The next wireless network won’t be what we think …
Imagine that these folks are on the right track … and that the next global wireless network is going to be one that is more distributed than ever imagined! The Internet is creating the foundation for truly immense, distributed solutions … and I believe that we are getting close on the wireless front …

Unified Registry of Public and Private 802.11b Access Points Demonstrated. Company attempts to provide consistent interface to usable database [allNetDevices Wireless News]

Early recognition of wireless possibility …
I was working with the early 802.11 gear from NetWave Wireless in 1998 … and it appears that a number of us recognized then what was going to occur. It’s funny … I’ve pushed Novell for years to use their directory technology to make this a reality … and I have not been able to communicate the opportunity to them!

The term parasitic grid or parasitic network appears to originate from a single British Telecomm (BT) researcher named Peter Cochrane. He wrote two interesting papers with great foresight: one from 1999 on the general idea, and another with more contemporary references in 2000.

[80211b News]

Computers in cars … faster than they think!
The use of computers to enhance the automobile experience is going to increase, according to this report. I believe that it is going to increase at a much greater rate than what they believe …

Telematics Set to Shift Into High Gear: Study. Predicts explosive growth based on mutual consumer/manufacturer benefits [allNetDevices Wireless News]

Enslavement of the Human Race?
I really like the direction that Hawking is taking with his views about the evolution of the computer world and technology. At the end of this brief article, there is a sentence which includes a comment about the “enslavement of the” human race. This is a common perspective of how the future might evolve, however it is not one that I agree with and see as unlikely.

What Hawking talks about is the use of genetic engineering, and other new technologies, to provide more and more man-machine integration … to reduce the boundary between humans and the networks that we use to communicate and generate business. This is exactly where I believe the world is heading … towards a synthesis of humans and the non-human … the extending of human abilities with human created extensions.

One of core creations of evolution that is missed in most discussions is community and organizations … and particularly the modern versions of these. As humans we strive to create effective communities and organizations, and communications is the bond with which these are created and held together. All of the work in communications and computer technologies are oriented towards the improved effectiveness of communications, and the automation of human infrastructure tasks.

The “closer” that we can get to the network – that we created – the more effective we can be in the communities and organizations that we are a part of. The integration of technology with humans is the “natural” path that we are moving down. We are closing the “gap” between our intelligence, and the collective intelligence that we are creating.

Stephen Hawking On Genetic Engineering vs. AI [Slashdot]

A good review of programming SmartTags …
I wanted to know more about the SmartTags that are being implemented by Microsoft. I first saw this concept with “Flyswatter” … a product being used by a friend that also showed me Netcaptor. This article gives a complete overview on how to implement and use SmartTags in IE …

Smart Tags: Dumb Technology?. Need some smarts on Microsoft’s latest innovation? Our XML expert Michael Classen discusses the pros and cons of Smart Tag technology and shows you how to use XML to create your own. 0828 [WebReference News]

A levelheaded viewpoint on 802.11b WEP security …
This is one of the first good articles that I have seen on the whole WEP security issue. Use the same technologies that you already use for wired networks! VPNs were designed to deal with this exact issue … and they work over wireless!

Internet Week: Security Flaw Isn’t Death Knell For WLANs. But instead of scrapping wireless networks, experts say, enterprises should extend authentication and encryption techniques used on wired networks, carefully examine access procedures and consider keeping sensitive data off the WLAN. [Tomalak’s Realm]

The pendulum swings extreme toward 3G …
I can understand where this author is coming from with his opinions on 802.11b, however I believe that he is missing the real solution. In my opinion, we will all end up having numerous wireless technologies that we will use, all depending on the location and purpose. I can see where my wearable computer is going to have Bluetooth, 802.11b, and CDPD in the near future … and I will only continue to add wireless connectivity solutions as new technologies emerge.

Red Herring pooh-poohs free wireless, sees 3G convergence: this piece is off base, dismissing coordinated efforts of volunteers as pointless. We’ll see; it’s how a lot of things on the Internet work, and it’s applicable to real infrastructure, too.

[80211b News]

Electronic communications will see a big boost …
With the recent Anthrax events going on with the United States Postal Service, I will predict that we are going to see a serious shift to electronic communications … more than we have ever seen before.

If you were to look at the average mail box in America, it seems that the only real mail – other than “junk mail” – are the monthly bills that we receive. The costs to the American public of shipping junk mail at a loss of revenue is about to get even more costly as new equipment is added to “clean” mail, along with the lawsuits and other potential hurdles.

There is going to be a big shift coming … more people using e-mail … more bills being “delivered” via e-mail and business-to-consumer portals. Many people are already paying bills on-line … now they will be receiving bills on-line. Free programs, like this one in Houston, are only going to further accelerate the feasibility of moving to an entirely electronic communications medium.

City Of Houston To Offer Free Email To Residents [Slashdot]

People moving towards mobility … wearables are coming …
This is a very good article outlining the increasing interest in mobility and portable computing. It cites the growing purchases of notebook and laptop computers, and the increase of the size of that segment of computer sales. It also indicates that price is one of the key points attributed to these increased sales.

Wearable Computers are the next segment that will alter the direction of computing. These computers, when coupled with goggles that allow for augmented reality – overlaying our vision with tips and hints about the world around us – will extend the capabilities of humans forever.

Portable PCs carry new weight. A report shows notebooks are creeping up on desktops as the computer of choice. [CNET Tech News]

How to protect yourself in an “external” network world …
Recently there has been a lot of talk about the failure of WEP encryption in 802.11b to protect wireless users. This link is to a simple application which can quickly break the WEP keys. These types of tools have been around for years, and can be used on ANY network which is not physically secured!

The key to solving these issues is to look at the medium – wireless – as an “external” network. It is one which exists “outside” of your firewall! If you view it this way, you then can begin to solve the “problem” of security using standard off the shelf solutions.

The entire Virtual Private Network (VPN) market was created to solve this exact issue, and is the solution being used by networking companies such as Novell. Communications over wireless is no different than communications over any network that is outside of your control … and it requires a full end-to-end security solution. That is what a VPN is. Even if you were in a hotel, communicating over a wired network, your traffic could be intercepted and captured. Again, most companies would use a VPN for their employees in these scenarios …and so wireless is no different.

If you are considering deploying wireless for your employees … even for use at your company offices … install the wireless access points OUTSIDE your firewall, and use a VPN solution for them to communicate into the network. The benefit is that it will secure your corporate communications ANYWHERE!

This program breaks the WEP encryption and delivers the key: I have mixed feelings about posting a link to this software, but it’s necessary because it’s widely available. Running this software against anyone’s network except your own (or one that you have authorized, written permission to crack) could constitute illegal cracking in many jurisdictions worldwide. Simple ownership of this program might also be illegal in some countries. Note that cracking WEP encryption is not covered by the DCMA, which has resulted in charges against people cracking Adobe eBook and Hollywood DVD encryption. Those schemes are copyright-protection methodologies that include encryption; WEP is a general-purpose encryption system which is not design specifically to protect copyrighted materials.

[80211b News]