Data network connectivity developments, networking business news, and related computing items.
Ken Novak's Weblog
Tuesday, December 23, 2003
Parkervision WLAN adaptors: Products that promise 1 mile open field access, from a $200 access point and $100 PCcards or USB adapters. Compatible with 802.11b and 802.11g as well. Proprietary technology extends the range between their AP and their adaptor. 2:24:48 PM
Fast Internet Lines Jump 18 Percent in First Half '03
: "High-speed Internet service [in the US] via cable showed a 20 percent jump, narrowly outpacing the 19 percent growth in digital subscriber lines (DSL) offered by traditional telephone lines." Overall growth was 45% for year ending June 30, 2003. 8:58:26 AM
Sunday, December 21, 2003
Like zoneEdit, it offers dns, web redirection, mail queuing -- and domain registration. 11:06:31 AM
Students assemble 'Big Mac' supercomputer
: "University students at Virginia Tech have put together a cheap supercomputer using  off-the-shelf G5 Power Macintosh computers. Students assembled the computer in a few weeks at a cost of $7 million US -- much less than research supercomputers used for weather simulations. The students call it "Big Mac," and it's ranked as the world's third-fastest supercomputer, at 10.3 trillion operations per second. " The first and second ranked cost $250m and $215m. 10:05:29 AM
Thursday, December 18, 2003
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
USB phone sets:
Interesting collection of handsets and desksets for pc-based phones, $50-90. 4:29:15 PM
Friday, December 12, 2003
Long, readible, well-researched article on how to find hidden cameras. Much real-world info. 11:37:11 AM
Thursday, December 11, 2003
: "The Linux Bandwidth Arbitrator was designed specifically to enhance response times for email, chat, and web clients on heavily used networks. Users who consistently download large files are automatically scaled back. This utility has been proven by over 2000 customers to greatly enhance the perceived speed of their networks." 9:15:30 AM
Tuesday, December 09, 2003
Strix Systems - Networks Without Wires
: "Strix Systems, a provider of enterprise-class Wireless LAN systems, offers its Access/One Network, for quick deployment without Ethernet cables. Access/One Network combines multiple radio technologies - 802.11b/a/g and 802.15.1 Bluetooth - and uses innovative system software in a mesh network to distribute intelligence and switching throughout the network." Nifty-looking little stackable boxes for rapid deployment of wireless networks in "ethernet-unfriendly" buildings. 11:14:33 AM
Ebay makes a business of its online auction data: "This year it quietly began licensing that information to about 20 customers, who each pay $10,000 a year and up for access, said Randy Ching, vice president of platform solutions at eBay. 9:43:13 AM
While the direct revenue benefit to the company is relatively modest -- eBay's revenues are expected to be as much as $2.1 billion this year -- the company will focus on its data business in the coming year as it works to establish its information as the "de facto guide for buy and selling", Ching said... , PGA.com's Value Guide sets the market value for a used Ping Eye 2 Driver at between $10.09 and $19.08 based on 374 transactions. Other customers include Intuit Inc.'s (Nasdaq:INTU - news) Its Deductible division, which depends on eBay information to help users of its TurboTax tax preparation software to figure the fair market value of their donated items -- from used jeans to hard-to-value gadgets like cell phones. Elsewhere, Andale Inc. uses the data in its Sales Analyzer software that helps eBay sellers price their items most effectively. "
Thursday, December 04, 2003
Head Out (Wirelessly) on the Highway: Hundreds of truckstops are offering WiFi for truckers. Key value is ease of access, and privacy, when using a laptop in the truck cab without even going out. Business uses include checking road and weather conditions, and sending photos: "Mr. Tindall, a Persian Gulf war veteran from Edwards, Mo., also travels with a digital camcorder for shooting pictures and movies that he views, edits and e-mails from his laptop computer. In the event of an accident, he can easily transfer photos of the damage to the laptop and e-mail them to the company "so they can see the damage right away and decide where to get you fixed," he said.
Martin Fisher, a 39-year-old Canadian trucker who sometimes works as a photographer, recently picked up a load of damaged goods, but he did not have to worry much about lost time or disputed claims. "I was able to take pictures and send it to my dispatcher right away," Mr. Fisher said. " 9:33:01 PM
Wednesday, December 03, 2003
What Strategists Can Learn from Sartre: Echoes of the Forum, from a GBN founder. "Five Principles of Existential Strategy:
- Finitude. You canít be all things to all people. If youíre not saying ďnoĒ to some possibilities, then youíre not acting strategically.
- Being-Toward-Death. No one is too big to fail, to die, to go bankrupt. Gliding on momentum can lead to a crash.
- Care. Define your interests more precisely than ROI or return to shareholders. If you donít know where you stand, youíll fall for anything.
- Thrownness. You have a past; you have experiences and core competencies. Know them, use them, and donít forget them.
- Authenticity. Donít be bound by your past. Feel free to reinvent yourself and your company for an uncertain future. "
Tuesday, December 02, 2003
Annotated history of laws from Moore, Metcalfe, and 3 others. 11:14:30 PM
Stacking chips without wires and solder: "Everybody complains about the long wires on circuit boards that limit the speed of inter-chip communication. But, now engineers at Sun Microsystems [have] eliminated the need for them entirely.
Sunís solution is to put the chips close enough to one another so that they can communicate directly, without using wires at all. Called proximity communication, the technique is the brainchild of Sun vice president Ivan E. Sutherland, best known for cofounding Evans and Sutherland, a groundbreaking computer graphics company, back in the late 1960s. The technique, explains Robert Drost, a principal investigator on the project, relies on capacitive coupling. "When two conducting structures are close to one another, an electrical signal on one of them causes an electrical signal to appear on the other," he says.
So, in place of the conventional output pads to which wires would be bonded, the engineers built an array of small metal plates, 50 nm on a side, above the top wiring layer of a chip, covering the entire chip with a micrometer-thick protective layer called a scratch coating. [When] two chips face to face so that the metal plates lined up, allowing the plates to communicate with their counterparts capacitively through two thicknesses of the scratch coating. To use this approach in a system with many chips an upper array of chips, spaced slightly less than a chip-width apart, would overlay a bottom array. The two arrays would be offset so that each corner of a chip in the upper array overlaps a corner of four chips in the lower array .. "That allows you to build a two-dimensional system of arbitrary size," Drost explains."
Advantages: higher data rates, lower power, and replacement of faulty chips without soldering.
"No plans are yet in place to commercialize the technology. Sun is developing the technique under a contract with the U.S. DARPA. .. More than one company is seeking ways to speed up interchip communications. In August 2002 Infineon Technologies AG announced a new method of connecting stacked ICs in 3-D packages .. The Infineon approach uses small copper pads on the tops of the chips and puts them face to face in the package .. with a thin layer of solder, making a direct electrical connection ..The first wafers to use this technology are being processed now with the first products expected in 2004." 11:00:06 PM
New wireless mouse doesn't need a pad
: "The sensing element within the mouse is a vibrating metal beam that resembles a tiny tuning fork. Gyration says that when the device is rotated around either of the two axes, the vibrating beam reacts to the change in angular momentum. The severity of any reaction is measured and reported as a voltage change relative to a reference voltage. These fluctuations in voltage are, in turn, digitized and delivered as data that a computer can use to track the device's motion.
A rechargeable nickel-metal hydride battery can run the mouse for about 40 hours between charges. A charging cradle with a 120-V ac adapter and software for making it easier to control various popular PC programs are included. Ultra GT Keyboard Suite. Price: US $99.95 with keyboard; $79.95 for just the mouse and RF receiver http://www.gyration.com" 10:50:26 PM
Wireless Networks Gain Spectrum: Controversy over its usefulness over long distance: "The Federal Communications Commission set aside a new slice of airwaves yesterday for wireless Internet users, a move the agency said was designed to encourage the spread of high-speed data access in rural and other underserved areas. ..
Some public interest groups criticized the FCC's decision yesterday, saying the particular slice of airwaves targeted by the agency is not well suited for delivering a robust, high-speed data stream to a wide area. They argued that the 255 new frequencies can't carry a data stream capable of penetrating walls or even passing through leafy trees. .. But FCC officials said several start-up companies have already demonstrated that the new frequencies can deliver data over relatively long distances. "I have no idea where they get their information, but they [the signals] can go five miles," said Edmond Thomas, FCC chief of engineering and technology." 10:45:08 PM
Monday, December 01, 2003
Summary of VOIP limitations:
- no guarantees of service
- no constraints on junk call: solicitations and junk fax: Don't expect to have a "do not call" or "can spam" list enforced.
- no assurance that identification and its release are in accordance with end-user's expectations
- You can't assume that the 'caller ID' data presented to you is accurate
- At this point, there's no mandated assurance that you can initiate VoIP calls that will suppress disclosure of your identity, IP number, etc. -- that is, no 'private call' assurance
- The legal and regulatory levels of privacy afforded to conventional telephony may not apply: If you want privacy, you'll need to put in place your own solutions (as will those with whom you communicate) and hope that your measures are "good enough."
What Makes Some Startups Succeed? Interesting results from survey of 450 storage startups:
- Companies raising the most capital don't have the strongest chance to succeed. There was no direct correlation. In fact, the amount of capital invested in storage startups that reached successful exits was in a tight range of $33 to $40 million ó which some would say is a surprisingly small amount of capital in the world of high-flying IT startups. In fact, the research report states, "there is a negative trend in the number of (successful) exits as funding exceeds the average range." Over-funding actually allows companies to follow a flawed strategy for too long, the report points out.
- A fully staffed executive team is not necessarily a requirement for success. The study found that, based on historical precedent, building the team sequentially can be more capital efficient, with greater emphasis placed on development of the technology for the first 12 to 18 months. The ideal founding team pedigree, says Crescendo, is a successful product development track record.
- Most successful storage startups fail to meet all the criteria for being a truly "disruptive innovation." Although the report admits this is largely a qualitative assessment, new waves of technology disruption are not obvious at the outset. Neither did the majority of successful firms "cross the chasm" ó that is, move from the low-end, unwanted customer to disrupt the core business of a veteran company before they experienced a successful exit.
- In 93 percent of the cases, the strategy that a company emerges with (at exit) is completely different from the strategy it set out to implement.