Archive for June, 2008

Poynting out hard lessons…

June 27, 2008

The goat-scaping job has been finished and (says Wendy M Grossman in this week’s NewsWireless.Net “net.wars” column, mistakes were made.
This week we got the detail on what went wrong at Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs that led to the loss of those two CDs full of the personal details of 25 million British households, last year,” she summarises. And she lists most of the things that went wrong.

“The real problem, though, isn’t any single one of these things. If junior staff had consulted senior staff, it might not have mattered that they didn’t know what the policies were. If HMRC used proper information security and secure methods for data storage (that is, encryption rather than simple password protection), they wouldn’t have had access to send the discs. If they’d understood TNT’s services correctly, the discs wouldn’t have gotten lost – or at least been traceable if they had.

The real problem was the interlocking effect of all these factors. That, as Nassim Nicholas Taleb might say, was the black swan.

For those who haven’t read Taleb’s The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable the black swan stands for the event that is completely unpredictable – because, like black swans until one was spotted in Australia, no such thing has ever been seen – until it happens, writes Wendy Grossman.
And she adds:

It’s good to read that some good is coming out of the HMRC data loss: all departments are, according to the O’Donnell report, reviewing their data practices and beginning the process of cultural change. That can only be a good thing.

But the underlying problem is outside the scope of these reports, and it’s this government’s fondness for creating giant databases: the National Identity Register, ContactPoint, the DNA database, and so on. If the government really accepted the principle that it is impossible to guarantee complete data security, what would they do? Logically, they ought to start by cancelling the data behemoths on the understanding that it’s a bad idea to base public policy on the idea that you can will a black swan into existence.

Full article in NewsWireless.Net today

“Stinks” for modern pre-teen kids!

June 20, 2008

Are you an Old Fart? Did you have a Chemistry Set as a kid? Here’s the Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments – a book to let your kids enjoy the same experience.

According to O’Reilly Media, it tells you:

Learn how to smelt copper, purify alcohol, synthesize rayon, test for drugs and poisons, and much more. The book includes lessons on how to equip your home chemistry lab, master laboratory skills, and work safely in your lab, along with 17 hands-on chapters that include multiple laboratory sessions.

which is exactly what every smelly schoolboy really wants to do, of course.

More at NewsWireless

Angry mutterings, and Macromedia Flash

June 20, 2008

My boss recently did an interview with Pulse~LINK – and “quite interesting,” he said, but not “hot news” – so today, he dug out the press pack.

The information it contains, on a neat CD, includes the Management Team information (see below), which he greeted with enthusiasm. “Oh, great!” said he. And then, a cry of rage, followed by angry mutterings, because some idiot (his words) had packaged the whole disk as Macromedia Flash.

It’s all there; and it’s all useless, because you can’t cut and paste, can’t save, can’t do anything except right click and look at the utterly pointless Macromedia “menu” which is, simply: zoom in, zoom out, 100%, show all, quality, play, loop, rewind, settings and, print [see illustration, right].

“Ah, print,” said the Editor. “I’ll print to a file! Of course, the formatting will be stuffed, but I can deal with that.”

There followed some clicks, then another cry of rage. [image, left]

The information, of course, is all neatly laid out on the company web site, with pictures, as follows (I’ve left out the pix!) so you do have to ask whose bright idea this was.

Oh, and when you put the disc into the drive, it plays loud music and walks slowly through a slide-show of zero content. And no, you can’t make notes of that, either…

Here’s the info the Boss wanted:

Management Team

Pulse~LINK’s management team consists of individuals who have tremendous backgrounds in their respective specialties—technology innovation, corporate development, engineering, and marketing. They each bring significant relevant experience and knowledge to their current positions.

Waddah Al-Mousa [pic]
Waddah Al-Mousa
Co-Founder and Chairman

Mr. Al-Mousa is Pulse~LINK’s Co-Founder and incubator. Based on his diverse accomplishments, Mr. Al-Mousa brings significant expertise as a corporate strategist; leading the formation of Pulse~LINK’s international business strategies, financial engineering and overall direction and focus. He is Co-Founder, President & CEO of Jassem Al-Mousa & Sons Group (Jamsons), a private, global entrepreneurial holding company in Kuwait. In his capacity, Mr. Al-Mousa invests, consults and develop markets for elite emerging technologies and telecommunication vendors.

Previously with the US Equity research team at Trust Company of the West (TCW); he was recognized for the quality of his investment analysis in a broad range of industries and sectors. Mr. Al-Mousa left TCW for Kuwait Financial Centre (Markaz), a major Kuwaiti investment company and as a founding Vice President of International Investments, he was responsible for all international public equities, alternative and selective direct investments. Mr. Al-Mousa received a BA in Finance from Seattle University, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude.

John Santhoff [pic]
John Santhoff
Co-Founder, Chief Technology Officer and Board Member

John Santhoff, who has more than 30 years of experience in electronics and communications, is the architect of Pulse~LINK’s Ultra Wideband (UWB) technology. He founded the company in June 2000. Under Santhoff’s technical vision and guidance, Pulse~LINK has pioneered and developed a 1 Gbps UWB chipset supporting both wireless and wired applications for the secure seamless distribution of HDTV, multi-channel audio and digital content throughout the home using wireless, in-home coax cable and power lines.

Santhoff has been a speaker and panelist at numerous conferences and an active participant in the IEEE standards process for 802.11, 802.15.3 and 802.22. He’s the author of more than 100 patents filed globally on UWB technology and is the originator of several significant developments within the UWB industry, including the “Common Signaling Mode” for UWB and UWB over band limited wired channels. Santhoff served as a member of U.S. delegation to the ITU, where regulatory issues related to international global deployment of UWB technology were discussed. In 2005, he was named EE Times’ “Innovator of the Year” and he was a finalist for Ernst & Young’s “Entrepreneur of the Year.”

Bruce Watkins
Co-Founder, President, Chief Operations Officer and Board Member

Bruce Watkins is the primary architect of Pulse~LINK’s business plan and corporate models, tasked with bringing together the resources to guide corporate formation, capitalization, patent development and operations. He oversees the company’s day-to-day operations and successfully led Pulse~LINK from its startup phase to being a well-funded leader in UWB communications. Watkins is actively involved in various industry groups, including HANA, DLNA, 1394TA and CommNexus in San Diego.

Watkins has more than 25 years of business development experience, including nine years with Hilton Hotels Corporation in sales and marketing management with several of its flagship properties. He has co-founded motor sports and Internet companies in addition to consulting on merger & acquisition and expansion strategies for luxury hotels, TV and film studios, records management, and other industries.

Dan Friedman [pic]
Dan Friedman
Vice President of Sales and Marketing

Dan Friedman has more than 25 years of experience in marketing, sales, and system engineering in the technology sector. His background includes managing all aspects of a semiconductor product line, forming strategic alliances between Fortune 500 companies, working with startups to form and manage large sales organizations, and defining system architecture solutions of new semiconductor products in the consumer electronics and wireless markets.

Friedman was previously Director of Corporate Business Development for Cypress Semiconductor, where he was instrumental in forming strategic partnerships. He held other senior level marketing positions at Cypress, managing its Bluetooth and USB products targeted at the mobile handset, multimedia consumer electronics and PC connectivity markets. Friedman was also Director of North American Sales of a successful startup, Anchor Chips, which was acquired by Cypress in 1999. Prior to Anchor Chips, he held various sales and system engineering positions in the embedded systems and aerospace markets. Friedman holds a MSEE and BSEE from UC Santa Barbara and a graduate certificate in finance from UC San Diego.

Raj Sengottaiyan [pic]
Raj Sengottaiyan
Vice President of Engineering

Raj Sengottaiyan’s responsibilities at Pulse~LINK since 2004 have included overseeing delivery of the world’s first 1Gbps UWB chipset. Prior to joining Pulse~LINK, he was Vice President of Engineering at XtremeSpectrum (XSI), until it was acquired by Motorola. During his tenure, he built the entire IC design and system engineering teams and delivered the first 114 Mbps UWB chipset.

Sengottaiyan has more than 25 years of experience in designing and developing advanced ICs at world-class semiconductor companies. Prior to XSI, he was Vice President of Engineering at Impala Linear Corporation, where he was responsible for the design and development of analog/wireless IC products. After Fairchild Semiconductor acquired Impala, he served as its Director of Engineering. Sengottaiyan was also Manager of Design Engineering at Sun Microsystems and National Semiconductor, where he ran a microcontroller manufacturing operations group responsible for revenues of $48 million. He has a vast amount of knowledge of analog/RF, digital, and microprocessor design; CMOS, BiCMOS, and SOI process and device technologies; CAD methodologies; and packaging, product, and test engineering. Sengottaiyan holds a B.S degree in electrical engineering with honors from the University of Madras and M.S degree in electrical engineering from Michigan State University.

Rudy Fischer [pic]
Rudy Fischer
Vice President of Administration and Corporate Secretary

Rudy Fischer is providing guidance to Finance, and overseeing Payroll, Purchasing, Human Resources, and Facilities for the company’s physical office and security needs. He has 25 years of experience in the High Technology industry, having worked in semiconductor, semiconductor equipment, and software development companies such as Advance Micro Devices, Applied Materials, Canadian Aviation Electronics, and Silicon Magic. He has extensive experience providing leadership in fast growing, dynamic companies and a successful track record of aligning HR and support services with the organization’s strategic, business, and profitability goals.

Fischer obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from UC Berkeley, a Master of Science in International Business from St. Mary’s College, and received a Certificate of Completion from Stanford University in their Extended Studies Program with a concentration in Business, Law, and Economics.

More WiMAX…

June 16, 2008

Taiwan WiMAX makers expected to benefit from Nortel-Alvarion deal, say sources

Taiwan WiMAX makers expected to benefit from Nortel-Alvarion deal, say sources

Irene Chen, Taipei; Steve Shen, DIGITIMES [Friday 13 June 2008]

Taiwan-based WiMAX hardware makers, particularly Tecom and Accton Wireless Broadband (AWB), are expected to benefit from the recently concluded cooperation deal between Nortel Networks and Alvarion, according to market sources in Taiwan.

Nortel and Alvarion have jointly announced that the two companies will collaborate on end-to-end WiMAX solutions, with the agreement including the resale by Nortel of Alvarion’s WiMAX access products and Alvarion to be Nortel’s exclusive supplier of WiMAX base stations.

Tecom apparently will benefit from the Nortel-Alvarion deal since the company has signed a letter of intent (LOI) for cooperation in the production of WiMAX base stations with Alvarion, the sources indicated.

AWB, a joint venture between Taiwan-based Accton Technology and Israel-based Alvarion, has been producing WiMAX CPE (customer premise equipment) products for Alvarion, and the company undoubtedly will be able to secure more orders from Alvarion, the sources asserted.

Feathered friends

June 1, 2008

This entry has been deleted at the request of a copyright owner.

Note to copyright holders: our normal procedure with this site, which isn’t a commercial venture, is to use only very small thumbnails, and always to provide a link to the original.

Wherever possible, we ask for permission to do this. For various reasons, this doesn’t always elicit a response. One reason has been given: “We don’t accept email from unknown sources.” Because of this, where normally permission would be waited for, we do take a view: that if the copyright owner objects, we will be told.

Most copyright holders take the view (which is our own view on matters where we hold copyright) that publicity is good for us, and that a small quote from a small part of our writing or photographic output, linked to one of our pages, is on balance a good deal.

Of course, if a large, powerful and wealthy web site reproduced a photo, or an article or a video, and used it in a prominent way simply to cut outlay on budgets where they could well afford to spend royalties on, we’d see this as different!

This sort of relationship -“you scratch my back, and I’ll link back to yours” works well, and most small web sites are happy to tolerate technical breaches of copyright on the quite reasonable grounds that the rewards for getting primitive about it are nil, and that the advantages may one day be real.

Sadly, lawyers don’t always behave like reasonable humans, and some are known to take the view that “it sets a precedent” and “if you let one do it, others will say…” and so on. We can’t do anything about this viewpoint except say, with regret, that this is most unlikely to be true, but that we aren’t out to start any fights; if you ask us to remove a picture, we will do so.

In exchange, will will promise never, ever, to link to your web site again.

(The page you’re missing here was just a minor illustration of an odd effect of HTML, and the WordPress content management software. It showed a half dozen coloured pictures around two inches in size, with each picture being a bird picked at random from a half dozen web sites. Each picture linked back to the site where we found it, creating traffic (trivial amounts, no doubt) for that site.  A pity, frankly…)