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Dear Ethix – Issue 61

Internet Future

The Internet will continue and not become obsolete. Over the last 10 years bandwidth had been increased as new optical technology has become available. The Internet continues to provide all the services that we have become used to. It is based on packet routing and IP (Internet protocol). What has changed recently is that the Internet is increasingly carrying some large-scale point-to-point data transfers, for example from large experiments to data storage sites and supercomputer centers. In order to handle these point-to-point data transfers, currently switched optical interconnects are built. They would support dedicated transfers more easily: the terabytes of data would not have to broken into little packages, which are scattered over the net, but just sent as one coherent stream. This requires different protocols from IP, but also an additional software layer (middleware) that allows bandwidth reservation, advanced scheduling of transfers, etc.

ESnet at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) is building such a switched optical network to support DOE science applications. Several networking projects in Europe and around the world are doing the same. This is to be seen as an infrastructure augmenting the current Internet, but not replacing it. How this infrastructure will potentially migrate into general accessibility outside the science world, what application it might support there, and how consumers will pay are all big issues. There is even controversy over whether we even need to go to switched optical networks. (See discussions at billstarnaud.blogspot.com/)

The grid is a set of middleware that runs on the existing Internet infrastructure. Grids have been in use since the mid 1990s, and are enabling distributed access to resources for large-scale collaborations, among many other things. CERN has been a big supporter of grids, but certainly was not the inventor of grids as the article claimed. The OSG will be one of the tools that will be used to share data from LHC with the U.S. science community.

In short, stating that grids will replace the Internet is like claiming that a new thing called operating systems will replace computer hardware in the near future.

Horst Simon
Berkeley, Calif.

In the March/April 2008 Technology Watch, I commented, and brought in some expert opinion, regarding a claim that the Internet as we know it would be going away, replaced by computational grids. Horst Simon, director of the Computational Laboratory at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, adds his expert opinion to the discussion.

Ethix at Ten Years

Small businesses have a significant impact on the overall business climate. I was excited to note that you stated in your last issue that you intend to launch more small-business focus in Ethix! There are so many important things about small business to bring to your audience. I hope to get a chance to expand on this thought and contribute to this discussion.

The “human” element appears regularly in Ethix, along with technology and other “hardware” points, and it validates my 42 years in staffing — with a complete dedication to problem solving for both employers and job applicants. People are still the key, both the ethical ones and — unfortunately — those who are not trustworthy. Our logo for years was “People, the most important asset in any company.” Not clever, but true.

Shirley Lansing,
Bellevue, Wash.

Shirley Lansing started a successful and widely respected company providing temporary employees to companies in Seattle in the 1960s. She was one of the first women members of the Seattle Rotary.

I like that Ethix is bimonthly, an intelligent read, and has trouble-free customer service. Thus far, no one interview has been a favorite but no interview lacked good business focus and insightful questions. Ethix is not missing issues and topics that readers seek, though I would like to see a focus on black-enterprise leadership.

As a full-time graduate student of strategic intelligence, I find readings bring together a multidisciplinary anthology, but Ethix is the only reading that I diligently make use of along with the library. I regularly read and catalog each issue of Ethix since my first subscribed issue arrived in March/April 2004 when I was completing my MBA, and that is among past subscriptions such as Economist and Harvard Business Review. There is truly not a bulletin or newsletter, about which I would say “never read,” but there are far fewer that I would hold on to and library like I have Ethix. Keep doing whatever it is you all do, because there is earnestly no equal.

Anthony S. Bates
Toledo, Ohio

Fareway Stores

I just read the entire text at www.ethix.org vis a vis Fareway’s ethics and practices (issue 58, March/April 2008). As a loyal Fareway customer who has nonetheless tried “all the others,” I can vouch for its veracity. Every word written here is true. Fareway is the best at everything they do, from this customer’s perspective.

Beth L. Fay
Council Bluffs, Iowa

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