Friday, June 20, 2008

Nortel Tech Conference Day 3

At the general session , Al Worden, an astronaut on the Apollo 15 mission, spoke about the engineering challenges during the Apollo program. It made me think about how all of the macro engineering of the engines and the micro engineering of the computers must all integrate perfectly, or the results could be fatal.I think OLPC could benefit from this kind of thinking by pairing some of the large scale problems with the XO laptop with software or hardware solutions.(and vice versa)

One of the other speakers today was Andy Lippman from MIT, who talked about Nortel's partnership with MIT and some of the benefits it has brought. He also showed some of the cool things the Media Lab and other sections of MIT re working on, besides the XO.Also seeing the concept XOXO pic again made me think of some of the cool things in our future.

I did not go to as many sessions today as I did on Monday, but some of the stuff today really inspired me. New technology focused schools, fully realized mobile broadband, and next generation (maybe we could call this Web3.0?) web apps are all areas that Nortel is working on,and the work I've seen looks amazing.

Tomorrow I head out to the Kennedy Space Center, which will be really interesting to see with a bunch of engineers.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Nortel Technical Conference Day 2

Other then the general session,which focused on the changing face of college education, the events on Tuesday focused on very technical discussions which had no direct relevance to me. So Michael and I decided to go to Universal Studios.

Once we got there the first thing we did was ride all of the major coasters in the park.The best was probably "The Hulk", a giant steel launched coaster with many loops and corkscrews.

Of course, it was always fun to try out the "wimpier" rides. Many of them were in the shade and helped us escape the heat of Florida in the summer.

After exhausting ourselves at Universal, I got a rather funny urge to see how much it costs to see a movie in the universal resort area , completely out of curiosity and totally expecting it to be outrageous. Surprisingly, its actually about 30 cents cheaper to see a movie here then in DC.

Both Michael and I had been wanting to see "The Incredible Hulk " when we got back to DC, so we decided to just go now and complete the day. It definitely lived up to the hype and I would encourage those who are fans of the comics to see the movie.

For dinner we went to Boston Lobster Feast , which had a buffet of all you can eat lobster and other seafood.

All in all , a great day of relaxation in preparation for busier days ahead.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Nortel Technical Conference, Day 1

One of the many opportunities that working with Nortel LearniT has given me has been an invitation to the Nortel Technical Conference in Orlando,Florida. I attended discussions ranging from Nortel's business plans to ideas to enhance the Vancouver Olympic Games.
Some of the sessions I attended focused on mesh technology which is of great interest to our readers so I will elaborate a bit on those.

On Monday, I gave a demo of the mesh technology on the XO, which generally worked out successfully. First, 4 XO's were set out sharing the Chat application, all connected using a Schoolserver. Then I had volunteers try out Record and Distance sharing the former of which worked quite well, the latter not so much. I suspect that Distance is rather sensitive to version differences, so I will have to look into that. After that I showed off some of the schoolserver technology such as the DNS configuration that allows for the Schoolserver to push out a domain of the teacher's choice for the students to connect to. Incidentally all XO's connected through the school server correctly utilized web caching , the first time I've gotten it to work flawlessly.

The session before mine also focused on an implementation of mesh networking. Bob Withrow, the Director of Networking Research at Nortel, gave a demonstration of open 802.11s technology (seen at used to route calls locally rather then through a carrier. For his demo, he used 4 XO's hooked up with special antennae combined with several neo1973 phones running the openmoko software.The XO's were supposed to be used to measure mesh activity and to show how the link reconfigured as the phones moved , but the heavy wireless traffic at the conference prevented this demonstration from working correctly.I did learn quite a bit out how mesh could be implemented into consumer products and the challenges involved.I wonder if Google has looked at this for its Android platform.

More coming soon!

Matt Gallagher