Sun Microsystems says more customers are interested in its Sun Ray systems, a thin client desktop. Why? It costs less than typical desktops to run. Sun says it's the difference between 4-8 watts for the Sun Ray as opposed to 100-150 watts for a conventional desktop.
Given the trend towards greening and energy conservation, I think we're going to see much more of this happen in the next few years. Also, there's another reason why IT administrators like this approach: it's easier to control what software gets installed on the desktop since most of that happens on the server.
As a software engineer, I really don't mind this and actually think it's a very good approach for both energy efficiency and control...EXCEPT for MY desktop;-)
I have to admit that I didn't quite get the whole Twitter thing at first. That could be because among the first public twitters I looked at was some guy in Italy or somewhere announcing that he was about to take a shower. Thanks, but no thanks for THAT info. Who really gives a ----? Also, it was kindly explained to me that I was just too old (50-something) to understand. Um, yeah, that's probably it.
But then, I came across Crazy Cool in L.A. which described how the Los Angeles Fire Department uses it.
(I still don't want to know when people take a shower.)
Common Craft makes short videos that explain things.
They're good at it.
In a press conference on Feb 5, Michigan AG Mike Cox announced that his office is the first in state government to make its expenditures available on the Internet. Even Ralph Nader chimed in to applaud the effort.
I'd say it's a good first step, but only expenditures for Service Contracts (PDF) are itemized, everything else is aggregated. So while it's interesting that Salary & Wage costs for 1QFY08 are at $8,138,588.92, the questions is, is that a good number or a bad number? For that, you need a breakdown by individual or at least know the headcount.
- Government of, by, and for the people - Anyone may contribute to any open source government.
- Openness in everything - All aspects of governance will be as open (transparent) as possible.
- Without consensus, there is no law - Unless consensus can be reached on how a law could address an issue, then there will be no law on that issue.
How is this type of government organized? Through Wikis. They become the base unit for governance. You contribute via a weighted, ratings-based scoring system. The higher your rating (which is scored by your peers) the more say you have.
Couple of immediate reactions:
Associate Justice Stephen Breyer of the U.S. Supreme Court will be on a panel February 7 from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson law school's moot court courtroom.
Topic: "Doe v. Kamehameha Schools: A 'discreet and insular minority' in Hawaii 70 years after Carolene Products (a U.S. Supreme Court decision)." The Doe case involved a challenge to the Kamehameha Schools admissions policy that gives preference to native Hawaiians. The Carolene case involved "discreet and insular" minorities generally and native Hawaiians in particular.
It's free but you're advised to call Cynthia Quinn, the law school's director of communications and external relations, at (808) 956-6545.
From a Jan. 29 hearing of the House Veterans Affairs Committee:
- The Veterans Benefits Administration ("VBA"), which processes the claims, has a backlog of 650,000 pending claims and another 147,000 that are under appeal.
- The process "is paper intensive, complex to understand, difficult to manage and takes years to learn," says Rep. John Hall, D-N.Y., chairman of the Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Disability and Memorial Affairs.
Computer experts who testified said technology already exists that can help:
- AI techniques including case-based reasoning systems
- A document naming system for paper documents which are then scanned into a database for easier retrieval
- Business-rules-engine software for workflow management, which could improve processors' decision-making.
As with many people, I've used Microsoft Office applications like Word and Excel for years. However, these days I tend to opt for web products like Google Docs.
- Easily searchable
- I can access them from anywhere...
- and with many types of devices.
But there is a big potential disadvantage: You must be connected to the internet. If the network is down or unavailable, you're pretty well screwed. (There is also the issue of whether you want to trust your documents to Google, but that's a blog for another time...)
Recently, Google has come out with Google Gears which provides offline editing and subsequent synchronization. So now, if the network is down or unavailable, no problemo. Google Gears is already implemented in Google Reader and it's obvious that the other applications will eventually follow suit. Apparently, Google Docs is being worked on now. Read about current testing of Google Docs here: Google Docs Offline Access.
Here's a paper that studies how to design an "autonomous robotic system" capable of constraining lethal actions so that they fall within the bounds prescribed by
the Laws of War and Rules of Engagement:
I thought this question was asked and answered by Robo Cop.
Basically, the test has a human judge pose questions to a computer and a human. The computer "passes" the test if its answers are indistinguishable from a human's. Kapor bets "no", Kurzweil bets "yes". The stakes are $20,000 to go to the winner's choice of charities.
All the details of exactly how the test will be administered is laid out at a web site called Long Bets where both Kapor and Kurzweil explain their arguments for and against. What's fun is that you can place your own "bet" as to which side will win. As of writing this blog here's the score:
Computer loses: 47%
Computer wins: 53%
Of course, this begs the question: If you were to build an intelligent computer, why would you make it indistinguishable from humans?