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Archive | July, 2012

More Internet Addresses than Stars

On June 8th, 2012, the Internet made a major transition — and no one noticed.

This day marked the once-in-history “World IPv6 Day,” where major Internet Service Providers around the world made the change to permanently enable an Internet protocol called IPv6. A day after this change was made, CNN has reported that the Internet now has 340 trillion trillion trillion unique addresses or 340 undecillion (a number with 37 zeros).

IPv4 was the communications protocol being used to manage all Internet traffic. With the new protocol, the Internet is now able to support more devices through the increase of the number of possible addresses.

The way the Internet works is that it transfers data between hosts in packets that become routed through networks as determined by routing protocols. These packets of information require an addressing system to determine their source and destination. Each host, computer or other device on the Internet needs to have its own IP address in order to communicate and the exponential growth of the Internet demanded that more addresses be created. Under IPv4, 32 bits were allocated per IP address, while with IPv6, 128 bits are allocated.

The system was developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force as the IPv4 addresses available neared exhaustion, creating an expanded base for addresses for devices and users online together with greater flexibility in address allocation and routing traffic efficiency. It also removed the need for network address translation systems as a stop-gap measure in the IPv4 address exhaustion conundrum.

To put this new number in context that is graspable, 340 trillion trillion trillion is more than the number of stars in the universe, more than the number of cells in the human body and more than the number of gallons of water on earth.

The Information Superhighway suddenly became the Information Autobahn.

Google Launches its ChromeBox

Google, in partnership with Samsung, recently launched its Chromebook and desktop Chromebox. The “Chromebox”  is the first time that Google is installing the ChromeOS on a desktop machine, and is reminiscent of a Mac Mini, only with more ports.

The Chromebox is priced at a reasonable US$329. While PC enthusiasts may not be ready to move away from a Windows machine, it seems like something like this would be ideal for a business that runs a physical location with public computers. The cheap price-tag aside, imagine the cost benefits from not having to worry about system maintenance or users installing malware — ChromeOS is, after all, just a web browser. Google themselves boasts a number of ChromeOS success stories, including the savings per device amounting to US$4,500.

This latest update features a more Windows-like version of the ChromeOS for release. The features are termed as an “app-centric user interface” with a traditional windows manager, a jump from the previous single browser versions. The interface will be the default on the new ChromeOS devices and replace the current browser on existing Chromebooks.

Coinciding with this release is Google’s new pricing for business and education management and support services. The current rates pay a one time fee of US$150 while schools pay US$30 per device to use the management console, 24/7 phone support and extended hardware warranty. Previously, Google sold the support package as a monthly subscription. One of the most anticipated features for ChromeOS would be offline Google Docs support.

As for the Chromebook, the most important change is its faster speed. The earlier versions used the Intel Atom chip and the latest version now uses the Intel Core chip together with 4GB of RAM, a high def camera, two USB 2.0 ports and 1280 by 800 display. The pricing of the WiFi only version starts at US$449.

Facebook to Face Rough Seas Ahead?

After being billed to be the biggest IPO stock for a technology company, the back alley discussions are now being put to the public light. These include charges of insider trading, overblown income projections, issues as to stock purchase confirmations as well as other issues are now being uncovered.

While these are in the now, the future, according to one hedge fund manager, is bleak for the company. According to Ironfire Capital founder Eric Jackson in an interview with Squawk on the Street at CNBC, “In five to eight years, they are going to disappear in the way that Yahoo disappeared. Yahoo is still making money, it’s still profitable, still has 13,000 employees working for it but it’s 10% of the value that it was at the height of 2000. For all intents and purposes, it’s disappeared.”

He points out that the emergence of the mobile web and Facebook’s inability to adapt to the new technology may be the cause for the eventual disappearance of this social media giant.

He adds, “The world is moving faster, it’s getting more competitive, not less. I think those who are dominant in their prior generation are really going to have a hard time moving into this newer generation. Facebook can buy a bunch of mobile companies, but they are still a big, fat website and that’s different from a mobile app.”

One of the recent moves of the company is the purchase of the popular mobile photo sharing application named Instagram for US$1 billion last April. The move was viewed as removal of a potential rival and together with the company’s recognition that mobile applications are a potential stumbling block for continued growth in the future.

During its IPO application, the company was required to identify thirty five possible “risk factors and complied with the requirement last February. In this list, the company admitted that its current ad-free mobile platform may pose problems in the future as more and more Facebook users as well as the web in general expands into the mobile realm.

Jackson categorizes Facebook as the second of the three generations of modern Internet companies. The first generation, with Yahoo and Google as main characters, were portals that categorized and simplified the access to the wealth of information available online. The second generation, such as Facebook and other similar sites, have made their mark capitalizing on the emerging social web. The third generation, according to Jackson, are companies that focus on leveraging and monetizing mobile Internet users.

He discusses, “When you look over these three generations, no matter how successful you are in one generation, you don’t seem to be able to translate that into success in the second generation, no matter how much money you have in the bank, no matter how many smart PhDs you have working for you. Look at how Google has struggled moving into social and I think Facebook is going to have the same kind of challenges moving into mobile.”