Categories: "Living"

Perfect Handheld? Not Yet

06/01/05 | by JAdP | Categories: Mobile and Wireless, Living

Dan Gillmor and I started a discussion in email back in 2000 about our various ways of staying connected when out of the office. Back then, I was using a PalmVx with a Novatel wireless modem and the Omnisky service. Now Dan talks about his ideal handheld in "Perfect Handheld? Not Yet".

I've always tended towards "best-of-breed" rather than accepting the compromises associated with squeezing everyhting into one box. This is true of Business Intelligence systems, integrating Open Source projects, stereo systems, even take out food [don't ask, don't tell]. It is especially true of my PDA.

I have a fierce brand loyalty to Palm [er, PalmOne, PalmSource, oh, yes, Palm is fine] and I'm very attached to open source.

I've been back-of-the-envelop designing a wireless network hub that would take care of that part of the system, until small-enough processors and wiki(software radio) catch up to each other in terms of specifications provided and required. OLED screens that can pull oull out of a rod like a scroll will make life better in this area too. I think I would rather carry a few small devices, than one clunky, compromised device. But ignoring packaging for a moment, here's a list of funtions, features and standards that I want with me all the time:

  • Open Source OS
  • Lot's of third-party apps
  • Synchronization capabilities, wired & wireless
  • wireless PAN, LAN, MAN & WAN - whatever the latest protocols are
  • Voice and Data
  • eBooks
  • calendar, text processing, word processing, contacts
  • graphics rendering [data visualization, games, and more]
  • SD storage, maybe two slots, maybe even one CF
  • email
  • attachments
  • web & wap
  • feed syndication reader
  • cookies & javascript enabled
  • SSL & other encryption

Several small devices easily distributed in various pockets would suit me just fine. I do want to get rid of the leather pouch I always have attached to my belt. Right now the leading contenders that could be mixed and matched to get some of these, if not all, are

If I had a convenient user interface, processing power, the OS and software and storage to do it all, the headset, the various connectivity capabilities, and Bluetooth tying it all together, I wouldn't need or want a "cell phone" per se. With what's available right now, it really is hard to put together a working system - and of course, coverage in CDMA, GSM or 802.11[whatever] is spotty at best, though iPass does have a good solution for worldwide accounts.

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Joseph Applying for Bayosphere Host

06/01/05 | by JAdP | Categories: TIA Life, General Thoughts

Clarise and I are hereby applying for one [shared] or two of the ongoing part-time gigs at the Bayosphere site with Dan Gillmor, as posted by Michael Goff on 2005-05-26, "HIRING BAYOSPHERE HOST(S)! Nominate a blogger. Pitch yourself. Endorse. Discuss".

We find the Bayosphere project interesting on several levels.

  • community collaboration
  • focus on the SF Bay Area
  • distributed and remote workers
  • the principals involved

I fell in love with the SF Bay Area when I was here on a business trip with my boss, John Callihan, in December 1979. We had meetings at Westinghouse Marine Div. in Sunnyvale, and wiki(McDonnell Douglas) in Huntington Beach. I had never been here before, and neither of us was in a hurry to get back to the East Coast snow. We delayed our meeting in SoCal for a day, turned in our plane tickets for that leg, rented a car, and drove down the Cabrillo Highway until it became the Pacific Coast Highway; yep CA Rte. 1 all the way. I hit the area I now know is Devil's Slide [site of my recent accident], looked at John and told him that he had made a mistake - I was moving here as soon as I could. It took until 1984, with a stop in Denver for two years, but I've lived on the San Mateo County Coastside ever since.

My love of reading, the English language and technology goes back to a retired school teacher, who lived in an apartment in the 200 year old house I grew up in, and gave me my first Tom Swift, Jr. book when I turned 6. Thank you, Mrs. Patterson.

My writing goes back over 30 years to high school & college, when I wrote for the Cynosure, the Scop, and other news and literary rags. My studies resulted in a BS in Chemistry, a minor in Mathematics, and, almost, a second major in Philosophy. [As an aside, my final semester of my fifth year in College was to be devoted to my Philosophical research into applying the theory of Platonic Forms to Technical Ethics; but my thesis advisor disappeared in Europe over the winter holiday, and no one else was willing to pick up that thesis topic.] My graduate & CEEU work includes three universities, and studies in applied mathematics, statistics, various engineering disciplines, materials science, computer science, physical electro-chemistry, project management and business, as my goals melded together and evolved from technical ethics to photovoltaic chemist to system [not the plural] engineer to manager to entrpreneur.

I have over 25 years of "industry" experience, with 20 of those years being here in the SF Bay Area. This includes 12+ years in aerospace, 10+ in information technologies, and a 3 year technical hiatus making Montara Magic chocolate sauces. Telecommunications as an industry was in there as well, both during the aerospace years and the IT ones.

Most of my writing after college was in the form of research papers, technical documents, proposals, business plans and, most recently, blogging for the TeleInterActive Press, both the TeleInterActive Lifestyle and the Cynosural Blogs.

So, Dan and Michael, if this is enough to picque your interest, let's continue the application process through trackbacks and comments, and test out the idea of transparency as it applies to the hiring process. I'll see about generating that buzz you want. &#59;)

 

Products become Commodities

05/27/05 | by JAdP | Categories: Business Life

Part of the lifecycle of any product category is that the margin dwindles as that category becomes a commodity, and businesses must seek other ways to make money.

It happened to photocopiers, the machines, especially the largest, commercial machines are sold at no margin or even a loss. Money is made through consumables [toner, paper, etc] and services - maintaining the machines.

It happened to PBXs, and even network equipment. The market is still trying to adjust to this. Customers don't like paying directly for engineering services that were once covered by fat gross margins. The main reason I was brought into the Williams Cos. [NYSE:WMB] as Executive Director was to help then CEO of Williams Communications Solutions, Garry McGuire, to devise a business plan that replaced the almost nonexistent margin on their main product lines with margins from professional services. Garry left, the new CEO listened to the old-time sales VP's and WCS was sold a year later.

It is happening now to computers and even software.

Scott McNealy, CEO of Sun Microsystems, said it at the D conference, in not so many words.

"[Scott] said Sun no longer has the pricing luxury it once enjoyed -- that Sun now really has to work for the dollars it takes in."end quotation
[Via Dan Gillmor's "McNealy's Straight Talk"]

You also see this with the increased emphasis on services from companies like Sun, IBM, Oracle, HP and even Novell with its purchase of Cambridge Technologies.

The commodization of software, and the impact of open source projects on that process, has also been one topic of our discussions with Bernard Golden, CEO of Navica.

This is where the conversation really gets interesting. Will the profit margins on all software become slim enough, that open source is a practical path? Especially with the economies of community development, testing and support? What business models will develop so that traditional software companies, software as a service companies, and open source projects will be viable business enterprises when folk are no longer willing to pay "brand name premiums" for software? What services will customers be willing to buy directly, and how will third-party companies compete with or support the software producers? What pricing models will survive, especially with the impact of services from India, Philippines, Russia, etc? The next five years are going to provide a proving ground for all these questions.

 

Firefox Search

05/21/05 | by JAdP | Categories: Information Mangement, Living

A little appreciated feature of the Firefox browser is the Search box in the Navigation Toolbar. It defaults to Google. But you can click on the "G" Google icon and a dropdown menu appears that allows you to select another source for your source. The underappreciated part of this, is that not only traditional search engines are availabe. You can search in

  • Creative Commons
  • Wikipedia [my favorite]
  • Dictionary.com
  • Amazon.com
  • A9
  • eBay

Of course, you can search on Alta Vista, Yahoo!, Ask Jeeves as well as Google, in the traditional search engines.

The really cool part of this is at the bottom of the drop down menu. You can add more sources for your search. This brings you to the Mozilla Firefox products page, which lists the most popular search engines, but then you can click on "Find lots of other search engines..." where you'll find literally hundreds of search engine plugins neatly arranged by categories, such as Arts, Business and Economy, Literature, even Telephone Directory.

Very nice, very nice, indeed.

 

Cypress Afire

05/19/05 | by JAdP | Categories: Personal Life

I was awakened at 1:00 this morning by the sounds of hard drives spinning up and shutting down, to lights flashing on-and-off. As I stumbled out of bed to see what was the matter. &#59;) I heard the sound of sheriff and fire brigade radios outside my home.

This unseasonable storm [it's raining in Northern California in late May - so odd] had downed a power line into the wiki(cypress) trees lining our block. Several trees, including the two in my front yard were ON FIRE. There was sparks and crackling from the power line, smoke pouring from the limbs of the 25 to 75 foot trees, and embers falling into the yard below. But there was nothing that could be done until PG&E arrived at 2:30 a.m. PDT. The most spectacular sparkage happened about 15 minutes before the PG&E truck swung into view with its twin spotlights, and then all was quite. Just the smoke streaming into the night sky, illuminated by the spotlights from sheriff cars, fire trucks and PG&E. Until about 4:00 this morning, when the chain saws started. Power came back on a bit before 5:00 a.m. PDT.

Of course, I sent an email to a few friends using my Palm via bluetooth to my cell phone. :D

I awoke to a drizzle, piles of burned and clean tree limbs along the street, and even a few tree limbs in the low voltage lines. But we have power.

One friend to whom I had written at 2:00 in the morning, suggested that I start a religion based on the event; after all, a 50 foot burning cypress in the rain must trump a burning bush in the desert. Maybe it could be a sect of the Cyprian religion, so called because the devotees of wiki(Aphrodite) were centered on the island of wiki(Cyprus), and maybe even take in some elements from the teachings of wiki(Cyprian,Saint Cyprian) - an early Christian bishop and martyr who died in 258 CE. Maybe not. &#59;D

BTW, the trees look fine after their fire trim. :)

Update: I haven't seen the coastal raven couple who hang out in the cypresses all day. Hopefully, the rain just kept them away. I don't think they nest there.

Update 2: It looks like the rain made it to the Pacific Northwest.

 

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I'm Joseph A. di Paolantonio and this blog has two main foci: my interest in food, and my interest in the future. This provides a look into my personal life, and is separate from my consulting work…though there will be overlap. I am an independent researcher, working as a strategic consultant and I'm an executive with over 20 years of commercial experience with a technical interest in the intersection of Internet of Things, with advanced data management and analysis methods. I view data science as a team activity, and I feel that the IoT must be viewed as a system. I am leveraging my past activities to understand the adoption and impact of the IoT; first, as a system engineer in aerospace, where I developed Bayesian risk assessment methods for systems within the Space Transportation System (including the Space Shuttle), Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer, Gravity Probe B, and many more, and second, as a enterprise data warehousing, business intelligence and analytics professional. Between my aerospace and IT careers, I indulged my hobby of cooking by starting a food company, Montara Magic, centered around my chocolate sauces. My education combined chemistry, mathematics and philosophy. I performed research into molten salt fuel cells in graduate school, and in photovoltaic materials for a short time in industry. The lure of bringing the human race into space was strong, and when I was offered the chance to combine my chemistry and mathematics skills to develop new risk assessment and system engineering methods for space launch and propulsion systems – I couldn't resist. I perform independent research and strategic consulting to bring value from the Internet of Things, Sensor Analytics Ecosystems and data science teams.I am a caregiver, a lover of science fiction and speculative fantasy, and my passion to learn has led me to a pilot's license, an assistant instructor in SCUBA, nordic and alpine skiing, sea kayaking, and reading everything I can, in as many topics as I can.

View Joseph di Paolantonio's profile on LinkedIn

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