US Pays High Prices For Low Internet Speed

Susan Crawford has a very interesting read on the high prices Americans pay for Internet access:

The FCC’s National Broadband Plan of March 2010 suggested that the minimum appropriate speed for every American household by 2020 should be 4 megabits per second for downloads and 1 Mbps for uploads. These speeds are enough, the FCC said, to reliably send and receive email, download Web pages and use simple video conferencing. The commission also said it wanted to ensure that, by 2020, at least 100 million U.S. homes have affordable access to download speeds of at least 100 Mbps and upload speeds of at least 50 Mbps.

Other countries have different goals. The South Korean government announced a plan to install 1 gigabit per second of symmetric fiber data access in every home by 2012. Hong Kong, Japan and the Netherlands are heading in the same direction. Australia plans to get 93 percent of homes and businesses connected to fiber. In Britain, a 300 Mbps fiber-to-the-home service will be offered on a wholesale basis.

That pretty much sums up the argument. Think about the innovation and jobs created by the Internet in the past 15 years. Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Amazon, eBay and the entire ecosystem that supports them from hardware sales to shipping, to energy they purchase. This is all happening despite the efforts to stifle growth. 1-GigE symmetrical to the home would change how the world works. It will redefine the economy. Someone will get there, either Korea South or someone else. The opportunities will be vast.

Microwave UI Patents

Joël Franusic has an interesting theory that the reason microwaves have so many different UI’s is because patents make it difficult for them to share a similar interface. Like Joël, I’m not totally convinced, however I do suspect this is at least part of the problem. I also think it goes way beyond just microwaves, that particular appliance is just a great example. The end result is the products created, and the users who buy and use them loose out. If you skim through some of these patents, it seems pretty obvious and hardly innovative, even for the times.

Patents will be the downfall of technology and innovation in America if it’s not reformed.

Petition To Bring USS Enterprise Spaceship To Life

There is now a assign NASA to do a feasibility study and conceptual design of the Gen1 USS Enterprise interplanetary spaceship I’m all for a Manhattan project style roadmap, it pushes to do great things and changes the world and the nation for the better. I’m not convinced we have the technology or will in the near future for the propulsion system. I also suspect it’s size would make it difficult secure enough resources, the same problem with the death star proposal.

Christmas Drop

Operation Christmas Drop

Most likely one of the more enjoyable training operations they get to participate in. From Wikipedia:

Operation Christmas Drop is a tradition that serves as a training mission for the United States Air Force which started in 1952. It has since become the longest running U.S. Department of Defense mission in full operation, and the longest running humanitarian airlift in the world. Supported by the local communities of Guam, it is primarily conducted from Andersen Air Force Base and Yokota Air Base.

Petition To Build Death Star To Get White House Response

Death Star

The internet has succeeded in getting 25,000 signatures in the petition to build a Death Star. By practice the White House must now respond to the petition. I am very much amused.

It’s worth noting some Debbie Downer figured out it would cost $852,000,000,000,000,000 in steel alone to build.

I for one look forward to the White House response. If the president were wise, he’d respond himself with a web video.

Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project

From Sky News:

Aircraft-maker Boeing has successfully tested the missile which has reportedly cost £24m to develop and it is claimed could cripple an entire country, without causing loss of life.

In a desert in the US state of Utah, scientists working on the Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project (CHAMP) fired the rocket along a pre-programmed flight path. The microwaves it emitted permanently disabled computers inside a nearby military compound.

Experts are reported to believe the weapon is equipped with an electronic pulse cannon – effectively a super-powered microwave oven – which causes voltage surges in electronic equipment. This destroys computers even if they are plugged into surge protectors.

Here’s an arms race to look forward to, it would potentially destroy power grids and communications systems of a wide area taking months if not years to repair. Regardless, it’s quite interesting to read about.

A Manhattan Project For Battery Power

From Computer World:

Improving battery technology is seen as pivotal to transportation and storage, particularly around the need to store solar and wind energy.

Chu said the idea of seeking a 5X improvement is really around getting the battery and energy storage prices to a point where they will gain widespread adoption.

“We look very carefully at the price points,” said Chu, who cited the impact of falling prices on cell phones of PCs, as examples of how low prices trigger mass adoption.

This is way overdue. Batteries rule our lives already in cell phones and will rule them even more as they invade transit. We need the ability to store power more efficiently if we’re going to be making optimal use of electricity going forward.

Election 2012

cbsnews.com 2012 Election

My 4th election, 2nd presidential election. I couldn’t even tell you how many primaries, debates, etc. without hitting Wikipedia and counting. Handling the technical side of elections on a large internet news presence is nothing short of crazy. It’s a lot of 1′s and 0′s to move across the internet in a very short amount of time. No margin of error, no time to recover from mistakes. You’re product launches with the firmest of deadlines and is consumed immediately. Scale later is not an option, you scale from the starting gate to handle an unknown number.

It’s an interesting experience no matter how many times you do it. No matter how much planning, quick thinking and judgement calls are unavoidable. At least there’s a 2 year break until the next one :).

U.S. Government Goes IPv6

I didn’t even realize, but the mandate to go IPv6 has passed for the U.S. Government. Not that it really mattered anyway. Until consumer devices ship IPv6 ready and enabled, and ISP’s start rolling out IPv6, this is just an exercise is what will hopefully save work later on.

Seems most Government websites I’ve checked so far that are IPv6 are using CDN’s to provide IPv6 connectivity. I’m betting behind the scenes it’s all IPv4 still.

Moon Landing Day

Moon Landing Day

There’s a petition going around to make July 20, the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing a national holiday. The US has a fair number of holidays, however I don’t think we have anything that recognized a scientific achievement. Not a bad idea. Low chance of this going anywhere, but it’s a nice idea.

Why not a holiday that encourages Americans to literally shoot for the moon.