Monday, December 12, 2011

Mobile phones of the near future

Jack Dikian
December 2011

Mobile phones are now used to make more than just phone calls. With an estimated 3 billion subscribers worldwide, more and more users now put the mobile phone to uses that would have been regarded fanciful only a few years ago.

Who would have imagined, for example, that your phone would be able to eavesdrop a short sample of music and report back the name of the song, the artist, the album, and even let you purchase the music and listen to it on the run.

And did we see mobile phones snapping pictures, let us send and receive emails, chat, get directions, and even watch television. The mobile phone certainly has come a long way since the days of brick-shaped analog phones that barely fit in a briefcase, let alone your shirt pocket.

So it’s never easy to gaze into a murky crystal ball to get a glimpse of what might be in store in the not-too-distant future. Here are, possibly, those features that are very likely.

  • Mobile Phone becomes your wallet - Near-field communications will turn mobile phones into credit or debit cards.
  • The World Wide Web in our pocket - Mobile phones supporting full HTML browsers and making the browsing experience as good as that achieved on other devices such as desktops.
  • Global positioning - system locating you and your phone anywhere on the globe.
  • TV on the run - Mobile TV in all its forms is expected to explode in the next few years.
  • Wi-Fi technology allowing us to use our phone in any Wi-Fi network hot spot.
  • Better picture quality

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Many of us Google ourselves

Jack Dikian
November 2011

There are many of us who Google ourselves fairly regularly. The reasons are mostly about keeping tabs on our online reputations, checking to see what prospective employers will know and/or even just being vain.

According to a report from the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, 57% of American adults keep tabs on their online identities. That's up from 47 percent in 2006.

And we don’t just Google ourselves. 46% of adults say they have used online searchers to find information about people from their past.38% have searched for friends and 16 % have scoured for facts about a person they were dating.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Next Ten Years

Jack Dikian
November 2011

One of my life long friends recently had a baby boy. Three months on the conversation often turns to how the world might be like when he’s old enough to go to school. Will he own an iPhone 7X (or rather an iPhone 7S) and will Google be his search engine of choice.

I sometimes think about where we were ten years ago. The state of technology, trends in consumer electronics, and of course you will recall we were obsessed with the millennium bug. I know a few people who even avoided flying at the turn of the millennium – worrying that an uncorrected subroutine in some obscure code arising from an earlier technology might result in disaster.

As we enter the second decade of the twenty first century many before me have looked into the murky crystal ball trying to foretell what might be in store. I think as the debate over climate change precipitates around consensus and more tangible metrics we can be assured that, increasingly, plausible and economically viable ways will be found to tinker with the environment

Increased political and social pressure will only move us towards more sustainable energy sources, and more and more of us will consciously alter our energy consumption habits.

Ever since Frederick Sanger devised the chain-termination method for sequencing DNA molecules (a genus of an idea) allowing long stretches of DNA to be rapidly and accurately sequenced, our ability to map the the entire human genome was that much closer to becoming a reality.

In 2007, James Watson’s genome was sequenced in 2 months, at a cost of $2 million. In 2009, Complete Genomics were sequencing personal genomes at less than $5000. Soon many of us may want our genomes downloaded onto our laptops. It is entirely possible that a growing market for personal genetic information will arise as well as a growing number of businesses looking to capitalize on the data.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Knowledge Doubling Every 11 Hours

Jack Dikian
November 2011

We have all grown up with the knowledge that computers are getting smaller, faster, and cheaper. Moore's law describes a long-term trend in the history of computing hardware: that the number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years.

The other day I was talking to a friend who is now doing a law degree after completing her first degree some ten years ago. We got onto chatting about the amount of information and resources generally available now compared to even a decade ago, not to mention 20 years ago, 30 years ago, etc.

The Knowledge Doubling Curve

According to a 2006 prediction coming from IBM Global Technical Services’ white paper, "The toxic terabyte: How data-dumping threatens business efficiency” the world’s information base will be doubling in size every 11 hours. And so rapid is the growth in the global stock of digital data that the very vocabulary used to indicate quantities has had to expand to keep pace.

The graph (Fig 1.) illustrates the rate of growth as an exponential growth doubling over time.

knowledge duplication

The knowledge duplication curve (Fig 2,) is a mirror image of The Knowledge Doubling Curve. This curve is not based on any study; rather an intuitive explanation of the mechanics behind The Knowledge Doubling Curve. This curve shows that as technology advanced, the amount of time wasted by humanity in creating duplicate solutions was reduced linearly and that after the bend, the rate of reduction became exponential.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How Green Is Our Valley - The greenest countries

Jack Dikian
November 2011

The table below lists the top 10 greenest countries (2010) as compiled from the Environmental Performance Index (EPI); a joint effort between Yale University, Columbia University and collaboration with the World Economic Forum and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. We also present the current top 10 courtiers against rankings from 2008.

We’ve looked at some of large trading partners and their standing both in 2008 and 2010. Both the United States and China had in fact a more favourable EPI standing in 2008.

The 2010 Environmental Performance Index ranks 163 countries on 25 performance indicators tracked across ten policy categories covering both environmental public health and ecosystem vitality. These indicators provide a gauge at a national government scale of how close countries are to established environmental policy goals. The EPI’s proximity-to-target methodology facilitates cross-country comparisons as well as analysis of how the global community is doing collectively on each particular policy issue.


Ranking in 2008

Ranking in 2010







Costa Rica



























We export to

We import from

United States












Courtesy of