WLAN for last-mile access

A report on wireless LANs which also has some stats [via Kevin Werbach], has a quote which echoes what I think: “I think that [802.11’s] potential as a last mile solution has generally being overlooked..WLAN technologies will become very widespread in the distribution of broadband access from DSL/cable nodes to local communities. It is relatively cheap to purchase/install, has global standards in place, widely available equipment, no licenses to purchase, and a nice fat bandwidth to offer.” The quote is by Tony Crabtree of Juniper Research.

Another related story — MIT scholars predict shift in telecom model:

Keeping the Internet an open entity will depend largely on users’ abilities to set up ad hoc networks among themselves, instead of large telecommunications companies controlling the infrastructure and therefore the bits that travel across it, according to some members of the famed Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Laboratory.

With the emergence of new wireless LAN technologies, such as the IEEE 802.11 specification that lets users with the right equipment pass data back and forth across a short distance without requiring physical connections, device manufacturers that include such technology in their products are enabling users to create networks on their own.

Traction for Enterprise Weblogs

From the Traction website:

The platform supports team performance while flagging what’s important in “unstructured information” and solving the acute pains of information and email overload. The revolutionary technology benefits a vast array of markets and uses by making the full power of web publishing technologies available to the end-user.

With Traction, users simply and easily harvest, organize, and share business-critical knowledge, communication, and information from email, the web, Microsoft Office and many other applications in a single dynamic writable hypertext system which can plug into their existing infrastructure or operate stand-alone on the Intranet or Extranet.

InfoWorld had written about Traction sometime ago. [My Post] They are offering a summer special of USD 249 for a single-user copy. I think we should download it and check it out.

Amazon RSS for New Books

An innovative idea by Sean Nolan: “Another Amazon Web Services experiment. The idea is this: say you’re interested in books about weblogs. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an RSS feed for all weblog-related books at Amazon, so that when new books became available you’d know about them? Thanks to the magic of web pipelines (Amazon >> XML over HTTP >> XSLT >> ASP >> RSS >> Your News Aggregator), it’s become a pretty trivial thing to put together. ”

These are the type of ideas we need to apply within the enterprise for different types of content. RSS-ify it, and pump it into the information refinery.

Speech Recognition

Writes NYT:

Speech recognition software…is still fairly primitive. At most it can identify individual words, but not periods, commas, sentences or paragraphs, much less when a speaker is joking.

Give such a program a snippet of the evening news, for example, and it will produce a raw stream of words: “an earthquake hit last night at 11 pm we bring you live coverage on wall street today the market slumped.”

Human beings are a lot better than machines at transcribing speech like this. They can figure out how to punctuate the text and they can resolve whether a phrase like “for sure” is a statement, a question or a jeer, guided by the speaker’s intonation.

Now researchers in the United States and abroad are working to build those same subtle cues, known collectively as prosody, into speech recognition software. The hope is to create automatic ways to detect the slight differences in pitch, timing and amplitude that are so easy for people to interpret and so hard for computers.