Data network connectivity developments, networking business news, and related computing items.
Ken Novak's Weblog
Wednesday, November 26, 2003
When Cash Is Only Skin Deep: "A Florida company has announced plans to develop a service that would allow consumers to pay for merchandise using microchips implanted under their skin.." ExxonMobil and MasterCard already experiment with keyfob or card-based RFID. "a senior MasterCard executive said the company is considering integrating its RFID technology into other items, such as pens or earrings." Applied Digital wants to put it under the skin.
Meanwhile, Applied Digital has attracted scorn from some fundamentalist Christians, who believe that VeriChip is the fabled "mark of the beast" of biblical lore. According to the book of Revelation, Satan will someday force people to "receive a mark" on their hands or foreheads in order to buy or sell. "This is a gigantic step toward the mark of the beast, " said Gary Wohlscheid, whose website, These Last Days Ministries..
Applied Digital has [also] positioned its microchip as an anti-kidnapping device (VeriKid), emergency ID system (VeriMed) and as a way to control access to secure buildings (VeriGuard). " 4:14:48 PM
Monday, November 24, 2003
Shirky: The FCC, Weblogs, and Inequality
: "people who believe that our goals should be diversity and freedom and damn the consequences haven't had much effect on the traditional media landscape to date, so we have very little evidence on the practical effect of their proposals. The most obvious goal for this group is radical expansion of media choice in all dimensions, and a subsequent dropping of all mandated restrictions. For this view to come to pass, restrictions on internet broadcast of radio and TV should be dropped, web radio stations must live in the same copyright regime broadcast stations do, much more unlicensed spectrum must be made available, and so on. " Weblogs are cited as an example where freedom and diversity resulted in great inequality, with a small proportion of blogs getting a great majority of the usage. "Diverse. Free. Equal. Pick two." 10:42:40 PM
Shirky: Permanet, Nearlynet, and Wireless Data: 3G vs WiFi, with an interesting take on disruptive technologies: "The permanet [3G] strategy is to start with a service that is good but expensive, and to make it cheaper. The nearlynet strategy is to start with a service that is lousy but cheap, and to make it better. The permanet strategy assumes that quality is the key driver of a new service, and permanet has the advantage of being good at every iteration. Nearlynet assumes that cheapness is the essential characteristic, and that users will forgo quality for a sufficient break in price. What the permanet people .. have going against them, however, is incentive. The operator of a cheap but lousy service has more incentive to improve quality than the operator of a good but expensive service does to cut prices.
And incremental improvements to quality can produce disproportionate returns on investment when a cheap but lousy service becomes cheap but adequate. .. [Meanwhile] coverage over cost is often an exponential curve -- as the coverage you want rises, the cost rises far faster" (ie, from home, to street, to town, to suburb to rural area, the cost per area keeps getting higher). 10:30:05 PM
Dell Closes Overseas Call Centers: "After an onslaught of complaints, direct sales computer king Dell Inc. has stopped routing corporate customers to a technical support call center in Bangalore, India. ..
"Customers weren't satisfied with the level of support they were receiving, so we're moving some calls around to make sure they don't feel that way anymore," Weisblatt said. He would not discuss the nature of the dissatisfaction, but some U.S. customers have complained that Indian support operators are difficult to communicate with because of thick accents and scripted responses. ..
Corporate customers account for about 85 percent of Dell's business, with only 15 percent coming from the consumer market. Consumer callers won't see a change in technical support, Weisblatt said, and Dell has no plans to scale back resources at the Bangalore call center. Worldwide, Dell employs about 44,300 people. About 54 percent are located abroad. ..
Among Dell customers dissatisfied with the company's use of overseas labor is Ronald Kronk, a Presbyterian minister in Rochester, Pa., who has spent the last four months trying to resolve a miscommunication that has resulted in his being billed for two computers. The problem, he says, is that the Dell call center is in India. "They're extremely polite, but I call it sponge listening—they just soak it in and say 'I can understand why you're angry' but nothing happens," Kronk said." 9:28:33 PM
Saturday, November 22, 2003
VON Magazine review of SIP-based products
: "SIP turned out to be everything that H.323 was not: a lean, flexible, text-based protocol more in tune with the design philosophy of other Internet protocols .. Users are identified to a SIP system by location-independent, email-like names; e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org. And like a browser requesting a home page from a web server, a SIP client sends requests to a receiving server, which processes them and returns proper responses. The SIP messages themselves are very simple, such as "INVITE" (invites another SIP user to a session) and "OPTIONS" (asks a SIP server to reply with its feature set). SIP has kept up with the times. With the rise of Instant Messaging and Presence (IMP) services, another IETF working group developed an appropriate set of signaling extensions, called SIMPLE (SIP for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions). SIMPLE is practically a standard, but hasn't yet been finalized as one. Work is also underway to ensure that SIP will function with Mobile IP devices SIP's registration capability lends itself to provide mobility and location functions" 4:10:06 PM
Thursday, November 20, 2003
SBC offers lower-cost VoIP:
"SBC rolled out the new VoIP service to 18 U.S. metro areas, including Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago, in its 13-state service region and plans to serve 30 metro markets, including New York and Philadelphia, by the end of the year, said Michael Coe, an SBC spokesman. The goal is to win long-distance customers across the U.S., by using VoIP to compete with traditional long-distance services offered by national carriers such as MCI and AT&T Corp.
The hosted service will allow enterprises to avoid hardware and maintenance costs associated with on-site VoIP servers, SBC said. " 4:17:45 PM
Monday, November 10, 2003
Monday, November 03, 2003
Technology Gets in Its Own Way
: Interference on the airwaves, with a hopeful note: ""The time has come to consider an entirely new paradigm for interference protection," Powell declared in a speech last year at the University of Colorado at Boulder. "Transmitters would be required to ensure that the interference level — or interference temperature — is not exceeded. Receivers would be required to tolerate an interference level."
The idea has shown some promise. Last year, the Pentagon objected to allowing the fast-growing market for wireless computing equipment to use the 5-gigahertz frequency band, saying the technology, known as Wi-Fi, would interfere with military missile radar. After testing the claim, FCC engineers brokered a solution that requires Wi-Fi devices on the 5-GHz band to use dynamic frequency selection and shut down when they sense competing military use of the airwaves." 11:57:12 PM