No Google Wireless This Time

The results of the latest wireless spectrum auction are in, and Google wasn't a winner. Instead, the big winners were the usual wireless suspects, especially Verizon. There was one newcomer to the crowd, Dish Networks, which is likely to use its spectrum to roll out a digital video service.

Given the hype late last year surrounding the Google bid and the presumptive gPhone, people must be asking what the point was. Of course, Google could still release a gPhone in cooperation with another carrier, but that looks like a "me too" strategy.

Any guesses as to what Google's up to? If so, shoot them to me at [email protected].

You May Not Be Entitled to Vista SP1
While Microsoft has made Vista SP1 generally available, you may not, in fact, be able to download it.

That's true if you have any of the 31 language packs, or earlier installed versions of SP1, or your image includes one or more of a number of "problem" device drivers.

Did you have a problem getting Vista SP1? Let me know at [email protected].

Ringside Networks Brings Facebook to the Enterprise
I have a particular interest in social networking technologies in the enterprise, in part because I think the need to work with these technologies is taking many IT shops by surprise. With that, I was pleased to make contact with Ringside Networks several weeks ago, and count myself as being present for the launch of the company.

Ringside Networks today announced the first Social Application Server in open source that seamlessly integrates Facebook applications with a Web site. Read the press release here (PDF).

I think Ringside Networks is onto something. Let me know what you think of social networking in enterprises at [email protected].

Marathon Delivers High Reliability for VMs
Marathon Technologies yesterday announced everRun VM, the world's first high-availability software for server virtualization.

This product uses some really cool technologies to replicate VMs and processing across two separate servers. Today, it uses the XenServer hypervisor as the basis for replication.

Marathon also offers a fault-tolerance solution that enables processing in lockstep across the two servers. This technology will be available for XenServer by the end of the year, Marathon said.

Do any of your virtual platforms require high-availability? Or haven't you yet tried to migrate mission-critical applications to VMs? Tell me your story at [email protected].

Mailbag: Your Thoughts on Arthur C. Clarke
Doug asked and readers answered. Here are some of your favorite works by Arthur C. Clarke:

It has been decades since I read them, but as a teenager, I enjoyed "Against the Fall of Night" and "Prelude to Mars."

There can be no doubt: "Rendezvous with Rama."

I always included Clarke in my personal collection of 1950s and '60s "grand masters of sci-fi/fantasy" along with Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein and Ray Bradbury. Doing a Google search indicates that only Bradbury remains with us. Clarke's passing will leave a big void among sci-fi and futurist writers with vision and technical knowledge.

I enjoyed all of Clarke's works and, until recent news articles on his passing, did not realize he wrote two more "Odyssey" novels after "2001" and "2010." I'll have to check or my library for "2061" and "3001." My favorite works are probably "Rendezvous with Rama" and "The Songs of Distant Earth" since they dealt with the subjects of 'first encounter' and human civilization developing off-world.

Since you asked, I'd like to put a vote in for "Childhood's End," which I think is the kind of thing only Sir Arthur could have written -- filled with pathos as well as vision. Written in 1953, it's noteable for predicting that one of the things that would change human behaviour in the future would be the development of a pill that prevents pregnancy. I'm fairly sure that they didn't begin trials of the contraceptive pill until several years after this.

Incidentally, at the risk of being picky, I'd like to point out that if someone has been knighted, their title is never used solely in conjunction with their surname. Sir Arthur C. Clarke could therefore be called "Sir Arthur" or "Sir Arthur C. Clarke," but never "Sir Clarke."

In fact, a few more eagle-eyed readers caught our mistake:

Not to pick too many nits, but Arthur C. Clarke is more correctly refered to as Sir Arthur, not Sir Clarke. I do agree with your assessment of him.

I'm probably not the first to point this out, but the proper usage of a knight's "style" (how he is addressed) is to use the given, not the surname. Hence, Arthur Clarke would be addressed and referred to as Sir Arthur, not "Sir Clarke." But nice article anyway.

Back to the man himself, a few more of you shared your experiences with meeting Sir Arthur:

I was on a panel with Arthur Clarke some years ago. Before the conference was to start, he and I were sitting and chatting. An acquaintance of mine dropped by and, after I introduced them, I almost fell over when the acquaintance, an engineer, asked Arthur, "And, what do you do?" Arthur's reply was a simple, "Oh, I do a little writing now and then." I think that engineer was as clueless about the topic of the conference as he was about Arthur Clarke's writing.

While I was growing up, my father was a contractor for the State Department and in 1983 (I was 12) he moved our family to Colombo, Sri Lanka for 18 months. We lived on Barnes Place, on a lane directly across the street from where Arthur lived with his scuba company partner and their family. I don't know how Arthur first found my father, but I think it was either through the Kaypro company or its users group. Arthur had been given a Kaypro so that he could exchange script changes for "2010" with the studio's office in L.A. While he'd been given every other type of PC around in 1983 (I played games on most of them while my father worked with our host on the newest addition), he apparently needed some help setting up his Kaypro and 1200 baud modem. My father had just brought his new Kaypro to Sri Lanka with us, and was probably the only other user on the island -- our proximity to Arthur was purely coincidental.

I was an avid reader of most of my neighbor's works -- "A Fall of Moondust," "Rendezvous with Rama," "Fountains of Paradise" (set in Sri Lanka) -- and was actually reading "Childhood's End" when Arthur rang our doorbell, looking for my father that first time. I resisted the urge to ask him questions about it, as I saw my father (a very avid sci-fi fan) similarly restrain himself from peppering Arthur with questions -- which I'm sure he would have answered patiently had our reserve faltered.

My father passed away seven years ago from lymphoma, but his love of computers, which he also shared with our famous neighbor, got me started in the career I have today. The afternoons we spent with Arthur in his study were among the highlights of my Sri Lanka experience, and I'll always feel fortunate for having those memories.

I only met Sir Arthur once, when he spoke at the University of Missouri-Rolla where I was a physics student in the late '60s. I don't recall the exact date, but this would have been around the time that "2001: A Space Odyssey" came out.

Unfortunately, too many years have passed for me to remember the contents of his address to us students clearly. What I do remember, though, was that he was very congenial and willing to engage us in a conversation after his talk. I remember that he was a physically small man, surrounded as he was by us bearded and long-haired Americans. I also recall with pleasure the many books that he wrote that formed so much of my taste in reading. He was a superb writer, and his prose was always clear and interesting. I will miss him a lot.

We want to know what you think! Send an e-mail to [email protected] or leave your comments below.

About the Author

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 level.


comments powered by Disqus