No Google Wireless This Time
- By Peter Varhol
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
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"
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
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
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
asked and readers answered. Here are some of your favorite works by Arthur
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 Amazon.com 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
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
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
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"
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
We want to know what you think! Send an e-mail to [email protected]
or leave your comments below.
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