Pages: pp. 10-12
10 Sept. 2007
"Net Neutrality Dismissed," by K.C. Jones
In a filing with the US Department of Justice (DoJ) in September, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) indicated that net neutrality could hurt Internet innovation. The DoJ said any net neutrality regulations that the FCC puts in place could limit investment in broadband expansion and consumer choice. It also compared charging more for better performance to the US Postal Service charging tiered rates for various delivery options. "It may make economic sense for content providers who want a higher quality of service to pay for the Internet upgrades necessary to provide such services," the FCC wrote.
16 Oct. 2007
"The Mouse or the Remote?"
A recent IBM Research study revealed that Americans spend more time online than they do watching television, with 26 percent of respondents spending more than six hours a day surfing the Web. The survey included respondents from five countries: the US, Australia, Germany, Japan, and the UK. All five countries had a higher percentage of respondents online for four hours or more than respondents watching TV for the same amount of time.
The survey asked only about personal time spent on the Internet or watching TV, so respondents weren't supposed to include time spent online for work, but they could include personal surfing while at work.
3 Sept. 2007
"Who Owns Wireless Tech?" by Richard Martin
As enterprise users — already uncertain about the emerging wireless local area network (WLAN) market — begin to make critical decisions about their WLAN infrastructures, two patent disputes over wireless network technology are under way.
In June, a US district judge granted the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) an injunction against Buffalo Technology, a WLAN equipment maker, regarding Wi-Fi technology patents. CSIRO, an Australian science agency, is also involved in three other patent disputes with tech companies. And in August, Motorola filed a lawsuit claiming Aruba Networks violated four patents held by its Symbol Technologies and Wireless Valley Communications subsidiaries. Two patents involve 3D representations for WLAN management and design; the others involve WLAN switching technology.
17 Sept. 2007
"Mobile Web for the Masses," by Richard Martin
The iPhone's success, with its full Safari browser, together with increased pressure from commercial customers looking to offer mobile browsing to their employees, might be creating an opportunity for the Opera Mini Web browser to capture a larger market share.
Opera Mini users view 1 billion pages a month on its low- to mid-priced cell phones. The latest version — Opera Mini 4.0, which is easier to use and offers faster downloads than earlier versions — provides users with an almost-full browsing experience on mass-market cell phones.
16 Oct. 2007
"A New Wireless Frontier," by Frank Washburn
Plans are in the works for the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to auction slices of the 700-MHz spectrum currently used by analog TV, which might mean cheaper and faster wireless broadband services with download speeds up to 5 mbits per second faster than Wi-Fi.
Uncertainties are involved, however. First, the plan for analog TV signals to stop in early 2009 in the US must actually occur. Second, wireless capabilities will depend on how the FCC sells or licenses portions of the spectrum.
When the spectrum does go silent, it will create a third broadband conduit into US homes that has "no noise, no interference" because the FCC hasn't licensed anyone to broadcast anything but UHF in it. Also, most of the infrastructure required for broadcasting wireless broadband within the 700-MHz spectrum already exists, meaning spectrum owners won't have to build it, just negotiate for space on existing towers.
Google has already said it will bid at least US$4.6 billion for a part of the spectrum. AT&T and Verizon have also expressed interest. The auction is scheduled for January 2008.
Dr. Dobb's Journal
"Widgets and Rich Internet Applications," by Dana Moore and Ray Budd
As the popularity of rich Internet applications (RIAs) such as Gmail and Flickr continues to expand, Moore and Budd suggest programmers consider using desktop widgets with RIAs to significantly enhance the user experience.
RIAs combine Web applications with traditional desktop applications, moving some of the processing to the client. Moore and Budd explain that widgets are low-cost, lightweight client applications that can "bridge the gap between the RIA and the desktop." Widgets can help an RIA interact with client systems to do things such as read files or check how much memory is being used. The authors point out that widgets also use client-only resources and let programmers avoid the costs associated with developing a functional utility program from scratch.
"TR 35: 2007," by Jason Pontin, Wade Roush, Neil Savage, David Talbot, Kate Greene, and Erika Jonietz
Since 1999, the editors of Technology Review have selected 35 innovators under the age of 35, whose inventions and research they find most exciting. Of the 35 winners for 2007, seven are involved with the Internet:
The list, which took the magazine's editors almost a year to compile, was whittled down from 300 nominees.
Visual Studio Magazine Online
"Creating Ajax-Enabled Web Services in .NET," by Dan Wahlin
When a browser and a Web service exchange data, it usually involves the latter sending XML messages that conform to the SOAP specification, which requires XML parsing. Unfortunately, XML parsing support varies widely in browsers and is very limited on Internet Explorer.
"Researchers Herd Computers to Fight Spyware," by Linda Dailey Paulson
A joint research project between Harvard Law School and Oxford University is experimenting with "herd" computing to combat spyware and a range of malware. Herd computing involves using several volunteered computers. Software runs on each client, gathering basic data about each computer, such as memory consumption or CPU performance, and sends it to a server. The server then analyzes the data and shares its results with participants without divulging information that identifies individual machines, such as IP addresses.
Herd computing is particularly useful to participants who want to run new code, but want to see how many other computers might be using it and how it has affected them. Participants can also use others' experiences or observed behavior to decide whether to download new software.
Those involved in the project say they plan to include open APIs in future pilot herding projects so participants can write widgets that will let them work with assembled data as they choose.
IEEE Pervasive Computing
"AnySpot: Pervasive Document Access and Sharing," by Jonathan Trevor and David M. Hilbert
The opportunities for supporting pervasive document access and sharing are greater today than at any other point in the past, thanks to wireless networks and devices and the Web. However, coverage remains uneven at best.
In an effort to address this, Trevor and Hilbert created AnySpot, a "Web-service-based platform for seamlessly connecting people to their personal and shared documents wherever they go."
AnySpot lets users access and share resources in any filesystem remotely by using a range of wired and wireless devices. As a result, users can tap into networked resources from their PCs at home, Internet terminals and wireless hotspots, or print shops. They can also use shared-document and mobile devices to share documents while on the road.
Trevor and Hilbert say they chose a service-oriented architecture based on Web services to extend their platform and include a range of clients, networked services, and file sources. They describe AnySpot's design and detail their efforts to deploy AnySpot in a large, multinational organization.
"Ajax Frameworks for Interactive Web Apps," by Nicolás Serrano and Juan Pablo Aroztegi
One of these, the Google Web Toolkit, is well documented. Serrano and Aroztegi review various other Ajax frameworks that make it easier to create applications that use the Ajax features increasingly demanded by users. These include
"Seaside: A Flexible Environment for Building DynamicWeb Applications," by Stéphane Ducasse, Adrian Lienhard, and Lukas Renggli
Web application development poses several key challenges, among them the fact that go-to statements in a program can hamper the reuse of pages in other parts of the application and the limited support in Web application frameworks for creating a range of parts on the same page.
Ducass, Lienhard, and Renggli review these difficulties and describe Seaside ( www.seaside.st), a highly dynamic framework they created for developing Web applications in the Smalltalk programming language.
The authors chose Smalltalk, with its dynamic nature and reflective capabilities, because it allows Seaside to have multiple control flows active simultaneously on the same page. Also, they say there's no need to restart Seaside application servers after each modification, so developers can troubleshoot and update applications "on the fly," shortening development time noticeably.