Monday, December 15, 2008

Clean Energy Map

by Mark Hewitt

For those of us keeping up with some of the great energy and clean tech industry players Earth2Tech has built a map with locations and links to most of the North American start ups to be found.

As Google has now joined in the SmartGrid - Demand Response coalition I hope to see soon serious movement on non-proprietary standards for Smart devices emerge.

Keep up with all of the latest issues in Clean tech at SmartGridNews (rss feed)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Rebooting America

by Mark Hewitt

Microsoft has trained us all about rebooting our computers when things just don't seem to work any more - well the voters have actually hit the reset button and we are about to see a "Reboot of the White house" and I suspect everything else from there.

If you haven't already seen the site "" please take the time to go and sign up for news and events.

At the top of the list is the "Plan for Broadband" December 18th is the next FCC meeting to vote on the wireless broadband rules.

Also if you haven't been following the "New America Foundation" please watch the video and read the "Call to Action".

And one of the best resources I've found since the election take a look at the "Transition Directory" the org chart alone is worth the time.

Next step is an upgrade - not just a reboot!!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Broadband the New "NEW" deal

by Mark Hewitt

Saturday Obama placed the National Broadband strategy at number 4 on his list of priorities for reviving the nations strength, security, and economic prosperity. I applaud the president elect for his action and recognition of just how fundamental broadband is to our overall success as a nation.

Thousands of thought leaders throughout the industry have pushed hard to find leadership willing to establish a national broadband strategy and while I personally think that it is a shame that a catastrophic economic recession was necessary to get one, I'll take it none the less.

Now it the time to rally for unification and to reestablish the separation between broadband as a utility and an open market for competitive services. Broadband as a utility belongs to everyone this needs to be regulated not the services that broadband make possible. The original "Community Broadband Act of 2007" would have been a great leap forward in achieving this goal if it had not been for the US Senate that gutted the bill on pressure from wealthy lobbyists.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Charter for Compassion

TED launched a new site called CharterForCompassion inspired by world events and a universal recognition of the power of the Golden Rule.

I invite you to take a moment to be inspired by this creative video and share your own story of compassion.

Thank you


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Newly discovered Aurora

by Mark Hewitt

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has beamed back a discovery unlike anything we have seen before. One of the infrared cameras aboard the spacecraft shows a unique aurora lighting up the Polar Cap of Saturn.

Credit NASA Photo

Unlike Jupiter or Earth Aurora's this covers a massive level of the cap.

Here is a great recap of the discovery written by Nancy Atkinson of Universe Today.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I came across this story on the Fourth Corner site and though it deserved a moment to share....

An Amusing Story

An American businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna.

The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied, "only a little while." The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.

The American then asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?" The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, senor."

The American scoffed, "I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat, with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise."

The Mexican fisherman asked, "But senor, how long will this all take?"

To which the American replied, "15 or 20 years."

"But what then, senor?"

The American laughed and said, "that’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions."

"Millions, senor? Then what?"

The American said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Cloud

by Mark Hewitt

We have all been talking about the evolution of computing into a almost ubiquitous Cloud, we call Cloud Computing. Already Google and Amazon have delivered early versions of enabling systems and now web based services LinkedIN and Salesforce are maturing their offerings that include early examples of how "The Cloud" improves our lives and increases the value of services and applications.

Microsoft has announced their Azure Services Platform designed to allow developers early access to what looks like a replacement for Vista, a smart move by Microsoft that I remind our readers maintains over 85% of overall market share.

I see these products as an indicator of just how applications will mature into products and services that add value to our lives.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Protect your "Freedom 2 Speak"

Today the VON collation launched a new site Freedom2Speak I recommend taking a moment to voice your opinion of just how much you appreciate the performance of the FCC and current administration's job that has left our Country now 19th in the world for Broadband penetration.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I couldn't have said it better

Colin Powell on NBC this morning

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What is Mobile VoIP?

by Mark Hewitt

From my "Ask the Expert" monthly column

Mobile VoIP is defined as an extension of mobility to a VoIP network (as described in Wikipedia). Thus, it is a method of expanding the utility of VoIP in our everyday lives and not just a technology.

At the CTIA (Cellular Telephony Industry Association) show in Las Vegas recently, I saw several innovative approaches designed to tackle the power problem with WiFi and WiMax devices – Broadcom, for example, introduced a system-on-a-chip that reduced the power requirements by 50%. This is the single most critical obstacle to the deployment of direct mobile handsets with “Always On” connections required to support a direct SIP client.

It is this “Always On” nature of a future Mobile VoIP product that we are beginning to see in hybrid Cellular phones, and for any of you playing with them it becomes quite clear that battery life cannot keep up with a pure SIP client mobile solution.

We have yet another major issue in North America with the capacity of Internet Bandwidth falling behind the world quickly, while our costs are not declining as rapidly as in many foreign markets. I note in Jim Baller’s April 10th broadband newsletter that Japan’s price per Mbps for its highest bandwidth offerings ($0.13/Mbps) is considerably lower than the US ($2.83/Mbps), and that the average download speed in Japan is now 93.7 Mbps, while the US is more than 10 times slower at 8.9 Mbps.

It is for this reason that current practical implementation of a Mobile VoIP solution must remain a “bridge” to broadband networks and operate over existing Cellular infrastructure and in a cooperative fashion with the incumbent providers.

Look out for the WiMax 802.16m standard to settle the score between networks and devices. I predict the convergence of 3G technology and WiFi to mature into a 4G standard offering 100 Mbps (mobile) and 1 Gbps (fixed) coverage by 2010. I can only hope that this timetable helps explain the “gap” we face until both technology and business models adapt to a very rapidly changing environment. Mobile VoIP is just the beginning – soon expect the “V” in VoIP to also mean Video.

Monday, September 8, 2008

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The Information Center

by Mark Hewitt
From my "Ask the Expert" column

During the past decade, we have watched with interest the adoption of mobile phone technology throughout the world. As examples, we have seen remote villages use prepaid phones to exchange money where no banking system exists, and an American Presidential candidate has reached out to millions of supporters with a text message.

As creatures of “Connectivity”, we build networks around ourselves, friends, family, co-workers, and community. The mobile phone has become a critical link in this chain, as it fits naturally into our lifestyles. Since information interlinks human networks, the mobile phone has become an anchor in our daily lives by allowing us to store contact information, schedules, news items, and events that are central to our everyday activities.

The global success of the Blackberry device relies not on its flashy screen, text keypad, or any single application like email (we all remember the Blackberry email crash in April 2007). Instead, Blackberry’s success revolves around RIM’s ability to bridge the “walled garden networks” of the carriers. My Blackberry on Verizon’s network allows me to interact with my co-workers and my enterprise application server, regardless of which network each is connected to.

This is the promise of “Mobile VoIP” -- the future dismantling of barriers between platforms and networks. Any mobile device with software or connectivity to a core platform outside of a “Walled Garden” warrants classification as a Mobile VoIP device. I still include the “V” (as in “Voice”) in this definition, because a communications device that does not support voice transmission is simply not a communications device.

The future of Mobile VoIP lies in the plethora of applications that can “bridge” platforms and networks. These range from enterprise applications that manage medical, mobile, service, repair, and inventory systems, to shopping and social networking possibilities.

In the evolution of mobility, we also need to recognize the anchor for this range of new products and services. Apple has proven the power of the Applications Store. However, the Google Android mobile O/S has more recently announced yet another application anchor -- the Android Market -- with one very critical difference: Google provides developers and consumers with the ability to make their own decisions. The Google Store will not be run like Apple’s iTunes store, as developers can build to their hearts’ content without constant threat of being disconnected.

I predict that Google will achieve the same market dominance in the Mobility market that it has accomplished in the Search Engine world. Apple may soon find itself in the back seat, much like Yahoo did when Google’s “Open” approach provided savvy consumers with the one thing they all want – “Choice”.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Mote Afternoon

A great morning at the Mote

Jerry Seinfield - Gates Commercial


I couldn't help but laugh at this one!!


Saturday, September 6, 2008

Mobile Services

From my Ask the Expert September Column

By Mark Hewitt

Last month the European Union (“EU”) funded the MUSE project, which stands for Multi-Service Access Everywhere; George Lucas funded the Media Lab “Content Anywhere, Anydevice, Anytime” at USC; and “BT” British Telecom acquired Ribbit for $105 million.

To understand how all of these events relate, you must understand the increasing demand for mobility and a ubiquitous method of accessing content. I define this convergence broadly as “Mobile Services” and as a natural extension of early generation Mobile VoIP services.

It is also important to understand how Mobile VoIP came into being. First came the pain of different platforms from different carriers, each creating “Walled Gardens” making the lives of consumers even more complex. This was followed by early Mobile VoIP providers creating products that connected “Islands”, or individual “Walled Gardens”, into a common broadband platform.

I believe 2008 will be recognized as the year of the “birth” of Mobile Services, which have evolved as a direct result of changing technology and consumer behavior. People have a basic need to be connected, and Mobile Services represent the evolution of a Mobile EcoSystem linking political and economic borders of former generations of Mobile Networks.

Evolving networks promise ubiquitous broadband access anywhere. While full realization of those promises is still years in the future, today’s Mobile EcoSystem offers network and application providers a framework to deliver a range of products, from critical business and medical applications to current weather and sporting events, across a broad range of mobile devices.

To realize just how important this Mobile Services EcoSystem is to our future success, take a look at the forecasts for increasing penetration of “mobility” in the world:

Table 1. Mobile Penetration 1998~2008

1998 2008 2018 (estimated)
Mobile Penetration
Global 5% 55% 96%
China 2% 48% 99%
India 1% 28% 82%

3G Penetration 0% 18% 90%
Networks Speeds < 50Kbps < 2Mbps < 1Gbps

Smartphone Penetration 1% 10% 40%
Battery Life 2 hours 2.5 hours 24 hours

You can see by this forecast of worldwide mobile penetration that the mobile platform becomes the dominate method for accessing information, services, and content. The improvement of battery life, networks, and cross network service platforms all make this possible.

Thus is born the Mobile Services EcoSystem

Speed Matters

From my "Ask the Expert column located at TMCnet

I was pleased to be invited to a meeting on the “Broadband Revolution” that was hosted at the Senate Hart building hosted by Jim Baller and the New American Foundation. The meeting featured FCC Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein, along with Jane Smith Patterson of the e-NC authority; Diana Oblinger, CEO of Educause; and Stan Fendley of Corning (the fiber people).

The meeting focused on a report prepared by Jim Baller and his team that was developed for the e-NC Authority, illustrating the benefits that Broadband is bringing to economic development, public safety, health, education, and the environment. The report compares broadband deployments around the world the impact upon our competitiveness within the world community.

I was not surprised to learn that the US continues to lag in delivery of Broadband via wired networks such as DSL, Cable, and Fiber. We also lag in the delivery of Wireless Broadband services, particularly against Canada, Europe, Japan, and the Nordic countries, each of which are leaders in high speed wireless networks and the associated infrastructure. I also found a report called “Speed Matters” that I highly recommend reading if you have any interest in the economic impact of broadband on your daily life.

Some interesting contrasts came out of the meetings as well. For example, Commissioner Copps referred to the recent FCC auction around Advanced Wireless Services as a “huge success”, while Commissioner Adelstein referred to the implementation of the Swedish Government-sponsored last mile fiber infrastructure as a successful model. These are obviously two diametrically opposed approaches to the same problem.

Commissioner Copps praised the report prepared by Jim Baller for e-NC as the “foundation for America’s National Broadband Strategy”. The Baller document centers on the creation of Private/Public partnerships as a solution for America’s future broadband needs, and it also promotes such partnerships as a solution for a variety of utilities.

The FCC had encountered a wall of resistance when it tried to auction the Public Safety 700 MHz spectrum in the form of a Public/Private partnership. Yet, at the same time the State of Ohio has formed “Connect Ohio” in a move to create a statewide inventory of both public and private Broadband resources that appears to be quite successful and has generated considerable praise from private carriers.

Ultimately the forum’s participants were in strong agreement on one thing: our country must have a “National Broadband Strategy” and, from the remarks of FCC Commissioner Copps, it appeared that most liked what they saw in the Private/Public Utility approach of the Baller document. Others agreed on the need to achieve the political momentum with community action at the local level.

So I encourage you to spend time at the local level with your community leaders to help educate them and your neighbors on the economic and social value of achieving a “Broadband Nation” within our lifetimes.

References from this editorial:

e-NC Report – 3 Mb 100 page pdf document

e-NC Report Summary – 12 page summary

Speed Matters – Report on High Speed Networks

Video of the Broadband Summit – New America Event

Connect Ohio – Interactive Map of Broadband

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Broadband Revolution

The Broadband Revolution starts with each ONE of us. This video of the “Broadband Revolution” sponsored by the New American Foundation featured the e-NC authority of North Carolina and included speakers Michael Copps – FCC Commissioner, Jonathan Adelstein – FCC Commissioner, and Jim Baller of the Baller Herbst Law Group.

Held a the Hart Senate building, had over 200 attendees and I noticed personally that staff members of Senator Obama, Senator Stevens, and Senator Murkowski were all in attendance.

Arctic Diamond

Each year in Fairbanks Alaska teams gather to express themselves in some of the most pristine ICE in the world

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Phase I

Well this about sez it all!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Wissing Family

What a great family

Happy Mothers Day

Emeril Lagasse's GMA Breakfast in Bed
May 9th 2008
by Mark Hewitt

This past Friday I had the pleasure of helping with the GMA "Breakfast in Bed" with Emeril. This was "Live TV" at its finest. Paul Erdek was the operations & logistics producer and pulled off an amazing event.

20 minutes before going on the air a squirrel shorted out a power transformer cutting power to the entire neighborhood. Without missing a beat we ran extension cords from the generator on the Mobile Home and switched over to battery on cameras, etc.

You can see the segment on ABC's player - and here is the link --> GMA Breakfast in Bed I also posted a few stills taken during the event --> Wissing Family

This was truly an amazing family - I got a chance to meet several of the family members and have to say this is truly an addition to the gene pool.

Saturday, March 29, 2008