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AT&T U-Verse Brings Super-Fast Internet to Apple’s Hometown

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AT&T recently announced the launch of an enhanced Internet service called U-verse with AT&T Gigapower in Apple’s hometown of Cupertino, California.

This new service will provide Internet download speeds of up to 1Gbps in some residential and business areas. An upgraded residential gateway will support the latest Wi-Fi technology, meaning faster home and office Wi-Fi.

TV service will also be available to Gigapower customers, with the ability to watch and record up to five HD programs at the same time. Customers will also have the ability to record up to 900 hours of SD programs, or 330 hours of HD programs. Additionally, U-verse app users will be able to view 230 live TV channels in their home on their mobile devices, and up to 130 of those channels will be available on the go.

Internet service will cost $110 per month for 1Gbps speed, or $80 per month for 300 Mbps speed. With TV service, the 1Gbps plan is $150 per month, while the 300 Mbps will sell for $120. Voice calling can also be added to the TV and 1Gbps service for $180 per month.

GitHub Gets Hit with Massive DDoS Attack

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GitHub, the popular US coding website, is in the midst of dealing with the largest distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack in the website’s history.

The attack is believed to originate from China, as a surge in traffic intended for Baidu, China’s largest search engine, has been paralysing GitHub for the duration of the attack. The coding website used by programmers and tech firms to develop and share tools has been working overtime in an attempt to alleviate access problems.

GitHub says the attack “involves a wide combination of attack vectors,” which “includes every vector we’ve seen in previous attacks as well as some sophisticated new techniques that use the web browsers of unsuspecting, uninvolved people to flood github.com with high levels of traffic.”

“Based on reports we’ve received, we believe the intent of this attack is to convince us to remove a specific class of content,” GitHub says.

It is possible this “specific class” of content may be related to China. Two particular GitHub content areas being targeted are run by Greatfire.org and the New York Times, both of which are censored in China. Greatfire.org is an anticensorship organization that distributes tools to help Chinese citizens navigate around the country’s strict censorship controls.

Anthr@x, Chinese security specialist, believes the attack can be attributed to HTTP hijacking, and that block code execution was used to prevent looping. “A certain device at the border of China’s inner network and the Internet has hijacked the HTTP connections went into China, replaced some javascript files from Baidu with malicious ones that would load every two seconds,” stated the security researcher.

According to a recent GitHub tweet, the website has “adjusted mitigation tactics and are observing improved TCP performance for the majority of non-attack traffic.” Now four days into the attack, the measures being taken by GitHub to resolve the attack seem to be working.

Google’s Desktop Chrome Data Server Designed to Reduce Data Usage

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Google has recently released a beta version of an extension called Data Saver for desktop Chrome that aims to reduce data usage and cost when tethered to a mobile connection. The beta version of the Data Saver extension is now available on the Chrome Store.

The extension is designed to reduce data usage and cost by compressing pages on Google’s server before the data is sent to the browser. Data Saver also tracks how much data has been saved while the extension is enabled and displays the information as handy statistics.

However, as data costs will be cut, so will the quality of the pages. Due to the compression, pages will load with grainier still images. On its support page, Google also mentions other sacrifices may include breaking location services, intranet sites not loading and users experiencing difficulty logging into a mobile provider’s website.

In order to maintain privacy of HTTPS connections, the Data Saver extension will not compress data on HTTPS sites. This means data won’t be compress video being viewed on YouTube or when the browser is in Incognito mode.

Aside from a few exceptions, the Data Saver extension still promises significant savings on data usage. Google experimented with data compression in Chrome on mobile and has now introduced a built-in feature on iOS and Android, claiming the ability to reduce page size by 50 percent. This similar extension for desktop could be a welcome addition for laptops relying on a mobile networks for connectivity.

Amazon Announces Unlimited Cloud Drive Storage

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Amazon has just launched some new unlimited Cloud Drive storage plans for anyone looking to back up important files, photos and music in the cloud.

Amazon’s unlimited photos plan lets you store an infinite number of images in Cloud Drive for $11.99 per year. 5GB of extra storage space will also be offered with the unlimited photos plan for storing whatever else users desire.

A new “unlimited everything” plan has also been launched, giving users as much Cloud Drive space as needed to store photos, videos, documents, movies and music for $59.99 per year.

“Most people have a lifetime of birthdays, vacations, holidays, and everyday moments stored across numerous devices. And, they don’t know how many gigabytes of storage they need to back all of them up,” Josh Petersen, director of Amazon Cloud Drive, said in a statement. “With the two new plans we are introducing today, customers don’t need to worry about storage space—they now have an affordable, secure solution to store unlimited amounts of photos, videos, movies, music, and files in one convenient place.”

To make these new offerings even sweeter, users can test the service out before investing. A free three-month trial for either plan is now available. Additionally, Amazon Prime members will automatically receive unlimited Cloud Drive storage for photos, plus and extra 5GB of storage.

Tennessee Sues FCC Over City-Run Internet

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The state of Tennessee is suing the FCC to overturn its recent city-friendly decision to dismantle laws that restrict municipalities from supplying broadband and competing with private companies such as AT&T and Comcast. The FCC recently re-classified broadband Internet as a utility, effectively declaring it as a right for every American and, at the same time, dismantled laws restricting competition.

Now, while the broadband industry is suing the FCC to stop net neutrality rules, the state of Tennessee is also claiming the FCC “has unlawfully inserted itself between the State of Tennessee and the State’s own political subdivisions,” calling it “arbitrary, capricious and an abuse of discretion.”

Legislators in Tennessee, North Carolina and approximately 30 other states have attempted to limit municipal Internet expansion even if it might mean poorer or non-existent service in rural areas. Private Internet providers have encouraged these actions, oftentimes drafting a majority of the state legislation used to restrict city Internet services.

The FCC is convinced that any challenges of its municipality ruling will fail, saying “we are confident that our decision to pre-empt laws in two states that prevented community broadband providers from meeting the needs and demands of local consumers will withstand judicial scrutiny.”

If the FCC prevails, other municipalities facing similar bans could begin to proceed with broadband expansion.

Twitch Resets User Passwords After Data Breach

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Twitch, the livestreaming service for gamers, recently confirmed reports that it suffered a security breach. As a result, the hugely popular service acquired by Amazon last year for nearly $1 billion is now requiring all users to change their passwords.

Twitch made a blog post on their website notifying users of the breach which may have lead to unauthorized access to a number of user accounts.

“For your protection, we have expired passwords and stream keys and have disconnected accounts from Twitter and YouTube. As a result, you will be prompted to create a new password the next time you attempt to log into your Twitch account,” wrote Twitch staff in the blog.

Additionally, an email was sent out to users saying, “If applicable, you will also need to re-connect your account to Twitter and YouTube, and re-authenticate through Facebook, once you change your password. We also recommend that you change your password at any other website where you use the same or similar password.”

The Twitch team also apologized for the inconvenience caused by the hack. Twitch is reportedly the fourth largest site on the Internet in terms of peak traffic behind Netflix, Apple and Google, meaning the hack could potentially impact a huge number of people.

Trucking Companies – Lost Income

“…hundreds of millions of dollars lost by truckers because loads are not optimized…”

Trucking companies lose significant income in three main areas related to the management of load weights. These costs often go unnoticed simply because it‘s the method of operation that has become common practice. It’s just the way it is. However, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Shipping Underweight

There are hundreds of millions of dollars lost by truckers because loads are not optimized in terms of maximum load weight. The risk of hauling overweight, and the significant costs associated with that, causes shipment after shipment to hit the road under maximum capacity.

Whether a shipper is paid by weight, by volume, by trip, or by quantity, when full capacity is not achieved with each load, it is simply revenue that vanishes.

Long haulers may not have the full load they could have on board and that means lost revenue. LTL (Less Than Load) operators may not take on that last skid at their last stop for fear of going overweight. Sand and gravel trucks may not carry maximum weight to and from the pit to their site destination which creates significant lost revenue in the long run. Waste trucks that are paid by weight lose revenue by not topping up before heading to empty their load. They may be able to execute extra revenue producing loads in a day if they could continue to load up with confidence.

 “…or worse, it could cause denial of insurance”

As a simple math example, if a vehicle can generate $200,000 in revenue in a year and the common experience is to ship 4% underweight as a precautionary measure then the loss is a linear calculation. This common practice is costing $8,000 annually for every truck in the fleet in this example – every year, and many examples are much higher in terms of lost revenue per vehicle .

Shipping Overweight

The first risk of hitting the road with too much weight on board is the risk of incurring the direct cost of fines at government scales for doing so.

However, there are many costly risks of this practice besides the direct cost of fines. If a company is fined consistently, it can cause insurance rates to increase, or worse, it could cause denial of insurance.

In addition, a vehicle could get pulled off the road if it’s overweight and that can cause significant costs to send expensive assets, both in operating costs and time, to the weigh station yard to off-load weight so the trip can be completed, assuming there isn’t a more long-term penalty.

There are also significant liability risks if an overweight load is involved in any type of accident. No trucking company wants to face that circumstance.

“real-time, instantaneous weight solutions to the truck cab, as well as to the office of the trucking company.”

Managing Load Weight

Whether third-party scales are used or in-yard scales are used there are significant costs with the weighing process for truckers.

If it’s a third-party scale there are the fees per load that must be paid.

If it’s an in-yard scale, then there is the cost of the unit itself plus maintenance. There may also be an employee’s time used to operate the scale, or the trucker themselves have to spend additional time operating the scale. There are certainly costs involved with this process that are often overlooked because the scale itself is thought of as a sunk cost.

Perhaps more important, is the time lost going to scale. This cost is multiplied if the load weight must be adjusted, up or down, and then weighed again before hitting the road.

If the sand or gravel truck can do one more load per day because they don’t have to go to scale, that can be a huge increase in revenue over a year. If extra time can be saved, perhaps extra revenue-generating miles can be achieved for short and long haulers. If LTL shippers can eliminate the trips to scale at various locales along their route, then revenues will surely increase. As mentioned above, if the Waste or Recycle vehicle can make one less trip to the dump they can clear more volume from the streets resulting in more revenue at less cost.

The Solution

On-board weighing solutions using SIM card technology and the existing cell tower networks throughout the United States and Canada can deliver real-time, instantaneous weight solutions to the truck cab, as well as to the office of the trucking company. Loads can be optimized with confidence for revenue purposes. Overweight costs and risks can be avoided with data that is accurate to within 150 pounds. Scale costs and the associated losses associated with time spent in the weighing process can be completely mitigated.

Ancillary Benefit

If pilferage is an issue with any trucking company, the reporting capabilities of this type of solution can also identify when and where loads weights were adjusted when not authorized.

Conclusion

Technology is upon us. Companies using these solutions will certainly have a competitive advantage over those that don’t bother. The payback for implementing an inexpensive on-board, real time, weighing solution is almost immediate for many trucking operations just like the costs and lost revenues are immediate as well.

 

Google to Launch Better Browsing Protection

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Google will be increasing the amount of warnings users get before visiting a site full of “unwanted software.” A red caution warning will be generated whenever a user tries to visit a potentially harmful site.

Google describes unwanted software as any secretly installed programs which change settings without a user’s consent. This “safe browsing” application already exists in Google Chrome, and is now being adapted to work in Apple’s Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox browsers as well. This modification will protect about 1.1 billion users. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer has been left out of this update, but users need not worry. Internet Explorer already uses the warning system SmartScreen Filter.

Recently, Google said its smart browsing application generates about 5 million warnings each day. On top of that, Google discovers more than 50,000 malware-infected sites and more than 90,000 phishing sites per month. In fact, Google’s product manager Stephan Somogyi said the smart browsing application is so effective the creators of these malicious sites are having to constantly invent new software and schemes in an attempt to trick users.

“The folks trying to make a buck off people are having to come up with new stuff and that puts us in a position where we have to innovate to keep pace with these guys,” Somogyi said in an interview. “You are now going to see a crescendo in our enforcement on sites that meet our standard of having unwanted software.”

Facebook’s FriendFeed Service Shutting Down

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The Facebook-owned service FriendFeed will be closing permanently on April 9, and is no longer accepting any new sign-ups.

FriendFeed compiles updates from sites like Facebook, Flickr, Youtube, Twitter and more into one convenient stream. This social filtering service hit the Web in 2007, and became a subsidiary of Facebook in 2009 for an undisclosed sum. Since then, FriendFeed has lost many of its users.

“We’ve been maintaining the service since we joined Facebook five years ago, but the number of people using FriendFeed has been steadily declining and the community is now just a fraction of what it once was,” the company said in a blog post. “Given this, we’ve decided that it’s time to start winding things down.”

“We want to thank you all for being such a terrific and enthusiastic community,” the team wrote. “We’re proud of what we built so many years ago, and we recognize that it would have never been possible without your support.”

FriendFeed was created by former Google employees Paul Buchheit, Jim Norris, and Sanjeev Singh, who previously worked on projects such as Gmail and Google Maps.

CRTC Punishes First Anti-Spam Law Offender

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For the first time since the Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL) came into effect, the Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has issued a Notice of Violation. The CRTC is fining Canadian company Compu-Finder $1.1 million as punishment for sending emails without the recipients’ consent or a properly functioning unsubscribe mechanism.

The CASL has been in effect since July 2014, forbidding marketers from sending commercial electronic messages, installing computer programs, and/or collecting email addresses without obtaining consent from consumers. Making false or misleading representations in electronic emails and collecting personal information without proper authorization is also illegal under this bill. If found breaking this law, individuals can be fined up to $1 million, and businesses can face fines up to $10 million.

The CRTC has been investigating Compu-Finder since last summer, after complaints were submitted to the Commission’s online Spam Reporting Centre. According to the CRTC, “an analysis of the complaints made to the Spam Reporting Centre of this industry sector shows that Compu-Finder accounts for 26% of all complaints submitted.”

Manon Bombardier, Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer for the CRTC, said Compu-Finder “flagrantly violated the basic principles of the law by continuing to send unsolicited commercial electronic messages after the law came into force to email addresses it found by scouring websites.”

Compu-Finder, a corporate training company, has 30 days to either challenge the CRTC’s findings or pay the penalty.