- 1,933 hits
WASHINGTON: Coming soon to the internet: website addresses that end in “.bank,” “.Vegas” and “.Canon.”
The organization that oversees the internet address system is preparing to open the floodgates to a nearly limitless selection of new website suffixes, including ones in Arabic, Chinese and other scripts. That could usher in the most sweeping transformation of the domain name system since its creation in the 1980s.
More than 300 suffixes are available today, the bulk of them country-code domains, such as “.uk” for the United Kingdom and “.de” for Germany.
Hundreds or even thousands more suffixes could be created, categorised by everything from industry to geography to ethnicity.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers will meet Monday in Singapore to vote on its expansion plan for domain names. If ICANN approves the plan as expected, new domains could start appearing late next year.
The new system could bring innovative branding opportunities and allow all sorts of niche communities to thrive online.
But businesses worry that they’ll have to grab their brand names before others do. New suffixes could also create confusion as consumers navigate a Web with unfamiliar labels.
It’s also possible that the new names won’t make much difference because many people these days rely on search engines and mobile applications to find what they are looking for online. Consumers don’t type Web addresses into browsers nearly as much as they did 15 years ago when talk of a domain name expansion began.
“Most people don’t pay a lot of attention to website addresses anyway these days,” said Danny Sullivan, editor of Search Engine Land, a website that covers the search industry.
From a technical standpoint, domain names tell computers on the Internet where to find a website or send an email message. Without them, people would have to remember clunky numerals such as “18.104.22.168″ for “ap.org.”
The monikers have grown to mean much more, however. Amazon.com Inc has built its brand on its website address, while bloggers take pride in running sites with their own domain names.
ICANN has already allowed two major expansions of the addressing system. In 2000, it approved seven new domains, including “.info” and “.biz.” It began accepting new bids again in 2004. It has approved and added seven from that round, including “.xxx” for pornography sites this past March.
Under the expansion plan now before ICANN, future applications would be streamlined and open to all companies, organizations and individuals.
That has set off a virtual land rush.
Organisations that operate new suffixes will be able to collect registration fees from websites that want names. The fees could add up to millions of dollars a year if a website is popular enough.
A group of entrepreneurs in Las Vegas is vying to operate a “.Vegas” suffix. They have the city’s endorsement and consider “.Vegas” a way to unify local merchants, entertainment venues, residents and even businesses beyond Sin City.
Former professional hockey player Ron Andruff is working with international sports federations to bid for “.sport.” He expects sports leagues, teams, athletes, equipment makers and fans to want websites with a suffix that defines them better.
Big business will stake claims, too. Printer and camera maker Canon Inc plans to apply for “.Canon”. Trade groups for bankers and financial-services companies are working together to explore bids for “.bank”, “.insure” and “.invest” for their member companies.
New domains offer fresh branding possibilities for companies to identify themselves online in “a more relevant or a more localized” way, said Pat Kane, a senior vice president at VeriSign Inc., which operates “.com” and “.net.”
Although suffixes added over the past decade haven’t been as popular as “.com,” there has been demand for an expansion because nearly all of the most desirable “.com” addresses have been taken. There are more than 94 million registered under “.com.”
The thinking is that new businesses setting up shop online might prefer a simple name that ends in “.bank” rather than “TheBankDownTheStreetFromTheSupermarket.com.”
The expansion plan before ICANN had been delayed, however, largely because of concerns that new suffixes could infringe on trademarks and copyrights. There’s also worry that new suffixes could deceive consumers, create new platforms for hate groups or lead to website addresses ending in obscenities. ICANN spent years crafting guidelines and creating procedures for objecting to applications.
ICANN already has approved rules for some countries to claim suffixes that spell their names in languages other than English. The new plan opens that up to Chinese and Arabic versions of “.bank” and “.sport” as well.
It won’t be cheap to operate a domain name suffix. The application fee is $185,000, and winners will have to pay $25,000 annually after that. Disputes are likely as different groups go after the same domain. ICANN may auction off domains if multiple parties have legitimate claims. Legal fees could also pile up as trademark owners and governments file objections to certain applications.
Trademark holders, in particular, fear they would have to register a lot of addresses they don’t need or want simply to keep others from using them. Microsoft Corp, for instance, would not want websites addresses such as “Microsoft.software” and “Microsoft.computer” used to commit fraud or sell pirated goods.
Copyright owners, too, worry they would have to devote more resources to fighting online piracy with a proliferation of websites ending in “.movies” and “.music” that distribute copyrighted content illegally.
ICANN has crafted rules meant to give trademark owners a first shot at claiming their brands. It would also have a process to quickly disable addresses that are clear violations.
But Steven Metalitz, a lawyer for a coalition of movie studios, recording labels and other copyright holders, fears ICANN won’t be aggressive enough in enforcing the rules.
Still, supporters of the expansion believe it will create opportunities.
Juan Diego Calle, whose company operates the existing “.co” suffix, said that with more alternatives available, more businesses and groups will see that they can set up shop online with a catchy, easy-to-remember website that doesn’t end in “.com.”
If you are a proud owner of a popular Google-owned Android OS smartphone, here’s a piece of warning for you.
Juniper Networks in its latest study has found that enterprise and consumer mobile devices are exposed to a record number of security threats, including a 400 per cent increase in Android malware since 2010. The report also warns users of targeted Wi-Fi attacks.
Google’s Android platform rose to a dominant position in the smartphone market in the first quarter, increasing its lead over struggling Nokia. While Google’s software platform increased its market share to 35 per cent from less than 10 per cent just a year earlier, Nokia’s Symbian saw its market share dropping to 26 per cent from 45 per cent.
The report titled “Malicious Mobile Threats Report 2010/2011″ reveals that with smartphones set to eclipse PCs as the preferred method of both personal and professional computing, cyber criminals have turned their attention to mobile devices.
Here are some of the key findings of the study:
Wi-Fi worries: Mobile devices are increasingly susceptible to Wi-Fi attacks, including applications that enable an attacker to easily log into victim email and social networking applications.
Text threat: 17 per cent of all reported infections were due to SMS trojans that sent SMS messages to premium rate numbers, often at irretrievable cost to the user or enterprise.
Device loss and theft: 1 in 20 Juniper customer devices were lost or stolen, requiring locate, lock or wipe commands to be issued.
Risky teen behaviour: 20 per cent of all teens admit sending inappropriate or explicit material from a mobile device.
The costliest and bloodiest manhunt in human history came to an end when Osama bin Ladenwas killed by US special forces in a nighttime shootout in Abbotabad, Pakistan. With a bounty of $50 million on his head, Osama had played hide and seek with the US for nearly a decade since former president Bush declared him the arch terrorist and the mastermind behind the September 11, 2001, attacks on the Twin Towers in New York.
The US launched a Global War on Terror after the attacks. Initially focused on Afghanistan, where bin Laden was supposed to be hiding, this war soon spread to Iraq, and distant places like the Horn ofAfrica and Philippines. Dozens of countries got involved. But the centerpiece remained the elusive bin Laden.
The US has spent $1.28 trillion till now on this war, according to a recently released study of the Congressional Research Service, an arm of the US Congress. The bulk of this — $806 billion or 63% of the total — has been spent in Iraq whileAfghanistan sucked up $444 billion or 35%. Strengthening of US military bases all over the world has taken up about $29 billion. The researchers could not account for the balance $6 billion.
The US Congressional Budget Office has projected that the total cost of war would reach a mind-boggling $1.8 trillion by 2021. This includes the declared troops reduction schedules.
Even with bin Laden dead, expenditure on the war effort is unlikely to reduce any further since in both Iraq and Afghanistan, bin Laden or his organization al-Qaida are not the main opposition to US.
The Osama manhunt easily qualifies as the bloodiest ever. US itself has lost nearly 6000 of its troops and another 55,000 have sustained injuries. But the price paid by civilians has been very high. Over 1.2 million people are estimated to have died in Iraq in direct armed conflict although other studies put the figure much higher. In Afghanistan, over 20,000 people have been killed and nearly 50,000 injured in the war. In Somalia and neighbouring countries at least 6500 people died in the course of the past decade. All figures are at best approximate and likely to be under-estimates as there are no official body counts.
There have been at least 13 major terrorist attacks since 9/11, killing over 1000 persons. Besides these, there have been at least 10 planned attacks that were busted. Not all of these attacks can be directly linked to bin Laden or al-Qaida.
The war on terror has had widespread political fallout as governments in several allies of the US lost elections due to public discontent against participation in the war. In other countries, governments faced protests and criticism. President Obama himself won the presidency promising draw down of the war.
Experts are unsure whether the elimination of Osama bin Laden will lead to lessening of the terror threat.
In his life, he first served as a cash rich rallying force for the Afghan Mujahedin in their jihad against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan — an avatar that got him the support of the US. Later when he turned against the US, he became the reason for the global war. Now, in his death, he ironically serves the political interest of the US again.
Jobs made his presentation after he was given a standing ovation by a hall full of journalists and analysts from across the world who were probably happier seeing him on stage than iPad2.
But the new iPad almost stole Jobs’ thunder. With price tags beginning at $499 for the 16 GB model, it runs on a new processor A5 which will double the speed and graphic display by nine times. At $899, the highest priced is the 64 GB model with WiFi and 3G.
Jobs pointed out iPad 2 will have as many as five models that are priced below $799 tag that its just launched rival Xoom from Motorola bears.
Almost as if inspired by Jobs who is said to be battling severe illness and has shed a lot of weight off late, iPad 2 is a lot thinner than the current iPad (one third), even thinner than the iPhone 4.
It bears two cameras at back and front for video conferencing; a HDMI port; a smart microfiber case cum stand that is also used to clean it; and will come in both black and white variants.
iPad 2 will start shipping from March 11 across 26 countries that doesn’t include India. In US, both AT&T and Verizon will retail it with bundled data plans.
Jobs took potshots at all rivals who he said were flummoxed by the success of iPad and could only try to follow what has come to be “best-selling gadget ever”.
“A lot of people have tried to copy this, said Jobs while making reference to sales figures of rivals such as Samsung which claims to have put out more advanced tablets in the market following iPad’s launch a year ago.
“Many have said this is the most successful consumer product ever launched. Over 90% market share… our competitors were flummoxed,” quipped Jobs.
Pooh pooing another rival Google Android’s Honeycomb operating system, Jobs said they had only 100 apps to show on it. In contrast, Apple iPad had 65,000 apps just for photography alone.
“We recently paid out over $2 billion to developers in total. They have earned over $2 billion from selling their apps on the App Store,” said Jobs.
Apple also shipped out 100 millionth iPhone recently.
The presentation was attended among others by Apple’s COO Tim Cook and design head and Jobs’ friend Jony Ive who according to unconfirmed reports is believed to be having a
tussle with the company’s board regarding his impending relocation to London.
Times of India had earlier reported that the much-hyped tablet was accidentally listed on Amazon hours ahead of its official launch before being pulled down.
Interestingly, while Apple usually gives a makeover to each of its products in a year’s time, there is buzz that the company might actually upgrade the just-launched iPad 2 with a far more advanced third generation tablet by the Fall this year itself.
According to The Economist, however, iPad could see a dent in its market share this year despite projections that Apple could sell 40 million units in 2011 as against 15 million it sold in nine months of 2010.
Other tablet manufacturers, especially those based on Google’s Android operating system, are expected to erode Apple iPad’s market share which stood at 90% of total tablet sales last year. Here are 10 most expected tablets to watch out for in 2011 .
What may be worrisome for Apple is the speculation that by 2015 the company’s market share could fall below 40%, said the magazine.
This year is likely to see a huge number of Android-based tablet PCs flooding the market, with almost every mobile and PC maker jumping in the fray with their alternatives.
Industry watchers claim that of these, the ones that are most likely to pose a challenge to iPad will be RIM’s Playbook and Motorola’s Xoom which has just been launched in the market.
Building work on a car designed to break the 1,000 mph (1609 kph) barrier has started.
The manufacturing of the Bloodhound SSC is a major milestone for the UK-based team behind it and formally marks the end of a painstaking design process led by chief engineer, Mark Chapman.
“The biggest challenge is keeping the car on the ground,” Chapman said.
“We spent two-and-a-half years building up concepts and pretty much eight months ago we cracked the aerodynamic shape that is completely stable up to 1.3 mach (858 mph) and creates no lift.”
It was “a real light bulb moment,” Chapman says, and paved the way for detailed plans to be drawn up for the car’s frame and interior.
The chassis consists of a carbon fiber composite front end, made by UK-based Advanced Composites Group, while the back half of the car has a steel lattice frame covered with an aluminum shell.
The Bloodhound SSC’s slender frame — nearly 13 meters long (41 feet), 1.5 meters wide and two meters tall — will house three separate engines.
At the center of the car sits an 800 bhp Formula One engine built by UK-based engineering firm, Cosworth.
The engine will not only help power the car, it will also double up as an auxiliary power unit (APU) to fire up the other two engines — a Eurojet EJ200 and a high-test peroxide-powered rocket.
Combined, the Bloodhound SSC will generate a mind-boggling 133,000 bhp — the equivalent of over 1,200 family saloons or 160 Formula One cars, according to Chapman.
Unsurprisingly, the 6.4 ton car isn’t the quickest out of the blocks and would be outpaced by a Bugatti Veyron — the world’s fastest road car — in a drag race from 0-100 mph — taking 15 seconds compared to the Veyron’s seven.
But it’s no contest after that, Chapman says, as the Bloodhound SSC goes from 100-1,000 mph in 25 seconds.
And at that speed, it really is a case of blink and you’ll miss it, Chapman says.
“You could be sat in Wembley Stadium and the car would come in one end and out the other while you blinked,” he said.
Wing Commander Andy Green will be driving the Bloodhound when the record attempt is made in late 2012 or early 2013.
Green is a hugely experienced British Royal Air Force pilot and was at the helm of Thrust SSC when it set the current land speed record of 763 mph (1228 kph) at Black Rock Desert, Nevada in 1997.
But 1,000 mph is a giant leap forward for everyone involved on the project.
“Thrust SSC was designed to do 850 mph and it managed 763 mph. We can predict pretty closely what will happen up to 800 mph but beyond that we don’t know exactly what will happen,” Chapman said.
“The biggest unknown is how the wheels damage or don’t damage the surface of the desert because the only way to test it is to actually do it.”
Chapman and team have spent two years scouting for a suitable location to carry out the record attempt — traditional places where land speed records are broken simply aren’t big or flat enough, he says.
They finally settled on the Hakskeen Pan Desert in South Africa which Chapman thinks should allow them the 10 miles of flat surface they need to complete a record attempt.
Building is expected to be completed within a year with the first runway tests getting underway in the spring of 2012.
Chocoholics, you can now gorge on your favourite treat without a sense of guilt, for scientists have claimed that it’s actually healthier than many fruit.
Not only that, but chocolate is being heralded as the latest “super food” by the scientists who carried out a study.
They have proved that it is packed with more healthy plant compounds and antioxidants gram-for-gram than fruit juice and provides far more nutritional goodness than food experts had previously thought.
The scientists have based their findings on a comparison of cocoa powder, the raw ingredient of chocolate, with powders made from fruits like acai berries, blueberries, cranberries and pomegranates, the ‘Daily Express’ reported.
Research into dark chocolate, containing around 60% cocoa, and cocoa drinks found that they too had more antioxidant activity and more flavanols — health-giving plant chemicals — than fruit.
The discovery means cocoa beans meet the nutritional criteria needed for fruits to be classed as “super fruits” according to the scientists at the Hershey Center for Health & Nutrition in the US.
“The compounds in dark chocolate are just as good as the botanical compounds in fruit. Cacao seeds should be considered a ‘super fruit’ and products derived from cacao seed extracts such as natural cocoa powder and dark chocolate, as ‘super foods’,” said lead scientist Debra Miller.
However, the findings do not alter the fact that their favourite is high in fat and sugar, meaning dieticians say it should be balanced with less yummy foods such as brown rice and pulses, say the scientists.
“Dark chocolate needs to be considered as more of a tropical fruit like avocado which has a high fat content so you need to moderate the calories side of things. But people could create drinks and recipes containing cocoa to get the benefits without the calories,” said Dr Miller
Teams participating in WC 2011
|Group A||Group B|
|Sri Lanka||South Africa|
Schedule for CRICKET WC 2011
|14:30||19 Feb||India vs Bangladesh||Dhaka|
|09:30||20 Feb||New Zealand vs Kenya||Chennai|
|14:30||20 Feb||Sri Lanka vs Canada||Hambantota|
|14:30||21 Feb||Australia vs Zimbabwe||Ahmedabad|
|14:30||22 Feb||England vs Netherlands||Nagpur|
|14:30||23 Feb||Pakistan vs Kenya||Hambantota|
|14:30||24 Feb||South Africa vs West Indies||New Delhi|
|09:30||25 Feb||Australia vs New Zealand||Nagpur|
|14:30||25 Feb||Bangladesh vs Ireland||Dhaka|
|14:30||26 Feb||Sri Lanka vs Pakistan||Colombo|
|14:30||27 Feb||India vs England||Kolkata|
|09:30||28 Feb||West Indies vs Netherlands||New Delhi|
|14:30||28 Feb||Zimbabwe vs Canada||Nagpur|
|14:30||1 Mar||Sri Lanka vs Kenya||Colombo|
|14:30||2 Mar||England vs Ireland||Bangalore|
|14:30||3 Mar||South Africa vs Netherlands||Mohali|
|14:30||3 Mar||Pakistan vs Canada||Colombo|
|09:30||4 Mar||New Zealand vs Zimbabwe||Ahmedabad|
|14:30||4 Mar||Bangladesh vs West Indies||Dhaka|
|14:30||5 Mar||Sri Lanka vs Australia||Colombo|
|09:30||6 Mar||India vs Ireland||Bangalore|
|14:30||6 Mar||England vs South Africa||Chennai|
|14:30||7 Mar||Kenya vs Canada||New Delhi|
|14:30||8 Mar||Pakistan vs New Zealand||Pallekelle|
|14:30||9 Mar||India vs Netherlands||New Delhi|
|14:30||10 Mar||Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe||Pallekelle|
|09:30||11 Mar||West Indies vs Ireland||Mohali|
|14:30||11 Mar||Bangladesh vs England||Chittagong|
|14:30||12 Mar||India vs South Africa||Nagpur|
|09:30||13 Mar||New Zealand vs Canada||Mumbai|
|14:30||13 Mar||Australia vs Kenya||Bangalore|
|09:30||14 Mar||Pakistan vs Zimbabwe||Pallekelle|
|14:30||14 Mar||Bangladesh vs Netherlands||Chittagong|
|14:30||15 Mar||South Africa vs Ireland||Kolkata|
|14:30||16 Mar||Australia vs Canada||Bangalore|
|14:30||17 Mar||England vs West Indies||Chennai|
|09:30||18 Mar||Sri Lanka vs New Zealand||Mumbai|
|14:30||18 Mar||Ireland vs Netherlands||Kolkata|
|09:30||19 Mar||Australia vs Pakistan||Colombo|
|14:30||19 Mar||Bangladesh vs South Africa||Dhaka|
|09:30||20 Mar||Zimbabwe vs Kenya||Kolkata|
|14:30||20 Mar||India vs West Indies||Chennai|
|14:30||23 Mar||First Quarterfinal||Dhaka|
|14:30||24 Mar||Second Quarterfinal||Colombo|
|14:30||25 Mar||Third Quarterfinal||Dhaka|
|14:30||26 Mar||Fourth Quarterfinal||Ahmedabad|
|14:30||29 Mar||First Semifinal||Colombo|
|14:30||30 Mar||Second Semifinal||Mohali|
On Thursday, the internet as we know it ran out of space.
The nonprofit group that assigns addresses to service providers announced that, on Thursday morning, it allocated the last free internet addresses available from the current pool used for most of the internet’s history.
“This is an historic day in the history of the internet, and one we have been anticipating for quite some time,” said Raul Echeberria, chairman of the Number Resource Organization.
But fear not. The group has seen this coming for more than a decade and is ready with a new pool of addresses that it expects to last, well, forever.
John Curran, CEO of the American Registry for Internet Numbers, said the old pool of Internet Protocol addresses had about 4.3 billion addresses.
“A billion sounds like a lot,” Curran said Thursday morning. “But when you think that there’s nearly 7 billion people on the planet, and you’re talking about two, three, four, five addresses per person (for some Web users), obviously 4.3 billion isn’t enough.”
The new pool, which has technically been ready since 1999, has so many IP addresses that most non-mathematicians probably don’t even know the number exists — 340 undecillion.
That’s 340 trillion groups of one trillion networks each. Each network can handle a trillion devices. If the current pool were the size of a golf ball, the new one would be the size of the sun.
“I hope this is the only transition we ever have to do,” Curran said.
Curran said most internet users won’t see any effect from the transition. Businesses or others with their own websites may want to contact their providers to make sure they’re linked to a new address to ensure that future users can visit as easily as possible.
Most people access websites by their domain names, or URLs. Those are usually word-based, like CNN.com.
But the actual address of sites and devices is a string of numbers and decimal points. The new system uses a much longer string, and has numbers and other characters.
Internet addresses aren’t limited to websites; every internet-connected device has a built-in IP address. Curran said that the numbers started running out much more quickly once smartphones and other mobile devices became more popular around the world.
The Number Resource Organization is an umbrella group for five regional nonprofits, including Curran’s, that parcel out addresses. On Monday, it handed out two packets of current addresses to the group in the Asian-Pacific region.
That triggered a plan to divide the last five packets between the NRO’s five groups on Thursday.
A few addresses using the new address pool — it’s called IPv6 and the current one is IPv4 — have already been parceled out to service providers who requested them.
Curran said it will probably be six to nine months before the addresses already handed out are all used up
The software giant has issued a ‘critical’ security alert over a newly-discovered flaw that affects all versions of the company’s Windows operating system, including Windows XP (SP3), Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 (R2), reports the Daily Mail.
However, Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari browsers are unaffected by the threat because, unlike Internet Explorer, they don’t support MHTML files, where the problem lies.
The loophole only seems to affect the way Internet Explorer handles some web pages.
Microsoft said that the bug is inside Windows, presumably because they don’t want users to migrate to other browsers.
The company has so far been unable to remove the bug itself and has issued a ‘fix it’ security patch to block any attempts to use it.
All Windows users, particularly those who use Internet Explorer, are being urged to download the patch as the company’s security team is working on a way to permanently fix the problem.
The company has described the flaw as a serious threat, although no hackers are thought to have yet exploited the vulnerability.
“An attacker could construct an HTML link designed to trigger a malicious script and somehow convince the targeted user to click it. When the user clicked that link, the malicious script would run on the user’s computer for the rest of the current Internet Explorer session,” said Microsoft spokeswoman Angela Gunn in a security advisory published online on Friday.
Such a script might collect user information (e.g. email), spoof content displayed in the browser, or otherwise interfere with the user’s experience.
Google’s mobile platform Android has overtaken Symbian to become the top smartphone platform in Q4 2010, research firm Canalys reports.
Global sales of Android phones in the fourth quarter of 2010 was 33.3 million, compared to Symbian’s 31 million. Apple is in third place with 16.2 million iOS devices shipped, followed by RIM with 14.6 million and Microsoft with 3.1 million devices shipped.
Overall, the global smartphone market grew 89 percent compared to Q4 2009, exceeding 100 million units for the first time in the final quarter of 2010.
Android has been embraced by manufacturers such as LG, Samsung, Acer and HTC, all of them experiencing great results with devices based on that platform.
The change at the top was expected as Nokia recently reported comparably weak smartphone sales, a result of the company’s struggles to transform its Symbian platform into a worthy competitor to Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android