Kim Dotcom’s not feeling any love for his own private Internet

Eccentric entrepreneur Kim Dotcom claims to be building a “new private internet” safe from the prying eyes of surveillance communities, but experts say it’s a “preposterous pipe dream.”

MegaNet, expected to launch in 2016, is an encrypted — and allegedly wholly private — peer supported internet. When asked last month to prove whether his network was more than just an idea the mogul told Fairfax Media that it may be just his words now but that “the security community will appraise it and validate this service”.

Unfortunately, the security community has now spoken and they’re extremely sceptical.

“It’s a pipe dream to think that you can fight the national security agencies at their own game,” says Stephen Wilson, managing director of the Lockstep Group.

Remember, this is the brilliant idea where Dotcom is going to use all our smart phones to store encrypted chunks of data for other people.    Read more »


Israeli technology reassures panicked French citizens

Israeli technology did its bit to help reassure panicked French citizens that their loved ones were safe in the wake of the Paris terror attacks

“During the 24 hours after the terror attack, 4.1 million people checked in with friends and relatives using Facebook Safety Check, a technology developed by Facebook Israel’s research and development department,” said a spokesperson for Facebook Israel. “A total of 360 million people received messages that their loved ones were safe.”

Safety Check is a feature that Facebook has activated a number of times in the past, usually for natural disasters. The Paris terrorist attacks are the first time it has been used to enable people to “check in” and let others know they were safe in a terrorism situation.

Remind me again of all the wonderful inventions to help society that were created in Palestine?

Oh yeah, that’s right. One invention and one invention only, the Qassam rocket.

The Qassam rocket gained notoriety as the best-known type of rocket deployed by Palestinian militants, mainly against Israeli civilians…According to Human Rights Watch, Qassam rockets are too inaccurate and prone to malfunction to be used against specific military targets in or near civilian areas, and are mainly launched for the purpose of “harming civilians.”[12] Basil Collier has compared the Qassam rockets to the V-weapons of Nazi Germany, which were used for terror bombing civilian populations during World War II.[13][14]


Eight Qassam launchers, seven equipped with operating systems and one armed and ready to launch, were uncovered during a counter-terrorism operation in northern Gaza. Had it been launched, this Qassam would have targeted Israel's civilian population.

Eight Qassam launchers, seven equipped with operating systems and one armed and ready to launch, were uncovered during a counter-terrorism operation in northern Gaza. Had it been launched, this Qassam would have targeted Israel’s civilian population.

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The thin end of the Internet GST wedge has arrived

I’m not sure how Todd McClay thinks that breaking John Key’s ‘no new taxes’ pledge is going to help National but he has decided to bring in a tax on internet purchases anyway.

The Government is moving to slap the goods and service tax on online service purchases, which will mean a price rise for the likes of subscriptions to Netflix and Apple services.

It is proposing a law change which will require the overseas retailers to be GST-registered and for them to return the tax to the Government – which says it is now missing out on around $40 million a year and growing.

Currently if you buy anything worth less than $400 from overseas you don’t have to pay the 15 percent GST.

“It is about creating a level playing field for collecting GST and putting New Zealand businesses and jobs ahead of the interests of overseas suppliers,” Revenue Minister Todd McClay said.

The Bill was introduced to Parliament today and the Government hopes the law will be in place in October next year.    Read more »


Who you gunna call? Terrorist Busters


imageIt is time for Europe and America and Australia and New Zealand to make the phone call.

Who are they going to call?

Terrorist Busters.

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NZ farmer orders drone strike on killer cows

Killer cows

Well, sort of…

Janina and Justin Slee are using a drone to muster hard-to-reach cattle on their property near Mount Domett, and the technology has revolutionised the way they operate their farm.

After hearing about the drone at a show in Wanaka about six months ago, the couple decided to bite the bullet and try the technology on their own farm.

The move paid off, and Janina is full of praise for the high-tech tool.

“It’s amazing, it musters a whole hillside in a matter of two minutes,” she said.

“It’s just so easy, so quick.”

It will have to be, as those drones don’t have a particularly long flight time.   But it clearly scares the crap out of the cows for now.   Read more »


Face of the day

LeVar Burton as Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Photo / Getty

LeVar Burton as Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Photo / Getty

Blind people can now effectively ‘see’ thanks to a brilliant new invention – glasses that tell wearers what they are looking at.

The glasses, which contain tiny cameras, can identify everything from shop doorways to the contents of a fridge – giving a verbal commentary through a phone app and earpiece.

Read more »

Embracing cannabis and prospering, follow Israel’s lead

Cannabis is being legalised all over the world. And quite contrary to all the reefer madness claims catastrophe has not befallen those states and nations who have legalised.

In fact Portugal is a stand out success story for dealing with drugs.

Israel is considering legalisation at the moment and already leads the world in medicinal cannabis research. Legalisation prospects are inducing a new wave of innovative start ups dealing with cannabis.

TechCrunch reports:

Known for its dynamic tech startups, agricultural innovations, and security solutions, Israel could soon add cannabis powerhouse to the list, thanks to domestic efforts to decriminalize the drug… and a push to use it as a medical export.

Israel is already a leading global player in clinical testing and Israeli growers have been leveraging those clinical trials to produce new strains for decades. These growers have developed unique grow-how to deliver a medical grade product.

“Israeli growers have agreements with companies in USA, Canada, Czech Republic and Australia. Israel has the oldest and largest regulated medical cannabis programs in the world with over 22,000 registered patients. The Hebrew University holds a rich IP bank of cannabis patents. It is easier to conduct cannabis research and clinical studies in Israel than in any other country in the world,” said Saul Kaye, the founder of iCan and CannaTech, a yearly cannabis innovation and investor summit in Israel.

Governments and multinationals are currently flocking to Israel where clinical testing faces fewer hurdles.    Read more »

Surely even the Russians wouldn’t be so stupid as to cut off the Internet?

They can bomb, they can annex and they can do whatever they like invading other non-relevant (non-western!) countries, but if they ever cut off the Internet, the backlash they’ll face will be unprecedented.

You can kill every day, but if you take away our Facebook, it will be the last thing you ever do.

The presence of Russian submarines and spy ships near undersea cables carrying most global Internet communications has US officials concerned that Russia could be planning to sever the lines in periods of conflict, the New York Times reported on Sunday.

The Times said there was no evidence of cable cutting but that the concerns reflected increased wariness among US and allied officials over growing Russian military activity around the world.

The newspaper quoted naval commanders and intelligence officials as saying they were monitoring significantly greater Russian activity along the cables’ known routes from the North Sea to Northeast Asia and waters closer to the United States.   Read more »

Ditch the trains and embrace driverless technologies


While Len Brown clutches at his city rail loop we should be ignoring him and focus instead on driverless technologies.

Most of the time, we are too ambitious in our predictions: 100 years ago, many believed that we would all be zipping around in private helicopters by now. So it is always a pleasant surprise when fictional representations of the future turn out to be too conservative. In the 1990 blockbuster Total Recall, set in 2084, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character hops into a pretty basic driverless taxi, operated by a silly-looking robot. We won’t have to wait that long for the real revolution.   Read more »

How long before they change it?

Trademe has been around for a long time…it is part of the fabric of our society.

But how long have they been around?

Of course you could all rush to Google and Wikipedia to find out that it was founded in 1999.

At sometime they added the graphics for their Text Me service.    Read more »