Monday, January 31, 2011

Egyptians are reaching out to each other and the world with a mix of old-fashioned dial-up modems

When Egypt cut the Internet off for the vast majority of its citizens, the Egyptian government did a frighteningly good job of turning off the Internet. But, despite the government’s efforts, in the days that have followed Egyptians are reaching out to each other and the world with a mix of old-fashioned dial-up modems and satellite Internet.
Make no mistake about it, the Egyptian government did what they intended to do: They’ve cut their people from using the modern broadband Internet. Using cobbled together technology, however, Egyptian Internet users has continued on.
Thanks to dial-up modems, some Egyptians are able to login to international modem pools outside the government’s control. Internet activist groups like Werebuild and Telecomix are publishing lists of international modem-dial up numbers.
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Kindle out selling paperback books

In a twist that will likely have paper-loving bibliophiles screaming in agony,'s Kindle ebooks have apparently started outselling paperbacks, having already surpassed hardcovers.
Amazon sold 115 Kindle books for every 100 paperbacks moved through its online storefront, the company reported Jan. 27. That apparently includes sales of books without an equivalent electronic edition, and excludes free Kindle ebooks.
"Last July we announced that Kindle books had passed hardcovers and predicted that Kindle would surpass paperbacks in the second quarter of this year," CEO Jeff Bezos wrote in a Jan. 27 statement, "so this milestone has come even sooner than we expected—and it's on top of continued growth in paperback sales."
However, Amazon remains reluctant to share any hard numbers related to the sales of Kindle e-readers, aside from the totally unsurprising note that "millions" of third-generation Kindle devices sold in the fourth quarter.
Research firm Gartner estimates that e-reader sales will increase 68.3 percent in 2011, to more than 11 million units.
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Sunday, January 30, 2011

“Super WiFi” is one step closer toward becoming reality

A vision to turn the unused white space of wireless airwaves into a “Super WiFi” is one step closer toward becoming reality.
In a blog post today, Google said it is one of nine companies that the FCC this week named as administrators for a white spaces database. From the Google post:
Before inventors can start to introduce new products and services on these airwaves, the FCC must certify the white spaces databases, which will ensure that different wireless signals don’t interfere with each other. In the coming weeks, the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology will work with the designated database administrators, including real-world testing to ensure that databases provide accurate results.
Last year, Google - which has pushed to be a key player in the discussions - submitted a proposal to build and operate a database. At the time, the company said it wants to be involved because “we continue to be big believers in the potential for this spectrum to revolutionize wireless broadband, and we think it’s important for us to step forward and offer our assistance to make that vision a reality.”
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new generation of WikiLeaks-style websites is sprouting

Julian Assange
Image by Poster Boy NYC via Flickr
All across Europe, from Brussels to the Balkans, a new generation of WikiLeaks-style websites is sprouting.
Like their forerunner, the fledgling whistle-blowing sites are a chaotic mixture of complex systems engineering, earnest campaigning, muckraking and self-promotion.
And though their goals are varied, the activists behind the sites told Reuters that they share one major concern: they all vow not to repeat mistakes they believe were made by Julian Assange, the controversial WikiLeaks creator.
The proliferation of websites to encourage, facilitate and shelter leakers is so anarchic that two aspiring anti-corporate leak sites are both claiming rights to the rubric "GreenLeaks" and muttering about legal consequences if the other side doesn't back down.
The most closely watched rollout in the leak-hosting world was the launch on Thursday of, a site whose principal creator, German transparency activist Daniel Domscheit-Berg, was once Assange's closest collaborator.
Domscheit-Berg, who used the pseudonym "Daniel Schmitt" as Assange's official WikiLeaks co-spokesman, says he doesn't believe, as Assange initially did, that confidential material should just be dumped on the Internet. The bare-bones mission statement posted on OpenLeaks describes Domscheit-Berg's vision as both a safe-deposit box and a social networking site for leakers and their consumers.
Other WikiLeaks copycats, spinoffs and wannabes are germinating: activists say they have learned of recent launches of leak-accepting websites focused on specialized topics or regions -- from Russia and the European Union bureaucracy to international trade and the pharmaceutical industry.
Major news organizations are also moving to establish web-based mechanisms for receiving leaks directly, such as electronic "drop boxes" which would enable leakers to feed the media outlets directly, cutting out middlemen like Assange.
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Saturday, January 29, 2011

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Sepaton, which is making storage pooling an increasingly well-known feature of new-generation storage tech

Image representing Sepaton as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase
Sepaton, which is making storage pooling an increasingly well-known feature of new-generation storage tech, this week released its next-generation (version 6.0) storage software, which powers storage pools in its new S2100-ES2 Series 1910/2910 systems.
The new platform features gridlike scalability, multiprotocol support and fast deduplication, Sepaton's new vice president of marketing, Greg Mancusi-Ungaro, told eWEEK.
The Marlboro, Mass.-based company's S2100-ES2 1910 and 2910 high-end deduplicating virtual tape libraries can expand up to eight 2U head nodes in one cluster, Mancusi-Ungaro said. The v6.0 software has the scalability to easily handle large enterprise workloads through pooling, he said.
Pooling is an approach to storage virtualization that delineates specific areas of the storage system to be dedicated to specific data flows, in order to enable more efficient multitenant service deployments.
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Friday, January 28, 2011

Joslyn oil sands project approved

Suncor Energy
Image via Wikipedia
Joslyn will add to a fast-growing oil sands industry that already produces 1.9 million barrels per day. According to data gathered by Strategy West Inc., Fort McMurray-area mines produce 1.1 million barrels today; mines with another 940,000 have also been approved, not including Joslyn.
In total, Alberta has given the thumbs-up to 2.2 million barrels in projects that have yet to pump oil. Companies have proposed a total of 8.2 billion barrels.
Suncor Energy Inc. (SU-T40.171.624.20%) is a part-owner in the Joslyn project, which Total purchased in 2005 when it paid $1.7-billion to buy junior Deer Creek Energy.
The approval increases the area in Alberta that can be mined by 7 per cent, and places 20 conditions on the company, and 16 on the provincial government and its energy regulator, the Energy Resources Conservation Board.
Those conditions mirror standing laws that require speedier reclamation of toxic mine waste and protection of species at risk and valued wildlife.
Total spokeswoman Elizabeth Cordeau-Chatelain said the company needs “time to review the report and the various conditions. But overall, we’re pleased.”
The French firm has committed to spending $15-billion to $20-billion in the oil sands, which it sees as a critical resource in an age of dwindling oil supplies.
A coalition of environmental groups strongly opposed the Joslyn project, calling on well-known climate change voices like James Hansen to argue that the mine will hurt the ecosystems of northern Alberta and Canada’s ability to meet greenhouse gas reduction targets.
“There should be a moratorium on building anything new until we get a monitoring system in place, and we get some idea what the damage has been from the previous development,” said Sierra Club Canada executive director John Bennett.
He also criticized regulators’ records on approving virtually all oil sands development.
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D-Link announced the release of a business-grade, cloud-managed WiFi platform built

Image representing PowerCloud Systems as depic...Image via CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase
D-Link announced the release of a business-grade, cloud-managed WiFi platform built to meet the connectivity and security needs of small to midsize businesses. The new DAP-2555 AirPremier N Dual Band, POE (Power over Ethernet) Access Point powered by CloudCommand delivers a WiFi environment with core business-grade features, designed through a strategic agreement with PowerCloud Systems, a cloud-based software provider.
The DAP-2555 AirPremier N Dual Band, POE Access Point ($399) is available through VARs and includes a one-year CloudCommand subscription. The DAP-2555 Access Point is one of many solutions within the CloudCommand family of WiFi, business-class access points. Other products include the DAP-2565 802.11n Dual Band, POE, Plenum-rated AP (available in the second quarter of 2011), and the DAP-3525 802.11n Dual Band, POE, Outdoor AP, also available 2Q 2011.
“Our cloud-managed WiFi products are breakthrough solutions that will make affordable, business-grade WiFi a reality for small businesses,” said Nick Tidd, president of D-Link. “We’re excited to collaborate with PowerCloud Systems to leverage its innovative technology and provide a robust solution for our customers. In addition, our channel partners are eager to sell this new WiFi solution because it not only meets the needs of their customers, but its integrated service capabilities will deliver better profitability and improved customer relationships.”
Tidd said the ideal business environment for DAP-2555 Access Point is an organization with five to 300 users who need an affordable, wireless network that delivers broad and reliable connectivity, strong security and guest Internet access in a user-friendly solution. “The DAP-2555 Access Point provides end users and VARs the ability to quickly and easily set up, secure and manage wireless networks with multiple access points and locations to provide thorough coverage,” he said. “In addition, VARs save significant time and resources by managing networks remotely through the cloud.”
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Thursday, January 27, 2011

“Net 60” is the increasingly common standard in big business

But nowadays small business is recovering more slowly than big business. While capital spending at small firms is up, according to a PNC Bank survey, 60 percent of small-business owners are delaying hiring. Why? I’ll defer to the economists on the complex explanations but one simple one has been overlooked: corporate deadbeats.
In their B2B relations, big businesses are forcing small businesses to act as their banks by not paying their bills on time. “Net 60” is the increasingly common standard in big business -- 60 days before cutting a check to suppliers. You can imagine the havoc this wreaks on the cash flow of the small fry that depend on large companies to stay alive. It’s an outrageous and destructive trend in the business world.
Fortunately, President Barack Obama has the power to stop much of it if he’s tough enough. Both the Small Business Administration and the National Federation of Independent Business have been slow to catalogue the extent of the problem. But Washington Monthly magazine recently surveyed Inc. 500 businesses and found this abusive practice is spreading.
Cisco Systems Inc., for instance, announced last year that effective last May it was applying a “Net 60” policy toward all of its suppliers. Is Cisco still ailing, as it was a few years ago? Hardly. The company’s earnings per share rose 27 percent in the last fiscal year and it had $39.9 billion in cash and equivalents on hand.
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Paid apps lagging in Android market

Image representing Android as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase
It's rare to catch any actual Android developers other than the operating system creator Andy Rubin speaking in public. It's even more rare that you'll hear one of the team express any negativity about the platform's progress
Yet Eric Chu, group manager for Android platform at Google, apparently acknowledged that Google is "not happy" with the paucity of paid app purchases for the Android platform despite the fact that consumers are activating 300,000 Android handsets each day.
Forbes got the story from Chu, who spoke at the Inside Social Apps event in San Francisco Jan. 25. The revelation comes one day after Apple's App Store just passed the 10 billion mark for apps downloaded for the iPhone
Paid apps has lagged on Android for a number of reasons, including the fact that spammy apps roll through the Android Market like tumbleweeds. Inadequate billing options have been the main bugbear.
To wit, Chu also said Google wants to improve carrier billing options this year.
The company launched carrier billing for T-Mobile two years ago, but it wasn't until last month that Google added the ability for consumers to pay for Android apps through their AT&T phone plan.
Chu also revealed that Google will release an in-application payment system this quarter. Such systems help developers monetize beyond mobile advertising, selling virtual goods and other features within the app itself.
The in-app payment option was slated to drop last quarter, but Google delayed the launch to get more feedback from developers, Chu explained.
So expect it to come this quarter to fill another need in the Android platform that Apple's App Store already provides for its iPhone and other iOS devices.
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Google needs to establish an update process

Image representing Android as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase
The whole “open” concept behind Android implies that Google should keep producing its code and keeping its hands off those who are building products with it. That is the ideal process, but it’s not working when so many customers are unhappy with support. They may be mad at Samsung for the lack of updates, or their telco, but ultimately it is the Android brand that bears the brunt of customer discontent.
If OEMs have such a difficult time producing updates for handsets, then something is wrong with the process. If OEMs are holding off releasing updates for business reasons, as many customers believe, then the process is flawed in allowing that to happen. If the telcos are dragging the process down with testing delays, then the process is not working. It is time for Google to step in and address all of the issues affecting timely updates to its customers, and make no mistake, Android customers are Google’s customers.
Google needs to establish an update process for partners that paves the way for faster (and continual) updates to handsets, no matter the telco. If partners are having such a hard time getting Android updates incorporated in handset updates, then Google needs to aid in this process. Form a business group that does nothing else but gets actual handset updates into customers’ hands.
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Google acquires SayNow a signal company

Image representing SayNow as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase
Google confirmed Jan. 25 that it has acquired SayNow, a signal that the company wants to bring social applications into its Google Voice phone management platform.
"SayNow will work closely with the Google Voice team, but we don't have any specific plans to announce at this time," a Google spokesperson told eWEEK.
"We are impressed by the services they have already built, and we look forward to working together to expand our voice-based technologies that better connect people."
The startup, which has more than 15 million users, provides voice messaging, one-on-one conversations and group calls to be integrated into applications for Facebook and Twitter, as well as Android and iPhone.
For example, ESPN in October added SayNow's Voice App to its Facebook page, leaving a message from former head coach and player Mike Ditka.
Other apps such as SayNow Broadcast enable brands and celebrities to "broadcast and receive voice messages as well as chat one-on-one or in groups with their audience."
SayNow was founded by CEO Nikhyl Singhal and CTO Ujjwal Singh, who commented on joining Google:
"Through the Web, smartphones, and even land lines, our products brought communities together through the power of voice. And as Google has some of the best voice products in the world, we believe combining forces with the Google Voice team will let us innovate in new and unexplored areas."
Like Google, Singhal and Singh declined to comment on Google's product plans for SayNow but promised to reveal their work after integrating with Google.
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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

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Google last year began incorporating Twitter tweets, along with Facebook

Image representing Sergey Brin as depicted in ...Image via CrunchBaseGoogle Co-founder Sergey Brin admitted that real-time and identity-based services related to social networking are important areas for Google as it seeks to stem the tide of traffic flowing to Facebook.
He also allowed that the search engine has only "touched one percent" of what social can lend to search. Brin's admission was a response to a question on the topic during the company's fourth quarter earnings call Jan. 20, where Google CEO Eric Schmidt said he was handing over the CEO mantle to co-founder Larry Page April 4.
Brin is currently trying to hash together what Schmidt has described this year as a layered approach to social networking. His comments on the call indicated that real-time integration and social tools are key for Google going forward.
Google last year began  incorporating Twitter tweets, along with Facebook and MySpace status updates in Web pages. The companylaunched Google Social Search a year ago this week.
The service drops content from searchers' contacts directly into search results. The service requires users to have a Google profile and be logged into their Google account. Google then builds a bridge between users' Google accounts and their Google profiles, surfacing users' content in what Google calls a "social circle."
However, this service hasn't yielded any discernible payoff, as the social search results appear at the bottom of search results pages. To many users who don't scroll down that far, the social search results may as well be invisible.
It is quite possible Google may have been able to use the search results that it collected on users to refine its forthcoming social products, currently codenamed Google +1.
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Monday, January 24, 2011

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition was the most widely downloaded software in 2010 according to CNET.

AVG's Logo
Image via Wikipedia
 AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition was the most widely downloaded software in 2010 according to CNET. It was downloaded over 83 million times at last year.
It is odd that free PC security software would be more popular than products from industry leaders like McAfee and Symantec. They are, at least in the eyes  of most PC protection experts, the state of the art products.
Any analysis that takes a complete look at the PC protection business knows that antivirus software, like most other software, may be affordable to consumers in developed nations. But the real growth in computer use in in places like China and other large nations in the developing and third world. It is hard to come by the money to pay for a Norton protection program. There is particularly true when one that is considered adequate is available at no cost.
The AVG download numbers show a trend that is one of the great enemies of companies which make effective and paid software. The better the free products get, the more pressure it puts on paid ones. Free software is often built by legions of programmers who communicate via e-mail and message boards. It may not make sense to large commercial enterprises but not everyone who builds a service does so for money.
As proof of the competition that free software like AVG poses, the product get an extremely high ratings from CNET. It is higher, in fact, than that of a number of the more well-regarded paid programs.
Read more: Anti-Virus Program The Most Widely Downloaded This Year - 24/7 Wall St. Internet solutions eComTechnology
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Juniper Networks is bulking up its marketing and channel prowess by raiding the executive ranks

Image representing Microsoft as depicted in Cr...Image via CrunchBaseJuniper Networks is bulking up its marketing and channel prowess by raiding the executive ranks of rivals Cisco Systems and Microsoft.
Juniper last week announced that two former Microsoft officials made the jump to help the networking company build up its enterprise marketing and global partnership capabilities. In between those announcements, Juniper officials said a Cisco executive is making the move to oversee Juniper's worldwide partner marketing.
The moves come as Juniper pushes its "Project Stratus" strategy to use silicon, virtualization and automation to collapse the data center networking infrastructure from three tiers into one. The appointments also represent the latest in a series of executive exits from Microsoft.
Juniper announced Jan. 19 that Brad Brooks, who was corporate vice president for Windows consumer marketing and product management, was named vice president of worldwide enterprise marketing and solutions at Juniper, reporting to Lauren Flaherty, executive vice president and chief marketing officer.
According to Juniper, Brooks will be responsible for creating and executing marketing strategies for the networking company's enterprise business. He also will be responsible for Juniper's enterprise go-to-market strategies, as well as road maps for the company's vertical and horizontal offerings.
While at Microsoft, Brooks oversaw the consumer segment for the Windows client, including the Windows 7 launch.
"Brad is a superb global marketer with a track record of driving significant business growth," Flaherty said in a statement. "His depth of experience aligns very well with our focus on accelerating the new network and I am thrilled we have Brad in this highly strategic role."
Two days later, Juniper announced that Emilio Umeoka, who was president of Microsoft's Asia Pacific business, will serve as Juniper's senior vice president of worldwide partners business. In his new role, Umeoka will be responsible for Juniper's global channel strategy and partner initiatives, which company officials believe is a key differentiator over their competitors.
On the day in between those two appointments, Juniper announced the hiring of Luanne Tierney as vice president of global partner marketing, the defection of a key executive from rival Cisco. Prior to coming to Juniper, Tierney was vice president of global partner marketing at Cisco.
With Juniper, Tierney will be in charge of pushing forward the company's Juniper Partner Program, making it more comprehensive and easier to use by its global partners and global partner marketing operation. At Cisco, Tierney was in charge of strategic initiatives for the company's more than 13,000 partners, distributors, resellers and strategic partners.
"[Tierney's] innovative approach to marketing and her ability to inspire will help Juniper accelerate our profile as an industry and thought leader," Juniper's Flaherty said.
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Sunday, January 23, 2011

The founder of whistleblower site WikiLeaks attacked Switzerland on Sunday for arresting a Swiss banker

Picture of Julian Assange during a talk at 26C3
Image via Wikipedia
The founder of whistleblower site WikiLeaks attacked Switzerland on Sunday for arresting a Swiss banker on suspicion of breaching banking secrecy instead of investigating the tax evasion he said he had uncovered.
In an interview published in the Swiss weekly Der Sonntag, Julian Assange, whose website has angered Washington by releasing confidential U.S. diplomatic cables, said Switzerland's actions were drawing renewed international attention to its controversial banking practices.
On Friday the Swiss prosecutor's office said former banker Rudolf Elmer would be detained over the weekend after police questioned him about breaking Swiss banking secrecy laws. A judge will decide on Monday whether to remand him for longer.
Police took Elmer into custody on January 19 after he handed computer discs to Assange for WikiLeaks at a news conference in London earlier in the week. Elmer indicated the CDs contained details of as many as 2,000 offshore bank accounts.
"Mr. Elmer is in prison because he has revealed a criminal offshore system of tax evasion in which Swiss banks play a leading role," Assange was quoted as saying in an interview.
"Instead of investigating these offshore structures and going after the tax evaders, the authorities are going after Mr. Elmer," he said.
The newspaper, quoting Assange in German, said it had received his comments via a WikiLeaks intermediary.
In a separate case, Elmer was also convicted on January 19 of breaching banking secrecy by passing on private client data to the tax authorities and of threatening employees at his former firm Julius Baer.
Elmer has appealed against this verdict.
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Toshiba launched a preview Website of its forthcoming Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet

Toshiba logoImage via WikipediaToshiba launched a preview Website of its forthcoming Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet, a device geared to provide features Apple's iPad lacks such as dual cameras, a swappable battery, several data ports and Flash support.
EWEEK got a sneak peek of the tablet three weeks ago at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show, but few specs were made available about the device, whose name Toshiba has yet to announce.
However, much more information about this device has come to light vis-à-vis this Toshiba teaser Website, which shows an attractive, portable computer with a slip-resistant, EasyGrip finish that will come in 5 colors.
Like the Motorola Xoom, launching from Verizon Wireless and Best Buy next month as the first Honeycomb tablet, the Toshiba tablet is powered by an Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor.
The device features 10.1-inch multitouch screen with a 1280-by-800 with 720p HD resolution and a 16:10 aspect ratio, "so neither your favorite movies nor your favorite Websites ever get cropped."
The screen also boasts an ambient light sensor to provide consistency between indoor and outdoor viewing.
Motorola chose to eschew physical buttons for the Xoom; Google said it designed Android 3.0 so that tablets wouldn't require physical buttons.
Toshiba offers the 4 physical home, menu, back and search buttons Android handset owners are accustomed to on their phones. So users comfortable with, say, the Motorola Droid X smartphone, might be comfortable with the Toshiba input design.
The rear camera is 5 megapixels with autofocus, while the front is 2MP.
As for connectivity, the device provides WiFi access and features ports for USB, mini-USB, HDMI, and SD slot and headphone jack. There's also a docking port to let users connect to larger monitors.
IntoMobile has a hands-on with the Toshiba tablet here.
Again, the Toshiba tablet isn't coming until the spring, by which time the Xoom, RIM PlayBook, several Windows 7 tablets and even the iPad 2 are likely to be on the market.
The computer maker is clearly hoping feature differentiation such as the rubberized grip, multiple data ports, and swappable battery help it stand out in what is swiftly becoming a crowded market.
The tablet pie is large. IDC currently forecasts 44.6 million to ship in 2011, which may be conservative given the hype an trends.
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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Internet running out of IP addresses

Vint Cerf, North American computer scientist w...
Image via Wikipedia
The world will run out of Internet addresses "within weeks", according to one of the founding fathers of the web, a report said Friday.
Vint Cerf, who helped create the web by connecting computers using Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, said it was his "fault" that the 4.3 billion addresses created were running out, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
"I thought it was an experiment and I thought that 4.3 billion would be enough to do an experiment," Cerf, who is Google's vice president and "Chief Internet Evangelist", was quoted as saying in an interview.
"Who the hell knew how much address space we needed?"
In 1977, Cerf created the web protocol IPv4, which connects computers globally, as part of an experiment while working with the US Department of Defense. He said he never expected his experiment "wouldn't end".
"It doesn't mean the network stops, it just means you can't build it very well," Cerf said.
IP addresses are the unique sequence of numbers assigned to each computer, website or other internet-connected devices. They are not the same as website domain names.
The overwhelming number of devices now accessing the internet means the addresses are running out fast.
To resolve the crisis, an updated protocol for the Internet, IPv6, currently being planned by the industry, will create trillions of addresses.
As Google vice president Cerf, who was in Australia to address a conference, said he thought the new chief executive of the California-based giant, Larry Page, was ready to lead the company into the future.
In a surprise move, Google announced on Thursday that co-founder Page would replace Eric Schmidt as chief executive in April.
Schmidt, 55, a former chief executive of Novell, will remain with Google as executive chairman, focusing on deals, partnerships, customers and government outreach, Google said.
He will also act as an adviser to Page, 37, who served as CEO previously, from 1998 to 2001.
Cerf said Schmidt had been chief executive for 10 years — "a nice round number" — and Page was ready to lead the company into the future.
"Larry and Sergey are 10 years older than they were when they thoughtfully hired Eric to be the CEO... so everybody's growing up," Cerf said.
Google has grown over the past decade from a start-up battling other Internet search engines into a technology giant with nearly 25,000 employees and annual revenue of nearly USD30 billion.
The company meanwhile reported its fourth-quarter net profit increased to $2.54 billion US from $1.97 billion a year ago, while revenue rose 26 per cent to $8.44 billion.
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Phoenix Brochure by R.G.Richardson – Books on Google Play

Phoenix Brochure by R.G.Richardson – Books on Google Play