IT Conversations News: July 31, 2005

(Hear the MP3 version with additional commentary in beautiful monophonic audio.)

One Week Behind. For those who keep track of such things, yes, I missed last week’s update, so this week we’ve got to cover 14 days worth of news, housekeeping and shows. And I apologize if you’ve sent me email in the past two weeks and I haven’t replied. I’ve was traveling much of that time, and there just isn’t a way to catch up at this point. Please understand if, for example, you emailed me a suggestion of a name for the new project. I was flooded with great names and couldn’t respond to each message.

New Programs This Week

Listed in increasing order of listener rating.

  • Joseph Fuselier – DNA and Proteins (rated 2.8 by IT Conversations listeners) On last week’s Biotech Nation segment, Moira Gunn spoke with Joseph Fuselier, an instructor at Tulane Health Sciences Center and co-founder of Synscia. He connects the dots on how DNA relates to proteins, and why that’s important to know.
  • Kurt Huang – BitPass (3.1) Kurt Huang is founder and VP of products at micropayment company BitPass.com. He discusses the growing demand among digital content providers to efficiently monetize their online content offerings like podcasts and other downloadable content. He talks about his coming new service called "BitPass Unplugged" that will allow podcasters, ranging from hobbyists to mainstream media organizations, to generate revenue from podcast content offerings.
  • The Software 2005 CIO Panel (3.2) Most IT buyers would agree that software vendor behavior has improved over the past few years. Since the recession when businesses dramatically slashed IT budgets, software companies have had little choice but to improve customer relations and product quality in order to remain competitive. But this panel of CIOs says there is still much room for improvement in areas such as consolidation, pricing, quality and security.
  • Mark Cuban on Larry’s World (3.3) "95% of the shows fail!" states Mark Cuban. Of course, he would know best – he’s responsible for pioneering streaming media with Broadcast.com which he sold to Yahoo! for millions of dollars. He’s also the man behind the success of the Dallas Mavericks. And now he’s trying to do the same with HDNet: bring high definition programming to your living room. Host Larry Magid talks to Cuban about everything from piracy to the special makeup required for HDTV.
  • "Brand X" and the U.S. Supreme Court (3.3) Which recent Supreme Court ruling is the most important decision for the future of the Internet? According to some, it is the Brand X decision regarding FCC regulation of cable broadband. Ernest Miller interviews Susan Crawford and Phil Weiser about Brand X and Internet regulation.
  • Fran Martinez – Blue Titan Software (3.4) How can the enterprise further take advantage of web services? How should developers approach, select, and deploy web service standards? In this Technometria interview Frank Martinez, the CTO of Blue Titan Software, describes how the company "infuses application semantics into the network" to enable the organization to use web services as the foundation of its enterprise architecture. Re-working the old Sun slogan, Frank says: the network is the application platform.
  • David Plotz – The Genius Factory (3.4) Moira Gunn also spoke with David Plotz, the deputy editor of Slate and author of"The Genius Factory — Curious History of the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank." He tells us how he uncovered the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank and offer a cautionary tale for our brave new world.
  • Jimmy "Jimbo" Wales – Wikipedia (3.4) A few foundations are working on the original dream of the web: people sharing enormous amounts of information. One of these is the Wikimedia Foundation, the organization behind the phenomenal Wikipedia. With over 500,000 articles and 350,000 categories in approximately 200 languages, there’s no doubt it’s growing. Jimmy Wales, President, explains the nitty-gritty of social computing in this short presentation from ETech 2005.
  • John Thackara – Designing in a Complex World (3.6) Moira interviews John Thackara, the author of "In the Bubble — Designing in a Complex World." John is also the Director of Doors of Perception and, a design futures network based in Amsterdam and Bangalore. He says that "if we can design our way into difficulty, we can design our way out."
  • Hossein Eslambolchi – Supernova 2005 (3.7) Does intelligence reside at the edge or in the core of the network? Are smart devices connecting to dumb networks or dumb devices to intelligent networks? The truth is that in the 21st century the edge and the core are converging and providing a new set of challenges, opportunities and revenue models. Hossein Eslambolchi, President of AT&T’s Global Networking Technology Services, describes the IP evolution and the wireless, on-demand, collaborative network of the not to distant future.
  • Jamais Cascio – Participatory Panopticon (4.0) In the future, we will all be monitored all the time – by each other, and that future is beginning now. Learn how your camera phone is starting a snowball effect that will end not in Big Brother Watching You, but in hundreds of thousands of little brothers and sisters watching everyone and everything. This empowering and disturbing vision is articulated by Jamais Cascio in a keynote address from MeshForum 2005.
  • Adam Bosworth – Database Requirements in a New Age (4.1) Building a system that is capable of handling one billion transactions a day is easier than it sounds. That is Adam Bosworth’s view and he should know because he works for Google, a company that has managed to achieve this level of scale. Adam covers a lot of ground in this presentation that focuses on the success of the web, the scalability of simplicity and the emergence of the information server.

The O’Reilly Pick of the Week:

This week’s IT Conversations/O’Reilly Pick of the Week is a terrific session from last year’s Open Source Convention (OSCON):

  • r0ml Lefkowitz – The Semasiology of Open Source (3.9)In his keynote presentation from last year’s O’Reilly Open Source Convention, Robert Lefkowitz says, "Open source doesn’t just mean access to the source code." So begins the Open Source Definition. What then, does access to the source code mean? Seen through the lens of an Enterprise user, what does open source mean? When is (or isn’t) it significant? And a catalogue of open source related arbitrage opportunities.

And remember, this year’s OSCON, held in Portland, Oregon, begins tomorrow. We’ll bring you the keynotes here on IT Conversations, but that’s just a fraction of what OSCON is all about. It starts with two days of tutorials and includes BOFs every night. Sure, the audio is great. But it’s nothing compared to being able to rub elbows with the Who’s Who of the open-source world. And yes, we’ll be there, too!

Larry’s World Featured in iTunes

Larry’s World and IT Conversations are featured in the Podcasts section of the iTunes store today. And not just in the “Science and Technology” section but with a larger graphic above the fold. It’s interesting to note however that we’ve seen no unusual traffic from this. Makes me wonder if iTunes is caching the MP3 files for this feed. I can’t tell from here.

Double Your Broadband Speed for $12/mo

I’m too far from the telco’s central office to get DSL, so I’m stuck with Comcast’s broadband. Actually, it has been fairly reliable, so I shouldn’t complain. But the upload speeds are a wimpy 345kbps (measured), which is nasty when you’re trying to upload 100MB MP2 files all day long. I knew that Comcast offered “business” service at a premium price, but I didn’t want to pay that kind of money, so after months of procrastinating, I thought I’d give them a call and see what thay offerred.

Literally three minutes later, my upload speed was doubled to 692kbps (also measured) for an additional $12/mo and a $1.95 service charge. And they promise me the max download speed will increase from 4mbps to 6mbps, although so far it’s only up fractionally.

Cool!