Be on the wave or under it
The News – 07/18/05
Bits & Pieces
A lot of interesting tidbits have been accumulating here at
StratVantage Central, so without further ado, or lengthy blather, here they are.
- Human TV: We’re used to Asia
setting electronic trends, but it’s usually Japan, not China. At a recent
property fair in China, models carried LCD monitors on their backs all
around the show floor showing real estate videos. Hmmm, women as furniture
– leading edge thinking from a progressive nation. Gives new meaning to
OK, it’s hard to believe a major corporation – General Motors, no less –
is behind this idea. The auto giant backed a Carnegie Mellon University Human-Computer
Interaction Institute Masters Program project called Roadcasting. It’s
actually a great idea. Not only can you store your music playlists and
MP3s on your (GM) car’s hard disk, you can also broadcast your tunes to
surrounding vehicles. If you get bored with your own tunes, the system
uses collaborative filtering, 802.11g Wi-Fi, and mesh networking to find
other Roadcasting “stations” in range that have the tunage you like. The
truly stunning thing is the range: 50km!
Even more stunning is the fact that the code is Open Source!
So what about copyrights? Well, the project leaders say they expect if
there was commercial use of Roadcasting, performance fees would be paid
through organizations like BMI. Yeah, I
Don’t look for this tech in next year’s vehicles, though. The developers
envision a rollout at decade’s end.
Call me a cynic, but I predict rolling, thunderous convoys of beatboy,
lowrider thumpers, all chilling to the same bass-heavy gangsta tune,
terrorizing suburban shopping mall parking lots.
- Dated Metaphor Alert: Remember back when people were clueless
about what the Internet was and could mean? Remember how techies adopted
the “Information Superhighway” metaphor to try to get the point across?
Well, you don’t hear much about info highways anymore. So that’s why the
title of an interesting report by The Institute for Local Self-Reliance
strikes the ear a bit odd. Called “Who
will own Minnesota's information highways?” the report bemoans the
fact that the US has fallen way behind other countries, including many
developing countries in Asia, in the availability of broadband Internet.
The report analyzes 10 community-owned networks in and around Minnesota.
The state was a pioneer in broadband, creating MNet in 1989 to provide
videoconferencing over leased lines to state and local governments, public
and private universities, and public schools. The report further takes on
the thorny issue of metropolitan
broadband networks and whether governments or private companies should
- Get the Internet Picture: Ceiva is an interesting product: a
picture frame that downloads and displays photos from the Internet. This
is certainly not a device you want to put on random play! Actually, you
and your friends and family sign up for the service and they can send you
pix on a regular basis. It’s a pretty neat idea, but one that’s been
around for a few years without taking the world by storm. I wrote about a
wireless version in a previous SNS
almost two years ago.
Ceiva (ya know, like in rah-ceiva?)
- Really Big
Monopoly:Are the shoe and car tokens in your Monopoly game just too boringly small?
If you live in London, you can play the game with full size game pieces –
or could, sometime in June. The game was sponsored by ad agency Tribal DDB, who has about the most
annoying Website I’ve seen in a really long time. Just try to find
anything about the game on it. I dare you! Using GPS receivers, apparently
participants were to motor around the real city, fake-buying properties
and such. Cool idea. Really bad approach, PR-wise.
- A Raid on
a Really Big Monopoly:You gotta hand it to the EU. Not only is it more serious about privacy
than the US, but it also really doesn’t like near-monopolies abusing their
power. Witness the dawn raid of several Intel offices in Europe by European
antitrust regulators. Don’t hold your breath for this to happen in
- They Doth
Protest Too Much:
I remember as a child, my mom would often chide me when I vigorously
denied having done some heinous thing: “Got a guilty conscience?” Well,
RFID manufacturers and their minions are responding the same way regarding
the privacy-invading possibilities of the technology. You may know RFID is
the practice of putting small tags on things and then reading information,
usually an identifying number, off the tag at a distance with a reader.
There’s a group called CASPIAN that’s pretty concerned that this sort of
thing could get out of hand if it graduates from involving pallets of
stuff destined for Wal-Mart to involving individual items that we buy,
like clothes and razors.
So a CASPIAN sympathizer got press credentials to go to an RFID convention
and took pictures of item-level RFID tags. Gillette and other RFID
backers, in deference to CASPIAN and others’ concerns about privacy, have
said they have no plans for item-level RFIDs. So why did the conference
organizers get all medieval on the reporter and insist she not publish the
photos? Read her site and decide for yourself.
- Microsoft Asks Crackers for Help:Well, the turtle seems to be coming out of its shell, recognizing a
changed world outside, and asking for help. In March, Microsoft held a
two-day gathering of outsiders and in a stunning change of approach,
opened the kimono and asked them to exploit flaws in Microsoft computing
systems. TechRepublic’s members are divided on whether this is a good idea
Note that, in a somewhat quixotic attempt to draw a distinction, I don’t
use the term “hackers” for people who break into systems. They are
properly crackers, or, let’s face it, criminals. Hackers are people who
find imaginative solutions to computer problems. Nuff said.
- Tivo Anywhere: Yeah, if you really need to see that Will &
Grace re-run while at work waiting for your code to compile, then you can
get a Slingbox and stream it over the Net.
- Google – It’s Bigger Than All of Us: And now it has pictures
of all of us. Well, at least it has pictures of everywhere we live. The
company bought satellite imaging company Keyhole and now offers a free
service called Earth 3.0 that lets you see images of anywhere
on Earth, including 3D renderings
of about 40 American cities. Not to be bested, Microsoft has announced MSN Virtual Earth.
It remains to be seen how well the two services compare, but you can use
some of Google’s technology without downloading the 10MB client simply by
using their Google Maps search engine.
Here’s where I live.
- Quantum Crypto Gets Practical: I’ve written before about an
exciting security technology called quantum cryptography. Basically, it
allows for tamper-proof networks. If a cracker so much as disturbs a
single photon on a fiber optic line, the network will know it.
A researcher from Internet pioneer BBN BBN Technologies
is building the world's first continuously operating quantum cryptography
network, a 12-mile 10-node glass loop under the streets of Boston and
- Money for
Old Magazines:My wife gets after me because I am saving the first two years of Wired
magazine for posterity. Well, I’ll get the last laugh, I just know it,
because Intel has paid a guy $10,000 for a 1965 copy of Electronics
Magazine that featured and article that formed the basis of Intel
co-founder Gordon Moore's famous Law.
The bidding for my Wireds starts
at $5,000. I’m not greedy.
Advertising in Your Face: Ever
looked at the “chrome” of your browser – all those bits at the top and
sides of your browser that are not Webpages – and thought, “Gee, I’d
really prefer to be seeing a McDonald’s ad instead of this useless stuff?”
Well, you’re in luck. Ooqa-ooqa™ by United Virtualities animates the
chrome with wonderfully entertaining and enlighting advertising! The
company says Ooqa-ooqa “adds up to 20% more PRIME inventory to leverage
the advertising offer, as well as a whole new way of engaging users all
while never blocking content.”
The image above is my IE browser on Ooqa-ooqa. Any questions?
- Now That’s
If you hate spam (and who the heck could like it?) you’ll enjoy this
Matrix-esque advert for a technology called CaseKeys. Enter the
- Random Bonus
Bit: Apropos of
Nothing – Have you ever
wondered what the pompitous of love is? And how to spell it (certainly not
pompatous!)? Only a
true Stevie “Guitar” Miller fan, in a very deep voice, would know.
- Shameless Self-Promotion
Dept.: It’s here: A wireless networking company called The WiMAX Guys.
Our main business is new installs for people who want to set up wireless
hotspots such as hotels, warehouses, apartment buildings, and office
buildings or hotzones that cover cities. We also sell a knowledge-based
Web portal called the MAX K-Base.
Check out our main Website at www.TheWiMAXGuys.com.
My wife created a bit of a stir when her op-ed piece was published in the
Minneapolis StarTribune newspaper after the election. Her article, “Two
Nations, Handcuffed Together,” has been commented on or linked to by more
than 85 Websites. She’s now created a Website to capitalize on her
newfound pundit status. Check it out at www.debellsworth.com.
Coming At Some Point: A new eBook, Be On the Wave Or Under It™ will
collect the best of SNS’ insights over the last couple of years, along
with additional material from CTOMentor white papers and new material. It
will make a great gift for associates and friends in need of a guide to
the latest and greatest technology. Watch for more information in upcoming
Several issues ago I debuted SNS Begware, an opportunity for you, gentle
reader, to express your appreciation by tipping your server via PayPal.
See the sidebar for more info. Total in the kitty so far: $91.48. Thanks
- The Raw
SNS is dedicated to delivering the scoop on the latest and greatest.
However, I collect lots of information that never makes it into the
newsletter before it gets old. I’ve collected all this aging info into a
page called The Raw File. This page is the raw information I gather for
SNS articles. It’s not pretty, and some may be a little incoherent, but
chances are there are still things in TRF that might be news to you. So
therefore, use The Raw File at your own risk – it’s 45+ pages of the best
stuff that didn’t make it into SNS.
The Raw File
- If You’ve
Made it This Far:
You can participate in a contest. The first person to email me the retort
to the partial music lyric somewhere in this newsletter will receive one
stick of totally obsolete PC memory absolutely free!
If a tie-breaker is needed, please also answer the question: Who is Hoops
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14, 1928 - July 5, 2003
Jane C. Ellsworth
20, 1928 - July 20, 2003