Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Refreshing new group

The other day I was perusing videos on YouTube and came across a young 8-year-old girl who was making a political statement. The irony of the situation was that I was very turned-off by the message, but intrigued with the music at the end.

The music was from a group called “Bastard Fairies” and they have a very interesting sound. You can download their album, “Memento Mori,” from their web site at
http://www.thebastardfairies.com The download is free and the group encourages its free distribution.

The lead singer is named “Yellow Thunder Woman” (her blog says that is her real name, which is the Indian Translation of “Wakinyan Zi Win”) and they have a style which reminds me of a combination of “No Doubt”, "Cranberries", “They Might be Giants”, and “Paul Simon” with an attitude of “The Dead Milkmen.”

“Memento Mori” has 12 tracks and I can honestly say I enjoy just about every one. For the new listener, I would recommend giving track 02-Apple Pie a taste. If you are looking for a seconds, then I would suggest giving “A Venomous Tale” a thorough listening.

I am not sure how long the “Bastard Fairies” have been around, but I hope to hear more from them.

Friday, August 04, 2006

One year ago...

One year ago, I was starting my Chicago tour of duty on the failed Accenture project called AESM (Formerly called Razorback). This project was to become the turning point of my career. I am now working for a St. Louis based company consulting for St. Louis based clients. I have not set one foot on an airplane for almost one year and am working with cutting-edge technology.

Technologies I am working with right now include:
.NET 2.0 / C#
SQL Server 2005
Visual Studio 2005
Pocket PC 2003 and Windows Mobile 5.0
Intermec CN2 (Rugged Hand Held Portable Computer)
Symbol MC50 and MC70 (Rugged Hand Held Portable Computer)

I am also the lead developer / architect for a system that is being used all over the word, including Brazil, Argentina, Thailand, India, and the United States.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

My take on Net Neutrality

I support the idea of Net Neutrality. The Internet, as we know it, was initially set up with this idea in mind. What many people do not realize is that the Internet is based on the concept of “Try to get your message across.” This has absolutely nothing to do with quality or speed. With the growing popularity of multimedia, quality AND speed do become an issue.

Right now, the primary application in the spot light is Voice over IP. Skype, Vonage, Charter Phone, and all of the other “Internet Phone” companies are wanting Net Neutrality so that their customer base will continue to have a level of quality for which they are willing to pay for the service.

Network providers, like ATT, are against Net Neutrality because they not only provide the communication service which enables companies like Vonage to even exist, they also provide a service which directly competes with Vonage. From ATT’s perspective, they are feeding their army and the army of their enemy. If you were ATT, then you would be against Net Neutrality, too.

Another aspect of Net Neutrality has to do with bandwidth. As more and more people make the jump to VoIP, bandwidth consumption will start to rise. Once other multimedia services grow in popularity, even more bandwidth will be consumed. This is why companies, like Google, are buying up “Dark Fiber.” They know the future bandwidth demands are going to skyrocket and this is their insurance for their continued fast response.

The likely end result will be similar to what has taken place in the media industry. The consumer will pay a “Media Tax” on VoIP services, just like the media companies get a percentage of every blank video tape or CD you buy.

Interestingly, one of the HUGE barriers to wide adoption of multimedia over the internet has to do with compression algorithms. What is needed is a powerful processor to do the complex calculations. This November, one of the most powerful computing engines available for the home will be released. I would imagine this will be an enabler for other products and services.

It is also interesting that one of the key players making this technology available is also a huge multimedia company – Sony.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Will the PS3 be more than just for games?

I found this comment from Sony’s CEO to be very interesting. It would seem Sony has some very big plans for the PS3 – more than just video games.

President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Ken Kutaragi has commented on the concept that the PlayStation 3 is a computer, rather than a game console: "We believe that the PS3 will be the place where our users play games, watch films, browse the Web, and use other computer functions. The PlayStation 3 is a computer. We do not need the PC."

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Social Networks to catch criminals

The USA Today has an article which brings to light some of information regarding the so-called “Illegal Wiretaps” being conducted by the NSA. This is not your typical “Wiretap” where there is a human listening to your phone conversations.

This is a massive collection of data being analyzed from many different perspectives looking for social networks. These social networks can be scored to identify the likelihood of someone having a connection to a terrorist.

The technology is fascinating and can be used to save lives. This may be one of the greatest law enforcement innovations of the decade. It is too bad the media is spinning this as an invasion of our privacy.


"It's the largest database ever assembled in the world," said one person, who, like the others who agreed to talk about the NSA's activities, declined to be identified by name or affiliation. The agency's goal is "to create a database of every call ever made" within the nation's borders, this person added.

The data are used for "social network analysis," the official said, meaning to study how terrorist networks contact each other and how they are tied together.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Playstation 3 on November 17!

Sony has just announced the PlayStation 3 will be released on November 17.
There will be two different versions, one with a 20GB hard drive and one with a 60GB hard drive option. The 20GB will retail for 499 and the 60GB for 599.

The PS3 will offer different hardware options, depending on which version you buy (20/60 GB). Options include ports for memory cards (Sony Stick and SD Cards) USB ports, WiFi and Ethernet.

The Playstation 3 will be the first consumer product featuring the Cell processor from IBM/Toshiba/Sony. This may truly usher in a new era of technology for the home.

On November 17, home digital convergence will begin.

Sony Press Release

About the Cell…
From IBM

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Vote Fraud in St. Clair County

Eric Weidmann was quoted in the paper as saying he is not interested in hearing what constitutes vote fraud; his interest is in how to fit it. To prevent vote fraud, two things need to take place. One, only accept ballots from valid voters; and two, prevent the voter from being influenced by outside sources. Both of these preventive measures seem to be a feasible request.

In order to verify the validity of a voter, the election judge should require each person requesting a ballot to present their voter ID card and some other form of picture ID. These documents should be compared to the poll-books given to each election judge. If we can ask this of people boarding an airplane, then we can ask this of people deciding the fate of our democracy.

To prevent outside influence, or vote buying, simply require receipts for every cent spent for an election. This information should also be accessible to anyone via the Internet. The State of Illinois already provides a web-site to facilitate this. The only thing missing the degree of granularity for which receipts are required. If the IRS can audit an individual, down to the dollar, then we should demand the same for our elected officials.

If the laws do not permit such processes, then it should be the committee’s duty to inform us of the procedure for changing the laws. If petitions need to be signed, let us know. This is one issue our elected officials should be very proactive at resolving. Given the small turnout at the public meetings, they should now take the first steps.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Google Pack

Pack it up.

Google has recently released what they are calling “Google Pack.” This is a collection of software being offered/supported by Google. This collection includes the tool-bar, IM, Earth, and other assortment of programs. It also includes AdAware and a special version of Norton Antivirus.

All of the software is maintained by a special application called
Google Updater . This program is used to help the consumer install all of the Google offerings, as well as keep everything up to date.

I wonder when “Open Office” will be added to “Google Updater?”

Friday, January 06, 2006

Technology Predictions for 2006

In no particular order:

1) Google will continue to innovate with more hosted solutions. The effect of this will be continued increases in Google’s stock price. Is a split in store for 2006? Maybe a Google home-device.

2) More companies will settle on using Microsoft’s .NET architecture. Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005 will fuel this.

3) Java will continue to be the programming language of choice for corporate America. C#, however, will close the gap. In St. Louis, Monster.com is reporting 39% (98 to 38). By the end of the year, expect to see Java with only a 15% lead. J2EE will see a decline and will be replaced with Spring/Hibernate frameworks.

4) Cell phones will continue to increase in use. By the end of the year, video messages will be the rave with teenagers.

5) On-line video will start to become more prevalent. Content providers will still be trying to apply television-style revenue patterns, but this will not bode for the new medium. A new revenue technique will be needed in order for this to be successful. Expect to see a new wave of RIAA/MPAA lawsuits.

6) Sony will release the PS3 and will usher in a new era of multi-media. The PS3 will overtake the XBOX 360 both in popularity and in games. The PS3 may become the media-convergence device.

7) Linux will still not be ready for prime time at home. This will change in 2007. Red Hat, IBM, and Apple will have a stake in this.

8) Popular Application Frameworks for 2006:
a. Eclipse
b. Spring
c. Google Earth
d. Microsoft .NET Compact Framework
e. Firefox

9) VoIP will continue to be big. Expect to see more PC-based use both in home and business use. Employees will notice they no longer need a telepone at their desk. Headsets with a microphone will be the replacement. Google, Vonage, and Skype will be leaders -- followed by Microsoft. EBay might be the first "Big" pusher of this.

10) Expect announcements in alternative energy -- particularly in BioFuel and Solar.


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