Data network connectivity developments, networking business news, and related computing items.
Ken Novak's Weblog
Wednesday, March 31, 2004
Venture 'overhang' at $68 b
: "Excess cash left from the capital raised in the venture community since 1997 shows that $68 billion remains untapped. While funds raised prior to 2000 are nearly completely invested, a quarter of the record funds raised in 2000 have not been invested, according to San Francisco-based VentureOne. ..
Venture capitalists, however, plan on using the majority of the extra funds for future investments. More than half of what remains of the 2000 vintage is earmarked for follow-on investments in existing portfolios, with the investments completed by 2005, according to the report. .. Those funds will be competing with capital raised in 2001 as well. More than half of the funds raised in 2001 have yet to be invested." 9:51:00 AM
Tuesday, March 30, 2004
Richard Clarke and cybersecurity: Refers to a speech he gave in 2002: "At the Black Hat Briefings in Las Vegas in the summer of 2002, Clarke gave a keynote address in which he outlined several bold ideas to secure the Internet. Clarke drew a round of applause from the gathered security professionals when he said the software industry "has an obligation to provide software that works." He further called upon software makers to ship products with unused processes turned off by default. And he suggested that broadband suppliers supply their customers with firewalls and antivirus protection--a recommendation I still think should be implemented. [Clarke believes not doing so is "like selling cars without seatbelts."]
More daring, however, was Clarke's suggestion that the U.S. government could lead a security revolution by procuring only computer products certified by the National Intergovernmental Audit Forum (NIAF) testing program. While this satisfied the current administration's desire to let the marketplace decide which products it wants to use, NIAF testing apparently sounded like too much government regulation to the creators of the NSSC." His recommendations were watered down, with no enforcement, no NIAF testing, and no broadband firewall requirement. 10:41:26 PM
Panasonic lightweight notebook
: The Panasonic ToughBook CF-W2 weighs 2.8 pounds with a drive that burns CDs and plays DVD movies. It's about 10-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches and 1-1/4 inches thick. 12.1 inch display. Up to 8 hours battery life (!). $2200. Limited distribution. Poor choice of bundled software (updates required upon purchase).
"The closer the devices are to each other, the faster the UWB transfer speeds. Inside four meters, data move at 480 Mbps, comparable with the wired USB 2.0 transfer rate. " First devices expected xmas 2005, then built onto motherboards 2007. Hi def TV is somewhere in the middle. "Flash memory used in digital cameras could become obsolete, proponents say. When shooting photos with digital still or video cameras, UWB will allow hobbyists to stream their creations right onto [iPod-like] hard disks stored in their briefcases or backpacks. " 10:33:58 PM
Indian Lake Unwired
: Dal lake in Srinagar, Kashmir, now has WiFi service available for the houseboats. 9:32:11 PM
Monday, March 29, 2004
Online gamers number over 3m:
"750,000 players use Xbox Live, each paying $50 a year to be able to play against people elsewhere and download updates. Sony says it has sold 2.4 million of its $40 network adapters that enable Playstation online gaming, through broadband or a dial-up connection." Could grid computing be an application for these boxes when idle and pay users $50/year or more? 2:21:45 PM
Friday, March 26, 2004
Firetide mesh 'instant networks'
: "Firetide HotPoint wireless mesh routers [are an] alternative to standard LAN cabling. In addition to enabling wireless connectivity for standard networking devices such as computers, printers, and Ethernet hubs, HotPoint routers also eliminate costly backhaul wiring for wireless access points and hotspots. Because they form automatically without wires, Firetide mesh networks do not require elaborate site surveys or physical modifications to buildings and workspaces. Network installation costs will drop dramatically because time-consuming wiring between offices, walls, floors and different buildings is no longer needed. Provisioning is also easy and fast" with no drivers or setup, because ethernet ports are provided. 4:06:23 PM
Sunday, March 21, 2004
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
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
Friday, March 19, 2004
Nokia 5140 RFID Reader - Fun with RFID: A personal sized unit that links with a cell phone. " The Nokia Mobile RFID Kit extends the mobility of field force personnel .. Simply by touching a smart object, the user can initiate tasks in their Nokia phone - call and send text messages or access databases and record new data entries.
"There are numerous ways to utilize the Nokia Mobile RFID Kit in a business", said Gerhard Romen, Head of Market Development, Nokia Ventures Organization. "The user can easily launch services and conveniently access phone functions like dial or send messages, just by touching smart objects, in this case RFID tags. The phone reader will read the content of the smart object, and translate it to an action. For example, a field service engineer can intuitively start browsing the latest service instructions to repair a machine on site. It is also possible to collect meter reading data to the phone by keying the reading into the phone, replacing the paper and pen method still widely in use today. The Kit can also replace the pen and paper method in recording time and attendance, for example."
The Nokia Mobile RFID Kit is part of the Nokia Field Force Solution and operates in the 13.56MHz frequency range, at a very short range of typically 2-3 centimetres, using the ISO-14443A standard. The short reading distance is optimal for field force solutions where tags placed in premises and devices are read individually by a workforce that moves."
There could be consumer applications too. Scan a store item and find its price online (via froogle, e.g.). Find out if others are scanning you, or find the tags on objects you own. Pick up a CD in a store and have the songs streamed to your phone. It changes things when the consumer is the scanner. 9:03:28 PM
: Buy a week on a small blog for $20, or a large political one for $400. 3:19:52 AM
News blogs making money:
"Weblogs are going commercial. Marketers including Xerox, America Online and CNN have run ads on some of the Internet's most popular blogs, according to the Wall Street Journal. A spokesman for the Interactive Advertising Bureau said blogs really are not on the radar of large, mainstream advertisers. But two politically oriented efforts, Daily Kos and TalkingPointsMemo.com, are reportedly generating as much as $5,000 a month in revenue. A Chapel Hill, N.C. company has started to represent these online publishers to advertisers. Henry Copeland, founder of the Blogads service told the Journal he's placed ads on about 200 blogs" 2:41:04 AM
WiFi paid hotspots disappoint: Hotspots worldwide generate $80m/yr, in the US $28m -- "what Verizon Wireless generates every 12 hours" with cell phones. Analysts expect that no hotspot provider will make money before the end of 2005. Cometa has built only 230 hotspots and won't say how many of the original 20,000 planned will actually get built.
In Asia, providers are selling access at lower prices. In S Korea, one provider offers unlimted wifi for $13/mo, or only $1/mo additional for home broadband subscribers. They have 360,000 subcribers. Similar Hong Kong providers have 40,000. Last year, 4.7m Asians used a hotspot, compared to 2.7m Americans and 1.7m Europeans. Resistance to $6/hr or $10/rates is high. 2:17:21 AM
ISP Gets Tough With 'Zombie' Customers: "Chris Belthoff, a senior security analyst at Sophos, said zombie machines are a drain on an ISPs' bandwidth and storage budgets [and] call center costs .. "The problem Comcast is trying to solve is a very serious one," said Belthoff, whose research has found that about 30 percent of spam comes from consumer-based PCs. ..
Antivirus experts estimate that the recent MyDoom-A worm compromised 500,000 to 1 million computers -- all with open proxies. And they expect that army of zombie machines will be put to use in the spam community, much as anti-spam experts believe computers infected with the Sobig virus were. For end users, the best advice is to keep antivirus and personal firewall programs updated, Belthoff said. And from Comcast's point of view, setting up a personal firewall is increasingly becoming a customer requirement for getting online. " 1:47:06 AM
Hackers Embrace P2P Concept:
"Computer security experts in the private sector and U.S. government are monitoring the emergence of a new, highly sophisticated hacker tool that uses the same peer-to-peer (P2P) networking abilities that power controversial file-sharing networks like Kazaa and BearShare.
By some estimates, hundreds of thousands of computers running Microsoft's Windows operating system have already been infected worldwide. The tool, a program that security researchers have dubbed "Phatbot," allows its authors to gain control over computers and link them into P2P networks that can be used to send large amounts of spam e-mail messages or to flood Web sites with data in an attempt to knock them offline. " 1:39:47 AM
Thursday, March 18, 2004
FBI adds to wiretap wish list:
"Legal experts said the 85-page filing includes language that could be interpreted as forcing companies to build back doors into everything from instant messaging and voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) programs to Microsoft's Xbox Live game service. The introduction of new services that did not support a back door for police would be outlawed, and companies would be given 15 months to make sure that existing services comply. " It's now before the FCC. 1:17:21 AM
Sunday, March 14, 2004
Gateway Signs Another Grid Customer: March 2004: "Gateway has signed on another customer for its Grid computing service. Rapid Prototypes says it is analyzing the design of backplanes for next-generation optical switching equipment - and saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process - thanks to its use of the Grid computing service from Gateway and United Devices. ..
Field programmable gateway arrays (FPGAs) are integrated circuits (ICs) that can be programmed in the field after they've been manufactured. They let engineers design specialized ICs that can later be produced hard-wired in large quantities for distribution to computer manufacturers and end users. In this case, Rapid Prototypes is analyzing backplane systems for next generation Internet switching equipment. Rapid Prototypes president Brian Von Herzen said the Gateway service "allows us to simulate very high-speed electronics without investing in expensive new hardware.."
Gateway's Grid service launched December 2002, joining about 7,000 computers in Gateway retail stores across the U.S. The system ranks among the 10 largest supercomputers in the world by processing power, producing more than 11 TFLOPS (trillion floating point operations per second) at peak capacity, with most nodes averaging 2 GHz or better." 2:19:14 PM
Friday, March 12, 2004
Innovation - link it outside the firm:
A provocative observation from John Wolpert of IBM: "There are some great minds focused on how companies build innovation practices inside the firm. To me, though, the best of these practices ultimately die off or are gamed into irrelevance by the forces roiling inside a closed system like a firm: getting ignored, shifting and capricious priorities, orphan opportunities that simply don't fit with the business model of that specific firm. On the other hand, I have observed that innovators who somehow connect to innovators in other firms (a trick of organizational savvy rife with legal risks, to be sure) tend to grow in influence, and both their innovation regimes and the ideas that come out of such regimes are more likely to enjoy sustained attention, funding, and - more important - wider sources of insight and capabilities. " 12:39:36 AM
Wednesday, March 10, 2004
Broadband overtaking dial-up in major cities:
"Broadband is rapidly becoming the preferred way residents of major U.S. metropolitan areas are accessing the Internet, according to a study released Wednesday. San Diego currently has the highest broadband penetration rate in the nation, with 52% of its residents connecting to the Internet using a high-speed service, according to online measurement firm ComScore Networks. Boston ranks second with an even split between broadband and narrowband customers. New York City is in third place with 49%. The San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles rank ninth and tenth with 44% broadband penetration each.
Despite gains in certain major cities, dial-up services remain the preferred choice for Americans to go online. 64% percent of all online Americans still use a dial-up services such as America Online, MSN and EarthLink. AOL still holds the lead, counting 28% of the U.S. Internet population as subscribers. " 12:21:04 PM
Saturday, March 06, 2004
: WiFi VOIP phones for sale, currently $249. "The WiSIPTM Mobile IP Phone is a next generation intelligent IP Communications device which adds SIP based VoIP communications together with WiFi installations. The WiSIP phone has been optimized for use with Free World Dialup. It can also be used with SIP based IP-PBXs. " 10:33:43 PM
Friday, March 05, 2004
Thursday, March 04, 2004
The Digital Imprimatur
: Lengthy and persuasive dystopia of an increasingly restrictive Internet, all based on current technologies. The key are digital certificates: "This, then, is the digital imprimatur; the right to publish as, in olden times, was granted by church or state. A document's certificate, its imprimatur, identifies the person (individual or legal entity) responsible for its publication, provides a signature which permits verifying its contents have not been corrupted or subsequently modified, and identifies the document registry which granted the imprimatur and which, on demand, will validate it and confirm that it has not been revoked. Trusted Computing systems and the Secure Internet will perform these functions automatically and transparently; to a user browsing the Web, everything will look and feel precisely as it does today." 6:00:09 PM
Wednesday, March 03, 2004
Utility to offer high-speed Internet over power lines:
"Cinergy Broadband is pairing with Maryland-based Current Communications Group to offer the service in parts of Cincinnati this year. Plans also call for an expansion into Kentucky and Indiana; Cinergy hopes to market the service to 55,000 of its 1.5 million customers. "We had very positive results from a pilot program that we began last January in about 100 homes and about 75 percent said they were very satisfied and willing to sign up for commercial service," Cinergy spokesman Steve Brash said.
A second venture will bring the technology to smaller municipal and cooperatively owned power companies, covering 24 million customers across the United States. The companies are committing more than $70 million to the effort. .. The service starts at $29.95 a month. Customers will get one free modem, which must be plugged into an electrical socket for the system to work. .. the speed is comparable to high-speed cable and faster than DSL, or digital subscriber line, services. " 11:30:31 PM
44% of Web users create content:
"Nearly half of U.S. adults who use the Internet have published their thoughts, shared files or created Web logs or diaries. A telephone survey conducted last spring by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found Internet users under the age of 25 are the most enthusiastic about creating content and most likely to have blogs. Older Internet users, with an average age of 58
, are most likely to have their own Web sites.
2-7% of Americans blog, 11% visit blogs: " The Pew Internet and American Life Project .. study was largely based on random telephone surveys of 1,555 Internet users taken from March 12 to May 20, 2003. The That survey found only 2% of users keeping blogs, although a preliminary analysis of follow-up surveys from early 2004 showed the figure increasing to about 7%. margin of sampling error is +/- 3%. Of those, only about 10% update them daily, the majority doing so only once a week or less often.
About 11% of Internet users report visiting blogs written by others. Most often, they were for blogs written by friends. But blog readers are more likely to go to journals kept by strangers rather than by family members. Among other findings: 21% of Internet users have posted photos on Web sites, and 20% say they have allowed others to download video or music files from their computers. 7% have webcams that let others see live pictures of them over the Net." 11:22:43 PM