Lost Packets: Networking news and trivia

Google Earth sends blips on terror radar

Google Inc. has come under fire by two members of the Dutch parliament. Frans Weekers and Aleid Wolfson think the popular search engine company’s new feature, Google Earth, could help would-be terrorists by providing aerial photos of potential targets like government buildings and nuclear reactors. The free mapping program was launched this year and uses overlapping satellite photos that zoom in from space to any spot in the world. The photos come from a variety of sources. Some are not very detailed, but others display features of one’s home. A spokesperson for Google said the benefits of the software “far outweigh any negatives from potential abuse.”

HP allies with The Force for game design

In a multi-million dollar deal announced last month, Hewlett-Packard Co. will be providing high-powered computers to Lucasfilm Ltd., the company behind the Star Wars and Indiana Jones trilogies. The deal includes 1,000 HP workstations to be used at Lucasfilm facilities in San Francisco and Singapore. In addition to the workstations, HP is providing high-end data storage products and services to help run Lucasfilm’s computer network. The deal marks the first time HP products will be used to design video games, but it’s not the first time HP has entered the Hollywood arena. Last year, it formed a partnership with Warner Bros. to digitally restore old movies and worked with Dreamworks on some of its computer-animated films.

China wall can’t contain burst of bloggers

Although China is known for its media censorship and cracking down on Internet content, the country is having a hard time gaining control over blogging. The Asian country boasts 14.2 million bloggers and a new blog is created every second. Blogs, which are personal Web logs, have grown in popularity in China with many local start-ups wanting a piece of this emerging market. Bokee, a Chinese blogging company launched in 2002, has over two million subscribers and hopes to be the first Chinese blogging company to be listed on the Nasdaq. Even companies like Microsoft and Google are clamouring to offer blog services to opinionated Chinese Internet users. Launched only four months ago, Microsoft’s MSN Spaces has one millions users in China. China is the second-largest Internet market behind the U.S. with forecasts of 120 million Internet subcribers by year’s end.

Cisco space game tests wireless wizardry

It’s time to put your networking and wireless thinking caps on with Cisco’s new educational game, Wireless Explorer. This new game, which became available on Cisco’s Web site last month, tests networking knowledge and wireless skills for technical professionals. Wireless Explorer tests networking professionals on their wireless knowledge and lets them develop their wireless skills while ensuring friendly space aliens have wireless communication throughout their starship voyages. Scoring is based on individual’s and teams’ succcessful site survey strategies, deployment skills and network maintenance. Wireless Explorer is one of six games available on Cisco’s CCNA Prep Centre site to help network professionals get Cisco Career Certifications. Other games help users gain skills in such areas as security and building Storage Area Networks (SAN). For more information, log in at www.cisco.com/go/prepcenter.

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