Saw an article today confirming my thoughts about VOIP I said "We're going to simply pay the $40 a month for our connection to the Internet and phone calls will be free."

The Intel CEO said...
The integration of wireless LAN capability in cell phones is the reason for cheaper and possibly free voice calls, Otellini explained. The revenue base for carriers will transition to data services, which will be a "challenge" for mobile operators. "For the first time in its 100-year history, all of the communication technology will based on a common standard, the Internet Protocol. The exchange of information will be transferred to the Internet," he said.

It's a little unnerving to think that if the Internet goes down we're going to lose our phones, data, ATMs, B2B traffic, etc. etc.


There is some interesting information HERE about the psychology of choice that I think applies to democracy. This relates to the article I'm writing because I argue that the Open Source world can't progress without some sort of CENTRALIZED decision making. Choice is good but so are standards. Also, I was thinking of using google as part of my "brainstorm" tool to help me write articles. I just noticed that Google has an API HERE that's going to make my life a lot easier.


Notes so I don't forget to write about them. I'm thinking of writing some software that could be called brainstorm. It would use bits of the open source web browser Mozilla to crawl google results using the link:website.com search option. So you would start with an idea like "global patriotism" and the software would find web pages that match, then it would look at all of the web pages that link to the websites on the google results page. It would read through the pages counting the number of times words came up and branch out from the key phrase from there. Lots of ideas for this. I'm going to do it by hand and see what I come up with, if it works I'll write the software. I just did a half assed dry run and found http://dir.yahoo.com/Social_Science/Political_Science/Political_Theory/ So my software would read through all of the links on that page and all of the pages that link to the pages on that page trying to come up with analogies. I think reading the book on Fuzzy Logic is going to help here. What is insight? I don't think the hardest part of coming up with an idea is the fine tuning, that's the fun part, the hard part is the initial aha moment. Maybe the software can spit out random combinations of the popular words from the initial search and branch out from there.

I think this is a good idea, automated research. I know the government found some Al Qaeda websites, I wonder if they ever bothered to check which sites were linking to them.

Here's a quote I like:
"If this trend continues and global “patriotism” transcends nationalism, history could reveal this unification to be the most significant development of the 21st century, as some futurists have speculated. Watch for this spirit of mutuality, grounded in a national self-reliance, to grow in spite of differences in class, race, politics, religion."

Another quote that doesn't bode well for Democracy "the traditionalism of the consciousness of people in developed countries, manifested as an unreadiness of the rich countries to pay welfare on legal bases to poor regions will evoke a political victory of traditionalism in the developing countries and can lead to world war." The word traditionalism in this quote refers to anti-globalism or protectionism.


Been on a writing frenzy... I had an idea. I have some weird ideas that pop up and are usually just a combination of a few words. Yesterday it was "global patriotism" Today it was "standards and choice" Sounds contradictory but surprisingly the article I found that was returned as a search result was, you guessed it, SUSE. The Linux company that's trying to rid the world of Microsoft. Here's a quote
"Dirk Hohndel, SuSE's chief technology officer, said: "Clear cut standards will be the basis to get even broader support from ISVs, as well as customers for the Linux platform."...
"The combination of well-defined standards and choice of vendors gives an obvious signal against any monopolistic tendencies in the software industry,"

Standards and choice also apply to education. That wasn't an original thought but a result of google. They're developing AI that tries to link concepts. For instance, we have a unique ability to look at analogies and apply the logic to a current problem. Harvard is know for its case studies. Google lets us see those analogies without the knowledge necessary to find them on our own. You can take an idea and boil it down to three words like "standards and choice" and as long as you put quotes around the phrase you can find all sorts of ideas, analogies that can lend insight that it normally would've taken someone a lot smarter to imagine.

I'm using that logic to write an article in which I will appear much more knowledgeable than I really am. I'm duct taping google to my brain in a sort of experiment. I was planning on writing an article for Osnews.com, my favorite web tech news site. Today I saw this news item... http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=168

Coincidence? Probably.


I was thinking about the definition of patriotism again. I was looking at a new website I found after googling "Global Patriotism" check it out here. The author points out something interesting
A report about the wreck of an airplane over the ocean without fail will begin with a report of how many Americans died, notice, not teenagers, not children, not women who often generally are not referred to as statistical units, but of Americans in particular. That is, if Americans were not injured, isn't this such a great tragedy any longer? It’s the very same picture in any country of the world. When terrorists blew up a night club on Bali, all the Russian mass media emphasized in their reports that no Russians were there.

My idea boils down to this. Computers are an awesomely powerful tool. More and more of our infrastructure relies on software. We're going to see all sorts of issues with the global economy in the coming years because of terrorism and other problems. I agrue that the bickering among software engineers that are responsible for the future of Linux should be aware that there is more at stake here than pride and recognition. The lack of standardized databases at the CIA, FBI and Pentagon is one of the reasons why terrorists are able to succeed. What if all of these agencies decided to make use of PostGRESQL, XML and a solid security system? and they did it 4 years ago? Could things be different?

Should the Internet be thought of as Infrastructure just like highways currently are?


Idea of the day
It's easy to assume that having extremely stringent standards will limit flexibility and usually that's the case. But all of the weird creatures on this planet are based on one well defined standard, DNA.

So the problem [Kirk, buy a new keyboard] with Open Source software and a lack of progress due to the need for "choices" is really just a counter productive backlash against the MS monopoly that has been suffocating innovation in the software industry for so long.

Open Source programmers are like prisoners who've suddenly been released from prison and are so happy to see sunlight that they get 3rd degree sunburns. Choice is good, open standards are good. We just need to choose some standards. A quote from Abe Lincoln about democracy that I think applies to the democratic nature of Open Software. "It is unworthy and ultimately untenable to have the most basic questions settled-and unsettled-by votes. The nation needs a foundation more durable than the sand of opinion that can be easily shifted in each election" The basic quesions in this case are of the kernel, ALSA, and in my opinion the Desktop Environment.

Mac OSX is based on Open Software for the most part. And they're able to sell it without competition because of the BSD license. Windows is going to have to conform to more and more open standards to compete with Linux. Now if you have open standards there is nothing that Windows will be able to do that Linux can't.

The hard part is designing flexibility into standards. I'm working on an open source driving game, mainly as a project mananger. We're spending a lot of time fiddling with Subversion, OGRE and ODE. Most of the time is spent getting them to work together and compile on Linux and Windows. That wasted effort brings me to my next point.

An operating system should be a standard. The Linux Standards Base Project is a good start but at some point they may want to rename themselves the Operating System Standards Base Project.

Next Time:
c++ & a lack of standards
Programming as training in school
Curiosity vs. Women
Caffeine vs. Learning
Paper towel, apple, water, tree.
Live cheap, no kids, social responsibility.


I just spent the last 3 hours reading about the real estate market and the global economy. Exciting stuff for sure. So what did I learn? Just that the housing bubble is about to burst. I know a few home owners so I'm hoping they sell now, invest in gold and ride out the coming recession. According to the head economists like Stephen Roach, Americans owe a lot of money. We continue to spend because of low interest rates and the temporary tax cuts. Interest rates have to go up because there are signs of inflation, the tax cuts can't last unless we want to get rid of public schools. When rates go up and spending on Iraq goes down, the housing market will implode. There are a lot of people, my dad included that aren't worrying about retirement because the value of thier homes have doubled in the last 6 years. What happens to spending when that equity evaporates like it did in Japan?
From http://www.dollarsandsense.org/0304miller.html
"The Japanese real estate boom collapsed in 1991; in 2003 a house in Tokyo cost less than half of what it did in 1991. A tanking real estate sector and a slowing economy saddled Japanese banks with bad loans. Excess capacity, especially high for Japanese automakers, discouraged new investment and ensured that the slowdown would persist."


Had to post this before bed. The New Deal created jobs for the masses of unemployed which helped build the national infrastructure. Barney Frank made some interesting comments recently when he suggested that we "take some of the wealth that is being created by this wonderful thing, this increased productivity, this new technology and the ways of using it, and all this innovation, and let us use it for our own undisputed public purposes. Let us give cities and states more money so they can have more people policing, fighting fires, cleaning up the environment, repairing facilities that need to be repaired, enhancing train transportation, building highways, helping construct affordable housing in places where that is a crisis, helping pay for higher education for students."

He talks about building highways. I'm assuming he meant roads but the over used term "information super highway" would be an even better use of the labor. Most phone calls are now routed over the Internet by the major phone companies. Most of us don't know it's even happening. We do know that long distance have become much cheaper over the last few years. You can now bypass the entire phone system and make calls only using your broadband Internet connection Vonage.com Hong Kong--2¢ /min London--2¢ /min

That is a beautiful thing in my opinion because it frees up disposable income. The same thing is going to happen with video. We're going to simply pay the $40 a month for our connection to the Internet and phone calls will be free. Video will probably be a subscribe per channel fee. You might pay $2 a month for ESPN and $5 a month for HBO. The point is that you'd only buy what you want and the bill would be much lower.

I think the Internet should be a utility in the U.S. We could put the unemployed to work building and maintaining it and it could be used to improve education, commerce, as well as drastically reducing our Internet, cable and phone bills.
Two pictures are worth 2000 words

Kerry is lashing out at offshore outsourcing. He's a smart guy so he's probably aware that "The cause of such downsizing, says Carson and other economists, is less outsourcing than a dramatic rise in productivity. Although factory employment worldwide fell by 11 percent, according to CarsonÂ’s study, industrial output rose by 30 percent. In the United States, where industry is still cutting jobs in the wake of the roaring 1990s, productivity since 2000 has increased annually by 3.7 percent, as employers do more with less."

So Kerry is blatantly pandering to ignorant voters in a bid to get elected. Ahh the joys of democracy.

Why do people like to choose a side when the most rational answer to most problems tends to lie between the extremes? The two party system isn't a requirement of our Constitution, it's a side effect of the chunky stew of Human Nature and Democracy.

An educated population is a requirement for a nation that wants to remain competitive in a global economy. The hoards of retiring baby boomers would rather have free heath care than educate kids that won't reach the workforce until long after they're gone. We need a judicial branch that's elected by a non-partisan committee.

"No new taxes" was the best thing that ever happened to politics IMO. I'm not talking about low taxes I'm talking about what Bush 1 had to say to get elected. He didn't get re-elected. I think that's a sign of strong leadership in this day and age. How can this system be so messed up?