365 days waiting for us. Let’s make the most of it…together!
Best wishes from the Future Centre
365 days waiting for us. Let’s make the most of it…together!
Best wishes from the Future Centre
Spreezio is a free location-based platform that helps shoppers in bargaining with local businesses. Yesterday, the shopping engine has launched a new version of the site with a convenient new design and a more powerful search algorithm. The idea is that you log in as a shopper – there are three types of accounts: a “Shopper Account”, a “Merchant Account” and a “Sales Representative Account” and if you subscribe to any services on the site for a charge, you must pay the applicable fees – and look for your product browsing Spreezio’s DB (over 35 million items up to now). Once you’ve found what you were looking for, you set the price range with the maximum you want to pay for it or the percentage of discount you would like to gain; after sending out your deal proposal to the local businesses located on a map, local merchants who are part of Spreezio make counter-offers and then you pick the best one. Since a few months ago, Spreezio has gathered a list of over 100 national retailers. Obviously, Spreezio is not an antidote to the recession and in order to make it appealing to consumers, the shopping engine needs a huge amount of retailers to sign up… But it’s a good attempt in making deal-hunting!
Autonomic and Epidemic are two terms widely used in biology. It is really intriguing to realize that biological processes can provide several ideas for the design of distributed, self-adaptive, robust and scalable networks. An interesting area of study, for instance, is the application of epidemic information dissemination to the communication and cooperation of autonomic network elements pervasively distributed in dynamic environments: for instance, autonomic management and epidemic communications could enable the emergence of global properties from simple local behavior and interaction among independent nodes and devices.
There is already a rich prior-art showing that autonomic management of domains of collaborating network nodes and devices can provide efficient and cost effective network access and optimisation. Key principle of autonomic management is decentralization. Several components (e.g., hosted in network elements) detect each others and then start to coordinate their actions thus increasing management efficiency and effectiveness. Network elements can be considered, for example, as full-fledged routers for their delegated IP subnet, able to operate stand-alone. Central feature is the exchange of network information or knowledge (e.g. that can be global, local, private), among the network elements, supporting the autonomic management processes.
Then, for scalability issues, it is advisable to have different kinds of information exchange. Network information that is important on a global dimension (e.g., system-wide parameters) should be disseminated throughout the network using, for example, epidemic communication mechanisms. On the other hand, local information (e.g., radio frequencies, transmit power or link utilization) should be only disseminated locally among the affected neighbouring network elements. Private information (e.g., logs) should probably never be disseminated.
What is interesting observing is that simulations of epidemic information dissemination show that the time to disseminate the global state in an autonomic network domain does not grow significantly with the number of network elements. On the other hand, it grows proportional to the topology diameter. This means that the scalability of the autonomic networks with epidemic information dissemination depends mainly on the topology network structure, having this more impact on management performance than the number of network elements.
They are delivering their offer through Amazon computer cloud.
This is the text from that article:
Twilio is a web-service API that allows businesses to build their own customizable phones services and communications apps. Hosted on Amazon Web Services, Twilio’s infrastructure grows depending on customer demand. The company’s per-call pricing model is affordable and after watching CEO Jeff Lawson demo the service, we were surprised to see how user-friendly it truly is. At this week’sSF New Tech Event, Lawson was given 5 minutes to set up a conference call. After 10 lines of code he had a call-in number, mute settings, admin prompts and more than 50 members of the audience calling in during his live demo. After seeing the audience respond to the service, we realized that Twilio would be a great for putting your company on holiday autopilot.
Twilio offers a variety of usages including notifications, phone polls, call forwarding, voice transcription and triaging. If a client needs a reminder during the holidays you can automate a message and pre-program it to call them on a specific date. If you want to remain available in case of an emergency, you can forward a list of pre-determined numbers to your mobile while leaving the rest in voicemail. And if you’re looking to create a simple directory, you can use Twilio to create a list of people, options or customer service contacts.
Twilio offers easy ways to customise the access through the web to your environment, controlling doors, the buzzer and much more.
It is really amazing what is becoming possible, exploiting cheap cloud services and open interfaces. This is something Telecom Operators have to reflect on.
Cushing Academy, at Ashburnham 90 minutes drive from Boston had a nice collection of 20,000 books. Had, because now the administrator has decided to give them away keeping their digital images.
“When I look at books, I see an outdated technology, like scrolls before books,’’ said James Tracy, headmaster of Cushing and chief promoter of the bookless campus. “This isn’t ‘Fahrenheit 451’ [the 1953 Ray Bradbury novel in which books are banned]. We’re not discouraging students from reading. We see this as a natural way to shape emerging trends and optimize technology.’’
They have started to replace the book shelves with large flat screen, laptops and coffee machine. The goal? To transform the library into a “learning centre”. Books have been replaced by eReaders, each one containing all of them. Students will be using them, instead of pulp made devices. Books will also be made available to students on their laptops.
Where the old library had 20,000 books, now there is one with million of books that can be read at the same time by as many students as there are. No more: “Sorry, the book is out, should be back end of the week!”
Not everybody is pleased with the innovation. There is particularly critics on the reading of books on PC. How can you read a book on something that is more than likely to interrupt you every few minutes because a mail has just arrived? eReaders do not suffer from this problem, but alas, they do not show nice colored pictures, nor can have dog-eared pages showing what previous students though worthwhile.
The major motivation of the administrator is cost, obviously. He can save space, personnel and provide a supposedly better service.
On my part I should say that I love digital and digital books but I would never trade my thousands of book I collected in a lifetime for a Kindle.
In the future I can see that eReaders will become the way to go, particularly if they will be the opportunity to transform teaching, not just a different repository for information.
I used to send, and receive, over 200 well wishing postcards for Christmas. That is, till last year.
I have to say that a certain decline of paper correspondence was clearly visible in the last five years but this year took me by surprise. I received only 2 (two) Season’s Greetings postcards (and out of courtesy, I replied to those two),
On the other hand I received thousands, literally, of Season’s Greetings via eMail (with carols, images and clips attached) plus hundreds of SMS.
All of a sudden my digital world has taken over the atoms’ world. And as I was reflecting on this, something struck me: there was no simple shift from the atoms to the bits, rather the shift projected me into a new dimension, not for the SMSs but for the mails.
I received SMSs from people I know but I received may be 10 times eMails from people that I…do not know!
The easiness to send an eMail to many of your acquaintances is generating to all of them an avalanche of eMail produced by the Reply to All! I got a well wishing eMail from my from my friend Guido, but I was one of the 50 or or so in the address list. Most of them (I knew only a few of those) made a nice “reply to all” to answer Guido’s eMail so I got the one from Guido plus 50 more from all the people in the address list thanking him for the message and reciprocating the well wishing. It did not stop there. Some of those guys, receiving the reply forgot they already sent a reply to all and …replied (to all) once more.
The avalanche has not stopped, yet!
I guess these eMails can be analysed by some nice data mining apps to find out the kind of social networks that exist in the biz world. I Have also wondered if I shouldn’t take advantage of the deluge to store in my contact list all those email addresses….
Is it just me or the Christmas digital revolution hit you as well?
Several scientists have enrolled in the Personal Genome projects donating their genome for a mass study of genes variability. The project, led by the Hardware University Medical School, aims at getting over 100,000 genomes to study how variability in the genome sequence influence the effectiveness of drugs.
The study is now economically viable thanks to the tremndous decrease in the cost of sequencing the genome and the speed in doing that. For the first sequencing (the Human Genome Project) several years and tens of million of dollars were required. Now the cost in down in the thousands $ and the time is measured in days. In the coming decade the cost should go below 1,000$ and sequencing a genome will be a matter of hours.
It is amazing what distributed, parallel processing together with molecular computing can do.
We can really expect to see in the next decade the birth of personalised medicine with drugs being designed to fit our specific genome. That will place sensors, monitoring and of course telecommunications at the center stage as the essential infrastructure to support personal medicine.
We are also likely to see a tremendous number of applications developing in the, yet to be, medical ecosystem.
Researchers at Tokyo University, led by professor Takao Someya, have demonstrated a flash memory based on plastic. The prototype is far behind the capacity that can be achieved by solid state electronics and more costly than magnetic disk storage. However, it is just a prototype.
Researchers expect that the cost will go down to few pennies and this will allow this type of memory to be embedded into any device. Potential applications are Mp3 players, eBook readers, disposable electronic tags and sensors, ePaper.
The electronic circuits is made using organic material and the production of these circuits is potentially much cheaper than conventional silicon based circuits. The circuits are layered on a polymer layer covered with aluminium oxide. The prototype developed can sustain 1,000 writing cycles, that is much less than a conventional silicon flash that can sustain up to 100,000 cycles. However, in some applications, 1,000 cycles may be plenty.
Imagine having sheet of papers embedding these new memory and pressure sensors. One would be able to scan 3-dimensional offices just wrapping the paper on the object! The sensors will detect deformation of the paper sheet and the memory will store these values for later analyses. I mention this as something that today requires sophisticated laser and involve huge cost and skill.
This announcement is interesting since it shows the continuous evolution in the storage area, one that has changed the way we look at entertainment (think about the evolution of music and movies consumption) and will bring even more substantial changes in the next decade once we will be able to store digitally all our lives.
New technologies for storage are coming up, like the phase change memory, being studied by Samsung and Intel offering over 100 million cycles and greater stability than today’s memory.
There is a nice book, by the British scientist Richard Dawkins (The Selfish Gene, 1976), where it is claimed that we are “built as gene machines and cultured as meme machines”. In particular, the book elaborates on how biological evolution mainly depends on self-replicating units of transmission, i.e., the gene. Also, in the following book, The Extended Phenotype (1982), Dawkins argues that individual organisms are replicators that have extended phenotypic effects on society and the world at large.
“By dictating the way survival machines and their nervous systems are built, genes exert ultimate power over behavior. But the moment-to-moment decisions about what to do next are taken by the nervous system. Genes are the primary policy-makers; brains are the executives. But as brains became more highly developed, they took over more and more of the actual policy decisions, using tricks like learning and simulation in doing so.”
Also, The Selfish Gene argues that information influencing evolution is not only bio-molecular: for elaborating that, R. Dawkins introduced, in the book, the word meme. Meme is a cultural unit of transmission, capable of influencing cultural evolution (examples included songs, catch-phrases, beliefs, fashions, etc). By the way, cultural evolutionary models make use of the term “cultural trait” or “cultural phenotype” with a similar meaning of meme. So, one may wonder if/how genes and memes influence each other or even if they can coevolve.
Well, it seems so, at least according to ,  with the so-called memetic driving process. It works like this: memes competition results in some memes becoming more successful and widely imitated (while others fail). People who are best at imitating or copying (propagating) the most successful memes acquire advantages in terms of status and survival, e.g. also being preferentially selected mates. It seems so simple, but implications look like complex.
Then if the degree of interdependence of gene and meme seems impacting social behavior and evolution, what’s the role of social networking in this process? Consider, for example, the epidemic spread of a piece of information through a social network or the word of mouth in a blogspace for diffusing a fashion, or adopting a service. Maybe tomorrow, structure and dynamics of the future Internet of Things will play a new significant role also in this (for example, small-world networks show much faster propagation capabilities than a simple diffusion models on regular, or random networks). Some interesting simulations, in this direction, are reported in  and .
Will future Internet (connecting billions of devices) enable new forms of “replicators” (based on digital information) ?