Bob Cringely has been looking into the likely sale of Skype. Good analysis, as usual.
Skype is “Revenue killer number one” according to a telecom executive friend of mine, and I could easily see Vodaphone pick them up. Actually, Microsoft or Intel could be candidates, too – imagine going IP and wireless with 20m customers.
Check out Google Moon – and try zooming all the way in…
(Via Doc Searls)
I have just taken delivery of my new FujitsuSiemens Celsius workstation (3.4GHz, 1GRAM, 300+G disk, and a really nifty Nvidia card), and while I wait for installation of Office and other dreary usefulness, I have installed and played around with Google Earth. As Stefan Geens writes in his enthusiastic post, this is really a neat application and something I look forward to playing around with a lot more.
Nothing like decent horsepower, I say.
This summer’s holiday was spent in Italy – some of it in Rome, where I stood in line for one hour and a half to get into the Musei Vaticani. It was worth the wait. This museum, mostly known for the Sistine Chapel and Rafael’s frescoes, is huge and has treasures on almost any wall. It is quite fascinating to watch the Athens School in the original, for instance.
The items most interesting to me, however, were these two unassuming monters found in the library section, opposite a stand selling postcards. They are mechanical demonstrations of two world systems – the heliocentric system of Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo and Newton, and the geocentric system of Ptolemy and Aristoteles. (After writing this, I have to confess I am a little uncertain about the monter on the left – I am pretty sure it is Ptolemaic, with some modifications. Experts?)
The monters stand there, without sign or commentary, unmentioned on the audio guide that otherwise will tell you about each room in tedious detail. Yet they represent the Catholic church’s loss of scientific legitimacy: As the Church clung to the increasingly untenable position that the Earth was at the center of the universe, scientists increasingly ceased to see the church as a legitimate sponsor or even legitimate actor in scientific endeavors. Science and church split – and what science remained in the church was increasingly limited to increasinly obscure theological interpretation – while science went on to triumph based on what Leonardo da Vinci called “the addiction to experience.”
According to Richard Tarnas (in
The Concours Group runs a semi-monthly teleconference series called the CIO Staff Meeting, where IT management groups can call in and participate in presentation on various topics of interest. One of my rather pleasant duties is to participate in some of these teleconferences, as moderator and “chief inquisitor”.
Yesterday, our guest was Brad Noblet, Director of Computing Technical Services at Dartmouth College. Over the last three years, he has been responsible for implementing a complete renewal of the network services at the college, replacing three old networks (telephony, data and audio/video) with one unified IP infrastructure, both fixed and wireless.
I have been on holiday and missed my weekly Economist, so this may already have been wall-to-wall blogged. Anyway, in its editorial comments on June 30, the magazine takes a strong stand against extending copyright protection:
In America, the length of copyright protection has increased enormously over the past century, from around 28 years to as much as 95 years. The same trend can be seen in other countries. In June Britain signalled that it may extend its copyright term from 50 years to around 90 years.
This makes no sense. Copyright was originally intended to encourage publication by granting publishers a temporary monopoly on works so they could earn a return on their investment. But the internet and new digital technologies have made the publication and distribution of works much easier and cheaper. Publishers should therefore need fewer, not more, property rights to protect their investment. Technology has tipped the balance in favour of the public domain.
A first, useful step would be a drastic reduction of copyright back to its original terms — 14 years, renewable once. This should provide media firms plenty of chance to earn profits, and consumers plenty of opportunity to rip, mix, burn their back catalogues without breaking the law. The Supreme Court has somewhat reluctantly clipped the wings of copyright pirates; it is time for Congress to do the same to the copyright incumbents.
Right on. And this from a magazine that knows economics, makes a comfortable living off intellectual property and makes quite few of its articles available for free.
Some years ago, Norway’s then defense minister Jørgen Kosmo made a rather glaring sartorial mistake when he appeared at a meeting of European defense ministers wearing a white dress coat. The resulting group picture made him stand out – and one of his political friends joked that he looked like “an Italian pick-pocket.”
At the time, I thought that a rather unfair statement on Italians. But I am now back after my first holiday in Italy, and unfortunately my chief impression is that more people in that country than in any other I have been are out to cheat their visitors.