Re: Google’s Project Ara Is Science Fiction, Says Critic

[Note:  This comment comes from friend Chuck Jackson.  DLH]

From: Charles Jackson <>
Subject: Re: [Dewayne-Net] Google’s Project Ara Is Science Fiction, Says Critic
Date: August 31, 2014 at 15:54:03 EDT

On Sat, Aug 30, 2014 at 9:17 PM, Dewayne Hendricks <> wrote:
He also cautions that plug-and-play radios will make testing to pass operator and FCC testing take much longer than regular devices of the same type. Thus the development costs are expected to be much higher, and time to market should take significantly longer than regular devices of the same type. “This means that the device will have to sell in massive volumes in order to make back the very high development costs that have been expended to get it to market.”


If you look at 
you might draw a different conclusion that that in the article.  It seems to me that many of those devices would be a good starting point for a family of LTE devices. 

Look also at:

Chuck ​

Google’s Project Ara Is Science Fiction, Says Critic
By John Walko
Aug 27 2014

QoS — the Intelligent network redux

[Note:  This item comes from friend Bob Frankston.  DLH]

From: Bob Frankston [
Sent: Saturday, August 30, 2014 15:09
Subject: QoS — the Intelligent network redux

The idea that we need to build-in smarts for particular applications is worrisome. Perhaps building in special handling for Netflix may make it work better by some measures but we need to heed the lessons of the intelligent networks of the past. What is QoS via SLA if not the SS7 design point and how does one reconcile that with best efforts? How does one even implement such policies with raw packets detached from their meaning?

Today we are throwing away the SS7 network because innovators like Skype created their own solutions that didn’t depend on network operators and the operators’ definition of QoS. Do we really 

want to go back to operators deciding what services are most valuable to them? VoIP with video now works as a byproduct of increased capacity for other purposes and because we did not build it in.


This diagram is very much like SS7 including the ability to charge for particular services. I’ve pointed this out a number of times on IP. The very term ISP presumes the Internet is a service from a carrier rather than merely a means of reaching a website or a video provider. And how do we define QoS when we accept a 12 hour delay on broadcasting some sports events – do we then demand a low latency path for the last few milliseconds?

To the extent we do have operators managing pipes we need to enforce neutrality. But that’s an interim remedy. The long term solution is to provide incentives to create capacity by having a business model in which the facilities are owned by the users not rent-seekers.

But QoS makes that change more difficult because it requires giving operators full control and gives them the incentive to provide “quality” as a premium offering. If we assume the need to assure QoS there would be less reason for a Comcast to own its own facilities.

It is also worth considering this comment from Roger Bohn’s recent IP post:

No network company would overprovision every part of its network to the point that “congestion is a rare problem.” They would be over-investing, and their ROI would go down correspondingly..)

This is a perfect example of the rationale for creating value through synthetic scarcity.

That said, the issue isn’t congestion per se but rather how we keep the Internet vibrant and reward innovation rather rewarding than those who can buy an advantage. For example why pay an operator to over-provision [sic – who is defining “over”?] when we can do our own caching or use other clever techniques. And why would we want policies that reward carriers for creating scarcity?

I can’t comment on Scott Jordan’s qualifications – I’m just flagging the comments on QoS as problematic. Especially as we consider whether to give a cable TV operator control over so much of the capacity.

Past IP posts:  In 2009 and just this month

Why Russian hackers are beating us

Why Russian hackers are beating us
Russian cybercriminals approach hacking like a chess game, staying many steps ahead of targets in defense and offense
By Antone Gonsalves
Aug 29 2014

Russian hackers like the ones who breached the computer systems of JP Morgan Chase and at least four other banks win because they think strategically like the best chess players, an expert says.

“Russians are more intelligent than Americans,” Tom Kellermann, chief cyber-security officer for Trend Micro, said. “They’re more intelligent because they think through every action they take to a point where it’s incredibly strategic.

“They’re operating at eight to 12 steps ahead on both the offensive and defensive side of the (chess) board.”

The attacks that occurred this month resulted in the loss of gigabytes of customer data. One of the banks has linked the breach to state-sponsored hackers in Russia, Bloomberg reported Thursday.

The FBI is investigating whether the attacks are in retaliation to U.S.-imposed sanctions for Russia’s involvement in the battle between the Ukranian government and Kremlin-supported separatists.

Trend Micro has studied Russian hackers for years. In 2012, the company released a research paper called “Russian Underground 101” that described in details the tools and services available in online marketplaces.

Russian hackers operate within a grey area in which cybercrime is ignored as long as it occurs outside the country and the hackers are willing to conduct government-sponsored campaigns when asked, Kellermann said.

“The regime essentially sees the underground of hacking as a national resource, as long as the hackers in Russia abide by the rules,” he said.

Attacks typically start with target reconnaissance to gain an understanding of the network topology and then predicting the security tools and controls that will have to be bypassed to infect systems and get data out.

“They’re complete geniuses because of how they operate with their very chess-like perspective on IT and cybersecurity,” Kellermann said.

The hackers develop automated attack platforms and exploit kits with some of the most advanced capabilities and are adept at finding and exploiting zero-day vulnerabilities in software.

Indeed, the hackers responsible for the latest breach exploited a zero-day flaw in at least one bank’s website.

Tools are available for each attack stage, including the delivery of the exploit, the lateral movement of malware in the network, data mining and the exfiltration of data.

“It (Russia) is the most advanced marketplace for hacking services in the world and it maintains, what I would consider, the true Silicon Valley of the East,” Kellermann said. “It has the greatest expertise when it comes to ethical hacking, penetration testing and black-hat hacking.”


Analysis: Over Half of All Statements Made on Fox News Are False

[Note:  This item comes from friend John McMullen.  John’s comment:’Read the Piece — Distrust Cable News!’  DLH]

Analysis: Over Half of All Statements Made on Fox News Are False
Jul 9 2014

A new analysis by PunditFact found that of every statement made by a Fox News host or guest, over half of them were flat-out false. What’s more, only a measly 8% could be considered completely “true.”

In other words, a fancy review of hundreds of hours of video confirmed what many who watch Fox News with any regularity already know: Fox News lies. A lot. Like all the time.

Which isn’t to say that exposing Fox News’ irresponsible journalism isn’t an admirable goal. Despite its blatant spin doctoring, Fox still captivates a large portion of the news watching audience. On a near nightly basis, Fox News programs like “The O’Reilly Factor” and “The Kelly File” crush the competition. Given what we know about how poorly Fox informs its viewers, that paints a pretty grim picture for the millions who consume it without question.

As you can see, Fox manages to capture an impressive range between “Mostly False” all the way to “Pants on Fire” while at the same time just 40 percent could be said to be even somewhat true.

Some might argue that all news networks are pretty terrible and with the seemingly endless drivel that comes out of a 24-hour channel it’s a valid point. Luckily, PunditFact looked at a few other major stations as well and while they aren’t bastions of veracity, they at least look like they’re trying.

MSNBC, for example, which some might call Fox’s liberal counterpart is certainly guilty of misleading their viewers, but they also tell the truth more than they lie, and their “Pants on Fire” percentage is half of what Fox has.

The real surprise comes in the form of CNN which, setting aside its breathless coverage of the missing airplane, does a pretty good job of being honest.


Google’s Project Ara Is Science Fiction, Says Critic

[Note:  This item comes from friend Mike Cheponis.  DLH]

Google’s Project Ara Is Science Fiction, Says Critic
By John Walko
Aug 27 2014

LONDON — Google’s Project Ara to develop a modular mobile smartphone is destined to remain nothing more than a science project, Richard Windsor, founder of the blog-site Radio Free Mobile and a former senior analyst at Nomura Securities, has warned in his blog. He said he believes Google has the resources to overcome the engineering problems involved in making the device a reality, “but the ergonomic and economic issues will never work.”

Separately, it has emerged that Google is partnering with Chinese fabless chip group Rockchip for the development of an applications processor for the customizable handset project whose aim is to develop hardware blocks that can be swapped in and out, as with a Lego set. On the ergonomics side of the equation, Windsor suggests that the nature of the modular design outlined by Google would prevent substantial parts of the device from being integrated together, removing the potential space-saving benefit gained. He also cautions that standard connectors and the requirement for each components to be in a separate case will mean that there will be far more material in this unit than in a regular device.

“Consequently, I think almost all consumers will have very little interest in buying a device of this nature.” He lists numerous points that weigh against the economics of the ambitious Project Ara. For instance, he warns that each module will need to be cross-tested with every other module to ensure they will all work together properly. “As more and more modules are produced, there will be a combinatorial explosion in terms of the testing required to ensure that each module is fit for market.”

He also cautions that plug-and-play radios will make testing to pass operator and FCC testing take much longer than regular devices of the same type. Thus the development costs are expected to be much higher, and time to market should take significantly longer than regular devices of the same type. “This means that the device will have to sell in massive volumes in order to make back the very high development costs that have been expended to get it to market.”

Of course, as he admits, Google has all the resources needed to find the Holy Grail, “but the reality is that this idea is likely to prove as elusive as its namesake.” Google has, of course, acknowledged that it faces plenty of challenges in its ambitious effort to create the equivalent of an apps store forhardware.

The collaboration with Rockchip was revealed earlier this week in a posting by the Google+ interest group focusing on the search giant’s Advanced Technology and Projects activities. “We just kicked off an effort with Rockchip to create a mobile SoC with a native, general-purpose UniPro interface, so that it can function as an application processor in an Ara module without the need for a bridge chip,” said Paul Eremenko, head of Project Ara, Google ATAP, in the Google+ posting.


The FCC’s next CTO is a net neutrality expert

The FCC’s next CTO is a net neutrality expert
By Nancy Scola
Aug 28 2014

The Federal Communications Commission has announced that it has named a new chief technology officer: Scott Jordan, a professor of computer science at the University of California at Irvine.

The FCC has a history of hiring CTOs that know their stuff, technologically speaking. Jordan is replacing Henning Schulzrinne, a once and future chair of the Department of Computer Science at Columbia University who started at the commission in 2011 and will stay on in an advisory capacity.

The role of CTOs in government can often be muddled, but at the FCC it is squarely a policy-making job. Schulzrinne, Chairman Tom Wheeler pointed out in announcing Jordan’s appointment, played a major role in the commission’s decision to require mobile carriers to support customers’ abilities to contact 911 using text messages. Looking forward, Wheeler said in a statement, “Scott’s engineering and technical expertise, particularly with respect to the Internet, will provide great assistance to the Commission as we consider decisions that will affect America’s communications platforms.”

Why that’s particularly interesting in this case is that Jordan’s “engineering and technical expertise” is, as Wheeler hints, a near-perfect overlap with many of the most complicated, most contentious issues facing the FCC today. In announcing Jordan, the commission highlight his work on “communications platforms, pricing, and differentiated services on the Internet,” as well as the integration of “voice, data, and video on the Internet and on wireless networks.” In short, much of the makings of the modern Internet.

And while it’s generally dangerous to parse an academic’s publishing record to deduce how he or she might make public policy, Jordan has done us the favor of actually filing comments with the FCC the last time the commission considered rulemaking on the open Internet question. It’s a nuanced take,distilled in Jordan and a co-author’s statements that “neither the extreme pro nor con net neutrality positions are consistent with the philosophy of Internet architecture” and “the net neutrality issue is the result of a fragmented communications policy unable to deal with technology convergence.”

Jordan won’t start for a few weeks, but the FCC’s pace suggests that he’ll still have a chance to make his presence felt in the current open Internet debate; comments are due by Sept. 15, but Wheeler has announced that he’ll beholding a series of six public roundtables on the topic that won’t wrap until early October.

As mentioned, Jordan’s is a externally-facing position, concerned more with how the FCC adjudicates questions of technologies use in the modern than with how the FCC uses modern technologies. That said, perhaps he might still be able to do something about the fact that the FCC still issues its press releases online in only .txt, Word, and what it calls “Acrobat” form.

Would you run a super-powerful, super-fast operating system if it were made in China?

[Note:  This item comes from friend Steve Goldstein.  DLH]

Would you run a super-powerful, super-fast operating system if it were made in China?
By Dominic Basulto
Aug 26 2014

Over the weekend, China announced that it was planning to launch a homegrown operating system to replace Windows and Android for running the nation’s desktop and mobile devices. The first iteration of this “Made in China” OS could roll out as early as October — and while the launch of a new operating system poses no immediate threat to Google, Apple or Microsoft — the launch does carry a number of implications for the way the Internet develops around the world.

The debate over operating systems in China mirrors, to a large extent, the broader debate over the future of the Internet that’s happening in developing markets. After years of borrowing and adapting Western technology, countries like China are now making a move to develop their own version of the Internet where homegrown companies and technologies can flourish. As a result, in China you have a growing number of companies that, arguably, are just as powerful as their Western counterparts. For every Amazon, there is an Alibaba. For every Twitter, there is a Weibo. For every Apple, there is aXiaomi.

Now that Xiaomi is the No. 1 smartphone vendor in China, there does seem to be a competitive reason to develop a “Made in China” operating system. You can think of the operating system as the engine that powers how people access and use the Internet, and so it’s only logical that Chinese smartphone and tablet makers would rather use a “domestic” OS than a “foreign” OS. First and foremost, it would help them sell more products if the OS has been customized to domestic market parameters. Samsung, for example, developed the Tizen operating system as an alternative to Android as part of a strategy to sell more smartphones and tablets.

However, the development of a Chinese homegrown OS is about more than just China’s tech giants finally catching up with Silicon Valley. To a certain degree, it’s about the future of the Internet and the way it’s architected from here on out. Will the future of innovation be bottoms-up (created by grassroots programmers and entrepreneurs) or top-down (created by the state)?

If you think about a mobile operating system such as Android — it’s mostly been about the phenomenal growth of the open-source movement and the ability of individual programmers to cobble together code that best meets the needs of the market. In that regard, Android is fundamentally different from Apple’s iOS, which is a proprietary operating system. This new Chinese OS, almost certainly, would be much more of a top-down initiative from the Chinese government (via the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology) that may be more about meeting the needs of the government rather than meeting the needs of consumers.