Thursday, January 31, 2002 Will AOL Own Everything?

America Online could do in the early 21st century what Microsoft did at the end of the 20th: control the flow of key technologies.

This is another good article on the fundamental technical, political and business relevance of the e2e principle.
The Great Lie - Why Bluetooth has lots of drawbacks.

Wednesday, January 30, 2002

Connectivity: What it is and why it is so important ... and why it must be separated from content and applications. Tying content and services to connectivity may be good for the earnings of connectivity providers when the users have no alternative, but it's bad for the economy and industry as a whole because it blocks new applications. This is the situation we have with ubiquitous mobile access right now - the only alternative is to choose between very few GSM network providers with the same ridiculous prices for data transfer. An SMS message is priced at 0.20 € and contains 160 bytes of data - the same price as a minute of voice connectivity which is about 700 times as much data. This is crazy. GPRS data transfer is priced at approx 0.01 € per kbyte, which is still 5 times more expensive than voice data (assuming one second of voice is 2 kbyte and prices of German GSM providers).

Monday, January 21, 2002

Added RSS support

I just read today's article from Brent about many weblogs having no RSS support. I don't know how many people actually already consume RSS feeds - I don't do it yet but will eventually give it a try, here's a nice list of RSS readers. Perhaps Microsoft should make this a standard feature of the next IE?

Anyway, my own site now provides an RSS feed, see the orange RSS button on the right side below. It was very easy to add this, even there is no direct RSS support in Blogger, which is the tool I use to create the content on this site. I just went to this page, followed the instructions ... and it works!

Thursday, January 17, 2002

Linux Quality and Stability Issues: The kernel of pain - Jan 14, 2002

Interestingly these apparently serious issues are usually not reported in the press...

Sunday, January 13, 2002

Search function added

I've added a search function to this website today. I didn't install anything on my server/webspace, rather I've chosen a hosted solution. It was surprisingly easy and the integration is nice. I've chosen FreeFind, which allows you to upload your own template even in it's free version.

Saturday, January 05, 2002

Another interesting wireless data weblog: Alan Reiter's Wireless Data Web Log

He disagrees in many ways with Theo Kanter.

Alan Reiter emphasizes that carrier operated cellular networks will continue to be the first choice for voice communication and should be coupled with wireless data networks.

Theo Kanter proposes VoIP and says circuit switching and resource reservation capabilities of conventional carrier networks are unnecessary overhead ("because bandwidth is not a fundamental problem"). Secondly he claims that because session initiation functionality (i.e. "calling someone") is built into the carrier networks they severely limit the way the network can be used.

On Jan 7th I received the following clarification on this from Theo Kanter:

This entry of CB's weblog ( cites my research and indicates that Alan Reiter and I have opposing views. I think this is an oversimplification as it assumes my statements about simplifying transport and hence also enabling the delivery of multimedia services to mobile users that are no longer *bundled* with the method to gain network access can be simply interpreted as that carrier operated cellular networks are going to go away. What is safe to say is that voice *will* be carried by packets in the backbone, as it consumes very little bandwidth on top of all other multimedia and data traffic. Then it is a matter of choice for the consumers, whether they are interested in more than voice. If they are only interested in voice, then they can get a voice service over a circuit-switched access exactly as it is done to today. This process of technology replacement is already taking place and part of the roadmap towards 3G. The controversy lies is how to deliver voice as part of a mix of multimedia and data services. My statements (bandwidth-reservation and circuit-switching have no future) concern the alternative methods of transport and that other ways of delivering these services exist, which incidently also challenge the current business model of operators of cellular voice services. The correctness of my assumptions are further emphasized by current developments in e.g. the Nordic countries where a mixed wireless broadband infrastructure (3G/WLAN) is being deployed. This indicates that we will see *new* types of operators and that the old ones have to adapt and this change is what we are observing at this moment. Hope that this sheds some light on the alleged controversy.


Tuesday, January 01, 2002

Software Industry vs. Construction Industry

Joel has an excellent piece on this old debate and explains why you can't directly compare usual software development with usual construction work.
Two interesting articles from Jon Udell:
The Event-Driven Internet
Digital IDs, Privacy, and Freedom - The Rules for a "Certificate-Rich" World Aren't Yet Written

Rich Kilmer: "I just picked up three new Java iButtons, and three USB readers that look to the OS like smart card readers. They have a Win2000 login integration, and a great Java API (to JavaCard 2.0). The Java iButtons do 1024-bit RSA key generation/signing, SHA-1 hashing, and triple-DES encryption. They can store 30 X.509v3 certs with 1024 bit keys (and/or hundreds of usernames and passwords). You can write apps that run on the iButtons (like wallets) and they can communication to a desktop (or PDA) app. If I were AOL I'd send one of these to every one of my users and blow MS Passport away!"

I've been working on web-based SSO (single-sign on) for two years now. I don't believe that the whole world will ever trust a single Microsoft SSO system. Federation of different SSO systems sounds nice in theory, but has lots of trust and implementation problems, too. I still believe that digital certificates are the right solution. However they should not be stored in my computer, I should rather be able to physically carry them around with me. This requires a hardware solution like the one Rich described above. I wonder if ProjectLiberty will go into this direction ...