Breakfast Briefing: DARPA's 100Gbits/sec wireless, Raspberry Pi garage opener, Apple Foursquare deal

18 Dec 2012
Breakfast briefing

In today's tech news round-up: a high-speed wireless internet breakthrough and much more

Good morning. Today's tech digest includes a wireless technology that could alter broadband rollout, how to open a garage door with a Raspberry Pi and why a pen maker faces trouble over Sky name.

100Gbits/sec wireless on horizon

Extreme Tech explains how US military research scientists at DARPA are working on a wireless technology that could provide 100Gbits/sec links over distances of 120 miles – a project that could potentially revolutionise broadband provision in rural areas.

The article explains that the chief goal of the project is to overhaul the communications networks for troops and equipment deployed in war zones such as Afghanistan, where networks are currently groaning under the weight of information from drones, satellite reconnaissance, military communications and all the associated hardware. However, if it proves successful, the technology could prove useful for ISPs trying to get faster speeds to widely dispersed customers. Who needs fibre?

Raspberry Pi turned into garage remote

The Raspberry Pi was designed to be super hackable and has already been put to a wide range of uses, such as saving you getting out of the car. As Hack a Day reports, one of its readers has rigged a system that combines the voice control technology of Siri with a Pi motherboard to create an automatic garage door opener.

"On the control side of that mechanical relay is a Raspberry Pi board," Hack a Day reports. "This seems like overkill but remember the low cost of the Raspberry Pi and the ability to communicate over a network thanks to the Wi-Fi dongle it uses. We think it’s less outrageous than strapping an Android phone to the opener."

Apple in talks for Foursquare mapping deal

When it comes to mapping, Apple can use all the help it can get. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company is in talks with geolocation company Foursquare over a data sharing deal that would see Apple receive details on local businesses and services as part of its plan to compete with Google Maps.

"Foursquare develops a popular mobile app that helps people find local places and tells their friends when they are at venues like bars and restaurants," the WSJ reports. "It has also amassed business listings, and collects data about the relative popularity of places as well as user-generated tips about them that could help Apple's mapping service stand out."

Iran cries foul over simple cyber-attack

Security firm Sophos reports how the Iranian authorities have found a file-wiping piece of targeted malware on their systems.

Although the security company confirmed the payload of the attacks was to wipe data from D:, E:, F:, G:, H: and I: drives, the source of the attacks is less clear. Almost childlike in its simplicity, the attack is far removed from the sophisticated nature of previous weapons such as Stuxnet.

“What is less apparent is why Iran considers this malware to be targeted and, if this malware is indicative of the sophistication of their adversaries, why they are concerned at all," Sophos said.

Digital pen maker pulls product after threat over Sky name

Lawyers for BSkyB have taken action against wireless digital pen maker Livescribe for having the temerity to use the word "Sky" in a product title, with the broadcasting company claiming the device breaches its trademark. Livescribe has pulled its Sky Wi-Fi digital pen after both the manufacturer and retailer Dixons were sued by BSkyB.

"While Livescribe does not offer any goods or services similar to those of BSkyB, out of an abundance of caution we have instructed our distributors and resellers in the UK to stop selling the Livescribe Sky Wi-Fi smartpens in the interim while we investigate the matter," the company said in a statement seen by The Guardian. Not an ideal situation for the company in the run-up to Christmas. Watch out if you're working in the cloud – you could be next.

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