JimPinto.com - Connections for Growth & Success
No. 44 : May 24, 2001
Business, marketing & futures commentary.
New attitudes, no platitudes.
- Computerless Software
- MIT Tech Review : Nanotech, Infotech and Biotech
- George Gilder: The Coming Boom
- Book: P2P - Harnessing Disruptive Technology
- Free online access advances inexorably
- eFeedback :
- eNews balance
- Are whiners for real?
- Silicon body Borgs
Today's computer hardware and software all reflect desktop power, where
remote access is still obtained through a relatively slow modem connection.
With practical high-bandwidth (DSL, cable-modems and eventually
optical-fiber connections) most computing will be done remotely and the
desktop computer will simply be a window to access the Internet. In his
1998 book "Machine Beauty: Elegance & the Heart of Technology" David
Gerlernter wrote: "Software's ultimate goal is to break free of the
It has been estimated that within the next few years, the average computer
user will have 5,000 gigabytes of personal information scattered around the
Internet - emails, photographs, videos, movies, TV programs, sports events,
books, teleconferencing archives - all part of what Gerlerntner calls
"lifestreams". SUN proclaims: The Network is the computer. But perhaps,
soon we will wonder what a computer is…
Interestingly, because of his technology involvement and predictions, David
Gerlertner was crippled and nearly killed by a bomb; he has never recovered
his full hearing or full use of his right hand. The bomb attack came from
the infamous Unabomber - the Harvard educated engineer, anti-technology,
neo-luddite Theodore Kaczynski, who is now in jail awaiting execution.
David Gerlertner wrote another book: Mirror Worlds, in '92 - and has now
started a company called Mirror Worlds Technologies, with software called
Scopeware. (Apparently the name Lifestreams was not available).
Take a look at Mirror Worlds Technologies and Scopeware
Review excerpts of Gerlerntner's book Machine Beauty
David Gerlertner's The Second Coming - A Manifesto
Free Online Access Advances
When a scientist has made a discovery - often after many months or even
years of tedious experiments - they typically publish their results in a
scientific journal (usually for just the honor, with no payment). Up to
now, scientific journals have controlled who can read them and who cannot.
But, perhaps not for long.
A self-organized coalition of 15,817 scientists have threatened to boycott
all journals that fail to provide free online access to their articles
within 6 months of publication. Instead, they insist that they will
publish in a free online venue. The scientific journals have long resisted
this, seeking a price for information that is usually provided free of
charge. The scientific community has ramped up this debate, with authors
now starting to force the hand of the information providers for "the public
This kind of grass roots organizing bodes well for the future value of the
Internet. You may recall (JimPinto.com eNews - April 20, 2001) MIT’s
impressive April 4 decision to put nearly all its course materials online,
for free access to anyone who is interested, setting a standard we can only
hope other leading universities will follow.
Scientific American article : Publish free or perish!
MIT makes nearly all courses free on the web
MIT Tech Review : Nanotech, Infotech and Biotech
MIT Tech Review has launched three new topic areas: Nanotechnology,
information technology and bio-technology. This is an excellent way to
monitor some of the latest topics in these three important arenas.
MIT Tech Review Nanotech
MIT Tech Review Infotech
MIT Tech Review Biotech
P2P: Harnessing the power of disruptive technologies
We have previously discussed Napster, as one of the best-known examples of
the burgeoning P2P (peer-to-peer computing) arena.
Recently, O’Reilly Publishing released a book: "Peer-to-Peer: Harnessing
the Power of Disruptive Technologies", a collection of chapters written by
the people who are driving the state of the art in the P2P space.
The traditional client-server Internet model ("client" asks for and
receives information from "server") is beginning to give some ground to
peer-to-peer networking, where all network participants are approximately
equal. P2P participants, usually ordinary computers run by everyday people.
ICQ chat service and Napster music-sharing are examples.
The primary advantage of peer-to-peer networks is that large numbers of
people share the burden of providing computing resources (processor time
and disk space), administration effort, creativity and legal liability.
Further, it's relatively easy to be anonymous in such an environment and
it's harder for opponents of a peer-to-peer service to bring it down. The
primary disadvantage of peer-to-peer systems is the tendency of computers
at the edge of the network to fade in and out of availability. Also,
accountability for the actions of network participants is a problem.
By forming networks of computers at the so-called "edge" of the Internet,
it is possible to offer valuable services without the burden of building
and administering large, centralized computer systems of the sort that host
traditional Web sites. Napster is the most successful example to date,
though nerds will note that it's not a completely peer-to-peer system
because users register their file libraries with a central server when they
log on to the service.
This book is NOT about how to build the next Napster system. Rather, it
aims to get its readers thinking about what happens when information
systems shift away from client-servers towards the peer-to-peer model.
Internet World article - Peer-to-peer Power
Review HARNESSING P2P and buy the book online
George Gilder Essay : The Coming Boom
The companies that George Gilder waxes eloquently about in his Technology
Report have crashed in the stock market, just like most of the others.
However, Gilder remains the pre-eminent technology soothsayer and predictor
of inflection points.
Gilder’s latest (May 2001) essay in The American Spectator is worth
reading. He harps on his theories of definitive abundance with
irrepressible energy and usual metaphorical license:
"In every era, the
definitive abundance is revealed by the price of a key factor of
production, plummeting over a cliff of costs and releasing. Like a giant
river reaching a falls, the key resource releases a surge of kinetic energy
into the economy as the price drops. From horsepower to kilowatt hours, the
countries, companies and individuals that exploit the ever-cheaper resource
gain market share against all others, and end up casting the character of
Gilder predicts that even if the current administration and Federal Reserve
follow "their well-trodden paths of failure", they will delay the tidal
wave of new growth, but cannot stop it. He insists that the Telecosm will
still prevail, and investors who understand its dimensions will be able to
"spurn the catastrophists and prosper from the largest opportunity in the
history of the world economy."
George Gilder in The American Spectator : The Coming Boom
Regarding the balance between tech-futures, marketing and
industrial-automation news, Steven Rakers [email@example.com] gave this
"I think many enjoy hearing the industrial automation news. However, I also
enjoy the technology future information. Perhaps a combination of the two
is the right balance?"
Jim Pinto response :
I will continue to do my best to provide good eNews. To all you industrial
automation mavens out there : eSpeak to me! Send me more "stuff" !
One ardent eNews reader was e-anxious :
"I am tempted to dish some inside info to you, but wonder about the
anonymity. How could you "protect the innocent" ? Not only am I part of the
machine but, as a loyal employee, I am interested to develop us into a
company lacking in the current arrogance that (I feel) is endemic within
large corporations. (PS: You should see some of the self centered
powerpoint presentations I see !)"
Jim Pinto response :
You may be sure that, if you request confidentiality, your name will NEVER
be mentioned, or even linked, to a story I e-publish.
Anthony Kerstens [firstname.lastname@example.org] was e-wondering :
"With all this inside information you get, have you ever wondered if the
source is negative to the point that their fears and dour predictions are
like self-fulfilling prophesies? I ask this because the tone behind a
phrase like "internal mental masturbation" strikes me as tired and
frustrated. It's like this person has already given up on the battle and
has no interest in even trying."
Jim Pinto response:
Not all of the comments I receive are negative, though the negative ones
always seem to be more provocative. Some people are more open than others,
and many get frustrated with their superiors and the bad stuff they see,
and so they tend to vent. The good ones leave. I do try to get
confirmation from at least a few people before I e-publish anything
Bob Dannenfelser [email@example.com] Systems Engineer at
Ingersoll-Rand e-commented on The Silicon Body:
"I read with great interest your recent articles regarding the emerging
"merging" of flesh and technology. Being a StarTrek fan from way back, it
dawned on me that we have the potential of becoming the BORG! Could we
slip into the role of the "bad guys" without even realizing it? Makes the
cloning controversy seem almost hum-drum! Is resistance futile?"
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