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+ - Will the nascent Cuban startup community thrive?

Submitted by lpress
lpress writes: The Cuban startup community has some things going for it, including well educated users, hackers and developers and a resourceful, cooperative culture. That's the good news, but obstacles include nearly nonexistent Internet connectivity, a lack of capital and business experience and a bureaucratic government that may favor state enterprises. Let's hope the community takes off.

+ - Get to know Elon Musk -- 3 cool videos

Submitted by lpress
lpress writes: I have my classes watch three Elon Musk videos — an interview by Sal Khan of the Khan Academy, Musk introducing his planned satellite constellation for global Internet connectivity and his introduction of Tesla Energy. The videos show his goals and motivation, his role as an open-source catalyst rather than an industrialist and his skill as a speaker.

+ - How about getting some Cuban apps into our online stores

Submitted by lpress
lpress writes: A second delegation from Google is in Cuba and they have visited two important technical universities and some of Cuba's Youth Computer Clubs. The US government is now allowing us to import goods produced by Cuban entrepreneurs, Might we soon be seeing Cuban apps in the Google Play store or the stores of Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, and anyone else selling software online?

+ - Google & Facebook report on developing nation connectivity at MWC

Submitted by lpress
lpress writes: Sundar Pichai of Google and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg reported on their efforts to connect the 3-4 billion people who are still off line. Google's Project Loon is making progress — their Internet service balloons are now staying up for about 6 months and delivering up to 10 mbps. They have also deployed an 800 km fiber backbone in Kampala, Uganda and plan to do the same in "many more" African cities. Facebook's cell-phone connectivity project,, is already offering basic Internet services (not full Internet connectivity) in six nations. For example, they provide cell-phone access to Facebook and 37 other Web sites in India. Their Connectivity Lab is also working on long-range projects.

+ - Will Cubans be exporting software and software services?

Submitted by lpress
lpress writes: In an effort to support Cuba's nascent private sector, the Treasury Department announced on Friday that Americans can now import goods and services produced by “independent Cuban entrepreneurs.” Will the Cuban government allow that? Cuba is a communist nation, but they have a list of 201 job categories in which self-employment is permitted. Most of those jobs are goofy things like magician and pedal-taxi driver, but one is not – computer programmer. Will the Castro regime let private individuals and organizations export software and software services to the United States and the rest of the world?

+ - Cuba says the Internet now a priority -- is it?

Submitted by lpress
lpress writes: Cuba first connected to the Internet in 1996 through a Sprint link funded by the US National Science Foundation. A year later the Cuban government decided to contain and control it. Now they say the Internet is a priority. If so, they need a long run plan, but they can get started with low cost interim measures. There is virtually no modern infrastructure on the island, but they could aggressively deploy satellite technology at little cost and, where phone lines could support it, install DSL equipment. With liberalized licensing, US companies could supply service and equipment — the ball is in the Cuban court.

+ - A survey of RAND's contributions to computer science

Submitted by lpress
lpress writes: RAND Corporation was formed after World War II to do research and development for the Air Force. Perhaps the first "think tank," RAND was instrumental in many computer science developments. They did important early work on communication satellites, artificial intelligence and operations research and RAND's JOHNNIAC was one of the first stored program (Von Neumann architecture) research computers. IPL, the first list processing language, the SIMSCRIPT simulation programming language and JOSS, one of the first interactive time-sharing systems, were developed at RAND. The RAND tablet was the great grandfather of the iPad and its graphical input language (GRAIL) featured object-oriented drawing and character recognition. Paul Baran's work on the design and feasibility of large, distributed, packet-switched networks was RAND's most important theoretical work — leading to the ARPANET.

In 1957, RAND spun off its research division, creating the System Development Corporation (SDC) to build the SAGE air-defense system. SAGE was the first computer network and a huge project that trained most of the system programmers in the US. Those programmers invented many programming and project management techniques and went on to productive careers. SDC also developed the most advanced time-sharing and software development system of its time, which was used in dozens of man-machine research projects.

+ - Routers in orbit – can Elon Musk and Greg Tyler connect the other three bi

Submitted by lpress
lpress writes: In the early 1990s, cellular pioneer Craig McCaw, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal founded Teledesic with the intention of providing global Internet connectivity using low-earth orbit satellites. The satellite and launch technology were not good enough and the company failed. Today, entrepreneurs Elon Musk (launch technology) and Greg Wyler (satellite technology) are working on a constellation of 700 low-earth orbit satellites to provide Internet connectivity to rural areas and developing nations and Google has several related projects. Will they realize Teledesic's 1990 vision using 2020 technology?

+ - Cuban and American collaboration -- against ebola and on the early Internet

Submitted by lpress
lpress writes: Cuban doctors and nurses are working in ebola treatment units funded by the U. S, Agency for International Development and Sprint, a U.S. corporation subsidized by funds from the U.S. National Science Foundation, provided Cuba's first Internet link.

In the days of pre and early-Internet networking, Americans were welcome as visitors to Cuba's National Center of Automated Data Exchange, the organization responsible for Cuban networking at that time, and at Cuban computer science conferences. Cubans, Americans and others worked side by side in the Internet Society Developing Nation Workshops and Conferences. We were not politicians seeking power or representatives of corporations seeking monopoly profits, but technicians and others who believed that computer networks were fascinating and held great potential for improving the world.

+ - A review of CBS All Access online video streaming

Submitted by lpress
lpress writes: I tested CBS All Access video streaming. It has technical problems, which will be resolved, but I will still pass because they show commercials in addition to a $5.99 per month fee. Eventually, we will all cut the cord and have a choice of viewing modes — on-demand versus scheduled and with and without commercials — but don't expect your monthly bill to drop as long as our ISPs are monopolies or oligopolies.

+ - Nobel laureate Jean Tirole has advice for Internet companies and regulators.

Submitted by lpress
lpress writes: Companies like Apple and Google face complex pricing decisions since they are in "two-sided" markets and telecommunication policy makers need to find regulatory strategies that will incent network companies to invest, while keeping end user prices low. Tirole has advice for both. European regulators have heeded his advice, but not those of the US.

Practical people would be more practical if they would take a little more time for dreaming. -- J. P. McEvoy