Tag: wired

Americans cutting their wires

huge.5.27492Americans are starting to give up on land based broadband are are connecting using their mobiles rather than  fixed, wired Internet connections to their homes.

The study, conducted for the Commerce Department by the U.S. Census Bureau suggests that Low-income Americans are still one of the biggest demographics to rely solely on their phones to get online. Nearly a third of households earning less than $25,000 a year exclusively use mobile Internet to browse the Web. That’s up from 16 percent in 2013. It seems that you have to be fairly wealthy in the US to have a land-based wired connection to your home.

But it seems that those with higher incomes are also ditching their wired Internet access at similar or even faster rates. In 2013, 8 percent of households making between $50,000 and $75,000 a year were mobile-only. Fast-forward a couple of years, and that figure is 18 percent.

Seventeen percent of households making between $75,000 and $100,000 are mobile-only now, compared with 8 percent two years ago. And 15 percent of households earning more than $100,000 are mobile-only, versus 6 percent in 2013. One in five US households are now mobile-only, compared with one in 10 in 2013.

This suggests that mobile Internet access may no longer be explained simply as the result of financial hardship but could be a conscious choice, at least for wealthier people, who are deciding it’s not necessary to have both.


Intel announces Bay Trail tablet CPU, part two

[Part one is here]

Kirk Skaugen, senior VP General Manager PC Client Group at Intel took over in the second half of Wednesday’s IDF Keynote presentation. He began talking about the “2 in 1” computing platform. That raises the question: Have Ultrabooks slipped off Intel’s road map just when HP is announcing its HP ZBook 14 Ultra Workstation?

Kirk Skaugen


Perhaps they are simply not selling in the volume predicted at a couple past IDFs when Ultrabooks were announced? Skaugen put it this way: “Now we’ve stopped counting [OEM designs], and assumed that the entire world has gone thin”. He added that more than 40 percent of all Core notebooks have been designed with touch. Seventy percent of today’s Ultrabooks are touch-enabled, on the way to 100 percent touch later this year.

Skaugen said by this year’s holidays, the 2-in-1 form factor will be selling in the $999 down to $349 price range. He said that by the year’s end, there will be 60 2-in-1 devices in that future marketplace. Examples he showed were the Sony Duo 13-inch slider, the Dell XP 11, the Sony detachable – which only weighs 780 grams and handles both wired and wireless, and the Dell XP 12, which is a flip screen. An application from CyberLink will be provided on Haswell machines by the end of the year to energise content creation.

Skaugen handed over to Tami Reeler, Microsoft VP who discussed the Windows 8.1 released to developers. There was the usual sales story about how wonderful Windows 8 is.

In August, Windows 8 had the highest demand and sales, which was probably prompted by the back to school movement. She discussed Windows XP and its end of support in April 2014. She also claimed that “three quarters of the corporate users have moved to a modern Windows from Windows XP” – but she didn’t specify whether they were using Windows 7 or Windows 8.x.

Tami Reeler talks Windows 8 with Kirk Skaugen

Intel says that it has the business community handled with fourth generation core CPUs, SST Pro 1500 SSD, location-based security in the enterprise, and its new Pro-WiDI plus password free VPN connections – which got a round of applause from the audience.

Mario Müller, VP of IT Infrastructure at BMW, was next to join Kirk Skaugen on stage. There was some banter about a new BMW for everybody in the audience. Müller said that 55,000 of its 120,000 employees will be getting core i5 computers, but none of the audience will be receiving a BMW, unfortunately.

Mario Müller and Kirk Skaugen discussing new BMW i8 Plug-In Hybrid Sports Car 

Skaugen returned to topic saying that Bay Trail has 140 design wins and it runs all operating systems faster – Android, iOS, Chrome, and Linux. He talked about the Cinnabar benchmark using the fourth generation Broadwell 14 nm CPU. The chips will include AVX 3.2, DDR4 and PCI Express 4.0 support among their improved feature set.

Bay Trail SoCs are aimed at tablets and convertibles with screen sizes priced at $599 or below and will ship in tablets running Windows 8 and Android, ranging down to below $100 in price. When Chinese tablet OEMs start selling $100 price point 7-inch tablets with Bay Trail inside, then Intel will have to be taken very seriously by the ARM and MIPS partners.

Sony Duo slider as a tablet 

The discussions turned towards 3D. By Q2 2014, Intel predicts there will be collaboration over a 3D camera specification that will be implemented into Ultrabooks. We were told that Intel has had high numbers of downloads for its 3D SDK. It has the $100,000,000 Experience  and the Perceptual Computing Fund to work with.

Skaugen showed a 2D/3D camera that fits into the bezel of an Ultrabook. He gave an example of 3D functionality with a video showing children playing with an Ultrabook which had a 3D camera installed. Their expressions were of surprised joy.

3D developers should be glad to know that Project Anarchy is a free 3D game production engine and is ready to be downloaded and used.

Gonzague de Vallois, VP Sales and Marketing for Gameloft, showed off the company’s latest Android 3D auto racing game, referred to as Asphalt 8: Airborne, which takes advantage of Bay Trail and 3D graphics. At $4.99 it’s pretty affordable.

Gameloft’s Asphalt 8, for Android

Sundar Pichai, Senior VP Android Chrome & Apps at Google talked about the just-introduced Haswell CPU Chromebook and its stunning performance, extended battery life, and 3D capabilities. He also presented Doug Fisher from Intel’s Software and Services Group with an official Google Beanie cap – what a new hire at Google wears for their first days. After Pichai left the stage, Fisher said something about ‘that is a give away’.

Sundar Pichai gives Doug Fisher a Google Beanie

Over 1,000 Intel engineers are working on Google Android and Chrome.

Research firm NPD says Chromebooks represent 20-25 percent of the $300-or-less computer segment. Clearly, Intel has embraced Google’s Android and Chrome operating systems as a target market to put a lot of “Intel Inside”. 

Wikileaks worker was FBI spook

Wikileaks worker “Siggi” Thordarson has outted himself as a double agent working for the FBI.

According to Wired, Thordarson was a long time volunteer for WikiLeaks with direct access to Assange and a key organiser.

He had the role of double agent for three months and earned $5,000 for his trouble. The FBI flew him internationally four times for debriefings.

Thordarson was 17 when he joined WikiLeaks in February 2010. He joined after WikiLeaks published internal bank documents connected to that country’s financial crisis.

When the local staff revolted over what they considered Julian Assange’s self-promotion, Assange put Thordarson in charge of the WikiLeaks chat room, making Thordarson the first point of contact for new volunteers, journalists, potential sources, and outside groups.

He was also the middle man in the negotiations with the Bradley Manning Defense Fund that led to WikiLeaks donating $15,000 to the defence of its alleged prime source.

In January 2011, Thordarson was implicated in a political scandal in which a laptop packed with spying gear was found running unattended in an empty office in the parliament building.

According to chat logs, Assange promised to back him, but said that he expected total loyalty in return.

In June 2011 he visited Ellingham Hall where Assange was then under house arrest while fighting extradition to Sweden.

Thordarson had tried to get Lulzsec to hack Iceland’s government systems as a service to WikiLeaks. He shot and uploaded a 40-second mobile phone video that opens on the IRC screen with the chat in progress, and then floats across the room to capture Asssange at work with an associate.

This video fell into the hands of the FBI who had just arrested Lulzsec’s leader, Hector Xavier Monsegur, AKA Sabu, a week earlier.

The FBI warned Iceland and a huge team of FBI came to the country, asking authorities to help them.

They never caught Thordarson but he approach the FBI two months later.

Talking to Wired he said that he cooperated because he didn’t want to participate in having Anonymous and Lulzsec hack for Wikileaks. But Wired think his second reason was more likely – he did it for the adventure.

To prove he had the adventure he provided Wired with emails that appear to be between him and his FBI handlers, flight records for some of his travels, and an FBI receipt indicating that he gave them eight hard drives. 

Wikileaks' Manning supporter can sue US government

A supporter of Bradley Manning has won the right to sue the federal government over a border search-and-seizure that agents conducted in 2010.

David House, an MIT researcher, was allowed to  pursue a case against the government which was bought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).  The Union claimed that House had been targeted solely because he was involved with Bradley Manning Support Network.

ACLU Staff Attorney Catherine Crump told Ars Technica that despite the government’s broad assertions that it can take and search any laptop, diary or smartphone without any reasonable suspicion, the court said the government cannot use that power to target political speech.

US customs agents pulled House off a plane at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport in November 2010. They searched House’s bags, then took him to a detention room and questioned him for 90 minutes about his relationship to Manning. They then confiscated his laptop computer, a thumb drive, and a digital camera from House and demanded his encryption keys.

The DHS held onto House’s equipment for 49 days and returned it only after the ACLU sent a strongly worded letter.

House points out that he was not questioned about anything “relating to border control, customs, trade, immigration, or terrorism, and at no point did agents suggest that plaintiff had broken the law or that his computer contained any illegal material.”

In other words, what the DHS did was use the customs search to carry out an illegal search of House’s laptop on another matter. This broke the First Amendment rights of speech and political association and the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure.

The government claimed that House was asking the court to “create a new exception for electronic devices from the Government’s authority to conduct routine searches of closed containers at the border. However the judge did not buy that argument and allowed the lawsuit to continue. 

Bradley Manning gets his day in court

The army intelligence analyst who is suspected of leaking classified and sensitive documents to WikiLeaks, Bradley Manning, is finally going to get a day in court. How useful that will be to someone who has spent the last year and a half in solitary confinement is debatable.

Bradley Manning will have an Article 32 hearing which will start on December 16 and it will last five days. This is a military procedure which is a bit like a depositions hearing. It will see prosecutors lay out their evidence before a judge who will determine if the case is strong enough for Manning to face a court-martial.

To make sure they get a court-martial, the Army has filed 22 counts against Manning, including a charge of “aiding the enemy”. It is not clear who the enemy was, unless it helped the Taliban when the US army was shown shooting unarmed Iraqi civilians and Reuters journalists while laughing.

“Aiding the enemy” is a capital charge, though the government has said they will not seek the death penalty if they can make that one stick.

Other charges include five counts of theft of public property or records, two counts of computer fraud, eight counts of transmitting defence information in violation of the Espionage Act, and one count of wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the internet knowing it would be accessible to the enemy.

The Army has said that if he is convicted, Manning could spend the rest of his life in prison.

The hearing will be open to the media and public, except for points in the proceedings where classified information may be discussed.

It is the first time that Manning’s defence has an opportunity to hear the government’s entire case against him.

Writing in his blog, Manning’s brief, David Coombs said that the defense will also see copies of the criminal investigation files and witness statements. 

Manning accuser meets with prosecutors

The ex-hacker who grassed up Bradley Manning for handing over a document cache to Wikileaks is going to meet with prosecutors for the first time.

Apparently, Adrian Lamo has not been needed to provide any evidence in the case. It was his comments to Wired magazine that led to Manning’s arrest.

Lamo told Wired that it was the first time he had met with the prosecution, nearly a year after the case kicked off.

Wired reported the meeting as being set for June 2 and 3 in Washington. Wired pointed out that Manning’s mental state has now been assessed and concluded that at the time of the alleged offenses,  Manning was mentally fit.

Lamo, who admitted to cracking the New York Times, had just been the subject of two stories at Wired.com and Manning had a few chats with him.

In the chats, Manning bragged he was responsible for leaking vast amounts of classified material to WikiLeaks, including the “Collateral Murder” video of a helicopter attack in Iraq and a database of a quarter-million U.S. State Department diplomatic cables.

Lamo said that he was concerned that the leaking might put lives at risk, tipped off the Army and the FBI about Manning’s claims and turned over the logs of their online chats.

Lamo claims he has weekly telephone contact with someone he called a “handler” at the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command. It must be nice to have that level of attention for once, but Lamo said it has not all been good.

Lamo says an unexpected package addressed to him showed up at his parents’ house in Northern California with a note signed by an “Angry Man”

The bomb squad had a look at it, and it turned out it was a “Guy Fawkes mask.” 

PBS and Wired rally against Bradley Manning

Establishment rag Wired and the Public Broadcasting Service are doing their level best to present Wikileaks suspect Bradley Manning in an extremely poor light before his trial.

Not content with the people that set Bradley Manning up by running an article that effectively grassed him up to the authorities, Wired has run a story about a PBS documentary which describes Manning as a violent piece of work.

According to PBS frontline, a year before he entered the army, coppers had to remove Manning from his father’s home after he allegedly threatened his stepmum with a knife.

In what Wired calls a “revelation” the stepmother made a call to Oklahoma coppers in 2006, after Manning, then 18, argued with his father and stepmother.

Apparently the dad fell over after trying to intervene in the argument and his wife called 911.

When the cops asked if Manning still had the knife, the stepmother replied that he’d put it down somewhere. But he would not go away.

Manning was escorted from the house but was not arrested or charged with anything. He later moved out of the house. So a bloke had a row with his stepmum and left home.

However, according to Wired, the incident would not be the last time Manning allegedly exhibited violent behaviour. It pointed out that he had been demoted from specialist to private first class for punching an Army colleague in the face.

This is according to transcripts of an online chat he had with former hacker Adrian Lamo who just happened to be the man who grassed Manning up.

But the violence gets worse, according to Wired. Manning’s supervisor at Fort Drum in New York had told his superiors that Manning had thrown chairs at colleagues and shouted at higher-ranking soldiers. That would make him a candidate for CEO of Microsoft in the real world.

While we understand that it is not good that soldiers are aggressive, particularly if they get into combat situations, it remains questionable why Wired is so keen on putting the boot into Manning after its reporting got him locked up. We can only assume that the magazine has become incredibly establishment in its old age.

The Onion Router is secure and very well thank you

The Onion Router (TOR) is alive and kicking, feeling secure and very healthy despite other plaices saying the contrary. Cryptome.org recently linked to two posts on PGPBoard in the last few days, where claims were made TOR was unsecure. Eviloids such as non-hacker Adrian Lamo, famous for ratting out Wikileaks informer and whistleblower Bradley Manning to the FBI, were purported to be able to sniff  data flowing in and out and about TOR exit nodes operated by them.

Some guy without a name also went on to state TOR had a big stonking hole in its SSL layer and thus were as safe as secrets are with Adrian Lamo. On Friday, press agency UPI also reported the benevolent state of Iran, herold of freedom across the globe, had obtained deep packet inspection sniffing abilities, quoting TOR’s Andrew Lewman.

According to UPI, Iran is apparently now better equipped than China to supress its students and warn them not to listen to horrid corrupters of youth like Michael Jackson and The Ramones and get silly ideas of freedom and democracy.

However, stories claiming TOR is as unsecure as conveying state secrets by postcard are wrong, claimed Andrew Lewman when asked by TechEye. UPI apparently churned out its piece based on an article wiritten by England’s The Telegraph newspaper, yet overlooked paragraph nine, which states ” […] developers have redesigned the software so that its traffic looks just like any other when it sets up an encrypted connection, and Iranian user numbers are now back to normal.”

“We fixed the problem back in January 2011.  It’s clear the journalists are two months behind the technology.  Tor is working well in Iran and continues to be the safest choice,” Lewman told TechEye.

Lewman also dismissed the claims made on PGPBoard as “some paranoid wanting attention.  We addressed this concern over a year ago when Wired tried to create a controversy togenerate more page views”. TOR’s take on a story published by The New Yorker and rehashed by Slashdot and Wired’s Threat Level bog can be found here.

The New Yorker originally wrote about Wikileaks noticing a glut of Chinese hacking activity in the TOR network. Wired than claimed Wikileaks was founded on materials it had intercepted within TOR. Wikileaks later on stated Wired’s claim was bogus

It seems users and other places still have to figure out they also need encryption on the outside.

Google kills off good sites

Online search outfit Google’s bid to purge low quality sites from the top of search results seems to have given some jolly good places a good kicking.

Last week Google updated its algorithm in a bit to sort the sheep from the goats and get rid of low-quality content factories from the top of search results.

It sounded like a good idea, as some sites make their way high up Google’s list without having good information. But it looks like the idea has back fired a bit.

Software firm Sistrix noted that Associated Content and Mahalo, were downgraded, but Demand Media, a content factory that churns out hundreds of web pages and videos daily, and should have taken a knock was still there.

Cult of Mac also disappeared over night and lost nearly a third to one-half over the weekend.

Cult of Mac’s editor Leander Kahney has told Wired that it could mean the death of his site.

Kahney thinks that the site may have been downgraded because there are lots of sites that nick his stuff.

He has also been publishing “How-Tos,” which he hoped would provide a steady stream of traffic to augment the fluctuations of traffic patterns but it might have been flagged in Google.

Cult of Mac lost 96 percent of its Google spots.

The winners of the change include Time.com, Instructables, Sears, DailyMotion, LinkedIn, Facebook, MarthaStewart.com, the Library of Congress and Snopes which seem to have had a 15 per cent increase each.

Google refuses to talk about its new algorithm but said that generally it was well received.  It added that it would continue to tinker.

Hookers prefer to use a Blackberry

The oldest industry in the world favours RIM’s Blackberry over competitors like the gaudy iPhone or geeky Android. “To clients,” a report from a top sociologist suggests, “this symbol of professional life suggests the worker is drug- and disease-free.”

Blackberry is the bizarre token of professionalism. It walks calmly past the iPhone, which is a symbol of consumerism and Angry Birds, managing somehow to exude working cool. Why? Is it the tiny little keyboard? And why do hookers favour the dinky device? We asked Blackberry but it has not replied.

Unfortunately Blackberry’s communications team isn’t keen on discussing the implications and impact of the smartphone in the world of prostitution so we’ll have to speculate. According to a report, published in Wired by sociologist and professor at Columbia University Sudhir Venkatesh, RIM’s Blackberry is empowering to prostitutes. Sex workers worry about getting robbed by Johns all the time – so we’re probably talking older models here rather than the jumped-up app party that is the Torch. 

In a chart called “Sex Worker Mobile Device Usage,” it is revealed that prostitutes prefer the Blackberry in their legion. Seventy percent own one of the devices, while 19 percent plump for the iPhone and 11 percent have another kind of smartphone. 

The infographic suggests that sex workers always carry two mobile phones on their person. “Guys sometimes grab a woman’s mobile to gain a sense of power and control,” says Venkatesh.  But mobiles with any form of real contact information are a no. Xobni will find no opening in the niche lady of the night market.  

Meanwhile weekly gossip newsletter Popbitch confirms that manufacturer RIM has got rid of its unfortunately named career portal, RIM.jobs. It can now be found elsewhere, but we’re told the Canadian powerhouse still owns the domains RIM.us and RIM.me.