The Human-Human Interface

Disturbing the World Right Now

The World Right Now

The Webcam links in the The World Right Now section of the Neurosphere site provide an eye on the world. But additions to Webcam technology have started to add functionality to what the user can do with or get from the Webcams. You can’t operate the Mars Opportunity Rover yet, but some NASA hotshots get to do that today.

“Some cameras connect directly to a VCR and others record to your computer’s hard drive… You can also get cameras that send alerts when motion is detected or still shots at specific intervals. These are both handy features that offer you greater peace of mind. Likewise, the ability to pan the camera remotely is helpful. Use a Web camera that has a built-in microphone. They will capture audio in addition to video. And the two-way audio allows you to use the camera as an intercom. You can purchase sensors that monitor doors, windows and the temperature. They cost about $40 each. This is great if you’re leaving home for an extended period…The system offers e-mail alerts. It will also send text messages to your cell phone.”

Tip of the NeuroHat to Kim Komando.

Where In the World Right Now Are You?

The World Right Now

The FCC is just this year catching cellular phone service up to the emergency 911 requirements of traditional telephone networks.

“Under current FCC rules, VoIP providers have until Nov. 28 to be able to connect their subscribers to the enhanced 911 network, a next-generation system that can pinpoint the caller’s geographic location.”

The technology that makes this possible has repercussions far beyond 911 – all kinds of location-based applications are sure to follow, with each individual having as many degrees of freedom of behavior when they are on the road as when they are any place else. From life-saving behavior, as in this announcement, down to which McDonald’s am I closest to.

“Intrado Inc., a global provider of integrated data and telecommunications solutions, and MedicAlert, the market leader in healthcare infomatics, today announced an alliance to provide subscriber-specific medical information during 9-1-1 calls.”

Local Aerial Networks

Network Infrastructure for the Neurosphere

Extending the geographical reach of network infrastructure to higher and higher altitudes.

“AirCell announces the successful completion of its extended airborne demonstration program that allowed potential airline customers and others to experience the AirCell Broadband System’s technology in flight.”

The Original Grid

Wholeness and Virtual Communities

The HomePlug Powerline Alliance is a group of companies seeking to spin gold by characterizing the electrical line to your home as a provider of broadband Internet and video access. I think this is a long way from competitive with the incumbents, but the interesting thing is the natural synchonization of such data intensive uses with the primary use, electric power. This recent announcement is another step toward an electrical grid with distributed intelligence, that is to say, a network that operates itself in an efficient manner commensurate with the global nature of its environmental impact.

“The alliance’s command and control specification will offer whole-house control of lighting and appliances, allowing them to respond to simple commands such as “turn on” and “turn off” and to report their status to a controller. Recent advances in powerline signaling technology enable interference free connectivity throughout the home while greatly reducing the need for additional aids such as phase couplers and repeaters.”

Cognitive Radio

Network Infrastructure for the Neurosphere

Cognitive radio. Not only a name to conjure with, but a technology that evolves itself.

“A cognitive radio (CR) has a computation model of itself. It knows that it is a smart radio, and it has a user who does certain things…Over time, it would learn and would build into the computation model what the user likes…This would have enough flexibility in the hardware to be programmed to a band or mode. So instead of being stuck in the 800 to 900MHz band, it would be able to adapt over to an ISM band or up to an IEEE band or 5GHz. It’s measuring the radio propagation, signal strength, the quality of the different bands as it drives around with you. It’s building this nifty internal database of what it can do when and where.”

Tip of the NeuroHat to Howard Rheingold’s Smart Mobs BLOG.

The FCC held a workshop on cognitive radio in 2003. Clear appeal to their chief role in figuring out allocation of the nation’s airwave.

“New cognitive radio technologies can potentially play a key role in shaping our spectrum use in the future. These technologies can lead to the advent of smarter unlicensed devices that make greater use of spectrum than possible today – without interfering with licensed users. Cognitive radios may also provide licensees with innovative ways to use their current spectrum more efficiently, and to lease their spectrum on the secondary market.”

A conference is going on now – wonder if they’re too embarrassed by the term – now it’s “software-defined radio”.

Clouds of Connectivity

Network Infrastructure for the Neurosphere

Fred Ziari is a “wireless entrepreneur” – they love that kind of title at Wired. What caught my attention about this project is not the business model, recovering investment from large customers, but the characterization of a wi-fi “cloud”.

“Fred Ziari owns Hermiston, Oregon-based IRZ Consulting LLC and EZ Wireless LLC. Experienced in bringing wireless technology to irrigation, he began talking with community safety managers about how technology could be used to better plan for managing any emergency that might occur at the Umatilla Chemical Weapons Depot in Eastern Oregon, where munitions are stockpiled and incinerated.”

“…wireless entrepreneur Fred Ziari drew no resistance for his proposed wireless network, enabling him to quickly build the $5 million cloud at his own expense…While his service is free to the general public, Ziari is recovering the investment through contracts with more than 30 city and county agencies, as well as big farms such as Hale’s, whose onion empire supplies over two-thirds of the red onions used by the Subway sandwich chain. Morrow County, for instance, pays $180,000 a year for Ziari’s service.”

Polling the Neurosphere

Wholeness and Virtual Communities

So this company is doing customer research in the form of data mining. Except consumer research has never been very scientific, useful more in yes/no situations (President Bush – Yes or No?). Amazon and others have a leg up in recording actual mass market purchasing behavior. But the research here is polling bloggers whose goal is pushing their opinions out there in the first place – a deep well of individual thoughts and beliefs – a step closer to tracking the attitude of the Neurosphere itself?

”Umbria is a marketing intelligence company that analyzes and distills the opinions and perceptions of the online world – from more than 20 million blogs, message boards, opinion sites and other public forums – into actionable market insights about companies, products, people and issues.”

Tip of the NeuroHat to my homeys at the Boulder Daily Camera

Global e-Infrastructure

Wholeness and Virtual Communities

It is unfashionable in the U.S. to support government funding in network development, but this looks to me like the kind of support that created ARPAnet, the forerunner of the Internet, 40 years ago.

“Today marked the completion of a major conference organized by the Enabling Grids for E-sciencE project, which is coordinated by CERN1 and co-funded by the European Commission, where a number of key results were reported on the road to achieving a global Grid infrastructure for science. It was announced at the conference that the EGEE infrastructure, which spans over 150 sites in Europe, the Americas and Asia, had surpassed 2 million computing jobs, or the equivalent of over 1000 years of processing on a single PC. The EGEE infrastructure, which is linked by Europe’s GEANT high-speed communications network, as well as similar networks for scientific research around the world, spans across 40 countries. Only 18 months after the launch of the EGEE project, well over 1000 users around the globe are using the EGEE infrastructure to accelerate their computing tasks, which cover some six scientific domains and some 20 major applications, ranging from particle physics to drug discovery for combating malaria.”


The World Right Now

Those crazy post-modern theorists are always seeking ways around mass media presentation of their world. Here is a technology for microcasting in which the productions emerge from multiple participants focused on a common subject in the world right now.

“Mobicasting is a new platform of media technology developed by Adam Hyde and Luka Princic for “Capturing the Moving Mind”. It is at once two ideas. The first is technical: build a system to deliver ‘pseudo-live’ video from any device capable of delivering

images by email. The second is tactical: build a system that enables the

production of video reports positioning the mobile phone as a networked ‘outside

broadcast’ studio. The first goal is an exercise in developing models of

‘broadcasting’ that employ the simplest technologies possible… That’s the tech, but the pay-off is the tactical side, for which the tool was built. With this mechanism it is possible from any device capable of sending email to make collaborative online video content. This can be used for capturing moving minds, or it can be directly used as a device for reporting on events that are normally out of the reach of wired or wireless internet connections.”

Tip of the NeuroHat to the nettime email list.

The World Is My Operating System

Personal Infrastructure

I’m not much of a Microsoft watcher – I think of them more as king of scale than as an innovator, but that’s why it’s interesting to see the following points from a leaked memo, foreshadowing a clear trend toward both broader and deeper human interconnectivity.

“SEAMLESS OS – The operating system as it would be designed for today’s multi-PC, multi-device, work anywhere, web-based world. Enabling you to login using any of your service-based or enterprise identities. Deploying software automatically and as appropriate to all your devices, and roaming application data and settings. Permitting seamless access to storage across all your PCs, devices, servers and the web.

SEAMLESS COMMUNICATIONS – Communications and notifications – from voice to typing to shared screen; from PC to service-based agent to phone. Maintaining continuous co-presence with intimate friends and family; improving the coordination amongst individuals who need to work together by reducing latency and adding clarity through shared context. “