Internet Use is Up!

Stephen Ohlemacher:

Internet usage increased with education, income and the presence of school-age children at home, the report found. It was lowest among adults who have not graduated from high school.

School-age children are most likely to use home computers to play games or do school work. Adults are most likely to use home computers for e-mail, to search for information about products and services, and to read news, weather and sports information.

The report is based on data from the bureau’s October 2003 Current Population Survey, the country’s primary source of labor statistics. It is the bureau’s latest information on computer and Internet use, though it is two years old and experts say Americans’ computer habits are quickly evolving.

“We actually think the (Internet) penetration in households is higher,” said Greg Stuart, president and CEO of the Internet Advertising Bureau, which helps online companies increase revenue.

No Cell Phone Tracking Without Probable Cause


Agreeing with a brief submitted by EFF, a federal judge forcefully rejected the government’s request to track the location of a mobile phone user without a warrant.
Strongly reaffirming an earlier decision, Federal Magistrate James Orenstein in New York comprehensively smacked down every argument made by the government in an extensive, fifty-seven page opinion issued this week. Judge Orenstein decided, as EFF has urged, that tracking cell phone users in real time required a showing of probable cause that a crime was being committed. Judge Orenstein’s opinion was decisive, and referred to government arguments variously as “unsupported,” “misleading,” “contrived,” and a “Hail Mary.”

Media “Titans” An Interview with GE/NBC’s Bob Wright

John Battelle:

nd he might not even be done yet: In July the New York Post reported that NBC Universal is in talks to acquire DreamWorks SKG, a move that would beef up its movie portfolio.
So far, sticking with content looks like a smart bet. Even as NBC plummeted to fourth place in viewership, cable and film earnings kept the company, which is 80 percent owned by GE (GE) and 20 percent by Vivendi, growing in the double digits. But Wright has more on his mind than a replacement for Friends. Electronic piracy, the bane of the music industry, is starting to hit movies. Google, TiVo, and Yahoo are threatening to upend the video business. Wright still believes he’s made the right bet — content, he says, will have value, no matter who distributes it. But he openly admits that the Internet is making things “awkward” for him. Business 2.0 met with Wright to find out how he plans to sort things out.

Exclusive Municipal Broadband Franchises

802.11 news:

Anaheim, Calif., will consider franchising EarthLink to operate a municipal network: This is the clearest proposal I’ve heard to date regarding the franchising and exclusivity aspect of municipal broadband networks. Many requests for proposals (RFPs) hint at or ignore the fact that a winning bidder may ask for or be granted exclusive use of facilities like poles, towers, building tops, and other city resources. This article from Government Technology notes that Anaheim’s City Council will consider a 20-year agreement with EarthLink that will award the company an exclusive franchise. Anaheim has some fiber, and EarthLink would gain access to that.

Monroe’s Ethanol (E85) for $1.96/Gallon


he price won’t stay under a dollar, but even at $1.96 a gallon, drivers will be smiling.
Cory said the corn-based fuel gives him fewer miles per gallon, but he figures he’s still 4 to 5 cents per gallon ahead with the savings at the pump.
He also likes the fact that he’s helping local farmers.
“I think anything we can do to help our own markets and build up our own economy is a lot better off and this is really clean burning fuel,” he said.

The Next Battery?

David Baker:

The battery of the future, if a Berkeley startup gets its way, looks something like a fat stick of butter with metal grills stuck on the sides.

And it isn’t a battery, not technically at least. It’s a 4-inch-high fuel cell that should last 10 times longer than the batteries it was designed to replace.

Its inventors, founders of a firm called H2Volt, have joined the hunt for one of the technology industry’s Holy Grails — a new power source capable of running the portable electronics products that grow more complex every year

Sigur Ros: Takk Review

Tom Moon:

If you think American rock bands face long odds chasing success, consider the improbable tale of Sigur Ros. The five-piece band from Iceland makes spacey progressive music, with often-indecipherable lyrics. Despite those apparent handicaps, the band has gone from playing small clubs to headlining large international rock festivals. The band’s fourth studio CD is called Takk…, which means “Thanks.”

A Basic Right to Broadband?

Charles Cooper:

We won’t stop until every San Franciscan has broadband access,” says Chris Vein, the senior technology advisor to San Francisco’s Mayor Gavin Newsom. It’s not only rhetoric. His boss is one of the nation’s most visible proponents of so-called muni Wi-Fi. Because he runs San Francisco, Newsom probably gets more than his fair share of ink. Some think that he also harbors ambitions to one day run for U.S. president–and nothing would look better on his resume than a line about how the city extended affordable broadband access to all its residents.

But Newsom is only picking up on a theme increasingly sounded by politicians elsewhere. The city of Philadelphia has also announced a high-profile plan to provide Internet access to its citizens. From its point of view, broadband is a necessity, not a luxury. With the United States’ ranking for broadband penetration plummeting from third place to 16th in just four years, this is more than an academic concern. The fear is this will translate into massive job losses to other nations.

Number of Pork Projects in Federal Spending Bills

Andrew Roth:

From Chris Edwards’ new book, Downsizing the Federal Government (which cited CAGW):

2005 – 13,997
2004 – 10,656
2003 – 9,362
2002 – 8,341
2001 – 6,333
2000 – 4,326
1999 – 2,838
1998 – 2100
1997 – 1,596
1996 – 958
1995 – 1439

Using 2005 numbers, by voting down the “Bridges” amendment, the Senate let the country know that it was unwilling to defund 2 out of 13,997 pork projects today. That’s 0.0142887762 percent.

Silicon Valley, Where Brains Meet Bucks

A recent visit and discussions with a mentor friend of mine reinforce Alan T. Saracevic’s article: Silicon Valley, Where Brains Meet Bucks. My friend mentioned two ventures where he stuck with ideas through two bankruptcies until they were successful. That type of risk taking and stick to it attitude is generally not seen (there are exceptions) here.

What do you get when you mix two parts money, a healthy dose of brains and another three parts money? Why, Silicon Valley, of course. The most opportunistic place in the world.

The Madison area has plenty of cash. We simply must be willing to use it. Judy Newman notes that Wisconsin lags in high-tech jobs.