SACRAMENTO, CA – My daughter just turned 10. It now takes two whole hands to show her age! And, lately, I’ve been amazed at what those hands can do on our piano — and our computer. If you’re like me and have kids home 24/7 now because of summer vacation, you may be tempted to plant them in front of the computer to overcome whines of boredom.I’m amazed at her recent view that email is”snail mail” now that she’s discovered instant messaging with her cousins and a few neighborhood friends. Her puzzled look as I explained what”snail mail” really is said it all: Her generation’s ability to see technology not simply as productivity tools but as enabling social interactions is far different from those of us who still received a Smith-Corona typewriter at our high school graduation. While the phone and email remain an essential part of daily interactions, it’s clear that texting/instant messaging is replacing the need for many telephone conversations or email exchanges.Nearly two-thirds of Americans using the Internet connect to the internet using high-speed broadband connections. We have four email accounts at our home, but no family web page. My Daughter now wants her own web site address and a second email. As a compromise, she’s agreed to help us create a family web site, so we searched the web for information. One article noted that we are quickly gobbling up available internet addresses. When the internet came into existence some 20 years ago, programmers made room for four billion addresses (16-bit numbers). Now a new internet protocol called IPv6 has been developed that will create 340,282,366,920,938,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000 unique web addresses (let’s see if I can get this right-that translates to 340 undecillion, 282 decillion, 366 nonillion, 920 octillion, 938 septillion.). Ah, a veritable Milky Way of address availability-which makes it kinda hard for a Dad to say no to the creation of a couple of more web destinations.The benefits of social and economic interactions on the internet will become increasingly apparent in the years ahead, as my daughter’s generation, paired with powerful networks, killer applications, and innovative consumer devices, come of age. (Written August 3rd)
SAN JOSE, CA – I wanted to draw your attention to a story in The Bergen Record by reporter Martha McKay on spectrum auctions. My colleague, Robert Pepper, is quoted in the story as saying: “The public spectrum is an incredibly important resource…It’s become ingrained into people’s daily lives — it’s one of those invisible resources like air.” McKay does a nice job of laying down the history of spectrum auctions as well as how spectrum can be used…her lead sets the story up nicely, “Dozens of companies will compete next month in a high-stakes government auction for control over some of the most valuable real estate in the U.S. But it’s not real estate in the terrestrial sense. The auction is for slices of the nation’s airwaves, otherwise known as radio spectrum. It’s what is used to operate everything from your garage door opener to your cellphone to your favorite radio station.”Read the full story here.
SAN JOSE, CA – Interesting op-ed in The New York Times today about net neutrality, entitled “Entangling the Web.” The kicker for me is: “Congress should let the marketplace develop rather than constrain it with regulation. Lawmakers should certainly be mindful of unintended consequences. The Interstate Commerce Commission’s regulations on transportation lingered for decades after their usefulness expired. Any neutrality regulations passed by Congress this year are likely to have a similarly dismal future. Choice and competition will do a better job of protecting Internet consumers than government bureaucrats ever have.”Read the full article here. (Free registration required). Author is Timothy B. Lee of the Show-Me Institute, a nonpartisan research organization. He is no relation, that I know of, to Sir Timothy Berners-Lee (the Internet pioneer.)
WASHINGTON, DC – Although the 2006 hurricane season started June 1st, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration here in Washington DC reported just three tropical storms over the past 8 weeks, and no hurricanes. We’re off to a sleepy start, and that’s a very good thing. On my desk sit about 12 linear inches of various government reports about what went wrong during last year’s horrific Hurricane Katrina, written by earnest federal officials in the hopes that we can learn from our past mistakes. These are useful documents, and I don’t mean to belittle their importance. But I worry that if we spend all of our time looking backwards, we won’t spot the next set of issues, or understand what solutions are at hand, or could be at hand, to resolve them. In my view, technology could have made things better in Katrina. Had the”right” technology been in place or ready to drop in when existing networks failed, it could have served to perpetuate”command and control” by local, state and federal officials. Technology could also have addressed the absence of interoperable networks among public safety, governmental agencies, non-profit relief agencies and the private sector. For the future, the ability to talk to each other, to ensure the flow of information both up and down a command structure, as well as”out” to the public, and the retention of command and control will depend upon our ability and willingness to call new technology into service. Read More »
SAN JOSE, CA – British Prime Minister Tony Blair visited Cisco headquarters today to talk about innovation, research and development, education and how the UK can attract more Silicon Valley investment. Cisco CEO John Chambers gave the Prime Minister a tour of some of Cisco’s latest technology as well as some soon to be announced technology. Suffice it to say that with Mr. Blair’s passion for the environment, the yet-to-be announced technology was right up his alley.A who’s who of Silicon Valley attended the luncheon discussion, including HP CEO Mark Hurd, Apple CEO Steve Jobs, AMD CEO Hector de J. Ruiz, Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz (whom I’m sure will also be blogging on this), and Google Chief Internet Evangelist Vint Cerf among others. Cisco’s UK country manager Duncan Mitchell; Cisco VP Marthin De Beer; Cisco IBSG SVP Gary Bridge; Laura Ipsen, Vice President of Worldwide Government Affairs; and Monique Meche, Cisco European Government Affairs head also participated in the meeting.As I stated in a previous blog, “What does a head of state get out of meeting with Cisco? First and foremost: knowledge. Cisco invented the technology that forms the core of the Internet. We use the secure internet to run our business and save billions of dollars in operational costs and efficiencies. We can help governments do the same.” The Prime Minister and his team visited Cisco to hear from Silicon Valley executives about innovation and research and development, but I would also surmise that Mr. Blair’s team saw and read about U.S. President Bush’s visit to Cisco this past April, where Mr. Bush stated he was happy to be at”one of America’s most innovative companies.” Cisco is, of course, honored to have hosted President Bush and now Prime Minister Blair in such a short span of time, but I would be remiss if I didn’t point out what I see as the obvious: they visited Cisco because they view us as the center of Silicon Valley and the center of innovation. I’m not saying that Mr. Bush picked up the phone after his visit to Cisco and said, “Tony, if you want to see innovation, go to Cisco,” but, clearly, they both wanted to be at the center of technology and they chose Cisco. Mr. Blair’s #10 Downing team and the British consulate in San Francisco were very professional and a pleasure to work with and we were honored to have hosted the entire delegation. Now that we have hosted 25% of the G8 this year, the invite remains to the rest of the G8 as well as to other world leaders to come and visit Cisco. We look forward to hosting you.