Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

May 25, 2012

With advances in the physics behind science fiction’s tractor beam, Star Trek technology is much closer than we realize.

April 11, 2012

Francis Unson:

Google+ users: How do you like the new design of the social network?

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Google this morning is announcing a new look for its social network, Google+, which introduces a revamped navigation, with drag-and-drop elements and actions that appear when you hover over each item, as well as the introduction of new features aimed at making it easier to discover conversations to join, new profile pages, a dedicated page for Google+ Hangouts (Google+’s multi-person video chat offering), and more.

It’s interesting that Google+ has now changed its design, after its first efforts received such praise. But, after using the service for some time, it became clear that Google+’s navigational elements became a little cluttered. That “share a YouTube video” feature, for example, which popped out a box on the right side of the screen, felt tacked on.

The new interface drops the static icons at the top and moves all the navigation off to the side, allowing users to reorder the icons…

View original 300 more words

magicJack Owners: Calls from strange phone numbers exposed

March 27, 2012

If you own a magicJack (NASDAQ: CALL) for your home or office, you may have received a phone call from the “phone number”, 26669-6687.  I have a feeling that some telemarketers may have targeted phone number prefixes specific to magicJack owners since three of the magicJacks connected at work have received calls from this number, including mine:

If you are a magicJack owner and you received one or more calls from the "phone number", 26669-6687, the caller is actually a bunch of different callers, and none of them want you to know who they are.

Calls from the "phone number", 26669-6687, on two separate occasions. My phone number is deliberately obfuscated.

If you are a magicJack owner and you received one or more calls from the "phone number", 26669-6687, the caller is actually a bunch of different callers, and none of them want you to know who they are.When anybody or myself answered calls from this number at work, we received a wide range of callers, both male and female, and they solicited a wide array of products and services.  It turns out that the “phone number” of 26669-6687 is not owned by anybody at all, nor is it actually a phone number.  The number forms a phoneword, which are letters corresponding to a particular telephone number that form a word, a partial word, an acronym, abbreviation, or an alphanumeric combination.  The number of 26669-6687 forms a phoneword, which spells out the word, “anonymous”.  Obviously, some telemarketers do not want their phone numbers to show up in our caller ID so that we can call them back in anger or report their actual phone number, and who can blame them?  Unfortunately, magicJack owners, calls received from 26669-6687 amount to receiving a call from a blocked number.  How do you deal with unsolicited telemarketing calls from blocked numbers?  Post your comments and suggestions below.

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Francis Unson

Downloads for Your Computer: the Essentials

January 3, 2012

The majority of people, like me, just cannot wait to use their new computer once it is removed from its box, especially if that computer is replacing an older, slower computer.  However, as a person trained in network administration, I would make a list of the applications and plug-ins I have been using on my old computer so that I can download the same items on the new computer, making the switch feel transparent.  From our standpoint, while the switch to faster-performing hardware is welcomed, the case is not the same for software applications, where retraining may be required, an added cost that businesses and organizations are, more likely than not, do not welcome with open arms.  Whether we are upgrading our own computer or the PCs in a computer room at a university, we feel much more comfortable using the same software we had always been using.

What applications should you install on your computer to maximize its usage?  Whether you received a new computer for Christmas or own a four-year-old computer that is showing its age, you should download the following items.

Web browser

Mozilla Firefox (download from Mozilla | CNET), Google Chrome (Google | CNET), or both

What applications should you install on your computer to maximize its usage?  Whether you just bought a new computer or own a four-year-old computer that is showing its age, you should download these applications, add-ons, and extensions.Even though the latest versions of Internet Explorer (IE9 and IE10) are much more secure, earlier versions (IE7 and earlier) have been plagued by many security vulnerabilities and concerns: much of the spyware, adware, and computer viruses across the Internet were made possible by exploitable bugs and flaws in the web browser’s security architecture.  Firefox and Chrome, meanwhile, deployed different security models seemingly in response to the vulnerabilities found in the older versions of IE, giving the perception of greater security, at least until IE was updated with a much improved security model.  Unfortunately, the number of security vulnerabilities found in all versions of Firefox and Chrome combined pales in comparison to the large number of vulnerabilities found in IE, which is why I strongly recommend Firefox or Chrome as your default web browser.

Add-ons and extensions

Web of Trust (for Firefox, Chrome et al.)

What applications should you install on your computer to maximize its usage?  Whether you just bought a new computer or own a four-year-old computer that is showing its age, you should download these applications, add-ons, and extensions.I cannot begin to stress the importance of using an Internet website reputation rating tool such as Web of Trust (WOT), which shows you which websites you can trust for safe surfing, shopping and searching on the web.  With the WOT add-on, you can see the website’s reputation based on other users’ experiences and carefully chosen trusted sources, such as phishing and spam blacklists.  You can also rate websites yourself based on your own experiences.  Whether you are looking at search engine results, links in your news feed on Facebook, or links in your timeline on Twitter, WOT indicates to you right away if the link posted is safe or not.  WOT is indispensable if you have young web browsers in your house.

Adblock Plus (for Firefox | Chrome)

What applications should you install on your computer to maximize its usage?  Whether you just bought a new computer or own a four-year-old computer that is showing its age, you should download these applications, add-ons, and extensions.If you want to improve your web surfing experience, install Adblock Plus (ABP), a content-filtering extension that allows users to prevent page elements, such as advertisements, from being downloaded and displayed.  Once installed, you will notice right away how much faster websites load without the burden of extra images or flash files for animated ads.  If you are still using a 56K modem, or if you live with a bunch of bandwidth hogs, you will be able to view your content more quickly with this extension installed on your web browser.

Anti-malware and virus protection

Malwarebytes (from Malwarebytes | CNET)

What applications should you install on your computer to maximize its usage?  Whether you just bought a new computer or own a four-year-old computer that is showing its age, you should download these applications, add-ons, and extensions.Highly effective at finding malware such as rogue security software, adware, and spyware, Malwarebytes is the software that people turn to as soon as their computer begins to show possible signs of malware infection.  I find it unfortunate that people turn to anti-malware software only when an infection is discovered instead of installing it early on as a preventative measure.  I am telling you right now: install Malwarebytes as soon as possible, and run it once a week.  You may catch malware that was downloaded but, thankfully, wasn’t installed onto your computer yet.  Best of all, the free version is fully functional and will delete any and all malware, should any be found.

Microsoft Security Essentials (from Microsoft)

Why do I recommend Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE)?  Like Malwarebytes, MSE is also highly effective at finding malware.  However, features such as real-time malware prevention and automatic updates are not included with the free version of Malwarebytes, where they and other features are bundled with MSE.  Indeed, MSC is freeware.  From the school of thought that no single anti-malware product can find and remove all malware, MSE is a highly recommended complement to existing anti-malware and anti-virus software you have already installed.

Utilities

CCleaner (from Piriform | CNET)

What applications should you install on your computer to maximize its usage?  Whether you just bought a new computer or own a four-year-old computer that is showing its age, you should download these applications, add-ons, and extensions.I recommend CCleaner very highly for its simple task of cleaning potentially unwanted files and invalid Windows Registry entries from a computer.  The applications we use daily generate lots of temporary files, especially web browsers, and CCleaner, when used weekly, will help your computer run smoothly without getting clogged and overburdened with files the computer no longer needs.  When using the program with client computers, I was shocked at the amount of junk files that remained on the hard drive.  It’s one thing when your computer is running slowing because you’re running out of free disk space, but quite another when the daily usage of that computer is the reason for that clutter.  Use CCleaner regularly so that gigabytes (yes, GB) of junk files do not accumulate over time.

Defraggler (from Piriform | CNET)

What applications should you install on your computer to maximize its usage?  Whether you just bought a new computer or own a four-year-old computer that is showing its age, you should download these applications, add-ons, and extensions.The best you can do after running CCleaner is to run Piriform’s other product, Defraggler, which defragments individual files on a computer system.  Why?  Removing gigabytes of junk files creates a lot of gaps between legitimate files on your hard drive.  Some files, especially large files, may be fragmented, or spread out all over the drive partition.  Opening that one file may take longer than it should because your hard drive has to go to different parts of your hard drive just to read it.  Running Defraggler effectively reunites all those parts of a file as best it can so that reading the same file after defragmentation will be much faster, since the majority of that large file is physically in the same location on the hard drive.

Readers

What applications should you install on your computer to maximize its usage?  Whether you just bought a new computer or own a four-year-old computer that is showing its age, you should download these applications, add-ons, and extensions.Adobe Reader (from Adobe)

If you work in an office, you probably work with an office suite, compiling documents in, say, MS Word or Excel and later converting them to a format that is generally read-only to most people, such as Portable Document Format, or PDF.  Adobe Reader is part of the Adobe Acrobat family of application software developed to view, create, manipulate, print and manage files in PDF, although Adobe Reader itself only allows you to view and print PDF files.  For most people, that capability is all they need when coming across a PDF file on the Internet.  When you install Adobe Reader, an Adobe Reader plug-in for your web browser is also installed so that the application itself does not need to be opened if, for example, a PDF file link is clicked in Firefox or Chrome.

Players

Adobe Flash Player (from Adobe)

What applications should you install on your computer to maximize its usage? Whether you just bought a new computer or own a four-year-old computer that is showing its age, you should download these applications, add-ons, and extensions.If you watch streaming video and audio, play online games with animation, or go to graphics-intensive websites with GUIs embedded into the site, you will need to install Adobe Flash Player, which executes and displays content from a provided SWF file.  Flash Player supports vector and raster graphics, 3D graphics, an embedded scripting language called ActionScript and streaming of video and audio.  Like Reader, the installation of Adobe Flash Player also includes plug-in support for your web browsers.  Despite HTML5 as a possible replacement, Adobe Flash Player, emerging as the de facto standard for online video publishing on the desktop, will be around for years to come.

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Francis Unson

Common Password Mistakes and How to Create Stronger Passwords

September 20, 2011

A password is a secret word or string of characters that is used for authentication to prove identity or gain access to resources.  We encounter passwords in our daily lives, at the ATM, when logging onto our home or office computers, or logging into our table TV decoder when purchasing a pay-per-view event.  We use passwords several times per day when we are using our computers, such as retrieving e-mail from servers; accessing programs; databases; social networking websites; or even reading the morning newspaper online.  Computer passwords are our first, last, and best line of defense against damaging intrusions.  Companies rely on passwords to protect sensitive information from hackers.  The use of poorly designed passwords could leave us vulnerable to: identity theft, financial loss, invasion of privacy, exposure of proprietary company data, and sharing sensitive or embarrassing information.  Here are some common password mistakes that users make, including examples of bad passwords.

The password is easy to locate

Even though people can create passwords with little security, IT professionals can be equally guilty of failing to enforce the rules. Here are some common password mistakes made by users and network admins alike.

Monitors are the last place anyone should find your password.

Whether the password is long or short, complex or simple, a password that is written down on a Post-it note and stuck on your monitor, beneath your keyboard, or in your desk drawer (that has no lock) offers as much protection as a system that has no password in the first place.  Your best bet is to create a password that you can memorize easily or retrieve from your (password protected) mobile phone.

The password is too short and simple

“susan”

“12345”

“APPLES”

These passwords share two other things in common: they contain fewer than eight characters and they use a single character set, where the first password uses all lowercase letters, the second uses all numbers, and the third uses all uppercase letters.  Most password policies require that a password be at least eight characters long, with even more restrictive policies requiring the use of at least two or more character sets.

The password is too common

Even though people can create passwords with little security, IT professionals can be equally guilty of failing to enforce the rules. Here are some common password mistakes made by users and network admins alike.

If any of these look familiar to you, change your password RIGHT NOW

Many users create passwords out of common phrases, obvious patterns, or combinations of words.  Part of the repertoire that hackers employ includes English and foreign language dictionary attacks.  Ironically, correctly spelled passwords are the easiest to crack by dictionary attacks.  Simply transposing a letter or number to its visual equivalent (swapping an “O” for “0” (zero) in “passw0rd”) is not enough.

Using the same password for all your accounts

If a hacker succeeds in cracking your password for one account, be it your e-mail account or your Facebook account, chances are, they will attempt to use that same password for every other online account that they determine is yours.  It is in your best interest to create a unique password for each online account that you own.

The password contains personal information

Avoid creating passwords that contain your name, home address, phone number, birthday, driver’s license, Social Security number, passport number, or similar information.

The password is based on your kids’ or pets’ names, nicknames, the names of characters in books or movies, or celebrity names.

“Bobby”

“Jenny”

“Scruffy”

“MrFluffy”

“PrincessLeia”

“EdwardCullen”

“MattDamon”

If your Facebook profile can be viewed publicly, hackers can derive passwords based on the captions of your family photos or the books and movies that you “like”.

Reversing or capitalizing the last two types of bad passwords

Even though people can create passwords with little security, IT professionals can be equally guilty of failing to enforce the rules. Here are some common password mistakes made by users and network admins alike.

Some words spelled backwards are other valid words. "Stressed" and "desserts" are two of them.

Reversing your home phone number or your granddaughter’s middle name may be more complex for you to remember, but not for hackers to decipher.  After all, hackers can do a reverse dictionary attack (where they look up all the words in the dictionary spelled backwards) in an attempt to steal your password.

Network system administrators are not off the hook when it comes to creating password policies.  Often times, companies try to use password policies to keep those mistakes from hampering security.  However, these policies must be done correctly in order to have an effect.  Here are some common password policy mistakes IT departments make.

Overdoing a good thing

If a network admin requires users to create new and extremely complex passwords every 30 days, the users may start to ignore the rules and keep the hard-to-remember passwords written down.

Applying password policies unevenly

Companies may require strong passwords for users during initial login, but at other levels of security, password policies may be much weaker.  Hackers who toil at cracking the user’s tough login password would be pleased to discover that security throughout the rest of the system is much more lax.

Allowing password policies to become outdated

While making users update their passwords every 30 days may be difficult for some users, not updating password policies at all would allow a system to become just as susceptible to attacks by hackers, who can rely on old information to gain access.

In order for users to protect themselves from identity theft, financial loss, or loss of privacy, users should actively and regularly create strong passwords.  Here are some guidelines to creating a strong password.

Keys to password length: length and complexity

An ideal password is long and has letters, punctuation, symbols, and numbers (e.g. spanning four character sets: lowercase letters, uppercase letters, numbers, and special characters).  If possible, use a password that is at least 14 characters or more and spans all areas of your keyboard, using letters and symbols you use less frequently.

Create a strong password you can remember

Microsoft outlines a method to create a long, complex password:

Start with a sentence or two.

  • Complex passwords are safer and easier to remember.

Remove the spaces between the words in the sentence.

  • Complexpasswordsaresaferandeasiertoremember.

Turn words into symbols, numbers, or shorthand.

  • ComplexpasswordsRsafer&easier2remember.

Add length with numbers.  Put numbers that are meaningful to you after the sentence.

  • ComplexpasswordsRsafer&easier2remember2011.

Another site has additional suggestions for how to create a stronger password that is difficult to crack, yet easy to remember:

  • Choose two short, unrelated words (like your favorite exercise, animal, flower, or weather, for example) and join them with an arbitrary number and/or symbol.  Examples: “jump3$lily” or “dog+rain”.
  • Use first letters of a sequence.  For example: your nephews (named Jeremy, Roger, and Allen) and their ages: “8Je9Rog12Alle”.
  • Make a really long password from a sentence.  Examples: “IwentskydivinginApril87” or “0416istheBostonMarathon”.
  • Select a line or title of a song or poem, and use the first letter of each word.  For example: “Who ya gonna call?  Ghost Busters!” would produce “Wygc?GB!” or “You can’t always get what you want” yields “Ycagwyw.”  Even better, throw in a number or punctuation mark in the middle: “Ycag$wyw”.
  • Alternate between one consonant and one or two vowels, up to eight characters.  This creates nonsense words that are still usually pronounceable, and thus easily remembered.  Examples: “routboo,” “quadpop,” and so on.
  • Consider treating your password as multiple parts: a central core and a prefix and/or suffix when needed that is specific to the service the password protects.  For example: your core might be “gPw4” (that is, “generic Password for…”) and then if it’s a password for a newspaper website like the New York Times, you might choose to add “NYt” to the beginning or end of the password (“NYtgPw4”), while your password for eBay auctions might be “gPw4eBa” and your Yahoo! email password could be “gP4Y!e”.
  • Generate your own scheme very methodically.  Start with a word, and then delete a character or two, or perhaps just the vowels.  Throw in some numbers or punctuation.  Continue making the rules for yourself.  Choose something that would seem totally random to someone else but that makes sense to you.  Use your imagination!

Tester password with the password checker

Always run a password checker to evaluate your password’s strength automatically.  Your online accounts, computer files, and personal information are more secure when you use strong passwords to help protect them.

Protect your passwords from prying eyes

If these strong passwords are still too difficult to remember, go ahead and write it down, but keep the written password in a secure location.  Once you’ve created a strong password, continue with the suggestions below to keep it even safer:

  • Never share your password with anyone.  This includes family, friends, significant others, computer support people, and bosses.  If you need someone to read your email, many email programs (for example, Outlook) allow you use a “delegates” feature to enable certain persons do so without using your password.  Check with your email provider.
  • Never say “yes” when your browser asks you if you’d like to save your password.  Although it’s convenient, it’s not a good idea—especially when the computer you are using is shared.  Some computer viruses can even recover your passwords from your Internet browser and then e-mail them to random people or post them publicly on the Internet.  Stop this from happening in the future and to remove passwords that are already stored.
  • If you absolutely must write down a new password the first time or two you use it and until you can remember it easily, be sure you keep it in a very safe, hidden place—not a sticky note stuck to your computer or your desk!  Then, shred it—don’t just toss it in the trash—once you’re done.
  • Never send your password in email, even if the request looks official.  If you receive e-mail from someone claiming to be your systems administrator, requesting your password because they supposedly need access to your files, ignore it.  This is a popular phishing scam.  Remember, your computer support people will never ask you for your password for any reason.  If someone must ask you to change your password so that they can gain entry to your account, they do not have reason to be there!
  • Change your password often.  This is important, particularly for passwords that protect highly sensitive data.  And if you ever suspect your password has been compromised, change it immediately!

Google summarizes the above information in the following video:

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Francis Unson

Space Shuttle Atlantis’ Final Flight and the Fleet’s Museum Duty Prep

July 12, 2011

On July 8th, 2011, the Space Shuttle Atlantis took off on its last mission, STS-135NASA prepared extensively for the final 13-day flight that will close out the Space Shuttle Program.  Atlantis was moved to its launch pad at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on May 31, and lifted off on July 8 at 11:29 A.M. EDT (1529 GMT).  The shuttle rolled out to the launch pad just hours before its sister ship, Space Shuttle Endeavour, landed early morning on June 1, wrapping up STS-134, its own final mission: a 16-day delivery flight to the International Space Station.  The four-person astronaut crew has worked extremely hard to prepare for Atlantis’, and the Space Shuttle Program’s, last mission.

STS-135 marks the final flight of Space Shuttle Atlantis and the Space Shuttle Program. The Space Shuttles must undergo extensive preparations before assuming museum duty.Many of you may be wondering what will happen to all the space shuttles after this last launch.  Well, the space shuttles are getting ready for their second lives as museum pieces.  The shuttles themselves will go through a lengthy clean-up process before they’re ready for their public debuts.  When a shuttle lands, it’s covered in hazards: liquid hydrogen and oxygen for fuel, ammonia for coolant, and live pyrotechnics for blowing out emergency escape windows.  “We have to remove those chemical hazards so that when it’s in a museum, the public can walk up to it without risk of things outgassing or dripping,” said NASA flow director Stephanie Stilson, who oversaw all the post-flight checkups and pre-flight preparations for Discovery’s last 11 trips to space and is now getting the remaining space shuttles ready for retirement.  Because of these space shuttles, we have been able to make many advances in science and technology.

Once the space shuttles are prepared and deemed safe for public viewing, we can view these magnificent space vehicles at museums around the country.  Space Shuttle Discovery will be located at the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center just outside Washington, D.C.  Space Shuttle Endeavour will be located at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.  Space Shuttle Atlantis will be located at the Kennedy Space Center just outside Orlando, Florida.

Watch the final launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis, which took place on July 8, 2011.

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Joie Montoya

Keep Your Guard Up; LulzSec Was Just One Group

June 29, 2011

The hacker group, LulzSec, announced its dissolution on Saturday, June 25, in a Twitter message to 280,000 of its followers.  The publicity-seeking group had successfully hacked the websites of the CIA, the U.S. Senate, Britain’s Serious Organized Crime Agency, Sony, PBS, and other high-profile targets.  Many do not understand why the group decided to break up or if they really did at all.  There are a few theories as to why they did, at least, publicly, anyway: the law was closing in on them (they had been getting many looming threats of arrest); they were just bored; they picked disastrous fights with rival hacker groups; or they had simply run out of ideas.

The disbanding of one hacker group is no time to put your guard down about Internet security.Although, this hacker group is seemingly no longer around, there are many other, more seasoned groups like this one that can be even more harmful.  The trick to reducing the chances of having your email or social networking profile hacked by such groups is to create a strong password.  Mixing letters and numbers is a good start.  Avoid using simple words or birth dates.  You can use your birth date but mix it into a name.  For example, let’s say you have a sister named Jane and her birthday is on March 22.  Create a password like this: j3a2n2e.  That’s the basic concept but as long as you can remember it, your regularly updated strong password will definitely help keep you more secure.

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Joie Montoya

IPv4 vs. IPv6: The Differences That Matter

June 27, 2011

Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) is the fourth revision in the development of the Internet Protocol (IP) and the first version of the protocol to be widely deployed.  Together with IPv6, it is at the core of standards-based internetworking methods of the Internet.  IPv4 is still, by far, the most widely deployed Internet Layer protocol.  Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is a version of the Internet Protocol (IP) that is designed to succeed Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4).  The Internet operates by transferring data in small packets that are independently routed across networks as specified by an international communications protocol known as the Internet Protocol.  Although IPv4 is still the most commonly used protocol, I want to list the differences between both so you can better understand why your company and ISP must begin making plans to migrate to IPv6.

With Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) out of IP addresses, the computer networking industry is strongly encouraging companies to migrate to Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), which has better bandwidth efficiency, scalability, and exponentially more IP addresses at its disposal.

IPv4 has run out of IP addresses.

IPv4

  • Addresses are 32 bits (4 bytes) in length.
  • Address (A) resource records in DNS to map host names to IPv4 addresses.
  • Pointer (PTR) resource records in the IN-ADDR.ARPA DNS domain to map IPv4 addresses to host names.
  • IPSec is optional and should be supported externally
  • Header does not identify packet flow for QoS handling by routers
  • Both routers and the sending host fragment packets.
  • Header includes a checksum.
  • Header includes options.
  • ARP uses broadcast ARP request to resolve IP to MAC/Hardware address.
  • Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) manages membership in local subnet groups.
  • Broadcast addresses are used to send traffic to all nodes on a subnet.
  • Configured either manually or through DHCP.
  • Must support a 576-byte packet size (possibly fragmented).
With Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) out of IP addresses, the computer networking industry is strongly encouraging companies to migrate to Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), which has better bandwidth efficiency, scalability, and exponentially more IP addresses at its disposal.

IPv6 is the successor to IPv4, but deployment has been slow.

IPv6

  • Addresses are 128 bits (16 bytes) in length
  • Address (AAAA) resource records in DNS to map host names to IPv6 addresses.
  • Pointer (PTR) resource records in the IP6.ARPA DNS domain to map IPv6 addresses to host names.
  • IPSec support is not optional
  • Header contains Flow Label field, which Identifies packet flow for QoS handling by router.
  • Routers do not support packet fragmentation. Sending host fragments packets
  • Header does not include a checksum.
  • Optional data is supported as extension headers.
  • Multicast Neighbor Solicitation messages resolve IP addresses to MAC addresses.
  • Multicast Listener Discovery (MLD) messages manage membership in local subnet groups.
  • IPv6 uses a link-local scope all-nodes multicast address.
  • Does not require manual configuration or DHCP.
  • Must support a 1280-byte packet size (without fragmentation).

Depending on what you are using, the IP address for either version is still valid.  There are some advantages to upgrading from IPv4 to IPv6 such as 79 octillion (that’s 27 zeros) times the IPv4 address space, better bandwidth efficiency, better efficiency and scalability, and works with the latest 3G mobile technologies and beyond.  With so many devices requiring IP addresses for Internet access, the development of a more versatile Internet Protocol was inevitable.  I hope this article helps you better understand the differences between IPv4 and IPv6 so that you can make your decision accordingly.

Juniper Networks describes in layman’s terms on a video in their YouTube channel the need for creating an IPv6 migration strategy.

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Joie Montoya

IBM Turns 100: the 5 Most Important Inventions You Use Today

June 23, 2011

On June 16, 2011, the International Business Machines, better known as IBM, turned 100 years old.  IBM is the best-known American computer manufacturer, founded by Thomas J. Watson, and has stayed vital and important for most of its history.  This company has created and designed many prominent inventions that are widely used today.  Here is a list of five of their most important inventions, so far:

International Business Machines, better known as IBM, turned 100 years old on June 16, 2011. Here are five of IBM's most important inventions that we still use today.The Magnetic Stripe Technology: This is the thin, black stripe you can see on the back of credit cards, drivers’ licenses and many other cards.  With this invention, buying things became much simpler and faster.  What they don’t realize is what a major shift this seemingly simple technology represented for retail, transportation and daily life.

How Magnetic Stripe Technology works on YouTube:

Computing Scale: Used to weigh and price things that any vendor can use.  This invention saved retailers a lot of money.

In 1885 Julius Pitrap of Gallipolis, Ohio, patented the first computing scale. Six years later, Edward Canby and Orange Ozias of Dayton, Ohio, purchased Pitrap's patents and incorporated The Computing Scale Company as the world's first computing scale vendor. And four years after that, The Computing Scale Company introduced the first automatic computing scale, shown here. In 1911, the Computing Scale Company merged with the International Time Recording Company and Tabulating Machine Company to form the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company, a business that was renamed IBM in 1924.

International Business Machines, better known as IBM, turned 100 years old on June 16, 2011. Here are five of IBM's most important inventions that we still use today.The Universal Product Code: Even though barcodes were dreamed up and patented in the late 1940s and early 1950s, it wasn’t in use until lasers emerged years later that they could be digitally read.  This technology sped up checkouts and improved inventory-keeping.

The Time Clock: The invention had an “IN” and an “OUT” slot, used to keep track of each employee’s attendance.

International Business Machines, better known as IBM, turned 100 years old on June 16, 2011. Here are five of IBM's most important inventions that we still use today.

International Business Machines, better known as IBM, turned 100 years old on June 16, 2011. Here are five of IBM's most important inventions that we still use today.The Automated Test Scoring: In 1937, IBM introduced the 805 Test Scoring Machine.  This machine graded test answers that have been marked on a certain paper with a No. 2 pencil, making grading much easier for teachers.

When most people think of IBM, they think of computers.  Well, they did invent the PC in the 1980s, but they have many more inventions that are still in use today.  Their inventions have helped ease the daily life of many people, such as managers, teachers, students, store owners, and many employees.  IBM has many other inventions that have made our lives easier and should be greatly appreciated.  Congratulations to this successful company.

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Taylor P.

ICANN’s Big Change

June 22, 2011

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) recently approved a change in their rules for domains.  They are allowing new domain names to be launched next year.  The changes will allow up to 1,000 new web domains.  The application fee alone is $185,000, with an annual fee of $25,000.  With these new domains, the existing regime with be greatly expanded in creativity but, with the high costs, gradually.

With ICANN easing rules on domain names, the sky's the limit--as long as you can afford it.The changes will be limited to websites with these domains: .com, .net, and .org.  However, they are expected to let companies register unique website names or better protect their existing brands.  Nonprofit groups could reserve the .school domain and hand out addresses to every elementary school.  Cities could consolidate their websites to .nyc or .losangeles.  And interest groups could stake out their own corner of the Web: .car for auto enthusiasts, .law for attorneys, and .food for restaurants.  This is a big, albeit expensive, change for the Internet, but it looks as if things will go smoothly.  Companies can now have fun, creative web domains!

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Taylor P.

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