Photo of worker adjusting a wireless access point.

Worker adjusting the wireless access point outside my window.

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Sunday, January 20, 2008
Wiring California: Report from the Broadband Task Force
The California Broadband Task Force just released its report. Although California leads the nation in broadband availability with 96 percent coverage, they still have 2,000 communities unable to access high-speed internet and just over half of its households using broadband. It is an innovative and detailed report with specific recommendations spelled out. It looks like it could serve as a model for other states and perhaps the US itself.

Nicely formatted, the end of each Recommendation section provides a bulleted summary.

Here are a few details.

  1. Allow Community Service Districts to provide broadband if private sector doesn't in a location.
  2. Establish a public/private partnership to ensure every household with a child is able to have a computer, high-speed internet access, and ability to use it.
  3. Provide tax incentives to technology-based businesses offering training and technical support to at-risk communities, particularly disabled and low-literacy populations.
  4. Implement a shared vision, strategic plan, and sustainable business model for an E-Health network.

Link: Broadband Task Force Report - California Broadband Initiative

via Rick Mahn and GigaOM.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008
Steve's Keynote: Was it worth it?
I don't ever remember this much buzz around a Macworld keynote. Twitter certainly helped in maintaining the high buzz level. Those of us who live in Tweet village find time to read our tweets more easily than following the blogs so we could help in grabbing the memes and retweeting in our own neighborhoods. Twitter suffered to during the length of the expo as everyone proved the value of it's communication model.

The leaked keynote (via Wikipedia!) raised the stakes. Was it real? I don't have time for a point-by-point comparison but there's no direct mention of Macbook Air or iTunes movie rentals although both of those items appeared in other rumor mills.

This keynote generated some wonderful video content. If you don't have time (hour +) to watch the full keynote, Veronica Belmont at Mahalo will jog you through it in 60 seconds. If you're curious about what Randy Newman is doing these days, you can check out this vid (complete with spurious comments). (Thanks s4xton!)

I was most excited about iTunes movie rentals. I've been buying TV shows at iTunes since the beginning and I was ready to rent something (likely Bruce Willis's latest Die Hard) this weekend. My ancient and cheap TV electronic system actually lets me plug my 5G iPod into the VHS player and see iTunes video on the old 13-inch CRT television. Then I found out that they won't play on my iPod. Sigh. Of course I think "iPod upgrade time" to which Mary says "No way you're buying a new iPod to watch more TV!". I think she has a point but still.... (Could a 5G firmware upgrade or something be in the works or will Apple truly orphan us? Based on past performance, welcome to the orphanage.)

Macbook Air is exquisite. Don't even want to look at perceived negative details (hard-wired battery, lack of ports inc. no ether). It ranks with the Mac Plus in design simplicity and beauty and will set a new standard for computing which is something Apple does so well and why Bill G. has to be so jealous of Steve J. Being of medium income means, I can't justify buying one (yet). (It did make me evaluate my dependency on ethernet. I only plug in at the office. Otherwise, almost 100% wireless. The lack of the ether port just isn't an issue for most of us.)

As for the rest, Apple pursues the high-end TV folk making it easier to watch your favorite movies and shows over the Internet if you can afford the steep entry fee. That's cool and someone has to do it. They do deliver and they deliver products that people want to use as opposed to the other major OS company that keeps showing us stuff under development and painting a 2-d image of what the future will be. Apple first builds the future then releases it.

(Was Steve's keynote worthy of the buzz? Five out of 5 stars here solely based on release of the Air.)

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Sunday, January 06, 2008
Netheads in Washington: Freedom to Connect Conference
David Isenberg is once again hosting Freedom to Connect (F2C) on March 31 and April 1 in Washington, DC. The theme is The Netheads Come to Washington and the conference will be a platform for the Nethead voices.

I went to last year's F2C and had a great time. If you're interested in broadband policy and concerned about who is controlling the main internet pipes, you can learn a lot here. Check the speakers list and check their blogs and papers. The venue -- AFI Silver Theater in Silver Spring, MD -- is very nice too and easy to get to on the Metro.

And what other conference provides a musician in residence? Last year it was Howard Levy, harmonica player and founding member of the Flecktones. He wailed blues pieces during the breaks. Then there's the reception and party.

Registration jumps from $350 to $450 tomorrow but David will let you make a case if that's a hardship.

Link: F2C: Freedom to Connect

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The show known as airline security
Good piece on the uselessness of most airline security procedures by Patrick Smith at NY Times. Smith is a commercial airline pilot.

The Airport Security Follies

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Can Meraki unwire San Francisco?
Meraki, a west coast wireless networking startup, is going to try and provide free Wi-Fi services to San Francisco via their "Free the Net" program that they've been testing in a few San Francisco neighborhoods. They will provide free wireless repeaters to residents and install solar-powered distribution points on rooftops. This is quite the project and I hope it works.

Dewayne Hendrick's blog has an interesting thread commenting on this. Start here and then keep clicking forward to find all the posts commenting.

Meraki article at E-Commerce News

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