Smartphones Remind Me of External Tape Drives

15 September 2012

Smartphones are external devices, but what’s external today might become internal someday.

Apple (AAPL) stock is nearing $700 per share and at one point on 14 September 02012 Apple Inc.’s market value exceeded $650 billion. Tweets about Apple’s iPhone 5 has flooded my tiny neighborhood of the Twitterverse and that has been frustrating because I am not a consumer of iWhatever products.

A couple months ago I quoted myself saying, “I’ll call my phone a smartphone when it starts paying the bills.” A couple of days ago I quoted myself saying, “If only smartphones made us smart.”

These days I believe the following is true: Smartphones are to humans as external tape drives are to computers. [And I am thinking of those old clunky external tape drives.]

External tape drives, once purchased and drivers installed, are often permanently attached to computers. Smartphones, once purchased and activated, are often permanently within reach of humans. I find it interesting that there are so many humans willing to be permanently tethered to a device when they are free not to be.

Over time many external drives got smaller and were able to became internal drives; in other words, they were installed in the computers.

It’s possible that smartphones will morph into supercomputers and get small enough so that they can be installed in humans. If this happens, then it makes for some interesting stuff to ponder. Some examples: Will the Digital Divide get wider? Will humans still be able to function (think) if their computer is down? Will humans still be able to function if their computers get disconnected from the Internet? What can happen to humans when their computer gets cracked? What happens to a human when they encounter another human who has a more powerful computer? Will humans have zero privacy? Will criminals hurt/kill humans in order to steal their computers? What happens to a person’s computer when they die? Etc.

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Human Genome; Autonomous Vehicles; Supercomputing; SpaceX

1 June 2012

From a sociopolitical perspective the 21st century has been a dud, but ignoring that…

Human Genome Project completed in 02003; DARPA Grand Challenge successfully met in 02005; DARPA Urban Challenge successfully met in 02007; TOP500 top supercomputer tops petaflops in 02008; IBM’s Watson wins Jeopardy! in 02011; SpaceX successfully completes its first mission in 02012.

[update::02012.06.01] This posting should have included the following… Yesterday (02012.05.31) the front page of the Arizona Republic had the following headline: “U.S. broadening cyberwar strategy”. Today the New York Times has a news story titled “Obama Order Sped Up Wave of Cyberattacks Against Iran”. My gut tells me cyberwarfare, which I think is in progress, is going to be uglier than ugly.


Who is Howard Schmidt?

24 December 2009

Howard A. Schmidt has been named Cyber-Security Coordinator of the Obama Administration (i.e. Cybersecurity Czar). Schmidt was a cyber-adviser in President George W. Bush’s White House.

The only thing I know about Howard Schmidt is that he is not the father of Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt.

When it comes to computer security I try to listen to Bruce Schneier, Gene Spafford, Phil Zimmermann and Edward Felten; therefore, I am interested in what these computer security gurus have to say about Howard Schmidt. To date (as of 02009.12.24), I haven’t been able to find much, but I did find the following.

From Schneier.com…

Reporters are calling me for reactions and opinions, but I just don’t know. Schmidt is good, but I don’t know if anyone can do well in a job with lots of responsibility but no actual authority. But maybe Obama will imbue the position with authority — I don’t know.

From Spafford via TheCommandLine.net…

Well, to be correct about it, neither Bruce nor I was ever contacted about taking the position or about suggesting anyone to fill it.

I find it beyond amazing that President Obama did not seek out advice from Schneier and Spafford.

Spafford continued via TheCommandLine.net…

This may or may not say something about the search itself. I do not know of anyone with a primarily cyber technology background who was contacted — only people with business and/or military backgrounds. This is another factor that made me believe that the view of this position is skewed in a direction that will limit its effectiveness.

Keyphrases… Schneier: “a job with lots of responsibility but no actual authority.” Spafford: “this position is skewed in a direction that will limit its effectiveness.

Barack Obama himself has been quoted saying that a computer can be morphed into a “weapon of mass disruption.” Catchy words, but I’m not convinced President Obama knows what he’s doing when it comes to cybersecurity.