Updated: 5/16/2006; 12:26:50 PM.

Ken Novak's Weblog
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daily link  Monday, February 28, 2005

Jon Stewart's Daily Show on Bloggers 02/16/05.  Hilarious.  5:23:48 PM  permalink  

Q-Cells AG: New European solar cell producer, based in East Germany, rumored to IPO in 2005.  "Q-Cells AG, (Thalheim near Wolfen), the largest producer of solar cells in Europe, is presenting its latest construction project .. The company is expanding its production capacity from hitherto 170 MWp (megawatt peak) to in total 320 MWp."  4:46:48 PM  permalink  

Stationary Fuel Cells growing in California: "FuelCell Energy and Alliance Power have formed a joint venture, Alliance Star Energy, and entered into an energy agreement with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. The agreement provides the framework for fuel cell power plant projects for Starwood's hotels ..  Initial focus will be in California, but the arrangement is open to all of Starwood's hotels and resort properties.  The first project is to provide 1 MW of fuel cell power to the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina, the fourth hotel employing FuelCell Energy's Direct FuelCell (DFC) technology. Four 250 kW DFC power plants will supply base load electricity for the 1,044-room hotel, and the heat byproduct will be used for the hotel's Lagoon Pool. .. 

The San Diego Regional Energy Office, administrator for The California Public Utilities Commission's (CPUC) Self-Generation Incentive Program for the San Diego area, issued a reservation letter that will provide incentive funding of up to $2.5 million of eligible project costs. The CPUC Self-Generation Incentive Program was created to encourage customers of electrical corporations to install distributed generation that operates on renewable fuel and/or contributes to system reliability. Existing law defines 'ultra-clean and low-emission distributed generation' as an electric generation technology that produces zero emissions during operation or that produces emissions that are equal to or less than limits established by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The program currently runs through 2007 and provides up to $67 million per year in incentive funding for clean and renewable generators, including fuel cells. "

  4:43:30 PM  permalink  

iPod Radio and Skype:  "This post provides a "how to" on creating a personal iPod Radio that you can use in your Skype calls or simply leave running for your friends to call. The implications are disruptive, and the "ease of use" likely to further Skype's adoption when solutions are available for effectively using Skype as a broadcast service. It's perfect for low volume delivery of recorded messages off websites. Perhaps another zone for convergence between music, media and voice?"  see also SkypeCasting: How to Record Skype Conversations  

This builds on Skype's low latency, its high quality (if higher-bandwidth) codecs, and its ability to run in several instances on a single desktop.  It's not just VOIP telephony, and beats streaming technology in having fast call setup and no server (being peer-to-peer). IP telephony seemed to me to be economically important but not functionally important, unless it could enable new functions.  Up to now, making your own conference calls, keeping a line open for long periods, or integrating with other collaboration tools were valuable, but relatively minor, new functions.  Skype's approach of adding high quality audio was intriguing ("the medium is the massage").  With recorded apps and closed user groups, we have SOIP, Sound over IP, with many apps, such as:

  • personal or party-sized radio
  • low-volume simulcast of events (I'd happily pay $5 to hear the music from my favorite jazz club when I can't make it; and I'd like to listen in on community or political meetings when I can't be there)
  • recorded announcements (school reports, ski reports)
  • intercom/surveillance:  listen in on microphones anywhere
  • PA systems:  make an announcement from your PC, or PDA
  • personal online dictation or transcription

Especially interesting is the ease of access from a telephone.  Motorola is adding Skype to mobile phone handsets, and third parties can give a public phone number address to an SOIP destination.  So any service you make on a PC can be accessed from phones, as well.  Carriers may now reuse the phone numbers that used to connect to modems and faxes, and can carry calls from conventional phones into the new applications.

As noted by former BT CTO Peter Cochrane, unbundled VOIP like Skype has become as practical for road warriors as modems did in the 90s, and the results may not be pretty for the phone carriers.  New applications may soften the blow a little.

  9:11:01 AM  permalink  

Juan Cole, spot on: "The corporate media failed the United States in 2002-2003. The US government failed the American people in 2002-2003. That empty, and often empty-headed punditry, which Jon Stewart destroyed so skilfully, played a big role in dragooning the American people into a wasteful and destructive elective war that threatens to warp American society"  12:27:33 AM  permalink  


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Last update: 5/16/2006; 12:26:50 PM.