The Internet - The first Worldwide Tool of Unification ("The End of History")

" ... Now I give you something that few think about: What do you think the Internet is all about, historically? Citizens of all the countries on Earth can talk to one another without electronic borders. The young people of those nations can all see each other, talk to each other, and express opinions. No matter what the country does to suppress it, they're doing it anyway. They are putting together a network of consciousness, of oneness, a multicultural consciousness. It's here to stay. It's part of the new energy. The young people know it and are leading the way.... "

" ... I gave you a prophecy more than 10 years ago. I told you there would come a day when everyone could talk to everyone and, therefore, there could be no conspiracy. For conspiracy depends on separation and secrecy - something hiding in the dark that only a few know about. Seen the news lately? What is happening? Could it be that there is a new paradigm happening that seems to go against history?... " Read More …. "The End of History"- Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“…5 - Integrity That May Surprise…

Have you seen innovation and invention in the past decade that required thinking out of the box of an old reality? Indeed, you have. I can't tell you what's coming, because you haven't thought of it yet! But the potentials of it are looming large. Let me give you an example, Let us say that 20 years ago, you predicted that there would be something called the Internet on a device you don't really have yet using technology that you can't imagine. You will have full libraries, buildings filled with books, in your hand - a worldwide encyclopedia of everything knowable, with the ability to look it up instantly! Not only that, but that look-up service isn't going to cost a penny! You can call friends and see them on a video screen, and it won't cost a penny! No matter how long you use this service and to what depth you use it, the service itself will be free.

Now, anyone listening to you back then would perhaps have said, "Even if we can believe the technological part, which we think is impossible, everything costs something. There has to be a charge for it! Otherwise, how would they stay in business?" The answer is this: With new invention comes new paradigms of business. You don't know what you don't know, so don't decide in advance what you think is coming based on an old energy world. ..."
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls
Logo No Hate Speech Movement

Bundestag passes law to fine social media companies for not deleting hate speech

Honouring computing’s 1843 visionary, Lady Ada Lovelace. (Design of doodle by Kevin Laughlin)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Apple's Scott Forstall and John Browett to leave firm

BBC News, 29 October 2012

Related Stories 

Scott Forstall joined Apple in 1997
Apple has announced a major shake-up of its management, with two senior executives to leave the company.

The announcement follows embarrassing problems with its new mapping software and disappointing quarterly results.

Scott Forstall, head of its iOS software, will leave next year. He will serve as an adviser to chief executive Tim Cook in the interim.

Head of retail John Browett, the former Dixons boss, is also leaving after just six months in the job.

Apple said the moves were a way to increase collaboration across its hardware, software and services businesses.

Mapping problems

The company faced a barrage of criticism after its new mapping software, introduced last month, showed inaccuracies and misplaced towns and cities.

The debacle led to Mr Cook issuing an apology to customers, while some critics called for Mr Forstall's head as he was the executive behind the panned app.

Mr Forstall joined Apple in 1997 when the technology giant purchased Steve Jobs' start-up Next, and he is credited as one of the original architects of Mac OS X.

Mr Browett left British electronics chain Dixons to take up his post with Apple in April this year. The search for his successor is already underway, with stores reporting directly to chief executive Tim Cook in the meantime.

No specific reasons were given for either man's departure.

Apple's fourth quarter profits of $8.2bn (£5bn) reported last week, also missed Wall Street forecasts, while the 14 million iPads it sold in the quarter fell short of analysts' expectations.

'Relentless focus'

The management changes come a little over a year into Mr Cook's reign as chief executive.

"We are in one of the most prolific periods of innovation and new products in Apple's history," Mr Cook said.

"The amazing products that we've introduced in September and October... could only have been created at Apple and are the direct result of our relentless focus on tightly integrating world-class hardware, software and services."

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Windows 8 launch a 'defining moment' for Microsoft's Steve Ballmer

Touchscreen-ready version of operating system seen as vital to move Microsoft away from fading PC market – and for chief executive's future, Juliette Garside, Friday 26 October 2012

Steve Ballmer speaks at the launch of Windows 8 in New York. Photograph:
Mario Tama/Getty Images

Microsoft has unveiled Windows 8, a radical reinvention of the world's best-selling computer operating system for the touchscreen age, in what many believe could be chief executive Steven Ballmer's last stand.

A 32-year Microsoft veteran and the company's second largest shareholder after Bill Gates, Ballmer has bet his $235bn (£145bn) business on an operating system intended to give the titan of the already fading PC era a future on today's smartphones and tablets. At a launch event in New York on Thursday night, he promised a "re-imagined" software experience that "shatters perceptions of what a PC really is".

Windows 8 will be a boost for PCs, Microsoft believes, rather than accelerating the change that is seeing them replaced by the growing number of mobile devices.

The success of the iPhone saw Apple overtake Microsoft as the world's largest technology company two years ago, but Microsoft remains more valuable than Google, whose Android operating system dominates the smartphone market. It also has $67bn in cash reserves with which to continue its fight to remain relevant.

The showcase device of the biggest Windows relaunch in 17 years – a high-end tablet computer called Surface which goes on sale today – has already received the thumbs down from influential reviewers. While Microsoft can afford to keep trying, critics believe Windows 8 represents Ballmer's last chance to remain at the helm.

"This is going to be his defining moment," said technology industry analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy. "Ballmer's legacy will be looked at as what he did or didn't do with Windows 8. If Windows 8 is not a success, a lot of people will be looking for Microsoft to make a change at the CEO level."

The domestic desktop computer is languishing, with consumers delaying upgrades as they save their cash for smartphones and iPads. Microsoft software operates 95% of PCs, but worldwide sales of those machines fell 8% in the last quarter.

Forrester analyst Frank Gillett has said that if you combined the numbers for PCs, smartphones and tablets, Microsoft accounted for nearly 70% of unit sales in 2008, but just 30% this year.

He predicted: "Windows 8 is a make-or-break product launch for Microsoft. After a slow start in 2013, Windows 8 will take hold in 2014, keeping Microsoft relevant and the master of the PC market, but simply a contender in tablets, and a distant third in smartphones."

With a brightly coloured interface composed of "tiles", each representing an app, Windows 8 has been praised as fast, fluid and fun to use. Updates, like a change in the weather, or a friend's Facebook comments, feed through to the tiles which represent them, creating a dynamic, eye-catching home screen.

But critics say it is only a skin, with the old Windows software underneath. To operate certain features such as word processing, or even to change the date, users must leave the tiles interface and are returned to the world of Windows 7.

"You can't fault them for what they've done to try to prepare for this moment," said analyst Mark Moerdler at broker Sanford C Bernstein. "They've shown themselves to be organically innovative. But if they fail now it becomes even more difficult for them to gain mind share."

Ballmer, now 56, has spent his entire working life at Microsoft, joining as one of its first 30 employees after meeting Gates at Harvard and finally succeeding him as chief executive in January 2000.

Since then Microsoft's annual revenue has nearly quadrupled to $74bn and highlights of his tenure have included the successful Xbox 360 games console. But Ballmer has been slow to respond to technology shifts and has allowed Apple and Google to steal a march in mobile computing and search.

Described by Forbes magazine as the "worst CEO of a publicly traded company today", Ballmer has done enough with Windows 8 to keep the jury at bay – but the clock is ticking.

Get your Google back

Google Blog, October 26, 2012

If you’ve moved to Windows 8 and are getting acquainted with it, you may be looking for a couple of your favorite Google products that you use every day. To help you get the best experience possible on Google and across the web, we’ve designed and built a new Google Search app and Chrome browser for Windows 8 and created a simple site to help you get your Google back.

The Google Search app comes with a clean and recognizable user interface. Our new voice search lets you naturally speak questions. The image search and image previews are built for swiping. And, as usual, you get immediate results as you type with Google Instant. The doodles you enjoy on special occasions will be right there on the homepage and even show up on the Google tile on your start screen.

The Chrome browser is the same Chrome you know and love, with some customizations to optimize for touchscreens, including larger buttons and the ability to keep Chrome open next to your other favorite apps. It delivers the fast, secure web experience you’ve come to expect from Chrome on all your devices.

To get both Google Search and Chrome installed on your Windows 8 machine, head to our site and learn how to get your familiar Google apps back.

Posted by Tamar Yehoshua, Product Management Director, Search

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Dutch court says Samsung not infringing Apple patent

Yahoo – AFP, 24 october 2012

A Dutch court rejected on Wednesday a suit brought by Apple claiming that Samsung of South Korean had infringed its patent by using certain multi-touch techniques on smart phones and tablets.

"The court rules that Samsung with its Galaxy products does not infringe on" Apple's multi-touch patent, the ruling said of Samsung's Galaxy line of smart phones and tablets.

The patent, EP 948, relates to when touchscreens can or cannot identify simultaneous multiple touches.

The court in The Hague ordered Apple to pay legal costs of around 324,000 euros ($421,000).

The ruling was the latest chapter in an ongoing battle between the US and South Korean electronics giants being fought in courts around the world.

A Dutch court in June ruled that Apple had infringed on a patent held by Samsung and ordered the US computer giant to pay an unspecified amount of damages.

Apple, which in August won a US jury award of more than $1 billion for patent infringement, is seeking to ban various Samsung phones and tablets on the basis of that verdict.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Japan Firm Launches Real-Time Telephone Translation

Jakarta Globe, October 22, 2012

The application will give two-way voice and text readouts for several languages  
Related articles

Japan’s biggest mobile operator said Monday it will launch a translation service that lets people chat over the telephone in several different languages.

The application for NTT DoCoMo subscribers will give two-way voice and text readouts of conversations between Japanese speakers and those talking in English, Chinese or Korean with a several-second delay, the firm said.

“Hanashite Honyaku” will be a free application that can be used on smartphones and tablet computers with the Android operating system, DoCoMo said.

Customers will also be able to call landlines using the service, it said, adding that voice-to-text readouts will soon be available in French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai.

“We hope that with this application, our subscribers will be able to widen the range of their communication,” a company spokeswoman said.

However, she conceded the service does not offer perfect translations and has trouble deciphering some dialects.

DoCoMo also said it has launched a separate service that lets users translate menus and signage using the smartphone camera.

Agence France-Presse
Related Article:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Newsweek to axe print edition

News magazine to go digital-only from 2013 after 79 years and will publish single worldwide edition, Mark Sweney, Thursday 18 October 2012

Newsweek: will go digital-only from the new year

Newsweek is to axe its print edition after 80 years and move to digital-only from the new year.

Tina Brown, the editor-in-chief of Newsweek and sister digital news site the Daily Beast, told staff in an email that the last print edition will appear on 31 December.

The new digital-only publication, which will be called Newsweek Global, will be a "single worldwide edition targeted for a highly mobile, opinion-leading audience who want to learn about world events in a sophisticated context".

Newsweek Global will be supported by paid subscriptions, with content available for e-readers, tablets and the web, with some content also available on the Daily Beast.

Brown, a former editor of the New Yorker and Vanity Fair, said that the shift to digital will lead to staff cuts and a downsizing of the business internationally.

"The inexorable move to an all-digital Newsweek comes with an unfortunate reality," she said in an email to staff on Thursday. "Regrettably we anticipate staff reductions and the streamling of our editorial and business operations both here in the US and internationally."

Brown was quick to point out that the cuts and move to digital was not about saying "goodbye" to Newsweek, but responding to the reality of the costs of maintaining a print publication.

"We are transitioning Newsweek, not saying goodbye to it," she said. "We remain committed to Newsweek and to the journalism that it represents. This decision is not about the quality of the brand or the journalism, that is as powerful as ever. It is about the challenging economics of print publishing and distribution."

Newsweek, which was saved for closure by the late Sidney Harman when he bought it for $1 from the Washington Post in August 2010, was swiftly merged with Brown's Daily Beast in a 50/50 joint venture later that same year.

Brown launched the Daily Beast – which is named from her favourite novel, Evelyn Waugh's Scoop – in 2008 with the backing of Barry Diller's InterActiveCorp.

"Newsweek is produced by a gifted and tireless team of professionals who have been offering brilliant work consistently throughout a tough period of ownership transition and media disruption," she said.

The news comes a week after Variety, the 107-year-old US entertainment industry bible, was sold to the parent company of Nikki Finke's digital news site for $25m.

Observers believe that Variety's new owner, Penske Media Corporation, will look to cut back on the magazine's weekday or weekly print edition.

• To contact the MediaGuardian news desk email or phone 020 3353 3857. For all other inquiries please call the main Guardian switchboard on 020 3353 2000. If you are writing a comment for publication, please mark clearly "for publication".

• To get the latest media news to your desktop or mobile, follow MediaGuardian on Twitter and Facebook

Related Article:

"Recalibration of Free Choice"–  Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (Subjects: (Old) SoulsMidpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth,  4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical)  8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) (Text version)

“… 6 The News

Number six. I'll be brief. Watch for your news to change. It has to. When the media realizes that Human Beings are changing their watching habits, they're going to start changing what they produce for you to watch. Eventually, there's going to be something called "The Good News Channel," and it will be very attractive indeed. For it will be real and offset the drama of what is today's attraction. This is what families at night, sitting around the table, will wish to watch. They'll have something where the whole picture of a situation is shown and not just the dramatic parts. You will hear about what's happening on the planet that no one is telling you now, and when that occurs [we have no clock, dear one], it's going to compete strongly with the drama. I keep telling you this. Human nature itself is starting to be in color instead of black and white. Watch for it. And that was number six. ..”

German IT market grows stronger than rest of economy

Deutsche Welle, 18 october 2012

Germany's information technology and telecommunications market looks set to perform better this year than most other sectors of the economy. Experts speak of unexpectedly high demand for new devices and services.

IT businesses in Germany are doing much better in 2012 than expected at the beginning of the year, the country's umbrella organization for the information technology and telecommunications industries, Bitkom, reported on Thursday.

It expected domestic companies in the sector to log revenues of 152 billion euros ($199 billion) throughout 2012, up 2.8 percent from 2011 levels and far more than the 1.6 percent penciled in by Bitkom earlier this year.

"Private households and industry are currently investing more in new devices and IT solutions," Bitkom Chief Dieter Kemp said in a statement.

Smart gadgets a hit

Kemp said tablet PCs and intelligent network solutions had been the market's shooting stars this year. He noted that tablet devices for instance would most likely see a rise in revenues by no less than 41 percent year-on-year to total 1.6 billion euros.

Bitkom added that smartphone sales in the country would even post a 43-percent jump, with an estimated 23 million units expected to find new owners.

The umbrella organization said the IT markets would be able to at least partially offset slumps in other sectors by posting growth far above the forecast 0.8 percent for the whole economy in 2012.

"IT and telecommunications companies in Germany will create some 10,000 new jobs," Kemp said. The good news came at a time of disappointing earnings reports from a number of global IT leaders. Chip maker Intel for instance announced low quarterly earnings on Tuesday, partly as a result of its products rarely being used so far in tablets and smartphones.

hg/pfd (Reuters, dpa)

Friday, October 12, 2012

EU slams Web standards body over Do Not Track

Deutsche Welle, 11 October 2012

The EU's Digital Agenda chief warns time is running out for the Web's standards body, W3C, to develop a tool good enough to help users protect their data against commercial interests.

It's not easy for companies to make money online - the number of people willing to pay for an online subscription remains relatively low.

Many internet companies, including newspapers, still tend to rely on people's clicks on ads to make their money.

The more targeted the ad, the more advertisers are willing to pay. And in order to target an ad, they use tracking tools, such as cookies.

Each time you click on an ad, or "like" something on Facebook, or read a particular newspaper article - your clicks are being converted into valuable consumer data.

But privacy-friendly regulators like the EU Commissioner for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes want it to be standard that users have to first give their consent before companies can collect and make use of any such personal data.

Kroes has, however, grown increasingly frustrated the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), a Web standards body made up of 50 blue chip companies and some data privacy experts.

She had tasked the W3C with developing an improved "Do Not Track" (DNT) tool to prevent companies from collecting data on Web users without consent - but now says it's dragging its heels.

Consent is required

On her blog, Kroes explains the idea behind DNT in the following way:

"If you log in to a web service, the cookie that remembers that you are logged in is fine - and indeed this makes our lives a whole lot easier online. But a cookie that is used to build a profile of what you are doing online is less OK: it might mean that your web surfing over time (searches, web pages visited, the content viewed, etc.) is tracked, for example, in order to match ads against your interests as determined from the profile. The use of such cookies requires your consent."

Neelie Kroes has accused the W3C of watering down Do Not Track standards

Kroes had set the W3C a deadline of June to agree on new tracking standards. But they missed that deadline.

Finally, in early October, the W3C presented its draft for the DNT. But regulators were left disappointed - and Kroes was angry.

This Thursday (11.10.2012), Kroes accused the main players of watering down the tool.
"Let me be frank: standardization work is not going according to plan," she said in a speech to business representatives in Brussels. "In fact, I am increasingly concerned about the delay and about the turn taken by the discussions hosted by the W3C."

Issues left open

Germany's highest data protection authority agrees that progress is weak.

"The W3C's draft left several issues open, including the definition of first-party cookies," said the federal data protection commission in a written statement to DW. [Editor: first-party cookies are set with the same domain as the one you're visiting and are often used to enhance the user experience.]

Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the US Federal Trade Commission, goes further, describing the W3C's draft on DNT as "a loophole you could drive a virtual truck through."

The draft suggests first-parties could be exempt from the DNT rule to guarantee users continue to experience a smooth time on the Web. But Germany's data protection commission warns the exemption should not include cookies from marketing companies.

Some companies like Microsoft have embraced DNT. The software and hardware maker has implemented DNT as the default setting on its web browser, Internet Explorer.

Every click you make - they'll be tracking you

Kroes has welcomed Microsoft's initiative - and that of other companies - but still wants DNT to become universal practice.

"Online privacy and online business need to go hand in hand. Privacy is a fundamental right, if your idea doesn't work with that, it won't work at all. People won't use what they don't trust," says Kroes. "And they will stop using what they learn to distrust. If that happens, online businesses miss out on a huge opportunity of new and bigger markets."

Almost the final warning

A DNT standard is due to be adopted by January 2013.

But advertising companies are seen as a strong lobby within the W3C, and Germany's data protection commission is worried, saying "the tool will probably fail to meet requirements set out by EU rules."

Meanwhile, colleagues close to Kroes say her patience is wearing thin.

It is said she would prefer to achieve her goal of a working DNT through communication with the W3C.

However, if things continue the way they are now, her office has suggested that the final resort could be to change the EU's ePrivacy directive.

The directive is designed to help consumers become aware of the ways in which their data is collected online. It calls on website operators to obtain permission from users before they store or retrieve any personal data.

Currently, only national regulators can fine companies that flout the rules.

But DW has been told the directive could be changed to allow the European Commission to impose its own fines.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Serge Haroche and David Wineland win physics Nobel

BBC News, 9 October 2012

Serge Haroche (l) is based at the College de France and David Wineland is
based at the US National Institute for Standards and Technology

Related Stories 

This year's Nobel prize in physics has been awarded to two researchers for their work with light and matter at the most fundamental level.

Serge Haroche of France and David Wineland of the US will share the prize, worth 8m Swedish kronor (£750,000; $1.2m).

Their "quantum optics" work deals with single photons and ions, the basic units of light and matter.

It could lead to advanced modes of communication and computation.

The Nobel citation said the award was for "ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems".

Light and matter, when the minuscule scales of single particles are reached, behave in surprising ways in a part of physics known as quantum mechanics.

Working with light and matter on this level would have been unthinkable before the pair developed solutions to pick, manipulate and measure photons and ions individually, allowing an insight into a microscopic world that was once just the province of scientific theory.

Their work has implications for light-based clocks far more precise than the atomic clocks at the heart of the world's business systems, and quantum computing, which may - or may not - revolutionise desktop computing as we know it.

But for physicists, the import of the pair's techniques is outlined in a layman's summary on the Nobel site: they preserve the delicate quantum mechanical states of the photons and ions - states that theorists had for decades hoped to measure in the laboratory, putting the ideas of quantum mechanics on a solid experimental footing.

Those include the slippery quantum mechanical ideas of "entanglement" - the seemingly ethereal connection between two distant particles that underpins much work on the "uncrackable codes" of quantum cryptography - and of "decoherence", in which the quantum nature of a particle slowly slips away through its interactions with other matter.

The prize is the second in quantum optics in recent years; the theory behind decoherence formed part of 2005's Nobel physics prize citation.


Prof Haroche was reached by phone from the press conference. He had been told he had won just 20 minutes before telling reporters: "I was lucky - I was in the street and passing near a bench, so I was able to sit down immediately. 

Dr Wineland's work uses an "ion trap"
in  which charged particles are tested
using light
"I was walking with my wife going back home and when I saw the... Swedish code, I realised it was real and it's, you know, really overwhelming."

Prof Sir Peter Knight of the UK's Institute of Physics, said: "Haroche and Wineland have made tremendous advances in our understanding of quantum entanglement, with beautiful experiments to show how atomic systems can be manipulated to exhibit the most extraordinary coherence properties."

The Nobel prizes have been given out annually since 1901, covering the fields of medicine, physics, chemistry, literature, peace and economics.

Speculation had been rife, in light of the discovery of the Higgs boson announced in July, that Peter Higgs or his colleagues may have been in the running for the prize, but historically the prizes tend to honour discoveries after a period of years.

The first-ever Nobel prize in physics was awarded to Wilhelm Roentgen of Germany for his discovery of X-rays, and with this year's winners the total number of recipients has reached 194.

On Monday, the 2012 prize for medicine or physiology was awarded to John Gurdon from the UK and Shinya Yamanaka from Japan for changing adult cells into stem cells, which can become any other type of cell in the body.

This year's chemistry prize will be announced on Wednesday, with the

Related Articles:

"Recalibration of Knowledge" – Jan 14, 2012 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: Channelling, God-Creator, Benevolent Design, New Energy, Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) SoulsReincarnation, Gaia, Old Energies (Africa,Terrorists, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela ... ), Weather, Rejuvenation, Akash, Nicolas Tesla / Einstein, Cold FusionMagnetics, Lemuria, Atomic Structure (Electrons, Particles, Polarity, Self Balancing, Magnetism, Higgs Boson), Entanglement"Life is necessary for a Universe to exist and not the other way around"DNA, Humans (Baby getting ready, First Breath, Stem Cells, Embryonic Stem Cells, Rejuvenation), Global Unity, ... etc.) - (Text Version) 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Kenya cuts off signal to counterfeit China phones

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2012-10-07

Counterfeit phones are especially popular among African youth, who
cannot afford geniune smartphone models. (File photo/Hsu Shang-li)

Chinese counterfeit smartphone makers face challenges ahead in Africa as Kenya began cutting off the internet connection of counterfeit smartphones in October to reduce crime and other African nations also pledged to ban the phones.

Four Kenyan telecom operators cut off their signals to 1.5 million counterfeit phones in the country on Oct. 1, part of the Kenyan government's effort to protect intellectual property rights, trade and mobile phone user safety. Uganda and other African nations have said they will follow suit, which is expected to affect Chinese counterfeit phones makers who have been major sources of the phones on the continent.

The Communication Commission of Kenya said the counterfeit phone has become a criminal tool since they were smuggled into the country and untraceable. Their signals are often unstable and they cannot guarantee the security of mobile payment.

The Kenyan government has extended the cut-off twice to allow users to switch to genuine phones but has set Oct. 1 as its final deadline. Mobile brands such as Nokia and Samsung provided discounts a for million Kenyans who replaced their counterfeit phones for genuine ones, recycling and reusing the parts of these counterfeit phones.

The four operators now will ask users to verify their identities and check their phone's IMEI number, an unique identification number on each phone. Counterfeit phones do not have the number so that the operator can distinguish them from the genuine model and block the signal.

Some of the counterfeit phones were still able to receive signals by the afternoon on Oct. 2, according to Li Lianxing, the correspondent of China Daily in Africa. Locals said they can understand that the policy will be good for the market but were also concerns that many people, especially college students, cannot afford a genuine phone amid the the economic downturn, according to Li.

Counterfeit mobile phones contain risks but their cheap price makes them popular, especially in developing economies, says Zeng Jianqhiu, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications.

To stem smuggling and tax evasion, many countries have taken action against counterfeit mobile phones. India has limited phone sales while Libya also monitors sales in the market.

Li Yi, executive vice president of China Mobile Internet Industry Alliance, said Chinese phones makers also hope African and Latin nations can get rid of counterfeit mobile phones to make room for Chinese mobile brands such as Huawei and ZTE. He suggested the counterfeit phones makers to establish their own brands in order to sustain their businesses in the future.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Up inside Iceland's green cloud

Deutsche Welle, 1 October 2012

Its power grid is virtual emissions free and there's plenty of cool air to keep a data center from over heating - and now Iceland wants to become the "green hard drive" of the world.

To a lot of people, cloud computing evokes an image of something clean and pristine, just hanging there in the wonderful blue sky.

But cloud computing is actually quite dirty. The data centers that host the cloud use a huge amount of energy to ensure we have constant access to our email, pictures, videos and all other forms of digital files.

In fact, it's said that if the Internet and the data storage that's required to keep it going were a state, it would be one of the five biggest energy consuming countries in the world.

But Iceland is taking steps to reduce our collective "footprint" in the cloud.

Data stored on a former military bases

The small country is becoming the home of a new generation of data centers that work exclusively with renewable energy - and they are cooled with local, fresh air.

One such example is at a former NATO base at Keflavik.

Iceland President Olafur Grimsson has hailed the
Keflavik data center as a fascinating transformation

Verne Global began operating this new data center at the disused military facility just a few months ago.

The facility is about 500 square meters (1640 square feet) in size, and there is a lot of free space that could be filled with yet more servers.

But what those servers hold is a secret - we aren't told what kind of data is stored at Keflavik, or which companies have chosen to have their data processed here.

"One of the big advantages that Iceland offers is the security perimeter," says Tate Cantrell, chief technology officer at Verne Global. "For the same reason that during the Cold War this became a very central point for the military, we have to bring our security up to a world class standard to assume that somebody may want to do something nefarious."

Hydro and geothermal energy make a cloud green

Iceland's electric grid is almost 100 percent green. This means that the Keflavik data center is also almost totally green, emitting close to zero carbon.

The Keflavik data center is almost 100 percent green - energy-wise

"A data center is in fact a lot of computers stacked together which use a lot of energy and need an excellent communication with the outside world. The data center is where the processing occurs, as part of the data that you see on a day-to-day basis, on your phone or on your computer," says Cantrell.

"You don't have enough processing capacity with you when you are snapping a picture and you put it up into a place to store it so that you can access it later - that picture goes to a data center."

Einar Tomasson heads the data center section at Promote Iceland, the national agency for foreign investments.

Tomasson says several data center operators have shown interest in Iceland as it builds a reputation as the "green hard drive" of the world.

"What is good about Iceland is that we have very competitive power prices and only use green power - hydro or geothermal," says Tomasson.

"We have free cooling 365 days of the year because the climate here is very stable. It's a very secure location - smacked between the US and Europe - and we have submarine cables that go both to the East and the West."

Volcanic but equally "protective"

But some potential clients are reluctant to store their masses of data on Iceland, which is known for its volcanic eruptions.

It's thought the moody Icelandic nature may also be a reason why Facebook and Google opted for other Nordic countries instead. They store their data in Sweden and Finland.

Iceland wants to become the "green hard drive" of the world

But senior Iceland officials insist there is no safer place than this country.

Even the country's president, Olafur Grimsson, describes the new facility as "a fascinating example of how you can transform a military base into a strong center of innovation within a few years."

But more than this, Cantrell says the key is privacy.

"Iceland is very protective of privacy, so certain companies would be able to take advantage of the way the Icelandic government approaches data protection and they will be able to run their businesses better with a data center here than they might in another location," says Cantrell.

This legal provision on privacy has motivated, among others, the whistle-blower website, Wikileaks, to store some of its data and to register a company in Iceland.