Category Archives: Broadband

How Hunter-Gatherers May Hold the Key to our Economic Future

We need to rethink our relationships with the workplace.
By James Suzman – What happened on the Omaheke farms echoes broader trends transforming workplaces across the globe.

The same question also irked John Maynard Keynes when in the winter of 1929 he was contemplating the ruins of his personal fortune. Global stock markets had imploded and the Great Depression was slowly throttling the life out of the Euro-American economy.

To remind himself of the ephemeral nature of the crisis, he penned an optimistic essay entitled “The Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren”. In it he argued that within a century technical innovation and increases in productivity would usher in a golden era of leisure that would liberate us from the tyranny of the clock, and enable us to thrive on the basis of working no more than fifteen hours per week.

Besides war, natural disasters and acts of God the only significant obstacle he saw to this Utopia being achieved was what he believed was our instinct to strive for more, to work and to create new wealth.

So he took the view that, save a few “purposeful money makers”, we would recognize the economic Utopia for what it was , slow down and “be able to enjoy the abundance when it comes.”

Keynes was right about improved productivity and technological innovation. According to Keynes’s reasoning, on the basis of labor productivity improvements alone we should not be working more than 11 hours a week now.

But, despite having the means to work much less, many of us now work as long and hard as we did before. With the industrial revolution now having merged into the digital revolution there is a good case to be made to suggest that we have reached an inflexion point in the history of work as important as the agricultural revolution. more>

Stop Saying ‘Smart Cities’

Digital stardust won’t magically make future cities more affordable or resilient.
By Bruce Sterling – The term “smart city” is interesting yet not important, because nobody defines it. “Smart” is a snazzy political label used by a modern alliance of leftist urbanites and tech industrialists.

Smart-city devotees all over this world will agree that London is particularly smart. Why? London is a huge, ungainly beast whose cartwheeling urban life is in cranky, irrational disarray. London is a god-awful urban mess, but London does have some of the best international smart-city conferences.

The digital techniques that smart-city fans adore are flimsy and flashy—and some are even actively pernicious—but they absolutely will be used in cities. They already have an urban heritage. When you bury fiber-optic under the curbs around the town, then you get internet. When you have towers and smartphones, then you get portable ubiquity. When you break up a smartphone into its separate sensors, switches, and little radios, then you get the internet of things.

However, the cities of the future won’t be “smart,” or well-engineered, cleverly designed, just, clean, fair, green, sustainable, safe, healthy, affordable, or resilient. They won’t have any particularly higher ethical values of liberty, equality, or fraternity, either. The future smart city will be the internet, the mobile cloud, and a lot of weird paste-on gadgetry, deployed by City Hall, mostly for the sake of making towns more attractive to capital.

“Smart cities” merely want to be perceived as smart, when what they actually need is quite different. more>

Updates from Ciena

12 Mind-Blowing Data Center Facts You Need to Know
Ciena – How big has the data center monster become? Here are 12 fascinating facts about data centers that just may blow your mind.

  1. There are over 7,500 data centers worldwide, with over 2,600 in the top 20 global cities alone, and data center construction will grow 21% per year through 2018.
  2. By 2020, at least 1/3 of all data will pass through the cloud.
  3. With just over 300 locations (337 to be exact), London, England has the largest concentration of data centers in any given city across the globe. 
  4. California has the largest concentration of data centers in the U.S. with just over 300 locations.

more>

Updates from Autodesk

Geospatial Gamechanger: Revolutionizing As-Built Data Submittals, Validation, and Direct Loading into Geographic Information Systems

Autodesk – Imagine that CAD files for new construction are pre-validated to contain all the data needed in GIS before submittal to your organization. Further envision the information seamlessly loading to your GIS database in a few minutes. These concepts are driving a revolution in digital submission and capture of new construction project data, and ACDC (As Constructed Design Certification) from Open Spatial makes it possible.

ACDC advances the process of as-built submittals by managing data, validating its quality against organizational and industry standards, and transforming it into geospatial and asset management information that can be automatically loaded into GIS and Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) with minimum disruption to current workflow.

ACDC allows uploading of CAD files drawn to your defined standards to the ACDC web portal and validation of drawings against specified GIS data requirements including breaking and snapping of lines and points, and inclusion of attributes matching your domain values on assets. more (pdf)>

Updates from GE

Will Analyze Medical Data To Find Better Treatment

By Maggie Sieger – A cancer diagnosis or a stay in the intensive care unit (ICU) often bring confusion, fear and questions about the best course of treatment. That’s why a group of doctors and scientists at GE Healthcare and Roche Diagnostics are looking for a new way to predict the most effective treatment for an individual by applying data analytics to the problem.

Over the last decade, big data made inroads into personal fitness, energy, politics and other fields. Now it’s moving into healthcare. The idea is that smart algorithms looking for insights in terabytes of medical information will help physicians better serve their patients with earlier diagnoses and customized treatment plans.

The partnership between GE and Roche announced in January will create digital platforms for so-called “precision health” in oncology and critical care. The oncology platform, the first of its kind, will take “in-vivo” data obtained directly from the patient by radiological imaging and monitoring equipment to characterize the tumor at the anatomical and physiological level.

It will combine the data with “in-vitro” information from laboratory tests that characterize the tumor at the molecular level by looking at tissue pathology, blood-based biomarkers, genomic alterations (cancer-relevant mutations) and other factors. The system also will integrate data from electronic medical records, medical best practices and the latest research. more>

Updates from Siemens

What is enterprise PLM? The answer is today’s Teamcenter.
By Margaret Furleigh – As Teamcenter has evolved as the world’s most widely used enterprise PLM software, the challenge has been to explain in simple terms the enormity and complexity of what Teamcenter can do to transform businesses … and help companies become more agile and adapt to disruptions, whether caused by changing technology, regulations, markets or competition.

If you’re a PLM user, where are you in your PLM journey? Are you primarily focused on product data management (PDM), controlling your designs, documents, BOMs and processes … or have you grown from PDM to reach more people, beyond functional boundaries, or outside your company to suppliers, partners or customers? Maybe you’ve extended from product development to manufacturing and service, or brought in requirements and program management. Are you using PLM to transform the way your business manages product costs, quality, safety, reliability, or sustainabilty? more>

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Updates from Ciena

Standards Update: 200GbE, 400GbE and Beyond with Pete Anslow – “Live” from Geneva
By Helen Xenos, Pete Anslow – IEEE 802.3bs defines the technical specifications to support MAC or Ethernet data rates of 200Gb/s and 400Gb/s – double and four times the capacity of Ethernet rates today – that can operate at distances to meet the requirements for most applications. The objective of the project is to define specifications that will enable multi-vendor interop, using appropriate technologies that will meet the performance and cost points required by the industry. Cost will be a function of volume and yield of components, so we aim to use existing components and technologies that can be supplied by multiple vendors.

The IEEE 802.3bs project defines physical layer specifications for operation over 100m (400GBASE-SR16), 500m (200GBASE-DR4 and 400GBASE-DR4), 2km (200GBASE-FR4 and 400GBASE-FR8), and 10km (200GBASE-LR4 and 400GBASE-LR8) distances.

The most popular formats to meet the majority of core router to transport distance requirements are the 2km and 10km devices.

While the per lane technology for 100GbE used 25Gbps NRZ signaling, we are now using PAM4 signaling for most of the new electrical and optical interface specifications. PAM4 stands for Pulse Amplitude Modulation with the “4” indicating 4 levels of modulation. 50G PAM4 requires a more sophisticated receiver design but allows for the doubling of capacity per lane while reusing existing high volume, reliable electro-optics. The signal operates at a symbol rate of 25GBaud (speed of the electro-optics), but carries 2 bits per symbol, thus doubling the capacity (50G per lane). more>

Screw Emotional Intelligence–Here’s The Key To The Future Of Work

By Natalie Fratto – The AEI is a standardized test, implemented 10 years ago, in 2035, to replace the SAT. It has become a globally accepted metric for aptitude and projected performance in the modern workplace.

Colloquially called “the Qs,” the AEI tests three variables:

  • Adaptability quotient (AQ)
  • Emotional quotient (EQ)
  • Intellectual quotient (IQ)

While each “Q” matters, the AEI weights AQ the most. Strong scores in adaptability mean that you’re eligible for the “salaried track,” which leads to a three-year contract with an employer that commits significant sums toward your retraining every one to six months.

With lower scores, you must rely on the “gig track,” which can mean more flexibility and higher near-term rewards, but only short-duration contracts and no supported retraining. There is no inherent safety net if you bet too long on the wrong gigs in dying industries instead of continually refocusing on emergent needs.

Welcome to the future. more>

Using thought to control machines

Brain-computer interfaces may change what it means to be human
Economist – Both America’s armed forces and Silicon Valley are starting to focus on the brain. Facebook dreams of thought-to-text typing. Kernel, a startup, has $100m to spend on neurotechnology. Elon Musk has formed a firm called Neuralink; he thinks that, if humanity is to survive the advent of artificial intelligence, it needs an upgrade. Entrepreneurs envisage a world in which people can communicate telepathically, with each other and with machines, or acquire superhuman abilities, such as hearing at very high frequencies.

These powers, if they ever materializes, are decades away. But well before then, BCIs (brain-computer interfaces) could open the door to remarkable new applications.

Over 300,000 people have cochlear implants, which help them to hear by converting sound into electrical signals and sending them into the brain. Scientists have “injected” data into monkeys’ heads, instructing them to perform actions via electrical pulses.

Technology changes the way people live. Beneath the skull lies the next frontier. more>

Automating Influence: The Manipulation of Public Debate

By Andrew Trabulsi – While the application of influence campaigns for the purposes of altering public discourse and politics are rapidly gaining prominence, it’s a field, as discussed in previous writings, with a detailed past.

Tasked with winning the moral high ground during World War I, the famed British propaganda unit, Wellington House, distributed evocative, explicit reports of German barbarism to bolster public opinion in favor of the Allies. At a time before the interminable ubiquity of Internet communications, this tactic proved invaluable in securing the attention and support of the Allies’ war effort, improving recruiting and persuading neutrals.

Today, we see such tactics—albeit in different, non-traditional fashions—show up across case studies, for both political and commercial purposes. In a similar vein to the manipulation of public commentary on net neutrality, when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposed adjusting its rules to stunt abuse within payday lending markets, it too was berated with an abnormal number of duplicate and semantically similar comments.

As political and economic issues become increasingly influenced by technological engagement, it’s becoming more and more important to understand the limitations and vulnerabilities of such systems. more>