Archive for the 'IP On Everything' Category


Triumph For The Shy: Apple Patents Infrared Photography Prevention

Thanks to the US Patent and Trademark office, we can get a glimpse of the future of massive adoption of digital cameras.  We’ve already seen what happens when you put a video or still camera in everybody’s pocket or purse: a shit-ton of photos and video.  Which, predictably, is not a favorite development of the more bashful in the law enforcement community.   (“Bashful” meaning “shy or retiring” as well as “likely to bash you on the head for no reason”.)

But what happens when iPhone maker Apple applies for a patent that prevents its cameras from working if the camera detects a coded infrared (invisible to the eye) signal?  Such as, say the kind of signal that could be emitted at concerts or theaters to prevent “piracy”?  Or might come one day as standard equipment on police uniforms?

Well, here’s the patent application, anyway.  Good night.



Abstract: Systems and methods for receiving infrared data with a camera designed to detect images based on visible light are provided. A system can include a camera and image processing circuitry electrically coupled to the camera. The image processing circuitry can determine whether each image detected by the camera includes an infrared signal with encoded data. If the image processing circuitry determines that an image includes an infrared signal with encoded data, the circuitry may route at least a portion of the image (e.g., the infrared signal) to circuitry operative to decode the encoded data. If the image processing circuitry determines that an image does not include an infrared signal with encoded data, the circuitry may route the image to a display or storage. Images routed to the display or storage can then be used as individual pictures or frames in a video because those images do not include any effects of infrared light communications.


Tim Westergren: Pandora’s Profitable

I’ve written before about how I love the web music service Pandora and its nerdy roots as a musical categorization engine. Underneath Pandora lurks the Music Genome Project, a smartly designed effort to identify properties present in individual recordings regardless of artist, genre, label, era, or any other strictly nonmusical characteristics. These musical properties are used to make automated decisions about your playlist – if you start with a song that uses electric guitars, minor key tonality, chromatic harmonic structure and uptempo pacing, you’re likely to get more of these characteristics in subsequent songs – no matter what artist, era or genre. It makes for great listening and surprising discovery.

I talked to Pandora CEO Tim Westergren in 2007 when I worked for Here’s Tim’s Wall Street Journal interview from today. The upshot: Pandora’s now profitable, working out the privacy problems that Facebook’s shifting policies have foisted upon them.

And what the heck, here’s my Pandora profile.  Below, a 2008 clip with Tim, Pandora’s Dancing Monkey (and crew).


RW370 Mailbag: PigeonNet Part 2


Gwendolyn and Secily, The Pigeon Sisters from Neil Simon's The Odd Couple. Just because.

Attracted by a cooing noise on my windowsill, I noticed a pigeon had arrived today.  Upon close examination, I found the little guy had a SD card attached to his foot.  Someone had sent me a message via Pigeon Net! I popped the card into my USB cardreader to find this message:

Hi Rob,

I enjoyed your post about IPoAC. It’s interesting that even in an age of
supposedly blindingly fast internet connections the sneakernet remains the
absolutely most efficient data transfer method. I thought you’d also enjoy
our video about the story:

In theory, even in areas with perfectly good broadband a carrier pigeon
would still be far faster, with a carrying capacity of over a terabyte.
I’d never even thought of that before I saw this story, but that poses
some interesting solutions for people looking for alternative methods of
file sharing.

All the best,

Community at Newsy


Slow South African DSL Beaten In Speed Test By Pigeons

Carrier Pigeon

Nobody tell Comcast about this

Hopeless, hopeless nerds know all about the RFCs (Request For Comments) documents that the Internet Engineering Task Force has been publishing for decades.  It’s in these technical documents that the internals of the Internet – all of its collected technologies – are first proposed and circulated, including a whole bunch of proposals that were conceived and written less as serious proposals than as humorous exercises in communications engineering.

One such RFC published in 1990 was RFC 1149, which proposed a means to carry internet traffic (IP traffic) over carrier pigeon.  The protocol was called IPoAC – Internet Protocol over Avian Carrier, and it proposed a means to deliver data formatted for the internet over not data cable but by way of pigeon.  The general idea was to take data stored on storage devices, attach them to homing sewer falcons and let them fly to their destinations.  IPoAC warned about high levels of data loss inherent in its design.

Fast forward nineteen years.  Today, we find that wags in South Africa, fed up with slow aDSL connections in their neighborhoods have in fact utilized IPoAC to successfully upload 4GB of data to a destination using homing pigeons – and that the scheme worked faster than the DSL connection in question. Surely much of this success is owed to the advent of lightweight and tiny smart card storage devices – suitable for pigeon feet where the floppies of 1990 would not be.

Worthy of applause, to be sure – but with the caveat that if telcos or ISPs get new network expansion ideas from the experiment, it’s our own fault for publicizing it.


Three-Day Long DDOS Attack From North Korea?

Diagram of a Stachledraht DDos Attack
Image via Wikipedia

Is North Korea pwning teh intertubes?

According to Associated Press reports here and here, both US Federal websites and South Korean governmental websites are undergoing constant denial of service attacks, which has effectively removed these sites from the Internet.   Affected are the websites for the US Treasury Dept, Federal Trade Commission and Transportation Department.

Further, South Korea reports the presidential Blue House, the Defense Ministry, the National Assembly, Shinhan Bank, Korea Exchange Bank and top Internet portal Naver have undergone DOS attacks for the same period.

The attacks have been sustained over three days, which is unusual for this kind of internet attack. Network World reports the list of IP addresses sending out bogus traffic numbers 50,000 and according to a quoted security expert is using 10-20 GB of bandwidth per second, or ten times greater an amount than the average DDOS attack.

Although there is no evidence at this time of the attack’s source, the seemingly simultaneous targeting of US and South Korean sites brings to mind the common political enemy of both countries, North Korea.  Even though Internet infrastructure in that country is poor, mounting a DDOS attack using a botnet does not use local bandwidth and doesn’t need widespread local infrastructure.

In a denial-of-service (DOS) attack, a website is targeted with millions of false requests for web pages until the targeted website can no longer respond to legitimate requests for pages, effectively removing that website from service.   A plain DOS attack has a single vector – that is, the fake traffic comes from a single or small range of IP addresses, and as such can be stopped by the targeted web site’s owner blocking all requests that come from the offending IP addresses.

But the three-day length of the attacks strongly suggests that the attacks are in fact distributed DOS (DDOS) attacks, from which there is no effective defense. Under a DDOS attack, the false traffic requests come from hundreds or thousands of machines located physically all over the world.  Due to the high number of machines that are the source of the false requests, blocking all the IP addresses to stem the flow of bogus traffic becomes nearly impossible.

Often, these machines comprise a botnet, a name given to an ad hoc network of machines – personal, work, school – that have had their own security compromised,  and who follow instructions from the party that compromised the security in the first place.

Large botnets capable of sustained DDOS attacks have been a reality since ever since huge numbers of consumer operating system machines around the world such as those running Microsoft Windows have been left attached to the Internet full-time on DSL or cable modem.  An attacker can compromise the security of such a machine and leave upon it a “bot” process, which is software that quietly and invisibly waits for instructions from the controller of the botnet.

Botnets have been sold on the black market, used in DDOS attacks, used to spread worms and viruses and remain a real feature of the Internet that leverages consumer ignorance and the Internet technical architecture into a potentially devastating weapon that threatens whatever sites it wants whenever it wants.


A post at identifies a targeted host list as well as the Windows malware that is used in the botnet attack: Additionally, the poster says the IP addresses that the attacks are coming from are located inside China.

DDOS attack files.

filename: msiexec2.exe
size:33,841 bytes
When msiexec2.exe being excuted, it creates ‘uregvs.nis’ file.
There are many target addresses inside of msiexec2.exe code.

Following files attack those web sites.

size: 65,536 bytes

filename: wmiconf.dll
size: 67,072 bytes

some evidences about this attack.

1. attacker’s IPs came from China.
2. Using Botnet.
3. Using Zombie PC.
4. spreaded by internet.
5. it changes it’s code automatically.
6. addresses can be changed by attackers.

It has following Target Addresses.
Following addresses are related with South Korea gov and USA gov.
The attacker’s IPs came from China.

[Target addresses]
Some of websites still can’t be connected or slow.

<Korea> – bank -portal – bank  -bank  -mail service -gov -journal -a political party -gov -gov -gov -US military website in korea

<USA> -portal -gov -gov -gov -gov -gov -stocks -gov -gov -gov -bank -US postal service -gov -voice of america -gov -portal -journal -military -stocks

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Proxies and DDoS Attacks: Internet 2, Ayatollahs 0

Monitoring the Twitter tags #iranelection and #iranproxy shows some pretty historic interplay between the unrest on the ground in Iran and the modern social media fabric.  Iran can’t shut off the internet in the country, as too much of its economy is dependent upon it. So the clerics who rule Iran and to whom the President answers, have blocked sites such as Twitter in order to attempt to prevent messaging from getting out while the police and army attempt to brutally put down the insurrection.

The blocking is not working.

1) Proxies:  The blockages are implemented as a list of IP addresses that the government makes unreachable from inside Iran.  But techs around the world are offering up proxy servers as relays for Iranians to use, and new ones are showing up on Twitter at the rate of one every three to five minutes.  A proxy is a relay that the clerics don’t know about that Iranians can use to get to sites that have been blocked by the ayatollahs.  The clerics’ tech crew may run around blocking these relays by adding them to the country-wide ban, but they probably can’t keep up with this many addresses at this rate of introduction.  Twittering has therefore NOT been cancelled in Iran, despite what the clerics have attempted.

2) DDoS Attacks:

RT @brookenchain ATTACK LINK TO IRIB: open and keep it refreshing till looks unreachable pleasTHANX! #iranelection

Not only has outound contact been maintained, but the election “winner” Mahmoud Amahdinajad’s own websites have been blown off the web by twitterers.  Tweets such as the above are distributed denial-of-service attacks upon Irib, an official website of Amahdinajad.  The link leads to a auto-refresher that’s ponited at the targeted website, and refreshes itself once a second.  Send this link out to a zillion twitterers, and bye-bye target under a flood of bogus traffic.  There is no defense against this since the attack comes from all over the net.  And tweets against this and other official Amahdinajad sites have been coming many per minute.

At this time, unrest is reported (mainly on Twitter — no, don’t wake up from your nap, CNN) all across Iranian cities and the situation is touch and go.


Internet 2: Electric Boogaloo

The Cat Pictures and Naked Ladies Hole!

Before the internet, we had the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), and back in the late 1970s, it worked this way: my alcoholic Uncle Todd would, from time to time, pick up his telephone and call the telephone in my house. This created a circuit between us. The PSTN was/is a circuit-switched network. That means that my uncle’s slurred speech and off-color jibes came to my amused young ears via a dedicated pathway – a circuit between his phone and my own. The circuit lasted the duration of the call – it was born as soon as he successfully dialed (undoubtedly after a few tries) and the circuit died as soon as either of us hung up. (Usually, it was him.)

The biggest reason the internet exists today is that circuit-switching poses real problems in mass emergencies. The net is a solution to the problem that begins with the fact that my uncle and I took up one whole circuit between us the whole time during the call – nobody else could use that circuit while we were using it. He and I were tying up a whole pathway – all the wire between my house and the Joe Dano’s Bucket-O-Suds bar payphone. Since there are a limited number of pathways (pairs of wires) in the telephone network, we can’t have too many people using it at once. Reason: if everybody is using the circuit pathways at the same time, or somehow the circuit pathways are cut, new calls can’t get through.

The 1950s was the short period in US history when the Military-Industrial Complex had not yet completed the transition from its WWII war-effort origins to its current state as, uh, the current state. It was during this time when the Pentagon, through its research arm named DARPA, noticed that the PSTN and its circuit-switching had troubling implications for wartime – and wartime then meant “nuclear wartime.” The PSTN was (and still is) a huge number of wire pairs running between cities, carrying conversations on temporary point-to-point circuits. And that was the weakness of the PSTN: if the Russians were to attack the US by, say, detonating a nuclear warhead over St. Louis, point-to-point telephone communications between, say, Colorado and Washington, DC would be badly impacted, fomenting chaos. All of St. Louis’s wires would be “in use” (knocked out by the nuke) and new calls headed through there couldn’t get through there. There was more at stake than just one very weird, pork-steak-obsessed, hyper-Christian midwestern city – no less than the nation’s strategic communications were at risk. DARPA started researching the problem and ultimately the internet was the result.

The basic design goal of the internet was to replace the circuit-switched PSTN with a new packet-switched network. Unlike circuit-switching, where remember, a whole wire pair is dedicated to my uncle’s slurring, packet-switching takes advantage of digital communications technology’s ability to be instantly re-routed. All communication on the internet is, invisibly to you, broken into a very large number of very small pieces of information called packets before it is sent on its way. And for the benefit of those readers who have remained awake thus far, let us merely say that packets, unlike circuits, can and do flow around the burned-out husk of St. Louis because they can find their own way around. In packet switching, there’s no single circuit (or group of circuits) restricting flow of information. Packets are pretty cool, they brought you this page, they didn’t come to you in order, and they took a whole bunch of different routes to get to you. Packets rule, circuits suck.

So now you can imagine my nerdly shock when I checked out Nate Anderson’s piece in Ars Technica about the next-generation internet, named Internet2. Like our internet once was, Internet2 is found only on campuses, linking about 200 universities together at serious speeds.

Guess what Internet2’s newest feature is? Circuits.

The main network remains IP-based and connects more than 200 universities, in addition to limited connections to government and industry facilities. Each network segment now features a set of 10 10Gbps links, each running on a separate wavelength of light, for a total of 100Gbps of bandwidth. And that’s only the start; Internet2 says it can scale each segment to handle up to 100 wavelengths in the future. That’s… a lot of star charts.

Most intriguing is the network’s new Dynamic Circuit Network feature, which will allow researchers to set up dedicated, 10Gbps point-to-point connections across the network for short-term data transfer. The service will go live in January 2008, but it already works. In a demonstration today, Dr. Carl Lundstedt, of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, set up a connection between his school and the Fermilab research park in Batavia, Illinois. With bandwidth provisioned, Lundstedt then transferred one-third of a terabyte of data between the two places. It took five minutes.

And you thought rock and roll was the only arena where yesterday’s discredited approaches show up in new packages.


Vint Cerf: TV will melt down before Net does

Vinton Cerf, no relation to Bennett

Internet godfather Vinton Cerf is not worried about video traffic bringing the net to its knees in an oft-predicted technical meltdown. Instead, at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival he warned that TV, and not the net had better watch its ass as it approached its own “iPod moment.”

Distinctly unlike most techno-pundits, when Cerf starts mumbling threats or using weird new phrases or conjunctions, it really pays to listen closely and unpack what he says. There is little chance that Cerf crafted his words to fulfill some kind of lecture-circuit deliverable, some meme-for-meme’s sake nonsense phraseology standing in for insight. This is a guy who got up from his terminal one day having built IP, which you just used, are using now and will use again in the next ten seconds; there isn’t much he can say about the internet that isn’t insightful.

From the August 27 2007 Guardian:

Dr Cerf, who helped build the internet while working as a researcher at Stanford University in California, used the festival’s Alternative McTaggart Lecture to explain to television executives how the internet’s influence was radically altering their businesses and how it was imperative for them to view this as a golden opportunity to be exploited instead of a threat to their survival. The arrival of internet television has long been predicted, although it has succeeded in limited ways so far. But the popularity of websites such as YouTube – the video sharing service bought by Google in 2005 for $1.65bn (£800m) – has encouraged many in the TV industry to try and use the internet more profitably. Last month the BBC launched its free iPlayer download service, and digital video recorders such as Sky Plus and Freeview Playback allow viewers to instantly pause and record live television.

Dr Cerf predicted that these developments would continue, and that we would soon be watching the majority of our television through the internet – a revolution that could herald the death of the traditional broadcast TV channel in favour of new interactive services.

In Japan you can already download an hour’s worth of video in 16 seconds,” he said. “And we’re starting to see ways of mixing information together … imagine if you could pause a TV programme and use your mouse to click on different items on the screen and find out more about them.”

Some critics, including a number of leading internet service providers, have warned that the increase in video on the web could eventually bring down the internet. They are concerned that millions of people downloading at the same time using services such as iPlayer could overwhelm the network.

Dr Cerf rejected these claims as “scare tactics”. “It’s an understandable worry when they see huge amounts of information being moved around online,” he said. But some pundits had predicted 20 years ago that the net would collapse when people started using it en masse, he added. “In the intervening 30 years it’s increased a million times over … We’re far from exhausting the capacity.”

16 seconds? That’s a lot of time to wait for Bambino!


Untethering Haizman

Haizman won’t be found associating with riff-raff

Named for the Angry Samoans classic “Haizman’s Brain” is my new MacBook Pro. While Haizman’s been a fine machine so far, it is not without its design faults. One being its lack of a PCMCIA slot for simple broadband net access. While I understand that the inclusion of such a pedestrian feature is clearly beneath the precious little lozenge’s dignity, I wouldn’t have minded not having to screw around with underdeveloped hardware technology.

The new slot format, ExpressCard, is less than endowed with choices in net access. The search starts now for an answer: how should I put this MacBook Pro on the net? I have even heard of a few hardy souls who have skipped the card route altogether and put MBPs on the net via Bluetooth link with a Sprint Treo. Let the games begin!

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rob [at] warmowski [dot] com

@warmowski on twitter

Rob’s Bands

Rob Warmowski entry at Chicago Punk Database
1984-89: Defoliants
1991-94: Buzzmuscle
2001-05: San Andreas Fault
2008- : Sirs
2008- : Allende

Rob at Huffington Post

August 2020