Showing posts with label Connectivity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Connectivity. Show all posts

February 24, 2014

Google Fiber 4 The Nation's Capital

How About Google Fiber for Washington, D.C.? 

- Lead, by example, the rest of the nation forward.


- Speed up the functioning of the government.


- Helpful for Emergency Management


- The Patriotic thing to do! ;-)


All Opinions my own. 


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Cameron Yee, & no idea why it's in Spanish, but I like it!)

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August 14, 2013

Technology Heals

My wife took this photo today at The Drupal for Government Conference at NIH.

The man in the photo was not only participating in the conference, but also taking notes on his Apple Macbook Air. 

It is incredible how technology is helping us do our jobs and be ever more productive.

This is the vision of technology taking us beyond the natural limits we all have and face. 

I remember a few years ago when I was in the hospital for something and feeling bad about myself, and my wife brought me a laptop and said "Write!"--it was liberating and I believe helped me heal and recuperate.

I wonder if hospitals in the future will regularly provide computers and access to patients to not only keep them connected with their loved ones, but also let them have more options for entertainment, creativity, and even productivity, to the extent they can, while getting well.

Kudos to this gentleman--he is truly a role model and inspiration for us all. 

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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May 5, 2012

Understanding Risk Management

Information Security, like all security, needs to be managed on a risk management basis.  

This is a fundamental principle that was prior advocated for the Department of Homeland Security, by the former Secretary Michael Chertoff.  

The basic premise is that we have limited resources to cover ever changing and expanding risks, and that therefore, we must put our security resources to the greatest risks first.

Daniel Ryan and Julie Ryan (1995) came up with a simple formula for determining risks, as follows:

Risk = [(Threats x Vulnerabilities) / Countermeasures)]  x  Impact

Where:

- Threats = those who wish do you harm.

- Vulnerabilities = inherent weaknesses or design flaws.

- Countermeasures = the things you do to protect against the dangers imposed.

[Together, threats and vulnerabilities, offset by any countermeasures, is the probability or likelihood of a potential (negative) event occurring.]

- Impacts = the damage or potential loss that would be done.

Of course, in a perfect world, we would like to reduce risk to zero and be completely secure, but in the real world, the cost of achieving total risk avoidance is cost prohibitive. 

For example, with information systems, the only way to hypothetically eliminate all risk is by disconnecting (and turning off) all your computing resources, thereby isolating yourself from any and all threats. But as we know, this is counterproductive, since there is a positive correlation between connectivity and productivity. When connectivity goes down, so does productivity.

Thus, in the absence of being able to completely eliminate risk, we are left with managing risk and particularly with securing critical infrastructure protection (CIP) through the prioritization of the highest security risks and securing these, going down that list until we exhaust our available resources to issue countermeasures with.

In a sense, being unable to "get rid of risk" or fully secure ourselves from anything bad happening to us is a philosophically imperfect answer and leaves me feeling unsatisfied--in other words, what good is security if we can't ever really have it anyway?

I guess the ultimate risk we all face is the risk of our own mortality. In response all we can do is accept our limitations and take action on the rest.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to martinluff)

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July 16, 2011

Undersea Internet Cables-See Them for Yourself

I've always been interested in maps, geography, and geospatial information systems (GIS).
Coming across Greg's Cable Map--I thought this is sort of idiosyncratic, but fascinating too.
This is an interactive map of our global undersea telecommunications infrastructure.
If you ever wondered how you were able to connect with someone anywhere in the world in split seconds (satellites aside--since we all don't have immediate access to that), here it is.
How it works: Either you can search the list of cables of the right, click on any one of interest and it highlights it on the map for you or vice versa click on a telecommunications link on the map and it bring up in the right-hand column the points of the cable landings and reference to more information .
Another cool feature, is the ability to display the telecommunications infrastructure from before, during, or since any period of time--so you can get a historical perspective of what the Internet for example looked like or didn't look like only ten or fifteen years ago. Can anyone say carrier pigeon? :-)
There is also the ability to click on the bottom of the map on the check boxes for either or both the active or future cable links to see where we are now ("as-is") and where we are going ("to-be") in terms of Internet connectivity.
Next time you read in the newspaper about a large-scale Internet outage like the multiple ones that occurred when undersea cables were cut in the Mediterranean in 2008 causing outages from the Mideast to India, you can look it up here and see for yourself how "the foot bones connected to the ankle bone."
Enjoy and have a good weekend!

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March 31, 2011

Evolving Capabilities To Meet The Times


Great question raised by ABC News on why can't we contact 911 using texting (except for Black Hawk County, Iowa--population 130,000!).
I would extend on the question and suggest that we be able to contact 911 by any number of ubiquitous technologies whether texting, instant messaging, email, or even potentially social media sites (e.g. 911 on Facebook).
Frankly, if someone is in trouble, they shouldn't have to get to a phone anymore, but rather they should simply be able to contact emergency services from wherever and whatever they are doing as long as they are connected--whether by desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones, help should be just a message away.
Moreover, by capturing photos, videos, and voice, we can send a more multimedia, data-rich stream of information to 911, enabling them to better assess and respond to the situation.
We owe it to both those in need of help and those emergency service providers to link them through more types of communications services and more information-rich media.
I believe that the excuse that people will make more mistakes texting doesn't ring true in an information economy where Americans send 5 1/2 billion text messages a day.
In fact, a mistaken text is better than no text!
The key is to evolve our capabilities and not stay static in 50 year old technology, just because.

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January 29, 2011

The iWatch Does It All

Forget James Bond gadgets or Dick Tracy 2-way wrist-watches, the new concept iWatch is the one to drool over.

This is the vision of Italy's ADR Studio, but I believe it is just "around the corner" for all of us.

Fusing the design of an iPod Shuffle/Nano with the functionality of an iTouch/iPhone and voila, the new iWatch.

Clock, calendar, calculator, and weather--that's nice, but frankly it's child's play. Think more in terms of:

- News
- Stock quotes
- Social networking
- Music, videos, and games
- Google
- GPS
- 300,000 App Store downloads (and growing)

Unload some smartphone "baggage" from your belt and bag and integrate on your wrist.

There is a reason this concept keeps coming back in ever cooler ways--it makes sense functionally and feels right ergonomically.
I envision this working one day with virtual display and controls, so that physical "size doesn't matter."

We will walk on the moon again or some other distant planets, but we will always be connected to each other and not just in spirit, but with our iWatches

"Slide to unlock" now, please!

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January 3, 2009

Embedded Systems and Enterprise Architecture

Information technology is not just about data centers, desktops, and handheld devices anymore. These days, technology is everywhere—embedded in all sorts of devices from cars and toaster ovens to traffic lights and nuclear power plants. Technology is pervasive in every industry from telecommunications to finance and from healthcare to consumer electronics.

Generally, embedded systems are dedicated to specific tasks, while general-purpose computers can be used for a variety of functions. In either case, the systems are vital for our everyday functioning.

Government Computer News, 15 December 2008 reports that “thanks to the plummeting cost of microprocessors, computing…now happens in automobiles, Global Positioning Systems, identification cards and even outer space.

The challenge with embedded systems are that they “must operate on limited resources—small processors, tiny memory and low power.”

Rob Oshana, director of engineering at Freescale Semiconductor says that “With embedded it’s about doing as much as you can with as little as you can.”

What’s new—haven’t we had systems embedded in automobiles for years?

Although originally designed for interacting with the real world, such systems are increasingly feeding information into larger information systems,” according to Wayne Wolf, chair of embedded computing systems at Georgia Institute of Technology.

According to Wolf, “What we are starting to see now is [the emergence] of what the National Science Foundation is called cyber-physical systems.”

In other words, embedded systems are used for command and control or information capture in the physical domain (like in a car or medical imaging machine), but then they can also share information over a network with others (think OnStar or remote medical services).

When the information is shared from the car to the Onstar service center, information about an accident can be turned into dispatch of life-saving responders. Similarly, when scans from a battlefield MRI is shared with medical service providers back in the States, quality medical services can be provided, when necessary, from thousands of miles away.

As we should hopefully have all come to learn after 9-11, information hoarding is faux power. But when information is shared, the power is real because it can be received and used by others and others, so that its influence is exponential.

Think for example, of the Mars Rover, which has embedded systems for capturing environmental samples. Left alone, the information is contained to a physical device millions of miles away, but sharing the information back to remote tracking stations here on Earth, the information can be analyzed, shared, studied, and so forth with almost endless possibilities for ongoing learning and growth.

The world has changed from embedded systems to a universe of connected systems.

Think distributed computing and the internet. With distributed computing, we are silos or separate domains of information, but by connecting the islands of information using the internet for example, we can all harness the vast amounts of information out there and in turn process it within our own lives and contribute back information to others.

The connection and sharing is our strength.

In the intelligence world, information is often referred to as dots, and it is the connection of the dots that make for viable and actionable intelligence.

As people, we are also proverbially just little dots in this big world of ours.

But as we have learnt with social media, we are able to grow as individuals and become more potent and more fulfilled human beings by being connected with others—we’ve gone from doing this in our limited physical geographies to a much larger population in cyberspace.

In the end, information resides in people or can be embedded in machines, but connecting the information to with other humans and machines is the true power of the information technology.


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