Thursday, November 29, 2007

Ok, It's Official - Aliens Have Landed and Abducted Verizon Executives


Alright. Joke's over. What is going on?

Still reeling from the announcement earlier in the week that Verizon is opening up its network to 3rd party developers, I open up my new reader today I find this little gem:

"Verizon decides on LTE for 4G Wireless."

Huh. Really?

In one week, the Big Bad of the wireless industry - the company who told its OEM partners to cripple bluetooth on their handsets - decided to all cute and cuddly with developers? Oh, AND abandon EV-DO (excuse me - offer an offering in addition to EV-DO) in lieu of 3GPP Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks and go toe-to-toe with WiMax?

...I have to go lie down.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Wired Took The Title I Wanted, so I'll just say: Verizon now equals Open Apps? WTF?

Wired stole the title I wanted to use...

"Pig Fly, Hell Freezes Over and Verizon Opens Up Its Network - No, Really."

Undoubted feeling the pressure of Apple's SDK and Google's Android, Verizon changed course so fast everyone of them must have gotten whiplash.

Oh, believe me - I'll have quite a bit more to say about this once I digest every morsel...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

"Where's Irony? Just go straight down Democracy, take a sharp left at Profit."

Consider the two quotes below, and see if you can tell me the difference - because I can't...

"...There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or a corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute nor common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped,or turned back, for their private benefit...."

- Robert Heinlein, Life-Line, Published: 1939


"...the House Education and Labor Committee unanimously passed the College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007. Among other things, the COAA would require colleges and universities to adopt strict antipiracy policies and possibly offer students access to subscription-based music services like Napster...the bill would put colleges and universities on the front lines of the war against file-sharing. As part of the financial aid administration process, schools would have to inform students about their official policies about copyright infringement, as well as possible civil and criminal penalties. They would also have to "develop a plan for offering alternatives to illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property as well as a plan to explore technology-based deterrents to prevent such illegal activity..."

- Eric Bangeman, ARSTechnica.com, Published: 11/15/2007

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Visualizing Flight...

...long ago, at the dawn of the human flight - ok, not really - I worked at an FAA laboratory slaving away over algorithms and processes to detect hazardous weather around airports and report that information to the tower. When the project went to production (it was handed off to Raytheon under the brandings of TDRW and ITWS), I scrambled onto a different project at the same lab: tracking oceanic air travel and looking for ways to increase efficiency, and reporting those efficiencies to oceanic air controllers.

Part of that process involved collecting information from all flights from US to Europe and back again. The resultant data was mapped onto graphics systems, and the patterns were played back and tracked after each day's data collection. The results were eerie and beautiful - air travel from the US to Europe took place in the evenings, the flights back were in the mornings. The resultant patterns of information looked like migratory routes that birds would take... we'd watch them for quite a while, sometimes transfixed.

We also wondered what the patterns for air travel all over the world would look like - but, of course, this was over a decade ago: data collection was slow and cumbersome, and the horsepower required to track and compute the paths of flights all over the world and display them just wasn't there.

Well...that was then, this is now. Check out these results from Scott Hessels and Gabriel Dunne - Hessels and Dunne work on the Celestrial Mechanics project for the FAA. There are a lot of great visualizations these guys are doing with real FAA data, but surely the most awe-inspiring (and the one that takes me back 10 years to those giant SGI Onyx monsters at the FAA) was the plotting of traffic patterns over the US in a single day animated by Aaron Koblin... so, click the pretty picture and enjoy this, its worth the watch.