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Archive for August, 2005

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New from Apple: The iBaby

Friday, August 5th, 2005

This is wrong. Just plain wrong.

Categories: The World Wide Weird | 2 Comments »

The City That Never Logs Off…

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2005

Via Instapundit, a call for New York to go wireless like Philadelphia tried to do:

Mr. Rasiej wants to see New York follow Philadelphia, which decided it wouldn’t wait for private companies to provide connectivity to all. Instead, Philly made it a city-led project – like sewers and electricity. The whole city will be a “hot zone,” where any resident anywhere with a computer, cellphone or P.D.A. will have cheap high-speed Wi-Fi access to the Internet.

Mr. Rasiej argues that we can’t trust the telecom companies to make sure that everyone is connected because new technologies, like free Internet telephony, threaten their business models. “We can’t trust the traditional politicians to be the engines of change for how people connect to their government and each other,” he said. By the way, he added, “If New York City goes wireless, the whole country goes wireless.”

Here, here. A citywide wireless network would quickly become as basic a part of the city’s infrastructure as the subways or the phone system. And the point about New York being a loss leader is right too: when employees of big companies can communicate wirelessly cheaply & easily in New York, they’ll start demanding it in their satellite offices; when marketers see the benefit of “always on” connectivity with consumers, they’ll start pushing for it in other urban centers; and when the non-techie consumer starts to see “smart” devices appearing all over the city, their understanding of the Internet will expand from web-browsing to real-time services. It’s all good…

Only one hitch that I can see: Wireless is a new technology, and as such, is still in the hyper-growth portion of its lifecycle. I believe Philadelphia never pulled the trigger because each successive plan to bring the city online was quickly eclipsed by another, soon-to-arrive technology that would make it orders of magnitude cheaper. Maybe it takes the population density of New York (more than twice that of Philly) to make it worth the plunge. After all, if the business case can be proven with current technologies, then cheaper solutions become no-brainers. And a working model will allow folks to figure out the break-even points for the more rural areas, too.

Now all the city government needs is a sub-contractor. Don’t Microsoft and Google have billions of dollars just sitting around???

Categories: Tech Talk | No Comments »

Every Breath You Take…I’ll be Watching You

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2005

The DHS, DOD, DOE, EPA and NOAA are conducting an “Urban Dispersion Program,” that studies how air flows in a city envrionment.

The second of three field studies start this weekend, and will involve equipment in the form of large briefcases or file boxes, and wind monitoring devices that look like TV antennas scattered throughout midtown. The devices will be labeled as test equipment, and they’ll also be using unmarked vans as mobile measurement labs.

This is a great example of the stuff you do when you’re in charge of the problem, rather than simply commenting on those who are in charge. I’m sure there are a small number of people complaining about privacy invasion now, and a larger number will surface with charges of “promoting a culture of fear” in 2007, when the study is done and they make recommendations about how to improve the safety of the air we breathe.

Categories: New York, New York, Political Rantings | 3 Comments »

Microsoft season! Duck Season! Microsoft Season! Duck Season!

Monday, August 1st, 2005

Well, it’s been quite a while since Microsoft released significant new software. And so predictably, those bent on proving (yet again) that Microsoft is pure evil incarnate, are jumping all over bugs in their beta software and calling them evil plots to thwart competitors’ products. In this case, the story is that IE7 doesn’t work with the Google or Yahoo toolbars.

Given Microsoft’s position as market leader in so many areas, the competitive pressures of today’s technology market, and the frequency of company-issued patches, there’s a rational argument to be made that their production release software is nothing more than advanced-beta testing. Given that, when they announce it’s a beta test product, you’d think we could cut them a little slack, no?

Not to mention, it just doesn’t make any sense. Assuming Microsoft wants everyone to use their new browser, why would they make it incompatible with the current leader in search technology? At the very least, it would do nothing but incent people to stay with IE6 until the bug was fixed. The truly scary thing here is that this automatic harping on everything the company does serves as an excellent cover for them to do something truly evil – consumer complaints would be seen as simply more of the same babble.

Categories: Tech Talk | No Comments »

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