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Current Topic: Technology

Jonathan Schwartz's Weblog
Topic: Technology 6:25 pm EST, Jan 24, 2005

] Frankly, that behavior is reminiscent of an IBM history
] many CIO's would like to forget.

Yo! We're relevant! RELEVANT, I say! IBM, LOOK AT US! Please!

Jonathan Schwartz's Weblog - Analyst's Diary
Topic: Technology 1:38 pm EST, Jan 24, 2005

] A user asked us this weekend how to cure a virus, which
] "infected the onboard computers of automobiles Lexus
] LX470, LS430, Landcruiser 100 via a cell phone."
] We haven't been able to trace whether or not Toyota/Lexus
] uses Symbian in their onboard electronics so far.
] However, we do know that car manufacturers are
] integrating existing operating systems into their onboard
] computers (take the Fiat and Microsoft deal, for
] instance).

Oh. Right. Because now that cellphone virii are becoming common, we've got another vector with all kinds of new prospective victims. This sounds farfetched, so far... but how far out is it, really? - Analyst's Diary

Defense Review - World Exclusive Video! DREAD Weapon System: Devastating, Jam-Proof, and Silent.
Topic: Technology 8:24 am EST, Jan 24, 2005

] Imagine a gun with no recoil, no sound, no heat, no
] gunpowder, no visible firing signature (muzzle flash),
] and no stoppages or jams of any kind. Now imagine that
] this gun could fire .308 caliber and .50 caliber metal
] projectiles accurately at up to 8,000 fps
] (feet-per-second), featured an infinitely
] variable/programmable cyclic rate-of-fire (as high as
] 120,000 rounds-per-minute), and were capable of laying
] down a 360-degree field of fire. What if you could mount
] this weapon on any military Humvee (HMMWV), any
] helicopter/gunship, any armored personnel carrier (APC),
] and any other vehicle for which the technology were
] applicable?

Overhyped in the article, but interesting.

Defense Review - World Exclusive Video! DREAD Weapon System: Devastating, Jam-Proof, and Silent.

Google Blog
Topic: Technology 1:22 am EST, Jan 19, 2005

] This is called comment spam, we don't like it either, and
] we've been testing a new tag that blocks it. From now on,
] when Google sees the attribute (rel="nofollow") on
] hyperlinks, those links won't get any credit when we rank
] websites in our search results.

Right on. I am trying to think of downsides; certainly it will decrease the visibility of good faith link recommendations. It also means it may be harder to trackback to user identities from where they post with personal url. But these don't seem significant enough relative to comment/guestbook spamming.

Google Blog

BBC NEWS | Technology | Gamer buys $26,500 virtual land
Topic: Technology 5:59 pm EST, Dec 17, 2004

] A 22-year-old gamer has spent $26,500 (£13,700) on an
] island that exists only in a computer role-playing game
] (RPG).

At first, this seems like yet another Everquest story. But instead, I think it reveals a far more interesting scenerio. I like that we finally have explicitly capital-based MMORPGs. It is this form of venture that will lead to more the Metaverse like opportunities. I don't know how this system works, whether the company has financial reserves and mints objects appropriately, or what. But this is at least a step to a marketplace style VR engine, where everything is asset-backed.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Gamer buys $26,500 virtual land

Light Reading - Networking the Telecom Industry
Topic: Technology 3:51 pm EST, Dec  6, 2004

] The last of this year's big routers has arrived, as
] Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR - message board)
] today is launching its TX Matrix, the basis for its
] multichassis core router (see Juniper Intros TX Matrix ).
] The TX is an interconnection hub linking four of
] Juniper's T640 boxes so they behave as one honkin'
] router. Juniper is the last of the major router vendors
] to announce a multichassis architecture. Avici Systems
] Inc. (Nasdaq: AVCI - message board; Frankfurt: BVC7) has
] been selling one with its TSR, and Cisco Systems Inc.
] (Nasdaq: CSCO - message board) went multichassis with its
] CRS-1 Carrier Routing System, launched in May (see Cisco
] Unveils the HFR ).
] The announcement comes with only two major surprises.
] First, the TX connects four T640s rather than eight as
] promised in 2002. That's because the market for really
] big routers hasn't exactly blossomed yet. Future versions
] will support larger numbers of routers -- the TX has the
] capacity to connect dozens of them -- but Juniper won't
] commit to a larger size until carriers' future needs
] become clearer, says Tom Jacobs, senior marketing
] manager.
] The other surprise is that Juniper can't yet point to any
] paying customers for the TX.

No one is buying them (CRS-1 and TX and...) but they have to make them in a perversion of "if they build it they will come". Juniper will probably be very successful with this, as the 640 does have some traction, and it sounds like the base TX can handle as many 640s as a customer would want; so for the customer not quite ready to commit to the major overhaul, accumulating 640s now makes even more sense.

Juniper is up to 29% of the core router market? Zowie.

Light Reading - Networking the Telecom Industry

Studios take sides in fight for successor to the DVD - 11/30/04
Topic: Technology 9:59 am EST, Nov 30, 2004

] Paramount Home Entertainment, Universal Pictures and
] Warner Bros., which includes New Line Cinema and HBO,
] said Monday that they would start releasing films in the
] HD-DVD format in time for the holidays next year.

Yay! Both formats shall thrive!

] But the announcement also put pressure on electronics
] makers to produce devices that support both of the
] competing formats.

When in doubt -- compromise through complexity.

] Privately, entertainment industry executives say they
] cannot afford a format war and do not want a repeat of
] the confusion that slowed the early adoption of
] videocassette recorders when consumers were faced with
] choosing between Betamax and VHS.

But they head that way anyway. Great.

] While the Blu-Ray format can store more digital
] programming than HD-DVD, proponents of the latter say it
] will be cheaper for manufacturers because it is uses
] technology that more closely resembles that used in
] current DVDs.

This is what we like to call a "red herring". Are they talking about the cost of stamping the disc? Oh no, for the first year it will cost $0.10 instead of $0.05. That's disasterous, because of course coming out with the newer, better looking movies with more stuff on them won't encourage them to charge a premium over DVDs.

Oh wait, it will.

] "We think HD-DVD has a clear advantage in cost of
] manufacturing, ease of manufacturing and it will offer
] the consumer a great quality product," Rob Friedman,
] chief operating officer at Paramount Pictures, said in an
] interview Monday.

"Hi, um, these are the right talking points, right? Cost of manufacturing, right?"

] Blu-Ray also has wide support among consumer electronics
] makers and computer giant Hewlett-Packard, which said it
] will start selling PCs with Blu-Ray disc drives late next
] year, coinciding with movie releases.

Someone should inform HP about the increased cost of manufacturing and ease of manufacturing problems. I'm sure they just haven't looked into it.

] Blu-Ray supporters said they did not see Monday's
] announcement as a setback.

"It's ON"

] "The studios should be pushing for compromise between
] Blue-Ray and HD-DVD and forget about trying to trump each
] other," said Harold Vogel, CEO of Vogel Capital
] Management in New York. "For sure the consumer is going
] to be very confused. It's a disaster for retailers if
] they have to carry two different formats."

A voice of reason? Perhaps. Talk of compromise really sounds like the flag of people who don't understand the technology and so figure there is a technical solution. I do not believe that to be the case. It is not a matter of "HD-DVD offers A, B, and C; Blu-Ray offers A, C, D; combine and offer A, B, C, D or at least A, C". The technology really is based on what laser and printing to use; HD-DVD wants to stick with the Existing Methods, Blu-Ray wants to implement New Stuff. It is a lose if you don't make a choice; dual-standard players makes more sense if that's the best we can do.

Studios take sides in fight for successor to the DVD - 11/30/04

F-Secure : News from the Lab
Topic: Technology 9:05 am EST, Nov 30, 2004

] In a surprising move, Lycos Europe has started organizing
] a distributed denial-of-service attack against web sites
] run by spammers.

F-Secure : News from the Lab

Shirky: Group as User: Flaming and the Design of Social Software
Topic: Technology 10:37 am EST, Nov 15, 2004

] The design gap between computer-as-box and
] computer-as-door persists because of a diminished
] conception of the user. The user of a piece of social
] software is not just a collection of individuals, but a
] group. Individual users take on roles that only make
] sense in groups: leader, follower, peacemaker, process
] nazi, and so on. There are also behaviors that can only
] occur in groups, from consensus building to social
] climbing. And yet, despite these obvious differences
] between personal and social behaviors, we have very
] little design practice that treats the group as an entity
] to be designed for.
] There is enormous value to be gotten in closing that gap,
] and it doesn't require complicated new tools. It just
] requires new ways of looking at old problems. Indeed,
] much of the most important work in social software has
] been technically simple but socially complex.

This is a strong essay that I couldn't quite find the right hooks to quote to convince you to read it -- but you should. It nicely summarizes -- in a way I haven't seen before -- why some of the new group stuff works, and why some of the common group phenomina is endemic to the mediums as presented. We talked to Clay on our radio show one day -- and he was great. We at least mentioned Memestreams, and it would be interesting if he's familiar with it and how it would be positioned within this essay.

This also adds ammunition to the design of one of my future works, collaborative desktops -- graphical wikis, kind of. Imagine your desktop as a virtual desktop, your various friends a spacial scroll away -- look at what they are doing right now, what their environment looks like, place things in their attention, onto their desktop...

Shirky: Group as User: Flaming and the Design of Social Software

SC2004 WAN Weather Map
Topic: Technology 3:36 pm EST, Nov  8, 2004

Way too much Bandwidth in Pittsburgh today.

SC2004 WAN Weather Map

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