For the Week of April 25, 2005
I see more and more evidence that Always On is ready to pop. Ready or not.
RFID is coming to passports, ready or not. VxWorks is going to support Linux applications, ready or not. Zigbee is here, ready or not. Islands of 802.11 coverage are becoming clouds, ready or not.
What does this mean? It means your next residential gateway will be a platform for robust, scalable and modular applications, ready or not. It means the medical sensors your doctor suggests you wear will be able to report back home from anywhere, ready or not.
Inflation and higher energy prices are also going to drive demand for Always On solutions.
Chemical plants and oil refineries can be monitored more closely, and they will be more productive, with sensor networks. The Administration is promising to monitor our borders with sensor networks. Office and condo managers are being shown how they can save big money on energy from sensor networks. Golf courses and other big users of water will find the only way to keep things green without going broke will be sensor networks.
In every new field custom, expensive solutions precede mass market solutions. First you get something to work, then you put it in a box, then you make it an application using standard components and ramp up production.
Demands to save energy and water, and secure our plants and borders, are going to drive the creation of robust wireless network applications that not only sell, but get heavily tested by bad guys. This is already starting to happen.
The end of the real estate boom will drive capital looking for a return back to technology, and in Always On wireless networking they will find customers waiting for solutions, and equipment ready to be integrated.
All this is starting to happen, ready or not.
In preparing to write my own Always On book last week I visited some bookstores. I was surprised at just how far technology has fallen. Some general purpose stores have no computer books at all. Business shelves are filled with get-rich-quick-in-real estate titles. A few tattered digital music titles, Web design titles and open source programming titles are there to be had, at half off.
Instead, celebrities who seem doomed to fade with the next recession stared at me. Donald Trump. Suze Orman. Jack Welch. Harry Dent. It's all a system, like the casinos. Watch how the game is played and you, too can be rich for doing nothing at all.
It's going to be tough to convince anyone to back anything, when the time comes. But something new will come. It always does. Oil was replaced by leveraged buyouts (LBOs), and LBOs by biotechs, and biotechs by dot-coms, and dot-coms by real estate. Something new always rises when the current boom fades away.
Always On is ready for its close up. But perhaps the name is wrong.
How about if we call it The Internet of Things?
I'm now helping to produce a special blog on Open Source for ZDNet.
I work as a freelance writer in Atlanta, and am on the development team for EgoScout, a new kind of mediator for mobile phone users.
My last non-fiction book, "The Blankenhorn Effect" won the Computer/Internet category in the 2003 Independent Publisher (IPPY) awards. Write me for a PDF copy of my latest novel, "Baptists are for Dunking."
On my Mooreslore blog I've written a new novel, "The Chinese Century." It's a story told in real-time, with real characters, but entirely fictional, dealing with the consequences of the falling dollar. I'm beginning a sequal, "American Diaspora," exploring the themes of the first book but with more fictional characters. It's a true alternate history, but set in the present day.
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Best of the Week
There are two types of chips key to the Always On world.
Critics of my Always On rants (and I know they get tiresome) see the expense of radio-equipped sensor chips as a stumbling block. In fact, sensor chips are already the Next Big Thing.
The coming issue of Business Week features a short story on the Internet of Things, or Machine to Machine (M2) applications, which this blog calls Always On.
Intel's role in the development of Always On is crucial, and its strategy today seems muddled.
The BBC reports this quite breathlessly, but there's no need to be either surprised or unduly alarmed.
Sun's plan to release Solaris under its CDDL open source license got a boost yesterday with an endorsement by...The SCO Group?
One problem journalists have with blogging is it does away with gatekeepers.
The headline his editors give the piece is "In Yuan We Trust." His point is that our debts to Japan and China are so massive neither can afford to end their support for us. Thus the air will go out of our financial balloon slowly. We won't know the dollar's a peso until it's reached par. He concludes, "So be afraid. Just don't be very afraid." That's the part I take issue with.
The BBC is in the midst of a brown-out. The government-funded corporation is in the midst of a forced turnover plan. It's cutting staff now, but planning on hiring new staff later. It wants to get younger people with new ideas in the door, and get those who've grown stale out the door. Sounds like a good idea. But meanwhile quality suffers.
If one side is large and undisciplined while the other side is smaller but tightly disciplined, the smaller group can win a political struggle. That seems to be the case with municipal wifi. It's an undeniable good everyone wants. It's relatively cheap to install and maintain. It should be a no-brainer.
In a nice commentary about how Wired is now Tired, David P. Reed (left) got me thinking about what today's key economic good might be. The answer is attention. The world is entering an attention economy.
Glenn Fleischman and I disagree so seldom, we both get confused when it happens.
The American Diaspora
ZDNet Open Source
Clued-in is the work Naomi Halas of Rice is doing on carbon nanoshells. These could finally be the breakthrough that makes a big market for Buckminsterfullerene, which was discovered at Rice 20 years ago.
Clueless was over-reaction to IBM's profit miss. It's Europe, stupid.
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