Blog.Logitech | Making Small-Group Audio and Video Meetings Easy and Affordable

Your boss just challenged you to solve a tough problem by the end of the day, and you need to call a quick meeting between colleagues in three different locations, including two in your own office. A face-to-face meeting would help you collaborate quickly, but unfortunately all the video conference rooms are booked. There’s a webcam plugged into your PC, but it’s not really a great experience when three people huddle around your laptop. So what do you do? Read more…

Withdrawl from Tech

I’ve just come back from illness and it was a lot of time spent not being able to log in. Initially I was too out of it to connect, but after being admitted to hospital and getting the appropriate treatment I found that the cannulas in my arm caused me a distinct inability to type. This meant for 5 days I found it extremely difficult to type or even use the mouse. Five days of not logging in found me sleepless at night wondering how many emails were piling up and what issues may be creeping into my server configuration. Fortunately for me the emails were simple enough to deal with and the server configuration is robust enough that it lasted the five days. I’m really not sure that I want to have to live without my connection again. I might even go so far as to say it was the worst part of the illness. Are you the sort of person who can’t go without logging in ? How long have you been away from the net before you’ve been compelled to check you email, Facebook or Twitter feed?

DARPA seeks to free the world from passwords | ExtremeTech

Trying to remember complicated “secure” passwords may be a thing of the past if the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) gets its way. The research arm of the US military is putting a call out to developers to begin work on software applications that will allow a computer system to identify a user by analyzing the way they type, instead of using the traditional password method. A novel idea that has its roots back when Morse code was the de facto standard for communications across the world.

In the early twentieth century, experienced Morse operators had distinctive traits to their signaling, called their “fist,” that would help to confirm their identities to people familiar with their style (i.e. Allied or German forces trying to crack radio communications). Think of it as handwriting identification for sounds. For example an operator could by habit elongate an individual character or word, or hang for a certain amount of time between words. Just like your middle school teacher could tell when you forged a note from home, Morse operators could tell when a message was coming from a person they usually dealt with or from a new person in the loop. This was also used to rate an operator’s transmitting skill. If they had clean messages that were easy to copy they were called a “Good Fist,” but if they transmitted poorly and made life hard on the receiving operator they received the label “Bad Fist.” DARPA is looking for a similar identification method for computers; it wants terminals to be able to identify your fist and use that as a pass phrase rather than having you create insecure passwords that are easy to remember.

The idea’s theory rests on the study of something called “keyboard dynamics.” Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have observed people’s typing habits, and have identified that the methods of motion we have developed are not controlled by deliberate thought, but through learned motor controls. Their studies conclude that a potential hacker or thief would have a difficult time cracking and emulating your style, and that it would be more than capable of providing secure access to sensitive services.

Fingers on keyboard… (to buy Cyber Monday specials)The problem with passwords in this age of high connectivity is that phrases that are considered secure are usually very hard for a person to remember. “6tFcVbNh^TfCvBn” is an example of a password that passes DARPA’s security check, but would be a nightmare to try to commit to memory. This leads users to either create simple combinations of numbers and letters that are significant to their lives, or to put the complicated passwords on paper. Of course, both methods are incredibly insecure, but add in the fact that the average user uses the same password for everything (you do have unique passwords for all your services right?) and you have a security nightmare on your hands.

While I am all for creating a way that I don’t have to remember every single password for all the services I use, I am a bit skeptical about how long this method will actually stay secure. In my experience, there isn’t a security scheme in the world that hasn’t been cracked or duped in some way. Take for example the famous Life Lock case, where the CEO put his Social Security number on billboards around the US, claiming that no one could steal his identity. It took about two months for several individuals around the internet to crack and harass the man with junk mail, credit card applications, and Viagra samples. My question is how would this identification system stand up to a simple keylogger? It’s pretty simple to be able to record keystroke timings over a long period of time for analysis then emulation, so what kind of security would be applied in conjunction to make sure that it’s you and not some other punk trying to get your info?

A password perhaps?

Read more at The New York Times or DARPA

via DARPA seeks to free the world from passwords | ExtremeTech.

The geeks favorite

Barbecues and fry pans are set to sizzle next week as the country celebrates Australian Bacon Week from 18-25 March.

During the week, Australian Pork Limited (APL) aims to educate consumers on differentiating bacon made using Australian pork from those made of imported pork, and encourage Australians to explore the wide variety of meal opportunities that premium Australian bacon can provide.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, announced the winners of Australia’s Best Bacon on Tuesday.

In conjunction with Australian Year of the Farmer, Australian Bacon Week is an opportunity for all Australian’s to enjoy the quality produce and resources we are renowned for.

For further information on award winners or APL, please visit www.pork.com.au or www.australianpork.com.au.

Standard optical fiber transmits 1.7Tbps over core network

Thoughts of what these sorts of speeds would do to p2p if houses could have 1.7Tbps connected ran through the minds of little geek boys when we read this story.

Chinese telecommunications provider ZTE held a field demonstration of an optical network capable of transmitting 1.7Tbps, the company announced today. The network used Wavelength Division Multiplexing to achieve the thousand-gigabit speeds, which separates data into different wavelengths and transmits those wavelengths over the same optical fiber. In ZTE’s demonstration, the company used 8 different channels, each transmitting 216.4Gbps. The transmission was conducted in China over 1,087 miles, on a standard fiber-optic cable.While the 1.7Tbps number will mostly intrigue network operators there’s not yet a future where you’ll get terabits of information to your home network, the channels delivering 200 Gbps will mean a lower cost per bit for operators, which could possibly be passed on to consumers whose data demands will invariably grow.Still, ZTE’s demonstration was just a field test, and there’s no saying when the technology will be available in any practical sense. ZTE’s press release implies that the demonstration was less about a specific product than proving an upgrade from a 100Gbps to a 200Gbps network was possible. The company reported “a 25 percent increase in spectrum efficiency” from the test.Currently, networks delivering 40 and 100 Gbps are considered advanced, and although ZTE isn’t the only company in the terabit ring—according to ComputerWorld Huawei displayed a prototype optical system that could transmit 20Tbps over multiple 400Gbps channels—it does move closer to a world in which 200Gbps could become the norm.

via Standard optical fiber transmits 1.7Tbps over core network.

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