Tag Archives: tech

Diaspora* – a new social media platform

Many of you use Facebook. However, with decreasing privacy and the fact that FB own your personal data, many are looking for a new social media platform where control can be retained over your data. Enter Diaspora*.

Diaspora* is a new social media platform based on a federated architecture. This means that you can host your data on any one of many public servers, or run your own. The network handles distribution of posts to your friends in much the same way as email; your posts are delivered to your friend’s server directly, there is no central system. This is great for resilience and it is also great for privacy as only the data you specifically allow to leave your server ever does.

There is no advertising on Diaspora*. It features a nice clean, simple web interface and also a mobile site, Android and iPhone apps, just like Facebook does.

I am currently testing a new community Diaspora* server (or Pod, as they are known) with the view of offering access to it to all my friends so we can all start the migration away from Facebook together. Don’t worry though, Diaspora* allows you to cross-post your status to Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr automatically, if you like. This makes the transition easy to manage as your friends who have not yet made the switch can still see your posts.

If course, you’re welcome to use another Pod. One such public Pod is joindiaspora.com, which is run by the founders of Diaspora*.

IPv6 is here to stay but are vendors taking it seriously?

World IPv6 day has come and gone and many companies worldwide now have a permanent IPv6 presence. ISP’s are now rolling out IPv6 to customers and are restricting the number of IPv4 addresses offered. These moves are welcome to those ready to adopt IPv6 but are vendors stepping up to provide IPv6 enabled devices? My personal experience says that they are not.

I recently contacted Siemens to see if my Giagset VoIP DECT phone would recieve a firmware update enabling it for IPv6. The answer I got was a definite no. This is hardly surprising, the device is a couple of years old. However, the email which i received went on to say that Siemens currently have no DECT VoIP bases that provide IPv6 functionality at all.

In the consumer router market, the story is much the same. There are still only a small number of routers that can suppport IPv6 and those that do often suffer from buggy, incomplete or non-compliant implementations. This makes the IPv6 path a frustrating one for early adopters such as myself. I don’t get the feeling that vendors are seeing IPv6 as important at the moment. I really hope this changes soon.

IPv6 switchover – are corporates taking it seriously?

In the IT world, most people have heard of IPv6 by now. Many Internet-centric companies already have IPv6 connectivity and an IPv6 web presence. Many ISPs are set to start the roll-out of IPv6 to end-users this year. Outside of these companies, however, people seem to have little understanding about IPv6.

In my work as an IT Architect, I see many proposed solutions. Worryingly, it seems many companies are still designing IPv4 only networks to be deployed in 2012 and 2013 with no consideration of how they will provide IPv6 capability, both internally and for internet-facing services. Failing to provide IPv6 capability at the outset could result in a whole host if problems.

Deploying an IPv4-only network now could result in the requirement to re-design in less time than was originally planned for, introducing more cost and work. For companies whose web presence is core to their business, as IPv6-based connections to home users become the norm, loss of revenue could result. Most companies consider email an essential service nowadays. As more organisations switch to IPv6 there may be issues with mail routing. IPv4 addresses will become more expensive and less available in the near future, in fact this process has already started. Growing an IPv4 deployment may become increasingly expensive and difficult because of this.

This issue does not just affect Internet-facing services either. Although it is possible to run a mixed environment, this tends to work better if client PCs run native IPv6 stacks rather than doing translation at the network layer. This means reconfiguring many machines to support dual-stack working or switching to an IPv6 only network internally. All of the main operating systems can handle this fine, it’s embedded devices like network printers and IP ‘phones which may struggle without a firmware update. Many vendors of these type of devices seem to be seeing the IPv6 switchover as a method to force clients to upgrade to newer versions of these devices and hence are not offering firmware updates to provide IPv6 support.

In summary then, companies would do well to consider their roadmap to IPv6 capability sooner rather than later. Indeed, those companies which take this on board now could use this as a strategic edge over their competitors.