Archive for October, 2005

Digital monographs

Saturday, October 29th, 2005

Google is back to copying. Set to resume their effort to make books available digitally, google is leveraging their incredible computing infrastructure to expand their digital information delivery. Dubbed Google Print, this new service is currently only targeting publishers and libraries. However, three of the first libraries to offer portions of their collection for copying are high profile academic libraries; Stanford, Harvard, and Oxford. But the rosy plan isn’t without some thorns, specifically opposition from some publishers and even the Authors Guild. Much has already been written about the effort and copyright issues associated with it. But the opposition hasn’t seemed to slow Google down.

The National Academies Podcast the Alarm

Saturday, October 15th, 2005

A new report from the National Academies, reported in the NYT today (registration required), should reinforce concerns that a lot of people in the CTWatch community have about the need for change in current government policy. It sounds a loud alarm about the erosion of American economic competitiveness in the face of economic globalization, inadequate investment in research and education in science and engineering, and the need for policy reform in areas such as patent law. Along with the standard press release, you can stream or download the hour long briefing (requires RealPlayer) that accompanied the release of the report. The presidents of the National Academies are all on hand for the event, and Norman Augustine, Craig Barret, and Roy Vagelous, who were all on the committee that developed the report, provide the briefing and take questions from the audience. There’s some good Q&A. The report has now been Slashdotted as well.

Strictly speaking, this is not a real podcast, but it’s only a step away. If this is a sample, I think a regular podcast from the National Academies would be relatively inexpensive to produce and a real benefit to the community.

No cooperation, no Internet service

Sunday, October 9th, 2005

Regardless of whether your Internet is wireless or not, connectivity is apparently not guaranteed even if everything is technically functioning flawlessly. The numerous Internet providers that cooperatively work to provide Internet access around the country don’t always cooperate. As illustrated in this TechNewsWorld article, when business arrangements go south in the Internet provider realm, customers will suffer. This can really be an interesting issue. No one wants the government involved in regulating any aspect of the Internet, but its not out of the realm of possibilities that such squabbles could increase as services continue to evolve and grow. Intentional or not, service breaks that result from such circumstances affect more than just leisure web surfing as many business critical operations are handled by the Internet. Redundancies are often built-in, but more may be needed.

Municipal Wi-fi

Friday, October 7th, 2005

Ubiquitous wi-fi isn’t reality yet, but there is progress. In this article from CIO Today, big city (Philadelphia) wi-fi infrastructure is discussed. By 2006, Philadelphia hopes to have city-wide wireless capability, utilizing one service provider that will provide various price points to other entities, including other ISPs. Coming on the heels of news about Google providing free wi-fi to San Francisco, the stage is being set for quite a showdown between telcos and broadband companies as other cities start planning municipal wi-fi networks. With McCain and Lautenberg’s Community Broadband Act of 2005 on the legislative table, public service could get a much needed boost - depending on your perspective.

Bringing computing to developing countries

Monday, October 3rd, 2005

Coming on the heels of Sun President Jonathan Schwartz’s proclamation a couple of weeks ago that the PC is becoming, if not already, a relic, MIT’s Media Lab is set to ship millions of low-cost laptops to a handful of developing countries in 2006-2007. Targeting children with the $100 laptops (that includes WiFi), the Media Lab hopes to bring the Internet and basic computing to a segment of the population that would probably otherwise never see such technology until adulthood, if then. It is interesting to see how Schwartz’s view and Nicholas Negroponte’s (head of Media Lab) view are strangely similar on where we’ve come from and where we’re going. PCs may be relics to those in modernized societies, but basic computing is still largely unknown to a large percentage of the planet’s population.

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