Friday, August 17, 2007

Great and green fellowship

I'm about to leave PodTech.net after more than four months of great learning. My fellowship has given me a whole new mindset, a new vocabulary, knowledge about Silicon Valley, technical skills and great insights into the life of a start-up. I've also had the privilege to work with fantastic and smart people - thank you all!
Here's another piece of Green Design, a few more will come.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Sweden, U.S. and piracy (CNET News.com

For Swedes who read this blog this article will take you back to last year. When former minister of Justice Thomas Bodstrom and state secretary Dan Eliasson were accused of taking orders from the U.S. government and executing them ordering the Swedish police to shut down the site Pirate Bay. It caught a lot of media attention as well as the Swedish Pirate Party. Their leader was here trying to raise money for their next election campaign. We, me and a co-worker, interviewed him and I also talked to others in Sweden.

The innovation process of music and movie distribution is an ongoing issue widely discussed. This story raised a fair amount of attention among the readers, read it here!

I was also on News.com's daily podcast and talked about the story, listen to it here (it's in the end)!

Pitch stream at AlwaysOn (CNET News.com, Webware.com)

A couple of weeks ago I attended AlwaysOn at Stanford. A showcase of companies were there to present, both startups in earlier stages and those who are already on their second round raising capital.

Read about some of them here!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A robot to take care of your dirty socks...

Do you remember the robot guru Trevor Blackwell? He appeared at CNET News.com some months ago, thanks to Miriam and Zamir. Some time ago, I did a piece for IEEE Spectrum as well, and it went online today on Spectrum’s new Automation blog.
Text and movie can be found here:

http://blogs.spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/2007/08/labor_without_the_laborer.html

An older movie and some pictures are here:

http://blogs.spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/2007/06/anybots_bots_more_videos_and_p.html

Monday, August 6, 2007

Green Design on video

While at PodTech I keep doing online videos on Green Design. Here are the latest:




Nano safety in the Chronicle

My last article in the San Francisco Chronicle was about nanotechnology and more specifically, about nanotechnology safety. The story is pretty similar to what Marie Alpman wrote around the same time. My article ran already July 9, but since then I've been on vacation and haven't had the chance to publish it on the InJo doer until now.



Ralph Hermansson



http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/07/09/BUGPUQSED01.DTL&hw=nanotechnology&sn=001&sc=1000

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Newsmaker: Generation Y are hitting the workplace (CNET News.com)

They are young, talented and immersed in technology!

Generation Y are now hitting the workplace mixing in with Generation X, Baby Boomers and even a few of the World War II generation. Gen Y are kids born from 1980 - a digital elite, continuously checking their MySpace and Facebook accounts, wearing flip-flops to work and listening to their iPod while working.

Those techie savvy youngsters want to take the fast-track thinking they’ve already accomplished a lot, and that the company which hires them should be happy to have them. But they’re at the same time hard-working and willing to learn if they’re empowered, engaged in and given responsibility. They have the future in their hands and will be the ones molding innovations and changing the companies and the society.

They’re said to take for granted the attention and feedback they think they’re worth. Entitlement seems to be a keyword. Words on F – freedom, flexibility and free time, seem to be needs.

I interviewed psychology professor Larry D. Rosen at California State University, Dominguez Hills who has been studying this group. While Rosen has studied the impact of technology on people for 20 years, he specializes in the effects of technology on kids and parents.

Read my newsmaker here, which was on CNET News.com's front door a few weeks ago.

Friday, July 20, 2007

New cleantech buzzword

Ethonl is already in our tanks as we drive to work. The next biofuel might be butanol (today used as a solvent in the chimcal industry). A new startup is working on new bugs to take on the job to convert sugars to butanol with money from Branson's Virgin Fuels.

http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=22917&hed=Virgin%e2%80%99s+Branson+Likes+Biofuels

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Dealing with Nanosafety

Little is known on what happens when some materials engineered on a nanoscale enter our bodies or escapes into the environment. Berkley is the first city in the word to require from companies that produce nano-sized particles to report to the city council. Chemical giant DuPont joins an environmental group to issue guidelines for nanosafety.

http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=22692&hed=DuPont+Addresses+Nano-Safety

Cleantech bubble?

Cleantech is here to stay investors claim and vc-money is still flooding into the sector. Here are some recent examples of companies that attracted the investors:

Silicon
http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=22834&hed=Startup+Gets+%246M+to+Do+the+Dirty

Biofuels
http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=22765&hed=VC+Puts+Double+Bet+on+Biofuels

Solar
http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=22705&hed=Funding+Dawns+for+Solar+Firm

http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=22649&hed=Advent+Solar+Secures+%2470M

Big companies are also interested
http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=22411&hed=GE+to+Double+Cleantech+Investments

Patent office goes 2.0

A working patent system is essential for the Innovation ecosystem. With tools borrowed from social networking, some tech giants want to fix the bugs.

http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=22581&hed=Social+Networking+for+Patents

Green data centers

With more video and tv on the net, it-companies are running into a global warming problem. The increasing numbers of servers, switches and routers, that are handling all the data-packages at ever increasing speeds at data centers eats up as much as two percent of the total US energy. When IBM launched a plan to spend $1 billion a year on “green” data centers, they used the word “energy crisis”. In this story I talked to startups that deal with this problem.

http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=22320&hed=Startups+Aim+for+Green+Data+Center#

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Creating web apps at iPhone camp (CNET News.com)

Innovation at its highest level -- The iPhone Developer Camp this weekend was all about innovation and processes to get there. About 300 Web developers, testers, designers and people with or without an iPhone gathered in San Francisco to hack into Safari and create new apps for the iPhone. The outcome of the weekend was more than 50 new applications.

I went there Saturday and Sunday and talked to techie people about software, coding and hacking. Read my article here!

I also took pictures that were published in a photo gallery (look at it here) in CNET's front door.

Friday, July 6, 2007

People against Dirty

So I've started doing a series of video podcasts at PodTech on Green Design, i e where sustainability and design converge. In a way design is very much an innovation-process. And - for most of the time - design is visual too. In this first story - about San Francisco-based company Method who makes biodegradable cleaning products, soaps and detergents that come in beautiful and funky bottles (created by award-winning industrial designer Karim Rashid) - I tried to touch upon the innovation eco-system by talking about the product, the creative process behind it and what it was like to enter it into the market when it came to funding and policies. I know it could have been more analytical but it is a start..

Analysis and assimilations

After about 60 analysis and/or assimilations on the Silicon Valley-world of tech, business and media we decided that I should move on to do more online video producing. But all the texts I wrote are on PodTech's blog - view them here. Thanks to PodTech's CEO John Furrier for coaching me on to this assignment that turned out to be both fun and interesting.

The wild mind of the Entrepreneur

Some time ago I did a video podcast with Swedish career coach Max Samuels, when he passed through California. We spoke about the wild mind of the entrepreneur and the importance of having a vision when you create something new.

See it here:


or here:

Friday, June 29, 2007

RoboGames feature robotic wizardry (CNET News.com)

The RoboGames competition, which pits bots from around the world in more than 70 challenges, hit San Francisco during the weekend of June 15. I did a video news story for CNET News.com and talked with robot builders competing in the combat challenge.

Check out the story:
http://news.com.com/1606-2_3-6193189.html

This car moves without a driver (CNET News.com)

On June 14, the Stanford Racing Team tested Junior, a Volkswagen Passat that has been programmed to drive on its own for the upcoming DARPA Urban Challenge. I did the video story for CNET News.com.
The team leader of Stanford Racing Team, Sebastian Thrun said that this technology of driving a car without a driver can be used commercially, and it may cost no more than $ 6000/= per vehicle.
Here is the link:
http://news.com.com/1606-2_3-6191954.html

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

An sunny hiring season for job seekers within technology (CNET News.com)

What are the companies looking when they hire and what are graduating students looking for in companies? Unemployment within tech is down to levels comparable to the dot-com era. Big companies tries to be innovative and find new ways to attract the best talents.

Read article here!

Together with the story I made two videos. One about a small startup who created a social networking site to help graduating students to find job opportunities. See it here!

The other is with Judy Gilbert, Staffing Programs Director at Google, about the strategy the web giant uses to get talented students to work for them. See it here!

Innovative self-publishing model (CNET News.com)

Do you want a tactile proof of something you wrote or took pictures of? It no longer has to be printing your book in multiple copies for a high cost and then piling them up in your garage. New sites as Lulu and Blurb offer self-publishing models that allow you to make one copy prints.

The innovation process within publishing has moved to another path and the book market can be compared to the music industry. It has changed a lot during the past years. More books than ever are being published, and even though more are being sold the titles get published faster but vend in fever quantities and online bookstores has pushed out traditional stores for quite some time.

Blurb recently launched there service in Europe. Read article here. They also announced a partnership with photo-sharing site Flickr. Read article here.

Gallery Stanford Racing Team/DARPA (CNET News.com)

Try outs for DARPA -- Urban Challenge have started and I went with a team from CNET to the Stanford Racing team's first testing to reach the competition.

Se my photo gallery here!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Advanced easy-to-use microscope

The Oregon-based company FEI just launched a new microscope, the Phenom, that can magnify objects 20 000 times. Unlike other microscopes, this is very easy to operate and you zoom in and out in a matter of seconds with a touch screen. This tool is mainly aimed at industries and universities.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfgate/detail?blogid=19&entry_id=17892



Ralph Hermansson

Monday, June 18, 2007

Geothermal energy reaches big politics

In late April, I wrote a story about how you can use geothermal energy to heat (or cool) your house. Since this technology is pretty unknown in the U.S., I got a lot of reader feedback and now it seems as if geothermal energy is making its way into big politics as well. U.S. Rep. Jerry McNerney, D, from Pleasanton, California is now pushing a bill to support the development of geothermal energy on a larger scale. The hopes are that eventually some 75 million people in the U.S. alone will be supported with electricity from this source.



Ralph Hermansson





http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/06/18/BUGGGQG6L21.DTL&hw=geothermal&sn=001&sc=1000

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Web 2.0 and The Future of Journalism

I thought I should post this small podcast that I produced for the Innovation Journalism conference on the Doer as well as through PodTech. It is a Q and A with ScobleShow's Robert Scoble, Google Vice President Marissa Mayer and Web Strategist Jeremiah Owyang on the future landscape of media. The podcast started off my session on Tomorrow's newsroom at the conference, check it out here.

On Incuby and Innovation

I wrote a piece on PodTech's blog today where I touch base with the issue of innovation policy and the study visit we did to Washington last week. To me Incuby seems like an interesting project. Read the story here.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

American money + Swedish greentech (CNET News.com)

My article on Michael Wood's visit and the meeting between Fredrik Reinfeldt and George Bush was posted on the 14th May, day before the meeting.

An example of how Swedish innovations in renewable energy gets U.S. attention.




U.S. Ambassador in Sweden, Michael Wood

Article: http://news.com.com/Matching+American+money+with+Swedish+green+tech/2100-11395_3-6183700.html?tag=item

Friday, May 25, 2007

Using the sun to cross the Atlantic

Many things that happens in New York are very business oriented. One thing that recently happened was not only business oriented, but could be categorized in many different beats. If there existed an innovation news feed, this thing would clearly belong there.

The 14 meter long catamaran Sun21 just arrived to New York. It is the world's first boat to cross the Atlantic, by just using solar power. The people behind Sun21 showed that it is not only possible, but also a pretty good idea, to make more use of the sun while on the sea.

The business aspect of this is that a sun powered boat does not need any traditional fuel. The political aspect is that this is an eye-opener for environmental issues. There is even a slight sport aspect, since both sailing and motor boating are considered as sports.

However, to make the article interesting for Spectrum's web readers, I narrowed it down to focus on the technology aboard:
http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/may07/comments/1823

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Innovative projects

Zoonori
In beginning of May, I went to the Interactive Telecommunications Program's spring show, arranged at New York University. There, some student artists and innovators (yes, that's how they described themselves) were showing interesting projects. It was fun to see how they mixed old stuff with new technology, even though I would categorize most of the projects as innovative, rather than as innovations.

In terms of covering the event for Spectrum, I realized that a slideshow with some captions would be one of the best ways to cover it. Innovative journalism for innovative stuff; An innovation journalism approach is probably more suitable for other articles.

Article:
http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/may07/comments/1824

Friday, May 18, 2007

Chinese invasion

Two more Chinese solar power companies filed for initial public offerings. So far there are five Chinese solar firms being traded in Nasdaq, and investors have just loved them. We'll see what happens to LDK and Yingli.

http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=22259&hed=Chinese+Solar+Firms+File+IPOs

EnerNOC made its debut on Nasdaq, and it was also well received by investors.

http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=22333&hed=EnerNOC+Jumps+in+Nasdaq+Debut

Girls of Engineering: Smart is Sexy

Everyday, I go to the gym with two of my colleagues at Spectrum. Everyday, we discuss article ideas and how to improve the magazine. And we are especially interested in increasing the hit rate for the online version of Spectrum. What do many people search for on Internet? Nudity! What can a magazine for engineers do about that to attract readers, but still be considered as proper by readers and advertisers? How about an investigative behind-the-scene article about the photo calendar Girls of Engineering 2007?! My gym buddy Philip E. Ross did some interesting findings, enough for him to produce the most questionable article IEEE Spectrum has published for quite a while:

http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/may07/5099

Monday, May 14, 2007

Ergonomic computer mouse

Who would pay $ 200 for a computer mouse? Since problems with carpal tunnel syndrome are on the rise, maybe people will be willing to pay more for an ergonomic mouse that hopefully both can prevent and heal the much-dreaded syndrome. That's at least what Napa Valley entrepreneur Mike Sjoblom (yes, he's Swedish) is hoping with his new pointing device Trackbar Emotion. He says that $ 200 isn't that much if the alternative is long sick leaves and loss of production.
In today's San Francisco Chronicle: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/05/14/BUGFQPP7V91.DTL&hw=hermansson&sn=001&sc=1000

Friday, May 11, 2007

Cleantech boom-and-bust and weird cars

Wait a minute, did you just put all your savings in cleantech companies? Oh no, you should have read Red Herring first. Poor you.

http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=22146&hed=Energy+Tech%e2%80%99s+Bubble+Warning

And while the Air Car still lives in Injo fellows' hearts - and only there, not in reality - it might be fun to read a bit more about peculiar cars. After the article linked below was published, one of the Feel Good Cars' shareholders contacted me and said he's worried about the company's EEStor deal. He said there are major errors in EEStor patented technology, and the energy storage won't work. He had informed the company president about this with no response.

http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=22161&hed=Life+in+the+Fast+Lane%3f+

IM generation is taking over (CNET News.com)

At the OnHollywood conference founder of AlwaysOn and media entrepreneur Tony Perkins introduced the theme of the year (second time the conference was held in Hollywood):

Web 3.0. 2007 is the year when Web 2.0 will be professionalized and mobilized. In the same sentence he said that the next generation is driving innovation. The IM (instant messaging) generation.

"Adopt or die as a company, said Tony Perkins. "Offer interactive content on every platform: PC, cell phone and TV".

Thursday at the conference a panel of younger professionals talked about the power of the IM generation. It resulted in a blog on www.news.com:

http://news.com.com/8301-10784_3-9716046-7.html?tag=bl

Digging down Kevin Rose from Digg.com in Hollywood

Last week I attended the OnHollywood conference by AlwaysOn. In one of the panels (on Wednesday) was Kevin Rose, co-founder of the blog Digg.com. They had problems with the blog the day before (Tuesday night) because of users putting up postings with illegal HD-TV codes. Kevin Rose and other founder Jay Adelson with staff, decided to take the postings off the site. Then the readers and creators of content revolted against them. They then decided to put the postings back up.

Everyone including NY Times and Fortune wanted to talk to Kevin or Jay, but couldn't get through the PR-people. I did. After the panel I ran up to the stage, cornered him, introduced myself, gave him my cell phone and got him to talk to one of our reporters who was writing a story. It ended up in the only interview Digg.com founders gave that day and the days to follow.

Caroline McCarthy's article:
http://news.com.com/Digg+in+tough+spot+with+DMCA+debacle/2100-1025_3-6180998.html?tag=item

Seems like Wired had a hard time getting hold of the Digg people:
http://blog.wired.com/business/2007/05/digg_battening_.html

On the Thursday Caroline (who is based in NY) happened to meet Jay Adelson at an event in NY. Part of her e-mail to the CNET Newsroom:

"Of note re: Kevin Rose not talking to anyone but us...
Randomly saw Jay Adelson at a tech thing tonight (yeah, I know, random, had no idea why he was in NYC) and he said, "Yeah, we're going to keep Kevin indoors for a while," and then added that K-Ro is "getting better" with media stuff by the day, which (according to Adelson) is surprising for a guy who was in TV before he was a Web guy. Basically, he confirmed that they are concerned about him verbally screwing up..."

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Wireless – hot spot for innovation – again

Seven years ago Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer named Stockholm "mobilevalley". As many other big IT-companies, the software giant hadopened a software development center in Stockholm for mobile internetapplications. A lot of money was poured into mobile internet labs andstartups in the Swedish capital.But as for many emerging technologies, it took more time thanexpected for this young industry to emerge.Even today, a minority of mobile phone users actually use and pay fora mobile data plan.But money and optimism is certainly back. At the Venturewire WirelessInnovation Conference in Redwood City last week, 64 startupspresented their ideas. Themes are very much the same as seven yearsback including mobile internet, mobile e-mail and positioningservices.Even if the time might be right this time, these young companies havemany hurdles to cross.My report from the conference has been published at redherring.comand will also appear in the next printed issue of the magazine:http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=22124&hed=Parking+Cash+on+Wireless+

Marie Alpman

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Swedish Clean Tech meets Silicon Valley

So I finally managed to edit the small video-piece on US-ambassador Michael Wood and his presentation on Swedish clean tech to venture capitalists in Silicon Valley. Its now up on PodTech's homepage, check it out here.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

TV + internet = true

Todays post on PodTechs blog on the future of online video also touches the innovation-perspective on a large scale - although it was wrapped up rather fast and more has the character of an op-ed. Spending more time with the subject would make an interesting story in my opinion. Here it is.

The revolution at Digg.com

Yesterdays quick summary on the Digg-revolt that I wrote for PodTechs blog touches upon several areas of innovation-journalism in my opinion. It's about a rather new product/site dealing with legal policies that could have economic consequences. They probably did not expect a user-revolution... Read it here.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Ground source heat pumps (San Francisco Chronicle)

Finally, finally, finally I got my article about the ground source heat pumps in today's paper. I got the idea already back in Sweden when I was talking with an American friend about how people heat their homes in Sweden.

In Sweden, this kind of heating is getting more and more common. My friend had no idea what I was talking about. Neither did most of my colleagues at the Chronicle and that's when I decided to write the story.

As for most stories, the more concrete it can be, the better. That's why I desperately tried to get hold of people in California who had installed ground source heat pumps in their houses. I called many different contractors and after weeks I finally got a name to a family in Livermore west of San Francisco.

I went out there, did the interview and when we were finished the man said "You know, my wife just reminded me that some years ago we had some reporters from the Chronicle here who wrote about or heat pumps." Sure enough, on July 14 2001 there was a long article about the Johnson's house in Livermore.

I talked to my editor Ken Howe and he said we could still use the Johnson's, but not as a lead, I had to find someone else. Of course I should have checked our digital archives better, but the term they used in the 2001 article was "geo exchange", not "geothermal" or "ground source heating".

I had to contact another family in Healdsburg north of Santa Rosa.Went there last week, did the interview and could finally publish the articles. Learnings for an injo reporter? Well, always try to find a concrete case. The story will gain a lot from that. An, of course, always check your archives thoroughly before making appointments…

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/04/30/BUG8TPH2KB1.DTL http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/04/30/BUG8TPH2K91.DTL
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/04/30/BUG8TPH2K71.DTL
Injo Fellows excursion Apr 29 2007

Here are some pictures from yesterday's excursion to San Gregorio State Beach with the injo fellows located in the Bay Area.

Friday, April 27, 2007

The automatic shader generation

This is Johan Andersson, rendering architect at Dice/Electronic Arts. He and his colleagues have developed a graphics engine, Frostbite, which makes it possible to decrease the time it takes to develop computer games. Frostbite also good for rendering objects and game environments that should be possible to break down or destroy. Sounds easy, but is tricky.

In the future, I guess we will see Frostbite also in other games than the upcoming Battlefield: Bad Company.

http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/apr07/comments/1795

Monday, April 23, 2007

Catching the buzz at PodTech

My first days as InJo-fellow at Podtech have been buzy and fun. One project I work on we call the assimilator or blogg-buzzer. In it, I try to make a quick summary/analyze of the discussion among influential bloggers/reporters/writers on the important story of the day (in the areas of tech, business or media) - with lots of cross-linking. To a large extent my writing is based on techmeme.com, which I find a good tool for information. The pieces I write are posted on my boss John Furriers PodTech-blog, with a dubbel byline. Here´s one on green media, another on Googe and Swedish Marratech, one on the vlogging-aspect of the massacre at Virginia Tech and one on My Spaces new news property. There are some more posts at the blog.
This is not very thorough reporting, but fast assimilation, published with no editorial filters. Therefore there´s not much time dealing with the innovation eco-system. But in a way I think it is innovationjournalism because it's about ideas or products reaching the market, technology and - in some cases - the policy surrounding it. In a way it's about the future. Also - blogging is a rather new and innovative format for journalism (if this type of blogging should be called journalism). I´m still not clear if PodTech does journalism or information or both - but it´s an interesting place to be at.
Tina Magnergård Bjers

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Local Newspaper embraces Citizen Journalism


Some newsrooms are still debating if readers on the Net should be able to comment freely the news stories, while others are embracing the readers' opinions. The local newspaper "The Hartsville Messenger" has for a year gone further, letting the readers freely publish their own stories, adding a citizen journalism site to the news site, making it a part of their publication. The experiment was run by Douglas J. Fisher, Instructor University of South Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communications and Graham Osteen, Publisher of The Hartsville Messenger, with funding from the Knight Foundation.

Conclusion: Citizens aren't journalists, but cit-journalism is a good source of stories for the news room. So it's a good idea to assign journalists to follow it. Be certain to include a date book in the site and let the users upload pictures. Be active in recruiting users, they won't appear by themselves. Keep in touch with community groups, etc. There is no business model for it yet, but on the other hand the investments are moderate. The publisher expects to spend 10.000 USD this year on the citizen journalism site. Maybe he should look closer at Red Herring founder Tony Perkins AlwaysOn-GoingOn project. Tony is working on a business model for blogospheres - something that seems pretty close to where citizen journalism ended up having its focus in the Hartsville experiment.

The Hartsville report is available on the j-lab website.

Jan Sandred showed when setting up Biotech Sweden a number of years ago that an innovation system can offer a great readership and produce good advertising. An innovation ecosystem has parallels to a local community, and it would be interesting to see trade journals follow the example of Hartsville. PC World and CNET News.com are already very close to their readers, often changing stories after publication due to reader comments.

/David Nordfors

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Uncle Sam wants cheap solar power

U.S. Department of energy will invest $168 million in solar technology. This is one of the stories I have written to Red Herring during last a couple of weeks.

http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=21596&hed=U.S.+Funds+Shine+%24168M+on+Solar

Green cars are not always that green.

http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=21636&hed=Alt-Fuel+Cars+Gain%2c+Pollute

The shortage of land makes it hard to replace oil with ethanol:

http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=21850&hed=Sugar+Concerns+Hit+Biofuels

Friday, April 13, 2007

Hot Doings at a Really Cool Show

I went to the Cool Product Expo at Stanford, mostly to take a look at NeuroSky's innovation. They have created a device that measures the electrical activity of the brain's neurons and combined it with a computer game. Quite cool.

Except Neurosky's stuff, I also found other interesting things, which I also wrote something about. The picture to the left is Kurt A. Kulmann, showing how to clean water with help of UV light.

While at the expo, I met Zamir. He made a nice movie - be sure to take a look at it. I also made a movie, not as good as Zamir's, which I produced in my room at Cardinal Hotel in Palo Alto...


Article: http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/apr07/comments/1776

Movie:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvLm6_DY02k

Intel's Andy Grove wants to change the U.S. health care system (CNET News.com)

Andy Grove, co-founder, former CEO and president of Intel as well as a numerous award-winning and best-selling author, gave a speech at the University of California at Berkeley's School of Public Health on how information technology could change the U.S. health care system.

He thinks internet health files and online tracking of patients' medical conditions being treated at home can lower the costs of health care, which today stands for 16 percent and the largest segment of expenses in U.S. economy.

An example of how innovation can contribute to different fields.

Link to story:

http://news.com.com/2061-11204_3-6176094.html

Link to video:

http://news.com.com/1606-2-6175070.html

The innovation process of a robot taking shape (CNET News.com)

Some weeks ago I visited an incubator, Ycombinator, for start-ups in Mountain View and I found robot Dexter. The start-up Anybots is run by Trevor Blackwell who started building Dexter six years ago, also one of the founders and co-workers of Ycombinator. I thought a walking robot could make a story, a good example of something you were initially covering leading to new ideas.

I introduced it to CNET and we decided to go back to Ycombinator's office and talk to Anybots. It became a joint-project of me and Zamir working together, he interviewed on camera and I interviewed for a story.

The innovation processes of what robots will be used for in the future are in progress. The robotic industry is a ongoing innovator of creating products to facilitate people's life. Majority of the robots are still at the research and prototype stage such as the Anybots robots.

Link to the story:

http://news.com.com/Baby+steps+for+Dexter+the+robot/2100-11394_3-6174922.html

Link to the video:

http://news.com.com/1606-2-6173790.html

Link to the photo gallery:

http://news.com.com/2300-11394_3-6174225-1.html

Tomorrow's products on display at Stanford (CNET News.com)

Cool Products Expo 2007 at Stanford University was one event to know as how Start-ups, students and big companies are going innovative. The most interesting innovation was by young boys from Palo Alto High School who had invented laser-guided equipment for disabled persons.

Watch the video report at this link:

http://news.com.com/1606-2_3-6176027.html

(Added Apr 21: This story has been picked up by Engadget /David N.)

NASA wants to find another Earth (CNET News.com)

NASA's Kepler spacecraft will search for earth size planets orbiting distant stars. Kepler is scheduled to be launched in November 2008.
NASA held a press conference on April 12 to discuss its plans for using its new spacecraft, called Kepler, to search for planets that may have extraterrestrial life. The Nasa scientists briefed about the mission concept and goals, what Kepler discoveries would mean.

Link to the video report:

http://news.com.com/1606-2-6175714.html?tag=ne.fd.mnbc

Anybots' humanoid robot trains to do the dirty work (CNET News.com)

Anybots is a start-up company in Mountain View, Silicon Valley. The company is in the process of making humanoid robots. Me and Miriam Olsson were assigned to go there and talk to the creators of these humanoid robots. Miriam did a detailed story for the CNET News and I did a video story for CNET TV.
I spoke with Trevor Blackwell, founder of Anybots, and saw humanoid robots that may one day be used to perform dangerous tasks. We had a close look at walking robot Dexter and its pneumatic limbs. After Dexter, Anybots' team built robot Monty, which is on wheels and has arms. Trevor said that humanoid robot would be the mixture of these two robots. He plans to put upper body of Monty on the lower part of Dexter.
It was interesting to know something about the innovations taking place in the field of robotics.

Here is the video report:

http://news.com.com/1606-2_3-6173790.html?tag=ne.video.6175714

Link to Miriam's story:

http://news.com.com/Baby+steps+for+Dexter+the+robot/2100-11394_3-6174922.html

Monday, April 9, 2007

Old innovation becomes available to public (CNET News.com)

A family of a videogames collector donated all his games to Stanford University. The collection contains more than 25,000 titles. Henry Lowood, curator for the history of science and technology collections at Stanford University libraries, and his team are in the process of filing all the videogames and make them accessible for people to play them.

http://news.com.com/1606-2-6174194.html

Al Gore wants more engineers (CNET News.com)

Last week I blogged from a keynote Al Gore, former vice president and Oscar-award winner, held at the Embedded Systems Conference in San Jose. He talked about the need of new engineers when the old ones retire, and that they have to build new systems to help up the climate crisis and make this a better world to live in.

http://news.com.com/2061-10796_3-6173081.html

IT is hot again!

Those long-gone dot.com days could be here again. The fact is that the IT companies who have gone public so far this year have been performing very well. And they have managed to attract much more capital than the same time last year.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/03/31/BUGSOOV0SK1.DTL&hw=hermansson&sn=002&sc=645



Ralph Hermansson

H1-B visas

Last week I wrote, as I mentioned, about the H1-B visas for foreign tech workers. One way of finding out whether your subject is controversial or not is, I guess, the numer of e-mail you receive from readers. Using that parameter, this must have been my most controversial article so far. One reader wondered why foreign farm workers won't be granted the same kind of visa and concluded "I guess MONEY talks." Well, I can't argue with that.

Ralph

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/04/06/BUGAIP3SAV1.DTL&hw=hermansson&sn=001&sc=1000

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Humans fiddle while the planet heats up (CNET NEWS.com)

I interviewed Ms Terry Root, a Stanford Professor on the issue of Global Warming and Climatic Changes affecting Plant and Animal Kingdoms and Humans. The interview lead to a whole lot of interesting debate in the Talkback. Check out the Video links and Newsmaker link.

Newsmaker:
http://news.com.com/Humans+fiddle+while+the+planet+heats+up/2008-11392_3-6172739.html?tag=ne.fd.mnbc

Video:

http://news.com.com/1606-2-6172567.html?tag=ne.fd.mnbc
http://news.com.com/1606-2_3-6172550.html?tag=ne.video.6172567
http://news.com.com/1606-2_3-6172249.html?tag=ne.video.6172550
http://news.com.com/1606-2-6172237.html?tag=ne.fd.mnbc

Sunday, April 1, 2007

April Fools

This is professor A.P.Rilföl, from Yôke University. He has made a great innovation, which today was announced on Spectrum's web site.

It is the first time ever that Spectrum publish a April Fool's article, and I am sure there will be a discussion about it during the news room's next meeting. Is it good or bad for such a serious magazine to publish something like this?
http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/apr07/comments/1752

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

From Pakistan to S.F., it's a whole new tech world (CNET News.com)

This is the story I did to compare high-tech USA and Pakistan. This cannot be termed as more of a Injo story but could give you fairly a good idea where Pakistan stands as far as high tech is concerned. Check out the link


http://news.com.com/From+Pakistan+to+S.F.,+its+a+whole+new+tech+world/2100-1041_3-6171019.html?tag=nefd.top

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Pictures of Office 2.0 (CNET News.com)

Friday I went to the Under the Radar, "Why does Office 2.0 matter" conference on Microsoft's Mountain View campus, and I was able to shoot some pictures. CNET's blogs from the event shows what's new within office 2.0 tools.

Round up of blogs:

Working without a paycheck (CNET News.com)

Yesterday I posted a story on our workplace blog about an innovative way of recruiting people for startups. I meet Max Shapiro, CEO of Peopleconnect that the story is about, at a Clean Tech conference I went to with Michael Kanellos.
This shows how innovation can lead to sucess during hard times such as when the "bubble" burst.

http://news.com.com/2061-10788_3-6170460.html

Monday, March 26, 2007

Intel bridging the distance from doctor to patient (CNET News.com)

Michael Kanellos, the editor-at-large at Cnet asked me to come along to this exhibition at Intel Research Laboratory at Berkeley. At the exhibition Michael talked to some of the researchers and I found this project interesting and I did my first on-camera report for Cnet.com.
This is one innovation, I believe, that would help people living in rural or far flung areas in the developing or under-developed countries.

http://news.com.com/1606-2_3-6170044.html

Salamander robot (CNET News.com)

Harry Fuller, Executive editor at CNETNews.com asked me to do a story on the Salamander Robot. He forwarded me the links from where we can use the Videos. , since this Salamander Robot was created at the Swiss Federal Institute of Tech at Lausanne.
This is one innovation in the field of Biologically inspired robotics that would help lead to a better understanding of biological systems. I talked to one of the creator of this robot through e-mails and got some detailed information like the autonomy of the robot etc.

Salamander Robot story:
http://news.com.com/1606-2_3-6169725.html?tag=ne.video.6164102

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

How to Sell a Free Computer Game

Icy Tower is the name of one of the world's most popular PC games. The game happens to be produced by a friend of mine, and he just let me know that he soon will bring the game into the mobile world. I mentioned this to the Executive Editor at Spectrum, and he told me to write a blog posting about it. So I did, even though I really don't feel very comfortable with writing about people I know. However, one feature with blogs is that the reader reads them with an insight that the content usually is written with a personal touch.

So, is there anything interesting in the blog post from an innovation journalism perspective? Well, switching from PC to mobile phones is not really anything new. But it is hopefully interesting to know a little about the general game market, as well as to read about the driving forces behind a business idea completely different from the market giants': To give away popular games for free.

http://spectrum.ieee.org/mar07/comments/1741

Monday, March 19, 2007

One story leads to another...

It’s amazing how one article can lead to another. So far, most of the stories I’ve written have been products of previous articles. The most recent example was in S.F. Chronicle, today, Monday.

It started out with an article I wrote a week and a half ago about how HP, NASA and UC Santa Cruz will conduct research together, not least when it comes to nanotechnology. After that article was published I received an e-mail from some PR-people who invited me to the IT Security Entrepreneurs’ Forum at Stanford later that week since I seemed “interested in cooperation between private companies and the government”. I didn’t have the time to go, but got two interviews on phone with a former fighter pilot who now develops flight simulators and a former Secret Service agent.

The article was supposed to run the same day as the conference. Then I got the information that the fighter pilot suddenly got called back to the east coast for some reason and wouldn’t speak at the conference as planned.

Since the better part of the article was focused on him, the whole story was stopped. I had to rewrite some parts of it but finally the article turned up in today’s paper.

Learnings for an injo reporter? Well, if you can, always try to have a back-up interview if you for some reason can’t publish your first interview. And listen when you get a call from some PR-people. Sometimes that actually can lead to a story.
Ralph Hermansson
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/03/19/BUG08ON6501.DTL&type=tech

Pictures of Innovations (CNET News.com)

Friday I went to Fujitsu's North American Technology Forum 2007 in Sunnyvale, California, where developers showed off innovation by Fujitsu. I got to be the photographer:

http://news.com.com/Photos+Fujitsu+peers+into+the+future/2300-1041_3-6168125.html?tag=nefd.lede

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Viacom vs Google: News Follows Music

By David Nordfors

It was bound to happen – Viacom is suing Google for a billion dollars for hosting uploaded clips of their stuff on Youtube. The prelude occured only a few weeks ago, when a group of newspapers in Belgium won a court case in Brussels against the search giant, barring Google from re-publishing any snippets of their news on the search engine. Google is now in danger of becoming a main target for the struggling main stream media.

The news industry has been facing tough times for a several years now, and it is steadily getting worse, as Craig’s list and other web companies are taking over ads that have been the backbone of the news industry for over a century. The foundations of the fourth estate are shaking, well respected newspapers are downsizing or being sold off. No more Mr Nice Guy, as the saying goes, Hollywood-style. The victory in the Belgium court raises hopes among traditional media houses that pay-back time may be coming, and their lawyers are most probably sharpening their knives.

This can lead to a very very bad development for us all, I’ll tell you why.

A lot of people want your attention, but it’s limited. The more competition for your attention, the more it’s worth. The news industry are “attention workers”: they catch your attention on a page by putting catchy stories on it, then sell parts of the page to people who are willing to pay for getting your attention diverted to their own stories. That’s ads. It was working well for 150 years. Enter the Internet.

In the beginning, many in the news industry thought it was a good thing to be visible on Google search, because it directed attention to their news stories on the web. Google was a young company, smaller than the news giants. They decided to stay out of content production, perhaps they thought this would keep them away from competing with the news industry. But the news industry does not sell stories, they pay for stories. They sell ads. Google sells ads, too. Google is now earning better than the news industry.
OK, they are not direct competitors to the news industry. Instead they are rapidly becoming the “alien invasion”, and that is not necessarily a more favored status.

Tourist guides like kids to direct customers to them, and they don’t mind if the kids get some pennies from the tourists while doing it. Replace the kids with grownups, give them more contact with the tourists than the guides have, and let them earn more than the guides. Now the guides will be less happy, they might even feel exploited. This is what is happening between Google and the news industry.

The news industry is paying for making stories, but is having a tough time selling ads. Google is not paying for making stories, and is selling ads like crazy. “Foul play”, says the news industry. “The stories are ours. If you sell ads on links to our stories, the ad revenues are ours, too”. Now it has reached the court rooms, and the battle might be long and bitter, like with the music industry and the Internet.

That will be too bad, because there is a fundamental common interest between the news industry and Google that can bring them to the same side of the table: both want to maximize the value of your attention, because this is the source of their income. They are only lacking a way to work together on it, and don’t have a working way to split the costs and revenues.

The larger part of the news industry does not know how to earn big on the Internet. Most of them don’t have the resources, the mindset or the traditions to innovate. For them, news is a commodity, innovation is a threat. Google is all about innovation and Internet, and they are earning more money on it all the time. No big match there at this time.

The old fashioned news industry has lawyers. So does Google. Match! It’s a big risk it’s going to end up in the court rooms. Once the parties dig into the trenches, people on both sides will be restricted from working together on a constructive future. It will be war between the main stream news and the web, like it was with the music industry.

In order to spend human time and resources on building value, not destroying it, the following is required: The news industry needs to become innovative and find other business models than paper. It will both provide them with a future and will save scores of trees from the axe. Google needs to realize that they are the big guys now, and that they will be put to blame by the echelons of society for the demise of the business of journalism, whether it is reasonable or not. High class content is good for their business, why not see what they can do for supporting its existence?

There are two types of deals that Google and the news industry can focus on. The first type is a fictitious zero-sum game, with endless fights in court rooms over how to split the pie, where the deal might even be obsolete by the time it hits the street. The other type is where the parties agree to work together on finding new ways of doing pies, or even doing other things than pies that might taste even better.

Isn’t it obvious what the choice ought to be?


David Nordfors is Senior Research Scholar at Stanford. He coined the concept of Innovation Journalism in 2003 and founded and leads the Innovation Journalism Program run by Stanford and VINNOVA. He is a columnist and former writer and editor for the computer press. As a journalist, he initiated and headed in 1993 the first symposium about the Internet to be held by the Swedish Parliament. David Nordfors has a Ph.D. in molecular quantum physics from the Uppsala University in Sweden.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Myspace account sold (CNET News.com)

Yesterday I posted a short story on our Missing Links blog. EBay has now become a forum for selling Social Networking accounts like the Myspace account I wrote about, sold for more than two grand. This is just a short take on what innovation can lead to - buying friends.

http://news.com.com/2061-10786_3-6166799.html

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Green Cheese Ethanol Startup (Red Herring)

Jennifer Kho, Red Herrings energy specialist, yelled at me: “Can you take this call, there's Earthanols CEO on the phone. Ask him about the fund raising.”

I had never heard Earthanols name before and after three extremely stupid questions I told the CEO I’d call him back later. I found some background information about the company with the kind help of Google and could make a short interview.

The story is about a start-up company which is planning to produce ethanol from cheese industry waste. It’s not totally new technology, for example there’s a company in Finland developing that kind of technology. But an important angle is that instead of food they use waste to produce ethanol. It is well known that if we want to drive cars with only ethanol, we have to stop eating.

Injo? Well, there is a future aspect in the story and a researchers opinion if Earthanols work is significant to ethanol industry. Had there been more time, I would have made a deeper analysis.

http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=21573&hed=Earthanol+Raises+%247.1M+For+Waste-to-Ethanol+Plant§or=Industries&subsector=Energy

Toy Story (IEEE Spectrum)

Killar med Cola och MentosFirst day at work, at the technology magazine IEEE Spectrum. What would happen? Was I supposed to make a revealing reportage about security of wireless networks, or make a scoop about a new bug in Windows Vista? Wrong! Together with the magazine’s web editor, I entered into the world of toys, and the Toy Fair at Javits Convention Center in New York. The web editor wanted me to write a short story, from a personal perspective.

I tried to find some breaking news from the toy industry, but didn’t really find any. From an InJo perspective, it would maybe have been a good idea to talk to the end user – the kids. But since I didn’t find any at the exhibition, I just mentioned about that idea in the article. Therefore, I don’t consider the article to be a “real” InJo article.

Two days after the visit, my edited article was posted at the IEEE web site. A few days later, the story was picked up by Slashdot, which gave the Spectrum website another couple of thousand hits – enough to make my article the third most popular one on the website since the beginning of the year. That was fun :-)

http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/feb07/comments/1714

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Innovation Policy SF Chronicle Techblog (San Francisco Chronicle)

My editor Al Saracevic told me on my first day at the Chronicle that he had "something that is right up your alley." Forrester Research had just published a survey where they listed the top countries for innovations (the US, Finland, Sweden, Ireland, etc). He asked me to do an article, which I did.
When I got hold of the whole survey it was dated early December last year and I wasn't sure if it was really news worthy. A couple of phone calls later, it turned out that the report was indeed written in December, but Forrester hadn't gone public with it until now.
When the article was ready, Al wanted it to be less article-like and more blog-like, so I (and, well, he too, I have to admit) worked with the text so that the tone would be more catchy and better fit in with the rest of the pieces in the Chronicles Techblog (which also runs in the paper).
So what initially should have been an article turned out to be a blog and then transformed into an article in the paper the next day: I blog, therefore I am.
Ralph Hermansson
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfgate/author?blogid=19&auth=190

Green Harvest Technologies (CNET News.com)

Tuesday the 20th of February I went to the SF Clean tech Forum. One part of the conference was "new" companies within the field of clean tech presenting themselves in five minutes in front of the audience. They also had an exhibition hall with all the companies represented where I went and asked questions to different companies which ended up in a blog about a company called Green Harvest Technologies. They want to produce, among other things, healthy water bottles. The blog got a few reader comments and also got picked up and linked to from the Boston Globe.

http://news.com.com/2061-11128_3-6161597.html

Boston Globe link:

http://www.boston.com/business/blog/filter/2007/02/pure_water_toxi.html

Meet the YouTube Stars (CNET News.com)

Saturday the 17th of February me and another reporter from CNET went to Pier 39 in San Francisco to interview "YouTube"-stars - the most subscribed to YouTubers and their fans in the YouTube community. They were meeting for the first time in real life at their first official YouTube event called "As one". The interviews were filmed by Vincent the cameraman and ended up in a video published online.

http://news.com.com/1606-2-6160398.html?tag=ne.fd.mnbc

Grid Computing (CNET News.com)

Friday the 16th of February I went to the AAAS annual meeting - a science and technology conference in San Francisco. The conference covered existing and coming innovations in science and technology. I attended a session about grid computing, which ended up in two blogs; one about grid computing and projects within that field and one about sharing your computer power for research. The latter one was commented on by a few readers.For the blogs I used quotes from the session and did some background checks on former research.

http://news.com.com/2061-11204_3-6160365.html
http://news.com.com/2061-11204_3-6160356.html

Tuesday, February 27, 2007