Monthly Archives: January 2010

While Apple is changing how you interact with the Internet, so is Google

While this announcement is anything as sexy as the new iPad, it is also a big development: Google Proposes to Extend DNS Protocol, Optimize Speed of Browsing.

Google and these other DNS providers are essentially changing the way the Internet will work. If this goes ahead, these DNS providers will be taking over or at least dramatically shaping the structure of the Internet. The way it is presented, the DNS providers will use part of your IP address to determine where to send your request in order to speed up your request. Right now if I want to go and browse ACMEJAPAN.COM, my DNS servers — in this case, the ones provided by Google — will say: oh, ACMEJAPAN.COM, that is located at IP address a.b.c.d. It should do this regardless of where I am connected. Knowing a.b.c.d, my ISP will (at least partially) route my request to IP address a.b.c.d. However, if  a.b.c.d points to a web server in Japan and my laptop is connected to an ISP in Canada, it’s going to take awhile (relatively speaking) for my request to get to Japan and back. What Google is proposing is this: if ACMEJAPAN.COM also has web servers in a location closer to me (say at w.x.y.z), then it will tell me that instead and as a result my request and response will be quicker.

It sounds all good, but it also means that Google DNS (and others) have more control over directing traffic around the Internet. That’s the part that concerns me. Those DNS providers are going to be actively shaping the flow of Internet traffic. And that is interesting.  I expect to see alot more coming out of this development.

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Thoughts on the iPad

Since the NYTimes.com has this: The Blogosphere Reacts to the Apple iPad, I thought: hey, I am part of the blogosphere, so I should react too! :)

  • The response in this article is different than what I have been seeing. One difference: in the article, people have access to the iPad. Perhaps this will make people more enthusiastic once they get it.
  • Overall, it doesn’t have the same Wow factor for me that other apple technology had. I remember the first iMac, iPod and others and thinking how special they were. This doesn’t seem that way. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it can’t help.
  • In some ways, I am seeing people argue for it the same way I see people argue for Google Wave. If you have to argue that strongly in favour of something, that is a bad sign. It should be obvious to people why they want it. I don’t see that for the iPad.
  • It does remind me of a big iPhone / iTouch. That’s not too surprising: that is a classic design. But I would have been more impressed if they had done something more innovative in the overall physical form. Many times that alone gave other i devices their wow factor. Nothing about the iPad’s overall physical design excites me. It reminds me more of a new machine.
  • The iPad could go the way of the Air computer. A colleague of mine said this and I think there is a possibility this is true. There could be a minority of people who get it, but the vast majority may stick with other devices.
  • The size is relevant. I find I fuss alot with my Touch when I surf the web. With the iPad, there will be less of that.
  • I think it will hurt the Kindle, but how much remains to be seen. I think the iPhone is superior to most Blackberries as devices, but what makes the Blackberry powerful is the deep integration with backend systems. The Kindle’s deep connection to Amazon could help it achieve the same thing.
  • I know lots of people are joking about the name, but I think it is a good name. It is very close to iPod, and it is related to IBM’s ThinkPad.
  • People are complaining about its lack of features, for good reason, but I think the big thing that is going to happen is the unleashing of application developers on that platform. For that’s what the iPad is: a newer/better platform for developers. I expect the apps alone will eventually drive people to get one. People won’t get one to replace their other devices. They will get it because it has apps that you can’t get anywhere else.
  • iPad apps could allow Apple devices to get into businesses where they could never get in before. They could start appearing everywhere instead of a sheet of paper. There are already tons of big screen TVs everywhere in businesses now. I could see the same thing with iPads.
  • iPads are going to change the nature of mobile devices. Whoever makes the technology for Apple will eventually make it for HTC and others.
  • iPads could be the end of cellphones, even smart phones. If I have a bluetooth headset and a 3G iPad, the reason to have a phone diminishes greatly.
  • If I were a print publisher, I would be excited and nervous. Excited because I believe Apple will give them a lifeline, a rope, so to speak. And nervous because that rope might be used to tie them to Apple, just like the music industry is. It was interesting to see the emphasis of print media at the Apple demo. That will be the direction for 2010, but I think the apps will take over and take it in unexpected directions.
  • I like the lack of a keyboard. Honestly, keyboards and mice are very limited ways to interact with computers. Jobs recognized that with the first iPod and he has been pushing that as he goes forward. But I also think we need richer ways to interact with the computer. The iPad may give that to us.
  • I think the iPad will evolve to become a much more impressive platform. This is just the beginning.

“Winners” in politics

I wrote about “winners” in politics the other night: people who run only when they are confident they will win. There is another angle to this. Winners also will do what it take to win, even what it takes is outrageous or worse. In talking about Harold Ford at The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates talks about such winner, people like John Malcolm Patterson, who

 ‘…defeated Wallace, and embraced the murderous (Ku Klux) Klan, (and who also!) backed Barack Obama for president in 2008, and said of his segregationist days:

“If you didn’t do that you wouldn’t get elected. You might as well go home and forget it.” Even after his election, the issue constrained him. “The law required that the schools be segregated,” Patterson says. “And the legislature was not about to change the law. If I had attempted to force some issue myself, the legislature might well have impeached me. Timing is everything. And the timing was not right to do anything about segregation.”

This is not to say that Patterson doesn’t regret the way he handled segregation, particularly the issue of voting rights. “We were denying black people all over the state, highly qualified folk, the right to vote,” Patterson says. “You’d see these country guys on these voting registration boards. They’d call in some guy with a doctorate from Columbia University teaching at Tuskegee and ask him questions about the constitution and turn him down because they weren’t satisfactory. This was ridiculous. It was outrageous.”‘

Patterson was a “winner”. As Julius Caesar says in Shakespeare’s play, such men, with lean and hungry looks, think too much and are dangerous. They are “winners”.

Big upcoming changes in Afghanistan

According to the Globe and Mail, Talks with Taliban gain traction in plan for Afghan peace. Some signifigant points:

“As a soldier, my personal feeling is that there’s been enough fighting,” U.S. General Stanley McChrystal, the senior NATO commander in the 42-nation Afghan mission, said in an interview with the Financial Times. “I believe that a
political solution to all conflicts is the inevitable outcome. And it’s the right outcome.”

By saying that Taliban leaders could be included in a future Afghan government and suggesting that Afghans should “extend olive branches” to the insurgents, Gen. McChrystal has gone further than any previous U.S. commander.

Also, this

At a meeting in Istanbul yesterday ahead of the London conference, Afghan President Hamid Karzai told reporters that he wants to begin negotiations with the more moderate of the several groups usually classified as “Taliban.”

“I will be making a statement at the conference in London to the effect of removing Taliban names from the United Nations sanctions list,” Mr. Karzai said.

This is all very big and very signfigant for the future of NATO in that country. Dividing “The Taliban” is likely the best way to achieve stability in Afghanistan and likely the best way to deal with al-Qaeda there.

How to avoid unwanted house guests…

Easy. I recommend you buy these shower curtains:

Honestly, even if people think: ha! ha! Funny!, they will also think: where are the hotel listings. :)

From the brilliant ReflectionOf.Me

The power of Anna Netrebko

This time in a more challenging piece than “O mio babbino caro”. Here she performs Elettra’s Aria “D’Oreste, d’Aiace” from Mozart’s “Idomeneo, Re di Creta”. I think she performs it very well.  It’s a powerful aria, powerfully sung.

YouTube – Anna Netrebko Mozart – Idomeneo – D’oreste, D’ajace, Mozart

I mention power because I actually learned something from the comments of Youtube. The microphone in front of her is apparently not for projection, but for recording (you see a few of them onstage). Compare it with this video, with her performing with Andrea Bocelli.

In this video –not very well recorded — they are using amplification microphones. Now skip ahead to around the 2:44 minute mark and note how close he is to the mic as compared to her. In order for him to project over the overall sound, he has to be on top of the mic. Her? Not so much. If anything, if she was that close, she might overwhelm the overall sound. Power.

(This is not a knock against Bocelli, who has a fine voice. But he appears tense and struggling at this point, while she opens up her arms. Indeed, towards the end she is taking his hand, almost to lend support to the big finish to a difficult piece to sing.)

THIS I love


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