The Google File System makes NSA’s hack blatantly illegal and they know it

nsa_google_snoopThe latest Edward Snowden bombshell that the National Security Agency has been hacking foreign Google and Yahoo data centers is particularly disturbing. Plenty has been written about it so I normally wouldn’t comment except that the general press has, I think, too shallow an understanding of the technology involved. The hack is even more insidious than they know.

The superficial story is in the NSA slide (above) that you’ve probably seen already. The major point being that somehow the NSA — probably through the GCHQ in Britain — is grabbing virtually all Google non-spider web traffic from the Google Front End Servers, because that’s where the SSL encryption is decoded.

Yahoo has no such encryption.

The major point […]

Mainframe2 runs super-powerful Windows apps in the cloud

Screen Shot 2013-10-15 at 10.50.39 PMMy friend Nikola Bozinovic (say that three times fast) is a very sharp software developer originally from Serbia who has, over the years, worked for most of the usual suspect American software companies. He is also the guy who restored from a grotty old VHS tape my film Steve Jobs — The Lost Interview. And as of this week he’s the CEO of Mainframe2 (now called Frame — Bob) , an exciting startup strutting its stuff at the DEMO conference in Santa Clara. Mainframe2 claims it can put almost any Windows application into the cloud, making apps usable from any device that can run a web browser supporting html5. […]

The Secret of iOS 7

airplay1The Innovator’s Dilemma, a 1997 book by Harvard professor Clayton Christensen, made the point that successful companies can lose their way when they pay too much attention to legacy products and not enough attention to new stuff. They are making so much money they either don’t see a competitor rising up or are too complacent to feel threatened. In either case the incumbent generally loses and the upstart (usually one of many) generally wins. The best way for successful companies to avoid this problem is by inventing the future before their competitors do.

We see this pattern over and over in high tech. Remember Lotus? Remember Word Perfect? Remember Borland? And it’s not just in software. […]

What if Marissa Mayer went to jail?

Dai SuganoWednesday at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer presented her company’s side of fighting the National Security Agency over requests to have a look-see at the data of Yahoo users. It’s a tough fight, said Mayer, and one that takes place necessarily in private. Mayer was asked why tech companies had not simply decided to tell the public more about what the U.S. surveillance industry was up to. “Releasing classified information is treason and you are incarcerated,” she said.

Go directly to jail?

No.

How would that work, exactly? Would black helicopters — silent black helicopters — land at Yahoo Intergalactic HQ and take Marissa Mayer away in chains? Wouldn’t that defeat the […]

Google ChromeCast — Fabulous product or fabulous demo?

chromecastYesterday Google announced a product called ChromeCast — a $35 HDMI dongle that’s essentially YouTube’s answer to Apple TV. While the event was more Googlish than Applesque (the venue was too small, the screens were too small, the presenters weren’t polished, and as a result the laughs and applause didn’t come) the product itself was astonishing — or appeared to be.

The press today picked-up on the most obvious headline item in the announcement — the $35 selling price which drops to $11 if you factor in three months of free Netflix per dongle even for existing Netflix customers. That’s Google attaching an $8 bill to every ChromeCast — something Apple would never do.

But […]