09 September 2002
Vint Cerf Talks About The "Interplanetary Internet" [Slashdot] Cool! I've talked to Vint Cerf a few times for various stories, including one on this idea for an interplanetary internet. It sounds weird but makes sense when he explains it. An extraordinary man of extraordinary intelligence, truly interested in everything (at a press gathering in Brussels once, I actually watched him launch into an enthusiastic discussion with one European journo on -- wait for it -- VAT). He also has the great gift of making the complex not just understandable but exciting. I hope his ICANN experience won't leave him flayed.
11:46:24 PM  #   your two cents []
Enthusiasm for mobile commerce deflates. <<People are not using their cell phones and other handheld devices to make purchases or transactions, leaving companies to rethink their m-commerce plans. [CNET News.com]>> Well, leaving some US companies to rethink plans. Europeans and Asians are already using mobiles for certain transactions, as this piece notes. The big mistake here is expecting mobiles to be mini versions of the web. They are complementary to the web/net, enabling briefer forms of commerce such as paying a parking meter, accessing brief snippets of info, downloading a ringtone.
6:12:06 PM  #   your two cents []
HP uses nanotechnology for new circuit. Researchers at HP Labs announce they have created a new kind of circuit so small that more than 1,000 of them can fit on the tip of a human hair. [CNET News.com]
6:04:23 PM  #   your two cents []
Vodafone has just announced that it is taking up its 3G license in the Irish market. It had earlier considered dropping it, apparently due to cost of roll-out. Because it took time out to reconsider its position and didn't make the necessary payment by the original deadline the company should now be liable for a penalty interest payment. Update: And Esat/BT are now saying they too will offer flatrate internet access starting next year. UTV annonced they would do this this week, right away -- clearly we are finally seeing some competitive push in the moribund Irish access market. Esat, of course, had an off-peak flat rate product before, but they pulled it.
2:17:55 PM  #   your two cents []
Mae West: "I generally avoid temptation unless I can't resist it." [Quotes of the Day]
1:26:37 PM  #   your two cents []

Over the next two weeks, the Department of Finance will be making decisions about funding for Ireland's broadband infrastructure projects. The Department is in a cutback state of mind. So this would be a very good time to let your TD and Mr McCreevy know how important it is not to strip funding in this crucial area. You can send a fax to the department at +353 - 0(1) - 678 9936, or send Charlie an email at charlie.mccreevy@oireachtas.irlgov.ie -- I've just been told his official department email address, minister@finance.irlgov.ie,  is bouncing (thanks, Sean!). (You might be inclined to mention that to him as well... I phoned the Finance Dept and was told they know there's a problem and they've "been working on it all day". Hmmm.) You can also call his constituency office at +353 - 0(45) - 876816. My understanding from senior govt sources is that Mr McC. believes technology was the industry of the 90s. Uh-huh. If we don't build internationally competitive broadband networks, this will be a self-fulfilling prophecy -- tech will indeed have been the industry of the 90s that drove a once-strong economy, which will wither away without proper infrastructure investment. Wake up, Finance!

12:56:30 PM  #   your two cents []

The real Big Brother: what society keeps its citizens under greater, round the clock surveillance than any other? Russia? Indonesia? North Korea? Why no -- it's Great Britain, according to many measurements (eg -- more closed circuit television cameras per capita surveilling its citizens than anywhere in the world; the most invasive surveillance powers in the west, given to government and law enforcement through the pre-9/11 RIP (Regulation of Investigatory Powers) Act).

A public poll in the UK published Saturday reveals that 58 per cent of Britons don't trust their government to protect their privacy, and 66 per cent are worried about the security of their personal information travelling across the internet (note: plans to extend the provisions of the RIP act would give the police and government officials -- even local authorities -- the right to scrutinise internet and phone records of individuals without a warrant. And of course, the EU now has an appalling Directive to allow pretty much the same thing, though member states may have some leeway in deciding how far to go in implementing it). Some 72 per cent agree that they would trade some privacy to fight terrorism and crime. Yet as former Irish President and UN High Commissioner  Ms Mary Robinson has noted, civil and privacy rights are in danger of being overrun following 9/11, as surveillance agencies try to push through powers that I'd certainly see as negating all that democracy is supposed to stand for.

The Guardian published an excellent special supplement on Saturday examining these issues. Simon Davies's article is perhaps the most worrying/thought-provoking.

11:25:45 AM  #   your two cents []

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10:38:00 AM  #   your two cents []