Think Your ISP is Slow?

September 10, 2009

Retuers, via Yahoo!, reports that a South African IT company has found that it can transfer files between offices faster by using an airborne carrier than by using the services of SA Telkom.  The carrier used in the transfer between Unlimited IT’s office near Pietermaritzburg to its office in Durban was an 11-month-old pigeon named Winston.  Winston covered the 80 km distance in one hour and eight minutes with a data card attached to his leg.

Including downloading, the transfer took two hours, six minutes and 57 seconds — the time it took for only four percent of the data to be transferred using a Telkom line.

There is a serious bandwidth shortage to, from, and within South Africa, which has the continent’s largest economy; and what capacity is available is very expensive.  (Apparently the transfer by  Winston was cheaper, as well as faster, even including the cost of bird seed.)  There are some projects underway to provide new capacity, but these of course take time.

The story would not really be complete without the classic tag line:

Telkom could not immediately be reached for comment.

Perhaps it just took the inquiry too long to get through.

Apple Updates QuickTime

September 10, 2009

Apple has released a new version, 7.6.4, of the QuickTime media player for Mac OS-X and Windows.  This update addresses four different security flaws, some of which could be exploited for remote code execution.   The new version should be available via Apple’s Software Update function; alternatively, you can download the installer directly from this page.  You may need to de-select an iTunes download bundled with the update.

(Note that Apple has one of those “too clever by half” sites that attempts to identify your system and only offer you the version for what it thinks you have.  This means, for example, if you want to download the Windows version from a Linux machine, you will need to “spoof” your browser’s User Agent identification string.  The Firefox extension, “User Agent Switcher“, is handy for this.)

I recommend installing this update as soon as you conveniently can.

Mozilla Updates Firefox

September 10, 2009

The Mozilla organization has released a new version of the Firefox browser, 3.5.3.  This update fixes several security issues, three of which are rated as Critical. Versions for all languages and platforms can be downloaded here; the new version should also be available via the automatic update mechanism (Help / Check for Updates from the main menu); you must have sufficient privileges to write to the installation directory to use this.  The Release Notes have more information.  I recommend installing the new version as soon as it’s convenient to do so.

For those who have not yet made the upgrade to the 3.5.x versions, there is a new version 3.0.14 that incorporates the security fixes.  The 3.0.x series will only be supported until January, 2010, so I suggest you plan to upgrade to 3.5.x before too long.

%d bloggers like this: