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Be on the wave or under it™

The News – 07/30/03

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

Management Signature's
The Express Read

I’m In Pieces, Bits and Pieces

The title has multiple meanings, but was inspired by a mysterious voice mail I got this week. We’re all probably familiar with pocket voice mails – long, long messages delivered to our voice mailboxes containing the sounds of a cell phone jostling around in someone’s pocket or purse.

I once had a PVM that had a very clear recording of a lady, whom I couldn’t identify, frantically trying to find the right building for her imminent meeting. The recording captured her distracted mumbling to herself and her questions to a series of front desk guards regarding the tenant she was seeking. How she got my number for her cell phone to surreptitiously dial is beyond me.

This week, I got a long voice mail that began with the last few bars of the Dave Clark 5’s classic hit, Bits and Pieces. It was obviously off the radio, because another song began when it ended. I have no idea who sent me this PVM, and the caller ID provided by Sprint was “651,” which is the area code of St. Paul, MN. I don't know what St. Paul was trying to tell me . . .

Anyway, that’s a typically longwinded introduction to a collection of odds and ends, bits and pieces, that have been accumulating here at StratVantage Central.

As for one of the other meanings of the title, well, I lost both my parents – two weeks apart – this month. Hug your loved ones.

Briefly Noted

  • Shameless Self-Promotion Dept.: It’s here: A new service from StratVantage – The WiFi Guys. The service is targeted at consumes and small businesses who buy the wireless networking gear, but can’t get it to work. We visit and get it up and running fast. Check out the Website at

    I’m working on another araticle for Fawcette Technical Publications’ Enterprise Architect magazine. This one’s on a best practices sharing effort called Project Avalanche. My feature article, Grid Computing Takes Off in the Enterprise, was published in the inaugural issue of Enterprise Architect. (Registration required to view.)

    My article, “Innovative Marketers Target Unwired Customers” was published in the NetSuds newsletter.

    Coming Soon: 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 (Independence Day?) for associates and friends in need of a guide to the latest and greatest technology. Watch for more information in upcoming SNS issues.

    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: $56.48.

    I repurposed and adapted an article about the wireless service known as Short Messaging Service (SMS) for the Reside newsletter. It’s entitled, Wherever they go, there you are and it points out how marketers can use – carefully – this new way to contact their customers.

    StratVantage has been accepted as a member of the World Wide Web Chamber of Commerce and now displays their logo on our Websites. In addition, I’m featured in Manyworlds’ Thought Leader Showcase, which lists a few of the white papers I’ve done.

  • Bigger Is Better, Adwise: From the I’m Not Really That Surprised Dept. comes an item regarding the size of online advertising. It seems bigger ad sizes lead    consumers to believe a product is of higher quality and deliver higher response more cost efficiently. Not surprisingly, larger formats growing in popularity, although the sheer overwhelming volume of ad sizes – 10,616 in Q2 2003 according to the latest DoubleClick Ad Serving trends report – must make it harder than ever to be an online advertising executive.

  • Book Piracy Getting Bigger: I think the book publishing industry should take its cue from the recording industry and ban scanners. I’m sure our brain dead congress would pass the necessary legislation. The recent Harry Potter release was preceded by widespread availability of a scanned version on the Web. What’s even more interesting is, if you want to read the original New York Times article on the phenomenon, you’ve got to buy it from them, because only the last couple weeks of the newspaper’s articles are free. Yet, plug in the article title, Harry Potter and the Internet Pirates, into Google, and you can go right to an Adobe Acrobat PDF version of that same article, for free. Kinda makes you wonder.

  • Sprint PCS Announces Wi-Fi Service: We’re starting to see more and more announcements from traditional telecoms who are starting Wi-Fi hotspot services. So far, I’ve not seen a compelling business case among them, except perhaps for Verizon, which offers free Wi-Fi for DSL subscribers in Manhattan. Verizon is equipping it’s payphones as base stations, which I think is a great idea technically.

    So now this summer, Sprint is launching 800 locations, primarily through roaming agreements with hotspot operators Wayport and Airpath Wireless. The carrier will also package Wi-Fi software with its PCS Connection Card and bundle the service with its Vision CDMA 1XRTT cell-phone-based wireless data service. Eventually, Sprint will install its own hotspots in 2,100 locations. Sprint was one of the Wi-Fi naysayers not thaqt long ago, but now joins T-Mobile, who’s into Starbucks, and Verizon and AT&T Wireless, which have also come to separate hotspot roaming agreements with Wayport. The carrier will also compete with T-Mobile USA when it rolls out its own network of hotspots later this year.

  • Wi-Fi to Catch Fixed-Line Broadband by 2008: With all the telecoms jumping into the pool, it’s not too surprising that some analyst or other would predict fantastic growth. That’s just what Pyramid Research has done, saying there will be 707 million Wi-Fi users by 2008, compared with 262 fixed-line broadband users and 2 billion mobile phone users. Interestingly, the firm predicts more loyalty from the Wi-Fi users. The Wi-Fi market will generate far less turnover than competing communications solutions, only $21 billion in churn costs by 2008, compared to $80 billion for fixed-line broadband and $586 billion for cellular services.
    Pyramid Research

  • Out of This World Backup Plan: OK, this is my candidate for potential hoax story of the week. Apparently the idea of storing your electronic backups in old mine shafts wasn’t bizarre enough. A company called TransOrbital will send them to the moon. The company plans on rocketing servers to the moon and establishing laser-based communications to store and retrieve data there. Of course, you do have to keep in mind how the moon got its pock-marked surface: meteor crashes.

  • No Security Like Stupid Security: Security expert Bruce Schneier recounted some recent run-ins with stupid security in his recent Cryptogram newsletter. They included a dumb pharmacist who doggedly refused to fill a prescription without getting personal information from Bruce’s wife to a Japanese cell phone rental guy who needed a passport number, even a bogus one, to rent Schneier a phone. Schneier explains how many people equate invasions of privacy and stupid measures with an increase in security. It just isn’t so. Just because I took my shoes off to pass through the airport security checkpoint doesn’t mean it enhanced my or my fellow travelers’ security one iota. As always, Schneier’s newsletter is worth a read.

    Other interesting Stupid Security Links:
    Privacy International's Stupid Security Awards
    Stupid Security Blog
    Companies Cry 'Security' to Get A Break From the Government
    Tell Congress to Get Airline Security Plan Under Control!
    Ask Your Senators to Support the Data-Mining Moratorium Act of 2003!Total Information Awareness: Public Hearings Now!

  • Spam Filters Are Annoying: Bruce Schneier also weighed in on an issue I recently tackled: The increasing difficulty in getting an online newsletter through the spam filters that have been proliferating.

Some filters block Crypto-Gram if it is larger than 50K. Once, a filter blocked an issue that used the term "ILOVEYOU." Another was returned with the following message: "Body contains word(s)/phrase(s) 'bomb, gun.'" Another filter blocked an issue because the words "blow" and "job" appeared in the e-mail, even though they were in different paragraphs. The most recent issue was blocked by one filter because it contained more than two links to Geocities Web sites. (It seems that many Geocities Web sites are pornographic.) The same issue was also blocked by another filter for containing unspecified "dirty words"; the person involved pointed out that the same filter didn't block penis enlargement spam. The EFF's position on spam filters is: "Any measure for stopping spam must ensure that all non-spam messages reach their intended recipients." It's a laudable goal, but one that's very difficult to implement in practice. Newsletters like Crypto-Gram are problematic. I know that everyone who gets my newsletter has subscribed, but how does any filter know that? I send 80,000 of these out every month; the only difference between me and a spammer is that my recipients asked to receive this e-mail. But I'm sure that some of my recipients don't remember subscribing. To them, Crypto-Gram is unsolicited e-mail: spam.

  • Cometa Struggling: WiFi network firm Cometa Networks, backed by IBM, Intel and AT&T, is having problems. The company is losing the race to secure the most valuable hotspot locations and appears likely to make only half of its ambitious goal of launching 20,000 hotspots by 2005.

  • Nanalyze This! Alert SNS Reader Roger Hamm sends along a link to a Web site dedicated to investors in nanotechnology. Roger also sent a link to a nice paper about nanotubes.

Return to Mike’s Take

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About The Author

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