‘Back to the Frontier’. In the online article Back to the Frontier, Newsweek writer Steven Levy gives his account of what happened at PC Forum 2002. Levy's description of the impact the effect that Wi-Fi and weblogs have is pretty accurate. It is amazing how new ways of online communication does not alienate people but actually bring them more together, enhance interaction, create a richer dialog and so on. Levy's account of general Wesley Clark's key note speech is, however, not a very good representation of the reaction from many - at least almost all non-American - listeners in the audience. His speech was a flagrant example of the old-fashioned americo-centric perception of the world as a place where only American ideas should prevail. Stupid, in my honest opinion. You would think that 9-11 had opened his eyes to other realities, but alas not.


Killer e-mail application. I have until now not experienced the decisive argument for me as a personal user of a computer to skip a Microsoft OS and install Linux. Sure, Linux is free, Linux is cool, but I have not dared to put action behind the words and actually use Linux and Linux based Open Source desktop application. Microsoft is the de facto standard for personal computing today. And I have not had the guts to plunge into the uncertainty of maybe not being able to connect, install, exchange programmes, files and so on with the rest of the world - at least that part of the world that I am normally communicating with electronically.

At PC Forum 2002 Ximian presented its Corporate Linux Desktop Solutions. Ximian is the a leader in providing open source desktop technology, applications, support and services for the Linux and UNIX marketplaces. I was very impressed with why I saw! In particular, Ximian Evolution™ 1.0 Integrated Workgroup and Personal Information Management for Linux and UNIX made my eyes almost fall out. The e-mail application seems to be beating all competition including Eudora and Microsoft Outlook. All e-mails with the entire content are indexed by the programme when received. The messaged are then placed in virtual folders (vFolder) according to criteria set by the user. The folders are virtual in the sense that the messages are not moved to the vFolder but remain in the inbox. What is very neat is that the messages can be "placed" in several vFolders, which makes it much easier to categorize and later find and retrieve messages. Under Eudora and Outlook you can only place a message under one folder. Furthermore, as the content is indexed searching is much quicker than the full text search necessary in other e-mail clients. Adding the icing on the cake, messages are automatically threaded! Oh, and did I mention: The Ximian desktop solution with the Evolution application is free! For those people including myself that need to exchange information with Outlook users and are afraid to be put out of the loop, Ximian has a critical solution. Ximian Connector is an optional add-in to Ximian Evolution that is now available for purchase. With Ximian Connector installed, Ximian Evolution functions as a Microsoft Exchange 2000 client, seamlessly integrated with Exchange calendaring and other mail storage and mail handling features.
Wi-Fi vs. 3G. It has been argued that the proliferation of non-profit community based wireless networks or commercial wireless services from meeting hotspots gives a death knell to 3G mobile services before these services has even been rolled out. Wi-Fi based on the 802.11b (or 802.11a and later 802.11g) standard provides (in theory) up to 11M mps (802.11a and later 802.11g will substantially increase this bandwidth). Contrast this to the 250-500K mps data speed promised by 3G providers represented primarily by large telcos that have paid billions of dollars to European governments to obtain exclusive UMTS licenses. Add a conspicuous large difference in roll-out and deployment cost of setting up Wi-Fi hotspots to 3G coverage, the answer then seems to be that the 3G operators will have a very hard time paying the installments on the debt incurred in obtaining the UMTS licenses because the market for their services has eroded due to Wi-Fi. Did anyone say the winner's curse?

Not so fast! It is not Wi-Fi or 3G. Rather it is Wi-Fi and 3G. Or maybe more Wi-Fi and less 3G. And what about 2G in particular GPRS? First of all, Wi-Fi and 3G are not fully substitutes with respect to the way these services are used. Wi-Fi is not mobile in the sense that it is not and will probably never be serving people in motion. Wi-Fi is intended for people to connect wireless to Internet when they drinking their coffees at cafes, waiting in airports, attending conferences, or pausing beneath a window from which an access point can be accessed. For the time being, Wi-Fi will be offered at stationary hot-spots that will a limited radius within which the signals can be detected. Wi-Fi is not expected to provide the wide almost ubiquitous mobile coverage that mobile phones offer today. 2G and 3G service - when available - will enable continuos high speed datatransmission for subscribers while they are driving in their cars or walking from on access point to the other. One can, however, question, if there is any demand for datatransmission while moving from one point to another, if there at each point is sufficient bandwidth. Furthermore, Internet access in trains and airplanes should be made available via Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi and 3G will co-exist and compete to the benefit of users. In addition to the fact that Wi-Fi will almost instantly fulfill an unquestionable demand for seamless high speed wireless Internet connectivity, the second best thing about Wi-Fi is that it will put 3G providers under heavy pressure. If a competitive price and ease of use is not there, few will find 3G service compelling, given that wireless Internet access is already available at a much lower price through Wi-Fi. Such competitive pressure is music to the ear for consumers in a sector where the dominant players that offering 3G services often are telcos used to exploiting monopolistic market conditions with respect to traditional wired communication. Some of the 3G operators will not be able to be able to compete and will fail.
Conference wish list 2002. The Computers, Freedom and Privacy Conference April 16-19, 2002 in San Francisco. Internet Society European Co-cordination Council (ISOC-ECC) May 24-26. in Galicia, Spain. 802.11 Planet Conference & Expo June 10 - 12, 2002 in Philadelphia. GGF5 21-25 July 2002 in Edinburgh. European Technology Roundtable Exhibition (Etre) 2002 6-9. October. Esther Dyson's High-Tech Forum is planned for October/November 2002 in Berlin.
Image gallery. Photos from the secon day of PC Forum 2002.

Steven Levy from Newsweek, author of Silicon Valley Reboots, and Stewart Brand, co-founder of one of the creators of the Long Now Foundation and Long Bets. Portraid in TechTV's BigThinkers.

Mitch Kapor, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Nikolaj Nyholm, CTO of Ascio Technology.

George Dyson, Esther's brother, author of Darwin among the Machines, and Peter Schwartz, cofounder and chairman of Global Business Network and co-author of The Long Boom.

Vilhelm von Haller Groenbaek - the cutest kid on the block.

Stewart Baker, Partner, Steptoe & Johnson, and Jim Barksdale, ex-CEO of Netscape.

Arcady Khotin, president, Arcadia, and Freeman Dyson, Esther's father, author of The Sun, the Genome, and the Internet : Tools of Scientific Revolutions.

Craig Mundie, senior vice president of Advanced Strategies at Microsoft and Share Source advocate.

Vinod Khosla, general partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Jim Barksdale, Rob Glaser, founder and CEO of RealNetworks and Vinod Khosla.

Rob Glaser


Andreas Kemi is here! My friend and business partner Andreas Kemi - a Swedish/Finnish serial entrepreneur - is a long-time PC Forum and HighTech Forum attendee. Andreas is a co-founder of Scala Business Solutions and is serving as the chairman of board. He is also - together with Esther Dyson - an investor in Araneum and also chairing its board. Currently, his main project is Fathom Technology ApS that does intelligent component outsourcing from centers in Budapest and Kiev - and that has achieved profitability faster than most competitors in last years depressed markets. I have known Andreas since HighTech Forum in Copenhagen back in 1998. Since then we have worked on several projects. In some of them I have been acting as legal council, in others a co-investor through the Fathom Capital network.

(Building Wireless Community Networks)

(The Wi-Fi Experience: Everyone's Guide to 802.11b Wireless Networking)

Amazon.com rules! Maybe the only reason that I can think of right now for immigrating from Denmark to the US would getting the full benefits of shopping at Amazon.com. The web-site is extremely user-friendly. I have never experienced that it was unaccessible or only working at low speed. The way that it collects and re-uses my data is very useful. It makes my give up all privacy. Scarry! Before leaving Denmark on this trip for LA I ordered a couple of books and DVDs to by shipped to my friend's address in LA. Orders over 100 USD have free shipping at the moment. I could follow the shipment by UPS with a tracknumber. Not a new thing. But it works! The shipment arrived at my friends before planned. Wonderful! And the best thing: The two books on Wi-Fi (see above) were actually quite shorter than I expected. So there is a chance that I will get around to finish reading them one day :-)

PC Forum 2002 has started!. I will try to upload short comments as the different sessions progress. With pictures. Unfortunately, my Aiptek PenCam is not working that well as you can see from the picture above. Maybe, it is just me that have to get to learn, how to set the settings. Above my fellow PC Forum 2002 attendee, Nikolaj Nyholm, is addressing a panel consisting of among others the US senator Maria Cantwell, the EFF co-founder Mitch Kapor and the RIAA President and CEO Hillary Rosen.