Topic internet

GNU Mailman 3.0 is out !

in internet on (#8231)
story image(Finally) after years of development, Mailman has reached its third release.

It's a big change, thoroughly explained in this (not so) old article by Barry Warsaw, the lead developer behind Mailman 3.0. In short, Mailman has been organized as a suite of 5 subprojects, each in charge of a different aspect:
  • Mailman Core - the core delivery engine which accepts messages, providers moderation and processing of the messages, and delivers messages to mailing list member recipients. It exposes its functionality to other components over a private, administrative REST API.
  • Postorius - A new Django-based web user interface for end users and list administrators.
  • HyperKitty - A new Django-based web archiver.
  • mailman.client - The official Python 2 and 3 bindings to the administrative REST API. Used by Postorius and HyperKitty, this provides a convenient, object-based API for programmatic access to the Core.
  • mailman-bundler - A convenient package for building out the entire Mailman suite.
Among the new shiny things:
What's new about Mailman 3? Well, lots! Some highlights include:
  • Backed by a relational database;
  • True support for multiple domains, with no cross-domain mailing list naming restrictions;
  • One user account to manage all your subscriptions on a site;
  • The core's functionality exposed through an administrative REST+JSON API;
  • All passwords hashed by default, and no monthly password reminders!
  • Users can post to lists via the web interface;
  • Built-in archive searching!
and more. Tons more.
Note that it is not recommended to update your lists from 2.x to 3.0 zero yet as it may not go smoothly. The update feature is planned for 3.1 but if you've got some test machine, feel free to play around with the update and report bugs.

[submitter's note]: some details in the announcements seemed a bit weird to me, notable, I quote, "The core requires Python 3.4 while Postorius and HyperKitty require Python 2.7.". Why use two different (and maybe incompatible) versions of python ? Another one is about the API numbering scheme. Well, we'll see how it goes ...

High spectrum prices force wireless carriers to invest in pico-cells

in internet on (#6NQB)
Verizon Wireless said there are a handful of areas in which it had hoped to increase its spectrum holdings, but will instead use small (or pico) cells to increase frequency reuse on the network rather than simply using a larger block of spectrum. "We simply have to adjust our plans in certain places where we may have anticipated spectrum." New York and Boston are two markets in which Verizon Wireless did not acquire additional 1.7/2.1 GHz spectrum in the recent auction. Their budget for this year now includes an incremental $500 million for this kind of network densification.

Melone added that as the cost of spectrum has risen, the cost of small cell technologies has been going down. "The comparison between the two changed dramatically," he said. Verizon also highlighted the improving economics of fiber as one of the reasons that small cells are becoming a more attractive investment.

This seems to support the FCC's decades-old policy of using auctions as the most efficient way to allocate spectrum resources where they are most needed, in a simply supply & demand model. Never mind the substantial new source of income the US federal government has seen from the process.

The FCC has approved Net Neutrality rules and declared Broadband a Utility

in internet on (#3Z6G)
As has been reported everywhere, the FCC has approved Net Neutrality rules and declared broadband a Utility.

The text of the document is probably worth scanning, at least.

TV Is Dying, Broadband Declining

in internet on (#3T6V)
story imageThe pay-TV industry has reported its worst 12-month stretch ever. Ratings for both cable and the broadcast networks are down. There has been negative ratings growth on broadcast and cable TV since September 2011. The number of U.S. households is still growing, but fewer households have TV because they are watching video on mobile devices instead. The amount of video viewed on mobile devices is going through the roof. About 40% of all YouTube traffic comes from mobile.

Broadband internet was supposed to benefit from the end of cable TV, but it hasn't; people are also unplugging from broadband internet service. Most are likely utilizing free wifi hotspots provided by businesses, campuses and some cities. Fifty-seven cities in the U.S., including Los Angeles, offer free wifi; anyone within range of a hotspot can avoid the monthly fees.

Cable TV ratings are in an historic slump, but revenues are still rising because companies are charging the dwindling number of customers more in subscription fees. Those higher prices are "part of the problem" that pushes out poor subscribers - losing the TV business even more eyeballs. This is having a counter-intuitive effect on TV ad sales: prices are going up. It's still really difficult to gather a large, mass audience in any kind of media. That scarcity makes TV's dwindling-but-still-big audience increasingly valuable... for now. Ad dollars are likely to follow that shift in the long run.

Mozilla's Flash-killer 'Shumway' appears in Firefox nightlies

Anonymous Coward
in internet on (#3CQG)
story imageIn November 2012 the Mozilla Foundation announced "Project Shumway", an effort to create a "web-native runtime implementation of the SWF file format." Two-and-a-bit years, and a colossal number of Flash bugs later, Shumway has achieved an important milestone by appearing in a Firefox nightly, a step that suggests it's getting closer to inclusion in the browser.

Shumway's been available as a plugin for some time, and appears entirely capable of handling the SWF files. Few average users know of Shumway's existence, never mind seek it out. So the inclusion of the software in Firefox's nightlies will give it greater exposure. For now the code can only play certain videos hosted on, but developers intend to expand the list of sites from which Shumway will play SWF files. For now, Shumway-in-Firefox-nightlies works only on Windows Vista or later versions of Windows, and OSX. But expanded support is promised.

China begins major crackdown on VPN access to the internet

in internet on (#2WSK)
The Chinese government has begun cracking down on one of the few avenues its citizens and foreigners have to accessing the full internet. China announced it is "upgrading" its internet censorship to disrupt VPN services inside the nation of 1.3 billion people, the People's Daily Newspaper in Beijing reported.

The Great Firewall of China has long blocked those within the country from reaching popular international sites such as Google, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, as well as a great many other sites which include any information deemed unflattering to the single-party Chinese government. One common way to get around the censorship is to purchase access to a virtual private network (VPN). These services allow a user to create a private pipeline to the internet, bypassing China's online censors. It is also a common means for foreign companies to connect to and communicate with their China-based offices and employees.

Under Chinese law, companies and individuals that use VPN services are required to register with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, though few do. One of the more popular VPN providers in China, Astrill, tweeted that "due to increased censorship in China," VPN usage on Apple devices was being blocked "in almost real-time." The blockage "is just a way for China to say 'we don't want you here." The Chinese blockage of VPNs this week "is more sophisticated than what we've seen in the past."

Advertisers are outraged that 23% of video ads are viewed by robots

in internet on (#2VSY)
Pity those poor advertisers, who are outraged, to say the least. A recent study has shown that computers being remotely operated by hackers account for almost one in four views of digital video ads worldwide. The fraud leads advertisers to spend approximately $6.3 billion dollars per year for advertising that doesn't have any impact whatsoever. The fake views, which also account for 11 percent of other display ads, often take place in the middle of the night when the owners of the hijacked computers are asleep.

The advertising unions are understandably upset.
"We're being robbed," said Bob Liodice, president and chief executive officer of the New York-based association, which has 640 members that spend more than $250 billion a year in advertising. "This isn't about system inefficiencies or process sloppiness. This is about criminal activity."
But others would say, that's the way the game is played. No word on who wrote the software that manages these fake video views, or who benefits. Finally, pity the poor robots, people, forced to watch video ads all day and night: what a dreary existence!

The Pirate Bay is gone for good

in internet on (#2VSW)
story imageIt's not that the Pirate Bay may cease to exist, although with this most recent raid by Swedish authorities, that may be true as well. It's that since a couple of years ago, the Pirate Bay has become a shadow of its former self, and changed in ways some users would call fundamental.
TPB has become an institution that people just expected to be there. Noone willing to take the technology further. The site was ugly, full of bugs, old code and old design. It never changed except for one thing - the ads. More and more ads was filling the site, and somehow when it felt unimaginable to make these ads more distasteful they somehow ended up even worse.

The original deal with TPB was to close it down on it's tenth birthday. Instead, on that birthday, there was a party in it's "honour" in Stockholm. It was sponsored by some sexist company that sent young girls, dressed in almost no clothes, to hand out freebies to potential customers. There was a ticket price to get in, automatically excluding people with no money. The party had a set line-up with artists, scenes and so on, instead of just asking the people coming to bring the content. Everything went against the ideals that I worked for during my time as part of TPB.<\a>

What's next for The Pirate Bay?

Obama speaks out on Network Neutrality

in internet on (#2TZR)
President Barack Obama has spoken out on the topic of Net Neutrality, and
he advocates for an Internet that is free and open. That's a bold move in this political environment!

It would seem that the President is interested in keeping a free and open internet without sweetheart deals. Now if only the FCC listens to the President and the many other Americans who have commented on this matter. Now, what about the other big, Internet-heavy nations that enjoy the benefits of being connected. Who will be the next to speak up? And does Obama's opinion mean the debate will swing in the direction of consumer benefit, or will the corporations have their say?

The future of cable internet services may be as backhaul for cellular...

in internet on (#2TX2)
Those cell towers that provide the high-speed connections to your phone, themselves have to rely on land lines for "backhaul", to connect them to the core of the wireless provider's network. Enter cable companies, who often times provide that backhaul to smaller communications towers - Time Warner Cable serves more than 10,000 cell towers. In the case of small cells, cable companies are in some cases able to leverage their fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) investments as high-speed backhaul for small cells instead of requiring the much more costly option of running new dedicated lines to the site. Cable companies are largely only involved in providing the backhaul, but about 15% of cable providers are also considering entering the business of offering small-cells-as-a-service, themselves. If you count Wi-Fi as a small cell, the cable industry is already quite familiar with and deeply invested in the business.

Metro cells, which are supposed to cover up to two kilometers in area and up to around 2,000 users, are the most likely candidates for FTTH backhaul. Smaller cells closer to subscribers offer the possibility of higher speeds using less power and better utilization of scarce radio spectrum. In essence, "small cells end up being a subscriber on the network," Vaughn said. He went on to describe several deployments: an AT&T trial in St. Louis, Mo., where small cells were deployed on utility poles fairly low to the ground, at about head-height; and a Vodafone deployment in Spain where fiber had already been deployed along the street and the equipment had a very small footprint.