ALBA-1 Cable To Cuba Is Live

Renesys is noting that ALBA-1, the mystery cable between Cuba and Venezuela is likely now online. It’s still strange how it’s being utilized (assuming what they are seeing is the result of the cable being active). More bandwidth will lead to more usage by more people. Information demands to be free, and people demand information. It’s only a matter of time. The groundwork has been laid.

China’s Broadband Strategy

I mentioned just a few days ago how the lack of affordable high-speed bandwidth is problematic to growth in the United States. China is now making a major push to bring Fiber To The Home (FTTH) to 150M families in the next few years. China has the means and willpower to do it. Imagine if China becomes to information what they have become to manufacturing. The US Needs to figure out its broadband strategy.

US Pays High Prices For Low Internet Speed

Susan Crawford has a very interesting read on the high prices Americans pay for Internet access:

The FCC’s National Broadband Plan of March 2010 suggested that the minimum appropriate speed for every American household by 2020 should be 4 megabits per second for downloads and 1 Mbps for uploads. These speeds are enough, the FCC said, to reliably send and receive email, download Web pages and use simple video conferencing. The commission also said it wanted to ensure that, by 2020, at least 100 million U.S. homes have affordable access to download speeds of at least 100 Mbps and upload speeds of at least 50 Mbps.

Other countries have different goals. The South Korean government announced a plan to install 1 gigabit per second of symmetric fiber data access in every home by 2012. Hong Kong, Japan and the Netherlands are heading in the same direction. Australia plans to get 93 percent of homes and businesses connected to fiber. In Britain, a 300 Mbps fiber-to-the-home service will be offered on a wholesale basis.

That pretty much sums up the argument. Think about the innovation and jobs created by the Internet in the past 15 years. Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Amazon, eBay and the entire ecosystem that supports them from hardware sales to shipping, to energy they purchase. This is all happening despite the efforts to stifle growth. 1-GigE symmetrical to the home would change how the world works. It will redefine the economy. Someone will get there, either Korea South or someone else. The opportunities will be vast.

The Big Internet Museum

The Big Internet Museum is exactly what it sounds like, a museum for the internet, of course on the internet. It’s quite interesting to read through. Many of the items on there, especially the later half, I can recall the day they launched or occurred. It’s amazing to think how these things have impacted society and how much we’ve experienced in just a few years.

NYC Trying to Reboot The Payphone

NYC is trying to figure out what to do with the old payphone infrastructure. Personally I’d like to see the following:

Each of the 4-6 sides would contain a panel comprised of a touchscreen with simple accessible features such as:

  • Emergency button to facilitate contacting emergency services.
  • Transit information (shown).
  • Event information (for example how to get to Thanksgiving day parade on Thanksgiving).
  • Other information the city feels should be accessible.
  • Microphone, speaker and webcam to facilitate communication with emergency services, TTS for those with disabilities and future uses.
  • Extra space on panel could be advertising or boilerplate information.

Above the user accessible panel would be kiosk space. LED panels would be able to show advertising and information. In an emergency the city could utilize this space to provide directions and information. For example where nearby storm shelters can be found, or amber alerts.

Because all info space on the kiosks are essentially screens they can be programmed and updated remotely over IP network.

Each location could be a WiFi Hotspot providing short free internet access and for a small daily charge access at any other kiosk for up to __ MB for the day or other rate plans. Possibly partner with ISP’s who would offer hotspot access to their customers.

Ideally kiosks would have an overhang to keep sun glare off panels. Otherwise it would be open to deter crime that phone booths saw.

This plan would involve advertising revenue, internet connectivity revenue and possibly even partnership revenue via ISP’s taking advantage of the mesh network built upon this existing infrastructure in a populated area.

NYC Kiosk

NTP Server Reverts to 2000

From the ISC Diary:

A few people have written in within the past 18 hours about their NTP server/clients getting set to the year 2000. The cause of this behavior is that an NTP server at the US Naval Observatory (pretty much the authoritative time source in the US) was rebooted and somehow reverted to the year 2000. This, then, [propagated] out for a limited time and downstream time sources also got this value. It’s a transient problem and should already be rectified. Not much really to report except an error at the top of the food chain causing problems to the layers below. If you have a problem, just fix the year or resync your NTP server.

Doesn’t look like this impacted me at all, if it did logs and graphs would look funny. This however is quite freaky. Curious if this had any bigger impacts like financial transactions. You would think they would have some sort of check for strange NTP updates as a clock drift of 12 years is out of the ordinary, but anything is possible.

I’d also be curious to know how that server reverted to the year 2000. Perhaps it was something as simple as the CMOS battery died.

GoDaddy DNS Outage

Via Wired:

Following a day-long Domain Name Service server outage, web hosting provider GoDaddy is letting its competitor, VeriSign, host its DNS servers.

Part of me wants to point out that GoDaddy’s relationship with VeriSign’s is not quite that of a competitor. GoDaddy’s primary business is domain registration. VeriSign sold Network Solutions back in 2003. VeriSign used to sell SSL certs, that’s now owned by Symantec. They however still sell hosting and DNS services which competes with GoDaddy, however I don’t think they are really competing as they seem to be targeting different markets. VeriSign is the authoritative registry for .com and .net, making them essential to the entire operation of domains. GoDaddy being the largest registrar suggests they’ve had a relationship for a long time.

What this demonstrates is that GoDaddy totally dropped the ball and realized they weren’t prepared for today’s events This was a very long outage, even with moving to VeriSign.

NASA’s Streaming Server Setup

With Curiosity’s landing just hours away GigaOM has some information on how NASA plans to stream coverage of the landing. Sounds like the big winners are Nginx and Amazon Elastic Load Balancer:

They built a test infrastructure comprised of a single origin server (a Mac Pro housed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory) serving four bitrates (250, 500, 750 and 1,000) to a single Flash Media Server. Output was cached by a single “tier 1″ Nginx server, fronted by 40 “tier 2″ load-balanced Nginx servers running on Amazon EC2.

Nothing terribly shocking, though always interesting to see inside how others are handling large traffic events. Nginx is one heck of a capable server for this sort of task.

Price Manipulation On The Web

And in today’s ecommerce news:

Orbitz Worldwide Inc. has found that people who use Apple Inc.’s Mac computers spend as much as 30% more a night on hotels, so the online travel agency is starting to show them different, and sometimes costlier, travel options than Windows visitors see.

The idea being that Mac users, which tend to be of higher income are more willing to spend than their PC counterparts.

It’s important to note that this sort of manipulation is nothing new. Websites regularly optimize content based on the user. If you live in an affluent city like New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles, as determined by your IP address you may be offered a different (often more expensive) price. Repeat customers (cookies help here) may not see all the price cutting someone coming in from a search engine might. Search referrers might be offered a lower price since they are already looking at competitors.

Then of course is the obvious problem with travel sites. They are based on systems like SABRE which have a long history of bias (and rules against them have since expired in the US as far as I’m aware). Expecting a travel site to reliably offer you the lowest price is like expecting a tiger to leave the helpless gazelle alone. They are for convenience, not the best deal.

This would have been slightly ironic had it been Expedia, who was originally a division of Microsoft.

HTTP Status 451 – The HTTP Status At Which Requests Burn

Tim Bray is proposing a new HTTP status, 451 for:

…when resource access is denied for legal reasons. This allows server operators to operate with greater transparency in circumstances where issues of law or public policy affect their operation. This transparency may be beneficial both to these operators and to end users.

This is awesome and I 100% support this idea. I’d even like to see governments mandate that 451′s be used. Of course North Korea, Iran, and China would never follow along, but hopefully most western countries would.

It’s also a very fitting tribute to Ray Bradbury, the author of Fahrenheit 451 who recently passed away.