Digital natives are among us, they use the tablet even before learning to read and grow up in a world where digital technologies are an integral part of their life. Being unable to read hence to think as well, the aforementioned digital natives are unaware of the fact that they actually are the ones being used by uselessly expensive disposable gadgets, and that their role in the modern technology world mainly is to behave like idiots and waste money when there is a new trendy toy to purchase whatever it takes.
Four months have passed, maybe it’s time to update the blog once more. And maybe it’s fine to resume some series neglected for too long like the one about the market of computer Web browsers. The last post on the topic dates back to 2009, and in just six years the situation changed so radically to seem like belonging to another age. And as a matter of fact we are in a completely different age, with many unknowns and a factual observation which is worth being highlighted above anything else: Firefox is a browser unavoidably doomed to oblivion, and it’s all Mozilla’s fault.
Before growing into a worldwide phenomenon run by the worst cyber-criminals gangs out there, spam was an annoyance limited to the few intimate users of the ARPANET network. It was there, before the technology at the foundation of ARPANET gave life to the modern Internet, that 36 years ago the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) marketing manager Gary Thuerk sent what is officially acknowledged as the first mass marketing e-mail in history.
I am used to bring along my “historical” Internet accounts even if they are actually useless, because for me one of the most important things is “retrocompatibility” and support of all the e-mail addresses opened in the past in the unlikely case someone would decide to contact me there. So I have learned with much disappointment the news about the change of Interfree’s free services into professional paid products, a transition that will take place from today and that will have the practical effect of disabling the mailbox and the web space offered at no cost to users thus far.
This clearly is a shock period for me, because after the bad, bad event of the dead hard disk I also have to deal with the leaving (already of public domain since) of De Andreis brothers from the lead of Punto Informatico, that is the news site I daily write some nonsense for and what’s more being paid for the service The site has changed ownership since October 2008 going from De Andreis Editore to Edizioni Master, but at least for a while things have been the same as usual - ie every day there was a mail from Paolo (De Andreis) to wait for me with the indication of things to do inside.
Trend Micro, a Tokyo-based security enterprise with over 4,000 employees in more than 30 countries, has recently asked the experts from TrendLabs (its global research organization) to make an updated list of the worst computer plagues ever. The resulting list includes 5 noteworthy examples of widespread infections which represented, during their respective period of wider circulation, the most dangerous security threats users and companies could have faced.
During the first week of July, the Interplanetary Internet conceived by Vint Cerf (formerly co-creator of the TCP/IP protocol at the foundations of “terrestrial” Internet) and by NASA engineers earned what should be its first permanent node in the outer space. During the second of a long series of tests to verify the reliability of the Delay-Tolerant Networking (also known as Disruption-Tolerant Networking) protocol, the software needed for its functioning was transferred aboard the International Space Station orbiting at 350 kilometers above the Earth.
A few days ago, while summing up the many efforts made by Italian politicians to censor Internet and demolish netizens’ civil rights, I also took the occasion to foresee what could have been happened in the future after the final approval of the infamous three strike law by the French Parliament. What happened in the past days simply confirms the legitimacy of those anticipations and opens the doors, in Italy too, to the ultimate surrender of law and common good to the partisan interests of copyright parasites.
Surely 2009 is the most sensitive year for peer-to-peer and the industry crusade against free on-line contents sharing. In Italy we have the previously discussed issues with the incompetence and obscene servility of our representatives, and moving the attention toward Europe things get even worse if possible. Two in particular are the noticeable questions of these weeks in Europe, the conviction of The Pirate Bay crew and the approval in France of the Sarkozy doctrine also known as three strike law or HADOPI law.
The past weeks have marked an unparalleled escalation of the well known inadequacy and inability of the Italian institutions to deal with the Internet, to live their relation with digital technologies by following logic and rationality rather then emotionalism and violence. Conversely our “dear” rulers and members of Parliament have recently shot out a series of amendments, law drafts and opinions to make you goggle if you believe in the importance of Internet as a democratic tool.
Maybe the bolt from the blue of the Chrome launch didn’t brought an awful market share figure to the newcomer, but the convulsions and the undoubted evolutive acceleration set off by the release of the made-in-Google browser are reverberating with increasing strength on the new war to control the access port to the worldwide network. Currently numbers are still on Mozilla’s and its red panda side, but in future things will become more complicated when Google will have played one of its best cards to turn Chrome from an oddity for few into a conquering force for the mainstream market.
It was August 27 of 2007 (my birthday) when columnist John C. Dvorak warned against the dangers of things such as “cloud computing”, “software as service”, “Web 3.0″ and the many abbreviations that in these years are trying to catch the attention of the public and sell as new what is the most old fashioned computing architecture ever existed.
To say that in Italy there is no more press but only an endless series of courtesans of the strongest is a pretty trivial thing, that a sober person could consider like qualunquismo if only it wasn’t a pure and simple matter of fact. In Italy the media are dead, they have become zombies artificially kept alive by state robberies and embarrassing money transfers. Just look at what is happening in these days after the demonstration in Piazza Farnese, Rome.
Congratulations, congratulations, the Technical committee against digital and multimedia piracy is born in the Italian ruling rooms, seriously determined to defeat the file sharing phenomenon and above all to have a special care for the industry associations’ desires, whose only purpose has always been to pull out money from any single bit moved on-line. SIAE (the Italian RIAA) is already giving rigorous orders on what to do, so much for the good intentions on the will to listen to representatives of all the parts interested to the matter.
In what sounds as an unexpected and dangerous development of the lasting industry’s war against the P2P users, last Friday the Wall Street Journal has reported that RIAA, after years of intimidations, mistakes, twistings and abuses of the USA judiciary system now wants to change strategy, dismissing its mass lawsuits campaign to focus on the “next level” of the prearranged plan with which the majors would like to survive to the technological progress while keeping forever the privileges from a past (anyone should have this clearly in mind) that will never come back.
Trend Micro security enterprise has ranked the attack vectors exploited by the 100 most widespread malware from January to November 2008, and the results speak by themselves: among all the possible infection ways Internet is absolutely the most used (or better still abused) one by worms, trojans and other types of digital pathogenetic agents constantly hunting for victims and unprotected systems to compromise.
Space, final network frontier: the Disruption-Tolerant Networking protocol (DTN, previously known as Delay Tolerant Networking) has sent out its first wails the last weeks when the NASA engineers have tested the first interplanetary-class network communication. It’s an historic step that opens novel opportunities to communicate in space, remote-control probes and eventually to liaise with the future human outposts in the Solar System.
After more than two months since the Chrome launch, the made-by-Google browser that should have revolutionized the whole market and the Internet perception itself among the users, the nowadays scenario is very much different from what the events anticipated then. Not only Chrome hasn’t been able to take a significant amount of netizens, but even its undoubted performance leadership will soon be called into question by the new releases from the competitors.
When, in the night between the 4th and 5th of November, Barack Hussein Obama II has been elected the 44th President of the United States of America, the world has suddenly stopped. It has been crystallized in the thing by itself, feeling the whole gravity and the importance of an historic moment, and then it has started over to whirling run accelerating and burning down lives and stock markets. What remains is the hope that the promises by Mr.President haven’t been useful only to harangue the crowd, and looking at the matter from the poor Italy in ruin I can’t help to make some considerations also and above all in regard of technology and computing.
Roberto Maroni’s occupation is Minister of the Interior for the Italian government, but in his spare time he enjoys to listen to music and, above all, to download it on the P2P. He has never hided it, and he has confirmed this attitude in the last days too, during a meeting with the press at Varese, where he has attended before his participation to Il Festival del Racconto. Accidentally but not too much, the Minister statements come after the establishment of the well known committee against digital piracy under the Prime Minister’s Office, which would like just to fight the file sharing that Maroni periodically advocates.