close this bookVolume 10: No. 38
View the document1) NSF news
View the document2) Other opportunities
View the document3) Politics and policy
View the document4) Industry news
View the document5) Internet news
View the document6) Engineering
View the document7) Metaphysics

"Grid computing" or "grid supercomputing" uses spare cycles from some of the 100M computers hooked to the Internet. Participants may be given token payments or chances to win prizes. Leading companies include Parabon Corp., Applied MetaComputing, Entropia, and KnowledgePort. Some 80% of supercomputing problems may be amenable to this approach, if the software can be developed. [NY Times , 20Nov00. NewsScan.]

In CW 10.35, I mentioned Ray Ozzie's new Groove Transceiver product, a secure peer-to-peer system for workgroup collaboration. I continue to hear good things about this project. Computist Kim Tracy dug up more info at . Ozzie says there will always be a free version (now in beta), though a professional version will offer more features. [, 08Nov00.] (Mark R. Anderson says "Ray Ozzie is one of the smartest developers in the world." [SNS, 22Nov00.])

Groups make much better decisions when they meet face-to-face rather than by teleconferencing or online chat, according to UDayton psychology professor Ken Graetz. Pertinent individual knowledge (vs. common knowledge) tends to surface only in person. [CIO, 01May99. Innovation Weekly.]

Many employers are now saying that telecommuting causes resentment among office-bound colleagues, weakens corporate loyalty, reduces personal interaction, and impairs meeting attendance. [WSJ, 31Oct00. NewsScan.] (However, the trend toward telecommuting continues in the US and especially in Latin America and in Western Europe.)

Long ago, I bought into the idea -- later championed by Howard Rheingold -- that the success of the Internet centered on building communities: Internet discussion lists, Usenet newsgroups, The Well, chat rooms, etc. Mark R. Anderson now says that was a little off-target -- based on recent studies -- and I'm inclined to agree. People have interests that they want to pursue or share, and online communities were a way to do that. People weren't reaching out in a desperate need for community; they were simply pursuing their interests. As net surfing, shopping, sex chat, personal medical research, online education, collaborative work, gambling, and other opportunities opened up, people interested in those things began to use them. Online communities still exist, but are no longer the driving force of the Internet. Transactions and services drive the Web, in support of both shared interests and individual interests. Some of these use collected personal data in an anonymous way, providing some of the benefits of community without our giving up privacy. "By building out the Net along these lines, we are remaking the world in our own images." [Mark R. Anderson , 30Nov00.]

----- "I use my car when I need it. I watch television when I need it. I navigate on the Internet when I need it. When I don't, I drink Scotch. Which is far, far better." -- Umberto Eco. -----