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Archive for January, 2014

Gimme Some Of That: The Fastest Real-World Internet at 1.4 Tbps

Courtesy ERIC LIMER, Gizmodo

The Fastest Real-World Internet Is 1000x Quicker than Google Fiber

Image via PeterPhoto123/Shutterstock

Fiber internet is great no matter who’s laying it down. Gigabit connection speeds? Hell yes. But if you thought that was fast, researchers in the UK have something better that will not only blow your hair back, but blow it right off: a 1.4 terabit connection, and all with commercial-grade hardware.

Developed by a joint research team from French telecoms company Alcatel-Lucent and BT, the magic of this incredible connection isn’t in fancy hardware. Instead, it’s in a new protocol named Flexigrid that lets you lay multiple signals over the top of each other in a a single cable, which lets data race from point A to point B in parallel. When layered all together, seven 200 Gbps channels form one, mega "Alien Super Channel" that offers the 1.4 Tbps speeds across a 255 miles stretch of fiber that already exists between the BT Tower in London and a BT research campus in Suffolk.

How fast is 1.4 Tbps? Fast enough to stream any one of the following in one second:

  • 64 hours of HD Netflix
  • 38 hours in 3D or 4K
  • 36,409 songs from Spotify


The World’s Fastest Wi-Fi Makes Google Fiber Look Like Dial-Up

Everybody hates wires, but if you want crazy speed, they’re the way to go. But maybe not anymore. A team of German scientists have developed… Read…

We’ve seen some other impressive advances in connectivity recently too, like 200 Gb wireless connections through a combination of hardware and a software advancements. But 1.4 Tbps through pure protocol is especially exciting because it doesn’t require any infrastructure changes. This could theoretically run on the fiber (much of which is lying useless) in the ground right now.

But laying new fiber is a rough process, and not many people (aside from Google) are actively pursuing it in the US. Still if we could get 1.4 Tbps out it, that’s all the reason in the world to bring dark fiber back to life, and start laying more new stuff to boot. A whole 1,433 reasons to hurry it up already. [The Independent]


Starbucks, I’ll have 1 Grande Security Blunder Please!

Courtesy By Neal Augenstein, WTOP.com

WASHINGTON – The most-used mobile payment app in the United States stored its users’ personal information in a way that could have gotten a tech-savvy thief a lot of free coffee — on you.

Starbucks executives confirm the coffee chain’s mobile payment app has been storing usernames, email addresses and passwords in clear text — not encrypted, according to a Computerworld report.

That means anyone who can get access to a device with the Starbucks mobile-payment app could connect the phone to a PC and get the passwords, usernames and a list of geolocation tracking points — which could sacrifice the phone owner’s privacy and security.

Knowing the phone owner’s information would allow the thief to charge items to the victim’s account, until the stored value on the card is used up.

Even worse, if the phone owner activated an auto-replenish option, more money could be accessed from the victim’s bank account.

"What you’ve described is fair, at a high level," Starbucks CIO Curt Garner said. "From a design perspective, this could have potentially happened."

According to Computerworld, Starbucks chose convenience over security.

Two executives, quoted in a phone interview with Computerworld, said they have known the credentials were being stored in plain text.

"We were aware," said Chief Digital Officer Adam Brotman. "This was not something that was news to us."

Customers using the free Starbucks app only need to enter their password once, while activating the payment options. After that, users don’t have to enter their username or passwords again.

To exploit the easily-read information, a thief would have to steal or at least borrow the device upon which the Starbucks app is loaded.

Yet, a hacker could access the information even without knowing the phone’s PIN code, writes Schuman.

Brotman, with Starbucks, is downplaying the potential for customers to be victimized by easy visibility of passwords, saying "we have security measure in place now related to that," and that "usernames and passwords are safe," because Starbucks has added "extra layers of security."

Reporter Evan Schuman writes Starbucks offered no specifics of the improved security.

Move over, Raspberry Pi: Intel debuts SD card-sized computer

Courtesy Brad Reed, BGR.com

Intel Edison SD Card Computer

We all know that wearable computers will need to be small and Intel has obliged by unveiling Edison, a new computer housed inside and SD card that has built-in Wi-Fi connectivity and that can support multiple operating systems. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said that the goal of Edison is to give wearable computing manufacturers a go-to option when they need a computer to power their devices.

“Wearables are not everywhere today because they aren’t yet solving real problems and they aren’t yet integrated with our lifestyles,” he explained. “We’re focused on addressing this engineering innovation challenge. Our goal is, if something computes and connects, it does it best with Intel inside.”Intel’s press release follows below.

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Eyes Up Display: TV Screen Contact Lenses

Courtesy Ellie Zolfagharifard, DailyMail

Contact lenses that allow the wearer to see high-definition virtual screens are to be unveiled in Las Vegas next week

Contact lenses that allow the wearer to see high-definition virtual screens are to be unveiled in Las Vegas next week.

Dubbed iOptik, the system allows the users to see projected digital information, such as driving directions and video calls.

The tiny ‘screens’, which are the invention of Washington-based group Innovega, sit directly on a users’ eyeballs and work with a pair of lightweight glasses.

Together, they provide an experience equivalent to watching a 240-inch television at a distance of 10 feet, according to Innovega’s chief executive Steve Willey.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2533463/The-contact-lenses-away-TV-screens-System-projects-images-eyeball-unveiled-week.html#ixzz2pPcCVhSd

Microsoft reportedly developing a programming language called M# — and it may be open-sourced

MS Developing New Language – M#

Using the Microsoft C++ REST SDK

Courtesy Gaston Hillar, DrDobbs.com

The new SDK enables you to stay in C++ when consuming REST services

Visual Studio 2013 includes the C++ REST SDK version 1.0, also known as Casablanca. This Microsoft open source project is evolving in CodePlex, and takes advantage of the new set of capabilities introduced in C++ 11 to simplify  cloud-based coding with a modern, asynchronous, and multi-platform API design. In this first article in a two-part series on this C++ REST SDK, I  explain how you can use this SDK to consume REST services. In the next article, I’ll show how to use the SDK to retrieve and send JSON documents.

Understanding C++ REST SDK Architecture

When you need the best performance, you usually evaluate going native, and C++ is one of the best options for doing so. Microsoft believes C++ is valuable in the cloud; and  the company’s new C++ REST SDK enables developers to work with C++ to consume REST services and achieve both great performance and scalability. It allows you to stay in C++ when consuming REST services or developing other code closely related to the cloud.

If you use C++ to consume cloud services but you use a C-based and synchronous API with callbacks, you aren’t taking full advantage of the improvements included in the latest C++ versions. In addition, your code will be difficult to read and debug, and the synchronous API will make it difficult for you to create a responsive UI. Most modern Web APIs try to reduce unnecessary boilerplate and so offer asynchronous methods without the complexity of C-style callbacks.

For example, if you work with C++ 11 but you use it to make calls to a synchronous C-based API to make an HTTP GET call, your productivity levels cannot  even be compared to other programming languages such as C# or Python. Microsoft developed the C++ REST SDK on top of the Parallel Patterns Library (PPL), and leverages PPL’s task-based programming model. Whenever you perform an asynchronous operation with the C++ REST SDK, you are creating a new PPL task. To make the C++ REST SDK portable to Linux, Microsoft made the necessary portions of PPL run on Linux (and compile cleanly with GCC). Thus, the C++ REST SDK uses a concurrency runtime for C++ that relies heavily on C++ 11 features. Instead of working with callbacks, you can write elegant C++ 11 code that creates tasks and schedules other tasks to be executed when certain other tasks finish  execution. If you have previous experience with PPL, you will find it easier to work with the C++ REST SDK.

The C++ REST SDK relies on the following four low-level stacks or APIs that ride on top of the services provided by the different operating system (see Figure 1):

  • WinHTTP: also known as Microsoft Windows HTTP Services. It is a C-based HTTP client API.
  • PPL (short for Parallel Patterns Library): the programming model for composing asynchronous operations. The C++ REST SDK uses WinHTTP on different Windows versions.
  • Boost.Asio: a cross-platform C++ library for network and low-level I/O programming that provides a consistent asynchronous model. The library uses a modern C++ approach. The C++ REST SDK uses Boost.Asio to manage communications on Linux.
  • HTTP.sys: the Windows server-side API for HTTP. The C++ REST SDK uses HTTP.sys on different Windows versions.

REST SDK Figure 1: The four low-level stacks used by the C++ REST SDK uses.

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