Postcards from the Bleeding Edge
When the going gets weird, the weird parade, and then log on.
I'm not sure what was weirder - Bemusedly
wandering around Boulder Creek in an impromptu April Fool's day parade
with Allan Lundell
(left) and a few other oddly dressed folk, (in this crowd, I was the one oddly dressed
!) beating drums and odd musical instruments while marching through a bank, and crashing a birthday party at Scopazzi's?
Or, was it logging on to witness Paul (of Peter, Paul, and Mary) sing "Puff the Magic Dragon" in a Virtual Party
, with a captivated audience of ecstatic avatars in a 3d environment courtesy of ....
All I know is that everyone was smiling, all day, and that's my definition of a good day.
Or maybe it was the following PR release from the Prophetic Postal Service:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, 4/1/2004
SCO GROUP ANNOUNCES MERGER WITH AL QAEDA
Lindon, UT -- The SCO Group, Inc. (SCOX), industry-leading provider of UNIX(tm)-based operating systems and litigation, announced today that it would merge with Islamic terrorist cabal al Qaeda (AQDA).
"It's a natural fit," said Darl McBride, president and CEO of the Orem, Utah, based corporation. "We both hate freedom."
Spokesmen for the Pakistan-based terrorist group said that they hoped the merger would pay quick dividends for al Qaeda. "We have earned the hatred and enmity of the entire free world, but at a painfully high cost in lives and dollars. SCO has done so with nothing more than a breach-of-contract suit against IBM. We have much to learn from them. God is great."
Google gives away their secret sauce for squab
Via Evan Hunt
. "Google just published a complete guide to how their technology really works
." Now that their secret is out, I wonder what it will do to their upcoming IPO valuation? They certainly seem to have ambitious expansion plans
Virtual party thursday in the metaverse
Tomorrow I'm going to Boulder Creek from 3-6PM PST to wander around Noel Paul Stookey's (of Peter, Paul and Mary and "Puff the Magic Dragon" fame) 3d avatar-drivenVirtual Party
. You, too, can join in via Traveler
, though "seating" is limited. Get there early.
Later I'm checking out the Digibarn
, which is full of computers that I haven't seen or touched ever - and maybe touching one special to my past - the Kim-1 - building that dang kit almost ended my budding computer career (at age 12 or so). I never got mine to work! I've always wanted to step inside a Cray, and wander around in the Metaverse
. Should be another good day. See you there!
Another report from VON
James Thomson wrote up a nice report on the VOIP products and services
that caught his eye.
I woke up late this morning, stiff and sore and a little hung over from the VON party, and had to bike to an appointment in Santa Cruz. I was in a godawful hurry to get there on time, having promised to make it "just a little bit late", and got as far as the San Lorenzo river before I realized that I was having fun on the trip, and needed to slow down and shoot some GPS bearings. OK, actually, I was pretty tired, and my motor was dead, so I sat by the river for a while and thought.
Missed the appt. Had a wonderful day instead. Realized that only 3000 ft seperated the Santa Cruz Wharf and Steamers Lane. Something I faked up years ago as a joke for April Fools day is now doable... The Hurwitz WetWorld surfer - a surfboard that could also surf the internet. OK, OK, I realize now that using the leash as an antenna was impractical.... but the rest? doable. A PDA (actually, to keep the board balanced and taut with a normal stringer, you'd have to embed two PDAs in the board), some epoxy, a wireless connection.... Maybe I should have patented the idea.
Pingtel goes open source
announced today that they were going open source
. They have this cool melon colored sipphone at the show with a very customizable user interface.
A lot of Linux based software is behind the hardware here - not just the aformentioned asterisk
and digium - but, agh, er... the list is in my tape deck, gotta run, will post later....
Brain dumping from VON
Shortly after I left the press room I got a legit press pass from Angelo and Gina of Pulverinnovations.com
, which took some of the fun out of skulking around, but also gained me some respect (and fear) from various reps on the floor when they see me whip out the tape deck and start raving about unwiring the last mile to the beach
I like hearing things like this:
Press: "Internet telephony has long been custom, is it now general?"
AT&T Rep: "Yes."
I had never in my life heard an AT&T rep give a one syllable answer to a question before.
I have gathered so much material that I could spend a month writing about it. I've got a month's worth of backlog from the contact conference two weeks ago, too. I'm out of business cards. I need to find a quiet dark corner and vibrate for a while.
Impressions: Everyone is enthusiastic as hell. Most booths are packed, with the line entering the broadvoice
booth extending to the wall - they are selling a WiFi (WiSip) phone and service for 19.95/month unlimited calling to the POTS network. The phone is going for 99 dollars. The same phone, direct from Pulver, is $249, without the service (you can hook it up to Free World dialup
and pay no monthly fee...)
I am torn. I want one of these phones. I like the POTS gateway inherent in the broadvoice, hate the standard cell phone-like service contract that they offer - I think I (unlike J random consumer) will pay the full deal for the phone and stay on free world dialup.
Naturally, the Wifi phones don't work inside the conference center network - firewall issues. Damn it, I hate that cell phones don't work well here either. Hmm... maybe I can hook up the Idirect
guys (who are mounting one of their satelite dishes on the roof as I write) - with one of the wireless server providers - with one of the wifi phone sellers and have the !@#! service actually work. What did they do, leave all the techies at home, again?
FWD, btw, has just added support for the IAX2 protocol (which routes through firewalls better than the SIP protocol, at least theoretically), which is cool - as Asterisk
, an open source PBX project produced by Digium
is trying to make iax2 a defacto standard before SIP takes over completely....
The rest of the show is dominated by backbone VOIP solutions - software for managing calls, interoperability, billing, call centers - and hardware (tons of voip phones, pbxes, routers, etc) and I need a lot of time to try and comprehensively cover that stuff - and there's food to eat and presentations to see. Later....
A half dozen other vendors have a consumer phone available RSN. Senao
has a promising phone + 802.11e combination. (802.11e is like 802.11b only with some enhancements for realtime error correction), supposed to ship in 2 months. It's about 2/3s the size of the Pulver phone....
Von Magazine is at Vol 2, no 1
Stealth blogging VON
I am wandering around the VON conference
, stealth blogging, equipped with ipaq, tape deck, and brass balls. I Still haven't managed to secure a press pass, but after sidling past the obvious security, and whipping out that distracting tape deck anytime someone questions me, I made it into the unmarked press room just now. Heh.
(Reminds me of the good old days of the internet boom - all you had to do was wear tie-die and you could get into the engineering building at just about any startup, without a security card.)
What's VON about?
VOIP, baby. VOIP.
Two choice quotes so far - one I think was from a rep of the FCC: "If the graduate was made today, the one word, the one key new technology whispered to Dustin Hoffman would have been: VOIP
And just over heard:
"Last year the infrastructure for internet telephony became telephony, and everything else became legacy."
Ahh, the hype, the glorious hype. I missed hearing hype this good. The technology is raw, but exceedingly promising, there are all sorts of new business models, new hardware, standards fights, all the wonderful things that go into a new business.... and I'm excited for a change, too. My fledgling business
is based on a set of 2nd and 3rd order extrapolations upon the VOIP revolution (I call it "forward and store architecture") and the faster that happens, the faster our collective IQ is going to improve.
There's 3500+ attendies at the conference this time, the highest since the bust in 2000!
There's 802.11b handsets that do sip - routers that route voice through anything - devices that can record, transcribe, and broadcast a conversation in real time.... and journalists, like Louis Trager of the washington internet daily
, worried about where the barrier is between public and private, broadcast media and private communications, when a technologist like me can sneak into a conference, and post a blog entry before he even has a chance to plug in his laptop.
More news as I skulk around looking for a story, and looking for technology and sponsors for the events I'm planning for the National Mayors Ride
. I will
be bringing the Net to the beach this spring, by hook or crook. I almost had my e-bike - equiped with 802.11 router and sip phone - ready to toss on the bus this morning but at the last minute crossed the black wire and the red wire and smoke started spewing from the motor.