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    Megaport clears positive cash from operations hurdle for first time

    Australian interconnection services provider Megaport has continued to burn through its cash reserves, but has taken a step towards being profitable by reporting positive cash from operations for the first time.
    At the end of its second quarter to December 31, the company reported netting AU$894,000 from operations, but for the first half, it used up AU$7.7 million from operations. Once the use of cash in purchasing assets and financing is taken into account, Megaport’s cash decreased from almost AU$169 million at the start of the year to AU$144 million. After some one-off payments that will occur in the second half of the year, the company expects to maintain positive cash from operations in FY22.
    The company said it received AU$6.3 million in monthly recurring revenue for the second quarter, up 8% on last quarter’s AU$5.8 million and up by over a third compared to the AU$4.5 million reported for the same time last year. Megaport now has 2,043 customers, 6,691 ports, and 19,278 total services.
    Broken down by region, Asia-Pacific is delivering AU$2.16 million in monthly recurring revenue from 124 enabled data centres, North America is providing just shy of AU$3 million from 390 enabled data centres, and Europe is contributing AU$1.14 million from 202 enabled data centres.
    “Achieving EBITDA breakeven on a run rate basis this fiscal year remains a priority as we continue to optimise our footprint to maximise margins and move to profitability,” CEO Vincent English said.
    Similar thoughts were expressed when Megaport handed down its fourth-quarter results for 2020.
    In the second half of its fiscal year, Megaport said it would launch its network virtualisation platform, Megaport Virtual Edge, with Cisco on board as an integration partner.

    For its 2020 fiscal year, Megaport saw its revenue increase by 66% to AU$58 million, while it burned through AU$23.4 million in cash across the 12-month period.
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    Multiple backdoors and vulnerabilities discovered in FiberHome routers

    FiberHome HG6245D router
    At least 28 backdoor accounts and several other vulnerabilities have been discovered in the firmware of a popular FTTH ONT router, widely deployed across South America and Southeast Asia.

    FTTH ONT stands for Fiber-to-the-Home Optical Network Terminal. These are special devices fitted at the end of optical fiber cables. Their role is to convert optical signals sent via fiber optics cables into classic Ethernet or wireless (WiFi) connections.
    FTTH ONT routers are usually installed in apartment buildings or inside the homes or businesses that opt for gigabit-type subscriptions.
    A slew of hardcoded credentials
    In a report published last week, security researcher Pierre Kim said he identified a large collection of security issues with FiberHome HG6245D and FiberHome RP2602, two FTTH ONT router models developed by Chinese company FiberHome Networks.
    The report describes both positive and negative issues with the two router models and their firmware.
    For example, the positive issues are that both devices do not expose their management panel via the IPv4 external interface, making attacks against its web panel impossible via the internet. Furthermore, the Telnet management feature, which is often abused by botnets, is also disabled by default.
    However, Kim says that FiberHome engineers have apparently failed to activate these same protections for the routers’ IPv6 interface. Kim notes that the device firewall is only active on the IPv4 interface and not on IPv6, allowing threat actors direct access to all of the router’s internal services, as long as they know the IPv6 address to access the device.

    Starting with this issue, Kim detailed a long list of backdoors and vulnerabilities he discovered on the device, which he claims attackers could abuse to take over ISP infrastructure. These issues include the likes of:
    The management interface leaks device details if accessed from a browser with JavaScript disabled. One of the leaked details is the device’s MAC address.
    A backdoor mechanism allows an attacker to use the device’s MAC address to initiate a Telnet connection to the router by sending a specially crafted HTTPS request [https://[ip]/telnet?enable=0&key=calculated(BR0_MAC)].
    Passwords and authentication cookies for the admin panel are stored in cleartext in HTTP logs.
    The management interface is secured through a hardcoded SSL certificate stored on the device that can be downloaded and used for MitM and other attacks.
    The web server (management panel) includes a list of 22 hardcoded credentials, which Kim believes were added and in use by different internet service providers.

    The firmware also includes hardcoded credentials for managing the device via the TR-069 protocol.
    There are also credentials in the web server binary that are encrypted. However, the XOR key to decrypt them is also in the binary, rendering their encryption useless. As Kim notes, this is the same XOR key used in the firmware of C-Data devices, also impacted by similar backdoor issues.
    A hardcoded root password for a Telnet server is also included. This server is disabled by default, though.
    The firmware also includes different sets of hardcoded credentials for a low-level Telnet account. Kim found four.
    A privilege escalation vulnerability in the Telnet daemon allows attackers to escalate their privileges to root level.
    But the Telnet authentication can also be bypassed entirely, via two different methods.
    Or you can use a denial of service bug to crash Telnet entirely.
    Furthermore, various passwords for other router services are stored in cleartext inside the firmware or the router’s NVRAM.
    Based on the number and nature of the hardcoded backdoor accounts he discovered inside the device’s firmware, Kim said that he believes “that some backdoors have been intentionally placed by the vendor.”
    Requests for comment sent by ZDNet to FiberHome via email and its official website last Thursday, January 14, remained unanswered at the time of writing.
    Kim said he found these issues in January 2020 and had notified the vendor. The researcher couldn’t determine if any bugs have been patched as he hasn’t tested newer versions of the firmware since then.
    Furthermore, the researcher also warns that the same backdoor/vulnerability issues could also affect other FiberHome models due to the fact that most vendors tend to reuse or slightly edit firmware between different production series.
    FiberHome devices were abused last year
    It is of utmost urgency that device owners secure FiberHome routers. In late 2019, security researchers from Qihoo 360 reported that threat actors had been already abusing FiberHome systems to assemble botnets, most used as proxy networks.
    In May 2020, the US Department of Commerce added FiberHome and eight other Chinese tech companies to a blacklist restricting its access to US companies, exports, and technology.
    In a press release, US officials claimed the nine companies were “complicit in human rights violations and abuses committed in China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR).” More

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    Cisco and Acacia reach new $4.5 billion acquisition agreement

    Cisco’s protracted and contentious acquisition of Acacia is back on track after the networking giant substantially increased its offer price for the optical supplier. In an announcement Thursday, Cisco said it has reached an agreement to acquire Acacia for $115 per share, or approximately $4.5 billion in cash.

    Cisco initially offered to acquire Acacia for $70 a share, or $2.6 billion, back in July 2019.
    Acacia is a component supplier and maker of high-speed optical interconnect technology for networking systems. Cisco said at the time deal was first announced that the purchase would benefit its existing enterprise network portfolio.
    Just last week, however, Acacia announced that it had elected to terminate its merger agreement with Cisco after the company had failed to meet a set of closing conditions such as “obtaining necessary regulatory approvals within the timeframe contemplated by the merger agreement.”
    Cisco notified Acacia that it intended to dispute the termination, and wound up taking its case to the US Delaware Court of Chancery to launch an investigation into whether the company had met the conditions set to close the merger. Cisco also asked the court to issue an order that would prevent Acacia from terminating the deal before a legal resolution of the matter.
    Acacia held firm and filed its defense with the court alongside a countersuit, seeking confirmation that the merger agreement was justifiably terminated.
    Flash forward less than a week, and it now appears that the legal drama has been settled. In a prepared statement, Acacia CEO Raj Shanmugaraj said he was pleased that an agreement was reached between the two companies.

    “We maintain our strong conviction in the strategic benefits of joining the Cisco family and believe it will enable us to better support our existing customers, while reaching an expanded footprint of new customers globally,” said Shanmugaraj. “We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Cisco and are excited to move forward with the combination which we believe will transform the optical industry, while providing great opportunities for Acacia employees to continue their innovation.” 
    Shanmugaraj and all Acacia employees will join Cisco’s Optics business when the deal closes. 

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    How to fix an annoying macOS/iPhone hotspot bug

    Personal hotspot is one of those iPhone features that I use a lot. And on the whole it’s been quite reliable. However, over the past few days I’ve had problems getting my MacBook Pro to connect.
    This is the problem I was seeing. I could see my iPhone, and I could connect to it, but it took multiple connections and disconnections to give me access to the internet.
    Needless to say, this was annoying, and it sent me on a long journey to find the solution.
    And it turns out the solution is pretty simple.
    Must read: WhatsApp vs. Signal vs. Telegram vs. Facebook: What data do they have about you?
    First off, there are a lot of “solutions” for this problem out there. I tried dozens, and none of them worked. I was confident that the issue was related to my Mac and not my iPhone because other devices had no problem connecting to the iPhone.
    I won’t bore you with all the failed attempts, but while I was looking around in the macOS Network Preferences panel, (Go to System Preferences, click on Network, make sure Wi-Fi is selected in the left pane, and click Advanced…), I noticed that in the list of Preferred Networks, there was an entry with my iPhone’s name.

    That didn’t seem right.
    I deleted it (by selecting it and pressing the – at the bottom of the panel), closed the screen and my connection started working immediately.
    I went back and cleared out a few years’ worth of network detritus from the listing, old networks, networks at cafes in foreign countries, old Airbnb’s, and test networks. I don’t think that achieved much, but the listing is now a lot cleaner to parse. More

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    The best website builder for 2021: Your step by step guide

    For very large businesses, building a website is a megaproject, requiring a team of full-time developers who assemble sites the old-fashioned way, with lots of custom code tying together some readymade modules and libraries. That small army of professionals typically uses industrial-strength tools like InVision Studio to prototype the user experience and Adobe Dreamweaver to sling the code.
    For smaller businesses, hiring coders to build a bespoke website is prohibitively expensive. Even hiring a competent freelance designer can be a budget-buster, especially if your business is just getting started and you want to experiment with different online ideas to see what works. And after you get it all designed, you have to worry about hosting and security and ongoing maintenance.

    That’s where dedicated website builders come in.
    Experienced developers might grit their teeth at the idea of a point-and-click tool for creating a website, but the advantages are irresistible for budget-conscious business owners: You get complete control of the design process, you can update your site anytime, and the cost is a fraction of what a professional developer would charge.
    For this guide, we zeroed in on commercial services that offer a complete, subscription-based package, with tools for designing a website, fine-tuning its appearance, adding ecommerce features, uploading the results to a custom domain, and handling all the hosting duties.
    The descriptions in the following list aren’t reviews; our goal is to introduce you to a select group of services and help you decide which ones should be on your shortlist. If one of the services we describe sounds like it might be right for you, we strongly recommend signing up for a free trial to get a feel for how it works and how well its features match your business needs and your skills.
    What’s included?
    The promise of every service in this guide is that they can help you build and deploy a site that looks great and runs smoothly, without requiring advanced design skills or technical knowledge. Of course, it’s helpful if you have the ability to recognize good design when you see it, and it’s also a big plus if you’ve got a keen sense of what you want to accomplish with a website before you get started. (For more on these crucial mechanics, see “Is a site-building service right for your business?” later in this guide.)

    You can expect to find the following building blocks at any of the website builders we spotlight below:
    Every service we profile allows you to begin by choosing a template designed for your business category. Replace the placeholder text and graphics with your own words and pictures to build the basic outline of your site. One noteworthy alternative to this cookie-cutter approach is Wix, whose Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) option uses your social media information to flesh out a site for you.
    Customization options
    By definition, the starting templates are generic, and if you accept the design as delivered, you run the real risk of having a website that looks exactly like those of everyone else who used the same template. Which is why all of the services allow you to change color schemes, choose your own fonts, add pages and sections, and integrate with third-party services. Some services offer specialized features, such as tools to create your own logo and integrate it into the site.
    Ecommerce features
    If your goal in getting onto the web is to sell stuff, you’ve come to the right place. Every service we feature here offers ecommerce tools that can turn your simple site into a full-fledged storefront. At a minimum, you should expect the ability to import your product catalog to your new site and to incorporate shopping carts and payment options that make it easy for your customers to buy what you’re selling.
    In some cases, those features are part of the service’s DNA. Weebly, for example, is a part of Square, whose payment capabilities are a key part of commerce in the physical world. But every one of the services we profile offers features that can help you sell goods and services, and if that’s a key part of your business, you should study those features carefully.
    Is a site-building service right for your business?
    Especially with services that offer a free trial, it’s tempting to jump right in, pick a template, and begin pointing, clicking, dragging, and dropping. We suggest that you set aside those details for now and instead think about the results you want to see at the end of the process. Asking the right questions now can help determine whether one of these services is the right option for your business.
    For starters, there are the really big questions: Why do you want a website? What do you want to accomplish with it? What are your goals for your business and your clients or customers? What kind of information do you want to provide for site visitors, and what sorts of choices do you want to offer them?
    And then there’s the crucial issue of resources — not just money but also time and energy. Here are four questions to help you define what you can afford.
    What is your total budget? Keep in mind that the cost of a site-builder service is only one line item in your budget. Options that appear to be a bargain at first glance might not be such a great value when you factor in the time you and your staff will spend working with the software/service and, more importantly, the long-term costs and hidden expenses associated with that service. Pay special attention to costs associated with added functionality such as analytics and SEO, social media integration, and e-commerce.
    What’s the projected lifespan of your website? If all you need is a simple online brochure, you don’t really need to pay for a full year in advance. You’ll be better off looking for one-page templates you can customize and deploy quickly. On the opposite end of the scale is a dedicated e-commerce site that you intend to build into a powerhouse over time; for that, you’ll need to budget for updates and maintenance.
    Do you have the resources and time available to customize and maintain a website? Site building tools are easy, but they require an initial investment of time to create the site and an ongoing commitment to maintaining everything. If you’re swamped by the details of running a business day to day, you probably want to avoid site builders that have higher learning curves and more complicated interfaces.
    How picky are you? (Be honest.) If you’re the kind of person who can’t help but fiddle with a design, or if you want to tweak settings and noodle with fonts until everything’s “just right,” a site builder may not be a good fit. Anyone with ultra-high standards and a critical eye is much better off choosing a platform with the flexibility to customize the code on the backend and then hiring a professional designer to create a custom design.
    You might find, after working your way through those questions, that you can make do with the services of a traditional web host. As we noted in our round-up, “The best cheap web hosting services: How to find the right provider,” it’s increasingly common for these services to offer generic site-building tools that are good enough for even a moderately complex website. But if you’ve decided that you need a service that can handle the entire job, it’s time to make your choice. We’ve assembled a handful of finalists for your consideration here.
    The services
    Not all website builders are created equal. Some are targeted at nontechnical customers, and offer lots of hand-holding. Others, like Duda and PageCloud, are appropriate for skilled designers who just want a well integrated set of tools without the hassle of managing hosting and security.
    Our criteria considered services that are well established and offer a broad assortment of website options. We considered but did not include Shopify, which is an e-commerce platform that happens to offer some tools for creating an online store and isn’t appropriate for blogs, portfolios, and other non-commerce-related sites.

    A great choice for creatives

    Squarespace is clearly aiming to be the Apple of website builders, as confirmed by a quick perusal of the featured customers page, which spotlights actress Winona Ryder and features fashion designers, photographers, writers, and other creative types. This is no struggling startup: Squarespace has been around since 2003 and has more than 1,000 employees worldwide.
    Indeed, this might be the best choice for podcasters, photographers, and other folks in the content business, thanks to excellent built-in tools like an embedded audio player and photo gallery. The all-in-one platform also offers excellent e-commerce options, including inventory management, shipping tools, tax calculators, and abandoned cart recovery. Email campaign support is an extra-cost option, but analytics and social media integration are built in. A new feature allows you to monetize content by adding members-only features to your site.
    Squarespace shipped a major upgrade to its web editor interface in 2020. The new version allows customers to choose color palettes and fonts with global options to maintain brand consistency while also allowing page-specific styles. The new “sections” feature provides pre-built layouts to customize pages beyond the basic template.
    Pricing: Unlike some of its more populist competitors, Squarespace doesn’t have a free tier. You can set up a site and tinker with it for up to 14 days, but when that free trial ends you’ll need to choose one of the service’s four plans, which range in price from $16 a month for the bare-bones Personal plan to $46 a month for the all-bells-and-whistles Advanced Commerce plan. (Significant discounts are available if you pay annually, with the $26-a-month Business plan, for example, shrinking to the equivalent of $18 a month if paid by the year.)
    All plans except the entry-level Personal plan include the option to attach a Google-powered G Suite account for professional email, with one account free for the first year.

    View Now at Squarespace

    The store’s the thing

    Unlike competitors that focus first and foremost on website design, Weebly’s core feature set is e-commerce. That might explain why the online payment provider Square acquired the 12-year-old company in 2018. It also makes Weebly a logical choice for businesses that already use Square for a physical presence and want to expand online.
    The site builder tool is straightforward and intuitive, easy enough for even novices to use but also sophisticated. Start by setting up an online store, then choose a layout, change colors, specify fonts, and add a logo to complete the branding. From there, you can use the website builder to add pictures and text, add sections to pages, link to social media, and embed galleries, videos, or documents.
    Built-in functionality includes advertising options and membership management tools. A variety of free and premium/paid third-party integrations are also available, including Mailchimp, Salesforce, Hubspot, ZenDesk, ActiveCampaign, Convertikit, ClickFunnels, and Gmail. The commerce feature list is extensive, as you’d expect. In addition to Square, you can use Stripe, PayPal, and as payment gateways; direct credit card payment isn’t an option. Shipping features in the most expensive plan include real-time calculators and discounts of up to 40% on shipping costs.
    Pricing: You can get a basic plan for free, but for serious sales, you’ll want one of three upgrades, which range in price from $16 a month for the Professional plan to the $79 monthly Premium plan. The most interesting add-on is the Square Photo Studio Service, which allows you to send in your products for professional photography; the cost is $9.95 for each product, including 3 photos, with 360-degree photos going for $29.95.
    View Now at Weebly

    Use AI for near-instant gratification

    Based in Israel, Wix is a publicly traded company that specializes in site-building tools for small businesses. As of late 2019, the company reported that it had 4.4 million paying customers.
    Getting started with Wix offers near-instant gratification. Choose a category and subcategory, answer a few questions, and allow the site’s “Artificial Design Intelligence” feature to generate a full-blown website, pulling content from your own LinkedIn feed, among other places. Replace the generic content with your own words and pictures, and you’re good to go.
    As an alternative, you can start by choosing from a collection of handsome, well-categorized templates and then customizing it directly in the Wix Editor. There, you’ll find lots of options — perhaps too many. The interface can be overwhelming, and expect some frustration and wasted time as you climb the learning curve.
    Wix sites support app integration to Google Analytics, MailChimp, Facebook, and a dozen other services, mostly using inline frame (Iframe) elements. Built-in features include live chat and support for booking appointments, managing events, and selling music and photographs.
    If you want to build an online store, there’s a template for that, with support for product categories and SKUs, inventory management, multiple shipping providers, and SSL with PCI. It’s a good solution for small stores, but it’s not a full-fledged e-commerce solution like Shopify.
    Pricing: You can kick the tires with a free, ad-supported site, but connecting a custom domain (and removing the ads) requires an upgrade to a premium plan, at a cost of $13-39 per month (paid annually). To add payment processing options, you’ll need to choose a business premium plan, which bumps the cost of each tier up another $10.

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    It’s not just for blogs

    It’s easy to confuse this web hosting and site-building service with its cousin, the open-source WordPress project, which lives at In fact, the founder of’s parent company, Automattic, is Matt Mullenweg, a founding developer of the WordPress software.
    Given that ancestry, it’s no wonder that bills itself as “the best way to experience WordPress,” and they have a point. Combining the familiar WordPress software with hosting and management from honest-to-goodness WordPress experts feels qualitatively different. (The company’s enterprise division, WordPress VIP, boasts some very big brands on its customer roster.)
    From a design-and-build standpoint, offers few surprises. Answer a handful of questions to build a blog, business site, or online store, and then connect your domain. After you select a plan and provide payment details, you’re ready to start customizing your site. The WordPress editor, design tool, and dashboard will feel familiar if you’ve ever worked with a hosted WordPress site, and the company now offers desktop apps for Windows, MacOS, and Linux to go with its mobile apps.
    Pricing: The free tier at might be good enough for very simple personal sites, but don’t even think about running a business here unless you’re ready to pay for one of the four upgraded plans on offer. The Personal tier, at $4 a month, removes ads and allows you to connect a custom domain, while the $8-a-month Premium plan adds advanced customization options (including a CSS editor) and themes that go beyond the basics, as well as the ability to earn ad revenue and collect payments.
    Even modestly ambitious businesses that want to do any kind of sales will need to pony up for at least the Business plan, which costs $25 a month and includes SEO tools as well as the option to upload custom themes and plug-ins. The most expensive tier, eCommerce, runs $45 a month and includes advanced marketing, shipping, and payment features.
    View Now at

    A strikingly different approach to design

    Of all the website builders we looked at, Strikingly is the only one that includes a manifesto, with a fairly straightforward power-to-the-people message: “The Internet’s full potential should not be restricted to just those who are tech savvy. Its power should be shared with everyone. It should be simple. It should be meant for the masses.”
    The selection of templates is small but diverse and handsome, and the editor is easy enough to use once you adjust to Strikingly’s single-page sites that contain blocks of contents organized vertically rather than on linked pages. (Upgrade to a Pro plan for the option to add up to 20 of these scrolling pages to a site.)
    Strikingly’s Simple Store option is serviceable, with support for Stripe, PayPal, and Apple Pay gateways. If your e-commerce demands are more than basic, however, you might be frustrated by the lack of support for multiple tax rates and the inability to integrate with shippers like UPS and FedEx.
    Pricing: Although Strikingly offers a basic free plan, you’ll have to upgrade to connect a custom domain, add e-commerce features, or store more than 500 MB of site-related files. The simplest paid plan, called Limited, supports up to two sites, 1 GB of total storage per site, and a store with up to five products for $12/month. The Pro plan, at $20 per month, allows three sites, increases storage to 3 GB per site, supports up to 300 items for sale, and switches on advanced features like the ability to embed custom code and upload fonts. Both tiers offer discounts for paying a year or more in advance. The top level, VIP, costs $49 per month and includes newsletter support as well as the ability to create multiple membership tiers.

    View Now at Strikingly

    Slick, but not for amateurs

    Although Duda got its start providing services to small businesses, it’s now the site-building option for businesses that already have dedicated freelance or agency design resources. The company, which has five locations worldwide, boasts that 14 million sites have been built on the Duda platform. Oh, and about that name? It’s a play on a character from The Big Lebowski: The Dude.
    All Duda websites are hosted on Amazon’s cloud. Available templates are sophisticated and modern. The drag-and-drop editor offers slick features like backgrounds, font styles, flexible navigation for desktop and mobile devices, and a shrinking header that remains visible as site visitors scroll. Given the company’s focus on professional designers, it’s not surprising that everything is built for speed and SEO. You’ll find a long list of top-tier platform integrations for commerce, social, and marketing as well.
    This platform is ill-suited for amateurs, but technically sophisticated business owners who want an alternative to building a site from scratch will find Duda appealing.
    Pricing: After a 14-day free trial (no credit card required), you’ll need to choose one of Duda’s three plans. The Basic plan, at $19 a month, covers a single website and provides email-only support. The Team plan runs $29 a month and also includes a single website, with support for up to four individual user accounts with role-based permissions as well as shared assets and chat/phone support. Paying $99 a month for an Agency plan gives you eight websites, priority support, and advanced design capabilities including API and custom widget capabilities. Significant discounts are available if you pay annually. E-commerce features cost extra, with price tags ranging from $8 per month for up to 100 products to $49 monthly for an unlimited catalog.

    View Now at Duda

    Would you like social media and marketing with that website?

    GoDaddy made its reputation as the domain registrar to the hoi polloi (with the help of pricey but buzz-building Super Bowl ads) and its website builder carries on this tradition. It’s a solid offering that checks all the design and editing boxes while adding some interesting marketing and promotion features.
    GoDaddy DIY website tools date back a few years and have been through several name changes along the way: the old GoCentral Website Builder was relaunched with a much expanded feature set as Websites+Marketing in 2020. For the most part that name has disappeared in favor of the generic GoDaddy Website Builder, but the marketing features, including SEO and email marketing tools as well as a social media dashboard, remain.
    If you want e-commerce features, you’ll have to pony up for GoDaddy’s top tier. The store includes options for selling physical goods, digital content, and services, with connections to third-party marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy.
    Pricing: GoDaddy offers four paid website builder plans as well as a free option (see this feature table for a full comparison). The $10/month Basic plan (“for personal use”) includes a custom domain, a free year of Microsoft 365 email, and up to 100 marketing emails per month. Upgrading to the business-ready Standard plan ($15 per month) adds SEO tools and increases the email marketing quota to 500 messages per month, while the Premium plan ($20 per month) allows unlimited email marketing and includes a broader range of online appointment options. The Ecommerce plan ($25 per month) is required if you want to sell goods and services.

    View Now at GoDaddy

    Pros can skip templates and start with a wireframe

    This Canadian service, based in Ottawa, Ontario, occupies an interesting niche between the pure point-and-click site builders and those that are aimed at professionals. Its pitch, in fact, should appeal to a fair number of WordPress developers who want a simpler alternative. It also offers much more control over layout than many of its template-driven competitors, which can lead inexperienced designers into trouble.
    In addition to a large collection of good-looking templates, it also supports a collection of “wireframes,” which allow a designer to build a site from scratch using one these simple layouts as the starting point and then use the PageCloud infrastructure, hosted on Amazon Web Services, without having to worry about hosting, security, and updates for plug-ins.
    That business model also includes an option for PageCloud Pros to offer their services, creating an upgrade path for users who’ve built a simple site and want to get professional help designing and managing the site.
    Pricing: PageCloud’s free 14-day trial doesn’t require a credit card, but after those two weeks are up you have to choose from one of two plans: Business ($24/month) or Pro ($65/month). Both plans offer discounts for annual subscriptions. The two plans are similar in terms of features; the major difference is that the Business plan includes a single site, whereas the Pro plan allows you to build up to five sites and offers priority support. Each site can have up to two additional team members.

    View Now at PageCloud

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    M1 to tap Nokia in 5G standalone network deployment

    M1 will roll Nokia’s Core platform as it prepares to launch its 5G standalone network later this year. The move is touted to provide machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities that will enable the Singapore telco to tailor its 5G services for industrial use cases. 
    This could include applications such as unmanned aerial or road vehicles, wireless e-health, digital banking, and smart manufacturing, said Nokia in a statement Wednesday. The Finnish network equipment vendor added that its “cloud-native” Core software would deliver the scalability and flexibility M1 needed to deliver 5G network services, such as online games and immersive experience applications. 
    Third-party application developers also would be able to connect to M1’s 5G standalone network to improve 5G roaming services.

    Powered by Nokia’s Airframe servers and spine leaf switches, the Core platform would be hosted on Keppel’s data centre and secured with Nokia’s NetGuard software suite that included firewall and certification management. 
    M1 CEO Manjot Singh Mann said: “5G standalone is going to be the real game-changer for 5G… We are excited to leverage 5G standalone’s low-latency as well as its responsive, secured, and high-throughput mobile connectivity to deliver high performance and reliable 5G services for our consumers and enterprises.”
    The Singapore telco in June partnered with Airbus to pilot the use of 5G to operate unmanned aerial vehicles in real-world environments. The trials would assess whether these vehicles could run safely and efficiently throughout the duration of their flights and the performance and coverage of mobile network in the operating areas.
    M1 also teamed up with IBM and Samsung Electronics to develop and test applications for the manufacturing sector that tapped 5G and other technologies such as AI and Internet of Things. 

    The Singapore government in 2019 announced various initiatives aimed at driving innovation and adoption of 5G technology in Singapore, which included a SG$40 million ($29.53 million) pot to build up the supporting ecosystem such as 5G technology trials and R&D efforts. These initiatives encompass focused efforts on six key verticals such as smart estates, urban mobility, and maritime, which had been earmarked for their potential to showcase 5G use cases that could be championed globally. 
    M1 last April secured licences to deploy nationwide 5G networks in Singapore, alongside co-bidder StarHub, which also had opted to roll out its 5G core network with Nokia. Fellow licensee Singtel is working with Ericsson to deploy its core standalone 5G and mmWave networks. 

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    Why Parler's revival on public cloud is complicated and unlikely

    Now that Amazon Web Services has shut down Parler, will the social network rebuild elsewhere? Parler CEO John Matze says Parler will be back with “many competing for our business.”

    Don’t bet on it. There appears to be no major public cloud or hosting company willing to give Parler a home. But, even if there were, Parler would find it almost impossible to return anytime soon. Parler will need to build its own infrastructure.
    Also: Capitol attack’s cybersecurity fallout: Stolen laptops, lost data and possible espionage 
    Indeed, Matze afterward admitted on Fox News that no one wants to work with Parler after Amazon dropped the company. Bringing Parler back up is “basically impossible,” Matze concluded. 
    Even if they did, as Corey Quinn, Chief Cloud Economist at the Duckbill Group and who covers AWS like paint, explained in a series of tweets that it can’t be done: 

    Getting booted off of AWS is virtually unheard of; when people leave intentionally the planning takes months; execution can take years. It’s a lot harder than you think for a few reasons.
    It takes time to move all of that data (there’s a reason downloads take a while), but that’s just the beginning. AWS doesn’t just sell “big empty computers.” They offer higher-level services. Preconfigured databases, automatic video streaming, etc.
    Parler claims they didn’t use these higher-level services. Taking that as true, there are still problems. The way AWS’s services work–how you create them, how long that creation process takes, how you get data onto them? They behave differently in AWS’s world than elsewhere.
    A lot of assumptions about how the servers behave are “baked in” to how Parler (and any AWS hosted application) are built. A lot of companies don’t realize that those assumptions are there until they try to move. 
    That’s why migrations take months/years. Parler has 30 hours.

    Had 30 hours. The site is now down. 
    Setting up a social network itself is easy. Many web-hosting companies offer easy-to-setup open-source networks such as Elgg, diaspora*, and Okuna. With these, you can set up a small social network in an afternoon. Setting up a social network that can handle more than 8 million Parler users is another matter entirely.  

    It’s not just a matter of money. Multi-millionaire conservative Parler backer Rebekah Mercer, daughter of hedge-fund investor and Cambridge Analytica co-founder Robert Mercer, has ample funds. By the time it closed, Parler was costing about $300,000 a month to AWS alone to run.
    The question is: Will Mercer even want to continue to invest in a business that has no real business plan? CEO Matze has admitted, “Every vendor from text message services to email providers to our lawyers all ditched us too on the same day.” 

    Parler doesn’t have the in-house expertise to make the migration. Parler founder and lead engineer Jared Thomson has two years of full-time tech experience outside of the social network and none of that is with cloud computing. Alexander Blair, Parler CTO, is a self-described Linux system administrator with five years of system deployment and management work experience. In total, Parler has 35 employees, who were already stressed dealing with the network’s growth after the election. This job would push the limits of far larger and more cloud-savvy staff than Parler can boast.
    Some companies, such as VanwaTech — aka OrcaTech, a Vancouver, Washington hosting company — might host a new Parler. Previously, VanwaTech provided a home for the neo-Nazi The Daily Stormer; 8kun, previously 8chan; and numerous QAnon conspiracy sites. VanwaTech, however, also does not have the technical expertise to migrate Parler. 
    Simply moving data is only the start of the answer. The Parler server program must be transferred to other cloud-based servers. Parler runs on proprietary closed-source software running on Linux. As a closed-source program, it will be far harder to port to another platform. 
    Parler’s data was kept on Amazon S3 servers. S3 is a popular and well-documented object storage service. Simply moving data from it is easy. Using that data on an updated proprietary program on a new cloud is another matter entirely. 
    To deliver its content to users will also prove troublesome. For its front-end, Parler used Amazon Cloudfront. This is AWS’s content delivery network (CDN). Without a CDN, a revived Parler would have a difficult time delivering its content to users in a timely fashion.  
    A new Parler would also have to deal with setting up Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) protection. Major DDoS companies such as Cloudflare have no interest in protecting Parler. Still, DDoS protection for controversial sites is essential. Cloudflare dumping 8chan was a major reason why the site almost went under. Today, VanwaTech-based sites rely on DDoS-Guard, a Russian DDoS protection company.

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    Put it all together and I doubt very much we’ll see a revival of the old Parler. I expect that a new right-wing social network will emerge. 
    This is not just a problem for Parler. Any company that wants to build a site or social network and relies on AWS or any of the other major public clouds potentially faces the same problems. Generally speaking, AWS wants your business, but at the end of the day, as Parler discovered, AWS’s terms of service make it possible for them to shut down any site.
    If you really want to make sure your site or service stays up, you must still run them on your own hardware in your own datacenter. Other controversial sites, such as Pornhub, have successfully used this model. To be certain your website or social network stays up no matter what, the private cloud model is still the best one.
    Related Stories: More

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    Netgear unveils high-performance network gear

    Netgear have unveiled two high-performance network hardware — a new Nighthawk Tri-band Wi-Fi router and mobile 4G LTE modem. 
    One is perfect for those looking to make the most of their existing fixed-line internet connection, and one for those who need a better, or more bibile alternative to a fixed broadband connection.
    Must read: iOS 14 pro tip: One setting change for better photos

    This is the world’s first all-purpose WiFi 6E router, running alongside existing 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. The new 6GHz band will dramatically increase the capacity of networks to support more devices and providing speeds up to 10.8Gbps.
    Tech specs:
    New 6GHz Band— offering up to 200% more available spectrum than 5GHz and 2.4GHz Wi-Fi
    Ultra-Low Latency
    More High-Bandwidth WiFi Channels

    12-Streams Tri-Band WiFi— Four streams of 6GHz, four streams of 5GHz, and four streams of 2.4GHz.
    WiFi 6E Optimized Powerful Processor— A 64-bit 1.8GHz quad-core processor ensures smooth 4K/8K UHD streaming and gaming.
    Multi-Gigabit Ethernet Port 2.5G— 2.5X the wired speed of a typical Gigabit port.
    Five Gigabit Ethernet Ports— You can also aggregate two Gigabit LAN ports and two Gigabit WAN ports concurrently.
    Pre-optimized Antennas— Unfold and set antennas on the router and you are ready to go! No further adjustment required. 
    NETGEAR Armor Cybersecurity for your Home— Advanced cyberthreat protection for your home network and an unlimited number of connected devices. 
    Automatic firmware updates— Latest security patches delivered to the router automatically.
    Price: $599.99
    View Now at Amazon Netgear

    The perfect solution for those who don’t have — or want — fixed-line broadband and want instead to make use of 4G LTE.
    The Netgear LM1200 offers speeds up to 150Mbps.
    Band support: 
    LTE CAT 4 (Up to 150Mbps DL and 50Mbps UL): B2/B4/B5/B12/B13/B14/ B66/B71
    UMTS DC-HSPA+ (Up to 42Mbps): B2/B4/B5
    One USB Type-C for power
    Two Gigabit Ethernet ports
    One Nano SIM slot
    Two TS9 RF ports
    Price: $149.99
    Release date: February 2021
    View Now at Amazon Netgear More