Google+ The World 2 Come: August 2004

Sunday, August 29, 2004

The Metrosexual Superpower

"The stylish European Union struts past the bumbling United States on the catwalk of global diplomacy."

"According to Michael Flocker's 2003 bestseller, The Metrosexual Guide to Style: A Handbook for the Modern Man, the trendsetting male icons of the 21st century must combine the coercive strengths of Mars and the seductive wiles of Venus. Put simply, metrosexual men are muscular but suave, confident yet image-conscious, assertive yet clearly in touch with their feminine sides. Just consider British soccer star David Beckham. He is married to former Spice Girl Victoria 'Posh' Adams, but his combination of athleticism and cross-dressing make him a sex symbol to both women and men worldwide, not to mention the inspiration for the 2002 hit movie Bend It Like Beckham. Substance, Beckham shows, is nothing without style.

Geopolitics is much the same. American neoconservatives such as Robert Kagan look down upon feminine, Venus-like Europeans, gibing their narcissistic obsession with building a postmodern, bureaucratic paradise. The United States, by contrast, supposedly carries the mantle of masculine Mars, boldly imposing freedom in the world's nastiest neighborhoods. But by cleverly deploying both its hard power and its sensitive side, the European Union (EU) has become more effective—and more attractive—than the United States on the catwalk of diplomatic clout. Meet the real New Europe: the world's first metrosexual superpower."

Source: Foreign Policy
[via Arts & Letters Daily]

See also:
International relations - Wikipedia
Foreign Affairs

Saturday, August 28, 2004

The Online Music Revolution

"Today, traveling around with a song selection of 10,000 on a digital music player can be as light as five ounces. Thirty years ago, an equivalent scenario would require the average music junkie to haul around roughly 1,500 pounds of records, a bulky turntable and a reliable power source. The rise of online music is changing the way music is produced, sold and experienced, both by fans and those who make their living in the music business."
Source: CNN

Do You Hear What Starbucks Hears?
"The nation's leading coffee chain's step into music retail is a strategic extension of the Starbucks brand. In a candid Q&A, Howard Schultz expands on the company's attraction to Hear Music, the importance of the customer experience, and how the partnership could remake the music industry."
Source: Fast Company

Thinking Outside The Cup
"Surprise! Starbucks barista-in-chief Howard Schultz is making a big, bold push into the music business. He aims to transform the record industry -- and turn Starbucks into the world's biggest brand, period."
Source: Fast Company

Music to Your Ears?
"WHEN IT COMES TO legal online music download sites, today's choices might be called Steve Jobs and the five dwarves. Since Jobs, Apple Computer's charismatic CEO, launched the iTunes Music Store in 2003, it has sold over 85 million songs and claims about 70 percent of the legal online download market. One key advantage Apple has had is that songs bought on the iTunes store can be played on the company's hot iPod portable music players, while songs bought on the sites of its major download competitors are in a format the iPod — deliberately — can't handle. This gives the iTunes store a powerful boost.

But the sound of giant footsteps can be heard in the distance. Microsoft is coming. The software colossus is preparing its own download store for launch in the fall. Details aren't yet known, but I expect Microsoft to try and best Apple with a bigger selection, more features and other twists. It's also teaming with hardware maker Creative Labs to build a portable player supposedly cooler than the iPod."
Source: Wall Street Journal

Microsoft Challenges Apple—Again
"With iTunes, its highly successful online music store, Apple Computer has taken a surprising lead in the digital music business. But as Bill Gates points out, it's still early in the race."
Source: AlwaysOn

Apple v. Real v. Microsoft
"The online music store marketplace is seeing intense competition between companies such as Apple, Real Networks, and Microsoft. Real has tried to make music downloaded from its store playable on the iPod, actions which Apple has called the 'tactics and ethics of a hacker.' What are the legal issues with what Real had done? What is this competition all about?"
Source: IT Conversations

Hip and hopeful
"Big mobile phone companies are lining up to offer digital music downloads. But is there a mass market for it?"
Source: Guardian

Paying for Music in the Internet Age
"The technologies that record companies blame for a downturn in retail sales -- computers, CD burners and the Internet -- are also allowing musicians to do more of the things that record labels used to do. In a three-part series, NPR's Rick Karr profiles artists and Internet sites embracing emerging business models."
Source: NPR

Stelios enters online music fray
"The founder of Easyjet has confirmed he is entering the online music market in a partnership with UK-based Wippit."
Source: BBC News

Virgin seeks slice of net music
"British entrepreneur Richard Branson has joined the rush into the internet music arena."
Source: BBC News

See also:
Online music store - Wikipedia
Peer-to-peer - Wikipedia
Special report: Online Music - IHT
Big portals compete in music space - Susan Mernit's Blog
HDTV, DVD, Hard Drives and the future - Marc Cuban
Music - Slashdot
Online music - Google News
Online Music News -
Digital Music -
MP3 news - Moreover
Music business news - Moreover
Stelios Haji-Ioannou - Google Search
Stelios Haji-Ioannou - Google News
Richard Branson - Google Search
Richard Branson - Google News

Friday, August 27, 2004

Virtual Worlds

The War Room
"Inside the fully immersive proving ground where tomorrow's soldiers are being trained by coalition forces of the Pentagon, Hollywood, and Silicon Valley."
Source: Wired

The Making of an X Box Warrior
With the military an industry leader in video game design, will virtual boot camp make combat more real or more surreal?"
Source: CNET News

HK firm develops cyber girlfriend
"For men without a partner, help may be at hand - in the form of a virtual girlfriend. The Hong Kong company Artificial Life, which developed the new game, says the girl will appear as an animated figure on the video screen of a mobile phone."
Source: BBC News

The screen-age: Our brains in our laptops
"One of the most striking observations in Turkle's findings was a quote from one multi-tasking student who preferred the online world to the face-to-face world. 'Real life,' he said, 'is just one more window.' "
Source: CNN

My Laptop, My Life
"A reporter feels the wrath of the information age, where everything is just a click away …until it isn’t."
Source: Columbia Journalism Review

See also:
Virtual Worlds - Google News
Virtual Worlds News -
Computer game - Wikipedia
Video game - Wikipedia
Virtual reality - Wikipedia
Virtual Humans Proposed As Space Travelers -
Living in Virtual Space - Marshall Brain's Blog
Virtual Reality Blog
Terra Nova
Games - Slashdot
Videogame news - Moreover

Thursday, August 26, 2004

The Omidyar Network

Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, writes about his new project:

"Our Foundation recently completed a significant strategic re-evaluation project which resulted in the expansion of our funding efforts. In June, we created the Omidyar Network, a new organization that will fund for-profit organizations as well as non-profits.

To understand why we decided to expand, you have to understand how I look at things like eBay and Meetup.

In talking about eBay over the past few years, I've emphasized the way eBay has helped people pursue their individual passions and discover their own power to make good things happen; how they've become empowered by participating in an open and honest marketplace, in a level playing field, meeting and working/trading with people who share their interests.

When I first learned about Meetup, I saw much of the same thing at work, though quite different on the surface: people discovering their own power, and connecting with others to realize that power to make good things happen.

Ever since eBay, I've been inspired by people discovering their own power, and believed that every individual can make a difference. It seems obvious now, but we finally asked ourselves the question: 'If eBay is such a good example of people discovering their own power, then does it make sense that as a Foundation, we wouldn't be able to invest in something like eBay?'

We realized that legal structure -- for-profit versus non-profit -- wasn't all that relevant to what we believed in. What was important was our simple core belief: that every individual has the power to make a difference.

So, we created the Omidyar Network for one single purpose: so that more and more people discover their own power to make good things happen.

Since June we have funded efforts in a number of areas:

  • Microfinance
  • Bottom-up Media
  • Open Source
  • Intellectual Property
  • Voting
  • Social Software

The last two bear a special mention since I've discussed both on this blog. Our support of voting efforts currently concentrates on getting more and more people to the polls, so that they can discover their own voice and power to make a difference in our democracy.

On the social software side, good things happen when people work together in a bottom-up way, discovering their own power, and connecting with others. Socialtext is a great tool and Ross Mayfield is an excellent ambassador for the field.

You can learn more about all of these at the Omidyar Network."

Source: Pierre Omidyar's blog
[via Mitch Ratcliffe]

See also:
Pierre Omidyar - Google News
The Dean Machine Marches On - Wired
Weapons of Mass Mobilization - Wired
Craig Newmark's blog
Mr. Craigslist, Master of the Nerdiverse - Wired
Craig Newmark - IT Conversations
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Monday, August 23, 2004

Life in 2014

"As a science-fiction writer, my job is predicting the future. And that’s gotten harder with each passing year. Moore’s law tells us that computing power doubles every 18 months. If that holds up — and i believe it will, with breakthroughs in nanotechnology, new techniques of producing three-dimensional circuits, and new substrates for microprocessors — then in 10 short years, we will have computers 128 times more powerful than those that exist today. Can anyone guess how that much computing muscle, widely available and inexpensively priced, will affect our day-to-day lives? Well, let’s find out.

Here are some of my predictions for a typical day in late 2014; feel free to track me down in 10 years’ time and tell me i’m wrong!

Our mornings will still begin with waking up. But forget the old-fashioned alarm-clock buzzer. Tomorrow’s bedside clock will be a sophisticated brainwave monitor. It’ll keep track of your sleep cycle, gently bringing up the room lights at precisely the right time so that you’ll feel rested, not cardiac arrested, as you awake.

Today, your coffee can be brewed while you sleep; tomorrow’s robokitchen will have an entire hot (but low carb!) breakfast waiting for you. Also waiting will be an electronic-ink newspaper, with stories geared to your particular interests culled from sources worldwide (with foreign-language news automatically translated into English).

Of course, you aren’t the only one who has to get going in the morning. Your spouse and kids will be taken care of, too — with smart toilets analyzing their urine and sensor-rich toothbrushes checking their saliva to make sure everything is ticketyboo; most health problems will be caught early and be trivial to correct.

Your spouse might telecommute — perhaps half of all white-collar workers will do so in 2014 — but you might still have to physically go to your office. Along the way you’ll take your kids to school.

No point quizzing them on facts as you travel along, though. In a world in which any information can be easily accessed anywhere, mere memorization is no longer part of the curriculum. But analysis of information — knowing how to think — ah, that’s the ticket!Naturally, your electric car will drive itself, communicating with millions of chips that have been steamrollered into the asphalt covering our roadways. No more traffic accidents; no more gridlock.

Once you’ve dropped the kids off — yes, learning can be done online at home, but socialization still happens best in a real school and at a real playground — you will use the rest of your commute time productively, catching up on full-motion-video e-mail and reading reports (or having them read to you by totally realistic voice synthesizers). You’ll arrive at your office relaxed.

Throughout the day, your wristband — a combination cellphone, PDA, camera, and e-book display, all controlled by spoken commands — will be your lifeline.

You’ll have just one phone number, good worldwide with no long-distance or roaming charges, and the wristband will screen calls for you, with a computer-generated avatar kicking in to deal with most routine matters.

Still, even 10 years from now, much business will require face-time. No problem. One major wall of your office in, say, Toronto, will be a vast flatscreen, showing you your company’s Vancouver office. You’ll be able to walk up to the wall and chat with whomever is depicted as casually as if you were both sharing the same water cooler.

Your cubicle will have a smart wall of its own, giving every worker the appearance of having a window; yours might show real-time footage of Lake Louise, assuming that global warming hasn’t melted the adjacent glaciers and flooded everything. And no matter which office chair you sit on, it will adjust automatically to your body’s proportions.

Of course, we’ll all live in an enhanced reality. Today’s bulky virtual-reality goggles will have been replaced by contact lenses that overlay textual information on your vision; the lens will be in constant communication with the computing powerhouse in your wristband. You’ll never be in the embarrassing situation of not remembering the name of an acquaintance you happen to run into; facial-recognition technology will identify the person, and provide you with all pertinent details instantaneously.

You’ll want to make some time in your day for exercise — and the microprocessors in your running shoes will keep track of your pace, telling you when to slow down or speed up for maximum effect. Meanwhile, nanotechnological probes will be working their way through your bloodstream, clearing plaque out of your arteries, and getting rid of dangerous chemicals.

And naturally, your wristband will be recording everything you see and do, with software indexing it all as you go along.

You won’t have to worry about losing your car keys in the future — your biometrics will identify you whenever necessary — but you might forget where you’ve put your sunglasses and hat (sadly, both of which you’ll probably always need when venturing outdoors). No problem: just ask your wristband, and it’ll tell you where they are.

Recording your entire life will take a lot of storage, but the cost of data storage will be essentially zero by 2014, so that’s no problem. The images of your life will be beamed through the air to an archive that only you can access; quantum cryptography — unbreakable even in principle — will have made such transmissions totally secure.

On the way home, you’ll stop to pick up a few things at the grocery store. No standing in line, though, to check out: you’ll just waltz out the front door, as the Radio Frequency ID chips in the products you’ve bought allow their costs to be tallied and your account automatically debited.

You might make dinner yourself, if you enjoy cooking. But if not, your automated kitchen will again take care of everything, including doing the dishes. And you’ll have a humanoid robot, too — the descendant of today’s dancing Honda Asimo — that will take care of all the other housework.

After dinner, you’ll have your pick of any TV show or movie ever made, available instantly on your wall-screen TV.

(Micropayments will work flawlessly: you’ll be able to access any premium information off the expanded, full-motion-video Web, with the creator compensated automatically.)

Meanwhile, your kids will be off in their rooms, enjoying fully immersive virtual reality experiences — who’d have thought homework could be such fun? Eventually, though, it’ll be time for them to get ready for bed. Smart washcloths will make sure they clean everywhere, including behind their ears.

And, a little later, you’ll turn in for the night, as well. But perhaps just before you fall asleep, a thought will occur to you — something you just have to remember to do the next day.

Except you don’t have to remember it at all; all you have to do is mention it to your wristband — yes, you’ll go to bed with it on. And then you’ll fall asleep, totally relaxed, confident that your technology will remind you of this, and everything else that’s important, come the bright and wonderful morrow.

So, have I got it right? Only time will tell. But, as I said at the outset, if I’m wrong, feel free to look me up in 2014 and let me know. Of course, if you do, I’ll bend your ear then about what life will be like in 2024…"

Source: Backbone Magazine

See also:
Timeline: 2005 - 2029
Wired 2013 - Wired
Future Vision - Vodafone

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

CyberFashion Show

"What exactly is cyberfashion? Think wearable computers and displays (Borg-like for sure, with the head-mounted, eye-level screens, data gloves, and so on). Also luminous attire fits the bill, as do smart clothes that perform various functions, like displaying messages, giving massages, being touch reactive, and performing video surveillance."

Don't miss the slideshow!!!

Source: ExtremeTech
[via Smart Mobs]

See also:
Bruce Sterling's keynote from SIGGRAPH '04 - Boing Boing

Sunday, August 15, 2004

The Next Big Deal

"While there are many financial storm clouds on the horizon, the storm cloud I am watching is the continuing decline of the U.S. dollar. For over 40 years, the U.S. dollar has been the currency of choice of the world. Due to excessive debt, both nationally and as a people, the mighty U.S. dollar will come under even greater attack as the world realizes how weak the dollar is.

Recently, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad, urged a room full of Saudi Arabians to not sell their oil for dollars. Instead, he urged them to sell oil for gold. He said, 'The price of oil is $33, but the U.S. dollar has declined by 40% against the euro so you’re effectively getting $20…so you’re being short changed.' Now you may understand why Kim and I invested heavily in gold and gold shares seven years ago, when gold was bad news.

While it may be almost too late to invest in gold, because gold at around $400 an ounce is now the good news, there is a lot more bad news ahead. Today, many people are living in dread about the rising price of gas at the pumps. Rather than join them in their fear, I suggest you begin to think about the ripple effect higher gas prices and a weaker dollar will have worldwide. Begin dreaming about a real estate crash or a banking failure due to excess credit. When you can see the opportunity in what other people fear, you will begin to see the brightness and excitement of the future ahead."

See also:
Brad DeLong

Computers and Education

"Can computers help student learning? Are they worth the money? Learn what happened when one school mixed information technology with teaching and learning."

Source: RAND
See also:
On Schools - Google Blogoscoped
Generation S, or the Future of Streaming Media
Computers and Education - Google News
MIT OpenCourseWare

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Singularity Science Fiction

"Awed at the pace of technological advances, a faction of geeky writers believes our world is about to change so radically that envisioning what comes next is nearly impossible."

What is the Singularity?

"The idea was conceived by Vernor Vinge, a computer scientist and science-fiction writer who’s now a professor emeritus at San Diego State University. We’re living through a period of unprecedented technological and scientific advances, Vinge says, and sometime soon the convergence of fields such as artificial intelligence and biotechnology will push humanity past a tipping point, ushering in a period of wrenching change. After that moment—the Singularity—the world will be as different from today’s world as this one is from the Stone Age."

"A new kind of future requires a new breed of guide—someone like Stross, whose first novel, Singularity Sky, was recently nominated for a prestigious Hugo Award, or his frequent collaborator Cory Doctorow, who in 2000 won the Campbell Award for best new science-fiction writer. Both are former computer programmers. They are computer geeks and gadget freaks. They follow engineering and materials science and biotech, not to mention politics and economics. And they have latched on to the Singularity as the idea that symbolizes our era’s rush of new discoveries."

"Vinge expects the Singularity to occur when machine intelligence surpasses that of humans. Life on Earth has always advanced by running simulations and adapting, he points out. Animal life does this through evolution. Humans are the one animal that has learned to do it faster, through problem solving. Sapient machines would do it faster still. Once our computers start to think, Vinge says, we will be 'entering a regime as radically different from our human past as we humans are from the lower animals.' The second trigger for the Singularity, according to Vinge, will be so-called intelligence amplification. Humans will apply their engineering skills to their own bodies, crossing the brain/machine interface threshold to merge with their technological creations. Implants, genetic modifications and other changes will make people smarter and give them Superman-like abilities. 'It’s all about transcending human limitation,' Doctorow says."

Source: Popular Science
[via Boing Boing]

See also:
The Singularity Blinds Sci-Fi - Slashdot
Jaron Lanier at the Future Salon
3 Laws Unsafe
Human Being 2.0
Linguistic User Interface or LUI
The Singularity: Your Future as a Black Hole
The Anti-Singularity - J.R. Mooneyham
The Real "Singularity" - Karl Schroeder

Timeline: 2005 - 2029


2005 - Wartime and Marshal Law in the United States
2009 - Free Worldwide phone calls
2010 - Hard Disc Drives exceed 10 Terabyte
2010 - CDs become obsolete
2011 - Bill Gates tells the world that 512 Gigabyte RAM will be really enough for every Programm
2011 - eGovernment becomes true nightmare
2012 - Just get some more social
2014 - Linux overtakes Windows
2021 - Cancer cure
2026 - Bill Gates Junior tells the world that 512 Terrabyte RAM will be really enough for every Programm
2029 - Virtual Reality World-wide Network has been launched yesterday
2030 - Cyberpunk is now
2030 - World in the Middle Ages

Source: Ars Electronica
[via Google Blogoscoped]

See also:
21st century - Wikipedia
The Age of Spiritual Machines
Seven Revolutions - CSIS
Timeline of Future Technology and Social Change
Chronicle of the Future
Book of the Future
Views of the future
Visions of the 21st Century
The Path to 2050 - Goldman Sachs
John Titor and the Republican Convention - Marshall Brain's Blog

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Search Wars

Interview with Bill Gates
"At the Wall Street Journal's second annual D Conference in June, Bill Gates defended his company's plans to enter the search arena. In an interview conducted by Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, Mr. Gates explained why Microsoft will someday be a better alternative than Google."
Source: AlwaysOn

Inside the Mind of Jeff Bezos
"It's hard to predict how Amazon will change in the next few years because Bezos is so committed to radical innovation. Bezos himself doesn't really know what will happen. 'We have this weirdness in our business,' he says. 'The raw ingredients that make our business -- things like CPU processing power, bandwidth, and disk space -- get twice as cheap every 12 to 18 months. Disk space is 30 times cheaper today than it was five years ago. Thirty times cheaper! So the real question becomes, What can you do with 30 times as much disk space, 20 times as much computing power, and 30 times as much bandwidth? All right, how are you going to make customers happy with that? It turns out that these are not easy questions to answer.' "
Source: Fast Company

Marc Cuban vs. Google?
"What could be more fun than taking on Google in the search engine business ??

Im working with a company called IceRocket is a brand new search host that combines the best of spidered search, meta search, and what we hope are some unique and different features that make using the engine more efficient and addictive.
Im not involved in the day to day, Ive offered to help come up with some unique features that hopefully can allow them to seperate from the pack. To me, this is a unique way to 'design my own search engine.' The features that are and will be included, are the things I look for when Im doing my searches."
Source: Marc Cuban

The Gillmor Gang - July 22, 2004
"Along with Mary Hodder, Dave Sifry will be providing real-time analysis of the political blogosphere for CNN at next week's Democratic National Convention. He looks forward to introducing the blogosphere to the 95% of the country who have never heard of it.

Dave discusses this announcement and gives us both social and technical insights into Technorati: 'tracking patterns of influence and authority in real time.' 140+ servers give Technorati a huge grid-computing system, and Dave explains how their technology is different from traditional search engines. On open-source software, 'We wouldn't exist without it.' He even goes deep into the Postgres/MySQL debate."
Source: IT Conversations

See also:
Google Labs
Microsoft Research
Yahoo! Research Labs
Marc Cuban - Wikipedia
Search Engine Watch
Web 2.0 Conference
Knowledge Measurement
Google's Next Steps or Google in 2010
The Global Mind
Network Computers

Saturday, August 07, 2004

The Surveillance Society

"In the brave new future, Big Brother will watch our every move. But that's OK, because we'll be watching him too."

"Half a century ago, amid an era of despair, George Orwell created one of the most oppressive metaphors in literature with the telescreen system used to surveil and control the people in his novel '1984.' "

"The worst aspect of Orwell's telescreen -- the trait guaranteeing tyranny -- was not that agents of the state could use it to see. The one thing that despots truly need is to avoid accountability. In '1984,' this is achieved by keeping the telescreen aimed in just one direction! By preventing the people from looking back."

"While a flood of new discoveries may seem daunting, they should not undermine the core values of a calm and knowledgeable citizenry. Quite the opposite: While privacy may have to be redefined, the new technologies of surveillance should and will be the primary countervailing force against tyranny."

Source: Salon
See also:
Little Brother versus Big Brother
Poindexter Comes in from the Cold - CIO
Olympics to Have Massive Surveillance Network - Slashdot
George Orwell - Wikipedia
David Brin - Wikipedia
Sousveillance - Wikipedia

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Knowledge Measurement

"Knowledge management is a joke and search technologies are overrated."

"Today we sit in the midst of the information revolution and still don't know the value of the most fundamental resource that drives our global economy: information. The benefits of the information revolution won't be realized until bottom-up, market-based valuation of daily information exchanges emerges."

"Search technologies, no matter how sophisticated, can't capture the implicit value that humans inherently place on information and relationships. Today 'search technologies' continue to command great attention and funding (Google) as 'the solution' to the 'info glut' problems that arise from working in an information economy."

"Bottom-up information valuation of highly nuanced information will enable markets in everything. In the process, information valuation will transform the future of work, organizational cultures, eliminate information overload, and finally make knowledge measurement (and thus management) a reality."

Source: Brain Waves
See also:
Information - Wikipedia
The End Of Management?
Knowledge management - Wikipedia
Search engine - Wikipedia
Knowledge management news - Moreover
Ross Mayfield
Brad DeLong
DM Review

We the Media - a book by Dan Gillmor

"Grassroots journalists are dismantling Big Media's monopoly on the news, transforming it from a lecture to a conversation. Not content to accept the news as reported, these readers-turned-reporters are publishing in real time to a worldwide audience via the Internet. The impact of their work is just beginning to be felt by professional journalists and the newsmakers they cover. In We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People, nationally known business and technology columnist Dan Gillmor tells the story of this emerging phenomenon, and sheds light on this deep shift in how we make and consume the news."

O'Reilly site

We the Media


See also:
Smart Mobs
Free Culture
The Cathedral and the Bazaar

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Network Computers

"2015 milestone: First and second class users utilize Network Computers, third class users still burdened with PCs..."

"The typical 2015 USAmerican/other developed state citizen is using what in 1997 we'd have recognized as an NC (Network Computer), while the typical third world citizen is using a more complex, more expensive, and less reliable personal computer (something similar to what many 1997 users had sitting on their desks).

Though there's a flood of 'free' low end NCs available to choose from now, most any premium NC actually purchased by a user in 2015 can be upgraded to awesome workstation capabilities relatively easily. Elements involved may or may not include something similar to having cable TV installed in one's 1997 home, as well as switching out a smaller monitor for a larger one, and perhaps plugging in a more advanced interface device like a digitizing pad.

Many variations of these appliances retain a size and form factor similar to much older set tops primarily in order to make room for removable media, I/O connectors, and a minimal set of physical controls. The actual electronics inside are miniscule, but equivalent to perhaps a dozen circa 1999 high end PCs. Other models are wireless mobiles equipped with their own displays; these too look remarkably similar to much older devices in overall size and shape. But batteries in portables now may last a year or more for many users.

Personal computers as we knew them in 1997 are no longer being manufactured in significant numbers in the developed nations; instead, the old style PCs (or the form factor we were familiar with in 1997-1998) are purchased for scrap in nations like USAmerica and then resold in third world countries to the poor.

Why aren't NCs displacing PCs in even the less developed nations too? Because many poorer nations in 2015 still don't enjoy an adequate telecommunications infrastructure to support NCs; therefore they need systems that may also function as standalones. Too, even in poor states which do possess a sufficient infrastructure, telecommunications fees are often prohibitively expensive for practical NC use. The bottomline is that the developed states' old PCs trickle down to (or are built for) third world citizens as the more fortunate in the developed states tend to utilize the entire internet as their platform, rather than a single, limited desktop machine."

See also:
Convergence Kills - DrunkenBlog
2008-2010: The state of the art in mid-range to high end PCs and certain peripherals -
Computer - Wikipedia
Computing - Wikipedia
Network - Wikipedia
Peer-to-peer - Wikipedia
One Huge Computer - Wired
Sun Microsystems - Wikipedia
Google's Next Steps or Google in 2010
The Digital Pearl Harbour
The Global Mind

Active Internet Users by Country, June 2004

"Nielsen//NetRatings found that the overall at-home global active Internet universe for 13 selected countries shrunk by more than 3.5 million users from May 2004 to June 2004, with the largest loss attributed to the United States.

Japan was the big winner again, posting steady gains for three consecutive months. The at-home active Internet universe for the UK only swelled by slightly more than a half-point, but still managed to add more than 126,000 users.

While the U.S. lost the most users, Hong Kong and Switzerland posted the largest negative growth, dropping more than three percentage points each. Switzerland lost nearly as many users in June as the country gained in May.>"

Source: Clickz
See also:
Google Zeitgeist
Yahoo Buzz
Internet Traffic Report
Internet: international news - Moreover

Monday, August 02, 2004

The Future of Travel

"In January, London-based Thomson Holidays, one of the U.K.'s biggest tour operators, hosted the 'Future Holiday Forum,' with leaders in travel, technology and design. The most surprising part of its report, '2024: A Holiday Odyssey,' predicted that the hotel of the future will be a foldable pod on stilts, which can be plunked down in remote locations. The pods will be self-sustainable, and guests can choose the images they want to be projected on the walls. When a destination falls out of fashion, whether due to demand or terrorism, the pod can simply be folded up and moved."

It's not just pod hotels which could be shaping the future of travel. Glen Hiemstra, founder of, believes that three things will define the future of hotels: robotics, nanotechnology, and biometric security, such as retina scans. Some of these technologies, like retina scans, are already being used by high-security government offices, banks and the military, but Hiemstra predicts they will soon be embraced by the hotel industry."

Source: Forbes
See also:
7 Flights Into the Future - Popular Science
Travel - Wikipedia
Travel - Google News
Travel/Tourism Industry News -
Travel industry news - Moreover
Travel -
World Travelers - Orkut

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Genocide in Sudan

"For the first time in its history, the Committee on Conscience of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum today declared a 'genocide emergency,' saying that genocide is imminent or is actually happening in the Darfur region of Sudan.

'We began warning about the threat of genocide in Darfur at the beginning of this year,' said Committee on Conscience Chairman Tom A. Bernstein. 'That threat is now becoming reality.'

Estimates of the current death toll range from 50,000 to more than 100,000, with the likelihood that hundreds of thousands more will die in coming months because of direct violence and 'conditions of life' deliberately inflicted on targeted groups by the Sudanese government and its militia allies. The victims are largely members of the Fur, Zaghawa and Masaalit ethnic groups, considered in Darfur to be 'Africans.'

Under the United Nations Genocide Convention, adopted in 1948, in the wake of the Holocaust, nations vow to 'undertake to prevent and punish the crime of genocide.' Genocide is defined as certain acts, when committed 'with intent to destroy' a targeted group, in whole or in part. The specified acts include killing members of a group, causing severe bodily and mental harm and deliberately inflicting on a group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction, in whole or in part.

'We take a very conservative approach to the definition of genocide,' said Jerry Fowler, staff director of the Museum’s Committee on Conscience, who visited refugee camps in Chad in May and collected testimonies from refugees who had fled Darfur. 'We don’t use the term lightly. But the situation clearly has reached the point now where that term is appropriate. The U.S., the U.N. and other countries must now act to stop this genocide from going further. And then they need to punish those responsible.'

Fowler pointed to the Sudanese government’s responsibility for the large number of Darfurians now perishing and likely to die in the coming months.

'By hindering and slowing access for the international relief assistance that the displaced require for survival and failing to rein in their janjaweed allies,' he said, 'the Khartoum government and its proxies are directly responsible for the increasing deaths from malnutrition, lack of clean water and related diseases.'

The U.S. Agency for International Development predicted in April that 350,000 or more people would be dead by the end of the year. More recent assessments by independent aid groups suggest that this estimate may be conservative."

Source: Dan Gillmor
See also:
Another Genocide: What Can We Do? - Dan Gillmor
Sudan - Wikipedia
Sudan - Google News

My Reading List

- The Age of Spiritual Machines by Ray Kurzweil

- Stanislaw Lem

- Digital People: From Bionic Humans to Androids by Sidney Perkowitz

- Robotic Nation by Marshall Brain

- The Artilect War by Hugo de Garis

- Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century by Howard Gardner

- Engines of Creation by Eric Drexler

- Unbounding the Future: the Nanotechnology Revolution by Eric Drexler and Chris Peterson

- Out of Control by Kevin Kelly

- New Rules for the New Economy by Kevin Kelly

- Robert Anton Wilson

- Neuropolitique by Timothy Leary

- Stephen Hawking

- Michio Kaku

- Encyclopedia Galactica

- Cyberia: Life in the Trenches of Hyperspace by Douglas Rushkoff

- Programming and Metaprogramming in the Human Biocomputer by John Lilly

- The Cluetrain Manifesto

- Carl Sagan

- Choice Theory by William Glasser

- Brain Longevity

- Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

- Power Up Your Mind by Bill Lucas

- Head First by Tony Buzan

- New Kind of Science by Stephen Wolfram

- James Joyce

- Ben Goertzel

- Los Angeles Futurists and Bay Area Futurists Salons/Reading Groups

- Intro to Singularity Studies