Music of the mind – translate brainwaves into music .. fascinating stuff!

Fascinating stuff!!!

source Music of the Mind feat. Finn Peters

The brain emits tiny electrical signals with every thought or mental process we have, and the specially designed headsets worn by the players in Finn Peters group can read these signals and translate them into musical tones via a computer. This unbelievable technology allows the computer to translate the musician’s brainwaves into the sounds and tones to create the actual music they are thinking of.

Visions of the Future – The Quantum Revolution – Michio Kaku

Visions of the Future – The Quantum Revolution – Michio Kaku. This is cool.

This is cool. Read Michio Kaku for a few years now and he has a knack for explaining the complex in very tangible terms

Visions of the Future: The Quantum Revolution. 3rd part of 3 part miniseries on the BBC hosted by Michio Kaku. In this new three-part series, leading theoretical physicist and futurist Dr Michio Kaku explores the cutting edge science of today, tomorrow, and beyond. He argues that humankind is at a turning point in history. In this century, we are going to make the historic transition from the ‘Age of Discovery’ to the ‘Age of Mastery’, a period in which we will move from being passive observers of nature to its active choreographers. This will give us not only unparalleled possibilities but also great responsibilities.

Mobile devices and privacy: Should we focus of changing behaviour of people OR changing behaviour of devices?


@phillippabiggs Telecom economist & accountant at UN in Geneva says:
BEST read of today: RT @ajitjaokar #Mobile devices & #privacy: Should we focus on changing ppl’s behaviour OR devices?
Many thanks Phillippa :)


The many privacy related issues raised by the Web will be amplified in the world of mobility and even more so, in a world dominated by sensor networks. Current thinking seems to converge on one important conclusion: through the combined interaction of law, technology and Internet literacy, people should be in a position to control how their own personal information is made available and used for commercial (or other) purposes.

In this post, we explore the feasibility of users managing their own data .. i.e. if we indeed want users to manage their own data, what are the issues involved in making this happen? We also look at an alternative i.e. allowing devices to mirror social privacy norms. Hence, I see the discussion as ‘Changing user behaviour to incorporate new device functionality’ OR ‘Changing device behaviour to mirror privacy expectations in human interactions

Privacy and management of data – A background

Today facebook has become the lightning rod for privacy and they continue to push the issue with new products like “check ins” where facebook allows others to “tag” or check you in at a location, provided you are Facebook friends. Predictably, this has drawn fire from organizations like the ACLU – American Civil Liberties Union when they say Facebook Places: Check This Out Before You Check In. And we see new products and services that are launched to protect user privacy. For example The Fridge aims to be a service that shares content with a group i.e. if you belong to a group everyone can see it. You don’t have to ‘friend’ everyone and by the same token, no one outside the group can see it. Cataphora’s freeware “Digital Mirror” helps to gain an understanding of what we might look like to other people online.

The complexity and benefits of social networking data

Discussions about Privacy generate a lot of ‘heat but little light’. The concerns of data management are known and everyone has a view on it. Everyone wants to be protected and most people have a perception of being ‘exploited’ by companies. But social network data is complex. Noted security expert Bruce Schneier recently published a revised taxonomy of social networking data. It can be summarized as:

Service data is the data you give to a social networking site in order to use it. Such data might include your legal name, your age, and your credit-card number.

Disclosed data is what you post on your own pages: blog entries, photographs, messages, comments, and so on.

Entrusted data is what you post on other people’s pages. It’s basically the same stuff as disclosed data, but the difference is that you don’t have control over the data once you post it — another user does.

Incidental data is what other people post about you: a paragraph about you that someone else writes, a picture of you that someone else takes and posts. Again, it’s basically the same stuff as disclosed data, but the difference is that you don’t have control over it, and you didn’t create it in the first place.

Behavioral data is data the site collects about your habits by recording what you do and who you do it with. It might include games you play, topics you write about, news articles you access (and what that says about your political leanings), and so on.

Derived data is data about you that is derived from all the other data. For example, if 80 percent of your friends self-identify as gay, you’re likely gay yourself.

There are other ways in which data benefits society. 10 ways data is changing how we live lists the benefits as: Shopping, Relationships(dating), Business deliveries(ex courier services), Maps, Education(schools), Politics(openlylocal), Society (social and spatial relationships through location data), War (wikileaks), Advertising, Linked data and the future.

And I have also said before in the The fallacy of the Better mousetrap: Privacy advocates want to have their cake and eat it too you can’t have it both ways! i.e. publish your content/data and then ask for a share of profits! The future is likely to get more complex in a world dominated by mobility and sensor networks as I point out in The Silence of the chips

Changing User behaviour v.s. Changing device behaviour

How realistic is the idea of people maintaining their own data? i.e. changing user behaviour?

This sounds very seductive until you realize

a) That there is an extra step (inertia) to overcome in managing my data. This will be in multiple sites(facebook, MySpace etc)

b) Much of the data about me is not owned by me(ex comments about me created by other people)

c) The real concern often is metadata i.e. data insights derieved by a site based on collective analysis of multiple people which is then retrospectively applied to individuals. Data is owned by individuals, metadata is owned by the site

d) In a world of Mobility and sensor networks (see silence of the chips above), the ability to individually permit or deny sensors to monitor information about people is probably unfeasible. What are the implications in that case?

The option is for us to maintain our behaviour but to have devices change according to society’s privacy norms

Danah Boyd raises an important point when she says that: Privacy Is Not Dead – The way privacy is encoded into software doesn’t match the way we handle it in real life. The reason for this disconnect is that in a computational world, privacy is often implemented through access control. Yet privacy is not simply about controlling access. It’s about understanding a social context, having a sense of how our information is passed around by others, and sharing accordingly. As social media mature, we must rethink how we encode privacy into our systems.

And Instead of forcing users to do that, why not make our social software support the way we naturally handle privacy?

Thus the question for me is: Is it realistic to expect users to take responsibility for their own data? OR should we make our social software support the way we naturally handle privacy? So, should we focus of changing behaviour of people OR changing behaviour of devices? The privacy concerns we are seeing are just the tip of the iceberg and I think this question would apply more to mobile and sensor data going forward.

I realise of course that this could be a false dichotomy but I feel that if we spent more efforts on making our devices mirror social norms of privacy, we could have a greater chance of success rather than changing the behaviour of people.

Image source: knowldentitlow

Fraunhofer FOKUS Media Web Symposium – Berlin, November 4-5, 2010

Fraunhofer FOKUS events are always great and I always like speaking at them. The Fraunhofer FOKUS Media Web Symposium is in Berlin, November 4-5, 2010

Mobile Applications, Social Media and HybridTV – towards experiencing integrated communication and media
Fraunhofer FOKUS, will discuss current trends in tutorials, technical workshops, and invited conference presentations.


Thursday, Nov 4th, 2010
IPTV, HybridTV, WebTV, HbbTV
Mobile (Web) Applications
Device APIs: WAC & Co.
Social Media Web
Android programming
HybridTV – Interactive Content Services on various devices
Mobile Apps – Mobile application development and distribution
Friday, Nov 5th, 2010
Session 1: Keynote “Future Media Internet”
Session 2: Consumer Electronics meets Rich Media
Session 3: Mobile Media Cloud and Network Embedded Media
Session 4: Social Media and Smart Mobile Content
Session 5: Apps everywhere: App Stores & Co
Session 6: Panel ”Content vs. Apps – what´s the ultimate asset”
Session 7: Research Activities and Prototypes

Speakers will come from following companies and bodies:

Access, AdAudience GmbH, Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs, Zukunft Digital, Art+Com, Bitkom, CWI, developer garden, Deutsche Telekom, eco e.V., EuroCloud Deutschland-eco e.V., EVOLARIS NEXT LEVEL, FutureText, Google, IDA Singapur, Institut für Rundfunktechnik GmbH, Intel ,InterLake Media GmbH, Intertrust, Media Broadcast, MMH NetRange GmbH, moviepilot, NTT Docomo (Eurolabs), Open IPTV Forum, Opera ASA, Philips Consumer Lifestyle, Deutsche Telekom Laboratories, RTL interactive GmbH, rtv media group, Sevenload, Sharp, SonyEricsson, Telecom Italia, W3C

Carnival of the mobilists no 236

The carnival nears it’s fifth anniversary as Peggy reminds us. Many thanks to Peggy(+ Russell + Judy) for all their work.
As usual, the carnival offers some interesting reading. You can see the links here at msearch groove

Congratulations to Martin Sauter – Wireless moves for a million page views

Our friend Martin Sauter hits a million page views on his blog wireless moves

I often refer to Wireless moves as an example of how a blog should be. Factual, consistent and informative.

Blogging is now a mature medium. At one time, there was a blog created per second. (That’s one new blog – not one new blog post!!). But today, in each segment, we are seeing the winners emerge and this news reinforces the trend in my view. Success with blogs does not mean you have to blog every day, but what you blog about must be truly useful and unique to your audience.

And what about Twitter?

I am a huge fan of Twitter .. But I agree to this (not sure where I read this) ‘Blogs are for leaders and twitter is for followers’ :)

Twitter may see a lot of traction but Twitter is merely what we pay attention to. If you consider that Web 1.0 was the ‘read only web’ and Web 2.0 is the ‘Read Write Web’ – then you have to ask – what are you really writing to the web and how useful is it to others? Twitter has value only as content spotting(by definition of 160 characters). You cannot be a good content creator on twitter you can be only a good content spotter.

In the world of Blogs and Twitter it will be even more difficult to get traction and we will see only a few blogs who really dominate specific intellectual niches

Congratulations again to Martin!

If the web were REALLY dead .. It would look like the print version of wired magazine(more advertisement – less content) but thank god it does not ..

I was in the USA on business and at Chicago O hare, I picked up a copy of Wired and looking forward to some intellectual insights on the ‘Web is dead’ story on Wired.

When I read the article, I was disappointed but my overriding impression was: If the Web were REALLY dead, then it would look like the print version of Wired magazine (more advertising, less content) and thank God it does not

Is it me or does anyone else find Wired VERY hard to read? It seems almost a group of advertisements masquerading like a magazine. Advertising has overtaken content by a wide margin. The index is hard to find. The content is very fragmented and some pages don’t even have page numbers (see below) ..

That’s what happens when advertising dominates .. Which brings us to the article with its statements like ‘Now it’s the Web’s turn to face the pressure for profits ..’

The discussion itself is a wider rehash of the old Web vs. apps debate. The difference is extension of the debate to the Web vs. Internet(more on that below). To recap, by ‘web’, we mean ‘http + HTML’ and it’s evolutions. By ‘Internet’, I mean IP based services.

The main problem of this article is false and incomplete comparisons.

1) A confusion between Business models and technology: The assumption that the Web is based on the free/advertising/Long tail model and ‘paid’ models cannot be developed on the web. This is wrong. Google Chrome is building payment technologies on the Web and also cool browser based games. Advertisements can also be created (see I cannot believe it is not flash ) on web technology from companies like Opera, Google and others who are pushing browser technology to its limits. So, the article’s fundamental premise that it’s the web’s turn to show profits is based on some seriously confused classification between technology and business model

2) Open vs. closed .. Again same problem. Open vs. closed is a philosophical / business model issue. It is not a technology issue. By that I mean you can use the web and even open source to build commercially closed systems.

3) Push content is ‘non web’: here we go again .. Push has a role. No reason why the web cannot also include push content

4) Mobile access is mainly from apps: This is downright silly! See admob stats and Opera stats

5) The assumption that the mobile web is always about browsing (Ignoring Web widgets on mobile devices): Web widgets are based on HTML. They are thus a part of web technology. Functionally, they are similar to apps. By ignoring web widgets, there is a false comparison i.e. the assumption that the mobile web is always about browsing

6) ‘Technology(web) has eclipsed content’ so far and now ‘it is time for content to eclipse technology’ – These kind of sweeping statements show the shallow depth of this article. Steve Jobs is used to ‘showcase’ this concept. This ignores the main point that the context of iTunes was ‘Napster’ i.e. 99c > 0c for the record companies. It was a once in a lifetime event. Ain’t gonna happen again! (see how long Hulu took to create a business model because media companies are wiser )

7) A confusion between Consumption technology vs. communication technology: On Page 68 (and the actual page itself does not have a page number – you have to infer it), there is an article called ‘About facetime by Stephen Levy’ which says that ‘Apple sees facetime as an open standard’ .. THAT’S the whole point. The debate is not between TECHNOLGY vs. CONTENT it is between COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY vs. CONSUMPTION TECHNOLOGY. iPhone / iPod is consumption technology. Always has been. When it comes to communication (facetime), Apple is ‘Open’. Thus, the Steven levy article contradicts the ‘web is dead’. And the Steven Levy article is right!

8 ) Cross stack comparison: I wondered why no one else has done this comparison before (Web vs. Internet). The answer is – it’s a false comparison since it is across the stack. The web is one application on the internet. The internet is the underlying network layer connectivity mechanism platform. You can compare two application layer elements but you cannot compare the network layer to the application layer.

There is an attempt to provide a legitimacy to this half baked analysis through a ‘polite’ debate between Chris Anderson and Tim O Reilly. I don’t know why Tim bothers to enter this debate since it’s got so many holes in it IMHO

Wired has done some seminal writing before and let’s hope that this sloppy article is a one off and not the start of a slippery slope. I think this article is an attempt (and there have been many before) of foisting the content model on the Web. There will be others.

If this vision is fulfilled, and if the web were REALLY dead .. It would look like the print version of wired magazine(more advertising less content) but thank god it does not ..

P=NP=WTF?: A Short Guide to Understanding Vinay Deolalikar’s Mathematical Breakthrough

There is a lot of buzz on the Internet around this topic ..

P=NP=WTF?: A Short Guide to Understanding Vinay Deolalikar’s Mathematical Breakthrough

Read more about P = NP on MIT’s website

Fountainhead listed as top 15 books to read by Entrepreneurs ..

This is cool ..
Ayn Rand’s Fountainhead listed as top 15 books to read by Entrepreneurs ..

Love it! and had a profound influence on me.

See the whole list HERE

Book review: Interconnecting Smart Objects with IP: The Next Internet by Jean-Philippe Vasseur and Adam Dunkels

This blog is a book review of Interconnecting Smart Objects with IP: The Next Internet by Jean-Philippe Vasseur and Adam Dunkels.

I read this book from cover to cover and highly recommend it. Ironically, I did not find the one thing I bought the book for which is the only addition I would suggest in subsequent versions (more on that later). So, here are my thoughts about this book


I have an interest in Smart Objects/Internet of Things/Machine to Machine from two distinct perspectives. Firstly, from an interest in mobility (my business) since so many new devices have sensors and that’s a trigger to a new class of applications. Secondly, from a PhD / research perspective. I also am a big believer in smart objects and spent part of my holiday learning things about Smart Objects

However, if you are not convinced about the potential of Smart Objects/Internet of Things then consider this:

McKinsey recommends the growing Internet of Things as one of the top eight technology-enabled business trends that were profoundly reshaping strategy across a wide swath of industries

HP plans to deploy a trillion mobile sensors

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao coined a curious equation Internet + Internet of Things = Wisdom of the Earth and China is making serious policy and strategic investments for the Internet of Things (I am speaking at – Global Internet of Things conference – Beijing – China Nov 23 to 25 – 2010 )

This brings us to the book

Why the book is needed?

There is an interesting quote attributed to Albert Einstein where Einstein tries to explain radio communications by comparing it to a cat

You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat.”

The Smart Objects/Internet of Things world gets very very complex and rich because there is potentially a ‘cat’ (radio) in everything! However, this domain also suffers from the ‘hammer and the nail problem’ as I see it (If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail. Abraham Maslow ). Not only do the various terms (Smart Objects/Internet of Things/Smart Grids) have different meanings, people actually choose specific meanings generally aligned to their own point of view. Hence, for instance for SAP, ‘Internet of Things’ would be RFID/Supply Chain etc etc.

Hence, you need a very comprehensive book covering the entire issue in depth from multiple angles. Especially today since the era of Smart Objects/Internet of Things/Machine to Machine is very much upon us.

In that context, this is one of the best reference books on the subject of smart objects and here is why

FIRST PRINCIPLES: The authors approach the subject from first principles. They define Smart objects as items which contain a sensor/ actuator; a tiny microprocessor; a communication device and a power source. They consider a very ‘textbook’ definition of Internet of Things (Smart objects connected by IP) and discuss the case where there may not necessarily need to be an ‘Internet’ (IP enablement) of Smart objects (i.e. a network of smart objects can develop without necessarily connecting to the Internet). Having said this, the book is about ‘Interconnecting smart objects with IP’ i.e. all about IP – which suits my own personal ethos of championing the Internet

FOCUS ON CONCEPTS: The general approach is to discuss the concepts of the Internet(TCP/Routing etc) and then apply to ‘Smart Objects) and LLNs(low powered and lossy networks which are networks of highly constrained smart objects interconnected by fairly unstable, low speed links which could be intermittent. The limitations could be based on processing power, memory, energy (battery), and their interconnects are characterized by high loss rates, low data rates, hostile physical environments and instability. This makes the book ‘complete’ and hence and ideal reference

AN OVERALL EMPHASIS ON THE NEXT INTERNET: Expect lots of IP but also the evolution of IP including lwIP TCP/IP Stack, IPv6 , ipso alliance etc

AN EMPHASIS ON OPEN STANDARDS AND OPEN SOURCE: Jean Philippe Vasseur is the co-chair of IETF ROLL (Routing Over Low power and Lossy networks) working group and Adam Dunkels is the creator of the Contiki Operating system for Smart Objects . So, the book has excellent pedigree in this regard

GOOD COVERAGE OF APPS: Smart Grids, Industrial Automation, Smart cities, Home automation, Building automation, Health care and Supply chain.

DEPTH OF COVERAGE: Overall very good depth as you can see from the table of contents

What could be improved?

Ironically, I bought this book wanting to explore privacy and Smart Objects. I have been involved in regulatory discussions on this topic and it also has a leaning to my PhD work. In the EU there is discussion of The silence of the chips and my concern is – if we are not pragmatic we could end up ‘silencing the chips’ even before the industry develops since ubiquitous computing no longer becomes ‘seamless’ if you have to manually intervene to allow / deny individual sensors. I also first stumbled upon Contiki in that context(and hence this book) and maybe in future I will contribute a privacy framework to Contiki myselves if I can convince my supervisor of the idea :) ha ha!

But overall, this is an excellent book .. And I enjoyed reading it and would highly recommend it.

You can read more at their web site The next Internet and buy the book at Amazon