Tuesday, June 29, 2010

上帝之哨

上帝之哨

在香港時間星期日晚上演的德國對英格蘭世界盃十六強賽事中,出現了今屆最嚴重的球證「超錯」裁決。英格蘭中場林柏特在上半場一記遠射,彈中門楣進入白界線內再彈出來,但主...

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網上流傳,白界線是這樣的。

Saturday, June 26, 2010

網上廣播都要管?

可圈可點:網上廣播都要管?

商業電台撤回原已遞交的數碼廣播聲音牌照申請,決定把資源集中投放於互動、網上及手機的「互動數碼廣播」。商台表示,這是為了專注「商台互動」,而非因投資費太高。

透過網絡的廣播與大氣電波傳送的數碼廣播完全不同,商台認為數碼聲音廣播不夠互動,有它的道理,但也不代表希望提交營辦申請的雄濤廣播,沒有他們的運作和盈利模式,反而數碼聲音廣播對商台傳統的電台廣播直接競爭,是鐵一般事實。而且一如商台會想利用網絡服務突破地域和市場局限,雄濤也不會只辦數碼聲音廣播,必同時提供互動網絡服務。到時兩陣對壘,一邊是傳統電台加網台,另一方是數碼廣播加網台,且看鹿死誰手。筆者反而關注,香港電台何時落實數碼廣播發展,和如何提升其網上互動服務。

剛好政府為《通訊事務管理局條例草案》刊憲,合併廣播事務管理局及電訊管理局,從發展角度看,統一規管機構有其優勢亦是國際趨勢,是業界普遍同意的。但筆者關注代表資訊技術界立會議員在報章撰文指「網上電視亦越見普及,但現有法例卻未有監管」,議員是否想引入連一眾網台也要受未來通訊局發牌監管,商台也會要申請牌照?這建議顯然與現行廣管局和電訊局的監管政策甚至國際做法有異,令人擔憂有人借機加強對內容監管。筆者認為從業界或公民社會角度皆不能接受。

刋載於《蘋果日報》2010年6月26日

Thursday, June 24, 2010

2020的 Next big idea?

十年,不算是一段太短的時間,但也是可以轉眼便過去。畢竟,所謂人生有幾多過十年?十年前我們有沒有想過今天 2010 年的世界是怎樣的呢,十年後又將會是怎樣?到 2020 年,除了可能出現首次「普選」香港立法會,在科技和社會將會有什麼新的趨勢?

回想十年前的 2000 年,科網股剛爆破,現在看來原來是世界從 Web 1.0 走出來,逐漸步入 Web 2.0 時代。當年我們的互聯網服務供應商才準備推出寬頻服務,大部分用戶仍是以 56K 撥號上網。那年初香港政府還發出了 6 張無線固網牌照,結果營運商一家也沒有成功提供服務,但十年後全城卻可以 Wi-Fi 以無線寬頻上網,反而完全不用發牌。十年前的熱門字眼還是 B2B 和 B2C,有沒有人想到今天最流行的社交網絡?在硬件方面,我們可有料到可以有 iPhone 這樣的手機,還要出自 Apple?在 2000 年,你聽過 Google 嗎?

那麼從今天至 2020 年的世界,「Next big idea」是甚麼?這是英國貿易和投資推廣處在一個名為 yourbusinesstomorrow.com 的網站提出的問題。當然,從英國推廣商務角度,他們希望提醒我們,英國和英國人的科技研究開發,在過往人類文明以至商業應用都佔有很重要的角色。十八世紀瓦特發明蒸汽機,引發了工業大革命;斯旺在 1878 年以真空下用碳絲通電的燈泡得到英國的專利;貝爾德在 1925 年發明首個電視系統;佛萊明在 1928 年發現盤尼西林,成為全世界第一種抗生素,開創了人類治療細菌感染性疾患的新紀元;同年懷特發明了噴氣式發動機,把人類帶入噴射飛機年代。

再數到較接近的數碼時代,英國人 Tim Berners-Lee 在 1991 年開發了萬維網(World-Wide Web)──雖然據聞他不喜歡人說他發明萬維網;當然還有 2000 年為 Apple 設計 iPod 的 Jonathan Ive。的確,由英國例子可見,近代人類創新已從技術發明轉向更多在於應用和設計方面。傳統上英國也很重視研究開發,尤其私人企業的參與,佔整體研發花費的三分之二。

在下個十年,亞洲尤其是中國的角色將會更為重要,中國又能否重「抄襲者」變為「創新者」?全世界的發展會否由過去的技術以至設計主導,發展為文化佔領更重要的角色?「所有東西的互聯網」(Internet of things)會否成為主流?

如果你可以回答這問題,說出在未來十年至 2020 年,營商的最大變化將會是什麼,尤其在科技創新方面;答案只要精簡地不超過 80 字,即可獲得飛往英國與當地業者交流的機會!各位不妨到 www.yourbusinesstomorrow.com,試一試,以腦會友。

刊載於《Hitech》 2010年6月24日

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

成立通訊局的魔鬼細節

成立通訊局的魔鬼細節

政府於上週四終於刊憲公佈《通訊事務管理局條例草案》,落實合併廣播事務管理局(廣管局) 和電訊管理局(電訊局)為通訊事務管理局(通訊局),成為規管電訊和廣播業的單...

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

世界盃 刺激互聯網流量

世界盃開鑼,分組賽也展開了一個星期。一如所料,全球互聯網的流量已出現預料中的明顯增長,這變化也見證著社交網絡的發展,和用戶習慣的轉變。

Akamai 是全球最大的內容傳送網絡商(CDN)之一。根據他們的數據,觀察開幕第一天賽事對互聯網流量的影響,在南非出戰墨西哥的揭幕戰上演的期間,互聯網活動至為活躍,之後法國對烏拉圭期間,網絡流量亦保持於高過平均的水平。Akamai 發現大部份增加流量來自北美和歐洲,但其實全球流量都普遍增加了,高峰時每分鐘訪問用戶達 1,210 萬人──大幅超過上次的高峰,即奧巴馬在 2008 年美國總統大選勝出時的每分鐘 850 萬用戶紀錄!

這不一定說人們都不看電視,轉在網上收看或獲取訊息。首先以時差算,歐美地區在賽事進行期間正是「返工」時間,球迷唯有靠電腦和手機查看或觀看賽程;另外相信也有不少人在我們亞洲時區內,邊看電視邊上網,在社交網絡分享感受。

新增的互聯網留量從何而來?首先,網絡視頻管看的流量應該有所增加,但至今仍未有足夠數據確定其於整體流量增加的比例,加上世界盃賽事版權限制仍多,相信這方面的增長未必是流量增加的主因。筆者相信,整體流量上升的更大動力,多數來自微博一族的社交媒體,特別是 Twitter,和用戶透過流動手機的應用。

美國市場調查公司 Trendrr 對 Twitter 的內容作了分析,發現在世界盃開幕期間,48 個與世界盃有關的詞語,平均每小時出現 15 萬次之多。Trendrr 甚至按時間分析 Twitter 的訊息數量,發現在南非主隊攻入本屆世界盃第一個入球時,出現了第一個發 Tweet 訊息的高潮,達到每分鐘超過 8,000 條!

於是,Twitter 在世界盃開幕前已經警告,請預備在世界盃期間可能會出現當機,用戶不能進入服務。筆者在這數天已留意到 Twitter 的確比平常穩定性差了,但情況仍可以接受。Twitter 工程人員表示,正在緊急將負載量提升一倍,並重新分配平衡流量。用戶每次不能進入 Twitter,都會看見一隻由 Twitter 小鳥吊起的鯨魚,希望這幾星期不要太多碰見這條鯨魚!

在本地和內地,世界盃也在微博掀起了熱潮,但因為這些流量多數在本土之間,未必接上像 Akamai 這些內容傳送網絡的國際伺服器,所以在數據上未必反映出來。不過筆者留意到的,是發出訊息量在揭幕戰後已下跌了,有些熱門的分組賽又安排在半夜兩點半開球,都對網民參與有直接影響。分組賽後的淘汰賽情況會如何?遲些希望收集多些資料再作分析。

刊載於《Hitech》 2010年6月17日

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

政改「寶藥」試圖撕裂泛民

政改「寶藥」試圖撕裂泛民

特首曾蔭權上週在他的個人網誌發表文章(註一),以「以事論事」為題,指出功能組別的存廢為「政制發展其中一個富爭議性的議題」,並「表明心跡」,解說他在這問題上的取態...

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

An invitation to the first Asia Pacific Regional IGF

Since the advent of the World-Wide Web less than twenty years ago, the Internet has become an integral part of the lives of billions in the world. The advantages of the information superhighway are obvious in ways of communications, education, business and social applications, but increasingly the public and media are putting attention on its misuses and abuses -- digital divide, Net addiction, security concerns and privacy abuses, just to name a few. These issues have no national borders, making it more difficult for governments to act effectively.

For the last four years, the Internet Governance Forum has been the annual gathering organized by the United Nations. It acts as a global platform for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue on prevailing and emerging issues on Internet governance to foster the security, stability and development of the Internet. This is important because the Internet does not belong to any government, nor governed by any intra-governmental organization but by community-based, multi-stakeholders organizations such as ICANN, in a bottom-up fashion.

Besides the annual global IGF, various regions such as Africa, Europe and Latin Americas and a number of countries have established their regional or national IGFs, to educate and consolidate views to reflect back to the global forum. The Asia Pacific region, despite having the largest online population, estimated at over 780 million, however, has seen no parallel forum for discussing Internet governance issues until now.

After some of us in the Hong Kong Internet community (including Jeremy Godfrey and Stephen Lau) attended the last IGF in Egypt, we decided this should change, and initiated an effort to collaborate with a wide spectrum of Internet, IT and social organizations to organize the first Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF) in Hong Kong this June. We intend to raise awareness and encourage participation from relevant stakeholders around the region, and to foster multi-lateral discussions about issues pertinent to the Internet in Asia.

APrIGF will consist of three parts. The APrIGF Roundtable will bring together experts and advocates in the region and around the world from civil society, private and public sectors -- including Marcus Kummer, Executive Coordinator of the IGF, representatives from ICANN, the Internet Society, and the Asia Pacific Network Information Center (APNIC) -- for an intensive discussion to explore how we may shape the future of the IGF and Internet development in Asia. The local Hong Kong IGF Conference aims to introduce the various stakeholders in Hong Kong, in particular NGOs and civil society, to the status of Internet governance and how they can get involved. Finally, the Youth IGF Camp will be organized by young leaders to encourage more undertanding and participation from our next generation.

The full and developing agenda of the events can be found on http://www.rigf.asia .

From ComputerWorld Hong Kong, June 10, 2010

Download the 2010 June ComputerWorld HK eZine

世界盃還未走進互聯網

四年一度的世界盃即將開鑼,今年世界盃首次在非洲主辦,象徵著這個大洲「走進世界」。可惜主辦國南非治安欠佳,政府管治能力成疑,加上在全球恐怖主義陰影下,令門票滯銷。別說遠道去南非的球迷比前少了,聽說連媒體也少派了記者前往,甚至為了安全原因減少派出女記者採訪。

那麼,大家就「安坐家中」睇電視台轉播吧。今年觀賞世界盃的「新意思」,應該是 3D 了。不過,有多少人可以有錢購買 3D 電視?至於在電影戲院播放 3D 直播,也因為版權問題未能及早落實(至截稿前),細節要談到最後才能定出。更重要的是,香港的電視轉播權落在收費的有線電視手上,經過多番爭議,免費電視台才獲准以其數碼廣播頻道轉播數場「主要賽事」,即未安裝數碼電視亦非有線用戶的家庭,就要另覓他法才可觀看了。

筆者還記得小時候在免費電視看 1974 年世界盃決賽,西德對荷蘭那場經典。今天球迷要追看全程 64 場球賽,當年免費電視台亦只轉播主要賽事,現在已經不夠了,轉播轉向收費電視台無可厚非,香港人也開始習慣了要相約到酒吧、購物商場睇波了。

至於互聯網,四年前的世界盃已有不少人上網透過海外和內地的點對點分享視頻網站「偷看」,當年筆者和互聯網供應商同業曾注意和分析賽事期間的流量,的確發現有不少人這樣上網睇波。今年用戶除可透過這些網站服務外,坊間市面還推出了 USB 接收器,更「方便」用戶用電腦睇波,不過,始終這些方法受到互聯網頻寬和這些 P2P 串流服務的限制,要是在緊張關頭時看不到就不妙吧。

不過,有一方面「相反」較為「靜」的,卻是手機睇世界盃這方面。雖然有市場研究指出,全球有超過兩成的受訪者表示會從互聯網接收世界盃相關資料,亦有 9% 受訪者說會透過流動服務和應用軟件關注球賽,但市場卻明顯缺乏在手機流動觀看世界盃的服務。這也許與轉播世界盃的有線電視及其相關九倉集團沒有流動服務牌照有關,還記得兩年前北京奧運會時,免費電視台擁有電視轉播權,有線寬頻卻得到互聯網轉播權,當時也頗受歡迎。如今有線自己擁有電視轉播權,卻似乎不太關心提供在網上或手機轉播了。

據報道,美國運動電視台 ESPN 將與數家流動網絡商合作,提供手機轉播世界盃,在非洲更有十多個流動電視廣播網絡趕及世界盃開始時開展服務。另外大量的 Android 和 iPhone 平台上的應用,亦為全球用戶提供資料、數據和部分視頻介紹。不過,這些與我們能透過互聯網觀看像世界盃這些大型節目內容,尚有一段距離。

四年前筆者曾經想過,下屆世界盃有甚麼新的技術突破?有點可惜的是,除了在觀賞質素上改善(如高清、3D)外,沒有能讓更多人更方便用更多方法和渠道接收到資訊和轉播的突破。而擋在這些方便前面的,一如以往,主要並非技術問題,都是版權和市場要賺更多的錢的問題。技術何時才可把世界盃變成屬於每一個世界人民的世界盃?也許我們要等待的是 Google TV,四年後它會真正徹底改變我們的世界盃觀賞經驗嗎?

刊載於《Hitech》 2010年6月10日

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

謀殺政改:999誰是兇手?

謀殺政改:999誰是兇手?

政改立法會表決步入最後階段,民間一浪接一浪反對方案,政府卻視而不見如常「起錨」,不理可能連人帶船沉沒的可能。政府今次除了到處「起錨」(但被回敬「超錯」),未來兩...

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Saturday, June 05, 2010

互聯網毋忘六四

六四屠城轉眼過了二十一個寒暑,自從去年二十周年起,八、九十後參與六四悼念活動的熱情,真正地成為「毋忘六四,薪火相傳」的生力軍。之前很多人都擔心,年輕人沒有當年的回憶,會令這點人民心中的燭光,無法傳承下去,結果實令人有點意外和欣慰。
以前很多人擔心,年輕人缺乏對六四的回憶,未必知道當年事實真相,但事實證明, Web 2.0和一眾社交網絡,已成為互動地自由分享當年的視頻、圖片、文字等紀錄的最佳平台。雖然沒有一個中央六四資料庫網站,但整個互聯網就成為了一個大型分散式的近似維基網絡,人人都可貢獻舊的記錄,表達新的創作,沒有任何極權能刪除這些鐵證。

八、九十後投入這場民主運動,與互聯網和 Web 2.0關係密切。然而,回想筆者這一代,當年在 Web還未出現的「負 1.0」時代,互聯網已經發揮着讓我們把關於六四屠城、事後當局追捕學生領袖,和民主運動被迫出走海外的相關訊息,透過電郵發放全世界。筆者當年也曾每天把英文報章上相關新聞,人手打入電腦,結合其他同僚的貢獻,每天發給數以萬計的收件者。

當年我們用錄影帶把電視台報道拷貝分發,今天已放在 YouTube,再在 Facebook等分享。二十年前是電視主導年代,「有幸」很多影像歷史記錄留下了,今天互聯網接棒把這些資訊傳開。媒體就像一代接一代的人民,不會忘記。

刋載於《蘋果日報》2010年6月5日
新民主女神像在維園

更多圖片 (Flickr VIIV XXI set)

Thursday, June 03, 2010

網絡世界由你話事

在過去 40 年間,尤其上個 20 年萬維網出現後,互聯網已成為全球數以十億計用戶生活不可或缺的部分。互聯網的好處,在通訊、教育、商業、科學和社會上各種應用已經不用多說,但公眾和媒體關注卻喜歡集中於各種「問題」:數碼隔膜、上網成癮、侵犯隱私和保安等等。

面對這一切,由聯合國秘書署發起的互聯網管治論壇(IGF)在歐美已舉行了超過 4 年,旨在為各國、互聯網業界及公眾提供一個溝通的平台,為未來立法及管治做好準備。這「多持分者參與」模式對互聯網管治特別重要,因為互聯網並不屬於任何政府,甚至聯合國,管治是全民參與,從下而上的。

除了全球 IGF 之外,非洲、歐洲、拉丁美洲和一些國家地區都舉辦了其區域的 IGF 論壇,在把意見向全球 IGF 分享。雖然目前亞太區互聯網用戶已高達 7.8 億戶,成為全球之最,但事實滲透率只佔整個亞太區人口約 20 %,即代表亞太區的互聯網用戶數目仍會不斷增加;因此網絡管治的討論不能再只局限於歐美舉行,亞太區的參與亦十分重要。

在去年在埃及舉辦的 IGF 中,香港政府資訊科技總監葛輝也首次參加,之後我們從香港參加了的「舊生」,包括聯合國 IGF 的多持分者顧問委員會委員劉嘉敏和筆者等,我們決定要在香港主辦不單香港的 IGF 論壇,還要嘗試舉辦全亞太區的 IGF 圓桌會議。在多月努力後, 也在港府資訊科技總監辦公室的支持下,在 6 月 12 至 18 日,香港將舉行首屆亞太區 IGF,為香港市民甚至全亞洲參與者提供國際認授的平台去討論網絡管治議題。屆時聯合國網絡管治論壇秘書署首席代表 Markus Kummer 也將來港參與,亞太區多國亦將有各階層人士參與,包括多名著名互聯網業內人士。

為期七天的網絡管治論壇將分三部分:亞太區、香港及青年,在數碼港舉行,透過參與一系列活動,參加者能加深了解互聯網世界的運作及所衍生出來的社會議題,亦有機會與本地及國際知名的專家交流各種社會議題。透過網絡管治模式,世界趨勢是以公眾咨詢全民平等參與,取代單面向、從上而下的監管制度。所以我們說:「網絡世界,由你話事!為我們的互聯網發聲!」,會議詳情可在下面網站找到。

香港網絡管治論壇互聯網管治論壇
www.rigf.asia

刊載於《Hitech》 2010年6月3日

Balancing and Protecting Privacy and Security in the Internet 2.0 Age

[Opening remarks delivered today at the INSEC Forum, Information and Network Security Industry Meeting at the Asian Securitex 2010 Exhition.]

Balancing and Protecting Privacy and Security in the Internet 2.0 Age

It is my honor and privilege to be able to speak to you today in this INSEC forum on information and network security. I try today to speak from the perspective of the IT industry, which our Hong Kong Information Technology Federation strives to represent in Hong Kong, and the users, which our Internet Society Hong Kong also represents.

We all know and acknowledge that we are now in the Internet 2.0 age. Most if not all of the information and knowledge that we share, business and transactions we conduct are carried out on, over or via the Internet. Much has been said, discussed and contemplated about Web 2.0 – the phenomenon most notably marked by the importance of the user created content, or user generated content. I always like to summarize the Web 2.0 characteristics by these three descriptions: interactive, sharing, and free – and I note, free in both senses of the word, being about freedom, and free of charge.

But in this trend of growing openness and sharing, our users – both corporate and individuals – as well as the applications we develop and deploy, are increasingly challenged by numerous security incidents and infringement on privacy. For the individuals, users that are often not very sophisticated in knowing about protecting themselves find themselves giving up a lot of their personal information, unfortunately in many cases only too late when they realize these risks. Corporations are also struggling with updating their policies and guidelines regarding information security and privacy, in order to keep up with the challenges, but they often find it most difficult in educating their staff to take the necessary care in dealing with sensitive information in their day to day work, and establishing the right culture in the organization. I have been through this process, somewhat painstakingly, in my volunteer “work” with the Hospital Authority, as one of their board members, only a year or two ago when we had to deal with an angry public and a frantic media when we tried to rectify these organizational, cultural and to a much lesser extent, technical problems.

So, as we always say in IT, the problem isn't technical at all, or, if we can solve it with technology, then it isn't a problem at all. I guess people in finance would say the same about money, that any problem that can be solved with more money isn't a problem at all. But anyway...

Let's look at a few of the major sources of challenge to security and privacy the way that I see it, today and in the near future to come. First, quite obviously, the problems associated with the social media. Almost no single day passes by without yet another news story or two that would come out about privacy problems of facebook, Google and the likes. Almost no single month passes by without facebook in particular would come out to announce or discretely put in place some new privacy measures that are being criticized as not enough, or too difficult for the average users to handle. And this doesn't just have to do with the young kids at home using facebook or the other average users, but also corporations, as they are increasingly trying to seek ways to take advantage of these social media platforms. Their problems become the problems of the merchants and companies trying to use their platforms. These problems are indeed our problems. How do we ensure that, for example, the marketing departments that dominate the decision making of the use of social media have the knowledge and foresight to take into account the potential risks in personal privacy and security issues?

From the corporate IT vantage point, however, the cloud computing phenomenon seems to be the biggest challenge of all in the area of security and privacy. The cloud, whether private or public – how do we keep it secure? What can go in it or not, and how? This is the core problem and question facing almost all major IT infrastructure or large-scale software or project development, and the one problem that cannot be ignored, and indeed, should be put at the highest priority. I give you the example in Hong Kong for the upcoming development of the Electronic Health Records, probably the largest single IT project by the Hong Kong SAR Government in this decade, which targets to make the health records of all citizens of Hong Kong accessible to healthcare providers and related institutions or corporations, and of course the persons themselves and maybe their families too. How to keep it open – for many obvious benefits in providing better treatments and patient safety – but at the same time making it secure and private? Again, this calls for a balance and focus put on both technology and policies – including possible legislations and compliance control.

The other upcoming challenge in the very near future that I like to point out, is about IPv6. Many of you have heard of it, and if you haven't heard much about it before you are going to hear a lot more of it in the coming two years. Let me say again that according to the statistics of the Regional Internet Registries of the world that gives out IP addresses to Internet service providers, new IPv4 addresses will run out by late 2011. That means a switch to IPv6 will be imminent and unavoidable, if any of you still want to expand your network, let alone going to what some people talk about as Internet of things, or Internet on all things. No longer can corporations wait and see. In the last two years, Internet Society Hong Kong has carried out numerous trainings in Hong Kong in association with the Asia Pacific Network Information Center (APNIC) that allocates these IP addresses. More than a thousand people, especially front line engineers have been changed. That's good but not enough. Somehow, corporations are still waiting and mostly unwilling to make the switch. We worry that by the time they have to switch, they may find it too late, first, in not having enough people with experience to run and tackle the new issues relating to the dual stack network with both IPv4 and IPv6 traffic. And, of course, the new security issues that comes with IPv6. This is an area that I like to use this opportunity to call your attention to.

Finally, some words on where to find the balance. In order to find the balance between security and privacy, we need to start by finding the right point of balance between technology and policy, compliance and complacency. If we can ever reach a balance, then it would be one based on shared responsibility between those who are stakeholders in it all – the corporation's management, technology developers and administrators, and the users. And that in turn requires a baseline or foundation of awareness, understanding and a culture in the organization and society. And with these in hand, hopefully our community as a whole can develop the ability to make the right choices.

I look forward to sharing with you in this forum and on the Internet.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

富士康事件的一些啟示

富士康事件的一些啟示

台商富士康在深圳廠房由今年一月起發生連環自殺事件,至今已有十三宗,大部分選擇跳樓,只有三人受傷獲救,多數自殺的工人或前員工,都不幸失去生命。事件惹來傳媒廣泛報導...

請各位移師信報論壇閱讀全文,並請回應討論!感謝!

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