Category Archives: Journalism

Data Protection and Privacy

Published 13.06.2011 ‘Features’ Engineering & Technology Magazine

‘You have zero privacy; get over it.’ So said Scott McNeally, chief executive officer of Sun Microsystems back in 1999. For the greater part of last century we have been worried that expansion of technology will mean by default the extinction of privacy.

Dark Corners of the web

Published 18.10.2010 ‘Feature’ Engineering & Technology Magazine

Barely out of its teens, the Web has a plethora of noble achievements as well as a few skeletons hiding in the closet. A shadow is cast by the growth of criminal activity online, dampening spirits and emptying pockets of users worldwide. Network resources are choking under the strain of botnets sending spam and phishing emails. Denial of service attacks and the looming threat of cyberwarfare are fuelling a digital arms race. Fraudsters, identity thieves and extortionists scour home pages and online profiles in search of their next victim. Will the Web survive as a tool of global progress and innovation, or will the Shadownet extinguish its short-lived spark, making life online unbearable? read more

Technology of the Vancouver Olympics

Published 03.02.2010 ‘Cover Feature’ Engineering & Technology Magazine

The faint sound of alpine bells must mean the Winter Olympic Games are set to begin this year nestling between the city of Vancouver and Whistler mountain in the Canadian West. The whisper is, Canada may just have a surprise up its sleeve with a top secret programme funding a small army of scientists and engineers aiming for the greenest ever Olympics.

Manuscripts do not burn

Published 20.04.2009 ‘Gadget Speak’ Engineering & Technology Magazine

“Manuscripts do not burn” proclaimed the devil in Mikhail Bulgakov’s epic tale ‘Master & Margarita’. Well, digital storage devices definitely do, if that’s the solution you favour for retiring old media. There are other ways, however, to effectively delete unwanted data, sanitise hard drives and flash media storage devices.

The Eyeborg man

Published 05.05.2009 ‘Feature’ Engineering & Technology Magazine

The history of technological breakthroughs is littered with simple questions producing groundbreaking answers. In an unremarkable townhouse in suburban Toronto, Canada, one-eyed film maker Rob Spence questioned why, if something as compact as a mobile phone could encase a digital camera, his eye socket couldn’t do the same. His answer was to replace his optical prosthesis for one with a video camera; the result could form the background of a revolution in optical technology. read more

Around the mountain

Published 10.11.2008 ‘Comment is Free’

An old Russian proverb says: “A clever man doesn’t climb a mountain to cross it, he will walk around it.” Today’s endeavours to circumvent internet censorship are much the same. Curious and determined netizens continually find news ways to bypass restrictions for accessing websites. As the “mountain” grows and digital rocks fall to destroy old beaten paths, alternative routes are found and pathways built. And so it goes, the never-ending journey to circumvent the forbidden. read more

Corporate complicity with the Great Firewall

Published 13.08.2008 ‘Comment is Free’

China is strongly criticised for its internet censorship – but it is western technology firms that have provided the tools for the job

Like its precursor, the Great Wall of China, the Great Firewall was constructed to guard China from waves of foreign influence and information intrusion. With the world’s spotlight on China and widespread criticism of its repressive actions, one should not forget that the knowledge and technology used to create the world’s most prominent Big Brother society was designed in the west, often by the very same corporations whose advertisements on TV take up the time between the relay race and the javelin competition. read more

Vaulting the great firewall

Published 05.08.2008 ‘Comment is Free’

Despite recent reports that restrictions will be lifted on some media and human rights websites, one event in which the Chinese are almost certain to win gold medals in is the internet surveillance and censorship race. But journalists do not have to wait for the vagaries of the policy shifts of the Chinese government in negotiation with the IOC. They can easily bypass the restrictions by using techniques that Chinese democracy activists already use, which are highly effective and practically unstoppable. read more

eDoctor’s tips

Published 29.05.2008 ‘Technology on My Desktop’ Engineering & Technology Magazine

If you were one of the unwilling recipients of the Mellisa virus that infected millions of computers around the world in 1999, or the willing reader of the ‘ILoveYou’ email that bore within its content a Visual Basic worm of excellent and elusive engineering, you may know what it’s like to have your computer infected.

iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon

Published 28.05.2008 ‘Books’ Engineering & Technology Magazine

This book is a personal recollection from the designer and sole creator of the Apple I and II personal computers, Steve Wozniak. If you fondly recall what a Varian or a Data General Nova was, if you ever owned a HP 35 and are excited by phone freaking, TV jammers, ham radio, or if you ever wondered where the logo on your iPod was from – this is the book for you.

Big brother is watching you

Published October 2007 Communications Engineer

Imagine teaching Biology to 9th graders and realising that the material for this day’s lesson, be it on HIV or contraception, has been blocked by your friendly ISP’s (Internet Service Provider) web content filter as falling into the ‘pornography’ category of its software. In fact, all websites containing the word ‘sex’ get routinely blocked, be they about online escort agencies or anthropology.