Friday, August 29, 2008

More Reasons Why The Power Grid Needs To Be Upgraded

The Public Record highlights why the Power Grid is in Dire Straits

“Electricity generation and consumption have steadily risen, placing an increased burden on a transmission system that was not designed to carry such a large load.”....

Another reason why the grid needs to be upgraded, it's an easy target for hackers.

The US power grid - three interconnected grids made up of 3,500 utilities serving 283 million people - still hangs together by a thread, and its dilapidated state is perhaps one of the greatest threats to homeland security, according to Bruce deGrazia, the president of Global Homeland Security Advisors and a former assistant deputy undersecretary for the Department of Defense

Headlines For The Week Worth Pondering

Headlines this week that were deserving of the title "Daily Disruptions"

GE Reshapes Wind Power

Comcast Limits Monthly Download Cap

Microsoft To Tag Conference Attendees With RFID

Latency Plays Big Factor With Cloud Computing

Intel Unveils Wireless Power System

Energy From Human Motion Powers Small Devices

Roads And Parking Lots Could Be Inexpensive Sources For Electricity And Hot Water

Google Adds Asia To Underseas Cable Network Africa next

Google, Verizon Sued Over Voicemail Patent

Ships And Planes Going Solar

Solar Sunroof Can Cool Or Heat Parked Car

Handheld Breath Sensor Could Detect Cancer

Artificial Wind Coming For Wind Power

Latest Microsoft Browser Challenges Google

Startup To Store Electricity In The Air

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Clean Energy's Dirty Little Secret

Experts say that without a solution to the grid problem, effective use of wind power on a wide scale is likely to remain a dream.

From NY Times Wind Energy Bumps Into Power Grid's Limits

Expansive dreams about renewable energy, like Al Gore’s hope of replacing all fossil fuels in a decade, are bumping up against the reality of a power grid that cannot handle the new demands.

The dirty secret of clean energy is that while generating it is getting easier, moving it to market is not.

What is the problem?

The basic problem is that many transmission lines, and the connections between them, are simply too small for the amount of power companies would like to squeeze through them. The difficulty is most acute for long-distance transmission, but shows up at times even over distances of a few hundred miles

How can it be solved?

We need an interstate transmission superhighway system,” said Suedeen G. Kelly, a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

“The windiest sites have not been built, because there is no way to move that electricity from there to the load centers,” Gabriel Alonso said.

In Texas, T. Boone Pickens, the oilman building the world’s largest wind farm, plans to tackle the grid problem by using a right of way he is developing for water pipelines for a 250-mile transmission line from the Panhandle to the Dallas market

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Comcast To Slow Web Traffic And Redfines "Unlimited" Bandwidth

"Penalty goes to IP address number X, 10 minutes for high bandwidthing"

From Bloomberg Comcast to Slow Some Web Traffic for Up to 20 Minutes

Comcast Corp. plans to slow Internet service to its heaviest users during periods of congestion, after regulators ordered the company to devise a new method for managing its Web traffic.

The top Internet speeds for targeted customers will be reduced for periods lasting 10 minutes to 20 minutes, keeping service to other users flowing.

See what speeds your ISP is really giving you (as opposed to what they advertise).

Do a SpeedTest.

It's free and takes less than a minute (no registration req'd) and will give your download and upload speeds. Find the closest server to your location and give it a test.

My closest test server is less than 50 miles away and this morning my download speed was 2.6 Mbps and 854 kbps upload. That's a far cry from the 6 Mbps Comcast advertises.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Intel And Yahoo Merge the Internet And TV

What happens when Yahoo and Intel make TV interactive?

Could TV ads as we know it be over?

Instead of a TV channel being a one-way passive content "website", it becomes a dynamic information delivery platform. Ads can be inserted as hyperlinks in tv programs,that match viewers interest and viewing habits.

TV programs turn into quasi websites. TV networks have multiple revenue opportunities. Viewers click on "hyperlinks" inserted in TV shows for more info.

If hyperlinks are inserted into any TV program and the typical 30 second ad is eliminated, does this solve the problem of DVR skipping?

Media disruption ahead...for advertisers, consumers and innovative companies. The Next Google is the ability to monitor viewership and deliver ads/content to any screen.

Intel® And Yahoo!® To Bring The Internet To Television

The Widget Channel will allow consumers to enjoy rich Internet applications designed for the TV while watching their favorite TV programs.

The Widget Channel will be powered by the Yahoo! Widget Engine, a fifth-generation applications platform that will enable TV watchers to interact with and enjoy a rich set of "TV Widgets," or small Internet applications designed to complement and enhance the traditional TV watching experience and bring content, information and community features available on the Internet within easy reach of the remote control.

TV Widgets will enable consumers to engage in a variety of experiences, such as watching videos, tracking their favorite stocks or sports teams, interacting with friends, or staying current on news and information.

Makes a lot of sense considering Nielsen said Americans are watching more TV than ever.

Have to factor in the Mister Softee too. Microsoft announced their intent to cash in with click-on ads.

Advertisers pay top dollar to place products in popular television shows and movies.

Microsoft is hoping to expand on the concept with a new technology that allows viewers to click on cars, clothing or other products that appear in online movies or TV shows. For example, viewers of "Sex and the City" could click on Carrie Bradshaw's designer shoes or Kamali sweaters as she walks down a New York street and immediately be transported to advertisements for those products.

What is produced from all of these partnerships? The Next Google.


The Next Google will be able to collect data, second-by-second, from all services/devices connected to the broadband pipe and deliver relevant advertising to ANY display.

This company
has the distinct capability of tracking all data activity from the nation’s 110 million television set-top boxes.

They are capable of measuring with incredible accuracy and precision, every view of a television program or advertisement and every click of a remote across all networks and all programs. Pretty big huh?

All screens, all networks, all programs and all advertisements...yes that's the Next Google

Know what company this is?

American Airlines Kicks Off AirCell's In-Flight Internet Service

The "Prodigy" of aviation broadband service is taking off.

It's great that we are getting some type of Internet service on a plane. However, due to Aircell's limited bandwidth and scalability issues, I think we will see a much faster aviation broadband service leapfrog Aircell. We all know what happened to Prodigy.

From Reuters American Airlines kicks off in-flight Internet service.

aviation broadband
AMR Corp's American Airlines began offering Internet access on long-haul domestic flights on Wednesday, making American the first U.S. airline to offer full in-flight broadband. The world's largest airline said its passengers on Boeing 767-200 aircraft can pay $12.95 for Internet access on nonstop flights between New York and San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles, and New York and Miami.

American's mobile broadband service, which is called Gogo, is provided by AirCell. Each Gogo session includes full Internet access.

Why Prodigy?

There are approximately 2000 planes in air at any one time in US or Europe and Aircell couldn't accommodate even a fraction of these planes.

I would keep an eye out for Harris Corp and their recently introduced aviation broadband service.

Harris, which does a ton of business with the FAA, recently announced an Air-to-ground solution (ATG) that has 10xs the capacity at same or lower cost. In most cases they offer 10-50x more bandwidth, 5-100xs lower cost per bit, and speeds up to 35 Mbps.

More discussions on aviation broadband.

Mayor Bloomberg Wants New York City To Go Green

Mayor Bloomberg has a green energy plan for the City of New york energy

Bloomberg proposed putting windmills on top of city bridges, and skyscrapers, and turbines in the Hudson and East Rivers.

In terms of offshore locations, aides to the mayor told CBS 2's Magee Hickey, the city is looking at the generally windy coast off of Queens, Brooklyn and Long Island for the turbines, which could provide 10 percent of the city's electricity in just 10 years.

The plan also includes the use of solar panels, possibly on the roofs of public and private buildings:

To show how serious he is, the mayor had lunch with T. Boone Pickens - the oil baron trying to build the world's largest wind farm in Texas - to talk about possibilities for such technology in New York City. Bloomberg gave companies until September 19 to submit innovative proposals to make the city "greener" by 2030.

More info on the The T Boone Pickens Plan

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Cloud Computing...Evolutionary Or Revolutionary?

Cloud computing
ZDNet has a great story that asks Is The Enterprise Ready For Cloud Computing?

Some snippets from the story.

Cloud Computing is the most disruptive technology that has come along in a very long time.

Respected technology analysts say it will be bigger than e-Business and it’s potentially a quarter of a trillion dollar market. So, is Cloud Computing a revolution or an evolution?

If you woke up in the morning and read in the Wall Street Journal that an eCommerce company like had stopped using the USPS, UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc. to deliver their goods and, instead, leased airport hubs all over the world, bought a fleet of jets and bought thousands of trucks and started delivering the stuff themselves, you’d think they were out of their minds.

So, why is it not equally insane for financial services companies, health care institutions, manufacturing companies, bio-tech companies, pharmaceutical giants, etc. to be spending a billion dollars or much more every year on information technology infrastructure?

run those applications on massively scalable infrastructure that scales up and down dynamically as needed, using resources on demand, always there when needed and only paying for what is consumed

A Cloud infrastructure done right, behind the corporate firewall, enables the enterprise to run their data centers as metered utilities.

Google Invests In Breakthrough Geothermal Energy Technology

CleanTech invests in breakthrough geothermal energy technology

Through its philanthropic arm, announced $10.25 million in investments in a breakthrough energy technology called Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS).

EGS expands the potential of geothermal energy by orders of magnitude. The traditional geothermal approach relies on finding naturally occurring pockets of steam and hot water. The EGS process, by comparison, replicates these conditions by fracturing hot rock, circulating water through the system, and using the resulting steam to produce electricity in a conventional turbine.

A recent MIT report on EGS estimates that just 2% of the heat below the continental United States between 3 and 10 kilometers, depths within the range of current drilling technology, is more than 2,500 times the country's total annual energy use.

For more information on the Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal initiative, including $30 million in investments to advance solar thermal and advanced wind technologies, see

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

ScanBuy's ScanLife Now Available for Download through The iPhone App Store

The leading physical world connection player is now also available on the iPhone.

Scanbuy, a global leader in mobile marketing solutions, announced today that its ScanLife 2D barcode application is now available for free on the iPhone App Store. Scanbuy's technology uses the phone’s camera to give users an instant connection to information, without needing to search by keyword or type in a lengthy URL. ScanBuy

Individuals can also create and scan Personal EZcodes as links to their blogs or networking sites by registering an account at

ScanLife can launch any URL address and with Wi-Fi access, the application can also send a user directly to an iTunes page to preview and purchase a specific song or to watch a video on YouTube™.

iPhone users can download the free ScanLife software from the App Store, while users on other phones can text SCAN to 43588 or go to on their mobile browser.

In addition to the iPhone, the ScanLife handset software is compatible with hundreds of other phones on every major mobile operating system including BREW, Java, Symbian, Palm, Blackberry, and Windows Mobile.

How does ScanBuy's ScanLife compare to NeoMedia's code scanning application?
According to Scanbuy:
From a code creation standpoint:

- Unlike Scanbuy, a Neomedia user cannot edit the code at a later time – if they want the code to link to something different, they have to make a new one

- The longer the URL, the bigger it needs to be (takes up more space) or the more dense it needs to be (which limits how many phones can read it). A Facebook URL is about 35 characters long. EZcodes can always be the same size – ½ inch.

From a scanning standpoint:

- Do you want 10 million people to be able to read your code, or do you want over 60 million?
ScanLife can be downloaded on 75 other handsets (beyond the iPhone) and the Neoreader mainly works with Smartphones only – and does not work on the Blackberry.

- The ScanLife iPhone app also has a History and Favorites function so people can go back to previous scans.

Want to see how ScanLife works?

Founded in 2000, Scanbuy has a strong and growing intellectual property base in 2D barcode technology. The company's investors include Longworth Venture Partners, Masthead Venture Partners and Hudson Ventures.

More on Scanbuy.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The End Of The PC....

What does the end of the Windows era tell us?

Does the PC really matter any more?

Is bandwidth more of a factor than chip speed?

Microsoft's announcement this week signals major transformation ahead.

Amazon, (and their recent VC funding of Elastra ) Microsoft, Google and IBM, AT&T, HP, Verizon and are all shifting to a new type of "operating system", called cloud computing.

-----Cloud computing is the new catch phrase for utility computing, where customers buy computing power from a provider that hosts the software infrastructure applications on its own server computers and storage arrays.

-----That lets the customer save themselves the hassle and cash of having to purchase their own hardware and software; ostensibly, the customer rents the computing power necessary to run the applications they use on the Internet. This is a sign of the increasing Webification of the working world, where the Internet is the platform.

If the "Internet is the platform":

If "processing" is now being done on the Net, wouldn't bandwidth speed be more of a factor than chip processing speed?

Bandwidth, storage and delivery services become priorities.

Chip speed no longer a factor......

So where do chip companies turn for growth now that chip speed and the PC era is over?

Fear not, there's another industry for the chip companies that can utilize Moore's Law --the number of transistors that can be inexpensively placed on an integrated circuit is increasing exponentially

And that is exactly why why semiconductor companies are making their move into solar

So is the solar cell the PC for the 21st century?

Publicly Traded Solar Stocks

Friday, August 01, 2008

Pondering A Plenty

Microsoft sees the end of Windows era

Google launches election video speech-to-text search
type in a word or a phrase and it searches through YouTube videos to find all the instances where someone said it. Search here

FCC rules against bandwidth throttling

FCC says no to cellphones on plane but yes to Internet access.

House and Senate require universities to provide students with access to commercial music downloading services.

Bank America invests in greentech

DSL customers fleeing to cable broadband.

Why? consumers are increasingly willing to pay a little more -- for significantly faster download speeds, as bandwidth-intensive stuff like video streaming catches on.

Do you know the way, to the green-tech gold rush?