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The News – 05/13/02

In this Issue:

Recommended Reading

I realize this is the only newsletter you’ll ever need, but if you want more in-depth detail, check out:

Stan Hustad’s The Coaching Connection

Bits & Pieces III
(The Broadband Content Wars series will continue in a future SNS)

I really will get to the third part of the Broadband Content Wars series, but so many important news nuggets cropped up this week, I just have to share them all first.

  • Congress May Delay Spectrum Auction: Congress may delay indefinitely the FCC’s June 19 spectrum auction of airwaves currently used by television broadcasters. The commission has already delayed the auction five times but recently denied a request by the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA) for an additional delay. The FCC is under a legal mandate to sell airwaves used by channels 60-69 by Sept. 30.

  • Jargon Alert: CamelCase Prospective SNS Reader Bill McTeer told me about a nifty new bit of jargon recently. CamelCase describes the practice of joining words by capitalizing the first letter of each word. It particularly describes the common object-oriented method of naming variable with a small first letter and internal capitalization, with the resulting name looking like a bumpy camel’s back. The procedure is also known as StudlyCaps, InternalCapitalization, and CamelHumpedWord. Now if I could just understand what Bill told me about Microsoft and TitleCase!
  • Symbol Gets Mobile Enterprise Telephony Patent: Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) is in relatively common use in larger enterprises today. The technology digitizes voice communications and sends them via IP packets over a wireline network. Hardware maker Symbol claims to be the first company to make VoIP commercially viable for devices over 802.11 wireless LANs, and now has a patent to prove it. Symbol currently uses the technology in the Symbol NetVision family of wireless voice and data appliances. This patent has got to make the wireless cell phone network providers a bit nervous. Perhaps this is why Verizon and others have shown quite an interest in procuring 802.11 networks to complement their 3G efforts.

  • Security First Step: If you think the first step your company needs to take in order to be secure is to buy a firewall or other security hardware/software, think again. Gartner asserts that the real first step for small and mid-size businesses is to develop a comprehensive security policy. They go so far as to recommend that no security decisions be made until a policy is in place, which they say can take three months to a year. Well, no matter how important the security policy is, I think you still should get a firewall as soon as possible.

  • Tele-immersion and Business Communications: Alert SNS Reader Dean Cowdery sent along a link to a video presentation of Jaron Lanier’s speech at the Tenth Annual Enterprise Value Retreat & Awards Ceremonysponsored by CIO magazine. Lanier is the guy who coined the term virtual reality and did a lot of pioneering work in that field. He’s been working on the concept of tele-immersion, the ability to be totally immersed in a virtual world where you can collaborate effectively with coworkers at a distance.

    Among the interesting infonuggets from his speech: People need visual feedback within 30 to 50 milliseconds in order to not experience discomfort due to lag (I’ve seen other estimates; see a previous SNS); fiber optic transmissions move at only about two-thirds light speed; the best network performance, coast-to-coast involves about 30 to 50 milliseconds of lag. Lanier made a major prediction, that tele-immersion technology will affect the size of corporate work groups, which will tend to number about four people due to the optimum configuration of tele-immersion displays. The video is well worth watching.

  • Fear the Shredder: Alert SNS Reader Dean Cowdery also sent along a link that eventually deposited me at The Shredder, a site that downloads the graphics and text at an URL you feed it, shreds it and displays the chopped up results. The image to the right is what happened to the main StratVantage page after the Shredder had its way with it. More graphics-heavy sites give better results, like the picture to the left. It’s not useful, but it is interesting.
    The Shredder

  • Cutting the Cord: Forrester analyst Charles Golvin predicts that 20 million telephone lines, 15 percent of US lines, will disappear by 2006 due to the increasing trend of people abandoning the home line and relying solely on their cell phones.
    USA Weekend

  • Former Software CEO to Join KISS on Farewell Tour: Cool headline, huh? The story it tops relates how Steve Ballmer has tired of his duties at Microsoft and will travel as a member of the “Why Are They Still Here” ‘80s band KISS. It’s just one of the satirical news stories available at Valley Of the Geeks, which was brought to my attention by Alert SNS Reader Larry Kuhn. My personal favorite is an acronym-laden faux press release declaring middleware software maker BEA as a leader in the TLA (Three Letter Acronym) market. BTW, I recently heard longer-than-three-letter acronyms described as ETLAs (Extended Three Letter Acronyms).
    Valley of the Geeks

  • Good is Good Enough: Alert SNS Reader Andrew Hargreave sends along a link to an interesting handheld wireless device by a company with an unassuming name: Good Technology. The Good™ G100 wireless handheld is a compact and feature-rich handheld wireless device. (And how the heck did they trademark Good™?)

    The device works with the GoodLink™ wireless corporate messaging system, has a 212 x 138 pixel 16-level grayscale screen that can display up to 12 lines of text, weighs only 4.7 oz. (130g), runs on an ARM-based processor, and sports 8MB Flash memory and 8MB RAM. However, I feel that any new wireless device on the market today needs to include cell phone integration to have even a small chance of stealing market share from the device giants. So good luck to Good.
    Good Technology

  • The Out of Work Comics: Alert SNS Reader Roger Hamm sends along a link to a real tale of woe. Odd Todd is out of work, and this animated cartoon tells how he spends his days. Give the guy a tip.

  • RIAA Wants You to Pay to Stamp Out Crime: The Recording Industry Association of America, the clueless music industry trade group with an attitude, would like your tax dollars to help them bring penniless file-sharing college students to justice. The group wants more funds allocated to create additional squads for a program called Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (CHIP), which is part of the Justice Department's initiative to fight cybercrime. Currently CHIP is meagerly funded, with only $3 million allocated to ten teams. Although the RIAA applauded the creation of CHIP, it said it is concerned that CHIP's main focus will be on computer hacking and not on intellectual property.

    The RIAA requested in its testimony that these CHIP units make intellectual property a top priority. (No word on whether Ponch and Jon will be asked to join.)

    The RIAA appears to believe that every MP3 should be considered a copyright infringement. I disagree. I believe current law allows consumers to make copies for their personal use. Every MP3 on my computer was ripped from my CD collection. It's hard to argue that my use of my legally licensed music for my own enjoyment on my computer is illegal.

    Of course, I agree with the RIAA’s main point, that trading music files is illegal. While I generally don't buy the music industry's estimates of revenue lost due to file trading, an interesting article in Rolling Stone sheds some light on who is actually getting hurt by file trading: It's the little guys. The article reported that, although recording industry sales dropped 3 percent last year, independent retailers, especially those near college campuses, saw sales drops of 11 percent.

    Record sales are down 10 percent overall so far this year. This compares with an overall growth of 18 percent from 1997 to 2000. Interestingly, during that same (mostly pre-Napster) period, sales at stores near campuses dropped 13 percent. So we could surmise that the recent 11 percent drop among independents merely continues that trend, although it seems apparent that MP3 trading is having a big effect.

    Is the RIAA position – pursue and prosecute copyright abusers of all sizes using tax money and industry might – a good strategy? I argue that it is not in a recent TaylorHarkins newsletter article I wrote. In the article, I liken the music industry’s strategy to killing the golden goose. Napster, Morpheus, Kazaa and all the rest of the music sharing services could yield a wealth of demographic and user preference information the likes of which we’ve never seen. The industry is in a position to know more about their customers’ likes and dislikes than any other industry in history.

    Nonetheless, we need to recognize that the recording industry is actually facing losses, unlike the largely theoretical losses that Microsoft and other software publishers face from piracy.

  • UK Proposes Stiff Penalties for Cell Phone Theft: The UK’s Mobile Phone (Reprogramming) Bill aims to reduce the epidemic of cell phone theft. Continental Research estimates 1.3 million people, 4 percent of mobile users, had their cell phone stolen in the past year. The bill’s proposed penalties include up to five years in jail. Cell phone thieves have apparently figured out how to reprogram stolen SIM cards (tiny smart cards that contain user account specifics), giving the phone an entirely new number. Stolen SIMs go for between £5 and £60 on the black market.

  • Flash! You’re Compromised! Turns out Macromedia’s Flash software can be exploited to allow miscreants to run arbitrary code on your PC. Users are encouraged to download the fix.

  • SETI Phone Home: After 500 Million analyses, the SETI@Home project still isn’t sure we’re alone. That’s how many data analyses the combined power of millions of computers has done, for free, since May 1999. The project’s 3,695,182 users process 50 gigabytes of data a day.

  • Outlook Bug du Jour: If you use Outlook 2000 or 2002 and have configured it to use Microsoft Word as your email editor, Word can potentially execute a nasty JavaScript when you reply or forward email. Get the fix.

  • Fighting Spam: Prospective SNS Reader and Internet Performance Marketing Consultant Mark J. Welch recently detailed his anti-spam filtering efforts on the email discussion list I-Strategy. Since he receives 300 spams a day (!), Mark has set up a set of “include” filters that first filter “probably good” email into folders. Then the spam-exclusion filters deal with the rest, automatically deleting about 90 percent of all incoming email, unseen. Below are some of his techniques.

Any one of these keywords, if included in the subject line or any other headers, will blackhole the email (this is not a complete list):

mortgage, interest, rate, sex, adult, spam, bulk, snoring, viagra, credit, debt, million, genetic, hello, virgin, bible, merchant, judgment, ADV:, offshore, stealth, money, insurance, deal, joke, weight, opportunity, guarantee, medical, cigarette, essence, plunger, germs, webcam, cartridge, toner, printer, inkjet, success, HGH, hormone, breast, penis, inches

[I understand most of these, but “plunger”??!!]

I also have several dozen "phrase" filters (more month than money, enable your website, have you considered, changed my life, are you ready, visited your web site, red hot, cell phone, etc.) to delete some of the most-frequent recurring spam themes.

I've also added filters to delete any incoming email from about a dozen of the commercial email services (including and 24/7 RealMedia's

Of course I blackhole all email showing a "from" address from any of several "free-email" domains (hotmail,,, etc.).

When I first turn on my computer in the morning, it takes from 5 to 10 minutes for these filters to scan the night's incoming email.

And I usually skim through the "junk" folder before deleting the 250+ messages that are filtered there each day.  On many days, I find and recover one "wanted" email from the "junk" folder, and I modify my filters accordingly to prevent future misdirection of that kind of correspondence.

How much worse can this problem get before email becomes unusable? You can take measures like Mark has done, but what if you pay by the message for your email? What happens when spam becomes this much of a problem for cell phones? One thing larger companies can do is use a spam filtering service like MessageLabs’ SkyScan AS. The rest of us will have to just struggle with the problem.
Adventive’s I-Strategy

Shameless Self-Promotion Dept.: CTOMentor's white paper, Peer-to-Peer Computing and Business Networks: More Than Meets the Ear, is now featured on eBizQ's site. eBizQ is the insider's guide to e-business.

CTOMentor has just released a new wireless white paper, the first in The Wireless Future series: You Can Take It With You: Business Applications of Personal Wireless Devices. This first paper in the series is free; others that will be available for a nominal fee will include:

  • Islands Make the Net: Wireless Networking and the Evolving Mesh

  • Taking Your Business On the Road: The Car As Wireless Office

  • Standards, Standards Everywhere: A Business Guide to Wireless Standards

  • M-Commerce: Are We There Yet?

  • Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mobile Location-Based Wireless Services

  • The Wireless Last Mile: Fixed Wireless Broadband Services

  • Beyond Keyboards, Beyond Wires: Voice Activated Wireless Services

  • Information, Entertainment, and Access At Your Fingertips: Interactive Wireless Information Services

These white papers will be released over the coming months. To be notified when a new white paper is released, send an email to or check

You also may want to check out the article I wrote on Instant Messaging in the latest issue of the TaylorHarkins Insights to Action newsletter.


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Announcing CTOMentor, a New Service from StratVantage

Can’t Get Enough of ME?

In the unlikely event that you want more of my opinions, I’ve started a Weblog. It’s the fashionable thing for pundits to do, and I’m doing it too. A Weblog is a datestamped collection of somewhat random thoughts and ideas assembled on a Web page. If you’d like to subject the world to your thoughts, as I do, you can create your own Weblog. You need to have a Web site that allows you FTP access, and the free software from This allows you to right click on a Web page and append your pithy thoughts to your Weblog.

I’ve dubbed my Weblog entries “Stratlets”, and they are available at Let me know what you think.

Also check out the TrendSpot for ranking of the latest emerging trends.

In Memoriam

Gerald M. Ellsworth

March 14, 1928 - July 5, 2003

In Memoriam

Jane C. Ellsworth

July 20, 1928 - July 20, 2003