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27
Mar
2017

Your Browsing History May Now Be Up For Sale

by Bill

Recently, the US senate voted to get rid of some regulations that would have made it illegal for internet service providers to sell your browsing history without your permission. So, that means that now the consumer browsing habits of millions of Americans may now be up for grabs to the highest bidders.

The original rules were put in place in 2016, under the previous democratic administration, but ever since they took office, the new republican administration has been looking to change things up. The rules aren’t officially eliminated just yet, as it still needs to pass in the House of Representatives, which is also controlled by republican congressmen who many predict will vote the same way.

FCC Chairman Ajit Patel said that the reasoning for this change in rules is because he feels that people might get confused if ISPs have different rules than online companies like Facebook who sell and use your browsing data from within their site.

The current rules don’t bar the ISPs from collecting this data entirely, they simply make it so that they would have to get the user’s permission, and then also clearly notify them about what types of information they were going to collect. With net neutrality also in the minds of consumers these days, some worry that ISPs are going to be making a mint from them on all angles – sites will pay ISPs for speedy access, consumers will pay for service as they do now and now the providers will make some extra dough from their intimate data. Industry experts explain that the data at stake is quite personal. An ISP could learn what time a person wakes up, how they are feeling that day, where they go around their town and their favorite places to shop.

It’s certain that things are going to change in the coming months. Whether you want to find ways to secure your data or to market the data you collect, this is a story worth following and we have  got our finger on the pulse of what is happening so that we can help to keep you informed, much the same way we are on the job with award winning  24/7/365 support to monitor your hosted accounts and keep your digital business moving forward.

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16
Mar
2017

Intel Invests 15B In AI Chips – That Will Still Require Human Support

by Bill

This week Intel announced it will be paying $15.3 Billion to acquire an Israeli company named Mobileye that develops chips and cameras for self-driving cars and trucks. This follows their $16.7 Billion acquisition of Altera in 2015. The Altera buy was aimed at AI technology that allows machines to learn from their own past experiences.

Once dominant in the chip making market back when everything was done on servers or desktops, Intel is rapidly looking to evolve as computing takes on new forms via mobile devices, VR and AI offshoots that will impact the way virtually every electronic item works in the coming months or years. New neural networks analyze data using specialized chips for machine learning. Intel is determined not to miss the next chip wave the way it missed the switch to mobile.

In tech nobody ever seems to act alone, and others are also pushing into the driverless car and tech sector in big ways. Uber of course, and Microsoft recently revealed the use of ARM chips in its data centers, signaling far less reliance on old server technologies and a real tipping point toward the transition that will eventually lead to servers that learn data patterns and perform better as a result.

Companies need new AI chips in their data center to train powerful neural networks, and chips in devices to help execute the models developed on those networks. In the near future we will all see a rapid deployment of chips capable of evolving based on the data they collect and data throughput patterns will be automatically optimized based on real word conditions from moment to moment. However, even the best AI still lacks the ability to provide human support or to engage in the kind of overarching design work necessary to put the chips to work in the best configuration as newer technologies become available.

While we applaud Intel’s move to bring technology forward and make the advantages of AI readily available across a wide range of computing services, we also understand that our new AI colleagues will still require assistance from NationalNet’s most important asset – qualified professional people capable of interfacing with both the AI tech in our servers and the demands of real world clients seeking comprehensive support from our staff.

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10
Mar
2017

DeepStack Algorithm Cracks Poker As Milestone for Computing Unknowns

by Bill

Carnegie Mellon computer scientists achieved a major new computational milestone with their algorithm DeepStack recently. Now the full analysis in the peer-reviewed journal Science is available to the public.

Artificial intelligence has made previous breakthroughs in other games like Chess where each player has a full understanding of all the game specifics at every moment of the content. However, in a game like poker where key information is missing, bluffing is possible and players can make illogical moves computers have continued to struggle… until now.

Poker is the quintessential game of imperfect information, and with DeepStack, combining recursive reasoning in innovative ways, the algorithm was able to handle “information asymmetry, decomposition to focus computation on the relevant decision, and a form of intuition that is automatically learned from self-play using deep learning” according to its creators.

In a study involving 44,000 hands of poker, DeepStack defeated professional poker players in heads-up no-limit Texas hold’em card tournament play. Obviously poker is just the first of many applications for this kind of computational advancement. As we all live in a world that provides us only a limited viewpoint with an imperfect amount of information available prior to virtually any decision we make in business or personal life, the ability of artificial intelligence to assist humans in navigating difficult choices may soon be a reality.

Here at NationalNet, utilizing new AI to protect client data security, predict data throughput patterns and anticipate bottlenecks that can be further optimized before they occur are potential ways to deploy DeepStack styled technologies, and we are keeping a close eye on their continued development as part of our own vigilant approach to making sure our clients are always holding a winning hand.

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03
Mar
2017

Sometimes Bigger Isn’t Better Than A More Focused Approach

by Bill

If you were on the internet on February 28th 2017, you may have noticed that some of your favorite websites had some major problems. This is because Amazon’s S3 hosting service had a major outage that revealed just how many people use their convenient services. Websites and apps that people use every day and depend on for news or help with organization like Medium and Trello were down, as were other services like the group communications app Slack. S3 is a cloud storage service that many people use to host their website files, including Amazon itself.

According to a report about the incident in Wired Magazine, Amazon was reporting high error rates, mainly on the East Coast, with their S3 service, which prevented the service from functioning as it should. While this isn’t worrying in general because Amazon was able to fix the issues in a relatively short time frame, it does show how the internet can be easily affected when so many people use the same services. Some sources estimate that Amazon hosts at least 1% of the internet, though they won’t say exactly how large they are. However big their stores of data are, you can bet they are huge. Wired reports they have data centers all over the world, but when one goes down, especially one like the East Coast center which is apparently the largest, many popular web technologies are affected. This illustrates why it is so important for businesses to have a hosting company that is really tuned in to your specific needs, to stay competitive.

Personalized hosting from us here at National Net does put you ahead of the pack. When you sign up with us you won’t just be a little dot on the biggest server farms out there, you’ll be a valued client with access to 24/7 customer service and around the clock vigilance and support!

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01
Mar
2017

The Status of Net Neutrality Changing Under New FCC Chairman?

by Bill

Net Neutrality has been a hot button issue over the past few years, as advocates for neutrality have fought to ensure that internet service providers allow equal access to websites big and small, without allowing them to favor one that can pay more, or blocking others. However, Wired Magazine is reporting that the new FCC Chairman who was recently appointed by Donald Trump, Mr. Ajit Patel, doesn’t agree with current net neutrality laws, because he feels they will hold back progress to a faster internet overall. They further report that Mr. Patel seems to think that Net Neutrality also hurts the communications industry as a whole, because with net neutrality, providers aren’t encouraged to invest in infrastructure to improve internet speeds as much, which would ultimately lead to a 5G network as the next step from LTE, where we are now.

 However, the drop in investment was reportedly only 1.3 percent, and according to an analyst at Jackdaw Research, that small amount probably wouldn’t be enough to sway a court against or in favor of net neutrality laws passed under the Obama Administration. Even the telecom companies themselves are split on the issue. Some, like AT&T believe that the Open Internet Order – the main net neutrality law passed in 2015 – has hampered their business and investing power, while others like Verizon have said that it hasn’t had any effect. Even so, companies like AT&T have invested a lot in the past few years to improve and grow fiber optic networks, while Verizon has actually not done much according to the report in Wired.

It’s clear that the internet may change under the oversight of Ajit Patel and you can stay abreast of important internet news through the NationalNet blog, because we are always paying attention to issues that affect our clients and net neutrality is one with very far reaching impact.

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15
Feb
2017

Protecting Digital Communications Becoming Popular

by Bill
Ever since Edward Snowden became a fugitive and revealed the extent to which the NSA was spying on Americans and foreigners alike, people have had a heightened understanding of just how insecure digital communications have become using standard transmission methods. Now, many people who aren’t doing anything nefarious are taking a strong interest in encrypted communications simply because they don’t like the idea of getting spied on by big brother. Adding that demographic to the number of business savvy people who have always sought out secure communication methods to avoid corporate espionage, and the market for a more powerful set of communication tools is clearly on the rise.

One of the products available now is called Signal and was created by Open Whisper Systems. It claims to be a fully encrypted chat app that some say is better than others because it is dedicated to security issues specifically. The app does have a calling feature, but unless you are connected to wifi, it has been known to lack call quality, and video chat has just been a dream until now. Open Whisper Systems announced this week that they are now in beta testing for a video chat feature which will allow people to have face to face conversations over the web, and again they claim it is fully encrypted.

Critics point out that the app requires access to your phone contact list on install, and some believe that Open Whisper itself is aggregating too much sensitive data, making it a target for hacking by governmental spooks or third party hackers. However, its popularity proves a different point – the public is seeking to cling to the last shreds of privacy it can get, and while yottabytes of intercepted data are now being recoded by the NSA and other entities, many are willing to pay to be (or at least feel) more data secure when communicating with others.

Whether you are selling privacy services or want to keep your own data as secure as possible, it’s also important to have secure hosting, which is something that NationalNet provides each of our clients. We help build custom hosting solution for you, and our techs are online 24 hours a day, every single day of the year, to address any concerns you may have. We also offer advanced monitoring for increased security because we understand that our continual vigilance is a big part of your peace of mind online. To learn more, contact us today… via unencrypted telephone, email, encrypted communication or any other means that help you feel the most comfortable.

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06
Feb
2017

Pac-Man Creator Passes Away And Leaves An Enormous Digital Legacy

by Bill

Thanks to innovators like Masaya Nakamura, the guy who invented the game Pac-Man, we have all of the technology we have today. The line to be drawn might not seem clear but it’s easy to see when you think about it just a little bit. Video games were one of the first technologies that people have a huge desire for in their homes. They are part of what led to the development of personal in home computers, so people could play pac-man whenever they wanted and not just when they were at the arcade. From this rose the Internet, because everyone had a desire to become better connected, and the speed of hosting become crucial as gamers sought to minimize latency with many innovative ways to optimize their ping rates.

Video games and other forms of digital entertainment are always pushing the envelope of graphics, sound and technology, and nowadays online games require heavy duty hosting and high powered technology with experts at the helm, which just happens to be what we provide. It is thanks to guys like Mr. Nakamura that we are here today, able to offer you such powerful products that pack a punch whether you are playing highly graphics based games on the internet, or simply playing an online version of Pac-Man. Video games have helped to develop live chatting technology, video chats and even the motion capture filters on your favorite social media apps.

Without gamers, things might be a whole lot different today with the net. Games are one of the reasons that technology has developed to be smaller, more sleek and have higher storage capabilities. Thanks to the innovation of Mr. Nakamura, and those like him who developed games, technology and ideas in the days when we didn’t even have a framework for what they should be like, we now have the capabilities to store, send and access vast amounts of data from just about anywhere in the world. NationalNet, and everyone else who enjoys the connected world we live in owes that yellow dot munching character Mr. Nakamura created a big debt of gratitude worth remembering.

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30
Jan
2017

Higher Quality Content Now Requires Much Larger Storage and Server Needs

by Bill

Seagate has announced that they are now focused on making a new external hard drive that will be the biggest consumer targeted Hard drive released to date. A 16TB product using a helium filled drive, with 12TB and 14TB options in the product line available as well. The company also announced that they would like to have 20TB drives out for public consumption by the year 2020.

What is driving the need for much larger data capacity? There are new technologies, including virtual reality and 4K HD video which require a lot of digital space to hold the much larger final file sizes that end consumers are now downloading. With higher drive storage sizes, users can accept more data and as bandwidth speeds accelerate the storage capacity just a few months ago would become a serious bottleneck for most customers.

Processing data on the server side of the equation is also becoming more important than ever as even the smallest percentage of a speed increase becomes magnified significantly when a user is downloading files that are reach 4 of 5 GB each. NationalNet continues to evolve all of the infrastructure our client’s sites are hosted on to maintain our position on the leading edge of data speed, security and reliability.

If you’ve been searching for a solution for your large data streams, the rise of big data on the personal community side of the market should be a strong catalyst toward doing all you can to maximize your own data efficiency and speed. We are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week every single day of the year – even on major holidays. We don’t take a break so we can ensure that your site and internet properties stay up and running the way you want it to every single day whether you are sending a tiny text file or a massive virtual reality video that requires many Gigs of data to execute effectively.

 

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19
Jan
2017

Even The Hackers Are Getting Hacked

by Bill

Everyone needs secure hosting, including hackers. In fact hackers should be the people who know best how to avoid hacks, and how important it is to work with a secure hosting provider. However, Cellbrite (a well-known company that provides hacking tools) has now reported that they had their own servers hacked recently!

An Israeli company selling products that can be used to hack into mobile devices, Cellbrite has disclosed that they got hacked and had a whopping 900GB of data stolen! Not only did hackers steal the data, they also provided it to all to Motherboard, a popular technology publication which is part of the Vice Media family.

Cellbrite’s products are often utilized by governmental agencies, and while the disclosure suggests the data stolen was mostly logins to the site’s customer accounts where you might login to update your software, nobody has independently confirmed that the hack did not go far deeper as of yet top article. More stunning was the fact that there were actual data releases from seized mobile devices in the leak too, retrieved by Cellbrite customers.

With the world the way it is now, and how dependent we have all become on technology to communicate or to perform the most basic tasks, it is increasingly important that anyone who does business online remain vigilant with regard to the security of their servers online. If a hacking tools company can be hacked, so can you, and while nothing is ever entirely secure, there are many steps you can take to protect your data, starting with choosing a collocated hosting provider that shares your sense of urgency about these issues.

NationalNet security experts review our practices and the measures we have in place to protect client data on a continuous basis. We are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. If you see something, say something, and our security team will immediately take action to safeguard your server, your business and the privacy of your end users. In this day and age, data security is a goal every digital business should aspire to achieve with each and every decision made along the way.

 

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09
Jan
2017

Mobile Internet About To Get Big Boost From Battery Life Improvements

by Bill

When cell phones first became common consumer items it was all about form and signal strength. Flip phones that got more than 3 bars of service were all the rage. Then the iPhone and its competitors took over thanks to feature sets that expanded Mobile to include all kinds of games, productivity apps and data services. Now the next step is happening and if this week’s presenters at CES are right, it will be all about expanding battery life far beyond the few hours most devices offer customers already.

George Zhao, the president of Huawei’s Honor brand spent the majority of his time on stage speaking about the improvements to the Honor 6X smartphone’s battery life. Asus proudly declared that their new ZenFone 3 Zoom features an enormous 5000MaH battery that they claim will last up to 42 full days on standby without recharging. Qualcomm explained the entire design of their new Snapdragon 835 processor (which will be part of many new phones) is designed almost entirely around maximizing battery life in every possible way. HP got in on the act with a new 15-inch Spectre X360 that boasts a bigger battery life as its main leap forward from the previous model.

A survey often touted at CES 2017 claims that battery life improvements are by far the most often requested upgrade of mobile device consumers, coming in at more than double the number of the second place finisher “shatterproof screens.”

“Consumers use these devices all day long,” says Avi Greengart, of Current Analysis, “and are using more of the capabilities—the camera, GPS, background data, streaming.” Snapchat, FaceTime, Pokémon Go and many other aps are chasing greater functionality with little regard for the amount of power they require beyond the needs of traditional phone calls and text messaging. “The camera takes up a larger portion of the battery,” said Randall Grilli, of Asus. “The flash takes up a lot, too, more than people think.”

Others made the inference that the maturation of the app markets and phone functionality are causing manufacturers to focus now on more mundane but perhaps even more important aspects of mobile connectivity. “Devices are mature enough now in other ways that differentiation can shift to things like battery life that have been kept at parity while working on other things,” said Jan Dawson, of Jackdaw Research.”

From a hosting and e-commerce perspective, one thing is becoming abundantly clear. The rise of mobile is still far from over, and the move toward an always on mobile apparatus for consumers is likely to make responsive design, mobile load speeds, CDN services and mobile data security even more essential to the continued health of any every business.

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