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Bill St. Arnaud is a R&E Network and Green IT consultant who works with clients on a variety of subjects such as the next generation research and education and Internet networks. He also works with clients to develop practical solutions to reduce GHG emissions such as free broadband and dynamiccharging of eVehicles (See http://green-broadband.blogspot.com/) . For more about me please see http://goo.gl/pOpwBView my complete profile

Monday, August 30, 2010

Cut the tie to cable - new over the air television service integrated with Internet

[I am big fan of digital over the air TV as I think it will enable a new wave of innovation and lower costs. While the transition to Digital TV will create reception problems in rural areas I think it will be boon for most TV viewers in cities. The biggest obstacles to moving to the Internet for TV reception is the lack of broadband competition and geo-blocking as a way of content companies in cahoots with broadband suppliers (many, in Canada, whom also own broadcast empires) to block distribution of content over the Internet -- BSA]

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/d59849ac-b389-11df-81aa-00144feabdc0.html


In the age of connected TV, “don’t touch that dial!” has become “don’t change that input!”. Whereas broadcasters were once concerned over viewers changing channels during ad breaks, they are now worried that the public will desert regular television altogether for internet-based content.

About a quarter of TVs sold in the US this year will be able to connect to the internet and bypass regular programming, according to research by Parks Associates, while WiFi and Ethernet connections are becoming standard on set-top boxes.
[..]

But a growing number of US consumers, frustrated at the failure of operators to offer à la carte choices, might turn to getting their content over the internet from services such as Net-flix. Those not ready to give up their TVs can also mix this with free digital over-the-air content.
Sezmi, a Silicon Valley start-up, is offering an internet-connected set-top box with a digital aerial. It combines free over-the-air channels with net content and uses spare bandwidth on the digital broadcasts to provide popular cable channels. Packages cost $5-$20 a month – much less than the average cable bill.

“The number-one point of frustration consumers have today is that they feel that they are paying way too much and they’re really not getting the value out of what they’re paying for.”
For all the advantages of cable and satellite, the prospect of TV that is either free or costs next to nothing remains a compelling option for the consumer.


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email: Bill.St.Arnaud@gmail.com
twitter: BillStArnaud
blog: http://billstarnaud.blogspot.com/
skype: Pocketpro

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

How clouds and R&E networks can help small startups

[Many of today’s hot Internet companies like Twitter and Slideshare got an early kick start on their aggressive growth because they built their applications around clouds. The following 2 articles clearly demonstrate that clouds can have a major benefit in helping the cash flow requirements for small startup. The next big application area for clouds will be to support the next generation of mobile applications enabled by devices like the Android and iPad using 4G and 5G networks. See http://www.slideshare.net/bstarn/ottawa-u-deploying-5g-networks for more details As I also discussed in my paper “Personal perspectives on R&E networks” clouds and R&E networks can not only help academic research but they can expose young budding entrepreneurs at our universities to the new programming paradigm of clouds and their economic benefits. Projects like the UCSD Ocean Observatory Cyber-Infrastructure program are a good example of this approach. The click-compute revenue model used by some cloud providers such as Amazon also can result in a new revenue stream to support academic research. R&E networks can also play an important role in providing the high bandwidth connectivity to major peering points to interconnect to clouds that is needed for many academic and small business applications. CENIC and ESnet are good examples of networks that are providing this type of service – BSA]

http://cloud.gigaom.com/2010/08/16/how-computing-impacts-the-cash-needs-of-startups/
How Cloud Computing Impacts the Cash Needs of Startups
Cloud computing has been a key enabling factor in the latest generation of web startups, letting them start with small amounts of capital and scale quickly in response to demand. Startups don’t care about a lot of the factors that slow adoption of cloud computing. New startups don’t own anything yet, so they don’t have a legacy investment in physical infrastructure. They also don’t have IT departments, who often have a stake in the old way of doing things. So, if you want to see what the future of IT infrastructure looks like, look at what startups are doing today.
Cloud computing is more of a pricing innovation more than a technological innovation. After all, cloud computing is really just virtualization (a la Xen or VMWare) that’s hosted by somebody else. The technology isn’t such a big deal. The mind-blowing thing is the ability to pay for computing like it is a utility. This offers two big advantages over owning and operating your own hardware, and even over renting servers by the month.
Advantage 1: Success-Based Scaling
When something is a utility, you pay for it based on the amount you use. System use ishopefully related to revenue-generation (if not, be afraid! This means your startup doesn’t have a business model), so cloud computing costs fluctuate in tandem with revenues. If you have big infrastructure costs this month, it’s because you have big revenue this month. This is a big advantage when compared to dedicated hosting, where you’d pay for the maximum capacity that you might need this month.
[..]
Advantage 2: Cash-Flow Positive Infrastructure
When something is a utility, you pay after using the service, instead of before you use it. Think of the difference between when you pay your rent and when you pay your phone bill: that’s the difference between dedicated hosting and cloud computing. […]

[..]
Advantage: Startups
What these two advantages mean for the startup using cloud computing is that its business has the potential to be inherently cash-flow positive. When your infrastructure costs track how many customers you have, and when you can collect money from those customers before you have to pay vendors, your need for outside capital dramatically decreases, and the risk of running out of cash goes down dramatically.
Cash is the oxygen of business, and cloud computing allows companies to inhale the oxygen (by collecting revenue) before they exhale (pay their vendors). No wonder that in the last few years, web-based startups have grown like weeds even as the broader economy collapsed!



http://gigaom.com/2010/08/16/meet-the-all-new-structure-blog/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+earth2tech+(Earth2Tech)&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher
Meet The All-New Structure Blog
The big web infrastructure makeover, which includes the rise of cloud computing, has been an area of much focus for us. From our coverage of the industry to our industry-leading Structure conference, we have been trying to cover what our dear friend and well-known author Nick Carr calls – the big shift.

[..]
On the blog, we’re not only covering some of the daily developments in the industry, we’re also looking to profile people behind many of these companies, as well as look deeply into how startups can use cloud computing to their benefit. As part of this effort, we have invited folks like Jon Boutelle, chief technology officer of SlideShare, to share the lessons learned from building a startup by using Amazon’s Web Services.
[…]


Enabling innovation for small business through clouds and R&E networks
http://billstarnaud.blogspot.com/2010/04/enabling-innovation-for-small-business.html


Personal Perspectives on the Future of R&E networks

http://billstarnaud.blogspot.com/2010/02/personal-perspective-on-evolving.html

The changing nature of traffic on R&E networks

http://billstarnaud.blogspot.com/2010/05/changing-traffic-of-r-networks-and.html

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email: Bill.St.Arnaud@gmail.com
twitter: BillStArnaud
blog: http://billstarnaud.blogspot.com/
skype: Pocketpro

Monday, August 9, 2010

Clouds enable some of the hottest startups on the planet

Clouds enable some of the hottest startups on the planet

http://billstarnaud.blogspot.com/

[As I discussed in my paper Personal perspectives on the future of R&E networks clouds lower the barriers of entry for small startups to grow and scale. Many R&E networks are now peering with major cloud providers not only to support university researcher, but to also expose young budding entrepreneurs to the benefits of using clouds.
Outside of the US many governments are concerned about the dominance of US cloud infrastructure. But I have to agree with the Economist magazine ownership and location of the cloud infrastructure is not the major economic opportunity. The bigger economic opportunity is with all these innovative startups. And needless to say cloud infrastructure can be zero carbon as demonstrated by the Greenstar project and GreenQloud in Iceland. Some excerpts BSA]

Will Amazon Become The King of Web Hosting Too?

http://gigaom.com/2010/08/06/amazon-web-host/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+OmMalik+(GigaOM)&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher

Amazons web services are on track to being a half-a-billion dollar business. They are home to some of the hottest startups on the planet.
Even older startups use their infrastructure. And despite all the false rumors, pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly is a customer.
Ironically, the company which put the Cloud in computing has found a fast growth opportunity in a decidedly old fashioned business web hosting.

Newsweek and PBSs network are using Amazon Web Services for hosting their web sites. In addition, large e-consulting firms such as Digitaria and Razorfish are adding a few thousand sites a year to Amazon, Selipsky said. From movie sites to hosting apps for large brands, Amazon suddenly (and perhaps unintentionally) finds itself competing with thousands of web hosts. As more and more media companies integrate Internet and mobile applications into their overall product mix, they are likely to spend more dollars on their infrastructure needs.

Just as Dell and their ilk benefitted from close ties with old fashioned consultancies and sold a lot of hardware to their clients, Amazon can now find itself benefiting from the growth in demand for the services of these new e-consultants. These e-consulting firms are pretty influential, especially when it comes to attracting corporate clients. For instance, Digitaria client Hasbro is hosting the website of its Monopoly game on AWS. It cost the company nearly half of what it would have cost on a traditional hosting set-up.

Personal Perspectives on the Future of R&E networks

http://billstarnaud.blogspot.com/2010/02/personal-perspective-on-evolving.html

The changing nature of traffic on R&E networks

http://billstarnaud.blogspot.com/2010/05/changing-traffic-of-r-networks-and.html



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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

How digital TV will help bridge the digital divide and allow consumers to drop expensive cable TV

[Micheal Geist has recently expressed legitimate concerns about the advent of digital TV and the impact that this will have on those with older TVs who currently don’t subscribe to cable TV or satellite service. I believe that, in fact, digital TV will have the opposite effect and be of much greater benefit for those who cant afford such services as now they will be able to receive high quality HDTV ( in many cases higher quality than over cable or satellite). Digital TV will allow many of us (especially in Canada and the US) to sever the cable and get rid of our outrageously expensive cable TV and/or satellite service. Most cable and satellite companies charge extra to receive HD Channels over their system.

Digital TV is much better quality than traditional analog TV – there is no ghosting, fuzzy pictures, etc. Just perfect high quality images. Most us of switched to cable TV years ago because of the reception problems with analog TV. Most TVs purchased in the last 2 years are digital TV ready. If you have an older TV then you may need to purchase a digital to analog converter box for about $75. Digital TV is also capable of carrying multiple TV channels, so now we will be receive many specialty channels over the air as well. Most Canadians who live within 50-100 KM of US border will also be able to pick up most US digital TV.

Digital TV antennas are much smaller than the old Yaggi’s we had on our roofs in the 60s and can be installed in attics or other suitable locations.

Over the air HDTV combined with the fact that many TV shows and movies are available over the Internet, means the need to subscribe cable TV or satellite service is less and less compelling. While Michael Geist is correct that geo- blocking is largely a business issue, when business practices are used to block consumer choice and preference I think something is fundamentally wrong. Once governments start to regulate geo-blocking we should have even a much greater choice of TV in the near future.

Now if only we could do something about the expensive, low speed Internet we get from the current duopoly in North America.

For more information on how to sever your cable and get HDTV over the air please see

www.tvfool.com

Over the Air Digital TV forum
http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=81

Bill


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email: Bill.St.Arnaud@gmail.com
twitter: BillStArnaud
blog: http://billstarnaud.blogspot.com/
skype: Pocketpro