Archive for the ‘network’ Category

The Grid: The Next-Gen Internet?

Douglas Heingartner Email 03.08.01 | 2:00 AM

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands — The Matrix may be the future of virtual reality, but researchers say the Grid is the future of collaborative problem-solving.

More than 400 scientists gathered at the Global Grid Forum this week to discuss what may be the Internet’s next evolutionary step.

Though distributed computing evokes associations with populist initiatives like SETI@home, where individuals donate their spare computing power to worthy projects, the Grid will link PCs to each other and the scientific community like never before.


The Grid will not only enable sharing of documents and MP3 files, but also connect PCs with sensors, telescopes and tidal-wave simulators.

IBM’s Brian Carpenter suggested “computing will become a utility just like any other utility.”

Carpenter said, “The Grid will open up … storage and transaction power in the same way that the Web opened up content.” And just as the Internet connects various public and private networks, Cisco Systems’ Bob Aiken said, “you’re going to have multiple grids, multiple sets of middleware that people are going to choose from to satisfy their applications.”

As conference moderator Walter Hoogland suggested, “The World Wide Web gave us a taste, but the Grid gives a vision of an ICT (Information and Communication Technology)-enabled world.”

Though the task of standardizing everything from system templates to the definitions of various resources is a mammoth one, the GGF can look to the early days of the Web for guidance. The Grid that organizers are building is a new kind of Internet, only this time with the creators having a better knowledge of where the bottlenecks and teething problems will be.

The general consensus at the event was that although technical issues abound, the thorniest issues will involve social and political dimensions, for example how to facilitate sharing between strangers where there is no history of trust.

Amsterdam seemed a logical choice for the first Global Grid Forum because not only is it the world’s most densely cabled city, it was also home to the Internet Engineering Task Force’s first international gathering in 1993. The IETF has served as a model for many of the GGF’s activities: protocols, policy issues, and exchanging experiences.

The Grid Forum, a U.S.-based organization combined with eGrid – the European Grid Forum, and Asian counterparts to create the Global Grid Forum (GGF) in November, 2000.

The Global Grid Forum organizers said grid communities in the United States and Europe will now run in synch.

The Grid evolved from the early desire to connect supercomputers into “metacomputers” that could be remotely controlled. The word “grid” was borrowed from the electricity grid, to imply that any compatible device could be plugged in anywhere on the Grid and be guaranteed a certain level of resources, regardless of where those resources might come from.

Scientific communities at the conference discussed what the compatibility standards should be, and how extensive the protocols need to be.

As the number of connected devices runs from the thousands into the millions, the policy issues become exponentially more complex. So far, only draft consensus has been reached on most topics, but participants say these are the early days.

As with the Web, the initial impetus for a grid came from the scientific community, specifically high-energy physics, which needed extra resources to manage and analyze the huge amounts of data being collected.

The most nettlesome issues for industry are security and accounting. But unlike the Web, which had security measures tacked on as an afterthought, the Grid is being designed from the ground up as a secure system.

Conference participants debated what types of services (known in distributed computing circles as resource units) provided through the Grid will be charged for. And how will the administrative authority be centralized?

Corporations have been slow to cotton to this new technology’s potential, but the suits are in evidence at this year’s Grid event. As GGF chairman Charlie Catlett noted, “This is the first time I’ve seen this many ties at a Grid forum.”

In addition to IBM, firms such as Boeing, Philips and Unilever are already taking baby steps toward the Grid.

Though commercial needs tend to be more transaction-focused than those of scientific pursuits, most of the technical requirements are common. Furthermore, both science and industry participants say they require a level of reliability that’s not offered by current peer-to-peer initiatives: Downloading from Napster, for example, can take seconds or minutes, or might not work at all.

Garnering commercial interest is critical to the Grid’s future. Cisco’s Aiken explained that “if grids are really going to take off and become the major impetus for the next level of evolution in the Internet, we have to have something that allows (them) to easily transfer to industry.”

Other potential Grid components include creating a virtual observatory, and doctors performing simulations of blood flows. While some of these applications have existed for years, the Grid will make them routine rather than exceptional.

The California Institute of Technology’s Paul Messina said that by sharing computing resources, “you get more science from the same investment.”

Ian Foster of the University of Chicago said that Web precursor Arpanet was initially intended to be a distributed computing network that would share CPU-intensive tasks but instead wound up giving birth to e-mail and FTP.

The Grid may give birth to a global file-swapping network or a members-only citadel for moneyed institutions. But just as no one ten years ago would have conceived of Napster — not to mention AmIHotOrNot.com — the future of the Grid is unknown.

An associated DataGrid conference continues until Friday, focusing on a project in which resources from Pan-European research institutions will analyze data generated by a new particle collider being built at Swiss particle-physics lab CERN.

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Will Email Really Be the Next Social Network?

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 14

That’s what Saul Hansell suggests in his blog post about Google and Yahoo leveraging their email systems to create social networks. On the surface, it makes a lot of sense, given the huge numbers of email accounts and the wealth of personal data locked up inside email systems. But I’m still dubious.

For one thing, the mere fact that I get email from particular people, or even that they’re on my contact list, doesn’t necessarily indicate they’re friends, or influential with me, or even known to me at all. I don’t know the vast majority of people in my corporate Outlook contact list, for instance, because it includes thousands of people throughout McGraw-Hill, BusinessWeek’s owner. So I really wonder what kind of social network could be crafted out of my Outlook. Maybe Visible Path, which is melding social networking into work tools, has figured this out, but that’s only on the corporate side.

Also, I don’t have only one email address, and I’m sure the one for work would present a very different me in such social networking staples as profiles and news feeds than my Yahoo mail or Gmail or others. It seems doubtful a single email provider like Yahoo or Google can create profiles broad enough to represent the whole me, or help me present different me’s for different sets of friends and colleagues. More than ever, we need something like OpenID, but I don’t know how soon that’s going to catch on widely, given all the challenges.

Plus, I can certainly imagine our IT folks would find some way to mess with, or prevent me from installing, whatever software add-on I’d need. I tried Xobni, for instance, and while it looks useful as a way of injecting some social smarts into Outlook, it also pretty much froze my machine. I gather they’ve fixed that problem, but I’m wary of adding anything onto an already pokey Outlook.

Yet another problem is that a whole lot of people under 30 or so don’t really use email except to communicate with old fogeys like me who do. Microsoft’s Don Dodge contends that email is a natural social network because people live in their email box, but that’s no longer universal. There are many people with whom I communicate only through Facebook messaging. So the group of people most likely to try out a new scheme for turning email into social networks are precisely the same group who won’t do it because email’s so ’90s. Which makes me wonder if IM systems might produce better social networks, since these are people you really do interact with a lot. Except I don’t use IM much myself, simply because few of my friends do.

I do think a few social networks—big ones like MySpace or Facebook, and small niche ones like the customized networks you can set up on the likes of Ning—will thrive as hangouts or hubs of social activity. And for all those caveats, I wouldn’t put it past Google or Yahoo to provide ways to let me use my email contacts and even message contents to create some useful social services.

But I also tend to agree with Larry Dignan that many social networking utilities will become features of all the online services I use, rather than just places to go. It just seems like this could take some time. With the kind of momentum Facebook has, and social network fatigue already setting in, I’m not sure the other contestants have a lot of time to mess around

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Learning more about Generation M

February 17th, 2008 · 9 Comments

Children born between 1982 and 1998 are now beginning to enter the workforce; while they’ve been called many things, I continue to use the term Generation M. [And that’s not because of any personal pride in coming up with the term; rather, the characteristics that define this generation seem to have a lot of “M” about them — mobile, multimedia, multitasking, multichannel and so on.

The Netxplorateur Forum invited me to speak to them about Generation M a few days ago; as part of my preparation, I trawled through my bookmarked items to see what had changed since mid-December, the last time I’d spoken about the subject (also in Paris, as it turned out, at Le Web 3). Which meant I had an excuse to re-read the excellent Pew Internet report on Teens and Social Media, published just before Christmas last year.

Read it if you get the chance, it’s worth it.

Four things stand out for me in the report:

Generation M is faced with a vast array of choices when it comes down to communications. They really use this vast array. [We never had this choice, so we should not judge them. Things are different, and we have to live with the differences.]
A segment of Generation M, termed super communicators, use the array more extensively than others. And they defy their critics by meeting their friends in person far more often than other teens. [Putting paid to the myth that these kids spend all their time online and have no “life”]
Those that belong to social network sites are the most active content creators, the most active contributors of social objects, the most active participants in the conversations around the social objects. [These are the people that marketers would do well to understand, because they are the new marketers, the viral recommenders who are adept at creating and using social objects.]
While all this is happening, the landline continues to be important. [This is probably a self-fulfilling prophecy, restricted to the developed world, and will prove completely false in India, China, Africa and maybe even Russia and South America. Nevertheless it is of interest to me, and not just because of where I work!]

The relevant charts from the report are given below for your convenience.



Tags: Four pillars

9 responses so far ↓

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  • Robin Blandford [ByteSurgery] » Digital Teens: Still Landlining It – Digital Media Engineer //Feb 17, 2008 at 11:20 am

    var sz_global_config_params = {cppluginurl:”http://confusedofcalcutta.com/wp-content/plugins/sezwho”,cpserverurl:”http://www.sezwho.com”, sitekey:”202360e5fa52eef9184059e502db61f8″,blogkey:”47340b837eab2″,blogid:”0″, plugin_version:”1.3″} ; […] – JP observes in the Pew Internet report on Teens and Social Media that across all teens, the landline is still […]
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  • Feb 17, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    In India landline is significant for a different reason: reliability. It is common to have conversation like: “hey I can’t hear you, you voice is breaking, I’ll call you from landline…’
    And the operators are pushing landline with deals by bundling landline with broadband, or mobile.

    In the charts, interesting to note that email is at the bottom and ’sharing own artistic work’ is in the top.
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  • Conviviendo con la Generation M » El Blog de Enrique Dans //Feb 17, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    […] entrada en Confused of Calcutta, “Learning more about Generation M“, describe a partir de un informe de Pew Internet los hábitos de la generación nacida entre […]
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  • sysrick.com » links for 2008-02-17 //Feb 17, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    […] Learning more about Generation M […]
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  • Feb 18, 2008 at 10:38 am

    I think I was born before my time!
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  • David David (Check me out!)

    Feb 18, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    Are you claiming you invented the term Generation M?
    I seem to remember this being used around in the mid nineties and possibly before in a number of published university articles and its been used ever since to describe multitasking, mobile, media and any other term beginning with M.

    I’d like to see a breakdown on differences between the sexes on the charts above
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  • Feb 18, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    I think the first time I saw the term being used in public was in a Kaiser Family Foundation study sometime in 2005. I started using the term in public after that, in preference to any other terms.

    it is this preference I was alluding to.

    I should have come up with a better construction, I see how you thought I came up with the term. What I meant was my preference for the term in comparison to others. Like preferring The Because Effect to “abundance economics”.
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  • Feb 19, 2008 at 10:58 am

    Hi JP,
    I guess one of the next fight is for this generation, having simplified uses of these services. And probably the aim for electronics devices is the converge effect, to avoid having several devices in our pockets ; there’s some studies about this.
    Generation M today is so much “Multi-devices” too…
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  • Feb 19, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    Hello Everybody!!

    I agree, the Generation M, …unfortunately there advantages and profits, but..also there are… many things bad..
    ‘m makinf Events of Networking, called “6 Degrees”…and a lot of people don’t use IT, Messenger, Social Networks, Skype…is incredible, but now each child use Internet, and have e-mail,… WELCOME GENERATION “M”!!!

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Job Candidates Gone Wild: be careful what you post online

By Jacqui Cheng | Published: March 28, 2007 – 02:43PM CT

Be careful what you post online if you want to be able to get a job in the future. Your blog, web site, Facebook, MySpace, online dating profile, or even forum postings might “out” your salacious activities to a potential employer. According to a survey conducted by business social networking site Viadeo, one-fifth of hiring managers have used the Internet to find personal information about potential job candidates, and a quarter of those have rejected candidates based on what they found.

The survey was conducted in March, and covered nearly 600 employers and over 2,000 average adults online, revealing that employers are becoming more and more Google-happy when interviewing new candidates. 25 percent said that they had rejected a candidate outright based on what was found online, while 59 percent of employers who used the Internet to find personal information said that their discoveries play a role in their decision making. Some examples provided in the survey results included one employer being put off by a candidate’s seemingly excessive drinking, another being dismayed by a candidate’s postings about company information, and another mentioning that a candidate’s topless modeling left them with the impression that she wasn’t a good fit with the organization’s ethics.

Examples of this phenomenon are everywhere, and many young professionals know of someone who has had information posted online bite them in the behind. A friend of mine was once all the way into the second round of interviews with a new company when he posted some frustrations with the hiring process on his personal blog. The company looked him up soon thereafter, read what he had written, and decided to cancel his next interview.

But there are cases where information found online works to the candidate’s benefit. The report pointed out that 13 percent of employers had decided to actually recruit someone based on what they had found online, such as various personal achievements or skills demonstrated through a web site. I have another friend who maintains a very professionally-oriented blog which he regularly updates with industry news and personal projects; said friend simply gets a constant flow of e-mails from hiring managers asking whether he is looking for a job. And never mind what happens when he actually writes that he’s looking for a job.

The report showed that, especially among younger candidates in the 18-24 age group, people are much more comfortable posting personal information online than perhaps they should be. MySpace and Facebook took the number one spots among this group, with 45 percent having posted personal info to MySpace and 44 percent to Facebook. Other sites in the list that people had posted to included Flickr, YouTube, Wikipedia, and “other” social networking sites. Further, over half of the 18-24 age group said that they primarily post “party pictures” online (hey, I’m guilty of this myself), with another 30 percent posting on personal blogs. 54 percent of 18-24 year olds responded that they had even had personal information posted about them online by someone else, with or without their consent.

Viadeo manager Peter Cunningham told Ars that the social networking phenomenon is still very new, and people are posting things online without thinking about the future consequences to their careers. “Information, pictures, forum comments, jokes, and outdated CVs are now in the public domain and available for anyone,” he said.

“We all have a personal brand the same way that a company has a brand for its products and services,” Cunningham added. “We invest in developing our brand—education, training, work experience—and we develop our brand equity, that is to say our network of trusted personal contacts, so why don’t we look after this the same way a company does?”

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