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Future Impacts, an early supplement to TFI's e-letter, Futures' Features, ran from December 2002 through May 2004. Entries are included below. For an up-to-date listing of futures-oriented articles, please see Future Innovations. (Futures Innovations is also a supplement to Futures' Features.)

Future Impacts

We often find articles that we feel could impact the future and may be interesting to our visitors who have a stake in forecasting and future-related areas. Future Impacts is a listing of these items with links and brief descriptions of the articles, followed by editorial comments (italicized) by a TFI staff member. Many of the extracts are from online versions of such publications as Scientific American, MIT Technology Review, The Scientist, R&D Magazine, The New York Times, The Harrow Technology Report, and FUTUREdition. If you have specific comments regarding the subject matter, please address them to the respective staff member. (Please note: Links to outside news outlets may require registration or fees, and may become inaccessible.)

Future Impacts is a supplement to TFI's e-letter, Futures' Features. If you would like to receive notification of new Future Impacts submissions, pleace click here. We thank Bill Kleinebecker for being the initiator and primary contributor to this service.

Future Impacts — May 13, 2004


The 3 major drivers of the future economy are:

  1. Global, competitive open markets.
  2. The evolution from product and services to knowledge as the foundation for wealth creation.
  3. The high rate of technological change.

These drivers make invention the key metric of a country or an era. The MIT Technology Review, one of the sources scanned for this issue, has an excellent issue on the subject for May. We commend it for focusing on this important subject. The subject is also being explored in multiple other sources, as can be seen in this issue of Future Impacts.

The Best Innovations Are Those That Come From Smart Questions
Wall Street Journal, April 13, 2004; Page B1
By Carol Hymowitz
(Subscribers can get article for free at www.wsj.com until May 19th. Non-subscribers can get it through Factiva)

Like other leaders seeking innovative products or strategies, Dr. Hunter, 41 years old, encourages employees to ask unusual and probing questions to generate new ideas.

The article stresses the approach of asking why type questions and experimenting before inventing. Sounds a lot like the scientific method. Dr. Hunter used this approach and his product is a breakthrough in its field. As we pointed out in the last issue, the U.S. is in danger of losing its scientific edge and thus its ability to make breakthrough innovations.

Our entire school system has taught critical thinking and experimentation, originally because it created a good citizen, and later, because it was needed be a successful professional. Now that same teaching is needed to sustain the nation's advantage in innovation. Are our schools up to it?"—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Much Ado about Invention
Technology Review, May 2004
By Michael Schrage

We have no shortage of good inventions. What we need are better ways to bring them to customers. Do we think it's a mere accident of history that so many scientific discoveries or technical inventions emerge simultaneously from several different laboratories? Is anyone shocked anymore when the so-called original inventor wins at the patent office but loses in the marketplace?

The author makes a great case that it is not the event of invention that matters, but rather the process of innovation. Here is the key to maintaining national economic leadership. Every country has its share of creators and, with the advent of a more level global playing field in science, invention will emerge simultaneously from several different countries. The real wealth will be created in the innovation process of commercialization, IP generation, and productization.  This is where a country must excel. The experience of the American movie industry is a good example. Creators of new story lines, techniques, and genres are dispersed around the world, but it is the innovation process that Hollywood has perfected (and one that employs the large numbers), that is winning in the world market and bringing back wealth to the U.S."—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Why Big Companies Can't Invent
Technology Review, May 2004
By Howard Anderson

A leading venture capitalist says corporations are too slow and timid to capitalize on their own inventions. For decades, R&D labs drove corporate growth and developed the fundamental inventions of modern life. But if corporate R&D still works, why are so many firms blindsided by competitors. Weíre entering a new era of invention, and big companies must adapt and begin practicing invention triage-- keeping only what works, fixing what can be fixed, and throwing out the rest.

The author goes through the reasons that the model for corporate innovation is permanently changing. He divides companies into defensive ones and attackers. Surmising that the attackers come from the pool of startups, he suggests no answers for the large corporations. We would suggest the model of a virtual organization to large organization. This model results in an organization looking more like an biological system rather than a physical one, such as the space shuttle or a nuclear power plant."—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Achieving Deep Customer Focus
MIT Sloan Management Review, Spring 2004
By Sandra Vandermerwe

Today's managers acknowledge the importance of customer focus. Yet the costly customer efforts they usually implement rarely bring the promised gains. The reason? A superficial understanding of what customer focus really means. True customer focus involves comprehensive organizational change.

Here's an innovation process well suited for the large company and the startup. It relies on what we at TFI call care-abouts to find distinctive and breakthrough solutions. It is a customer-focused process, with the greatest power coming in reorienting the technology to be outward directed. It is the present inward orientation of a company's technology that is "Why Big Companies Can't Invent," as the previous article expounds. Thus, we have another element in the new model for large corporations."—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Sparking the Fire of Invention
Technology Review, May 2004
By Evan I. Schwartz

Nathan Myhrvold, the former chief technology officer of Microsoft, argues that big companies tend to discourage invention--the often subversive effort to isolate new problems and generate unexpected solutions. At corporate labs, he says, "Invention is a side effect, not the focus." Myhrvold and former Microsoft chief software architect Edward Jung have set out to establish a new kind of organization--a hothouse of ideas where staff have free rein to cross-pollinate insights from information technology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology. The new venture, Myhrvold says, has no mission other than to invent what the inventors believe should be-or can be-invented.

In our course on Technology Forecasting, Planning, and Management, we teach that there are three levels of innovation: incremental, distinctive, and breakthrough. Author Myhrvold paints all three levels with one brush. Certainly his point about his former employer, Microsoft, not being innovative is based on his view of innovation as being of the distinctive kind. Microsoft is incrementally innovative. His new company, Invention Science, is spearheading a group of companies working in a new "white space" of invention as a product. This is an appropriate model for distinctive technologies where the cross breeding of disciplines is applied to major care-abouts to the benefit of a closed set of large companies. The large companies buy inventions directly from these companies or wait for a startup to commercialize the invention before buying the firm.

What he is missing is the necessity of breakthrough innovations for creating wealth for a region/country. We would doubt that his kind of company is appropriate for this kind of innovation.  Such breakthroughs take time to hatch and, increasingly, such breakthroughs involve having multiple PhDs working on advancing knowledge. The major source for such innovation has been the universities. Are the universities prepared to take on such a responsibility? Or are they putting too much emphasis on distinctive and incremental technology for the sake of gaining near-term royalty revenue from their 'low lying fruit?' In the breech stand the private foundations, prepared to deny the universities future scientific discovery."—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Brothers of Invention
The Wall Street Journal, Page B1, April 19, 2004
By Timothy Aeppel
(Subscribers can get article for free at www.wsj.com until May 19th. Non-subscribers can get it through Factiva)

'Design-Arounds' surge as more companies imitate rivals' patented products.

The 'design around' is a threat to making invention a source of value. It is being fought out in one-on-one situations like the one chronicled in the article. It looks like it is currently being fought out only in the U.S., and is still not completely codified in case law.  As technology goes global, it will be critical that such case law, as well as needed regulations, is established in each of the major science/technology centers of the world. It may be necessary to have a World Invention Organization, like we now have a World Trade Organization, because companies like Wal-Mart in this case, will put pressure on their local courts and legislatures to protect their right to work around, just like tariffs protect local industries." —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

U.S. Is Losing Its Dominance in the Sciences
The New York Times, May 3, 2004
By William J. Broad

Foreign advances in basic science now often rival or even exceed America's, according to federal and private experts.

While the threat to incremental and distinctive innovation is coming from within, that is from commercial interests in-country, threat to leadership in breakthrough innovation lies from without, from the globalization of knowledge. Breakthrough innovation results from sharing and open publication so that the broadest base of knowledge exists to cause an original notion.

The playing field in technology is leveling between the U.S. and the rest of the world. While we see the most attention paid to incremental innovation being made through outsourcing development to India and China, distinctive innovation is happening, as the article points out, from repatriation of foreign students educated in the U.S. and the rise of affluence in other countries. Leadership in breakthrough innovation is and will be happening now in other countries. This will result in a dramatic change to relative wealth of America and a need to rethink military advantage based on superior technology." —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Full Speed Ahead
The Scientist, April 26, 2004

The European Union wants to become the premiere knowledge- based economy in the world by 2010. The bloc has the brainpower, but is playing catch-up to the US level of investment and growth.

So, if the U.S.'s superiority in innovation and its exploitation in high value products is in jeopardy, can it expect help from its historical allies in Europe? This analysis, as well as comments in the other articles about growing innovation prowess of Asian countries, suggests that partnerships in science need to come from sources to the west rather than the east. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Future Impacts — April 23, 2004

Is Cold Fusion Heating Up?
Technology Review, April 23, 2004
By Jeff Hecht

Fifteen years after the first controversial claims hit the headlines, cold fusion refuses to die. A small cadre of die-hard advocates argues that experiments now produce consistent results. The physics establishment continues to scoff, but some scientists who have been watching the field carefully are convinced something real is happening. And now the U.S. Department of Energy has decided that recent results justify a fresh look at a technology that--if it works--could obliterate energy scarcity.

The article talks about energy being released by combining deuterium atoms in a palladium "catalyst." Our question is: what was the energy needed to create the deuterium and is there still a positive energy generation? This is the difference between energy generation and energy storage/distribution. It is the same question to ask about the Hydrogen economy before going off to commit large amounts of capital a la the telecomm glut.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Face Forward
Technology Review, Launch Pad, May 2004
By Erika Jonietz

OmniPerception, a spinoff from the University of Surrey in England, has combined its facial-recognition technology with smart cards in a system that protects privacy as well as property.

The danger to using biometrics stored on the smart card is the possibility of forgery. The smart card’s competitor in technology, as mentioned in the article, is the central biometric database. The apparent value of the smart card is that the biometric data can't be intercepted between the reader and the database. With Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) the interception issue is dispelled. In either approach (the smart card and the VPN connected data base), the weakness is in the device. We have not encountered any technology for protecting the reader.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Photons Teleported 6 Kilometers
Technology Research News April 16, 2004

A quantum relay teleports photons over six kilometers of optical fiber, a step on the road to long-distance quantum cryptography.

This announcement moves quantum cryptography into the realm of quantum based secure telecommunications. Gee! Just when we thought the all optical network was the end point.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Plan Puts Search in Net Structure
Technology Research News April 15, 2004

A proposal for building search capabilities into the Internet could lighten the load and extend the reach.

Except for the access to non-Web databases, this functionality is already available in the rest of the world. One can only expect that this is an effort by a still closed society to have some of the benefits of an open one. There is no mention of the national policy for making this search network open outside China.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Future Impacts — December 30, 2003

Offshore Jobs in Technology: Opportunity or a Threat?
The New York Times, December 22, 2003
By Steve Lohr

Is the offshore outsourcing of technology jobs a cataclysmic jolt or a natural evolution of the economy?

There are two important points in the article that are critical to getting a handle on this news and more that can be expected along this line as high-tech jobs (and voters) experience the same offshore phenomena that blue collar workers (and voters) have: First is tha,t compared to job creation statistics and after weeding out clerical types of jobs, the number is under 10% a year. Second, and more important, is the statistic that for every dollar of costs that U.S. companies move offshore, there is a benefit of $1.12 to $1.14 to the economy in terms of cost savings and steering workers to more added value jobs.

The key is to provide the education in those new jobs. Two thoughts as to where programmers could migrate career-wise are to business process management (an area that will enable the future economy and provide a high value exportable service with additional culture-based education in business, politics, language, and sociology) and to systems biology, where life processes are being viewed as a complex system and diagnostic/treatment pathways can be programmed. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

As Nanotechnology Gains Visibility, Venture Capital Begins Coming In
The New York Times, December 22, 2003
By Barnaby J. Feder

It may take sophisticated microscopes to see nanotechnology's products, but the money pouring into the field is hard to miss.

We are applying lessons learned and practices in venture capital (in the generic sense) from high tech to ultra-tech. The two major domains in ultra-tech -- bio and nano -- require a new way of thinking from the standpoint of the degree of capital and the high level of education required. In bio, the pharmaceutical companies appear to be stepping to the plate with their capital sources, knowledge-based culture, and adaptive processes. In nano, there doesn't appear to be the equivalent, except in the area of nanoelectronics, but certainly not in nanomaterials, which this article is about. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

New Intel Chip for Digital TV Could Remake the Market
The New York Times, December 17, 2003
By John Markoff

Technologists say advanced semiconductors will improve the quality of large-screen digital televisions and substantially lower their price.

This is the kind of move for Intel that will keep their expensive semiconductor fabs busy. Long a concept with a lot of experimentation, including by Intel, the intelligent TV may become a reality in the next 3 to 5 years. The first step is to make TV digital for the mass market and this kind of chip -- along with mandates by the FCC, new display technologies such as Phillips' LCoS (mentioned in the article) and OLED, and a new worldwide economic growth stage -- is an enabler. This has the greatest potential for Intel to do for TV -- a slow-moving medium because it is regulated -- what it has done for PCs. That means adding Internet communications, either via the cable TV protocols or via wireless LAN (think Centrino) to the Intel processor. The result: another system for e-commerce, web browsing, and e-mailing pictures with expansion slots for even more functionality that has "acceptance" in family living room, dens, and kitchens.

Intel brings a few newcomers to the consumer electronics party: Dell, Gateway, and Hewlett Packard from the PC industry. Watch for Motorola to participate, particularly since their new president was president of Sun. We suspect that they have been working their former chip compadres on this kind of chip. Also expect to see IBM working with Sony to make a variant of the multimedia chip they're working on for HDTV. We could see Siemens in this working with Phillips and possibly others. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Future Impacts — December 17, 2003

In India, a High-Tech Outpost for U.S. Patents
The New York Times, December 15, 2003
By Saritha Rai

Most patent applications from India have been filed in the last two years and still await decisions by the examiners in Washington.

The next phase in the evolution of the global economy is to move from a logistics web of worldwide factories and in-region distribution units built for the flow of goods to a similar web built for knowledge. India represents a path that can mean greater wealth accrues to the owner of the infrastructure (e.g., in this article, Intel, Motorola, Texas Instruments) versus the path it appears Asia is going in. A key enabler for this path is an efficient patent system with standard definitions/processes, meaning enforcement, and sufficient resources in national patent offices of the G8.

Notice the trend toward a reverse brain drain for the U.S. It is important to monitor this trend. Can the U.S. educational system supply the backfill? Will the repatriates become successful entrepreneurs back in their ancestral country as they have in the U.S., and thus deprive the U.S. of a source of wealth that tends to benefit American cause?

Will the application of low-cost intellect in India give Intel a competitive advantage in winning the "One Billion Transistor" sweepstakes? —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Even Homeland Security Dept. Can't Secure Its Computers
Technology Review, December 12, 2003
Blog by Simson Garfinkel

The House of Representatives' Committee on Government Reform has given DHS an "F" for its internal computer security, according to this report by Robert Lemos in CNet News.com <http://news.com.com/2100-7355-5118344.html>. "Which do you think would have a bigger impact on our economy? A 'super hacker' who manages to shut down the U.S. portion of Internet for a day, or a terrorist who sets off three small package bomb and kills some shoppers in three different suburban malls?"

While the blogger elects the latter choice, the proper answer is both. The two strategies each follow a different model. Both can be managed by terrorists independently without sapping resources or "management energy." There are vast numbers of students in the schools of the Middle East who excel in computer classes. They are not disposed to become operatives in the manner of Mohammed Atta. They can be financed through legitimate employment (e.g., operating a help desk in their native country). They can carry out their operations remotely and thus they require different techniques to be found and neutralized. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

AT&T Joins Fray for Cheaper Calls Through the Web
The New York Times, December 11, 2003
By Matt Richtel

AT&T plans to offer unlimited long distance and local calling using Internet technology at a significantly lower cost.

Several obstacles are in the way for AT&T to realize a profitable outcome from the residential voice services market using IP telephony. For one, unlike the cable guy, they have no box in the home on which to base these services. They had such a box in their project Angel, and there is an outside chance that, through all of their funding woes, they kept this program going. If so, we would expect them to base the service off of a residential broadband data service using a wireless system like WiMax to reach the last mile.

Second, the money "saved," mentioned to be in the billions in the article, represents a delivery toll paid to the callee's telephone company. Hence, the full value accrues only in a "friends and family" network. However, some value can be attained in exchanging calls between non-incumbent carriers, possible for a long time. The difference is that voice over IP provides a simpler and more cost-effective way to hand-off such calls. In addition, new services can be provided in such a scheme much faster using the IP standards infrastructure and its free market dynamic rather than the phone companies' standard body (Bellcore) and its monopolistic dynamic.

The problem of lack of independent power is a red herring in the current environment. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Phone Service Over Internet Revives Talk of Regulation
The New York Times, December 15, 2003
By Matt Richtel

The debate over government involvement in the Internet is likely to escalate now that the technology is poised to threaten phone service.

The emergence of IP telephony technology will be the stimulant for rethinking telephone service in a future economy that will be based on customer satisfaction, competing technologies, and agile enterprises. In this kind of economy, dislocations in cost structure, unmet market needs, and unproductive capital are quickly attacked. Look for policy solutions that follow this model. As an example, in the article a Senior VP at SBC points out that E911 and the ability to operate when the electric utility's power fails has a value that the local phone incumbent, she feels, is ahead on. In the current system, the former ability is handled as a tax. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Future Impacts — December 2, 2003

Sharp Introduces World's First 3D Notebook
October 13, 2003

New Actius RD3D notebook features revolutionary 3D LCD screen.

If you have a hard copy of Wired, more concise, readable information is in the current issue on page 114.

Devices using unaided 3D computer images, a.k.a. autostereographics, are technologies to watch. They will make a good case study for how to introduce disruptive technology, as multiple techniques are deployed in various markets in a mix of packages. Key elements will be convenience and content. The drawback to this technology is that there is a "sweet spot" from the screen for optimal viewing. For the current implementation, it is less than the distance I am using to type this commentary. It will be very annoying to have to hunch over to get the 3D effect. One good point is that this implementation is backward-compatible.

A year ago, TFI set up a presentation of an unaided 3D technique for a group of federal agencies. The technique is being developed by Dr. Ken Perlin at NYU. It has solved the "hunch over, stay still" problem.

Note well that Sharp has set up a 3D consortium with a strong, extensive list of Japanese companies including its competitors. The only American firm is NVIDIA, a critical partner in making 3D technology work. There are no American and European competitors on the list. The software technology is a company out of Australia, even though it has a Silicon Valley address. Is this going to be another technology like Trinitron, HD Cam, and Digital Print Engine that will become a Japanese monopoly? —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Fiber to the People
Wired, December 2003
By Lawrence Lessig

When customers own the network, everyone wins.


Linux: The Next Generation
Wired, December 2003
By Bruce Sterling

How free software is fueling a new kind of patriotism.

As the world moves toward the knowledge economy, the possibility of a digital divide becomes a constraint. Here are two articles that point out positive efforts to close it.

The phenomenon of regional operating systems based on Linux may turn out to be the final nail in the coffin for Windows and the Microsoft hegemony.

There will need to be a new standards mechanism to handle this Balkanization of Linux and the interface to legacy (read Windows) systems. Will Microsoft's competitors respond to this care-about? The UN? ITU? A body similar to IETF? —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

The Second Coming of Philip K. Dick
Wired, December 2003
By Frank Rose

The inside-out story of how a hyper-paranoid, pulp-fiction hack conquered the movie world 20 years after his death.

This is the man whose thinking turned into the movies Minority Report, Total Recall, and Blade Runner, to name a few.

Reported here is the downside to what will drive broadband to the home: multimedia content. However, as we might tout virtual reality, Dick would call it counterfeit reality. Ironically, the same technology that underlies this reality -- special effects -- is the same technology in these movies, and the ones they've influenced (such as the Matrix series), that will attract us to their multimedia content. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Layers Promise Cheap Storage
Technology Research News, November 24, 2003

Princeton University and Hewlett-Packard Laboratories researchers have constructed a very low-cost data storage device from plastic and silicon that can potentially store 100 megabits of information per square centimeter.

This is yet another approach to low-cost data storage coming from material science. This technology reportedly has the density of a DVD, without the bulk of the reader, and probably has much lower power consumption. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

It's Just a Game, but Hollywood Is Paying Attention
The New York Times, November 23, 2003
By Norm Alster

A million people have traded on the Hollywood Stock Exchange, an online game where players can register at no cost to predict box office receipts for films.

This is the same technology that got the Pentagon's Total Information Awareness program into such hot water. Ironically, it will now be applied to help Hollywood foresee the future.

The real payoff for this technology in the knowledge-based society that we are moving toward is as a way to evaluate and pay for insight. This will enable making "soothsayer" another career goal. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Our Innovation Backlog
Technology Review, December 2003/January 2004
By Kenan Sahin

The flow of innovations is as strong as ever, but the U.S. is slipping in its ability to commercialize them.

This is a great model for high tech: RD&D, for research, development, and delivery. The author, who has experience in all three areas and in large and small companies, as well as in academia, makes a strong case for encouraging RD&D companies that commercialize the many innovations that proverbially lie on the floor. This is a great model for economic development and could be a focus for an economic policy in a nation that is seeing delivery going offshore and research being globalized. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Drug Makers Move Closer to Big Victory
The New York Times, November 25, 2003
By Gardiner Harris

The drug industry appeared on the cusp of a Medicare victory gained, in part, by millions in political donations and an expensive lobbying campaign.

With $400 billion going into this area, 20 years from now, we could see this program as the shot in the arm it took to turn the tide in medical costs. Paradoxical because there's the principle that prices rise to meet the dollars available? No. With the promise of biotech to bring us products that help us to avoid surgery, shorten medical supervision, and diagnose problems earlier when treatment can be less costly, the drug companies need money to finance the discovery and vetting of those discoveries (an expensive process). Without this program being passed, the world was facing a price war in a domain that is becoming increasingly capital poor, as drugs go generic and the discovery pipeline slows down.

Like the movie, semiconductor, and software industries, the pharmaceutical industry is one that spends millions on brainpower to produce a 2-bit product (low cost = muscle power). It would be better if the country would concentrate on promoting these industries. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

The Lines Are Busy as Cell Phone Clients Switch
The New York Times, November 25, 2003
By Matt Richtel

New rules that allow people to change mobile phone companies while keeping their numbers sent a surge of customers into cell phone stores.

Now comes the hype. What we are really seeing is the birth of number portability technology, and that will become an enabler for the more pervasive concept of one person, one phone, where the whole residential wireline network is up for grabs. The key stumbling block for the acceptance of this concept is a counterpart for the family residential phone in the wireless model ("Is your mommy home?," "Then can I speak with your father?").

It's going to be an interesting mix of technologies from a mixed bag of providers (incumbent, long distance, cellular, cable, even new carriers) who will try to make this concept work. Certainly, data services will play as a motivator, along with the care-about of being "in-touch," as an incentive for customers to change.

The churn that number portability can create could reduce the profitability of the cellular companies and leave them weakened by participating in the concept. On the other hand, they will need to innovate even more to survive and that could hasten the acceptance of the concept.

Notice at the end of the article the use of eBay as a value chain enforcer. The practice of associating a cell phone with the service has been a violation of the value chain principle. We should now see people buying their phones separately and even asynchronous from signing up for a new service contract. Now devices won't have to be wedded to the phone model to provide voice services and applications. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Future Impacts — November 18, 2003

Smile, Gamers: You're in the Picture
The New York Times, November 13, 2003
By Noah Robsichon

The EyeToy camera for the Sony PlayStation 2 translates the player's body movements into video games.

Here is another example that shows how games are becoming the leading-edge application for new technology (after military ones). The technology, motion feedback, is being enabled by low-cost TV cameras and 128-bit processing. At $50, the package is set to take off in time for holiday giving.

One visualization option is to put the user in the display. This is not a normal viewpoint (except for a narcissist) and could become disorienting.

Many applications come to mind, but one that is most intriguing for me is sports training and physical rehabilitation, where the motions of the user react to an on-screen persona to improve skills, spot weaknesses, or progress through physical therapy based on characteristics of the player's own motions. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Fast and Furious: The Race to Wire America
The New York Times, November 11, 2003
By Matt Richtel

The wiring of America for high-speed Internet access represents huge opportunities and risks for companies large and small.


In Utah, Public Works Project in Digital
The New York Times, November 17, 2003
By Matt Richtel

In a digital age twist on Roosevelt-era public works projects, Utah is planning to build the largest ultra-high-speed data network in the country.

Comments on two preceding articles:

Subscribing to the theory that a competitive, innovation needs three or more strong entrants. It appears that the "public works project" would be better served by creating a regional backbone to parallel the ones that Qwest (the incumbent telco) and Comcast (the cable guy) have built and letting the competitors, especially wireless ISPs, buy access to it rather than invest in going by each home. It will be difficult for this project to recover the $2,500 the article suggests for a "lit" home. Wireless has much better economics in a market where the telco and the cable guy are already entrenched.

The Salt Lake City region sounds like a great market for the above to work: educated, large families needing broadband and favorable geographic conditions for low-cost rights-of-way/construction (the lake for the backbone and the mountains to beam broadband wireless). These large family dwellings also appear to be a good test market for the home network of the future driven by "commedutainment" (communications/ education/entertainment).

The $64M question is that if the CAPEX can be kept low (as outlined above), if the market is so receptive, and the entrepreneurial climate so favorable (which we understand it to be in that region), why this isn't done on a commercial basis by a private enterprise. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Vision of Personal Computers as Heart of Home Entertainment
The New York Times, November 17, 2003
By John Markoff

If Intel and Microsoft have their way, the PC will soon be moving out of the office and den into the living room, kitchen, and bedroom.

We at TFI and others have written about the looming battle between the "data heads" (the PC industry) and the "broadcast heads" (consumer electronics) for the home. In a recent Future Impacts, we reported that one "bell head," formerly a broadcast head (Motorola), has reentered the "broadcast head" segment (as are/will others in that segment). Three factors will be most important: being first to establish the "enabling box" (PlayStation, PC, set-top box), capabilities to allow a large variety of applications as drove the early PC market, and an ample home network that goes beyond Ethernet and today's WiFi (wireless LAN).

One wonders where Cisco is in all of this.

When the dust settles, which type of box becomes the device of choice won't be so important. Rather, the winner will come from the enabling technologies inside the box and who puts it all together the best way.

In a recent interview for a segment on NPR's Marketplace, TFI pointed out that the home of the future will rely on the establishment of a low-cost home network and that the "smart" refrigerator has a much longer product life in the home than the PC, game console, etc. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Reflections: Is "Industrial Research" an Oxymoron?
IEEE Spectrum, September 2003
By Robert W. Lucky

Is industrial research in electrical engineering withering away? I have bad vibes about this. As part of a study, I surveyed articles in the IEEE Transactions on Communications over the last 30 years.

Have companies lost their future? This is the case for the old "command-and-control" organizations such as Lucent/Bell Labs where the author recently retired from. But in the "future economy" (the economy after the new economy) business, the future is the focal point. The critical relationship between business and academia that he suggests at the end is a strategic element for such a business. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Future Impacts — November 11, 2003

The Limits of Structural Change
MIT Sloan Management Review, Fall 2003
By Jeffrey A. Oxman and Brian D. Smith

Corporate America has spent the last few years in restructuring mode, drastically reorganizing processes in order to wring profits from a battered economy. However beneficial these efforts may be to the bottom line, say the authors, a reliance on restructuring has had unintended negative side effects, as hierarchies that once controlled the direction of many companies become less relevant, and loyal employees become increasingly disheartened by disruptive -- and often short-sighted -- strategies. In response, companies resort to even more restructuring, frequently with less-than-optimal results.

The hierarchical structure is inoperative says the article. Over two years ago, TFI forecast this trend. Rapid change, real-time access directly from/to the source, and the need to exploit know-how has made this happen. What's to take its place: teams. The key cultural change will be networking. As the article states, "Middle managers and even executives are becoming ardent networkers, alumni group participants, and professional association joiners. These thriving networking groups provide a non-threatening environment -- often virtual -- for communication, idea sharing, and interaction, in ways that can be very beneficial. In doing so, they are filling roles once filled by employers: providing identity, community, and support for their members." It is from such groups that new businesses will be formed, not as spin-offs from the large hierarchical company. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Intel Claims Breakthrough in Chip Making
The New York Times, November 5, 2003
By John Markoff

Addendum to same article in the November 6, 2003 issue of Future Impacts.

In a Q&A session in Austin, Texas, Intel's number 3 employee, Mr. Les Vadasz, said that he thought that the new process was in conjunction with silicon, while the article inferred that it would replace silicon. The dependence on silicon becomes an important issue, as current sources of refined silicon come from offshore. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Number Portability
The Wall Street Journal, November 7, 2003
By Anne Marie Squeo, Almar LaTour, and Jesse Drucker
[As of November 11, article is not up yet.]

Now, you can take it with you. Your home phone number, that is. In a blow to local phone companies, the Federal Communications Commission plans to let consumers transfer their home phone numbers to alternative service providers -- including cell phone companies.

This is a monumental decision, one that will hasten the migration of wirelines to wireless as TFI has been predicting. The revenue impact to the incumbent local phone company will be dramatic. These firms have three choices: continue to fight the rear guard action against all phone service providers, ignore it, or find new ways to attract customers -- most notably through residential broadband and unified messaging services. Interestingly, three of the four major incumbents participate in the wireless sector and will now be able to reap the benefit of the wireline-to-wireless trend outside their home areas.

Some things to expect: quick opening of the residential voice market to many competitors, phones that are both cordless and wireless, pressure on the FCC to open up more of the spectrum to "phone" services beyond the 90 MHz now being reviewed for reallocation to advanced wireless services, more PCS vendors offering a Wi-Fi-based data service as a differentiator, and even more PCS players. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Soaring Into the Air With a Boost From a Laser Beam
The New York Times, November 6, 2003
By Noah Shachtman

Transmitting electricity without wires, a century-old dream, moves a bit closer to realization.

This is one of those sciences that will percolate for a number of years more before we really start to hear about it. However, it deserves to be put on the "revisit periodically" list for technology surveillance activities in an organization's "futurizing" program. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Future Impacts — Submitted November 6, 2003

Microsoft to License IBM Chips
The New York Times, November 4, 2003
By Steve Lohr

Microsoft said that it had licensed IBM microchip technology for use in its Xbox game consoles.

The deals with Microsoft, Sony, and Nintenddo for chip design are probably not being driven by a strategy to expand (save) the IBM chip business. While that could well become a benefit of these deals depending on world economics (particularly in China), it is really a play to make a profit out of highly-capable designers who would have been designing the chips for PCs, Power PCs, etc. The key strategy around this move is to own the intellectual capital in the media processor, which will become a major rival to the PC.

As a foundry play, it is strategically important at the national level that the U.S. have two surviving semiconductor plants going into the next decade based on the current national strategy. Best bets for which companies will own them are, for now, Intel, Texas Instruments, or a merged organization. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Unleashing Organizational Energy
MIT Sloan Management Review, Fall 2003
By Heike Bruch and and Sumantra Ghoshal

The intensity and pace of a company's work and innovation processes reflect its energy zone: comfort, resignation, aggression, or passion, as characterized by the authors. Examples from companies as diverse as Oracle, Old Mutual, Cartier, ABB, Philips Electronics, and Sony illustrate that managing a company's energy can help create capabilities tailored to key strategic goals. The authors also offer several scenarios for doing so.

For any organization seeking to transform itself, the conservation of energy is essential. You only get one chance, as the article points out. The energy zone model and the considerations for exploiting the right zone for transformation that this article proposes are an excellent foundation for a transformation strategy. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Intel Claims Breakthrough in Chip Making
The New York Times, November 5, 2003
By John Markoff

Researchers for Intel say they have discovered a new material that they believe will permit them to overcome one of the most serious obstacles facing chip makers.

The technology is slated for 2007 when the roadmap has etchings down to 45 nanometers.

Intel is not divulging the technical details. We can expect that scientists at other companies and at universities are searching for the same material or materials. Since we can expect almost all -- except perhaps a university -- not to divulge the technology until a later time, this decision can be the foundation of a great thesis as a case study for innovation, gamesmanship, and the cost/value of the current system of trade secrets vs. patents. Another part of such a thesis would be to analyze how the emerging trend in university research from "publish or perish" to "not patent and perish" is hastened. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

E-Vote Software Leaked Online
Wired News, October 29, 2003
By Kim Zetter

Software used by an electronic voting system manufactured by Sequoia Voting Systems has been left unprotected on a publicly available server, raising concerns about the possibility of vote tampering in future elections.

Add this news to a growing list of situations that call for a trusted "mechanism" to scrub national interest programs for "safety" and enforce "good citizenship."

EGov has great potential for making government more efficient, responsive, and fair, but this type of incident highlights its vulnerabilities and places a constraint on the effort. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Future Impacts — Submitted October 22, 2003

New Internet Speed Record Set by Euro - U.S. Labs
Reuters, October 15, 2003

GENEVA (Reuters)--Two major scientific research centers said on Wednesday they had set a new world speed record for sending data across the Internet, equivalent to transferring a full-length DVD film in seven seconds. The European Organization for Nuclear Research, CERN, said the feat, doubling the previous top speed, was achieved in a nearly 30-minute transmission over 7,000 kms of network between Geneva and a partner body in California. CERN, whose laboratories straddle the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, said it had sent 1.1 Terabytes of data at 5.44 gigabits a second (Gbps) to a lab at the California Institute of Technology, or Caltech, on October 1.

Much needs to be factored in if you want to say that Gilder's law has resumed. (The previous record was set last February at 1/5 the speed.) What is dramatic is that this was done over such a great distance. We doubt if this data arrived in the same order as it set out, nor at a steady rate. The driver for the next broadband demand increase will be multimedia, which demands both of those qualities. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

The Revolution Is Coming, Eventually
The New York Times, October 19, 2003
By Katie Hafner

George Gilder, who was known for his wildly optimistic predictions about the telecommunications revolution, is gradually regaining credibility.

At TFI, we say that there are five ways of viewing the Future--through the eyes of: an extrapolator, a pattern analyst, a goal analyst, a counter puncher, and an intuitor. We also point out to get the best view of the future you need a balance of all five. Gilder is an intuitor who let his own intuition (and fame) get in the way of adjusting when new input arrived. TFI's forecasts reflect the real world more. Caution: when it comes to forecasting for the stock market, all bets are off. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Motorola Expands Into Flat-Screen TV Business
USA Today, October 14, 2003

BEIJING (Reuters)--Cell phone giant Motorola has signed a deal with a Hong Kong firm to make flat-screen televisions and computer displays, adding another player to the fast-growing industry.

This news has been couched as a tactical move: It improves Motorola's position in the Chinese Home Appliance market and, with double-digit profits being reported, flat-panel TVs are a good market to be. Rather, this is an element of an overall strategy for Motorola to have a commanding position in the Home Networking market. This move gives Motorola a low-cost position in the Display component sector, the major product cost in a home edu-tainment-comm device that is at the heart of this emerging market. Flat-screens have much better consumer acceptance than the current monitor technology, as evidenced by the premium being paid for them in TV sets. The move also re-establishes Motorola in the consumer market as a brand.

Other moves announced recently indicate that Motorola is going to be in the Home Networking market: Motorola and Cox Communications San Diego Team to Enhance Student Learning With Wireless Broadband Technology (October 20); NTT, Motorola Develop Multicast MPLS for Next-Generation Broadband Services (October 21); and FOCUS Enhancements Provides TV-Out for Motorola's i.MX Application Development System (October 22). Strategic assets Motorola enjoy are: relationships built up by its Metrowerks division with content and device providers through its content development platform, CodeWarrior; a commanding position in the TV set top box market; and its decades long participation in China.

Others have entered or are going be entering this emerging market: the home PC triplets (Dell, HP, and Gateway), Siemens, Microsoft (remember the Xbox), and possibly Intel. The traditional brands are Japanese and Korean. Are we going to see a disruption here from American brands built from Chinese-made components? —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Digital Projection of Films Is Coming. Now, Who Pays?
The New York Times, October 13, 2003
By Eric Taub

Economics and industry politics have delayed the long-predicted digital revolution in movie theaters.

While there are still economics and industry politics to sort out, we think this technology is bogged down by the lack of technology advancement. Moviegoers may prefer the digital content to 35 mm film, but they don't demand it. They would demand an experience that goes beyond 35 mm, and today's digital light projection technology doesn't provide that in terms of image richness. The consumer preference for digital stems from the smoothness of motion and lack of "specks" on the screen. The key consumer care-about revolves around the "feel" of a movie, and this translates to 70 mm (as with IMAX), at twice the frame rate. This is a technical requirement that film cannot satisfy economically and only digital can. Sounds like a disruptive technology to me. The current direction for digital cinema isn't disruptive. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Future Impacts — Submitted October 9, 2003

What's Next for 802?
The Institute, October 9, 2003

A lot of work is constantly in play for the IEEE 802® LAN/MAN Standards Committee (LMSC), according to Paul Nikolich, the Committee's chair. Here's what's going on.

Wow! This is the group responsible for the Wi-Fi standards that are the computer folk's answer to the PCS wireless folk's 3G. This could be one situation where the standards lead the market. Bluetooth at 30 times its current data rate. Last mile at 25 Mb/s from cell towers. (A capability that will be strategically feasible since the tower assets became independent of the PCS carriers.)

Other 802 standards in the works will make the next-generation hybrid optical/wireless metropolitan carrier more compelling than the in-place cable guy and local telco. Capabilities such as easy handoff between wired and wireless 802 protocols, consistent and sophisticated security in mixed wired/wireless networks, and minimizing the need for expensive in-network equipment to exchange data between two nodes in a metropolitan network. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Rapid Growth of China's Huawei Has Its High-Tech Rivals on Guard
The New York Times, October 6, 2003
By Chris Buckley

Huawei Technologies symbolizes China's new technological expertise and its desire to be more than the factory floor for the world.

This article epitomizes the need to watch for Chinese companies as potential competitors in those large strategic markets based on IT technology, such as, in this case, communications gear. How well Huawei can create innovation internally and how it manages its IP, as well as those of others, will show other Chinese entrepreneurs whether they can play in the global marketplace successfully following the emerging global rules.

The next event to watch for is the rise of a similar company in the medical treatment market (e.g., pharmaceuticals) in the life sciences domain. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Motorola Will Spin Off Its Money-Losing Semiconductor Business
The New York Times, October 7, 2003
By Barnaby J. Feder

Motorola plans to divest its struggling semiconductor operations from its cell phone and communications equipment businesses.

About time! Motorola has been suffering from violating the value chain. They should have gotten smart when Siemens got out of the chip business. Not only does profit suffer when you are on both the component and system side (few system vendors will buy from a competitor, and there is no cost advantage to having a captive component supplier with a non-dominating market share), but innovation is blunted. The system side doesn't get to participate in the innovations taking place in the chip world, and the chip side only has one view of the market and, one could surmise, less incentive to innovate.

Expect to see some joint partnerships between the new chip company and upstream vendors, such as what Intel has with Xerox and IBM with SONY, for next-generation circuit designs. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Reengineering Redux
Technology Review, September 17, 2003
By James Champy

Most companies operate on the principle of opaqueness. A leader in the 1990s movement to radically overhaul business processes has a new vision -- X-engineering -- that puts a premium on transparency and standardization.

This article takes a value chain view of the business world, i.e., suppliers>large company>customers, and prognosticates re-engineering of processes across (X) the chain. Without some form of automation, we question whether such a task can be economical. In addition, it depends on similar automation on the part of suppliers, who tend to be small and not have the resources needed to automate. There is also the question of sufficient motivation for a significantly large number of customers to make the required change. In addition, there is the question of a standard, in particular, a business process modeling language, that enables automated X-engineering.

The world is moving toward a value network model where companies combine in unique business models to meet ever-changing, ever-sophisticated customer needs. In this model, X-engineering is needed to meet customer demand for fast time-to-market. New product development, customer service, and customer payment are the key processes to automate rather than the supply chain process that the value chain model suggests. An example of such a value network partnership might be a cell phone vendor, chip designer, human factors designer, and a portal service provider coming together to meet consumer care-abouts for entertainment and quick answers over an extended number of years. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Future Impacts — Submitted October 3, 2003

The Fast-Forward, On-Demand, Network-Smashing Future of Television
Wired Magazine, October 2003
By Frank Rose

What happens when digital video recorders give viewers control of the TV schedule, the content, and the ads? The full story after this 5-second word from our sponsors.

This article contains the meat for an insightful forecast of the demise of broadcast TV , much like what Technology Futures, Inc. has forecast for the fall of wireline phone. The article fails to cover the impact of the more open technology domains of the PC and the Web on hastening this demise (except in passing in one of the sidebars). In the alternate scenarios that will chronicle this demise, content security is an enabling technology, as it is for HDTV and Digital Cinema. These same scenarios should also explain the importance or lack of importance of the major content producers owning the means of distribution.

A sidebar ("Just-In-Time Prime Time," http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.10/tv.html?pg=4) talks about how the low costs of distribution by satellite (and one would think submarine cable) are causing the content creation/production functions to become distributed to other parts of the globe, further breaking down a Hollywood centric industry. We can expect a global player like NewsCorp (Fox) to parlay this trend with their ownership of satellite networks to produce entirely new forms of near real time content, e.g., Geraldo with the Troops, Today on the Schwarzenegger Campaign, The Miss India Pagent. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Joint Service From Reuters and Microsoft
The New York Times, September 30, 2003
By Laurie J. Flynn

The Reuters Group signed a deal with Microsoft to connect the companies' instant messaging systems as an offering for financial services companies.

Another example of the general observation that technology and the open market are leading to a world where the organization with the knowledge, and hence the customers, trumps the service provider. The integration of Instant Messaging Systems between heated rivals--AOL, Microsoft, and Yahoo--has been failing. Here, the owner of knowledge and customers, Reuters, is integrating on its terms. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

I.B.M. to Disclose Power-Saving Chip Design
The New York Times, September 30, 2003
By Steve Lohr

I.B.M. plans to announce a new semiconductor design that it asserts could greatly improve the performance or reduce the power consumption of wireless devices.

By being based on silicon on insulator technology, the new chip design also has an advantage in real estate and cost by reducing the interference between the radio circuitry and processor, so that the two functions can be placed on a single chip. That move will make software radios less costly, and thus enable applications using multiple communications protocols and frequencies, such as the GPS enabled "Golfer's Friend" PCS, more economically feasible.

Again, this news highlights IBM's ability to advance semiconductor technologies without being a top 10 semicon producer. Knowledge pays. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

In Handling Innovation, Patience Is a Virtue
The New York Times, September 29, 2003
By Julie Flaherty

At a conference on emerging technologies, one of the main messages was that technological projects may not pay off for decades.

This article is chock full of ideas to comment on and we are sure the entire conference had many more such insights. However, the observations about Nanotech bear further discussion. It is becoming clear that much of the promise of Nanotech will be tied to advances in manufacturing processes. Science and technology from optics, magnetics, and semiconductors are among the fields that will eventually enable low cost, high volume manufacturing of Nanotech-based components. Those fields demand a much better trained manufacturing workforce than the current manufacturing products do. If such a technological direction were made part of the US Economic Strategy, there is a hope that manufacturing would come back "onshore." —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Future Impacts — Submitted September 16, 2003

Pump lets natural gas Civics go to market
USA TODAY, 8/27/2003
By David Kiley

DETROIT - Honda next year will begin mass-marketing natural-gas-powered Civics that will come with a device to fill the car's tank in the owner's garage.

This product looks like it will be the enabler for what's been called the Hydrogen Economy, a replacement technology for gas guzzling internal combustion. This product will satisfy the careabout for the buyer of a natural buyer for convenient source of low cost fuel.

As the article mentions, the product is also preparatory for the second stage of the Hydrogen Economy where fuel cells are the basic power unit. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Future Impacts — Submitted September 2, 2003

New Telecommunication Tools May Emerge From the Deep
The New York Times, August 26, 2003
By Kenneth Chang

Who would have thought that a technology company might find inspiration for future telecommunications equipment from an animal at the bottom of the ocean?

This is an intersection of biotech with nanotech. In this case, using a bio process to build a nanostructure, optical fiber, could lead to manufacturing plants that have low capital cost.

What's further intriguing is the knowledge gained by understanding how the protein they've discovered arranges the silicon crystal. Could this lead to a way to manufacture semiconductors at a low capital cost? Burgeoning capital costs for new semiconductor labs is a current inhibitor in maintaining Moore's Law, which is a driver for our digital economy. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Army Center to Study New Uses of Biotechnology
The New York Times, August 27, 2003
By Andrew Pollack

Seeking to harness biotechnology in new ways, the U.S. Army is establishing a research institute at three universities to apply biology to the development of sensors, computers, and materials.

This article shows that the Army realizes the potential of biotech in areas traditionally outside of life sciences as exemplified by the first article cited in this issue. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Nokia to Acquire Sega Online Unit
USA Today, August 20, 2003
By Byron Acohido

Nokia, the world's largest cell phone maker, has maneuvered to the cutting edge of the video game industry by agreeing to acquire Japanese game-maker Sega's online gaming subsidiary, Sega.com.

This is a strategic move for Nokia. Mobile online gaming is a white space that has great potential. Anyone in this space will have to own the link from the game server to the handheld in order to optimize the link for "real time" and to exploit device features.

However, we would question whether Nokia will be successful because this is a data application and not the traditional domain they have been playing in. One determinant is whether Nokia will offer a version of their N-Gage for use on a Wi-Fi network. Another is whether they will open their device to other adapters.

We should expect to see Microsoft enter this domain. It has the portal, is active in the wireless domain, and is already a participant in the home game box. They have two platforms for this white space -- Smartphone and Pocket PC Phone Edition.

As the white space gains more entrants, the question becomes how many versions of a game a game developer can maintain and extend. Operating environment, device geometries, and protocol optimization will cause basic changes in how games need to be written. Some game content builders may not want their game to be "crippled" for a less capable environment. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Would You Like Wi-Fi With That?
Wired Magazine, September 2003
By Paul Boutin

If wireless Internet access is such a hot technology, why is it such a dud business? Wi-Fi hardware, which uses radio signals instead of cables to connect computers to the Net, is already in more than 10 million laptops.

Despite what the leader says, the article goes on to be very positive about the prospects of "free," or at least unbilled, Wi-Fi access afforded by business models like increased business over competitors without Wi-Fi and tie in to broadband in the home. The availability of new laptops with Wi-Fi built in will be like the arrival of the railroad tracks -- the availability of "free" hot spots, or at least low cost per month wide coverage from a single vendor, will be the foundation for a breakout in Wi-Fi.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

SBC Plans 6,000 Wi-Fi Sites by '06
USA TODAY, August 6, 2003
By Michelle Kessler

Wireless Internet, or Wi-Fi, is expected to land another big backer Wednesday as SBC Communications announces hundreds of locations by year's end and 6,000 by 2006.

Here is another carrier, like Verizon in the previous article, that will be competing against its "arms length" carrier for the high-speed data access everywhere dollars. Additional carriers with the same schizophrenia are mentioned in the article: AT&T and Sprint. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Future Impacts — Submitted August 16, 2003

Power Failure Reveals a Creaky System, Energy Experts Believe
The New York Times, August 15, 2003
By David Firestone and Richard Pérez-Peña

While energy experts disagreed on the blackout's cause, they agreed that the failure betrayed the transmission system's age.

What is most disturbing for us is that the futurists foretold this event, yet the shorter perspective of those who did not listen or actively fought moves to modernize the system won out. When will the futurists ever get the influence needed to avert such situations? Would anyone know if they were right?

One impact of this event is that the trend of the use of wireless phone as a substitute for wireline phone could slow down until PCS firms make their systems more failure proof. The phone system is self-powered out to the subscriber unit and more resilient in taking the avalanche of calls that occur in such a crisis.

One more reason for time-of-day or demand-based pricing, a common state forecast during discussions of the deregulation of the electrical power industry in the 90s, is to regulate the peaks that can cause such blackouts.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Factories Move Abroad, as Does U.S. Power
The New York Times, August 17, 2003
By Louis Uchitelle

Manufacturing is slowly disappearing in the United States. Why does this matter? The U.S. can't build a future without manufacturing.

While manufacturing's move offshore may abate if the U.S. suffers from a devaluation, as predicted by the economists in this article, the long-run trend is to replace manufacturing for knowledge-based products in the other industrialized countries. It is most important that the means to establish and protect value for knowledge-based property is agreed upon globally so the U.S. doesn't become a third-rate country. That includes protecting the value of entertainment content. Hear that, Napster 2?

On the other hand, the promise of nanotech is to replace many of the products that are moving offshore with products based on nanotech science and that technology will require a higher skilled workforce (and will pay higher) -- an opportunity for the U.S. labor force.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

The Geodesic Marketspace
Ynotmasters, August 14, 2003
By Jason from ImageAuction

1994 seems like forever ago in Internet years, but this was the year that John Perry Barlow published his seminal work, "The Economy of Ideas" in Wired 2.03 1. If we look not at the value of the information passing over that network but rather the connections in that network, we get a different picture of how to generate revenue.

Models like the one advocated in this article miss the point that both links and nodes have value. In the manufacturing economy, the manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers have value along with the distributors and salesmen. Without the people who create content getting paid, the relationship people have nothing to create a relationship for.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Schwarzenegger's Next Goal on Dogged, Ambitious Path
The New York Times, August 17, 2003
By Bernard Weinraub and Charlie LeDuff

Thirty-five years ago, Arnold Schwarzenegger predicted he would become a rich movie star with a glamorous wife and political power.

Now, there's a futurist! Nostradamus, move over.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Future Impacts — Submitted August 9, 2003

Monti v Microsoft
The Economist Global Agenda, August 7, 2003

The European Commission gives the world's largest software company one last chance to defend its behaviour before dishing out remedies and fines

The most likely scenario to come out of this is that Microsoft has an arrangement to make its communications protocol interfaces public. Such a change if implemented correctly (and we expect Mr. Monti to call on Microsoft competitors and entrepreneurs for advice) will open up new opportunities for classes of workstations and servers that can undercut their "Wintel" counterpart in price performance. It will be particularly impactful in the instance of the Microsoft print and file protocol by enabling telecommuting from the home through a home network node. The big winners should be the electronic design houses because they have the technology to provide better price performance once they know the protocols.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

'Twinning' Phenomenon Found in Nanocrystalline Aluminum
Headlines @Hopkins, July 30, 2003

Using a powerful electron microscope to view atomic- level details, Johns Hopkins researchers have discovered a "twinning" phenomenon in a nanocrystalline form of aluminum that was plastically deformed during lab experiments. The finding will help scientists better predict the mechanical behavior and reliability of new types of specially fabricated metals.

While the PC phase of the IT Age seems to have forgotten this lesson, Test and Measurement will be a very important science and discipline for nanotech to become commercially viable and for new materials to take off in a smooth acceptance path.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

AMD snags National Semi's Geode product line
Embedded.com, August 6 2003
By Lindsey Vereen

Advanced Micro Devices has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of National Semiconductor's Information Appliance business unit.

A very promising move for AMD as they continue to stalk Intel. This is a place AMD needs to go to cash in on the rising markets for smart devices--set top boxes, portable entertainment appliances, intelligent sensors, etc.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Future Impacts — Submitted July 27, 2003

Nanoscience is Out of the Bottle
The Scientist, July 28, 2003
By Jeffery M. Perkel

Despite the naysayers, optimism abounds in the worlds of enhanced pharmaceuticals and nanomedicine.

A good seminal article on the subject that highlights 3 strategic points about nanotech:

While nanoscience and nanotech are proscribed by the change in a material's behavior when they are collected in the nanometer scale, nano-engineering is the shaping of materials at the nanometer scale regardless of whether they change property. Nano-engineering may be even more important than the other two in terms of commercial application because applications in bioengineering (that is essentially at that scale in the first place) and material assembly, such as building semiconductors from the bottom up, are in the realm of nano-engineering.

Nano-engineering is going to be the foundation of numerous biotech pathways that will become a driver of greater impact than the age of IT saw. In the age of IT, the changes came in waves and in nano/biotech, the changes will be more simultaneous. Think of what amount of change there would be if mainframe, mini, PC, client/server, and network-centric computing all happened at the same time.

There is a critical constraint that can slow all of this potential change. That is the potential for societal backlash if the negative effects of these technologies are not properly vetted.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

On the Science of SARS
The Scientist, July 28, 2003

The international science community mobilized to detect the cause and source of the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome.

This article exemplifies one of the key differentiators between the infotech "revolution" of the last decade and what we'll see unfold in biotech. While infotech was driven by market demand, biotech will be driven by both market and societal demand. Another case besides SARS is the drive to find and treat bio and chemical warfare agents.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Bright Outlook for SARS Research Funding
The Scientist, July 28, 2003
By Bernard Tulsi

A single bright spot in the otherwise dark SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) story is the new research opportunities it has created for researchers who study infectious diseases.

This article, also in the July 28 issue of The Scientist, provides more information about federal funding for SARS research.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Next Generation Biofactories
The Scientist, July 28, 2003
By Harvey Black

Biotechs and academics alike seek out new ways to use nature's inventions.

Yet two more nano-engineering technologies to add to the drivers for biotechnology and nanotechnology: diatoms for silicon-based structures and yeast for protein-based structures.

The yeast-based technology promises to make drug manufacturing much less expensive and will be applicable in both pharma- and bio-based drugs.

Does read like there are silicon life forms.

Notice the reference to bio-optical computing -- light emitting proteins replacing silicon gates.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Y Envy
The Scientist, July 28, 2003
By Ricki Lewis

The recently unveiled Y sequence elevates the chromosome from genomic junkyard to evolutionary revelation.

I have no comments concerning the future impacts because this is still a work in progress. Still, I find the article very intriguing. Call it dessert!—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Future Impacts — Submitted July 25, 2003

3-D Rides Back to Save the Day
The New York Times, July 20, 2003
By Rick Lyman

Always frantic to revive the sense of magic that greeted the first motion pictures, Hollywood is taking yet another chance on one of the movies' most enduring challenges: 3-D.

Another source for the drivers and constraints for 3D content. See the last article in the July 19, 2003 Future Impacts, 3D Display Goes Vertical.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Microsoft Moves to Weather Time of Slow Growth
The New York Times, July 24, 2003
By John Markoff

Microsoft outlined a new corporate approach designed to allow the company to weather a period of slow growth in the computer industry.

Loyalty-based incentives, financial oversight, increasing R&D spending -- Microsoft is becoming IBM-like, a mature company. There were still years of growth ahead for IBM when IBM hit that stage, and there will be for Microsoft. The growth will be at a slower pace, sometimes flat or downward, and the innovation will have to come from within. Unlike IBM, Microsoft is prepared to spend its cash larder on acquisitions, even though it says in the article that it isn't going to at this time.

Also, Gates does not think that the IT market is consolidating. He's kidding himself or us. This is a trend that has repeated itself a number of times, the last few Microsoft has been the benefactor, albeit not by natural competitive factors in the case of the desktop OS and office suites. One just needs to see what is going on with the Oracle/People Soft/JD Edwards commingling. Perhaps he is whistling in the dark because the next consolidation in Internet server software and national ISPs may not include Microsoft as the victor.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

EchoStar Deal Lets SBC Offer Satellite TV in Phone Bill
The New York Times, July 22, 2003
By Laurie J. Flynn

SBC Communications and EchoStar plan to offer satellite television service as part of a package of services on a single bill.

This move potentially violates two strategic principals -- conflict in the value network and competitive technologies. The conflict comes because direct beam satellites will soon compete with the ILECs for Internet services (without the cumbersome phone line for return packets). The competitive technologies violation comes from use of satellites for video programs while, at the same time, extending fiber with the same capability into neighborhoods. One can surmise that this is a tactical move to react to the cable companies' addition of phone service and to buy time for the "fiberization" of the cities and suburbia.

One clue to look for is how the set-top box they will develop (mentioned in the article) is architected. If it is protocol independent or reconfigurable, we can expect that the satellite connection will be replaced by the fiber line one when the time is right. Notice that this box is also a strategic component for DirecTV/Fox as mentioned in a previous Future Impacts.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

IBM Explores Shift of White-Collar Jobs Overseas
The New York Times, July 22, 2003
By Steven Greenhouse

In a recorded conference call that was leaked to a union group, two senior IBM officials said that the company needed to move more white collar jobs overseas.

IBM "gets it." They are leading the vanguard of becoming a "knowledge" company where company-developed "product" becomes irrelevant except as tool for entering the market. This transformation is necessary to sustain wealth in a global economy where manufacturing and development become a third-world industry.

It is not a bad move to offload software design and development to offshore companies since the availability of full function web services based application "frameworks" and utility computing in the latter half of this decade will cause a huge implosion of programmers.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Future Impacts — Submitted July 19, 2003

Movies on the Run
The New York Times, July 17, 2003
By Michael Marriott

A quarter-century after the Walkman, movies are going portable to personal video players that show films on a palm-sized screen.

This article lays out the next major market in electronics--what's been popularly called the handheld market. We've seen elements of it with cell phones, Game Boys, MP3 players, and PDAs. It's a market that is in its first stage where there is a wide variety of solutions. This article points out the convergence and extension that is going on. There are many paths to this new market, as this device list indicates, so there are going to be many players.

The handheld game device appears to be a good candidate to be the base for this new convergent device because it is centered on the quality of the image. This factor has driven TV and allowed the IBM PC to take over from Macintosh. Considerations of power and CPU are probably even. Also significant is that the game device is much more aligned with content, which makes the latter the source for more revenue than just selling a device would. It is multimedia content (games, animation, video, movies) that will drive this market rather than applications that drove the PC market and have so far driven the PDA market.

Those communities with both chip design and software skills stand to benefit most from the growth in this market. The key is to keep the size small in delivering motion images with low power consumption. This will be a takeoff market that will not be interested in standard interfaces to encourage open availability of applications because much of the money is in the content. The net is a diverse set of hardware/software solutions to populate the many devices with technology that distinguishes that content from another solution. Opportunities also exist for algorithm providers (compression, asset protection) and for platform developers.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Wi-Fi, Li-Fi, and Mi-Fi
Technology Review, July/August 2003
By Michael Schrage

While Wi-Fi undeniably inspires that intoxicating blend of expectation and excitement that leads to entrepreneurial excess, it's also the kind of technological platform that invites the best ideas, writes Technology Review columnist Michael Schrage. But the wireless networking technology's future depends on whether big tech companies consider it friend or foe.

The author advocates that Microsoft release a version of Windows that allows a desktop PC to become a WiFi access point. This idea has two flaws. One lies in the fact that I, trying to get work done on my computer, do not want to slow myself down being an access point where a lot of the function is handled by software. Second, the network is built on the whims of individual users. If they turn off their PCs or go into a loop, the link to the guest Wi-Fi user is broken. Interestingly, the first WiFi market is for laptops that certainly have that characteristic of short session use.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

3D Display Goes Vertical
Technology Research News, July 15, 2003

Korean researchers have devised a "flies-eyes" vision device with a wider viewing angle than other such systems. The technique could be used in advertising displays within two years and in three-dimensional TV in a decade, according to the researchers.

Watch out for more innovation in the visual display space, particularly for 3D. There is a problem to surmount. 3D systems built on fooling the eyes about depth while physically on a 2D plane have been found to cause headaches after a while. Something will succeed and make HDTV seem like the 1950s picture phones. Our bet is on holography.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Future Impacts — Submitted July 16, 2003

When Rebooting is Not an Option
Technology Review, July 16, 2003

Q&A: MIT computer scientist Larry Rudolph explains why the cure-all of rebooting will not solve our digital problems in the emerging technoscape of pervasive computing -- and how we can avoid a nightmare scenario in a world of ubiquitous technology.

This is an important direction for IS research. In addition to being an enabler for home networks, as mentioned in the article, this is also a critical enabler for sensor networks, PC grids, and for rich collaborative environments. We would hope that the techniques created in this lab will be available in an early timeframe for use on current Windows systems. The Intel architecture possesses a layer below the operating system called the Virtual Machine. This layer, in conjunction with low-level interfaces that Microsoft does publish, would be very helpful in the near term. A showstopper would be if Microsoft does something to shut out this option because they want to provide the capability as a means to get customers to upgrade or to own the home network market, one they have their sights set on.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Help for Handhelds
Innovation, July/August 2003
By Megan Vandre

The navigation tools that work so well on desktop computers fall short on the tiny screens of handheld devices. Now, the first interface that completely replaces these methods with the simpler method of zooming -- alternating levels of magnification -- is headed to the handheld market.

Certainly a problem worth solving, but we question whether this approach isn't also constrained by the display real estate. This technique depletes useful screen real estate with zoom buttons and depends on screen resolution to pick out objects (e.g., thumbnails) to zero in on.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Gel Yields Nanotube Plastic
Technology Research News, July 14, 2003

Japanese researchers have found a way to distribute nanotubes evenly throughout a gel to form a material that could make it possible to produce cables, transistors, and actuators from electrically conductive, high-strength plastic.

This article highlights that the big payoff in nanotech isn't the lower materials cost but the use of lower-cost equipment to make the nanotech-based device. That cost is so low and highly variable that innovative new products and services based on customizing for need and aesthetics are possible.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Future Impacts — Submitted June 30, 2003

Oracle Versus PeopleSoft
The Economist, June 26, 2003

Oracle's hostile bid for PeopleSoft will supply the best evidence yet about whether the rules of American business are changing....

Inexorably, we are heading toward greater democratization in high-tech companies, both in ownership and in governance. The need to grow (and kill) businesses in what is called "creative destruction" will lead to elimination of the impediments to the so-called hostile takeover. Executive management must evolve to being an inspirer and coach, not an acquirer and commander. The latter characteristics spell delay in forming new entities, and the former will lead to many good things for the economy such as improving the success of the acquisition and spawning executives who are not exhausted for new ventures. Ironically, it is a manager of the latter characteristics, Larry Ellison, who is driving this change.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Fox, in Shift, to Join Other Networks in Offering High-Definition TV
The New York Times, June 25, 2003
By Eric A. Taub

Fox, which had previously shunned high-definition broadcasting, plans to transmit at least half its primetime schedule in HDTV.

There are two forms of high-definition TV. Fox is pursuing the form that is good for sports, a key part of Fox's content strategy -- read Fox Regional Sport Networks on cable, NFL football, and NASCAR. For the same reason, ABC -- read ESPN Networks -- is standardizing on that form, too.

As the article points out, Fox, a major movie studio, is sensitive to protecting its movie assets, and this form of HDTV protects that the most.

The big strategic play in this decision is to have something unique to offer on the new DirecTV video distribution carrier it is acquiring. Only Time Warner has incentive to provide HDTV broadcast content on its system, and this is not an important part of its empire (WB Network). Time Warner's cable networks, such as HBO and Showtime, are transmitted in HDTV, and that is where DirecTV will shine with that content along with it own. It will have access to offer the Time Warner HDTV networks in trade for its HDTV networks.

Finally, Fox's special-effects movies such as the XMen and Harry Potter series are best for this form of HDTV.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Defense Department To Convert To New IPv6 Internet Protocol
InternetWeek.com, June 25, 2003
By Mitch Wagner

Backing from the enormous department will likely accelerate the widespread availability of the next-generation Internet Protocol. IPv6 is designed to be an improvement on the Ipv4 by providing vastly improved mobility, security, manageability and flexibility.

IPv6 Coming To America
Lightreading.com, June 26, 2003
By Marguerite Reardon

While Asia and Europe have made strides to switch to IPv6, the next-generation version of Internet Protocol (IP), the North American market has dragged its feet. But now it looks as though IPv6 is picking up steam in the U.S. The move is being driven by carriers.

These articles deal in generalities when stating the drivers for this trend, most predominantly a huge number of IP addresses. I would predict that the address space grows a bit a year. Current techniques based on IPV4 stretches the space to 48 bits but they have so mismanaged the use of the address space that the next stage in Internet growth will be constrained by the lack of IP addresses. The next stage will be driven by the need to spontaneously access people and devices in the way we currently access servers. The number of such nodes will be much, much greater than the current number of servers. Add to this the need for an increased number of nodes to be mobile that will overwhelm the current mechanisms for "guests," and IPV6 will be an imperative.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Future Impacts — Submitted June 24, 2003

Computing's Big Shift: Flexibility in the Chip
The New York Times, June 16, 2003
By John Markoff

An emerging type of chip architecture known as adaptive, or reconfigurable, computing, could transform technology.

Watch this space. This concept has been around for a long time, but the breakout everyone is expecting is further out in time than this article suggests. There isn't even a value proposition mentioned yet and that means that there is no prototype of a complete device that handles a common application, like the one in the article--the multi protocol cell phone. When we have metrics such as circuit density, power consumption, and quality of service, there will be a better understanding of this as a breakthrough technology for commercial applications.

When the breakthrough comes it will most likely be in a space where change is occurring rapidly, the present solution is handled by software, and a vendor has picked a strategy that builds its innovations on top of the standards.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Spam Wars
Technology Review, July/August 2003
By Evan I. Schwartz

Half of all e-mail is unwanted junk. Software companies are rushing to build defenses and mount a counterattack--but will the new technologies do more harm than good?

SPAM is going to be a "disruptive constraint" by crippling the use of e-mail for the next 3 to 5 years--just as e-mail goes wireless, a medium that is very fragile under the additional load of SPAM. There are 7 technical approaches, as well as a number of societal measures mentioned in the article. These approaches map to 4 technical architectural strategies: 1) leave it to users to police the system based on community collaboration (an approach only techies with time will pursue; 2) let users manage their own list of Spammers (this is the approach I'm using but still takes time to get rolling), 3) use tracing techniques at the protocol layer to track down the bad guys (will need to wait on installing the tools on networks and some legislative support, which itself will find itself mired down by the Internet libertarians); and 4) service provider filtering (attractive to ISPs as a way to differentiate themselves).

There is a niche opportunity for an independent service to provide this last approach to those ISPs who are not big enough to pay to continually fight the Spammers. For sure the big ISPs like AOL and MSN will develop their own captive service.

Ironically, Microsoft could put a dent in the problem with a tool based on the second approach in the next release of Windows, but they won't because it is strategically more important for them to win the ISP game, because it leads to securing the Gorilla position in the Portal space (see the June 3rd issue of Future Impacts).—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Uncrossed wires
The Economist, June 19, 2003

Teleconferences can be frustrating. It is either impossible to make out what one person is saying over the chatter of others, or the conversation degenerates into a formal and painfully slow series of dialogues.

Here we have the audio equivalent for channel surfing and thumbnail clips. Speeds up teleconferences, making them more realistic. —Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Future Impacts — Submitted June 3, 2003

Microsoft-AOL Settlement — A Win-Win?
Silicon.com, May 30, 2003
By Ian Fried and Jim Hu


This is the telling move in a fascinating chess game.

The board: portals.

The players: AOL and Microsoft Network (a.k.a. MSN). Waiting to play: Yahoo/SBC.

The rooks: capable of direct attack or moving to defend another piece, are the market spaces. For AOL: Time Warner's network to prototype capability but not to distribute, too limited to protect the Time Warner cash cowcontent. For MSN: Handheld devices through Pocket PC, set-top boxes through WebTV, and GameBoxes through Xbox.

The bishops: capable of moving across the lines of attack, are the applications: For AOL: Instant Messenger. For MSN: the Browser, Windows Media, Net Meeting.

The knights: capable of upsetting lines of attack while staying unthreatened, are the customers. AOL's got them.

The queen: capable of performing the rook's or bishop's function, cash. MSN has that, we think it has the priority as a major .NET strategem.

The outcome: MSN will win by using any of the following strategies:

—Secure a checkmate position through Windows Media and acceptance by the content crowd including, ironically, Warner Music as well as AOL’s own support of the protocol.

—Secure a checkmate position in IM by gathering intelligence or fooling AOL into a false position of security because of its inexperience in system software and the brutal take-no-prisoners style Microsoft has learned in winning that war during the talks to “explore ways...to interoperate.” MSN has the ubiquity of Net Meeting to use in this stratagem.

—Buy AOL. Only if AOL can cause enough delay and hurt with the following strategies:

—Upgrading IM with video function. This will only happen if the FCC relaxes its restriction on this option. (See last issue of Futures Impacts.)

—Use access to the Time Warner Communications network's broadband customers for ISPs to gain their power to open up the cable market to broadband thereby blunting the power of MSN to move into broadband.

—Threaten to spin off AOL giving the new company more flexibility to play on this board and putting a person, Steve Case, who understands more of the game on this board as the chessmaster.

Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

F.C.C. Votes to Relax Rules Limiting Media Ownership
New York Times, June 3, 2003
By Stephen Labaton

The ruling allows companies to buy more television stations and own a newspaper and a broadcast outlet in the same city.

We should expect to see much looser regulations about TV/radio/newspaper outlets a company can own. The result will be consolidation, but the other side of the coin is that now there is room for new competitors to arise. Those competitors will bring innovation. For all one can say about the political slant of these outlets, we can all agree (or will be shown) that these content providers are not really with it. Some are not digital and incapable of unlocking the accompanying technology. We should see, for example local news delivered by cable, satellite, or even an over-the-air minority TV channel opened up by DTV mandates. The following article discusses this prospect: TV News That Looks Local, Even if It's Not (http://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/02/business/media/02TUBE.html?th).—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI.

Hewlett Says Plan for PCs Is Corporate Money-Saver
New York Times, June 6, 2003
By Steve Lohr

Hewlett-Packard plans to announce an initiative that it says can reduce the cost of corporate personal computers by 45%.

HP is planning to architect a client/server system with minimal hardware on the desktop (display, keyboard, mouse, memory) and blade servers for the applications. Follow this path of logic, and you could see a serious impact on Intel and Microsoft. This architecture effectively disembowels Windows functionality so that pieces of Windows can be emulated. Most noticeably, those desktop "blades" could contain just the window manager (needed there for fast response to desk crawling), and that window manager can be a clone of the one in Windows. At this point, the Windows NT-based servers support this functionality. But the real fun comes when the workload from each of the desktops can be distributed to a server at the window box level with clones of Wintel function taking over an application at a time.

For students of computer evolution, this is another step toward the original concept of ubiquitous computing. The term has since been hijacked by the PDA folk.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Future Impacts — Submitted May 29, 2003

AOL Says F.C.C. Rule Holds Back Its Instant Messaging
New York Times, May 26, 2003
By David D. Kirkpatrick

AOL Time Warner says it is falling behind in instant messaging, partly because of conditions imposed by the government when AOL and Time Warner merged.

Two key trends here:

First, it looks bleak for a standard for IM to emerge from the pack. IM functionality appears to be a differentiator among the 3 major portals, but the route they are taking is to be proprietary. Who will be the first to open up? From this article, AOL is becoming marginalized and might want to open up to save their numbers from eroding, but the FCC is keeping them from providing the next great function — video — by which to differentiate themselves. Microsoft could, but they have the momentum and have the software position to differentiate with such function as Net Meeting Integration. We'll have to wait for a new version of Windows to use this as reason for us all to pay the $ to upgrade. Yahoo may not want to contribute to impacting SBC, their partner, and their telephone business. Opportunity exists for a major company not among these three to provide a portal to the three. The article mentions a small company that AOL came down on, but a large company could successfully challenge: IBM? Disney? Sprint? Sounds like a good target for the open systems folk. Perhaps Palm will put the function at the PDA level or Sony or News Corp in a home server (see earlier Future Impact on possible News Corp participation in set-top boxes with the DirecTV buy). It would be hard for these three to stop consumers. As network economics dictate, the value is in having the widest audience. That factor should be the key to break this impasse.

Second, when IM does open up, look for it to replace e-mail as the communications agent of choice. There are two major ideas for curbing Spam and one looks a lot like IM. The winning approach for e-mail will probably be another approach that is sponsored by the “legitimate” mass e-mailers who are banking on the consumer accepting a flood of “trusted” e-mail in their boxes because they want ads. Well, Spam is going to drive a duality in digital personal communications. E-mail will take on the function of today's snail mail, and IM will take the phone's place in our personal communication habits. Hopefully, IM will respect the consumer care-abouts for privacy and ease-of-use comparable to the phone. If it does make communications easy, the dream of universal messaging, multimedia messaging, and conferencing that has been around for the last decade could become a mass market reality.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Looking Smart in the Service Bay
New York Times, May 25, 2003
By Barnaby J. Feder

Technology that lets fighter pilots check instruments without taking their eyes off targets is now making its way into the repair shop.

My back-of-the-sheet calculations indicate that this technology has an order-of-magnitude potential over holographic storage, which is just around the corner. Holography has, itself, an order-of-magnitude potential over the newest magnetic storage technology based on packing bits perpendicularly (standing up). Some major issues are the read and write speed, rewritability, the size of the read/write head, and removability.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Semiconductor Emits Telecom Light
Technology Research News, May 23, 2003

Researchers at Yale University have made LEDs that emit one trillion pulses of light per second at the 1.5-micron wavelength, which is optimal for transmitting fiber-optic signals over long distance communications lines.

Sounds like a cheap approach for new optical networks (when they start being built again), but they don't say what kind of power the LED emits. This will determine the distance between expensive repeaters.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Future Impacts — Submitted May 22, 2003

NANOSPACE: The New Space Race is the Battle For More and More Control Over Less and Less
Wired, June 2003
By Larry Smarr

I have seen the future, and it is small.

Just beyond the nanomaterials and nano components based on molecules as components (large nano) lie the opportunities in use of small nano devices made up of atoms as components to manipulate quantum levels. At this stage, optical science weighs in with photon-based excitation, control, and measurement. At this leve,l also, biomolecules such as RNA become the "program" for operating such devices. Bio-based components in biocomputers are too slow and need parallel program invention to provide adequate performance, whereas atomic level computers with engineered biomolecules as the program control provide the best of the sub nano world and the reconfigurability of the bio world.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

The High-Definition Camcorder Enters the Picture
New York Times, May 22, 2003
By David Pogue

Next month, JVC will release the GR-HD1, the first high-definition consumer camcorder.

At $3,500, this advance hastens the day that large newsgathering and entertainment providers will be enhanced/replaced by more distributed independent producers.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Like Fine Wine, Personality Improves With Age
Scientific American .com, May 12, 2003
By Laura Wright

Growing older gives us much to grumble about, but new findings may help to offset those woes: personality, scientists say, appears to improve with age. Some experts argue that personality is genetically programmed to stop changing at a certain age. Others assert that some aspects may morph throughout adulthood, but not much. The new work suggests that personality is plastic and that the changes that come with age are generally for the better.

Thank goodness! Now I have something to look forward to.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Future Impacts — Submitted May 18, 2003

'New Media': Ready for the Dustbin of History?
New York Times, May 11, 2003
By Steve Lohr

The digital age held out the potential for a genuinely "new media." But is the World Wide Web only good for shopping and searching?.

This article, along with recent articles about the heightening attack of Spammers, increasing annoyance from pop-up ads, issues of credibility about what is reported over the net, and the ongoing digital rights/piracy battle, represents evidence that Portals will have an increasing role in avoiding disenchantment with the Internet by the general populous and in ushering in the next Internet killer application — subscription-based content. Portals slated to benefit: Yahoo (SBC), Microsoft, and Yahoo. Watch for Fox and Disney to enter this area with one of them purchasing Earthlink.

One of the key technologies will be Kerberos, a security mechanism that promises the kind of security needed to protect assets.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

'U.S. to Rely More on Private Companies' Satellite Images
New York Times, May 13, 2003
By Eric Lichtblau

President Bush is ordering federal agencies to rely much more heavily on private satellite companies to provide images from space.

An industry is born for commercial imagery — not only images from satellites, but also from extreme endurance UAVs. Should also spur ultra-high-resolution digital image capture devices that can be used in commercial ventures such as making digital cinema truly superior to film.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Companies May Cooperate on Cancer Drugs
New York Times, May 13, 2003
By Andrew Pollack

Pharmaceutical companies are considering collaborating to lower the cost and speed the development of cancer drugs.

Sounds intriguing but the big difference between this and Sematech is that it was born out of a sense of lack of enough resources to win, that is, superiority over Japan in semiconductor manufacturing. But this is an area of riches where many, many universities and other labs are pursuing the cure for cancer. Who wants to join in an effort that could take the glory away from one of these teams? Perhaps they should find something that is not as hot as cancer but has a large payoff politically like diseases of the aging.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Xerox Runs This Up the (Telephone) Pole: MEMs for Magical 'Last Mile'
Small Times, May 14, 2003
By Jeff Karoub

On-demand digital video and Internet delivered rapidly and cheaply to your home or business could be made possible by a new technology from Xerox Corp. The company has developed a working prototype of a MEMS switch integrated with technology that controls the flow of light on a single silicon chip. Xerox said the new technology allows it to shrink what normally would require racks of equipment into a total 1-inch-square package.

They're missing another rich market. Bringing fiber to the home or business will take a while. However, there are opportunities today to provide switching to new MANs and national Networks. Technology Futures Inc.'s studies show that the demand for data continues to grow during this time of telecomm doldrums. New companies will use distress priced dark fiber and all optical components (much lower cost than current components that have to pass through an electronic state in order to switch) to build the networks to take that demand. The extremely small size of this chip and other companion all optical components coming out of the labs provide a capability to place the optical boxes anywhere and avoid the cost of large co-location “hotels.”—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Future Impacts — Submitted April 20, 2003

Why TiVo Owners Can't Shut Up
New York Times, March 20, 2003
By Warren St. John

Not since the PalmPilot debuted in 1996 has a new electronic contraption sparked a cultlike following and so many zealous proselytizers.

After years of hype, the TIVO concept is ready for prime time. It breaks the broadcast paradigm for good, and advertising as the business model will never be the same. When that model breaks, we can expect to see subscription pricing become common with the Internet being able to deliver content with more choice while there is asset protection for the content producer. Fiber to the neighborhood has so much capacity that a series, like Alias, can be repeated a number of times throughout a run so that you can record back episodes if you get "hooked."

Also, look for set top owners to build the subscription into the price of the box. This is one more way to get programmable computer power into the home so that other services can be sold based on that box.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Biologically Derived Hydrogen — Future Fuel?
The Scientist, April 21, 2003
By Sam Jaffe

Researchers turn to Thermotoga neapolitana and Chlamydomonas reinhardtii to fill gas tanks and heat homes

We are skeptical of the "Hydrogen Economy" where Hydrogen replaces gas as a fuel for automobiles. Where the hydrogen is made from hydrocarbons, one would question the efficiency versus Internal Combustion engines, as well as the impact on dependence on foreign sources. Here the prospect is microorganisms that use urea, a waste from making ammonia. But is there enough urea to meet the demand? Doesn't it take petroleum to make ammonia? The event to watch for is when a microorganism consumes water — fresh and not fresh — to make hydrogen. Or when a microorganism makes urea out of water and the nitrogen in the air to feed to this microorganism. (Gives new meaning to driving a Bug!)

When that happens, oxygen will also be produced. Does that mean the end of greenhouse gases as a concern? Or the end of trees as necessary for producing oxygen?—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Metabolomics: Small-Molecule 'Omics
The Scientist, April 21, 2003
By Amy Adams

Research advances in the bid to map biofluid metabolites on a system-wide scale.

Blood, sweat, and tears. Here's a technology where a community with strong computational and software skills can excel without attracting a big company. When combined with technology for real time analysis of these "limited variety" of small molecules as a replacement for expensive diagnostics, an even bigger market emerges for diagnostic devices that are not dependent on having a strong genomics or proteonomics center in that community. Is semiconductor manufacturing technology a basis for such technology? It is for microarrays used in genetic particle analysis.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Datawars: Grid Computing Democratizes Proteomics
The Scientist, April 21, 2003
By Erica P. Johnson

Security concerns limit some efforts.

Let's connect a dot: Advanced Micro Devices will shortly announce a processor chip, the Opteron, that can access 64 bits (> 4 Billion Bytes) of main memory, apparently while running today's Windows (32 bit) applications at no loss of performance. The chip will be in the PC price range. That means that a Grid of PCs can analyze proteomic data as well as the larger super servers do now.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Future Impacts — Submitted April 11, 2003

Internet via the Power Grid: New Interest in Obvious Idea
New York Times, April 10, 2003
By John Markoff and Matt Richtel

The idea of sending Internet data over ordinary electric power lines is getting sudden attention in response to several trial efforts.

There are a number of reasons why one would expect the electric utility to be in the Internet-to-consumer-last-mile business, but this article misses two obvious points: One is the cost of laying fiber to the neighborhood, an expense that only a few entrepreneurial companies in a few communities are doing to compete with the telco/cable guy duopoly. The other one that should be asked by every reporter is what the sustainable data rate is to the home. They are comparing DSL service data rates that are delivered over dedicated lines versus shared lines.

We're going to see more about this option because FCC Secretary Powell is pursuing a policy that allows the owner of a network to be the sole provider of services on that network. To have competition, that translates to a suite of companies in a community, each with different delivery technologies to the home: copper, coax cable, power, wireless, fiber.

This month's IEEE Communications features a discussion of PowerLine technology in more technical terms.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Murdoch Adds to His Empire by Agreeing to Buy DirecTV
New York Times, April 10, 2003
By Andrew Ross Sorkin

The News Corporation agreed to buy control of Hughes Electronics and its satellite operation from GM in a deal valued at $6.6 billion.

Another play that will fit FCC Chairman Michael Powell's vision of large asset owning companies competing using different technologies.

We now have two models for the residential communications (TV, broadband Internet, and phone) market. One is horizontal where the distributors (e.g., Comcast and SBC) and the content providers (e.g., Disney and Viacom) are separate companies. The other is vertical as represented by News Corp. and Time Warner. Expect the healthy need to provide content through all distribution channels and the presence of the content-only providers to keep the vertical players from providing exclusive content for the major services (broadcast TV, "cable" news, major league sports, ethnic channels, etc.). Will Disney or Viacom buy EchoStar or Comcast? Where is GE in all this?

Besides News Corp. also getting a next-generation broadband Internet satellite service in the deal, they also get a company that can provide the set-top box for new services that can be exclusive to News Corp., one that could help them become supreme in the next big market — consolidated digital communications/entertainment services in the home.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Gas Goes Solid
Technology Review, April 11, 2003
By David Wolman

Japanese researchers may have found the secret to exploiting the world's untapped natural gas reserves.

The secret is to turn natural gas into a solid. This has two large impacts. For one, it provides a path for the internal combustion engines to remain the prime engine technology on the planet, delaying any takeover from a fuel-cell-based electric motor. This technology would keep the price of fuel low by opening up new fuel sources and would meet environmental standards. The other impact would be the elimination of gas stations as we know it. Fuel could be stocked at the supermarket and taken home for fueling at the family's convenience.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Visualize: Smart Bandage
Technology Review, May 2003
By Tracy Staedter

Dressing a wound may stop the bleeding, but it can t tell you whether the cut has become infected. Now "smart" bandages being developed at the University of Rochester change color to warn patients and doctors that there is an infection, as well as specify which bacteria are present.

While the article focuses on all the benefits of having a quick means of spotting infection from wounds to food to biowarfare, our take is the that this leads the way to patient self treatment.—Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Future Impacts -- Submitted March 30, 2003

Behold, the Invisible Man, if Not Seeing Is Believing
New York Times, March 27, 2003
By James Brooke

Susumu Tachi's invisible raincoat, unlike Hollywood "science fiction," is a "true scientific development."

As you read this article, you can see how limited the technique is. Where this needs to go is the imbedding of the image capture and display elements in the object disappearing. This should be accomplished by two emerging technologies: the Organic Light Emitting Display (OLED) that has pertinent features like high brightness, viewability from all angles, and video refresh speed; and its cousin on the image capture side being developed by Foveon. What is pertinent about both is the potential for a life like image and low cost. --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Tiny Mirrors Make Holographic Video
Technology Research News, March 25, 2003

Although three-dimensional video has long been imagined Princess Lea's recorded plea to Obi-Wan Kenobi in the 1977 Star Wars movie comes to mind it has been slow to show up in the real world. This is because three-dimensional video is orders of magnitude more complicated than ordinary video.

Applications can start as early as three to four years. Think heads up displays, medical imaging, in store advertising and later movies and TV. The hardware base, 1 Megapixel micro mirrors, has been available for the last two years.--Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

On Horizon, Military Sees High-Technology Trucks
The New York Times, March 30, 2003
By Sue Mead

When today's military warhorses roll into the sunset, what will take their place? The Big Three have plans.

Historically, large military projects have generated new technologies for the consumer markets. Here is a $14B program that has great potential, for example, the 5KW fuel cell and the Internet connectivity, for the commercial market. With a greater linkage to commercial platforms so they'll come on the market sooner. One also wonders how easy it could be for an enemy to make the same adaptations. --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

IETF Creates Antispam Research Group
Computerworld, February 28, 2003
By Todd R. Weiss

With the problem of spam growing for companies and consumers, so are the discussions about how to best control it.

It's about time. This effort is still one step removed from a standard. With this group and the focus by National ISPs, Software Developers, and Intelligent Switch vendors as the major IT industry stakeholders attacking the problem, we might remove a major constraint to Universal Messaging, a killer application. Universal Messaging will also drive carrier convergence when it breaksout.--Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Future Impacts -- Submitted February 28, 2003

SBC Said to Be in Talks to Buy DirecTV
The New York Times, Feburary 8, 2003
By Seth Schiesel with Andrew Ross Sorkin

SBC Communications has entered negotiations to acquire General Motors' DirecTV satellite-television operation in a deal that could be worth $10 billion.

As the article says, the local telcos need to do something to meet competition from the cable companies when they start to offer phone services. This would make sense for SBC because they would be getting an asset with an existing customer base. Not only is this a defensive move, but SBC, in areas outside its home area, could offer this service in a package with their Cingular PCS and 2.5G data network or they could create a residential broadband network with 802.11 based on the metropolitan network they use for the PCS network.

One retort is that SBC will not know how to run a broadcast TV service, but I think SBC is turning the corner. They're on their 3rd approach to Internet services and I believe this is the 3rd time for broadcast TV for them. Three times is the charm. They have the staying power.

I could see Verizon offering competition to NewsCorp in a bid for EchoStar, if SBC buys DirecTV for the same kind of reasons as the SBC buy of DirecTV. GE and Viacom don't appear to me to be serious suitors, as that would mean they'd cross over a board in the value chain. Very few have done this and stayed competitive. --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Versatile Masks of Dye Speed the Chip-Making Process
The New York Times, February 20, 2003
By Anne Eisenberg

A researcher used minute amounts of brilliantly colored dyes to create a new kind of photomask, one of the basic tools of photolithography.

Many new technologies for making optical and electronic components are based on semiconductor manufacturing techniques based on photo lithography -- DNA chips to digital capture to optical switches. A competitor to using semiconductor making equipment is ink jet, a form of micro-fluidics. Here is another micro-fluidics based technology that can make photo lithography competitive in terms of cost, "on the fl" circuit making, and etched patterns that are variable in depth. --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

DNA Folding, Protein Activities Much More Complex than Expected
News Bureau, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, February 17, 2003
By Jim Barlow, Life Sciences Editor

New molecular technologies, some driven by the work of a researcher at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, are exposing unexpectedly high levels of DNA folding and complex protein-rich assemblages within the nucleus of cells that he says "seriously challenge the textbook models."

Just when we thought capturing gene sequence was enough, along comes 3D folding. 3D visualization is a new branch of bioinformatics that will have additional applications in protein folding such as in Mad Cow disease and neurological pathways. Technology for 3D visualization developed for bioscience will have far-ranging potential to transfer in entertainment, military simulations, and surgery and vice versa. --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

IETF Creates Antispam Research Group
Computerworld, February 28, 2003
by Todd R. Weiss

With the problem of spam growing for companies and consumers, so are the discussions about how to best control it.

It's about time. This effort is still one step removed from a standard. With this group and the focus by national ISPs, software developers, and intelligent switch vendors as the major IT industry stakeholders attacking the problem, we might remove a major constraint to universal messaging, a killer application. Universal messaging will also drive carrier convergence when it breaks out. --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Future Impacts -- Submitted February 7, 2003

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Deer
The New York Times, February 2, 2002
By Chip Brown

Parasomniacs eat raw meat, bark like dogs, have sex without remembering, and maybe even kill.

It's a long article, but I just want to point out that this research is the foundation of a new technology that lies beyond biotech. It has been called cognotech. To me, that is too limiting, dwelling on the input side and not the processing. Psytech would be a better name. Psytech will be fed by advancements from biotech such as biosensors, 3D molecular visualization/ manipulation, proteomics, and systems biology. --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Getting Game Boy to Play Their Tune
The New York Times, February 6, 2002
By Michel Marriott

Two African-Americans, an engineer and a business consultant, created a new technology that turns the Nintendo Game Boy into a digital music and video player.

What is significant for the future in this article is that a guy in his bedroom built a new hardware/software killer app. This is the same open, low-entry environment that the PC application software industry has operated in. That industry was the engine for the rise of the PC. Ironically, the previous owner, Apple, of the microcomputer space, then a niche, tried to own that engine and ultimately lost to Wintel. Here, we have Nintendo practicing the same degree of control.

The handheld device is one of the three drivers of the next high-tech boom. The other two are multimedia and home networks. Not only does the occasion of Mr. Jones' invention point the way for another class of handheld device to enter this space, now occupied by the PDA, but, in its next incarnation, a wireless version mentioned at the end of the article, the Game Boy, becomes an Integrated Personal Communication Device, much to Nintendo's delight.

The cell phone vendors just don't get it. Watch for Qualcomm to get it though.

Also notice that the handheld device is a new high-tech industry segment that requires both hardware and software skills. --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

For the Smart Dresser, Electric Threads That Cosset You
The New York Times, February 6, 2003
By Anne Eisenberg

Designers traditionally choose textiles based on their beauty, strength, or cost. Now, they can choose them based on their ability to conduct electricity.

Watch for a wearable computer/device evolution that goes something like this. First generation, the cloth is a component of the overall system doing functions such as being an antenna, a sensor, or the power source (from body heat), and the rest of the device is contained in the buttons and/or attached, communicating with Bluetooth. In the second stage, the device is all in the cloth using electro-conducting polymers and manufactured with a new kind of loom that weaves the threads like some complex Persian rug. In the third stage, the garment, made of electro conducting nanotubes, is fabricated by machines probably using lithographic printing techniques. Finally, the production will be done in a "growth" medium by nanorobots. --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

"Pests" Flying Under IT's Radar
Information Week, February 5, 2003
By George V. Hulme

Annoying, intrusive, and sometimes destructive, tiny programs known as pests can clandestinely squirm past defenses.

Yet another class of security exposure to worry about. What they don't mention is a form that would be most worrisome to me -- the time bomb pest. What havoc would such a pest cause if it were perhaps set to 4 p.m. Eastern next Saturday the 15th, in a thousand or a million computers. --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Future Impacts -- Submitted February 1, 2003

Future Combat, Part 2: As the Army's ground forces evolve for future battles, so must its air-transportation systems
Scientific American.com, January 20, 2003
By Frank Vizard

While the Army's fleet of Future Combat Systems vehicles are being designed to be quickly and easily transported to any trouble spot in the globe, there are some doubts as to whether the existing fleet of military transport planes, particularly the aging C-130, are up to the task. It seems clear that, as the Army's ground forces evolve for future battles, so must its air-transportation systems.

Midway through the article, you will find the concept of flying planes using non-pilots. This capability will change organizational relationships in the services. It could put image gathering in the hands of the image analyst. As a commercial capability, it will bring a new lower level of cost in air express. --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Science Fiction and Smart Mobs
Technology Review, January 31, 2003
by Henry Jenkins

Dystopian visions of the future explore the power of virtual communities.

As a science fiction enthusiast, I endorse the observation made at the beginning of the article that science fiction is a driver and crutch for coping with the dramatic impact constantly emerging technology has on our society. But what got me thinking is that, in the future of communities without borders to rival national governments, stories will be used to impart community value just like the stories of Walter Scott and Rudyard Kipling provided the backdrop for the British Empire. We can expect to see novels -- or comics -- about environmentalism or radical Mohammedism. Watch for a TV series based on Global Frequency most likely on Fox (think X-Files, Sliders, John Doe, Alien Nation, Dark Angel, and, in non-SciFi the innovations in prime time cartoons and Ally McBeal's mindspace). I'd watch it. --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Pentagon and Companies in Agreement on Spectrum
The New York Times, January 31, 2003
By Jennifer 8. Lee

Technology companies and the Pentagon have reached an agreement to unlock a swath of spectrum for the next generation of wireless devices.

We haven't used today's "front page" news as a base for this series, but this agreement touches on an area that has a great future impact and anyone changing their forecast based on this has to consider the comments that follow. I think we have what Alfred Hitchcock would call the McGuffie: that element of the story that diverts one from the real culprit. This is a standard technique used in business to make it appear that everyone is on board to be able to move the ball ahead or avoid being steamrolled. The spectrum slot that seems to have been agreed on has too high an electronics cost, even more to do the frequency skipping when a radar signal is operating, and has limited range. Hence it is not cost effective. It is not really a mobile computing solution. What is really at stake is a juicy part of the spectrum that both the mobile carriers want for expansion and introduction of data services that the U.S. military uses and finds expensive to vacate. In wartime, one expects the military to win the tug of war, but in a limping economy, opening up the commercial mobile cellular data market is also important. While frequency agile (read software) radio is a solution, it is still years away from being a serious technology for the mass market. Ironically, Southern California is a nexus for both the defense industry and commercial mobile cellular data. --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Microsoft to Alter Online System to Satisfy Europe
The New York Times, January 30, 2002
By Paul Mellor

To avert a clash with European regulators, Microsoft has agreed to make "radical" changes in its online authentication system.

Another article from today's "front page" news. The European Union seems to think that the issue of privacy in e-Commerce can be solved with technology. But companies have rights and want some form of authentication too. The rising occurrences of identity theft cuts both ways -- the consumer does not want to give away their credit card number, and the merchant needs it to get paid. The answer lies in trusted 3rd parties. As the article points out, a lot of people don't see making Microsoft that third party. Lack of a trusted 3rd party will be a constraint on growth of Internet traffic for consumer commerce. --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Future Impacts -- Submitted January 20, 2003

Phone Units Join in Effort for Seamless Wireless Net
The New York Times, January 14, 2003
By Barnaby J. Feder

Motorola, Proxim, and Avaya are expected to announce on Tuesday that they will jointly develop technology to allow wireless communications to jump between networks.

Before the telecommunications bust, these companies would have struck out on their own on what promises to be a winning market based on the 802.11 standards, a.k.a. Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi opportunity utilizes an alternative technology to what we hear about as 3G, which is optimized for data. Here, we have a partnership to develop the market, sharing the risk and concentrating on what they do best -- Motorola for systems and integration into a cellular or wireline network, Proxim for the data card and protocol leadership, and Avaya for the customer premises equipment. Earlier, IBM, AT&T, and Intel banded together to address this market at the part of the value chain that is closer to the end user. Where the overlap in the two triads comes is in the end user device, where the Intel network group overlaps with Proxim. Major players still to be heard from that I expect will have market strength to sustain are Microsoft and Cisco. I expect that Cisco will address the part of the market Motorola/Proxim/Avaya is going for on their own. --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Creating a Culture of Ideas
Technology Review, February 2003

Nicholas Negroponte says expertise is overrated. To build a nation of innovators, we should focus on youth, diversity, and collaboration.

Toward the end of the article, the notion is presented that consortia should stage a comeback. Only I think it will be a different kind of consortium model -- one that includes universities, that is more flexible in its staffing, utilizes collaborative networks, and provides an opportunity for the inventor to be rewarded for her/his innovation. --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Brainy Radio
Technology Review, February 2003
By Joab Jackson

Researchers tune in on wireless devices that learn.

Two additional application areas for the "software radio" are discussed -- learning the user's preferences and assuring low-cost quality communications. The former application can also be effected at the base station. The latter application does hold promise, especially, as noted above, as we end up with hybrid networks of in house wireless data, campus wireless data, and mobile phone/data across multiple spectrum slots and protocols. --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Tech Firms Aim to Link the PC, Stereo
The Dallas Morning News, January 16, 2003
By Doug Bedell

It is, perhaps, the ultimate modern-day convergence conundrum: How can music stored on the household computer be delivered to the living room stereo?

I question any solution built around having the music stored on a home PC. That is not the ubiquitous, usable, and reliable system the mass market requires. More importantly, early reports of slumping record sales indicate that the money being spent on these "appliances" is coming from the budget for buying content, now free. The content owners -- the big labels, the appliance makers, and IT vendors -- I expect will agree on a way to curtail piracy for the mass market. The market potential will be seriously slowed down when this happens. --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Supercomputing Resurrected
Technology Reviews, February 2003
By Claire Tristram

Last year, Japan fired up an ultra-fast computer that puts its closest competitors to shame. What will it take for the United States to catch up?

There are number of strategies suggested to match the Japanese in this new "arms race" in the article. I can think of two others. One is using $267M or $400M to build up a grid computing system using most of the money for an endowment to pay people for the use of their computers. Then there is building reconfigurable computing meshes with massive arrays of programmable gates, first to experiment with new machine architectures while running real life applications (learn as you earn, so to speak) and then, as algorithms mature, to configure special processors to execute those algorithms at the hardware level. --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Future Impacts -- Submitted January 12, 2003

Iraqi Inspections Just as Expected
Technology Review, January 10, 2003
By Richard A. Muller

The U.N. inspectors will not find illegal weapons in Iraq -- at least not until after the war.

Can't say much other than these scenarios appear realistic and well considered. --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Handing Over the Keys
Technology Review, February 2003
By Erika Jonietz

Security chips are on the way, but are they trustworthy?

The URL points to a teaser, but if you get the magazine article, you'll find a description of the technology and the arguments against its use. Whether it is this technology or something similar, it will come, and those concerns that are real will need to be addressed by an informed and rational citizenry. Most, if not all, of the concerns voiced in the article are either assuming that something that is criminal is not criminal, or that there are no market forces at work. The technology is a prerequisite to the next big advancement in knowledge society and for that reason, no democratic, market-driven society will stand in its way. --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Building Virtual Reality
ABCNews.com, January 9, 2003

Imagine a world where you could float to distant lands, find friends with the click of a button, and build complex objects such as houses instantaneously. Several companies are building such worlds -- where else? -- in cyberspace.

Here is an example of the kind of demand that will drive the need for the digital rights technology reported in the previous article. There's a business here, as there are with VR applications in the work environment where the flip side of digital rights -- security -- is required. --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Automated Avatars Take the Strain Out of Animation
New York Times, January 9, 2003
By Matt Lake

Several software developers have been working on tools to make animation cheaper, more automated, and less of a drain on processing power.

And here's an enabling technology for virtual reality from the standpoint of lowering the bandwidth requirement for VR content and for lowering the cost of content. This will make VR applications more cost effective. Digital rights will allow the recovery of those development costs. --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Panel Offers Blueprint to Fix Smithsonian's Science Programs
New York Times, January 8, 2003
By Elizabeth Olson

The Smithsonian Institution should refocus research on four major areas, and it should receive more federal and private money, a commission has concluded.

Two of the recommended focus areas -- life's diversity and human diversity and cultural change -- would have great payoff in the biotech revolution and in national policy, respectively. Discovery of natural genetic material in other species, an outgrowth of studying life's diversity, that could be used as natural therapeutics would blunt bioethical issues likely to rise in the next 10 years, as biotech continues to engineer more and more synthetic cures. Greater understanding of diverse human societies would provide another view about world events and possible outcomes. --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Future Impacts -- Submitted December 30, 2002

The First Cloning Superpower
Wired Magazine, January 2003
By Charles C. Mann

In the Americas and Europe, stem-cell research is the subject of such visceral dismay -- and so many government restrictions -- that it has been nearly impossible for scientists to make progress. Things are different in China. Not only is the field less controversial, but also the government is erecting state-of-the-art labs, creating university appointments with princely perks, and providing the capital to establish new biotech firms.

What is disconcerting is that they are offering Chinese researchers who were educated in the United States and had promising programs in the here a much better offer- - labs, junior researchers, and IP protection. What if they do this in other fields with students they've sent here, and those researchers pull Overseas Chinese with them? What if other countries learn that they can do this? There goes knowledge in a lot of areas. Another thought: if they can clone replacement organs for their warfighters and then take those organs into battle, will they have a more invincible force? --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

G.E. Research Returns to Roots
New York Times, December 26, 2002
By Claudia H. Deutsch

If Mr. Duggal and his team of researchers at the General Electric Global Research Center in this small town not far from Schenectady can figure out how to dispense with the glass, they could be a short hop away from developing super-thin lighting and energy sources that could be rolled off printing presses like newspapers. And that could usher in an era of cheap, clean-burning lights, batteries, solar cells -- and the beginning of plastic-based electronics.

The theme of the article is about how GE sees advanced technology research as a way to differentiate itself. What is also interesting is that their competitors are also funding more research. However, they plan to keep the technology they acquire, building new businesses if necessary. Thus, we have three mainstream business models for commercializing technology -- DoD/intelligence (e.g., DARPA, In-Q-Tel), university tech transfer/entrepreneur/VC, and dynamic company with its own research labs -- now pumping out breakthrough products. --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Some Scientists Suggest Relativity May Be, Well, Relative
The New York Times, December 30, 2002
By Dennis Overbye

Guided by ambiguous signals from the heavens, and by their equations, a few physicists now say that relativity may have limits and will someday have to be revised.

Talk about wildcards! Rev up your warp engines. --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Water Follies: Groundwater Pumping and the Fate of America's Fresh
Scientific American, January 2003
By Robert Glennon

In the high plains of Texas, the farmers who grow cotton, alfalfa, and other crops are entitled by law to as much underground water as they can reasonably use. No matter that this water comes from the Ogallala Aquifer, that vast underground reservoir whose levels have dropped precipitously since 1940. No matter that the over-pumping threatens eventually to put thousands of farmers across seven states out of business. The illusion, codified into law not just in Texas but in much of the United States, is that groundwater is somehow boundless, or in a category apart from lakes, rivers, and streams, and ought not be regulated, even for the common good.

When water becomes as costly as oil and the U.S. no longer is the world's breadbasket. --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Zebrafish Mend Broken Hearts
Scientific American.com, December 16, 2002

The tiny zebrafish had already impressed scientists with its ability to regenerate damaged spinal cord, retina, and fin tissues. Now, research shows that the fish can also regrow missing and injured heart muscle. The finding might aid the development of strategies for healing impaired human hearts.

Regeneration of muscle, nerves, and even whole organs offers a competitive technology to cloning for organs. --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Future Impacts -- Submitted December 26, 2002

Remote-Controlled Rats
The New York Times, December 15, 2002
By Bruce Sterling

The grand 21st-century movement toward industrialized biology took a rapid scurry forward this year with the invention of a remote-controlled rodent.

One can think of other animals with speed and jumping abilities for other chores. Or what about using a genetically engineered rat to sniff out chemical or bio warfare agents? Should be cheaper than robots and more autonomous. As promising as the thought of using animals to perform some applications being targeted for robots, the animal rights issue raises itself as an inhibitor to this technology becoming mainstream. --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

U.S. Should Rejoin Revised Fusion Energy Project, Experts Say
The New York Times, December 27, 2003
By Kenneth Change

An expert panel has recommended that the United States seek to rejoin a $5 billion international nuclear fusion project abandoned four years ago as overly ambitious and expensive.

A competing technology to fuel cells for the "hydrogen economy." --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

The Next Plastic Revolution
Wired Magazine, January 2003 By Michael Behar

Plugged-in polymers -- from electronic paper to gene detectors -- are on a roll.

Much slower than a PC, this is a solution looking for a market in the IT domain. There is one that has been identified -- displays, at the large portable screens (because it can be rolled up) and ultra large (read billboard) displays. The question for the latter is the brightness. However, as a biosensor, it may have a future especially as the holy grail of low-cost genetic material, proteins, and fats testing in the doctor's office. --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

HP Researches Molecular Electronics
Technology Review, December 11, 2002
By Patricia Panchak

HP Labs has created the highest density electronically addressable memory reported to date. The laboratory's demonstration circuit -- a 64-bit memory using molecules as switches -- has a bit density more than 10 times greater than today's silicon memory chips.

While butchering what Moore's Law is all about, the article does point out potential for this technology in further size reduction of memory and in enablement of programmable chips. This article leaves one important point out for understanding the impact of the technology -- the switching rate compared to that of current semiconductors that is at the heart of processor speed. --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI


During an LTG event, teams take turn defending a GNU/Linux web server while other teams attack, and VJs and DJs mix to accompany the competition. Expert judges score points for how effectively teams keep the server available and for how well the teams answer audience questions. The top teams win prizes, and the winning team advances to the next round of the world network defense competition.

This is online gaming for the real world! Forget the virtual world, geeks. Become white hats and have fun. This group in Austin has had nearly monthly competitions. It all leads to a national championship in NYC next December. It's time for security to come out of the shadows. --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Future Impacts -- Submitted December 17, 2002

Nature's Secret to Building for Strength: Flexibility
The New York Times, December 17, 2002
By Kenneth Chang

With an experiment of soap film and a short glass fiber, mathematicians at New York University have worked out some underlying principles of how something like a willow tree withstands powerful gusts of wind.

We can see application of this science to keep UAVs flying in the atmosphere stable for image capture or weapon firing. --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

Butterflies' Flights Disclose Free Spirits
The New York Times, December 12, 2002
By James Gorman

Nothing is quite so delicate as the dance of butterflies on the breeze, and, as new research suggests, nothing is quite so humbling to flight engineers.

As above, another science that might be exploited to keep UAVs flying in the atmosphere stable. --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

New Premise in Science: Get the Word Out Quickly, Online
The New York Times, December 17, 2002
By Amy Harmon

A group of prominent scientists is mounting an electronic challenge to the leading scientific journals, accusing them of holding back the progress of science by restricting online access to their articles so they can reap higher profits.

This will be a very revolutionary event if it works out. This is another example of how the Internet disintermediates the normal channels. When this is a powerful part of the value chain, as in the case of the scientific journals, the sparks can fly. One of the benefactors will be the small startup that needs to have multiple products and product enhancements in the product to sustain themselves. --Bill Kleinebecker, TFI

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