telecomm headlines (week of 13 oct)

Gary Handman (
Mon, 20 Oct 1997 09:35:12 -0700 (PDT)

Title: New Breed of Worker Transforms Raw Information Into Knowledge
Source: New York Times, CyberTimes
Author: Matt Richtell
Issue: Jobs
Description: There is a growing number of employees whose job is to take
overwhelming masses of information and transform it into something that is
tangible, accessible and useful. These 'knowledge managers' are part of one
of the hottest trends in the business world. This study of knowledge
management "evolved from the need of companies to manage resources more
effectively in a hyper-competitive, global economy," said Robert E. Cole,
professor of business administration at UC Berkeley. Another reason for
this growing trend, outside of information being so plentiful, is that the
US economy is increasingly service based. But instead of selling material
products, the top competitors are now selling ideas. The new products offer
consumers systems that will aid them in finding answers. For example, "The
biggest problem is that people don't know what they're looking for," said
Peter Tierney, chief executive officer of Inference. "They'll say, 'I'm
having a problem with my computer.' Then the system will say, "Well, here's
a list of problems. Which most resembles the problem you're having?'"
"Given how many Americans work in fields where the products are ideas, it is
fair to say that many of us are knowledge workers already. Says one San
Francisco Bay Area futurist: 'If you have trouble explaining to your mother
what you do, you're probably a knowledge worker, too.'"

Title: Should Children Be Kept Offline?
Source: Washington Post (B1)
Source: Washington Post (B1)
Author: Victoria Benning
Issue: Internet Regulation
Description: Fairfax County officials have proposed a policy that would
allow them to bar children younger than 13 from using the Internet in public
libraries. Under the policy considered, a child's parents or guardians would
have th right to notify the library system that they don't want him or her
given access to the 'Net. Children 13 or older would have unrestricted
access. This proposal is a compromise between those who want the libraries
to have tougher Internet restrictions and those who see any limits as a form
of censorship. The plan's author, Charles A. Fegan, who is also a member of
the Fairfax County Library's Board of Trustees, said, "I don't believe in
censorship at all...this is a way of facing up to that reality and giving
parents an opportunity to get involved."

Title: Air Waves
Source: Wall Street Journal
<> (A1)
Author: Jeff Bailey
Issue: Satellites
Description: Seven-foot-wide satellite dishes -- in the early 90's so
popular that they were named the state flower of Louisiana -- are no one's
favorite anymore with the introduction of 18" dishes. Door-to-door salesmen
used to sell the big dishes at $2,000 - $5,000 a pop in rural areas, signing
people on to long payment schedules. For big-dish buyers, "it was a jolting
lesson in the rapid obsolescence of consumer electronics." But it was just
as an unpleasant lesson for the consumer-finance industry.

Title: Toy Makers To Sponsor Design Lab At M.I.T.
Source: New York Times (D10)
Author: John Markoff
Issue: Lifestyles!
Description: The M.I.T. Media Lab plans to announce today a five-year
research project to design "smart toys". The project, called Toys of
Tomorrow, will be underwritten by four leading toy and entertainment
companies. "There is no question in my mind that going into the new
millennium technology will fundamentally change the way children play," said
Jill Barad, chief executive of Mattel. And Michael Hawley, a professor at
the Media Laboratory who will direct the project, said "rapid change in the
toy industry is perfectly matched to the pace of technological change in the
computer industry." Hmmmmm, still holding onto those "Star Wars Action

Title: A Towering European Addition To the Skyline of Electronic Arts
Source: New York Times, CyberTimes
Author: Matthew Mirapaul
Issue: Arts
Description: With more artists than ever using cutting-edge technology to
create their work, the Center for Art and Media Technology, in Karlsruhe,
Germany, will open their doors on Saturday as one of the best examples to
date of art institutions working to keep up with electronic culture. Called
the ZKM, short for Zentrum fur Kunst and Medientechnologie, its 1918
structure has been "completely reconfigured, renovated, wired and equipped
to provide abundant acreage for their already substantial and still growing
collections of electronic art, multimedia displays and virtual-reality
installations." This huge facility also contains "extensive research
facilities, a design school and a multimedia library." "What is special is
that ZKM tries to put new art into a context and a history. It is a brave
and bold move, and I think it will influence many people to move in this
direction." said interactive artist Lynn Hershman.

Title: Why Microsoft Wants to Hook Into Cable TV
Source: Wall Street Journal
<> (B1)
Author: David Bank
Issue: Cable/Infrastructure
Description: Microsoft is willing to write some pretty big checks to make
sure its software runs cable TV Internet access. The company is negotiating
investing $1 billion in TCI, the nation's largest cable operator. Microsoft
has already invested $1 billion in Comcast Cable and purchased WebTV for
$425 million. The software giant wants to dominate interactive services to
the home just as it has dominated business-based personal computers. The
cable industry is weary of a Microsoft takeover and Oracle wants to take
advantage of that and get its software onto cable boxes

Title: BMI Develops Robot to Monitor Online Music Sales
Source: New York Times, CyberTimes
Author: David Bauder
Issue: Internet
Description: Whose big brother is watching who? In an effort to monitor
transmission and sales of music on the Internet, BMI, the music licensing
agency, announced yesterday that it has developed a "Web robot". Their
invention works as a "lightening-fast Web surfer to identify sites that use
music and how often computer users visit them." Potentially, the "Web
robot" can be used to "keep track of the most popular music bought or
transmitted on the Web, sort of a cyber top 10" as well as being a possible
precursor to messy copyright battles.

Title: Public TV's Distress Call
Source: Washington Post (B9)>
Author: Paul Farhi
Issue: Broadcast Budget Issues
Description: Public TV broadcasters have asked the gov't for $771 million
to help cover the cost of converting the stations to new digital
broadcasting technology. The convert to digital will offer stations the
potential to transmit multiple programs simultaneously. The FCC has set a
deadline of 2003 for public stations to make the switch. If they don't, they
could risk losing their right to use the airwaves, according to Bob Coonrod,
president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. With digital
broadcasting, public stations could run day long programs for preschoolers,
instructional shows for elementary school students, and job training shows
for adults all at once.

ource: New York Times, CyberTimes
Author: Erica Noonan
Issue: Lifestyles
Description: Funky cyber-clothing premiered on Wednesday at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Laboratory's Wearables
Symposium. The clothes were developed by MIT students who collaborated with
corporate sponsors and fashion students from France, Italy and Japan. The
fashions ranged from the practical, like a small device that transmits a
runner's heart rate, body temperature and speed to a real-time Web site. To
the more whimsical, like the "firefly" dress "made of electricity-conducting
organze, decorated with a spray of tiny, motion-sensitive lights which
flicker with the wearer's every move." The symposium was hosted by Leonard
Nimoy, who said that he enjoyed the futuristic apparel. "Some of these
ideas evolved from concepts first put forth in 'Star Trek,'" he said. "But
now they make 'Star Trek' gadgets look primitive." Keep an eye out for
these fashions which may eventually hit the retail market. (Judy Jetson -
watch out - millennium fashion's are here, Yeiowwww!)

Gary Handman
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley, CA 94720-6000