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WiFi @ IND December 16, 2008

Posted by CK in Mobility, Networking, Travel.
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Yesterday I flied out of the US, starting from the airport of Indianapolis. IND is brand new (or at least the terminal where I was), spacious, clean, efficient. It’s one of those airports that you like as soon as you set foot on them, not because of some fancy design or its shopping area, but rather because it does very well what it is supposed to do: route you to your flight with minimal strain (US airline companies’ inefficiency and how they manage to destroy your day in the end, is a whole different story).

What I liked the most, however, was their business model for offering wifi access. Instead of providing pre-pay internet connectivity, as is the case in all airports I have been at before, they give it for free. The catch (hardly one…) is that they first take you through a page where they have a bunch of movies and music that you can buy, to entertain you during the flight. If you don’t want to, you can immediately skip it and go to the AUP, and from there to free public internet.

I don’t know if it’s working from a business perspective, but I’d love to see something like this taking off. Operating an internet link is not *that* expensive in the western world anymore, and the fees they charge are usually outrageous. 8 euros for 60 minutes in Frankfurt? Yeah, right.


Mendeley December 11, 2008

Posted by CK in Research, Software.
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More good news from eScience’08. During the poster session today, I got to meet with the founder of Mendeley, Jan Reichelt. Merely the idea of having something like Mendeley gives me a warm, cosy feeling that someday I will not have to dig through citations for finding the papers that make sense for my research work, but rather the papers will automagically come to my attention (apologies to those who hate the word “automagically”). If this takes off, it could be the best thing created after the snooze button. The idea, in a few words, is to have something like Last.FM for research papers, i.e. match your library’s profile to that of other users, and then make relevant suggestions to you about papers to read or even people (researchers) to contact. On the same time, it is a full bibliographic manager.

Mendeley is still in beta, and has a few problems, but Jan says that they should have a much more stable version rolled out this Monday. I will wait until then and try it out — I’m definitely looking forward to it.

Just as I was getting used to mighty BibDesk

Remote Instrumentation at eScience’08 December 11, 2008

Posted by CK in IT, Research.
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Today I had the pleasure to talk at IEEE eScience’08 about a Remote Instrumentation topic [1][2][3] — more specifically about reservation of instruments for remote use. I was very pleased to see how interested people are on the topic, which has been around for some time but clearly we have only scratched the surface. Remote access to instruments for data acquisition and/or control could have enormous impact on society, if done correctly. Just imagine how people in poorer countries would have the possibilities to do experimental science using facilities that they neither have in their countries nor can they even travel to use. Or the impact on business, in a system where companies could rent their equipment to others in such a scheme, much like today’s cloud computing. And don’t forget education! Students from one university could experiment remotely on equipment in other universities, possibly at the other end of the world. The possibilities are endless and include more or less all fields of societal activity.

There are many people working on the topic, such as ex-colleagues from the DORII project. Today I also found out about some very interesting work at the Ohio Supercomputer Center with its RICE project. Last but not least, there’s work taking place in the context of the RISGE Research Group of the OGF, so if you are interested in the topic, subscribe to the RISGE list and join at the next OGF event!