Okay, today was a really busy day at The Register, with three points of interest security-wise: a review of Schneier's Beyond Fear (which I still haven't gotten around to order due to sheer lack of time) and new security fixes from the Microsoft and (get this) Firewall-1 camps. Time to update, folks...
3G Pushed By Moto... To Q3
Motorola popped up in the news a lot today, following its announcement of four 3G phones and three Push-To-Talk nuisances (both links via Phone Scoop, which was the only site that posted both news items). Interestingly enough, we won't see any of the 3G phones until Q3 (and later, 2005 being the most likely delivery date given Motorola's track record), but the Push-To-Talk ones are supposed to be out by Q2 - which is a sure indication of how bad carriers want to try to duplicate Nextel's success.
Network Attached Storage on the Cheap
I've spotted an interesting trend over the past few days - more and more vendors are coming out with Ethernet-enabled drives and/or enclosures like Iomega's Network Hard Drive, which has both USB 2.0 and Ethernet ports.
A colleague (hi Luís!) tipped me off to Ximeta (Google), who apparently developed the base technology (they call it NDAS) and is licensing it to third parties (the Iomega disk is a heavily rebranded version, but Iomega does not support Mac OS X or Linux, so non-Windows users might want to take a look at Ximeta first - it's being sold in Portugal).
These are essentially network "block devices", in the sense that these things use a lightweight protocol to carry disk transactions over Ethernet. You install a driver on your PC or Mac that makes the drive look like a normal, directly attached drive and provides a small client to control the disk. So there's no TCP/IP, no NFS or Samba, and very little configuration (if at all) is required.
The drawback is that only one machine can write to the disk - all other machines on your network can only read from it (oh, and you really should use a relatively platform-neutral filesystem like FAT32). Since the three or four variants I've seen apparently use the same technology, this seems to be a popular approach, but it is still an essentially proprietary one - I just hope the protocol has decent error-checking and proper "removable disk" support...