It was an interesting trip, in all, providing a cascade of often starkly diverse images. How varied a range? On the natural grandeur list, I would add spectacular sunsets, wildernesses of soaring, broken redrock, and broad vistas of pristine desert.
And at the opposite end of the spectrum, I might begin with the sights that greeted me when I crossed the Colorado early in the trip, and threaded my way through the 27th Annual Laughlin River Run, a meet that draws over 40,000 leather-clad, mostly aging bikers to what Motorcycle-usa.com calls, “one of the more popular events on the West Coast rally scene, packing bikini contests, custom bike shows, demo rides, poker runs, freak shows and tattoo contests into four-days of 24/7 fun.” I can attest to the fact that it also packs in what is presumably one of the largest assemblages of multi-story, inflatable Jim Beam bottle and Budweiser can replicas to be found anywhere in one place.
The southwestern landscape hosts a variety of signature geologic forms, some of which have become iconic as the backdrops for countless western movies. If you should find yourself channel surfing late tonight, a single frame of a mesa, butte, spire or hoodoo will instantly lock you on to the genre, even before the dusty characters ride into view.
The desert rock garden is a less well known type, but it will be familiar to anyone who has spent any time knocking about the southwest, and around Arizona in particular. Unlike the angular, striated spires and hoodoos that erode out of sedimentary formations, rock gardens are more often volcanic in origin than not, usually granitic, and rounded in form, characteristically resembling enormous blowups of the sand dribbles that a child makes at the beach by allowing a slurry of water and sand to slip through her fingers.
Long-time readers will know that whenever I can, I disappear into the desert for as long as I can. Often, the opportunity arises to cadge a lift out west on the back of a business trip, and so it is that I write this in northwestern Arizona a couple days after spending a day in a conference room buried deep within the bowels of the raucus, random, blaring, unworldly nonsense that is otherwise known as the Mandalay Bay Casino and Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada.
Some of the nonsense worked to my favor, or at least amusement, as my $143.95 room was somehow traded up into a penthouse suite on the 62nd floor of the hotel – a suite that was bigger than the first floor of my admittedly small house, with 18 foot ceilings, a wall of glass behind motorized drapes, bar, living room, two bathrooms (one palatial), four flat screen TV sets (more than I have owned of any type in my entire life), and no coffee maker.
The service the lawyer renders is his professional knowledge and skill, but the commodity he sells is time — Reginald Heber Smith, inventor of the billable hour
Both reviled and ubiquitous, the billable hour is the roach of the legal world — Douglas McCollam, writing in the American Lawyer
Let's imagine that you would like to have your dilapidated, wood-sided house painted. The southern exposure is peeling, the soffits sport dark Rorschach patterns of mildew, and more than a few window sills have that uncomfortably punky feel to the touch that whispers "we're rotting — you must help us." You know that you can't put off facing the music any longer, and hope that the impact on your wallet will be no more painful than absolutely necessary.
So you do what any rational homeowner would — you get some referrals from people you trust, call the folks they recommend, and tell each of them that you'll be soliciting several bids. While you're at it, you also call the painter who, as luck would have it, had dropped a flyer in your mailbox that very afternoon.
Over the next week each housepainter stops by after work, walks around your house, scribbles a few notes, and promises to get back to you with a quote. Within a week, most of them actually do. Like any homeowner would, you select the cheapest, failing to note that it came from the painter you found through the flyer. Soon, the job is done, and he drops by to collect the agreed upon amount. Pleased, you pay him on the spot.
What a nice, logical system, especially for the buyer. You know just what you'll have to pay before you commit to pay it, and gain the benefit of competitive bidding as well. You'd be crazy to take on such a large financial commitment any other way, wouldn't you?
Any old standards hand forced to choose the single most disputed issue in standard setting over the past decade would likely respond with a deceivingly simple question: "What does it mean to be an 'open standard?'" A similar debate rages in the open source community between those that believe that some licenses (e.g., the BSD, MIT and Apache licenses) are "open enough," while others would respond with an emphatic Hell No! (or less printable words to similar effect).
That's not too surprising, because the question of what "open" means subsumes almost every other categorical question that information and communications technology (ICT) standards and open source folk are likely to disagree over, whether they be economic (should a vendor be able to be implement a standard free of charge, or in free and open source software (FOSS) licensed under a version of the General Public License (GPL)); systemic (are standards adopted by ISO/IEC JTC 1 "better" than those that are not); or procedural (must the economic and other terms upon which a necessary patent claim can be licensed be disclosed early in the development process)?
The reason why this background level of disagreement is relevant today is because the Obama Administration has pledged to use technology to bring an "unprecedented" level of transparency and interaction in governmentto the people. If that's going to happen, though, it means that the platforms that the new administration adopts to provide open government will have to be open as well. Which brings us at last to the question of just what, exactly, "open" should mean, when it comes to "open government."
It's said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I guess being the kind of organization that people love to leak news about might be the next. That seems to be the case with the Linux Foundation, which for the second time in a matter of weeks has seen an enterprising reporter scoop the opposition (and our own internal planning) by releasing a story ahead of our planned schedule. Who knew that an open source foundation could attract paparazzi?
Last time, it was Steven Vaughn-Nichols announcing our acquisition of the Linux.com site, and this time it's the New York Times (no less) announcing a day ahead of time the fact that the Linux Foundation has taken over stewardship of Intel's Linux-based Moblin mobile operating system. If you've been following the mobile space for awhile, this is news worth noting, on which more below.
It would be an understatement to observe that Microsoft's patent suit against Dutch GPS vendor company TomTom has been closely watched. Why? Because Microsoft alleges that several of the patents at issue are infringed by TomTom's implementation of the Linux kernel. In this first month of the dispute, the most urgent question has been this: will TomTom fight or fold? Now we have the answer: TomTom has decided to fight - and perhaps fight hard. Yesterday, it brought its own suit against Microsoft in a Virginia court, alleging that Microsoft is guilty of infringing several of TomTom's own patents.
The question that many Linux supporters are now asking is this: is this good news for Linux, or bad? Here are my thoughts on that important question.
This morning I got an email from a regular Standards Blog reader with some unwelcome news - he informed me that the RSS, Atom and other feeds at my blog were dead, and that he hadn't gotten a new posting notice in a month. Sigh. Not the type of email you like to get, so I'm hoping that this posting reaches everyone that it's supposed to.
The reason for the problem is that the developer that supports ConsortiumInfo.org has been upgrading the version of Geeklog upon which this site is based. Unfortunately, it hasn't been going well at all, in part because the developer isn't familiar with Geeklog, and in part, frankly, because they aren't checking the things that they should as they make changes (like syndication feeds). Complicating things is the fact that this is a "second generation" blog, which began as home-grown software. Later, it was migrated to Geeklog when I wanted to make it more sophisticated than the original setup could support (e.g., by adding the News Picks to the right). Along the way, a few weirdnesses were built in, all of which (naturally) are undocumented. So it's been a challenge to the guy who has tried to figure it all out.
I chose Geeklog in part because it's a really powerful tool, but also because it's the product of a FOSS project application. Given that I write a lot about FOSS, I thought I ought to b e using FOSS to support this blog (that "walk the talk" thing). That's had some downsides, though, because Geeklog is a developer's tool, and not a mass-market application. Consequently, so far as I'm aware, the type of "Geeklog for Idiots" user manual that would be very useful to someone like me just doesn't exist. On the other hand, the Geeklog community has been great about answering the questions my developer has posted at the Geeklog site.
As a result, if anyone out there is a Geeklog ace and would be willing to answer my questions from time to time, that would be great, and would save me a lot of grief, as it would help me become a more efficient and productive Geeklog user, without having to run up my developer tab. It would also save me a lot of heartache.
Economic downturns have a tendency to accelerate emerging technologies, boost the adoption of effective solutions, and punish solutions that are not cost competitive or that are out of synch with industry trends.
So begins a new white paper from research analyst IDC. History supports the logic of the statement, but applying the same logic to predict the future is a dangerous game. Having good starting data can help considerably in that regard, though, and that's what makes this report interesting. Its title is Linux Adoption in a Global Recession, and it marshals some impressive data to predict that Linux will be a significant gainer, while others are punished by the current global meltdown.
The report bases that conclusion in part on its finding that: "Linux users are clearly satisfied about their choice to deploy Linux, and during trying economic times, the potential for those same customers to ramp up their deployment of Linux is strong." In other words, unlike the last recession, in which the free OS had to establish itself in environments where it had never been deployed before (its market share increased dramatically anyway), this time it need only increase its beachhead among existing users in order to post impressive gains. But IDC predicts that it will also do quite well with new, missionary sales as well, promising that this time around, its competitive position should strengthen as well as broaden - including on the desktop.
The headline act, if you will, was announced this morning for the third annual Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit, and it promises to be an interesting show: the Foundation's Jim Zemlin, Microsoft's Sam Ramji, and Sun's Ian Murdock, each giving their predictions on the future of operating system they represent - and, I expect, the others' as well. Jim will moderate the exchange, which will be held on the first day (May 8) of this year's Summit, which will be held in San Francisco. As with previous Collaboration Summits, there is no fee to attend, but attendance is by confirmation only, as the size is limited to a few hundred to maximize the interactivity of this annual gathering of the elite of the Linux clan.
While the OS debate provides the most provocative portion of the program, the rest will provide a great deal of substance - and, who knows, perhaps a few surprises as well.
Quote of the Day
“The most absurd thing you can say”
-Document Foundation co-founder Italo Vignoli on the belief of some developers that good products don't need marketing
The Alexandria Project Review GoodReads August 29, 2014 - A gripping, plausible doomsday plot complemented by insights into the murky worlds of cybersecurity, international politics, and venture capital. The Alexandria Project by Andrew Updegrove is a fast-paced and high-octane cyber thriller. It is a finely plotted Sci-Fi mystery, which takes you on an adventure that is full of twist and turns.
I received an ebook Kindle version from Andrew Updegrove in exchange for reading and giving my review about the book. Thank you Mr. Updegrove, I can't hardly wait until the sequel "The Lafayette Deception" will be available. ...Full Story
New Course on Leadership Strategies Added to StandardsLearn.org Site ANSI Weekly News August 20, 2014 - The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is pleased to announce the launch of a new online education course on StandardsLearn.org, the premier online source for standards and conformity assessment education. The new course, titled “Leadership Strategies and Skills: The Fundamentals,” joins a wide array of easy-to-use educational tools that address the full range of standards activities. All of the resources and courses hosted by StandardsLearn.org are free and provided by ANSI as a public service.
“Leadership Strategies and Skills: The Fundamentals” provides users with a detailed overview of significant leadership characteristics, as well as focused guidance on how to pursue strategies to develop and improve related skills. The course is relevant to individuals who are new to leadership roles, or who are seeking to brush up on their leadership skills, and is applicable to all types of leadership positions. It also includes specialized guidance on leadership topics relevant to standards-setting environments, including the duties and responsibilities associated with serving as a technical committee chair or convenor in the international standards development process.... ...Full Story
Happy 20th Birthday, Simon! Standards Boost Smartphones Then and Now ANSI Weekly News August 28, 2014 - This month marks the twentieth anniversary of the Simon Personal Communicator, a revolutionary device that incorporated elements of personal digital assistants (PDAs) and cellular phones into what many have called the world’s very first smartphone. The Simon, developed by American National Standards Institute (ANSI) member IBM Corporation, weighed 1.1 pounds and featured a stylish leather cover....One exciting feature of the Simon—unique when it was released—was its ability to send emails.... ...Full Story
Why FIDO Alliance Standards Will Kill Passwords Dark Reading August 27, 2014 - Bill Gates predicted the demise of passwords more than a decade ago. But the FIDO Alliance believes its proposed new authentication standards are a game changer that will transform the computing landscape in just three years. Phillip Dunkelberger, President & CEO of Nok Nok Labs, tells why he believes that the time is finally ripe for a password-free computing experience. [video] ...Full Story
Internet Industrial Application Committee Established in Beijing USITO.org August 26, 2014 - on August 12, the inaugural meeting of the China Internet Society Internet Industrial Application Committee ("the Internet Industrial Application Committee") was held in Beijing.
Co-founding organizations include:
Internet Society of China (ISC),
Information Center of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT),
China Household Electrical Appliances Association (CHEAA)
Key objectives of the Committee include piloting and expanding the application of internet technologies in industrial supply chains, bolstering information security, as well as promotion of breakthroughs in critical technologies including Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing and big data.
As of August 12, more than 50 organizations had joined as members, including companies in a variety of sectors such as equipment manufacturing, electronics manufacturing, household electrical appliances, and software, as well as basic telecommunications operators, internet industry giants, and relevant industry associations and media.... ...Full Story
China Developing an Operating System to Take on Microsoft, Google and Apple NYT.com August 25, 2014 - China could have a new homegrown operating system by October to take on imported rivals such as Microsoft, Google and Apple, Xinhua, the government news agency, reported.
Computer technology became an area of tension between China and the United States after a number of run-ins over cybersecurity. China is now looking to help its domestic industry catch up with imported systems such as Windows from Microsoft and the mobile operating system Android from Google.
The operating system would first appear on desktop devices and later extend to smartphone and other mobile devices,... ...Full Story
Three Open Source Hardware Projects' Challenges and Successes Libby Clark Linux.com August 25, 2014 - While open source practices have come to dominate the software industry, they're still fairly new to hardware. Many open source hardware projects are now seeing some early success but there are still many challenges ahead,...MakerBot VP Anthony Moschella, Open Prosthetics Project Founder and Iraq war veteran Jonathan Kuniholm, and IBM Power Systems General Manager Doug Balog each had a unique take on open source hardware. But all agreed that open source principles will speed technological innovation whether it's in 3D printing, prosthetics, or servers. Here are some of the successes and challenges they highlighted and the opportunities they presented for the open source community to get involved and make a difference....
1. MakerBot's Thingiverse boasts a community of about 13,000 makers, designers and engineers who download and share open source designs for printed objects. The Robohand, for example, is a 3D-printable prosthetic hand for children who are continuously outgrowing their prosthetics and can't afford to replace them. The open source design allowed for rapid iteration and improvements that made it easier to assemble and share....
2. Open Prosthetics Project
The promise: Open source designs can help make more affordable prosthetics with much improved capabilities in dexterity and manipulation than are currently available, to amputees around the world.
Success: The Open Prosthetics Project has started a small open source project that includes hardware, firmware, and software, and is primarily working with two university laboratories....Challenge: Finding financing is difficult because the prosthetics market is too small to attract venture capital. And even though their code is open source, the cost of entry for developers is fairly high because participation requires approximately $20,000 in Matlab tools to get started.... ...Full Story
The Impact Of The New HDcctv AT 2.0 Standard Todd Rockoff SourceSecurity.com August 22, 2014 - Editor's Note: HDcctv Alliance has announced that Dahua has opened its patented HDCVI technology to the global video surveillance industry as the basis for HDcctv's AT 2.0 standard. For additional elaboration on what the move means to the growing market for higher-resolution CCTV, we approached Todd Rockoff, chairman and executive director of HDcctv Alliance.... SourceSecurity.com: Given that Hikvision, the number one competitor in the video market, is unveiling a different technology (i.e., HDTVI), is there any plan to “converge” the two technologies or make them compatible? What might the HDcctv Alliance’s role be to accomplish that?
TR: We are delighted that Hikvision shares our recognition of the growing importance of plug ‘n’ play (PnP) analog HD surveillance equipment....
SourceSecurity.com: Might not a proprietary non-standard technology from the market’s largest player undermine the positive impact of the standard? (i.e., set up a Beta vs. VHS type competition?)
TR: Absolutely! It compares to having to stock inventory in multiple formats (Beta/VHS or DVD/Blu-Ray/3D Blu-Ray) which inevitably multiplies the costs of running a video shop. And format confusion decreases revenues. A good example is a customer who accidentally brings a 3D Blu-Ray disc home but can't watch it on his DVD player.
Format confusion inevitably has the same kind of impact on the video surveillance market. Therefore, it is in the commercial interest of every company who has invested in HD surveillance equipment to fully support the open, global PnP standards for local-site transport of HD surveillance signals.... ...Full Story
The Connected Car, Part 3: No Shortcuts to Security Jack M. Germain TechNewsWorld August 21, 2014 - The connected car is becoming a reality, but the gadget-filled roadways it travels will be paved with several options for in-car technologies. These choices pose challenges for carmakers. Whichever technology wins the race, one of the biggest concerns for OEMs is their electronic security.
The Linux Foundation wants an open source platform in the pole position. The nonprofit consortium already has a fully functional Linux distribution, called "Automotive Grade Linux," or AGL. It is a customizable, open source automotive software stack with Linux at its core.
Google has its own plan for connecting cars to mobile devices and the Internet. Google's Android Auto is a dashboard navigation and entertainment system powered by an Android smartphone. It is very similar in concept to competing designs from Apple and Microsoft....To handle this traffic jam of data, car manufacturers are testing technologies like Broadcom's Automotive Ethernet and The Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC)'s MirrorLink among others. Similarly, QNX Software Systems has a foot or two in some vehicles with its QNX Car Platform for Infotainment.... ...Full Story
UK government backs consortium's search for IOT standard Caroline Baldwin ComputerWeekly.com August 20, 2014 - The UK government has awarded £1.6m to a consortium of 40 British companies tasked with finding a standard specification for the internet of things (IOT).
The money – awarded by the government’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board – will go towards developing a publicly available universal standard for interoperability for IOT....The HyperCat consortium, comprising BT, ARM, KMPG and other UK companies including Flexeye, will focus on IOT solutions for business....The British Standards Institution will publish an independent publicly available specification (PAS) based on the consortium’s specification.... ...Full Story