Wednesday, May 27
TechCrunch wonders if one of the most popular websites in the world was sold too late:
There are a handful of industry-changing Web 2.0 names including MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn. But unlike those other Web 2.0 behemoths who have the luxury of waiting out revenue challenges as their user base surges and the economy recovers, YouTube’s runaway success meant extremely high bandwidth costs and legal worries early on. It’s one of the only companies in that list that should have sold early while the momentum was high.
Evidence: Nearly three years after the acquisition, the mighty Google still hasn’t figured out exactly how to monetize all those eyeballs either. Industry estimates say YouTube spends half a billion or more a year in bandwidth costs. That’s not to say it was a bad acquisition, particularly considering Google’s stock currency was tantamount to monopoly money back then. But you have to wonder, if YouTube were alive today, how much more would it have been forced to raise and at what terms?
The web has led to a flood of free content. But from newspapers to video sites like YouTube, the question remains: How do you make money?
The Washington Post reports:
President Obama is expected to announce late this week that he will create a “cyber czar,” a senior White House official who will have broad authority to develop strategy to protect the nation’s government-run and private computer networks, according to people who have been briefed on the plan.
The adviser will have the most comprehensive mandate granted to such an official to date and will probably be a member of the National Security Council but will report to the national security adviser as well as the senior White House economic adviser, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deliberations are not final.
Good news, especially given recent attacks on U.S. government networks.
Tuesday, May 26
The largest barrier to broadband adoption is a lack of awareness about broadband’s benefits.
Among adults 65 or older, broadband adoption is only 25%. Sixty-three percent of this group says they do not need broadband and 45% do not own a computer.
Connected Nation. The Economic Impact of Stimulating Broadband Nationally. February 2008.
More facts about broadband adoption.
Friday, May 22
Today’s Wall Street Journal has a fascinating article on an ongoing effort to use Google Earth in order to explore and document North Korea. The project’s leader is a George Mason doctoral candidate named Curtis Melvin. Reports the Journal:
Mr. Melvin is at the center of a dozen or so citizen snoops who have spent the past two years filling in the blanks on the map of one of the world’s most secretive countries. Seeking clues in photos, news reports and eyewitness accounts, they affix labels to North Korean structures and landscapes captured by Google Earth, an online service that stitches satellite pictures into a virtual globe. The result is an annotated North Korea of rocket-launch sites, prison camps and elite palaces on white-sand beaches.
“It’s democratized intelligence,” says Mr. Melvin.
Check out the full article.
Recovery.org has updated its timeline for the federal broadband stimulus, and Geoff Daily at App-Rising isn’t entirely happy with the news:
Was hoping I wouldn’t have to say this, but I think so far the broadband stimulus is doing more harm than good.
There are two primary reasons for this.
The first is that from a policy perspective there’s a whole lot more discussion going on about how to distribute these limited BTOP dollars than there are conversations about how to craft a national broadband strategy. Given that we have less than a year to create and come to a consensus around that strategy, we can’t afford to have the stimulus distract us from pushing this larger dialog forward.
The second, and much bigger concern, is that as things currently stand the stimulus is doing more to slow down deployment than speed it up. I’ve now heard from multiple people of projects that could already be deploying but instead are waiting to see if they can leverage stimulus dollars to help fund their projects.
For a national broadband strategy to be successful, there needs to be a demand for high-speed Internet. And, as Broadband Census reports, spurring that demand may begin in the country’s libraries:
Speaking at a forum at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, Don Means, the co-founder and principal of Digital Village Associates, outlined his proposal to extend high-speed connectivity to all 16,500 libraries in the country.
Titled “Fiber to the Library: Next Generation Broadband for Next Generation Libraries,” the event was an upbeat assessment of the benefits of ensuring fiber-class connectivity to libraries.
Bringing fiber to the libraries, besides being the quickest, cheapest way to provide next generation broadband to next generation libraries, is also a good idea because it gives people experience with fiber-speed internet, Means said.
Via GigaOm, it seems Amazon Web Services—- the company’s popular “cloud” storage service—has turned to the United States Postal service due to painfully slow Internet pipes:
Werner Vogels, Amazon’s CTO, explains in a blog posting that it would take up to 13 days to sling a terabyte of data across a 10 Mbps network, which is pretty darn slow. So Amazon is offering customers the chance to store their data on an external device, ship it via post, and Amazon will load it into S3. I outlined this problem of needing fat pipes to transfer our increasing loads of data back in April, but was hoping that instead of using FedEx, we’d have faster networks. Interestingly, Vogels doesn’t think our networks will keep up with our data generation — a feeling common also in the supercomputing and cloud storage world.
If cloud computing is indeed the future…well, it seems the future is a ways away.
Thursday, May 21
After the astronauts on the International Space Station finished up their communications with Space Shuttle Atlantis yesterday, the crew on the Space Station did something that no other astronaut has ever done before - drank recycled urine and sweat.
To boldly go indeed…
Broadband Census points to a recent interview with Acting Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Copps on C-Span. During it, Copps reiterated the FCC’s commitment to a national broadband strategy.
While a number of airlines continue to experiment with in-flight WiFi service, Virgin America is moving all-in. From a company press release:
Virgin America, the California-based carrier, announced that as of today it is the first and only airline to offer Gogo® In-flight Internet service on every flight. As of today, guests on any of Virgin America’s 100 daily flights have the option to surf the Web, check e-mail, or log on to their corporate VPN – all from the comfort of their seats at 37,000 feet.
To mark the occasion, Virgin will be conducting a special air-to-ground Skype session with none other than Oprah Winfrey.
(* Apologies for the cheesy headline.)