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Tuesday, May 03 2016 @ 03:48 AM CDT
Monday, January 23 2006 @ 10:26 AM CST
Contributed by: updegrove
Winter nights in the desert are spectacular, but cold. To get a good night's sleep, you need Big Agnes.
One of the great joys of hiking in the desert is sleeping under the brilliant, ever-present stars and the even more prominent planets, accompanied by gentle breezes, the smells of the desert, and often, the serenade of coyotes. In the crystalline air far from the light of cities, the dazzle of the stars and planets is unparalleled, and the experience one to savor.
There are other sights and sounds as well, especially when camping near an air force bases (which is likely to be the case, given how many are spread around the Southwest, and the fact that the word "near," in this context, can mean pretty far away). Last night four jets streaked and wheeled overhead while I looked up at the sky, two almost wingtip to wingtip, and the second pair much farther apart, and farther ahead. Each had strobe lights that flashed in a manic syncopation reminiscent of a 1970's disco. Others flew silently at supersonic speeds at extreme altitude, seeming to travel more swiftly than could be possible.
Saturday, January 21 2006 @ 10:21 AM CST
Contributed by: updegrove
As I've grown older I've come to dislike hiking trails -- one of the reasons I've grown to love the American Southwest. Here, you can find vast stretches of public land that extend to the horizon and beyond, so sparsely vegetated that you can strike out in any direction you wish. When one canyon or another piques your fancy, there is nothing to prevent you from simply parking your car and climbing in, taking as much gear and food as you need to explore for an hour, a day or a week.
What you find may disappoint as well as please, but the scenery is so compelling that "disappointment" is a relative term. For wherever you venture, the terrain will be challenging and interesting, and the worst that can happen is that the way becomes impassable sooner than planned, or the drama that unfolds is not quite as dramatic as hoped. When this happens (which it does when you're hiking off the beaten track), what you do encounter will still be fresh and unexpected. And you'll never see a soul along the way.
A trail, in contrast, provides the predictable – invariably with company. You probably know in advance how far you will walk (to the tenth of a mile), what the vertical rise will be, and even the degree of difficulty, presented on a helpful numerical scale. You can also assume that the rough places will have been made smoother, and that the steep places will have been tamed with switchbacks. And you'll also know what the "attractions" will be (e.g., a waterfall) along the way, as well as the reward you'll enjoy if you reach the end – perhaps a mountaintop view that will let you see four states (four!) at once, as if the transposition of political boundaries over geography will make natural wonders more wonderful. You'll also almost certainly see other hikers, unless you're hiking early in the morning (always a good idea for many reasons), or on a weekday in the off-season. The footprints of those that came before, of course, will still be everywhere.
Thursday, January 19 2006 @ 10:36 AM CST
Contributed by: updegrove
At night, the animal life of the desert comes out of hiding. And along the Mexican border, so do the illegal immigrants and the drug runners. The result is a National Monument "under siege."
Organ Pipe National Monument is legally remote (on this unusual distinction, more below), which makes it the kind of place I like to visit -- big, empty, lightly visited and beautiful. It is 142 miles by two-lane road from Tucson and about the same distance from Phoenix, and is surrounded on all sides by areas that do not draw a crowd: the Tohono O'odham Indian reservation to the East, and the vast Barry Goldwater Air Force testing range to the North and West. To the South is the Sonora State of Mexico. And once you get there, it has nothing to offer besides a unique species of cactus, a few hiking trails, and average Arizona scenery (much of it gorgeous), making it one of the least frequented parts of the American Southwest.
When I arrived for a few days of hiking and camping to start my trip, I found that it was both more and less used than before, as well as even less easy to get around in than in the past.
Wednesday, January 18 2006 @ 10:38 AM CST
Contributed by: updegrove
Once upon a time, rivers ran in Arizona and Native Americans lived along their banks. Now the water is drawn off to send to distant cities and to water broad fields of alfalfa and cotton, leaving only dry washes as evidence of what used to be.
I began driving my rented four-wheel drive car about a half hour before dawn today with the objective of reaching a small area of public land that I had selected using a topographic map. What made this particular area of interest was the fact that it lay between a certain river (dry now, but flowing before modern farmers commandeered it to water their fields)and adjacent highlands. Equally important was the likelihood that existing jeep tracks would allow me to get reasonably close to my desired destination (I don't believe in creating new ones, especially in arid regions, where the damage takes many years to heal).
As the sun was nudging over the horizon, I was turning off the paved road and onto a jeep track that was headed, more or less, in the right direction. Shooting the straights to gather enough momentum to carry through the occasional stretches of deep sand and braking sharply into the turns and gullies that crossed the track to keep the vehicle both moving and in one piece, I navigated by sight for the next half hour, switching tracks and gradually working my way closer to where I wished to go.
Friday, January 13 2006 @ 10:39 AM CST
Contributed by: updegrove
Time off for a different type of behavior.
I'm currently in Southwest Arizona, and will be hiking and camping through the 21st. As a result, I'll be neither able (nor inclined) to blog on the technology news of the day until then.
I will, however, be recharging my laptop from my car, and doing a different type of writing that I enjoy even more - especially the research. You can see prior examples at the index category at left called "Not Here but There: a Wilderness Journal," or by clicking here.
Wednesday, January 11 2006 @ 10:40 AM CST
Contributed by: updegrove
A Chinese news source is reporting that the rights to implement its home-grown WAPI standard may now be licensed by anyone - and not just domestic companies - in an effort to push for global adoption of the standard.
Tuesday, January 10 2006 @ 10:42 AM CST
Contributed by: updegrove
IBM and other companies have announced three new initiatives with the
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that are intended to stop bad patents
from issuing, and rank those that do anyway.
Monday, January 09 2006 @ 10:43 AM CST
Contributed by: updegrove
A major trade dispute erupted between the United States and China in
2004 over a wireless standard, and then dropped out of sight. Is it
about to reemerge?
Friday, January 06 2006 @ 10:44 AM CST
Contributed by: updegrove
Massachusetts appoints an acting successor to Peter Quinn, and says more concretely than ever "full speed ahead with ODF"
Thursday, January 05 2006 @ 11:04 AM CST
Contributed by: updegrove
Each year I recognize the most newsworthy standards organizations and
the news services that did the best job covering that news. This year,
I'm also recognizing the best individual journalists, bloggers and
community sites as well.
Quote of the Day
“A difficult issue that needs to be solved
-Ian Skerrett, VP of Marketing and Ecosystem at the Eclipse Foundation, commenting on the challenge of making the IoT secure See all Quotes
Latest NewsLet's Encrypt Reaches 2,000,000 CertificatesSeth SchoenElectronic Frontier Foundation
May 3, 2016 - The Let's Encrypt certificate authority issued its two millionth certificate on Thursday, less than two months after the millionth certificate....each certificate can cover several web sites, so the certificates Let's Encrypt has issued are already protecting millions and millions of sites.
This rapid adoption has made Let's Encrypt one of the world's largest public certificate authorities by number of certificates issued, and almost all of them are protecting domains that never supported HTTPS before. The Internet needs to migrate away from the insecure HTTP protocol, and we're very pleased to be helping to make that possible....EFF co-founded the Let's Encrypt CA with Mozilla and researchers from the University of Michigan. Akamai and Cisco joined the project as founding sponsors, and many other organizations have stepped up to sponsor the project since launch.... ...Full Story
Web Storage (Second Edition) is a W3C Recommendation
W3C.org May 2, 2016 - The Web Platform Working Group has published a W3C Recommendation of "Web Storage (Second Edition)." This specification defines an API for persistent data storage of key-value pair data in Web clients. It introduces two related mechanisms, similar to HTTP session cookies, for storing name-value pairs on the client side. The first mechanism is designed for scenarios where the user is carrying out a single transaction, but could be carrying out multiple transactions in different windows at the same time. The second mechanism is designed for storage that spans multiple windows, and lasts beyond the current session.... ...Full Story
Survey Highlights Security Concern Among IoT Developers
Programmable Web April 29, 2016 - According to the second annual IoT Developer Survey, security is the top concern of IoT developers. The survey, which polled 528 IoT developers, was conducted by the Eclipse IoT Working Group in partnership with the IEEE IoT and the AGILE-IoT research project.
Of developers working in organizations that have deployed IoT solutions, nearly half (48.3%) identified security as their leading concern. In the same group of respondents, interoperability and performance were the second and third biggest concerns, with 31.9% and 21%, respectively....
Not only can vulnerabilities in IoT applications be the source of privacy breaches, as the IoT extends its reach to things like cars, security vulnerabilities could theoretically put lives in danger....In this year's IoT Developer Survey, nearly half (46%) of those polled indicated that their company is developing and deploying IoT solutions, and 29% indicated that their company plans to within the next 18 months, suggesting that adoption of IoT technologies is accelerating.... ...Full Story
The advantages of open source in Internet of Things design
DesignWorldOnline April 28, 2016 - The Internet of Things is booming and with millions of devices to be connected over the coming years, many developers are focusing on the IoT opportunity....There are many commonalities between IoT solutions across different applications—the need for wireless connections, communication between devices and back-end systems, and data collection/interpretation are a few examples. But the proliferation of proprietary systems that are often in silos makes developing and building these solutions more complex and time consuming than needed. In a fast-moving, fragmented industry, open source technologies will play an increasingly fundamental role in mitigating these challenges and enabling seamless systems to further fuel innovation.
One way to circumvent the interoperability challenge is by establishing and using standards. Thoughtful and collaborative standardization improves choice and flexibility. As a result, developers can use devices from multiple vendors to build a solution that is innovative and meets their specific needs. We’ve outlined a few key channels that are essential to unlocking the potential of open source in IoT development.
Standards are necessary across the whole ecosystem and are being addressed by the industry in multiple ways. For example, industry standards organizations, like oneM2M (a consortium of industry stakeholders), has developed technical specifications to address the need for a common M2M Service Layer that can be embedded within various hardware and software and relied on to connect a wide range of devices to M2M application servers.
Another complementary approach to standards development is the release of designs and specifications into the open source community as open hardware and interface standards for others to adopt. Examples include Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and Beaglebone, which enable quick prototyping, as well as the mangOH open hardware reference design, an open source design that is more easily scalable in commercial settings and is built specifically for IoT cellular connectivity.
Open source platforms like these enable developers that may have limited hardware, wireless or low-level software expertise to start developing IoT applications in days—rather than months. If executed properly, these can significantly reduce the time and effort to get prototypes from paper to production by ensuring that various connectors and sensors work together automatically with no additional coding required. With industrial-grade specifications, these next-generation platforms not only allow quick prototyping, but also rapid industrialization of IoT applications.
On the software side, using widely supported open source software application frameworks and development environments, such as Linux—itself an open source solution—can be extremely helpful by providing developers the head start that is required to get a product to market faster. When it comes to proprietary solutions, support for its development framework tends to rest on the original vendor, whose agenda may not align with the needs of the community. Open source solutions ensure a future-proof investment and longevity, so that resources and tools are available and continually enhanced for years to come....
To further advance the industry, we must commit to a standards-based and open-source strategy. Not only will it continue to be critical to the health of IoT innovation, but it will lay the groundwork for real innovation. Just as it supported many other areas of technology development—including nothing less than the Internet itself—open standards are the key to realizing the unforeseen benefits of a more connected world. ...Full Story
ANSI Energy Efficiency Standardization Coordination Collaborative (EESCC) Releases Roadmap Progress Report
ANSI.org April 27, 2016 - The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Energy Efficiency Standardization Coordination Collaborative (EESCC) announced today the publication of a Progress Report detailing the standardization community’s activity to advance recommendations outlined in the EESCC’s Standardization Roadmap: Energy Efficiency in the Built Environment. Published in June 2014 to serve as a national framework for action and coordination, the roadmap identified gaps where standards and codes were needed to improve energy and water efficiency in the built environment.
Available as a free resource, the Progress Report features updates on 71 of the 109 standards-based gaps identified in the roadmap, demonstrating significant progress within the standardization community to advance energy and water efficiency through standards-based solutions. The report also includes a summary of all of the standards-based roadmap gaps, including those for which there is no known progress at this time, so that readers may easily identify opportunities to take action on closing the gaps.... ...Full Story
Anti-innovation: EU excludes open source from new tech standards
Ars Technica April 27, 2016 - As part of its Digital Single Market strategy, the European Commission has unveiled "plans to help European industry, SMEs, researchers and public authorities make the most of new technologies." In order to "boost innovation," the Commission wants to accelerate the creation of new standards for five buzzconcepts: 5G, cloud computing, internet of things, data technologies, and cybersecurity.
The key document is one entitled "ICT Standardisation Priorities for the Digital Single Market," which says: "Open standards ensure ... interoperability, and foster innovation and low market entry barriers in the Digital Single Market, including for access to media, cultural and educational content." The word "open" occurs 26 times in the document, and is also frequently found in the other "communications" just released by the European Commission: on digitising European industry (9 times), and on the European Cloud Initiative (50 times).
"Open" is generally used in the documents to denote "open standards," as in the quotation above. But the European Commission is surprisingly coy about what exactly that phrase means in this context. It is only on the penultimate page of the ICT Standardisation Priorities document that we finally read the following key piece of information: "ICT standardisation requires a balanced IPR [intellectual property rights] policy, based on FRAND licensing terms."...
The problem for open source is that standard licensing can be perfectly fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory, but would nonetheless be impossible for open source code to implement. Typically, FRAND licensing requires a per-copy payment, but for free software, which can be shared any number of times, there's no way to keep tabs on just how many copies are out there. Even if the per-copy payment is tiny, it's still a licensing requirement that open source code cannot meet....Ars has asked the European Commission for comment on its decision to use FRAND, rather than a royalty-free approach. We'll update this story when the EC responds.... ...Full Story
Open Data Barometer 2015: 5 European countries in the Top 10
EU Joinup April 26, 2016 - Five European countries ranked in the top 10 of the 2015 Open Data Barometer, recently published by the World Wide Web Foundation.
The UK is still at the top of the barometer, but is now followed by the USA and France, both ranked second. France, which was third in 2014, received good marks in three criteria: government action, political impact and, citizens and civil rights.
Denmark ranked 5th and moved up by four positions. The Netherlands ranked 7th and Sweden 9th, with both losing ground (-1 for the former, -6 for the latter)....Other conclusions from 2015 include the fact that “Open Data is entering the mainstream”, with 55% of the 92 countries listed in the survey now having an open data initiative in place. However, almost 90% of data are still locked, the report said. Only 10% of the published data are open (following the open data definition) but are also of poor quality, “making it difficult for potential data users to access, process, and work with it effectively”.
Lastly, this Open Data Barometer warns about “open-washing” behavior, which is “jeopardizing progress”. “Open data initiatives cannot be effective if not supported by a culture of openness where citizens are encouraged to ask questions and engage, and are supported by a legal framework”, the report said. “Disturbingly, in this edition we saw a backslide on freedom of information, transparency, accountability, and privacy indicators in some countries.” ...Full Story
European Cloud Initiative to give Europe a global lead in the data-driven economy
European Commission April 25, 2016 - Europe is the largest producer of scientific data in the world, but insufficient and fragmented infrastructure means this 'big data' is not being exploited to its full potential. By bolstering and interconnecting existing research infrastructure, the Commission plans to create a new European Open Science Cloud that will offer Europe's 1.7 million researchers and 70 million science and technology professionals a virtual environment to store, share and re-use their data across disciplines and borders. This will be underpinned by the European Data Infrastructure, deploying the high-bandwidth networks, large scale storage facilities and super-computer capacity necessary to effectively access and process large datasets stored in the cloud. This world-class infrastructure will ensure Europe participates in the global race for high performance computing in line with its economic and knowledge potential.
Focusing initially on the scientific community - in Europe and among its global partners -, the user base will over time be enlarged to the public sector and to industry. This initiative is part of a package of measures to strengthen Europe's position in data-driven innovation, to improve competitiveness and cohesion and to help create a Digital Single Market in Europe (press release)....The European Cloud Initiative will make it easier for researchers and innovators to access and re-use data, and will reduce the cost of data storage and high-performance analysis. Making research data openly available can help boost Europe's competitiveness by benefitting start-ups, SMEs and data-driven innovation, including in the fields of medicine and public health. It can even spur new industries, as demonstrated by the Human Genome Project.... ...Full Story
ANAB and ASCLD/LAB Merge Forensics Operations
ANSI.org Weekly News April 25, 2016 - The ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB) has signed an affiliation agreement with the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB), merging ASCLD/LAB into ANAB.
Like ANAB, ASCLD/LAB provides accreditation based on international standards for public and private sector crime laboratories. Both ANAB and ASCLD/LAB are grounded in conducting scientific and technical assessments and committed to assuring competent and credible test and inspection results. The merger with ASCLD/LAB allows ANAB to enhance its expertise in the field of forensics accreditation while providing uninterrupted service to the customers of both organizations.... ...Full Story
Commission publishes reports on eGovernment and Standards public consultations
EU Joinup April 22, 2016 - Today the European Commission published the analysis reports on two public consultations: eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020 and Standards....The majority of the respondents to the consultation on standardisation in the Digital Single Market supported the Commission’s initial problem analysis on ICT standardisation, in particular the need to define clearer priorities for core ICT related technologies. These recommendations to the Commission, along with the advice of the European Multi-Stakeholder Platform on ICT standardisation will form the basis for the Communication setting up priorities on ICT standardisation for the Digital Single Market.
Building on today's results of the public consultations, the Commission proposed measures on the digitisation of European industry on the 19 April. ...Full Story