Monday, November 28, 2005

Free media hosting services and their implications

I just listened to an excellent presentation on two media hosting sites, Open Media Network and The speakers describe their sites and their vision of future media. I will add this as a link to our media context note.

Another free image editor

Washington State University has developed an image processing program called Paint.NET. It offers a good deal more than Microsoft Paint, but not as much as Photoshop ane Gimp. I'll add a link to it to our image processing notes.

If you try it out, let us know what you think.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

$100 portables for children in developing nations

Andy Carvin blogged a talk by Nicholas Negroponte on the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) project to build $100 laptops for children in developing nations. The entry includes a link to a podcast of the talk.

Social bookmarking at IBM

We have been using for social bookmarking in our class. Researchers at IBM built a social bookmarking tool which they use within IBM. This article describes the tool and presents data on its use on the IBM intranet.

We discussed social bookmarking in our class note on content being created at the edge of the network.

Wikipedia lectures

Last night we talked about the Wikipedia and the "management" of the "organization" that creates and maintains it. Here are links to recordings of two thought-provoking talks on the Wikipedia given recently at UC Berkeley:

What do your management professors think of the Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation?

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Municipal data center/exchange points

Last week we talked about data center/traffic exchange points like One Wilshire. One Wilshire is privately owned.

We have also talked about municipal networks. Governments operate exchange points in many nations. Is there a role in the US for municipal exchange points like these in New Zealand and Canada?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Connecting Africa to The Internet

The International Telecommunication Union has just convened the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), focused on eliminating the digital divide. During the last ten years, studies and pilot projects have demonstrated that the Internet can improve the quality of life for the roughly 3 billion people living in rural areas of developing nations. Conferences like WSIS are great, but, after ten years of conferences, workshops and projects, it is time for action.

Rahul Tongia of Carnegie Mellon University has proposed FiberAfrica, a project that would bring Internet connectivity to within walking or bicycling distance of 400 million rural Africans. In July, at a meeting reminiscent of WSIS, the G8 pledged $25 billion in new African aid -- Tongia's proposal would be a good way to spend some of it.

For more on connecting rural villages in developing nations, see GRNet .

Cisco buys Scientific Atlanta

Cisco announced the purchase of Scientific Atlanta, the leading supplier of TV set-top boxes and cable TV technology. Cisco also owns Linksys, a leading provider of wireless LANs for the home. You can see the outline of video being delivered to, stored and distributed within your home.

This announcement is also interesting in that the press release, audio recording of the press conference, and supporting material are available on Cisco's Web site.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Google Base -- Google's latest service offering

Google just announced Google Base, a service that will apparently provide unlimited, free server space. This is the latest in a growing list of major service announcements from Google which hopes to "organize the world's information and make it universally useful and accessible."

Microsoft dominated the PC desktop, but has not been able to dominate the Internet. Google and Yahoo are working on many new services -- will one of them become the "Microsoft" of the Internet? Bob Cringley thinks the game is already over, and Google has won. What are the implications of that possibility?

(See our class note on development platform evolution).

Monday, November 14, 2005

The role of blogs in the French riots

This article is on the role the Internet (primarily blogs) is playing in the French rioting. What do you think of the implications of the Internet for political speech?

Friday, November 11, 2005

Breaking end-to-end design: SBC and the US Congress

SBC Communications Inc. Chairman Edward E. Whitacre Jr. recently stated:

Why should they be allowed to use my pipes? The Internet can't be free in that sense, because we and the cable companies have made an investment and for a Google or Yahoo or Vonage or anybody to expect to use these pipes free is nuts. see article.

A congressional committee is considering a bill that would allow telephone companies to treat some traffic differently than other traffic. Vint Cerf, co-inventor of the TCP and IP protocols, wrote the committe a letter objecting to the proposed legislation. He compared this violation of the end-to-end design principle to letting the telephone company tell you who you could call. (See our class note on the end-to-end design principle).

What is at stake for the telephone company here? For the economy?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Breaking end-to-end design

The Chinese government, with the help of an American firm, is attempting to block VOIP traffic. Can you explain why they want to do that?

This is an example of putting "intelligence" inside the network, or breaking the end-to-end policy by which routers only route traffic, ignorning the content. (See our class note on the end-to-end design principle).

Accelerating change

Kurzweil spoke of accelerating change in information, biological and nano technology. These interact, feeding each other. For instance, as IT improves, biological research accelerates. The following quote refers to HapMap, a genetic research project:

At the project’s outset, determining which SNP a patient carried at one site cost almost a dollar, and researchers could test hundreds a day. Today, the price has dropped to less than a cent per SNP, and millions can be tested in a day. The accuracy of the testing has improved as well, Daly says.

Similar improvment in IT technology has had dramatic impact on many genetic research projects.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

New wireless services from Google and Yahoo

As Michael suggested in class last night, I may soon stop downloading podcasts to my computer and transferring them to my MP3 player. If offerings like these prove successful, I may download podcasts directly to a portable device. (Perhaps a combined cell phone and MP3 player).

Kurzweil teaching note

I prepared a teaching note on Ray Kurzweil.

Ray Kurzweil, accelerating change

Last night, we discussed inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil and his predictions of continued accelerating change and its implications for the future of humanity.

This class note describes progress in computing, communication and storage technology.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Al Gore on the news media

Al gore has given a talk suggesting that the traditional news media are no longer functioning in a manner consistent with democracy. He feels interaction is missing, and hopes the Internet will provide that. You can read the text of the speech here.

You can can listen to the speech or watch video highlights at Andy Carvin's blog.

If you watch the video highlights, you will see the talk being blogged by an audience member as it occurs. That is an example of "citizen journalism."

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Social bookmarking: screencast information

We have been using for "social bookmarking."

Our video group is planning to use Camtasia for their project, and a blogger named Beth Kanter has been researching screencast software, including Camtasia.

To see what she has learned, you can check her bookmarks on screencasting. If you had questions, you could link back to her blog and send her an email.

As we have said, you can use the Net to find helpful people as well as information. Herbert Simon once told me he "kept most of what he knows stored in colleague's heads."

Moodle, a course managment system

Those of you in the CMS group and others might be interested in Moodle an open-source course management system.

Are you using Blackboard in any of your other courses? If so, how does it compare to Moodle?

For a quick introduction, here are a couple of short screencast movies on Moodle.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Telephone industry consolidation

We have have talked about the power of the incumbent telephone companies. Syed noticed that the FCC just approved the purchase of MCI by Verizon and the purchase of AT&T by SBC (which plans to change its name to "AT&T").

This is part of an ongoing consolidation trend in which the companies that own the wires to our homes and businesses, the "last mile," are growing.

For background, check the class note on telephone history and regulation.

EVDO offering from Sprint

We were talking about Verizon EVDO last night. Syed points out that Sprint also has an EVDO offering, and they just announced music and video downloading services. Here is the press release from the Sprint Web site.

Periodical sources of news and opinion

Last night we talked about trade journals, market research and other sources of news and opinion. I promised to compile a list of the news and opinion sources I use for CIS471 -- here it is.

I also added a link to it to the class home page.