Wikipedia clearly is among the most innocuous websites and one can not imagine it being blocked by a child pornography filtering mechanism. However, the improbable has just occurred in the UK. The whole problem began when an image of a Scorpions album prompted Internet Watch Foundation’s Cleanfeed child pornography filtering system - used by many of the leading UK ISPs - to block the particular page.
Consequently, all traffic to Wikipedia from ISPs that deploy Cleanfeed beagn to be routed through transparent proxies – one proxy per ISP. Even if a single user is barred from editing by Wikipedia’s anti-vandalism system, all other users using the same proxy suffer exactly in the same fashion as most UK-based Wikipedia users are sharing a handful of IP addresses.
You can track the problem as it unfolds on this Wikipedia page dedicated to it. The IWF has stated on its website that the particular page was reported through its online reporting mechanism. After it was found unsuitable for minors, the page was “added to the list provided to ISPs and other companies in the online sector to protect their customers from inadvertent exposure to a potentially illegal indecent image of a child.”
Google has delivered its riposte to Precursor LLC, which accused the search giant of using 21 times more internet bandwidth than it pays for in its maiden research study of U.S. Consumer Internet Usage and Cost. Richard Whitt, Google’s Washington Telecom Counsel derided Scott Cleland, the author of Precursor’s contentious report, for what it calls “payola punditry.”
He questioned the neutrality of the report given the fact Cleland’s anti-Net neutrality group – effectively against Google - is funded by telecom and cable companies. He expressly made it clear that he believes that the report was at the behest of Cleland’s paymasters.
Whitt even hung a question mark against the accuracy of the calculations upon which Cleland based his diatribe against the search giant. "Mr. Cleland's calculations about YouTube's impact are similarly flawed. Here he confuses "market share" with 'traffic share.' YouTube's share of video traffic is decidedly smaller than its market share. And typical YouTube traffic takes up far less bandwidth than downloading or streaming a movie."
But Cleland is standing his ground. He described the report as a “transparent attempt to estimate something of significance.”
The holidays are shaping up to be happy for gamers on a mainstream budget. According to X-Bit Labs, AMD said it had reduced the price of its ATI Radeon HD 4870 videocard and that at least one online vendor will be selling the 512MB model for $199.
"The price of the ATI Radeon HD 4870 is dropping and we expect that the 512MB and 1GB boards should be available on Newegg today for around $199 and $239 respectively, offering an even more compelling value," a spokesperson for ATI/AMD said.
A cursory glance on Newegg backs the spokesperson's claim (not that we ever doubted him) with two 512MB models -- Sapphire and HIS -- already marked down to the promised price point, and even less if you want to try your hand at the mail-in-rebate game. The 1GB models haven't yet dropped quite as low, not before MIR anyway (we were right to be skeptical).
This year has been a good one for PC gamers as AMD and Nvidia have repeatedly cut prices and taken other measures, such as die shrinks (Nvidia) and giving graphics partners the green light to overclock (AMD), to try and one up each other.
Late last week Team Group launched 3GB (3x1GB) and 6GB (3x2GB) capacity kits in DDR3-1333, DDR3-1600, and DDR3-1866 form. Team Group wasn't the first to offer tri-channel memory kits for Intel's new Core i7 platform, but for the time being, the company is claiming it has the "market-fastest" modules around
DDR3-1333, 7-7-7-21-2T, 1.5V-1.6V
DDR3-1600, 8-8-8-24-2T, 1.65V
DDR3-1866, 9-9-9-24-2T, 1.65V
It's worth noting that at least one other memory company offers tri-channel memory rated at DDR3-1866. Corsair's high frequency kit lists the same latency timings and voltage requirement as Team Group's does, but this doesn't necessarily contradict the company's 'market-fastest' claim. Team Group's Xtreem DDR3-1866 memory does qualify as the highest frequency kits yet available, they're just not alone at the top.
Team Group, a company not as widely known in casual circles as some of the more commonly marketed brands, often targets the overclocking crowd. The company touts an extensive binning process on its high performance RAM, requiring that all modules pass a 24-hour burn-in test on "major overclocking motherboards from Asus and Gigabyte."
So much for boasting the 'market-fastest' tri-channel kit. That distinction belongs to Kingston, who's tri-channel DDR3-2000 kit was released on October 29, 2008.
Nvidia's nZone website has posted download links to new beta videocard drivers, version 180.84, for both Vista and XP. Little information has been given about the new drivers, other than that they're intended to improve gameplay with Rockstar's new Grand Theft Auto IV videogame.
"Nvidia recommends that you update your system with the following GeForce v180.84 driver for the best experiences on Grand Theft Auto IV," nZone writes.
Users who have installed and played GTA IV on the PC have complained of varying issues, including missing textures and intermittent crashes. GTA IV's support page lists several troubleshooting steps, one of which recommends users download the newest drivers with a link to the nZone page containing the beta release. However, no specific bug fixes or performance issues have been identified with the new drivers, so it might be hard to tell what difference they're making.
As always, take proper precautions whenever experimenting with pre-release code. As Nvidia discloses regarding beta drivers, they "may include significant issues." When you're ready to take the leap:
Last week several Xbox 360 and Roku set-top box owners complained of loss of quality and irritating delays when firing up a movie through Netflix's streaming download service. At the time, the glitch had Netflix stumped, but now it appears Netflix has identified the problem and fixed whatever was causing the issue.
"This was a temporary issue that we believe we have resolved," Netflix wrote on its blog site. "Working with our content distribution partners and key carriers, we made some specific changes that should restore everyone's experience to where it was before - high quality streaming."
However, there might still be work to do. Netflix posted its update on Friday, December 5th, but users throughout the weekend were still reporting lingering issues in the comments section.
Respected Open Source advocate, and CEO of Collaborative Software Stuart Cohen warns that the business model behind open source software companies is broken. And that the nature of these businesses will need to evolve in order to survive. In his article he explains how the traditional model in which companies would freely offer software, and make a living off the support is coming to an end. An end which is likely to be accelerated by the economic slowdown. He cautions open source designers to view the software as more of a means to an end.
As part of his argument, he claims the real value of open source software companies will come from those who can find ways to add value with supporting add-ons and applications. He uses Red Hat as an example of a company that adds significant value to the Linux kernel, and couldn’t survive on support alone. “Open-Soure code is generally great code, not requiring much support”. According to Cohen the true power of the open source community will be realized through the spirit of collaboration. “While the open-source business model may be broken, the concepts behind open source will continue to bring new value to customers and strong returns to software company stakeholders”.
So do you think the harsh economic climate will hurt or inspire the open source community? Hit the jump and let us know what you think.
Another day, but still no dollar. According to a stark-white sliver of the Internet, Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment (developer of Stargate Worlds) employees' bank accounts are on life support -- having gone without a fresh cash transfusion for 23 days and counting. Senior Marketing Manager Kevin Balentine replied to the above allegation, but his words didn't exactly inspire confidence.
"At Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment, we have always been upfront with the media and our fans that we are a start up. Like many start ups, we face the same cash-flow issues that all pre-revenue companies face. We have maintained a core of dedicated investors, but the new economic realities are forcing us to seek out additional sources of funding and that's what we're doing," Balentine said.
In addition, TenTonHammer's team of grapevine-whisperers recently heard that "more" employees have abandoned their posts at CME over the past few weeks. Definitely not a good sign for the struggling start-up.
However, we hold out hope that Stargate Worlds won't crash and burn before even crossing the starting line. After all, many mods died to bring us this game, and we wouldn't want their valiant sacrifices to be in vain.
Like it or not, Google is widely considered to be a leader within the technology industry. Flagship companies such as themselves, Apple, and Microsoft are important companies to watch during a market downturn. Downsizing at these multibillion dollar corporations are viewed as a devastating reminder that even the strongest companies aren’t immune to the decline. In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Google CEO Eric Schmidt outlined several cost cutting initiatives to help keep revenue on track.
"We have to behave as though we don't know" what's going to happen, says Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt. The company will curtail the "dark matter," he says, projects that "haven't really caught on" and "aren't really that exciting." He says the company is "not going to give" an engineer 20 people to work with on certain experimental projects anymore. "When the cycle comes back," he says, "we will be able to fund his brilliant vision."
Here is brief list of changes in store for the engineers at Google:
An increased focus on business diversification. They are expected to focus on display ads, mobile integration, and enterprise software.
Kill off, or slowly starve non-revenue generating products. Schmidt clarified this statement by referring to smaller projects, but hopefully money sinkholes such as YouTube won’t be affected. Some of this has already started with the death of services such as Lively.
Suspension of the 20% rule. This famous decree allowed Google engineers to spend a fifth of their time on any project of their choosing including something completely new.
Closing down offices in Dallas and Denver.
Increased workloads. With the recent pink slips handed out to over 10,000 contractors, someone has to pickup the slack and empty the trash cans.
Does trouble at Google signal the peek of our economic woes or is it just par for the course? Hit the jump and let us know what you think.
Blogger Richard Bennett from the register is issuing a grave warning for all to hear, Bit Torrent has declared war on VoIP and Gamers. Recent policy changes to bandwidth distribution techniques at Bell Canada have the uTorrent developers looking for alternative ways to keep P2P screaming along. The solution they are allegedly pursuing is a shift in the default protocol used from TCP to UDP. Even though uTorrent isn’t the only P2P application, it is widely considered the standard by which other torrent applications are modeled. Changes to it would likely filter down into other Torrent applications sooner rather than later. Should this change come to pass, ISP’s may find themselves unable to effectively manage each user’s bandwidth since only TCP has the proper controls to handle and throttle network congestion evenly.
According to recent estimates, P2P activity accounts for almost 50% of modern internet traffic. According to Bennett, if P2P suddenly becomes immune to congestion control it could cut the bandwidth available to TCP traffic by as much as 75%. As he so plainly points out 25% of the bandwidth for 95% users hardly seems fair. Flooding the net with UDP traffic would, in theory, have an even larger impact on VoIP services and online gaming since it is largely dependent on the use of UDP.
User Datagram Protocol was originally designed for real time transfers of small amounts of data with a low tolerance for delay. Currently the protocol represents only about 2% of all the internet traffic, but uTorrent’s changes could have a dramatic impact on this number. According to Bennett, ISP’s have the ability to monitor and separate P2P UDP traffic, but would require the use of controversial technologies such as Deep Packet Inspection. Since lawmakers and consumers are pushing for the concept of network neutrality, he points out that it becomes even more likely that ISP’s will be forced to implement more aggressive bandwidth caps as a possible solution.