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Worker adjusting the wireless access point outside my window.

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Monday, February 22, 2010
Battle of the Micro Blogs this Friday at CoCo Coworking
Patrick Rhone and I will spend Friday morning talking micro blogs at CoCo Coworking in St. Paul. (Get the event details here.) Patrick is a Tumblr aficionado; I evangelize Posterous. The plan is to for one of us to bring up a feature from our favorite tool and describe it then the other one of us will respond with how their blog does it better, different, worse, or not at all. We'll alternate on who initiates the feature descriptions.

After we are done with that portion of the show, Patrick and I will hang out to answer questions and help you get an account going on Posterous (which will likely dominate) or Tumblr.

Join us! The deal includes breakfast.

Posted via email from Peter's posterous

Tuesday, February 16, 2010
FCC Chairman Genachowski’s speech at NARUC today

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s speech at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) winter meetings today stressed our country's need for a robust and inclusive broadband infrastructure and discussed the upcoming National Broadband Plan.

Genachowski's Speech at NARUC
Broadband: Our Enduring Engine for Prosperity and Opportunity

I've pulled out some highlights below.

Genachowski really gets our need for broadband and how it will change the fundamental nature of business, education, communication, and social structure for the US. He brings up the comparison of the Internet to the interstate highway system and finds it lacking:

Some compare high-speed Internet to building the interstate highway system in the 1950s. It’s a tempting comparison, but imperfect.

In terms of transformative power, broadband is more akin to the advent of electricity. Both broadband and electricityare what some call “general purpose technologies”--technologies that are a means to a great many ends, enabling innovations in a wide arrayof human endeavors.

Electricity reshaped the world--extending dayinto night, kicking the Industrial Revolution into overdrive, and enabling the invention of a countless number of devices and equipment that today we can’t imagine being without.

Speaking of business connectivity, he says:

...many small businesses do not have access to a basic broadband connection. One estimate indicates that 26 percent of rural business sites do not have access to a standard cable modem and 9 percent don’t have DSL. More than 70 percent of small businesses have little or no mobile broadband.

He mentioned an exciting initiative from the Broadband Plan:

Our plan will set goals for the U.S. to have the world’s largest market of very high-speed broadband users. A “100 Squared” initiative--100 million households at 100 megabits per second--to unleash American ingenuity and ensure that businesses, large and small, are created here, move here, and stay here.

He follows that with a call to "stretch beyond 100 megabits" as Google is doing with its gigabit testbed initiative. Read that as a subtle message to incumbents that they should start looking at stretching their capabilities to get people connected at ultra-high-speeds.

He also mentions tweaking the Universal Service Fund as a "once-in-a-generation transformation... cutting waste, driving efficiencies, and converting it over time to broadband support so that all Americans can enjoy the benefits of 21st century communications networks." In other words, he says, we treat broadband just like President Roosevelt treated telephone service when he signed the 1934 Communications Act.

Genachowski’s understanding that broadband should be equivalent to electricity and telephony is the key of these remarks. The benefits of ubiquitous broadband will far outweigh the costs in building out the infrastructure. Our political leaders, both Republicans and Democrats, need to get this and must fund wisely the projects that will achieve the task.

Posted via email from Peter's posterous

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Thursday, February 11, 2010
Broadband Bill Introduced in MN Senate

February 10, 2010 | by Peter Fleck No Comments Share

Last Wednesday, State Senators Prettner, Solon, Doll, Scheid and Rosen introduced S.F. No. 2254 which sets state goals for the deployment and speed of high-speed broadband. The bill has been referred to Energy, Utilities, Technology and Communications Committee for a hearing scheduled tomorrow, Feb 11th at 3pm (stay tuned).

The bill sets a statewide  goal that by 2015:

“All state residents and businesses have access to high-speed broadband that provides minimum download speeds of ten to 20 megabits per second and minimum upload speeds of five to ten megabits per second.”

Additionally, “That Minnesota be one of the top five states for universally accessible broadband speeds, in the top five states for broadband access,” and  in the “Top 15 of nations globally for broadband access.”

Interestingly, no mention of affordability.

The download and upload speeds and the 2015 deadline are recommendations from the Minnesota Ultra High-Speed Broadband Report released in November 2009.

Related: TECHdotMN interview with Rep Sheldon Johnson, the Chair of the Telecommunications Regulations and Infrastructure Division.

h/t  Blandin Blog for the pointer.

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My new "job" is blogging about Minnesota-related broadband & Internet over at Tech{dot}MN. So expect some "sharing" between these accounts.

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Tuesday, February 09, 2010
Posterous evangelist seeks Tumblr evangelist for a (public) mock battle on 2/26 in St. Paul, MN.


If you think Posterous is the uncool microblog and Tumblr really rocks, you could be the one! The plan is to talk microblogs at CoCo in St. Paul on Feb. 26 including some kind of "Battle of the Microblogs" event. For your time, you can hang out at CoCo for the day and get some free breakfast. This should be a fun and friendly challenge.

You can reply in the comments to this post (or use any other means of communication you might share with me).

Posted via email from Peter's posterous

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Tuesday, February 02, 2010
Can Entrepreneurs Lower Our Taxes by Rebuilding Legacy Government Systems?
Perhaps what is needed is to let the dinosaurs become extinct and be replaced by swift birds and mammals.

I really like that quote by Prof. Vivek Wadhwa. By dinosaurs, he's referring to the large software consultancy firms that seem to have a stranglehold on government computing hardware and software and in sustaining those systems for big bucks. By "swift birds and mammals" he's talking about 21st century start-ups and entrepreneurs who build with open source and agile systems. (Prof. Washwa is an entrepreneur turned academic and a Visiting Scholar at UC-Berkeley, Senior Research Associate at Harvard Law School and Director of Research at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at Duke University.)

He has two articles over at TechCrunch that look at bringing Silicon Valley tech expertise to Sacramento (capital of California) and rebuilding the legacy computer systems. In particular, he points to the unemployment insurance system. California has budgeted $50 million to upgrade it. Wadhwa bets "the Valley's entrepreneurs could build this system from scratch in less than a year for less than $5 million." A couple of entrepreneurs have already agreed.

Most states are probably in the same predicament as California with old COBOL (and earlier) systems that they continue to maintain but are not easily changed or expanded. Cities are in the same predicament. What an incredible opportunity for software and developer entrepreneurs to begin discussions with government IT shops about rebuilding systems for the future. We (who pay taxes) are looking at system rebuilds for a tenth of the cost of an upgrade of an ancient system!

Bringing Silicon Valley to Sacramento: Why Entrepreneurs Need to Help Rebuild California's IT Systems
Calling All Entrepreneurs: California Needs You

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