Category Archives: internet

GitHub Acquires Semmle

GitHub announced (in a blog post written by Nat Friedman) that is is “welcoming Semmle to GitHub”. The acquisition is seen by GitHub as a big step in securing the open source supply chain. Semmle sees it as “a fabulous milestone in a 13-year journey.”

Semmle’s revolutionary semantic code analysis engine allows developers to write queries that identify code patterns in large codebases and search for vulnerabilities and their variants. Semmle is trusted by security teams at Uber, NASA, Microsoft, Google, and has helped thousands of vulnerabilities in some of the largest codebases in the world, as well as over 100 CVEs in open source projects to date.

According to TechCrunch, GitHub did not disclose the price of the acquisition of Semmle. What is known is that Semmle launched yeast year with a $21 million Series B round led by Accel. In total, the company raised $31 million before this acquisition.

Oege de Moor from Semmle wrote: “By joining GitHub we are taking the next step in changing how software is developed, allowing every developer to benefit from the expertise of the top security researchers in the world. I can’t imagine a more fitting recognition of our team’s hard work, or a better opportunity to realize the full potential of the vision and technology.”

According to Semmle, there will be no disruption to existing users of Semmle products. GitHub and Semmle are deeply committed to securing the open source ecosystem, and as part of that commitment, will continue to be available for free for public repositories and open source. Semmle is also going to continue their open source security research. Existing Semmle products will integrate with GitHub’s existing product range.

It seems to me that this is one acquisition situation were nothing will be lost. Semmle’s products, and GitHubs products, are going to be integrated together.

Verizon Launched its 5G Ultra Wideband Network

Verizon announced that it officially turned on its 5G Ultra Wideband network in select areas of Minneapolis and Chicago a week ahead of schedule.

For the first time ever, customers can access a commercial 5G network with the world’s first commercially available 5G-enabled smartphone, the moto z3 combined with 5G moto mod. Customers using Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network in Chicago or Minneapolis could see speeds of up to 1 Gbps.

Starting today, consumer and businesses have a 5G network and 5G-enabled smartphone that makes real-time a reality. Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband technology uses the global standard and new device hardware to deliver advanced capabilities to customers in real-time. While select areas of Chicago and Minneapolis will be the first to experience Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband mobility service, Verizon announced plans in February to launch its 5G service in more than 30 U.S. cities in 2019.

In Chicago, 5G coverage is concentrated in areas of the West Loop and the South Loop, around landmarks like Union Station, Willis Tower, The Art Institute of Chicago, Millennium Park, and The Chicago Theater. Customers will also have 5G Ultra Wideband service in the Verizon store on The Magnificent Mile and throughout The Gold Coast, Old Town and River North.

In Minneapolis, service is concentrated in the Downtown area, including Downtown West and Downtown East, as well as inside and round U.S. Bank Stadium. Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband service is also available around landmarks like the Minneapolis Convention Center, the Minneapolis Central Library, the Mill City Museum, Target Center and First Avenue venues, The Commons, areas of Eliot Park, and the Verizon store in The Mall of America.

I think it is a good idea for Verizon to launch its 5G Ultra Wideband network in areas that typically attract huge crowds of people. Maybe it will reduce the lag that can happen when too many people, in one space, try to connect to the same network.

Why did Verizon launch earlier than planned? VentureBeat reported that Verizon moved its launch up by a week in order to beat South Korea (which planned to launch their 5G network on April 5). Verizon secured itself the “bragging rights” of being the first to launch a 5G network.

Six Hundred and Twenty Two Advertising Partners

If you still think that privacy and data sharing isn’t an issue, then take a look at this…
The other day I was visiting a popular gaming website and up popped the the usual notice about use of cookies. Normally I would dismiss these without a second thought but I  was on a tablet and accidently tapped on the link to their privacy notice. Noodling around, I discovered on this page that they listed all their advertising partners…..and there were SIX HUNDRED AND TWENTY TWO of them.

Here’s just those that begin with “A”.
A1 Media Group, A1platform, Aarki, abilicom, Acuityads, Adacado, Adadyn, Adara Media, Adbalancer, Adblade, ADBOX,Adcash, AdClear, Adclouds, AdColony, Addictive Mobility, Addition Plus, Addroid, AdElement, Adello, ADEX, Adform, AdGibbon BV, adhood, Adikteev, AdKernel, AdLedge,, Adloox, Adludio, AdMaster/LnData, AdMaxim,Admedo, Admetrics, Admixer, Adnami ApS,, Adnetic, Adobe Advertising Cloud, AdPlay, AdPredictive, AdRetarget, Adriver, AdRoll Inc., adrule, Adsniper, Adssets,, Adtelligence, Adtelligent Inc., AdTrader, AdTriba, advanced STORE GmbH, Advanse, Adventive, Adventori, Adverline, Advertserve, Advmaker, advolution.control, Adways SAS, Adzerk, Adzymic, AE Media, Aedge Performance S.L. , AerServ, affilinet, Aidata, Airtory, Akamai, AKTYVUS SEKTORIUS, Alkemics, All In Views LTD, Alooma, Amazon, Amino Payments, Inc., Amobee, Analights, Aniview Inc., Answer Media, AntVoice, APNIC, AppGrowth Inc., Appier, AppLift, AppLovin Corp., AppNexus, Appreciate, appTV, Arbigo Inc., Arrivalist, Art of Click, Artsai, Audience2Media, AudienceProject, Audiencevalue, Aunica, Avocet, Azameo

Recognise many? Adobe, Amazon?

And from the website’s privacy policy, “We share your personal information with our affiliates and with exhibitors, sponsors, media partners, joint venture partners and other third parties.” which can be summarised as “We share your personal information with anyone we like.”

Let me get this straight. I visit one gaming website and my information could be shared with up to 622 other organisations that, really, I know nothing about. Who knows where this data will eventually land?

There’s something very wrong here.

Women Look at Security Cameras photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash.

Internet Use has Plateaued in the United States

The Pew Research Center found that the number of adults in the United States that said they use the internet, social media, own a smartphone or own a tablet computer are nearly identical to the amount who said the same in 2016. Parts of the population have reached near saturation level.

Perhaps that isn’t surprising. It might alarm social media companies who are constantly craving more users. It may also be disconcerting to companies that strive to sell everyone a brand new version of their phone, tablet, or computer every year or so.

Pew Research Center found that there are noteworthy numbers of non-users that are far from reaching the saturation point. Why? One answer is that the ability to use the internet, and own devices, depends on your income level and access.

Pew Research Center found, in a 2015 survey, that 43% of non-broadband users cited costs as the primary reason why they didn’t have broadband at home. The cost could be of the broadband subscription itself, or the cost of a computer. A survey done earlier in 2018 found that six in ten Americans living in rural areas said that access to high speed internet is a problem in their local communities.

This is a big problem, because the cost of internet access appears to be excluding the poor and those who live in rural areas. Those who cannot get online are limited in ways others are not. Today, people use the internet to register to vote, look up information about candidates, set up automatic bill pay, read their local newspaper, find a job, and connect with potential employers via email.

In my opinion, broadband companies, and the companies that sell smartphones and computers, have the potential to reach this excluded group. All they have to do is lower their prices. It would result in equal access to the internet, regardless of a person’s income. Caring about people over profit would benefit everyone.

Image from Pixabay

“Be Internet Awesome” Teaches Kids Digital Safety and Citizenship

Google has created curriculum that can be used by educators and parents to teach their kids how to make smart decisions online. It is called “Be Internet Awesome”, and it aims to teach children the fundamentals of digital citizenship and safety so they can explore the online world with confidence.

“Be Internet Awesome” focuses on five fundamentals in “The Internet Code of Awesome”: Share with Care; Don’t Fall for Fake; Secure Your Secrets; It’s Cool to be Kind; and When in Doubt, Talk it Out.

Share With Care points out that good (and bad) news can travel fast online. It encourages kids to communicate responsibly. Keep personal details about family and friends private. It emphasizes “If it isn’t right to say, it isn’t right to post.”

Don’t Fall For Fake teaches kids to discern between what’s real and what’s fake online. It notes that people and situations online aren’t always what they seem.

Secure Your Secrets also emphasizes privacy. It teaches kids how to safeguard valuable information and helps kids avoid damaging their devices, reputations, and relationships.

It’s Cool to Be Kind is a lesson that I think many people on the internet need to learn. This section of the “Be Internet Awesome” fundamentals informs kids that the internet is a powerful amplifier that can be used to spread positivity or negativity. It encourages kids to take the high road and apply the concept “treat others as you would like to be treated.”

When in Doubt, Talk It Out was designed to help kids understand what to do if they see something online that is questionable, or that makes them uncomfortable. They should talk it out with a trusted adults. This portion of “Be Internet Awesome” notes that adults can support this behavior by fostering open communication at home and in the classroom.

Google has created a video game that pairs with “Be Internet Awesome”. The game is called Internetland, and it can be played directly through a browser via a link that is on the “Be Internet Awesome” website. The game gives kids a safe way to put the key lessons of digital safety into practice. It includes four challenging games.

Educators can download the “Be Internet Awesome” curriculum (which includes lesson plans and classroom activities.) Parents can download the “Be Internet Awesome Pledge”, which can be used to encourage the entire family to review the fundamentals and be safe on the internet.

DreamHost Partners With Jetpack for DreamPress Offering

DreamHost LogoWebsite hosting provider DreamHost offers a wide range of services to meet its customers’ needs. One of those offerings is called DreamPress, DreamHost’s fully managed service for users running WordPress-based websites. While it’s possible to run a WordPress site on DreamHost’s shared and VPS-based hosting solutions, DreamPress is different in that all facets of a user’s WordPress installation are fully managed by DreamHost. This can save time and energy for users who don’t want to deal with all of the updates and maintenance that come with a complex content management system like WordPress.

DreamHost is actively working to improve DreamPress. In a recent e-mail blast, DreamHost announced it’s partnered with Automattic (the company that steers the core development of WordPress) to bring premium features from Automattic’s Jetpack WordPress plugin to DreamPress users:

We’ve partnered with Jetpack to include a free Premium plan — normally $99 per year — with every DreamPress account at no extra charge.

With DreamPress you can level up your site with a powerful hosting environment, custom-built for WordPress. With the addition of Jetpack Premium you also have best-in-class backup and security scanning services, ad-free video hosting and additional WordPress support.


Made by Automattic, experts in all things WordPress, Jetpack also offers additional free features for your WordPress site including a high-speed image CDN, brute force attack protection, hundreds of themes, uptime monitoring and much, much more.

DreamPress services start at $16.95 per month and all DreamPress users will have access to the new benefits provided by DreamHost’s partnership with Jetpack.

NY Attorney General’s Office Calls Time Warner Cable’s Speeds “Abysmal”

Time Warner Cable logo The office of New York Attorney General, Eric T. Schniederman, has sent a letter to President and CEO of Charter Communications, Inc., Tom Rutledge, that describes Time Warner Cable’s speed as “abysmal”. Charter is the new owner of Time Warner Cable, and has rebranded it as Charter Communications.

The letter was published by The Washington Post. It is signed by Senior Enforcement Counsel and Special Advisor Tim Wu and has the State of New York Office of the Attorney General letterhead. The letter points out the problems with Time Warner Cable and notes that the company’s new management has a fresh opportunity to make improvements.

In the letter, it is pointed out that Time Warner Cable promised customers a “blazing fast”, “super-reliable” internet connection. However, customers were experiencing degraded internet performance, including the customers who were using on-demand video services like Netflix, despite the promises from Time Warner Cable that the customers would be able to stream video content reliably and with “no buffering”.

The letter says customers had become frustrated “as movies freeze, websites load endlessly, and games become non-responsive”. The letter also states that “it appears that Time Warner Cable has been advertising it WiFi in ways that defy the technology’s technical capabilities and has been provisioning some of its customers with equipment that simply cannot achieve the higher bandwidths the company has sold to them.”

From the letter:

We recently called on New York customers of major broadband providers to use open source tools to test the Internet speeds they were experiencing. The results we received from Time Warner Cable customers were abysmal. Not only did Time Warner Cable fail to achieve the speeds its customers were promised and paid for (which Time Warner Cable blamed on the testing method), it generally preformed worse in this regard than other New York broadband providers.