All Circuits Aren't Busy

data-pipeNetwork neutrality came from the telephone business.  With electronic phone switching (analog, not digital) it was possible to give phone company customers who were willing to pay more priority access to trunk lines, avoiding the dreaded “all circuits are busy, please try your call again later.” Alas, some folks almost never got a circuit, so the FCC put a halt to that practice by mandating what it called “network neutrality” – first-come, first-served access to the voice network. When the commercial Internet came along, network neutrality was extended to digital data services, lately over the objection of telcos and big ISPs like Comcast, and the FCC is now about to expand those rules a bit more, […]

By |September 25th, 2009|Uncategorized|100 Comments

Neutrality Begins at Home

netneutralityThis week the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) releases its proposed new rules for Internet Service Provider (ISP) network neutrality.  I have written many times about Network Neutrality and once I have a look at the FCC proposal I am sure I’ll have comments to make here.  In general I’m in favor of rules that allow me, as a consumer, more digital freedom. It would be great to run Skype over my iPhone, for example, just as I can already run it over the cellular connection on my notebook. But right now I’m talking about a different kind of network neutrality, the kind I’m struggling to achieve in my own home.

I live in Charleston, South […]

By |September 21st, 2009|Uncategorized|66 Comments

Logan's Run

flowchart

The heyday of Artificial Intelligence (AI) was in the 1970s and 1980s.  Here was the logical evolution of office and industrial automation that would put an expert into every computer and by doing so both replace and augment employees, changing forever the world of work.  Only it turned out not to function that way because we underestimated the effort involved.  It was easy to imagine putting intelligence into a computer but very difficult to do so in practice.  There wasn’t enough processing power available for one thing, nor were there even enough experts, since it seemed to require having one on-hand to keep the machine in […]

By |September 15th, 2009|Uncategorized|147 Comments

The People's Republic of Google

peerreviewI was hanging the other day with some ex-Google folks.  There are more and more of these as the search company matures and the fact that I’m running across a few is, in itself, meaningless.  But without giving away any trade secrets (which the ex-Googlers absolutely refused to do) these chance encounters have opened my eyes a bit to how things actually function inside the Googleplex.  It’s different, really different.

Google isn’t organized like any tech company I’ve ever worked in, that’s for sure.  Peer review seems to be at the heart of nearly everything.  Yes, there are executives doing […]

By |September 10th, 2009|Uncategorized|153 Comments

Women and Children First

titanicToday is the Labor Day holiday in the USA, so to honor the more vulnerable parts of our society and economy I’m engaging in this fantasy rethinking of our current economic crisis.  If only……

When the “unsinkable” ship Titanic hit an iceberg and sank on its maiden voyage in 1911, as any teenage girl will tell you, the rich people got nearly all the lifeboats (except for John Jacob Astor IV who ordered another drink, giving up his seat), dooming the lower-class passengers including, of course, poor Leonardo DiCaprio. Much the same thing seems to be happening in the case of the current economic crisis, where the people who are hurting the most seem to be […]

By |September 7th, 2009|Uncategorized|143 Comments