OLPC: Green beyond belief

Mary Lou Jepsen, former CTO of the OLPC project (and current President of PixelQi) was a keynote at the 2008 Greener Gadgets conference in NYC. This short address will surprise you regarding the types of green, advanced technologies built for poor students. Major consumer tech companies should pay attention:

This remarkable laptop for the world’s poorest students has so many green technologies that Apple, Dell, HP and every other laptop manufacturer should be incorporated into ALL laptops:

And why can’t I replace my Powerbook’s LCD strip for $1.00 similar to the replacement cost built into the OLPC? Well those same manufacturers want you to purchase another laptop…even when I search eBay for a solution.

Tags: energy, conservation, OLPC, Mary Lou Jepsen, globalization, trends

Latest read: The Paradox of Choice

I watched a TED video of Barry Schwartz and was interested to learn more about his book The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less and learn the downside (and unhappiness) of abundance.  Have you noticed as of late that almost everything is available…in too many overwhelming choices?

As Schwartz points out consider the types of choice in your local grocery store: 285 cookie options, 85 types of crackers, 95 types of chips, 75 iced teas, 29 chicken soups, 175 salad dressings and 275 boxes of cereal. Welcome to The Paradox of Choice. Try shopping for a new pair of jeans as he described in his TED presentation and the introduction to this book.

In my childhood things seemed simple. There were just three television channels…plus a PBS station. When the new school started I would receive two or three pairs of stiff denim jeans. Every kid in my school would wear the same dark blue demin and would not feel comfortable until the third week of school. By then our clothes were finally broken in via the wash cycle.

Don’t consider this book the opposite of Chris Anderson‘s The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More. It would be more accurate to describe the book as what happens to individuals overwhelmed by choice.

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Globalization benefits America

bmw logoTom Friedman’s The World Is Flat addressed how Globalization flattens the world. By “Flat” he does not imply equal. Many would agree as American companies have moved jobs and production facilities overseas. But to show the true flattening effect, BMW has announced they are moving vehicle production from Germany to South Carolina. Yes, a major international company moving major production and jobs to the US.

This announcement includes BMW building a 1.2 million square foot facility to their existing production facility in Greenville while eliminating 5,000 jobs in Germany. Auto analysts contribute a weak US Dollar as a contributing factor to this commitment. NPR audio
UPDATE: Wired’s: Can Americans still build Cars?
Tags: BMW, Globalization, Greenville, South Carolina, trends

Verizon moving to 100GBs

I2 Verizon BizVerizon’s Business unit joined Internet2 last year and has been working on upgrading their network services unit by scaling their 40GB network to a full 100GB. Scheduled for 2009, their first hops will be in Chicago, New York and Washington DC. Verizon is also converting their rings to optical mesh technology.

Finally just in time for the Olympic games in China (149 days until the opening ceremonies) Verizon’s $500 million terabit cable to China should be fully operational.

Tags: Internet2, Verizon, optical network, olympics, globalization, network, China, trends

Middleware grant award

Internet2’s EDIT consortium and Educause have been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation for the ongoing development work on middleware technologies. Today more and more organizations need to verify and manage user identity and access. Middleware solutions that automate changing access rights will become even more important.

The goal is to empower IT administrators, faculty and other campus leaders with the ability to make group membership and resource privilege changes using one consolidated tool, rather than updating each individual application. This improves security and reduces the time needed to manage project groups, both on and off campus.

Collaborators want tools such as shared calendaring, videoconferencing, and wikis that integrate their teaching and research lives and their institutional and inter-institutional worlds
Ken Klingenstein,
Internet2 Sr. Director of Middleware and Security

The grant will enable further development and research on both identity and access management. Internet2 has been developing Shibboleth Single Sign-on. Shibboleth is standards-based, open source middleware software which provides Web Single SignOn across or within organizational boundaries. It allows sites to make informed authorization decisions for individual access of protected online resources in a privacy-preserving manner.

Tags: Internet2, Educause, National Science Foundation, Middleware, network, trends

Open Source in Education

Yesterday ComputerWorldUK posted Open source in schools could save the taxpayer billions about the growing impact of Open Source solutions for schools. The growing movement of free resources for education including software and opencourseware solutions continue to thrive. This movement is leading a revolution in education.

google apps

Google Apps for Education permits any school to tap free, industrial strength resources including: Gmail, GoogleTalk, Calendar, Docs, Sites & Start Page. This solution is standards based while integration is seemless.

Schools continue to face dwindling budgets, staff reductions and program cuts. Lets face facts, globalization also forces schools to implement technology refresh programs, turning over computer labs every 3 or 4 years via equipment leasing. The continued use of commercial software (inlight of Google’s offering to the education community) is a sign of simple fiscal mismanagement.
Looking for a success story to actually justify free software for schools? Click Here for the large number educational organizations (K-12 & Higher Education) that have already migrated to Google Apps for Education.

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Latest read: Linked

The internet and the global economy are tied together by a series of network hubs, or links as explained by Albert-Lasziò Barabàsi’s book Linked: How Everything Is Connected to Everything Else and What It Means.

The knowledge economy is really the network economy and his book is a good read to understand how networks, both physical and human are connecting everything – everyday – everywhere….in just 15 links (his reference for chapters) and how business, education, government and society can benefit by taking a closer look at how our linked world is really connected.

Ever play the game six degrees of Kevin Bacon? On the internet, links to every document are just nineteen links as noted by Lasziò Barabàsi, a Professor of Physics at the University of Notre Dame.

You can view this book as a more technical, networked version of Malcolm Gladwell‘s outstanding book The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. Gladwell explains how small events can transform people, trends and events. Its a great read for anyone looking to expand their understanding of how our linked world is tied together in unique ways.

I was interested to learn how Laszio Barabasi’s approach to power grids (Miami power failure) and the scale approach to al Qaeda all focus on networks and power hubs as true, real-world approaches to solving global problems. This book will make you look at your organization, mission and networking opportunities (social) in a new more focused perspective.