|Ken Novak's Weblog
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Ken Novak's Weblog
Friday, August 15, 2003
Reporters sans frontières - Iraq
: Interesting review of press developments, with a note on cybercafes and satellite dishes: "one shopkeeper in Baghdad's Karradeh Karej Street, where business is booming for him and dozens of others selling receiver dishes. "Even shoemakers are selling them," said one. They cost between $150 and $220, about the same as the fine you would get in Saddam's time, when they were illegal. If the police found one at the bottom of your garden or hidden in a cardboard box on the roof, it would be immediately seized and if you were caught out a second time, you risked up to a year in prison. When the regime was particularly worried about foreign influences, helicopter patrols would go looking for the dishes. In November 2002, when the threat of a US invasion was growing, the authorities reiterated that they were banned. " 5:47:49 PM
The Crossbow MDA300CA Enviromental Data Acquisition Card: "is designed to interace directly with remote sensors like Soil Moisture, Humidity, Temperature, Wind Speed, Wind Direction, and Leaf Wetness. .. for Agricultural applications such as Irrigation Management, Early Frost Warning, Pesticide and Fertilizer Application.
Supports Remote Environmental Sensors including Soil Moisture, Humidity, Temperature, Wind Speed, Wind Direction and more. Developed at UCLA’s Center for Networked Embedded Sensing." UCLA Data collection software is available. Crossbow sensor and software kits available online for under $2000. 2:03:40 PM
BW: The Sensor Revolution: "Sensor networks promise a mammoth extension of the Internet. To date, the Web has been a showcase for the human brain. It specializes in the words, numbers, music, and images that mankind produces. With sensors, the network stretches to the far vaster field of global activity. This means such networks can cover every single thing that moves, grows, makes noise, or heats up. ..
York International (YRK ) Corp., which manages ventilation systems for more than 60,000 customers, plans over the next five years to install hundreds of thousands of networked sensors on its clients' air-conditioning units. These will monitor temperatures and automatically send updates to York's offices. That should lighten the workload for York's 2,000 technicians, boosting productivity by as much as 15%.. Tyco Thermal Controls LLC is turning to wireless sensors to cut down on the cost of laying wires in its pipe-heating systems. Such wiring accounts for two-thirds of the expense of installing monitoring systems. During the next three months, Tyco plans to launch customer tests." 1:54:37 PM
MICA: The Commercialization of Microsensor Motes: Profile of architecture of Crossbow sensors and their networks. "The first commercial generation of this platform was dubbed the Rene Mote,´and several thousand of these sensors have been deployed at commercial and research institutions worldwide to promote the development and application of wireless sensor networks. The platform’s development community is based on the open-source model.. Most development work is done in the public domain, and it includes the hardware design and software source code. .. Although there’s no official consortium, the current community includes U.C. Berkeley, U.C. Los Angeles, Intel Research Labs, Robert Bosch Corp., U.S. Air Force Research Labs, Crossbow Technology, and others. ..
MICA developers and U.S. Air Force Research Labs used the new technology to create a wireless sensor network at the 29 Palms Marine base .. An unmanned aircraft dropped about 30 wireless magnetic sensors along a road. The sensors were packaged in a thin layer of foam to protect them from the hard landing on the desert floor. Once safely on the ground, the sensors formed a wireless network and began looking for magnetic anomalies. As a vehicle passed by the sensors, they would detect the vehicle from its magnetic signature. As the vehicle continued along the network, the engineers were able to estimate the vehicle’s speed and direction. The unmanned aircraft returned overhead to collect the data from the network and transmit them to the remote operation command headquarters. The entire development of the application, including the demonstration, took fewer than 60 days." 1:51:30 PM
Cringely rant on IT depts, outsourcing, and India subcontractors: "Now another question: Why are Linux computers gaining in popularity with large organizations while Macs, which are based after all on BSD Unix, aren't? .. Again, it comes down to the IT Department Full Employment Act. Adopting Linux allows organizations to increase their IT efficiency without requiring the IT department to increase ITS efficiency. It takes just as many nerds to support 100 Linux boxes as 100 Windows boxes, yet Linux boxes are cheaper and can support more users. The organization is better off while the IT department is unscathed and unchallenged...
[T]oday it is probably cheaper for a good-sized company to hire six to 12 smart people, empower them, keep their training current, and have them run the IT organization. A few smart leaders with a good pool of contractors can do a better job with open source support tools than IBM or any other outsourcing vendor can with its proprietary tools. ..
[T]he end game has not the big U.S. companies winning, but their Indian subcontractors. This isn't rocket science, and the Indians are going to quickly see that they can cut out their U.S. employers and go directly to the customers. It won't happen immediately, but eventually every U.S. outsourcing vendor will try to bring the work back in-house for this very reason." 10:16:55 AM
Thursday, August 14, 2003
Arab news editorial: Will Arabs Miss the Bus, Once Again?
: "For 30 years Arab policy on Palestine was based on rejectionism. It produced no benefits for the Palestinians who had to pay, often with their blood, the price of Arab League “heroism.” A new generation of Arab rejectionists now believe that they can play the same game with Iraq. They are mistaken.
Iraq is not Palestine. It is one of the most important Arab countries with immense human and natural resources. Even today, after 30 years of the most vicious tyranny and four wars, Iraq is generally in better shape than some Arab states. Iraq’s many problems, mostly due to a collapsing infrastructure of services, are highlighted because of global media attention. Power brownouts in Baghdad and Basra are massively reported. But few people learn of blackouts in other Arab capitals. Acts of violence in Baghdad make the world headlines because of American presence. But there is no coverage of the bigger violence that affects several Arab countries right now. ..
Rejectionism on Palestine divided and ultimately weakened the Arabs. Rejectionism on Iraq is also dividing the Arabs and could lead to further loss of influence for them. " 7:36:43 PM
Wednesday, August 13, 2003
Spanish Carbon Fund launched
: "The first Spanish Carbon Fund is to be launched as a consortium led by CO2 Spain, an environmental investments group, working together with CO2e.com [part of Cantor Fitzgerald] and international law firm, Baker and McKenzie." 8:50:28 AM
Monday, August 11, 2003
Automakers Drop Suits Over Clean-Air Regulation: "General Motors and DaimlerChrysler are dropping lawsuits against California over a landmark clean-air regulation that requires the production of millions of low-emission cars and trucks over the next decade and a half. The move creates a temporary but momentous environmental truce between the auto industry, which has blocked the zero-emission vehicle mandate that was set in motion in 1990, and California, which wields enormous influence over the global industry.
.. [The auto industry] has also been reassured by recent steps of California regulators. The state amended its requirements in April to emphasize more low-emission and fewer zero-emission cars. In recent weeks, coinciding with negotiations over the suits, the air board expanded its credit system for hybrids to include a wider variety of vehicles" 9:30:33 PM
Iridium service for telementry
: "Iridium Short Burst Data (SBD) service is a new data service that enables value-added applications to send and receive short data transactions efficiently over the Iridium network." Designed for resellers to integrate into internet-based services. 4:41:37 PM
Friedman on liberal clerics in Iraq: "If the West is going to avoid a war of armies with Islam, there has to be a war of ideas within Islam. The progressives have to take on both the religious totalitarians, like Osama bin Laden, and the secular totalitarians who exploit Islam as a cover, like Saddam Hussein. We cannot defeat their extremists, only they can...
Mr. Jamaleddine, age 42, grew up in Iraq, sought exile in Iran after one of Saddam's anti-Shiite crackdowns, tasted the harshness of the Iranian Islamic revolution firsthand, moved to Dubai, and then returned to Iraq as soon as Saddam fell. Here is a brief sampler of what he has been advocating:
"We want a secular constitution. That is the most important point. If we write a secular constitution and separate religion from state, that would be the end of despotism and it would liberate religion as well as the human being. . . . The Islamic religion has been hijacked for 14 centuries by the hands of the state. The state dominated religion, not the other way around. ..
The problem of the Middle East cannot be solved unless all the states in the area become secular. . . . I call for opening the door for Ijtihad [reinterpretation of the Koran in light of changing circumstances]. The Koran is a book to be interpreted [by] each age. .. The neighboring countries are all tyrannical countries and they are wary of a modern, liberal Iraq. . . . That is why they work to foil the U.S. presence. . . . If the U.S. wants to help Iraqis, it must help them the way it helped Germany and Japan, because to help Iraq is really to help 1.3 billion Muslims. Iraq will teach these values to the entire Islamic world. Because Iraq has both Sunnis and Shiites, and it has Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen. . . . If it succeeds here it can succeed elsewhere. But to succeed you also need to satisfy people's basic needs: jobs and electricity. If people are hungry, they will be easily recruited by the extremists. If they are well fed and employed, they will be receptive to good ideas. . . . The failure of this experiment in Iraq would mean success for all despots in the Arab and Islamic world. [That is why] this is a challenge that America must accept and take all the way." 9:56:15 AM