Professor of Information Systems at California State University
Joined on November 3, 2015
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Larry Press, Professor of Information Systems at California State University, Dominguez Hills, has worked in both industry and academia. He has been on the faculties of the University of Lund, Sweden and the University of Southern California, and worked for IBM and the System Development Corporation.
He has consulted to over 40 industrial, government and non-governmental organizations including IBM, Apple, Philips, Sony, Hyundai, RAND, the World Bank, ITU, UNDP, USAID and UNCTAD.
He has worked on data processing, multi-processor operating systems, simulation, decision table translation, simulation of concept acquisition, multivariate data analysis, pattern recognition (discriminant analysis), study of problem solving behavior in executives, computer and network applications in education, computer art, teleconferencing, the history of computing and networking, local area networks, expert systems, software import/export, the study of the global diffusion of the Internet, enterprise networking strategy and applications, wireless networking, municipal networking, telecommunication policy, and IT literacy. He is currently creating a modular electronic text and just finished a study of the Internet in Cuba.
Dr. Press has been studying the global diffusion of the Internet, with an emphasis on policy and technology in developing nations, for over twenty years. He and his colleagues developed a framework to characterize the state of the Internet in a nation, and they, and others, have used this framework in many national case studies and surveys.
He has done studies of the Internet in Russia, Cuba, Chile, Nepal, Bangladesh, India, Singapore, and Vietnam. He is currently working on a project in support of Cuban NGOs. This work has been supported by Rand, The International Telecommunication Union, SAIC, UNDP, UNCTAD, and the US State Department as well as governments in studied nations. Dr. Press was also an organizer and instructor in the World Bank/Internet Society workshops, which trained over 2,500 networking leaders from nearly every developing nation.
Dr. Press has been active in ACM and the Internet Society, published over 240 articles and reports (54 in ACM publications), written two books, edited two book series, and been an editor or contributing editor for several magazines, trade publications and academic journals. He is an active electronic publisher with several blogs, a Twitter stream and a Web site with over 45,000 files.
He has received the CSUDH Outstanding Professor, Distinguished Teacher and Hyundai Outstanding Professor awards, his MBA and PhD in information processing are from UCLA, and he is a fitness nut who does an occasional triathlon and is a better free throw shooter than Shaquille O'neal.
As soon as ETECSA began installing public access WiFi hotspots, black market resellers began sharing connections. They would connect a laptop to an ETECSA account then use pirated copies of Connectify, a connection sharing program running on the laptop, to create small WiFi hotspots of their own. At the time, ETECSA charged 2 CUC per hour online (two day's pay for many Cubans) and the re-sellers typically charged 1 CUC per hour. They broke even with two users and made a profit with more. more»
US papers employed 56,900 full-time journalists in 1990, the year Tim Berners Lee began testing his World Wide Web software, and they employed 32,900 in 2015. The disruption of the newspaper business began 22 years ago, when Craig Newmark launched his classified ad site, Craigslist. (Note that Newmark now generously supports investigative journalism and fact-checking organizations). Newspapers have adapted to the Internet by adding digital editions, but they generate less ad revenue than print editions have lost. more»
Two companies hope to revolutionize the Internet by providing global connectivity using constellations of low-earth orbit satellites -- Elon Musk's SpaceX and Greg Wyler's OneWeb. It seems that SpaceX gets a lot more publicity than OneWeb, but both are formidable... SpaceX is integrated -- building the rockets, satellites and ground stations themselves -- while OneWeb has a number of collaborators and investors, including Bharti Enterprises, Coca-Cola, Intelsat, Hughes, Totalplay Telecommunications, Virgin Galactic and Softbank. more»
I've followed Cuba's home-connectivity "plan" from the time it was leaked in 2015 until the recent Havana home Internet trial. I thought the plan was a bad idea when it was leaked -- it calls for installation of obsolete DSL (digital subscriber line) technology -- and now that the Havana trial is complete, I question whether the plan was real. ETECSA denied the validity of the leaked presentation at the time, and their definition of "broadband" was "at least 256 kb/s." more»
Necessity has led Cubans to become do-it yourself (DIY) inventors -- keeping old cars running, building strange, motorized bicycles, etc. They've also created DIY information technology like software, El Paquete Semanal, street nets and WiFi hotspot workarounds. Last June the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) adopted a standard for "low-cost sustainable telecommunications infrastructure for rural communications in developing countries," L.1700. L.1700 cable should be of interest to both DIY technologists and ETECSA. more»
I doubt that any elementary school in the US has fiber to the premises, but, in 2013, an elementary school in rural Bhutan was connected to the Internet using optical fiber in the "last mile." They were able to connect the school because the cabling they used, metal-packed armored cable (M-PAC), which is modeled on undersea cables, does not have to be in a protective duct. It is 4mm in diameter, light and flexible, so it can be installed by supervised volunteers or unskilled workers.
The free home-connectivity trial in Old Havana will end this week. Two thousand homes were eligible for the trial and I was told, off the record, that 700 people have signed contracts to pay for the service. I am not certain, but my guess is that those two thousand homes are served by a single central office that has been upgraded to offer Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) connectivity. more»
Aida Zekić, a student at the University of Uppsala, Sweden has published her master's thesis, "Internet in Public: an ethnographic account of the Internet in authoritarian Cuba." The thesis reports on interviews of 50 Cuban Internet users at nine WiFi hotspots in Havana during September and October 2016. She asked pre-planed, but mostly open-ended questions of 25 men and 25 women. She tried to identify people between 25 and 50 years old, but a few were a little older. more»
I was naively optimistic in the early days of the Internet, assuming that it would enhance democracy while providing "big data" for historians. My first taste of that came during the Soviet coup attempt of 1991 when I worked with colleagues to create an archive of the network traffic in, out and within the Soviet Union. That traffic flowed through a computer called "Kremvax," operated by RELCOM, a Russian software company. The content of that archive was not generated by the government or the establishment media -- it was citizen journalism... more»
This post is conjecture, but it is informed conjecture... Consider the following: When Google Fiber started in Kansas City, most people assumed that it was a demonstration project, intended to spur investment by the incumbent US Internet service providers (ISPs). Few thought that Google wanted to become a retail ISP. Google Fiber garnered a lot of publicity and Google, began speaking of it as a real, profit-making business. They announced other cities and started laying fiber in some of them. more»
I've written posts about trolls in Cuba, where Operation Truth is said to use a thousand university-student trolls and trolls in China where government workers fabricate an estimated 488 million social media posts annually. Now we are reading about Russian government trolls... The fake news and trolling revealed during the last few months of the US political campaign has sowed doubts about everything we see and read online. We're beginning the transition from "critical thinking" to "paranoid thinking." more»
I've discussed the role of the Internet in creating and propagating lies in a previous post, noting that Donald Trump lied more frequently than Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders during the campaign. Now let's look at fake news like the claim that Pope Francis had endorsed Trump. The fake post features the following image and includes a "statement" by the Pope in which he explains his decision. more»
In May 2013, President Obama picked Tom Wheeler to head the Federal Communication Commission. The Internet community generally disapproved because Wheeler had been a lobbyist for both the cellular and cable industries and a major contributor to the Obama campaign. Internet service providers AT&T and Comcast lauded the appointment and a few months later, the President was spotted playing golf with Brian Roberts, chief executive of Comcast. more»
Cachivache Media recently reported that the Bitly URL-trimming service had stopped working in Cuba. Cubans had been using the service for several years, so this resulted in many broken links. Cachivache did not know what had happened, but published a traceroute that timed out at an Akamai router. I contacted Akamai, and they said they could not say anything -- they would only talk with their customers -- Bitly in this case. So I contacted Bitly and had an email exchange with one of their support people. more»
People have been trying to measure the global diffusion of the Internet and the digital divide between rich and poor nation for twenty five years. The first to do so was Larry Landweber, who noted whether or not a nation had an Internet (or other) connection. It was a binary metric -- yes or no -- and it was suitable to its time because there were only a handful of users who were restricted to teaching and research, using a few applications like email, file transfer, news groups and remote login. more»
In a recent post, I argued that the US embargo, the poor state of the Cuban economy and fear of free information had stifled the Cuban Internet at its inception in 1996, but that twenty years later, those constraints were significantly reduced. I suggested that the Cuban Internet was being held back by mundane bureaucracy and political correctness. We got an example of that at the Latin American and Caribbean Network Information Center (LACNIC) conference in Havana this week. more»
The problem today is bureaucracy and its companions - fear of competition, change and stepping out of line. Cuba connected to the Internet in 1996, but three factors stifled the Cuban Net: the US embargo, economic depression during what the Cubans call the "special period" after the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the Cuban government's fear of free information, which was also fed in part by the Soviet collapse. more»
Cuba, one of the least connected nations in the world, recently created 35 public-access, WiFi hotspots around the island. While 35 hotspots is a drop in the bucket, this opening is a start and it has been noted in many articles and blog posts. Most of the coverage of the new hotspots has been lackluster and redundant, but an article last month in Miami Herald stands out because it stresses the human and emotional impact of these access points. more»