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LG launches new Android tablet/netbook hybrid with 4GB of RAM, 128GB SSD and an Intel Core i5 (Quentyn Kennemer/Phandroid)

TechMeme - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 6:45pm

Quentyn Kennemer / Phandroid:
LG launches new Android tablet/netbook hybrid with 4GB of RAM, 128GB SSD and an Intel Core i5  —  Add one more to the list of ridiculous Android tablets.  LG has revealed a variant of their Tab Book, a netbook/tablet hybrid that folds down into a tablet while you're on the go and slides …

Categories: Technology

Samsung Delays Tizen Phone Launch

Slashdot - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 6:33pm
New submitter tekxtc (136198) writes Slashdot has reported in the past that a Tizen phone is coming and that the design and photos leaked. But, it has just been announced that the launch of the first Tizen phone has been delayed because of its Tizen's small ecosystem. Should it ever ship? Haven't Android and iOS completely cornered the market? Is there any hope for the likes of Tizen, Firefox OS, and Windows on phones and tablets?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Spain's lower house approves tax on online news aggregators; requires paying for news snippets (Julio Alonso/Medium)

TechMeme - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 6:20pm

Julio Alonso / Medium:
Spain's lower house approves tax on online news aggregators; requires paying for news snippets  —  The Story of Spain's Google Tax  —  As has happened elsewhere, France, Belgium and Germany come quickly to mind, Spanish newspaper editors have been arguing for long that Google is taking unfair advantage of them.

Categories: Technology

Facebook Forces Users Worldwide To Download Messenger For Mobile Chat (Josh Constine/TechCrunch)

TechMeme - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 6:10pm

Josh Constine / TechCrunch:
Facebook Forces Users Worldwide To Download Messenger For Mobile Chat  —  Over the next few days, Facebook will stop allowing messaging in its main iPhone and Android apps, and force all their users around the world to download its standalone Messenger app.  Facebook first started forcing users …

Categories: Technology

New Findings On Graphene As a Conductor With IC Components

Slashdot - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 5:52pm
ClockEndGooner (1323377) writes Philadelphia's NPR affiliate, WHYY FM, reported today on their Newsworks program that a research team at the University of Pennsylvania have released their preliminary findings on the use of graphene as a conductor in the next generation of computer chips. From the article: "'It's very, very strong mechanically, and it is an excellent electronic material that might be used in future computer chips,' said Charlie Johnson, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania. ... Future graphene transistors, Johnson said, are likely to be only tens of atoms across."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

AT&T, Verizon offer HBO with basic cable and internet for $40-50; still no cable-free option (Peter Kafka/Re/code)

TechMeme - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 5:40pm

Peter Kafka / Re/code:
AT&T, Verizon offer HBO with basic cable and internet for $40-50; still no cable-free option  —  Why HBO and Pay TV Still Aren't Getting Divorced  —  Reminder: You still can't get HBO without paying for other TV channels, too.  —  But you can still get a cheapish package that includes HBO …

Categories: Technology

The Misleading Fliers Comcast Used To Kill Off a Local Internet Competitor

Slashdot - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 5:10pm
Jason Koebler (3528235) writes In the months and weeks leading up to a referendum vote that would have established a locally owned fiber network in three small Illinois cities, Comcast and SBC (now AT&T) bombarded residents and city council members with disinformation, exaggerations, and outright lies to ensure the measure failed. The series of two-sided postcards painted municipal broadband as a foolhardy endeavor unfit for adults, responsible people, and perhaps as not something a smart woman would do. Municipal fiber was a gamble, a high-wire act, a game, something as "SCARY" as a ghost. Why build a municipal fiber network, one asked, when "internet service [is] already offered by two respectable private businesses?" In the corner, in tiny print, each postcard said "paid for by SBC" or "paid for by Comcast." The postcards are pretty absurd and worth a look.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

A Fictional Compression Metric Moves Into the Real World

Slashdot - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 4:31pm
Tekla Perry (3034735) writes The 'Weissman Score' — created for HBO's "Silicon Valley" to add dramatic flair to the show's race to build the best compression algorithm — creates a single score by considering both the compression ratio and the compression speed. While it was created for a TV show, it does really work, and it's quickly migrating into academia. Computer science and engineering students will begin to encounter the Weissman Score in the classroom this fall."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

A Credit Card-Sized, Arduino-Based Game Device (Video)

Slashdot - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 3:50pm
Slashdot's Tim Lord was cruising the halls at OSCON, where he spotted Kevin Bates and his tiny Arduino-based device, called the Arduboy. On Kevin's Tindie.com sales page, he says the games it can run include, "Space Rocks, Snake, Flappy Ball, Chess, Breakout, and many more...The most exciting one could be made by you!" || His work with Arduboy got Kevin invited to the recent White House Maker Faire, where he rubbed shoulders (and shot selfies with) Bill Nye the Science Guy, Will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas, and Arduino creator Massimo Banzi. || Does Kevin have a Kickstarter in the works? There's nothing about Arduboy on Kickstarter.com, and given the Arduboy's simplicity and low price (currently $50), plus stories about it everywhere from Time.com to engadget to Slashdot, he may not need any financing or capital to make his idea succeed. (Alternate Video Link)

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Ask Slashdot: Preparing an Android Tablet For Resale?

Slashdot - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 3:07pm
UrsaMajor987 (3604759) writes I have a Asus Transformer tablet that I dropped on the floor. There is no obvious sign of damage but It will no longer boot. Good excuse to get a newer model. I intend to sell it for parts (it comes with an undamaged keyboard) or maybe just toss it. I want to remove all my personal data. I removed the flash memory card but what about the other storage? I know how to wipe a hard drive, but how do you wipe a tablet? If you were feeling especially paranoid, but wanted to keep the hardware intact for the next user, what would you do?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Lots Of People Really Want Slideout-Keyboard Phones: Where Are They?

Slashdot - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 2:26pm
Bennett Haselton writes: I can't stand switching from a slideout-keyboard phone to a touchscreen phone, and my own informal online survey found a slight majority of people who prefer slideout keyboards even more than I do. Why will no carrier make them available, at any price, except occasionally as the crummiest low-end phones in the store? Bennett's been asking around, of store managers and users, and arrives at even more perplexing questions. Read on, below.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Zillow Kills Competition With $3.5 Billion Trulia Deal

ReadWriteWeb - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 2:19pm

It takes more than “Zestimates” and other zippy technology to make money in real-estate listings, as evidenced by the $3.5 billion in stock that Zillow agreed to drop in order to snap up its chief competitor, Trulia.

The impending Trulia acquisition could centralize listings and tools for home sellers. The joined company says it will provide “advertising and software solutions that help real estate professionals grow their business.” 

Real-estate sites cannot dominate the Internet with lookie-loos alone; they must have advertising dollars. Now Zillow's listing site can also attract home sellers—and their attendant advertising—with Trulia's tools for estimating a home's value.

Zestimates, Zillow’s zingy name for the proprietary algorithm it uses to estimate home value based on publicly available information, put the real estate site in the spotlight—but not always in a good way. Critics question the their true value, citing the algorithm’s inability to know, for instance, whether the neighbors mow the lawn.

A Real-Estate Squeeze Play 

Regardless, Zillow is protective of Zestimates, and sued Trulia for patent infringement in 2011, a claim Trulia disputed. Earlier this year, the rivalry between Zillow and Trulia was still going strong. In February, Zillow announced it would spend $65 million on national advertising. Two days later, Trulia announced it would spend $45 million on same.

Currently, Zillow has 83 million users, according to comScore. Trulia has 54 million. Once joined, the new real estate behemoth on the block will rule 61 percent of the market, making the most visible place for real estate to pay for premium ad placement.

In theory, Zillow's shelling out $3.5 billion in stock to swallow its former rival could save both companies some money in the short run, since real-estate agents will paying the difference in premium advertising on the biggest game in town. Knocking out the competition makes it a sellers market for ad space. Investors will be pleased.

According to the announcement, the deal—expected to close in 2015—will “maintain both the Zillow and Trulia consumer brands.” As the deal marches toward the regulatory process, specific details of how the merged company will operate and whether there will be layoffs, have not yet been shared.

Lead image by Flickr user John Morgan, CC 2.0

Categories: Technology

US States Edge Toward Cryptocoin Regulation

Slashdot - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 1:45pm
SonicSpike points out an article from the Pew Charitable Trusts' Research & Analysis department on the legislation and regulation schemes emerging in at least a few states in reaction to the increasing use of digital currencies like Bitcoin. A working group called the Conference of State Bank Supervisors’ Emerging Payments Task Force has been surveying the current landscape of state rules and approaches to digital currencies, a topic on which state laws are typically silent. In April, the task force presented a model consumer guidance to help states provide consumers with information about digital currencies. A number of states, including California, Massachusetts and Texas, have issued warnings to consumers that virtual currencies are not subject to “traditional regulation or monetary policy,” including insurance, bonding and other security measures, and that values can fluctuate dramatically. ... The article focuses on the high-population, big-economy states of New York, California and Texas, with a touch of Kansas -- but other states are sure to follow. Whether you live in the U.S. or not, are there government regulations that you think would actually make sense for digital currencies?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Internet Census 2012 Data Examined: Authentic, But Chaotic and Unethical

Slashdot - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 1:03pm
An anonymous reader writes "A team of researchers at the TU Berlin and RWTH Aachen presented an analysis of the Internet Census 2012 data set (here's the PDF) in the July edition of the ACM Sigcomm Computer Communication Review journal. After its release on March 17, 2013 by an anonymous author, the Internet Census data created an immediate media buzz, mainly due to its unethical data collection methodology that exploited default passwords to form the Carna botnet. The now published analysis suggests that the released data set is authentic and not faked, but also reveals a rather chaotic picture. The Census suffers from a number of methodological flaws and also lacks meta-data information, which renders the data unusable for many further analyses. As a result, the researchers have not been able to verify several claims that the anonymous author(s) made in the published Internet Census report. The researchers also point to similar but legal efforts measuring the Internet and remark that the illegally measured Internet Census 2012 is not only unethical but might have been overrated by the press."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Oracle Offers Custom Intel Chips and Unanticipated Costs

Slashdot - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 12:22pm
jfruh (300774) writes "For some time, Intel has been offering custom-tweaked chips to big customers. While most of the companies that have taken them up on this offer, like Facebook and eBay, put the chips into servers meant for internal use, Oracle will now be selling systems running on custom Xeons directly to end users. Those customers need to be careful about how they configure those systems, though: in the new Oracle 12c, the in-memory database option, which costs $23,000 per processor, is turned on by default."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

LinkedIn Updates Its App As Part Of Its Mobile Dis-Integration

ReadWriteWeb - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 12:00pm

LinkedIn’s new mobile redesign, called “Blue Steel” internally, aims to make it easier to find out information about people and make connections while on mobile.

The new update to the flagship LinkedIn application is the latest in a handful of updates and app launches as LinkedIn begins to fragment its services and create separate apps for separate services. There are now six different LinkedIn apps.

See also: LinkedIn's Latest App Aims To Reconnect You With Your Contacts

The flagship LinkedIn app has an updated look, but with the redesign also comes a better way of viewing someone’s profile. Now, when you want to know more about someone, the mobile LinkedIn profile shows you information that would be pertinent to an introduction—for instance, if you share an alma mater or work history in common. It also makes it easy to edit your profile, something that was hard to do previously on mobile.

Additional information on the new mobile LinkedIn profile includes deeper analytics including who’s viewed your profile from where, and a section that details what you have in common. Like the desktop version, the revamped app will show you other profiles viewed by visitors to your own profile. It also makes it easy for people to see what you’ve posted on LinkedIn’s publishing platform.

Because there are so many apps for LinkedIn—including LinkedIn Connected, the app the company debuted earlier this month—the company made it easy to bounce back and forth. So if you’re using Connected and notice that someone got a new job, you can flip over to view their full profile in the LinkedIn flagship app. 

LinkedIn is following the lead of other social apps like Facebook and Foursquare—all these companies are breaking up their services into multiple apps, in the hopes of appealing to a broader mobile-driven audience. 

Lead image by Reyner Media on Flickr

Categories: Technology

Attackers Install DDoS Bots On Amazon Cloud

Slashdot - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 11:40am
itwbennett (1594911) writes "Attackers are exploiting a vulnerability in distributed search engine software Elasticsearch to install DDoS malware on Amazon and possibly other cloud servers. Last week security researchers from Kaspersky Lab found new variants of Mayday, a Trojan program for Linux that's used to launch distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. The malware supports several DDoS techniques, including DNS amplification. One of the new Mayday variants was found running on compromised Amazon EC2 server instances, but this is not the only platform being misused, said Kaspersky Lab researcher Kurt Baumgartner Friday in a blog post."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Google's Mapping Contest Draws Ire From Indian Government

Slashdot - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 11:01am
hypnosec writes with news that India's Central Bureau of Investigation has ordered a preliminary enquiry (PE) against Google for violating Indian laws by mapping sensitive areas and defence installations in the country. As per the PE, registered on the basis of a complaint made by the Surveyor General of India's office to the Union Home Ministry, Google has been accused of organizing a mapping competition dubbed 'Mapathon' in February-March 2013 without taking prior permission from Survey of India, country's official mapping agency. The mapping competition required citizens to map their neighbourhoods, especially details related to hospitals and restaurants. The Survey of India (SoI), alarmed by the event, asked the company to share its event details. While going through the details the watchdog found that there were several coordinates having details of sensitive defence installations which are out of the public domain."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

CloudFlare’s Matthew Prince: Building A Better Internet

ReadWriteWeb - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 11:00am

ReadWriteBuilders is a series of interviews with developers, designers and other architects of the programmable future.

For a 100-person company founded in 2009, the tech firm Cloudflare certainly seems to have an outsized impact on the Internet.

Shortly after the Heartbleed bug became public knowledge on April 9, Cloudflare decided to revoke all the digital-encryption SSL certificates it managed—a move that would prevent hackers from stealing digital identities from Web servers by exploiting  Heartbleed. When it did so, it caused a dramatic spike in such revocations

Similarly, when it switched its customers by default to a new Internet-address scheme called IPv6, Cloudflare says it expanded what co-founder Matthew Prince calls "the IPv6 Web" by a full five percent.

See also: Exterminating Heartbleed: How To Clear It Out Of Your Data Center

Cloudflare's primary business is to both speed up and act as a sort of digital bouncer for its client sites. It does this by helping them deliver their information more efficiently and by sheltering them from the Internet's bad guys—hackers, spammers and scammers who try to knock sites offline via distributed denial-of-service attacks.

In the process, it's also managed to bring advanced site-management tools—the kind of things that previously only companies like Google could afford—to the masses. 

Prince co-founded CloudFlare after bouncing through a number of startups and attending both law and business school. I spoke with him about how getting sued by the porn industry got him started, how he was a lawyer for a day and the role he sees Cloudflare playing as cloud computing continues its astronomical growth.

What follows is a lightly edited transcript of our conversation.

Back When The Web Was "A Fad"

ReadWrite: You describe yourself as the storyteller. How technical are you?

Matthew Prince: When I was seven, my grandmother gave me an Apple II Plus. I grew up in Park City, Utah, and my mom used to sneak me into computer science classes. When I got to college, I was pretty competent as a computer programmer, and got bored in the computer science program fairly quickly.

In 1992, I was technical enough that the school spotted that. Along with two other students, I became one of the campus network engineers. We were building out the network across the campus. Back then, I was installing the switches, running cabling, and learning how the underlying network worked.

The other thing that was fortuitous, in college, a couple of us had started an electronic magazine. There was no World Wide Web in 1992, so we used a programming language sold by Apple called Hypercard. It was object-oriented, one of the forgotten Apple technologies that was way ahead of its time. We made this interactive magazine with Hypercard stacks. We’d email it on campus. The school loved it. It showed how innovative they were.

The apps would get so large that they would actually crash the mail server. The school kept buying bigger and bigger mail servers to accommodate it, and we ended up making more and more complicated versions of the magazine.

They finally came to us and said, "This isn’t going to scale, but let us introduce you to some organizations." One was a printer company, which invented a technology called PDF, which was of course Adobe. The other organization was a bunch of students at the University of Illinois, PhD. students, who had this thing called a browser.

I remember we would write articles and we couldn’t get anyone on campus to read them, but we’d get these emails, in broken in English, from Japan. I remember saying to one of the other guys, why do we care if people in Japan are reading this? It was one of the most naive and stupid things I could have said. I wrote my college thesis on essentially why the Internet was a fad, which is incredibly embarrassing.

CloudFlare co-founders Michelle Zatlyn, Lee Holloway and Matthew Prince

I’m technical enough that I know how this stuff works. When we started CloudFlare, I was writing code. I think I have three lines of code left in the code base. We hired people many orders of magnitude better than I am. Lee Holloway [CloudFlare co-founder] is the technical genius, and Michelle [Zatlyn], who is incredible, is the chief operating officer of our organization. The three of us together create a pretty solid foundation.

Lawyer For A Day

RW: You went to law school, and then worked as a lawyer for just one day?

MP: When I got to the end of college, I had job offers at these companies that I thought had no future: Netscape, Yahoo, a company called BBN, [and] Microsoft, for their online service. I thought this wasn’t going anywhere, so instead I went to law school. My friends were building dot-com companies that were some degree of successful, and I went to Chicago to study law.

In 1999, between second and third year of law school, I moved to San Francisco for the summer and worked at a law firm called Latham and Watkins. Over the course of that summer, I helped take six companies public. I went back for the third year of law school, and that was when the bubble burst. Latham called and said, “Good news. You still have a job. We don’t have room for securities lawyers, but we have plenty of room in our bankruptcy practice.”

I had accepted the signing bonus and had started to do some work for them. One of my law professors said hey, my brother is starting a company, he’ll match your salary and give you some stock. I stayed in Chicago and worked for this startup [a company called GroupWorks in the insurance-benefits brokerage market]. 

RW: What inspired you to go back and get an MBA?

MP: The short answer is I went to business school because I got sued by the porn industry. After GroupWorks, I did well enough that I could mess around for a while. I came up with an idea for an anti-spam technology.

Unspam is like the “do not call” list, but for email. The business plan was absurd. We were going to help pass a bunch of [anti-spam] laws all around the country, and build a technology that enables these laws, and then sell it to state governments. But instead of them paying us directly, they'd charge a fee, and we’d take a share of that fee.

I remember pitching that to venture capitalists. They’re like, you’re insane. That’s exactly what we did. So we worked with state legislators around the country to pass these laws, and then we ended up winning technical services contracts. Lee Holloway was our first technical hire at Unspam.

The pornography industry guys argued it was a violation of their first amendment rights. They were arguing that they had the right to send adult material. They sued the the state of Utah, and we were a contractor to the state, so they sued us as well.

The lawyers said, "You have a good case, but it will take three years to resolve. During that time, lay low." I sent off applications to eight different business schools, and ended up getting rejected by seven of them, and got into Harvard.

Pahk The Stahtup In The Hahvahd Yahd

RW: And that’s where CloudFlare really got its start?

MP: I continued to run Unspam while I was in business school. Lee was continuing to work for Unspam. As a final project for our last semester, Michelle and I ended up entering a business plan competition, and the business plan was CloudFlare’s business plan. It’s remarkable to read it and see that we’ve basically done what we said we were going to do.

At the same time, Lee was running out of hard technical problems at Unspam. He was getting recruited by Facebook and Google. I always wanted him to be on my team. 

I called him a couple of weeks later and said, "What if we design a service that essentially sits in front of the entire Internet, and we will build something that can not only protect websites from attack, it will make things faster?"

I knew that in order to get Lee excited, the project had to be huge. Lee needed something that was really, really big. I spent 30 minutes on the phone pitching it to him. At the end he was silent for about a minute, then he said, okay, that will work. So Lee was on board. Michelle is the operations person, I’m sales and marketing and storytelling, and that ended up being the combination that allowed us to build what we built.

Services Only A Google Could Afford

Five percent of all Web traffic passes through our network. We add 5,000 new customers every day, ranging from teeny little blogs to Fortune 500 companies. International governments use us, the U.S. government uses us, commerce companies like Gilt use us. One out of 21 sites you go to online is a customer, and their traffic passes through our network. We have 25 facilities scattered across North and South America, Europe and Asia, and the plan is to open 50 more in the next year.

The network keeps growing bigger and bigger because we’re offering a compelling value proposition. It takes about five minutes to sign up. Once installed, you’re going to be at least twice as fast and protected against a whole range of attacks, and it decreases the load on your server substantially.

We’ll provide resources that previously only a company like Google could afford, with data centers scattered around the world. We ‘ll make that easy and affordable and scalable for anyone putting content online, whether it’s through traditional websites, modern web applications, or the back end of mobile apps. We make all that faster and better.

Begging And Building Frankenservers

RW: What was the first technical challenge that you wanted to address with CloudFlare?

MP: CloudFlare got born in part out of an open source project Lee and I had started called Project Honey Pot. It’s the largest online community tracking fraud and abuse. It has over 100,000 participants in 190 countries around the world.

When we were first starting CloudFlare, after we graduated from school and moved to California, we didn’t have any money, and we needed some way to build the first prototype. Amazon Web Services was just getting started at the time, and we were trying to figure out how we were going to get servers.

Michelle said, You talk about how loyal this Project Honey Pot community is. What if we just ask them if they have some spare servers lying around? It was an absurd thing, but we started to think, why not?

We had all the zip codes of members, and we emailed every Project Honey Pot member that was within 50 miles of San Francisco: “We’re looking for servers to be able to build a prototype on, do you happen to have any that are laying around?”

We got an astonishingly high response rate. So Michelle piled in her Volkswagen Jetta and drove around to all these different people, and did two things. She’d pick up the servers and load them in their car, and ask them what they wanted CloudFlare to be. It was our initial market research. Those Project Honey Pot members were the first CloudFlare.

None of [the servers] worked, but we were able to cobble parts together to create two functional servers, and built the first prototypes—two kinds of Frankenservers.

We needed to be building a demo to show the investors, and Lee didn’t want to build them. Instead he was focused on this little piece of code that would cache requests for one second. I said, "Seriously, that’s the most important thing you could be working on?"

He said, “Trust me, in three years, you are going to be happy I built this.” Lee is this technical genius who thinks about problems five years in advance. Almost three years from the day he said that, we got some of our first denial of service attacks, and the only way our infrastructure could stand up to that was thanks to layers of caching. That caching layer that he was building at the time turned out to be this piece of our foundation which has allowed us to continue to scale.

Expanding The Taxonomy Of The Cloud

RW: Do you build your own data centers, or rent space in others?

MP: We build our own equipment. We don’t pour foundations and build the buildings, but very few companies do. Even Facebook runs out of other facilities sometimes.

We’re not running on top of Amazon or Rackspace, though those are partners of ours. Instead, we are putting our own equipment in buildings scattered all around the world, and increasingly, putting them in the end-ISP facilities to ensure we have the most coverage and can be as fast as possible.

People talk about the cloud, the taxonomy of the cloud. At the base is what I call the store-and-compute layer. That used to be companies like HP, EMC, Dell and Sun—companies that made the big boxes that held your data and processed your data. Increasingly now it's AWS [Amazon Web Services], Rackspace, Google, Microsoft with Azure and VMware building out their own clouds. So when people talk about cloud services, often they’re talking about the store-and-compute layer, only where you can rent time on machines you don’t own.

We tend to be great partners with all those store-and-compute service providers. That’s not what we do.

The layer on top of store and compute is the application layer, which used to be run by these big bundled suites, from companies like Microsoft, SAP, Oracle. Now those bundles are getting unbundled into their component parts: Salesforce does CRM, Box does storage and collaboration, Google does email, Workday does ERP, Netsuite does financial accounting.

All of those used to be in the SAP bundle. Now, instead of buying software, you're buying those individual components.

Salesforce calls itself a cloud company. It’s not the same as Amazon; it’s a cloud services company living at that application layer.

[These companies also] tend to be partners of ours. Oftentimes a big financial institution wants to use Salesforce. The problem is, if it’s not software running in their own data center anymore, they need to have something like CloudFlare if they want a layer of protection in front of it, because they can’t call up Salesforce and ask them to put in a firewall.

That leads to the third tier, what I call the edge tier. Previously the edge used to be a whole bunch of boxes that would live at the top of your rack. Those boxes would be anything with the word firewall in it, companies like Checkpoint. Increasingly it’s Fireye, or Imperva, or Palo Alto Networks. These are all firewalls that sit at the edge of your network.

And it’s companies like F5 Networks that do load balancing, WAN optimization, anyone doing performance caching, DDOS mitigation—these are all boxes, that traditionally, yesterday, you’d have to buy and put in your server rack. But increasingly, there is no rack.

Customers, however, still need this same functionality. That’s what CloudFlare is doing. We're taking all the functionality—firewall, DDOS, web apps, load balancing, caching—and deploying it as a service, instead of it being a box, or a series of boxes, you have to buy.

So the way we work with Microsoft or Google or Amazon is that they’re providing the store-and-compute layer, or the application layer, and CloudFlare is providing the edge that sits in front of that. Instead of doing it as hardware, we’re doing it as a service.

RW: Isn’t that something Amazon and others would want to build into their cloud offerings over time?

Yeah, potentially. If they’re using all the Amazon services, people tend to use things like their Elastic Load Balancer, which is similar to the load balancing we have, or use their DNS services called Route 53.

We have those services, but we’re finding, in a lot of cases, that we’re a lot better. Our DNS services is faster and more performant than what Route 53 or Google DNS service has, so when you compare apples to apples, we do extremely well.

Second, we’re extremely focused on this. Amazon is a great company, but they're not entirely dedicated to making sure the publisher’s experience as good as possible. We also end up being significantly more cost-effective than they are over time. Most people put us on and cut their AWS bill often by as much as 50%.

GZip It—GZip It Real Good

RW: What kind of relationship do you have with open-source projects?

MP: There’s a piece of software called gzip. It’s the compression software built into your browser. It’s probably one of the most common code paths on the internet. Gzip takes a web page and reduces it in size by as much as half.

Because it’s running on every single request, it is one of the things that takes up the most CPU on our systems, so we have an engineer who left Apple to come work for us. One of the first things he did was rewrite gzip. I was skeptical, because it’s open source project—Google uses it, Facebook uses it—so how in the hell are we going to make gzip better?

He goes away and he comes back, and he has massively increased the performance of gzip, and we have started to roll that out now across our network, which saves us a huge amount of time, allows us to offer our customers significantly faster performance.

One of the things i’m proud of that we do is turn around and contribute them back to the open source community. In the next few months, we’ll roll out our new improved gzip. We’ve been running the calculations, and the power savings alone, how much power we'll cut if everyone in the world were to adopt this new version of gzip, it’s just astronomical.

We’re doing something that has extremely wide impact. It touches so many organizations around the world, and our mission is to build a better Internet. That sounds crazy at some level, but can do things at our scale that are pretty substantial.

About two months ago, we defaulted all our customers to IPv6 routing, so even if their backend is on IPv4 still, we can make sure the front end will support an IPv6 connection. In doing that, we increased the size of the IPv6 web in one day by something like 5%.

One of the things I’m most excited about, we have a team that’s very close, maybe by the end of this quarter, we’re going to be able to turn on SSL encrypted connections by default for even our free users. The amount of engineering work that goes into something like that is pretty substantial. There are only about two million SSL protected websites on the Internet, and the day we switch that one on, we will double the number of protected websites on the entire Internet.

RW: What other ways can the Internet be improved?

MP: There’s a Google protocol called SPDY (speedy), and SPDY makes transferring data over the internet just a ton faster, especially for mobile devices. It’s hard for individual server operators to install, so we just enabled SPDY by default.

If your server is in Texas, and you have a visitor who comes to your website from Sweden, what will happen, that visitor will first hit CloudFlare’s datacenter in Stockholm, they’ll connect via SPDY, and that dynamic content, we need to go fetch it from the server back in Texas, so we’ll open a connection back to Texas and hold that connection open.

We also have a differential compression technology called Railgun. If you’re on even a highly dynamic page like Facebook, it has some content that’s personalized to you, but there’s a whole bunch of that HTML that’s the same for you, me, and everyone else. Sending and resending all that content is just wasted bandwidth; what you really want to send is the stuff that changes.

So Railgun is differential compression for that long haul between Texas and Sweden. The performance is a lot better.

Post-Heartbleed, we’re rewriting the underlying [communication and security] protocols so the Internet runs faster. Because we are a larger and larger portion of the edge of the network, there are things that we can do, and these are things that Google has done for their own properties. If you are not Google, there’s no way to do that unless you use CloudFlare.You don’t have to be Google to be fast, safe and secure.

RW: Who do you consider your main competitor?

MP: Google doesn’t now, but will increasingly provide some services similar to us. Amazon already provides some services that overlap. And there’s Akamai, they are increasingly creating a bundle of services that compete with us.

We each have different strengths and weaknesses. My hunch is, there will be somewhere between two to six providers that provide these suite of services, and I think we have a good shot to be the leader.

Lead image by Flickr user TechCrunch, CC 2.0; CloudFlare co-founders image courtesy of CloudFlare; illustrations courtesy of Shutterstock

Categories: Technology

Stanford Team Creates Stable Lithium Anode Using Honeycomb Film

Slashdot - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 10:23am
puddingebola (2036796) writes "A team at Stanford has created a stable Lithium anode battery using a carbon honeycomb film. The film is described as a nanosphere layer that allows for the expansion of Lithium during use, and is suitable as a barrier between anode and cathode. Use of a lithium anode improves the coulombic efficiency and could result in longer range batteries for cars." The linked article suggests that the 200-mile-range, $25,000 electric car is a more realistic concept with batteries made with this technology, though some people are more interested in super-capacity phone batteries.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology