Computing Now Exclusive Content — November 2010

News Archive

July 2012

Gig.U Project Aims for an Ultrafast US Internet

June 2012

Bringing Location and Navigation Technology Indoors

May 2012

Plans Under Way for Roaming between Cellular and Wi-Fi Networks

Encryption System Flaw Threatens Internet Security

April 2012

For Business Intelligence, the Trend Is Location, Location, Location

Corpus Linguistics Keep Up-to-Date with Language

March 2012

Are Tomorrow's Firewalls Finally Here Today?

February 2012

Spatial Humanities Brings History to Life

December 2011

Could Hackers Take Your Car for a Ride?

November 2011

What to Do about Supercookies?

October 2011

Lights, Camera, Virtual Moviemaking

September 2011

Revolutionizing Wall Street with News Analytics

August 2011

Growing Network-Encryption Use Puts Systems at Risk

New Project Could Promote Semantic Web

July 2011

FBI Employs New Botnet Eradication Tactics

Google and Twitter "Like" Social Indexing

June 2011

Computing Commodities Market in the Cloud

May 2011

Intel Chips Step up to 3D

Apple Programming Error Raises Privacy Concerns

Thunderbolt Promises Lightning Speed

April 2011

Industrial Control Systems Face More Security Challenges

Microsoft Effort Takes Down Massive Botnet

March 2011

IP Addresses Getting Security Upgrade

February 2011

Studios Agree on DRM Infrastructure

January 2011

New Web Protocol Promises to Reduce Browser Latency

To Be or NAT to Be?

December 2010

Intel Gets inside the Helmet

Tuning Body-to-Body Networks with RF Modeling

November 2010

New Wi-Fi Spec Simplifies Connectivity

Expanded Top-Level Domains Could Spur Internet Real Estate Boom

October 2010

New Weapon in War on Botnets

September 2010

Content-Centered Internet Architecture Gets a Boost

Gesturing Going Mainstream

August 2010

Is Context-Aware Computing Ready for the Limelight?

Flexible Routing in the Cloud

Signal Congestion Rejuvenates Interest in Cell Paging-Channel Protocol

July 2010

New Protocol Improves Interaction among Networked Devices and Applications

Security for Domain Name System Takes a Big Step Forward

The ROADM to Smarter Optical Networking

Distributed Cache Goes Mainstream

June 2010

New Application Protects Mobile-Phone Passwords

WiGig Alliance Reveals Ultrafast Wireless Specification

Cognitive Radio Adds Intelligence to Wireless Technology

May 2010

New Product Uses Light Connections in Blade Server

April 2010

Browser Fingerprints Threaten Privacy

New Animation Technique Uses Motion Frequencies to Shake Trees

March 2010

Researchers Take Promising Approach to Chemical Computing

Screen-Capture Programming: What You See is What You Script

Research Project Sends Data Wirelessly at High Speeds via Light

February 2010

Faster Testing for Complex Software Systems

IEEE 802.1Qbg/h to Simplify Data Center Virtual LAN Management

Distributed Data-Analysis Approach Gains Popularity

Twitter Tweak Helps Haiti Relief Effort

January 2010

2010 Rings in Some Y2K-like Problems

Infrastructure Sensors Improve Home Monitoring

Internet Search Takes a Semantic Turn

December 2009

Phase-Change Memory Technology Moves toward Mass Production

IBM Crowdsources Translation Software

Digital Ants Promise New Security Paradigm

November 2009

Program Uses Mobile Technology to Help with Crises

More Cores Keep Power Down

White-Space Networking Goes Live

Mobile Web 2.0 Experiences Growing Pains

October 2009

More Spectrum Sought for Body Sensor Networks

Optics for Universal I/O and Speed

High-Performance Computing Adds Virtualization to the Mix

ICANN Accountability Goes Multinational

RFID Tags Chat Their Way to Energy Efficiency

September 2009

Delay-Tolerant Networks in Your Pocket

Flash Cookies Stir Privacy Concerns

Addressing the Challenge of Cloud-Computing Interoperability

Ephemeralizing the Web

August 2009

Bluetooth Speeds Up

Grids Get Closer

DCN Gets Ready for Production

The Sims Meet Science

Sexy Space Threat Comes to Mobile Phones

July 2009

WiGig Alliance Makes Push for HD Specification

New Dilemnas, Same Principles:
Changing Landscape Requires IT Ethics to Go Mainstream

Synthetic DNS Stirs Controversy:
Why Breaking Is a Good Thing

New Approach Fights Microchip Piracy

Technique Makes Strong Encryption Easier to Use

New Adobe Flash Streams Internet Directly to TVs

June 2009

Aging Satellites Spark GPS Concerns

The Changing World of Outsourcing

North American CS Enrollment Rises for First Time in Seven Years

Materials Breakthrough Could Eliminate Bootups

April 2009

Trusted Computing Shapes Self-Encrypting Drives

March 2009

Google, Publishers to Try New Advertising Methods

Siftables Offer New Interaction Model for Serious Games

Hulu Boxed In by Media Conglomerates

February 2009

Chips on Verge of Reaching 32 nm Nodes

Hathaway to Lead Cybersecurity Review

A Match Made in Heaven: Gaming Enters the Cloud

January 2009

Government Support Could Spell Big Year for Open Source

25 Reasons For Better Programming

Web Guide Turns Playstation 3 Consoles into Supercomputing Cluster

Flagbearers for Technology: Contemporary Techniques Showcase US Artifact and European Treasures

December 2008

.Tel TLD Debuts As New Way to Network

Science Exchange

November 2008

The Future is Reconfigurable

Expanded Top-Level Domains Could Spur Internet Real Estate Boom

by George Lawton

The organization that oversees the Internet addressing system is pursuing a plan that would significantly increase the number of generic top-level domains (gTLD). There are currently 20 gTLDs, including .com, .mil, and .gov. Plans call for adding as many as 500 new gTLDs per year.

The idea of adding new gTLDs has been discussed for many years, but few have been approved. Now the process is being changed to make it easier to add new names, said Karla Valente, product/services director at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which manages the Internet's naming system. This change will let larger industrial organizations buy gTLDs for brand and marketing reasons — for example, Canon can buy the .canon domain name. Other organizations that provide email or social media services might use a new gTLD to simplify their user's Web addresses. "The combined marketing benefit and security will be a compelling case for a number of corporations to register their name," said Roland LaPlante, chief marketing officer at Afilias, an Internet infrastructure provider.

The move is expected to significantly grow the size of Internet naming real-estate space. It's also expected to start a rush for new names that could lead to bidding wars and domain-name bubbles as prices rise and collapse.

Don't expect .com to lose its thunder, despite the rush of new names. At least in the foreseeable future, most industry experts believe that .com will continue to lead. "The king is still .com, and I don't see this new rush of names impinging on that franchise," said Warren Adelman, president and chief operating officer at Go Daddy, a domain-name registrar.

New gTLD Guidelines

Initially, the Domain Name System gTLDs included .com, .org, .gov, .mil, and .net. As the Internet took off in the late 1990s, companies scrambled to buy their own .com address, which became the most valuable address space on the Internet. In 1998, the US Department of Commerce sponsored the establishment of ICANN as a private corporation to oversee the Internet address system. ICANN approved the first wave of seven new gTLDs in 2001–2002. It approved five more in 2004.

At the same time, ICANN worked with authorized registries in each country to establish country code TLDs (ccTLD). There are currently 252 ccTLDs compared with 20 gTLDs.

After the first two rounds of gTLD rollouts, ICANN's supporting groups and advisory committees got together to discuss the lessons learned, said Valente. This led to a new policy with 19 recommendations and draft guidelines for submitting a gTLD application. The first applications are expected in 2011, and new gTLD registries could begin operating as early as 2012.

US$500k per Bid

The guidelines let organizations apply for a gTLD in exchange for an $185,000 application fee and a promise to pay a $25,000 annual licensing fee to operate a registry. Other fees involved in preparing the application increase the cost to about $500,000 for the entire gTLD applications process, said LaPlante.

If more than one organization wants the same domain, then the parties have to go through a dispute-resolution process. Brand owners are protected from others registering their trademarks. Other organizations seeking more generic commercial domains, such as .cars, will engage in bidding wars to determine the owner. "One thing this will do," Adelman said, "is make some lawyers wealthy."

Noncommercial organizations would have to make a case for why they should receive a particular domain. If an organization comes in with the endorsement of a community, the gTLD will be assigned through a process of comparative evaluations, said Valente.

Many of the new gTLDs are expected to fit within the existing domain-name industry food chain. TLD registries pay a DNS operator, such as Afilias, to maintain the technical backbone and then work with resellers, such as Go Daddy, to register names with business and consumers. For example, the country of Montenegro worked with Afilias to provide its DNS backbone, then with resellers like Go Daddy to sell individual .me domain names on the open market.

The Value in a Name

Organizations are eyeing new gTLDs for categories relating to movies, radio, and sports as well as causes such as eco and green, said LaPlante. Some cities — for example, Berlin, New York, and Moscow — are also exploring gTLD applications.

Companies that provide URL-shortening services, such as, might choose to acquire their own gTLD rather than relying on a country’s ccTLD. Libya recently booted a sexually oriented URL shortener off .ly. Ownership of a gTLD would give the shortening services more control over their core infrastructure.

New registries won’t necessarily have to become particularly large to meet their goals. "The .cat domain has 45,000 registrations, which is relatively small compared to others," said Pat Kane, vice president of naming services at VeriSign, "But their metric of success is about preserving the Catalan culture online. They've generated more content online since they launched .cat, than in the previous 20 years."

New registries might find differentiating themselves more difficult as more options become available. They'll have to demonstrate unique value to attract Web site developers, said Lance Wolak, director at the Public Interest Registry, which manages .org. For example, PIR is planning to launch internationalized TLDs for representing Cyrillic and Chinese.

Securing the .bank

The addition of new gTLDs could have mixed security implications. McAfee Labs recently studied the relative occurrence of malware across different TLDs. Paula Greve, the lab's director of Web security research, said the new rules might introduce industry-controlled TLDs — for example, .bank — that would be more secure than a .com. Right now, sponsored domains, such as .travel and .edu, are among the safest.

As registrars begin to compete with each other to attract business, they risk attracting malware. But they can improve their reputation through better management policies. For example, .sg went from the number 10 riskiest to number 81 between 2008 and 2009. "A lot of that has to do with how they managed the domain," said Greve.

Ready or Not: Rollout in 2011

Plans call for a smooth, continuous gTLD registration process beginning next year. But this could break down if the initial volume is too high, noted LaPlante. "While ICANN said they will have a rolling processing going forward, there's no guarantee of that," he said. "If they get 1,500 applications in 2011, it will take them a long time to go through that."

In the worse case, ICANN might stumble on unexpected problems that require changing the criteria for future rounds. "That could kick off another 4-5 year review process," LaPlante said. "And there is no guarantee a new round opens or that it will be done quickly."

George Lawton is a freelance writer based in Guerneville, CA. You can reach him via his website at