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The Telecom Digest for October 28, 2011
Volume 30 : Issue 274 : "text" Format
Messages in this Issue:
Dropbox: The Inside Story Of Tech's Hottest Startup (Monty Solomon)
Review: Newfangled Nest thermostat is hot (Monty Solomon)
QR Codes (was A quizzical response to the new bar codes) (Neal McLain)
Technology: A bipartisan attempt to regulate the Internet? (Monty Solomon)
Re: A quizzical response to the new bar codes (Thad Floryan)
Comcast v AT&T dispute over access charges (John Meissen)
Please comment on my new blog (Telecom Digest Moderator)

====== 30 years of TELECOM Digest -- Founded August 21, 1981 ======

Telecom and VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) Digest for the Internet. All contents here are copyrighted by Bill Horne and the individual writers/correspondents. Articles may be used in other journals or newsgroups, provided the writer's name and the Digest are included in the fair use quote. By using any name or email address included herein for any reason other than responding to an article herein, you agree to pay a hundred dollars to that person, or email address owner.
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Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2011 08:34:16 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Dropbox: The Inside Story Of Tech's Hottest Startup Message-ID: <p0624085ccaceb0a06ded@[]> Dropbox: The Inside Story Of Tech's Hottest Startup Victoria Barret, Forbes Staff 10/18/2011 (This story appears on the Nov. 7, 2011 cover of Forbes.) Here's that rare Steve Jobs story, one that's never been told, about the company that got away. Jobs had been tracking a young software developer named Drew Houston, who blasted his way onto Apple's radar screen when he reverse-engineered Apple's file system so that his startup's logo, an unfolding box, appeared elegantly tucked inside. Not even an Apple SWAT?team had been able to do that. ... http://www.forbes.com/sites/victoriabarret/2011/10/18/dropbox-the-inside-story-of-techs-hottest-startup/ ***** Moderator's Note ***** Here's the 300 pound gorilla in the room: sending your data to Dropbox, or any other "cloud" storage facility, means spending a lot on data access fees if you do it from a "smart" phone. Cellular companies, who are the middlemen, are poised to steer that traffic to, and to share profits with, storage companies that kickback some of their fees and/or perform content management that forbids storage of things that the cellular data providers don't like. Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2011 08:46:25 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Review: Newfangled Nest thermostat is hot Message-ID: <p06240860cacf01cb2dcf@[]> Review: Newfangled Nest thermostat is hot ... Except that this is the coolest thermostat I've ever come across. Nest smashes any preconceived notions of what a thermostat ought to look like and how it should operate, whether you're in front of it or accessing it remotely from an iPhone or iPad. It takes advantage of cloud computing, and it learns from your behavior. ... http://www.usatoday.com/tech/columnist/edwardbaig/story/2011-10-25/nest-thermostat-review/50917506/1 Former Apple exec markets a thermostat for the iPhone generation Called Nest, it's a smart thermostat geared to the iPhone generation. It's designed to learn homeowners' schedules and surroundings and keep them comfortable while saving them money on energy bills. Nest can also connect to a home Wi-Fi and be remotely controlled with a smartphone, tablet or laptop. http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-smart-thermostat-20111025,0,5674129.story Ex-Apple Leaders Push the Humble Thermostat Into the Digital Age http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/25/technology/at-nest-labs-ex-apple-leaders-remake-the-thermostat.html ***** Moderator's Note ***** According to the NY Times article, the company is aiming for a $249 price. That's too high for my taste, and I wonder how long the "payback" interval is, especially considering the hidden costs of data access, connectivity, etc. Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2011 04:27:02 -0500 From: Neal McLain <nmclain@annsgarden.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: QR Codes (was A quizzical response to the new bar codes) Message-ID: <4EA923E6.5000804@annsgarden.com> In Message-ID: <p0624083bcacd37068d2c@[]>, Bill Horne wrote: > ***** Moderator's Note ***** > How is this different than what "Cue-Cat" tried to do? > Does anyone remember Cue-Cat? > > Bill Horne > Moderator Cue-cat required the user to use a special device (the Cue-Cat scanner) connected to a computer. QR codes can be read by any smart phone equipped with a camera and the appropriate app. An app can be downloaded free if the phone isn't already equipped. QR Codes aren't exactly new, although they're only recently starting to appear in pop culture. They are used in newspaper ads, product labels, signs, and websites. Examples: - The City of Manor, Texas uses them to identify city-owned properties. http://annsgarden.com/BCHM/Not_So_Secret_Code.pdf - U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service uses them along "iNature" trails in place of printed trail guides. http://tinyurl.com/6ab8tq5 - New York City outfitted Times Square with giant QR codes to celebrate Internet Week 2010. http://mashable.com/2010/06/10/internet-week-qr-codes/ - I use them on two of the websites that I run: http://tmn-cot.org/ http://migrationcelebration.org/ I haven't yet seen an "Occupy" protest sign with a QR, but I suspect it's only a matter of time. Neal McLain
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2011 01:21:33 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Technology: A bipartisan attempt to regulate the Internet? Message-ID: <p06240853cace9a042178@[]> Technology: A bipartisan attempt to regulate the Internet? October 26, 2011 Leaders of the House Judiciary Committee introduced a beefed-up version Wednesday of the Senate Judiciary Committee's proposed Protect IP Act, offering Hollywood new tools to go after foreign piracy hotbeds -- as well as opening online storage, content-sharing and auction sites in the U.S. and elsewhere to attack from copyright and trademark owners. The 78-page Stop Online Piracy Act (HR 3261) boasts a rare degree of bipartisan support, reflecting the combined influence of such backers as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Motion Picture Assn. of America. But it drew an even sharper outcry from tech-industry advocates than the Protect IP Act. ... http://opinion.latimes.com/opinionla/2011/10/technology-a-bipartisan-attempt-to-regulate-the-internet.html House takes Senate's bad Internet censorship bill, tries making it worse By Nate Anderson Imagine a world in which any intellectual property holder can, without ever appearing before a judge or setting foot in a courtroom, shut down any website's online advertising programs and block access to credit card payments. The credit card processors and the advertising networks would be required to take quick action against the named website; only the filing of a "counter notification" by the website could get service restored. It's the world envisioned by Rep. Lamar Hunt (R-TX) in today's introduction of the Stop Online Piracy Act in the US House of Representatives. This isn't some off-the-wall piece of legislation with no chance of passing, either; it's the House equivalent to the Senate's PROTECT IP Act, which would officially bring Internet censorship to the US as a matter of law. ... http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/10/house-takes-senates-bad-internet-censorship-bill-makes-it-worse.ars
Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2011 21:06:47 -0700 From: Thad Floryan <thad@thadlabs.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: A quizzical response to the new bar codes Message-ID: <4EA8D8D7.7050902@thadlabs.com> On 10/25/2011 9:04 PM, Monty Solomon wrote: > A quizzical response to the new bar codes > > By Beth Teitell > Globe Staff / October 8, 2011 > > Katie McLoughlin, a hip South End resident, was strolling Newbury > Street when she saw something she'd never noticed: a square piece of > paper with a black and white pattern, posted on a real estate > billboard. > > It's the kind of thing that is popping up regularly these days, but > what, exactly, is it? [Moderator snip] > The answer: a kind of bar code known as Quick Response. [Moderator snip] > QR codes have quickly become the darling of the mobile marketing > world. But despite their increasing ubiquity - they have appeared on > Taco Bell cups, plants at the Home Depot , and Target toy catalogs- > many consumers remain either totally ignorant or baffled. > [...] And they come with inherent risk as can be read in this article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_code " " [...] " Malicious QR codes combined with a permissive reader can put a " computer's contents and user's privacy at risk. QR codes intentionally " obscure and compress their contents and intent to humans. They are " easily created and may be affixed over legitimate QR codes. On a " smartphone, the reader's many permissions may allow use of the camera, " full internet access, read/write contact data, GPS, read browser " history, read/write local storage, and global system changes. " " Risks include linking to dangerous websites with browser exploits, " enabling the microphone/camera/GPS and then streaming those feeds to a " remote server, analysis of sensitive data (passwords, files, contacts, " transactions), and sending email/SMS/IM messages or DDOS packets as " part of a botnet, corrupting privacy settings, stealing identity, and " even containing malicious logic themselves such as JavaScript or a " virus. These actions may occur in the background while the user only " sees the reader opening a harmless webpage. " [...] The problem is content obfuscation as mentioned above. The same can be said for "shortened" URLs (e.g., http://bit.ly/ExAmPlE) but there are some web services which expand such URLs for inspection before use; the ones I use are: http://www.knowurl.com/ , http://longurl.org/expand , and http://www.getlinkinfo.com/ The first one above, "knowurl", has never failed me yet and has allowed me to avoid [potential] malware/porn sites (e.g., *.cn, *.ru, etc.). Remain vigilant and trust no one. :-)
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2011 13:08:43 -0700 From: "John Meissen" <john@meissen.org> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Comcast v AT&T dispute over access charges Message-ID: <20111027200843.C2DA517F633@john> Bill, I thought this was an interesting analysis. It's certainly on-topic for once. :-) Comcast Unhappy With Free Market Title I Nirvana. Demands "Access Charges Bailout" But No Reg Oversight. http://tales-of-the-sausage-factory.wetmachine.com/content/comcast-unhappy-with-free-market-title-i-nirvana-demands-access-charges-bailout-but-no-reg-oversight or http://tinyurl.com/6fbn62w john-
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2011 18:25:05 -0400 From: Telecom Digest Moderator <redacted@invalid.telecom.csail.mit.edu> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Please comment on my new blog Message-ID: <20111027222505.GA12116@telecom.csail.mit.edu> There's a company here in my neighborhood that is looking for experts in a program called WordPress, so I'm looking for advice and how-to's that will get me up to speed quickly with the "new" way that websites are written. As a learning tool, I've started a blog using WordPress as its foundation: please visit it and provide any advice you can about the layout, look-and-feel, tips-and-techniques, and especially about ways that I can use it to improve the digest. ob telecom: The blog might develop into a place to have opinions that are a bit too outre for the digest. Let's see. http://timesucker.homelinux.org:8003 Bill -- Bill Horne (Remove QRM from my email to write to me directly)
TELECOM Digest is an electronic journal devoted mostly to telecom- munications topics. It is circulated anywhere there is email, in addition to Usenet, where it appears as the moderated newsgroup 'comp.dcom.telecom'. TELECOM Digest is a not-for-profit, mostly non-commercial educational service offered to the Internet by Bill Horne. All the contents of the Digest are compilation-copyrighted. You may reprint articles in some other media on an occasional basis, but please attribute my work and that of the original author. The Telecom Digest is moderated by Bill Horne.
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