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The current pandemic has raised one question in the minds of some users. They wonder if the overuse of the Internet can crash the internet. No, this cannot happen! In this post, we will try and answer some questions which may be lingering at the back of your minds.

If we were to compile a list of potential Internet doomsday scenarios, the ongoing coronavirus outbreak is likely to be a part of such lists – and for obvious reasons. Over the last few days, we have witnessed a sudden increase in the number of people who want to know whether coronavirus is going to break the Internet?

During the outbreak, people are forced to work from home, and the lockdowns and the compulsion to stay indoors are resulting in an increased demand for bandwidth – whether it is for working, playing games, or watching the video! The Internet has become the main, if not the only, source of entertainment for most.

Can overuse bring down the whole Internet?

The answer to that question is – NO! In case an online service or website is overloaded with traffic, that particular website or online service could crash, but not the Internet. Overuse cannot bring down the whole Internet. When bandwidth consumption increases exponentially, from a demand and supply perspective, the speed can reduce. The more the users there are online, the lesser is the speed you will get normally.

To get a better understanding of this, first, we need to understand how the Internet works.

How does the Internet work?

The Internet is not dependent on a single computer or a cable. It is a combination of several independent networks and computers. All the connecting computers and the cables together can be considered as the Internet, and so for the whole Internet to crash all the computers would have to crash and the connecting cables cut. The Internet is too big and decentralized to fail all at once. That is near impossible!

These networks are largely governed, controlled, and maintained by individuals, businesses, and governments. If one part of the network stops working for some reason, users will still be able to access the Internet.

At a time when the majority of people work remotely from their homes, a significant portion of people would have already stopped accessing the Internet from their offices. It helps Internet Service Providers handle the demand-supply chain. That’s why major tech companies and Internet Service Providers are confident that no pandemic or other such event will ever take down the Internet and there is plenty of capacity in the network to accommodate everyone.

At a time when the majority of people work remotely from their homes, a significant portion of people would have already stopped accessing the Internet from their offices. It helps Internet Service Providers handle the demand-supply chain. That’s why major tech companies and Internet Service Providers are confident that no pandemic or other such event will ever take down the Internet and there is plenty of capacity in the network to accommodate everyone.

Is there absolutely no problem at all?

The lack of capacity in the network is not really a problem, to begin with. The fact that a significant number of users using the Internet in huge numbers induces performance slowdown. Mobile internet services are often the most affected, unlike fixed broadband ones. The reason being, a sudden rush of people on the mobile Internet.

The Internet often experiences outages in difficult times and events such as major power blackouts where multiple networks and computers go out of service at the same time.

Macro events like earthquakes, damage to underwater or over-land cables, damage to space satellites, large solar activity, large power outages, nuclear war, targetted cyberwar, etc., could cause sections of the Internet to crash theoretically. But this will not shut down the Internet!

In 2007, Asia experienced a series of earthquakes that damaged undersea cables, further resulting in major Internet-related issues in some parts of the world. However, the rest of the world still continued access to the Internet.

Governments can swing into action

To endure the ever-increasing demand, in the present pandemic, the European Commission has asked OTT streaming services such as Netflix and YouTube to reduce their system demands on European web networks. The purpose is simple. OTT streaming and Internet companies must ensure that their services remain uninterrupted during the state of lockdown.

According to Internet speed test firm Ookla, mobile broadband download speeds drastically declined in many Asian countries since the pandemic. Meanwhile, fixed broadband internet services didn’t take much of a hit.

As more users come online, these companies need to be capable of accomodating the additional burden. Major technology companies cannot afford to face an outage at the moment, given the fact that most of the major companies are facing a shortage of employees working from offices.

The bottom line

According to reports, Internet usage has almost doubled in many parts of the world since the pandemic. In challenging situations where everything around us comes to a standstill, more aspects of our daily lives naturally the digital route. In fact, remote-work platforms like Microsoft Teams and Zoom continue to witness increased demand.

In the case of India, an ISP told us that consumption could go up 80% in a situation where everyone is staying at home. Plus, the majority (90% +) of users access the Internet between 9 am to 11 pm (IST)! Many customers also upgrade their existing broadband plans that often stretch the bandwidth to a significant extent.

However, in such a scenario, most Network Service Providers (NSPs) increase the overall bandwidth, which helps ISPs handle the additional load.

Meanwhile, millions of people across the globe are now connecting to the internet from the comfort of their kitchens, living rooms, and home offices every day. As a result, the demand for uninterrupted Internet services continues to skyrocket.

Be a responsible netizen, and don’t create or share digital junk! Always make sure to keep a safe distance from coronavirus COVID-19 scams, frauds, and cybersecurity threats.

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Inquiring Minds: The Next Internet

Inquiring Minds: The Next Internet A five-part series of notable Q&As

Abraham Matta, a CAS associate professor of computer science, led a discussion of “urban mesh networks.” Photo courtesy of Abraham Matta

These “urban mesh networks” of wirelessly connected “nodes” atop light poles and buildings could bring affordable Internet access to all communities, rich and poor. And the same networks will serve public safety coordination and disaster response efforts, enhanced city services, environmental monitoring, and network-based research and entrepreneurs.

Urban mesh networks were one topic of discussion at a two-day national symposium on computing research infrastructure, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and held last month at Boston University’s Photonics Center, hosted by the College of Arts and Sciences computer science department. Among the presenters was Abraham Matta, an associate professor of computer sciences. BU Today spoke with Matta to learn more about the wireless access that may soon be coming to a computer near you.

And the city itself might provide services or use these urban mesh networks to improve its services. City workers wouldn’t have to travel all around the city to do their jobs. They would have all these sensors around the city, and these sensors would communicate to this wireless mesh network to report any kind of events that you might be interested in.

You can also get revenue from access fees. Usually, the city will negotiate discounted access rates for underserved communities. It’s called digital inclusion, and that’s something that’s a major driver for most cities. For instance, here in Boston, Roxbury is a target area to provide access.

There are all sorts of possibilities for applications, but there is also potential for improving the protocols that support these applications, or network software infrastructure that improves the functioning of the network. You would like people to be able to improve the performance of the network and use the wireless mesh more efficiently, which is not possible in other kinds of urban networks where you have a single company that installs it and does what the city wants. In Boston, at least it’s my hope, they will allow people to play with the underlying network software itself, the infrastructure, to improve it, and then you can commercialize these access nodes using this new network software.

There is also the challenge of figuring out the transport of network traffic. You might have areas that get very low connection speeds just because they are farther away from the gateway, for instance. Everybody’s going toward the gateway, which is kind of the central place where everything meets and then gets redistributed from there. So there are issues like that that require adapting the network software itself, and that’s why allowing people to do research and actually improve the network software is a possible benefit for an open infrastructure.

Part of the internetworking work, which is going on now, is creating what we have now in cellular telephone service, where you deal with roaming through your home service provider. You have a home service provider and you go to another service provider when you roam around to other cities, and it works out because they always can charge your home.

Chris Berdik can be reached at [email protected].

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How Not To Piss Off The Internet

If you’ve checked out the blogosphere and/or mainstream media recently, you’re probably aware of the Cooks Source scandal.

Needless to say, this didn’t sit too well with the Internet.

In fact, the entire situation has blown up: anonymous web users have lambasted the

One thing’s for sure–if Cooks Source managing editor Judith Griggs was in any way uncertain about how internet mob justice worked before Thursday, she certainly knows now.

The question is: how could this entire situation have been avoided? This is not the first time the Internet has risen up in (mostly well-intended, but often poorly executed) outrage, and it certainly won’t be the last. So what’s the best way to deal with an angry Internet mob on your tail? I went to the discussion section of the Cooks Source Facebook page (which has now been completely annexed by the mob) to ask, what could Ms. Griggs have done in order to avoid becoming an Encyclopædia Dramatica article?

Here’s how not to piss off the Internet:

Don’t Dig the Hole Any Deeper

After the small foodie magazine rose to infamy, however, the following message appeared on their Facebook page:

Well, here I am with egg on my face! I did apologise to Monica via email, but aparently it wasnt enough for her. To all of you, thank you for your interest in Cooks Source and Again, to Monica, I am sorry – my bad! You did find a way to get your “pound of flesh…” we used to have 110 “friends,” we now have 1,870… wow!

I’m no expert (and we’re not 100 percent sure this is a legitimate post from Griggs), but it’s probably not a good idea to keep stirring things up with phrases like “apparently it wasn’t enough for her.”

Keep Your Closet Skeleton-Free

All of this talk of plagiarism and snatching copyrighted material from the web without permission immediately had intrepid Internet users backlogging Cooks Source issues and searching for other instances of intellectual property theft. And, well…apparently they’ve found quite a lot.

“If this woman slipped up once, it can be forgiven. But if she has copied from all the websites that people say she has, [then] quite frankly I do not believe that she care’s about getting people’s forgiveness,” writes Facebook user Johann Muller.

Take a Vacation

Perhaps just leaving the ‘net and letting the scandal run its course would be the best plan of action for Griggs, writes Facebook user Oka Lokee: “I think the best she can do is take a vacation until this all blows over. Unfortunately, if the cat-dumping lady was any example, it’s going to blow up more and it will take a while to run out of steam.”

Don’t Respond

As hard as it is to sleep when someone on the Internet is wrong…a good course of action is to not respond.

Be Sincere and Apologize

Perhaps all of this could have been avoided if Griggs had apologized the first time. Of course, now that the entire thing has blown out of proportion, an apology might seem like an option of the past.

As Facebook user Shawn Drew puts it, “She just hasn’t come off as a nice person. She had the opportunity to apologize and make a tax-deductible donation and she chose to write a snarky email.”

If All Else Fails . . .

Change your name and try to find work in an isolated village without Internet access, in a country without an extradition treaty with the United States, suggests Facebook user Thom Ryng.

51 Open Source Tools For The Internet Of Things

According to the market researchers at IDC, there were 9.1 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices installed at the end of 2013. They expect that number to grow 17.5 percent each year and hit 28.1 billion in 2023, when the total IoT market could be worth more than $7 trillion.

The open source community has been at the forefront of this new trend, creating software and hardware designs that enable nearly anyone to experiment with IoT devices and applications. And the number of open source projects dedicated to IoT has been growing rapidly. Last year, we put together a list of 35 open source IoT projects, and this year, we’ve extended it to 51 tools.

Look five or ten years into the future, and which open source operating system will be dominant in the Internet of Things sector? That’s very hard to say at this point in the emerging IoT market’s life, but it’s clearly possible that one of the open source OSes on this list will be the winner. Will it be one of the already familiar names, or an underdog that is less well known? Take a look at this list and make your best guess.

The Internet of Things conjures an image of millions – billions – of sensors across a vast physical area. But this sprawling network also requires a platform to support it. And in some cases, more than one platform. The following list details some of the pioneering open source platforms in the rapidly growing Internet of Things sector.

Middleware doesn’t get a lot of attention, but it provides valuable services by enabling the connection of disparate software components. This is particularly important in the diverse world of the Internet of Things, in which a vast universe of components must be tied together. The following open source middleware IoT tools – from AllJoyn to OpenRemote – are providing unsung but highly important support.

DeviceHive

DeviceHive is a machine-to-machine (M2M) communication framework for smart energy, home automation, remote sensing, telemetry, remote control and monitoring software and other IoT applications. It supports Java, C++, .NET, Python, Javascript, and other platforms.

IoTivity

Sponsored by the Open Interconnect Consortium, The IoTivity software allows for device-to-device connectivity. It is an implementation of the OIC’s standard specification. Operating System: Linux, Arduino, Tizen

InfluxDB

InfluxDB is a “distributed time series database with no external dependencies.” That makes it ideal for collecting data from IoT sensors; in fact, it can track data from tens of thousands of sensors sampling more than once per second. Operating System: Linux, OS X

Eclipse IoT Project

The Eclipse Foundation has a long list of IoT-related projects that include standards and development frameworks. The project also offers a wealth of videos, tutorials, sandboxes and other tools to help new IoT developers get started on their first projects.

KinomaJS

The Kinoma platform encompasses both hardware and software tools for prototying IoT devices and applications. KinomaJS, its JavaScript-based application framework, is available under an open source license. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

M2MLabs Mainspring

Based on Java and the Apache Cassandra NoSQL database, Mainspring describes itself as “an open source application framework for building machine to machine (M2M) applications such as remote monitoring, fleet management or smart grid.” Features include flexible device modeling, device configuration, communication between devices and applications, data validation and normalization, long-term data storage and data retrieval. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

Node-RED

This “visual tool for wiring the Internet of Things” simplifies the process of connect IoT devices with APIs and online services. It is built on chúng tôi and includes a browser-based flow editor. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

OpenHAB

This Java-based open source home automation software promises a vendor-agnostic way to control all the IoT devices in your home through a single interface. It allows users to set up their own rules and control their home environment. You can download the software from the site or use it through the my.openHAB cloud service. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, Android

The Thing System

The Thing System’s website says, “Today, you have to fight your things. They don’t talk to each other, the apps don’t work, it’s a tower of babel. Our solution — the Thing System — is open source. We’ll talk to anything, you can hack the system, it has an open API.” It supports a huge list of IoT devices, including those made by Cube Sensors, Parrot, Next, Oregon Scientific, Samsung, Telldus, Aeon Labs, Insteon, Roku, Google, Apple and other manufacturers. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, others

Freeboard

This project promises “ridiculously simple dashboards for your devices.” It offers a widget-based, drag-and-drop development tool that makes it easy to track the data from your IoT devices. Both free and paid plans are available. Operating system: OS Independent

Exciting Printer

This unusual project makes it possible to create your own small, internet-connected printer. Want to talk to the project owners? You can send a message or draw a picture that will be printed on the Exciting Printer in their office.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Internet In 2026 Is Non

90 percent of online content may be synthetically generated by AI algorithms in 2026

The Internet of the future might be something completely different from what we know currently. But this change will be for the better good or worse. The use cases of AI are growing immensely around the world. According to some reports experts estimate that as much as 90 percent of online content may be synthetically generated by artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms in 2026. And that can lead to a lot of misinformation. The presence of bots, and AI-generated text-to-image programs have certainly been making big waves. It will start stuffing the internet with enormous amounts of targeted misinformation.  

90 % of internet content may be synthetically generated by AI:

Artificial Intelligence is quickly evolving and is already being used to support and improve health services in many high-income countries. Experts believe that by 2026 the majority of texts, pictures, and videos on the web will be generated, especially if models such as OpenAI’s GPT-3 witness a wider use. The increase in synthetic media and improved technology has given rise to disinformation possibilities. AI can create virtual worlds that are more inclusive around topics such as culture, race, and gender. AI ethics are important to make an AI that trustworthy, but that’s just one part of it required to help organizations adopt the technology responsibly. An expert system, also sometimes referred to as a knowledge-based system, is an AI program that has expert-level competence in solving specific problems.

The Internet of the future might be something completely different from what we know currently. But this change will be for the better good or worse. The use cases of AI are growing immensely around the world. According to some reports experts estimate that as much as 90 percent of online content may be synthetically generated by artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms in 2026. And that can lead to a lot of misinformation. The presence of bots, and AI-generated text-to-image programs have certainly been making big waves. It will start stuffing the internet with enormous amounts of targeted misinformation.Artificial Intelligence is quickly evolving and is already being used to support and improve health services in many high-income countries. Experts believe that by 2026 the majority of texts, pictures, and videos on the web will be generated, especially if models such as OpenAI’s GPT-3 witness a wider use. The increase in synthetic media and improved technology has given rise to disinformation possibilities. AI can create virtual worlds that are more inclusive around topics such as culture, race, and gender. AI ethics are important to make an AI that trustworthy, but that’s just one part of it required to help organizations adopt the technology responsibly. An expert system, also sometimes referred to as a knowledge-based system, is an AI program that has expert-level competence in solving specific problems. Whatever the most current information was, it is a hot issue. In most cases, synthetic media is generated for gaming, to improve services, or to improve the quality of life. However, by default, we do not assume that almost everything we deal with on the Internet can be fake. There is no such thing as a good AI, only good and bad humans. Then we will have to treat the verification of information much more carefully.

New Report Breaks Down What We Can Expect With The Rumored Carkey Feature

Apple hasn’t made the rumored “CarKey” (“Car Key”) feature officially official just yet, but we know it’s something the company has been working on for quite some time. And now a new report sheds quite a bit of light on what we should expect in the future.

The report from MacRumors is a nice roundup of what we can expect to see from the upcoming CarKey feature, which, at face value, will be an NFC-based feature that will allow iPhone owners, and owners of supported automobiles, to not only lock and unlock their car, but also start the vehicle, too. There is quite a bit to go over, while much of it has been reported upon in the past based on beta versions of iOS 13, this breakdown does include a few more details worthy of attention.

The basics

What is CarKey: This is a feature, a digital protocol, that will rely on Near-Field Communication (NFC) to allow an iPhone to unlock, lock, and start a supported automobile. That vehicle must also have NFC equipment installed as well for the feature to function.

Expected features: As mentioned above, the very basic features will make it possible to access an NFC-capable vehicle, and also start it, with just the associated iPhone in your pocket. However, it is possible that auto manufacturers will be able to branch out in some ways, so we may see individual features present on some vehicles and not others.

How it works: CarKey is based on the Digital Key 2.0 specification, which was developed by the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC). This specification was released in May of this year, so it’s still fresh on the market. That means that some auto manufacturers may still be dabbling with it, laying the groundwork, but may not have anything ready for their next model refresh (which many will have ready to go in early 2023).

When will we see it announced: That’s up in the air at the moment. The latest report regarding CarKey indicated that Apple had updated the privacy screens related to Wallet and Privacy in the most recent iOS 13.6 beta (and MR‘s report indicates it’s been present since the first beta), which may suggest Apple is ready to announce the feature soon. It may even be available in iOS 13.6, which will launch soon. However, it’s more likely that, due to the fact that Apple must rely on auto manufacturers to make this feature truly worthwhile, we could see it announced at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference (which starts on Monday, June 22), and it may be a feature that’s ready for the public later this year with the launch of iOS 14.

The set up process

Initial pairing: To get the phone paired with the automobile, the iPhone owner will need to place the phone over, or near, the NFC reader inside the vehicle. There will be a pairing code that populates, which will need to be entered. It’s likely that many auto manufacturers will require owners to download a specific app to make this work.

Place this ‌iPhone‌ on top of the NFC reader in your car. Pairing process may take several minutes, do not remove it from the reader until pairing is done.

Enter the CarKey code provided by your car dealer or connect using the [Vehicle Brand’s] app.

Sharing your CarKey

Sharing is easy: Having a digital key goes beyond just being able to have your phone work as a key. It also means you can share a key to a family member or friend when needed. This will be handled through the Messages app, along with an invite button within the Wallet app.

Access: Owners who do share a key will be able to dictate just how much capability is associated with it. So if you want to make it possible for someone you know to get into your car to get something, but not actually be able to drive the car, you’ll be able to do that. That goes for opening just the trunk as well. Or, users will also be able to make it possible for a shared key to have full access, including the ability to drive the vehicle, as long as that phone also has NFC capabilities.

[Vehicle Owner] invited you to use their [Vehicle Model] with unlock & drive access. This allows you to use your ‌iPhone‌ and ‌Apple Watch‌ to unlock/lock the car, start the engine and drive.

Here’s what CarKey looks like (right now)

CarKey lives in the Wallet app: And, as such, it looks like any of the other cards or important elements that are available in the Wallet app. Of course, this is all based on early builds of CarKey, so it’s possible that this will change in the future.

The rest

If your battery dies: There is a lower power mode associated with NFC, and, as such, this means that if your phone’s or even your Apple Watch’s battery gets severely low –or has recently died– your phone and/or Apple Watch will continue to function as a car key as needed. (It’s probably a safe bet to keep your physical key, or key FOB, on you anyway just to be safe.

Apple, security, and auto manufacturers: This area is a little tricky and worth taking note of. In the most recent privacy screens associated to CarKey, Apple notes that it is not tracking any strategic data points for using the feature. That means Apple isn’t tracking when you lock, unlock, or start your car when you use CarKey. A unique identifier is set up during the initial pairing process, so that information is anonymized on Apple’s part. However, this information is up for grabs for the auto manufacturer. It’s possible that the company may request that information, so you’ll need to weigh whether or not you’re comfortable with that before using it.

It doesn’t work automatically: The iPhone owner will need to go through the set up process before CarKey will work. So it won’t just work by default. And, of course, your iPhone and the car you own both need to support NFC.

Auto manufacturer partnerships: This is a feature that, like CarPlay, requires support from auto manufacturers. Companies like Hyundai and BMW already support a digital key feature, and, indeed, the latter of the two is rumored to be one of the first partners for Apple’s upcoming CarKey feature. However, at this point it remains unknown which vehicle manufacturers are going to support the upcoming feature.

We’re going to have to wait and see when CarKey will get the official announcement it deserves, but this certainly sounds like an exciting new element to the iOS operating system. Of course, many auto mobile manufacturers will likely remain focused on using their own apps for a digital key feature in general, just like Hyundai and BMW already do, so it will be interesting to see how much this expands support across companies.

Are you looking forward to this particular feature?

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