Friday, September 18
Count the White House’s proposed health care plan as one of the now 300 million Facebook users worldwide. Reports Read Write Web:
In an effort to personalize healthcare reform benefits, WhiteHouse.gov launched a “Reality Check” Facebook quiz application to rally for President Barack Obama’s widely disputed Health Insurance Reform Plan. While the application was only shared with Facebook users 6 hours ago, 350 people have already commented on everything from education, to war, to congressional travel records to general partisanship.
Thursday, September 17
In what could prove to be the start of a major shift for publishing — or, just as possible, a short-lived fluke — digital copies of Dan Brown’s (The Da Vinci Code) new novel The Lost Symbol are outselling the traditional hardcover versions on Amazon.
Technology can be scary — especially to those who can’t quite understand it. First there was the town of Gastonbury, England, which protested against receiving a Wi-Fi network after some residents blamed it for dizziness, headaches, and other ailments. Now there’s the garlic farmer in Victoria Harbour, Nova Scotia, who is trying to stop the village from receiving high-speed Internet. Reports CBC News:
Lenny Levine, who has been planting and harvesting garlic by hand on his Annapolis Valley land since the 1970s, is afraid his organic crop could be irradiated if EastLink builds a microwave tower for wireless high-speed internet access a few hundred metres from his farm.
“I think over a period of time it will change the DNA of the garlic because it shakes up the molecules,” he said Tuesday.
It’s easy to laugh at people who fear technology — especially when their fears are based around changing the DNA of garlic — but their protests highlight the need for education when it comes to rolling out technology. Any country looking to bring broadband to all its citizens needs to be able to assure people that the Internet can be a secure, and truly beneficial, tool for their everyday lives. After all, what’s the point of providing access if people don’t want — or are scared to — use it?
Broadcasting & Cable is reporting that the first stop on the FCC’s traveling national broadband workshop tour will occur on Monday, September 21 in Austin, Texas. After that, it’s on to Charleston, South Carolina on Tuesday, October 6.
More information about past and future broadband workshops can be found at broadband.gov.
Wednesday, September 16
IIA Co-Chairman Bruce Mehlman has a column up on Fierce Telecom on defining what broadband means:
The definition must be forward-looking. In addition to recognizing the importance of existing broadband devices, the definition of broadband must leave room for future applications. The FCC should remember that the applications that were mission critical in the past like e-mail, while still useful, are less vital now that we have other interactive technologies like video-conferencing. Therefore, broadband is most logically understood as the connectivity required for accessing, and making use of, certain cutting-edge applications, the list of which will certainly continue to evolve and expand over time.
Check out Bruce’s full column at Fierce Telecom.
Computer World has news on Google’s latest move toward worldwide domination:
Google will offer cloud-computing services designed specifically for U.S. government agencies starting next year, the company announced Tuesday at the NASA Ames Research Center.
The services will give government agencies a way to purchase services such as Google Apps, by ensuring that they meet regulatory requirements, said Matthew Glotzbach, director of product management with Google enterprise.
Following in Apple’s footsteps, the U.S. government has created its own “app store.” Reports the New York Times:
On Tuesday, Vivek Kundra, the federal chief information officer, unveiled Apps.Gov, a Web site where federal agencies will able to buy so-called cloud computing applications and services that have been approved by the government to replace more costly and cumbersome computing services at their own locations.
The push to promote cloud computing is part of the Obama administration’s effort to modernize the government’s information technology systems and to help reduce the $75 billion annual budget for federal I.T. in the process.
Yesterday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the insanely popular social networking site now has 300 million members worldwide — an increase of 100 million users in just five months.
Times may be tough, but that doesn’t mean Internet use is slowing down. New numbers from TeleGeography reveal that even in a worldwide recession, Internet traffic is up 79% over last year, with Eastern Europe, South Asia, and the Middle East leading the charge.
Monday, September 14
Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is holding a broadband workshop on telemedicine in Washington, D.C. As they work to build a national consensus around a broadband plan, it is important for policymakers to consider the critical benefits of telemedicine, specifically for rural and other underserved communities.
Telemedicine is becoming one of the most significant and cost-effective services in the health care industry. In addition to monitoring patients with diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, telemedicine can be used for a host of other applications, including emergency room triage, neurology, pediatrics, mental health, and geriatrics. The applications of telemedicine are endless, and the ability of specialists to provide services to those in remote areas via broadband creates a truly wonderful opportunity to revolutionize the quality of health care services to the most isolated communities.
As Director of the Center for Strategic Health Innovation at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, I have seen rural Americans benefit from remote monitoring applications that assist in the treatment of chronic health disorders. We must broaden access to broadband by dedicating more funds to building broadband infrastructure, overcoming the unwillingness to connect to broadband Internet by providing education to those who do not yet see the value, and bringing down the cost of connecting to broadband. Telemedicine is the future of rural health care because it enables rural communities to access expert care that might otherwise not be available, thus improving quality of life. While there are significant costs in providing this infrastructure, they pale in comparison to the benefits of the resulting long-term health care savings and improvement in quality of care.
— Carl Taylor