Updated: 5/16/2006; 11:28:46 AM.

Ken Novak's Weblog
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daily link  Saturday, January 17, 2004

Due Diligence: Great commentary on Silicon Valley: "The Next Big Thing is a narrative we lay on top of the events after they happen, when we make our myths of the FairChildren, Steve and Steve, and kids from Cham-bana who changed the world. Heros, villains, goats, motives, plot points, morals of the story. All a mirage, induced by survivorship bias.

The Next Big Thing sneaks up from behind while you're trying to do your work, kicks your ass, walks over you, and either rifles your pockets or drops gold into your hands. If it's gold, they write a story about it one day. The others you never hear about, unless you live here and know them personally Galahad knew what he was looking for, we don't. Anyone tells you different, you're talking to a liar."  His own history, including Apple, Kalieda, and Compuserve, illustrates the point.

  10:57:18 PM  permalink  

Why Multimedia Publishing is a Crock: A 1991 piece from an Apple engineer on why "multimedia" would fail and networks would win.  Funny reading both the good (salience vs production values) and  bad now: "Where would such a network come from? While the current Internet is a harbinger, itís too hard to use, is tied to desktop machinery, and has the wrong economic structure. One of the requirements for progress is more bandwidth, which enables users to send higher volumes of information in shorter periods of time. The proposed NREN (National Research and Education Network) high-bandwidth backbone (powerful computers connected by high-speed communications lines) has the problem of being overtly subsidized and controlled by government, which is unlikely to lead to a market structure ó and it seems unwise to entrust the bureaucrats that gave us NASA and DOE with the potential core of an information society."  10:50:28 PM  permalink  

Cell Phone Cameras Share Blotchy Moments: "Tens of millions of these less-than perfect pictures were snapped and e-mailed from cell phones in the US during 2003, the first full year such services were available. News organizations are publishing cell photos from their readers to help cover stories. And an untold number of mobile phone snapshots are being posted daily to "moblogs," a visual form of the online journals better known as Web logs, or blogs. ..

Of the roughly 75 million camera phones shipped worldwide in 2003, only 6 million went to the United States, compared with more than 35 million to Japan, according to Strategy Analytics Ltd., a British consulting firm. Likewise, North America accounted for just 1.7 million of the world's 24 million "active" users of camera phones, compared with a combined 21.6 million in Japan and South Korea. ..

Though one- and two-megapixel camera phones like those available overseas are expected here this year, none of the handsets now sold in the United States offer better than 0.3 megapixels, less than a third of the resolution of the lowest-end standalone digital camera. ..

To share picture messages with other cell phone users [rather than email or moblogs], those people must all be signed up with the same wireless service. Rival carriers have not reached any deals to interconnect their services."

  10:25:38 PM  permalink  

Poor Nations Eye Western Outsourcing: "The tech research firm Gartner Inc. predicts that the offshore outsourcing trend will result in at least one in every 10 U.S. technology jobs moving overseas by the end of this year.

India gets a huge amount of that work but also has set up so-called centers of excellence in Mongolia, Mauritius and Nepal to help those countries develop software skills, understand international business practices and enhance education. At the Hyderabad summit, Kamal Thapa, Nepal's minister for information technology and communication, said the Himalayan kingdom is laying fiber-optic cables along highways and liberalizing investment rules to attract foreign companies. Mongolia's infrastructure minister, Byamba Jigjid, said a software park has been built in the capital, Ulan Bator, to house companies that provide services to Western firms .. "We are small. But we have a young work force well skilled in information and communication technologies," Abdul Moyeen Khan, science and information technology minister for Bangladesh"

  10:05:01 PM  permalink  

Information Patterns - Toucan Navigate: "Toucan Navigate is the Geographic Information System (GIS) for users of Groove Workspace, the desktop collaboration software."  Integrated with GPS, with its own collaborative viewer and data entry engine.  Looks very powerful. Michael Helfrich discusses potential applications for NGOs.  9:56:21 PM  permalink  

North Korea Reaches Out to Japan:"Facing a choice of Japanese sanctions or Japanese aid, North Korea is quietly taking steps to unblock its longstanding political logjam with Japan.

First, six adult children of Japanese hijackers from the Red Army faction, an extinct left-wing terror group, unexpectedly arrived here on Tuesday from Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. Then, North Korea floated a March 20 deadline for sending to Japan the children of five Japanese who had been abducted by North Korea years ago. The parents were allowed to come here from North Korea in October 2002. .. On Friday, Yoriko Kawaguchi, Japan's foreign minister, confirmed that four Japanese diplomats were in Pyongyang, the first visit by Japanese officials since relations between the countries soured in the fall of 2002. ..

"Japan has a strong hand to play on the issue of financial support of North Korea," Senator Brownback said in a speech here, referring to annual remittances of tens of millions of dollars by ethnic Koreans in Japan to North Korea. "It needs to play its hand."

Japanese concern also extends to those fleeing North Korea. This week, Japanese human rights groups and editorial writers protested after the Chinese authorities disclosed that the Chinese police had arrested a Japanese human rights activist and two North Korean refugees a month ago. The activist, Takayuki Noguchi, worked with Life Funds for North Korean Refugees, the largest group here helping North Koreans who escape from their country. "

  9:44:47 PM  permalink  

Al-Qaeda launches online terrorist manual: "Al-Qaeda has issued a chilling new call to arms to recruits who remain undetected by security agencies. In a terrorist manual published on the internet, Osama bin Laden says: 'After Iraq and Afghanistan will come the Crusader invasion of Saudi Arabia. All fighters all over the world must be ready.' The manual has been masterminded by Saif al-Adel, the organisation's third most senior man and the only terrorist other than bin Laden and his partner Ayman al-Zawahiri to have a $25 million reward on his head.

It is directed at new volunteers who are 'below the radar' of counter-terrorist authorities and who cannot break cover to undergo formal training in terrorist techniques. Like bin Laden, Zawahiri is quoted in the publication, called 'The Base of the Vanguard'. .. Another author is Abdul Aziz al-Mukran, who is also known as Abu Hajjer and is one of the most wanted al-Qaeda suspects in Saudi Arabia. In his contribution, entitled 'The war of nerves', he lists the use of weapons of mass destruction, specifically biological and nuclear arms, as a potential tactic in the 'ongoing war'.

The manual is an internal al-Qaeda document [the January issue of what promises to be a monthly publication] and will be of enormous interest to security agencies. The fact that al-Adel, a former special forces colonel in the Egyptian army, has risked discovery to publish it is an indication of its importance. 'Though it shows that we have taken down a lot of the training infrastructure and made it hard for [al-Qaeda] to operate, it is very worrying in that it implies that there are a lot of recruits around who we have yet to pick up,' one British senior police counter-terrorist officer said. "

  9:40:17 PM  permalink  

Talking Points Memo by Joshua Micah Marshall: Another excellent blog, on US politics, winner of a recent "Opinion Award," along with Friedman, Krugman, and others in the print media.  12:23:28 AM  permalink  

Topical, polemical, and short:  Rick Klau and Dan Bricklin (Pamphleteers and Web Sites) make the point that weblogs are the modern equivalent of pamphlets in 18th century America: low-cost ubiquitous personal publishing.  Historian Bernard Bailyn is cited about pamphlets, quoting "George Orwell, a modern pamphleteer":   "[The pamphet] is a one-man show. One has complete freedom of expression, including, if one chooses, the freedom to be scurrilous, abusive, and seditious; or, on the other hand, to be more detailed, serious and "high-brow" than is ever possible in a newspaper or in most kinds of periodicals."  Bailyn says none were professional writers, that "The American pamphleteers were almost to a man lawyers, ministers, merchants, or planters heavily engaged in their regular occupations."

  12:13:12 AM  permalink  


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Last update: 5/16/2006; 11:28:46 AM.