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The Telecom Inventor Island Mystery

By Steven Shepard, Contributing Columnist

What a wonderful thing maps are. As a child I would pore over them, sometimes for hours, looking for the silliest names, the most intriguing locations, the most exciting geographies. I was particularly taken by maps of the Canadian Shield, a place so vast and forbidding that even today large swaths of it remain unexplored.

This is the home of the world’s largest remaining arboreal forest — it is huge. I also like the fact that on the maps of northern Canada, even today, roads meander northward from the reasonably populated cities near the US border, and then, inextricably, end. As a kid I longed to go there, to see what lay beyond the end of the road. I still do.

I still take aimless ambles through maps today when I have time. The nature of my work is such that I have had the pleasure of driving to the end of some of those roads, and in some cases, creating roads of my own. I have visited places with exotic names like Timboctou (we call it Timbuktu), Ouagadougou, and Zanzibar. The joy of map-gazing, however, still burns hot for me.

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Africa: No Longer the Dark Continent

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

After writing several recent posts on the telecom infrastructure efforts of Connect Africa, I’ve gotten a much better sense of what’s going on there from an ICT standpoint. The conventional wisdom for places like Africa states that it has the potential to achieve telecom parity more quickly than the U.S. and Europe did.

Why? Because it can skip the cost of wireline installations and go straight to wireless. An easier infrastructure, a faster deployment, a more rapid road to the connected life. The question, perhaps, is that optimism unfounded?

You might think so if all you saw was the political news coming out of Africa over the last weeks of 2010: bombings in Johannesburg; a disputed election in Ivory Coast; secession in Sudan; Kenyan politicians named in a drug dealing scandal. Telecom operators are no different than any other business — they’re attracted by stability and repelled by instability.

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The History and Future of Television

You may recall that when we launched the Connected Life Exchange blog we pointed our visitors to a unique microsite called the “Discovery of Data” — an interactive anthology of telecommunication innovation events and the related historical facts.

Today, you can visit and explore yet another fun and informative site. The topic is “The History and Future of TV” – society and technology have evolved and converged to create new video experiences. Those that are more social, mobile and personal.

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Connect Africa: Approaching the Halfway Point (Part 2)

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

In part one of this story, we looked at the strategic and tactical goals of Connect Africa, a group founded in 2007 intending to “bridge major gaps in information and communication technology across the region” by 2015.

In part 2, we look at its progress at the halfway point.

Connect Africa’s eleven flagship projects represent an ambitious stride toward bringing parity to the continent in relation with the rest of the world when it comes to interconnection and education.

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Economic Development Goals for 2011

Local governments are now eagerly discussing how to utilize information and communications technology (ICT) investment to advance their economic development plans. Topic awareness has increased, and yet total  comprehension and plan execution is still a work in progress. Regardless, we’ve seen notable progress.

Back in 1997 I managed the public sector account teams for US West in the state of Arizona. It was my responsibility to understand and support the ICT needs and wants of our local government, education and public safety customers.

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