Sun, 10 April 2016
On Wednesday, March 30, 2016 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) started a three-year process of making our mobile internet even faster and better. The government is buying underused TV airwaves and selling it to mobile carriers for billions of dollars. These radio waves—also known as spectrum—will shape mobile US connectivity as streaming video continues to swallow up bandwidth across the country and as we inch closer to 5G internet speeds. In this podcast, we discuss the auction process.
Ransomware Evolution is Really Bad News - Angela Alcorn
Recently, 10 hospitals in Maryland operated without access to their central network because their domain servers were locked by a ransomware known as Samsam
Victims paid more than $24 million to ransomware criminals in 2015 — and that's just the beginning – Dan Turkel
The DOJ revealed that the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) had received nearly 7,700 public complaints regarding ransomware since 2005, totaling $57.6 million in damages. Those damages include ransoms paid — generally $200 to $10,000, according to the FBI — as well as costs incurred in dealing with the attack and estimated value of data lost. In 2015 alone, victims paid over $24 million across nearly 2,500 cases reported to the IC3.
Adobe issues emergency update to Flash after ransomware attacks – Jim Finkle
Adobe Systems Inc (ADBE.O) issued an emergency update on Thursday to its widely used Flash software for Internet browsers after researchers discovered a security flaw that was being exploited to deliver ransomware to Windows PCs.
The software maker urged the more than 1 billion users of Flash on Windows, Mac, Chrome and Linux computers to update the product as quickly as possible after security researchers said the bug was being exploited in "drive-by" attacks that infect computers with ransomware when tainted websites are visited.
How about the auction, What’s spectrum?
The way it is being used here, by the FCC - Spectrum is really just a fancy term for radio waves, a specific portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.
What’s going on with T-Mobile?
T-Mobile wants to stop that from happening, saying AT&T and Verizon already control three-fourths of low-band frequencies.
Who else is interested in spectrum?
Comcast, Charter, and Dish Network, Google (?)
How is this auction being setup?
TV broadcasters by Tuesday April 5 must have made official their intentions to accept the FCC's opening price for the rights to the spectrum they currently use for digital TV broadcasts.
Who is bidding and how much money are we talking about?
AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Comcast, Dish Network, etc
Can you describe the spectrum being auctioned and what will be done with it?
The FCC expects that bidders will provide new wireless services using that spectrum, which is in the 600 MHz band and currently used for UHF TV channels. The characteristics of UHF that make it good for TV also work well for wireless communications and data delivery -- the waves can travel great distances and pass through buildings.
So what happens if a TV station sells its spectrum?
TV broadcasters have the choice of moving to a lower-frequency spot on the spectrum, sharing signals with a neighboring station or giving up broadcasting altogether.
Does the FCC know which stations are going to sell?
While some stations have made their intentions to participate in the reverse auction public, the FCC is not able to announce what percent of the 1,800 eligible TV stations are involved, because of confidentiality protections within the 2012 Congressional action that led to the auction.
What if a station sells? Are they out of business?
As the FCC reorganizes spectrum allocations after the auction, some TV channels may need to be reassigned during the 39-month transition period. Any reassignment requires that the FCC preserve stations' current audience and geographical reach. For more information about the incentive auction, visit the FCC web site http://www.fcc.gov/
You mentioned some big provider names – can you give more details?
Currently, the top four nationwide providers - Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile - combined hold more than 80% of available wireless spectrum. AT&T is expected to spend at least $10 billion on the auction, with Verizon to spend from $8 billion to $10 billion, and T-Mobile between $6 billion and $10 billion. Zino did not estimate Comcast or Dish's spending.
Why do we need more spectrum?
Video takes up 50 percent of all US mobile data and will likely grow to 70 percent in 2021, which is when this rearranged spectrum will go into use. Because video requires more over-the-air bandwidth than other types of data, these bigger lanes will open up the possibility for applications we haven’t even thought of yet. These lower-frequency bands will play a role in 5G. In much the same way that 700 MHz paved the way for America’s world-leading deployment of 4G, so could 600 MHz accelerate U.S. deployment of 5G.”
How fast will 5G go?
5G standards have yet to be defined. In October 2014, Samsung Electronics set the first record by achieving a wireless speed of 7.5Gbps in tests at its DMC R&D Centre at Samsung Electronics in Suwon, South Korea. But in November 2014, the record was beaten by the University of Surrey's 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC), which was founded by a host of telecoms industry partners, including Fujitsu, Aircom, BT, Samsung, Telefonica, Vodafone, Aeroflex and Rohde & Schwarz, as well as the BBC.
5GIC achieved a speed of 0.8 terabits (800Gbps) in its tests. Then on 25 February 2015, it beat its own record by hitting 1Tbps, which is currently the world record.
How about 5G distance?
So far, the most impressive test has been that of Huawei and NTT DoComo, who achieved mobile internet speeds of 3.6Gbps outdoors across the city of Chengdu in Sichuan Province, China in October 2015.
Will there be enough participation?
Good question, there's some concern that not enough stations planned to participate in this latest auction. Only one in ten broadcasters expressed an interest in selling its spectrum in discussions in advance of the auction, according to tech consulting firm the Envisioneering Group. Time will tell.
Bits and Bytes
Why The FBI Director Puts Tape Over His Webcam – Andy Greenberg
FBI Director James Comey gave a speech this week about encryption and privacy, repeating his argument that "absolute privacy" hampers law enforcement. But it was an offhand remark during the Q&A session at Kenyon College that caught the attention of privacy activists:
"I saw something in the news, so I copied it. I put a piece of tape — I have obviously a laptop, personal laptop — I put a piece of tape over the camera. Because I saw somebody smarter than I am had a piece of tape over their camera."
The Senate’s Draft Encryption Bill Is ‘Ludicrous, Dangerous, Technically Illiterate’ – Martin Kaste
On Thursday evening, the draft text of a bill called the “Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016,” authored by offices of Senators Diane Feinstein and Richard Burr, was published online by the Hill.1 It’s a nine-page piece of legislation that would require people to comply with any authorized court order for data—and if that data is “unintelligible,” the legislation would demand that it be rendered “intelligible.” In other words, the bill would make illegal the sort of user-controlled encryption that’s in every modern iPhone, in all billion devices that run Whatsapp’s messaging service, and in dozens of other tech products. http://www.wired.com/2016/04/senates-draft-encryption-bill-privacy-nightmare/
Sun, 3 April 2016
On March 31st, 2016 the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team or US-CERT released alert TA 16-091A titled “Ransomware and Recent Variants”. Ransomware is a type of malicious software that infects a computer and restricts users’ access to it until a ransom is paid to unlock it. Already in 2016, destructive ransomware variants such as Locky and Samas were observed infecting the computers of individuals and businesses – even hospitals and healthcare facilities. The purpose of this Alert is to provide further information on ransomware, its main characteristics, its prevalence, variants that may be proliferating, and how users can prevent and mitigate against ransomware.
Wed, 2 March 2016
We’ve hear the term “big data” used a lot lately. The term itself makes us thing about lots and lots of information. Sure there’s lots of information but what most important to an organization is what is done with the data. In this podcast we take an introductory look at what big data is, discuss how it is being used, and refer to an excellent document at SAS.com
Direct download: Big_Data_Podcast_022816.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 4:30pm EDT
Tue, 8 July 2014
As part of a National Science Foundation grant received by the Educational Development Corporation in Massachusetts, Mike and I have been involved with a group of small business social media experts from around the country defining a step-by-step social media process for Social Technology Enabled Professionals. These small business people build, maintain, manage and leverages online social networks to engage with customers, business partners, employees and key influencers with the goal of building organizational success. In this podcast, we cover part one of the first duty and discuss some of the tasks involved.
Direct download: Conducting_Social_Media_Research_Part_1_July_3_2014_Podcast.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:05am EDT
Sun, 15 June 2014
All businesses and organizations desire greater engagement with their audiences. However, many are not leveraging the social media platforms that allow for the best opportunities for engagement. From static postal flyers, electronic newsletters to a lack of regular communication, engagement becomes difficult.
Social media platforms call for regular, sustained communications and conversations between the businesses/organizations and their audiences. Blogs allow for that engagement by allowing readers to comment on postings, share links and/or rate postings. Some blogs allow for other interaction functionality like including a poll in a posting. On Facebook and Twitter engagement, in the form of “like,” comment, and re-tweet, is much more the norm than perhaps on blogs.
This podcast will briefly introduce the listener to a three tiered social media strategy approach:
. 1) Primary (Blog or similarly organized content on an organizational website)
. 2) Secondary (Platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, etc that can deliver supportive content to the primary platform via hyperlink)
. 3) Broadcast (Platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter which can aggregate audiences and are engagement friendly)
Social media platforms call for regular, sustained communications and conversations between the businesses/organizations and their audiences. Given the explosion of new media platforms and social media networks during the past few years, there is significant justification for all businesses and organizations to adopt strategies to leverage these platforms more effectively.
Thu, 7 June 2012
Mike and Gordon discuss current topics.
Online Classes See Cheating Go High-Tech
Facebook Will Disappear by 2020, Says Analyst
Museum of Endangered Sounds
The Mechanics and Meaning of That Ol' Dial-Up Modem Sound
An Honest Review of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus
See You Later WiMAX
Sun, 3 June 2012
Mike and Gordon discuss current topics.
Mon, 6 February 2012
Rumors are that Apple is planning on incorporating support for the new faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi specification into products this year. In this podcast we discuss the 802.11ac and other wireless specs.
We discuss the following questions:
- So, what’s the deal with this 802.11ac?
- These 802 dot whatever standards - where do they come from?
- So this 802.11ac is considered non-finalized. what does that mean?
- I seem to get interference from things like wireless home phones. I know spectrum is involved.
- So if I set my access point to run at 5GHz, will all my devices work? What do i need to understand to make it work?
- What about range? You mentioned range limitations at 5 GHz.
- Are there any ways to extend the range? I’ve heard about something called MIMO.
- You mentioned 802.11a which is pretty old. Is the use of 5 GHz new?
- When will we see 802.11ac products on the market?
- What kinds of products from Apple? What are people saying?
- What do you mean when you say potentially for the mobile devices?
Along with the Superbowl!
Thu, 1 December 2011
This is Gordon's December 2, 2011 presentation for a series of mobile boot camps being run by The Commonwealth Alliance for Information Technology Education (CAITE); and the Boston-Area Advanced Technological Education Connections (BATEC) at the University of Massachusetts.
High school students take a day at locations across Massachusetts, working with faculty and business/industry people to learn how to program, design, and market mobile apps using mobile programming platforms. Students will also have an opportunity to enter an app programming contest to be sponsored by BATEC in the spring.
Wed, 23 November 2011
Back in September I had the chance to interview Troy Swanson, an Associate Professor / Teaching and Learning Librarian at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills, IL. In the interview we discussed a paper he published with Public Service Librarian Jeremy Green, also at Moraine Valley Community College. Here's the abstract from that paper published at ScienceDirect.
In the Fall of 2009, the Moraine Valley Community College Library, using guidelines developed by Jakob Nielsen, conducted a usability study to determine how students were using the library Web site and to inform the redesign of the Web site. The authors found that Moraine Valley's current gateway design was a more effective access point to library resources than a mock-up site which incorporated a central-search box on the site homepage. This finding stands in contrast to the observed trends of library Web site design that emphasizes a “Googlized” search.
Troy's findings are very interesting, especially if you are managing/mdifying an existing site or are considering creating one. Here's the links Troy refers to in the podcast.
The Next Level (Blockbuster article)by James Surowiecki
useit.com: Jakob Nielsen's Website
The Googlization of Everything (book review)
Why We Are Not Google: Lessons from a Library Web site Usability Study
(link to Elsevier's Science Direct)