Google Wants Your Cell Phone
- By Peter Varhol
The Dougster is on vacation this week, so look for his Redmond Report
to return next Monday.
Google's attempt to purchase
the wireless spectrum and set preconditions on the use of that spectrum
has touched off speculation on where
the company plans to go with this strategy.
Google claims to have set aside $4.3 billion for the upcoming spectrum auction.
Some think that Google will come out with its own cell phone in an attempt to
one-up Apple's iPhone. But because of its preconditions -- which require that
networks be open to all -- it seems more likely that the company is planning
on selling mobile services.
What do you think? gPhone or search-on-the-go? Send me your analysis at email@example.com.
What's Old Is New Again
Amazon.com may be reviving
the grocery-delivery business model again, more than five years after the
demise of the likes of Webvan and Peapod. Amazon is testing the delivery of
perishable groceries to customers in a Seattle suburb as part of a pilot program.
The business models of eight years ago failed largely due to the costs of stocking
and delivering groceries. In addition, sales didn't grow as fast as expected,
as it appeared that many people would rather shop for themselves.
Amazon has been delivering non-perishable goods in the Seattle area over the
last year. The company expects to expand the perishable delivery program to
the same area in the future.
I prefer seeing my fruits and vegetables before purchase, and like to check
the expiration dates on other perishables. What about you? Shoot me your order
Is Your E-Passport Vulnerable?
Anyone who applied for a passport since the middle of last year likely received
a document with an embedded RFID chip containing personal information. The purpose
of the chip is to enable passport readers to capture and use that information
without a passport scan. The U.S. passports use a stored digital copy of the
passport itself as a biometric identification.
Recently, however, computer security expert Lukas Grunwald copied
and manipulated the content of an RFID passport, then used the hacked e-passport
to crash the RFID reader.
While Grunwald used a German passport in his tests, the technologies are similar
enough for some to claim that the U.S. e-passport will have the same issues.
I purposely renewed my own passport shortly before the first e-passports came
out, even though I had another year to run. Do you trust the e-passport? Let
me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mailbag: What Are the Most Influential Tech Products?
week, Lafe reported on CompTIA's recent survey of the most influential technology
products of the last 25 years. At the top of the list? Internet Explorer. Here
are some of your own nominations:
What about our friends at Apple? Remember them? They are the ones who
got us out of the "beige boxes." They are also the ones who were
first to use USB and FireWire, and let's not forget the fact that they introduced
us to the desktop that we love so dearly. I remember the days of DOS and Windows
3x. If it weren't for the folks at Cupertino, we wouldn't have the Recycle
Bin or be able to "drag and drop" anything. The Mac computers and
OS have shaped the way we all compute.
The networker in me also celebrates the auto-negotiate hub/switch, as
well as Cisco, whose products have created so much work for all of us.
Surely, the Opera Mini -- the Java-based cell phone browser which lets
my own basic Nokia 6610 and my wife's only slightly less basic Motorola RAZR
browse the Web -- deserves to be on that list. It's a tiny miracle of software
Comments? Questions? Criticisms? Let us have 'em! Post your thoughts below
or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Peter Varhol is the executive editor,
reviews of Redmond magazine and has more than 20 years of experience as a software
developer, software product manager and technology writer. He has graduate degrees
in computer science and mathematics, and has taught both subjects at the university