April 2006
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Month April 2006

1500 Square Mile Silicon Valley Wireless RFP

802.11b Networking News:

The Joint Venture Silicon Valley public/private partnership has issued its RFP: The group of cities, counties, governmental bodies, and corporations want a wireless network of some kind–technology isn’t decided and could be a broad mix–that would cover Silicon Valley. Winning vendor(s) will be selected from the respondents to their RFP by September, and recommended to the 16 cities, San Mateo County, and 16 other jurisdictions that have signed on. I wrote in January about the scope and nature of this 1,500-square-mile potential project….

Your License Plate Photo, Please

Dan Gilmor experiences our growing surveillance society first hand at SFO.

Marina Del Rey Gets 45Mbit Internet Service

Poking along with 2mbps service in Madison (and far less than that upstream), Multiband announced that they will begin providing 45mbit/second service to Marina Del Rey fro $24.95 to 34.95/month.

More on Photos Verboten

Kristian Knutsen probes the “limits” of public space (or perhaps quasi public space) photography. Nearly two years ago, I was advised the photos were prohibited at Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center.

Reckoning on the “Right”

Ed Wallace:

Worse, ethanol is not being sold to us because it will make America energy independent. It is being forced on the nation, even with all the problems that have already become apparent, because the party in power is locking in the lobbyist monies and farm state votes. And that’s not just my opinion; it’s also the opinion of David G. Victor, director of the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development at Stanford and an adjunct senior fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations, as published in the Houston Chronicle on April 15 of this year.

In fact, the corruption of our legislative body is so pervasive that, when Reuters Business discussed how we could immediately get more ethanol just by dropping the 54-cents-per-gallon import tax on Brazil’s ethanol, the person quoted as saying that “Congress has a backlog of important bills” and “won’t have time in this legislative year to deal with controversial legislation” (such as reducing tariffs on ethanol from Brazil), was nobody we elected. No, it was Jon Doggett, vice president of the National Corn Growers Association. Now tell me: Who is really calling the shots?

The Price Opens at the Madison Rep

Kenneth Burns:

But Corley says the play is both personal and political, and that the current political climate makes The Price as relevant as ever.

In The Price, one of the brothers, Victor (played by Roderick Peeples), is a retired policeman who gave up a budding scientific career to care for his ailing father. The other brother, Walter (Richard Henzel), is a wealthy surgeon who has given their father only token support.

The play’s political themes emerge, Corley says, as the brothers try to make sense of their past and of their choices — and of the prices they have paid. “When Miller wrote the play, he wanted to write about the ideology that created the Vietnam War,” Corley says, “and the belief that the end of war could make things better. Both fallacies are based on a misunderstanding of the past.”

Madison Miscellany Keeps Getting Better

Jason, Kristian, Bill and others have done an excellent job with their daily Madison link roundup. Hands down, the best look at what’s happening locally. Well done!

Head of Visitor Tracking Program Wants Global ID System

Jonathan Marino:

Williams said he wants to join forces with several DHS agencies to develop a global identification system that would cut wait times, reduce government fees for travelers, fight illegal immigration and, perhaps paramount, better defend nations from terrorists.

Bill Would Prohibit Mandatory Microchip Implants

Ryan Foley:

Former Gov. Tommy Thompson was one of the first high-profile supporters of tiny microchips implanted in people’s arms that would allow doctors to access medical information.

Now the state he used to lead is poised to become the first to ban governments and private businesses from forcing such implants on employees, privacy advocates say.

A proposal moving through the state Legislature would prohibit anyone from requiring people to have the tiny chips embedded in them or doing so without their knowledge. Violators would face fines of up to $10,000.

The plan authored by Rep. Marlin Schneider, D-Wisconsin Rapids, won approval in the Assembly last month. The state Senate on Tuesday is scheduled to consider the measure, which would allow for the implants if the person gives consent.

Gov. Jim Doyle would sign the bill, a spokesman said.

Schneider aides say the legislator wants the law in place before companies and governments could use them to keep track of their employees.

Microjets: Eclipse 500 Certification

Joseph Anselmo:

an a former copy machine repairman who happens to be friends with Bill Gates reinvigorate the general aviation industry by adopting the low-cost, mass production model used for personal computers? The world is about to find out.

Not long ago, it appeared the answer was a resounding “no.” Eclipse Aviation founder Vern Raburn gathered his team on a dismal Saturday morning in November 2002 to figure out whether the company had a future. Raburn, a pioneer in the personal computer revolution, was aiming to develop a six-seat jet that would sell for less than $1 million, bringing jet ownership within reach of thousands of new customers. But his penchant for risk had put Eclipse in big trouble.

The Albuquerque company, with funding support from NASA, had bet big on the development of an advanced, radically cheaper turbine engine. The technology wasn’t panning out in time, however, and there was no Plan B. Investors, lured by Raburn’s earlier successes at Microsoft, Lotus and Symantec, were running out of patience. Eclipse had two options: stick with the balky engine and pray for a miracle, or delay launch of the aircraft by several years and try to hang on while it found a new engine.