Communications and info tech in developing countries, especially wireless broadband and high-value applications
Ken Novak's Weblog
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Samsung Builds Flash Based Disk Drive: "Samsung says it has developed a way to store up to 16GB of data using Flash memory, a development that could lead to extended battery life for notebook and tablet PCs. Flash memory has a power consumption that is five percent of today's hard disk drive, according to the company. These solid-state disk (SSD) Flash-based drives will also provide faster access to data, at about two-and-a-half times the speed of current notebook hard drives. In tests, Samsung was able to read data at 57 megabytes per second (MBps) and write at 32MBps." That's 2-3 GB/Min, comparable in my experience to desktop HD.
"Flash drives also offer the benefit of less noise and heat emissions. They are also less temperature- and humidity-sensitive, meaning Flash-based drives can be used in a wider array of applications and environments. The disk drive itself will look much like a regular 1.8-inch hard disk drive, meaning manufacturers will have to make minimal adjustments to PC designs in order to incorporate the new drives. .. SSD Flash drives based on the new technology are expected on the market by August of this year." They would be useful in off-grid locations, in developing countries or in sensor apps. I wonder if the price will remain at today's $30-50/GB or will be lower. 8:11:30 PM
Monday, May 23, 2005
Fundable: A web site for pooling money in small groups. "Get it to happen or get your money back." Could be great for non-profits, open-source coders or freelancers wanting to get paid for making a contribution, fans raising money to fund a concert, bulk buying, school projects, and more. (How about a private lottery: if we all chip in, one of us gets to go somewhere amazing..) [From Hugh Pyle] 11:35:26 PM
Monday, May 16, 2005
Water Filters Rely on Nanotech: Report from the October 2004 NanoWater conference. "A slow, methodical transformation of the $400-billion-a-year water-management industry is currently in progress, and nanotechnology appears to be leading the way. .. Two products incorporating nanotechnology are going to hit the market within the next year and are already being tested in developing nations. .. Matrikx water filters will be on store shelves within the next year after already having experienced success in 50 pilot programs throughout central Asia. Argonide's president, Fred Tepper, is trying to get his product in the hands of consumers in the next 60 to 90 days, he said, having recently secured a distribution deal with a European company ..
Though these breakthroughs seem cutting-edge, the technology is not terribly new. Water-treatment plants have been using nanofiltration and ultrafiltration membranes to separate good water from bad for more than five years. And already the technology is becoming the industry standard. .. The same technology is allowing desalination -- the process of removing salts from fresh or sea water -- to occur at a much greater rate. The largest desalination plant in the world will begin operating in Ashkelon, Israel, in March 2005."
Argonide Nanomaterials has an interesting history of collaborations with US govt labs, Russian institutes active in nanotechnology, and others in Italy, Japan, and Singapore. 12:29:13 PM
Development Through Enterprise:
New web site, NextBillion.Net, with multiple author blogs. "Our goal is to identify and discuss sustainable business models that address the needs of the world's poorest citizens." High quality content, looks like a good model for collaborative blog/infohub. 12:11:50 PM
Soros funds mesh nets:
"The Champaign-Urbana Community Wireless Network (CUWiN) has been awarded a $200,000 grant from the Open Society Institute, funded by the Soros Foundation, to develop wireless technology to be used around the globe, with a focus on developing nations. The result will be the most advanced community wireless technology in the world. " OJC Technologies
is doing the implementation under contract. CUWIN
has released an open source beta: "Imagine a free wireless networking system that any municipality, company, or group of neighbors could easily set up themselves. Over the past half-decade, the Champaign-Urbana Community Wireless Network (CUWiN) has been developing an open source, turnkey wireless networking solution that exceeds the functionality of many proprietary systems. CUWiN's vision is ubiquitous, extremely high-speed, low-cost networking for every community and constituency." More background:
"To set up a CUWiN network, you burn a CD with the 0.5.5 software later this week and use it to boot a computer with a supported wireless card. The system finds nearby nodes, creates tables, and establishes itself as part of the network. The software is free and open source. " 8:21:32 AM
Friday, May 06, 2005
Operation Tsunami Aid: April 25 2005 collection of stories on comms in the tsunami response. Highlights include fast deployment of wifi nets, extension of nets with new WiMax links, and military-civilian cooperation lessons. "The Defense Department conducted an unprecedented humanitarian relief operation to aid victims of the tsunami. "This was the largest relief operation since the Berlin airlift" after World War II, Tapper said. To aid countries hit by last year's tsunami, the Air Force airlifted an average of 261 tons of relief supplies a day for 47 days, he said. The Navy deployed a veritable humanitarian relief armada off the shores of Indonesia and Sri Lanka, with a total of 18 ships and 35 embarked helicopters dedicated to tsunami relief [from December to April] ..
In early January, [at] the headquarters for a multinational force called Operation Unified Assistance, Monti realized he had a problem. He had more than enough military assets and personnel — including deployed DISA personnel — to provide SIPRNET and NIPRNET communications. What he lacked, Monti said, was an unclassified network that could also be accessed by military personnel from Thailand, Indonesia, Australia and other countries, as well as representatives from the United Nations, other NGOs and U.S. civilian agencies, such as USAID... a separate, shared unclassified network for purposes of trust, which he believed could not be achieved with U.S. personnel operating behind a classified wall. ..
Rasmussen said DOD units also need to pay more attention to social networking, or person-to-person communications among U.S. military and UN, NGO and USAID staff, which "is the dominant part of collaboration in the field." Rasmussen wrote in the report that those relationships need to be developed through frequent exercises before a disaster hits. .
Steckler said the NPS team plans to use the Thailand experience as a model for quickly developing networks during future humanitarian and military operations. NPS officials are developing a WiMax and Wi-Fi kit that could be easily transported and quickly set up. .. Steckler returned to Thailand in March and, with the assistance of Marine Capt. Dwayne Lancaster, increased the power of the humanitarian network with another satellite terminal at the survivor camp and a dual-redundancy router. Officials at the World Wide Web Consortium have provided initial funding for survivor camp satellite connections, Steckler said. They have also formed a partnership with California State University at Monterey Bay to set up an NGO training center. " 12:46:20 PM