Welcome back

Well, I’m back in my seat here at work after three weeks of cleaning diapers and sleeping very little. I don’t think if would be poor form of me to admit that I would rather be at home with my little girl. But I’m here and here’s what I’ve been reading today:

Eeepc Goes Wimax

At the WiMax Expo the other day, ASUS revealed their newest Eeepc; the 901. Man, these little things keep getting cooler and cooler.

If you don’t know what the eeepc is I’ll tell you: it’s a small, lightweight, CHEAP, laptop. Perfect for browsing, research, blogging, you know, keeping people connected to the net at almost every waking moment of their lives. The latest release (901) features the same standard (20gb for Linux and 12gb for Windoze) solid state drives as the 900 but also includes WiMax.

What’s WiMax? Only the most important wireless breakthrough in the last 10 years. An invention that all but spells the death of traditional cable. You should start seeing things like WiMax on this campus within the next few years. I’m recommending it as part of the infrastructure for any new building.

Portable devices are well on their way to being truly portable and powerful, very very soon.

Why Net Neutrality Matters

Some people in what sounds like France, sat around a cd playing some strains of piano and discussed Net Neutrality. Their argument is that they heard from ISPs that by 2012 net neutrality will be gone. It will be replaced by a cable television type of menu of “pay for access” where you’ll get, say, 20 channels that you’ll have access to.

I can see it happening. You might have to pay for access only to Google, Wikipedia, and Fark. If you want access to other content, you’ll have to pay for it.

I can also see a sort of “public access” channel arising out of the mess. Where people can put all their bizarre websites and musings; just like they do on public access channels!

Yep, I can easily see something like this happening. Libraries should be positioning themselves as the last bastion of access to this freedom. But instead they are acting as the gatekeepers of information for huge corporations like Proquest, etc. I see this as the fundamental challenge that libraries can undertake in the next 10 years and strategically over the next few years, libraries need to start doing a few things to position themselves as the place where people can research information freely.

Off the top of my head, I would argue the following:

  1. Tie in to high speed academic infrastructures like Internet2.
  2. Shed the dead weight of full text journal subscriptions — we do the work, we publish the articles, why are we paying twice for this material?
  3. Use what little lobbying power they have to get Congress to set aside parts of the internet for academia
  4. Build high speed data infrastructures on campuses with libraries as the center of that
  5. Find a way to distribute content (movies, music, etc.) in that environment in a way that doesn’t violate copyright laws.
  6. What else?

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Filed under Building planning, Net Neutrality, Technology Pulse

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