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Ubiquitous Computing, Nanotechnology & Privacy

Ubiquitous Computing, Nanotechnology & Privacy

Thousands of small business webmasters briefly lose their domain names at expiration, due to a simple lack of understanding about the roles of three key players in the drama: domain name registrars, web hosts and internet service providers. Fortunately for most, they learn quickly how to save their web site from oblivion by using the 30 day redemption period for expired domain names enforced by ICANN. One simple solution is to extend domain registration for the maximum ten years. The other solution is to treat domain registrar data as the critical business element it is.

Search the WHOIS database to see who your Registrar is on your business domain! Transfer your domain name to take advantage of our lower prices.

I Can't Remember Where I Purchased My Domain Name!

It wasn't until my third client had called asking how to regain control of her domain name that I realized that it was a common problem for small business webmasters to forget where they had registered their domains. WHOIS my registrar? Why didn't I get an email about renewal? Why did my site stop working today?

People rarely realize how important it is to keep their domain registrar notified of changes to their email address and and other contact information. The registrar will send renewal notifications to the email address last on file. For most domain owners, the only time they think about contacting a registrar is the day they reserve their domain name. If they move to a new city and get a new internet service provider, it doesn't occur to them that the old email address will change and that meeans that the registrar can no longer contact them through the previous address, or phone or fax as each of them change and we rarely notify the controller of our domain of those changes.

Sometimes the first indication a business owner will have that there is a problem is the day their web site stops working. If they failed to notify their domain registrar of changed email address, they may never have received their domain renewal notice. Since many registrars honor a 30 day "redemption period" allowing expired domains to be redeemed, it may be possible to save the registration within 30 days following expiration by contacting registrars during 30 day domain redemption periods.

The following URL leads to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (AKA ICANN) discussing the grace period and redemption period rules it enforces.


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Honey, I Shrunk the Chip!
by Mike Banks Valentine

Let's get small, real small, and then we can go anywhere! No, I'm not advocating we shrink ourselves, but rather discussing dramatic changes coming now that computers can be tiny and inexpensive. Recent movement in conservative, and previously very scarce venture capital investments (in two notable areas) suggests a brave new world of inexpensive, ubiquitous computing could be approaching.

What's ubiquitous computing and who cares about nanotech? These are the areas gaining that precious VC funding now. When I tried to discuss them with my wife she was NOT interested, so naturally I assumed that most folks would feel the same. But I'm fascinated, I gotta discuss this with someone! Hang on and let's go for a tiny ride.

Imagine a tube so small that it's 100,000 times smaller round than a human hair, so small that atoms must pass through them in single file! These tiny tubes are the new building blocks of miniature computing. I won't attempt a description here as I'm still a little foggy on the idea myself. Suffice it to say that smart folks are working on building extremely powerful computers that can also be cheap, efficient and everywhere using carbon nanotubes.

Current chips are called embedded microprocessors. They come in your watch, your TV remote, kitchen appliances and your garage door opener. It has been estimated that the average American home boasts 50 microprocessors. Your PC has about ten more! The mouse, the keyboard, speakers, USB interface, etc. each have additional microprocessors. If you are lucky enough to drive a new Mercedes, you have 65 microprocessors parked right there in your driveway!

About this time, my wife is muttering, "So What!?"

O.K., I did propose a short and tiny ride, so let's take a left turn now look at what it means if commercially viable (cheap) nanocomputers become available soon.

First and foremost, small and cheap mean computers'll be inside everything you buy. They'll put them everywhere they're currently found, such as your cell phone and PDA. But where it gets really interesting is when it becomes cheap enough to embed the little critters in items that don't currently need computing power. Why? Because they can! If you want the low-down on these tiny 'puters, go to the following link for a microscopic trip through this miniature world.


Venture Capital investments are being made not only by VC groups who recognize the dramatic potential of tiny technology, but a VC firm called Ardesta has been formed to act as a nanotech "accelerator". http://Ardesta.com Ardesta has built a cheerleading squad around what they prefer to call "Small Tech", an industry growing smaller by focusing their microscope on MEMS, or microelectro- mechanical systems.

Why get small? Microsystems clearly cost less in raw materials, many of which are plastic. All cost less to power since they are lightweight and tiny. Some even have miniature power plants built right in their itty bitty machinery. Many of the same benefits accrue to carbon tube nanocomputers being tested now on a pinhead sized platform.

Now comes the fun part! What happens when tiny machines powered by tiny microprocessors are humming away in tiny corners of every appliance making them work better, faster, cheaper and more efficiently? Ubiquitous computing is here! There's even a conference on this infant technology that is just over two years old and still in diapers, but growing fast as it approaches it's third event in September 2002.


The idea here is not to make computers more a part of our lives, but to make them disappear entirely while making everything easier. Is that clear-as-mud in a really tiny river?

Not only will all devices, furniture and even clothing be computing constantly, but they'll each be connected to each other and to the internet to make life easier for everyone. As with all utopian dreams, there is a dark side to this wondrous little liliputian world.

What about privacy?

With our underwear talking to global positioning satellites, it may be possible to have a really tiny big brother sewn into the elastic in your shorts. Wearable computers are available now with blood pressure monitors and tiny insulin- injecting pumps for those who need them. A microprocessor controlled artificial leg allowed Curtis Grimsley to escape the 70th floor of the World Trade Center on September 11.


When all of these tiny computers can talk with each other and be connected to the web, it's time to take a serious look at who has access to which microprocessor and when.

I propose that we do that now, before privacy concerns become gigantic in a fast shrinking world.

Mike Valentine operates http://privacynotes.com


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