CERN Releases 300TB of LHC Data to the World

Do you remember the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) run by CERN? The device that people feared would create a black hole? In a move that’s rarely done, the organisation has now released terabytes of data onto the web for everyone to use.

The large release is explained by Kati Lassila-Perini, a physicist working on the Compact Muon Solenoid detector, who explained the data release simply by saying “Once we’ve exhausted our exploration of the data, we see no reason not to make them available publicly”. That simple, they’ve done what they can with the data and they want to see what others can do, hoping that it can benefit others by “inspiring high school students to the training of the particle physicists of tomorrow”.

If you want to view the data it’s easy enough to get your hands on from here, but CERN has also provided a bunch of tools to help you analyse the data (both raw data from the detectors within the LHC and the datasets they created). Not stopping there they’ve even provided a custom CERN Linux environment ready for use on a virtual machine, alongside scripts and apps that you can find on Github.

While the data is from 2011, that doesn’t stop it being amazing information that normally you could only read in press releases and journals. So who is going to study the universe and particles this weekend?

Opera Browser Introduces Free Integrated VPN

Norwegian internet browser Opera now includes a free, unlimited VPN natively, meaning that its users “don’t have to download VPN extensions or pay for VPN subscriptions to access blocked websites and to shield your browsing when on public Wi-Fi,” according to the official announcement.

Opera’s blog post reads:

According to Global Web Index*, more than half a billion people (24% of the world’s internet population) have tried or are currently using VPN services. According to the research, the primary reasons for people to use a VPN are:

  • To access better entertainment content (38%)
  • To keep anonymity while browsing (30%)
  • To access restricted networks and sites in my country (28%)
  • To access restricted sites at work (27%)
  • To communicate with friends/family abroad (24%)
  • To access restricted news websites in my country (22%)

According to the research, young people are leading the way when it comes to VPN usage, with almost one third of people between 16-34 having used a VPN.

The in-browser VPN is only available as part of the most recent developer version, but set to arrive in the release version following successful testing and refinement.

Opera’s in-browser VPN follows its native ad-blocker, released as part of its last developer version last month, in an effort to centralise its user’s needs in one package.

Opera 38 developer version can be downloaded here.

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.

Obama Would Veto ‘Anti-Net Neutrality Bill”

The power to veto something is a strong one, and many governments have the power in place for specific reasons. Though rarely used it can often be what makes or breaks a law or new piece of legislation. In this case, the White House has stated that it would veto the ‘No Rate Regulation of Broadband Internet Access Act’ on the grounds that it is very anti-net neutrality.

H.R. 2666 would appear at first glance to support the concept of net neutrality, with its author Adam Kinzinger, the republican representative for Illinois, saying that regulating broadband rates would create “significant uncertainty for ISPs” while also discouraging “investment and unique pricing structures or service plans”.

The sly part of the new bill, which the Electronic frontier foundation spotted, was that the FCC would have to stop summoning companies to explain a new trend of data exception schemes. These schemes like the T-mobile binge service, see companies making deals with certain providers and then not counting their content towards your data usage. Unlimited videos from certain sites? Sure, but videos on every site will be throttled.

In the White Houses letter, they state that the bill “would restrict the FCC’s ability to take enforcement actions to protect consumers on issues where the FCC has received numerous consumer complaints.” The White House then continues to say that the bill would also cause issues in the future as it ” could limit the Commission’s ability to address new practices and adapt its rules for a dynamic, fast-changing online marketplace”.

The letter finishes by saying that “if the President were presented with H.R. 2666, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”.

Facebook is Testing a Super-Speed Wi-Fi System

When it comes to technology, Facebook wants to be standing at the front of innovation with creating tools to help blind people make sense of their news feeds and their free internet service being used around the globe, but if you really want to see something then you should check out their super-speed wi-fi system they have installed at their campus.

Facebook’s campus in Menlo Park, California has a super wi-fi. What do we mean by a super wi-fi? Well, anything that servers speeds of over one gigabit per second would count as super. This means its more than 100 times the average speed of a typical house’s internet speed in the US!

Facebook doesn’t want to stop there, looking to expand the test to a large scale system in downtown San Jose later this year and then in other areas around the world. Jay Parikh, head of infrastructure and engineering at Facebook says that rolling over other high-speed options, such as Google Fiber, can prove to be difficult in urban areas, so creating a wireless infrastructure would be both cheaper and easier to deploy.

The problems title is named Terragraph and is based on the technology known as WiGig. By placing WiGig hubs on light poles and common street furnishings, Facebook hopes to create a fast wireless network that anyone can use to send and receive information on the 60 GHz radio waves the systems designed around.

Samsung Hosting a Meeting to Standardize 5G Standards

We’ve all heard about 3G and 4G, the standards that define the technology that has helped shape mobile communications and mobile phones for the last generation. Samsung looks to get ahead with the next generation by hosting a meeting in hopes of standardizing standards for the next generation, 5G.

Hosting the 3GPP RAN (3rd Generation Partnership Project – Radio Access Network) group, Samsung Electronics hopes that the meeting taking place in Busan, Korea, will help encourage companies to “discuss ways to support the effective integration of new services such as IoT (Internet of Things) into 5G, and measures to ensure the compatibility of 5G technologies”.

5G is not a new technology, having been in development by Samsung since 2011, but with more and more companies looking to have the first standards ready for June 2018, we could soon see a network that could see speeds of 1.2 Gbps for moving vehicles and 7.5 gigabytes for anyone who stands still for a minute.

With companies looking at rolling out the technology for 2020, the meeting hopes to cover everything from energy and cost efficiency to security and availability, all key factors in releasing a successful piece of technology that people not only accept and pick up but support years down the road.

DJI Have Created A Social Network For Drone Users

Enjoy your food or a video game? There’s a social network for that, all designed around bringing you together with like-minded people who all enjoy what you enjoy. If you are a fan of drones, then why not try DJI+Discover, the social network for drone users.

Create a profile and ask all those questions you’ve wondered about new parts, how to build your personalised drone or the best drone on the market with like-minded people. If you just like the idea of drones you can also use the app to search for professional drone pilots or even drone photographers (that is people who take photos and videos with drones).

With options to filter a map of your surrounding area between all, social and professional, you can quickly filter out the people you want to connect with. As an added bonus why not check out its recommended flying spots and the user-submitted photos, seeing the area around you from a drone’s point of view.

With options and choices galore, why not check out the app if you are interested in, want to hire or just curious about drones and their users. With the ability to quickly organise and share materials, drone users should check out the app and share their photos for the world to see with aspiring and experienced drone users.

UK May Have Hit Broadband Targets

When it comes to the internet the coalition government made a pledge that by 2015, they would have the “best superfast broadband in Europe”. The UK may have hit broadband targets, but still fears remain over the future and if the targets are good enough.

The problem with setting targets with technology, they look great but they have to change as technology does. The original target for 90% of properties having superfast broadband by 2015 was changed in light of the difficulty and processes involved, eventually changing to 95% of properties by 2017. We may have hit the 90% marker now, but that last 5% needed to meet the goal posts next year may come at difficulty.

The difficulty comes from the properties located in rural areas, with fibre optic speeds slowly reaching those areas (although not as the speeds users want to gain access to the internet). The second problem though is the big one, what is super fast internet these days?

Back in 2010, the definition was 24 Mbps, but these days you can grab 100 or even 200 Mbps internet. With the kind of fibre optic cables needed to reach 24 Mbps used in its current roll out the question is being raised that if we compare ourselves on “superfast broadband” in a few years time, will we need to roll out new options all over again.

The standard option  for many European countries is now FTTH (Fiber to the house), an option that is only reaching 1.56% of British homes. The city of Hull has one of the lowest superfast broadband availability, listed at 37.6% because Hull’s independent telecoms provider, KCOM, has already opted to deploy the FTTH strategy, resulting in 37.6% of houses now getting fibre optic speed straight to the house.

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.

FFC To Create “Nutrition Labels” For Your Broadband

The Federal Communications Commission do a lot of things, including monitoring and investigating companies which have less than kind business practices. In their latest attempt to help people they’ve taken their inspiration from something we see (and ignore for the most part) everyday, nutrition labels.

In their latest attempt to give consumers a fair few the new nutrition labels will be used to help customers understand both home internet service providers (ISP’s) and mobile carriers. While not mandatory carriers are being “urged” to use the labels which will give you an idea about the following properties:

  • Price
    • This includes all those hidden fees they often hide, such as line rental or limited discounts
  • Data Caps
    • Ever felt like you may be getting a slower service? You should be able to see if you’ve hit your data usage cap, if one even exists
  • Speed
    • This will be included alongside things like latent and packet loss, giving you an idea not just how fast your service would be but also how reliable it is to

ISP’s are free to come up with their own labels, but they must be made in an “accurate, understandable and easy-to-find manner”.

Examples of the Broadband and Mobile labels can be found below.

Hoping to avoid the surprise fee’s that account for more than 2,000 complaints received by the FCC, the new labels could help people decide on the company that’s right for them, rather than the advertisement that fools the most.

Egypt Blocks Facebook’s Internet Service After Being Denied The Ability To Spy On Users

Facebook have been keen on allowing countries access to Free Basics, their low-cost internet system designed at giving people the ability to create a Facebook account and access a limited number of sites at no cost. Free internet sounds great doesn’t it? Some countries don’t believe so, with India already banning the platform and the system being suspended within Egypt, over what now seems to be because the government was denied the ability denied the ability to spy on users.

The Free Basics platform in Egypt was suspended officially on December 30th, 2015, with sources now stating the reason for the suspension was that Facebook wouldn’t allow the government to circumvent the systems security, thereby allowing surveillance to be conducted on users of the platform. Etisalat, the mobile carrier that provided the service when it started in October 2015, hasn’t responded to comment while Facebook has declined to comment while the Egyptian government has declined to say what kind of surveillance or changes they wanted to be made to the service.

Officially the line given is that the service was considered “harmful to companies and their competitors”, a tale that while believable may be as well be an April fools joke to cover what can only be considered a request to invade and monitor everyone’s internet access. With limited access already and concerns about net neutrality for the scheme, if it was found to provide monitoring and tracking the “free” basics program would almost certainly see counties drop the system.

EFF Seek Fees For Patent Case Over Online Photo Contests

We’ve all seen the competitions you can enter online, ranging from entering a competition on a forum to having to create and upload a piece of work. A common type of online contest is where you upload pictures, but be warned, some people may own patents to the entire concept of online contests.

Ruth Taylor is a Pennsylvania-based photographer who often runs photo contests on her website, BytePhoto. Along comes Garfum.com, a video website owned by New Jersey’s Michael Garofalo, who claimed that the competitions run on the site infringe on US Patent No. 8,209,618. The patent refers to the ability to create user accounts, upload content, organise the content and have users vote on the content, all rather vague terms given the digital age.

Initially requesting $50,000 in the lawsuit, Garofalo’s lawyers reduced this to $5,000 and then $2,500 later on. In an attempt to defend herself Taylor got in touch with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a group that deals with electronic rights, who took up the case pro-bono. Filing a motion to dismiss the case the EFF claimed that it should be thrown out of court under the Alice Corp precedent, a precedent that claims just because something is done via software the patent needs to cover something more than an abstract idea.

Garfum dropped the case before it went to court, however, the EFF didn’t end it there, filing a motion to seek attorneys’ fees for the case. EFF lawyer Daniel Nazer stated, “the idea that you could patent an abstract idea, find innocent enthusiasts online and demand settlement money—and then slink away once challenged and before the court issues a ruling—goes against any sense of fair play”.

The total cost to cover the fees would come close to $30,000, with even more added because of the latest motion. Something that could soon become a reality sooner than expected with US Chief District Judge Jerome Simandle stating in an opinion that due to their “unreasonable” behaviour during the case, Garfum should end up paying the fees.

Researchers Develop Ways to Calculate Distance Through WiFi

We all use WiFi at some point, be it at work or at home, we rely on the technology to avoid the miles and miles of cables that we would overwise have to plug and unplug every time we wanted to grab a drink or watch a movie on Netflix. Researchers may have developed a way to accurately calculate distance through WiFi, a feature that could see wireless communications made more secure and controlled.

Researchers from MIT’s CSAIL team managed to achieve the feat using just a single router by measuring the “time of flight” for the WiFi signals between both the transmitter and receiving components, with a margin of error of just 0.5 nanoseconds, 20 times more accurate that other systems. Once the time was calculated they multiplied it by the speed of light, resulting in the distance between people and their wireless routers.

Using a four room apartment as an example, the researchers managed to locate the correct room for a user 94% of the time. Not stopping there the researchers took the technology to a cafe and managed to track down if someone was within the cafe with a 97% accuracy. Not stopping at wireless routers the technique was then applied to a drone, restricting the distance of the drone from the operator with an error margin of just 2-inches.

With the ability to limit or restrict access to a network by a user’s distance, public networks, and drones could be made more secure and with greater control of who, and where, people can access the systems.

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.

BT Openreach Told to Reduce its Wholesale Broadband Prices

While Openreach – the company that holds a monopoly over the main broadband and telephone infrastructure in the UK – has managed to dodge calls for it to break its affiliation with BT over fears that it is at odds with the spirit of competition law, the UK telcom regulatory body OFCOM has demanded that the self-appointed ‘guardians of the last mile’ reduce the wholesale prices it charges businesses and ISPs to use its network, and improve the speed at which it installs leased lines after failing to meet its own targets more often than not.

In a statement released today (22nd March), as part of its investigation into the efficacy of Openreach, OFCOM accuses BT of taking “too long” to deliver services to business customers, and of charging too much for its sub-standard service.

“This means BT would have to give competitors physical access to its fibre-optic cables, allowing them to take direct control of the connection,” OFCOM’s Business Connectivity Market Review reads. “This service is often referred to as ‘dark fibre’, because the cables would not be ‘lit’ using BT’s electronic equipment. Instead, they would be ‘lit’ by the competitor installing its own equipment at either end of the optical fibre.”

“BT is already required to offer wholesale leased line products, which bundle the optical fibre and BT’s own network equipment, at regulated prices to competitors. BT would still be required to provide these services, but the new proposal would go further, allowing operators to use BT’s fibre-optic cables with their own equipment, rather than rely on BT’s equipment.”

“This should increase the opportunity for competitors to develop new high-capacity services for their customers,” the report adds.

The report calls for Openreach to complete 80% of leased line installations by its promised deadline by March 2017, raising to 90% in April 2018, and reduce its prices over the next three years.

Comcast Demanded $60,000 For Not Installing Internet

Silicon Valley is known as the place to be for startups in the technology business, and with companies looking to move there next to some of the biggest names in the business, it comes as no surprise that companies are often after the best internet they can get. SmartCar initially thought that moving there would be like a dream come true for the company with the amazing deal Comcast was offering on their internet, that was until several months later when the company wanted $60,000 after not installing the internet.

Founder and CEO of SmartCar Sahas Katta moved the company office to Silicon Valley with the dream of it being the best place to start the company off. Looking for the best deal Katta found that Comcast was offering “Comcast Business” in their area, offering 100Mbps downstream and 20Mbps upstream for only $189.90 a month. After signing a deal to get the package Katta was told by Comcast that they would need to do a site survey to see if they were actually going to be able to match that promise.

The response was that the new office was “just outside of” the Comcast service zone. They deemed it financially unviable to run the cables required to the building and instead offered to bring fiber to the building after Katta signed a four-year contract paying $1,050 a month for the 100Mbps service he was originally promised. Having signed the lease for the new building Katta felt like there was no choice and signed, with the promise that he would have fiber within 120 days.

With the lease on the property ending Katta contacted Comcast stating that he wished to terminate the contract, at which Comcast stated that in order to cancel the contract SmartCar would need to pay $60,900.45 to cover “construction costs”.

Thankfully Comcast has waived these fees after Ars Technica got ahold of Comcast’s public relations team regarding the matter, and have even promised a refund of the $2,100 deposit that was already paid. Just goes to show that you need to read and check you can actually get the internet they promise before you sign the contract.

MIT’s Polaris Hopes To Speed Up Your Browsing Online

Sadly the experience on some websites these days can very quickly be summed up by the word “loading”. We like our pictures, our videos and some even like ads, the problem being is that everything you view on the internet has to come from somewhere and that is where the loading comes in. MIT and Harvard want to give you a hand and help speed up your browsing online.

MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) and Harvard have gone and created a framework that focuses on those things you have to download to view your favourite sites. With everything from images to Javascript downloaded to your computer, the new project, titled Polaris will help download all those different features in the most efficient sequence possible, avoiding the constant pinging and server routing that comes with traditional browsing.

Polaris was in fact built using JavaScript, something which means that any browser and website can use the new system, the only requirement is that the server the sites on is running Polaris in the first place.

The plan for Polaris is to open-source the framework, meaning you could soon find it in every site and browser you use, and with it showing reductions of up to 34% in loading time on websites, you can get one more cat video in on your lunch break.

Opera Browser Adds Native Ad-Blocking

While internet browser Opera isn’t quite the technical powerhouse it used to be, the Norwegian company has announced that it is adding native ad-blocking to the software. The feature is included in the latest developer edition of the browser – but deactivated by default – and the company believes its native system is more effective than third-party apps, and that blocking ads will speed up page loads by up to 40%, on average, with some sites potentially seeing speed improvements of up to 90%.

“If there were no bloated ads, some top websites would load up to 90% faster,” Opera’s Senior Vice President for Global Engineering Krystian Kolondra writes in a post on the official Opera blog. “Today, we wanted to share with you a native ad-blocking technology in our Developer channel for Opera for computers. “Native” means unmatched speed vs extensions, since the blocking happens at the web engine level.”

“We are the first major browser vendor to integrate an ad-blocking feature, but this development should be a no surprise to anyone given the rising popularity of ad-blocking software and even Apple allowing it on its platform,” Kolondra adds.

The move is sure to be controversial, with sites such as Forbes and The New York Times blocking their content for users of ad-blocking software, but Kolondra says that Opera is only serving the desires of its users.

“Advertising fuels the internet, allowing for many services to be free for users,” Kolondra  writes. “But, as our new research shows, most webpages today are significantly slowed down by bloated ads and heavy tracking. We don’t accept it – we want the web to be a better place for us all, as users.”

Roy Tomlinson – The Creator of Emails Has Passed Away

It is with great sadness that we report that Roy Tomlinson, the man credited with creating the first email system, has passed away.

Tomlinson was working on ARPANET, the precursor to the internet, back in 1971 when he contributed to the first email system. Tomlinson is recorded as saying that most of the emails he sent when testing the system were “entirely forgettable, and I have, therefore, forgotten them”.

Tomlinson’s contribution doesn’t end there, it was originally Tomlinson’s idea to use the @ symbol for stating that you could find a user “at” this particular host. He explained his reasoning on picking the @ symbol on BBN’s website:

“I chose to append an at sign and the host name to the user’s (login) name. I am frequently asked why I chose the at sign, but the at sign just makes sense. The purpose of the at sign (in English) was to indicate a unit price (for example, 10 items @ $1.95). I used the at sign to indicate that the user was “at” some other host rather than being local.”

We cannot deny the influence that Roy Tomlinson had not only on the technology we use but also on the way we live. May he rest in peace.

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?

UK Government Considering Fining ISPs For Unclear T&Cs

Purchasing any service-based contract including mobile phones, electricity or internet access can be very confusing. This is down to the complex small print which many people simply disregard. It’s not surprising though given the baffling terms which sometimes have a number of contradictions. Plus, many customers don’t have the time to read sit and read through a wall of text using a tiny font. Companies know this and exploit the notion that hardly anyone reads the terms and conditions of a contract. For example, internet service providers usually outline their traffic management system and bandwidth restrictions during peak times. This means with some ISPs, you might have “unlimited downloads” but the speed is capped to a ridiculously slow rate after so much data has been downloaded within a 24 hour period. As such, it’s so important to read the fine print or ask an independent expert about a service’s restrictions.

The UK government has launched a new consultation to make companies adopt an easier-to-understand small print and anyone who doesn’t comply could face hefty fines. According to the Terms and Conditions and Consumer Protection Fining Powers paper, ISPs should clearly outline “the average monthly cost as well as the total charge”. Additionally, the government may require companies to list their terms in a “bolt and upfront” manner. Online retailers would have to reformat the small print to make it legible on smartphones and consumers could receive a cheaper tariff for reading a contract’s terms and conditions. The government is clearly trying to encourage customers to read the small print but this is easier said than done.

We live in a very fast modern world where people work long hours and have limited spare time. However, you should always adopt a cynical approach and make time to read a contract’s small print to ensure the service provided is what you expect.

UK Needs Faster Internet Says Business Leaders Group

Buffering, downloading, pausing, even trying to make out the shapes on a low-resolution video have become common place for so many people as their internet speed caps out, normally before they are anywhere near their advertised (and purchased) speeds. It seems that we aren’t the only ones annoyed by this though as a group of business leaders have spoken out now, accusing the UK government of creating a “poverty of ambition” for internet speeds.

The Institute of Directors (IoD) is formed from business leaders within the UK, and in their report titled Ultrafast Britain, they state that the UK is lagging behind when it comes to enabling faster broadband connections. The government states that 90% of UK properties have access to superfast speeds, with that reaching 95% by next year.

The IoD don’t think this is good enough, with them calling for speeds of 10 gigabits per second (Gbps) by 2030. Currently, the government wants just 10 megabits per second by 2020, a speed which many are already getting.

This isn’t the first time that the internet as a structured provision has been discussed this week, with Ofcom telling BT that its cable network should be opened up to other companies. Currently, BT contains two parts, the core company and Openreach, the part of the company responsible for the cable, fibre and network infrastructure that the UK relies on for its internet.

What is your internet speed? Is it ever what you were actually advertised to be getting? Do you know anyone with super fast/slow internet and does it have a big impact on them?

If Elected President Donald Trump Vows to Cause Amazon Problems

Donald Trump seems to thrive on controversy and has rapidly become the favourite candidate for the Republican nomination. Initially, political commentators dismissed Trump and believed it was only a matter of time before he exited the presidential race. However, whenever Trump makes shocking remarks no other politician would dream of, his popularity skyrockets. Please note as a technology website, we endeavour to leave any political inklings aside and report in a fair manner. During a recent speech, Trump discussed Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his acquisition of The Washington Post.

Trump proclaimed:

“I have respect for Jeff Bezos, but he bought The Washington Post to have political influence, and I gotta tell you, we have a different country than we used to have,”

“He owns Amazon. He wants political influence so that Amazon will benefit from it. That’s not right. And believe me, if I become president, oh, do they have problems. They’re going to have such problems.”

This is a fairly worrying statement and suggests Trump wants to impose penalties on Amazon for his bitter dispute with founder Jeff Bezos. Perhaps this is just posturing and Trump’s attempt to publicly embarrass Jeff Bezos. Some of you might remember, Jeff Bezos posted a tweet offering Trump a reserved seat on the Blue Origin rocket. This is quite a rare occurrence and Bezos only has 15 total tweets to his account. Clearly, Trump believes Jeff Bezos purchased The Washington Post sorely for political gain to enhance Amazon’s influential position as a retail giant. Of course, this will only matter if Trump wins the Republican nomination and then ends up victorious during the presidential campaign. It’s not beyond the realms of fantasy though and Trump has already made warnings against Apple’s use of non-American workers.

Amazon isn’t the most reputable of companies because of tax avoidance behaviour and evidence of poor working conditions. Employees work under extreme stress and every packaged item is monitored. This can be devastating for morale, and applies so much pressure. It’s even been argued that Amazon’s working conditions can exacerbate underlying mental health problems.

Image courtesy of Forbes.

ViaSat Plans Terabit Cabable Internet Satellites

High-speed internet is becoming more and more accessible to the world, from brand new fibre networks to expanding coverage of mobile data network. Some places on the planet are still denied these high-speed connections. Many companies are planning to eliminate these internet blackspots by making use of internet satellites, but few can offer the capabilities of ViaSat’s newly announced ViaSat-3, each being able to deliver bandwidth of over 1 terabit per second.

The planned deployment of the ViaSat-3 come as part of ViaSat’s team-up with established aerospace giant Boeing. Between the two, they currently plan to launch three of the new satellites, which together will be able to deliver twice the total capacity of all network satellites already in orbit. Two out of the three planned ViaSat-3 units are already in development too, with ViaSat to design and develop the payload and Boeing to produce the “associated satellite bus platforms” with the first planned to be launched as soon as 2019.

When deployed, the ViaSat network aims to provide internet connectivity up to 100Mbs to residential properties and gigabit bandwidth available to commercial companies including the maritime and oceanic sector as well as oil and gas platforms. This effort will deliver affordable internet to the millions of people living in remote parts of the world that leave them beyond the reach of traditional networks. The first two of the three satellites will cover the Americas and Europe, Middle East and Africa with the third dedicated to serving Asia.

They are far from the only way to provide the internet to isolated locations, with other companies pitching drones and balloons as other methods of delivering connectivity, all of which (including satellites) are subject to the whims of nature. But internet providing satellites are nothing new, especially for ViaSat, whose existing 140 gigabit serves over half a million subscribers in the US. Regardless of who achieves it and by how it is certain that the world of the future will allow everyone to be more connected than ever.

India Bans Facebook’s Free Internet Platform Over Net Neutrality Concerns

India’s national telecom regulator has banned Mark Zuckerberg’s “free” internet endeavour for violating net neutrality. Free Basics, formerly known as Internet.org, was designed to bring free internet to developing countries, but access to websites was restricted to Facebook’s commercial partners, meaning Free Basics users could only visit sites that had paid to be featured.

“No service provider shall offer or charge discriminatory tariffs for data services on the basis of content,” the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has ruled (via BBC News).

The World Wide Web Foundation, created by WWW inventor Tim Berners-Lee, has welcomed the ruling. “The message is clear: We can’t create a two-tier Internet – one for the haves, and one for the have-nots,” Programme Manager Renata Avila said. “We must connect everyone to the full potential of the open Web. We call on companies and the government of India to work with citizens and civil society to explore new approaches to connect everyone as active users, whether through free data allowances, public access schemes or other innovative approaches.”

While Zuckerberg has maintained throughout that Free Basics adheres to net neutrality rules – “Instead of recognizing that Free Basics fully respects net neutrality, they claim–falsely–the exact opposite,” he blustered back in December – a Facebook spokesperson claims that the company will work to ensure that its free internet initiative complies with net neutrality.

“Our goal with Free Basics is to bring more people online with an open, non-exclusive and free platform,” a Facebook spokeswoman said. “While disappointed with the outcome, we will continue our efforts to eliminate barriers and give the unconnected an easier path to the internet and the opportunities it brings.”

Internet Traffic Soon to Reach a Zettabyte

We use the internet every day, from checking your emails to watching the latest shows, the internet has become a default part of using a computer for a lot of people. With more and more using the internet, for even more complex reasons, it comes as no surprise that companies are looking at ways to share content with less traffic, such as Netflix re-encoding their library. Even with all these steps, Cisco imagines that for the first time the global internet traffic will reach a zettabyte.

A zettabyte is 909,494,701 terabytes, or if that’s too small you could always think of it as a trillion gigabytes. This estimate comes after Cisco has calculated that the internet traffic has increased fivefold in the last five years, with it set to continue to grow.

Cisco attributes this increase to the popularity of services like Netflix and Amazon Prime video, with video streaming services accounting for roughly 41% of all internet traffic. With more mobile devices connecting every year and phone companies looking to promote cheaper video streaming for your mobiles, watching videos online contributes more than most people think.

With internet speeds set to rise and video streaming, gaming and music services looking to increase their online presence it will come as no surprise that people will be sending and receiving more information over the internet.

Youtuber Uses Minecraft to Prey on Underage Fans

The internet is a wide and wonderful place, being able to play games with people all over the world and listen to music at the press of a button the ability to communicate and share your experience with the world is just a moment away. Sadly though, some people seek to use this ability for less than honourable reasons, as shown by a recent Youtuber who tweeted out inappropriate images of a fan.

The act of streaming of your gaming experience and sharing it, sometimes even in the game, with fans from around the world, is not rare these days with many people making a life out of the activity. Marcus Wilton, who went by LionMaker, is a streamer based in Belgium who often streamed he popular block-based game, Minecraft. He has made up an audience of over 600,000 subscribers, many of whom are young teens or even pre-teen in age.

It now appears that he used that position to have inappropriate conversations and obtain indecent images of people, including trying to obtain an image of a 12-year-old via Skype and a 16-year-old girl and that’s believed to be the tip of the iceberg.

In defence of himself, Wilton claims that he was hacked on several occasions including on the 21st December when pictures of the 16-year-old girl in question were posted via his twitter feed. This has yet to be independently confirmed, but a third girl has come forward stating that she was offered $500 for images of herself, with the money being transferred through PayPal even when the offer was refused.

We at eTeknix would like to remind everyone to be safe online, be mindful of the images and details you share with people online and if you ever suspect something or receive messages that upset you, then contact a family member and report the messages, be they received by Skype, Facebook or any other method for that matter. If you receive the messages by text or a phone call then contact your service provider and report the offending number immediately.