2007-09-30 17:49:34

German "GI" endorses RFID and wants more

The german Gesellschaft für Informatik (Informatics Society) has held a meeting on transportation and logistics, promoting RFID due to its positive effects on that sector. Effects on the right to privacy remained unnaed.

According to the GI, up to 20 percent of the CO2 pollution caused by logistics could be eliminated using RFID tags in a distributed computing system. The GI imagines a routing protocol between the RFID chips to determine both message and physical paths from source to destination. This is what logistics companies already do using barcodes (packet tracking systems) to some extent.

According to the GI, both the tagged items and messages between the items shall be routed «like on the Internet». For physical routing of the tagged items, this shouldn't be a problem since it would be relatively easy to determine an «AS path» at the packing station, which would mean however that the routing information for the entire planet has to be kept at every packing station. However, aggregation is likely to happen in an adequately numbered system.

Inter-chip routing is however not feasible this way. There is no reason to assume that RFID chip numbers will be in any particular order at any possible point in time, so the average prefix size, assuming packages of 128 pieces are sent at average, would be 289, or 618'970'019'642'690'137'449'562'112, with 96-bit RFIDs. Aggregation would most likely be hard to impossible. But so is keeping a routing table of 619 septillion entries on every RFID chip in the world.

If every of these prefixes consisted of a 96-bit identifier and a 7-bit mask, the amount of memory to be kept on every RFID chip would be 492'581'209'243'648 Petabytes, or 481'036'337'152 Exabytes (481 billion exabytes). With Transflash technology, it is possible to store as much as 8GB on a square centimeter. Such a storage, which would have to save data without refresh cycles, i.e. battery power, for passive RFID chips, would thus have a size of 64'563'604'257'983'430'656 square centimeters, or 6'456'360'425 square kilometers (6 billion square kilometers). This is 673 times the area of China, or 12 times the area of the entire planet (including seas).

Also, privacy related aspects have been left out entirely. It would be desirable to also have a little focus on these issues which have been raised by the Stop RFID campaign. Otherwise, the science of informatics risks to fall to the Wernher von Braun excuse: «Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down, that's not my department!» says Wernher von Braun.

Posted by Tonnerre Lombard | Permanent link | File under: general, news

2007-09-19 22:39:07

Making money with bank-to-bank transactions

Being annoyed again with the long delays it takes to transfer money between accounts at different banks. This becomes even more stupid with the new «transaction preview feature». If the transaction manager is able to determine when a transaction is going to arrive, and to mark this event in a timeline, why couldn't it just book it at that point in time?

The banks claim several things. Some claim that the delay, which is usually about 3 days, is caused by the fact that the requests are processed manually. However, they are usually processed on the first day, and usually this does not take place manually. Another popular excuse is that transactions are collected until some point in time and then synchronized. But that also proves itself bogus fairly simply. Try to create two transactions on two consecutive days: they will arrive on two consecutive days, rather than together.

The real reason is much more simple and not technical at all. For every day that the customer is in possession of the money, the bank usually pays a certain amount of money. However, the possession of the money allows the bank to make profit from it. Thus, the bank artificially introduces a delay before the money is transferred, but after it was removed from the account. Thus, the money is still disposable for profitable purposes, but does not cause any payments to the customer. This can still save a couple of millions of dollars.

Thus, both the incoming and the outgoing bank delay the transfer by one day each. More than that would cause riots along the customers, but one day is already a profitable margin for the additional ressource use. From a purely technical point of view, including accumulation of transactions, the maximum transfer time would be one day at maximum.

Posted by Tonnerre Lombard | Permanent link | File under: general, network

2007-09-10 20:49:36

UDC expels the expellation petition

The UDC campaign for a safer switzerland, demanding expellation of foreigners to their countries of origin, is actually hosted on a 30-day trial Typo3 hosting site.

And as if this wasn't bad enough yet, the trial typo3 hosting provider does not locate its servers in Switzerland – no, it is hosted on servers of a hosting provider in Germany.

What does this say about the credibility of the campaign?

Note: Yes, this is old news, but I didn't take the time to write it down yet.

Posted by Tonnerre Lombard | Permanent link | File under: news, network

2007-09-10 20:00:11

DE TLD moving to a new data center

DeNIC, the registry of the german top level domain DE, has announced to move the servers that keep the database for the TLD to a new datacenter. According to DeNIC, the old datacenter only offered limited potential for an additional growth of the namespace, which is expected by experts.

According to an article on Heise News, around 11 million customers will be affected tomorrow. Outages are not to be expected, DeNIC claims; however, as an expect, I would suggest that it's always better to consider them as potential.

Posted by Tonnerre Lombard | Permanent link | File under: news, network

2007-09-10 18:58:51

IBM joins the OpenOffice.org community

IBM has announced today to join the OpenOffice.org community. As the first contribution into the OpenOffice.org codebase, parts of Lotus Notes are expected to be merged. Also, IBM is planning measures to improve the quality of the OpenOffice.org code base. Also, IBM expects to improve the integration of OpenOffice.org with its own products, which would lead to improved usability.

On the OpenOffice.org website, there is a full press release on the new alliance as well as a collection of Frequently Asked Questions.

Posted by Tonnerre Lombard | Permanent link | File under: news, standards