Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Stamattina leggo:

Inside the Yodobashi Camera store there was a long counter where sales representatives were promoting various broadband products, with most of the usual suspects represented.

How about 50Mbps DSL for EUR28.50 per month? You got it. An extra EUR21 per month gets you 100Mbps symmetrical fiber.

We asked one sales guy where fiber services were available, and he chuckled and replied, "Within the Kanto region (a mega-conurbation of 40m people), basically anywhere where there's train service." Which I unscientifically calculate as being pretty much everywhere...

Permalink posted by James Enck : 10:58 AM

E ieri quell'imbecille del nostro presidente sbraitava che l'Italia deve riacquistare la competitivita' nell'alta tecnologia!!!

Mi spieghi caro Ciampi:

in Sanfre', un paese che dista 40 Km. da Torino, capoluogo della Regione Piemonte, sono anni che aspettiamo la DSL, badi, miseri 256K, non 100 MBPS simmetrici e fibra ottica...
Qui si pagano 15 euro mensili alla benemerita Telecom per una connessione via Modem a 32 Kilobit al massimo.

Mi dica:

COME PUO' UN Italiano competere in alte tecnologie, quando non ha NULLA?
Si ricorda:
I nostri soldati furono inviati a combattere contro l'armata russa, nell'inverno russo, con SCARPE DI CARTA...

E' passato piu' di mezzo secolo.
Ancora noi Italiani crediamo nella Provvidenza, in Padre Pio e nella Giustizia nell'aldila'...
Perche' non c'e' piu' speranza dell'aldiqua...

Friday, November 25, 2005

Prime time is anytime, and anytime is prime time.

Consumers become producers of content, and niche content surpasses by orders of magnitude the value of traditionally labelled commercial television and film.

The value is not anymore in the best seller or in the blockbuster.

The value is in infinite choice of content and in the opportunity for the consumer to see content when she wants it:
prime time is anytime, and anytime is prime time.

Robin Good

I partially agree.
Well, the future is undoubtely in "programs on demand".
Gone are the days in which you had one channel and one choice and something to see.
Now you have million channels and nothing to look at.

Too much sponsored choice kills quality and variety, because when you spend money to sponsor a program THAT PROGRAM HAS to be liked by the majority, and the majority usually likes always the same things...

The future IS in the Niche market.
And the Niche market is in the Internet.

Prime time is any time, but it is not so easy and cheap as it can look.

The best and cheapest distribution is the one that is blooming:
The peer to peer.
Not only because it costs nothing (no copyright involved and to pay for)but also because the sending and receiving involves many servers.
The biggest problem in content distribution on the Net is the amount of bandwith involved.
Not only on the side of the one who downloads, but on the side of the senders.

This is not the case of the broadcasters on satellite, cable and traditional TV.
The delivery is cheap because it is in Multicasting.
If you send a movie to a million people from the satellite, you consume the same bandwidth you would consume to send it to one.
The Internet, even though has a much lower cost regarding the bandwidth, in this case is enormously more expensive than the Satellite, in spite of all wonderful compressions.

When THIS will be solved, and only THEN, the Internet will be the mean of choice.


I gave thanks for my energy rich lifestyle, and the bird that was fed on fossil fuel enriched feed, that came to market on a fossil fuel powered truck, that was kept in a fossil fuel powered electric refrigerator and was cooked on a fossil fuel gas stove. I gave thanks for my friends who had come hundreds of miles in fossil fuel powered vehicles to celebrate with me in a fossil fuel heated room.

David Isenberg

If you had been in a place like Africa you wouldn't have had an energy rich lfestyle, you wouldn't have had to eat a bird fed with fossil fuel enriched feed, that wouldn't have traveled on a fossil fueled powered truck, that wouldn't have had the need to be kept in a fossil fueled powered electric refrigerator, and wouldn't have needed to be cooked on a fossil fuel gas stove. You wouldn't probably have had friends coming to see you in fossil fuel powered vehicles to celebrate in a fossil fuel heated room.

The only positive side would have been to have no need of heating the room, may be because you wouldn't have had a room.

But then, in places like Africa you do not need to celebrate, you do not even have Thanksgiving


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Openness and interoperability pay huge dividends

Openness and interoperability not only pay huge dividends, but are the only possible future of computing.

Rather than looking at massive monoliths which can take forever to build (Longhorn, Microsoft's next-generation operating system, is one example), there is a need to modularise software through openly accessible interfaces at various levels. For example, one can imagine"Visual Biz-ic" as a Lego-like development environment to construct business process management libraries for small- and medium-sized enterprises to mirror their information flows.

The Internet Era brought us at real "Internet time" from a world of a "small town" to the world of a "huge continent", from isolated islands to a complicated network that goes from one side of this earth to the other one in a few seconds.
Communications that require a few seconds make the world so small as making a far away continent just next door.

Grid computing is the next step.
A network is done not only for inter communication, but for using many computrs for the same task.
This is what a peer to peer network does in a lower scale.
Connecting more users and exchanging files.
A grid computing does something more.
Exchanging files and interconnecting every computer writes a part of the complex software for the network to which all belong.
A software is made by small pieces loosely joined, where the Lego bricks are all over the world and work together in the "Virtual world", the "Netsphera" and accomplish a big goal, which none of them could do alone.

But in this case openess and interoperability are a "Condicio sine qua non".

Reinventing computing

Unlike most other industries, the computer industry has two giants in Intel and Microsoft which control the supply of two most important components.
The rest of the industry revolves around Intel's CPU and Microsoft's Windows-Office combo.
If computing has to be made available to the next-generation of users, this Wintel stranglehold needs to be broken.
Various visions of the future of computing have been put forward.

Many prognostications and products have suffered from two flaws. First, their primary focus has been on the developed markets where computers have a near-universal penetration. They tend to ignore today's non-users and the world's emerging markets.

Second, they have looked at only one or two dimensions of the computing ecosystem. What is needed is a set of "rainbow revolutions" to make a difference.

There are important computing challenges that need to be tackled:

Affordability: The existing solution, created by and for people with very high incomes, is too costly and too complicated for most people . While hardware costs have dramatically and monotonically declined over time, software has become more expensive to own and manage. Many of most sotware features are unused and so useless.
Consequently, the total cost of ownership of computing solutions is still very high. (Piracy is a commonly used workaround when it comes to software. But most have to take the non-consumption route when even the pirated software plus the hardware costs exceed their budgets.)

Desirability: The utility of computers derives primarily from the services that it provides users. Even if the total package of hardware and software was affordable, people will not buy unless the services they derived from the computer were relevant to their lives.

Security: Using computers is not for the faint-hearted. Rarely a week goes by without the discovery of some flaw in the software that users have on our desktops which, if left unattended, could cause serious damage to the data we have stored, and perhaps, worse. In a world of connected computers, security has become one of the most important concerns, not just for CIOs but also for individual users.

Ubiquity: It is still hard for users to get access to the information that users have whenever they want and wherever they are.

There are goals which a new solution set in computing needs to meet:

Solve the Challenges simultaneously: The challenges of affordability, desirability, accessibility, manageability, security and ubiquity need to be addressed all at the same time.

Make CommPuting as a Utility: The combination of a computer connected to the Internet needs to be available just like electricity, water or telephony: as a utility.

Enable Human-centred Computing: The way users interact with computers needs to change.
Computing needs to put users at the centre, not the technology.

The revolutions that need to happen to address the goals to meet the challenges are:

Grid: Computing needs to become centralised to simplify the end points and also reduce their cost.

Virtual Computers: The end points that connect to the grid need be little more than "thin clients" handling local input/output. What these virtual computers need is, for starters, the ability to take keyboard and mouse inputs and send them off to the Grid, and get back the virtual desktops for display.

Ubiquitous Connectivity: As both wired and wireless broadband networks proliferate, connectivity between the virtual computers and the Grid will be taken for granted.

Loosely Coupled Software: Rather than looking at massive monoliths which can take forever to build (Longhorn, Microsoft's next-generation operating system, is one example), there is a need to modularise software through openly accessible interfaces at various levels. For example, one can imagine "Visual Biz-ic" as a Lego-like development environment to construct business process management libraries for small- and medium-sized enterprises to mirror their information flows.

Humane Interface: The user interface that is at the edge of human-computer interaction needs an overhaul. Whether it is a shift away from a keyboard and mouse to an increasing use of speech and gestures or 3D virtual reality interfaces or contextual workspaces, it is time for move away from files, folders and icons.

By taking a holistic view of the ecosystem and building a chain of integrated innovation, it will be finally possible to fulfill the dream of making computing accessible to every family, student and employee in every corner of the world. Only then will the true promise of the computer as a means to deliver solutions and services for the next users be realised. This is where the future of computing lies. This is why computing needs to be reinvented. This is where the next technology cycle will begin. This is the next big thing platform and opportunity entrepreneurs have been waiting for. This is a transformation that will take root first in the world?s emerging markets. This is what we need to make happen.

Liberally taken from Rajesh Jain's

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Reinventare il computer

Egr. dott. Bairati

Questa e' la meta di chi guarda al futuro e alle nuove tecnologie come la via al progresso.

Il sole sorge ad Est, mai come negli ultimi anni questa definizione ha potuto riflettere la realta'.
E' vero, il sole non sorge, e' la terra che si muove, ma noi stiamo parlando del mondo Virtuale, mondo in cui l'Est sembra voler predominare.

Forse chi deve accellerare il passo per seguire il progresso, non e' piu' l'Est, ma l'Ovest che sembra dormire sonni profondi credendo di poter fare affidamento su un passato che e' sempre piu' lontano.
Si sciacqua la bocca con parole dense di tecnologia e non e' in grado di provvedere ai suoi cittadini le basi minime per affrontare il futuro.

Il computer e' il mezzo indispensabile per svolgere qualsiasi attivita', il computer deve essere a disposizione di ogni famiglia, studente, impiegato in ogni angolo del mondo e l'Internet deve diventare una "utility" come l'elettricita', l'aqua, il telefono.
Solo cosi' si potra' far si' che si avveri il sogno di un computer come mezzo per offrire soluzioni e servizi per la futura generazione.

Questa e' la scommessa per il Futuro, non si puo' piu' ignorare quello che succede altrove, perche' cosi' facendo il prezzo diventa insostenibile e si arrivera' alla catastrofe economica, di cui abbiamo gia' purtroppo parecchie avvisaglie...


Convergence is finally becoming a reality as the next-generation networks with all-IP cores are making it possible to have triple play services (voice, data and video) flow over the same network.
The promise is clear: a converged world where we can get the applications and services we want where we want them and on the device of our choice. This has been the Holy Grail in the telecom world for many years, but finally things seem to be coming together.

Disruptions are technological shifts which provide opportunity for newcomers to take on incumbents, and perhaps usurp power. It happens all the time. Today's king is not guaranteed to be tomorrow's emperor. We have seen this in history and politics, and we see it in business also. While at times, corporations themselves hasten their downfall by questionable decisions (in retrospect), at other times entrepreneurial start-ups with some luck rapidly make their way to the top. There is no magic formula for success. But understanding disruptions and key trends can help avoid mistakes that can accelerate failure.

I have long been intrigued by what happens to industries when a new technology changes the rules of the game.
The history of technology-based industries: communications, computing, and health sciences is marked by such transformations.

Whether rooted in technology or not, changes wreak havoc, forcing all the players to adapt. Often the only way they can do so is by transforming their own business models in fundamental ways. Most of the firms that dominated the old order usually disappear, replaced by new players operating in new relationships under new rules.

I'd like to borrow a concept from physics to describe the difference between two types of strategic actions. If the effect of a company's strategic action changes only its own competitive position but not the environment, the action is linear. In contrast, a nonlinear strategic action sets off changes in the environment that the company as well as its competitors then have to cope with.

Nonlinear strategic actions would seem to have immense appeal for the ambitious strategist. Not only can they improve the position of the company within the environment, but they hold the promise of shaping the environment so that it is favorable to the company's new strategy. They are the Holy Grail of strategic actions.

Many gurus like Clay Christensen have discussed the theory of disruptions and how to handle them. While it is good to study disruptions, they can also be tremendous opportunities for entrepreneurs. The times we are living in today are filled with disruptions, brought on by forces that interplay with each other, creating multiplier effects.

For the most part, voice has been carried separately from data, while video has had its own network. Now, it is all changing as next-generation networks built around IP at their core, and voice and video are digitised. Voice becomes yet another application, as is already happening with VoIP, and network TV shifts to networked TV
This triple play is becoming a quadruple play with the integration of mobility.
For example, in the future, consumers can experience our Multimedia Communications Services features over their televisions, including the ability to answer email, instant messages and conduct a teleconference - all from the comfort of a living room sofa.

The other thread is the increasing availability of bandwidth. Even as users in South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong experience affordable multi-megabit access, this will extend to other markets also. And change life and lifestyles forever.

In an always-on world, data and applications can reside in the cloud, and we as users can access the information we need from the device we want independent of location.

The mass-market is giving way to a long tail of markets. Tomorrow's world is not just about targeting what is popular culture, but focusing on what are our likes. It is about finding the niches and serving them.

The future can be viewed as shifts from the present. What will be these shifts? Each shift can be thought of as a disruption, and therefore an opportunity. Once we understand what is going to change, we will then need to understand how we can catalyse and capitalise on these disruptions. What is needed is to apply these ideas to the industry we operate in.

As an example, Gerd Leonhard identifies the transformation we are seeing around us:

The Great Transition:
* Music Industry (top down) to Peer to Peer (bottom-up)
* Scheduled Television to Tivo
* Media Publishing to Weblogs
* Client-server applications to Web services
* Circuit-switched telephony to VOIP
* Licensed cellular to Unlicensed wireless

The Key Megatrends related to the digital entertainment industry:

1. The on-demand media lifestyle is here
2. The end of customer sacrifices is near (music !!)
3. Everybody is short of time, and must make choices
4. The end of browsing is near (see Google morph)(This may be controversial though)
5. In media, the traditional scarcity principle of valuation morphs into the ubiquity paradigm
6. Radio is finally unbound (by spectrum or schedule)
7. Consumers are starting to generate their own content
8. A mass of niche markets evolves (lowest common denominator concerns becomes irrelevant)
9. Time-shifting and space-shifting and device shifting become standard
10. Long-tail opportunities are everywhere.

The three key building blocks for my thinking about the future are broadband, mobility and emerging markets. Broadband will enable on-demand, net-native services. Mobility will empower users with computers in their pockets. Much of this future will begin and spread faster in emerging markets because they have very little legacy.

The opportunity lies in putting these building blocks together and creating an ecosystem of focused enterprises which can build out elements of the future.

Liberally taken from
Rajesh Jain's

Monday, November 21, 2005

If God existed, HE would be atheist.

Reps. Boucher and Terry have introduced a bill that would support universal service (roughly, telephone service in rural areas) by imposing a tax on any entity providing voice communications over any platform.

So the bill defines "communications service providers" to include any entity that "uses telephone numbers or Internet protocol addresses, or their functional equivalents or successors, to offer a service or a capability that provides or enables real-time voice communications; and in which the voice component is the primary function."

This must mean that any provider of free voice services is covered too, whether or not they connect to the traditional telephone network. This must cover Skype. The idea is that the FCC is supposed to begin a rulemaking that would lead to charging "communications service providers" for universal service.

Section 4 (starting on p. 17 of the draft) says that another rulemaking is supposed to establish mandatory rules for tracking all services -- presumably so that USF can be assessed. This section is truly startling. It appears, among other things, to outlaw encrypted online traffic.

Susan Crawford

I do not find it startling at all.

I expect even more.

I expect they will try to find the way to charge every call, as they did with the old telephone service.

Why should they say good bye to one of the biggest income?

If God existed HE would be atheist.

If our Governments behaved in the sake of their citizens' they wouldn't be what they are.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The long tail

The Long Tail
Forget squeezing millions from a few megahits at the top of the charts. The future of entertainment is in the millions of niche markets at the shallow end of the bitstream.
By Chris Anderson

"Unlimited selection is revealing truths about what consumers want and how they want to get it in service after service, from DVDs at Netflix to music videos on Yahoo! Launch to songs in the iTunes Music Store and Rhapsody. People are going deep into the catalog, down the long, long list of available titles, far past what's available at Blockbuster Video, Tower Records, and Barnes & Noble. And the more they find, the more they like. As they wander further from the beaten path, they discover their taste is not as mainstream as they thought (or as they had been led to believe by marketing, a lack of alternatives, and a hit-driven culture).

An analysis of the sales data and trends from these services and others like them shows that the emerging digital entertainment economy is going to be radically different from today's mass market. If the 20th- century entertainment industry was about hits, the 21st will be equally about misses.
The main problem, if that's the word, is that we live in the physical world and, until recently, most of our entertainment media did, too. But that world puts two dramatic limitations on our entertainment.

The first is the need to find local audiences. An average movie theater will not show a film unless it can attract at least 1,500 people over a two-week run; that's essentially the rent for a screen. An average record store needs to sell at least two copies of a CD per year to make it worth carrying; that's the rent for a half inch of shelf space. And so on for DVD rental shops, videogame stores, booksellers, and newsstands.

In each case, retailers will carry only content that can generate sufficient demand to earn its keep. But each can pull only from a limited local population.
There is plenty of great entertainment with potentially large, even rapturous, national audiences that cannot clear that bar.
The other constraint of the physical world is physics itself. The radio spectrum can carry only so many stations, and a coaxial cable so many TV channels. And, of course, there are only 24 hours a day of programming. The curse of broadcast technologies is that they are profligate users of limited resources. The result is yet another instance of having to aggregate large audiences in one geographic area - another high bar, above which only a fraction of potential content rises."

Broadcasting on the Net will:

1) Increase enormously the offer of entertainments.
2) Fill every possible niche of the market.Finding 1,500 people around the globe will be much esier than in a town.
3) The constraint of physics doesn't exist in a virtual world
4) Since the cost of delivery will be very low, the profits will be higher and the price lower.
5) Computers work 24 hours a day, on Saturdays and Sundays, even on Christmas...


Thursday, November 17, 2005


"Will electronics lead to a much smaller and less expensive educational establishment, as some hope and others fear? My expectation is that it will not.
This prediction does not deny the value of modern technology.
PCs and the Internet are powerful tools. Personally I am skeptical of the extreme claims for technology.

Technology can replace many teachers in their present roles.
If all we cared about was to produce what the current system does, we could indeed operate with fewer people.

The main reason for expecting no cutbacks in teacher ranks is that human contact is valued very highly.

Although education will continue to evolve, it is likely to be less affected by technology than is forecasted by many people, such as Peter Drucker or Eli Noam [Noam]. Successful institutions will have to respond to the need for life-long education, and distance learning will play a major role. However, that will only change, and not eliminate, the role of teachers."

Andrew Odlyzko

But electronics will lead to a much smaller and less expensive educational establishment. Not only. They will be essential for a future growth of education among the population.

Let's have a look at History.

Culture has been for century available to a small restricted area of the population who could have access to expensive teachers and expensive books.

The invention of the printing machine and the following widespreading of books and their much cheaper cost, allowed a much bigger number of people to have access to culture.

Number that is continually growing thanks also to the further evolution of technolgy.

PC and the Internet will play a major role in the diffusion of education, on one side with the low cost ebooks and on the other side allowing one techer to reach a bigger number of students from his own home.

Yes it is undoubtely right:

"If every institution, from a local community college to Harvard, uses the same holographic projections of the world's best lectures, and has access to the same digital libraries, how will Harvard differentiate itself?
The most likely answer is through stress on the quality of its teachers in their other roles. As with business travel, the leveling by technology of a part of the competitive landscape is likely to lead to greater emphasis on the human element, even when the results are hard to measure."

And if the quality of Harvard's teachers is NOT higher than the quality of other schools' teachers...

I see it as a positive sign.

Why should Harvard or another school have more access to culture, to human cultural inheritance, than any other school of this globe?

May be we will have an outsourcing also on education...

The Internet is exactly this: The Best no matter where...:

Information appliances

"We were frustrated with computers a decade ago, we are frustrated with them now, and will continue to be frustrated in the future.
As long as technology offers enticing new products and services, we will continue to live on the edge of intolerable frustration.
However, by providing for customizable flexibility and developing outsourcing services for computing and networking support, we can smooth the transition to the information appliance era of computing.

The home information appliance environment is likely to be more complicated than the office environment today. Also, many users will be less knowledgeable about electronics than the typical office worker. Therefore it will be essential to outsource the setup and maintenance of home computing and electronics to experts. It will not be economically feasible for them to visit in person every time something goes wrong, or a new device is to be added to the system.

Therefore all devices will have to be designed for remote administration. (Most of it will be automated, and it will be facilitated by, and may essentially require,broadband access to the home.) Perhaps even more important, all these new information appliances will have to be designed for customizable flexibility, so that only the administrators will have full control of them. Users will be given varying degrees of control, depending on their skills and trustworthiness. The operating system will need to be rigidly isolated from the applications, and the applications will have to be tested for compatibility by the administrators before they are installed. This will reduce users' freedom to modify their systems.

However, it should bring in some sanity to the potentially chaotic scene and make possible deep penetration of information appliances into society. If Aunt Millie wants to give a new toy to your son Bill for Christmas, she may first have to check with your system manager whether that toy will interoperate with all the other information appliances in the house. Most users are likely to accept such restrictions to simplify their lives."

Andrew Odlyzko

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

"Content is King" "Content is not king"

"The Internet will surely have a major impact on the content industries.
This may mean that writers and artists will get a bigger share of the pie. That appears to have been the trend over the last few decades, with movie actors and professional sport stars increasing their share of the revenues their work brings in.

Content is King, and Content is not king.
They are both true and both false.

The truth is that Content is changing.
Better: the broadcasters are changing.
Content is not king in the sense that the traditional broadcasters are not kings anymore.

The Internet is a disruptive technology, it does have unprecedented ability to emulate other delivery mechanisms, and we are already seeing rapid growth in music delivery on it.
There will be continuing competition to traditional media, as well as increasing diversity of delivery mechanisms for content. This may mean that writers and artists will get a bigger share of the pie.
It is less certain whether carriers will manage to improve their share of the content pie to the same extent. There will certainly be a shift of revenue towards broadband services, but content distribution may not be the largest contributor to it.

That real-time multimedia traffic would not dominate the Internet has been predicted several times in the past. It is an obvious conclusion from the rapid increase in traffic.
The discussion above is futurology. We cannot be certain how the Internet will evolve. However, history teaches us several lessons. One is that the growing storage and communication capacities will be used, often in unexpected ways.

Another important lesson is that the value of the myriad social interactions has often been underestimated.
Sociability was frequently dismissed as idle gossip, and especially in the early days of the telephone, was actively discouraged.

Yet the most successful communication technologies, the mail and the telephone, reached their full potential only when they embraced sociability and those "useless calls" as their goal [Fischer]. That seemingly idle chit-chat not only provided direct revenues, but it encouraged the diffusion of the corresponding technology, and made it more useful for commercial and other applications. Such social interaction frequently function to grease the wheels of commerce.

Whether content is king or not has direct relevance for the question of whether the Internet will continue to be an open network, or whether it will be balkanized. If content were to dominate, then the Internet would be primarily a broadcast network. With value proportional to the number of users, there would be few inherent advantages to an open network.
Content has never been king, it is not king now, and is unlikely to ever be king. The Internet has done quite well without content, and can continue to flourish without it. Content will have a place on the Internet, possibly a substantial place. However, its place will likely be subordinate to that of business and personal communication."

Andrew Odlyzko.

Nevertheless Content IS the Internet.
The first and massive "Broadband boom" came with Napster and file sharing.
The real Mass Market of connectivity bloomed when there was content to deliver.
And in "pure Internet style" was not a central broadcasted content, but an "end to end" broadcasted content.
The Internet for its nature is an "End to End" network and the very succesful broadcasting will be an "end to end" broadcasting.
High compression, multicasting, new generation Set Top Boxes, will see the dawn of a new way of broadcasting, the birth of a new figure of broadcaster.
The content will be a copyrighted Mp3 or the last electronic song of the unknown artist, or the last song of the famous singer.

We will see the dawn of the new Era where the publishers, the Music Labels,the movie distributions will slowly either disappear or change their role.
The artist will earn the biggest part of his creative production.
The Internet will allow him to sell his creation at a fraction of its actual price with and increase of his profits.

The profit will be close to the revenue, so close as to have almost the same meaning.


Internet: the revolution of our generation

The Internet signed the dawn of a new Era: the Era of the end of Monarchies.
Exactly as the French Revolution.
Revolutions are a necessity for progress.
Usually conservative forms of government tend to be defensive of the "Status Quo", because they are fearing of progress.
That usually means a change in the economical share of the markets, and a share means that the rich are getting less rich and the poor less poor.
It means that the money must change hands so that many more can have access to it.

People who understand this simple mathematical operation are the ones who are able to forsee into the future, all the others (the majority) cannot or do not want to see it.
This lead and will lead to whatever is necessary to change the "Status Quo" including revolutions...

France is the ideal example of it.
May be it is, as it was, the first glimpse of what is going to happen.
Where there is a huge asimmetry between people who have too much money and people who have too much time, the result is what is happening right now.

Monday, November 14, 2005

What do people really want?

My son is a succesful showman.
He is not popular yet, but I am sure he will.

Not only because he is good, that in itself is not enough.
He will be succesful because the audience likes him.
And why do they like him?

Not just because he is good or says things they like, but because he does what a succesful showman knows how to do :
He involves the people.

And that is exactly what the audience wants.
They not only want to see a show, they want to be part of it.

Content - material prepared by professionals for consumption by large audiences - undoubtedly plays a big part in consumers' lives.
Many businesses based on movies, book publishing, recorded music,professional sports or news dissemination are large and prosperous.
And content is certainly a more glamorous business than providing 'dumb pipes'.
But the truth is, content has never been as essential to consumers or as economically vital as connectivity.

Providing pop videos or movie trailers for consumers to watch on 3G cellphones has provoked a similarly underwhelming reaction from end users.
What does appear to be more popular in the new generations of cellphones is the ability to take pictures and send them to friends and family, a typical connectivity application.
In the last few decades, with the development of cellular services, wireless transmission has started to move back to its roots as a point-to-point communications service and the revenues from wireless telephony now far exceed those from radio broadcasting and are even greater than those of radio and television combined.

People do not like to be passive, they want to be INTO the picture and involved into the story.

So who needs streaming video on a phone?

Those third-generation services, combining Internet and wireless technologies, were to ring in a new era of communications. Instead, rising skepticism about their prospects, together with the staggering sums paid by carriers in spectrum auctions, helped precipitate the telecom crash.
People don't want to be entertained by their cell phones. They want to be connected.

Broadband o Banda Larga

Ogni trenta secondi un esponente della cosidetta "generazione del boom demografico" compie 60 anni.
Considerando l'invecchiamento della popolazione prendiamo in considerazione l'aspetto economico dal punto di vista di un capitalista.
Da un lato abbiamo si' un abnorme numero di "pensionati", ma dall'altra abbiamo un mercato enorme che presenta un mare di opportunita'.
Molti economisti si sono gia' accorti della potenza del numero dei "baby boomers" e molti investitori hanno fatto la loro fortuna investendo nei bisogni di questa generazione.

Questa generazione, al contrario della precedente, annovera un gran numero di individui colti, con un diploma o una laurea e con una certa esperienza su Internet.
Immaginiamoci un futuro in cui parecchi rappresentanti di questa generazione siano felicemente attivi lavorando a casa, part time.

La nostra e' stata definita l'era dell'"informazione".
La crescita reale di molte aziende dipendera' enormemente e sempre di piu' dal grado di "livello di informatizzazione" raggiunto.
Anche nel campo della Medicina e dell'Agraria il progresso dipendera' sempre di piu' nel prossimo futuro dall'uso di nuove tecnologie informatiche.

C'e' una perfetta asimmetria tra coloro che hanno soldi e coloro che hanno tempo, tra coloro che aspettano una risposta e coloro che sono in grado di darla.
Questa e' una grande opportunita'.
L'economia del futuro e' in gran parte rappresentata dai servizi, la maggior parte dei quali e' servizi informatici.
Il libero mercato cerchera' sempre piu' opportunita' nell'educazione e nell'insegnamento servendosi delle nuove tecnologie come Internet, facendo si' che i "baby boomers"possano conservare una certa elasticita' mentale .
L'apprendimento perenne non e' solo un passatempo, diventa un imperativo economico.

E in cosa potrebbe il Governo partecipare a tutto cio'?
Soprattutto nelle areee in cui al contrario sembra intralciare piu' che aiutare.
Per essere chiari:

1) Acesso alla Banda Larga.
La Banda larga e' il futuro dell'economia.
Ma l'Europa ( e l'Italia in special modo) e' molto al di sotto di altri continenti per quanto riguarda la sua adozione.
Solo una minima parte dei sessantenni ha accesso a Internet.

La Banda Larga fa parte delle infrastrutture, come le autostrade.
Le strade devono seguire il progresso dei veicoli e cosi' gli strumenti informatici, hardware e software per potersi sviluppare hanno necessita' di infrastrutture.
Forse che il governo impedirebbe la costruzione di nuove strade perche' in competizione con le vecchie?
Eppure e' esattamente quello che si fa nel campo informatico e di Internet specificamente.

2) Ristrutturare il campo della Medicina.
Perche' e' cosi' importante?
Noi stiamo entrando in un secondo Rinascimento che concerne le Scienze Mediche, ma il progresso e' limitato da una burocrazia che si muove a ritmo da era glaciale.
La frustrazione e la tensione sono incrementate da un conflitto tra lo "status quo" e il passo esponenziale dei progressi tecnologici.
L'80% di tutti i geni sono stati scoperti negli ultimi 12 mesi.
Nei prossimi 20 anni noi scopriremo sulla genetica, sulla biologia, sull'origine delle malattie, piu' di quanto sia stato scoperto in tutta la storia umana.

Il futuro di una nazione dipende dalla sua leadership sulle frontiere dell'esplorazione scientifica.
Se i governi saranno in grado di dare libero e illimitato accesso alla banda larga e libero e illimitato accesso alle frontiere della scienza, allora potranno gloriarsi di aver contribuito al futuro delle loro Nazioni.

Internet TV: The long distance network

The Internet is likely to have a a much larger impact on TV than TV will have on Internet backbones.
There is vastly more storage than transmission capacity, and this is likely to continue.
Together with the the requirements of mobility, and the need to satisfy human desires for convenience and instant gratification, this is likely to
induce a migration towards a store-and-replay model, away from the current real-time streaming model of the broadcast world. Further,
HDTV may finally get a chance to come into widespread use.
The flexibility of the Internet is its biggest advantage, and will allow for continued experimentation with novel services.
The rapid growth of storage capacity is significant, since it makes non-streaming modes of operation much more attractive.
Back in the 1980s and 1990s, disk storage available on PCs in households was so small that streaming real time delivery of video was the only feasible
Today, local storage is becoming viable even for high resolution movies.
(Note the estimate of 7 GB for a single HDTV movie, versus a capacity of 80 GB that often comes with high-end PCs in mid-2001, and the likelihood that this will reach 1 TB around the
year 2005).
As time goes on, and the disk capacity grows rapidly,while digital movie sizes grow slowly, the attractions of local
storage will only increase.

If Internet traffic continues doubling each year, where will the increases come from?

Video is likely to play an increasing role, taking over as a major driver of traffic growth from music (which got a large boost from

However, this video is likely to be in the form of file transfers, not streaming real time traffic.
The basic argument is that video will follow the example of Napster (or MP3, to be more precise), which is
delivered primarily as files for local storage and replay, and not in streaming form.
This local storage has several advantages.
It can be deployed easily (no need to wait for the whole Internet to be upgraded to provide high quality transmission). It also allows for
faster than real time transmission when networks acquire sufficient bandwidth.
(This will allow for sampling and for easy transfer to portable storage units.)

The broadcast model, in which people have to adjust their schedules to fit those set by network executives was an
unnatural one, forced by the limitations of the available technology.
The popularity of video tape rentals showed that people preferred flexibility.
Similarly, when cable TV operators chose to offer more channels as opposed to higher resolution channels, they were
presumably responding to what they saw as their customers' desires for variety.

The Internet will offer even more flexibility.

Its other effect may be on high resolution video.
HDTV has made practically no inroads because of the usual chicken-and-egg syndrome.
Sets are expensive since there is no mass market, people do not buy sets since they are expensive and their is
nothing novel to watch, stations do not carry HDTV programming since there is no audience, and so on.
Internet allows for marketing to small groups.
Studios already are making high resolution digital version of movies, and over the Internet will be able to reach the
initially small groups of fans willing to pay extra for them.

Liberally taken from Andrew Odlyzko.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The end of an Era and the dawn of a new one

Do you remember the Dilemma of the Telecoms torn between loosing their milking cow and VoIP?
Well, History, as usual, repeats itself.
This time is the case of new players, old almost monopolistic companies,( we are talking of the Murdochs of our days)"Most fundamentally, looking at Sky’s technology roadmap and hearing James Murdoch state definitively that Sky would not look to replicate linear TV on DSL in the near future, I would argue that this would be way off message."

What will happen when TV will be on IP?
When the Commercials will be on IP?
When the football games will be broadcasted directly from the "Football Clubs"?

The Internet has signed a mile stone in the History of economical markets.
The milestone of the end of the "Middlemen" being them unknown sales people or famous entertainments providers.

You do not need somebody to bring the products into the homes of the consumer.
It is the consumers that reaches the place of production, through the Internet.
And cuts all what is in between...


The Drama of regulators, trying to regulate what must not and cannot be regulated.

Scott Bradner, Network World, 09/26/05

In mid-September the House Energy and Commerce Committee took its first shot at trying to set the ground rules for telecom reform. The committee was apparently trying to produce a more balanced starting point than the strongly pro-carrier bill proposed by Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.).

It says, "broadband Internet transmission service" (BITS) is a service that offers "the transmission of information in a packet-based protocol, including TCP/IP protocol or a successor protocol, regardless of facilities used." Likewise, a "broadband video service" is one that offers a "two-way, interactive service," with or without fee, to the public "regardless of the facilities used" and "integrates, on a real-time and subscriber customizable basis, a video programming package" and "integrates the capability to access Internet content of the subscriber's choosing. The draft also defines a "VoIP service" to be a "packet-switched voice communications service . . . effectively available directly to the public, regardless of the facilities used; and enables a subscriber to send or receive voice communications . . . over a broadband transmission service to or from any subscriber with a telephone number . . . or other identification method as designated by the commission."

The draft would require all BITS, broadband video and VoIP service providers to register with the government before they could offer service (there is a grace period for providers already in business).

What's wrong with this picture? Note that none of the definitions require a facilities-based service provider. All of these services can be offered over any infrastructure that supports IP. In theory, service providers anywhere in the world could provide them all, as long as there is sufficient bandwidth in the communications path. The draft does not seem to understand this basic feature of the Internet. "

What will happen when they won't be able to control "streaming, broadcasting, talking" because it will be done in a medium like the Internet where broadcasting is not from one source to many, but from many to many, when the content will be uncopyrighted content, when it will be impossible to check or control because the number of broadcasters will be enormously superior to the number of the ones who are supposed to control and regulate?

Well: this is the Internet, the World finally made global.
I can shout to as many as I can find wanting to listen to me.
My voice doesn't have the bound of distance.
I can reach China as well as USA or any part of Europe.


Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Subject:Japan demonstrates next-gen TV broadcast

"I don't think there is any need to be concerned about additional innovation beyond HDTV. The next phase of innovation in the business of video delivery will occur on the IP platform, not the 20+ year old broadcasting platform where HDTV is probably the last gasp of air.
I feel optimistic about this.

Unlike the broadcasting platform, the IP platform is an open market where all types of codecs and formats will be in unregulated competition.
The market can drive the technologies itself, rather than be hamstrung by regulatory issues of an old-world broadcasting platform.
In the new world, media devices already have far more codec and display flexibility
(aside: we won't be watching TV on our computers, but our TV's will internally look just like our computers).

And TV,or a big screen, or a projector will be connected to the Net via a Set Top Box, and we'll have the REAL INTERACTIVE TV.

There will still be innovation limiters: i.e. the available capabilities of the IP platform, and issues re.DRM and content protection.

IPTV will mean also a new form of content"the users' made content".
Millions of new broadcasters will bring their production on the NET.

If there's a business case for super hi-def video delivery, expect the market to satisfy it without having to wait for regulations.

The example of this in action is the business of music delivery.
In the last five years it's just started its very first steps of migrating from
the stifling old world of regulated AM, FM (and perhaps DAB, etc)formats to the new world of MP3, AAC, OGG, WMA, RM, etc.

In the case of video delivery, disruptive reformation of delivery onto the IP platform has hardly started (pokey video bites in web pages, web streaming video, IPTV, iTunes video downloads, the P2P video-sharing wars,etc).
We're looking at years, if not a decade, I think, for all the strands to come into place (i.e. the wide availability of video streams and content, at acceptable quality, to a enough IP connected end users,with low cost and ubiquitous broadband tuners [i.e. media player generation-N]) to make it a reality.

Here in the UK, there's excitement about the coming wide-scale availability ADSL2+ at 24Mbps (if you're lucky).
Unfortunately, this doesn't really offer much hope for the next decade of innovation in rich-and-high-speed services such as mass-market video-over-IP.

Not true. The compression and the multicasting will allow a stream on a very low bandwidth with high quality for the live transmission and high bandwidth for the registered content.

We really need something better, but there's not much to hope for on the horizon.

There is a full new world of new features and application, a future world on IP!

The party over the UK's mass availability of high-speed broadband may be over in a few years time when we're looking on in envy at places (that already exist in fact) where gigabits (if not gigabytes) per second to the home are enabling all sorts of services with higher content-density."

Matthew Gream