The Human-Human Interface

Digital Living

Network Infrastructure for the Neurosphere

In my day job, I contribute to the efforts of this group. Multilateral efforts like these come and go – it is very difficult, especially for large companies, to both embrace standards and still exploit competitive advantage through connectivity among their own devices in a proprietary way. Nevertheless, the inherent forces of evolution driven by individual users seems to force them into some accommodations with interoperability.

“Members of the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) share a vision of a wired and wireless interoperable network of Personal Computers (PC), Consumer Electronics (CE) and mobile devices in the home enabling a seamless environment for sharing and growing new digital media and content services…Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) today (On September 27, 2005) announced its Certification and Logo Program of the DLNA Home Networked Device Interoperability Guidelines 1.0. The program is aimed at verifying that products designed to the guidelines meet DLNA’s certification testing requirements.”

RFID Passports

Personal Infrastructure

RFID chips will become part of your passport starting next year. Another application that makes more sense right inside the body.

“The Department [of State] intends to begin the electronic passport program in December 2005. By October 2006, all U.S. passports, with the exception of a small number of emergency passports issued by U.S. embassies or consulates, will be electronic passports. The ICAO specification for use of contactless chip technology requires a minimum capacity of 32 kilobytes (KB). The U.S. has decided to use a 64KB chip to permit adequate storage room in case additional data, or biometric indicators such as fingerprints or iris scans, are included in the future.”

It’s probably not as a well known that biometric information (fingerprints, retinal scans) are part of current ports of entry procedures.

“The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today the scheduled ?expansion of the US VISIT program’s biometric entry procedures to additional ?land border ports of entry (POE)…US-VISIT entry procedures have been operational in the secondary inspection areas of the 50 busiest land border ports of entry since December 29, 2004, ?and are also in place at 115 airports and 15 seaports.”


Wholeness and Virtual Communities

Here’s a virtual mega-community, ranging from Amnesty International to Worldwatch Institute. Keep informed or get involved, or preferably both.

“The OneWorld partnership network brings together more than 1,500 organizations from across the globe to promote sustainable development, social justice and human rights.”

Google Thinks Big

The World Right Now

Their market capitalization is around $100 billion, and their ambition is even bigger. You can already manually assemble links to various real-time space missions, but a Google interface can only help.

“Google and NASA share a common desire to bring the universe of information to people around the world,” said Eric Schmidt, the company’s chief executive officer, in a statement. “Imagine having a wide selection of images from the Apollo space mission at your fingertips whenever you want it.”

The Thinking City

Wholeness and Virtual Communities

Here’s a nice example tying the most portable type of technology (most portable while still external to the body) transforming the user into a part of a whole that she can perceive as a whole. The graphics are stand-alone works of art in themselves as well.

“Using anonymous cellphone data provided by the leading cellphone operator in Austria, A1/Mobilkom, the researchers developed the Mobile Landscapes project, creating electronic maps of cellphone use in the metropolitan area of Graz, Austria, the country’s second-largest city…”For the first time ever we are able to visualize the full dynamics of a city in real time,” said project leader Carlo Ratti, an architect/engineer and head of the SENSEable City Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “This opens up new possibilities for urban studies and planning. The real-time city is now real: a system that is able to continuously sense its condition and can quickly react to its criticalities,” he added.”

Intelligent Buildings – Intelligent Inhabitants?

Network Infrastructure for the Neurosphere

One application of merged wireless sensors comes in the form of long-promised “intelligent buildings”.

“Next month, a host of new wireless gadgets designed to help make buildings and homes “smart” will debut at the ZigBee Open House and Exposition in Chicago. Among them will be a so-called domestic awareness system that warns you if the stove is left on or if the basement starts flooding. Another lets you network your home entertainment system with environmental controls such as light dimmers or a thermostat. The point of such a setup: to automatically set just the right mood when you’re watching DVDs or listening to music.”

Maybe we can find higher uses for evolving intelligence than setting the lighting for your next DVD experience. How about reducing our reliance on foreign oil?

“It is a little known fact that even on the annual peak day for electric use, the US needs only about 75% of its generating capacity. Without question there are many local areas that do not have enough generation, but of equal importance is the transmission and distribution grid. GridWise is focusing on both of these challenges by working to serve as the catalyst for developing the technology solutions that will make the grid self healing and improve reliability. 814 stimulated a substantial amount of investment in technology that notifies utilities of a fault in energy supply, and there have also been steps taken to improve intercommunication between utilities. In spite of all these efforts however, there is still no comprehensive intelligent system technology to optimize the performance of the grid. Think of an eBay style Internet Service that would allow utilities to not only wheel power between transmission and distribution systems, but more importantly would create an economic engine to allow energy trading between utilities and even energy users.”

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.