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    Tuesday
    Jan262010

    Japan’s Mobile Market is a Galapagos of isolation

    I have been to Tokyo over 20 times, but haven’t gone recently.  One of my ex-Apple coworkers is currently in Tokyo working for another high tech company, and it reminds of how the Japanese Mobile Market is different.

    The NYTimes has a good perspective (written by a Japanese native) on why the Japanese Mobile Market is isolatee like the Galapagos island.

    Why Japan’s Cellphones Haven’t Gone Global

    Robert Gilhooly/Bloomberg News

    Japanese cellphone makers want to expand, but their clever handsets do not work on other networks.

    • By HIROKO TABUCHI

    Published: July 19, 2009

    TOKYO — At first glance, Japanese cellphones are a gadget lover’s dream: ready for Internet and e-mail, they double as credit cards, boarding passes and even body-fat calculators.

    Enlarge This Image

    Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

    Competition is fierce in the relatively small Japanese cellphone market, with eight manufacturers.

    Enlarge This Image

    Junko Kimura/Getty Images

    Takeshi Natsuno developed a wireless Internet service that caught on in Japan.

    Readers' Comments
    Readers shared their thoughts on this article.

    But it is hard to find anyone in Chicago or London using a Japanese phone like a Panasonic, a Sharp or an NEC. Despite years of dabbling in overseas markets, Japan’s handset makers have little presence beyond the country’s shores.

    “Japan is years ahead in any innovation. But it hasn’t been able to get business out of it,” said Gerhard Fasol, president of the Tokyo-based IT consulting firm, Eurotechnology Japan.

    The point about the Galapagos island is made here.

    The Japanese have a name for their problem: Galápagos syndrome.

    Japan’s cellphones are like the endemic species that Darwin encountered on the Galápagos Islands — fantastically evolved and divergent from their mainland cousins — explains Takeshi Natsuno, who teaches at Tokyo’s Keio University.

    The article makes a final point on the issue of SW vs. HW innovation and the role of online app services from data centers.

    Meanwhile, Japanese developers are jealous of the runaway global popularity of the AppleiPhone and App Store, which have pushed the American and European cellphone industry away from its obsession with hardware specifications to software. “This is the kind of phone I wanted to make,” Mr. Natsuno said, playing with his own iPhone 3G.

    The conflict between Japan’s advanced hardware and its primitive software has contributed to some confusion over whether the Japanese find the iPhone cutting edge or boring. One analyst said they just aren’t used to handsets that connect to a computer.

    The forum Mr. Natsuno convened to address Galápagos syndrome has come up with a series of recommendations: Japan’s handset makers must focus more on software and must be more aggressive in hiring foreign talent, and the country’s cellphone carriers must also set their sights overseas.

    “It’s not too late for Japan’s cellphone industry to look overseas,” said Tetsuro Tsusaka, a telecom analyst at Barclays Capital Japan. “Besides, most phones outside the Galápagos are just so basic.”

    BTW, my friend in Tokyo is not one I would ask for his personal experience as he doesn’t own a cell phone even when he is in the US.  But, he works on mobile internet applications, so he has an interesting view developing for the Japanese market.

    Click to read more ...

    Tuesday
    Jan262010

    Google shares production data center for compute clusters

    Google Research has a post reaching out to the academic community.

    Google Cluster Data

    Thursday, January 07, 2010 at 1/07/2010 08:11:00 AM

    Posted by Joseph L. Hellerstein, Manager of Google Performance Analytics
    Google faces a large number of technical challenges in the evolution of its applications and infrastructure. In particular, as we increase the size of our compute clusters and scale the work that they process, many issues arise in how to schedule the diversity of work that runs on Google systems.

    The areas of interest for Google are:

    We have distilled these challenges into the following research topics that we feel are interesting to the academic community and important to Google:

    • Workload characterizations: How can we characterize Google workloads in a way that readily generates synthetic work that is representative of production workloads so that we can run stand alone benchmarks?
    • Predictive models of workload characteristics: What is normal and what is abnormal workload? Are there "signals" that can indicate problems in a time-frame that is possible for automated and/or manual responses?
    • New algorithms for machine assignment: How can we assign tasks to machines so that we make best use of machine resources, avoid excess resource contention on machines, and manage power efficiently?
    • Scalable management of cell work: How should we design the future cell management system to efficiently visualize work in cells, to aid in problem determination, and to provide automation of management tasks?

    Thee Google Cluster data is here.

    This project is intended for the distribution of data of production workloads running on Google clusters.

    The first dataset (data-1), provides traces over a 7 hour period. The workload consists of a set of tasks, where each task runs on a single machine. Tasks consume memory and one or more cores (in fractional units). Each task belongs to a single job; a job may have multiple tasks (e.g., mappers and reducers).

    The data have been anonymized in several ways: there are no task or job names, just numeric identifiers; timestamps are relative to the start of data collection; the consumption of CPU and memory is obscured using a linear transformation. However, even with these transformations of the data, researchers will be able to do workload characterizations (up to a linear transformation of the true workload) and workload generation.

    The data are structured as blank separated columns. Each row reports on the execution of a single task during a five minute period.

    Time (int) - time in seconds since the start of data collection

    JobID (int) - Unique identifier of the job to which this task belongs

    TaskID (int) - Unique identifier of the executing task

    Job Type (0, 1, 2, 3) - class of job (a categorization of work)

    Normalized Task Cores (float) - normalized value of the average number of cores used by the task

    Normalized Task Memory (float) - normalized value of the average memory consumed by the task

    Please let us know about issues you have with the data.

    So far there have been 230 downloads.

    Filename ▼
    Summary + Labels ▼
    Uploaded ▼
    Size ▼
    DownloadCount ▼
    ...

    google-cluster-data-1.csv.gz
    7+ hours of workload traces from a Google production cluster
    Dec 18
    29.8 MB
    230

    1 - 1 of 1

    Click to read more ...

    Monday
    Jan252010

    Bill Gates 2010 Annual Letter’s Environment Position is Similar to Google.org’s RE<C

    Bill Gates posted his 2010 annual letter which discusses his primary focus on health and education today.  On the last/conclusion page Bill discusses his own personal interest in the environment.

    Visiting an Eko financial services shop in the suburb of Uttam Nagar with my dad (Delhi, India, 2008).

    Visiting an Eko financial services shop in the suburb of
    Uttam Nagar with my dad (Delhi, India, 2008).

    There are a lot of important topics I didn’t get around to in this letter. One area that I have been spending a lot of personal time on is energy and its effect on climate. The most important innovation required to avoid climate change will be a way of producing electricity that is cheaper than coal and that emits no greenhouse gases. There will be a huge market for this, and governments should supply large amounts of funding for basic R&D. Because the foundation invests in areas where there is not a big market, I have not yet seen a way that we can play a unique role here, but I am investing in several ideas outside the foundation. I am surprised that the climate debate hasn’t focused more on encouraging R&D since it is critical to getting to zero emissions. Still, I think it is likely that out of the many possible approaches, at least one scalable innovation will emerge in the next 20 years and be installed widely in the 20 years after that.

    Note the “electricity that is cheaper than coal and that emits no greenhouse gases.”

    Doesn’t this sound like Google’s RE<C project?

    RE<C will work to develop electricity from renewable energy sources that is cheaper than electricity produced from coal with a goal of producing one gigawatt of renewable energy capacity – enough to power a city the size of San Francisco – in years, not decades. As part of this effort, Google.org is making strategic investments and grants, advancing key public policies, and using Google products to unlock critical information.
    Renewable energy is clean, abundant, and inexhaustible. However, electricity from renewables today is generally more expensive than electricity from coal. RE<C is focused on making renewable energy cheaper than coal-fired power which today is the predominant source of electricity worldwide and a large contributor to global warming pollution.  

    Google founders are behind the idea.

    The decision to pursue this initiative reflects the strong commitment of Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to help realize the promise of renewable energy.

    Can you imagine the marketing people trying to get a Renewable Energy event where Bill Gates, Larry Page, and Sergey Brin are all in the same room?

    Click to read more ...

    Monday
    Jan252010

    10 Energy Fact tips from DoD’s blog on The Road to a Greener Navy

    US Dept of Defense has a blog called DoDLive. On the site is a Energy Awareness section.

    Category Archives: Energy Awareness

    1. The Road to a Greener Navy: 10 Facts on the Navy’s Quest for Alternative FuelsOctober 16, 2009

      Posted in DoD News, Energy Awareness.

      No comments

    2. Armed with Science: Energy Research for Force MobilityOctober 13, 2009

      Posted in Armed with Science, Energy Awareness.

      No comments

    3. Armed with Science: Algae Jet Fuel?October 8, 2009

      Posted in Armed with Science, Energy Awareness.

      2 comments

    4. Air Force Achieving Green GoalsOctober 7, 2009

      Posted in Energy Awareness.

      2 comments

    5. Armed with Science: The Nellis Air Force Base Solar ArrayOctober 6, 2009

      Posted in Armed with Science, Energy Awareness.

      No comments

    6. President Obama Declares October National Energy Awareness MonthOctober 6, 2009

      Posted in Energy Awareness.

    One of the posts on a Greener Navy and its quest to us alternative fuels.

    The Road to a Greener Navy: 10 Facts on the Navy’s Quest for Alternative Fuels

    1.    The Department of Navy consumes 1.3 billion gallons of fuel per year and is the second largest consumer of fuel in the Department of the Defense (US Air Force is 1st, Army is 3rd).

    2.    Every $10 increase in the price of a barrel of oil increases Navy fuel costs by almost $300 million.

    3.    The Navy has set aggressive goals to reduce its reliance on oil, including a 10% annual increase in alternative fuels use by base support vehicles and equipment.

    4.    Over 3,000 Electric and Natural Gas vehicles are currently in use on Navy bases. Electric and Natural Gas vehicles might be the most efficient land-based alternative energy solution since they require no conversion from the form in which they are produced or mined and are naturally transportable.

    5.    Alternatives to petroleum-based fuel are endless. Pond scum (algae), non-food crops, biomass, wastes and CO2 are among the many energy sources currently under study.

    6.    Algae fields can produce 6,000 gallons of oil per acre. A land area of 500 square miles (21.5 x 21.5 miles or 2 times the size of Washington, D.C.) could yield enough oil to meet all of the Navy’s annual fuel needs. In comparison, US oilfields currently occupy 40,000 square miles.

    7.    Biofuels derived from algae and the oilseeds of the Camelina sativa plant will be used in the Navy’s “Green” Hornet and “Green” Ship initiatives.

    8.    More than 200,000 gallons of algae- and camelina-based fuel will be delivered to the Navy for test and evaluation. These sources will be the first liquid alternatives to petroleum to be certified for future use.

    9.    The first Navy aircraft engine to run on bio-fuel was successfully tested this month (October 2009) at the Naval Air Warfare Center Patuxent River, Md.

    10.    First flight of the Navy’s F/A-18 “Green” Hornet will take flight in the spring of 2010. The camelina-based biofuel will be blended in a 50-50 mix with standard, petroleum-based JP-5 jet fuel.

    Courtesy of Amy Behrman, NAVAIR Corporate Communication

    Click to read more ...

    Monday
    Jan252010

    4 category approach to Green the Data Center

    WSJ has a guest article by Robert Plant.

    — Dr. Plant is an associate professor in the department of computer information systems at the University of Miami's School of Business Administration

    How Green Should My Tech Be?

    To decide whether an eco-friendly IT idea makes sense, first place it in one of four categories

    By ROBERT PLANT

    In these tough economic times, green initiatives can be a hard sell. Companies don't want to take a gamble on pricey projects that lie outside their core mission. Yet lots of eco-friendly ideas promise to pay for themselves—and then some—by slashing costs and boosting efficiency.

    The Journal Report

    See the complete Business Insight report.

    How should companies approach the problem? To find out, we looked at green initiatives in one critical section of businesses, the corporate data center, and placed potential projects into four categories. At one end of the spectrum are obviously useful ideas that are simple and inexpensive. At the other end are expensive distractions that should be avoided at all costs. By figuring out which category an idea fits into, companies can better weigh the risk and potential return.

    The caveat that starts out is this system is dependent on the judgment by the CIO.

    One caveat. This system—based on an earlier model developed in collaboration with Prof. Leslie Willcocks from the London School of Economics—relies heavily on the judgment of a company's chief information officer. We assume the CIO is closely monitoring promising technologies and can evaluate their possible impact on the business.

    The four categories are.

    Here are the four categories.

    No-Brainers. In these cases, the green technology is a commodity. It not only cuts power use and emissions—thereby fulfilling its green mission—it's easy and cheap to obtain and implement. The bottom line: Companies should pursue these projects as soon as possible.

    Promising but Pricey. Here, the green technology is clearly useful but isn't yet popular enough to be a commodity.

    Business Opportunities. In some cases, green tech initiatives have the potential to win new business. One

    Distractions. When evaluating green projects, the vast majority of companies shouldn't try to keep up with industry titans.

    Click to read more ...