Dec 31, 2015
Dec 30, 2015
Most routers are pretty boring. They direct traffic in and out of your network (hopefully doing so with at least a modicum of security). But while they sit by idly waiting for packets to route, they do nothing. And as for updating...that's generally on the user to handle.
There's a crowd funded piece of technology that aims to change all of that. The Turris Omnia is a router of a completely different nature. Not only does it automatically update its firmware (as soon as a vulnerability is discovered and patched), it can serve as a DNLA (Digital Living Network Alliance), a backup server (you have to plug in an external drive for this), you can insert a SIM card to ensure connection failover, connect to SFP, and much more. The Omnia is based on OpenWRT and is, as you might expect, open source).
The project has already reached its goals (by 367% as of this writing) and is ready to start shipping devices in April, 2016.
Of course, this particular product won't come cheap. As of now, to get in on the fun you'll have to drop $189.00 USD. Is it worth it? At first blush, you might be thinking "no". Especially for a consumer application, a router with such a price tag seems a bit much.
Or is it?
Consider this: The need for security is at an all time high. Businesses get that. Consumers, on the other hand, do not. The average consumer still assumes "password" is too much of a password to have to remember or type. Those same users also assume that low-end router their ISP handed them two years ago is up to the task of keeping their network and data safe.
Chances are, it's not.
I'm not necessarily saying everyone should immediately drop the coin for the Turris Omnia. But the idea that some generic router is up capable of handling modern-day network security is laughable. I get it, though. The router is the last piece of equipment anyone thinks about...until their network goes down. Most users have no idea how insecure an outdated router can be. Those same users have no idea how to log onto their router and check for updates. Some routers, such as the Motorola devices used by AT&T UVERSE, don't even offerthe ability for users to update the software (they automatically update whenever the AT&T management platform rolls out an upgrade during a maintenance window, based on geolocation.
You should see the danger in that. When a vulnerability is found, that update might not hit your router for a while...leaving you unprotected. That, my friends, is why a router like the Turris Omnia is such an important upgrade to the home network. And because the Omnia is open source, vulnerabilities will be found and patched much more quickly than if it were proprietary.
And if you're still a bit concerned about the cost of this router, consider the specs:
- CPU: 1.6 GHz dual-core ARM
- RAM: 1 GB DDR3
- Storage: 4 GB flash
- LAN 5x Gbit port
- WAN 1x Gbit port
- USB 3.0
You'd be hard pressed to find another consumer-grade router with similar specs. So you can believe this baby will perform. And with the addition of the upgrade feature, the Omnia will be the router to have for anyone concerned about the security of their home network.
Which should be everyone.
Is it perfect? No one knows yet. It is, however, a promising piece of technology that should go a long way to show the home networking space is in much need of improvement.
Would you be willing to pay the high price for such a unique router?
Dec 29, 2015
Health labels on food could be making people fatter rather than helping them to lose weight, a study has found. People eat more food than they should if it is labelled healthy because they think it is less filling than fatty options.
Consumers tend to binge when they see nutritional signs because they automatically assume they are making a better choice. As a result they could end up consuming more calories overall, researchers said.
The results suggest that, while eating too much is often the cause of obesity, eating too much healthy food could make you fat too.
Food labels tend to make people fat - especially if those foods are labeled as 'healthy.' That's because people tend to binge on foods they believe are healthy, and end up consuming too many calories, a new study found
Food labels in the UK have been a source of controversy and products are supposed to have a ‘traffic light’ system which shows how much salt, fat and sugar the item contains.
But some consumers see the labels as overbearing and another example of the nanny state.
The researchers conducted three experiments; the first involved 50 participants who were tested to see how they saw the relationship between the concepts of healthy and filling.
The second test involved measuring the hunger levels of 40 people after eating a cookie that was described as either healthy or unhealthy.
In the third study 72 people were asked to measure the impact of how food was portrayed on the amount they ordered before watching a short film.
This was compared to the amount of food they actually ate during the screening.
The three studies showed that consumers hold an implicit belief that healthy foods are less filling than unhealthy foods.
In particular, when the food had a label on the front which described it as healthy, test participants were more likely to eat more than they should.
The study said: ‘The findings suggest that the recent proliferation of healthy food labels may be ironically contributing to the obesity epidemic rather than reducing it.'
The research was carried out by the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business but has implications for British consumers too.
The last overhaul of nutritional food labelling in the UK was in 2013 when the current ‘traffic light’ system was introduced.
Consumers tend to binge when they see nutritional signs because they automatically assume they are making a better choice. As a result they could end up consuming more calories overall, researchers said
Foods with high levels of salt, sugar or fat are in labelled in red with the amount written in.
Foods with moderate levels are in yellow and low levels are in green.
The label also shows the percentage of your daily recommended allowance for each that the item contains.
However a University of Birmingham study found that many consumers experienced ‘information overload’ when looking at the labels and could not understand what they were reading.
In one test, 40 per cent of shoppers could not identify the healthier product when comparing two traffic light systems with a horizontal and circular layout.
Previous studies have claimed that food companies are not telling the truth about what their products contain, making it harder still to make an informed choice.
n 2015, a sense of unease and foreboding seemed to settle on all the world’s major power centres. From Beijing to Washington, Berlin to Brasília, Moscow to Tokyo — governments, media and citizens were jumpy and embattled.
This kind of globalised anxiety is unusual. For the past 30 years and more, there has been at least one world power that was bullishly optimistic. In the late 1980s the Japanese were still enjoying a decades-long boom — and confidently buying up assets all over the world. In the 1990s America basked in victory in the cold war and a long economic expansion. In the early 2000s the EU was in a buoyant mood, launching a single currency and nearly doubling its membership. And for most of the past decade, the growing political and economic power of China has inspired respect all over the world.
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Yet at the moment all the big players seem uncertain — even fearful.
The only partial exception that I came across this year was India, where the business and political elite still seemed buoyed by the reformist zeal of prime minister Narendra Modi.
By contrast, in Japan, faith is fading that the radical reforms, known as Abenomics, can truly break the country’s cycle of debt and deflation. Japanese anxiety is fed by continuing tensions with China.
However, my main impression from a visit to China, early in the year, is that this too is a country that feels much less stable than it did even a couple of years ago. The era when the government effortlessly delivered growth of 8 per cent or more a year is over. Concerns about domestic financial stability are mounting, as the upheavals in the Shanghai stock exchange over the summer revealed.
However, the main source of anxiety is political. President Xi Jinping’s leadership is more dynamic but also less predictable than that of his predecessors. Fear is spreading among officials and business people, who are scared of being caught up in an anti-corruption drive that has led to the arrest of more than 100,000 people.
The slowing of the Chinese economy has had global ramifications.
When China was fuelling a commodities boom, Brazil was pulled along like a water-skier attached to a speedboat. This year, though, the Brazilian economy sank beneath the waves, contracting by 4.5 per cent. President Dilma Rousseff has been caught up in a corruption scandal amid attempts to impeach her.
The mood in Europe is also bleak. The year was framed by two bloody terrorist attacks in Paris. The economic crisis that has bedevilled the continent for several years threatened to come to a head in July, as Greece teetered on the edge of expulsion from the eurozone.
Meanwhile,Germany — which has stood out as a beacon of political and economic strength — is now struggling to cope with the arrival of more than 1m refugees, mostly fleeing conflict in the Middle East. The euro had already created divides between Germany and the nations of southern Europe, and the refugee crisis has driven a wedge between it and countries to the east. Meanwhile, Britain is threatening to leave the EU and French voters are turning to the far-right in ever greater numbers.
If you judge by the economic figures, the US should be an exception to all this gloom. The country is in the sixth year of an economic expansion. Unemployment is about 5 per cent.
The US dominates the internet economy. And yet the public mood is sour. The prospect that the Republicans, one of America’s two great political parties, might genuinely nominate Donald Trump, a boorish demagogue, as its candidate for the presidency, does not suggest that the US is at ease with itself. Indeed, Mr Trump’s entire campaign — and that of his main rivals for the GOP nomination — is based around the idea that America is in dangerous decline. Beyond these local factors, are there common elements behind this global unease? Clearly, the world economy has not fully recovered from the financial crisis. There is also a widespread fear that, after years of highly unorthodox monetary policy, another financial or economic crisis might be building.
On the political and security front, the implosion of the Middle East continues. Outside powers have proved unable to restore order to the region and are finding that disorder is spreading to Africa and Europe, in the form of refugees and jihadi terrorism.
The biggest common factor is also the hardest to pin down — a bubbling anti-elite sentiment, combining anxiety about inequality and rage about corruption that is visible in countries as different as France, Brazil, China and the US.
In America and Europe, such complaints are often linked to a pervasive narrative of national decline. These social and economic anxieties have political side effects, fuelling a demand for “strong” leaders, such as Mr Xi, Mr Trump or Vladimir Putin of Russia, who promise (however hypocritically) to tackle the corrupt elites, fight for the little guy and stand up for the nation.
The global gloom makes the international political system feel like a patient that is still struggling to recover from a severe illness which began with the financial crisis of 2008. If there are no further bad shocks, recovery should proceed gradually and the worst political symptoms may fade. The patient is vulnerable, however. Another severe shock, such as a major terrorist attack or a serious economic downturn, could spell real trouble.
Dec 28, 2015
Dec 24, 2015
The young jihadists were not interested in good relations with the Sunni states, whose legitimacy they denied. For them control of territory was simply a tool for worldwide jihad. They brought religious enthusiasm and attracted tens of thousands of Sunni recruits eager to kill infidels for Allah — Shia first, but anyone else as well. Whether they had come from Saudi Arabia or not, their theology was Wahhabi, the practical essence of which is license to declare other Muslims to be non-Muslims and hence deserving of death. Gradually, the jihadists gained ascendance over the Baathists. As this Sunni-stan became Daesh/ISIS, it troubled the entire world.
Dec 23, 2015
Dec 18, 2015
Dec 17, 2015
THIS flimsy scrap of paper is worth $144 — but for a grey market exporter with a crack team of supermarket trawlers in tow, it represents untold millions.
We all know Chinese parents are willing to pay a premium for Australian baby formula, with milk powders flying off supermarket shelves and leaving locals scrambling to find stock.
But it’s the humble shopper docket that holds the key to the lucrative trade, with insiders revealing it serves as a “certificate of authenticity” for the sought-after goods.
Sold along with the $56 receipt, these two cans of Bellamy’s organic infant formula bought at Woolworths Redfern on Wednesday could fetch about $200 in China.
And they’re being exported by the pallet load as part of a booming grey market worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Think China Director Benjamin Sun, a marketing expert who specialises in Chinese commerce, told news.com.au that exporters routinely sold baby formula into China along with proof of purchase.
This reassures buyers they are getting the real authentic “clean and green” Australian products sold at retailers like Coles, Woolworths and Chemist’s Warehouse.
Mr Sun said exporters also wrapped cans of formula in Australian newspapers while packing them for export, as further proof of their provenance.
He said it was this evidence that allowed the cans to be sold at a massively inflated prices on Chinese supermarket shelves in a grey export market worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
“In China at the moment, I can see that shops are selling infant formula for $100 a can,” Mr Sun said.
The losers in this game are the Australian families who are struggling to get their hands on the precious formula when they need it — along with creeping price increases.
Popular brand Bellamy’s recently raised its prices by up to 30 per cent; it now retails for $28.
It’s not just Chinese Australians shipping gifts of formula to their families overseas; so-called buying agents send shipping containers of the stuff to retailers in China, just like any other commercial export industry.
In telling images captured in China on Wednesday afternoon, cans of Australian-made formula line the shelves of a Carrefour supermarket in the port city of Qingdao, where they sell for three to four times the Australian retail price.
Enfapro A+ infant formula is being sold for $77.31 (RMB 360) per can, Eleva for $100.72 (RMB 469) and Nestle Nan H.A for $66.57 (RMB 310).
Most baby formula brands retail in Australia for $18 to $28. Nestle Nan H.A can be bought as cheaply as $16.70 a can at Woolworths in Sydney.