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Empire Of Data Caps Strike Back
May 14th, 2014

Data  caps for US ThunderNews customers may be a reality again from their ISP. A Comcast executive said that he is confident the company will roll out usage-based data pricing nationwide once it completes a series of “robust” trials it is currently conducting in several markets. Speaking at the MoffettNathanson Media & Communications Summit today in New York City, David Cohen, executive vice president of Comcast, said that the company is moving slowly with its usage-based data trials to avoid alienating consumers. “We don’t want to blow up our high-speed data business,” he was stated as saying which was posted on USENET newsgroups.

Under such a model, Cohen said, Comcast customers would be allotted a specific amount of bandwidth that’s included in their monthly charge – say, 300GB – and they would pay in increments for anything after that.

The reason they haven’t done so already? They’re still working out exactly where they can cap things before they start getting phone calls — that is, before people start calling up to cancel. Meanwhile, making things more complicated tends to scare people away, so they don’t want to just offer up multiple plans/tiers — so before they make any changes, they need to find that plan that works for almost everyone.

The last time Comcast made a big change to its data plans was two years ago, getting rid of its controversial 250GB monthly data cap, in place of the 300GB plans. Those who go over the monthly allotment were originally threatened to have their service suspended for a year, though Comcast has since started charging for extra chunks of data.


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Symantec Claims Antivirus Is Dead On USENET
May 8th, 2014

Symantec, maker of the widely used Norton Antivirus software suite, has declared that antivirus technology “is dead”.

The company’s senior vice president of information security Brian Dye has been quoted on USENET that hackers were not only finding new ways to break into computers but that antivirus wasn’t “a moneymaker in any way.”

In perspective, the report seeks to highlight the competitive climate that Symantec currently finds itself in, despite having pioneered computer security several decades ago. Indeed, revenue has fallen in each of the past two quarters, culminating in the company firing its CEO–the second time it has done so in two years.

Not everyone agrees however, and Kaspersky Lab CEO Eugene Kaspersky has hit back with a strongly worded statement that was posted to USENET Newsgroups. According to Kaspersky, security is a combination of various technologies that includes heuristics, sandboxing, cloud protection among others, and includes signature-based antivirus detection.

“I’ve heard antiviruses being declared dead and buried quite a few times over the years, but they’re still here with us–alive and kicking,” said Kaspersky. “I fully agree that single-layer signature-based virus scanning is nowhere near a sufficient degree of protection–not for individuals, not for organizations large or small; however, that’s been the case for many years.”

To be fair, Symantec began to move beyond malware long ago. Its Norton security suite has long included a password manager and code that detects malicious e-mails and Web links. Heuristic algorithms also attempt to detect malicious files even when they have never been seen before. But increasingly, Symantec is competing against its newer rivals by matching the suite of non-AV services they provide.

We at ThunderNews are not sold on the Symantec claim and advise all our customers to keep their anti-virus solutions installed and up to date.


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USENET Reports On New 185TB Tapes
May 7th, 2014

There was a time, in computing’s not-so-distant past, where magnetic tape was the best way to back up large amounts of data. In the mid-90s, tape could store tens or hundreds of gigabytes, while hard drive capacities were still mostly measured in megabytes. That would soon change, of course, with the advent of writable optical media and cheap, large hard drives, but even today tape drives still hang around as one of the best options for mass data backup. Now, Sony has developed a new technology that pushes tape drives far beyond where they once were, leading to individual tapes with 185 terabytes of storage capacity.

Back in 2010, the standing record for how much data magnetic tape could store was 29.5GB per square inch. To compare, a standard dual-layer Blu-ray disc can hold 25GB per layer — this is why big budget, current-gen video games can clock in at around 40 or 50GB. That, however, is an entire disc, whereas magnetic tape could store more than half of that capacity in one little square inch. Currently on technology newsgroups, Sony has announced that it has developed a new magnetic tape material that demolishes the previous 29.5GB record, and can hold a whopping 148GB per square inch, making it the new record holder of storage density for the medium. If spooled into a cartridge, each tape could have a mind-boggling 185TB of storage. Again, to compare, that’s 3,700 dual-layer 50GB Blu-rays (a stack that would be 14.3 feet or 4.4 meters high, incidentally). In fact, one of these tapes would hold five more terabytes than a $9,305 hard drive storage array.

In order to create the new tape, Sony employed the use of sputter deposition, which creates layers of magnetic crystals by firing argon ions at a polymer film substrate. Combined with a soft magnetic under-layer, the magnetic particles measured in at just 7.7 nanometers on average, able to be closely packed together.

Perhaps surprisingly, storage tape shipments grew 13% two years ago, and were headed for a 26% growth just last year. Sony also stated that it would like to commercialize the new material — as well as continue developing its sputter deposition methods — but did not say if or when it will ever happen. While 185TB of storage sitting on a single cartridge is extremely appealing for people with large digital collections — music, games, or really any kind of media — it’s best to remember that the storage medium of tape has never been easy access. Read and write times feel like (and often are) an oblivion, and tape is used mainly for safe-keeping backup, rather than because you have too much music on your SSD and want to free up space for a new game. Still, when it comes to massive, non-time-sensitive storage, tape storage libraries are still one of the most common methods used by big corporations and even USENET newsgroup users and providers.

On May 4, Sony will present the new material to an audience at the international magnetics conference, Intermag Europe 2014.


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New Data Cables Offer 800GBPS Speed
March 11th, 2014

After more than a decade of research, USENET posts reveal Intel’s new connector that uses light as a speedy way to shuffle data between computers is finally ready to replace slower copper cables.

It’ll give network builders blistering fast transfer speeds in the short term, and allow the chip giant to re-think how servers are built in the long-term.

The cables will contain the new ‘MXC’ connector, developed in partnership with Corning, comprised of up to 64 fibres (32 each for transmitting and receiving), meaning 800Gbps can be transferred in each direction – with up to a total of 1.6Tbps (1,600,000Mbps) running through the cable at any one time.

The cables are smaller, more durable and have a range of up to 300 meters Ethernet is slower per lane and signals could degrade on cables that are longer than tens of meters an intel spokesman said. Corning, which said it would start making cables for end customers in the third quarter, but has so far not mentioned price.

Some initial adopters of the tech include Microsoft, Huawei, Facebook via the Open Compute Project, Arista, and Fujitsu. These outfits are among those sampling the MXC cables right now; the cables will go into mass production by the third quarter of this year, we understand.

With faster data transfers on the server level means more content faster for users. How this can be implemented on USENET servers remains to be seen. Imagine for a second how much data servers can handle by being able to split the data between even more USENET servers, more quickly? The results could be amazing.


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From USENET: Microsoft To Release Office For iOS
February 15th, 2014

Microsoft is still working on Office for iPad, and it could debut before July, reports USENET newsgroups. While newsgroups had reported that Microsoft was working on Office for iPhone and iPad some time ago, it ultimately only rolled out an iPhone version and pointed tablet users to Office Web Apps.  However, USENET newsgroup subscribers now reports that development on Office for iPad has both continued and been sped up in order to bring it to market fairly soon.

The product is “likely” to arrive before the touch-optimized version of Office that will run in the Windows 8.1 Start screen environment. Sources suggest that Office for iPad is codenamed ‘Miramar’ and was made a priority late last year. While no fixed release date has been given, it’s rumored to be in the first half of 2014.

As stated in newsgroups, Microsoft has found success on Apple’s platforms historically. The original version of Excel worked on a Mac before it was ready for Windows. Apple had a graphical interface before Microsoft, so Excel was on Apple computers first. Going iPad before Windows would just repeat the past.

The catch is that these USENET sources still don’t know if this will be an Office 365 app, just like we have for the iPhone, or if it will be a true Office suite of apps. Give the fact that the biggest factor that differentiates Windows on a tablet is Office, many newsgroup subscribers biggest bet is for this to require an Office 365 subscription, but we’ll hopefully know soon, as the sources claim that the launch will happen in the first-half of this year.


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OCZ Is Sold To Toshiba According To Usenet Newsgroups
November 29th, 2013

Last week, OCZ, the makers of some very fine SSD drives that are very popular with USENET newsgroup members, had filed for bankruptcy—and Toshiba had offered to acquire “substantially all” of its assets. Now, it looks like the Toshiba deal is all but done.

On technology newsgroups, OCZ says it has reached an agreement with Toshiba whereby the Japanese firm will “acquire substantially all of OCZ’s assets in a chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding for $35M.” The deal has already gotten approval from OCZ’s board of directors, and it’s scheduled to close within 60 days or so. In the meantime, OCZ says it will “continue to operate and serve existing and future customers.”

As part of the deal, Toshiba will acquire OCZ’s “proprietary controllers, firmware and software, as well as the teams responsible for bringing these solutions to market, in addition to OCZ’s established brand and sales channels.” Here’s Toshiba’s statement about the acquisition:

“We are excited to participate in this opportunity. If our bid is successful, the combination of our leading NAND technology with OCZ’s SSD expertise will allow us to further strengthen Toshiba’s SSD business,” said Mr. Seiichi Mori, Vice President of Toshiba’s Semiconductor and Storage Company and Corporate Vice President of Toshiba. “We value OCZ’s SSD business and technology in both the consumer and enterprise markets, and we are confident that it will reinforce our capabilities and help us to secure leadership in the SSD market.”

It’s not clear whether Toshiba intends to keep OCZ’s “established brand” around or not. OCZ has an iffy reliability reputation, and its drives have far more negative reviews than their competitors on major e-tailers like Newegg and Amazon. It would be in Toshiba’s best interest to slap its own name on future drives based on OCZ’s technology.


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Current State Of Moore’s Law Graph Posted On Usenet
November 13th, 2013

Posted to a USENET newsgroup recently, a graph currently shows how true Moore’s Law has been in practice since 1971.

Moore’s Law famously predicts the steady rise in the number of transistors that can fit on a computer chip. Every two years, the idea goes, that number doubles. Moore’s Law has been so consistently reliable, as USENET newsgroup members points out, that technology companies have come to rely on it to build their long-term business plans.

It’s a deceptively simple way to describe what’s actually a mind-boggling phenomenon of engineering. It’s hard to visualize, but the chart above helps put Moore’s Law in great perspective. Remember the venerable Pentium computer chip, which saw many a PC through the 1990s? Released in 1993, it had 3.1 million transistors. Today, two decades later, the most powerful chips have close to 3 billion transistors, a nearly 1000-fold increase.


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Access USENET Faster From The Sky
September 14th, 2013

Are you already part of the mile-high-usenet club? It should be easier to get in now. Faster in-flight WiFi is coming! Eventually. To Virgin America’s fleet thanks to a new solution unveiled by Gogo. The system, called Ground to Orbit (“GTO”) should see download speeds increase to approximately 60 megabits on each plane, a 20x increase from the 3 megabit speeds the Gogo service launched with 5 years ago and a 6 increase over their current peak system known as ATG4. The system is expected to enter service in approximately one year, pending FAA approvals.

That might not be soon enough for some USENET users, but the new technology, which Gogo calls Gogo GTO or Gogo Ground to Orbit, will significantly increase the speed of in-flight wireless networks from about 10Mbps to 60Mbps. Translation for nontechies: It should be much faster and no longer remind you of AOL or Compuserve dial-up speeds.

The news comes after JetBlue Airways Corp. received government approval last week to install a new high-capacity satellite link on many of its aircraft, an inflight Wi-Fi solution that can support streaming video to fliers’ devices from Netflix Inc. and Hulu, and pretty decent USENET access. JetBlue, which has lacked inflight Internet, plans to launch the service on some aircraft this year and equip its entire fleet of 180 aircraft by the end of 2015.

By offering fast speeds at an affordable price, Gogo aims to not only make some cash, but give bored flyers something to do. Even though $14 for a day pass seems pricey — it is 60Mbps, which is leagues above your standard LTE speeds. Gogo noted that only about 6% of potential customers actually purchase the company’s current inflight WiFi option — 3Mbps to 10Mbps — so the quick speeds would theoretically boost that percentage.

Unfortunately, it should also be noted that this will still be shared connectivity which means that as more people begin using the service — the speeds will drop.


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Get Faster USENET Speeds With Your Frappe
August 5th, 2013

You can get faster USENET speeds with your Venti as Google is giving WiFi systems inside Starbucks stores a big shot of network caffeine by bringing in new high-speed service, which promises to be 10 times faster than the existing AT&T systems it will replace.

The faster service will first appear in new Starbucks locations over the next month. Starbucks will then roll it out to its 7,000 other U.S. stores, starting with the busiest locations where Wi-Fi usage is highest. The company expects to complete the transition in about 18 months.

AT&T had provided Wi-Fi at Starbucks stores since 2008, but Google beat out the telecom giant when their contract expired.

AT&T also proposed a faster Wi-Fi proposal to Starbucks but lost out to Google.

The move toward faster Wi-Fi comes as mobile and PC users increasingly require faster connection speeds to do things like stream video, download large files and browse USENET newsgroups. Starbucks’ free Wi-Fi has long been popular among online users, with millions accessing the service each week.

The faster connection speed is likely to attract even more visitors, particularly as carriers move away from offering unlimited data plans for mobile devices.

Google has several projects nationwide aimed at making internet speeds faster, which translate into more searches, and therefore bigger advertising dollars.


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First Online Website Announced On USENET Gets New Home
May 6th, 2013

The first website ever popped onto the internet on April 30, 1993. In celebratory fashion, the site is coming back to computers everywhere.
According to USENET newsgroup reports, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) plans to recreate the first website ever. The goal is to chronicle the first expedition into cyberspace so that future generations can understand how it all came to be.

USENET posts report that the world wide web was originally created by Tim Berners-Lee, a physicist who hoped to share information easily around the globe with other scientists. Tim had first announced the world wide web on USENET in 1991

The website will reincarnate at its original URL.

CERN hopes to refocus technological innovators on the ideals which first sparked the web. The most important of those concepts is the free dispersal of information.

Also, CERN’s reviving the first web page will increase reverence for the original entrepreneurs who widened the Internet’s appeal. While the first website ever won’t bring much value to casual users, but the concept behind the project will hopefully echo to future generations.


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