|Ken Novak's Weblog
Purpose of this blog: to retain annotated bookmarks for my future reference, and to offer others my filter technology and other news. Note that this blog is categorized. Use the category links to find items that match your interests.
Subscribe to get this blog by e-mail.
New: Read what I'm reading on Bloglines.
Sunday, March 21, 2004
Combining Renewable Energy With Information And Communication Technologies: a New Solution to Rural Poverty And Global Competitiveness: Nice to see a UN panel endorsing the concept: "Combining the use of renewable energy, such as solar power, with wireless technologies and energy efficient computers should be a key strategy for developing nations in addressing the rural development crisis and in improving global competitiveness. This was the central conclusion of the Task Force for ICT Applications of Renewable Energy for Sustainable Development (IRESD), initiated two years ago in Paris, where the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Division of Technology Industry and Economics is headquartered.
The Task Force found a number of successful renewable energy and ICT projects in rural areas around the world, but points out that a variety of issues still need to be addressed in order for these examples to become more generally adopted. In particular, the group says that governments need to create incentives for using renewable energies, reduce the regulatory barriers for private networks to obtain connectivity, such as through tax incentives, and sanction the use of license-free radio spectrum. ..
Members of the Task Force [include] energy, ICT and development experts and include representatives from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Switzerland; Winrock International, USA; Massachussettes Institute of Technology (MIT), USA; Kumasi Institute of Technology and Environment (KITE), Ghana; United Nations Industrial Development Organization; an independent consultant Mark A. Foster (MAFA), USA; and Mike Jensen, South Africa." 10:09:34 PM
Wind and solar experience curves:
" with each doubling of world wind-generating capacity, costs fall by 15 percent. The recent growth rate of 31 percent a year means costs are dropping by 15 percent about every 30 months
. While natural-gas prices are highly volatile, the cost of wind power is declining. .. [Solar PV] industry experts estimate that with each doubling of cumulative production, the price drops roughly 20 percent
. Over the last seven years, solar-cell sales expanded an average of 31 percent annually, doubling every 2.6 years
." 10:00:04 PM
CafePress Free Store
: Interesting e-business concept: Make up artwork, music or content, they'll reproduce it on 50 products. They'll also create an online shop for you to set your own markup, and send you the net proceeds when people buy. So you can do content and marketing, no production or fulfillment. 9:41:32 PM
: Source for software and links regarding RSS. First, an Atom-to-RSS converter: "As you know, many sites offer Atom feeds instead of RSS. Most noticeable Blogger.com [and therefore, Google's blogger]. .. Converting Atom XML feed to RSS feed is a new service our site offers, for free. You even don't have to register. All you have to do is to use a link to atom2rss.php page and pass your Atom URL in atom parameter. " Also, a big directory of news readers, and libraries
of ASP and PHP functions for processing RSS. 9:38:07 PM
Security Flaws Exploited Much Faster
: "Security-software vendor Symantec Corp. [reports] that the rate at which Internet security holes are found leveled off at seven per day
in the last six months of 2003. The bad new is that those flaws are being exploited much more quickly. " 9:10:15 PM
Protonex Receives VC Financing for Portable Fuel Cell Technology
Technology Corporation, today announced they received early stage financing to further develop their portable fuel cell technology for commercial applications. ..
Protonex’s portable fuel cell systems are compact, lightweight and durable, providing customers with a preferred alternative to heavier, short-term power sources such as batteries and generators. .. Protonex has been working with the military since 2000 to develop a portable, long duration power solution for portable applications. A soldier on a 3 day mission, for example, would need to carry over 20 pounds of batteries to equal the power of one Protonex portable fuel cell system. Weighing less than 5 pounds with fuel, Protonex’s products offers key advantages over conventional batteries such as increased operating times and fast refueling in the field. Targeting the 10 to 1000 Watt range, Protonex’s portable fuel cell systems are now being adapted for a wide range of mobile electronic equipment with commercial, industrial and government applications. " They offer hydrogen and methanol versions, and claim ongoing development for other fuels. 9:03:24 PM
You call it spam, they call it a living: "About 8 percent of spam recipients actually respond. [No attribution to this stat, unfortunately.] ..
It didn't take long for accountant Laura Betterly to do the math. About 2-1/2 years ago, the single mother from Florida was looking for a lucrative career that would allow her to work at home and spend more time with her two sons, then ages 10 and 11. Betterly, already a savvy businesswoman, and three friends started a bulk e-mailing business - as she prefers to call it - with $15,000. Six months later, she had earned nearly $200,000. Today, she employs 20 people, and she's mum about what she makes, but she does reveal that her company hit the $1 million mark last year. She has moved the business out of her home and into a downtown office in Clearwater, Fla. Her sons both attend private school. And she is home for dinner every night with the boys and her new husband. ..
She calls her product "spam lite" because she does "things differently from other e-mailers." In other words, she explains, she follows the specifics of the new law and refuses to promote any product that wouldn't be appropriate for her 13-year-old son. .. "Most people imagine a guy in a trailer park smoking a cigarette and beating his wife," she says, laughing. "They are often surprised to find that I can put a sentence together."
Betterly thinks that when done right, bulk e-mailing can be a terrific boon to the entrepreneur. She cites the example of a 70-year-old man who wrote a book about improving one's billiards game. He approached Betterly, she sent out millions of e-mails promoting his book, and now he supplements his Social Security income with the profits. .. Among Betterly's other clients are a distributor of alligator meat, an owner of Texas ranch land, and a debt negotiation company (not "consolidation" - a distinction she makes clear).
Betterly is paid in various ways. She charges one fee for every 1 million e-mails she sends. That fee can range from $600 to $1,000, depending on whether the promotion is targeted to a specific location or demographic. She then charges about half that amount for each additional million e-mails sent. .. On a typical day, Betterly's firm might send out 8 million pieces of spam for more than 10 different clients. If 100 people respond, she'll do just fine. .. Betterly no longer sends bulk e-mail to anyone with a Yahoo address. Yahoo and a few other ISPs filter too well, she says, so she doesn't get much response." 8:54:03 PM
Disruptive technology: Nice idea on health care from C. Christensen: It's "an industry in desperate need of disruption. In its current state, a gross amount of overhead costs prepare hospitals and doctors to treat the most complex illnesses known to mankind. In reality, most people need a quick look and a prescription.
Christensen talked about a new business model coming out of Minnesota as the perfect disruptor for medicine. Because Minnesota allows nurses to write prescriptions, the idea would be to create medical drop-in sites that treat 14 primary illnesses. Everything from strep throat to "burn your warts off." The flat rate for a checkup and 'scrip is $29. If it takes more than 15 minutes, it's free.
This is what you and I want, right? No long wait on the phone. No huge bills for a simple checkup. Quick and easy, in and out. This would provide an alternate product to consumers and make going to a big ol' HMO with a sore throat an unacceptable hassle for most consumers. " 8:46:25 PM