Wired Magazine snippets

Here are some tidbits from the March issue of Wired magazine which I read last night. (I also read the first 60 pages of Innovators Solution by Clayton Christensen–a fantastic book!)

  • NASA has launched World Wind, a mapping software application that draws on 10 terrabytes of satellite data to give you a view of every point on the earth. “Software developers are beginning to integrate RSS feeds into World Wind so its maps can display location-specific news or data in near real-time.” From the NASA web site: “NASA has released World Wind as an open source program to improve its quality through peer review, maximize awareness and impact of NASA research, and increase dissemination of World Wind in support of NASA’s mission.” Implications: This public domain database is enormously valuable and provides a new layer of value in the geographical “application stack” which could be extremely useful for companies who want to overlay data on top of this global public domain database.
  • 1,200 volunteer architects have used meetup.com to work on “Architecture for Humanity” projects (such as tent cities design for disaster relief) which was founded in 1999.
  • Girlslab.com (a Japanese site) surveys are used to help CE companies predict what new products, colors, and fashions will be hot in Japan. Thoughts: I can’t wait for Firepoll.com to launch (I’m on the advisory board) and start providing any company with serious consumer feedback on product ideas and trends.
  • “Phony brand-name items … account for 6 percent of international trade.” (This was from an article on the sham economy in Serbia and Montenegro.) Thoughts: I wonder if RFID will help this, or if RFID will be easy to fake as well.
  • Lawrence Lessig has an interesting article about private and public competition for broadband. Philadelphia almost passed a law making broadband free, but it was defeated by lobbyists for the private sector. Lessig argues that “free wireless access increases the value of public spaces … just as streetlamps do.” He worries that the U.S. has fallen way too far behind in broadband and that private competition hasn’t delivered the goods.
  • Shigeyuki Hori (chief engineer of the Toyota Prius hybrid vehicle) was recognized as a dreamer/maverick who is reinventing business. He “set the hybrid speed record this summer when he got a Prius up to 135 mph at Utah’s Bonneville salt flats. Thoughts: Go Utah.
  • Jeff Hawkins, founder of Palm and Handspring, has written a book called “On Intelligence” about how the brain functions. He is going to build a company that will build machines that work the way the human brain works. He thinks they will succeed where AI has failed. “The brain works by making a steady stream of predictions about the state of the world.” Thoughts: another book to buy on Amazon, today.
  • “By January, satellite radio had 4.3 million subscribers.”
  • “Some radio heavyweights are announcing plans to accelerate the conversion of their signals from analog to digital. ”
  • “NPR has promised to convert more than 300 stations to HD radio by 2006.”
  • “Digital audio implies the ability to carry video, software, email, text messages, you name it.”
  • In the future, your radio will “tap into the automobile’s GPS unit, constantly scanning for local traffic reports” and interrupting your music listening when it finds something relevant, meanwhile storing the other broadcast so that you can resume where you left of before the interruption.
  • “As a broadcaster, you make money running a collection of niche stations because targeted ad buys are so much more valuable than nontargeted. Traditional media isn’t a great way to reach fly fishermen or people who are in quilting bees, but niches are.”
  • “The biggest podcast audiences now number in the mere tens of thousands.”
  • PodcastAlley.com “lists the 10 most popular podcasts every day.”

More later …

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