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This June 17th, 2003 Issue:

 

***SNS*** EINSTEIN'S BIGGEST MISTAKE

 

 

 

 

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This June 17th, 2003 Issue:

***SNS***  Einstein's Biggest Mistake



IN THIS ISSUE:

Some Quick Background

Some Focused Background

Not Needing The Ether

Maxwell's Revenge:Quantum Mechanics

Post 1930: A Dry Hole

How To Go Back AndStart Again


   Insites
   Upgrades and Ethermail

Cellphone Sales

Online Ad Sales: TheCall You Want

Growth In WirelessBroadband

Using WiFi ForHomeland Security

Chaos Theory

Asking Questions AtMLB

The Other CANDU

The U.S.vs. Europe and Asia: PCs vs. Phones

Two Screens

Asking The RightQuestions

George Carlo On theDiscovery Channel


   How to Subscribe, Including Corporate Volume Licenses
  






 


Einstein's BiggestMistake

There are a lot of different ways to tell this story, but inthe end, it is the story itself, or the scientific and historical truths behindit, which really matters. The rest is just human interest.

 

It occurred to me that I could tell it from the perspectiveof working for a year with Professor Emeritus of Physics William Bender at Western Washington University on a program for unifying all of the major force lawsinto a single mathematics, while listening to his thoughts on how to unify Relativityphysics with Quantum Mechanics.

 

For those not directly interested in physics, thisunification was Einstein's primary interest for the second half of his life.Or perhaps I should state this a bit more carefully: Einstein was never contentwith the apparently acausal, probabilistic nature of quantum theory, and workedto extend the causal mathematics of relativity to explain this other half ofphysics.

 

It also occurred to me to tell this story from theperspective of a modern, top-flight science department, since even modernphysics groups have their problems. I can do this, really, in a couple ofsentences. After I spent about a year talking with Nobelists and otheradvanced theoreticians around the world about a new theory of physics, the Deanof Physics at the University of Washington offered to introduce me to one ofhis top graduate students, which he did. I explained that I thought I mighthave found a path for explaining both quantum mechanics and relativity theoryusing a single model, which I called Resonance.

 

"We solved that already," he told me. This was inabout 1980. I have no doubt that my jaw literally dropped open. He maintainedthat this had all been resolved years ago, no help needed now.

 

Today, it has yet to be resolved. I just don't know what hewas thinking. I've since learned that there are a lot of folks like him in thephysics business.

 

But my favorite way of opening this story comes from myvisit, last winter, to the just-opened Einstein exhibit at the American Museumof Natural History. The exhibit was so popular that you had to buy scheduledtickets, and even then, it was very crowded. Trained docents, not obviousphysics mavens, tried to walk the public through the basics of Special andGeneral Relativity; they did a pretty good job.

 

So it was that I found myself standing before a largeexhibit, which showed the curving of spacetime, accompanied by a docent and anolder woman. "This was Einstein's greatest mistake," I told thewoman. The docent looked terrified: obviously, in her young world, the Masterdidn't make mistakes. But the woman was interested, so I explained it to herin a few sentences, and she walked off, seemingly satisfied.


 

 

As crazy as it sounds, it is possible that that woman and Iare the only two people who have a clear understanding of Einstein's BiggestMistake (and, perhaps, his only one). For that reason, and because thisremains one of the real roadblocks in physical theory, and because so manyprofessionals still don't see the problem, I thought I'd share the answer withyou. Perhaps, in this way, this little idea will lead to something big, in thehands of someone in physics. After all, we generally like scientificrevolutions, and the technology opportunities that follow them.

 

It sounds audacious to say that Einstein made a mistake,doesn't it? But he, like the rest of us, was only human, and, almostpredictably, he made the mistake of his career in an area invested with plentyof emotion.

 

At the time Einstein began the thinking that would lead toSpecial Relativity Theory, the scientific establishment was torn by argumentsover whether there was, or was not, some kind of "ether," a physicalsubstance filling space, which would be dragged along with the Earth as it flewthrough space, and which had various physical properties which would allow thepassage of light.

 

Maxwell had explained how electromagnetic waves couldpropagate through space, in an incredible mathematical feat that unified thespeed of light and the electric and magnetic properties of space itself.

 

Lorentz had produced the basic mathematics, in the form ofhis Contractions, which would become the mathematical spine of the SpecialTheory, which showed how time seemed to dilate, and distances contract, vs. C,the constant speed of light.

 

Then Michelson and Morley came along and proved that lighttraveled at the same speed regardless of path orientation, proving that theether could not have been the "drag along" stuff everyone had beenarguing about.

 

It was at that point that Einstein stepped in and wiped outthe idea of the Ether.

 

Showing that he could achieve the same Lorentz contractionswithout using an Ether, he proclaimed that, since the Ether was not necessary,he would never mention it again. I should note that this was considered, atthe time, to be a masterstroke of scientific genius.

 

Keep in mind, almost all of Einstein's work was based onlight and how it behaves.

 

By talking thereafter only of spacetime, a new flexiblefour-dimensional combination of space and time, he could indeed move forwardalmost effortlessly in his examination of mass, energy, motion andgravitation.

 


 

 

But what about Maxwell, and the world of electric andmagnetic charges and fields?

 

You are starting to see it.

 

It turned out that, indeed, empty space has electrical andmagnetic properties properties that are not connected with spacetimecontractions in any obvious way. You can't arbitrarily dismiss the Ether,after all.

 

In fact, so-called "empty space" becomes thesource of all of the symmetries and physical characteristics which underliephysical law. There are, today, quantum physicists who have even derived thelaws of conservation of momentum and energy from the properties of empty space.

 

Oops.

 

These things are obvious to those who study Quantum ElectroDynamics, or Quantum Chromo Dynamics, but they were not obvious at the time,and they were not particularly well-suited, as problems, to Einstein, who hadinadvertently chosen a study program which focused upon mass effects, to thenear-total exclusion of charge effects.

 

Einstein's inability to see that there was indeed a realspace, with real physical properties, in place of the Ether he so casually (andhappily) discarded, led him to decades of increasingly frustrated, and notuseful, work.

 

Can we ask, what would have happened if he had understoodthis flaw of logic, and gone back to redefine the Ether, instead of kill itoff? I don't think so. Certainly, he was aware of the Maxwell Equations, withoutfeeling this need.

 

I believe that I am not alone in feeling a greatdisappointment in the progress of physics since Einstein's time. In myopinion, we have never had a scientist more intuitively capable ofunderstanding physical law than Einstein; and few would argue that ourproductivity in the discovery of physical laws has slowed to a crawl since he,and a handful of other brilliant scientists, laid out the universe as weunderstand it today.

 

That work ended in the 1920's and 30's. True, RichardFeynman (and Julian Schwinger, and Tomonaga, and Freeman Dyson and others) camealong and used his genius in mathematics to simplify the QED; but this was alesser triumph, if not also a much more practical one.

 

In fact, I would suggest that Einstein's Biggest Mistake wasnot just his own, but was shared by the whole physics program, worldwide, whichhas yet to properly integrate these two great theories, and which will continueto fail to do so until they revisit this first logical stumble.

 

A successful program will describe not just how light passesthrough a curved spacetime, nor the


 

 

likelihood that wave collapse will lead to a particularobservation, but to a description of how the physical properties and inherentgeometry of empty space lead to physical law; and how light, made of chargesand their effects, emerges from empty space, which we will no longer refer toas the Ether.

 

Perhaps it will happen in our lifetimes. If I didn't thinkit was possible, I wouldn't have taken your time today in discussing it.



Your comments are always welcome. 


Sincerely,

Mark R. Anderson

President
Strategic News Service  LLC             Tel. 360-378-3431
P.O. Box 1969                                   Fax. 360-378-7041
Friday Harbor, WA  98250  USA       Email: sns@tapsns.com


-------------------------------------------

INSITES

   SNS readers interested in additional predictions and informationcan turn their browsers to:

      The SNS website, at http://www.stratnews.com.


SNS Members' Corner, at

http://www.tapsns.com/subscriber_corner.shtml

SNS Members' Gallery Spotlight Page:

http://www.tapsns.com/spotlight.shtml


      The Orca Relief Citizens' Alliance, a501(c)(3) non-profit effort to study and reduce Orca mortality rates, supportedlargely by technology workers.  Please visit our new website, at http://www.orcarelief.org, for more information. Contributions may be sent to: ORCA, Box 1969, Friday Harbor, Washington, 98250.


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focused upon providing tools and environments leading to great new discoveriesin interdisciplinary science.


A profile on Mark this week in the Puget Sound BusinessJournal:

http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/stories/2003/06/16/focus2.html

 


New to the Family:

 

I would like to welcome, among others, these new members tothe SNS Family: (returning) Casey Higgins, Student, Golden Gate University, SanFrancisco, CA; Adolfo Maichel, Manager, Phone1, Miami, FL; Stan Skelton,Director, Strategic Planning, LSI Logic Storage Systems, Wichita, Kansas; JanBeyer-Olsen, Export Sales Manager, Polyform US, Kent, WA; and many others.



Quotes of the Week:


[Oracle CFO Jeff Henley] "was particularly combativein his comments regarding PSFT [PeopleSoft], against which he believes Oracleis gaining traction." an analysts' note from Rick Sherlund, HeatherLeonard, Christopher Sailer, and John Collier, of Goldman Sachs, released April30th.

 

Now that's interesting, given Oracle's bid for PSFT. Ithink the bid will fail.

 

 

"Our process allows us to use the tiny carbonnanotubes to replace copper to interconnect network layers on silicon chips.We think this new process may well help to sustain Moore's Law." MeyyaMeyyappan, director of the Center for Nanotechnology, NASA's Ames Research Center;on discovering a new manufacturing process for integrating nanotubes and silicon.

 

 

"Datacasting is one of those best-kept secrets inthe U.S." Jay Trager, COO, National Datacast, on CNet.

 

 

"I do think you have to look at the long-termfundamentals. There is a real economic need for education standards. Thepolitical will is there, this is primarily an economic issue." ReedElsevier CEO Crispin Davis, in the FT.

 


UPGRADES

Cellphone Sales

 

Every now and again, one has to take a stand. This canbe particularly nerve-rattling when others for whom you have great respect areappearing to lean the other way on an issue that matters. All of thesequalifiers were true this week, as Nokia came out with a minor downgrade intheir April June handset projections, putting the final expected figurescloser to the bottom of their 4 12% range.

 

Nokia blamed SARS, and the U.S. and Euro economic weakness,all of which is hard to argue about. Except: only 10% of Nokia gross handsetsales come from China, and the company estimates that 60% of sales this yearwill be replacement sales.

 

Although I don't know anyone who I trust more than Nokia forestimates, I've gone against them before and won, and I'm placing a similar betnow. I think that Nokia is right about the strength of new sales coming out ofemerging markets, but is wrong about the sales of new color / camera phones inthe replacement markets. Further, I think the SARS virus, unless we havefurther outbreaks, is over as a business cause/excuse.

 

A look at orders coming through Taiwan foundries tends toconfirm very strong orders for cellphones, both at TSMC and UMC.

 

Motorola has been whining about SARS handset sale effects,but I think they are going to discover that part of these problems werecompetition from Samsung and others, perhaps including Nokia itself, which isclaiming a 3 point percentage share jump to 38% last quarter.

 

So: instead of a reduction, I am going to continue tosuggest that we will have an unexpectedly strong year in handset sales,probably up 15-20% in units, and perhaps 10% more in dollars, as the averageselling price grows.

 

 

Online Ad Sales: The Call You Want

 

For the past year I have been suggesting that the realbenefit of increased bandwidth to individuals (primarily homes) would be anincrease in online ad sales, with a concomitant increase in companies againable to depend upon ads for their own sales, thereby boosting service companieswho make a cut running others' ads (such as Yahoo! and AOL).

 

That process now seems to be under way.

 

I think most SNSers first heard about the online ad slump inthese pages, during Q3 of 2000: technically, Q4 of that year began a two-yearslump that just ended, with revised figures in from the Interactive AdvertisingBureau. The new numbers, for Q4 2002, showed ad revenues of $1.58B, up 8.9%QTQ for the first QTQ jump in two years; even so, revenues were down 3.7% YTY and 26% off Q4 2000.

 

I expect to see both QTQ and YTY increases going forward,representing the end of the Dot crash carnage (old customers disappearing, andnew ones are now appearing), a maturing of companies using online advertising,and increased ad efficiency from broadband.

 

With this increased online ad spend will come new startups,healthier maturing online firms, and a re-connect between the worlds of bricksand clicks. With normal ad sales still slumping, it is not hard to see thateven normal S & P advertisers are looking to the Net for Push and Pull.

 

 

Growth In Wireless Broadband

 

A report out this week from Gartner indicates that 2002sales of wireless Local Area Net equipment hit 19.5MM units, up 120% YTY over8.9MM. Revenues were up 29% for the same period, a decline per unit thataugurs well for increased sales momentum.

 

Cisco was the only firm with falling sales, and that issuewas remedied with the purchase of market leader LinkSys, a brand the companyplans to continue. LinkSys had sales of $306MM, up 147% YTY.

 

One technical aspect of this equipment that will keep salesgrowing is the move from 802.11b standards to 802.11g, a standard finallyreleased by the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers lastThursday. While many companies had already begun marketing a presumed matchfor 802.11g, customers will now likely see software upgrades for minimal fixesneeded to bridge the gulf.

 

The real meaning of this new standard is the provision of acommercial green light for WLANs operating at 54Mbps, vs. the old 11Mbps.While some critics have rightfully pointed out that none of these numbersmatter if you don't have a robust backbone connection, it seems that enoughproviders have figured that tweak out now that, for many urban installations,you will be able take the numbers at or near face value.

 

For home installations, this probably means you can actuallystart throwing various movie threads around the house at remote screens. Forthose urban connects, it means you'll be much more likely to get seriousbandwidth, as you share with your mates in crowded airports, Starbucks, andtire repair shops. And that means increased ads online ah yes, we've coveredthat one, haven't we?

 

The machine is coming unstuck.

 



ETHERMAIL


Re: ***SNS***: Unconstrained Computing

Mark,

[Re:]
http://msnbc-cnet.com.com/2100-1039_3-1015303.html?type=pt&part=msnbc&tag=alert&form=feed&subj=cnetnews

Is there a way that Homeland Security could use the Wi-Fi networks to fightterrorism?

Greg Laycock

[Cushman and Wakefield

Seattle]

Greg,

 

As the fellow who inspired our original Project IntelligentResponse counter-terror efforts, you deserve a good answer to this question.

 

I think it is pretty simple: Yes.

 

One of the primary target sets often mentioned ininfrastructure discussions is phone switching complexes. If we could offloadmost of our voice and Net traffic to locally-controlled wireless CANDU (CheapAND Ubiquitous) broadband sites, with additional new switching, security andhandoff technology running locally well, that system would, in general, bemuch more difficult to disable.

 

I realize that there are switching centers that serve bothtypes of traffic, but the essence of this statement remains true. Thecombination of the robust Net design, plus having local on-ramps, would providefor an excellent Emergency communications system. Even better to have thesehotspots stitched together into a series of national footprints. We should endup having multiple national telecom footprints, highly decentralized.

 

Good question, and thanks for asking.

 

Mark Anderson

 


Mark,

Yes, I like this [last week's] column a lot.

I have these thoughts as well. I would also propose that cellular auctions arealso state machines as well (discounting out external mutagenic factors).

A bunch of chaos theory stuff covered discrete states for biological systemsand how these bio systems (DNA they used in specific) goes through specificdiscrete AND deterministic but complex steps.  Complex yes - but stilldeterministic.

Hope you are great,

George Zachary

George,

 

No doubt cellular 3G auctions are a fitting part of thelarger Random Walk of communications evolution, but they sure did screw up theworld economy for a decade or so, without any apparent benefit to anyone.

 

When we start using words like "states" I think ofphysics and prepared states. When we talk about deterministic steps that DNAexperiences, I suspect they are both complicated and, in the Santa Fe Institutesense, complex.

 

I decided, awhile ago, that Chaos Mathematics actuallydescribes the relative contributions of two facets of thermodynamics, found inevery system. I call them: Flow and Resistance. Is it possible that these arethe basic measures of energy dissipation?

 

Whether we want to describe the shape of a coastline, causedby sea crashing on rock, or of a leaf edge, caused by plant hormones embeddedin fluids hitting the inside of the leaf or even water dripping from afaucet, or blood being pumped through a heart we are essentially trying to gobeyond the early work done so far on fluids, and get to deeper answers.Instead of Greene's Theorem and Navier-Stokes math, we now use Chaos math, and,I think, with better result.

 

If it turns out that this is a "correct"interpretation of Chaos mathematics, and therefore of complexity theory, SNSerswill remember it for a long time.

 

Mark Anderson

 


Mark,

There is a great example of combining computing technology with asking theright questions--Major League Baseball, or at least one corner of it.

Michael Lewis' (author of "Liar's Poker" and "The New NewThing") most recent book--"Moneyball"--gives a role modelexample for your article last week--how computer analysis can overturntraditional thinking on talent, how to win games, and how to value players thathas led to great success for the Oakland As, and now the Toronto Blue Jays.Unfortunately it took tradition bound MLB a few decades before someone paidattention and did something with the knowledge.

A great read that proves your point many times over.  If you just ask the rightquestions, IT will provide the tools for a sustained competitive advantage.

Bill Kaufmann
Chicago, IL

Bill,

 

Having grown up a Chicago Cubs fan for all of my earlyyears, I can't imagine what you are talking about.

 

Grab a seat in the most beautiful open air stadium left inthe circuit, enjoy some popcorn and crackerjack, watch the sun play across thestands and the deep green grass as the afternoon turns to evening, and yourguys consistently lose.

 

What's so complicated about that?

 

Mark Anderson

 


Mark

I'm sure the canadian government will have no problem withyour appropriation of CANDU for wi-fi rollout as per your articlein FORTUNE. For those unaware of the acronym: CANDU is the Canadiannuclear reactor sold worldwide and stands for "CANada DeuteriumUranium." Although there never has been a serious accident with a CANDUreactor,  hopefully the CANDU wi-fi rollout will not see a meltdown at anytime in the near future!

Kerry Ritz

 

Kerry,

 

Strangely enough, you are the first person to have mentionedthe other, older Candu. As a grad student in Canada in the 70's, I was wellaware of Pierre Trudeau's brilliant concept of shipping nuclear reactorsworldwide as fast as possible. Despite their safety record, I always wonderedif he had his head screwed on right (after all, he did marry Margaret onetends not to forget that photo of her in Studio 21).

 

So, yes, I was aware of the older, more established use ofthe term, but I think mine is much more natural, and up-to-date. Cheap ANDUbiquitous: the new description of local broadband.

 

Our CANDU is much better: it doesn't leave Cesium-17 andStrontium-90 for you to choke on for the next 50k years or so. Yep, I'll hearabout that one


 

Glad you liked my Fortune column.

 

Mark Anderson

 

 

Mark,

[You wrote:] "cultures that favor phones will favor 3G; those that favorlaptops will favor WiFi."

I agree. But it is odd to see you lumping
Europe in with Asia (if I read you correctly). The clear odd-man-out, ifyou plot cellphone penetration and PC penetration on a scatter chart, is North America,where PCs outnumber cellphones. Everywhere else, the reverse is true. (Japan, itturns out, is near the middle of this chart, and resembles a Western Europeancountry. The outlying country where cellphones rule and PCs don't is not Japan but Italy.)

This split, between
America and the rest of the world, PCs and phones, Wi-Fi andcellular, IM and SMS, strikes me as one of the most interesting trends in techtoday. During the wireline Internet boom, America led the way, while the rest of us took a while to"get it". On wireless, a bifurcation seems to have occurred. Neitherside is right or wrong; but America is clearly different.

Tom Standage
Technology Correspondent
The Economist
San Francisco


Tom,

I actually consider Europe and Japan to be quite different, in this regard; Iprobably just wasn't being clear. 

While the raw numbers may make Japan look like it falls into the center of Western Europe, my suspicion is that phones are far more important than PCs to theJapanese, compared with Western Europeans.  I am not sure all of thiscomes out solely in numbers per capita, but in how and how much each is used.

As for Italy, it is famous among cellular operators for its so-called "MamaMia" effect - high cell use rates because everyone is always calling hometo tell the family all about what they're doing.  Anecdotal, of course,but it is quite possible that you can get high takeup and use rates bycombining passionate natures and strong family ties.

I was trying to see whether there was an inverse relation between thedifficulty of keyboarding a language, and the relative importance ofcellphones; and then extend that back into 3G vs. WiFi takeup.  I expectthere will be a correlation, to some degree, and that the Singapore Switch fromWiFi back to 3G is an indicator of same.

As for the U.S. being different, in other ways: we areextremely PC-centric, and our white collar workers work VERY long hours (evenwhen sleeping, it would seem), so we are a test bed for the white collar workerbee side of tech.

 

Our teens, a key market in every country, are very differentfrom Japanese teens in phone use in gross minutes, and in phone use re: SMS vs. Europe. The U.S. cellphone system is basically crummy, which prevents anyonefrom getting too carried away with it, I think; the systems in Europe, becauseof recalcitrant legacy operators (generally owned by governments), is nowunified on a standard, and works better.

 

Because we are a single country, and not many, with anequally sense-free cellular policy, we ended up being Balkanized in bothmarkets and the technologies that serve those markets. Same forces, oppositeresult.


Mark Anderson



Mark,

Congratulations again on an excellent FiRe conference.  I reallyappreciated the opportunity to meet in person with many of our esteemedcollaborators.

 

Thanks!

In this issue you write:
----
"This differential showed up long ago in large cell/laptop differentialsin
Japan vs. the U.S. and Europe.  Now we're seeing its corollary: cultures thatfavor phones will favor 3G; those that favor laptops will favor WiFi. That maybe something you hadn't thought about."
----

It seems to me that there may also be other long waves forming here that cross"East / West" boundaries - as PDAs and tablets blend with portablegame consoles and other new devices; as the younger generation tries out newstyles, both in terms of behavior patterns and in terms of artifacts, it may bethat this distinction fades to oblivion...

As always, best wishes!

Martin Haeberli
[Co-founder,

Marconi Partners

SF]



Martin,

 

That is true the difference between generational habitsmay muffle, or even subsume, the intra-generational distinctions we sharetoday.

 

I find it is always best to try to be specific about thesethings, so we can learn a bit as we go. For instance, I expect there to be afairly strong generational shift from parents in Japan using laptops andphones, to teens just using phones and gadgets (call them PDAs if you wish, butthey're ever-changing gadgets).

 

On the other hand, the kids aren't getting jobs right away.

 

Neither are they in Germany, France, or the U.S.

 

In other words, we may be creating a generation ofHigh-Communication/Low Computing users, because we have no jobs for them, andjobs require computing.

 

There are many aspects to this generational gap.

 

Mark Anderson

 


Mark,

Can't find the issue where you described your computer setup...2 Ghz CPU,
blah de blah de blah.  I went to one of Edward Tufte's seminars 2-3 years
ago; among many wonderful & pithy comments he said "The single biggest
'productivity' factor on a computer is the number of pixels you can get in
front of your eyes." 

I tested, agreed, and declared dual-head monitor cards & double monitors on
the desks to be "the standard" in my team. Fantastic move.  Thebreak in
'flow' from switching apps is now 1/2 as common.

So, if you're not set up that way, a small-but-big personal recommendation
to you in partial gratitude for a fantastic conference:  "Get Thee A2nd
Monitor"

Regards,


Matthew Dunn

Bellingham



Matthew,

 

OK, I am going to try it out. This also gives me aninteresting idea: if two monitors is as much better as you suggest, why nothave your laptop, CarryAlong or Tablet/Pad function as your other screen whenyou are at the desk?

 

You just set it in a cradle, and, when it's day end or lunchtime, grab the CAPC and off you go.

 

Make sense? It's the kind of thing no one in a real labwould think of, right Rick?

 

Mark Anderson

 


Mark,

I wanted to comment on your article of June 3. I would like to hear yourperspective. I apologize in advance for its length, but this is a complexsubject.

Like many of your readers, I think the HBR article about the computer industrymissed the mark. Not only is the computer revolution not finished, but it'sbarely begun. Yet, we know the industry is in a funk. It's going to take a newway of thinking to get us moving forward again.

I nodded in agreement when you said, "Rather, we should ask if these arethe right questions.  Aren't we, generally, asking How should we compute? ratherthan asking, What should we compute?" But I see the issue a littledifferently. I tell my customers that it's not about the "what"anymore. It's about the "why" and the "how." Why arewe going to implement a computing system and specifically how are wegoing to build it? These fundamental questions seem entirely missing from theindustry.

Traditionally, we've focused almost exclusively on the technology. It was somarvelous that people focused on the "what" of the differencesbetween technologies. This included low-level functions like APIs, OSes, andCPUs, along with higher-level applications like databases, directory services,file systems, and back office systems.

Unfortunately, this approach only works when systems are consideredindividually, in isolation from each other. We know this isn't the future ofcomputing though. Building the global computer requires vertical and horizontalintegration of heterogeneous systems. The "how" of this is extremely murky.Vendors and analysts have given little guidance on how to proceed.

The "why" is even more confusing. Many computer professionals havetrouble explaining the business relevance of IT. Business leaders are at moreof a loss. They explain that they don't know what technology can do, they don'tunderstand the differences between options, and are overwhelmed by what theyface. Warren Buffett typifies the response: if I don't understand it, then I'mnot going to buy it. This frustrating gap has existed for a long time andfactors like Internet hype, Y2K, and the poor economy have exacerbated theproblem. As an industry, we've focused on visionaries. We've been verysuccessful at this, but the rules have changed. This calls for a differentsales approach.

Our situation is similar to the car industry's around 1900. At the time, carswere popular, but difficult to use and expensive to operate. Most were handbuilt and required the operator to be his own mechanic. Automobile componentslike engines, brakes, and chassis were built by independent companies andintegrated by clever engineers. This worked OK, but there were inherent cost,functional, and technical limits that kept cars from the mainstream. In effect,every car was a homebuilt hot rod. Inventions like the electric starter andheaters helped push things forward. But cars didn't hit their stride until theModel T lowered barriers with its new manufacturing techniques. Thisbreakthrough made transportation cheap, reliable, and simple, but the problemwasn't technical.

Today, computer systems are like these early cars. Most data systems are handbuilt, requiring complex design and implementation projects. Many are builtfrom best-of-breed components. Yet almost no consideration is given for thetremendous effort required to integrate these components. Some hire servicescompanies in the hope they will hide all the complexity. This is like hiring achauffeur to drive your 1901Curved Dash Oldsmobile. You're not dealing with the difficulties of drivingand maintaining the car, but it's still pretty complex and expensive.

Meanwhile, technology advocates get mired in religious battles over competingtechnologies. The car industry suffered through similar arguments over gasolinevs. kerosene, steam, and electrical power. While technological differences areimportant, it is more important to understand how they work in aggregate. Sometechnologies just integrate better than others. This reduces cost whileimproving functionality. Simultaneously, while some of these same technologiesintegrate well to make a single application, they fail miserably in aheterogeneous enterprise environment. It's just too costly, complex, and fragileto manually bolt everything together. It is important to consider technologiesin the context of an enterprise architecture. Despite arguments to thecontrary, technologies are not commoditized at this level. Products should beconsidered based on their ability to participate in complex systems. Thesecomplex systems will define the future of computing.

We at Avanade use a concept called Enterpresence as a framework for this.Considering enterprise systems as an integrated whole allows the de-emphasis ofservers and applications in favor of computing services and business processes.In effect, the resulting system becomes a virtual enterprise presence, i.e.Enterpresence. This allows a business-oriented view of computing systems whilereducing implementation and management costs. Like the modern approach tobuilding a car, we can define integrated systems and facilitate the third-wavebusiness functions promised by the computer revolution.

Again, I think the computing industry must change tactics in order toreinvigorate itself. All of the traditional engineering processes are stillrelevant. But we must add the vision (business-wide views), architecture(enterprise-wide design and integration), manufacturing (software coding andimplementation), and marketing (business case, use case, ROI) that are requiredin every other industry.

Services companies must think about their customers' drive for competitiveadvantage and turn this into designs that can be practically implemented.Meanwhile, vendors must coherently describe their vision, including awell-defined roadmap for accomplishing this vision. Vendors must describeexactly how their products integrate with each other and with other systems.And vendors must describe their products on business and technicallevels. This description must include business value of the product itself, andhow the product would fit within an overall business and technicalarchitecture. Religious crusades over technological minutia are of littlevalue. The industry requires real guidance.

Until this happens, I fear the computing industry will languish in its currentmalaise. We will continue discussions about reducing computing costs ratherthan building business-transforming data systems.

Ace Swerling

Systems Engineer
East Region
Avanade Inc

Ace,

 

Content matters. The devil is in the etc. This is also thepush, by name at least, that HP has decided to use in their just-released newstrategy or so it would seem, from 30k feet.

 

While I can't disagree with anything you've said here, Icome up for air feeling slightly empty: aren't these ideas the same ones we'vebeen espousing since the First Tom Watson put THiNK over the door?

 

I sense in your piece a desire to get beyond the usual Webuild it and you will come mentality, but there is a long stretch between thatcountry and actually Asking the right questions. If we go back to your firstre-interpretation of what to ask: I said we need to get beyond How, and to moveto What, to compute. You immediately put it back into How, and Why? I do likethe Why part, because asking Why I would compute something is dangerously closeto asking What I should compute. But How is How, and still gets very boggeddown.

 

So, let's agree where we can: We need to ask new questions, inorder to make quantitative leaps in returns on computing, and they have to dowith asking What do I need to know (and Why)?

 

Works for me.

 

Mark Anderson

 

 

Mark,

I read with amusement, bemusement and then finally disdain for the DiscoveryChannel (they allowed themselves to be manipulated) the piece in the last SNSsuggesting an all-clear for wireless phones and cancer.  Mark, you werevery accurate in portraying my position on this regarding the science. The science that is readily available clearly raises red flags about the safetyof wireless technology that should promote precautionary steps byconsumers.  However, there is more to the story and the adage is wellknown -- follow the money.

The word on the street is that a wireless industry trade group, throughchannels that create distance for public perception purposes in case someonesnoops, made a substantial research grant to the funding-starved AmericanCancer Society and -- surprise -- received a quid pro quo.  The data thatthe ACS used to do their review was based on a few selected scientific papers-- it is not considered a serious scientific review of the science by those inthe field.  The review was done as part of the American Cancer Society's"Top Ten Cancer Myths," which is a shameful PR gimic based on theDavid Letterman routine that is intended to raise visibility and money for theACS -- and of course, the wireless industry was happy to oblige. 

The piece that the Discovery Channel aired was based on and triggered by thesummary package that CTIA [Cellular Telephony Industry Association, whooriginally hired George to dispel cellphone health worries] sends out to themedia when there is a new bit of information that they believe helps theircase,  or when they know someone with a differing opinion has been talkingto the media  or intends to appear on a program.  That packageincluded the review by the ACS as the media hook.  The package isintimidating in its size -- about nine inches thick with what look like deep andcomplicated scientific papers.  This is not the type of backgroundresearch journalists like to do.  There is a "summary page" that serves to come to the rescue of the lazy or uninformed journalist. The package and its content are all part of a well constructed plan to promotethe industry spin.  And, for the most part, it is very effective.

The Discovery Channel should know better.  If the Discovery Channel haddone even a little bit of their own due diligence and not taken the ACS gimickyreview at face value, they would have found that a comparison of  the ACS(CTIA?) review that they relied upon with the position of the World HealthOrganization, for example, yielded a big difference in interpretation of muchthe same data -- the WHO advocates a precautionary approach for wireless phonesand other wireless instruments as I do.   

The tragedy is that the wireless industry continues to treat the health issueas a political problem instead of a public health problem.  As such, theyuse political tactics like the "nine inch data package" -- which theyare very good at.  This accrues to the detriment of public health andsafety.  It is all so unnecessary because health protection solutions


are available and so simple.

George Carlo

[Author, Cellphone]

 

George,

 

Thank you for writing in about this. I expected this to beyour response, but there is nothing like hearing it from an expert.

 

I am continually reminded of the last dying days of thetobacco industry, when the evidence was piling up higher and higher, but we stillhad industry leaders swearing, on oath, that, to the best of their knowledge,nicotine was not addictive.

 

Where do these people sleep at night?

 

I understand the horrible pressures that simply existing inthis, the most litigious society in the world, can bring: no, you can't admitanything; no, you can't even admit doubt; no, if you know you are guilty, youstill can't admit it; and so on.

 

This is a problem caused by our tort system, as much as byour lack of ethics or science.

 

Even so, one expects groups like Discovery Channel and theAmerican Cancer Society to be above the pull of the dollar, in presentinghealth issues.

 

Thank you, George, for correcting that view.

 

Mark Anderson

 

P.s. For new readers, George was given a $25MM researchbudget by the CTIA in 1993 or so to disprove the existence of negativecellphone health effects. When he found the opposite, they canned him, andhave been working to send out the opposite message ever since.

 

Somewhat lacking in transparency, sincerity and candor, eh?Some would call it criminal.

_____________

 

THE MEMBERS' CORNER --This Newsletter version of the Members' Corner is a brief view of the full SNSwebsite MC, updated weekly. Here we present the hottest things we're working onfor you at the SNS World Headquarters (a.k.a., the ''Beach Palace Hotel''). Togo to the website MC, click http://www.tapsns.com/subscriber_corner.shtml.To log in, type your full e-mail address in lowercase, as both your User Nameand your Password. You may also create your own password, if you prefer.

*** WHAT'S HOT THIS WEEK:

Thank you to all of those who have filled out the FIRe 2003 survey. Tothose who haven't done so yet: we encourage you to respond so that we can makeFIRe 2004 even better. Certainly there are areas in which we can improve orbuild on FIRe 2003; please let us know your ideas by using the Comments areafollowing each section of the survey.

Discounted "early bird" registration is currently open for all whosigned up at the conference, and will be available for all SNS FIRe 2003Participants beginning Friday, June 20, until we reach our early-birdallocation. If you need help signing up, please contact me by e-mail at sam@tapsns.com or by phone at 704-821-2911.

In the interim, I've received some interesting accessories ideas. Here are twothat stand out:

1) "Sam, how about a business card holder -- something small and made fromleather, perhaps with the Orca logo discreetly displayed in one corner?"

Kerry Ritz

Kerry, are you reading my mail? A prototype is already made, and we expect tooffer business-card holders for sale within the next couple of weeks.

2)  In an "Ethermail" from last week's SNS newsletter, NonaClifton of MusicNet wrote: "I vote for a watch. You guys could come upwith a very classy one! Not too expensive, just a slick little timepiece."

Nona, cool idea. I'll look into this.

Any other ideas? How about an SNS Orca hood ornament for your Hummer? Okay,that's going too far.  Please send all other ideas to me, sam@tapsns.com.

We still have some FIRe 2003 embroidered laptop cases available. TheFIRe 2003 logo is on one side; on the other will be your custom-embroidered SNSMember number, as well as the Orca logo (unless you request that it not beincluded). Any SNS Members who would like to own one of these special casesshould place their orders as usual through the Accessories portion of the website(see link below), then send a separate e-mail to me at sam@tapsns.com requesting this dual-logo case.First come, first served.

https://www.tapsns.com/cgi-bin/tapsns/interch/laptop.html

WEEKLY FEATURES

~ Position Sought:

Senior Manager / Director

http://www.tapsns.com/resumes/Gibs_Lawrence.htm

 


~ Positions Available:

1)  Vice President of Development/CTO
http://www.tapsns.com/resumes/JDVP-Development-CTO.htm

and

2) VP Engineering: Software Development
http://www.tapsns.com/resumes/vp-calgary.shtml



~ Pick of the Week from issues of the SNS newsletter:

Question
: What was Mark referring to when he said "True, it was justabout gutted and left for roadkill a few years ago by the happy bureaucratsconducting 3G auctions, but those days, thank goodness, are over"? (See the answer at the bottom of this MC.)

~ Quote of the Week:

"The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do himabsolutely no good."
       -- Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

Please remember that we always welcome new:

~ Resumes / positions available
for weekly postings

~ Pics and bios for representation in the Members' Gallery

In addition to the features above, the Members' Corner links to these websitefeatures:

1. Research Desktop:

https://www.tapsns.com/tapsns/subscriber_resdesk.shtml

2. Members' Library:

https://www.tapsns.com/tapsns/subscriber_library.shtml

3. ''Where's Mark?''

4. Updates on Orca Relief

5. SNS Glossary:

https://www.tapsns.com/tapsns/subscriber_glossary.shtml

6. SNS Gallery Spotlight Member:  This week we've chosen KristanRivers as our compelling Spotlight Member of the Week. Unlike recentSpotlight members, Kristan didn't attend FIRe 2003, but we hope to see him nextyear, as he'd fit right in with those of you whose businesses combine games andtechnology. As Kristan puts it, his background consists of working with"very cool connected devices that fit in your pocket."

As head of mobile business at DA Group Plc., based in Glasgow, Scotland,Kristan is responsible for implementing the company's core 3D characteranimation technologies into mobile applications and services, includingmessaging and streaming video.

Please check out Kristan D. Rivers' photo and complete bio, and those of otherSNS Members, in the SNS Members' Gallery: http://www.tapsns.com/spotlight.shtml.

7. SNS Accessories: We have selected the highest-quality SNSpersonalized accessories for you:

Laptop Cases: A top-quality, ultra-light case made of durable 1680ballistic nylon, weighing in at just 2.5 pounds.  This case is the mostefficient travel case I've found, and frankly, it's beautiful. Take a look atthese one-of-a kind laptop cases, and check out all of the extra features thereisn't room to mention here: https://www.tapsns.com/cgi-bin/tapsns/interch/laptop.html

Luggage Tags: A laser-etched, solid brass elite luggage tag featuringthe Orca logo and your individual SNS Member number. Tags include a durable,custom-designed leather strap; they also look very classy on the laptop cases,as shown in the laptop photo (see link above).

https://www.tapsns.com/cgi-bin/tapsns/interch/other.html

Attire: Short-sleeved 100 percent mercerized cotton Polo shirts,Long-sleeved Polo shirts, and Long-sleeved Mock Turtleneck shirts. SNS canvashats, in black or tan. All are embroidered with the SNS Orca logo and your personalMember number:

https://www.tapsns.com/cgi-bin/tapsns/interch/shirts.html.

I place orders each Monday, and shipments will usually arrive within 3 to 4weeks of your order placement. A portion of all proceeds is donated to the OrcaRelief Fund, so each purchase directly benefits the diminishing Orcapopulation.

Please keep sending us your ideas for new products! If Member interest is highenough, we'll make them happen, and we'll send you a free customized gift toshow our appreciation.

~Answer to the SNS Pick of the Week:

Question
: What was Mark referring to when he said "True, it was justabout gutted and left for roadkill a few years ago by the happy bureaucratsconducting 3G auctions, but those days, thank goodness, are over"?

Answer: The wireless business. (''***SNS***: Over to Wireless,'' April 23, 2003)

Please send all Member-oriented correspondence and ideas to me, SAM, at sam@tapsns.com, or feel free to phone me at704-821-2911.

Thank you!

Sharon Anderson-Morris / ''SAM''

____________________



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--------------------------

 

About the Strategic News Service

 

SNS is the most accurate predictive letter covering thecomputer and telecom industries. It is personally read by the top managers atcompanies such as Intel, Microsoft, Dell, Compaq, Sun, Netscape, and MCI, aswell as by leading financial analysts at the world's top investment banks andventure capital funds, including Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Hummer Winblad,Venrock and Warburg Pincus. It is regularly quoted in top industrypublications such as BusinessWeek, Newsweek, Infoworld, Institutional Investor,Wired, the Financial Times, the New York Times, and elsewhere.

 

About the Publisher

 

Mark Anderson is president of Technology Alliance Partners,and of the Strategic News Service(tm) LLC. TAP was founded in 1989, andprovides trends and marketing alliance assistance to firms leading theconvergence of telecom and computing. Mark is a Seybold Fellow. He is thefounder of two software companies and of the Washington Software AllianceInvestors' Forum, Washington's premier software investment conference; and hasparticipated in the launch of many software startups. A past director of theWSA, Mark chairs the WSA Presidents' Group. He regularly appears on the WallStreet Review/KSDO, CNN, and National Public Radio/KPLU programs. Mark is amember of the Merrill Lynch Technology Advisory Board, and is an advisor and/orinvestor in Authora, Ontain, Ignition Partners, Mohr Davidow Ventures, andothers. He also serves on the board of the not-for-profit Hybrid VigorInstitute, and is a principal in the investment advisory firm Resonance CapitalManagement LLC, which manages the accounts of institutions and high-net-worthinvestors, focused on technology markets.

 

Disclosure: Mark Anderson is a portfolio manager of a hedgefund. His fund often buys and sells securities that are the subject of hiscolumns, both before and after the columns are published, and the position thathis fund takes may change at any time. Under no circumstances does theinformation in this newsletter represent a recommendation to buy or sellstocks.

 

 

On September 9th, he will offer the opening keynote speechon the current state of wireless communications, at the WSA Tech FutureConference, Westin Hotel, Seattle.  And on September 18th, he will providethe keynote speech at the Financial Executives International meeting in Las Vegas. That evening, he will host the annual WSA Presidents' Group VentureCapital evening, at the Woodmark Hotel, Kirkland, WA.

 



In between times, he will be watching as the children learn the twitch of thewrist, the slow movements, the gentle touching with all whips and ropes, thatmake riding a horse a small subset of communicating with a horse.


"Strategic News Service," "SNS,""Future In Review," "FIRe," and "Project Inkwell"are all registered service marks of Strategic News Service LLC.

 

Copyright 2003, Strategic News Service LLC

 

ISSN 1093-8494

 

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