[Source: This article was published in theverge.com By Loren Grush - Uploaded by the Association Member: Issac Avila]

Now it just needs to launch more satellites

OneWeb — an aerospace company with plans to beam internet connectivity from space — announced plans today to provide “fiber-like internet” coverage to the Arctic starting as early as 2020. Using the company’s planned mega-constellation of satellites, the company says it can provide high-speed internet to homes, boats, and planes all located above the 60th parallel north latitude.

OneWeb is one of many companies aiming to provide internet from space using a complex array of satellites and ground stations. The company plans to launch an initial constellation of 650 spacecraft that will beam internet connectivity to a series of ground terminals on Earth’s surface. These vehicles will orbit at a relatively low altitude, decreasing the time it takes to beam coverage to the surface below. With so many satellites, OneWeb says it can provide global coverage, with at least one satellite in view of any area of the Earth at all times.

That coverage extends to the Arctic, which is a difficult place to lay fiberoptic cables and provide traditional internet connectivity. OneWeb claims that its satellite constellation will be able to provide high-speed internet to the 48 percent of the Arctic that currently doesn’t have broadband coverage. Local politicians are thrilled with the idea, arguing that it will help with economic development in the area.

“Connectivity is critical in our modern economy,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said in a statement. “As the Arctic opens, ensuring the people of the Arctic have access to affordable and reliable broadband will make development safer, more sustainable and create new opportunities for the next generation leading in this dynamic region of the globe.”

“CONNECTIVITY IS CRITICAL IN OUR MODERN ECONOMY.”

So far, OneWeb has only launched the first six satellites in its constellation, but the company says it was able to conduct some HD video streaming tests with the spacecraft in July. The tests proved that the satellites are operational and have a relatively low latency — under 40 milliseconds in lag time.

Other companies, notably SpaceX and Amazon, are also working to create mega-constellations of satellites that are meant to be even larger than OneWeb’s constellation. In April, Amazon detailed plans to launch a constellation of more than 3,200 satellites, while SpaceX has proposed launching two constellations that will contain nearly 12,000 satellites in total.

SpaceX has already launched the first 60 satellites in its constellation, though three of the first batch failed after reaching orbit. OneWeb argues that its constellation will be deployed “significantly earlier” than other planned constellations, allowing the company to provide coverage to the Arctic sooner than other systems. The company cites the fact that it already has two active ground stations in Norway and Alaska, which are needed to help connect OneWeb’s satellites to the current internet ground infrastructure. Those stations are supposed to be fully operational by January 2020, according to OneWeb, allowing this rollout to the Arctic by next year.

“Connectivity is now an essential utility and a basic human right,” OneWeb CEO Adrian Steckel said in a statement. “Our constellation will offer universal high-speed Arctic coverage sooner than any other proposed system meeting the need for widespread connectivity across the Arctic.”

OneWeb plans to launch its satellites in batches of 36 aboard Arianespace’s Soyuz rocket. The next launch is slated for later this year.

Categorized in Science & Tech

[This article is originally published in zdnet.com written by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Eric Beaudoin]

For less than a $100, you can have an open-source powered, easy-to-use server, which enables you -- and not Apple, Facebook, Google, or Microsoft -- to control your view of the internet.

On today's internet, most of us find ourselves locked into one service provider or the other. We find ourselves tied down to Apple, Facebook, Google, or Microsoft for our e-mail, social networking, calendaring -- you name it. It doesn't have to be that way. The FreedomBox Foundation has just released its first commercially available FreedomBox: The Pioneer Edition FreedomBox Home Server Kit. With it, you -- not some company -- control over your internet-based services.

The Olimex Pioneer FreedomBox costs less than $100 and is powered by a single-board computer (SBC), the open source hardware-based Olimex A20-OLinuXino-LIME2 board. This SBC is powered by a 1GHz A20/T2 dual-core Cortex-A7 processor and dual-core Mali 400 GPU. It also comes with a Gigabyte of RAM, a high-speed 32GB micro SD card for storage with the FreedomBox software pre-installed, two USB ports, SATA-drive support, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and a backup battery.

Doesn't sounds like much does it? But, here's the thing: You don't need much to run a personal server.

Sure, some of us have been running our own servers at home, the office, or at a hosting site for ages. I'm one of those people. But, it's hard to do. What the FreedomBox brings to the table is the power to let almost anyone run their own server without being a Linux expert.

The supplied FreedomBox software is based on Debian Linux. It's designed from the ground up to make it as hard as possible for anyone to exploit your data. It does this by putting you in control of your own corner of the internet at home. Its simple user interface lets you host your own internet services with little expertise.

You can also just download the FreedomBox software and run it on your own SBC. The Foundation recommends using the CubietruckCubieboard2BeagleBone BlackA20 OLinuXino Lime2A20 OLinuXino MICRO, and PC Engines APU. It will also run on most newer Raspberry Pi models.

Want an encrypted chat server to replace WhatsApp? It's got that. A VoIP server? Sure. A personal website? Of course! Web-based file sharing à la Dropbox? You bet. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) server of your own? Yes, that's essential for its mission.

The software stack isn't perfect. This is still a work in progress. So, for example, it still doesn't have a personal email server or federated social networking, such as GNU Social and Diaspora, to provide a privacy-respecting alternative to Facebook. That's not because they won't run on a FreedomBox; they will. What they haven't been able to do yet is to make it easy enough for anyone to do and not someone with Linux sysadmin chops. That will come in time.

As the Foundation stated, "The word 'Pioneer' was included in the name of these kits in order to emphasize the leadership required to run a FreedomBox in 2019. Users will be pioneers both because they have the initiative to define this new frontier and because their feedback will make FreedomBox better for its next generation of users."

To help you get up to speed the FreedomBox community will be offering free technical support for owners of the Pioneer Edition FreedomBox servers on its support forum. The Foundation also welcomes new developers to help it perfect the FreedomBox platform. 

Why do this?  Eben Moglen, Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, saw the mess we were heading toward almost 10 years ago: "Mr. Zuckerberg has attained an unenviable record: he has done more harm to the human race than anybody else his age." That was before Facebook proved itself to be totally incompetent with security and sold off your data to Cambridge Analytica to scam 50 million US Facebook users with personalized anti-Clinton and pro-Trump propaganda in the 2016 election.

It didn't have to be that way. In an interview, Moglen told me this: "Concentration of technology is a surprising outcome of cheap hardware and free software. We could have had a world of peers. Instead, the net we built is the net we didn't want. We're in an age of surveillance with centralized control. We're in a world, which encourages swiping, clicking, and flame throwing."

With FreedomBox, "We can undo this. We can make it possible for ordinary people to provide internet services. You can have your own private messaging, services without a man in the middle watching your every move." 

We can, in short, rebuild the internet so that we, and not multi-billion dollar companies, are in charge.

I like this plan

Categorized in Internet Privacy

[This article is originally published in today.com vox.com written By Kara Swisher - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Jay Harris]

Forces have been unleashed that seem out of control. But is it the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end?

Exactly a decade ago, Walt Mossberg and I declared the end of Web 2.0 and the beginning of its next iteration: Web 3.0.

There was a recession messing badly with the tech sector at the time, which we dubbed the Econalypse. But we decided to make a loud prediction right before our seventh All Things Digital conference anyway because we saw that the digital tidal wave sweeping the world just wasn’t stopping.

And we said so:

[W]hat’s the seminal development that’s ushering in the era of Web 3.0? It’s the real arrival, after years of false predictions, of the thin client, running clean, simple software, against cloud-based data and services. The poster children for this new era have been the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch, which have sold 37 million units in less than two years and attracted 35,000 apps and one billion app downloads in just nine months.

The excitement and energy around the iPhone and the Touch — and the software and services being written for them — remind us of the formative years of the PC and PC software, in the early 1980s, or the early days of the Web in the mid-1990s.

It’s a big deal.

But this is not just about one company, one platform or even one form factor. No, this new phenomenon is about handheld computers from many companies, with software platforms and distribution mechanisms tightly tied to cloud-based services, whether they are multi-player games, e-commerce offerings or corporate databases.

Some of these handheld computers will make phone calls, but others won’t. Some will fit in a pocket, but others will be tablets or even laptop-type clamshells. But, like the iPhone, all will be fusions of clever new hardware, innovative client software and powerful server-based components.

Pretty prescient, right? Smartphones and the app universe — spawned by the Apple iPhone release in June 2007 — bore a new era of innovation, heralding in a spate of companies dependent on mobile. It was, as I have written before, a Cambrian explosion. Would there be Uber, Lyft, Tinder, and so many others without the mobile phone? Would companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Slack have grown so large in its absence?

Now, I must declare that revolution officially over. After a very long run, Web 3.0 is on its last legs and needs to get out of the way for what’s next.

And what’s that? Well, as it turns out, a lot of things that include tech, politics, social mores, and more that have gained traction over the past few years and that are mashing together in ways that are still sorting themselves out.

That’s why I did a PowerPoint — and trust me when I tell you, I hate PowerPoints — to try to get my own head around it. I edit it almost constantly, as new ideas pop into my head, and am always trying to make new connections between and among the key trends.

Let’s start with the title that I first put on it: “It’s not just Amazon (well, you need to be scared of them too).” Sure, it could be catchier, but it’s that for a good reason. Over the past few years, there has been a big focus on individual companies — especially Amazon, Facebook, and Google — rather than the overall trends they represent around the toxic impacts of tech. While each has grown into a powerful and sometimes troublesome entity, the changes that are happening now across tech are much bigger than any one company. We’re talking about pervasive ecosystem changes.

That’s because tech companies come and go, even the titans, and the natural instinct is to name the company rather than see the bigger ideas that their actions are shaping — and that are shaping them.

Let’s start with the most important trend: artificial intelligence. The others include robotics and automation; self-driving; endless choice; privacy under assault, when data is gold; continuous partial hacking; continuous partial attention; and political and social unrest.

Starting with AI, there’s a line that I think pretty much encapsulates the one thing you absolutely need to know about the future of machine learning that I have used again and again: Everything that can be digitized will be digitized.

Full stop.

What do I mean by that? Computing as we know it is being changed by AI and machine learning. It is already everywhere — from when you talk to Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa or see your list of movies on Netflix or interact with a chatbot. Its use, both generally and for highly specific things, has and will continue to impact innumerable fields, resulting in massive job disruption.

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Economists and consulting firms have long predicted that AI will change workplaces and the workforce, but I think they’ve been underselling it. For example, when a Google deep learning program can quickly study a super-complex multiplayer strategy game and then kick the crap out of the best human players on the planet, perhaps we should think hard about where it will go next.

Whether it kills jobs or adds them, a matter of much debate, it will lead to things like multi-careers, more gig-oriented work, and a need for reeducation.

On the downside, which jobs will be impacted? It’s not just factory workers, burger flippers, and long-haul truckers. Highly paid lawyers, skilled doctors (don’t let your daughter be a radiologist), and, yes, even lowly journalists will need to find new lines of work. And those tectonic workplace realignments will only become more profound as the AI becomes inevitably — and exponentially — better.

To thrive in this environment will require being in a profession that is creative, where analog interactions are critical — one that cannot be easily made digital. Think art, think the caring professions, think anything in which being human trumps cyborg. And since AI becomes ever smarter, it will make sense to allow it to do more and more as we become ever less so.

It is a path humanity is already on, of course: When was the last time you ever read a map rather than got directions from Google? Or cracked a book to find an errant fact? It’ll be like that for so many things we do, as normal practices change to reflect and take advantage of the convenience and precision of AI.

We’ll also soon see the effects of radical advances in robotics and automation, which will probably be more behind the scenes than having a robot maid in our home (though we will get to that). Yes, the way we wage war is changing dramatically, but it’s not the killer robots we think of when we envision a world in which the Terminator movies become a reality. As Elon Musk told Walt and me in an interview several years ago, these AI-powered robots and platforms will think of us more like house cats than enemies. So I guess that’s a plus.

If advances in sentience and responsiveness are as dramatic as I think they might be, the implications will be even more interesting — and problematic. Will we someday have to contemplate their rights? It’s been a constant in science fiction, but now we seem to be really on the doorstep of rethinking what it means to be human in an era when biotechnology — whether implanting chips that could enhance intelligence, altering genetic code to eliminate disease, or wearing exoskeletons that enhance human strength — is on the cutting edge.

Currently, companies like the FDA-approved ReWalk are focused on using these devices to allow those with spinal cord injuries to walk again, but there are many military and factory experiments ongoing. These “exo suits” and other mechanized clothing are only the vanguard of a body-enhancing movement that is likely to get even larger in the coming decades. Where this innovation emerges is also a consideration, since tech’s increasingly dominant player — China — is making strong moves in the sector.

The next trend will be around transportation, especially the use of cars and trucks. I recently called them the “horses of tomorrow” in a New York Times column, noting that I would never buy and likely never own another car as long as I live.

While many reacted to the piece by proclaiming that Americans will never give up car ownership, especially in rural areas, I am confident that a combination of ride-sharing, autonomous vehicles, and breakthroughs in other modes of transport will lead to profound changes that will impact the entire ecosystem and economy, especially as much of the human race lives near major metropolitan areas. We will need to build smarter cities as this shift happens.

While regulatory and technical issues are still complex, such obstacles are most certainly not impossible as we rethink our relationship with the entire transportation system and are forced to make changes as the planet becomes more congested and more impacted by climate change. To me, the change in this sector will have reverberations far beyond any others, despite what will seem like a slow rollout.

What is moving a lot faster is the concept of everything-on-demand, from instant delivery of goods to the perfect anticipation of needs thanks to AI-enhanced computing. That’s already here in many ways, seen most clearly by the leaps of services like Amazon Prime. Again, here the impact is massive, fundamentally changing the way we shop and consume. Hunting and gathering are dead: Large-footprint stores will be gone, be replaced by those that can differentiate themselves from the commodity-based goods. I’d bet in a decade your favorite little boutique will be there long after a giant Target will be.

(Of course, all this does not mean there will not be a backlash over these changes since they increase consumerism and emissions and, you know, your box pile at home.)

This will be true across all sectors, including media. The old and failed concept of push — in which information was thrown at you, clogging the early internet’s pipes — will return. In that paradigm, you will not pick but be picked for; you will not seek, but it will be found. This is already happening, but it will intensify. Obviously, this has great societal implications, and we are already seeing the downside of screen addiction that is bringing social unrest, depression, and a kind of ennui about human interaction.

That trend has been and will be fueled by the end of any true semblance of privacy, a process that is already well on its way. I do not mean to belabor an issue that has gotten a lot of attention already, except to repeat what former Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy said two decades ago: “You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it.” Yep. You and your data have been the fuel of the internet age, and that will not abate.

Can regulation save us? There has been some pushback to this grim state of affairs, especially in Europe with its General Data Protection Rules — but also in Silicon Valley’s backyard, with California’s Consumer Privacy Act set to go into effect next year. But there is no national privacy bill in the US — and don’t get your hopes up, either, Bernie Bros. Meanwhile, countries like China push the envelope further by building what are essentially surveillance economies using facial recognition and intense monitoring of its citizens’ every move and keystroke.

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That, of course, leaves us deeply vulnerable to even more hacking as we are jacked into the system in ways that were heretofore impossible. And this hacking will not be hard to pull off — just ask any systems engineer or coder — as an increasingly interconnected Internet of Things brings porous platforms into our kitchens, cars, and wallets. The system was built for access and connectivity; malevolent players can simply use the tools on offer. In this fight, companies like Facebook are now battling nation-states, even if they themselves have become the digital equivalent of that.

The will to win this fight — even define its terms — has been weak on the consumer side, but incursions in the 2016 election have shown us the real goal of some of these hackers: to disrupt our society and create discord. The Russians lost the Cold War, but they have proven to be quite a bit better at the Cyber War. Increasingly, as even more nefarious players ramp up, that could mean more attacks on basic infrastructure, from electric grids to phone systems. And as our devices are ever more connected, battling it will be like pushing back the ocean.

Ten years ago, when Walt and I wrote our Web 3.0 missive, the iPhone was just a couple of years old, a novelty for rich people that barely could make a call. Think how quaint that all sounds now. But that one device unleashed a never-ending revolution of change, each cycle accelerating faster than the last. These technologies have unmoored people from their communities and removed once-sacred societal strictures. This is the first time that humanity has been allowed to talk to each other without gatekeepers or any other mechanisms of control.

It is not going well. And we now are surprised when we realize, for example, how so many have been radicalized by videos on YouTube or 8chan message boards. But with new and more immersive technologies just around the corner, you haven’t seen anything yet.

If it appears as if the forces of evil are winning here, it is because they are.

That might seem dire. Well, it is. While it is critical that we now put in some guardrails to make these profound developments less unsettling, having not done so at the start — the original sin of pushing growth over everything else — presents humanity with a massive challenge. If change is the constant, ever-morphing as we move to control it, how can we manage what we have invented?

There’s only one way as far as I can tell. Long ago, Steve Jobs launched a marketing campaign that urged people to “Think Different.” That has never been more true, except I would adjust it slightly. To face the modern age — and the future we have created but don’t yet understand — we not only have to think different as all these new technologies roll out ever more quickly. We have to be different.

If that is a cliffhanger, so be it, because a cliff is exactly where we are.

Categorized in Science & Tech

Source: This article was published emergingedtech.com Kelly Walsh - Contributed by Member: Edna Thomas

There are so many different tools and technologies available on the internet today, and so many associated terms and concepts. As I think about topics to focus on here in the coming months, I want to make sure we're touching on the most important ones. What are the most important internet technologies for educators to be aware of, and informed about?

I'm sure many people would probably come up with a slightly different list, but based on my observations and experiences, and feedback from faculty at my institution, I have selected the following technologies. I do not mean to imply that every educator should be expected to use all of these technologies in the classroom, but rather that every educator should understand what these are, the potential they have in the classroom, and how their students may already be using them.

1. Video and Podcasting – One of the most widely adopted internet technologies for use in instructional settings is video streaming. Between YouTubeTeacherTubeEduTube, and many other video hosting sites, there are an abundance of lectures, how-to videos, and supporting materials available in the form of web based video. Podcasting has also been used to provide similar offerings of audio materials through popular sites like iTunes. [Click here to learn more about video hosting for education, or here to learn more about podcasting for education.]

2. Presentation Tools – This category is vast and rich. There are hundreds (perhaps thousands) of tools on the Internet that can be used to create and share presentations, from simple Powerpoint slide players like Slideshare to multimedia timeline tools like Vuvox and OneTrueMedia. These tools can be used to support classroom teaching or distance learning, or for student reports and presentations.

Have you considered outsourcing your call center?

3. Collaboration & Brainstorming Tools – This is another wide ranging category, including thought-organizing tools like mindmap and bubbl.us, and collaborative tools like web based interactive whiteboards and Google Documents. Additionally, some of the other tools in this list, such as wikis and virtual worlds, also serve as collaboration tools.

4. Blogs & Blogging – Bloggers and many other regular Internet users are well aware of blogs and blogging, but there are many other professionals who really are not frequenters of the “blogosphere”. In addition to a basic familiarity with this technology, educators should be aware of sites like Blogger and WordPress, where users can quickly and easily create their own blogs for free.

5. Wikis – The use of Wikis in educational settings is growing every day. Sites like Wetpaint and others allow users to create free wiki web sites and are a great way to get started with using wikis for educational applications. [Click here to learn more about the use of Wikis in education].

6. Social Networking – All educators should have a basic understanding of sites like Facebook and MySpace and how they are used. This doesn't mean they need accounts on these sites (and many educators would recommend against using these sites to communicate with their students), but they should understand what they are and how they are being used. Educators should also be aware of the professional social networking site LinkedIn.

7. IM – A large percentage of students use IM regularly, via Aim, IM aggregator site Meebo (Meebo allows users to combine messaging from Aim, Yahoo, MySpace, Facebook, and other sites), or other tools. It behooves educators to be aware of this, and I have even come across various articles about using IM within the classroom setting (such as this one from Educause).

8. Twitter – This listing is really focused on technologies, not specific applications, but this application is currently just too popular to ignore. You should at least understand what it is and the fundamentals of how it is used. [Click here for some insight into how Twitter can be used in education.]

9. Virtual Worlds – This technology has received a lot of press, with SecondLife being the clear leader thus far in this application area. In my experience, the use of SecondLife has been somewhat constrained by high bandwidth and processing power requirements, but this also means that there is still considerable room for increased adoption of the application as systems continue to become more powerful and higher speed bandwidth more prevalant. Active Worlds is one of a number of competitive technologies, and provides a “universe” dedicated to education that has been popular with educators.

10. RSS Feeds – RSS allows users to create their own “push” data streams (that is, define data flows you want coming to you automatically, rather than having to go and “pull” the information with a Google search or other browsing effort). RSS feeds enable you to take advantage of streams of published content that will be sitting in your In Box, or in an RSS reader, when you want them. There are RSS feeds available for many topics and many web sites.

While many readers may have their own interpretation of which technologies are essential for educators to be aware of, I think this is a great list to get started with. Of course, this list will require updating over time, as technologies change, and as educator's uses of these technologies evolve. As always, reader input is welcomed. What do you think? Is this a good top 10? Would you like to see some other technologies listed here? Feel free to comment and offer your insights, please. Thanks!

Categorized in Science & Tech

These are, of course, the latest technology available to large metro centers.  Your own part of the world will offer speeds that vary with the technology and providers available in your area.

For Cellphone Users in City Limits

Modern cellphone connections should be 5 to 12 megabits-per-second (5 to 12 Mbps) if you have the 4th Generation LTE technology. 

For Desktop Users in City Limits

Modern high-speed cable connections to a home desktop should be 50 to 150 megabits-per-second (50 to 150 Mbps).

Also remember: these speeds are theoretical numbers.  In practice, most users will experience speeds that are slower than these theoretical values. Speeds vary with many factors.

Here are several ways you can test your internet connection speed and see your own performance.

1-Ookla Speed Test for Android

Ookla Android speed test
Ookla Android speed test. screenshot

Ookla is a respected American name that has offered speed testing services for years.  Their Ookla mobile app will perform upload and download speed tests with controlled data over a 30-second interval.  It will then provide you graphical results to show what speeds your mobile device is achieving on 4G, LTE, EDGE, 3G, and EVDO networks.

Important note:  many ISP's will offer to be the target Ookla server for you, so their results may be skewed to inflate their performance numbers.  After your first test, it is a good idea to go into Ookla settings and choose an independent server outside of your ISP's control when you run your second and third Android speed test.More »

Ookla speed test for iPhone/iOS
 Ookla speed test for iPhone/iOS. screenshot

In the same fashion as the Android version, Ookla for Apple will connect to a server from your iPhone, and send and receive data with a strict stopwatch to capture the results.  The results will show in stylish graphs, and you can choose to save your results online so you can share it with friends, or even your ISP.

When you use Ookla on your Apple, make sure to run it multiple times, and after the first test, using the Ookla settings to choose a target server that is not owned by your ISP; you are more likely to get unbiased results from a 3rd party server. More »

Bandwidthplace.com speed test
 Bandwidthplace.com speed test. screenshot

This is a good free speed test choice for residents of the USA, Canada, and the UK. The convenience of Bandwidthplace.com is that you need not install anything; just run their speed test in your Safari or Chrome or IE browser.

Bandwidth Place only has 19 servers around the world at this time, though, with most of its servers in the USA. Accordingly, if you are far away from the Bandwidth Place servers, your internet speed will appear quite slow. More »

DSLReports speed testDSLReports speed test. screenshot

 As an alternative to Ookla and Bandwidthplace, the tools at DSLReports offer some interesting additional features.  You can choose to test your bandwidth speed when it is encrypted (scrambled to prevent eavesdropping) or unencrypted. It also tests you against multiple servers simultaneously. More »

5-ZDNet Speed Test for Desktop

ZDNet speed testZDNet speed test. screenshot

 Another alternative to Ookla is ZDNet.  This fast test also offers international statistics on how other countries are faring for internet speeds. More »

6-Speedof.Me Speed Test for Desktop

Speedof.Me speed test
 Speedof.Me speed test. screenshot

Some network analysts claim that speed tests based on HTML5 technology are the most accurate mimic of how internet traffic really flows. The HTML 5 tool at Speedof.Me is one good option for testing your desktop or cell phone speed.  This browser-based tool is convenient for how it requires no install.

You don't get to choose the servers with Speedof.me, but you do get to pick what kind of data file you want to upload and download for the test. More »

7-Where Does Internet Sluggishness Come From?

Where does internet sluggishness come from?
 Where does internet sluggishness come from?. Buena Vista / Getty

Your performance is likely to fall short of the theoretical maximum on your ISP account.  This is because many variables come into play:

  1. Online traffic and congestion: if you are sharing a connection with many other users, and if those users are heavy gamers or downloaders, then you'll definitely experience a slowdown.
  2. Your location and distance from the server:  particularly try for those of you in rural settings, the more distance the signal travels, the more your data will hit bottlenecks across the many cable 'hops' to reach your device.
  3. Hardware: hundreds of pieces of hardware connect you to the Web, including your network connector, your router and model, many servers and many cables. Not to mention: a wireless connection has to compete with other signals in the air.
  4. Time of day:  just like the roads during rush hour, the cables of the Internet have peak times for traffic. This definitely contributes to your speed experience slowing down.
  5. Selective throttling:  some ISP's will actually analyze data, and purposely slow down specific types of data.  For example, many ISP's will purposely slow down your movie downloads, or even dial all your speeds down if you consume more than your monthly quota of data.
  6. Software running on your system:  you may unwittingly have some malware or some bandwidth-intensive application running that will rob your internet speed.
  7. The other people in your house or building:  if your teenage daughter is streaming music in the next room, or if your building neighbor below you is downloading 20GB of movies, then you'll likely experience sluggishness.

8-What to Do When Your Speed Doesn't Match What Your ISP Promises...

What if your internet speed is far below your ISP promises?
 What if your internet speed is far below your ISP promises?. Buena Vista / Getty

If the speed variance is within 20-35% of the promised speed, you may not have much recourse.  That's to say if your ISP promises you 100 Mbps and you can show them that you get 70 Mbps, the customer service people will probably just tell you politely that's you need to live with it.

On the other hand, if you paid for a 150 Mbps connection, and you are getting 44 Mbps, then you are well within reasonable to ask them to audit your connection.  If they mistakenly toggled you at a slower speed, then they should give you what you paid for, or credit you back fees.

 Source: This article was published lifewire.com By Paul Gil

Categorized in Science & Tech

After decades of unbridled enthusiasm — bordering on addiction — about all things digital, the public may be losing trust in technologyOnline information isn’t reliable, whether it appears in the form of news, search results or user reviews. Social media, in particular, is vulnerable to manipulation by hackers or foreign powers. Personal data isn’t necessarily private. And people are increasingly worried about automation and artificial intelligence taking humans’ jobs.

Yet, around the world, people are both increasingly dependent on, and distrustful of, digital technology. They don’t behave as if they mistrust technology. Instead, people are using technological tools more intensively in all aspects of daily life. In recent research on digital trust in 42 countries (a collaboration between Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, where I work, and Mastercard), my colleagues and I found that this paradox is a global phenomenon.

If today’s technology giants don’t do anything to address this unease in an environment of growing dependence, people might start looking for more trustworthy companies and systems to use. Then Silicon Valley’s powerhouses could see their business boom go bust.

Economic power

Some of the concerns have to do with how big a role the technology companies and their products play in people’s lives. U.S. residents already spend 10 hours a day in front of a screen of some kind. One in 5 Americans says they are online “almost constantly.” The tech companies have enormous reach and power. More than 2 billion people use Facebook every month.

Ninety percent of search queries worldwide go through Google. Chinese e-retailer, Alibaba, organizes the biggest shopping event worldwide every year on Nov. 11, which this year brought in US$25.3 billion in revenue, more than twice what U.S. retailers sold between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday last year.

This results in enormous wealth. All six companies in the world worth more than $500 billion are tech firms. The top six most sought-after companies to work for are also in tech. Tech stocks are booming, in ways reminiscent of the giddy days of the dot-com bubble of 1997 to 2001. With emerging technologies, including the “internet of things,” self-driving carsblockchain systems and artificial intelligence, tempting investors and entrepreneurs, the reach and power of the industry is only likely to grow.

This is particularly true because half the world’s population is still not online. But networking giant Cisco projects that 58 percent of the world will be online by 2021, and the volume of internet traffic per month per user will grow 150 percent from 2016 to 2021.

All these users will be deciding on how much to trust digital technologies.

Data, democracy, and the day job

Even now, the reasons for collective unease about technology are piling up. Consumers are learning to be worried about the security of their personal information: News about a data breach involving 57 million Uber accounts follows on top of reports of a breach of the 145.5 million consumer data records on Equifax and every Yahoo account — 3 billion in all.

Russia was able to meddle with Facebook, Google, and Twitter during the 2016 election campaign. That has raised concerns about whether the openness and reach of digital media is a threat to the functioning of democracies.

Another technological threat to society comes from workplace automation. The management consulting firm, McKinsey, estimates that it could displace one-third of the U.S. workforce by 2030, even if a different set of technologies create new “gig” opportunities.

The challenge for tech companies is that they operate in global markets and the extent to which these concerns affect behaviors online varies significantly around the world.

Mature markets differ from emerging ones

Our research uncovers some interesting differences in behaviors across geographies. In areas of the world with smaller digital economies and where technology use is still growing rapidly, users tend to exhibit more trusting behaviors online. These users are more likely to stick with a website even if it loads slowly, is hard to use or requires many steps for making an online purchase. This could be because the experience is still novel and there are fewer convenient alternatives either online or offline.

In the mature digital markets of Western Europe, North America, Japan and South Korea, however, people have been using the internet, mobile phones, social media and smartphone apps for many years. Users in those locations are less trusting, prone to switching away from sites that don’t load rapidly or are hard to use, and abandoning online shopping carts if the purchase process is too complex.

Because people in more mature markets have less trust, I would expect tech companies to invest in trust-building in more mature digital markets. For instance, they might speed up and streamline the processing of e-commerce transactions and payments, or more clearly label the sources of information presented on social media sites, as the Trust Project is doing, helping to identify authenticated and reliable news sources.

Consider Facebook’s situation. In response to criticism for allowing fake Russian accounts to distribute fake news on its site, CEO Mark Zuckerberg boldly declared that “Protecting our community is more important than maximizing our profits.” However, according to the company’s chief financial officer, Facebook’s 2018 operating expenses could increase by 45 to 60 percent if it were to invest significantly in building trust, such as hiring more humans to review posts and developing artificial intelligence systems to help them. Those costs would lower Facebook’s profits.

To strike a balance between profitability and trustworthiness, Facebook will have to set priorities and deploy advanced trust-building technologies (e.g. vetting locally generated news and ads) in only some geographic markets.

The future of digital distrust

As the boundaries of the digital world expand, and more people become familiar with internet technologies and systems, their distrust will grow. As a result, companies seeking to enjoy consumer trust will need to invest in becoming more trustworthy more widely around the globe. Those that do will likely see a competitive advantage, winning more loyalty from customers.

This risks creating a new type of digital divide. Even as one global inequality disappears — more people have an opportunity to go online — some countries or regions may have significantly more trustworthy online communities than others. Especially in the less-trustworthy regions, users will need governments to enact strong digital policies to protect people from fake news and fraudulent scams, as well as regulatory oversight to protect consumers’ data privacy and human rights.

All consumers will need to remain on guard against overreach by heavy-handed authorities or autocratic governments, particularly in parts of the world where consumers are new to using technology and, therefore, more trusting. And they’ll need to keep an eye on companies, to make sure they invest in trust-building more evenly around the world, even in less mature markets. Fortunately, digital technology makes watchdogs’ work easier, and also can serve as a megaphone — such as on social media — to issue alerts, warnings or praise.

Bhaskar Chakravorti, Senior Associate Dean, International Business & Finance, Tufts University

Source: This article was published salon.com By BHASKAR CHAKRAVORTI,

Categorized in Online Research

Today, blockchain technology is still at an early stage of its development and will be used in new interesting projects in the future, according to cryptocurrency expert Bogdan Shelygin.

"It’s difficult to predict what will happen to Bitcoin in the future, but I can say with full confidence that Bitcoin is more than just super profits. It has introduced to the world a new technology which is as revolutionary as the Internet," Bogdan Shelygin, an analyst with DeCenter, Russia’s largest blockchain, and cryptocurrency-related community, told Sputnik.

Bitcoin, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, has shown a meteoric rise in the outgoing year. Its value grew from below $1,000 in the beginning of the year and hit the historic milestone of $20,000 earlier in December. For some financial experts and economists, however, Bitcoin is a reason for concern as another possible bubble.

According to Shelygin, despite the fact that there are those predicting an imminent collapse of Bitcoin, it is impossible to say whether it is a bubble or not.

"Let’s get to the facts. Once the price of Bitcoin already fell, but it remains valuable for the global community as an alternative to the traditional financial system," the analyst pointed out, adding that the main feature of Bitcoin is its decentralized nature.

Shelygin also said that the phenomenon of Bitcoin is that it is the first cryptocurrency the global community has believed in for already 10 years.

"This means that the most interesting things are yet to come. A similar situation was with the Internet. Google was founded in 1998, but today the company is a pioneer in web and other technologies," he said.

Commenting further, Shelygin also suggested that even if Bitcoin collapses the entire cryptocurrencies market will not fall.

"Bitcoin is only the most popular example of the use of the blockchain technology, but it’s not the most outstanding one. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will contribute to the future improvement of the blockchain. Today, the industry is still too young," the analyst said, adding that there a number of other interesting blockchain-based projects to watch in 2018, including Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Ripple.

Source: This article was published sputniknews.com

Categorized in Science & Tech
  • Bitcoin's rise could help lead to the creation of a so-called "decentralized internet," according to a venture capitalist
  • Decentralized internet is the idea that the web is run across a number of machines that are owned by regular users rather than owned in a central place like a server
  • This could ultimately reduced the power of tech giants, the VC said

Bitcoin's rise could help lead to the creation of a so-called "decentralized internet" that could take power away from large technology firms, two venture capitalists told CNBC on Thursday.

The internet works thanks to large centralized services such as server owners, cloud providers, search engines and social media. As a result, many internet giants are dominant in their respective area of the internet.

A decentralized internet promises to spread the running of these services across users. So, a number of independent machines would power services across the web.

The money pouring into cryptocurrencies like bitcoin is helping to bring resources to developing a decentralized internet, according to Hemant Taneja, managing director at U.S. venture capital firm General Catalyst.

"The underlying reason for cyrptocurrencies is about building a decentralized internet. And I think that's a profound reason," Taneja told CNBC in an interview at the Slush technology conference in Helsinki, Finland.

"So, when you think about all these large platform companies that have become so powerful… wouldn't it be nice if we could get the benefit of what these companies provide but without these centralized authorities that have so much control."

Related...

Taneja said that the industry is "nowhere near" having the technology ready for such a project, but the cryptocurrency bubble is helping to bring capital and talent to the development of a decentralized internet.

"The more smart money that starts believing there are benefits around decentralized internet the better it is for us," Taneja said.

Albert Wenger, another venture capitalist at Union Square Ventures, echoed the sentiment, but admitted that reducing the power of internet giants is a long way off.

"In the long run, I think that's the goal we are shooting for. I don't think they (tech giants) have to tremble in their boots any time soon," Wenger told CNBC in an interview on Thursday.

Source: This article was published cnbc.com By Arjun Kharpal

Categorized in Internet Privacy

There have never been so many online learning resources, but that has a downside.

It's hard to overstate the vastness and confusion of the online learning ecosystem circa 2017.

It's a realm that extends from online mirrors of university classes and even whole degree programs to niche tutorial subscriptions like Angular University to pioneers like Coursera. As someone who's done it, just approaching the Google search bar with a topic of interest is unlikely to yield a tutorial or course or program that's really ideal for the learner. There are too many variables: time commitment, workload, cost, interactivity, length, skill-level, prestige, certification (if any). And this is on top of all of the usual confounding search engine noise.

Part of the problem when it comes to programming and development skills is that there are many skills subsets (or stacks) and to newcomers it's not always clear how to gain those skills in an optimal way. It's actually really easy to find an extremely suboptimal learning path, by, say, trying to muddle through a course out of your depth or by focusing on a skill that's heading for obsolescence.

Surely there are busloads of would-be programmers that have just been turned off by the messiness of the whole thing: programming languages, transpiled programming languages, transpilers, programming language frameworks, web frameworks, HTML, compiled HTML, CSS, SASS, APIs, Amazon Web Services, containers services, reactive programming, functional programming, imperative programming, object-oriented programming, WebStorm, Atom, Sublime Text, Vim, and on and on and on. I could try and tell you a right way of navigating all of the skill trees involved in web development (or other sorts of development), but even if I came up with an optimal learning path, this stuff is changing all the time. 

Enter Learn Anything. It's kind of a search engine. The basic idea is that you punch in a skillset you'd like to learn and it will return not a Google-like list of results, but a skill tree offering a clear way of navigating an optimized learning path. Included with that tree are links to curated learning resources. The content is all open-source and open to contributors, whose participation seems pretty neccessary to keeping Learn Anything useful.

Source: This article was published motherboard.vice.com By MICHAEL BYRNE

Categorized in Search Engine

LOS ANGELES — 

What happens when a piano is combined with technology?

“Kids or anybody could learn how to play the piano really properly from the best musicians in the world,” said Mischa Dohler, composer and professor of Wireless Communications at King’s College London.

'Could we digitize skills?'

Dohler’s aim is to build a database that records the movements of a piano player’s hands with the help of a special sensing glove that tracks every movement of the musician’s joints. Once the data is collected, a piano student can then wear another glove that can train the student’s hands.

“You could imagine this so-called exoskeleton that you can put on your hand. It will pressurize the hands and the joints, and will move it gently at the beginning, and nudge essentially the body into the right shape and in the right way of moving your hand,” Dohler said.

It is an example of what Dohler calls the “Internet of Skills” that he is demonstrating at the Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exhibition in Los Angeles.

“We use digital today to negotiate for jobs. We use LinkedIn, emails, etc., but then to execute the work, we still need to drive. We need to fly. We need to walk. So I was thinking, ‘Could we virtualize it? Could we digitize skills?’”

Health care application

Another application for the “Internet of Skills” is health care.

Motivated by the Ebola crisis in Africa, Dohler is trying to develop a way for doctors to treat a patient thousands of miles away, especially in remote areas where medical skill is lacking, where virtual reality and low-cost technology can link the doctor and patient in a way never before possible.

“What I’m trying to do is first of all give the surgeons back the feeling of touch, so he feels what he does inside the body; and the second thing is, I want him to be able to have this console somewhere in another hospital. So the only thing we’re doing is the cable between the console and the patient and make it longer and make it an internet,” Dohler said.

It is only possible if large amounts of data can travel very quickly, more specifically, 10 milliseconds for action and reaction to occur. Companies are already developing hardware to move information faster.

Depends on data, speed

“It all came about with video. The way we view content today is very different from the way we viewed it before, and getting content to everybody, whether it’s on their iPhone or their android devices or on their PCs everywhere takes the underlying network,” said Eve Griliches, product line manager at Cisco Systems.

She said many new networks that transport and transmit growing amounts of data are being built by private networks.

“Everybody has a stake in the game now. Everybody has a stake,” she said. “And the beauty about getting the content to everybody, more so the other step, is as we’re opening up the networks and creating the sort of open source society in the networking area, it allows people to build on it,” Griliches added.

As technology continues to catch up with what the brain can imagine, Dohler envisions the “Internet of Skills” democratizing labor in about a decade, just as the internet has made knowledge available to all.

Author : Elizabeth Lee

Source : voanews.com

Categorized in Science & Tech
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