How the Internet Works

{EAV:98ce57f504818587}Sometimes it’s good for a little reminder and refresher as to the internal workings of the MOST integrated technology in all of ours lives! Complements of open-site.org 🙂

Engineering The Internet

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Fascinating story of a people near and dear to my heart.

TheAdventuresOfDr

                                          

                                          

                                          

I’m not going to go over the details of how we got to Cuba because I see them as irrelevant to the bigger picture of the circumstances that came to be.  It would also be unpatriotic to reveal the ease of purchasing a ticket with cash money from any one of the dozens of travel agencies throughout Cancun, all selling discrete backdoor entrances into the infamous Pearl of the South.  Nor will I divulge deeper in the fact that we found ourselves on a plane full of Americans doing the exact same thing for the exact same reason; to see the “surreality” of existence in this mythical, fabled land before the carpet rolls out for capitalism to get it’s hands onto one of the last places on earth that not only hasn’t welcomed it with open arms, but exclusively blocked it with a socialized shield.  For…

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Texting and Chewing Gum

What do texting and chewing gum have to do with each you, you ask? Apparently they are two things that should not be done a whole lot of while walking. In a FierceWireless article on July 3, 2012, titled The 5 Worst Walking and Texting Mishaps, there are some humorous and some not-so-humorous videos of these top 5 incidents involving people texting and not paying attention to little obstacles like fountains or manhole covers. Take a look at the videos and enjoy! Oh and don’t text while driving, walking, riding a bike, having dinner with your GF/BF, running, rock climbing and other such activities that require your undivided attention 🙂

At #5 we have Texting Guy vs. Bear

At #4 we have Ms. I Need To Take a Quick Bath

At #3 we have a scuba diver in training…just without the scuba stuff, just her phone

At #2 we have a teenager falling into an open manhole cover. The family is suing. I don’t have a problem with this if the open manhole was not properly marked. If it was, then yet-another frivolous lawsuit that will yield a million dollars of stupid money!

And finally at #1 we have “Oops, were those steps I missed there during my Foursquare check-in?”

SHIFT HAPPENS!

This post is from my Facebook friend, Robbie Lauren. It was so thought provoking I thought I’d repost it (with due credit) in my Life, Connected theme for this blog.

SHIFT HAPPENS especially when you least expect it. You may think you are doing everything right and following a path you feel will bring you to a place of happiness and then — one day – a change happens that turns your world upside down. Sometimes change is brought about by external forces and sometimes it comes from within. Regardless of origin, change is often painful and riddled with paradox. When the moment comes – many people are rarely prepared for what happens and often times they become overwhelmed with fear and get stuck dwelling in the past.

The Shift is the Gift The key to embracing a change is to see it as a gift and to see the value in the present moment – no matter how overwhelming it may feel. Yes, that’s right – the shift is a gift and seeing it from this perspective can present significant opportunity. Life has a way of bringing us significant shifts when we need them most. A shift can present the time to examine what it means to live a life of fulfillment or how to achieve balance. The key is knowing the right questions to ask yourself when shift happens. The answers are inside of you and sometimes they just need a little space, time and help to surface.

Purpose is Powerful Your life belongs to you and no one else and living a fulfilling life is a radical act. Maintaining the status quo is for many both the path of least resistance and the antithesis of fulfillment. Listen to yourself – the answers are always inside of you. It’s often been said the quality of life is driven by the quality of our conversations. When you are going through change -what is your default conversation? Do you automatically listen to others or do you listen to the voice inside of you? When was the last time you sparked a powerful conversation with yourself? If you’re comfortable listening to your inner voice, which voice are you speaking with – the voice of love or the voice of fear?

Powerful Questions The most valuable wisdom I’ve learned is the power of the right question – especially during a transition. Powerful questions can ignite the spark to help you transition from living passively to living actively. Powerful questions help get you unstuck and find purpose and fulfillment.

Key Questions to Spark Personal Growth What do I really want and what am I willing to sacrifice? Who I am is who I say I want to be. Who do I want to be? What story do I need to stop telling myself? And what story do I want to begin? What commitment do I want to make to myself in this moment?

Life is Short and You are Magnificent That’s right- you are magnificent! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You have strengths, experience and a perspective unlike anyone else. Be kind to yourself and celebrate the uniqueness of being you. What’s important is knowing yourself, knowing your purpose and embracing the possibilities of the power of this moment.

Thanx, Robbie!

Credit Card Security

I recently had a miserable experience with credit card fraud and am not looking forward to having more high tech credit cards in my pocket as a result. I was pumping gas at a Chevron station in East Palo Alto. All seemed rather benign and safe. I swiped my credit card in the embedded machine in the pump. It asked me for the usual zip code info, approved and on I went with pumping the gas. I finished, took my receipt and drove off. About an hour later I get an email from Barclays Bank who handles the Virgin America VISA card (really cool looking card) stating that I had possible fraud activity on my card. I checked it online and noticed that there were two charges at that same Chevron station: my first legitimate one and another larger, fraudulent one for $120. I promptly cancelled it and the Barclays Bank folks were really good on the phone.

I asked around with several friends as to how this might possibly have happened. It’s not definitive but it’s theorized that there was someone at the gas station with a wireless device that somehow had activated the embedded chip in my credit card and somehow got access to information that obviously made them capable of a making a fraudulent charge on the card. Another possibility is that the gas pump somehow could have gotten hacked or intruded upon allowing access to be gained to the cards that get swiped through it.

So there are many credit cards with the embedded chips in them for contactless payments with the terminals at several merchants. Are we headed full speed ahead into a brick wall of a security hole with this embedded technology? What else is at risk?

  • Our healthcare with smart tags or cards that carry our health information?
  • Our passports with the new smart chips in them?

Will the move to using our smartphones or cellphones be safer for doing payments and commerce?

Utili-Telcos are Real

According to Greentech Media in their article titled, Green Tech at Midyear: What’s Hot, What’s Not, the union of utilities and service providers is happening and possibly even inevitable. They’ve coined the term “utili-telcos” for the entity that will provide combined services of voice, video, Internet, mobile, electricity and gas. Here is the excerpt from their #8 list of items.

For the past few years, communications giants like Comcast and AT&T have begun to build internal units that will one day manage energy in homes or offices. Some of the early efforts have begun to trickle out. Central Indiana Power merged with a local telco to provide communications services and power and gas. Verizon, meanwhile, unfurled an initiative in February to provide cloud computing to utilities.

At the other end of the spectrum, utilities are going to start to recruit more heavily from telcos and retailers in an effort to build customer-friendly faces and support desks, sources tell us.

I wonder who those “sources” are. Nevertheless, this is an area to keep a close eye on as it has very disruptive possibilities.

Utilities + Telecom = The Really Smart Grid

Last November 2010 I wrote about whether utilities and telecom operators where friends or foes. I opined that there are more things going for them to be friends than otherwise. Recently there was an article in Greentech Media titled The Merger of Telecom and Utilities: Is It the Future? According to the article,

“It’s already happening in Australia, where one utility, ActewAGL, is bundling up to seven services to save customers money. It’s also starting to happen here in the U.S.

Central Indiana Power, a small co-operative in the suburbs of Indianapolis, has merged with a local telecom, Hancock, to offer electricity, phone, broadband and home security services through one company now called NineStar Connect.”

Will utilities of the future sell TV, phone, mobile, electricity and gas? Is this possible given the incredibly slow to move behemoth monopolies that exist in the utility industry today? Does it make sense from a consumer perspective? Is it taking a current monopoly and making it the multi-headed Hydra of a monopoly where they control so much? Or it is just the right recipe to promote competition whereby the distribution infrastructure is managed in a wholesale model whereby multiple Mega Service Providers offer the quintuple play of services competing within a market against other Mega Service Providers?

Another Greentech Media article titled Who Are The Utilities of the Future? makes a few good points, one specifically that can provide the catalyst to these new futuristic utilities.

“The general public perception of utilities is that they are staid, almost immobile, organizations that act more like government agencies than businesses. The power and water business, however, is currently undergoing perhaps the largest transformation it has seen since the dawn of utility commissions.

Consumers and corporations have begun to install solar panels and fuel cells that effectively let them ease off the grid. Native American tribes, real estate investment trusts and others sell power generated from real estate — desert acreage, industrial rooftops, landfills — that once had little market value. Soon, microgrids could lead to autonomous communities. Power to charge your electric car will come from a parking lot.”

Microgrids may very well spawn the age of these new Mega Service Providers where there is more of a market driven approach than just simple peak load management according to demand-response. Microgrids will generate and store energy, as well as consume it. But they may also communicate intelligently among themselves to a services broker or “green exchange” that will facilitate the trading of knowledge and possibly the energy itself of when certain loads will be required as well as when certain lulls will be available. As the Internet did for social networking, it may also do for the ultimate grassroots effort of all mankind, to disrupt the current utility model and create totally new business and operating models.

Is this the future? How else might it look? Do you agree or disagree?

Wireless is for the birds

From my colleague and co-chair of the Wireless Communications Alliance Cognitive Radio Special Interest Group (WCA CR SIG…whew!), Lloyd Nirenberg, I thought this picture was funny and cool, and still somewhat accurate about the “black magic” that is wireless technology. Wireless is for the birds.png

And yet wireless technologies are permeating themselves into EVERY single facet of our lives. Here is a list representative of my Life, Connected (certainly not an exhaustive or representative list of other people but probably close).

  • iPhone (3G, Bluetooth, WiFi)
  • iPad (3G, Bluetooth, WiFi)
  • Laptop (Bluetooth, WiFi)
  • Mobile broadband card (3G)
  • Smart meter (Zigbee)
  • Toyota SUV (Bluetooth)
  • Playstation3 (WiFi)
  • Nintendo Wii (WiFi)
  • Apple TV (WiFi)
  • Cordless home phone (900MHz DECT)
  • Canon camera (WiFi with internal EyeFi SD card)
  • iMac (WiFi)
  • Scuba integrated air computer (some wireless tech between tank transceiver and wristmount computer
  • Samsung TV (WiFi)

And I think that’s just the beginning. There will be appliances that will be connected to networks to manage their energy consumption. Lighting control systems that will be connected and controlled over IP networks to manage energy consumption based on thousands and millions of sensors also connected telling the lighting control system where the people are. People themselves will be connected everywhere they go (home, work, everywhere in-between) when they go running, go out to eat (READ: foursquare++ :), sit at home watching a show on Netflix, wondering what they’re kids are doing, checking up on elderly parents, on and on.

Where do you think this whole wireless thing is going? And hopefully not the birds… 🙂