(expertise finder from Entopia’s Social Networks Analyzer)

The November edition of Business 2.0 (only available on-line to subscribers) has selected Social Networking Applications as the Technology of the Year. Mentioned in the survey are Ryze, LinkedIn, Friendster, Zero Degrees,, Spoke Connect, and Visible Path. The magazine should be commended for this insightful choice, but they missed the companion technology that will provide the data essential to the functioning of future Social Networking Applications. That technology: Personal Content Management and Publishing Applications (notably Blogs and RSS). You can’t have one without the other.

In the same edition, editor David Pescovitz lists Ten Technologies to Watch in 2004:

Ultra-wideband: Imagine a television that can wirelessly send three different programs to separate monitors. Low-power, low-cost, and with roughly 45 times the data transmission speed of run-of-the-mill Wi-Fi, this wireless technology is finally ready to debut in the living room.

RFID: While they’ve been talked about a lot, radio frequency identification tags have yet to appear in a big way in the supply chain. Wal-Mart (WMT) is making it happen: All its suppliers must use the tags for pallets and cases of merchandise by 2005.

802.16: WiMax enables wireless networks to extend as far as 30 miles and transfer data, voice, and video at faster speeds than cable or DSL. It’s perfect for ISPs that want to expand into sparsely populated areas, where the cost of bringing in DSL or cable wiring is too high.

Micro fuel cells: Japan’s largest wireless phone carrier, NTT DoCoMo, plans to introduce cell phones powered by miniature fuel cells — which run on hydrogen or methanol — late next year. Look for them to also show up as expensive add-ons for high-end laptops.

Gecko tape: Lizards climb walls using the mechanical adhesive force of millions of tiny hairs on their feet. A synthetic version of those microscopic hairs allows gecko tape, developed at England’s University of Manchester, to stick to almost any surface without glue. Applications include gloves that allow a person to climb a glass wall, the ability to move computer chips in a vacuum, and new bandages.

Antispam software (that works): If you’ve tried filters, whitelists, and blacklists, chances are you still receive plenty of junk e-mail. “Challenge/response” technology may be the answer; it requires senders to manually verify their identity before e-mail is passed along to the intended recipient.

OLEDs: Organic light-emitting diodes are brighter and use less power than normal light-emitting diodes. (They rely on carbon with nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen elements — thus, the “organic” tag.) They’re perfect for screens on cell phones, digital cameras, and camcorders, and even for a new crop of affordable flat-panel monitors.

LED lightbulbs: LEDs will outrun obsolescence by moving into the home. Philips is already pushing its Luxeon line of LED lightbulbs, which can last 10 to 50 times as long as incandescent bulbs while consuming 80 percent less energy.

MRAM: Magnetoresistive random access memory is (in theory, anyway) more than 1,000 times faster than the fastest current nonvolatile flash memory and nearly 10 times faster than DRAM. “Nonvolatile” means it retains memory when the power is off. Add in its low power consumption, and it’s perfect for use in an upcoming crop of computers and cell phones.

Bioinformatics: Researchers, such as those at IBM Life Sciences, are finally getting a handle on building complex protein models to aid in drug discovery. The new, computationally accurate models mean that potential drugs can be identified more quickly and stand a better chance of working.

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  1. Marijo says:

    My Yahoo e-mail account almost never lets any spam through. (I haven’t seen one letter from someone to whom I did not give my address for at least six months.) I don’t know anything about how they do it, but it is remarkably effective.

  2. Another technology to watch is microvalves. I just did a cover story on Alumina Micro, which is leading the charge in this area. You can read about it at these guys hit as big as I think they will, I’m gonna look like a genius for putting them on the cover. If not, I’ll just look like a cockeyed optimist.

  3. Tim says:

    On the anti-spam front, something like challenge-response has been around for years, and you don’t get anywhere by ignoring the possibility of impersonation attacks. I’ve seen the results of TMDA hitting the wrong end of a mail2news gateway inadvertantly; what would it be like if the spammers cottoned-on that these systems were in widespread use and targetted them specifically?Anyway, have a look at as well. That’s useful.

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