Jamboard by Google is a 4K digital collaboration whiteboard that lives in the cloud.

Google's Jamboard

It’s hard to recall today, but being able to edit a document at the same time as others was a transformative feature for Google’s suite of online office apps. That feature debuted a decade ago, though; these days, it’s something most of us probably take for granted. And as useful as real-time collaboration is in Docs and Sheets, it’s not as organic as throwing ideas up on a physical whiteboard. So, in a bid to evolve the way we work once again, Google is unveiling Jamboard, a cloud-connected digital whiteboard that lets teams collaborate together no matter where they are.

 

At its core, Jamboard is basically just a 55-inch 4K display that you can use like a typical digital whiteboard. You can sketch out your ideas with a stylus for a small conference room full of coworkers. But what makes it quintessentially a Google product is its cloud connectivity. Whatever you draw on the device — which the company calls your “jam” — gets saved to your Drive folder automatically. You can pull in content from the web or other Google apps to buoy your ideas.

Most importantly, there are multiple ways for colleagues to collaborate on your work in real-time. Remote teams can use their own Jamboards to tune into and contribute to your sessions as ifGoogle's Jamboard they were right next to you. You can also pipe your jam to a Hangouts call, allowing you to potentially broadcast it worldwide. And there are companion apps for Android and iOS that allow colleagues anywhere on the planet to follow along. If you have an iPad or Android tablet, you’ll be able to take advantage of all of the editing tools available to Jamboard devices. Phone collaborators, on the other hand, will be able to see everything going on and input data. (You can also pipe your jams to the web, but there’s no online editor yet.)

 

The Jamboard itself basically looks like an oversized Nexus 10, right down to the thick bezels and the webcam above the screen. There’s a small tray at the bottom for the passive stylus and eraser, right below the downward-firing speakers. You can mount it to a wall, just like any other flatscreen TV, or you could opt for the stand that sits atop four large caster wheels, which makes it easy to move about your office. There are USB and HDMI ports along the side of the Jamboard (yes, you can use it as a standard 4K display), along with volume controls and an input select button right behind the bottom-right corner.

In many ways, Jamboard is a physical extension of Google’s office suite. But it’s also a way for the company to promote freeform brainstorming without tying users to specific apps. “From the beginning… we were putting people in sort of productivity boxes from the start, you had to choose right away, are you going to use Docs, a spreadsheet, or a slide deck,” G Suite product director Jonathan Rochelle told Engadget. “We thought that might somehow limit creativity.”

 

Google's JamboardAlthough the Jamboard’s stylus looks like a fat crayon, it’s capable of drawing lines up to a fine 1 mm. There’s also a round eraser that also helps to clear off smudges from the screen. Both of those devices are passive, meaning you won’t have to worry about battery life or even pairing them. Any stylus-like device will let you draw on the Jamboard, and just like a real whiteboard, you can also use your finger to erase things as well.

In my brief hands-on time with the device, I was impressed with the responsiveness of the stylus, which felt almost as fast as drawing on a real whiteboard. Jamboard is capable of detecting up to 16 touch points at once, so you and a few colleagues will be able to use the screen at once. Clearly, Google is targeting the same market as Microsoft’s Surface Hub, but it could be even more appealing to companies already tied to Google’s apps.

Google plans to release Jamboard for less than $6,000 in the first half of 2017 for G Suite customers. The company has already started testing the device out with big companies like Netflix, Spotify and Instrument, and is accepting signups for an early adopter program for companies who are eager to start jamming sooner.

Friday’s Dyn DDoS Attack That Crippled The Internet

DYN DDoS Attack

FRIDAY MORNING IS prime time for some casual news reading, tweeting, and general Internet browsing, but you may have had some trouble accessing your usual sites and services this morning and throughout the day, from Spotify and Reddit to the New York Times and even good ol’ WIRED.com. For that, you can thank a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) that took down a big chunk of the Internet for most of the Eastern seaboard.

This morning’s attack started around 7 am ET and was aimed at Dyn, an Internet infrastructure company headquartered in New Hampshire. That first bout was resolved after about two hours; a second attack began just before noon. Dyn reported a third wave of attacks a little after 4 pm ET. In all cases, traffic to Dyn’s Internet directory servers throughout the US—primarily on the East Coast but later on the opposite end of the country as well—was stopped by a flood of malicious requests from tens of millions of IP addresses disrupting the system. Late in the day, Dyn described the events as a “very sophisticated and complex attack.” Still ongoing, the situation is a definite reminder of the fragility of the web, and the power of the forces that aim to disrupt it.

Ripping Up the Telephone Book

Dyn offers Domain Name System (DNS) services, essentially acting as an address book for the Internet. DNS is a system that resolves the web addresses we see every day, like https://www.flcomputer.tech, into the IP addresses needed to find and connect with the right servers so browsers can deliver requested content, like the story you’re reading right now. A DDoS attack overwhelms a DNS server with lookup requests, rendering it incapable of completing any. That’s what makes attacking DNS so effective; rather than targeting individual sites, an attacker can take out the entire Internet for any end user whose DNS requests route through a given server.

“DNS registrars typically provide authoritative DNS services for thousands or tens of thousands of domain names, and so if there is a service-impacting event the collateral damage footprint can be very large,” says Roland Dobbins, a principal engineer at Arbor Networks, a security firm that specializes in DDoS attacks.
DDoS is a particularly effective type of attack on DNS services because in addition to overwhelming servers with malicious traffic, those same servers also have to deal with automatic re-requests, and even just well-meaning users hitting refresh over and over to summon up an uncooperative page.

As Dyn absorbs more and more attacks, the scale of the situation becomes more clear. Specifically, that it’s really, really big. “There’s nothing really new about [this type of DDoS attack]. We’ve seen them for at least the last three years, they tend to be difficult to stop,” says Matthew Prince, the CEO of the Internet infrastructure company Cloudflare. “But Dyn would see them on a regular basis, we see them on a regular basis. The fact that this is causing Dyn so many problems is pretty good evidence that this is an extremely large attack.” Prince adds that Cloudflare, too, has seen an “uptick in errors” on its own network. It’s not under attack; it’s just experiencing fallout from the Dyn disruption.

Indeed, access to dozens of sites and services has been disrupted by the attack. Users in some regions like Asia seemed to experience fewer problems than those in the US. Though the topology of the Internet does not directly correspond to physical geography, it does approximate it to a degree, says Dobbins. Since Dyn says the impact was on its East Coast servers, this probably created the localized effect.

“This attack highlights how critical DNS is to maintaining a stable and secure internet presence, and that the DDOS mitigation processes businesses have in place are just as relevant to their DNS service as it is to the web servers and data centers,” Richard Meeus, a vice president of technology at the enterprise security firm NSFOCUS, writes in an email.

What the Botnet

The overall picture is still somewhat hazy, but more information has become available as the day has progressed. Initial reports indicate that the attack was part of a genre of DDoS that infects Internet of Things devices (think webcams, DVRs, routers, etc.) all over the world with malware. Once infected, those Internet-connected devices become part of a botnet army, driving malicious traffic toward a given target. The source code for one of these types of botnets, called Mirai, was recently released to the public, leading to speculation that more Mirai-based DDoS attacks might crop up. Dyn said on Friday evening that the security firms Flashpoint and cloud services provider Akamai detected Mirai bots driving much, but not necessarily all, of the traffic in the attacks. Similarly, Dale Drew, the chief security officer of Internet backbone company Level 3, says that his company sees evidence of their involvement.

There’s also a potential motive to use a Mirai hack against Dyn, or at least a certain irony in it. The company’s principal data analyst, Chris Baker, wrote about these types of IoT-based attacks just yesterday in a blog post titled “What Is the Impact On Managed DNS Operators?”. It appears he has his answer. And that all DNS services, and their customers, should be on notice.

This post has been updated to include new information about Mirai botnets, and to include additional comment from Dyn and Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince.

 

FL Computer Tech’s Florida Onsite Service Map

FL Computer Tech MapOur Service locations include the following:

1.Charlotte – Cleveland, Englewood, Grove City, Harbour Heights, Palm Island, Placida, Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda (County Seat), West Rotonda, Solana

2. Glades – Buckhead Ridge, Ortona, Palmdale, Lakeport, Moore Haven (County Seat), Muce

3. Lee – Alva, Boca Grande, Bokeelia, Bonita Springs, Buckingham, Captiva, Cape Coral, East Dunbar, Estero, Fort Myers (County Seat), Fort Myers Beach, Fort Myers Villas, Gateway, Hancock, Iona, Lehigh Acres, Matlacha, Miromar Lakes, North Fort Myers, Page Park, Pineland, Pine Island Center, Punta Rassa, Sanibel, San Carlos Park, St. James City, Suncoast Estates, Tice, Waterway Estates, Whiskey Creek

4. Hendry – Clewiston, Harlem, La Belle (County Seat), Port La Belle

5. Collier – Ave Maria, Carnestown, Chokoloskee, Dismal Key, East Naples, Everglades City, Golden Gate, Goodland, Harker, Immokalee, Lely Resort, Marco, Marco Island, Naples (County Seat), Naples Manor, Naples Park, North Naples, Orangetree, Ochopee, Palm River Estates, Pelican Bay, Vineyards

Hurricane Matthew Update

Hurricane Matthew

matthewWe are watching the track of Hurricane Matthew closely and although the current weather models do not show that Hurricane Matthew will have a significant impact on SW Florida we are preparing for the worst and anticipate widespread power outages which will also affect all types of communications.

This goes without being said but we would like to reiterate, please make sure your data is properly backed up both locally and offsite (cloud-based is a good choice). Everyone be safe…