FryUp: Spot the difference

A tale of two bot-boys, TelstraClear's ticking off and digital steam radio

— Spot the difference

— Tempest in a teacup

— Dibbuns Against Bedtime

Requires Java

Ugh. Hurts to admit this, but PulpCore is cool stuff for games (and maybe other things). Applets are back, indeed, with source included.

Sixty frames per second in BubbleMark! W00t! And check out Sketch.

Interactive Pulp

Spot the difference

In New Zealand, bot-boy Owen Walker, aka Akill, gets a fine and is discharged without conviction for hijacking and remotely controlling other people’s computers via planted malware. He made forty grand out of that enterprise.

In the US, his friend Ryan Goldstein receives three months in prison, three months in a halfway house followed by 180 days of home confinement and five years’ of probation.

On top of that, Goldstein gets a US$30,000 fine and is ordered to pay US$6,100 in restitution to Penn Uni that was DDoSed by him and Walker. He will, however, be allowed to graduate next year, from his engineering course.

Goldstein did what he did, apparently, because he was hacked off with some IRC networks.

Draw your own conclusions from the above.

Kiwi botmaster's associate gets jail term in US

Tempest in a teacup

Not a lot of people know this, but there are in actual fact two copper local loops in New Zealand. Telecom has the big one and TelstraClear, the small one. With short lengths of copper and low levels of congestion, the latter’s network performs rather well for applications like DSL and TelstraClear has every reason to brag about it.

Unfortunately, the TelstraClear local loop only snares business customers in their centrally allocated districts. Lovely and VDSL2 enabled as it might be, it’s not for the great, huddled unwashed masses that TelstraClear advertised its feats of fast broadband to, so the ComCom gave it a sternly worded cease-and-desist-with-that-marketing-based-on-our-report letter.

This is, of course, very naughty by TelstraClear, because Epitiro, the company that does the monitoring and reporting for the ComCom pointed out that the Aussie-owned telco’s network performance was so good because it is rather business class compared with the back-of-the-cabin copper line network that the rest of has to make do with.

If you see any more boastful broadband bulletins based on the ComCom report, please note this caveat by Epitiro:

“The Index score should be viewed as indicative rather than representative of New Zealand broadband quality across the country. The test environment covers just 11 sites nationally, and therefore cannot capture all the variables that impact a customer's broadband service from an exchange.”

Watchdog tells off TelstraClear

Broadband from the boondocks to the bus stops

Dibbuns Against Bedtime

While we have digital Freeview television already, in glorious high definition, its poor cousin, broadcast radio, is still trucking along in analogue mode.

This isn’t so bad as FM radio works rather well and either way, the older Digital Audio Broadcasting or DAB standard apparently has too low a bit-rate so it doesn’t sound as good with large amounts of stations competing for bandwidth.

Nevertheless, SOE Kordia is keen to bring in DAB, especially in its better-sounding Plus variant that has a better CODEC and improved error correction than the old eighties Eureka 147 digital radio. Since 2006, there is a DAB trial underway in Wellington and Auckland with nine stations that my receiver can’t pick up, unfortunately, on the North Shore despite the transmission site being upgraded to 1kW.

Digital broadcasting of radio and TV opens the door to some cool things, like programme guides, better station density, storing and pausing live broadcasts, and better reception so I’m for it — cautiously, as I’d like the main benefit to be better sound on say Concert (yes, I listen to that kind of stuff). At some point, as with analogue TV, FM signals are meant to be turned off in favour of digital radio only broadcasting, although I doubt that’ll happen due to the nature of the medium.

However, DAB+ seems years away still and Kordia is waiting to get commercial radio spectrum allocated to it from the Ministry of Economic Development. While Kordia waits to deploy DAB+, my kids add “Internet” to “Radio” and their receiver is iTunes or one of the .fm stations. Somehow I don’t think they’ll break that habit, should DAB+ go live in some years’ time.

Kordia unfazed by UK digital radio meltdown




Robert X Cringely

Obama drama or McCain pain? Techies show a clear preference

Who does the high-tech world want to be our next president? How about a dark horse candidate with no skeletons in his closet and a clear tech agenda? Read on to find out who Cringely's voting for this year As we enter the home stretch of Election 2008, it's hard to avoid the subject of presidential politics. You can't swing a cat without hitting a pollster or someone stumping for one candidate or the other. I can hardly pick up the phone without finding a robo-caller on the other end. I'm missing deadlines because I'm too wrapped up in following my fave news sites. So it's all politics all the time here in Cringeville. Computerworld's Patrick Thibodeaux has a wonderfully silly article analysing sales of candidate coffee cups at 7-Eleven stores in states with lots of high-tech workers. Highly caffeinated geeks overwhelmingly would rather ride a Donkey than an Elephant; overall, 60 percent of 7-Eleven shoppers pick the Obama cup. (Then again, they drink their coffee at 7-Eleven, so what do they know?) Google traffic favours Obama too. According to ComScore, 5.4 million people visited Obama's campaign site in August, versus 3 million for September's numbers may prove better for the GOP, due to interest in veep choice Sarah Palin. (Sorry folks, there are no nude photos there. Lord knows I've looked.) Google's Eric Schmidt has come out strong for Obama. (With Al Gore on Google's board, that's not a huge surprise.) Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman support John McCain (possibly because they thought he'd pick them instead of Caribou Barbie for a running mate). Schmidt may end up eating all by himself at the Bohemian Grove, though; four out of five CEOs still prefer the GOP. Read my lips: It's all about the taxes. How are the candidates themselves on high-tech issues? John McCain has made no secret of his technical nonprowess (though he did invent the BlackBerry - not). Obama seems much more comfortable with tech, though a) that may be just his advisors talking, and b) we still don't know if he's a PC or a Mac. I'm betting on the latter. As for me, this year I'm not endorsing either nominee. Instead, I'm urging readers to vote for me as a write-in candidate. I'm younger than John McCain, wear less makeup than Sarah Palin, have more hair than Joe Biden, and I never pal around with terrorists unless they're buying. Hey, we've done worse.

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