Updated: 5/16/2006; 11:27:58 AM.

Ken Novak's Weblog
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daily link  Monday, January 12, 2004


BP donation to India via BASE: "BP Solar USA is donating over $1 million worth of solar modules to BASE (Basel Agency for Sustainable Energy), who in turn are dispatching them to rural and semi-rural areas of India where over 60 per cent of the population is without electricity. The solar systems will be used for water pumping, lighting and for powering telecommunications services including cyber cafes."  Contact info for BASE director provided in the article.  11:11:32 PM  permalink  

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY APPLIED TO THE MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS: Useful essays by John A. Daly that include an inventory of IT applications in development, specifically linked to Millenium Goals.  Especially useful for its summary of MDG and the specific measurements associated with each Goal.  "The Millennium Development Goals (MDG) provide a vision of development: one in which development reduces the number of poor in the world and specifically targets the worst aspects of poverty. The Goals were set forth in the Millennium Declaration of the United Nations, and increasingly influence the policies of governments and development assistance agencies."  10:20:36 PM  permalink  

World Bank ICT Toolkit: A checklist for project structures when getting multilateral grants.  "This toolkit directly addresses the basics of planning, designing and supervising "e" (or ICT) components of WBGroup projects in other sectors and discusses good practices for project management, procurement (goods and services); and implementation. At a time when the average investment lending operation in all sectors includes an ICT component of at least 10% of the total loan (much higher figures for HD and PREM projects where ICT can make up to 60% of some projects); the Toolkit's objective is to raise awareness, increase design and output quality; and enhance the monitoring and evaluation of ICT components in our portfolio."  10:15:30 PM  permalink  

Global Philanthropy Partnership: "The following summary is an initial attempt to identify and describe the range of organizations and activities currently promoting and supporting global social investing. We consider this draft a 'living document' that will evolve and grow with the field."  Lists many international private donors.  10:13:39 PM  permalink  

Hosts for Web Sites or Blogs: plus an update from Rick Klau on his current favorite.  I've been experimenting with hostingmatters.com with good results (sounds like the same setup as Klau's hoster).  10:00:37 PM  permalink  

ZIP-LINQ Retractable Cables and Retractable Cable Accessories: Cables for charging gizmos in many way, including from a laptop's USB ports.  Cuts the need for multiple adaptors.  9:54:03 PM  permalink  

Creative Commons: Useful site for selecting appropriate lisencing for created material (e.g., requiring attribution, no derivative works, but otherwise open to noncommercial use).  9:32:23 PM  permalink  

Blog Tools: PC Mag reviews a few, praising Moveable Type and its hosted version, Typepad.  Law blogger Jerry Lawson concurs (he switched from Radio to MT in 2003).  That blogger also says he not only has time for blogging, it saves him time.  9:26:56 PM  permalink  

Microsoft Bows to Pressure, Extends Support for Older Windows Versions: "Microsoft Corp. on Monday capitulated to customer pressure and announced that it would now continue extended support for Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition and for Windows Millennium Edition (ME) until June 30, 2006. Microsoft recently said that support for Windows 98 and 98 SE would be phased out this Friday—January 16, while support for Windows Me was due to stop on December 31, 2004. ..

During this time, Microsoft will continue to offer paid phone support and will continue to review any critical security issues and take appropriate steps. ..

According to officials, Microsoft also wanted to bring Windows 98 SE into compliance with the company's current lifecycle policy for new products, which provides for support for seven years instead of the original four. "

  9:15:58 PM  permalink  

Bloglines: Free, Web-Based News Aggregator: "Bloglines is a free service that makes it easy to keep up with your favorite blogs and newsfeeds. With Bloglines, you can subscribe to the RSS feeds of your favorite blogs, and Bloglines will monitor updates to those sites... Make it easy for your readers to stay up to date with your blog. Add a Bloglines Subscribe button and with one click they can subscribe to your blog."  Also has means for adding email subscriptions and treating as a subscription alongside other RSS feeds.  5:34:44 PM  permalink  

Yahoo, NewsGator Extend RSS Aggregation: "research shows that consumer dependence on the Web browser has diminished significantly. A recent study from Nielsen//NetRatings found that three out of every four home and work Internet users -- a full 76 percent -- access the Internet using a non-browser based Internet application like RSS aggregators, media players, Instant Messaging and P2P applications."  5:32:02 PM  permalink  

More casual VOIP: "We leave Skype running in the background when Matt's online in Helsinki and I'm in London. It's an easy, casual way to keep someone present when they're not. You hear the rhythms of their typing, occasional laughs or sighs or mutterings, and you can break into conversation when you feel like it. You can have conversational spurts, rather than one big download. It's casual, background conversation rather than a focused IM exchange or time-pressured telephone call."  5:29:05 PM  permalink  

Entering CasualSpace... John Perry Barlow gets a different VOIP experience: "Joi and I were typing at each other over the Net using Apple's iChat AV. I've never liked Internet chat. I don't like having to type that fast. So, at a certain point, I asked him whether he'd used the audio capacities that are built into iChat AV. I hadn't. A moment later we were conversing by voice through our computers. Despite the fact that Joi is presently in his country house outside of Tokyo and I'm at my condo in Salt Lake, it sounded like he was in the room with me. There was no discernible latency or loss of fidelity.

For awhile, we talked as though we were on the phone.. The really interesting shift occurred as we drifted back to what we'd been doing before we started chatting, leaving the audio channel open as we'd did so. We could hear each other typing. One of my daughters entered the room and spoke to me. Joi heard her and said hello. They had a brief conversation; .. I could hear the sounds of construction going on in his house. .. For a long time, it was as though we were working in the same room, each of us alone with his endeavors and yet... together. Though half a world away.

This feels significant to me. Even over shorter distances, people rarely think of phone calls as being so casually cheap that one would simply leave the connection open for ambient telepresence and occasional conversation. To create shared spaces that span the planet, and to do so whenever you feel like it, and to leave them unpurposefully in place for hours, is not something people have done very often before. The next step is to make those shared spaces larger, so that multiple people can inhabit the same auditory zone, entering and leaving it as though it were a coffee house. This will change the way people live.

Big deal, you think. You can do this with conference calls now. But you don't. Conference calls are expensive and unstable. The sound quality usually sucks if you're using a speaker phone. I think this is different. It certainly felt different to me. I had the same shiver of the New that I got years ago the first time I ever used telnet and realized that I could get a hard disks to spin in any number of computers thousands of miles away just by entering a few keystrokes. "

  5:23:09 PM  permalink  

The 1st External USB HDTV: "the first external USB HDTV TV tuner device that supports USB2.0 with PVR features."  From South Korean maker.  4:43:33 PM  permalink  

Tim Berners-Lee to get OBE: "Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web and director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), will be made a Knight Commander, Order of the British Empire (KBE) by Queen Elizabeth. This was announced earlier today by Buckingham Palace as part of the 2004 New Year's Honours list. The rank of Knight Commander is the second most senior rank of the Order of the British Empire, one of the Orders of Chivalry awarded. Berners-Lee, 48, a British citizen who lives in the United States, is being knighted in recognition of his "services to the global development of the Internet" through the invention of the World Wide Web."  3:19:41 PM  permalink  

Feds Roll On Vegas Rollers: "The FBI often uses these specialized warrants issued under the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to record the telephone calls and e-mails of citizens and immigrants believed to be agents of a foreign power.  The government requested and won approval for a record 1,228 warrants in 2002 for secret wiretaps and searches of suspected terrorists and spies, .. significantly higher than the 934 warrants approved in 2001 and the 1,003 approved in 2000.

Operating with permission from a secretive federal court that meets regularly at Justice Department headquarters, the FBI has broken into homes, offices, hotel rooms and automobiles, installed hidden cameras, rummaged through luggage and eavesdropped on telephone conversations.  Besides break-ins, agents also have pried into safe deposit boxes, watched from afar with video cameras and binoculars and intercepted e-mails. They have planted microphones, computer bugs and other high-tech tracking devices.  Details about some FBI techniques emerge from court records spread across dozens of cases. But only a fraction of these surveillances each year result in any kind of public disclosure, so little is known outside classified circles about how they work. 

More recently, the FBI has implemented new ground rules that allow even more sharing of information between agents working on intelligence and those pursuing traditional criminal cases.   Police and prosecutors have increasingly turned the force of the new anti-terrorism laws not on al Qaeda cells but on people charged with common crimes. "  2:39:51 PM  permalink  

FBI gathered visitor info in Vegas: "Only in Las Vegas did the FBI require all hotel operators to surrender guest lists and airlines to turn over arriving passenger manifests, sources at the U.S. Department of Justice said Tuesday. The program, which started Dec. 22, a day after Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge raised the terrorist alert level from yellow, or "elevated," to orange, or "high," was terminated Jan. 1 with the end of the holidays, local FBI spokesman Todd Palmer said.

Casino operators said they turned over the names and other guest information on an estimated 270,000 visitors after a meeting with FBI officials and after receiving national security letters requiring them to yield the information. .. the FBI has new authority to make follow-up demands for whatever information it wants on individuals included on the original lists, and hotel operators and local law enforcement agencies are banned by the recently signed Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 from disclosing any investigations stemming from the lists. ..

The FBI and local law enforcement agencies have said there was no specific and credible terrorist threat aimed at Las Vegas over the recent holiday. ..

Bill Thompson, University of Nevada, Las Vegas professor and casino industry expert, said .. "People come here for some stupid reason, and we want them to. That's our slogan. How does the FBI program match up with `What you do here stays here?' " he asked. ..

In Washington, D.C., [ACLU's] Edgar said there needs to be a distinction between situations in which individuals have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as when they check into a hotel, and others in which they have diminished expectations, such as when they cross the border into the United States or board a commercial aircraft. "

  2:37:18 PM  permalink  

Cable, Internet gain on campaign trail" "Just 23% of Americans ages 18-29 say they regularly get their election news from broadcast news, down from 39% in 2000. Local news and newspapers also showed declines among that age group, 13% and 9%, respectively. Meanwhile, overall use of the Internet and cable for campaign news rose 4% since 2000 [to 13%].

The poll of 1,506 adults found that more young people are learning about the campaign from comedy shows such as The Daily Show and Saturday Night Live. Among 18- to-29-year-olds, 21% say they get campaign news from comedy shows. Before the survey was released, Daily Show's Jon Stewart was asked about young people getting news from his show. He joked that he worries every day and added, "I don't know if you know this, but the children are our future."

The poll found that those who learn from late-night shows don't know much about the current campaign. The Internet, on the other hand, has an informed audience, and active use of the Net for politics is linked to a high level of knowledge about the campaign." And about cable networks: "40% of the Democrats surveyed cited the three broadcast networks compared to 24% of Republicans and 30% of independents. And 27% of the Democrats are CNN fans compared to 20% of GOP and independent viewers.. 29% of the Republicans responding said they watch Fox News Channel to learn about the campaign as opposed to 14% of Democrats and 20% of independents. Radio also tilts heavily toward Republicans, while the Internet was split fairly evenly."

Reminds me of David Brooks' The Era of Distortion: "The proliferation of media outlets and the segmentation of society have meant that it's much easier for people to hive themselves off into like-minded cliques. Some people live in towns where nobody likes President Bush. Others listen to radio networks where nobody likes Bill Clinton. In these communities, half-truths get circulated and exaggerated. Dark accusations are believed because it is delicious to believe them. Vince Foster was murdered. The Saudis warned the Bush administration before Sept. 11.

You get to choose your own reality. You get to believe what makes you feel good. You can ignore inconvenient facts so rigorously that your picture of the world is one big distortion."

  9:45:21 AM  permalink  

Digital Business Ecosystems in Developing Countries: Brief summary of key concept in development of advanced industries. "In biological systems some capabilities cannot emerge prior to others.. Biologists sometimes call the rules governing such relationships “assembly rules,” that is, the rules affecting the assembly, in sequence and over time, of ecosytems. This notion of assembly rules has just begun to be applied to economic development, but it holds great promise. ..

In our study in Ghana, the ground of the digital business ecosystem was fertile with well-educated entrepreneurs—most of whom had studied and lived abroad for some time—who were willing to return to Ghana after the establishment of a democratic government—the first in more than two decades—in 2001. Once in Ghana they were able to connect to a highly competent dial-up ISP, which in turn was connected to the worldwide Internet by a reasonably high-speed satellite service, funded in part by the US government development assistance. Working with this base, and in a legal climate that allowed for the introduction of a variety of digital businesses—most without specific licensing hurdles—a small but thriving digital business community established itself.

The excitement and vitality of this community attracted international notice. This community, however, is only the pioneering phase of what could be a much larger and richer digital ecosystem in Ghana. However, the next phase in succession requires a number of capabilities that are not now present—ranging from reliable electric power, to affordable high bandwidth interconnection both within Ghana and across the seas. In addition, Ghana has limited expertise in financing and coaching the leadership of digital businesses.. The banking culture oriented to lending based on physical assets—and little experience with equity investments in knowledge-based businesses. Finally, the government has dabbled in digital policy making and telecommunications reform, but has not made either clear strategies nor appointed leaders who have the respect of the digital business or investor community. The result is a high level of uncertainty about the policy and legal environment. All of the above limitations were tolerable by pioneering businesses—but they make it difficult for those enterprises and others like them to scale up, expand, and diversify. "  More by these authors on this topic is online.  Also, there are additional perspectives on IT, development, and politics in a recent Harvard Law course syllabus.

  9:13:21 AM  permalink  

 

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Last update: 5/16/2006; 11:27:58 AM.