Free Geek

Veer pointed me to this posting on BoingBoing about , which seems to have a few things in common with our thinking on using used PCs as Thin Clients: “ recycles used technology to provide computers, Internet access, education and job skills training to those in need. In exchange for a few hours of community service in the recycling center volunteers earn their very own Freek Box, a refurbished computer system loaded with the Gnu/Linux operating system and Free Software programs. teaches new users how to operate their Freek Box and offers a variety of hip classes, like Perl programing, in their training center.”

Web Services Adoption

Writes Line56:

According to Forrester, 11 percent of companies (among 292 cross-industry companies surveyed) already have Web services in production, 17 percent are in pilots and 13 percent are in the rollout phase. Thirty percent of companies are considering adoption, while 22 percent have no plans and the remaining seven percent are unsure.

The majority of implementations are behind the firewall, explains Forrester analyst Bobby Cameron, who wrote the report. However, the “knee-jerk reaction [to go] internal first is wrong,” as plenty of companies (notably in the financial services vertical) have had no problem extending Web services to their partner and customer ecology. Another inference of Web services Cameron dismisses is the notion that implementations have to be top-down. Cameron argues the opposite. “The skill sets required are very low. A person with minimal budget and management approval, and no unique skills, can deliver a Web service in a matter of hours.” Cameron says this is “The same formula that led to the website explosion in the 1990s, with no top-down control.”

Cable and Wireless

Writes Red Herring:

John McKinley, chief technology officer at Merrill Lynch, told a New York audience in May that set-top box manufacturers are planning to build cable boxes that include transceivers based on 802.11, a high-speed wireless technology.

Currently, customers who have both cable TV and broadband cable modem services need a cable box, a cable modem, and multiple cable outlets within the home. Customers with DSL and cable have two distinct setups. But if a cable box included a wireless connection, a single cable line entering the home could deliver cable TV and broadband. The cable box–with its 802.11 connection–could simultaneously transmit video to other TVs and Internet traffic to one or more PCs within the home.

Combining broadband and cable service could enable the redistribution of cable content through PCs, a concept that distresses movie and television studios, which have launched a legal battle against SonicBlue, a manufacturer of digital video recorders whose newest device allows the distribution of recorded television over networks. In addition, with such a combination, a neighborhood with many 802.11-equipped cable boxes could become one large wireless network in which each house serves as a node. Theoretically, then, one could surf the Net and receive cable TV just by being within the confines of the network.