Tag Archive | "internet"

Internet of thingees

VC angel and entrepreneur Esther Dyson discusses our imminent Internet of thingees and other topics in a must-read LinkedIn article about the AllThingsD No. 11 conference.

The internet of things is a world in which the experimental, prototyping attitude of software hackers now infects hardware hackers. My favorite anecdote from someone developing an intelligent pill bottle that can remind users to take their pills and make (almost) sure they had done so: “We went out to a shopping mall yesterday to see how people reacted, and we learned a lot. Today we’re making a new prototype, and tomorrow we’ll got out and test it again.” No more sending specs to China for a new mockup to be delivered in weeks…

Posted in News

Use MyPermissions to clean social networking apps

Click the icons on MyPermissions to go a social networking site to review and remove services. Nice. I nuked about 15 Facebook apps and still have 20 left.

Posted in Blogging

Dropbox Automator

It’s Ifttt for Dropbox, says Techcrunch.

Put a file in Dropbox folder and Dropbox Automator will do any number of automated tasks like converting documents to PDFs then sending them to Google Docs, uploading photos to Facebook or Flickr after writing text on them, or sending a status update to Facebook. Lots more too. Whee.

Posted in Blogging

Here’s another 1% that I’m not in

L'Energie Moderne, 1936. Georges Hugnet, French (Metropolitan Museum) © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

That’s the biggest users of the mobile airwaves.

The world’s congested mobile airwaves are being divided in a lopsided manner, with 1 percent of consumers generating half of all traffic. The top 10 percent of users, meanwhile, are consuming 90 percent of wireless bandwidth.

Arieso, a company in Newbury, England, that advises mobile operators in Europe, the United States and Africa, documented the statistical gap when it tracked 1.1 million customers of a European mobile operator during a 24-hour period in November. The gap between extreme users and the rest of the population is widening, according to Arieso. In 2009, the top 3 percent of heavy users generated 40 percent of network traffic. Now, Arieso said, these users pump out 70 percent of the traffic.

Arieso’s report didn’t identify what type of usage the 1% was engaging in, but Michael Flanagan, the chief technology officer, speculated that it’s a combination of people who are working on their laptops via a 3G network while traveling on business and those who have unlimited data plans and are watching a lot of videos.

Surprising fact (to me at least):

In countries like Sweden and Finland, smartphones now account for more than half of all mobile phones, Mr. Zarandy said. About 35 percent of Finns also use mobile laptop modems and dongles, or modems in a USB stick; one operator, Elisa, offers unlimited data plans for as little as 5 euros, or $6.40, a month. As a result, Finns consume on average 1 gigabyte of wireless data a month over an operator’s network, almost 10 times the European average.

Posted in News

Ifttt. Automate tasks, posting, backing up data

This is geek heaven. Ifttt allows you send email reminders to yourself, autopost from Google+ to Facebook, alert when it will rain tomorrow, send starred Google reader items to Evernote, backup up Facebook photos to Dropbox, and lots more.

It’s free and users are happily writing all manner of useful tools. You can too. It’s a little confusing at first. Go to channels to add the services you use. Then choose among the selection of options for that service (or make up your own), like notifying you when a new book is added to the Kindle Top 100 free eBooks. Oh wait, someone already wrote that!

Posted in Blogging

State of California websites still in the Dark Ages

In an era when data is steadily moving to the Internet and the cloud, the sad truth is that State of California websites are too often inadequate and archaic. Information should be easy to find on state websites. It’s not. Californians should be able to fill out forms online to be processed by the state. Too often, they can’t. Given that California is the most populous state and the home of Silicon Valley, you might think that state websites would be state-of-the-art, filled with easily accessible information, and easy to use. But the opposite is mostly true.

Perhaps you are better at web searching than I. But I cannot easily find on the Secretary of State website, a breakdown of registered voters by party or how many parties have ballot status. Yes, the information is there. But it is not easily accessible. It needs to be.

Or say you want to start a corporation in California. You’ll probably do some hunting around until you find the information. But you can’t do it online. You must print out the PDF, fill it out, mail it, and then wait. But in Utah, you can do it all online, and get a response within two days. Plus the link to do so can easily be found off the main menu at the homepage of Utah.gov. Some might say, well, Utah is much smaller and thus has less information to put online. True, but it also has fewer people available to build the websites. Surely California, with all the technical and creative expertise available in Silicon Valley, should be able to have intuitive, user friendly websites like Utah has. Instead, too many of them have a clunky feel to them and look like the technology hasn’t much changed since the 1990’s. And it probably hasn’t.

The poster child for this dysfunction is the Cal-Access and Cal-Voters databases at the Secretary of State. They’ve been down for weeks. That’s weeks in which important information has not been available. Cal-Access contains campaign contribution and lobbying information. Cal-Voters is even more crucial. It helps to verify new voter registrations and signatures on ballot initiatives. The Secretary of State’s staff says initiative signatures are being processed manually within a couple of hours. Considering that initiatives can have hundreds of thousands of signatures, it seems unlikely they could be processed that fast.

Secretary of State Debra Bowen says they are trying to upgrade their “ancient” systems but that budget constraints are hampering them. But it is difficult to understand how mission-critical databases could be down for so long. I am a database programmer and sometimes do work on ancient systems. Guess what, they can be fixed and repaired too. Maybe Cal-Access has roots in COBOL from 40 years ago. Okay then, find a COBOL team. They’re out there. Such catastrophic failures are generally not acceptable in private business. Either the system would be fixed or people might well be fired and new teams brought in. For two major systems to crash and stay down for three weeks indicates to me that something very serious has gone badly wrong and no one really knows how to fix it. No doubt they will eventually fix it. But this is indicative of how inadequate California websites are.

The Pew Center on the States recently ranked state election websites and said California was one of twelve states that need improvement. This dismal score was based on content, lookup tools, and usability. California can and must do better than its current embarrassingly inadequate websites.

(crossposted from IVN)

Posted in News

Proctor & Gamble quits soap opera advertising for social media

The inventor of soap operas will no longer be advertising on them and instead will be focusing on social media.

Why spend huge amounts of money on expensive TV ads that use a shotgun approach to reaching potential product buyers when you can reach them one-on-one at a lower price?

If a mega-advertiser like Procter & Gamble is making such a major shift in strategy, others are sure to follow. That could dramatically change the landscape of not only advertising, but the program content it supports.

Posted in News

Wikileaks, the end of the open internet, and propaganda

Ian Welch on the disintegration of freedom in the US under the guise of security

Let’s just state the obvious here: we’re seeing the end of the open internet with what is being done to Wikileaks. It’s one thing for Amazon to toss them, it’s another thing entirely to refuse to propagate their domain information. This has been coming for quite some time, and Wikileaks is not the first domain to be shut down in the US, it is merely the highest profile. Combined with the attempt to make NetFlix pay a surcharge or lose access to customers, this spells the end of the free internet.

The absurdity, the sheer Orwellian stupidity of this is epitomized by Hilary Clinton telling students at elite colleges not to read the leaks, or they won’t get jobs at State. As if anyone who isn’t curious to read what is in the leaks, who doesn’t want to know how diplomacy actually works, is anyone State should hire. In a sane world, the reaction would be the opposite: no one who hadn’t read them would be hired.

This is reminiscent of the way the old Soviet Union worked, with everyone being forced to pretend they don’t know what they absolutely do know, and blind conformity prized over ability.

Brian Eno writing in the Guardian in 2003 about propaganda in the USSR vs in the West.

When I first visited Russia, in 1986, I made friends with a musician whose father had been Brezhnev’s personal doctor. One day we were talking about life during ‘the period of stagnation’ – the Brezhnev era. ‘It must have been strange being so completely immersed in propaganda,’ I said.

‘Ah, but there is the difference. We knew it was propaganda,’ replied Sacha.

That is the difference. Russian propaganda was so obvious that most Russians were able to ignore it. They took it for granted that the government operated in its own interests and any message coming from it was probably slanted – and they discounted it.

In the West the calculated manipulation of public opinion to serve political and ideological interests is much more covert and therefore much more effective. Its greatest triumph is that we generally don’t notice it – or laugh at the notion it even exists.

But increasingly everyone know the emperor has no clothes and the government lies to us. So, we do notice it now. That’s why they’re getting so desperate, I think.

Posted in News

How Internet marketers spy on us

Doc Searls lists the multitude of superb articles from the WSJ on how businesses spy on consumers on the net, and adds worthwhile comments of his own.

Posted in News

Inventor of Ethernet calls for creation of Enternet

bob metcalfe

Bob Metcalfe, inventor of Ethernet, is calling for a national energy network modeled after the Internet. Make it smart, resilient, with cheap, plentiful power, he says.

Earth2tech summarizes his main points, which include

  • “It’s easier to teach energy to the entrepreneurs than to teach entrepreneurship to the energy industry,” so take advantage of Silicon Valley-like high tech and entrepreneurship to do it.
  • Screw conservation, let’s create “a squanderable abundance of cheap and clean energy” and change the planet while we do it.
  • Learn from the mistakes the Internet has made and use its distributed structure as a model for a smart grid.
  • Accept that bubbles will happen. The clean energy bubble is the next one. Deal with it.

After wading through dozens of moaning posts today from financial and political bloggers yowling about how screwed-up everything is, it’s a joy to read what Melcalfe says. In fact, the entire world of cleantech is basically ignoring the doomsters and instead, creating a better world for all of us.

I’m with cleantech on this, and so bored with doom.

Bonus quote:

“When we started building the Internet, and I remember this clearly, we did not set out to build a network to support YouTube.”

Posted in Energy


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