Tech Talk Guest Profiles in IT: Robert Metcalfe India : Science & Technology AllofMP3 Reopens Power Grab Could Split the Net Appeals Court Vacates $11M Judgment Against Spamhaus Spamhaus Top Ten Worst ISPs Pet Peeve ? Using CC: Instead of BCC: in Broadcast Emails Google Earth's Hidden Surprise: A Flight Simulator Tech Gadget of the Week: IronKey
Dr James Flaggert, Dean Graduate School , Stratford University
Technology Report from India
Profiles in IT: Robert Metcalfe
As a graduate student, Bob Metcalfe worked on the ARAPNET at MIT. He later developed a new technology, called Ethernet, for connecting computers in a local network.
Metcalfe was born in 1946, in Brooklyn , NY .
He attended MIT where he earned degrees in electrical engineering and business management. He then earned a master’s degree in applied mathematics from Harvard.
While working on his Ph.D. in computer science at Harvard, he took a job at MIT building the hardware that would link MIT to the ARPANET.
Metcalfe was excited about the ARAPNET and made it the topic of his doctoral dissertation. He was shocked when Harvard flunked him. His dissertation was "not theoretical enough."
Metcalfe had already accepted a job a Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC).
He was told to come take his job anyway and finish his doctoral work later.
His inspiration for a new dissertation came when he read a paper about the ALOHA network, or Alohanet at the university of Hawaii .
The Alohanet used radio waves instead of telephone wire to transmit data. The main problem with using radio waves as a medium was that if two packets were sent out at the same time on the same broadcast channel they would interfere with each other and effectively cut off the transmission.
The Alohanet designers implemented a method called random access. Computers were allowed to transmit whenever they had data to send. They then waited to receive confirmation from the destination computer that the packets arrived. If packets collided and no confirmation was received, the sending computer would wait for a random (but very short) period of time and retransmit.
He reworked the design and made it the topic of his new dissertation. His improvement was to vary the random interval for re-transmission based on traffic load. In high traffic, the computer would wait longer periods before re-transmitting.
Metcalfe’s new dissertation was accepted and he finally got his Ph.D.
Back at Xerox PARC, he modified his version of the Alohanet to use cables instead of radio and with several other adjustments created a new technology he called Ethernet to connect computers together.
In 1979, he started his own company, 3Com (which stands for computers, communication, compatibility).
He supported the IEEE standards process. Ethernet is 802.3 standard. We still use the 6-byte MAC address space.
Metcalfe’s law states that the value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of users of the system (n2).
In 1980 he received the Association for Computing Machinery Grace Murray Hopper Award for his contributions to local area networks, specifically Ethernet.
Throughout the 1980s LANs became very popular. They were especially popular at universities where many workstations were connected using Ethernet.
Those LANs were in turn connected to the Internet to facilitate inter-institution communication. In this way, Ethernet was influential in the expansion of the Internet.
India : Science & Technology
The tradition of science and technology (S&T) in India is over 5,000 years old.
A renaissance was witnessed in the first half of the 20th century. The S&T infrastructure has grown up from about 10 million Rs at the time of independence in 1947 to 30 billion Rs.
Significant achievements have been made in the areas of nuclear and space science, electronics and defense.
India has the third largest scientific and technical manpower in the world; 162 universities award 4,000 doctorates and 35,000 postgraduate degrees and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research runs 40 research laboratories that have made some significant achievements. In the field of Missile Launch Technology, India is among the top five nations of the world.
Science and technology, however, is used as an effective instrument for growth and change.
It is being brought into the mainstream of economic planning in the sectors of agriculture, industry and services.
The country’s resources are used to derive the maximum output for the benefit of society and improvement in the quality of life.
About 85 per cent of the funds for S&T come directly or indirectly from the Government.
The S&T infrastructure in the country accounts for more than one per cent of the GNP. S&T in India is entering a new frontier.
India is today recognized as one of the most advanced countries in nuclear technology including production of source materials.
The sophisticated variable energy cyclotron at Kolkata and a medium-energy heavy ion accelerator ‘pelletron’ set up recently at Mumbai are national research.
Currently eight nuclear stations are producing eight billion kilowatt of electricity. Four more nuclear power stations are planned.
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), under the Department of Space (DOS), is responsible for research, development and operational of space systems in the areas of satellite communications, remote sensing for resource survey, environmental monitoring, meteorological services. India is the only Third World Country to develop its own remote-sensing satellite.
The Department of Electronics plays the promotional role for the development and use of electronics for socioeconomic development.
A multi-pronged approach has been evolved for result-oriented R&D with special emphasis on microelectronics, telematics, and high-performance computing and software development.
For upgrading the quality of indigenously manufactured products, a series of test and development centers and regional laboratories have been set up.
These centers for electronic design and technology help small and medium electronics units.
India has a coastline of more than 7,600 km and 1,250 islands.
Survey and exploration efforts have been directed to assess sea bed topography, and concentration and quality of mineral nodules.
In August 1987, India was allotted a mining site of 150,000 sq. km in the central Indian Ocean for further exploration and development of resources.
India has sent 13 scientific research expeditions to Antarctica since 1981, and has established a permanently manned base, Dakshin Gangotri. The objective is to study the ozone layer and other important constituents, optical aurora, geomagnetic pulsation and related phenomena.
India has been the forerunner among the developing countries in promoting multi-disciplinary activities in this area. A Department of Biotechnology was created in 1986.
Some of the new initiatives taken include developing techniques for gene mapping, conservation of biodiversity and and bioindicators research.
The areas which have been receiving attention are cattle herd improvement through embryo transfer technology, in vitro propagation of disease resistant plant varieties for obtaining higher yields, and development of vaccines for various diseases.
On Wednesday, August 15 a district court in Moscow ruled that AllofMP3.com operated within the bounds of Russian law. The court found no infringement of copyright law. According to the statement from the judge the site had paid a certain amount of the revenue to the right holders.
The court found that the investigation initiated by the IFPI had produced insufficient evidence and the conclusion that AllofMP3.com had broken any laws was a premature one.
The service will be resumed in the foreseeable future. We are doing our best at the moment to ensure that all our users can use their accounts, top up balance and order music.
The U.S. Commerce Department in 2006 called allofmp3 "the world’s highest-volume online seller of pirated music", and made its closure a key point in bilateral trade negotiations for Russia ‘s accession to the World Trade Organization.
The site was closed in early July ahead of a summit between the Russian and American presidents, though Internet visitors were directed to a similar Web site where allofmp3 credit could be used to purchase music.
Allofmp3 sold digitally encoded music across a wide range of artists and genres at prices significantly lower than Apple’s popular iTunes or the newly legalized version of Napster.
The Russian site also paid no music industry royalties, saying it was in compliance with Russian law by instead paying 15 percent of its profit to a non-commercial partnership that traffics in licensing and payment for digital media.
"We pay royalties to those who sign up with us and ask for them. But none of the majors, among them I mean labels like EMI and Universal, want their money," said Oleg Nezus of the Russian Organization for Multimedia and Digital Systems.
Power Grab Could Split the Net
For the first time in its history, the Internet is running a real risk of fracturing into multiple and perhaps even incompatible networks.
At a meeting in Geneva last week, the US objected to the idea of the United Nations running the top-level servers that direct traffic to the master databases of all domain names.
Instead of acquiescing to the US demands, the European Union objected and embraced greater U.N. control.
Other nations were equally irritated, including: Russia , Brazil and Iran .
The International Telecommunication Union, a U.N. body, offered to take over from the United States and mange the crucial root servers.
We could end up with a Balkanized Internet in which the U.S. attempts to retain control of its root servers and a large portion of the world veers in an incompatible direction using other root servers.
The Internet’s 13 root servers guide traffic to the massive databases that contain addresses for all the individual top-level domains, such as .com, .net, .edu, and the country code domains like .uk and .jp.
Whoever controls what goes into the root servers has the final authority about what new top-level domains are added or deleted.
Not all the root servers, named A through M, are in the United States . The M server is operated by the WIDE Project in Tokyo , and the K server is managed by Amsterdam-based RIPE. The F, I and J servers point to many addresses around the world through the anycast protocol, yielding a total of 80 locations in 34 countries.
A working group report prepared before last week’s meeting called root server reform an issue of the "highest priority."
Turning over control of key Internet functions to the U.N. would invite a debacle.
State Department officials will have to find a way to allay fears of a U.S.-dominated Internet while avoiding any path leading to a bifurcated root.
Appeals Court Vacates $11M Judgment Against Spamhaus
Publishes a blacklist of mail server IP addresses which ISPs use in their spam filters.
The UK-based anti-spam project was slammed with an $11 million default judgment last year after refusing to defend itself against an Illinois lawsuit filed by commercial e-mailer e360 Insight.
E360 says it doesn’t spam, and claims it lost $11,715,000 in potential business after being listed in Spamhaus’s blacklist, which is widely used by ISPs to filter incoming e-mail.
Today the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the award, and vacated a permanent injunction that ostensibly required Spamhaus to stop listing e360 as a spammer, and to post a statement on its homepage saying that e360 doesn’t spam.
Both the award and the injunction had been issued by Illinois U.S. District Court judge Charles Kocoras without taking any evidence.
The decision sends the case back to Judge Kocoras, to hold hearings on the question of how much financial harm e360 suffered from being blacklisted, and whether an injunction against Spamhaus is appropriate.
Spamhaus got into this mess when it initially defended itself in the Illinois case, then reversed course and withdrew its formal response to the complaint, on the theory that the U.S. courts have no jurisdiction over the London-based anti-spam project.
Judge Kocoras rejected that argument, and granted the default judgment against Spamhaus.
For his part, Spamhaus CEO Steve Linford defied the injunction from the start, and still lists e360 as a spammer.
Spamhaus Top Ten Worst ISPs
Spam continues to plague the Internet because a small number of large Internet Service Providers sell service knowingly to professional spammers for profit, or do nothing to prevent spammers operating from their networks
Although all networks claim to be anti-spam, some network executives factor revenue made from hosting known spam gangs into corporate policy decisions to continue to sell services to spam operations.
The world’s worst spam problem networks today are: Verizon.com (with 46 known spammers); Xo.com (with 42 known spammers); Yipes.com (34); Cnuninet.com (29); Vsnlinternational.com (28); Bluesky (28); Att.net (26); Wind.it (23); Calpop.com (23); Iplan.com.ar (22).
Pet Peeve ? Using CC: Instead of BCC: in Broadcast Emails
Trojans that use personal computers for sending spam or phishing emails. They use the address book and any emails that are in the system to generate a list of addresses.
They frequently spoof the return address using an address from this list because the probability of success is doubled if the recipient knows the sender.
A virus that compromises my friends’ email address book compromises me.
If family and friends seriously add me to their TO: and CC: lines in their email headers, they put me at risk unnecessarily. A Trojan on any of those machines has access to my email address.
Don’t be sloppy with the email addresses of your friends, relatives and business contacts. Discover and learn to love your email’s BCC.
Google Earth’s Hidden Surprise: A Flight Simulator
Hidden inside Google Earth is a secret Flight Simulator that takes full advantage of Google’s extensive satellite imagery. To access the hidden feature, open Google Earth and hit Ctrl+A if you are using a windows machine.
The Google Earth Flight Simulator comes with two aircraft options, a F16 Viper and the more manageable SR22 4 seater.
Players have the option of commencing the game from their current location in Google Earth or can pick from a list of pre-determined runways.
It supports both keyboard and joystick controls. A joystick is a requirement since the key controls are clumsy.
Overall the game play is fairly simple in terms of control, but the striking difference is flying over real pictures of locations
Tech Gadget of the Week: IronKey
Thumb drives are a convenient and cool way to carry around your data. Unfortunately, due to their small sizes, they are targets for information thieves.
the US Military wanted portable but secure storage, and the guys at IronKey stepped up. They’ve developed the perfect solution. Their thumb drives hold up to 4 Gigabytes of data, but includes a hardware encryption chip that scrambles the data so as to be completely unreadable without a password.
Passwords can be hacked, but not the IronKey. It’s built to withstand attacks both virtual and physical.
10 incorrect password attempts, and the encryption chip self-destructs, making the contents of the flash drive totally unreadable.
The contents of the drive are filled with epoxy, so if a hacker tries to physically access the chips, he’d more likely damage them instead. Even if he did get access to the memory chips, they’d be worthless without the encryption chip. Electron-shielded, even a scanning electron microscope can’t get inside.
Your passwords are securely stored in a hidden hardware-encrypted area inside the device (and not in the drive’s file system), being first locally encrypted with 256-bit AES, using randomly generated keys encrypted with a SHA-256 hash of your device password. All of this data is then doubly encrypted with 128-bit AES hardware encryption. Hack that.
A secure copy of Firefox included with your IronKey encrypts your browsing session through a VPN tunnel to IronKey’s Secure Sessions Service. It works by tunneling your entire web browsing communications through the Tor-based Secure Sessions proxy on your IronKey.
The Secure Sessions tunnel connects over an encrypted connection to their network routing servers, which in turn route your traffic between a number of servers, and then eventually out to your destination website.
This approach protects your identity and your confidentiality, encrypting and anonymizing your Web surfing on almost any network or VPN (virtual private network).
These drives have already seen duty in Afghanistan, keeping US Military secrets safe from unsavory people. They’re certainly good enough even for your most sensitive data