A surprisingly dramatic world of lawsuits, mass resignations, and dysfunctional relationships between humans and apes. From Koko and Kanzi to Chantek and Nim Chimpsky, research into human-ape communications used to be all the rage. Nowadays, not so much. What happened?
John Chen's Plan to Save Blackberry Over all, Chen wants BlackBerry to transform itself from being a “mobile technology company” that pushes handset sales to “a mobile solution company” that takes a broader approach to serving the mobile computing needs of its customers. Remaining in the handset business is important—for now, at least. “I think devices are still one component of the solution,” Chen says. “The question is, Do we need to be in the device business? That remains to be seen.”
Verizon and Cogent Communications are at odds over how much money needs to change hands to deliver decent Netflix performance. Verizon has developed a rival to Netflix, Redbox and have been accused of tinkering with Netflix and AWS speeds due to the recent FCC Net Neutrality ruling. Things may change again, but then again, maybe not really.
Pond provides end-to-end encrypted forward-secure asynchronous messaging that uses Tor to resist traffic analysis, i.e. metadata collection (threat model, technical, github). [more inside]
Everyone knows the birth of the Space Race: Sputnik and Vostok gave the Soviets a huge start while the US floundered about with the odd tiny satellite making it through a cavalcade of explosive fiasco. Most would say that the first voice from space was that of Yuri Gagarin in 1961. They'd be wrong. [more inside]
Charan Langton (blog) hosts Complex To Real: which "...offers tutorials I have written on various topics in analog and digital communications that will help you cut through this complexity." [more inside]
It's 1963. You're in a cold war with Russia. You want to keep up communication capabilities globally. Communication satellites haven't come into their own. The ionosphere is fickle and jammable. What do you do? You fire 480 million tiny copper wires into space to create an artificial dipole antenna belt around the earth. You call it Project West Ford. It works. [more inside]
As Microsoft prepares to retire its unfashionable Hotmail in favor of Outlook.com this summer, let's remember the viral marketing revolution that Hotmail invented. Journey back seventeen years to Hotmail's origins, the birth of the dot.com millionaire, and the boozy optimism of a pre-crash web industry in full-growth mode (Wired, December 1998) .
Silent Circle, a security start-up led by PGP creator Phil Zimmermann and two ex-Navy SEALs, has been teasing technology that purports to make mobile communications "virtually invulnerable to surveillance efforts" for a few months (previously). Now, they're pushing a "groundbreaking encrypted data transfer app that will enable people to send files securely from a smartphone or tablet at the touch of a button." The company has pledged not to comply with law enforcement surveillance requests, nor to provide backdoor access for the FBI.
In France, a Mission to Return the Military's Carrier Pigeons to Active Duty — Grounded After Modern Communication Devices Soared, Birds May Offer Low-Tech Solutions; No Round Trips [WSJ]. Let us not forget Le Vaillant, Cher Ami, and the other birds that save lives.
In the two years building up to the government’s NHS reform bill, the BBC appears to have categorically failed to uphold its remit of impartiality, parroting government spin as uncontested fact, whilst reporting only a narrow, shallow view of opposition to the bill. In addition, key news appears to have been censored. The following in-depth investigation provides a shocking testimony of the extent to which the BBC abandoned the NHS.
Why do people believe something even after it's been proven false? A new study confirms that "the effect of misinformation on memory and reasoning cannot be completely eliminated even after it's been corrected." [more inside]
"/b/ has given rise to more ﬂuid practices to signal identity and status in spite of, or perhaps because of, the lack of technological support."
4chan and /b/: An Analysis of Anonymity and Ephemerality in a Large Online Community is a paper by researchers from MIT and the University of Southampton. The paper itself [PDF].
You Never Get a Seventh Chance to Make a First Impression: An Awkward History of Our Space Transmissions
The Line Between Science and Journalism is Getting Blurry….Again by Bora Zivkovic is an excellent, James Burke-ish, essay on science, journalism, and a hopeful future for science journalism. [more inside]
You are reading this post thanks to the submarine communications cables that connect the continents together (except Antarctica). [more inside]
George Gerbner, a pioneer in the research of TV's effects on society, advocated a theory called Mean World Syndrome. According to this theory, exposure to the media leads people to believe the world is more dangerous than it actually is, because of violent programming and terrifying news programs. This is part of cultivation theory, the idea that humans are brought up in a culture of stories, reflect those stories, and that TV is now our main storyteller.
Remember when your computer just worked? Did you click 'OK' to that recommended update on programs like iTunes, Adobe Reader, or Yahoo Messenger, only to realize that the older version ran faster or had better features? Then Version Download may be your solution. Includes back-level versions of browsers, audio and video, security and anti-virus, FTP, file-sharing and communications software.
Snail mail isn't that slow, unless you use real snails.... As part of a "slow art" project, Vicki Isley and Paul Smith of Bournemouth University have attached radio frequency identification chips (RFID's) to three gastropods, Austin, Cecil and Muriel. The RFID's will pick up your mail as the carriers amble past an electronic reader and deliver it when (in just a few days! ...or weeks ...or months....) they slip past a second reader.... RealSnailMail! [more inside]
E-motional breakdown: The state of e-mail misery. Is email finally at the breaking point? My inbox is so oversaturated I need professional advice to avoid bankrupcy. Or maybe I'll just wait it out -- the kids might know best.
The Wealth of Networks. Yochai Benkler is a Professor of Law at Yale Law School. A few years ago he wrote one of the seminal papers on Commons-based production, Coase's Penguin, or Linux and the Nature of the Firm. Now he has a new book - The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom. You can buy it, download it or add to it.
A fantastic clearinghouse for thinking about political advertising can be found courtesy of the University of Iowa's Department of Communication Studies. Links include the previously discussed wonder "The Living Room Candidate" and even advertising consulting firms. Pretty good reading, with enough links to keep you busy for a while.
Adults are picking up instant messaging in record numbers, with 50% of those over 35 using various systems. This study was funded by AOL, which has a major stake in the instant messaging market through its popular AIM software. But most people who use IM in the workplace are still using free and unsecured systems, despite the availability of secure versions in enterprise software and products like IM Secure.
US bills Australia for bombs. This is the first time I have seen a 'user-pays' principle of modern warfare spelled out in this way. But then again Australia doesn't make a habit of going to war. 'The ADF will also be required to pay an undisclosed amount – believed to be up to $3 million – for satellite time and band width to connect the Canberra war room with command in the Gulf, and enable it to talk directly with SAS troops on the ground. "It was described as the first struggle in the war, to secure band width," said Derek Woolner, defence analysis director at the Australian Defence Studies Centre.'
Nice or not. It looks like Verizon manages to get kudos on their service while getting relatively little exposure while they are trying to lock-in their customers. What do you think? Does it make sense to go to 3G with Verizon or should one go with competitive content providers who are willing to let you keep your phone numbers when we leave them? Which is more important?
European Parliament says Echelon exists and is more or less powerless to stop it. All the more reason for government and industry to create encryption standards.
The San Francisco Examiner is up for sale? I didn't even know this. I'm surprised no dotcoms have swooped in to buy the dead trees media. Apparently, they need a buyer very soon, or the paper will merge with the SF Chronicle. Will SF become yet another one-newspaper city? Sad...