SENATOR TED STEVENS, when explaining why he voted against Net Neutrality, gave a stand-up tutorial on how the personal internet works. He was part of a Senate Commerce Committee deadlocked position on an amendment inserting some very basic net neutrality provisions into a moving telecommunications bill. The provisins didn't prohibit an ISP from handling VOIP faster than emails, but would have made it illegal to handle its own VOIP packets faster than a competitor's. In this excerpt, Stevens explains how the amendment would have hurt the personal internet:
DANNY O'BRIEN breezes through a social scene that buzzes away at full strength currently in the Bay Area, touches Hyderabad, Halifax, Dublin, and Cork. When I read "Wired on Friday" in the Irish Times, I sometimes wonder if Danny O'Brien actually knows the people he cites or whether he has seen the technology he describes--his reach extends outside of my radar on many occasions. He mentions these things today in his 1200 word column: Nerd Salon, Copynight, Bar Camp, BloggerCon, SuperHappyDev House, BlogHer, Gnomedex, Cereal Bar, iCal, MySpace, SMTP, Apache, The Sims, MP3s, Web 2.0, upcoming.org, 30 boxes, Mosuki, and Ruby Red Labs. O'Brien carefully localises his take on events. He writes that "Ireland has its own TechCamp, developed on the Bar Camp model. If distant coder gatherings have their romantic allure, the barrier to creating one in your local pub has never been lower." Then there are the wobbly moments in the Buzz Cloud and O'Brien describes them too.
OF ALL THE high-speed download connections I've used recently, I have to give Limelight's service top marks. I'm simply stunned by the speed of the Limelight-Podshow Flash player connection when using it to listen to my recent podcasts, Dermod Moore's quiet musings, Conn O Muineachain's Irish podcast (slowest to load, perhaps because it's coming from Libsyn), Letter to America, The Culture Sluts (pulling its feeds all over the map), Technolotics and Radio WXTC. The pop-up plays the podcasts or the music from the podcasts even after you've left Podshow, providing you don't close the pop-up player. The technology also gives podcast feeds an acid test because if your feed publishes incorrectly, the Flash player won't find the MP3 file.
GOOGLE AUTHENTICATION FOR WEB APPS lets you create web apps that use Google's user accounts for user authentication. It reminds me of one big virtual LDAP server and brings back memory of Microsoft Passport. Some people plan to construct add-ons to Google services such as Google Calendar. At Tipperary Institute, we will perform an autopsy on Google Authentication as part of a fourth year multimedia programming course. The API libraries provide an excellent way of seeing connected authentication at work.
AFTER USING Blogger's search tool occasionally during the past few months, I think I'll rotate some of my mainstream watchlists onto it. It routinely finds the most valuable chatter among Irish bloggers when I look up the term irishblogs (results by Blogger). That's because "irishblogs" is a double derivative. Those who use it are tagging content they deem relevant to the Irish blogging community.
AS REPORTED on the front page of the Irish Times and spotlighted by Digital Rights Ireland, "the personal data of thousands of Irish citizens that have sent or received money transfers to and from the US has been covertly logged by US anti-terrorist agencies." In my personal case, this means money I sent via AIB SWIFT transfer to my mother to offset the cost of medical treatment for cancer has been tracked by the CIA. It turns out that the Irish government did not know about the monitoring scheme, but several EU central banks were informed about the programme, which was introduced after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. "Under the scheme the CIA can sift through millions of international banking transactions to try to identify potential terrorist financing," the Irish Times reports.
WHEN I HELD my radio crystal in my hand during a visit to the family home, I realised that I have never heard anyone in Ireland talking about listening to a crystal-powered radio. Those were early radio days for me as a 12-year-old and they involved wrapping copper wire around a spent toilet roll, stringing a long line of cable to the top of the attic and hunching over in a corner to hear a scratchy radio signal. Early days--and age-revealing as well.
TOO MANY NEWS releases from the Labour Party in Ireland bubble up into my feed readers and that means someone or some process is shoveling stuff that purports to be valid information. I can't afford the time to read item-after-item coming from the Labour Party so I've unsubscribed to their flow. I won't visit IrishBlogs.ie during normal working hours because whole screens are filled with Labour Party snippets or Oasis facts that I need to know.
WHERE I LIVE, more noise comes across the FM band from splatter than from transmission towers. I have a particularly splatter-prone Dell computer that effectively blocks any AM radio sitting in the same room. Doc Searls reminded me about something I'd forgotten. "Tune a radio to 88.1 and you'll hear a signal with dead air on 98.9. If there's a real station on that channel, and you want to hear it on another radio nearby, there's a good chance it's getting interference. This, by the way, is why FM radio listening is forbidden on airplanes. Aviation bands start right above the top of the FM band, and can get interference from FM radio listening." True. And here's another little-known fact: Japanese imports with radios tuned to the bottom of their bands will interfere with some taxi radios. Our Honda Civic did that when we cranked its radio to to bottom of its band and parked it near taxi ranks in Dublin.
LATECOMERS CALL it podcasting but Irish companies like Globetech and VoiceSage often use the term "call services" to describe interactive podcasting. It's easy to dismiss podcasting as a time-intensive technology because it takes more time to set up a good podcast than it does to hammer out some casual text on a blog. But businesses like Irish Psychics Live and phone sex chat lines prove there are mountains of money on the interactive side of audio. Listen to any of the porncasts and do the numbers. At $3 a minute for a return call or $1 for a textback, your audience can provide a sweet revenue stream week after week.