An Internet That Speaks Your Language

[This was posted on the BBC site at the end of October]

It is forty years to the week since the first data packets were sent over the ARPANET, the research network commissioned by the US Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) to see whether computer-to-computer communications could be made faster, more reliable and more robust by using the novel technique of packet switching instead of the more conventional circuit switched networks of the day.

Instead of connecting computers rather as telephone exchanges work, using switches to set up an electric circuit over which data could be sent, packet switching breaks a message into chunks and sends each chunk – or packet – separately, reassembling them at the receiving end.

Continue reading “An Internet That Speaks Your Language”

My bookmarks for July 23rd through July 30th

Here’s what I tagged on between July 23rd and July 30th:

Shouting ‘bug’ on a crowded Internet…

[As ever you can read this on the BBC News website, and it’s also on CircleID]

In the last few weeks we’ve seen two very different approaches to the full disclosure of security flaws in large-scale computer systems.

Problems in the domain name system have been kept quiet long enough for vendors to find and fix their software, while details of how to hack Transport for London’s Oyster card will soon be available to anyone with a laptop computer and a desire to break the law.

These two cases highlight a major problem facing the computing industry, one that goes back many years and is still far from being resolved.  Given that there are inevitably bugs, flaws and unexpected interactions in complex systems, how much information about them should be made public by researchers when the details could be helpful to criminals or malicious hackers.

Continue reading “Shouting ‘bug’ on a crowded Internet…”

My bookmarks for July 17th through July 22nd

Here’s what I tagged on between July 17th and July 22nd: