2009
09.17

No, I’m not just talking about AVG (linked to FileForum because they have a full offline installer versus Download.com’s annoying “web stub”). Mines actually has a site license for Symantec’s corporate antivirus application, which students can download and install on their own computers after entering their Mines multipass.

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2009
09.17

Over the past year or so, a lot has changed with the Mines network and computer system. We’re moving as quickly as possible to GMail for student email addresses and to a unified login for everything else. This login is called MultiPass.

One big use of MultiPass is for the Mines VPN, used for accessing on-campus resources from off-campus. Geekier folks will choose to just SSH into imagine.mines.edu with their username and multipass password, however if you want to route your internet traffic through the Mines campus the VPN, available at secure.mines.edu, is the way to go.

One cool thing about the latest VPN update, which also improves compatibility with next-generation operating systems like Snow Leopard and 64-bit versions of Windows, is that you can now log into the VPN from on-campus. If you’re wondering why you would ever want to do such a thing, note that the Mines wireless networks (CSMWireless, ResNetWireless, etc.) are unsecured, so normally any data sent over a wireless link is up for grabs for anyone with the right software.

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2009
09.15

So today while I was scanning the 1913 Prospector (here’s the 1914 one) I listened to the latest episode of Security Now, a favorite podcast of mine that I haven’t heard in a long while.

The crux of this week’s ‘cast: GSM, the voice and data standard used the world over for mobile phones, is hopelessly flawed in a security sense and can be cracked in several different ways. The cost for the correct apparatus to crack the encryption: just a few thousand dollars. The expertise required: minimal. Read for yourself. Or here.

Granted, you probably won’t get your conversations spied upon, unless some enterprising Mines student with a wad of cash has nothing better to do and your T-Mobile or AT&T phone is not running in 3G mode at the time (though the latter can be forced). Still, it’s best not to have sensitive conversations over your non-3G phone (which includes the first-generation iPhone) if that non-3G phone is running off of AT&T or T-Mobile.

2009
09.02

Today I saw an eWeek story about Qwest turning up 100 gigabits of capacity on their network backbone, thanks to Alcatel-Lucent’s networking equipment. This is a far cry from trying to sell the backbone network, as the company had tried to do a few months back. Qwest is the first provider that I know of to use straight 100 Gbps equipment (rather than 10 Gbps or 40 Gbps on multiple wavelengths and/or fiber strands) though plenty of providers (like Cogent, Level3 and XO Communications) have more than 100 Gbps of capacity on many of their backbone links.

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2009
09.01

Last week I called in to CNet’s “The Real Deal” show. They had a guest in the studio whose job is, in effect, milking every last bit out of DSL so telephone companies can hold off on expensive fiber upgrades. One important thing to note is that the main deployment costs of fiber is the digging, stringing, etc. required to run any sort of wireline infrastructure. The fiber itself, and the electronics on the ends, are relatively cheap compared with, for example, coaxial hardline cable (the low-loss cabling that serves Comcast’s and other providers’ cable internet to your home).

If you want to hear my call, it’s at about 16:07 (minutes:seconds) into the video, a bit earlier in the audio. My question was simply whether Qwest, with their new VDSL2 technology, was able to reach as far as the last-generation (ADSL2+) technology. Or, put another way, would this next-gen technology mean that less people would get internet above 7 Mbps than if Qwest had just stuck with ADSL2+. The answer: VDSL2, on newer equipment, will fall back to ADSL2+ on longer loop (wire) lengths. Fun stuff.