Traffic Shaping

March 29, 2008

While reading through some articles this week I came across an interesting one involving Rogers’High Speed Internet customers, this week they have begun receiving letters notifying them that Rogers will be implementing new bandwidth caps and fees for all internet subscribers.

Basically this a is a form of traffic shaping. Well, what is traffic shaping? Traffic shaping, in simple terms, is a technique used by some internet service providers (ISP’s) to control the flow of information “traffic” through their networks. Rogers along with Sympatico(Bell) has installed bandwidth shaping technology in order to slow down the flood of traffic of its users, especially those that use filesharing programs like Bittorrent. Some analysts say that P2Pcustomers only take up about 10% of all users but they use up about 90% of the bandwidth, which is a considerable amount of bandwidth. This type of practice has been going on for several years now and is used to make the network more efficient, sort of like a traffic cop. These ISP’s  claim that they use this in order to maintain a consistent flow of information through its networks to maintain a high quality service for its customers.

While researching this topic, I read an article by a Globe and Mail journalist, Jack Kapica, see his article here. He has some very interesting thoughts on Rogers attempt to throttle and restrict the bandwidth use of its customers stating that “Rogers strategy is very short-sighted”.

This type of stratgey was attempted in the US by Comcast but US regulators the FCC, is currently investigating Comcasts’ practice of throttling upstream P2P traffic.  Apparently they have a limit to the amount of “unlimited” bandwidth. But they don’t disclose what the limit is. Here’s a video of one of the disgruntled customers with Comcast.

 The investigation is being carried out by an NY Attorney General who also investigated Verizon Wireless and found them guilty of  selling 5GB capped EVDO service as “unlimited.”Although traffic shaping can be used constructively, it can also be used in a more nefarious way. For example, in 2005, one Telephone company in the United States actually stopped all Vonage phone calls over its network by using a very blunt form of traffic shaping called Port blocking.

Debates rage over the ethics of traffic shaping, however, analysts universally agree that port blocking by Internet Service providers should be not be allowed.  When properly implemented, traffic shaping can make a network more efficient by acting as a bit of a traffic cop. The idea is to reserve bandwidth for critical applications such as internet browsers and email while restricting the usage of other more bandwidth intensive applications such a peer to peer file sharing applications.The result is a more equitable use of network resources that maintains the “quality of service” for the majority of users.
 It will be interesting to see if there is any backlash with Rogers new fee structure for their internet subscribers.

Tony

Every year countless Canadians fall victim to identity theft crimes, the number of victims may be somewhat small but the impact that it has on the individuals can be staggering. Not just the financial impact but the emotional impact it has as well.

The question that maybe on most of our minds is , what is identity theft? According to the RCMP, “Identity theft involves stealing, misrepresenting or hijacking the identity of another person or business and provides an effective means to commit other crimes.” The recent statistics from Phonebusters for 2006 are very disturbing.

2006

PROVINCES

VICTIMS

$ LOSS

ON

3353

$7,584,188.86

PQ

2040

$4,674,504.44

BC

1190

$2,035,365.27

AB

612

$1,439,474.29

MB

249

$151,860.16

SK

94

$61,192.28

NS

106

$155,039.49

NB

67

$92,396.07

NF

29

$30,107.04

UNKNOWN

12

$3,102.62

PE

11

$17,059.00

NT

7

$3,102.62

YK

7

$2,379.23

NU

1

$0

TOTALS

7778

$16,283,776.91

Identity theft is the crime of choice in today’s age or more importantly the information age. What are they stealing?

Identity thieves commit fraud and other crimes by assuming someone else’s identity. Personal information such as your name, date of birth, address, credit card, social insurance number and other identification can be used to steal money from your existing accounts, open other financial accounts, make purchases, or even obtain employment.

Here’s a very interesting video from CBC’S, The National.

http://www.cbc.ca/mrl3/23745/thenational/archive/identitytheft-011508.wmv</

But how do they get this private information? Here are some of the ways they obtain your personal information;
1. Dumpster Diving
2. Shoulder Surfing
3. Skimming
4. Phishing

In today’s society where information is giving very freely  to someone who asks you via phone, internet or whenever you purchase something in a store, they ask for some sort of personal information, regarding address, phone number, etc.

Here are some things that can be done to help revent identity theft;

  • Guard Your Personal Information
  • Don’t Leave Personal Information
  • Shred Personal Information
  • Keep Your Sin to Yourself
  • Protect Your Credit Card
  • Take All Receipts
  • Be Aware of Billing Cycles or Missing Mail
  • Cover Keypad Entry When Entering Pin Numbers
  • Use Difficult Passwords
  • Avoid Writing Down Passwords and PINS
  • Hang up and Telephone Solicitors
  • Check Your Credit Report

 Taking these precautions  will make it harder for criminals to steal your identity and prevent you from being a statistic.

Tony

180px-donna_rice_and_gary_hart.jpg

Thomas, A picture is worth a thousand words.

Well, what a week for politics for our neighbour to the south, more specifically the state of New York. Just 18 months after being sworn in as the Governor of New York, the 27th largest state and the 3rd most populus in the United States, the “Eliot Ness of the 21st Century”, Eliot Spitzer has resigned has a result of his dealings with a prostitute. Under the “Mann Act” which states that it is illegal to knowingly transport women in interstate commerce for purposes of prostitution. Here is the press conference on Wednesday,

What is it with the American politicians and not being able to keep their pants on? We all know about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky in the 90’s, there was potential Democrat presidential hopeful in 1988 Gary Hart who dropped out of the race due to his extramarital affair with model Donna Rice. I believe he told her not to “wreck my election”, she misunderstood him. The prostitiute that is the centre of this scandal is a 22 year old struggling blues singer, Ashley Alexandra Dupre,aka”Kristen”. She is a callgirl who worked out of the high priced Emperors Club VIP in New York.

The fact that Mr. Spitzer was using the services of a prostitute referred to as the oldest profession known to man, should not shock us. Society as a whole tend to hold entertainers, celebrities and athletes in very high regard and we think that the sun shines out of their you know what. We are very quick to place them on a pedestal and are shocked when they bring about their own demise. We have to learn that everyone puts their pants on one leg at a time and they are falliable like us all. The biggest difference is that they are paid exhorbitant amounts of money and are held in high regard by society. In return for this fame and fortune they give up the right to privacy and are constantly hounded by fans and media just waiting for them to fall. All of this attention, is it really needed?

Ex-Governor Eliot Spitzer now will fade into the black and live with the shame of disgracing himself, his constituents and more importantly his family. He was caught on a federal phone tap trying to arrange a meeting with “Kristen”, a $1000 a hour hooker. It is believed he has already paid for$80,000 worth of prostitutes from this call girl service. What made him different from other”johns”. The Mann Act is very seldom used, it has been used to charge celebrities like Charlie Chaplan,Chuck Berry and Charles Manson. The question that remains to be anwered is, Why do people who are held in such regard do these things? Ronald Weitzer, a professor of sociology at George Washington University states that,”They do it and have the money to do it and go to places like this because they assume, given the cost, they will get away with it.” With technology becoming more and more widely used even in the oldest profession, such things as text messaging have made streetwalking or standing on corners outdated.

Now that Mr. Spitzer’s political career has been derailed what does his career hold for him. Who knows? Isn’t it ironic that, Mr Spitzer seems to have been caught out by changes to banking regulations he helped implement that were aimed at increasing surveillance of suspicious money transfers in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Just goes to show you that no one is above the law, even those who have created the law.  Now that he has resigned this reminds me off the Hans Christan Andersen tale, ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes” and the claim that he has a new suit that makes him invisible. I bet that Eliot Spitzer wished he one of those suits right about now.

Tony

As we all are aware, WordPress is a blog publishing website which we(Bus 442) are currently using to post our blogs. According to Erick Schonfeld of TechCrunch, Co-founder Matt Mullenweg of WordPress hinted that WordPress may be headed in a new social direction. Mullenweg stated that;

The world doesn’t need another social network, it needs a thousand networks that let you own your data and interconnect using open standards. We invest countless hour giving our data to networks like MySpace, essentially sharecropping on their land for the privilege of being able to connect to our friends. It’s our friends, our time, our connections, our data — it should be our software.

This is similar to the open platforms that have become very popular like Linux that is a free open source operating system that has become very popular and allows people to use, change, and improve the software. Social networks are an important cog in Web 2.0.Latest figures released by Compete show;

competefeb082.jpg

As shown in the above, some of the figures are astounding. Fubar one of the newest social networks has grown by 3 million % in one year. Can WordPress compete with heavyweight giants like Facebook and MySpace?  Facebook jumped from 60th to 7th in one year. In this new Web 2.0 age anything is possible. But would  an open source  social network really work. According to Erick Schonfeld of TechCrunch says;

It is easy to dismiss this as completely unnecessary given the abundance of social networks already out there, as well as application development platforms like OpenSocial. But an open-source social network does present some intriguing possibilities. New apps and features could be added simply by creating new plugins. And there would be no lock-in to any proprietary code or development environment.

With the success of Linux, I would only think that an open source social network would be just as successful.

Obsolete Skills

February 20, 2008

A s I was sitting in front of my computer, anxiously awaiting the birth of our second child, who is due in less than 3 weeks. However, my wife feels that it will be at any moment. Our first daughter was born about 2.5 weeks before the due date and who am I do disbelieve my wife and that our next child will be early as well. I was reading through out required blogs and came upon Robert Scoble’s Obsolete Skills.  It got me to thinking that a lot of the things that I had done has a child and an adult, my children will never have to do or even know what they were. As I read, I realized that of the 11  he had compiled in his list, I had done 8 of them and the other 3 were being done when I was younger. Not to outdate the rest of the class I was born the year when the Amazin Mets won the World Series and the NHL only had 12 teams. I then started wracking my brain on other things that have become obsolete, here’s a list of the some that I have come up with;

1. Playing cool Atari games, like Pac-Man and Asteroids.

2. Looking up places in an atlas.

3. Using encyclopedias for reports.

4. Using a dictionary.

5. Learning multiplication tables.

6. Using mail order catalogues.

7. Banking with an actual teller.

8. Rewinding a cassette tape with the end of a pencil.

9. Using 35 mm film.

10. Using the word GOTO when programming.

After coming up with my list I went to the website Obsolete Skills and found there was a list that was compiled of obsolete technologies.

A lot of these I have never done and will never do, the question that remains is in 20 years time what things we currently do will become a part of this list. Cellphones? Fax Machines? Blogging? Who knows but I’m sure these new advances especially in technology will better our children’s lives, like they have helped to enhance our daily lives. Or have they?

Tony

Barack vs. Hillary

February 7, 2008

Well, it’s been a couple of days since Super  Tuesday in the US and a clear winner for the Democratic nomination hasn’t  emerged yet. A lot of people including blogger Fred Wilson thought that Barack Obama “would deliver the knockout blow”. But it didn’t come. As for myself I not too interested in politics especially with what is happening with our neighbour south of the border. I couldn’t care less who wins. If either Clinton or Obama is able to win the Democratic nomination and be successful in their presidential bid, it will be a very historic day in the US. We will have the first, woman or African American president in the US. Based on CNN election polls for 2000, females make up 52% of the population and African Americans make up only 10%.

These 2  have been able to collect large amounts of money for their campaigns and Hillary Clinton has even contributed some of her own money into this nomination race. 6 million dollars is what I read. These 2 opponents have fought a very good fight and the winner would make a good candidate for the presidency. Who knows what will happen to the loser, some people think that they would make a very good one-two punch on the Democratic card. Sorry for all of the boxing analogies. Fred even likens it to the Ali vs. Frazier battles for the heavyweight champioship of the word in the 1970’s, but I digress.

Next stop on the campaign trail is Texas, and Clinton appears to have the backing of the Latino voters in this state where 25% of the voters are Hispanic. The article written by Danial Trotta of Reuters makes it appear that Clinton has the edge in this state and that Obama will need to work on connecting with the Hispanic population in Texas. The Hispanic population in the US is at 7%. If Clinton continues to garner the support of Latino voters like she has in the previous 22 states  the momentum may again switch back to her.

Well, what does all of this have to do with Canada. Environicsa polling firm in Ottawa, found in a recent poll that 42% of Canadians would prefer Clinton as a presidential candidate over 27% for Obama. The article goes on to say that Canadians fondly remember her during her husband’s Bill term at the White House. However, the US  does play an important part in the world’s economy and the upcoming election may help lift the US out of their recession. What happens with the economy in the United States plays a very important role in Canada because they are our biggest trading partner.

Nevertheless, this has already shaped up to be a very interesting race for many reasons and it will be interesting to see the winner and whether or not they will be the next President come the November election.

That’s my 2 cents!

Tony