Thailand’s government is cracking down on opposition protests in Bangkok, leaving protesters wounded and dead. Opposition groups are using the Internet do get the word out, but live streaming sites like Livestream.com and Justin.tv can’t be accessed from within the country due to censorship.
As we’ve all heard before, it’s often “who you know,” instead of “what you know,” when it comes to the world of business. And that’s even more true for the greentech industry, which became the leading venture capital investment sector in the third quarter of 2009 largely based on investments from the U.S. government’s stimulus package. While greentech investors readily backed President Obama during his political campaign, former cabinet members all the way back to the Reagan administration have joined the boards of greentech startups in droves in recent years, particularly former Department of Energy Secretaries. Here are 10 we know of, and if you have more to share, add them in the comment section.
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CIA Director-turned-venture-capitalist Jim Woolsey (who is advising John McCain on energy issues) says that our power grid is so vulnerable to cyber-hacking that 10- or 11-year-old hackers could get through. In an interview on the Blog Talk Radio Show, Woolsey said:
“The systems that operate now to protect the grid from hacking probably do a reasonable job against 8-year old hackers, but once you get to be the 10- or 11-year old hackers they’re in there like Flynn. The grid’s cyber protections are awful.”
It’s a theme that Woolsey has addressed before — back in June, he asked a panel of energy experts at the Google/Brookings plug-in electric vehicle conference what was being done to secure the grid. His question was in response to an article in the National Journal, which alleged that Chinese paramilitary hackers were responsible for two massive U.S. blackouts.
Silver Spring Networks CTO Raj Vaswani previously explained to us that securing the grid is different from securing Internet services and that the “threat model is extremely complex because you’ve got devices sitting out in the field potentially for years with no physical security.” Woolsey also mirrored that sentiment in the Blog Radio show and said that hardware like transformers are open to physical attack.
The letter was signed by 27 elder statesmen, including former Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Henry Kissinger and former CIA Director-turned-VC James Woolsey, as well as six other former Secretaries of State or Defense, senators and senior White House advisers and Cabinet officers for past presidents, both Republican and Democrat.
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Science fiction writers speculate that robots will eventually take over our networks, but conspiracy theorists say our current grid is under attack from foreign hackers—conspiracy theorists and high-level intelligence officials that is, according to the cover of the National Journal. The article alleges that Chinese paramilitary hackers were responsible for two massive U.S. blackouts. The theory had enough credibility for former CIA Director-turned-venture-capitalist James Woolsey to ask a panel of energy experts what is being done to secure the grid at the Google/Brookings plug-in electric vehicle conference in Washington this month. Video of Woolsey’s question and the panel’s response below.
So just how secure is our grid? Does making our grid smarter and more interoperable increase our risk? The panel’s moderator, Thomas Friedman, pointed out that our current grid’s inefficiencies are theoretically preventing mass disruption. But the shift to IP-based, smart-grid services leverages all of the security technologies that have been developed in the IP space. Still, industry sources echo the panel’s response and say Woolsey’s is an “extremely legitimate question.”
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Have you been using the latest release candidate RC1 of version 3 of Mozilla’s Firefox browser? If you haven’t, and you’re a regular user of Firefox, you may want to consider doing so now, before the official release of the final offering in June. I’ve been using RC1, and find it to be far faster than previous versions, in addition to other conveniences. It also handles memory much more efficiently. See Mike’s thoughts on this version as well.
While the final release of Firefox version 3 is scheduled for June, ZDNet is reporting that during the first week of June, Mozilla will release a second release candidate. If you want to start using RC1 now, and perhaps jump to RC2, what tips should you keep in mind?
The latest channel from Next New Networks, Goggleburn, will feature online video from around the web along with a weekly show hosted by Nick Douglas (who’s promising debut last year, Look Shiny, never quite got off the ground). With a slightly warped yet smartly erudite sensibility and a disaffected delivery, Douglas’ first segment is a dry but well-researched take on the “photo-a-day” trend kicked off by photographer Noah Kalina. Similar theme- or personality-centered segments will be a weekly feature each Monday.
The site promises to highlight the “online TV you gotta see.” With Douglas continuing to write for Gawker Media, I couldn’t help but think of Screenhead, a compendium of links to comedy shorts around the web shuttered by Nick Denton back in 2006 — though certainly online video has matured significantly since then.
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Last night in the taxi returning to our hotel the cab driver was quizzing Kevin and I on HD DVD technology. He was particularly interested in the battle between HD-DVD and BluRay and which one he should get. He was quite knowledgeable about the technology in general and stated that when prices drop a little more that’s when he’ll jump on one of the two technologies. Plus he’ll make sure he picks the one that will survive which right now appears to be BluRay. Only in Vegas. 🙂
I have often alluded to the brutal price wars that are raging in the content delivery network business, driven largely by the entry of newer players including Level 3 (LVLT) and a gaggle of startups that are hell-bent on taking market share from incumbents such as Akamai (AKAM).
Limelight Networks (LLNW), another big player in the market, is beginning to feel the brunt of the price wars. The company posted better-than-expected third-quarter results today, but it went on to give a revenue forecast that caused chills to run down the spine of Wall Street. I don’t think this is the end of the gloomy forecasts; we are going to see the ultra-competitive nature of the CDN business take its toll.
Music fans on Alltel’s network get a to sing a happy tune today. The company just added the latest Motorola handset to their device repertoire today: the MOTOROKR Z6m. Aside from the standard mobile goodness that Motorola baked in, Allel includes their innovative Celltop functionality for easy app navigation. Along with Celltop is an XM Radio Mobile cell, which offers 20 different XM Radio streams for your listening pleasure at $7.99 a month after a one-week free trial. $129 for the Z6m after rebates…
"Thisstylish slider is the ultimate phone for music lovers, featuring anintegrated MP3 player with up to 2GB of optional removable memory forthe ability to store up to 1,000 songs, 3.5 mm headset jack, stereoBluetooth connectivity and USB 2.0 high speed connectivity for fastfile transfers. Additionally, the phone supports a wide-range of audioformats including MP3, AAC, AAC+ and WMA."