Explains Paul Boutin on Wired News :

At its simplest, Palladium provides a tamper-proof vault for data on the desktop. “One of the areas the PC needs to grow in is its resistance to certain kinds of attacks,” said Geoffrey Strongin, platform security architect for AMD.

Those attacks include Web-based cracking and viruses, ripping CDs, modification of application programs, and sniffs of users’ passwords and other personal data, according to Strongin. “The constraint on the problem is the existing PC marketplace,” Strongin added. “We don’t want to throw out trillions of dollars in infrastructure.”

As a result, he said, Palladium was designed as an extension to current PC hardware and software, one that would allow existing software and hardware to work as usual, while enabling new applications and hardware that work with encrypted data inside the PC.

In theory, the Palladium system would be safe from any attacks short of physically opening the box and tapping into the hardware.

Peru’s Plan Huascarab

Peru’s president to meet with Gates, writes, to sign accords for the plan.

Officials say Plan Huascaran has provided about 100 schools in Peru with Internet service and teaching tools. The government aims to increase that number to 5,000 schools by the end of Toledo’s term in 2006.

The drive is part of a campaign to improve education–illiteracy rates are high, especially in isolated highland or jungle areas. More than a quarter of women in rural mountain areas, for example, cannot read.

The article doesn’t mention anything about hardware and software. My suggestion: for USD 3,000, each school can set up 10 Thin Clients and a Thick Server with Internet connectivity. Each addition Thin Client will cost USD 150. Spread the cost over 3 years (rental model), and it works out to less than USD 100 per month. This is what emerging markets need for grass-roots technology literacy.

Silicon Valley looks beyond the PC

Writes the New York Times:

The prolonged stagnation of the PC market – which for more than two decades has provided almost assured double-digit growth – suggests that Silicon Valley may be approaching a shift that goes beyond the collapse of dot-com stocks.

Increasingly, personal computers have become a replacement rather than a growth market, and Silicon Valley collectively is still waiting for the Next Big Thing.

Silicon Valley needs to look beyond the US to the developing countries. That’s where the Next Big Thing is going to happen. These emerging markets need technology, but at much lower price points. Instead of creating new things, the question to be pondered is: can we put together existing technologies different to solve problems for the “rest of the world”.

This may be hard to accept, but the centre of gravity in technology is going to shift eastwards. Already, China is the #2 PC market, Korea and Japan are the leader on 3G, Philippines do more SMSing than anyone else in the world, India is the outsourcing software development champion, Taiwan has the semiconductor fabs.

It is a different world, if one removes the blinkers. Technology’s game is not over, but has reached a strategic inflection point. (I hope to build on some of these thoughts in a future Tech Talk column.)