Checks and balances

Thursday, September 25, 2008 at 19:20 | Posted in technology | 2 Comments

Do you have the balls for this? Technical application details here.

via Parasiil

Essay on future

Monday, December 17, 2007 at 14:04 | Posted in funny, technology | Leave a comment

Everybody seemed to think that this girl was nuts but everybody seems to have been proven wrong. Crazy ideas are good because many of them tend to come true. Which is why every kid should be encouraged to spell out their crazy ideas.

via The Fischbowl

Vodpod videos no longer available. from posted with vodpod

Strike against technology

Monday, October 22, 2007 at 8:42 | Posted in technology, traffic, USA | Leave a comment
Tags: , ,

The New York Yimes writes about a 24 hour cabbie strike scheduled to kick off in a few hours:

A group that says it represents about 10,000 cabdrivers is calling for a strike today, its second in less than two months, to protest a city plan requiring the more than 13,000 medallion taxicabs to install global positioning systems and credit card machines.

I am sursprised that those devices are not already installed in the cars and I am sad to learn that the cab drivers so rigorously oppose them. GPS would improve the cabbies’ own security and make it easier to allocate resources at peak traffic hours. The credit card machines would no doubt contribute to a better customer service.

The drivers are just flat wrong to take industrial action against elementary technology.

Remarks to Merkel’s video podcast

Tuesday, December 19, 2006 at 14:47 | Posted in computer, Germany, internet, it, technology | 14 Comments

I happened to see the latest video podcast of the German chancellor Angela Merkel. Her manuscript is also available as a pdf file. Which brings me to my first remark.

Why on earth would somebody publish a text in the web as a pdf file? The file format is only motivated when communicating with a printing house where the exact layout of a document is crucial. That is not the case with most texts published in the web and certainly not with the chancellor’s speech, unless she suggests that the form of it is more important than what she has to say.

As a web user I have to download the document and open it with a separate software. It is particulary odd that elementary user accessibility is so thoughtlessly ignored as the chancellor is actually speaking about high IT in context of an IT top meeting that the German government is organizing in Potsdam-Babelsberg. How could you trust on somebody’s competence in the area if they do not even know how to publish text in HTML format in the web?

Who would you say is the inventor of the computer? There is obviously no easy answer to the question, just as no particular person can be credited for inventing radio, television or cure for Alzheimer’s (which is yet to be invented). Nevertheless, the chancellor is bold enough to claim the honor of inventing the computer to Germans. I wonder if her speech writers were thinking of Wilhelm Schickard who constructed a mechanical calculating device as early as 1623.

Ms Merkel mentions several usages for computers and modern cell phones, including that it is possible to hook up to the Internet with them and even watch her video podcast. She does nevertheless not suggest that watching TV or listening to the radio would be one of the prime usages for these devices. Then why is it that her government is imposing a public broadcasting fee for computers to take effect in less than two weeks?

According to the chancellor, several work shops and brain trusts are already processing ideas for the IT top meeting. Among the ideas is inventing a brand new search engine:

Und wir werden eine neue Suchmaschine entwickeln, damit auch Deutschland hier besser an die Spitze kommt.

Challenging Google is ambitious indeed. One wonders, though, if the real purpose of reinventing the wheel would not be to produce a search engine that would automatically censor off all critical web contents. So far German courts and business men like Andreas Kodsi have failed to impose censorship on Google’s search results.

The chancellor is unhappy that many of the high tech products that are being bought in Germany have been produced in USA and a number of Asian countries. Would that by any chance be because it is cheaper to produce them elsewhere? It is positive per se that Ms Merkel announced allocation of six billion additional euros for research and development within IT field. But her remark in that context makes one wonder:

Aber das reicht natürlich nicht, sondern wir müssen in den einzelnen Bereichen dafür sorgen, dass auch die rechtlichen Bedingungen so stimmig sind, dass Nutzer und Entwickler, dass Politiker und diejenigen, die ein Interesse an neuen Produkten haben, die richtigen Rahmenbedingungen vorfinden.

Surely, the chancellor is not referring to German made computers with preinstalled government trojans and other spyware which would make it so much easier for the government to surveil the usage of computers and cell phones under pretence of fighting terrorism? Then again, she might be thinking of precisely that.

Good news and bad news

Friday, June 30, 2006 at 6:53 | Posted in Denmark, internet, it, technology, wifi | Leave a comment

The good news is that eight wireless free hotspots will be opened in Copenhagen tomorrow. The hot spots are the first in Denmark, Jyllands-Posten writes.

The bad news is that you can not surf the web through those hot spots. You can only access a tourist portal and the city’s web site.

In another article, Jyllands-Posten writes that some new EU member countries have passed Denmark in on line access to public services. I just wonder why.

Maybe it is the wrong concept

Wednesday, June 28, 2006 at 22:54 | Posted in Finland, helsinki, it, technology, wifi | Leave a comment
Tags: ,

Ken Belson writes in the New York Times about WiFly, a wireless network in Taipei accessable for the reasonable prize of 12,50 $ a month:

Despite WiFly’s ubiquity – with 4,100 hot spot access points reaching 90 percent of the population – just 40,000 of Taipei’s 2.6 million residents have agreed to pay for the service since January. Q-Ware, the local Internet provider that built and runs the network, once expected to have 250,000 subscribers by the end of the year, but it has lowered that target to 200,000.

What they are asking for the service is certainly not much but it is apparently more than people are willing to pay in a market saturated by comprehensive free wifi access. As Peter Shyu testifies in the NYT article, there is no problem to find a free wifi hot spot in the Taiwanese capital.

So what kind of an approach could work better in point of view of the service provider? In my location in the outskirts of Helsinki, there is no wifi access that I could reach at home which means that I need a wired web connection. A number of ISP’s provide it here so I have a modest choice of the operator.

I was very glad to detect that my ISP recently announced that they are going to put up 100 wifi hot spots in central Helsinki. The first spots are already in operation. The nice part in my point of view is that the access is free for their customers who are paying for the wired connection.

So instead of competing with the modest number of existing free hot spots, my ISP is hoping to use the free access to their wifi spots as an additional argument to make their wired connection more attractive. Which means that my next computer is absolutely going to be a lap top. I will be able to hook it up at home and surf wireless in down town without an extra cost.

A simple concept to increase costumer satisfaction. Once the number and coverage of free hot spots in Helsinki will reach the Taiwanese level, it will of course become obsolete. But so will I by then, in all likelyhood.

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