UBS, Pirate-to-pirate, Aussie weapons

Top Stories - UBS tap turned on again - Pirate-to-pirate crackdown - Aussie weapons buzz

Top Stories

- UBS tap turned on again

- Pirate-to-pirate crackdown

- Aussie weapons buzz

- Good on ya, Keith

Pity the phone was nicked though – hope Ericsson gets you a new one soon.

-TUANZ Innovation Awards 2004

- UBS tap turned on again

Telecom and the Commerce Commission talked, and made up in the end. How exactly they did so remains unclear, but anyway, from the 29th of September, UBS should be available to customers.

What’s more, Telecom revealed that it intends to introduce plans with higher download speeds of 512kbit/s plus 1 and 2Mbit/s next year. But come on, Telecom… why limit them to a paltry 128kbit/s upstream? A steeply asymmetric service like that will be a pain – the Internet is not a unidirectional broadcast medium.

A 4:1 ratio for downstream/upstream would be more appropriate, especially for the 1 and 2Mbit/s plans.

We’ll dig deeper into the whole “partial unbundling” thing next week, but the lesson for other providers here is two-fold: first, you need advice on how the regulatory environment works and second, there’s no substitute for rolling out your own network.

Don’t lose sight of what UBS is: a low-speed, low-grade access method with poor scalability, extremely limited features and usability – Auckland ISP Orcon is already concerned that UBS isn’t going to be suitable for online gaming thanks to the high latency of up to one second. Its key feature is the nationwide coverage but beyond that, there’s little to be excited about.

While everyone’s eyes are on leeching a margin out of reselling low-speed DSL, think of where fibre could take you instead.

- Pirate-to-pirate crackdown

One thing is for sure: UBS users won’t ever be (in)famous P2P pirates like the Underground Network members are. These DC++ hub chaps and chappettes had to offer up some 100GB of shared files in order to join the network, our San Francisco correspondent reports. Try sharing that amount of data on 256/128k…

For the first time ever, Attorney-General Ashcroft’s copyright cops raided homes in Texas, New York and Wisconsin and seized computers, software and “related equipment” (presumably people’s cable and DSL modems). Nobody was arrested, however, but the feds’ booty was impressive: court documents say the feds downloaded 84 movies, 40 software programs, 13 games and 178 sound recordings.

Wonder what they’ll do with all of that? No chance of a FBI++ hub, I suppose.

- US government cracks down on P2P piracy

- Aussie weapons buzz

Newspaper reports say that our Australian friends have bought some fearsome new missiles for their air force, to replace the General Dynamics F-111 strike bombers which are being retired early.

Although the upgraded systems reach only three-quarters the distance of the F-111s they still apparently have Australia’s neighbours worried. The new stealth cruise missile only goes 400km so an F/A-18 Hornet with a range of 740km would require a few airborne fuel top-ups before it could launch a decisive first strike on Remuera for instance.

Since we no longer have an armed air force, there’s not heaps we can do about the Ockers raining cruise missiles on us. Probably be a good idea to let them win the rugger in the future, actually.

However, cruise missiles are so last millennium. The Australians have more fiendishly cunning weapons under development. The Defence Science and Technology organisation is working writing software that will emulate the collective intelligence of large insect swarms. Using small and cheap (A$20,000 each! these people have too much money) drones, and controlling them with algorithms that are “on the edge of chaos”, scientists hope to create swarms for surveillance and attack duties.

If it flies, that stuff is going to be really creepy. Our government needs to urgently develop its “Aussie Salute” countermeasure technology, I say.

- Australian scientists turn to insect swarms for new generation weapons

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