|By Roger Strukhoff||
|December 1, 2010 11:12 AM EST||
I had a chance to read the book, Ahmad's War, Ahmad's Peace, recently, published in 2005 and written by longtime NPR international correspondent Micahael Goldfarb. It is the story of a writer and teacher, Ahmad Shawkut, who suffered greatly under Saddam Hussein, then thought he had achieved intellectual freedom when Hussein was ousted, only to be murdered during the early days of the US occupation in Iraq.
The book had nothing to do with Cloud Computing, or technology for that matter, other than to offer brief descriptions of the satellite phones in use there and to note that Iraqi police stations had no computers. Its author generally maintained a measured tone throughout, with occasional bursts of rage when describing the gulf between what supercilious commentators in the US say happened versus what really did happen to many ordinary Iraqi citizens during this war.
Yet it struck me as another example of a place where IT could and should be used as a true liberating force.
IT Irony in the US and UK
There is appalling irony, and lots of it, in the US and UK today regarding how IT has been turned into a weapon by these countries' governments against their people. Ubiquitous cameras throughout London have now given the British government a perpetual view of its citizens acts and perhaps intentions, at least in their public lives. Meanwhile, in the US, domestic spying revelations no doubt form only the tip of an iceberg, and it turns out to be true that thousands of images of people's junk have been saved for future reference and who know what else.
Whatever one's opinion of Julian Assenge and WikiLeaks is, it seems that most would agree that Attorney General Eric Holder is being ludicrous with his "this is not saber rattling" threats to arrest a foreign citizen who published material at a foreign-based website. The US got to experience life as the world's lone superpower for a 12-year period from 1989 to 2001; it demonstrated that it was not the sort of imperium that would try to enslave the part of the world it couldn't obliterate, but also showed the world that it could not function as either the world's policeman or beacon of ethics.
Failure is the Only Option
The lost decade of the "aughts," precipitated financially by the Clinton administration's pursuit of Microsoft in court (go back and look, you'll see the dot-com crash started when Redmond was perceived as the evil empire), then socially by a mission that was not accomplished quite as expeditiously as the Bush administration thought, left the United States in an amazing financial mess, and seemingly toothless in international affairs.
The President flies to Denmark to try to convince sneering Euros to let Chicago have the Olympics. Fail. The Vice-President gets insulted by the country's Israeli allies in unprecedented fashion, only to accede to ever more demands. Fail. The President goes to India, begging for business from a nation with an average wealth 2% of the US. He moves onto South Korea, unable to secure the most basic trade agreement. He continues to Japan, where no one remembers even now that he was there. Fail, fail, and fail.
This is not a commentary on the President, but rather, the parlous situation the United States finds itself in today. These failures follow several decades of foreign misadventure, an increasingly obese and uneducated public that doesn't really like to vote much, and a debased media that thinks it's being destroyed by the Internet rather than by its own irrelevance.
Don't Abandon All Hope, Ye
But the great hope of IT as liberation technology lives elsewhere. It chips away at a priggish Chinese government's attempts to control it utterly. It serves as an invaluable tool for on-the-spot reporting of social disruption from Toronto to Bangkok. It is a key contributor to increased standards of living throughout the world, especially in those countries that are the most aggressive in its adoption, from Morocco and Senegal to Ukraine and Poland to Malaysia and Vietnam.
And Iraq. Ahmad Shawkut, in the book about him, was a dreamer, and an argumentative one, a guy who couldn't (wouldn't) put a lid on his opinions to save his own skin. He is not presented as wholly heroic, as the author notes the stress he put on his family and the futility of much of his utopian thinking. Mr. Shawkut loved the metaphysical, not the practical.
But he was undone by a place in which secrets and gossip pass quickly and unendingly through dark alleyways, as they have for thousands of years. If the police did, in fact, have some computers, if the populace did have wide access to the Web, if people were able to see beyond the limited horizon of the local ridgeline, then the Ahmad Shawkuts of the world could gain the influence they simply don't have today. Yes, in my opinion, Cloud Computing's potential to transform societies is even greater than its potential to transform datacenters.
One can only wish that the citizens of the US and UK can someday better restrain the power of their governments to misuse IT, just as other governments of the world can better bring IT's advantages to their citizens.
"delaPlex is a software development company. We do team-based outsourcing development," explained Mark Rivers, COO and Co-founder of delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jun. 28, 2016 03:38 PM EDT Reads: 176
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
Jun. 28, 2016 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,122
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. He cited examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He also highlighted how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable ...
Jun. 28, 2016 01:59 PM EDT Reads: 166
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
Jun. 28, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 799
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
Jun. 28, 2016 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 944
Connected devices and the industrial internet are growing exponentially every year with Cisco expecting 50 billion devices to be in operation by 2020. In this period of growth, location-based insights are becoming invaluable to many businesses as they adopt new connected technologies. Knowing when and where these devices connect from is critical for a number of scenarios in supply chain management, disaster management, emergency response, M2M, location marketing and more. In his session at @Th...
Jun. 28, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,119
Basho Technologies has announced the latest release of Basho Riak TS, version 1.3. Riak TS is an enterprise-grade NoSQL database optimized for Internet of Things (IoT). The open source version enables developers to download the software for free and use it in production as well as make contributions to the code and develop applications around Riak TS. Enhancements to Riak TS make it quick, easy and cost-effective to spin up an instance to test new ideas and build IoT applications. In addition to...
Jun. 28, 2016 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 456
When people aren’t talking about VMs and containers, they’re talking about serverless architecture. Serverless is about no maintenance. It means you are not worried about low-level infrastructural and operational details. An event-driven serverless platform is a great use case for IoT. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Animesh Singh, an STSM and Lead for IBM Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, will detail how to build a distributed serverless, polyglot, microservices framework using open source tec...
Jun. 28, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 432
Apixio Inc. has raised $19.3 million in Series D venture capital funding led by SSM Partners with participation from First Analysis, Bain Capital Ventures and Apixio’s largest angel investor. Apixio will dedicate the proceeds toward advancing and scaling products powered by its cognitive computing platform, further enabling insights for optimal patient care. The Series D funding comes as Apixio experiences strong momentum and increasing demand for its HCC Profiler solution, which mines unstruc...
Jun. 28, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 351
IoT offers a value of almost $4 trillion to the manufacturing industry through platforms that can improve margins, optimize operations & drive high performance work teams. By using IoT technologies as a foundation, manufacturing customers are integrating worker safety with manufacturing systems, driving deep collaboration and utilizing analytics to exponentially increased per-unit margins. However, as Benoit Lheureux, the VP for Research at Gartner points out, “IoT project implementers often ...
Jun. 28, 2016 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 427
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his Day 2 Keynote at @ThingsExpo, Henrik Kenani Dahlgren, Portfolio Marketing Manager at Ericsson, discussed how to plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change t...
Jun. 28, 2016 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,293
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
Jun. 28, 2016 08:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,214
Presidio has received the 2015 EMC Partner Services Quality Award from EMC Corporation for achieving outstanding service excellence and customer satisfaction as measured by the EMC Partner Services Quality (PSQ) program. Presidio was also honored as the 2015 EMC Americas Marketing Excellence Partner of the Year and 2015 Mid-Market East Partner of the Year. The EMC PSQ program is a project-specific survey program designed for partners with Service Partner designations to solicit customer feedbac...
Jun. 28, 2016 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 461
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
Jun. 28, 2016 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,325
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate a...
Jun. 27, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 883
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
Jun. 26, 2016 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,346
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes.
Jun. 26, 2016 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,256
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
Jun. 26, 2016 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,310
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
Jun. 26, 2016 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,389
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
Jun. 26, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,338