Friday, May 26, 2006

Whirlpool Releases Australian Broadband Survey Results

Whirlpool, the Australian Broadband news site, have released the results of their Australian Broadband Survey 2005. The survey was actually held from 29 December 2005 until January 2006 and was completed 16,590 times by Whirlpool readers.

Not suprisingly, as most of the Whirlpool readers are 'informed consumers' or 'prosumers', Tesltra cops some flack. Only 1.9% of those surveyed think that Telstra's management team are doing a good job and 81.5% believe that other ISP's need to reduce their reliance on Telstra's broadband network.

VOIP (Voice Over IP) use has doubled since last year's survey with 29% now using it. However of those that have used VOIP, only 6% mainly use VoIP and keep their landline connected for emergency calls, whilst only 1% use VoIP for all their home telephony and have disconnected their home phone line. I am using VOIP through iiNet for the majority of our calls and the service and quality has been fine up until recently, when I started noticing that I would be randomly disconnected at times. Unfortunately, as with most VOIP contracts, there is no Quality of Service Agreement. But at 10c untimed for a call, I'm not complaining (yet).

Overall, the survey provides an interesting insight, and is worth reading.

Read the results of their Australian Broadband Survey 2005. Do you agree with most of the results, or fit the profile of these broadband users?

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Monday, May 08, 2006

Hacker saw UFO images

Gary McKinnon, an Englishman accused by the US Military of perpetrating the "biggest military computer hack of all time" by hacking into the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Department of Defence and NASA, has given a video interview to the BBC where he says he was motivated by trying to uncover photographic evidence of UFO's and suppressed technology. He also says he found that evidence.

In a rebuttal to US press hysteria over the case, McKinnon says that he broke in by finding Windows computers that had emtpy Administrator passwords, used RemoteAnywhere to do control the remote desktops, and there were constantly other hackers from around the world on these systems already. "There were no lines of defence" says McKinnon.

Things get really interesting/strange when he says that he was told by a NASA photographic expert that NASA "... regularly airbrushed out images of UFOs from the high-resolution satellite imaging." McKinnon says he found a satellite image before it had been retouched, viewed it on the remote system and started to download it, but was discovered and disconnected. Wouldn't you know it?

The story has been debated by uber-geeks over at Slashdot, where most agree that, technically, some parts of his story don't hold up. Some Slashdot readers suggested that McKinnon actually broke into a NASA honeypot, a deliberate trap filled with false, though tantalizing, information in order to catch hackers.

Whatever the truth, it makes for an interesting story whichever way you look at it. The US want McKinnon jailed for 60 years and are trying to extradite him from the UK. Are the US Government's networks really that insecure? Did McKinnon find real information or was he deliberately fed misinformation so he could be caught? Is 60 years too much for accessing an insecure system? Let me know what you think.

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Do You Trust the Internet for Your News?

An recent article in The Age newspaper titled 'Internet gains trust as news source', outlines the findings of a recent Reuters poll where 10,230 participants from 10 countries were asked to name their most trusted news sources.

Not suprisingly, national television was the most trusted news source overall for 82 per cent of the participants. This was followed by newspapers and radio. 25 per cent said they trusted internet sources, such as blogs, while another 23 per cent admitted they did not trust blogs.

However, internet sources were seen as the most important news source among 19 per cent of those participants aged between 18 to 24. No suprises there either.

I depend on a few blogs and aggregators to report and break news stories, especially in the areas of the web and technology. But like anything else, you need to choose your sources carefully.

Now, if a story I watch on TV interests me, I will sometimes follow it up online where I can see people's pics of it on Flickr, read eyewitness accounts on blogs and discuss it with others on Metafilter. There's a convergence of different mediums happening, which enables the viewer to also become the participator.

Do you follow up news stories online? If so, what other techniques and sites do you use to do this?

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