Published March 28, 2007
There’s been a flurry of items of interest on calendaring interoperability that might add up to an indication of gathering momentum on this long overdue area.
The CalDAV spec for “accessing, managing, and sharing calendaring and scheduling information” was given official RFC (Request for Comment) status by the IETF, becoming RFC 4791. That gives CalDAV an official status within the Internet community that should encourage widespread adoption.
Membership in the CalConnect calendaring consortium continues to grow, with Google being the latest member to join. Google Calendar product manager Shirin Oskooi said this about joining: “We believe it is important to work towards a unified standard around announcing, discovering, and publishing events and to work towards overall interoperability. To this end, CalConnect’s goals are right in line with Google’s mission to organize the world’s information and to make it universally accessible and useful.” Now if only we could get that other high tech company across the lake to join…
InfoWeek has an article on Apple’s fortchoming Leopard server software release that talks about the support for CalDAV within the iCal server. And Apple is touting the support for CalDAV in the forthcoming iCal desktop software. That means that you’ll be able to use iCal to access CalDAV servers whether they’re Apple’s own or somebody else’s.
I hope I’m not just being overly optimistic in feeling like this is beginning to all add up to something – we’ve desperately needed interoperable calendaring for years!
Technorati Tags: apple, Calconnect, CalDAV , Calendaring, google
Published March 25, 2007
Last week at our annual all-hands meeting for C&C we were fortunate to have a panel discussion that featured Ed Lazowska, Ron Johnson, and John Delaney, all talking about the changing nature of scientific research and how research is being enabled by advanced cyber-infrastructure.
Ed talked about computational science becoming less about raw compute cycles and more about being “data-centric”, and how competitive advantage is gained from how fast you can extract new knowledge from the same data everyone else also has access to. He said that the technological future is in managing, transmitting, synthesizing, and visualizing massive amounts of data and then in being able to collaborate with others working with that data in secure and authenticated ways.
John gave a captivating overview of the Neptune project as a great example of exactly the kind of large-scale research environment that Ed was talking about. This is an international effort to place fiber-optic cable and attached instruments on the sea floor around the boundaries of the Juan De Fuca tectonic plate off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia to collect data wide range of oceanographic, geological, and ecological processes. This is a huge effort, with a proposed budget of $331 million over six years.
John pointed out that the key to being able ask new kinds of research questions is to provide interactivity and constant data collection from multiple locations in the sea. Those research processes are enabled by the provision of power and bandwidth to the sea floor.
There’s good video on the Research Channel’s web site of John giving a similar talk in January. Definitely worth a look if you haven’t been paying attention to this project and what it says about the changing nature of science.
Technorati Tags: research, science, technology, University of Washington, UW
Published March 22, 2007
Gadgets & Gear , Music , Technology
We had a chance last week to try recording our regular weekly jazz trio (sax, bass, drums) get-together with Sony’s new-ish PCM-D1 portable recording device. The Sony device is probably the most high-end of a new class of recording devices that record from built-in microphones directly to common digital formats in memory. In this case we recorded at regular CD-quality resolution (44.1 Khz) to wav files.
Mostly I was trying to figure out if the sound from a single set of stereo microphones would work for this type of music. Our ears have become used to years of hearing recordings that are created with multiple microphones placed extremely close to instruments, so that the sound of microphones that pick up some of the quality of the room the music is played in tends to sound more hollow and “unnatural” at times. I have to say, I came away impressed. The quality from the built-in condenser mikes was really good, and while the mix isn’t perfect, I think that by spending some time working on the placement of the device we could come away with perfectly useful recordings.
One of the tunes we recorded is available for listening as an mp3 from http://homepage.mac.com/oren.sreebny/ned-oren-kurt.mp3 – it’s only a 128 bit converted file (and we didn’t play great) but you should be able to get the general idea. Many thanks to Tony Tudisco from First Choice Marketing for arranging for the demo!
Technorati Tags: audio, devices, music, recording
Published March 13, 2007
There’s an interesting article from Fortune on Apple’s incredible success at running their retail stores.
“People haven’t been willing to invest this much time and money or engineering in a store before,” says the Apple CEO, his feet propped on Apple’s boardroom table in Cupertino. “It’s not important if the customer knows that. They just feel it. They feel something’s a little different.”
And not just the architecture. Saks, whose flagship is down the street, generates sales of $362 per square foot a year. Best Buy (Charts) stores turn $930 – tops for electronics retailers – while Tiffany & Co. (Charts) takes in $2,666. Audrey Hepburn liked Tiffany’s for breakfast. But at $4,032, Apple is eating everyone’s lunch.
That astonishing number, from a Sanford C. Bernstein report, is merely the average of Apple’s 174 stores, which attract 13,800 visitors a week. (The Fifth Avenue store averages 50,000-plus.) In 2004, Apple reached $1 billion in annual sales faster than any retailer in history; last year, sales reached $1 billion a quarter. And now comes the next, if not must-have, then must-see, product.
“Our stores were conceived and built for this moment in time – to roll out iPhone,” says Jobs, summoning one to the table with a tantalizing I’ve-got-the-future-in-my-pocket twinkle. If sales are anywhere near expectations – Apple (Charts) hopes to move ten million iPhones in 2008 – the typical Apple Store could be selling, in absolute terms, as much as a Best Buy, and with just a fraction of the selling space.