June 2004 Archives

Network Processor Master Thesis


Ioannis Charitakis has published his Masters Thesis online. His research concerns using the IXP1200 as a netwok intrusion detection system.

Unfortunately my ISDN connection at home is a bit to slow to download the full document and read it. I will wait until I am back at the office in Tipperary Institute.

At the NP3 conference in Madrid, several papers were presented on this area. Network intrusion is a growing niche area for network processors and as a community we are indebted to people like Ioannis who share their findings with us.


ISSC 2004 Belfast


I have been quiet busy the past few days preparing for the ISSC 2004 conference in Belfast where I will be presenting some findings from our succesful attempt to model the IXP1200 network processor using an OO language. The OO techniques included developing sequence and class diagrams of the IXP1200. This was very interesting excerise and allows the non network processor expert to quickly ascertain how the NP functions.

I am looking forward to attending this event and speaking with my peers in this area of research.

Network Processor References


My google alert sent me this page the other day.
The page is maintained by Fang Li who is a Doctoral student in Computer Science department at University of Massachusetts Lowell. His area of research is in the field of Network Security.

Network Processor Reference

Planxty Live 2004

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Planxty have release a DVD of one of their reunion concerts which was in vicar street Dublin.

All the old favourites are there as well as some new tunes. The DVD also contains some bonus tracks and a documentary. One of the bonus tracks (Where only our rivers run free), is a favourite of mine as it used to be sung by my Geography/music teacher Paul Kavanagh. He and his wife were part of a succesful group known as McMurrough.

The DVD is excellent and is a must for all planxty fans. The link below links to Christy Moore's website (One of the member of Planxty). At 22 Euro it is a good buy.


1. The Starting Gate 4.38
2. The Good Ship Kangaroo 4.31
3. The Clare Jig 3.14
4. Arthur McBride 3.59
5. Little Musgrave 9.20
6. Vicar Street Reels (2004) 4.21
7. The Blacksmith / Black Smithereens 5.03
8. The Dark Slender Boy 4.37
9. As Christy Roved Out 4.01
10. As Andy Roved Out 5.17
11. The Kildareman’s Fancy 4.15
12. Raggle Taggle Gypsy 5.46
13. The West Coast Of Clare 6.05

Plus 3 bonus tracks and Documentary

Planxty 2004 live - Discography

weblogs.com falls silent


With a flick of a switch on Sunday, Dave Winer shutdown weblogs.com. This came as a surprise to people who had been using his free service.

In an audio message posted late Monday explaining his reasons for the shutdown, Winer cited the financial costs of hosting the sites, technical difficulties in moving the blogs to a new server, stress and personal health issues as the reasons for the sudden shutdown.

Winer, who has offered free hosting to bloggers for the past four years, has promised to make exportable copies of blog contents available to the blogs' owners at their request. He says it will take at least two weeks to provide copies of the blogs' contents.

Wired News: Thousands of Blogs Fall Silent

Linux RoadMaps


It is a sign of the growth of Linux when major technology companies are publishing roadmaps as to how to integrate Linux into your enterprise.

At Tipperary Institute we have adopted Linux into our Labs for many of our courses and with Sun's strategy for Java desktop and star office, it is becoming a reality that large institutions are adopting Linux. One has to only look to countries like China and eastern Europe where Linux is being given serious consideration. In Ireland Beaumont hospital recently moved their IT infrastructure across to Linux. This comprised of over 10,000 pc's.

IT Consolidation: with Linux, from Hewlett Packard - White Papers, Webcasts, and Case Studies - ITPapers

The market for network-optimized processor chips continues to grow.

These chips combine the benefits of reduced instruction set computing (RISC) and complex instruction set computing (CISC), providing capabilities uniquely suited to network edge and access applications.

These products can be viewed to be in direct competition with more traditional network processors which provide a complete solution such as those marketed by Intel and Agere. There is a demand out there however for specialist chips that can complement a companies existing architecure/product.

To that end Mindspeed Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: MSPD), a leading supplier of semiconductor solutions for network infrastructure applications, announced that KEYMILE AG has chosen Mindspeed's Edge Stream Processor (ESP) and complementary EdgeMaker firmware for its circuit-to-packet interworking cards in its next-generation UMUX multi-service access node.


Switches are assuming the role of network medics


As part of the CCNA course that we deliver at Tipperary Institute, we cover switches. Mainly we focus on VLAN creation, membership and intervlan routing. It seems that in the future we will also have to consider virus control.

Security innovations being built into switches are attracting attention from buyers who not long ago focused primarily on feeds and speeds.
Network executives say they need all the help they can get to cope with today's threats. They are eager to use new switch-based security schemes - such as the ability to quarantine viruses and enforce policies - being touted by Alcatel, Cisco and Enterasys Networks, among others.

Switches taking on new security roles

Layer 7 XML routing


Layer 7 routers are now starting to appear on the market.

Sarvega next week is expected to introduce an XML router designed for a WAN, an appliance that could make it easier for companies to integrate Web services across multiple partner networks.

Sarvega's XML Context Router is a gigabit-speed router that operates at Layer 7 as opposed to Layer 3 of traditional routers. The router is designed to integrate with specialized XML security and acceleration technology that Sarvega also develops as does its competitors DataPower, Forum Systems, Reactivity and Westbridge Technology.

"This router takes care of application level quality-of-service, and the underlying IP-routers do packet QoS," says Chris Darby, CEO of Sarvega.

XML router on tap from Sarvega

Fuzzy Logic on a DSP chip


Fuzzy logic doesn't require strange hardware or new programming languages, just a different approach to set membership. Plenty of physical systems, from elevators to boilers, can benefit from fuzzy-logic programming. This article by Byron Miller @ embedded.com explores progamming a commercial DSP chip to create a basic fuzzy-logic controller.

Embedded.com - Fuzzy logic does real time on the DSP

.IE domain to be managed by Comreg.


The .IE domain registry authority (IEDR) which up until now managed the .ie internet domain has been relieved of its absolute autonomy. Last month (May 2004) the Dept of Communications and Marine announced that regulation of the domain would be transferred to Comreg.

Legislation is currently being drafted by the dept to enable this transfer. There are about 40,000 .ie domains registered. A new bill is also being drafted to introduce tough new regulations with regards to the use of the .ie domain. A breach of these regulations could result in a €2000 fine.

Irish Smartcard firm Cardbase accquired by UK company


The role of smartcards in society is growing, Eamonn Kearns for is 4th year project in tbe Bsc in Software developement, wrote an application for GP's and pharmacies to faciliatate the issuing of prescriptions.

Some of my colleagues in Tipperary Institute were involves in projects several years ago to develop smart card apps. The lack of standards at the time, casted a negative light on smart card development.

With the emerging open standards for developing apps using Java, the hurdles of developing apps are starting to look less daunting.

As the market grows companies are trying to accquire expertise and skills. Cardbase is an irish firm that has been acquired by UK smartcard systems firm ID Data for EUR3.42 million (STG2.28 million).

Smartcard firm ID Data buys Cardbase

How to get properly googled


Recently Michael Heraghty wrote an article for the Sunday Business Post about how to get properly googled.

The advice is straight forward but practical. Michael has also published an ebook titled "Website Findability"

The objectives of this book are to teach the reader how to:

- Get top positions in search results on Google and Yahoo
- Massively increase the traffic to your site
- Research and target appropriate keywords and keyphrases
- Use techniques that work with major search engines
- Avoid spam techniques and other forms of "cheating"
- Analyze and understand your site statistics

Website Findability: Book on Search Engine Optimization (e-Book format)

Extreme programming for embedded systems


Upperchurch - Extreme programming is a hot topic at Tipperary Institute, until now I allways assoiated XP with Java Apps for the Enterprise or desktop.

Dan Pierce at embedded.com shares some techniques that have served him well translating XP to the world of embedded systems programming.

He reviews XP under the following main activities

1. Planning
2. Design.
3. Coding
4. Testing

One of the main findings is that it's a tenet of XP to expect to tailor the process for the peculiarities of each environment. Such tweaking is relatively straightforward, so developers can use XP on embedded systems and still achieve XP's overall goals.

Embedded.com - Extreme programming without fear

How the Wireless Frontier will be won


An experienced venture capitalist Francis McInerney describes his view of the wireless future, and says that the CFO stuff is much more important than the CTO stuff, even for WISPs.

How the Wireless Frontier Will Be Won

Avica - New technology firm opens in Thurles


The Shannon Development Technology centre building in Thurles will have a new resident, this is great news for the town and Tipperary Institute.

The availability of a highly skilled, technology-focused workforce, especially from the nearby Tipperary Institute was a deciding factor for its location

THURLES, CO. TIPPERARY, IRELAND – 9 June, 2004 – Digital cinema technology and services leader, Avica Technology Corporation, formally announced the opening of its European operations headquarters today in Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

From this new location and via its Avica Europe subsidiary, Avica will conduct additional software development efforts to support the Avica FilmStore™ family of products for the preparation, distribution and screening of Digital Cinema content. Avica’s industry-leading suite of software complies with requirements set forth by the major Hollywood studios and has been used for over
90,000 digital cinema screenings worldwide including recent international blockbusters Shrek II and The Day after Tomorrow.

Download file

Visitorville - Web traffic Analysis meets the Sims


Thurles- What happens when you cross the Sims with boring Webtraffic access logs.

Answer: VisitorVille

Now you can watch your weblogs interactively and enjoy the experince.

The code is pasted to your web pages and an application runs on your desktop PC. The price is 30 dollars per month.

The demos are mindblowing and where an instant hit with my web guru colleagues in Tipperray Institute

Acoording to the company

"VisitorVille is a cutting-edge program that takes a radical new visual approach to web analytics. VisitorVille makes data mining simple and accurate, easily performing tasks that are impossible to accomplish using traditional web analytics solutions.

VisitorVille provides visual, intuitive insight into your web site's success. It instantly shows you traffic patterns, advertising success (PPC & SEO), visitor demographics, and how real people interact with your site in real time. It answers the critical questions that you (and your colleagues) have about the effectiveness of your web site and online marketing campaigns.
VisitorVille: Web Site Intelligence for Creative Thinkers. Visitor Analytics - Web Site Statistics - Traffic Monitoring - Clickstream Analysis - Live Help.

80% of WiFi networks are insecure


After completing the Cisco Wireless Fundamental Instructor course earlier in May 04, we were made very aware how insecure a WiFi network is.
For simplicity reasons the access points by default are very open, and few installers bother to change this.

According to a report from global wireless security company Red-M, most global businesses are at risk because they have not secured their wireless infrastructures.

The six-month study of 100 companies across the globe, including large multinational corporations covering a range of industry sectors, found that 80 per cent of corporate networks are accessible from outside their buildings.

Two thirds of banks, 60 per cent of financial services institutions and all education institutions leaked data, the study claimed.

vnunet.com Four-fifths of networks bleeding Wi-Fi data

USA Feds want e-voting source code disclosed


Thurles - After the debacle in Ireland about elecxtronic voting and the lack of and Audit trail etc. It comes as no surprise for me to read that in the USA

DeForest Soaries, chairman of the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), said disclosing the source code--the line-by-line instructions that comprise an electronic voting machine's software--would help to restore public trust in the elections process. Vendors should not "have the right to keep this source code a secret," Soaries told a dinner gathering of Maryland election officials.

Feds want e-voting source code disclosed

New €5 million Limerick Broadband Launched


Fri 4th June, Limerick, Ireland - Dermot Ahern, T.D., Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, today formally switched-on the new Limerick Broadband network in the city.

The new network consists of 42 kms of high speed fibre running through the city centre and its environs. Built at a cost of €5 million, it has been delivered on time and on budget.

Limerick Broadband (Metropolitan Area Network) is part of the national 70 million Euro rollout of high speed communications in 25 key towns and cities across the State. This national broadband initiative is 90% funded by the Government under the National Development Plan 2000-2006, and is co-funded by the EU under the European Regional Development Fund. It is in partnership with the Shannon Broadband partners - Shannon Development, Limerick City Council and Limerick County Council.

Minister Ahern expects shortly to announce the appointment of a company to manage and sell on the communications links nationally to telecommunications companies and Internet Service Providers.

Hopefully this company will realise the full potential of this network to support both business and the community

- Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources | An Roinn Cumarsáide, Mara agus Acmhainní Nádúrtha.

Dublin, Ireland - Speaking at the launch of a parental guide for Children and Mobile Phones, the Minister said:

"To protect Irish children I think we need to go beyond the present degree of protection - we need a national register of 3G phones. A national register of picture phones has proven impractical by virtue of the fact that we already had millions of GSM handsets in existence when picture-phones became available. But 3G is different."

This may introduce some logisitical headaches for mobile phone operators, as prepaid phones do not require any form of ID, if these phones are being purchased as gifts, the registration process may be complicated.

-Communications, Marine and Natural Resources | An Roinn Cumarsáide, Mara agus Acmhainní Nádúrtha

Wireless Market Expanding for Irish Broadband


Irish Broadband specialists in broadband wireless Internet access, announced that it has been awarded nine licences by ComReg under Phase 2 of the FWALA 3.5GHZ licensing scheme.

The new licences are for Athlone, Arklow, Ennis, Kilkenny, Letterkenny, Newbridge, Portlaoise, Wexford and Carlow.

Irish Broadband, Media Centre, Press Releases

Eircom to offer wireless access to their DSL exchanges


At the broadband conference in Tipperary Institute on Wed 2nd of June I learned that Eircom are about to launch a wireless product.

They will offer Line Of Sight to their DSL enabled exchanges, this should help to overcome the 5Km limits imposed by DSL. Unfortunately I do not have Line Of Sight to the DSL enabled exchange in Thurles, as Upperchurch is a village surrounded by hills.

I am doing some research into builidng a solar powered antenna unit that would be able to point into Thurles and down into the village. This may be the incentive I need to do some more work on this project.

Siliconia - from The Alps to the Wadi


I came across this website the other day while reading an article from wired (1998).

The site claims to be the the definitive collection of Siliconia on the Web. Siliconia are appropriations of names beginning with "Silicon" by areas outside Silicon Valley. A Siliconium can be promoted by local boosters or it can be assigned to an area in a press account. An ideal Siliconium will capture something unique about the regional character and when first encountered will bring a fleeting smile.

Ireland was mentioned under Silicon bog, but I did not know that there was a Silicon Wadi


Webalizer a free Access log analyser


I have been experimenting with a few different access log analysers.

My requirements are that

1. Its free
2. Provides DNS resolution
3. Runs on Windows

To date the best one that I have come across from an ease of use point of view is Webalizer

The program is less than 1Mb and has the option to resolve IP addresses to DNS names.

The reporting is comprehensive and can be tweaked using config files.

The program runs from the DOS prompt and you can specify how many threads you want it to use.

Great Programmers are assembly language experts


Jack Gannsle discusses on embeeded.com whether Randall Hyde's statement "Great Programmers are assembly language experts"

My colleagues at Tipperary Institute who teach Computer Architecture and Computer Systems Hardware would agree with some of his findings.

From programming the Intel IXP1200 Network Processor which uses a hybrid of C and Assembler I found myself nodding with agreement several times, while reading this article.

Assembler programmers have an obsession with performance and constraints that are often unheard off by Java and Visual Basic devlopers.

Since the introduction of J2ME, programmer writing apps for mobile phones have suddenly become aware of these constraints. As a number of our students found out while developing their third and fourth year projects

Jack goes one step further than Mr. Hyde. He maintains that you should not structure your high level source code like assembly language, and never think in assembly when cranking C/C++ code. But for time-critical sections do examine the generated code. Look for simple optimizations, be wary of calls to runtime routines. Always instrument ISRs and other performance-bound functions to measure their performance.

Embedded.com - Some assembly required

Apparent launches Network Intelligence Tool


Our students at Tipperary Institute in year 3 Computer Networks of the National Diploma in software development are taught to use ping, SNMP and traceroute to discover where the problems are in the network.

Internetweek.com reports on a solution from Apparent.The idea behind AppareNet is to look at the infrastructure the way an application would. Using a probe application, you send a synthetic packet train to the IP address being tested, and the probe creates a mathematical construct showing what the network "looks like", segment by segment -- how large a pipe and how full it is at the time. The kind of detail that AppareNet provides is ideal for network troubleshooting, as well as ensuring QoS for SLAs ASAP.

Internet Week > E-Business > Apparent Networks: Not Just Network Analysis, But Intelligence > May 13, 2004

Security Flaw in Linksys Wireless router


Alan W. Rateliff had reported a security flaw with the LinkSys WRT54G wireless router

He has discovered that even if the remote
administration function is turned off, the WRT54G provides the administration web page to ports 80 and 443 on the WAN.

This allows remote users to attempt guessing the passwords using brute force methods, even though you the administrator think that this type of access is not possible.

He reported this to LinkSys (along with a number of other non-security
related issues) on April 28 and so far has received no reponse addressing this, and no
updated firmware has yet appeared on their firmware page

A number of people have said to be recently that they have not been happy with Linksys since the accquistion of Cisco due to changes made to some of the Linksys equipment, I cannot comment from my own experience but the voice of disquiet appears to be growing.

Linux being adopted into some College curriculums


Brian Harvey from Berkeley states that
"We tell our students that the software they'll use throughout most of their career hasn't been written yet, so they'd better learn the general principles and learn how to learn details as they go along, not feeling that they're limited to the tools they use in our courses,"

At Tipperay Institute we adopt the same philosophy, Linux is covered in our practical labs for various subjects such as Operating Systems, Data Communications and Computer Networks. But we expect the students to be able to adopt to whatever Operating Systems that will evolve in the future.

It is interesting to see that Marist college in New York is expanding its Linux curriculum and will be offering a new class in "open source development methodology,"

I will watch with interest to see if these more focussed type courses will be accepted by industry.

As a third level institution we have to accept that the software and hardware industry is made up of both Open source and proprietary standards. Therefore our students need exposure to both the Microsofts and GNU licensed apps of this world.

Sony clie to be withdrawn from international markets


My colleague Bernie GoldBach will be somewhat miffed to see that Sony is expected to announce that it plans to stop selling its Clié handheld anywhere except Japan.

Bernie has being making good use of the Sony Clie PEG UX-50 whether it is capturing digital content, reading ebooks or surfing using the wireless nic.

Eircom now offering Satellite access to the net


At the Broadband conference today in Tipperary Institute, Eircom were launching their sat access product. This is being offered by Media Sat. Media sat have been in business since 1998 and are now an eircom official satellite partner (since 27th May 2004) . They too offer a number of options with different pricing Models

Top of The Tones - Ringtones now have their own chart


From the variety of tones that emit from our open plan office, I was not surprised to read that ring tones are to have their own
chart in the UK.

Music industry association the Mobile Entertainment Forum and KPMG have launched a fortnightly top twenty chart for downloadable mobile phone ringtones.
The MEF Official UK Ringtones Chart is the first chart to be compiled from confidential data provided by ringtone licensees and is collated by KPMG. Participating firms include Amplefuture, Buongiorno/Vitaminic, Infomedia, Musiwave, Opera and Phonefurniture.

The first artist to be number one in the new chart is Eamon, with a ringtone taken from the former number one single "I don't want you back."

The predictions are that by next year that ringtone revenue will surpass sale of singles.

The popularity of ringtones is a prime of example of micropayments. If you can convince some one to spend 1 euro per week and scale this across a teenage market your are certainly on to something big.

despamming your movable type weblog using mt-blacklist


The price of maintaining a weblog is spam. Eventhough this weblog is in its infancy it has been subjected to various spam messages.

I am now using mt-blacklist (http://www.jayallen.org/projects/mt-blacklist/) to combat this problem and it seems to be working.

The install was fairly painless the only requirement being that you use movable type 2.6.

After install it was necessary to download the latest spam list and then scan all entries. It detected the comment that contained spam and with 1 click they were removed.

In future any spam comments will be denied (hopefully). The system has an update feature where you can update the centrally hosted master list with the latest spam that by passed the filtering process.

WLAN vendors disagree over methods


WLAN vendors spar over methods- NWFUSION.COM

Wireless LAN equipment vendors drew sharp contrasts among themselves in the spirited debate of Network World's Wireless LAN Showdown yesterday.

At the CeBit America trade show in New York, four vendors shot holes in each other's arguments while struggling to put forth their own distinct visions of how wireless networking should be done. The result was a clear divide between the two established wired-network vendors, Cisco and Extreme Networks, and the two wireless start-ups, Airespace and Aruba Wireless Networks."

The above report is all to familiar, as companies are jockeying for position in this rapidly expanding market.

Security issues were raised especially at the start of an installation where it seems both employees and outsiders are hell bent on breaking the network. Given the statistic that 60 - 80 % of security breaches are an "inside job" this does not surprise me.

What was surprising from this article was the fact that some companies though that a site survey was not necessary. In my opinion a wireless site survey is essential or else you are heading for trouble "Fail to plan and you are planning to Fail" springs to mind.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from June 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

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