use cabled connections or are you constantly on the wi-fi? Could you live with the other? What would you do if someone accidentally disabled the wireless in your computer, laptop or even your phone?

More iPhone 7 Details

Every year we see another selection of technology released, sometimes contain new technologies and sometimes old technologies are continued into the next selection of hardware released. One market that keeps moving forward is the mobile market and Apple looks to continue with its iPhone 7. With rumours about it being waterproof spreading, it was only a matter of time before we got more iPhone 7 details, something we now have.

A source that is said to have had knowledge of the plans detailed several features that have long been rumoured. The big one will be that the iPhone 7 will come without the standard 3.5mm headphone jack and will instead use a propriety headphone jack built into the lightning port and created in collaboration with Wolfson Microelectronics. With rumours flying around since their patent application for the new headphone connection, the new system is said to feature noise-cancelling technology created by Wolfson Microelectronics both within the phone and the headphones themselves in order to help reduce background noise. The source continued to say that other companies would need to buy a licence to use the technology within their own models.

The source states that they are also putting in wireless charging technology (after considering it in their last two iPhones) into the iPhone 7, alongside the new waterproof status that its said to carry.

While it is still several months before the phone begins production, many iPhone users will no doubt worry about the need to buy expensive headphones or an adapter in order to listen to music on their iPhone without wireless headphones.

“2G Tuesdays” Arrives For Facebook Employees.

Facebook is launching a new initiative by the name of 2G Tuesdays, sounds like a tech version of TFI Friday, which will give all employees a taste of a super slow connection to better emphasize the current speeds in countries including the developing market place of India. While this implementation is certainly essential to a better understanding of the parameters for designing and testing the Facebook App in areas that offer atrocious speeds, I can see a text-book example of slow connection rage.

Surely the speeds cannot be that slow, well engineering director Tom Alison remembers the first time he opened Facebook on a phone with a 2G connection, he exclaimed that “It definitely tested my patience — it felt like parts of the product were just broken”. While US citizens are accustomed to a faster 3G or even 4G, millions of people are accessing the World Wide Web with 2G where a single webpage can take around 2 minutes to load, or as western audiences would say $@%$@.

This is why Facebook’s team of “emerging market engineers”, yes, apparently they have a division dedicated to this, have spent an extensive amount of time re working Facebook’s News Feed for slow connections.

So, how will 2G Tuesday work? Well, when a Facebook employee logs into the app on a Tuesday of every week, “they’ll see a prompt at the top of their News Feed asking whether they want to try out the slower connection for an hour”. For that hour their computer experience will be akin to a person residing in India or any other slow connected country.

A better understanding of varying speeds throughout the world has led to some fascinating projects including an Open-Sourced Network Connection Class System, (sounds like a citizen reviewed social class status), that lets Facebook and its app figure out how fast your connection is with the aim of then conveying a different news feed depending on the speed.

Facebook reckons a large proportion of employees will opt into this experiment, what mood they will be in by the end is another matter. On a side note, while many tech employees enjoy the freedom to develop with a comparable connection for their area, they may fall into the mindset that the whole world is the same, by slowing them down it speeds up a unique process with the aim of benefiting consumers who suffer from appalling speeds to the web.

Mark Zuckerberg Plans To Connect Refugee Camps Via The Internet

Mark Zuckerberg has built a powerhouse in the form of Facebook which has both revolutionized the notion of a social network for consumers and also provided a platform for discussion and quick responses to world events. The recent statements from the famous CEO, who always seems to clad himself in the same coloured T-shirt, have included phrases concerning the Internet being “a force for peace” and “an enabler of human rights”, has announced that his company would offer its assistance to the United Nations with the aim of supplying internet connections to refugee camps.

Mr Zuckerberg responded to suggestions that Facebook are aiming to offer this service with the knowledge and expectation of drawing new consumers to the company’s platform by stating that it’s “not all altruism”. This, according to Wikipedia is defined as the “principle or practice of concern for the welfare of others”. Facebook have yet to firmly state how and when they would be offering their assistance to refugee camps, or indeed how the internet connections would work.

This has coincided with a petition which Mr Zuckerberg has created with the entertainer Bono, the philanthropist Mo Ibrahim and others to expand connectivity, calling internet access “essential” to achieving the development goals. This is all well and good, but there has yet to be clarification on the subject of net neutrality or internet censorship.

I have a feeling this gesture is being driven in its entirety by share price and company growth, Facebook wants to break into developing markets and are viewing the current displacement of people as a business opportunity. Mr Zuckerberg believes “We all benefit when we are more connected.” Indeed, so do the advertisers and corporations. There is also another issue which I can think of, if these refugee camps are connected via the Internet, surely this would make them easier to be tracked or hacked into by governments, your average Joe Militia or terrorist organisations.

It will be interesting to track, see what I did there, the progress and potential outcomes of these projects on the wider world.

Thank you nytimes for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of bnr.nl

Skype Plagued by Network Connectivity Issues

The Skype client is currently experiencing a whole range of connection issues and sporadically showing contacts as offline. Skype has released a statement surrounding the network hiccups and clarified:

“We have detected an issue that is affecting Skype in a number of ways.

If you’re signed in to Skype, you will not be able to change your status and your contacts will all show as offline even if they are online. As a result, you won’t be able to start Skype calls to them..

A small number of messages to group chats are not being delivered, but in most cases you can still instant message your contacts..

If you aren’t signed in to Skype, you may be experiencing difficulty when attempting to sign in. Any changes to your Skype account such as your Credit balance or your profile details might take a little while to be displayed..

You may also have difficulty loading web pages on the Skype Community. For that reason, please check back here for future updates..

We’re doing everything we can to fix this issue and hope to have another update for you soon. Thank you for your patience as we work to get this incident resolved.”

I’ve personally tried to access the Skype service for around 3 hours to no avail but still able to send messages despite appearing as offline. Therefore, it’s possible to communicate with others through text but this could greatly depend on a number of factors, including your location. I would also recommend using the web interface which doesn’t seem to exhibit any network flaws at this time. Whatever the case, the Skype client is suffering quite badly and angered a great deal of its users.

Free Wi-Fi Hits the Streets of New York… In Bins?

A lot of companies were looking into providing free Wi-Fi, a project that seems to have been of big interest as of late. However, nobody would have predicted where free Wi-Fi would come from
on the streets of New York. Would you have thought that your regular street bin would also be an access point in the near future? I thought so.

Bigbelly is a company based in Massachusetts who deals with waste management. Their first project was to put in place ‘smart’ bins that would signal when they are full or become smelly, so the latter would have more priority and be taken care of swiftly and efficiently. However, the company seems to have an even bigger project up their sleeve.

The company apparently teamed up with Downtown Alliance to place Wi-Fi hotspots inside the bins. This means that New York residents will have free Wi-Fi on the streets, thanks to their bins! Tests were performed daily and the results came as a big success. They say that the hotspots are able to hold a lot of simultaneous connections, the size of a small business, with speeds of 50 to 75 Mbps. Another amazing thing about the free Wi-Fi providing smart bins is that they do not get interference from radio towers or other wireless access points, since they are placed at ground level.

The project may give free Wi-Fi to citizens, but it may help do even more. It is said that the smart bins would help the government collect data about waste management or display public service announcements and alerts. Tests will still be performed throughout the year to make sure that nothing major crops up, but the project does seem a great success and the company is now looking to expand the project even further, provided that sponsors are found and willing to help the project financially. So what is your take on this? Let us know in the comments below.

Thank you The Huffington Post for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of UC Santa Barbara Department of Geography

Valve Improves Dota 2 Reborn and You Can Play the Beta Now

The long wait for Valve’s latest Dota 2 title, Dota 2 Reborn, is now over. Despite the many bugs and features which are not fully functional just yet, fans and curious gamers can now play the beta version alongside Dota 2 on Steam.

Dota 2 Reborn brings a lot of features and improvements to its predecessor, including the Source 2 Engine. What this means is that Dota 2 will have a lot of rendering improvements, performance optimizations, higher fidelity content, and not to mention enhanced physics. Valve says that they will further improve cloth and simulation physics in the future too, but they are still awesome as they are now.

Other improvements can be seen in the UI, having Dota 2 Reborn come with a new and improved interface. Players area able to quickly and efficiently search for matches, stay in touch with their friends through newly added party and chat features, as well as see the what your friends (or enemies) are up to.

Now we all know how frustrating it is to have problems connecting or maintaining a connection to a server sometimes. This is why Valve worked hard to offer more reliable network connections through a new backbone and relay protocol. In addition to the latter, a lot of effort has been put into DDoS protection and we know that is a major problem nowadays.

Last but not least, Custom Games is also a nice addition to the series, having it come with better developer tools for modders. While regular users get to play other modes and maps made by fans, modders get the chance to expand their ideas a bit with new tools. The new Hammer Level Editor lets you quickly prep your map, while the Material, Model and Particle editors help shape it to look how you imagined it to be. Also, Valve now offers better debugging with their new Developer Console.

More details about the latest title can be found on their website here, or if you want to get straight into the action, you can do so by following the steps below:

  1. Install Dota 2 if you haven’t already
  2. Start up Dota 2
  3. Go to the Play tab and select Dota 2 Reborn Beta
  4. Click Install to begin your download

Wikipedia Adds an Extra Layer of Security for Its Readers

Wikipedia just took security up a notch and added some extra security measures for its readers. The founders want to make connections between Wikimedia websites and their users more secure to share and view content.

The extra security measure involves HTTPS as the default encryption protocol being used from now on, along with HSTS (HTTP Strict Transport Security) to protect users from hackers trying to ‘break’ into the secure connections.

“Today, we’re happy to announce that we are in the process of implementing HTTPS by default to encrypt all Wikimedia traffic. We will also use HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) to protect against efforts to ‘break’ HTTPS and intercept traffic.” Wikimedia wrote on their website. “With this change, the nearly half a billion people who rely on Wikipedia and its sister projects every month will be able to share in the world’s knowledge more securely.”

HTTPS connections have been available since 2011 for Wikipedia and its sister websites, but users needed to use the protocol manually. However, in 2013, Wikipedia made HTTPS the default protocol for authenticated users. Now, both authenticated and anonymous users are able to browse Wikimedia websites using HTTPS automatically, regard of whether they are logged in or not.

The founders also stated that migrating to HTTPS as the default connection protocol was not easy and required years of work involving teams from across the Wikimedia Foundation. Nevertheless, their hard work paid off and users can now browse more securely on their websites. But we want to hear your opinion as users too. Do you feel more secure now that HTTPS is widely available in Wikipedia? Let us know!

Image courtesy of enciclomedios.com

Facebook Wants to Give You More Information on Contacts with New Caller ID Feature

Social media giant, Facebook, has been busy as of late, providing users with more and more features to help them in their daily activities, as well as make them stay and enjoy their social media platform for longer.

We’ve seen that one of their biggest achievements as of late was to make the Messenger app web-based, so they provided users with access to the Messenger platform on both desktop and mobile, provided you don’t already have the app installed.

One of their latest achievements was to bring news articles directly in your feed, so you will have access to your friend’s activities as well as know what’s going on in the world too. I know it’s a bit of multitasking to do and you might even end up mixing your friend’s selfie with a volcano eruption, then you ask yourself what he was doing there in the first place, before realising you were reading two things at once. But hey, we all get used to it in the end.

Facebook’s latest addition is the CallerID feature, which brings some more details about contacts and who wants to connect with you. This is done by having the app display an even bigger photo of the contact, more details about how related you are with him or her and “much more”, as Vice President of Messaging Products, David Marcus, stated. The feature is said to already be available for Android and iOS users in the US, UK, France and India. So will this be of more help than just asking your friends about who is trying to connect with you? We will see.

Thank you Sci-Tech for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of FrAndroid

US IPv4 Address Pool Reported to Be at Its Last Drop

Well folks, the time has come to gradually transition from IPv4 towards IPv6. But don’t panic! Everyone was aware of the change and the limit is expected to be reached, as previously analysis show, sometime this summer. Will this affect your everyday user? Of course not, people will most probably not see any type of change at all (hopefully).

The guys in charge of handling the transition and making sure that everything works are the ISPs, who should have already started on getting things ready for the big change. So why do we need to make the change? Limited addresses, of course. Back in 1981 when the first IPv4 was made, it used only 32 bits to generate unique addresses. The latter number of bits is able to generate 4.3 billion unique addresses and back then people couldn’t have imagined that so many devices will be connected to the Internet is such a short amount of time.

However, further analysis pointed out the issue and so IPv6 was introduced in 1999, a 128-bit upgraded version of the IPv4 protocol, able to generate 340 trillion trillion trillion unique addresses. Now the thing is, if we are to run out of addresses for this protocol, it means that we either have the worst tech addiction or we are in an era where there are more androids running around than people.

Thank you Sci-Tech Today for providing us with this information

Voice Messaging Feature Arrives This April for the Xbox One

Microsoft is planning to get a voice messaging feature up and running on its Xbox One, which is due to arrive with the new firmware this April. Xbox One dashboard preview testers are said to be able to test the new feature this week, having them be the first to leave audio clips in their friends’ inboxes.

An interesting aspect of this feature is that it will allow Xbox One as well as Xbox 360 owners to exchange voice messages. Aside from the latter, Microsoft is said to be adding a new ‘What’s On’ section for the dashboard that would feature games and series tailored to a user’s preferences, as well as providing dedicated servers for users struggling with party chat connections.

Thank you Polygon for providing us with this information

Sony Announced That PSN Europe Is Going to Get Its Service Status Indicator Soon

Up until now, Sony had no feature that would allow users to check if the PSN network is up and running in Europe. Whether you had trouble connecting to the store or accessing online functions, you wouldn’t have known if your Internet connection was at fault or Sony’s PSN was down.

However, this is about to change very soon. Sony has just announced that it would add a service status indicator for PSN in Europe, giving users the option to check whether the servers for PSN are up or down. The company has also launched a similar service indicator in America recently, so it would have made sense to launch a similar service in Europe as well.

Sony seems to have been moving slow in terms of providing users with a service indicator, having Nintendo already providing a similar service to its users long before Sony even added its feature in America. Also, Sony’s PSN is known to go down often either by DDoS attacks, hacking, maintenance or even unexpected outages. Therefore, the service indicator seems to be quite useful for the majority of players using PSN.

Thank you Gamingbolt for providing us with this information

Star Citizen Might Take up 100GB of Your Storage Space

Star Citizen was though to be a massive game from the very start, with vast environments and enormous gameplay. However, director of game operations at Cloud Imperium Games, Jeremy Masker, warns that it may be a bit more massive that people think.

The statement comes in response to a forum user from Robert Space Industries, who predicted that the game and its client will be heavily compressed and optimized. Unfortunately, Masker sends out a different and contradictory message to the latter statement.

“As I have already said, I would not count on this,” Masker stated. “The game compression and asset removal is unlikely to yield such high gains that we will be able to reduce our client size to 30-40GB. The size and number of assets that are left to deliver means that our client size is much more likely to be 100GB.”

“Also, yes we are optimizing game patching for speed and to only deliver diffs, but this is unlikely to reduce actual patch size,” he continued. “Again, each patch has 100s of assets, each of these assets are at times 200mb, this leads to 2-6gb patches, and if we end up doing a file type re-factor and have to re-download 30-40% of the assets on the hard-drive, then the patch will be 14-20gb.”

This might not be an issue for users who already have a super-fast internet connection, but fans who are not so lucky might be extremely disappointed.

Thank you PC Gamer for providing us with this information

Journalist Calls Comcast CEO’s Mom Over Bad Service

That’s not a headline you read everyday. A journalist at the Philadelphia Daily News had a number of e-mails from customers of one of America’s most hated companies complaining about poor service. So, what’s a journalist with high profile contacts to do to help these people out? Call the CEO? No, even better – she called the CEO’s 92-year-old mother.

Diana and Jason Airoldi told columnist Ronnie Polaneczky that they were having a pretty hard time with Comcast. Apparently, they would be completely cut off for six weeks, all thanks to the company having broken its appointments with them. That’s literally six weeks without cable and internet in a world where the latter is quite often vital for many people’s professions. Plus, remember this is the USA we’re talking about here – Comcast, like other telcos in America, often have a monopoly in certain regions, largely due to them owning all of the infrastructure, leaving customers with no alternative.

So Polaneczky decided it would be a good idea to give Comcast’s CEO Brian Roberts’ mom a call. It was a good idea too – the next day vans turned up at the Airoldi’s house and got them up and running.

I wonder if she grounded him?

Source: Philadelphia Daily News Via: The Verge

Four More US Cities to Get Google Fiber Gigabit Internet

As a further sign of Google’s quest to take over the world, The Wall Street Journal says that the company’s Google Fiber service is set to expand to four more US cities.

The Journal says that those cities are Atlanta, Nashville, Raleigh-Durham, and Charlotte, adding to the cities of Austin, Texas, Provo, Utah, and Kansas City in Missouri. The newspaper says that Google has yet to confirm any such plans, but that the company has dispatched press event invites to local publications in each of the new cities.

The lack of readily available information means that there is currently little information regarding pricing for residents of the new cities, but that it should be around the same price as for the cities Google Fiber is already established in – $80 per month. That only matters of course, when the new system is set up, something that could take at least a year and only in the neighbourhoods where there is sufficient interest.

Source: The Wall Street Journal Via: The Verge

YouTube Announces Offline Playback… In Indonesia, India and The Philippines

YouTube has announced offline playback functionality for its Android app, allowing users to watch select videos when they’re without an internet connection. The only issue is however, it’s only for users in Indonesia, India and The Philippines.

The app will allow users to keep a variety of content, including trailers, movies and music videos, for 48 hours before being deleted. Users can also choose the quality of download so they can limit their data usage.

While many users all over the world would love this feature, it’s understandable why Google have only made it available to people in those countries. For instance, all of those countries have rather patchy mobile data networks, meaning it can be quite difficult to do anything online, let alone stream high quality YouTube videos. Plus, mobile data can be quite expensive in those places as well, making things even more difficult. So it’s understood that this is part of Google’s efforts to get its services to as many people as possible.

For users in those countries, the offline mode should be available in an update to the app.

Source: The Next Web

Belkin Firmware Update Crashing Routers

A firmware update pushed last night from Belkin through to customers using older routers has sent router connections into a spiral of crashes and disconnects.  The firmware update reportedly caused a mass interruption of services, with the company working fast to resolve the malfunctioning firmware. For almost a day many consumers using older model Belkin routers were unable to establish a connection with other networks – successfully sending packet information but failing to receive. Forum boards exploded with diagnosis’ and explanations as to what went wrong – with workarounds through DNS manual adjustment assisting people’s connections and getting them back online.

The positive light is that Belkin worked overtime to resolve the issue, and updated their support page as progress was made through correcting the botched firmware update. A transcript of the support blog reads:

Update – We have identified a workaround that will enable some users to get back online. The workaround requires that you set a static DNS address on the device trying to access the internet. Below are some steps to do this on the most popular devices:

iOS
First, enable WiFi on your device and connect to the WiFi network you want to use. Then, tap the blue arrow button on the right side of the network name to tweak its settings. Now, select the DNS field and enter 8.8.8.8, 8.8.4.4. Separate different DNS addresses with commas

Android
Open the Settings on the device.
Select “Wi-Fi”.
Long press your current network, then select “Modify network”.
Mark “Show advanced options” check box.
Change “IP settings” to “Static”
Add the DNS servers 8.8.8.8 to the “DNS 1”, and 8.8.4.4 “DNS 2” fields.
Press “Save” button, disconnect from the network, and reconnect for changes to take effect.

Windows
Begin by clicking Windows Logo > Control Panel.
Click Network and Internet.
Click on Network & Sharing Center.
Click the name of the connection you wish the edit, to the right of Connections.
Click Properties.
Select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click Properties.
Click the radio button next to Use the following DNS server addresses:. This will allow you to enter the DNS server addresses.
The DNS addresses are as follows:
Preferred DNS server: 8.8.8.8
Alternate DNS server: 8.8.4.4
Click OK on each of the windows and close the Control Panel. Your computer is now configured to use statically assigned DNS server addresses.
Mac OSX
You’ll need to first head into the System Preferences…
Then click on the Network icon…
Then you’ll want to select your network card on the left—you’ll see in my example that I’ve got an AirPort card—and then select the Advanced button near the bottom right corner.
Once you’re there, switch over to the DNS tab, and you can start adding in DNS entries into the list. If you see entries that are grayed out, just ignore them, and click the + symbol at the bottom to add new ones.
You can add the following two items to the list:
8.8.8.8
8.8.4.4
Oct 7, 10:49 PDT

If you happened to have had any outages with your Belkin router – let us know! To all you tech heads out there – remember to lend a hand to any friends or family members who you know might be in a spot of bother with their connection. Having a dead Internet connection is never a fun experience for anyone!

Thanks to Belkin for providing us with this information.

Maps Shows Every Single Device Connected to the Internet

This wonderful map was created by John Matherly, the founder of Shodan, a search engine that searches for connections between devices. It took just five hours to ping every IP address on the internet and store every positive response, then another 12 hours to plot the responses on a heat map. The bright orange areas show densely connected areas while the blue and black areas show sparsely connected areas.

The results are pretty predictable, but also pretty humbling too. As someone who lives in a heavily connected part of the globe and feeling “connected” to everyone around me, it can be easy to forget that large sections of the world still struggle for connection to the rest of us.

Some people have also pointed out a few odd areas on the map, with small islands of ping results in the middle of nowhere, such as the one smack bang in the middle of Greenland, although this is now suspected to be a NOAA observatory. What colour is the area you live in? Let us know in the comments section below.

Thank you Reddit for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Reddit.

Google Aiming at Making Wi-Fi Hotspots out of Old NYC Payphones

Bloomberg reports that a meeting in New York providing information to companies interested in offering free Wi-Fi has counted Google as one of the attendees, aside from IBM, Samsung and Cisco. However, Google is known for its ambition to offer free or affordable internet connectivity, which indicates that the corporate giant is planning to submit a big proposal to the New York department of IT.

While Google already offers free Wi-Fi around its office in Chelsea neighborhood, the company also has a number of initiatives to bring cheaper and abundant internet connectivity to the US and abroad. People asking why is Google so anxious to bring this feature to the public all over the world should ask themselves what (most) of them are using as a start page on their browser, the developer of their browser or the actual search engine used to find all their information. And yes, the answer to all questions is Google.

The plan Google has for NYC is to enable its payphone locations with Wi-Fi hotspots charged by phone services, and not ISPs, while also incorporating advertisements for actually making it ‘free’. The company has requested the plan be in effect on all 7,300 payphones, meaning that NYC will become a city covered in free Wi-Fi connectivity after the plan is approved and work is finished. Another interesting and beneficial feature mentioned is the ability to connect to every other Wi-Fi hotspot automatically once you authorized access to the Wi-Fi network.

The project would mean a new level of connectivity that does not depend on cellular data subscriptions for new yorkers, providing the project goes through. Even so, it still is a big step forward towards a new type of wide connectivity than just a few wireless routers placed in key, remote locations.

Thank you Techcrunch for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Techcrunch

Google Fiber Project Aims to Provide UK Homes with Ultrafast Internet Connection

Google is said to be planning on expanding its Google Fiber services in British cities. The move is said to put a lot of pressure on BT and its upgraded network, having Google offering speeds of up to 10 times faster than what BT currently has to offer.

The corporate giant has reportedly been in talks with a British company by the name of CityFibre, hoping that a partnership between the two will bring the Google Fiber services to UK citizens. However, CityFibre is said to have concerns regarding the partnership with Google.

It is said that CityFibre’s partnership with BSkyB would be threatened if a partnership with Google would be formed, having BSkyB to see Google as a rival in the pay-TV market. Also, BSkyB and TalkTalk are said to be funding a pilot fibre-optics network, reaching 20,000 homes and businesses in York.

Though Google publicly said it will not bring its fibre outside of the US, a source has stated that the company is talking with “people here in the UK and looking at projects”. The move seems to make sense, since the UK has been known to be the biggest market outside of the US.

Google is said to currently provide its fibre optic services in four major US cities, which is said to extend into 34 additional cities this year. While BT’s network is said to rely on copper wire technology for the home-street connection, Google Fiber is said to rely entirely on fibre optic connections.

Thank you Telegraph for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Telegraph

NASA’s ‘ShadowNet’ Revealed To Be 10x Faster than Google Fiber

Google promised to bring internet speeds 1,000 faster than the current average internet speed found in homes around the US through Google Fiber. The connection, which is around 10 Gigabits per second, might be something seen only in sci-fi movies. However, NASA tends to disagree.

The space agency allegedly uses a shadow internet called ESnet, which is short for Energy Science Network, capable of delivering cross-country speeds of 91 Gigabits per second, deemed the fastest connection ever reported.

However, these speeds will not reach normal home connections anytime soon. NASA is using this shadow network to explore the next wave of computing applications. The U.S. Department of Energy is apparently running ESnet, having it be an important tool for researchers who require large amounts of data handled for projects such as the Large Hadron Collider and Human Genome Project.

The use of such technology leads back to how the Internet was born and eventually became the most important piece of technology used by everyone today. This is why ESnet and Internet2, a non-profit international network built-in 1995 for researchers after the Internet was commercialised, might hold the key of faster internet speeds in the future.

Also, equipment capable of handling high-speed internet, similar to what ESnet currently provides, has been out on the market since 2010. However, the Internet is not a straight line. Each piece of data needs to pass through various nodes before reaching its destination, similar to what a driver has to do when reaching an intersection. As a driver, you are required to slow down and even stop in order to check if you are clear to proceed on your way through the intersection. The same principle applies to data packets through a node.

ESnet is proof that internet speeds which most people only dream of can be achieved. With a lot of effort and probably some luck, similar internet speeds could be available on the commercial market in the future.

Thank you Wired for providing this information
Image courtesy of Wired

Western Digital’s Cloud Services Still Facing Major Disruption

Since March 26th customers who own any of Western Digital’s Cloud storage based products have been facing crippling connectivity issues after a vulnerability in the service was exposed, resulting in the downtime of connections to and from the WD2Go servers and consequently the loss of connectivity by users to their Cloud storage products that are installed in their homes and offices.

We are nearing two weeks since the service was interrupted and in most case lost completely, after an unknown vulnerability in the way that the service operates was exposed and since then engineers have been frantically working away to discover and repair the problem and restore service to thousands of users world-wide. Unlike Cloud services such as Dropbox and Google Drive, Western Digital’s Cloud storage products such as the MyCloud, EX2, EX4 and MyBook World Live offer customers the ability to have all of their shared files stored within the confines of the home or office, whilst offering up greater storage capacities and the peace of mind that data is not being accessed or scanned by any third-party applications or sources.

A recent letter from WD President Jim Murphy stated “We understand how important your content is to you, your business and your family. Our customers are the reason we strive each day to make better products and services that enable you to enjoy this content. Your entire digital life must be safely stored and readily accessible, and is what makes the WD personal cloud, personal. While your data has remained safe and accessible in your home or office, the service disruption may have temporarily prevented some of you from remotely accessing that content. We’ve dedicated the past week to restoring your remote access as quickly as possible.”

Whilst this indicates to us that normal service is being restored to customers on a day-to-day basis, it doesn’t mention what the vulnerability is and how it was discovered. Mr Murphy’s letter went on to say “All of us at WD are committed to minimizing downtime and ensuring the service information we provide is valuable and frequent. We already have implemented important changes to our infrastructure and network capability. While we have validated the vast majority of your remote connections, we continue our focus on providing uninterrupted access from your phone, tablet or computer. Your content deserves nothing less.”

Unfortunately this information nor any official word from WD through the support pages appears to be easy to find, leaving the support channels inundated with requests from users for help and updates on the loss of connectivity to their systems. Although this looks to be a flaw in the network security at the service data centre, data stored on users devices is not at risk and if you feel concerned you can simply turn off your storage until we have confirmation that the service has been fully restored.

Considering I’ve got one of the latest My Cloud systems – the EX2 – currently in for review, I will be keeping an eye on the service status and will keep you all updated accordingly with news that comes to light. What is certain though is that this loss of connectivity will reflect the sales of and reputation of WD’s Cloud systems so they are working against the clock to restore the service and protect themselves from a financial hit.

Source: Press Release