WiMax Emerging?

The Seattle Times writes:

Now an even newer technology is following in Wi-Fi’s path and beginning to command center stage. It’s called WiMax and predictions of its future swing between extremes, too. Some supporters imagine a day when it replaces the need for Wi-Fi hotspots locations where Wi-Fi is accessible while others offer a more tempered vision of the two technologies working together.

WiMax would allow an operator to place antennas on just a couple of towers in a town to offer wireless Internet access just about everywhere. Customers within two or three miles of an antenna could share Internet access at speeds of 75 megabits per second (Mbps), likely receiving 1 or 2 Mbps each. Users as far as 30 miles away would have access as well, albeit at slower speeds.

By contrast, Wi-Fi connects users to a landline Internet connection at 11 to 54 megabits per second, and a Wi-Fi cloud extends only a few hundred feet. And while Wi-Fi is an extension of wired Internet access, WiMax could be marketed as an alternative to DSL or cable-modem service for residential users or small businesses. Eventually, proponents envision a portable service that subscribers could access around town via laptops or handheld devices.

But it’s too early to tell if any piece of that vision will come to fruition. Products based on the standard aren’t expected to be available until the end of this year at the earliest, and so far, no major wireless carrier has pledged to build a WiMax network.

The more prevalent thinking, however, is that Wi-Fi and WiMax will each fill a need in the market. WiMax was built for reaching across wide distances but not necessarily for what Wi-Fi does best: network different devices within a building.

WiMax could be quite useful in rural India also.

IBM’s WebFountain

[via Smart Mobs] Roland Piquepaille writes: “There is a world where Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft compete to build better search engines and — also — for our money. Then there is a completely different world, the corporate market. And the next big thing in Web search in this other world might be the WebFountain supercomputing project from IBM. It’s not your ordinary project. It already took 4 years to 200 IBM engineers and dozens of million of dollars to build it. It also needs lots of hardware resources: several hundreds of powerful processors and 160 terabytes of storage. This project has an impressive goal: transform the huge amounts of structured and unstructured data available on the Web into business trends. Not the thing that Google does. And not for the same price either. For example, Factiva, an information services company, has licensed WebFountain and plans to offer it to its customers for about $200,000 a year.”

The Omni-Chip

Om Malik writes:

The growing popularity of new features such as inbuilt cameras, digital music players, messaging clients and stream video playback software, the demands of the processors inside the handsets have never been higher. Till recently the guts of a handset were made-up of two core processors, the digital signal processor (DSP), [which performs signal processing functions], and the microprocessor [which handles call processing.]

But the new multimedia features that include gaming resulted in demand for a new kind of chip called the applications processor. These three chips along with other sundry silicon while highly efficient compared to desktop chips, consume a lot of battery power. There are other advantages of this single chip as well.

  • Lower overall royalties
  • Smaller silicon footprint, which reduces the printed circuit board area, allowing smaller form factors and reduced cost.
  • Easier integration and an easier debug of the combined software, which accelerates time-to-market for handset development.
  • Allows the use of a single unified memory system, which in turn provides a saving in silicon overhead and possibly memory-access performance when compared with the traditional two-processor architecture.

    As a result, the industry is now looking for one chip fits all processor that can do all of the above, has sufficient oomph and survives on a low-carb power diet. This processor is awkwardly named single
    processor cellular modem solution is the holy grail and is part of the wireless future, argues NY-based research firm, Allied Business Intelligence. The first company to announce this one chip fits all product is Starcore LLC, the DSP solutions entity that was formed by Motorola, Agere and Infineon Technologies. Texas Instruments has also announced such a chip recently. Is this the start of a trend? It depends on whether the performance of the single core is going to be optimum for the combined modem and call processing functions, explains Alan Varghese, ABI Researchs Senior Director of Wireless Research.

  • This could be a very positive development for developing low-cost thin clients.

    RSS NewsMaster

    Robin Good defines a new profession:

    The newsmaster is an individual capable of personally crafting RSS-based specialized information channels by utilizing technologies that allow hir to select, aggregate, filter, exclude and identify quality news, information, content, tools and resources from the whole universe of content, news and information available on the Internet.

    Newsmastering is the ability of a human being to concert, orchestrate, edit, and refine quality search formulas that tap into the whole Internet content universe and beyond, and that filter out relevant information through selected keywords, source selection, ranking, heuristics, and many other possible criteria

    The Newsmaster specializes in crafting uniquely powerful search/aggregation/filtering formulas generating continuous RSS feeds on narrowly selected topics by:

    a) Resource identification. Selecting and aggregating valuable resources (like a normal aggregator does)

    b) Query formulation at different levels and on different content bases.

    1) Creating advanced search queries in the blogosphere ( a la Bloglines

    2) Creating advanced search queries on the traditional Web content at large

    3) Creating advanced search queries on the overall pot of content derived at
    points a), b) and c) and generating new highly filtered RSS feeds matching
    specific content and quality criteria.

    4) Creating advanced search queries to the deep/invisible Web with dedicated
    tools and creating RSS content out of the results obtained.

    f) Filtering. Applying exclusion filters based on keywords, keyphrases, date, language, and more.

    g) Splicing (union): I want feed C to be the result of merging feeds A and B.

    h) Intersecting: Given primary feeds A and B, I want feed C to consist of all items that appear in both primary feeds.

    i) Subtracting (difference): I want to remove from feed A all of the items that also appear in feed B. Put the result in feed C.

    l) Splitting (subset selection): I want to split feed D into feeds D1 and D2, according to some binary selection criterion on items.

    g) Heuristics. utilization of heuristics allowing the system to learn from previous choices the patterns characterizing the most appropriate news items from the rest.

    i) Reputation. possible utilization of real-time collaborative filtering mechanisms allowing the newsmaster to benefit also from the rating and reputation given to selected news/information items by other independent newsmasters.

    f) Personal selection. The ability to integrate in the newsmastering workflow the ability to personally select information items or to continually improve and refine the governing search and aggregation formulas by way of personal evaluation.

    Budding Entrepreneurship

    Ross Mayfield answers the question: “If you were about to graduate from college and had an interest in becoming an entrepreneur, what would you do?” Among his suggestions:

    Start a business. Lots of people will give you advice to just get out there and start doing it. The smallest of ventures will teach you big things.

    Have fun with failure. Make mistakes and make them often. Make them early, because the only consequence decisions have early in life is what you learn from them. Persist.

    Do different. No matter what you do, do your own thing. Differentiation is perhaps the most important attribute of a successful venture. Not just for standing out in a crowded marketplace, but doing the little things inside the company in a way that is better than your competition. And if you can’t invent a great positioning or process, you can always excel at personal service.

    Start a weblog.

    TECH TALK: As India Develops: The Process (Part 2)

    Production is of two types: manufacturing and non-manufacturing. Manufacturing is what is done by the small- and medium-sized enterprises, the large Indian companies and the multinationals. Examples of non-manufacturing production (outside of agriculture) are handicrafts. In both cases, there is a need for greater access to credit and markets, along with the use of appropriate technologies to improve the means of production.

    The non-manufacturing sector in India employs artisans who can make custom handicrafts. Their need for capital and infrastructure is low. They use their hands and knowledge, with a limited set of resources, to create items which can have a demand in urban India and potentially, globally. Today, much of the marketing is done through organisations like the Khadi Village and Industries Commission (KVIC). Much more needs to be done to increase incomes of artisans especially from the point of view of opening up access to global markets, increasing the price realised for the handicrafts, a reduction in the commissions taken by intermediaries in the purchasing network, and the setting up of a proper logistics network to ensure timely delivery of the items to the buyers.

    The manufacturing sector has to be one of the big drivers for growth. Over the coming years, this sector needs to absorb the tens of millions of people coming out from rural India. For this, there is a need to increase domestic consumption. This is starting to happen via the spending driven by those engaged in the services sector, especially the knowledge workers catering to the global market. But this number is still very small there are less than a million people employed by Indias software and business process outsourcing organisations.

    What the manufacturing sector in India needs to do is get out of the low-quality, low-price mentality catering only on the domestic market and start exporting in large quantities akin to what China has been doing. There are some success stories already in India, and these need to be built on across many sectors. As Indias manufacturing sector grows, it will start employing more people. As their incomes rise, they will therefore be able to start consuming goods. This will create the virtuous cycle the manufacturing sector needs for growth, and what India needs for development.

    Over time, as the development process continues, there will be an increase in the population engaged in providing services. This is the progression of development managing the shifting labour force from agriculture to production and manufacturing to services. Given Indias population, there is no way India can leapfrog from an agriculture economy over the production phase straight to services.

    So, the road ahead to development needs to cross the following milestones:

  • Ensure that education (primary, secondary and vocational) is available to the rural poor.
  • Increase productivity in the agriculture sector do more with less people.
  • Foster the creation of co-operatives to get greater scale and information marketplaces to get better value for the producers.
  • Encourage handicrafts production by artisans, and complement by providing access to credit and markets.
  • Drive manufacturers to export high-quality goods this will require them to modernise their operations and seek out business opportunities abroad.

    Entrepreneurs can both catalyse and capitalise on Indias development process.

    Tomorrow: The Opportunities

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