Posted by: John Savageau in Untagged on
Aug 31, 2009
The National Energy Technology Lab (NETL) estimates the US loses anywhere between $119 and $188 billion each year due to power losses and power interruptions and quality issues (such as brown outs). In 2000 the cost of a one hour power outage in Chicago cost the Board of Trade nearly $20 trillion (NETL) in trades. And the stories of financial loss due to power outages go on and on.
Clearly, the value and cost of power is critical to our existence as a nation. Nearly everything we do is dependent on some level of electricity for support - whether it be for cooking, lighting, entertainment, work - we cannot live without electricity.
Only problem is we are still working on an electrical distribution system in the US designed in the 1940s and 50s. We, as a nation, need to invest in a next generation of electrical distribution systems. And those systems will need a lot of intelligence. The electrical GRID must become really smart.
Cloud interoperability and security drove passionate discussions among presenters and attendees at Cloud User '09 in San Diego this week. A very good mix of professionals representing equipment vendors, cloud service providers, cloud software and systems developers, government, and the media rolled up sleeves, put egos aside, and drilled into issues that are impeding broad acceptance of cloud services.
The conference, sponsored by MarcusEvans, brought a lot of really interesting perspectives to the issues surrounding cloud provisioning, regulatory concerns, marketing, and the technology of cloud. The objective - determine a course of action in the cloud community to promote and provide confidence needed for the general information and communications (ICT) community to adopt cloud services.
Igor Edelman, representing a financial services company which is an early adopter of cloud computing (he'd prefer to keep the company confidential, however I can say I am a customer!), discussed his security concerns.
Posted by: John Savageau in broadband access on
Aug 25, 2009
Back in the Internet dark ages, around December 2007, the State of California released a report entitled "The State of Connectivity - Building Innovation through Broadband." This was in response to public concern that both California and the United States continued to fall further behind other economic competitors, in particular South Korea, and Singapore.
The report also outlined a new state task force (California Broadband Task Force/CBTF) with the objective "to remove barriers to broadband access, identify opportunities for increased broadband adoption, and enable the creation and deployment of new advanced communication technologies." The governor also requested that the CBTF "pay particular attention to how broadband can be used to substantially benefit educational institutions, healthcare institutions, community-based organizations, and governmental institutions."
Task Force members were selected from a variety of disciplines and industries, including Cable TV (Cox Communications), broadband hardware (Cisco Systems), academia (USC, Humboldt State), government (Cities of Mountain View and San Francisco, state assembly), and telecom carriers (AT&T, Verizon, Hughes). While I might find personal apprehension having so many utilities telecom companies as part of the conversation (AT&T, Verizon, Cox), the members do represent a good mix of professionals who can appreciate the need for broadband.
Posted by: John Savageau in citizen journalism on
Aug 22, 2009
A couple months ago we explored citizen journalism and how that is changing the way we access news. From an industry that is largely dependent on advertising revenues to subsidize professional journalists and delivery of news and information, to a communication platform that that allows anybody with a keyboard and Internet connection to post their interpretation of events to a global audience, the news world has changed.
Traditional News and Information Sources
Posted by: John Savageau in Untagged on
Aug 20, 2009
The Uniform Resource Locator/URL is a tool allowing users to locate and access resources available on the Internet. Most of us are familiar with the format http://www.somwhereontheinternet.com, which is a URL telling your browser to use the hypertext transfer protocol/HTTP to display a file located at the Internet domain somewhereontheinternet.com.
Depending on where a file or resource is located on the destination server, a URL can quickly become very complicated, with displays such as http://www.somewhereontheinternet.com/news/news-releases/2008/august/1035587ssebn2008.html relatively common.
Many innovations throughout history have emerged because people need to simplify complex ideas or operations into something that is usable. For example, 40 years ago we used slide rules in school to help us shorten the time it took for complex trigonometry and logarithms. Many people thought that was blasphemous, as it removed most students from going through the pain of doing long hand mathematics.
August 18th, 2009. Los Angeles, California, USA
Around 2:30 p.m. This afternoon I needed to make the drive from Long Beach (California) to Burbank (California). Normally this is not a bad drive, as the mountains are a pleasure to see off in the distance, and if you take the long way around (US Interstate 605 from Long Beach to the mountains, then follow the I 210 freeway around towards Burbank), particularly in the winter months, it is a clear, beautiful panorama of the LA Basin skyline.
Not today. A combination of smoke drifting into the LA area from fires near Santa Barbara, and weather conditions holding the smog in the LA Basin have created a condition that is, well downright disgusting. In Long beach we have the advantage of good breeze coming off the ocean which keeps the coastline generally clear, and not too unhealthy.
Posted by: John Savageau in renewable energy on
Aug 17, 2009
Those of us who are soldiers in the Pickens Army are dedicated to promoting and evangelizing the religion of reducing carbon produced by oil, reducing our dependence on foreign energy, and are always on the lookout for initiatives to feed our passion to solve critical energy issues facing America's economy, the environment, and our national security." (from the Pickens Plan)
We should aggressively find those jewels of energy leadership, highlight them, and learn from their efforts.
The National GRID is actually a British company, specializing in delivering both electrical and natural gas in the northeast United States (as well as the UK). Serving about 3.3 million electricity users, and around 3.4 million natural gas users, national GRID is taking a leadership role in developing US policy towards energy transmission and use.
Posted by: John Savageau in job termination on
Aug 15, 2009
The Day of Losing Your Dream
How many of us have been there? You get up early every day, get cleaned and prepared for the job. You want to give your job 150% of your energy, and crave the camaraderie of your co-workers, and friendship of your customers and business partners.
Then organization changes come along. Your company is sold or acquired, the culture begins to change, and life becomes one of "who is going to be let go today?",... or concerns develop on the dilution of respect and friendship within the working group. You wonder, am I getting up early to work, and will this be the day security comes to walk me out of the building?"
Posted by: John Savageau in cap and trade on
Aug 13, 2009
In the mid-1990s I frequently worked in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The city supported around 1 million people, nearly half of which were transients living in small tents called "gers." The "ger" communities had no real infrastructure such as electricity or water, and subsequently used raw coal in stoves as a primary heat source, and those people who had a little money occasionally had small gas generators for minimal electricity.
In those days unleaded gasoline did not exist in Mongolia, and transportation was either older used cars from Korea and Germany, or even more often Russian made vehicles such as Ladas or Volgas. During the winter months Ulaanbaatar's air was so bad you did not dare to wear any clothing with exposed white, as it would soon be covered with black soot, which could never really be cleaned.
Our employees were frequently ill, at a rate that is unprecedented in offices I've worked in over 35 years. Sadly, people also died at a much younger age, with respiratory problems and cancer being the most frequent cause. A very unhealthy place live and work.
Posted by: John Savageau in hr2454, cap and trade on
Aug 11, 2009
Nearly all people agree protecting the environment is critical to our continued prosperity and health. However there are arguments on how to best approach legislation that would either regulate or offer guidance on controlling pollutants and waste.
On the Cap and Trade issue, which is part of the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act (H.R. 2454, or "Waxman-Markey", most of the arguments are related to the potential high financial cost of reducing carbon dioxide. Those critical of H.R. 2454 list many reasons to reject the bill, with some of the highlights including:
- Huge increases in the cost of gasoline (due to higher taxes)
- US jobs will be lost
- The bill will not reduce our reliance on foreign energy
- Similar efforts in Europe have not been successful (under debate)
- Potential to lose control of carbon credits in open trading markets
- Does not force electric utilities using fossil fuels to re-engineer with technology that would reduce carbon
- Economies in coal-producing states could be devastated
- The American people would pay the full price of Cap and Trade with personal tax and cost hits of nearly $2000/year per family (Spectator.Org)
- Belief that global warming due to greenhouse gases is a fantasy
While it is clear much of the debate is based on politics and corporate special interest lobbying, a couple of the above points do justify further study and discussion. The most compelling argument may be the high cost of carbon credits being passed down to individuals, as well as the potential impact on jobs and local economies as fossil fuel-producing industries are forced to either re-engineer, or scale back operations.