Sunday, March 29, 2009


Proud Brother Report

My sister Sara Isenberg has been recognized by We Magazine as one of the "101 Women Bloggers to Watch in 2009." Check out her blog, "Technical Project Services." If you have a complex Web project that needs management, coordination or an interface between engineering and the customer, Sara's one to watch, or even hire, too.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009


Is the oil market in "market failure"?

We've heard the market fundamentalist rhetoric about messing with the market. But what if the tiny percentage of slowing of oil demand -- the one that caused the 63% drop in per-barrel prices over the last few months -- were preventing investment in production for the resurgence in demand that is sure to come as the global recession eases?

The New York Times quotes the Saudi oil minister saying,
“I have often described unsustainably low oil prices as carrying the seeds of future spikes and volatility. In a low-price environment, the trend is often to focus on survival instead of expansion. If we place a low priority on preparing for the future, that lack of action can come back to haunt us through supply shortages and another round of high prices.”
Indeed the Times reports
The global slowdown has forced oil companies to slash their investments, postpone or cancel expansion plans, or delay drilling in many corners of the world . . . about 7.6 million barrels a day of future supplies are “at risk” of being deferred or canceled, like heavy oil or deepwater projects, and which could bring total supplies to 101.4 million barrels a day by 2014. Last year, the group projected that capacity would rise to 109 million barrels a day by then.
Hmmm, 101.4 million in supply, 109 in demand . . . What does market failure look like? Suppose the first signs of recovery in the global economy are short-circuited by a wicked oil price spike? Would this be the behavior of a smoothly functioning marketplace? More importantly, would this be desirable? Would it lead towards the kind of world most people want to live in or away from it?

One might argue that such wild price swings are the result of speculation and leveraged derivatives. OK, so what if they were? Isn't that what a free market is all about?

Of course, nobody can predict the future. But I think serious students will consider the plausibility of such a scenario. and policy makers might want to have Plan B in their back pocket.

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Apple Jailbreaks iPhone for Patent Application

Engadget reports Apple is "stealing" more iPhone capabilities than iPhone allows. Here's the evidence:

The picture is from Apple's patent application. Installer and SMBPrefs are circled.

Apple should brick those guys.

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Friday, March 27, 2009


F2C door price starts midnight tonight

F2C: Freedom to Connect is just about full. We have 204 people registered for a 200 person room. Historically, we have had about 15% no-shows so we'll accept a few more participants. At midnight tonight all promotional prices end, and the door price $795, goes into effect.

[If you're thinking, I'll just show up, think again. If you're registered but you KNOW YOU CAN'T COME, please drop me a quick courtesy note!!!]

Disclosure: I have a business relationship with F2C. So take it with a grain of salt when I say that it's going to be a pretty good show. Speakers include Tom Friedman, Billy Ray, Esme Vos, the duo of Wagter and van der Woude, representatives of half a dozen of the most ambitious fiber projects in America, and the market wisdom of Timber Wolf (Cullem, Eaton & Thrive, LLP). Musical interludes will be provided by the Disney-trained, Grammy-winning John Jorgenson and his quintet. In the audience, there will be two dozen network builders, a strong selection of ISPs and network operators, a flock of federal officials, a pride of public advocates, a band of beleaguered reporters, the Executive Director of UTOPIA, the President of NATOA, and two co-authors of The Cluetrain Manifesto.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009



New York Times, Friday, November 5, 1999

Congress approved landmark legislation today that opens the door for a new era on Wall Street in which commercial banks, securities houses and insurers will find it easier and cheaper to enter one another's businesses.

The measure, considered by many the most important banking legislation in 66 years, was approved in the Senate by a vote of 90 to 8 and in the House tonight by 362 to 57. The bill will now be sent to the president, who is expected to sign it, aides said. It would become one of the most significant achievements this year by the White House and the Republicans leading the 106th Congress.

''Today Congress voted to update the rules that have governed financial services since the Great Depression and replace them with a system for the 21st century,'' Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers said. ''This historic legislation will better enable American companies to compete in the new economy.''

The decision to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 provoked dire warnings from a handful of dissenters that the deregulation of Wall Street would someday wreak havoc on the nation's financial system. The original idea behind Glass-Steagall was that separation between bankers and brokers would reduce the potential conflicts of interest that were thought to have contributed to the speculative stock frenzy before the Depression.

Emphasis mine . . . [source]

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Tom Friedman to Keynote F2C

New York Times columnist and three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas L. Friedman, author of The World is Flat and Hot, Flat and Crowded, will keynote F2C: Freedom to Connect, March 30 & 31 in Washington DC area! Time TBD.

The press release is here. The source for the photo is here.

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Monday, March 23, 2009



From Tech Daily Dose [link]:

Monday, March 23, 2009
OneWebDay Founder Tapped By Obama

Internet law expert Susan Crawford has joined President Barack Obama's lineup of tech policy experts at the White House, according to several sources. She will likely hold the title of special assistant to the president for science, technology, and innovation policy, they said.


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Thursday, March 19, 2009


Quote of Note: Chris Fusaro

"If you come in for a haircut and I cut your ear off, are you going to give me a tip?"

Chris Fusaro, a barber with shop near AIG Financial Products HQ in Wilton CT. [source]

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AIG Synecdoche

The map is not the journey. The Russian government is not the Kremlin. The clock is not time.

Importantly, AIG is not the economic meltdown. Sure, symbols are powerful, but let's not distract our attention from the root causes.

April 11 is a step in the right direction.

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Chesapeake gives early warning of climate disruption

Chesapeake beach communities are rapidly losing their beaches! An article in today's Washington Post says,
Sea levels are rising almost twice as fast in the Chesapeake region as in most of the world . . . Two natural phenomena mean that sea levels will rise faster along the mid-Atlantic than almost anywhere else in the world.

First, the mid-Atlantic is sinking. It is an echo of the last ice age, when huge glaciers pushed down on the Earth's crust to the north. The land here was lifted like the other end of a seesaw, and now it's slowly dropping. Second, research presented last weekend shows that climate change will alter the dynamics of the ocean, weakening a system of currents that pulls water away from shore here.

At the same time, the world's oceans are inching up -- fed by melting polar ice and swelled as warmer water expands in volume. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, echoing a United Nations science panel, said it is "very likely" that man-made greenhouse gases are primarily to blame.
Global Climate Disruption is here now, it's just not evenly distributed yet.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Skype Survey: Bad Cellco! Don't pwn my phone.

Skype hired Zogby, so it wasn't exactly a neutral survey. Nevertheless, the answers to this question tell all:
Recently an upper-level executive from a mobile carrier said that consumers would rather have their mobile device's applications chosen for them than to have the ability to choose the applications for themselves.
Do we agree? Of 1799 US responses:
Strongly agree: 33
Somewhat agree: 190
Somewhat disagree: 454
Strongly disagree: 995
Not sure: 127

The best writeup, with raw data and everything, is at TechCrunch [link].

Phil Wolff, in Skype Journal, wrote:
Findings support Skype's bargaining position with mobile
carriers (pre-install Skype, embed SILK) and their
freedom-to-connect regulatory rhetoric (delamination,
Skype Carterfone).
That's freedom-to-connect as in F2C: Freedom to Connect, March 30 & 31 in Washington DC, don't ya know.

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The Fiber of a Community

The irrepressible Malcolm Matson put together
these memorable quotes about the role of
advanced networks within communities for
his great eComm presentation a couple of
weeks ago.

Amsterdam Deputy-Mayor
Mark van der Horst:
".... we make a big step towards the
deployment of a citywide fiber-to-the-home
network. This enables our city to compete with
other European cities. The fiber network
delivers to Amsterdam an innovative and freely
accessible open infrastructure, suitable to
support growth in demand for the next 30 years
or more. In this way we ensure a wide open
marketplace for innovative service-providers
and economic growth, as well as a fast track for
the smarter and cheaper delivery of care,
education and other public services."
City of Amsterdam Press Release, Nov. 3, 2005

Eindhoven Mayor
Alexander Sakkers:
"In 2004 the Dutch government gave to the
Eindhoven Region/Southeast Brabant, the
title of BRAINPORT because the economic
identity of our region is defined by high-
tech research and development and
production activities. We believe that the
development of an open public local
access network to serve the community is
vital to it remaining globally competitive in
the 21st century knowledge economy"
Panayiotis Tzanikos
Former Mayor
Municipality of Amaroussion
Athens , Greece:
"We feel that we are entering a period when
towns and regions will compete with each other
and one of the key parameters in the
competitiveness of the city is
telecommunications. ... I think that the level of
what we are getting [from the conventional
telecommunications sector] is not enough to
equip the city for the next generation which is
coming..... we feel that the way they [the
telecoms operators] operate they keep the
citizens, the businesses, the social groups,
outside of the new era which is arriving so they
do not have the motive to use the network to
make new things, new creations and services."
OpenPlanet interview October 2005

Councillor John Robinson
Hull City Council, United Kingdom:
"It is essential that the city of Hull has an open
public local access network if it is to solve its
social and economic problems resulting from
older industries like fishing being replaced by
the knowledge economy. We need to compete
with other cities in attracting inward investment
and ensuring that those who live and work in
and around Hull enjoy the highest level of public
services -which must be underpinned by an
open access 4th utility."
OpenPlanet interview October 2008

Mayor, Seltjarnarnes, Iceland
Jonmundur Gudmarsson:
"We need to increase the competitiveness of
our community and to preserve and improve the
inhabitants quality of life and to maintain and
increase the value of their property. An open
public local acess fibre network delivered by
a partnership with the public sector is key to
achieving this. I am proud to say that as a
result of decisions and actions, Seltjarnarnes
will be the first community in Iceland - if not the
whole of Europe - to have 100% of its homes,
businesses and buildings connected to an open
access fibre network"

Prime Minister of Singapore
Lee Hsien Loong:
Singapore government intends to put in place
"a new national broadband network that is
much faster than what is available today.
It will offer fast, efficient connectivity to all
- in schools, in offices and homes, and even
on the move. It will help us plug into the
global knowledge grid, and stay competitive
with other cities."
Budget Speech, February 17, 2006

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Monday, March 16, 2009


Quote of Note: Senator Chuck Grassley

"I suggest, you know, obviously maybe they ought to be removed, but I
would suggest that the first thing that would make me feel a little
bit better towards them [is] if they would follow the Japanese example
and come before the American people and take that deep bow and say I'm
sorry and then either do one of [two] things: resign or go commit

Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, on [source].
Hat tip to Leighton Woodhouse.

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Best Fiber Map I've Seen!

Here's a map of worldwide fiber projects compiled by Benoit Felten, Scott Wilkinson and seven collaborators. [Original Post, h/t to Seattle CTO Bill Schrier].

View Larger Map

Red = Announced
Yellow = Trial
Green = Deployment
T = Telco
M = Municipality / Utility
D = Developer

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Thursday, March 12, 2009


Quote of Note: Jim "Mad Money" Cramer

"What's important when you're in the hedge fund mode is to not do anything remotely truthful because the truth is so against your view and it's important to create a new truth, to develop a fiction. And the fiction is developed by anybody who is from down, like, two percent to up six percent here. You can't take any chances. You can't have the market up any more than it is if you're up six."

Jim "Mad Money" Cramer, on TV, October 30, 2008 (I think). [video here] Quote starts about 5:00. Gotta watch the whole thing.

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Sunday, March 08, 2009


Deep Thought

Remember the hollow swaps during the telecom bubble a decade ago?


Quote of Note: Tom Friedman

"Let’s today step out of the normal boundaries of analysis of our economic crisis and ask a radical question: What if the crisis of 2008 represents something much more fundamental than a deep recession? What if it’s telling us that the whole growth model we created over the last 50 years is simply unsustainable economically and ecologically and that 2008 was when we hit the wall — when Mother Nature and the market both said: 'No more.'"

Thomas L. Friedman, Saturday 7 March, in the New York Times [source].

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009


F2C -- the marketing hype

Here's the press release on Marketwire.

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Monday, March 02, 2009


Quote of Note: Tim Nulty

"The very widespread, duck-the-issue viewpoint that, 'We need broadband but we shouldn't be an advocate of any particular technology, let a thousand flowers bloom and the market select which is best,' is a crock!

"Broadband equals fiber. Let's stop beating around the bush. Indeed, let's stop using the word 'broadband'. It has been abused to the point of uselessness, and specifically used to obscure the facts in favor of incumbents who want to continue selling their obsolete copper. All other fixed-medium technologies (DSL, DOCsis, BPL) are rubbish; bad stopgaps designed to get a few more years of service out of incumbent systems. The wireless options (WiFi, WiMax, 4G) are useful add-ons to a fiber foundation infrastructure, but they are NOT substitutes for it!"

Tim Nulty, former General Manager, Burlington Telecom, private correspondence (used with permission), February 2009.

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