JimPinto.com - Connections for Growth & Success™
No. 219 : 19 October 2006

Keeping an eye on technology futures.
Business commentary - no hidden agendas.
New attitudes, no platitudes.

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Electronic voting fraud may become "Votrina"

The US mid-term elections is about 2 weeks away and 80% of voters will be casting their ballots on electronic voting machines. Many states have hastily implemented flawed electronic voting machines with serious vulnerabilities that have actually been demonstrated.

23 states still don't require a paper record; voters cannot verify that the e-voting machines are recording their votes as intended. In the 2004 presidential elections electronic voting machines lost votes, subtracted votes instead of adding them, and doubled votes. Because many had no paper audit trails, recounts were not possible.

The 4 primary electronic voting machines have NOT been demonstrated to be really secure. Diebold, based in Ohio, is the most well-known and it was the Diebold CEO who boldly asserted that he "would deliver Ohio for GW Bush." Now a new study with Diebold's AccuVote-TS found that hackers can easily modify results to disable machines and change vote totals.

In Nov. 2006, we proceed towards a possible voting-Katrina - "Votrina". How many days AFTER a disaster will someone be saying, "Brownie, you're doing a good job!"

Americans, you're going to the polls in a couple of weeks. Be watchful!

Click Support Verified Voting

Click Understanding the Debate Over Electronic Voting Machines

Click Diebold, Electronic Voting and the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy

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Human contributions to global warming

I've had a LOT of feedback regarding my recent (4 Oct. 2006) eNews article which suggested that only 5% of global warming is due to human causes and the other 95% is natural. Some of the cogent responses will be published - the first one is in this issue of eNews (below).

I'm well aware of the intense debate over global warming. I agree that even if only 5% is through human causes, we should do everything in our power to eliminate that 5%.

Over the next century, climate change is the most severe problem that we are facing today. The question remains - can humans reduce their undeniable 5% contribution? Can we not only slow down global warming, but through technological means actually reverse the trends?

Without legal enforcement, free-market forces alone are not going to produce the enormous switch in energy resource that is required to generate a significant reduction in emissions. Who will invest in any company that promises results that will take decades? Perhaps only the munificence of Gates & Buffet & Bono. But then, they are using their resources to help much more immediate problems like AIDS and Poverty.

It has been estimated that a 60% reduction in carbon dioxide production by 2050 would be necessary to make any impact, and this is matched by the 1997 Kyoto protocol. But the US is against any such curbs - preferring to allow polluters to pollute. California is exceptional in instituting pollution standards, a shrewd political move by Governor Ah'll-be-Baaack Schwarznegger.

Consider this: America has 4% of the world's population and emits 25% of the world’s greenhouse gases. The average American emits about 21 tons per person per year, compared to 9 tons in the UK, and 1 ton in India. The energy mix per capita income each play a role; Sweden (with hydroelectric power) is 6 tons per person per year, France (87% nuclear power) is 6 tons; Germany, (no hydroelectric, 30% nuclear power) is at 10 tons. Clearly the energy mix is critical.

The US Government suggests that growth of GDP is an important factor. But, even when the energy consumption is divided by GDP, there is still a big difference, with the USA at one extreme, and Switzerland at the other.

Click (Video) Larry King Live - Al Gore on stopping global warming

Click Lecture (pdf file) - UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser

Click Human causes of global warming

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Google buys YouTube - Vision of accelerating change

A few days ago, Google bought YouTube.com for $1.65B in stock. This gives valuable insights, to track ongoing biz-tech shifts.

YouTube is a popular free video sharing web site which lets users upload, view, and share video clips. The company has 67 employees, and was founded by Paypal employees Chad Hurley (29) and Steve Chen (28) in Feb. 2005 - they became multi-millionaires in 18 months.

VC firm Sequoia Capital (my friend Don Valentine is still senior guru) put in $11.5M for a 30% stake in YouTube, and got $495M in Google stock - a 42,043% return in just one year.

This was a good deal for Google - a stock swap, rather than cash (they still have lots of cash). Google's market value is about $150 B, so YouTube was valued at about 1% and the $ 1.5B is fair. In the time that the deal was still rumor and before it became reality, Google's market value went up over $3 billion; so Google was actually "paid" by investors to buy YouTube.

YouTube is the 14th most visited site on the Internet and Google is No. 3. Yahoo leads in a constantly shifting race, though some say the leader is now MySpace (acquired by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp for $ 580M). Amazon.com, eBay, CNN and Go.com (owned by Disney) are all in the top-10.

What YouTube's meteoric rise shows is that people WANT to watch video-clips - not only the videos you make at your son's birthday party, but also missed news, yesterday's TV shows, special events and speeches. For example, go to YouTube.com and search for "Al Gore on Global Warming" - you'll find several videos.

YouTube shows lots of copyrighted material, part of its appeal. Now how will Google deal with all the possible copyright lawsuits? The cash-strapped start-up was a hard target; will Google's deep-pockets make a difference?

Google could, with a click of a mouse, filter out all copyrighted material. But the broadcasters and media producers are all salivating at the possibility of tens of millions of new viewers. They'll be anxious to jump on new bandwagons by making any deal with Google that will give them at least some payback. Hey, something is better than nothing. The video wind is shifting.

Click Google Press Release on YouTube

Click If you can't beat them, buy them

Click YouTube Video - A Message From Chad and Steve

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Email is getting old

Do you still use email? I do. But, I've gotta tell you, with the huge amounts of spam and virus attacks, it's become a pain.

I have many email addresses on my website (eg: webmaster@jimpinto.com) and they all get lots of spam emails - lottery-winning announcements, offers for sharing inheritance, cheap medications, enticements for free porn sites, ad infinitum. Frankly, 95% of my email is now spam - hey, maybe even 98%.

Of course I have anti-spam and anti-virus protection. Bu rather than lose any valid emails, my spam goes into a folder which for review, and at least once in a while I DO retrieve a good message. But, when reviewing 150 messages in the spam folder, it's easy to miss one good one. Whatodo?

Hey, if you send me an eNews response and I don't respond (within about a week), please re-send. I ALWAYS respond. Perhaps your email got stuck in my spam-folder, and I inadvertently deleted it.

Virus attacks are incessant - attached files disguised as attachments from friends and business associates. Someone recently complained that his anti-virus program found a dangerous attachment from me. It didn't. It clearly came from some Rumanian server which faked my email address.

Some "tight" filters stop JimPinto.com eNews for words like "Dick" Morley. Not much I can do, except let you know.

Many people use spam-filter services to create "allowed lists". They politely request a response by entering a code (shown as a picture, not text), showing that you're a human, not just a spam-spewing computer. When you enter the code, your email is accepted as valid, and you're now on their valid-email list. Hey, I like that system, and might signup for that kind of service soon. I can't think of anything better. Any suggestions?

My son Chris tells me "email is for old people." He and his friends have Trillian - which allows text-messages from AIM, MSN, or any other instant-message service, on your computer or cellphone. The problem is that when I'm not on my computer, the "instant" message just lays there. And when I AM at my computer, the expected "instant" response is un-nerving. With email, I get it when I'm ready, and respond when I'm ready.

Is e-mail dead? Or at least dying? Recent articles have said that most teenagers prefer instant messaging or text messaging, for talking to friends and use e-mail only to communicate with "old people", or with companies or groups of people. E-mail is, like, so yesterday. And USA Today claims that "E-mail is so last millennium."

Well, e-mail isn't dying, but it certainly has become sick.

Click Wikipedia - E-mail spam

Click Virus infections drop, spam on the up

Click Teens: E-mail is for old people

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Book: Greatest Story Ever Sold

I recommend this book - not as political diatribe on GW Bush, but as a Marketing case-study - how public-opinion is molded.

New York Times columnist Frank Rich is one of America's most respected writers. His new book (Sept. 19 2006) - "The Greatest Story Ever Sold" explains how the Bush people did PR and marketing. It describes the skillful building of a house-of-cards, how the opposition and the mainstream news media were left powerless by a relentless attack machine, how the administration marketed their own "truth" and sold their policies to the American people.

Nearly every administration publicity move is reviewed - Iraqi WMD claims, Bush's "Mission Accomplished" stunt, the Swift-boating of John Kerry and the writing of fake prowar letters-to-the-editor from soldiers. Frank Rich uncovers nothing new, but presents evidence which gives the story credibility.

Finally, a bungled war, and a devastating hurricane revealed how the story that had been "sold". Frank Rich is angry at the fawning media, and at Bob Woodward for his first 2 books which seemed to justify the GW Bush tactics. Clearly Rich was not aware of Woodward's new book (Sept. 2006), "State of Denial" which exposes and confirms the blurring of lines between reality and marketing fiction. (Weblink below).

For those (like me) who have opposed Bush's policies, this book summons up familiar feelings of outrage and helplessness. Some of the 30% of Americans who shifted from being Bush supporters will gain some insight into why they were originally misled. But even die-hard Bushies will appreciate this book as a shrewd and insightful study in political marketing and PR.

Click Review & buy "Greatest Story ever sold" on Amazon.com

Click Frank Rich details how White House replaces facts with fiction

Click Bob Woodward's book - State of Denial

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Diana Bouchard [dianab@aei.ca] responded to the claim that global warming was 95% natural, and human pollution contributed only 5%:
    "Having recently seen the Al Gore film, I have difficulty believing that 95% of the climate change we are currently seeing is of natural origin. Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere have already risen outside their range of variation for the last 600,000 years. But what is even more alarming than the magnitude, is the speed. The rise in global temperatures is outpacing the ability of ecosystems, or human societies, to adjust to them. We are in the process of creating huge social, economic and environmental disruptions for our descendants by our unwillingness to give top priority to restoring a sustainable relationship between human beings and the planet we live on.

    "This is an issue that runs deeper than almost any other problem we have. If we do not have a habitable planet, our national animosities, social inequalities, political concerns of the day and just about anything else will cease to matter, because many of us will cease to exist.

    "If we start to act now, we will hopefully have time to transition in an orderly fashion to a more sustainable way of living with our planet, while maintaining much of the prosperity and comfort we now enjoy. If we wait, nature may force change on us in much more disruptive ways.

    "Sure, the earth has seen dramatic climate change in the past, and a cataclysm of nature could trump all our efforts to bring climate change under control. A mega-volcano could erupt tomorrow and spew clouds of ash and sulphuric acid droplets around the globe.

    "Or a giant asteroid could smash into the earth. Or the deep ocean circulation that maintains the Gulf Stream could grind to a halt, plunging Europe into a regional ice age.

    "Or none of these things could happen, and we could be left trying to explain to our grandchildren why we bequeathed them a world of poverty, chaos and depleted resources, and why we did not act while we could still make a difference."

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My niece Jenny Pinto [pinto.jenny@gmail.com] sent this eloquent response to our discussion thread on the feminine ethos:

    "I read with interest, the discussion about the US and a woman president. It's interesting that a country that prides itself on being the epitome of Freedom, and Liberation, is way behind many developing countries, even those with poor records of "equality".

    "I understand that what Joanne Harris means is she won't vote for a woman JUST because she is a woman. Dora also gave her very balanced view on why women should build on their strengths, and not "compete" where competition is really unnecessary. I agree with both.

    "I live in a country (India) that has had a woman prime minister and a very powerful, controversial one at that. One who was arguably, more capable, more dominating, more corrupt, more wily than her male counterparts. India has had women in the frontlines of her independence struggle against the British. We put a woman astronaut into space (thru the US space program). The real power behind the throne in India today, is a woman. We have at least 3 women who rank pretty high in the Forbes list. We had Mother Teresa. And I could go on and on.

    "But India also ranks among highest for its dismal and oppressive treatment of women, highest number of dowry deaths, girl-child labor, etc. All of this is painfully true.

    "I am in a constant search for the Female Principle. What is true feminine strength and power? Where do you look for it?

    "My search has taken me into many corners of India, into programs that work with poor rural women, into projects run by women for women. And I see glimpses of that female principle all the time. However oppressed the woman is, she has the strength and resilience to rise above it, when in the same situation her husband turns to drink. She has the wisdom and the courage to subvert her ego. She can multi-task. She is wily, cunning, intuitive, sensitive, gutsy, and submissive, as the situation demands.

    "Every woman also possesses "masculine" qualities of reasoning, assertiveness, logic etc, but her real strengths are being able to stand upright or bend with the situation. If she builds on these she will make a good a president, business person, mother, or anything she chooses.

    "Real power is not about fighting for an undefinable unattainable equality in an unequal world, but in recognizing your strength and using it to your advantage.

    "I am also marginally involved in education programs for underprivileged children. In my experience, mostly, the girls outshine the boys in ambition, intelligence, willingness to learn, adapt and change - almost everything. More often than not, girls top the public board exams in India. Why? My simple explanation is that the girls are more hungry for change. My more controversial one is that it was these qualities in the Female that made the patriarchal State and Religion formulate social rules and religious edicts that kept "woman in her place". Think about it.

    "I truly believe the future of our planet lies with the Female Principle. The principle of creating, nurturing, intuiting, giving, feeling, crying. The "feminine" exists in both men and women. If men were able to accept and allow their female side to surface and guide them, it could change the world."

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Cullen Langford [CullenL@aol.com] has lots of experience through his years at EI DuPont. He has this to say about industrial wireless:

    "The new wireless standard is déjà vu again - remember the Fieldbus SP-50 standard? Perhaps this SP-100 is SP50x2?

    "I have no concerns about wireless security. The concern in my mind is around reliability. Everyone is planning to use the same radio bands. All at once. We already hear from wireless LANs users that it is unreliable in the presence of cordless telephones when they are on the same band.

    "It is clear that any movement of information from one place to another will increase the possibility of interception, shamming, and loss of signal. Our usual experience with wired services is that the dangers are very low. With wireless some of these will increase if they are not carefully addressed from the beginning, and hopefully, in the SP100 standard.

    "We already hear echoes of the Fieldbus wars in the situation of two presumably strong offerings in the market. There should have been a growth spurt from Fieldbus, but the greedy marketing managers destroyed that. The time was right, the users were ready but the fights killed the opportunities.

    "Bandwidth is a precious resource and is limited. The claims that Spread Spectrum will somehow make the spectrum infinite will eventually be proven very wrong. We will see what happens. Even with this, I can see wireless used for closed loop control, perhaps using a supervisory mode. Safety can be raised to the necessary level by moving the logic to the field.

    "My concerns center on the lack of control of emissions in the ISM (Industrial, Scientific, and Medical) license free bands. Many services share these on a "non interference" basis. The bands are wide, but finite."

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Pinto Book Choice

Frank Rich:
Greatest Story
Ever Sold

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