The Human-Human Interface

Zigbee !!

Network Infrastructure for the Neurosphere

The ZigBee Alliance. I mean, you gotta love that name. Networking for Joe Sixpack. It’s becoming automatic for connectivity to be built in to almost every electronic device.

“The goal of the ZigBee Alliance is to provide the consumer with ultimate flexibility, mobility, and ease of use by building wireless intelligence and capabilities into every day devices. ZigBee technology will be embedded in a wide range of products and applications across consumer, commercial, industrial and government markets worldwide. For the first time, companies will have a standards-based wireless platform optimized for the unique needs of remote monitoring and control applications, including simplicity, reliability, low-cost and low-power.”

There is also a convergence going on with the advent of cheap sensors (you know, like automatic doors at supermarkets) being built into the same computer chips with wireless interconnection capability. Pros and cons, per the exchange quoted below, but an inevitable impact on our way of life.

“Srini Krishnamurthy, vice president of business development for Airbee Wireless, outlined a wireless sensor mesh project under study for Ronald Reagan Airport in Washington, D.C. Every door in the airport could be outfitted with 900-MHz wireless sensors and automated locks, networked to a central point where rules could be set for when a door could be opened, by whom, by time of day, without the need for guards. This idea sparked a pragmatic response from Samuel Reed, an electrical engineer with Key Technologies of Baltimore: “Can a terrorist walk into the airport with a 900-MHz jammer and shut the whole place down?”:

Big Thinking

Network Infrastructure for the Neurosphere

Global nervous system, under construction, by some guys who are not shy about spending large amounts of money on big promises for the world of the future. This is the kind of centralized approach that was successful in creating the Internet (when it was DARPAnet). But it seems counter to the kind of organic approach consistent with an evolving Neurosphere the way I see it. As I say, nothing if not ambitious.

“GLIF, the Global Lambda Integrated Facility, is an international virtual organization that promotes the paradigm of lambda networking. GLIF provides lambdas internationally as an integrated facility to support data-intensive scientific research, and supports middleware development for lambda networking. It brings together some of the world’s premier networking engineers who are working together to develop an international infrastructure by identifying equipment, connection requirements, and necessary engineering functions and services.”

And what do you do with it?

“Real-time Applications provide “windows” into the worldwide LambdaGrid. Scientists who generate terabytes and petabytes of data on remote computers or instruments demonstrate how they use the LambdaGrid to interactively visualize, analyze, and correlate data from multiple sites; results are projected onto large visualization and/or virtual-reality displays. Applications in art, bioinformatics, chemistry, cosmology, cultural heritage, education, manufacturing, medicine, geoscience, neuroscience and physics are among those shown. A variety of Grid middleware developments, with emphasis on data management grids, data replication grids, visualization grids, data/visualization grids, computational grids, access grids, and grid portals are also featured, using a variety of computer-based technologies, including distributed computing, visualization and virtual reality, tele-science, data mining, remote instrumentation control, collaboration, high-definition media streaming, and human/computer interfaces.”

Bandwidth All Around You

Personal Infrastructure

Among my favorite consumer electronics devices are those that do hardly anything. Sometimes that’s all you need.

“Consumers no longer have to boot up their laptops in order to search for nearby Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) service coverage, with the launch of IOGEAR’s new Wi-Fi Finder, a Wi-Fi location device. The easy-to-use product is a perfect tool for mobile workers, with a radio frequency range of 500 feet in open space. By clicking the ‘detect’ button, the device identifies nearby hotspots without interfering with 2.4GHz cordless telephones, A/V or Bluetooth devices. The Wi-Fi Finder also features four LEDs, which indicate WLAN coverage and signal strength.”

“The amazing Mini Bug Tracer RF detector is great for finding those hidden 2.4GHz wireless cameras. Outstanding performance in a small package. Keychain sized detector with telescopic antenna sniffs out hidden wireless cameras fast, assuring your privacy. Red light flashes faster as you get closer to the hidden camera. HI/LO buttons allow you to check out the entire room, then “home-in” on the bug.”

Space Truckin

The World Right Now

When it comes to Astroblogging, turns out I spoke too soon.

Take a look around.

Even the professionals running our space mission are doing it from the ‘hood.

And then take a walk around. Global satellite networks can be accessed at any time from anywhere to tell you exactly where you are, and how to get anywhere else. Access starts around a hundred bucks.


The World Right Now

And the reach of our grasp of the world around us extends into outer space. The array of telescopes and satellites surveying the universe grows every year – the challenge is in personal access and understanding of all the data available to us. It may be a while, however, before there are many bloggers in space…

“Using AstroGrid an astronomer can request sets of observations of the same area of sky taken by several different telescopes and combine the data; perform the same analysis on all the data simply by setting up a set of commands in the AstroGrid system. Previously each data set would have to be processed individually, taking much longer to get results.”


The World Right Now

The world of mapmaking collides with the world of blogs. We increasingly have access to the world right now in more and more detail. Geoblogging adds pictures to maps, or is it adds maps to pictures. Either way, our ability to be aware of the world around us grows in the dimensions of both richness and geographical reach. The use of blogs adds distributed intelligence to the sensory data available to us.

“The group is for discussing tips and methods of adding “geotags” aka location metadata to flickr images, Discussing locations on the geobloggers map worth checking out, Discussing the website and features etc.?”

Self-Organizing Network Infrastructure

Network Infrastructure for the Neurosphere

The very name of this company recalls natural systems (phototropism in plants) and their technology “self-organizes” – according to biologists like Francisco Varela, one of the definining characteristics of living organisms.

“Tropos Networks is the proven market leader in delivering metro-scale Wi-Fi mesh network products and services, with more than 150 customers and 40 resellers in eight countries around the world at the end of 2004. Our solutions are the fastest, lowest cost and simplest way to deliver true wireless broadband (>1 Mbps) over large geographic areas using low-cost standard Wi-Fi clients. Our innovative and patented MetroMesh™ architecture provides maximizes throughput from client to server, eliminates the need for costly and complex per node wiring and automatically self-organizes as nodes are added or subtracted, backhaul supplied or removed, and interference comes and goes.”

Immune System for the Body Politic?

Wholeness and Virtual Communities

Here’s a work in progress from your national government. The end result certainly sounds like an organism’s immune system. The progression is

Electronic Health Records>>

Regional Health Information Organizations>>

National Health Information Network>>

“…a unified network of surveillance systems from hospital organizations, physician practices, public health agencies and other sources of incoming data on medical threats, public health professionals will have the relevant information they need to react early or issue preventive measures.”


Personal Infrastructure

After a recent trip to Europe (watch for my International Broadcasting Conference Top Ten essay, coming soon), I’ve been following other European developments. Biometrics technology, used for digitizing fingerprints, retinas and other unique personal identifiers, seems to me part of the ongoing shrinking of the interfaces between humans and technology. Like RFID, biometrics seems to push civil liberties buttons. Others see it as a weapon in fighting identity theft and other 21st century demons.

“The European Commission has just launched a new public information portal on biometrics, to provide an online platform for information exchange, coordination and community building activities between users and producers in Europe. The new portal’s objective is to encourage the development of consistent policies in the field of biometrics and the respect of privacy.”

Another Run at the Digital Library

Wholeness and Virtual Communities

Those nutty Europeans. They are forming a collective effort to create an openly accessible digital library, instead of letting Google do it.

“The European Commission unveiled on 30 September its strategy to make Europe’s written and audiovisual heritage available on the Internet.”