Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The search for fire

Telecoms tycoon Carlos Slim of Mexico has now displaced Bill Gates as the richest man in the world. Engadget comments.

The poorest people are to be found in the Third World. And so are the richest. The telecomms boom has been nothing short of transformative in many countries, where people went from not having a phone to suddenly having cell phones. During a visit to the Philippines I found that a remote acquaintance had managed to earn about $20 million in a year by supplying a cell phone utility. I lunched with a telecomms executive, of no mean intellectual ability, who seriously compared the arrival of cell phone technology to the invention of fire.

Nothing follows.

7 Comments:

Blogger NahnCee said...

The person who invents a blocking device so that cell phones can't be used to detonate bombs will become wealthy, too.

7/03/2007 10:16:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Better yet would be to outfit every Jihadi with one of those exploding models like the one that killed the Chinese Welder.

7/04/2007 02:19:00 AM  
Blogger Elmondohummus said...

Nahncee:

Jammers are already being used in Iraq:

"New Generation IED Jammer Arrives"

"One problem with the jamming was that it killed cell phone operation, as well as use of many other remote electronic devices Iraqi civilians in the area might be trying to use."

7/04/2007 06:05:00 AM  
Blogger Elmondohummus said...

... and that's just one of the links. Google "cell phone jammer" or "ied jammer" (or jamming, or whatever other term you can come up with... "countermeasures", etc.), and there's a whole host of links returned.

Although I get the impression from a 2.5 second Googlewhack that there aren't that many manufacturers of such equipment. But, really, cell phones operate on very well known frequencies, so it's just a matter of getting a transmitter that can drown out any other source on that cell phone's range of channels.

7/04/2007 06:10:00 AM  
Blogger Hangtown Bob said...

I would like to see one of these tech wizards create a device to cause ALL of the cellphones in a particular cell tower's range to ring simultaneously. That could cause some very interesting premature detonations.

7/04/2007 07:20:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

then invention of fire? That's huge. But then the guy is a telecom exec. And the new wealth he possesses also opens up his own horizons while doing his homies a world of good. He could have just meant that cell phones were the biggest thing for him since the invention of sliced bread.

I don't use cell phones much myself. But I'm on the internet all the time.

My favorite stock is Sonis or SONS. Over the next couple years they'll do in terms of stock price what CISCO did in the early 90's. Sonis provides next generation VOIP (voice over internet protocal) telecom software which collapses the cost of providing voice & data for the major telecoms around the world. Basically the guts of the worlds telecom infrastructure is being ripped out and replaced with Sonus software.

I live inside the beltway in the suburbs of washington dc. my cousin from north carolina was visiting on 9/11. She was planning on going downtown that morning and we were discussing the matter over breakfast. As we chatted the tv was on mute. Images of the first tower burning came on. we turned the sound up and saw the plane ram the second tower. And then reports came that a plane had hit the pentagon just 12 miles away. So my cousin decided not to take her kids downtown.

One thing that struck me about the first week or two after the attacks. There was no real confusion or panic.

From top to bottom people simply dealt with the matter. There were simple decisions like the one made by my cousin and extreme decisions like the ones made by people in the plane over pittsburg. they heard on their cell phones that the towers had been taken down and realized they were going to die if they did nothing. and they might die if they did something. so they decided it was better to do something.

It was my impression at the time that things would have been much different if the attack had happened 20 years before when people were without cellphones and the internet. There would have been a lot of confusion and panic before people sorted things out.

so maybe the phillipine telecom exec was right. but what's the effect? fire brings light. telecom networks brings what?

speed. this is a part of the vast and incredible acceleration of time as we understand it.

That loop that goes something like observation analysis synthesis action--has been greatly accelerated on a mass scale by communication technology. (that not it. I didn't call the decision loop by its right name. I want to call it duwop loop or the olap loop but that's not it.)

Its one of the things you hear from bright guys like Newt Gingrich. He went around and asked guys who were at the top of their disciplines in science and technology--how much change in science & technolgy they expected to see in the next 25 years. They said 4-7 times the current rate. At 4 times that would be as much change as much as in the last 120 years.

So a planner in govenment or industry has to look out over the next 25 years like someone in 1880 would look forward to today. Or as we might imagine 2220. That's only if change is 4 times faster. At 7 times faster you have to tack on another 100 years.

Does this sound amazing. I think its just change on the scale we saw in the first industrial revolution that brought in railroads. In the 1829-32 a canal was built by my grandfathers house in Pennsylvania. Canals have been around for 5000 years or more. Twenty years later in 1849 the railroad was put in right beside the canal. The railroad leaped technology forward 5000 years. It instantly outdated the canal. There was about three generations where the small eastern farmers greatly benefited from the railroads. They became hugely prosperous. Then, starting in the 1920's two technologies came together to collapse the business of eastern farmers. The railroads crisscrossed the great plains by 1900 and the internal combustion engine driven tractor enabled them to break the sod of the great plains on a massive scale after WWI...which collapsed the price structure of food grains and drove small eastern farmers out of business.

Layered on top of that starting in the 1950's Eisenhower began the interstate highways system. It was mostly complete by 1986. Ten years later mexicans discovered they could cross the border jump on the interstate and arrive virtually anywhere in the USA in two days. So a problem they have in Thompson town near my grandpa's house is that Mexicans sometimes will stroll into old ladies houses, push them aside and take their television. There's a lot of people who need anger management when discussion turns to border matters. Basically 9/11 showed that there were serious problems to elite ideas about open borders.

In the early 90's I lived at my grandpa's house. I like the area but I couldn't get an internet connection. So I came down to DC. Now I can take my laptop up to my grandfathers house, pop it open and get a decent connection through Verizon. (Its not high speed yet.)

My nephews in their teenage years think that whatever has always been here always has been here and always will be here.

What I see is transience.

Ecclesiastes is famous for the line about vanity but its also full of some practical guides to living.

7/04/2007 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

some of the lebanese blogs are pissed and call him a lebanese, now angry arab's worthless blog calls hima palestinian and is angry that he was called either mexican or lebanese

7/04/2007 01:16:00 PM  

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