Blog - Page 60

Energy is not Zero Sum

My friend Rich Karlgaard’s latest post at his Forbes Digital Rules blog reminded me of another major debate consuming the U.S. and China right now: energy. Karlgaard laments the disease of zero-sum thinking, which presumes one party’s gain is necessarily another party’s loss. Zero-sum thinking, more than anything else, is history’s chief culprit leading to war and depression. For some reason, it has infected untold generations of economists and politicians, and now it infects the debate over U.S.-China trade and the supposed world-wide race for the globe’s supposedly finite supply of energy. First the U.S. this summer blocked China CNOOC’s attempted acquisition of Unocal, an American company with mostly Asian petroleum assets, and now it seems that Beijing is resisting Read More ›

Yuan yawn…Status quo for now…

When the biggest two news items during President Bush’s China trip were his bike ride and his attempt to exit a locked door, it’s clear any contentious conversations happened, well, behind that locked door. This is good news, especially on China’s currency, the yuan. Both the U.S. and China reiterated their basic views, without directly contradicting the other side. President Bush said in his press conference with President Hu Jintao that “We’ll continue to work with China to help implement its July commitment to a flexible, market-based currency.” But Yi Gang, an assistant central bank governor, said that “China would keep the yuan basically stable….” The status quo of stable exchange rates is good for now, though at some point Read More ›

Google and Net Neutrality (continued)

Like my colleague, Hance Haney, I find Google’s support of “net neutrality” regulation surprising. Or if not surprising, at least disappointing. Google is not a search engine company or a dot-com. Google is an Internet infrastructure company. A networked computer company. It is a general purpose platform of processors, bandwidth, and software. It does search, yes, but every few months now Google introduces another array of new Net products and services: GoogleVideo, GoogleBase, GoogleMaps, GoogleDesktop to organize my PC. Read this column by Robert Cringely, who explains Google’s infrastructure buildout and says Google is about to monopolize the Net, leaving no room for competitors or even mid-sized companies, only small guys and entrepreneurs. I don’t believe Google will monopolize the Read More ›

Vint Cerf and Net Neutrality

Internet pioneer Vint Cerf penned a letter expressing his fear that legislation before the House Energy & Commerce Committee “would do great damage to the Internet as we know it.” Cerf is now an employee of Google, a great company that unfortunately strongly supports the legislation’s net neutrality provisions.

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Spyware legislation advances in Senate

The Senate Commerce Committee approved a modified version of S. 687, a bill sponsored by Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT) and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) which would target a variety of malicious practices that include: computer hijacking, spam zombies, endless loop pop-up advertisements and fraudulent software installation. A similar measure (H.R. 29) introduced by Rep. Mary Bono (R-CA) and Rep. Ed Towns (D-NY) has passed the House. The House has also approved H.R. 744, by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), which addresses criminal penalties and prosecutorial tools related to spyware. Spyware legislation is beneficial because it will promote consumer awareness and assist law enforcement. But technological solutions to the problem may ultimately prove more important. The industry Read More ›

Ratify the Cybercrime Convention

It is already against the law in the U.S. to interfere with someone else’s computer or commit traditional crimes with the aid of a computer, however many countires have gaps in their criminal laws governing computer-related crimes and have become havens for cyber-criminals. Another problem is that electronic evidence of crime is difficult for law enforcers to locate and secure when it crosses borders. A treaty is awaiting final Senate approval that would fully criminalize computer-related offenses in other countries and require each country to have the power to quickly preserve and disclose stored computer data, compel the production of electronic evidence by ISPs, to search and seize computers and data, and to collect traffic data and content in real Read More ›

Me and Mao

I spent last week in Beijing visiting with Nobel economist Robert Mundell, investor and all-around big thinker John Rutledge, other economists and scientists, and lots of everyday Chinese. It was an especially interesting time to be there right ahead of President Bush’s visit this week. -Bret Swanson

What will Bush say on Chinese Yuan?

Although Mao Zedong’s presence still superficially dominates the main public space here in Beijing–his mausoleum at one end of Tiananmen Square and his portrait guarding the Forbidden City at the other–almost everything else in China’s capital city refutes Mao’s life, legacy, and ideas. Once ubiquitous, gray and brown Mao jackets have now been utterly replaced by a new national garment–colorful North Face ski jackets. The other place you’ll see Mao is on all the money, known as yuan or renminbi, or simply RMB. Hundred-yuan bills, 50s, 20s, 10s, ones–it’s all Mao. The irony is that Mao was not, shall we say, a terrific economist. Yet for the last 27 years, China’s management of its economy and this massive transformation of Read More ›

EU Threatens Innovation in Action Against Microsoft

Microsoft’s work group server competitors claim they can’t keep up with the complexity of Microsoft’s product upgrades.

“We are, in many fields, ten years behind Microsoft. And the lag is growing with every new step Microsoft takes”

according to Volker Lendecke of the Samba Users Group, an organization dedicated to free software that anyone can copy.

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Universal Service for the developing world?

On the eve of a conference in Tunisia to discuss the management of Internet domain names, the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development has issued a 276-page report highlighting the existence of a digital divide between developed and developing countries. The report makes some useful observations about how Internet connections are over-regulated and over-taxed in many developing countries.

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