Show of 2-4-2012

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Ted: Dear Tech Talk, what’s the difference between a router, a wireless router and a wireless access point? I am confused. Thanks, Ted
  • Tech Talk Responds: A router is a networking device that routes traffic based on the IP address. A router is actually considered an intelligent device, as it can inspect the data and make changes to it, such as performing NAT, or Network Address Translation, that allows multiple computers to share a single internet connection and internet address. The functions of a router actually have nothing to do with wireless networking.
  • An access point provides wireless access to a network. It’s like a hub and pays no attention to the data that crosses it. It simply sends everything that it receives on a wired connection to the wireless transmitter and everything that it receives wirelessly is sent to the wired connection. The functions of an access point are completely unrelated to that of a router.
  • A wireless router has two separate devices — a router and an access point – in one box. Usually, it also includes an additional function, called a firewall which is really a filtering function built into the router.
  • Email from Jimmy: Dear Dr. Shurtz, What would you recommend a small business use to provide FTP to clients? Each client should be able to have their own separate area that is protected from being viewed by other clients. Thanks, Jimmy from Springfield, VA
  • Tech Talk Responds: FTP or File Transfer Protocol is a common technology used to upload and download files and it can be useful to some businesses to exchange files with clients. If I were to set something like that up, I would actually go to either a shared hosting site like Bluehost or Dreamhos. The reason I’m pointing those out is because the default installation you get of a website supports FTP and that FTP support can be configured on a per account basis.
  • If you are trying to run an FTP site from your own home or out of your home business, it’s typically more trouble than it’s worth. And with hosting being relatively inexpensive, for as low as $10/month.
  • Email from Peggy: Dear Dr. Richard Shurtz, I am told regularly by firms that I have submitted a product complaint to via that they aren’t getting my email replies. This forces me call back and sit on hold for a long time.
  • Is there a sure way to know when an email does arrive to the designated addressee? I believe they are lying to me about the non-receipt of my emails. I do send them read receipt requested but I know no one has to send a receipt if they choose not to. Love your show! Peggy
  • Tech Talk Responds: Unfortunately there is no way to tell if they have received your email if they chose not to send a receipt requested message.

Profiles in IT: Tim O’Shaughnessy

  • Co-founder of Living Social, a fast growing competitor for Groupon in the online-to-offline business (O2O) sector.
  • Tim O’Shaughnessy was born in 1982 in Minnesota.
  • His father runs a freight company in Apple Valley, MN. Tim is the youngest of four.
  • At age eight, Tim started a candy business. He used his $8-a-week allowance to buy candy in bulk. With the help of a red wagon, he traveled from playground to playground selling candy. In a week, they could triple or quadruple his money.
  • He attended high school at St. Thomas Academy, a Catholic military academy.
  • He then enrolled in Georgetown University in 2001, with a double major, operations and information mangagement (OPIM)
  • To help pay for college, he started a handyman service and worked as a live-in chef.
  • In 2004, during his senior year, Tim O’Shaughnessy was involved in a class consulting project for AOL. A day after the group’s, he received an offer from AOL.
  • Two weeks later, he started at AOL’s Tysons headquarters. After two years at AOL, he moved to AOL cofounder Steve Case’s start-up, Revolution Health.
  • In 2007, Tim and several colleagues from Revolution Health started Hungary Machine. The got the idea while drinking at the Brickskeller near Dupont Circle.
  • The group split their time between large-scale tech consulting projects and on the side building their own Facebook products, such as Visual Bookshelf.
  • They realized that their side business of building Facebook products had the potential to be even more profitable than their main business, consulting for ESPN and JibJab.
  • The Facebook platform was interesting: It was the sweet spot for a growing business at the intersection of “O2O” (online-to-offline) commerce.
  • That idea—never to be satisfied, always to reach for the bigger goal—permeates the company today. To its founders, Hungry Machine is an attitude. “Hungry is hungry.
  • In the spring of 2008, Hungry Machine’s five employees knew they had found an interesting niche in the Facebook app platform but needed room to grow.
  • Steve Case was willing to kick in some seed money, but the founders wanted more. They landed $5 million in Series A financing from Grotech; Case also invested.
  • In March 2009, LivingSocial had its first bona fide hit. The Pick Your Five app—which encouraged Facebook users to choose their favorite books, drinks, musicians.
  • By summer, Pick Your Five was the number-one app on Facebook.
  • LivingSocial began to shift direction in 2009 with the acquisition of a little company called Buy a Friend a Drink.
  • The partners leveraged their relationships with restaurants to morph LivingSocial into its current form. LivingSocial keeps approximately 30 percent of the fee.
  • By the end of 2009, LivingSocial raised a total of $176 million. The sought addition funding to accelerate their expansion. They are chasing Groupon.
  • In 2010, Living Social raised an additional $400 million.
  • By the end of 2010, the company had 46 million subscribers in 25 countries.
  • Tim is married to Laura Graham, daughter of Washington Post Company CEO.
  • O’shaughnessy commutes to work on a Segway.
  • O’Shaughnessy keeps an ice-cream cooler in his office to encourage colleagues to visit and chat about what they’re working on.

World IPv6 Launch

  • Major Internet service providers (ISPs), home networking equipment manufacturers, and web companies around the world are coming together to permanently enable IPv6 for their products and services by 6 June 2012.
  • Organized by the Internet Society, and building on the successful one-day World IPv6 Day event held on 8 June 2011, World IPv6 Launch represents a major milestone in the global deployment of IPv6.
  • As the successor to the current Internet Protocol, IPv4, IPv6 is critical to the Internet’s continued growth as a platform for innovation and economic development.
  • ISPs participating in World IPv6 Launch will enable IPv6 for enough users so that at least 1% of their wireline residential subscribers who visit participating websites will do so using IPv6 by 6 June 2012.
  • These ISPs have committed that IPv6 will be available automatically as the normal course of business for a significant portion of their subscribers. Committed ISPs are:
    • AT&T
    • Comcast
    • Free Telecom
    • Internode
    • KDDI
    • Time Warner Cable
    • XS4ALL
  • Participating home networking equipment manufacturers will enable IPv6 by default through the range of their home router products by 6 June 2012.
  • Committed equipment manufacturers are:
    • Cisco
    • D-Link
  • Web companies participating in World IPv6 Launch will enable IPv6 on their main websites permanently beginning 6 June 2012. Inaugural participants are:
  • Content delivery network providers Akamai and Limelight will be enabling their customers to join this list of participating websites by enabling IPv6 throughout their infrastructure.
  • IPv4 has approximately four billion IP addresses (the sequence of numbers assigned to each Internet-connected device). The explosion in the number of people, devices, and web services on the Internet means that IPv4 is running out of space.
  • IPv6, the next-generation Internet protocol which provides more than 340 trillion, trillion, trillion addresses, will connect the billions of people not connected today and will help ensure the Internet can continue its current growth rate indefinitely.
  • For more information, go to the Internet Society’s Deploy360 website: http://www.internetsociety.org/deploy360/

Google Privacy Policy Changes

  • Google plans to move forward with its planned privacy policy changes.
  • The search engine provider said it planned to introduce changes to its privacy policies March 1. These changes include consolidating 60 Web services under one blanket policy.
  • Google will also treat any user with a Google account who signs into search, YouTube, Gmail or its other services as the same individual across those services. Google will also share data between those services.
  • Google users who choose not to be enable this sharing simply can use Search, Maps, and YouTube without signing into their Google accounts.
  • Beware what you share.

Facebook Timeline Paranoia

  • The Facebook Timeline is coming whether you like it or not.
  • First, the Timeline is not exposing any posts, photos, or information that aren’t already out there.
  • Second, you control who sees your posts. Facebook has always provided controls that let you choose who a given post or photo is shared with, and nothing about Timeline is going to change that.
  • Facebook Timeline makes Facebook more engaging. The current (or old in my case) format is linear and boring. It doesn’t help you actually be social with those in your Facebook network, and if a given post isn’t on the first page you’ll likely never see it.
  • It is fun to be able to view a friend’s Facebook profile, and scroll through the Timeline to learn or reminisce about major life events.
  • The bottom line is this: if the Facebook Timeline exposes anything that you wish others wouldn’t see, the fault is yours for not applying the appropriate privacy controls in the first place.

Facebook IPO Imminent

  • Facebook, in one of the world’s most widely anticipated IPOs, or initial public offerings of stock, filed papers February 1st to raise at least $5 billion and begin to sell stock this spring.
  • The filing was made online with the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington.
  • If all goes as planned, it will likely take until May for Facebook stock to begin trading on a stock exchange.
  • Facebook, along the way, has made a lot of money. It revealed in the filing that in 2011 it had profits of $1 billion on sales of $3.7 billion.
  • Zuckerberg, now 27, started Facebook when he was a student at Harvard University in 2004.
  • The company has grown since its founding only seven years ago, with a user base of over 800 million people worldwide. The expansion of the social network has only fueled anticipation for an IPO.
  • But CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg has been in no rush to take his company public.
  • The 27-year-old CEO has had a number of exit opportunities in the company’s history, with tech titans as large as Yahoo and Microsoft offering billions of dollars to acquire the social network.
  • Zuckerberg, then years younger, turned down both, instead opting to continue to grow and improve his company while continuing to accept venture funding.

Website of the Week: OpenSecret.org

  • OpenSecrets.org tracks the influence of money on U.S. politics, and how that money affects policy and citizens’ lives.
  • The Center for Responsive Politics launched the website following the 1996 elections.
  • Before that time, the Center, founded in 1983 by U.S. Sens. Frank Church (D-Idaho) and Hugh Scott (R-Pa.), published its work tracking money in politics and its effect on elections and public policy in extensive reports and books.
  • Open Secrets profiles the spending patterns of interest groups and major industries.
  • You can search by candidate, interest group, zip code, or state.
  • Website: www.opensecrets.org

Viewers Could Control Super Bowl Ads

  • ABC News producers analyzed real-time social media reactions to two GOP debates—including a spike in tweets when Mitt Romney challenged Rick Perry to a $10,000 bet.
  • During this Sunday’s Super Bowl, a record five million viewers are expected to tweet or make other social media comments—not just about the game, but also about the many beer, snack, and car ads that are integral to the annual sports and entertainment ritual.
  • This activity—up from 900,000 people making Super Bowl posts during last year’s game—is now happening at such a vast scale that executives in television, broadcast news, and advertising expect analytics of the comments to start shaping advertising choices—and even the direction of news coverage—in near real-time.
  • Even social media feedback on things happening in the game could cause an adjustment.
  • Discussion of television shows and ads on social media is surging. For example, the most recent premiere of The Bachelor garnered 80,528 comments, up from 13,966 the previous year; the numbers for Jersey Shore were 410,230 and 69,829.
  • The most commented-upon TV event ever was the MTV Music Video Awards last year, at which Beyonce revealed her pregnancy—this triggered 3.1 million comments.
  • Bluefin, a social media analytics firm, captures more than 8,000 television shows on 200 networks—including the ads—and tracks social medial response to both programming and individual ad airings.
  • It also keeps track of about 10 million people who have commented on something on TV at least once per three months, to track the various things that inspire them.

Device of the Week: F-BOMB

  • With a PogoPlug NAS box, a few antennae, flash memory and some batteries, and you’ve got a cheap, disposable F-BOMB with which to collect data on adversaries.
  • Equipped with Wi-Fi cracking software or GPS, it could infiltrate someone’s computer or track someone’s location without them knowing.
  • Allow me to drop the F-BOMB. The Falling or Ballistically-launched Object that Makes Backdoors, that is.
  • Invented by Brandon O’Connor as an alternative to high-tech and costly spy devices, the F-BOMB is made so cheaply with off-the-shelf parts that you’ll feel perfectly okay with losing one or two.
  • Very convenient when it’s sitting in the backyard of a drug lord hideout.
  • Before building the F-BOMB, O’Connor challenged himself with several constraints.
  • He wanted multiple wireless radios, USB capability for expansion (add GPS for example), battery life that lasted hours to days, a size small enough that it won’t be found.
  • The key addition was the PogoPlug. The PogoPlug is a NAS (Network Attached Storage) box, a data storage device through which people can share information over the Internet.
  • It runs on Linux. Normally the boxes cost about $150, which would have made the F-BOMB too expensive for O’Connor’s purposes, but the company is having a hard time selling the devices.
  • PogoPlug’s misfortune becomes O’Connor’s advantage as he can now purchase them for just $25 on Amazon.com.
  • And that’s the most expensive bit of hardware. Add the antennae, eight gigabytes worth of flash memory and a plastic casting that’s 3D-printed and you’ve got a little spying computer you can build for under $49. Four D batteries will provide power for 30-plus hours.
  • Aside from being cheap and reproducible, building a monitoring device with commercial off-the-shelf, or COTS, components from Amazon or craigslist means when the bad guys find it in their backyard they won’t be able to trace it to you. Were the F-BOMB to require any kind of made-to-order, a determined person could find the manufacture, start asking questions.
  • The F-BOMB won an award from DARPA’s Cyber Fast Track program. The title of the project is “Reticle: Leaderless Command and Control,” which kind of makes me wonder what else he’s developing.
  • O’Connor has a security and software consultancy called Malice Afterthought. He learned about such things teaching at cybersecurity schools for the military as well as working in the security devisions of VeriSign and Sun Microsystems.
  • The website describes him as “dreamer and mad scientist capable of making even the most challenging tasks into reality.”