Overheard: Word of the Day


January 12, 2008  2:12 PM

Overheard: Is there a smart grid in the house?

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
martin_lamonica.gif Results from a year-long study on high-tech electricity meters found smart grid technology performed as intended, saving consumers about 10 percent on their bills while easing strain on the power grid.

Martin LaMonica, GridWise trial finds ‘smart grids’ cut electricity bills

Homeowners in the study were equipped with a gateway device that used an existing broadband Internet connection to receive pricing information from the utility, which was transmitted wirelessly to a smart thermostat and a smart meter. The thermostat had an LED display to indicate when the utility was automatically controlling appliances.

Consumers had the ability to preset certain conditions. They could manually override those settings and go online and see how prices fluctuated in real time.

IBM was the systems integrator in the project to provide the back-end software that communicated information between utilities and consumers.

January 12, 2008  1:43 PM

Overheard: Bad programmers kill startups

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
paul_graham.gif But when I think about what killed most of the startups in the e-commerce business back in the 90s, it was bad programmers.

Paul Graham, The 18 Mistakes That Kill Startups


January 12, 2008  12:05 AM

Overheard: Did Web 2.0 bubble puts national public safety network in jeopardy?

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
fcc-logo.gif Frontline Wireless, which has made no secret of its desire to bid and win on the D-block spectrum, has a released a statement saying ” Frontline is closed for business at this time. We have no further comment.”

Paul Miller, 700MHz hopeful Frontline “closed for business”

Frontline Wireless LLC was the only prospective bidder that seemed interested in buying the D-block spectrum, the only spectrum in the upcoming FCC auction that was earmarked to be shared with public safety. According the New York Times, Frontline wasn’t able to raise the $128 million dollars it had to pony up to stay in the auction.

It came as a shock because the Silicon Valley startup had big backers. Frontline’s management includes former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt and former Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Telecommunications Policy Janice Obuchowski.

Whispers of “Web 2.0 bubble” began to turn into out-loud happy hour conversations, but I’m not buying it. The inabilty to raise funds is more likely tied to the fact that the FCC was asking for too much. Figuratively and literally.

The auction rules for the D-block are ridiculously complex, requiring that public safety officials get the last word when it comes to deciding how to build the network — and what private company wants to have to deal with that? Even worse, whoever builds the network has to foot the entire bill, which is expected to be in the billions. Sure I’d like to spend billions of my own money and have a government bureaucracy call the shots for me. Wouldn’t you?


January 11, 2008  5:27 PM

Quiz: What’s new in mobile and telecom?

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
mobile_tv.gif You’re an expert in your own area of technology,
but how much do you know about what’s going on
in the mobile/telecom game?

1. The Federal Communication Commission’s auction will begin on January 24, shortly before Super Bowl XLII. What are they auctioning off?
a) analog airwaves returned by television broadcasters
b) antenna space on new and existing towers
Answer

2. Why was there a blogswarm and lots of TV news about Frontline Wireless closing its doors?
a) it was the first big Web 2.0 startup to fail
b) it was the only company that expressed interest in creating a U.S. National Public Safety Network
Answer

3. According to Forbes Magazine, what is America’s most wired city?
a) Seattle
b) Atlanta
Answer

4. Which government agency lost phone service because they couldn’t keep track of charges and neglected to pay their bill?
a) Federal Bureau of Investigation
b) Federal Communications Commission
Answer

5. What is wireless charging?
a) a proposed national standard for mobile phone charging, using USB instead of propritary connectors and voltages
b) a way to charge your cell phone without actually having to plug it in to something
Answer

6. Why is the iPhone considered to be a disruptive technology?
a) because there are so many features on one device (iPod, phone, Internet, photos, text messaging,video, etc.)
b) because it showed the wireless industry that a profit could be made on mobile devices, not just cell phone contracts
Answer

7. What is air-time marketing?
a) a business model where cell phone service would be absolutely free because sponsors would foot the bill
b) permission-based advertising via Bluetooth — for instance you might walk past a pizza parlor and receive a coupon on your phone
Answer

8. What is the Open Handset Alliance?
a) a consortium led by Google to develop open standards for mobile devices
b) a group of teen-age hackers who claimed responsibility for unlocking the iPhone
Answer

9. What is Android?
a) a software stack for mobile devices that includes an operating system, middleware and key applications
b) mobile humanoid robots equipped with VoIP phones that will take the place of traditional phone booths in Grand Central Station
Answer

10. What is the purpose of a cell phone jammer?
a) to prevent rude people with cell phones from talking by sending out a radio signal so powerful that their cell phone is overwhelmed and cannot communicate with a cell tower
b) it allows users in different cell phone networks to initiate free conference calls
Answer


January 11, 2008  3:07 PM

Overheard: The most wired city in the United States is…???

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
atlanta.jpg For the second year in a row, Atlanta tops Forbes.com’s survey of America’s most wired cities in the U.S.To calculate our list, we looked at the percentage of Internet users with high-speed access, the range of service providers within a city and the availability of public wireless hot spots.

Elizabeth Woyke, America’s Most Wired Cities


January 11, 2008  2:17 AM

Overheard: One security glitch per 1,000 lines of code

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
homeland_security_logo.jpg A US Department of Homeland Security bug-fixing scheme has uncovered an average of one security glitch per 1,000 lines of code in 180 widely used open source software projects.

Matthew Broersma, Open Source Security Bugs Uncovered

The program, called the Open Source Hardening Project, is sponsored by the DHS and carried out by Coverity and Stanford University. Launched in March 2006, the US$300,000 project was initially launched to review the code of 180 open source software projects frequently used by developers of government websites and application developers.


January 10, 2008  10:10 PM

Tour: Sun’s Project Blackbox

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/zfQhUYiSUj4" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]


January 10, 2008  8:28 PM

Tour: CNBC’s graphics SAN

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

[kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/HQByiz1DVOM" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]


January 10, 2008  8:27 PM

Tour: Server room at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

[kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/r3wBZPfMr2o" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]


January 10, 2008  8:14 PM

Tour: Huawei Data Center

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

[kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/5nsqNeUVZ78" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]


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