Is there an unsecured wireless network near you?
Malcolm Turnbull's run Australia's NBN for two years. How's he done?
Monday, 07 September 2015 12:14

Updated One of the big issues at Australia's 2013 election was the nation's National Broadband Network (NBN). Championed by the then-Labor government, the project was pitched as a nation-building effort to re-wire Australia with optical fibre, but cast as a failed black hole for cash by the then-opposition Liberal/National Party coalition.

The vision of NBN as a costly failure prevailed at the 2013 election, so two years ago today the coalition started to reform the NBN. With that milestone in mind, Vulture South decided to take a look at the government's performance.

As our guide, we've taken the coalition's pre-election

United Nations pledges to get everyone online… by 2030
Wednesday, 09 September 2015 06:13

The United Nations has pledged to provide universal internet access by 2030.

Currently 3.2 billion people are online, but that represents just 43 per cent of the world's population.

In response, the UN last week launched a new "sustainable development" agenda with a goal of 2030.

It is due to be signed by all member states at the end of the month, and one of the pledges is to "strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020." (Note: the 2020 date appears to be a typo on the website; the entire agenda

Steal This Ham Radio (Technology)
Thursday, 10 September 2015 13:01

Although I see a lot of wireless projects, I’m always surprised at the lack of diversity in the radio portions of them. I’m a ham radio operator (WD5GNR; I was licensed in 1977) and hams use a variety of radio techniques. If you think hams just use Morse code and voice communications, you are thinking of your grandfather’s ham radio. Modern hams have gone digital and communicate via satellites, video, and many different digital techniques that could easily have applicability to different wireless projects.

Of course, Morse code may have been one of the first digital modes. But hams have …read more

ESP8266 Web Server Farm
Sunday, 06 September 2015 22:01

There seems to be a hacker maxim that whatever gadget you are working with, it would be better to have several of them running together. That might explain the ESP8266 web server farm that [Eldon Brown] has built. Yup, a web server farm made from three of everyone’s favorite WiFi dongle, the humble ESP8266.

Eldon’s server farm is currently serving web pages here, running on three ESP8266 boards. Or it was before this posting reduced it to a smoking ruin (screenshot below just in case). Each module is running a dynamic web page and some clever programming he came up …read more

Hams Talk Digital
Monday, 07 September 2015 07:01

Morse code qualifies as a digital mode, although organic brains are somewhat better at copying it than electronic ones. Ham radio operators that did “phone” (ham-talk for voice) started out with AM modulation. Sometime after World War II, there was widespread adoption of single side band or SSB. SSB takes up less bandwidth and is more reliable than AM modulation. On the digital side, hams turned to different and more sophisticated digital transmission types with computers pushing bandwidth down and reliability up. However, a recent trend has been to encode voice over ham radio–sort of VoIP with radio instead of …read more

NBN vaults Australia into global top-10 … DDoS attack sources
Friday, 04 September 2015 12:56

Australia has won the dubious honour of being named in the global top-10 DDoS sources, and in its quarterly State of the Internet report, Akamai reckons our tiny number of high-speed fibre broadband users are the cause.

In its Q2 report, Akamai says that attack traffic coming from Australia topped 4 per cent of global DDoS traffic (the world-leaders were the usual suspects – China at 37.01 per cent, the USA at 17.88 per cent, the UK at 10.21 per cent).

The comment is almost a throwaway given the size of the report: “Australia’s appearance on the list is likely

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