Archive April 2008
A: The World Wide Web
The World Wide Web is still only in its infancy, its British inventor said Wednesday, on the 15th anniversary of the web’s effective launch.
Tim Berners-Lee told the BBC that the web, which started life in the CERN physics laboratory on the Franco-Swiss border in the early 1990s, could develop in unimaginable directions but above all should be a force for good.
“What’s exciting is that people are building new social systems, new systems of review, new systems of governance,” he said.
“My hope is that those will produce… new ways of working together effectively and fairly which we can use globally to manage ourselves as a planet.”
The comments came on the anniversary of the announcement by CERN on April 30, 1993 that the World Wide Web could be used by everyone, after Berners-Lee and a colleague persuaded their bosses to provide the programme code for free.
The web — of which the abbreviation www forms the start of all online addresses — is now the ubiquitous network via which information is shared on the Internet. An estimated 165 million websites now exist, the BBC reported.
“The web has been a tremendous tool for people to do a lot of good even though you can find bad stuff out there,” said Berners-Lee, adding that one day the web will put “all the data in the world” at the fingertips of every user.
But “we have only started to explore the possibilities of (the web),” he said, adding that it was “still in its infancy”.
Robert Cailliau, who worked with Berners-Lee to open up the web, stressed that not all the bosses at CERN were in favour of making the web universally accessible.
“We had to convince them that this was going to take off and it was a really big thing. And therefore CERN couldn’t hold on to it and the best thing to do was to give it away,” he said.
Competing technologies — such as Gopher developed at the University of Minnesota in the United States — were also offering a way of connecting documents on the Internet, he said.
“If we had put a price on it like the University of Minnesota had done with Gopher then it would not have expanded into what it is now.
“We would have had some sort of market share alongside services like AOL and Compuserve, but we would not have flattened the world.”
© 2008 AFP
Morris Miselowski’s thoughts
Can you imagine our world without the internet?
In 15 years this ubiquitous thing has moved from a fad / specialist geek tool to a common utility that most of us take for granted.
In this article Eric Schmidt Google’s CEO gives insights into Google’s innovation culture
- Do companies have to manage innovation differently in a downturn?
- Can other companies emulate Google’s famous model of letting engineers spend about 20% of their time on projects outside their main job?
- Why aren’t many other companies doing this, too?
- What obstacles does Google face in continuing to innovate?
- How does Google make sure it’s producing innovations that change the game enough to create big new markets but also continue to appeal to its main customers, who might not want so much disruption?
- How do you make sure all these Google engineering projects actually turn into useful services?
- Can innovation really be managed, or is it a case where you have to keep the company and its managers out of the way?
Morris Miselowski thoughts:
A fascinating article into the innovation culture of Google and the bit I love the best is that innovation is in the DNA of Google, it is not just some fancy temporary fad they are toying with.
If we accept that innovation is now an integral partner in our business, and that there is 100 years of change coming in the next 10 years then we need to find a way to internalise change into our organisations and make it a welcome friend.
Platitudes, seminars and glib promises aren’t going to cut it in the long term.
The companies that I work with that truly embrace innovation realise that innovation is achieved by incremental small changes achieved through honest appraisal of the businesses core strengths and the future need of that strength and then making small real time changes that reflect changing best practice.
Listen Now [5 min 21 sec]
How you appear in the virtual world could affect your behaviour in real life, according to researchers at Stanford University.
Andrea Seabrook speaks with Stanford’s Jeremy Bailenson about his research into how people interact psychologically with their virtual-reality representations.
Morris Miselowski’s thoughts:
We have come so far in such a short space of time that virtual selves are now being studies in serious academia and guess what the role and persona we play on line tells us about the real person directing their synthetic self.
If there was any doubt about the power of the blog and social networking, it is now dispelled.
Generacion Y – is a Cuban based blog that has recently sprung up as a result of Cuba relaxing its laws to allow locals to own computers, buy computers and enter hotels.
Only in the last month have Cuban’s been allowed to own computers and have internet access and as this technology slowly makes its way into Cuban homes, some have turned to another new found freedom – the right to enter hotels and pay $6.00 per hour to use internet kiosks to tell their story and discover the outside world (the average Cuban earns $20 pr month)
This firsthand insight into the life of Cuba is fascinating and the power of the internet confirmed as we discover that much of what Yoani Sanchez, Genercion Y’s author, finds out about the changes in Cuba, is discovered on the internet.
A newly created microbe produces cellulose that can be turned into ethanol and other biofuels, report scientists from The University of Texas at Austin who say the microbe could provide a significant portion of the nation’s transportation fuel if production can be scaled up.
A Chinese research firm said China has surpassed the United States as the world’s largest Internet market based on number of users.
BDA, a firm based in Beijing, said data from the China Internet Network Information Centre indicated China had an Internet population of 210 million at the end of last year, compared to 216 million in the United States.
“Based on these sources and the assumption that these markets have continued to grow in 2008 to date at the same rates that they grew in 2007, we can conclude that China has by now comfortably surpassed the United States as the world’s largest Internet population,” Bin Liu, BDA’s chief media analyst, said in a statement.
BDA estimated revenues from China’s online games sector totaled $1.88 billion last year.
Will the day come when cracks in buildings close up without external help and before they get to the stage where they cause damage to the component? This might appear utopia, but it already occurs in nature. When a person suffers a minor wound, the human body reacts to close the opening, sending the blood platelets needed to the affected area – and with no need in many cases for any external coagulant substance to be employed.
This reaction of nature to damage suffered was the starting point for the development of self-repairing polymer materials with the capacity of recovering a good part of the properties lost and with no or with minimal external help.
In the case of ceramics or metallic materials, progress is much slower, being limited to initial steps. There are currently two notable self-repairing technologies in polymer materials: adhesives and thermal encapsulation.
Gartner has identified seven technologies that will “completely transform” business over the next 25 years, including parallel programming, wireless power sources for mobile devices, automated speech translation, and computing interfaces that detect human gestures.
“Many of the emerging technologies that will be entering the market in 2033 are already known in some form in 2008.
Here’s a rundown of Gartner’s seven technology “grand” challenges:
1 Eliminating the need to recharge batteries for wireless devices. The future holds portable computing devices that are charged remotely, rather than with a wire, or devices that are simply powered by a remote source, making the use of batteries unnecessary.
2 Parallel programming. Speed advances in computing are starting to come with multicore processors which, instead of simply speeding up a single core, use multiple processors that are a bit slower but solve problems faster by dividing tasks into smaller individual processes.
3 Natural computing interfaces. The goal of interacting with computers without a mechanical interface is a longstanding one, but obstacles remain in developing the ability for computers to detect gestures, and check those gestures in real time against a gesture “dictionary” that tells the computer what action to take.
4 Automated speech translation. Natural language processing will be a key feature of computers after researchers resolve challenges related to speech synthesis and recognition, and machine translation.
5 Persistent and reliable long-term storage. Technologies today are ill-equipped to store the world’s digital information on digital media for the long haul, according to Gartner.
6 Increasing programmer productivity 100-fold. Today’s programmer is a shell of his future self — or at least that’s what Gartner is hoping. The output of each programmer will have to increase dramatically in order to meet future demands fuelled by increasing reliance on the fruits of software development.
7 Identifying the financial consequences of IT investments. “One of the most perplexing challenges faced by IT leaders has been to convey the business value of IT in terms readily understandable by business executives.
Gartner’s challenge to industry here is to find a model that can measure value consistently, similar to how financial accounting measurements are standard across public companies.
Yahoo will open up its mobile search to third-party content providers and let users search just by saying a term or asking a question.
Morris Miselowski’s thoughts:
This is the canary in the cage, from stage, in my writings and in my consultancy I have been heralding the coming of voice activated search (and computing) and comparing what we are currently doing to the pre Windows, pre mouse days when we used specific DOS command lines to activate programs and features.
This new advent, one of many, will allow us to interact with our technology and drive it by conversation rather than perspiration.
This incarnation by Yahoo returns text based results, but it won’t be long until my on line assistant Zac moves form being an on stage performance piece to an everyday reality that I am use as a conduit to the on line world (if your not familiar with Zac the Dog then you’ve got to catch my demo at one of my upcoming presentations).
California Governor. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s plan for a statewide network of hydrogen fuelling stations for fuel cell cars has stalled.
Morris Miselowski’s thoughts:
The issue of alternative fuels is a difficult one and one that we are years away from resolving.
At best guess the reality is that we will eventually have a variety of alternative fuel sources come to the fore, before a clear winner is found.