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Archive for November, 2007

Alta – more crisp it does not get

In Utah there is a place called Alta, in Italien that means HIGH.

If it is because you get high cuz of the craze of crispy powder snow – it does not get better than here! – or it is regarding the altitude of the mountain, I don’t care, I just wanna go.

And the funny thing is, they got there values straight in Alta; from the trail map: “Alta is a skiers mountain. Snowboarding is not allowed”…!

(If you want more crisp than this, the next step is Chile and the Andes in 7000 meters hight or Himalaya. Never stop dreaming.)

By the way, the picture is Guerlain Chicherit (the kid from Tignes), and this is him too:

Tæsk i Texas – Ole har været forbi

Ole fortæller lidt om de sidste par dages hændelser.

(Angaaende det texanske retsystem og politianmeldelsen, saa tror jeg ikke jeg har lyst til at forklare dommeren, hvor fuld jeg egentlig var)

Teaser from pro-paper on Net Neutrality

Here is a slip from my Net Neutrality paper, which is due tomorrow:

“As it is described above ISPs can have different motives to discriminate content on the network. When the argument is that the ISP wants to safeguard a level of quality of service the motive seems to be in the interest of the end user, if – and this is essential – the user is interested in the content discrimination. More critical it becomes when the discrimination serves, not the interest of the user, but the ISP itself. This is when the motive is to hinder a competitor to enter the market on same level as the incumbent network provider. And this is the case when the ISP take the right to discriminate so widely as it is shown in the excerpt of AT&T’s Terms of Service above. That the story shows this discrimination has been practiced tells only the realness of the problem, and that a free market is not able to safeguard for these incidents of violating free speech and free competition. A free market does not equal free competition.”

 

The paper is still a (perpetual?) beta, but – or therefore (right Georgia?) – any comments are welcome.

Oh, and this is fresh from the bakery:

Net neutrality to get new life in Congress

Dividing the content and the distribution markets

With the new proposed telecommunication policy reform the EU Commission encourage Members to look at ‘functional separation’ as a tool to spur competition, this is explained in the FAQ. (the excerpt is provided below).

The separation tool raises questions about the infrastructure gatekeeper discriminating certain content on the network. Fair competition requires non-discrimination.

The opposite interest of functional separation argues that a such implementation will discourage investment in the network, but as stated below this has not been the situation in the UK, on the contrary it has helped investment!

Excerpt of the FAQ

What is functional separation?

Functional separation is an instrument to ensure fair competition leading to freedom of choice for consumers in a telecoms market dominated by one operator. It requires an incumbent operator to separate its network infrastructure from the units offering services using this infrastructure. Although operationally separate business entities are created, overall ownership remains unchanged; functional separation is therefore an instrument that needs to be distinguished from structural separation which is currently being introduced in the energy sector (see IP/07/26, IP/07/29). As telecoms markets are more dynamic, functional separation allows network access to new entrants and the incumbent’s own retail division on the same terms. It gives new entrants a fair chance to build services using the incumbent’s existing infrastructure.

Will the Commission impose functional separation on every operator in the European Union?

No. The Commission proposes to give all national regulators the possibility of imposing functional separation, if they, on the basis of a sound market analysis, deem it necessary to tackle important competition problems, taking due account of the principle of proportionality and of the effect on investments by incumbents and new market entrants. Functional separation should only be used when all other regulatory tools have proved to be inadequate. To be imposed, functional separation requires the approval of the Commission and needs to take into account the effect on investment by the incumbent as well as by new market entrants.

Will functional separation not hold back investment in competitive infrastructures?

No. First of all, the experience from countries that have already introduced functional separation shows that this remedy enhances overall investment in services and in network infrastructures. In the UK, functional separation has spurred a new wave of investment and infrastructure-based market entry as evidenced by the explosion of local loop unbundled lines in UK which has jumped from less than 100,000 in June 2005 to 3.3 million by the end of October 2007. In addition, the EU Telecoms Reform requires a thorough cost-benefit analysis by national regulators before introducing functional separation. They thereby ensure that the incentives to invest for both the largest and smallest operators are preserved. By allowing common ownership of the network and service arms, functional separation will facilitate coordination of investment decisions between the services and network elements. Efficient investment by new market entrants will be supported by the fact that with functional separation, they can rely on non-discriminatory access to all bottlenecks.

Functional separation has been successful in the UK. Should all EU Member States now follow suit?

The Commission believes that functional separation is a useful tool, which in the long run will improve freedom of choice for users in markets where, for structural reasons, competition between different infrastructures fails to evolve. This positive view on functional separation is increasingly shared around the world, with regulators in the UK, New Zealand and Australia already having had concrete experience with it, while the instrument is currently considered by regulators in Sweden[1], Italy, Poland, Ireland and Spain.

However, simply because the remedy will be available does not mean it should always be applied. National regulators will always have to take into account how competitive the markets under their responsibility are. This can vary from country to country. For example, the Dutch national regulator considered that at the moment, functional separation would be inappropriate for The Netherlands, in view of evolving infrastructure competition between DSL and cable.

With the EU Telecoms Reform, the Commission wants to make sure that those regulators that see a need for choosing functional separation do so under a stable legal framework and with the backing of the Commission, using a consistent methodology and taking into account regulatory experience made in other EU markets.”

Net Neutrality in the EU

As the debate on Net Neutrality is raised to presidential candidate level in the US, Viviane Reding, from the EU Commission, presents a broad and comprehensive telecommunications policy reform. Of course they are addressing the Net Neutrality issue:

To prevent telecom providers (often the ISP’s owning backbone material) to band (or slow down data packet transfer for) certain websites – for own commercial interest – it is to put to law, that the “internet service provider must clearly inform you [the consumer, it is all about empowering the consumer!] in advance if they impose limitations on accessing certain sites.

This information will make it easier for you to decide whether you want to switch to another provider or not. National regulators will also have powers to intervene when the quality of service for transmission (which grants access to online services such as TV, telephony, internet, etc.) could be at risk.” (reference).

In the UK this regulation will probably be enough (and not too intervening in the market), because the individual resident in the UK has the option of picking among many different internet providers in the house, he is living in. But in the US, the situation is a bit different. In many areas you have only one internet provider (practically a monopoly!) which make it very hard to choose another provider, obviously. So maybe that legislation would not be enough in the US.

Another question I would like to get answered: How are we able to track these incidents of discrimination? Is it technological possible to send out packages in the network to test a raised concern in a specific relation?

Added Nov 15: Just found this article “Tracking Anonymous Peer-to-Peer VoIP Calls on the Internet” , haven’t read it yet, the abstracts says this though:

“In this paper, we present a watermark technique that could be used for effectively identifying and correlating encrypted, peer-to-peer VoIP calls even if they are anonymized by low latency anonymizing networks. This result is in contrast to many people’s perception.”

Reading: About Facebook

Michael Hirschorn delivers a good clarification what excactly Facebook is and is not compared to other SNS’s as myspace.com and linkedin.com.

It is neither ‘too cold’ as linkedin.com or ‘too hot’ as myspace. Linkedin is cold because “the very nature of the [business-networking site] concept becomes self-defeating: The subset of people you want to schmooze with and who want to schmooze with you is simply too small, and too difficult to separate from the much larger group of people you are trying to avoid or who are trying to avoid you.”. And myspace is too hot: “Gathering friends on MySpace requires nothing more than banging through a lot of profiles and “friending” everyone you find, (…) On MySpace, the flood of pseudo-buddies and marketing come-ons disguised as offers of friendship quickly becomes suffocating. ”

“Facebook is getting the temperature just right, and in the process has been able to give social media real social capital. This is because Facebook prompts users to explain how they know one another. It’s no idle feature, since, as you quickly discover, allowing users into your circle allows them to track your moves on Facebook and vice versa. Even more compellingly, it allows you to track, if you wish, their interactions with other users, all from your own user page.”

As a second valuable feature Hirschorn underlines Facebooks strict registration process, allowing users to be free of spam, practically giving users a mini-web likable because it is, namely, free of spam. And as facebook opened up for the widget development it made possible a spam free mini-web, where users are contributing to form new communities within the facebook community.

But are the other SNS’s outdated? Is myspace too hot: not allowing differentiating between friends, is linkedin to cold: not allowing smooze between close friends?

(Article found through Pedellen)

Reading:Five heuristics for designing and evaluating web-based communities

Linda M Gallant, Gloria M Boone and Austin Heap are in this paper finding five examination guidelines (heuristics) for community spaces such as facebook and myspace.

They are

Interactive creativity
“This category encompasses the novel, the new, the risk, the mystery, the thrill, and the flow-like experience that can happen in using technology and content in new ways.” It is found – through focus groups – that this opportunity is best served on myspace(!).

Selective hierarchy
“Here access, membership, information filtering and related factors are explored. All social systems develop structures that unite, divide and assemble people into groups, systems, and networks. Selective hierarchy establishes leadership, pecking orders, and roles such as mentor, information provider, and social coordinator, and allows the ever present notion of in-group and out-group.”Identity construction
“People want to express their identities, individuality, lifestyles, and collective interests in communication patterns. The best online communities encourage identity posting; e.g., biographies.”

Rewards and costs
“Almost all users noted the rewards for posting on both sites. These included: staying in touch with friends, making social plans, communicating with others and “finding out” about them, and “dating.” Very few mentioned any cost or negative attributes such as privacy concerns or trust issues. A few mentioned the cost of time involved in interacting with Web-based communities.”

Artistic forms
“Artistic forms make the experience of the Web site interface more personalized. (…) These personalizing features and activities satisfy people’s need to develop individual style and create a social statement through the design of their personal community Web space.”

But I will argue that time (already) has surpassed the findings. Myspace may have more possibilities in presenting the self (interactive creativity and artistic forms), by means of altering the ‘wallpaper’ or choosing specific music to be played when surfing a profile. But when facebook made an API available they opened for external parts to developed ‘widgets’/’apps’/’plugins’ to the SNS, so that people are gaining thrills and risks through widgets as Pirate vs Ninjas and the IQ test. And these specific widgets might be a major variable making facebook a more social valuable SNS; they enable the possibility to play.

(I should say I am not a heavy user of myspace, and don’t know if same features are at service in this SNS)

I my opinion these guidelines seems to have some greater degree of overlap between them. A feature like group making is both able to be categorized under identity construction and selective hierarchy. The personalization under artistic forms seems to be a mean to build identity.

The heuristics helps give a better grasp of whats in play in the SNS’s, but on the face of it seems the guidelines do not completely clarify the elements of the analysis, because the overlapping is somewhat extensive.

Web evolution: web 1.0, web 2.0 and the semantic web

Yihong-Ding makes a good effort in explaining the web evolution. It starts off with the web 1.0 (read or write), web 2.0 (read/write) (all about the user control through the smart use of databases) and the tries to put semantic web in the next step for the evolution.

“(…) an ideal semantic web is a Read/Write/Request Web. The fundamental change is still at web space. A web space will be no longer a simple web page as on Web 1.0. Neither will a web space still be a Web-2.0-style blog/wiki that facilitates only human communications. Every ideal semantic web space will become a little thinking space. It contains owner-approved machine-processable semantics. Based on these semantics, an ideal semantic web space can actively and proactively execute owner-specified requests by themselves and communicate with other semantic web spaces. By this augmentation, a semantic web space simultaneously is also a living machine agent.”

He also pictures a good model/image of the evolution in the post.

You might also want to take a look at a demonstration of Photosynth to better grasp what semantic web is capable of. It is not exactly on the issue of semantic web, but it has some similarities:

Mediechefer og mediechefstole

Merete Eldrup rykker fra JP/Politiken til TV 2, men rykker måske snart tilbage i den forstand at JP/Politiken køber TV 2, når og hvis et salg bliver en realitet. Snart og snart er måske så meget sagt, da salget afventer EU-sager, som først ser ud til at blive færdige i 2012. Fem år i en (medie)chefstol er lang tid, så Merete skal holde godt fast. Med mindre JP/Politiken laver samme trick som MTG/Metro, dvs. inviterer Merete tilbage til JP/Politiken efter at information om det eventuelle købsprodukt er samlet.

Økonomidirektoer Anders Kronborg har nok været til møder med MTG-manden Per Mikael Jensen om detaljerne i overkompensationen fra Staten Danmark, som er en af to kerner i sagerne ved EU. (Den anden værende lovligheden af refinansieringen efter den enorme bøde for overkompensationen). Merete Eldrup skal bare skynde sig at snakke med Anders Kronborg; han har lagt sin jobansøgning ud ved offentligt at deklarere hans tvivl om sin plads på TV 2. (Er han den rette til at inspirere og skabe enhed mellem 2500 primadonnaer, teknikere og kritiske journalister på DR?)

Med udnævnelsen af Merete Eldrup har Kulturminister Brian Mikkelsen måske tænkt, at det var tid til at styrke relationerne mellem JP/Politiken og TV 2 efter at de med Per Mikael Jensen har været styrket mellem TV 2 og MTG.

Trivia om Merete Eldrup:
Tidligere ministersekretær for Henning Dyremose, TDC’s bestyrelsesformand (ifølge TV 2 News, aggregeret af Børsen(!))
Gift med Anders Eldrup, adm. direktør for DONG Energy, ejer af et stort distributionsnetværk af fiber i Danmark (potentiel køber af content provider’en TV 2?) (ifoelge Boersen)

Tesla Roadster for kun 500.000 kroner (Or cars and cliff jumps)

Nu er dollaren faldet igen, saa pludselig koster en Tesla Roadster kun 500.000 kroner.

Sidst jeg skrev om den kostede den 600.000 kroner, og for et paar aar siden ville den have kostet 800.000 kroner.

(Du sparer 90% af dit benzinforbrug, hvis du koeber denne bil!)

tesla

(Iovrigt er det fedt at opholde sig herovre, de seneste indkoeb bestaar af sorte (snabel)sko, laederjakke, og mon ikke det der snart bliver plads til et par Seth Pistol Ski i budgettet )

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