Latest read: Beautiful Evidence

The holiday is a perfect time to catch up on reading and must admit Beautiful Evidence from Edward Tufte is a very refreshing look at aspects of visual evidence we simply overlook in everyday life.
Beautiful EvidenceWith so many amazing lessons regarding the presentation of data I found Chapter 6 the best as it addresses PowerPoint.

The issue Corruption in Evidence Presentations: A Consumer’s Guide to Effects Without Causes, Cherry Picking, Overreaching, Chartjunk, and the Rage to Conclude. Considering we all sit through too many PowerPoint presentations that corrupt the truth…this should be mandatory reading.

To maintain standards of quality, relevance, and integrity for evidence, consumers of presentations should insist that presenters be held intellectually and ethically responsible for what they show and tell. Thus consuming a presentation is also an intellectual and moral activity.

So the next time you sit in a presentation – be truthful! I must admit to drifting into Chartjunk myself at times (yikes) before reading The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint: Pitching Out Corrupts Within last year. This learning forced me to approach communicating via PowerPoint…Keynote more accurately as defined by Tufte. And this began with eliminating all the bullets. His chapter on Sparklines is pretty impressive as well.

Internet2 – Peering Milestone

Internet2Internet2’s Commerical Peering service has announced a peering milestone: connecting to 70,000 routes. Participants in this service now see more than 50% of their commodity traffic needs being met with I2’s peering service.

This service continues to expand the number of private and public peering connections, now to over 70 000 commodity Internet routes by connecting to major ISPs and content hosting providers over a virtual private network (VPN)

For Internet2 Network Connectors with available traffic headroom within their Internet2 IP Network connection, the CP service is available at no additional cost and can offer a significant total cost reduction to their overall Internet expenses.

Tags: Internet2, peering, education, globalization, network, trends

NBC: Reconsider iTunes

NBC logoSo NBC has been forced to refund advertisers an average of $500,000 each due to low ratings. One hopes they will workout an agreement with iTunes to again sell their TV shows.  NPR news article here.
At some point someone at NBC Universal will realize all those millions of dollars really add up to something….What were they thinking?

Tags: NBC, iTunes, low ratings, trends

Latest read: Freakonomics

Well I’m not sure what took so long to read Steven Levitt‘s Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. It was enjoyable, fun and interesting to read the hidden side of everything.
So I finally pushed it to the front of my pile of books after crossing an article on the NYTimes and found the book is now part of their blogs. When was the last time the NYTimes took over a book’s blog? Yea, its that good!

I was very impressed with Chapter 3 “Why do drug dealers still live with their Mothers?” since I was working in Chicago for Apple and know the area where his research occurred: the Robert Taylor Homes.

I remember getting advice from fellow engineers at the downtown loop office to literally drive through red lights, stop signs and anything else if I ever found myself anywhere around Cabrini-Green or the Robert Taylor Homes.

Sure enough I recall driving at night in the loop lost and finding myself looking at a sign similar to the one in this photo…drove without stopping until I was north east of the area. Nice welcome to the city…

So I was living in Chicago and still remember the violent deaths reported at that time during the gang wars. Wow Levit does not display the details of the violent incidents that occurred during this crack war.

And the research actually proves gangs organized by a business model very close to McDonalds. What is most amazing was his ability to access the financial records of the gangs. While gang foot soldiers were making $3.00/hour the research showed that if you survived long enough to be on the “board of directors” of a gang you could earn $400,000/year.

But with a 25% chance of being killed working as a foot solider, its no wonder drug dealers still live with their mothers. And that is just one chapter of his amazing book. If you have passed on this book you should really pick it up and give it a read. Its easy and will amaze you.

Book Website

Be the Change

It was refreshing to listen to the former Indian President, Abdul Kalam speak Monday at Google’s Be the Change Summit in Hyderabad India. Outlined in his remarks Dynamics of Information Flow is the need for India to utilize Internet2.

Google be the change 2

He began his address by noting three key projects born out of the creative mind: Google, Fiber optics and Internet2. In order to hit the next “homerun” in our knowledge economy Kalam sees creative leadership as a vital component to success. He shared six personal experiences to achieve this necessary skill:

  1. Every action of the leader should be transparent. (Mahatma Gandhi)
  2. Leader must have courage to take decisions. (Sardar Patel)
  3. Leader must be able to travel into an unexplored path. (Sir C.V. Raman)
  4. Leader must have the vision for the organisation. (Prof Vikram Sarabhai)
  5. Leader must know how to manage a success and failure. (Prof Satish Dhawan)
  6. Leader should have Nobility in management. (Prof Brahm Prakash)

Acknowledging the world is already using Internet2 applications, Kalam implied for India the key will be to facilitate, develop and serve the needs of the India’s population. Many applications will be delivered via Internet2 in the form of Web2.0 technologies.  And it will not be easy.  One of three challenges he addressed:

  1. How to build the capacity among the people, government, institutions to accept the new internet2 paradigm and its relevance in the new paradigm of the way of living, the way of learning, the way of trading and business, the way of socializing and the way of governance.

Very pleasing to hear him acknowledge Internet2 has already changed many practices, and to survive the country must accept the Internet2 paradigm.  I’m sure many in the audience understood the impact of his remarks. Continue reading “Be the Change”

FoxNews on OLPC

olpc openFoxNews has posted an article written via PCMagazine regarding OLPC. I’m pleased to see this laptop being described as “a game changer for disadvantaged children in developing countries.”

The article lists Fox’s parent company News Corporation as a backer of the OLPC project, but when viewing the OLPC website no mention of News Corporation is easily identifiable…

Tags: OLPC, FoxNews, Give 1 Get 1 , News Corporation, globalization, trends

BMW implementing IPv6 ?

Could BMW’s future cars support IPv6 before your next office network upgrade? Maybe. Work already underway confirms BMW developments in artificial intelligence have moved from the multiple flavors of auto-specific networking standards to internet protocol IPv6 for the next generation of auto (and person) communication.

bmw technology

Its no surprise engineers connect standard PCs to analyze engine and chassis control systems. But the opportunities to configure a multimedia server for the auto’s entertainment system is instep with tomorrow’s demands of mobile communication. Naturally it would be expected that your BMW’s diagnostics would be linked in real-time to your repair shop. Continue reading “BMW implementing IPv6 ?”

Why DRM is failing

walmart amazonDigital Rights Management or DRM, has been a controversial snippet of software embedded into music files for a long time. Regardless of how you feel about Microsoft’s PlaysForSure DRM wrapper or Apple’s FairPlay for iTunes it appears the coming death of DRM is from two powerhouses in online sales: Amazon and Wal-Mart.

Funny that Microsoft’s own DRM software will not run on their Zune product. Wal-Mart ditched DRM music in August and a month later Amazon’s site launched DRM free. With larger numbers of online shoppers, the control over digital rights now sit in the hands of the big resellers and not the music industry or even technology companies.

PS – The disappointment with Wal-Mart is their decision to NOT support Mac or Linux systems for downloading music.  Not a good sign for a lot of users.

Tags: Amazon, Walmart, music store, music download, Fairplay, PlaysForSure, The Long Tail, trends

OLPC laptops for Peru

Nicholas Negroponte’s One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program is underway with another order from Peru! I was pleased to read this in Saturday’s Boston Globe. Despite criticism from the media and computer manufactures, OLPC has made a significant milestone (and impact) in signing its first country Uruguay and now Peru’s order is just over 250,000 units. This is all about making a difference in the lives of poor children in poor schools in very poor countries. But I must ask: Have you ever watched as much press about the launch of a laptop before?
I’m amazed at those who continue to write that WinTel (Intel and Microsoft) should be in this “market.” Actually when someone writes how a ‘market’ is a collection of the poorest countries in the world – being pitched by the two richest companies in the world – something just doesn’t sit right. Actually it should stand out like a sore thumb.

I was pissed Intel would “create” a PC for this market. For one of the richest, most successful companies today to whore themselves to the poorest school children on the planet is disgusting. Additional companies in Taiwan, India and Israel trying to profit should be ashamed as well. Intel has never manufactured a laptop in their history for the low end education market – yet jumped at the chance to profit off the poorest kids in third world countries?

Since Intel and Microsoft have been around since the beginning of the PC revolution, why did it take MIT’s Media Center Director to develop this movement while Intel and Microsoft are just trying to profit from it? What does this really say about Paul Otellini Intel’s CEO? Clearly Intel and Microsoft are not leaders but followers. Continue reading “OLPC laptops for Peru”