Ken Novak's Weblog
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Ken Novak's Weblog

daily link  Saturday, October 04, 2003

ZigBee Standard Approved By IEEE: "The ZigBee standard, now officially known as 802.15.4, specifies the physical and media-access control (MAC) layers for the network, which can transfer data at rates up to 250 Kbits per second. The specification defines three throughput levels: 250 Kbits/s at 2.4 GHz, using 10 channels; 40 Kbits/s at 915-MHz, using 6 channels; and 20 Kbits/s at 868 MHz using a single channel.   The technology can tranfer data at ranges up to 75 meters, depending on the power used and the transmission environment."

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RFID Journal - Peer-to-Peer: RFID's Killer App?: "A small Finnish company has taken a novel approach to solving that problem. Stockway has developed a peer-to-peer network that enables companies to share real-time data about products, regardless of the kind of RFID tag used on them.  "We don’t track information as such, we track where information can be found," says Lion Benjamins, Stockway's marketing director. .. Stockway's system doesn't create a centralized directory where people can go to find out where files are stored. Instead, Stockway makes the product the center of the system. When a tag is scanned with an WWAI-enabled reader, it lets users know which private network within the system is being used and where distributed information about the product is stored. ..

Another advantage is the system can use any kind of RFID tag or even bar codes. It doesn’t solve the problem of needing standardized tags because business partners sharing information need to be able to scan the same tag. But partners could use the software to begin sharing data today with existing tags and readers, while waiting for their industry to agree on a standard tag. .. The system will have to compete with the Auto-ID Center's EPC Network, which also aims to use the Internet to enable companies to share data, though in a more centralized way.  "

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Followit GPS+GSM: "With help from a cell phone or Internet can you position your object. Taxi companies, transport companies, car rent and even insurance companies can use the transponder in a wide range.  .. Telia, a Swedish phone company, think that more than half of the mobile phone traffic is going to be computer traffic." It's called "matchbox sized", but looks about the same size as a cell phone.  Another story : "Called Followit, the £700 device was invented by Olaf Lundberg, a Swede who lost his dog while moose hunting.  Mr Lundberg's brainwave was to find a way of squeezing the workings of a GPS satellite navigation receiver and a mobile phone with a battery and two aerials into a box that he could strap to his dog's collar... "At first he sold it through hunting magazines, but then he found it was being used by truck companies to monitor the movement of their drivers through Sweden," .. In a demonstration seen by The Daily Telegraph, the device tracked the position of a car to the street in Winchester where the car was parked, even giving details of the nearest house number. Followit is now being sold to parents who want to keep tabs on their children, pet owners, private investigators, car hire firms, yacht owners, haulage companies, and travellers concerned about losing their luggage. It is also being offered to lone workers, such as community nurses, who can use its panic button if they are attacked."

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Back to the Future: New Wi-Fi Bridges Use 1999 Standard [Aug. 28, 2003]: Technical description of WDS bridging that is simple and effective.  Summary from the author: "Apple and Buffalo, to name two, allow their access points to work as APs and bridges simultaneously, which can let you create a cloud of access instead of a little pool. It also reduces costs.  In a shocking discovery, which I write about in this article, you can use Buffalo and Apple equipment together in WDS mode. Buffalo's roughly $100 access point (WLA-G54) pairs with Apple's $200-$250 AirPort Extreme Base Station, which has all the gateway features you need."  10:48:47 PM  permalink  

Polish troops discover four French missiles in Iraq, made in 2003:  "The discovery of [4 anti-aircraft] missiles by Polish troops raises fresh questions about the role of France in arming Saddam, as well as reviving memories of the French sale of Exocet missiles to Argentina before the Falklands war. ..

The Roland series of short-range anti-aircraft missiles is built by the Euromissile consortium, a joint venture between the Aérospatiale-Matra company and Germany’s DaimlerChrysler Aerospace. Roland missiles have previously been discovered at Baghdad airport, although France at the time insisted they were models no longer in production.   ..

Eugeniusz Mleczak, a spokesman for the Polish defence ministry, said the missiles were discovered on 29 September and made safe.  "It is not the first time Polish troops found ammunition in Iraq but, to our surprise, these missiles were produced in 2003," he added.  A spokeswoman for the French foreign ministry denied knowledge of the missiles, saying: "Since July 1990, France has not authorised a single shipment of military equipment to Iraq."

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daily link  Thursday, October 02, 2003

Altamont Pass to Receive Wind Turbine Upgrade: "Altamont Power, plans to complete construction by May, 2004. The repower project originally won approval in 1998, but the California energy crisis blocked progress at that time.  Altamont Power expects to increase efficiency with the new turbines, in addition to cleaning up the site and burying many of the overhead power lines. It will replace nearly 200 Flowind turbines with 45 800-kW NEG Micon turbines. There will be no net addition of wind power capacity, but the output is expected to increase due to the increased efficiency of the new machines. The project stretches over a 2,880-acre area north of Interstate Highway I-580."  11:39:09 PM  permalink  

Dow, GM, and Johnson & Johnson use Green Power: "GM is also selling to Dow 35 MW of hydrogen fuel cells, which represents the largest corporate fuel cell purchase in the world. .. Johnson & Johnson now has nearly 1.2 megawatts of on-site solar PV capacity across 3 states, making the company one of the nation's largest corporate users of this technology as well."  11:32:58 PM  permalink  

RPS in trouble: "A renewable energy portfolio standard has been dropped from the energy bill being crafted by a House and Senate conference committee. The standard is unlikely to be restored despite a letter from 53 senators asking for its inclusion, according a congressional source close to the talks... the conference committee decided to omit the renewable energy portfolio standard because it was not included in the House version and because of fears that utilities in certain parts of the country -- including [conference chair] Tauzin´s home state of Louisiana -- would have difficulty meeting renewable energy requirements"  11:30:15 PM  permalink  

Poll on US foreign affairs: "In choosing between broad descriptions of multilateralism and unilateralism, two-thirds of Americans choose multilateral policy versus three in ten who favor unilateral policy.  Three in five Americans say the United Nations is needed now more than ever in world affairs, while 34% say the world body is less relevant and less influential today in global matters.

Americans are at least twice as likely to agree as to disagree that the United States should participate in the International Criminal Court (53%-22%) and in the Kyoto Protocol (44%-22%).  However, margins of support for international treaties soften considerably when Americans learn more about them. Given more information, Americans are more likely to say the United States should not participate in the Kyoto Protocol (48%) than to say we should participate (41%). Support for the International Criminal Court Treaty (48%) still remains higher than the opposition (38%) after hearing arguments for and against the treaty. "

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Boa Constructor home: "Boa Constructor is a cross platform Python IDE and wxPython GUI Builder. It offers visual frame creation and manipulation, an object inspector, many views on the source like object browsers, inheritance hierarchies, doc string generated html documentation, an advanced debugger and integrated help."  12:22:41 PM  permalink  

ecartis: Modular Mailing List Manager: "Ecartis is a open-source (GNU License) software package that administers mailing lists (similar to Majordomo and Listserv). "  12:16:22 PM  permalink  

OSCOM - Open Source Content Management: "OSCOM is an international, not-for-profit organization dedicated to Open Source Content Management."  Many high-profile members.  12:08:07 PM  permalink  

Event Swarms: "We had a lot of success with the use of Groove during Operation Iraqi Freedom. .. The day that "event swarming" became obvious was the day that the statue of Saddam was brought down. As Rapid Assessments were received by members of the space, we would receive Groove IM's directing us to the form and space in which it resided. What was fascinating was to see the number of people that would click through the IM and arrive in the shared space. Where there had been 5 people working in the space, there were now 50. Instantaneously, the space became super-charged with activity, which was most evident in the chat pane as people, separated by thousands of miles, began to discuss what needed to be done, who needed to do it, and decide when it would happen"  9:55:02 AM  permalink  

SUITELAB tools for Groove, including a 3D molecule viewer.  9:44:10 AM  permalink  

Collaboration tools for conflict resolution: "The Virtual Negotiation Table in Southern Asia/New York/Helsinki: Groove was used less than eight weeks ago to broker peace in a nation in southern Asia. .. Groove was embraced by both constituencies because of the virtual nature of the shared space. While one shared space served as the meeting place for the factions, each had separate spaces to discuss their positions and provide context for the negotiators."  9:42:07 AM  permalink  

Cabezal NewsClient for Groove.  (Used in Iraq for publishing news stories to the field DART teams.)  9:38:50 AM  permalink  

Power to the Edge: 300 page PDF book from DoD on changing patterns in information and power:  "Power to the Edge is the latest book in the Information Age Transformation Series, and in a sense it completes the articulation of a vision of DoD Transformation and an approach to achieving it. "  9:30:18 AM  permalink  

Parallelspace eMail 2.0: New release of Groove-Outlook integration tool.  9:26:16 AM  permalink  

Mail within Groove: "AvantMail is a Groove tool developed by Zalba Studio."  9:16:36 AM  permalink  

Treemaps for space-constrained visualization of hierarchies: very interesting tool.  Among its applications are management of disk space, understanding work done in a collaborative space, and more.  9:08:02 AM  permalink  

Tim Knip's grooveInterop 0.5 available.  interesting link between radio and groove using GWS.  Possibly different version at SUITELAB.  9:04:29 AM  permalink  

Mailbucket: an email-to-RSS gateway  "Back in March, I mentioned that Tom Dyson is working on XPath bindings for PostgreSQL. Today he wrote to announce something completely different: an email-to-RSS gateway called MailBucket. It couldn't be simpler to use. Moments ago I sent an email to Almost immediately, I was able to subscribe to, which is also rendered here. "  12:35:03 AM  permalink  

Ray Ozzie's Weblog: "If you're doing a critical process in e-mail now, you won't be doing it there for long."  12:32:09 AM  permalink  

Online NewsHour: General Zinni's View: Excellent interview.  "I do think we can't do business as usual. We can't just stay the course and keep doing the same things. We're going to have to take some dramatic action to internationalize this effort to put qualified, highly trained Iraqi security forces in the field, to generate an economy and a level of business that gets jobs on the street. Unfortunately it's going to cost us $87 billion and probably more down the road. But time can run against us in this and it has to be executed more quickly. I would like to see more people on the ground. I think you need a Bremer and a Bremer-like team at every provincial level, maybe 18 teams down to the grassroots level. You can't leave it to a battalion commander to run the local school or to the run the local city council or village council. You need a political, economic, security, humanitarian piece at every level. "  12:26:35 AM  permalink  

daily link  Wednesday, October 01, 2003

FBI fails to re-create anthrax production: "Two years after the nation's deadly anthrax attacks, the FBI still has not been able to re-create the process the killer used to produce the substance sent through the U.S. mail, a top FBI official said Monday."  The FBI is also backing away from its designation of Stephen Hatfill as a "person of interest."  10:33:08 PM  permalink  

Saudi Arabia's Overrated Oil Weapon: A conservative's revaluation of Saudi power.  "When the American political community realizes that the world economy is not in Saudi hands as much as the Saudi economy is in the hands of Western oil buyers, Washington can stop being afraid of the Saudis. .. there is no strategic imperative for the United States to reduce its "dependency" on imported oil by reducing oil consumption. We should make sure that world oil-production capacity stays comfortably ahead of world demand for oil. We should also ensure that there are large stockpiles of oil to improve the short-term balance of supply and demand. And we need to stop feeling dependent when we are not. These measures are all feasible and have moderate costs. "  6:53:41 PM  permalink  

Internet & ICTs for Social Justice and Development News - APC: "The majority of the community development workers (CDWs) interviewed were found to be accessing a wide range of development information disseminated through the WorldSpace from the C-MAD  (Community Mobilization Against Desertification) offices. They shared the information with local communities mostly through listening to the audio channels and downloading."  5:32:28 PM  permalink - case studies and bridge builders: "ICT-Enabled Development Case Studies Series: Africa ." 9 case studies so far.  5:29:41 PM  permalink  

daily link  Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Urchin Web Analytics Software: Seems to have a good reputation, mulitplatform, and Verio uses them.  3:20:51 PM  permalink  

ST tackles alternative solar cells: "The Franco-Italian semiconductor manufacturer ST Microelectronics (ST) is developing alternative materials to make cheaper solar cells. ... The ST researchers are following two alternative approaches. The first is based on a so-called Graetzel cell (a device invented by Michael Graetzel of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in 1990), which uses a method similar in principle to photosynthesis. In the Graetzel cell, an organic dye absorbs light, while a nanoporous metal oxide layer transports electrons. Holes are transported in the reverse direction by a liquid electrolyte. Coffa says that ST is looking to replace these liquid electrolytes with a conductive polymer. "This could lead to further reductions in the cost per Watt, which is the key to making solar energy commercially viable," he said. The second idea that the ST researchers are working on is to use a mixture of fullerene and a copper-based organic compound sandwiched between the cell's two electrodes."  More info on the ST site.  Also, a CNN article quotes targets of $0.20 per watt.  11:24:08 AM  permalink  

Remember Anthrax?: a 2002 review of evidence and questions.  Congressional testimony also online.  10:03:58 AM  permalink  

Google Viewer: "The Google Viewer displays the pages found as a result of your Google search as a continuous scrolling slide show." Neat - check out the results from 'cgnet services'.  9:43:40 AM  permalink  

Google Search by Location: Experimental Google interface, mapping the results, kinda like MetaCarta.   Still rough around the edges.  Try 'nuclear' in 'detroit,mi' or 'pizza' in 'palo alto,ca' (after pressing 'Search smaller area' a few times).  It also allows other search terms, like limiting the search to which actually improves the results.  Wonder when they'll go international?

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Blog back and forth:  Interesting criticism and rebuttal about Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine, with intelligent comments that clarify the issues.  9:10:19 AM  permalink  

CSS generator for multi-column formats. And, List-o-matic, a rollover menu generator.  8:56:41 AM  permalink  

daily link  Monday, September 29, 2003

Buddhist Economics by E. F. Schumacher: Classic 1966 essay, later collected into the 1973 "Small is Beautiful."  10:09:26 PM  permalink  

XML Standards for Emergency services: The draft Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) announced by the technical committee of the Emergency Management XML Consortium (EM-XML) is intended to establish a format for data interchange among local, regional and national warning and hazard alert systems. Information collected would then be forwarded to appropriate warning and emergency-response institutions. [CRN 08.12.03]  5:00:03 PM  permalink  

Rabo India plans $30m renewable energy fund: "Rabo India Finance, a 100% subsidiary of Rabobank Nederland, is setting up a $30m private equity fund dedicated to financing renewable energy projects in the country.  The ‘Renewable Energy Equity Fund’ is still in the process of mobilising funds from domestic and global investors before formally launching the fund in March ’04."

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The latest works: Great visual illusions.  11:52:47 AM  permalink  

Second Life: Your World. Your Imagination.  Interesting looking 3D space with DIY avatars.  "Linden Lab is a privately-held company established to develop Second Life, an extraordinary new form of shared 3D entertainment."  11:35:43 AM  permalink  

XSLT Filter for IIS: "XSLTFilter is an ISAPI filter that performs XSL Transformations on XML, xHTML and HTML. It is designed primarily for use with Active Server Pages (ASP) on Internet Information Server (IIS). .. Using an XSLT filter is a sort of half-way point in the separation of presentation from logic. Most web applications mix presentation and logic together. ASP-based sites seem to be as or more prone to this than other web application frameworks. Upgrading and standardizing the presentation of a web application is often difficult and time-consuming. By using an XSLT filter at the output stage, some extra separation and modularization can be achieved. It also allows complete separation of presentation and logic if one wishes, but does not force an immediate move to that paradigm."  11:30:20 AM  permalink  

daily link  Sunday, September 28, 2003

Agency Belittles Information Given by Iraq Defectors: "An internal assessment by the Defense Intelligence Agency has concluded that most of the information provided by Iraqi defectors who were made available by the Iraqi National Congress was of little or no value, according to federal officials briefed on the arrangement.   In addition, several Iraqi defectors introduced to American intelligence agents by the exile organization and its leader, Ahmad Chalabi, invented or exaggerated their credentials as people with direct knowledge of the Iraqi government and its suspected unconventional weapons program, the officials said. The arrangement [was] paid for with taxpayer funds supplied to the exile group under the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998.."  11:37:12 PM  permalink  

The Level of Discourse Continues to Slide: Presentations as obfuscators:  "The independent board that investigated the Columbia disaster devoted an entire page of its final report last month to Mr. Tufte's [critique of a PowerPoint briefing]. The board wrote that "it is easy to understand how a senior manager might read this PowerPoint slide and not realize that it addresses a life-threatening situation." In fact, the board said: "During its investigation, the board was surprised to receive similar presentation slides from NASA officials in place of technical reports. The board views the endemic use of PowerPoint briefing slides instead of technical papers as an illustration of the problematic methods of technical communication at NASA.""  9:39:59 AM  permalink  

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