Postcards from the Bleeding Edge
1) The momentum of asterisk
. In 2005 - cheap, good voip phones will become common
. SIP and IAX related IVR and call processing services like voxeo
will become more widely used. And entirely new levels
of voice and data integration will also appear. There are still barriers to entry, notably monopolist-wanna-be Scansoft has gone and bought up all the speech to text software in the known universe
, and the VoxML standard needs a good Linux library, but I have confidence that these problems will begin to be resolved, as well, in 2005. Watch for big plays in Asterisk by major vendors in the latter half of the year.
2) This will be the year that Linux 2.6 finally becomes stable, and the enhanced features of the OS, especially on 64 bit and embedded platforms, will entrench Linux in two markets that MicroSuck had hoped to dominate with the oft-delayed release of Longhorn.
3) Longhorn won't ship this year.
4) Somebody will ship a 8 way Opteron this year. Few will buy it.
Networking - Viva IPv6!
1) With China leading the way
, IPv6 will finally begin to gain a foothold with established ISPs. I never would have guessed that in 1996, when I first started playing with IPv6, that it would not have rolled out by now. I thought everybody would have a dedicated IP address, not this dynamic DHCP driven cyber-serfness we have now. I don't expect IPv6 to be rolled out in the US for at least another 3 years, but I think the ball is finally starting to roll, driven by the needs of one populous country.
IPv6 needs to happen to finish connecting up the world. Let's make it happen! My christmas wish is for everyone with a dynamic IP address to bug their provider for a real, static ipv6 one.
Hardware - the Up and coming System On Chip - the Cirrus Maverick EP9302
Linux, running on the Cirrus Logic EP9302
, will find its way into new and amazing markets. It will displace hybrid arm/DSP designs such as the TI-OMAP, and wedge into places where only the mips has traveled before.
1) The EP9302 has a real FPU, (not some bletcherous grafted on DSP part that requires you program it in kernel space). It "just works". For echo cancelation it outperforms a 533 mhz Xscale by a factor of 10. MP3 playback and encoding have similar ratios. Best of all - the part is less than 10 bucks.
2) It's a true host processor, supporting host USB mode. This means that standard USB peripherals "Just work". (IMHO Intel has been intentionally crippling the Xscale line keeping it as a slave processor, and leaving off an FPU, because it would compete with their x86 bread and butter.)
3) Have I bitched about DSPs enough? DSPs are great - IF you don't have a MMU to deal with and your code complexity is limited. Otherwise, adding a DSP to your embedded design always throws a monkey wrench in your schedule. The EP9302 floating point unit is transparent to normal software and fast enough vs most DSP needs.
If you are a embedded system developer with DSP problems, get an EP9302 development board
, get the compiler
, and a kernel, and throw your code at it.
I've spent a long couple years looking for a replacement to the StrongArm. I think this is it. I wish it clocked in at 500Mhz, but you can't have everything.
I hope more minds expand... towards helping the private space programs truly take off
New Year's wrap up
The first half of this year was the second worst of my life. The second half of 04 has been a long, slow upswing towards what is shaping up to be a pretty good 05. I had a few setbacks in October and November, but on the whole it's shaping up.
Last year I was hacking on the kerbango memorial radio and X10
, was two months behind on my mortgage, and had -230 dollars in the bank. The space program was in disarray
, my personal life was a mess, and I had had to quit my job for ethical reasons.
This year I'm hacking on a series of voip products, am 15 days behind on my mortgage, and have -160 dollars in the bank. I was really encouraged by the success of SpaceShip One
, heavy lifters are launching, and my personal life is complex, but improving.
Things REALLY ARE going up. My thanks to all the friends (evan
and web sites
that made last year bearable. My especial thanks to ep, who doesn't have a web site.
I made no predictions for last year, at least not publically. But one long bet paid off. In 2002 I picked a dark horse as the up and coming candidate, and this year:
is my pick for product of the year. It's my pick for product of next year, and the year after that. It's not just my pick, people like Jon Maddog Hall are saying nice things, and the world's smallest
voip installations are using or switching to it.
It was not obvious when I first started working on porting asterisk to various plaforms back then that it was going to dominate.
And as late as March, 2004, the field of voip PBXes was dominated by commercial products like Cisco's call manager, Avaya, et. al.. All were well ahead of where asterisk was. Asterisk got no respect. There were no commercial companies working with asterisk, people stared at you blankly when you mentioned it, when you talked to a VC (and I know, I tried a couple) about it, they laughed you off.
Now, today, it's obvious that Asterisk is the Apache and the swiss army chainsaw, of voice over ip. There are at least 20 businesses built around it that I know of. There are dozens of adwords on google being sold on it. People are falling over themselves to use it, are requesting it in RFCs and new products, the future of all the expensive commercial pbx platforms looks dim.
How did asterisk get ahead?
1) Asterisk is GPLed. Say what you may about the problems of the GPL license, Asterisk is proof positive that GPLing code makes it better, faster.
2) In Mark Spencer, Asterisk has a strong, fair leader.
3) Asterisk has one of the most profligate user communities contributing code and configurations to what has become the world's premier voip site
. The pace of development continues to accellerate.
4) By embracing the SIP protocol, asterisk became a vendor neutral product at a time when the SIP phone manufacturers needed a vendor neutral product.
5) By creating the IAX protocol asterisk tackled head on the problems of NAT and SIP... and solved them.
Chip of the year
Athlon64. What can I say? This chip makes Intel look slow. I never thought I'd need 64 bits, and still don't - but I can feel the itch towards 64 bits now, when I couldn't before the Athlon64.
Motherboard of the year
I'm not going to chose a motherboard per se', but a motherboard form factor - mini-itx
. It's the first platform that gains points for style that Apple can't hope to match.
Technology Advance of the year
Space Ship One
. It replicated what the government could do 40 years ago - but proved that private space travel is possible.
I remember, growing up, watching football and baseball games on the television with my father, and listening to them on the radio at the same time.
My dad liked the games that way - he never really said why he preferred the radio - often he'd also be working somewhere else around the house. He had the radio on to catch the game - to visualize it - and maybe the TV was on just so he could rush back in to catch a replay.
I grew to like hearing the games as much as he did. The familiar voice Richie Ashburn
, every time I hear it, kicks me back to the prepubescent days of dreaming I'd be the next Mike Schmidt.
I played baseball (I could hit
), but my eyes went bad in my second season of little league, and I never did learn how to hit a curve ball.
I never played football, but I enjoyed football far more than any other televised sport. Football's relationship to structured warfare; the tactics, mayhem, and momentum, the sunday afternoons spent with the radio on with my dad, my brother, sharing hogies from Joe's Subs -
And Buddy Ryan's Eagles circa (1986-1990), with their haphazard offense, and overwhelming (and totally gonzo!) defense, led by Reggie White - all came rushing back to me today... because
Reggie White died yesterday
, 4 years after he retired.
He was 43.
Just as powerfully as I remember Randall Cunningham scrambling to escape another jam generated by the pathetically weak Eagles front line, I remember Reggie White on defence - powering up the middle to overwhelm a hated Cowboys quarterback, or stuffing a fullback back a half dozen yards, or knocking down a pass.
Reggie White kicked ass in every game. Opposing teams double and triple teamed him and yet he regularly evaded every attempt at stopping him. He always did a legendary job.
Off the field, he also was legendary - in ministering to his flock he was truly a man worthy of respect.
Tonight, I remembered those years I watched him and the Eagles play their hearts out - and the taste of hogies with hot peppers -
It's a damn shame that a legend like White had to leave this world so soon.
Condi Rice for President - 2008
Especially when I shudder thinking of Ms. Clinton running on the Dem side, I'm totally with ESR on a Condi Rice candidacy
I’ve discovered that I really want to have a ringside seat on the farcical hijinks that will certainly ensue if the Republicans run a black woman for President, or even Veep.
Just so my position is clear, it is quite unlikely I’d vote for her. As in, not unless the Libertarian candidate is a werewolf or something. It’s just that the thought of Democratic strategists having shit fits over the hemhorraging black vote greatly amuses me. The panic and confusion that would reign on the New York Times editorial page as their political-correctness bias clashes (for once) with their anti-Republican bias would be good for many guffaws. I might actually listen to NPR just to hear them choking. In general, just watching the machinery of smug left-wing duckspeak seize up and damage itself on Condi’s blackness would be delicious.
Watching Republican racist/nativist types hold their gorges down for the sake of party unity would be entertaining too, but probably much less so as that type seems rather rare these days. In lieu of that, I’d just have to content myself with the screams of insenate rage that would issue from the neo-Nazis at Stormfront. Why, they might be almost as angry as the “Bush=Hitler” crew over at Democratic Underground. With any luck we might actually get to watch a few of the vicious morons on both sites die of thundering apoplexy.
I think I need to curl up with one of Ms. Rice's books.
Apple patents "falling detection"
Apple is patenting a method of detecting falling
I have no idea how broad this patent is, but an accelerometer has been standard equipment on spacecraft since the 60s, admittedly, in that case, you are mostly going up, not down. This jeep could use one...