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2 felix FRIDAY 13 NOVEMBER 2009

Technology Editor Samuel Gibbs


TECHNOLOGY technology.felix@imperial.ac.uk

Strike Three! You’re


Fighting the
Outta Here! good fight
Feroz Salam reports as the dark Lord Mandelson pushes for three Samuel Gibbs Technology Editor
strike filesharer disconnection without trial in the UK

T R
upert Murdock, you know architecture, nicknamed Google Caf-
he ethical issues involved in that old guy who keeps rant- feinated, and will start rolling it out
piracy have been in the news ing about things that he obvi- across its data centres in the near fu-
a lot over the last decade or ously doesn’t understand, hit ture. You won’t notice anything differ-
so. As the music and film in- the headlines this week for his ham- ent about the Google search page, but
dustries tried to come to terms with an fisted abuse of Google. Murdock insists you might about your searches. Polls
entirely new distribution format and a that Google is profiteering off of stolen have shown that generally people think
new generation grew up with Limewire News Corp content. What he seems their searches are better with Google
and the Pirate Bay, conflicts sprouted to not understand is that yes, Google Caffeinated over regular old Google.
everywhere as the industries attempt- does make money from search, and Will your searches will be better? I
ed to strong-arm the file-sharers, only perhaps search including News Corp guess that will depend on your use of
to be met with stubborn resistance. At articles, but when someone searches Google, but overall Google Caffeinated
the end of the first decade of the 21st for something in his articles they end seems like a win for all. Whether you’ll
century, the dust has settled a fair bit. up going to that article on his website. notice however is debatable.
The Pirate Bay lost their court battle Surely the fact that they can’t capitalise One of my favourite programs this
against the recording industry, several on that is their own problem? Mur- week is going HD. The new series
large torrent trackers were shut down dock even went as far as to say: of Top Gear starts Sunday and is be-
(with the fate of many more uncertain) ‘If they’re just search people.... They ing broadcast in both SD and HD.
and Limewire (along with all the ad- don’t suddenly become loyal readers’ For those with Virgin, Sky or FreeSat
ware that is bundled with it) has more Murdock wants to make all of News it’ll surely make the rampaging chal-
or less been consigned to history. being the studio that churns out me- thing in the long term. The meteoric Corps online content paid for and lenges and beautiful cars even more
That said, it appears that the RIAA diocre animated films that no one has rise of Spotify has been a testament to make users access it directly. Well for visceral. For those stuck with SD TV,
and the MPAA aren’t done yet. In a ever really watched). Immediately af- the fact that financially viable free mu- one, I don’t see that actually working you’ll probably be able to get it in HD
new piece of legislation that will come ter his small trip, Lord Mandelson saw sic distribution is possible. By pushing (would you pay for The Sun online?). on iPlayer, which shows quite a lot of
into force in the summer of 2011, per- it fit to attempt to push this law into this new law forward as strongly as he And second of all, if you don’t want programs these days in HD. After all
sistent filesharers can be blocked from existence, all the while denying the two is doing, Mandelson is taking away people to be able to search your arti- almost all programs recorded for TV
their internet connections as part of events were linked, in the same way any incentive the recording companies cles, then why not block search en- are currently shot in HD only to be
a “three strikes policy”, which as the that me setting fire to my carpets and have to innovate and giving filesharers gine spider access? It’s pretty simple, converted later to SD with a lot of im-
name suggests is an American con- my house burning down would not be an incentive to find smarter ways to you just put a ‘don’t access this’ in the age processing.
cept that coincidentally has previously linked. beat the system, setting the stage for Robots file on your domain and the Talking about TV, Channel 4 is run-
only largely been used on murderers Aside from the political aspect of the another round of long and bloody legal search engine will ignore. ning a 3D week next week with vintage
and rapists; never before on the aver- law, there’s the issue of innocent users battles. Google itself responded to these ac- 3D films and shows being shown in all
age spotty teenager. The implementa- incorrectly being identified as illegal As we drift along into 2010, it’s worth cusations with a statement to the effect their glory. Admittedly, the technology
tion of this law, therefore, raises some filesharers. The ISP TalkTalk, in a re- recalling a relatively small music shar- of ‘Whatever man’ telling Mr. Murdock Channel 4 are using to broadcast in
interesting questions. Is your average cent stunt, showed that roughly 34% of ing service that operated between June that all he needs to do is tell Google to 3D isn’t the most up-to-date but free’s
music thief banned from using the wireless connections in your average 1999 and July 2001, Napster. Facing a not index his sites and just as easy as free right? Derren Brown will feature
internet for life? What if he moves street have either little or no security at massive set of lawsuits from big name that they’d be removed. What I don’t and there’s also a greatest 3D moments
house? What about the people who all. Wireless security hasn’t been able record labels at the turn of the millen- think Murdock understands about all from TV, film and music videos show.
move into his old house? Can he work to keep up with the explosion in wire- nium, Napster declared bankruptcy this is that without Google and other The highlight of the week, however,
somewhere with access to internet or less internet; the average user probably and slipped into oblivion. Yet the prac- search engines leading users to the has to be the first ever broadcast of
is this an all-encompassing burden he has no idea about the differences be- tice of filesharing wasn’t affected much content, not many are actually going to the Queen’s coronation in 3D, allow-
must carry with him to his grave? Most tween WPA and WEP, and probably as users simply moved on to different find and read the content. OK, a few ing views to step back in time and be
importantly, where is he to find quality doesn’t care. To cut these users off technologies. 10 years on, it appears dedicated people might read it like a in some small way, a part of it. Now I
Japanese tentacle porn? from the internet is rather like per- that the film and recording industries newspaper, browsing around it, but at don’t know about you but I’m not that
The obviously confused man be- manently banning a supermarket just have learnt little if anything from the the end of the day News Corp content fussed about Derren Brown in 3D,
hind this new law, Lord Mandelson, because there was a shootout in their past – and with laws being drawn up for the most part is hardly unique. Peo- but the royalist in me is pretty stoked
had shown little interest in piracy and parking lot. It makes no sense. by politicians who apparently have no ple will just go somewhere else rather about Queenie in 3D. Get on over to
copyright issues until he flew to Corfu Looking at the broader picture, one understanding of the underlying is- than pay. your nearest Sainsbury’s to get some
for a meeting with Dreamworks’ co- has to ask whether such laws are really sues, there doesn’t seem to be an end In other search news, Google has fin- funky glasses to watch C4’s 3D week
founder David Geffen (Dreamworks required, and whether they add any- in sight to the vicious cycle. ished testing of its new back end search while stocks last.

Xmarks the spot for free bookmark and password sync across multiple browsers
Samuel Gibbs Technology Editor between Firefox browsers via cloud seamlessly as well as logins and pass- with encryption to keep your logins someone on their computer without
storage. Of course Firefox isn’t the words, if you use Firefox 3, for any and safe on their servers and across the In- overwriting all their bookmarks and
only browser on the planet and so the all sites that your browser happens to ternet. When you next logon to a com- passwords.
Today I’d like to introduce you to an- company branched out to other brows- save. The client syncs the data in the puter Xmarks updates any changes you For students this means that you can
other student friendly free service that ers and other platforms including In- background to the Xmarks servers happen to have made, allowing you to carry your bookmarks for research,
helps you keep your bookmarks, pass- ternet Explorer and Safari on OSX continue where you left off, regardless notes, articles and of course YouTube
words and other things in sync across and changed their name to Xmarks. of which computer or browser you videos and time wasters (everyone
multiple computers, browsers and Google’s Chrome on both OSX and happen to have in front of you. needs a little break here and there
operating systems. Now this doesn’t Windows is also currently supported If you find yourself in front a com- right?) between home, college and an-
sound all that exciting but if you’ve in a limited capacity through a new puter that you can’t install the sync ywhere else. I would have killed for this
ever used a college computer and Xmarks alpha build and the Chrome client sync client on then Xmarks kind of service in my 1st year simply
wished you had access to all the book- dev channel, which leaves only Cami- also provides you with a handy on- for research, let alone everything else.
marks and passwords you’ve got stored no and Opera out of the major market line repository of all your bookmarks. The kicker is that it’s totally free, no
on your home machine then Xmarks is players unaccounted for. Simply browse to Xmarks.com, which catch, no ads, just a great service and
for you. Xmarks essentially gives you a sync includes a mobile optimised site, and something everyone should be using.
So what is Xmarks? Well it started as service for all your bookmarks across login to find all your bookmarks laid So what you waiting for? Head on
a plugin for Firefox called Foxmarks, multiple systems and browsers with out for you. This is especially handy over to www.xmarks.com to register
which simply synced your bookmarks one login. Bookmarks are synced if you just want to show something to and get your sync on.
felix FRIDAY 13 NOVEMBER 2009 3

technology.felix@imperial.ac.uk TECHNOLOGY

The War for Neutrality Rages Google


Simon Worthington reports on why your freedom to use the net as you choose is at risk
with the European Parliament considering a non-neutral Internet as ISPs line their coffers acquires
AdMob
W
ith all the debates on Hopefully by now it’s pretty easy to their service upgraded whilst smaller Lott. Everyone can contribute equally,
knobbly vegetables, it’s see why net neutrality is a good thing. companies offering the same home- and with that comes choice and diver-
easy to forget that the Freedom on the Internet has been the delivery services wouldn’t be able to sity. Without a neutral network the
European Parliament main reason that the web has grown pay the money and keep low prices playing field isn’t level any more. Rich Samuel Gibbs Technology Editor
plays a huge role in the way that we into the powerful tool we know today, and so would fall out of the market. commentators would have more im-
all live. MEPs from all over Europe are with surfers able to drive innovation This is of an obvious disadvantage to pact on discussion because they wield
currently debating the proposed ‘Tele- of ideas and technology from their me and you, because loss of competi- This week Google extended its ad-
coms Reforms Package’, which will put back bedrooms or garages. No-one tiveness would hamper the drive to the vertising reach deeper into the mo-
in place new laws to regulate the way can doubt this innovative force when low Internet prices we know and love. bile market with the acquisition of the
we use and access the Internet here in
the EU. In doing so they will decide the
they remember that Google, Skype,
eBay and Twitter, tools many of us use
Enforcing neutrality across the web
would help ensure even small compa- ‘Your mobile advertising leader, AdMob.
The purchase is reported to have cost
outcome of the most important, yet daily, were all started by a regular per- nies get a slice of custom and so can Google $750 million in stock, making
least reported debate the Internet has
ever faced, about ‘net neutrality’. What
son with an idea. Without a neutral In-
ternet it would make it hard for those
make the market competitive.
Another area in which the Internet
freedom waves in the relatively small mobile ad
serving market. It’s important to note
is decided now on net neutrality will sites to even come into existence today is often applauded is free speech, with that the mobile ad serving market ben-
shape the way the Internet grows and
changes, and will ultimately affect the
as single developers struggle to pay the
fees required to get their idea noticed.
blogs providing a platform for anyone
and everyone to air their views on
to browse efits from the lack of widely available
ad-blocking technology that plagues

really is at
way we work and play in the future. Anti-neutrality systems would be whatever they want. There have been the desktop market meaning that in
OK it’s important, I get that, but beneficial for the present day Google countless examples in Internet history most cases each ad served is in fact
what the hell is net neutrality? Well and eBay though, as it would help to where bloggers have made a differ- seen.
simply put, net neutrality is the prin-
cipal that all information on the web
should be treated equally. Tim Bern-
stifle their competition and generally
reduce the competitiveness of the In-
ternet as a whole. Big companies like
ence in the real world, in everything
from the revival of Family Guy to your
screens, to forcing the resignation of
risk’ Google already had a mobile adver-
tising system in place that mimicked
it’s signature Google Adsense text ads
ers-Lee, often credited with invention Amazon could afford the prices to have ethically ambiguous US Senator Trent from the desktop. In purchasing Ad-
of the web, defines it as “the freedom Mob, Google not only buys a signifi-
of connection, with any application, the financial power to get themselves a cant market share but also the technol-
to any party”, meaning that everybody better quality of service. ogy for mobile display ads. Google’s
should be able to use their Internet Thankfully, it’s not too late just yet VP of engineering, Vic Gundotra said
connection without any sort of limit to do something about this. There are that acquiring the AdMob engineering
to access whatever they want. If you’re several campaigns (Internet based, team was critical to Google’s accelera-
thinking that’s how it works already, of course) to fight for net neutrality, tion of its mobile ad efforts.
then you’d be right, but all that could and many of them have active peti- AdMob, which has good links with
soon change. tions. If you want more information, content providers and the lucrative
Telecoms companies such as Virgin go to www.laquadrature.net for the mobile app space, will propel Google
Media in the UK, as well as Comcast low-down on net neutrality in Europe, to the forefront of the mobile sector.
and AT&T in the US, have expressed and also check out the rather corny Having Google leading the charge in
interest in limiting or blocking access sounding www.savetheinternet.com. mobile ads may also see an expansion
to certain websites owned by com- Whatever you do, don’t just sit there, of the market sector, especially with
petitors or charging website owners a because your freedom to browse, play Google’s tie-ins with its open-source
fee to have their site delivered at un- and work across the internet really is at Android operating system. The mobile
restricted speeds to users as they are risk. In the end, the governments and app space, which has seen rapid expan-
at the moment. Those who couldn’t commissions have to listen to some- sion on the iPhone and Android plat-
pay would have traffic from their sites body, and it’s either going to be us or forms in recent years has increasingly
slowed down through traffic shaping the telecom companies looking to line seen ad supported programs provid-
or even stopped from passing across their wallets. Who would you rather it ing a potentially lucrative market for
the company’s network. was? Google to have bought into.

Weekly Wrap-up: A quick guide to the best of the rest you might have missed
Samuel Gibbs Technology Editor gamer decided his mouse didn’t have son, it’s fast and reliable, but it goes to don’t like paying for them meaning ing a HUD type overlay. If that wasn’t
enough buttons and went ahead and show there’s safety through minority. they’re often skipped. In essence un- fantastic enough, NEC aims integrate
set up a company to do it better. War- Speaking of vulnerabilities, this week less you fork out a pretty penny for the this technology with real-time spoken
Another week in tech has past us Mouse is aiming this at the OpenOf- it’s emerged that there’s a new threat exam you could be convicted straight language translation which would give
by and what do we have to show for fice MMO playing crowd and they from the computer virus. Your normal up for having kiddy porn. So next time the wearer the ability to read translated
it? How about the hideous looking might go potty over it, but I think I’ll everyday virus either wants to steal in- you click on that .exe or browse that text projected into their eye balls when
OpenOffice Mouse? stick to my trusty Logitech thanks. formation from you, send out a load of dodgy website with the ‘free stuff ’ just someone speaks to them in a foreign
This week Mozilla had a party to cel- spam or turn your computer into part think twice and always use protection. language.
ebrate Firefox turning the big 5-noth- of a botnet. Although that’s pretty in- OK, I know that sounds a bit fishy,
ing. Yes that’s right, the browser of convenient and could potentially be but we’re nowhere near April and it’s
choice for the web savvy, but Google damaging to your finances or identity, not inconceivable that with advances
hating, user really is five years old. The it doesn’t come close to causing jail in voice recognition this kind of system
project which grew out of the death of time for the infected. could revolutionise the way we com-
the Mozilla suite (aka Netscape Navi- A new type of virus has started to municate in foreign countries. For the
gator) celebrated its fifth birthday by crop up which paedophiles use to es- time being NEC said the Tele Scouter
being crowned the vulnerability king sentially store their collections of kiddy glasses could be implemented using
and not in a good way. porn on your computer. Now this is facial recognition to give salesmen an
A recent study found that Firefox pretty disturbing just from the thought overview of a particular clients recent
suffered from 44% of the total vulner- of kiddy porn being on your compu- purchases. NEC hopes to have the
abilities affecting todays browsers. ter and some hideous person access- glasses tested and available in Novem-
Featuring 18 buttons, 63 program- Safari, which includes Mobile Safari ing it for their ‘needs’. But you might ber 2010. I just hope they can build in
mable profiles and even an analogue came in second and the normal culprit be shocked to know that it might even a bit of Terminator style augmented re-
joystick, this instant carpal tunnel sur- of the browser wars Internet Explorer lead to you facing a conviction for pae- ality for the ultimate wearable compu-
gery inducing monstrosity is soon to came in at number three. The winner dophilia because who’s going to believe NEC this week showed off its Tele ter system. Forget Layar and the other
hit the stores for the bargain price of in all this happens to be the least used ‘a virus did it’ claim? It all comes down Scouter glasses in Tokyo. The glasses phone based augmented reality apps,
£45. Obviously not a fan of the Mag- browser Opera. Now I know there are to the fact that the exams that courts do work by projecting information di- having info beamed into your eyes is
icMouse, a World of Warcraft-loving Opera fanboys about and for good rea- on your computer are costly and they rectly on the wearers retina provid- definitely the way forward.