The Internet - The first Worldwide Tool of Unification ("The End of History")

" ... Now I give you something that few think about: What do you think the Internet is all about, historically? Citizens of all the countries on Earth can talk to one another without electronic borders. The young people of those nations can all see each other, talk to each other, and express opinions. No matter what the country does to suppress it, they're doing it anyway. They are putting together a network of consciousness, of oneness, a multicultural consciousness. It's here to stay. It's part of the new energy. The young people know it and are leading the way.... "

" ... I gave you a prophecy more than 10 years ago. I told you there would come a day when everyone could talk to everyone and, therefore, there could be no conspiracy. For conspiracy depends on separation and secrecy - something hiding in the dark that only a few know about. Seen the news lately? What is happening? Could it be that there is a new paradigm happening that seems to go against history?... " Read More …. "The End of History"- Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“…5 - Integrity That May Surprise…

Have you seen innovation and invention in the past decade that required thinking out of the box of an old reality? Indeed, you have. I can't tell you what's coming, because you haven't thought of it yet! But the potentials of it are looming large. Let me give you an example, Let us say that 20 years ago, you predicted that there would be something called the Internet on a device you don't really have yet using technology that you can't imagine. You will have full libraries, buildings filled with books, in your hand - a worldwide encyclopedia of everything knowable, with the ability to look it up instantly! Not only that, but that look-up service isn't going to cost a penny! You can call friends and see them on a video screen, and it won't cost a penny! No matter how long you use this service and to what depth you use it, the service itself will be free.

Now, anyone listening to you back then would perhaps have said, "Even if we can believe the technological part, which we think is impossible, everything costs something. There has to be a charge for it! Otherwise, how would they stay in business?" The answer is this: With new invention comes new paradigms of business. You don't know what you don't know, so don't decide in advance what you think is coming based on an old energy world. ..."
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)



Etiquette mavens say the book on manners must be rewritten, literally, to take into
account new technologies and social media (AFP Photo/Ed Jones)

A 2012 survey by Intel found that in several countries, a majority said they were put
off by "oversharing" of pictures and personal information on the
internet and smartphones (AFP Photo/Nicolas Asfouri)

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls
Logo No Hate Speech Movement

Bundestag passes law to fine social media companies for not deleting hate speech

Honouring computing’s 1843 visionary, Lady Ada Lovelace. (Design of doodle by Kevin Laughlin)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The 30 Most Important IT Trends for 2007

Megatrends CIOI 2007 1
November 17, 2006
Top Trends 2007

The 30 Most Important IT Trends for 2007
Thousands of IT executives contributed to a year's worth of data that reveals the direction of the industry.


CIO INSIGHT

When it comes to IT, change may very well be the only thing CIOs can depend on in 2007. That's what the editors at CIO Insight found when we took each of the 13 surveys we conducted in 2006 and put them under the microscope to project next year's 30 major trends. We break out 2007's trends into four different categories: Strategy, Management, Security, and Technology. But they are all closely related. And each trend contains a wealth of information and statistics gleaned directly from the source: CIOs, CTOs, and other high-level technology executives. So look closely.

Will service-oriented architecture take a big step forward next year? Will outsourcing take a step backward? Will businesses finally learn how to measure the value of IT? These are just some of the predictions we make based on a full year's worth of data. Read on to see what kind of year you can expect in 2007.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Jonathan Bean, What If: IT leaders should be proactive and act on employees’ ideas

Technology leaders must support innovation
Adam Jolly, Computing Business 23 Nov 2006

Jonathan Bean is a senior inventor at What If, an innovation company with offices in London, Sydney, Shanghai and New York. He spends his time working with technologists and brand managers to create new products at firms such as Pepsico and Unilever.

Unlike a product designer, he and his colleagues aim to span the whole innovation process from insight to pilot. Most ideas die in the corporation pipeline, he believes, because they are just passed from one team to another.

‘We try to maintain momentum. You want to keep the good ideas alive and quickly kill the bad ones,’ says Bean. ‘It is easy to generate a lot of rubbish. The temptation is to put it in a greenhouse to see if it might flourish. Most companies have thousands of initiatives running. So they just get bogged down and end up doing nothing.’

In his experience, IT managers can end up being seen as the bad guys. ‘Brand managers might take them an idea, only be to told that it is not a priority and will take two years to implement,’ says Bean. ‘As likely as not, brand managers then bring in freelancers to get a web site up and running in the three months.’

It is a pity, says Bean, because there is a clear need for technology support for innovation in terms of idea generation, insights and implementation.

‘A key task for the IT director is to make sure that they create an infrastructure that supports the innovation process,’ he says'

For instance, millions of pounds are spent on researching consumer insights, but is often not made available. ‘At a basic level, you have to make information user friendly for anyone who might want to dip in and use it,’ says Bean.

‘At the moment, IT directors are often on the back foot because they tend to see things late. If they are involved earlier and have better visibility of what is coming through the pipeline, they can be one step ahead.’

Ideally, says Bean, you want your IT director to be more proactive in bringing forward ideas, and say: ‘Here is a great tool for interacting with customers or for generating ideas,’ he says. ‘In particular, they should become the front door to the virtual world, making team leaders aware of how to immerse themselves in consumer groups.

‘Rather than plunging straight into the techie side of things, you want to hear what is interesting about people of a certain age or what is hot in interest groups. IT managers should be up-to-speed on sites such as My Space and You Tube, showing how web crawlers can be used to look at the language that people are using to help you create a trend guide.’

As an innovator, Bean says technology teams want help in creating interaction zones for consumers. ‘For the past 10 years, web sites have been created around a particular demographic to encourage interaction through newsletter and blogs,’ he says.

‘The interest now is piling into Second Life, where you use virtual worlds to interact with consumers. The interesting question is whether your consumers’ alter egos reveal more about them than through a focus group.

‘For IT directors, it will mean a willingness to experiment with new web formats and virtual environments to try to help a company become leading-edge in interaction.’

Monday, November 20, 2006

Innovation Moves up the CIO Priority Stack

The larger players have raised the bar by 4.5 percent, the survey said.

Gartner's head of executive program research, Mark McDonald, said the results show IT departments today are seen as critical business drivers with innovation increasingly player a bigger role. As a results IT budgets and responsibilities are rising.

McDonald said the top three CIO priorities are ensuring IT has adequate funding, is business savvy and can assist in solving problems more quickly.

"The notion of IT driving business growth has risen in priority over the last few years from number 18 to number one," he said.

"It would be easy to view these forces as creating the pretext for cutting IT budgets, however leading CIOs are taking the opportunity to change the conversation away from managing IT costs to increasing the yield on IT investments."

McDonald said the report found while the value of IT departments is sometimes questioned, CIOs are using IT to drive business growth through competitive advantage.

Gartner worldwide director of executive program research Andrew Roswell-Jones, said inadequate funding and skilled staff shortages were identified by CIOs as inhibitors to company growth.

He said innovation has a big role to play with business shifting from trial and error projects to structured pilot programs.

"We are seeing IT departments creating innovation projects by forming a hypothesis and trialling it in small market segments," Roswell-Jones said.

"They should look to their own customer data available on hand and formulate campaigns based on real information."

According to the report, business is investing in non-packaged solutions like business intelligence and mobile applications rather than off-the-shelf products, which Roswell-Jones attributes to a redefining of "agility" from quick response, to managed risk.

The former COO and director of operations and IT at information security firm Asguard, Jan Kolbusz, said such innovation is more widely seen in small competitive markets such as Australia.

"Smaller companies such as those in the Australian market are the greatest innovators because they are up against big global players," Kolbusz said.

"The methods that companies use to innovate need to change from reactive to calculated," he said.

Gartner identified analytics as the next big thing for enterprises between now and 2009.

Source : Computerworld Today (Australia), Darren Paul

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Google, Yahoo, Microsoft adopt same Web index tool

By Elinor Mills, CNET News.com
Friday , November 17 2006 09:26 AM

Search engine rivals Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are teaming up to make it easier for Web site owners to make sure their sites get included in the Web indexes, the companies are expected to announce late this week.

The companies are adopting Google's Sitemaps protocol, available since June 2005, which enables Web site owners to manually feed their pages to Google and to check whether their sites have been crawled. Web site owners have had to follow similar processes at each of the other major search engines separately.

Now Web site owners will be able to go to one place for alerting all three major search engines to their Web pages, something they have been requesting for some time, said Tim Mayer, director of product management at Yahoo Search.

"In the first joint and open initiative to improve the Web crawl process for search engines, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft today announced support for Sitemaps 0.90, a free and easy way for Webmasters to notify search engines about their Web sites and be indexed more comprehensively and efficiently, resulting in better representation in search indices," a joint news release said. "For users, Sitemaps enables higher-quality, fresher search results."

The effort was initially started by Google and Yahoo. "We thought it would be great for publishers and Webmasters to be able to submit their content in one format for all the different search engines," Yahoo's Mayer said. "We are proposing the format together and inviting other search engines to adopt it."

The manual Web page submission process supplements traditional Web crawling and does not automatically guarantee that the pages will be included in a search engine's index.

"Windows Live Search is happy to be working with Google and Yahoo on Sitemaps to not only help Webmasters, but also help consumers by delivering more relevant search results so they can find what they're looking for faster," said Ken Moss, general manager of Windows Live Search at Microsoft. "I am sure this will be the first of many industry initiatives you will see us working and collaborating on."

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Microsoft Releases Command Shell for Windows, PowerShell 1.0

Microsoft has unveiled the final 1.0 version of Windows PowerShell, the company's command shell for Windows that enables administrators to automate and control tasks on Windows desktops and servers.

PowerShell was initially slated to replace the command line in Windows with an object-oriented shell that rivals shells found on Unix systems. However, Microsoft scaled back its plans, saying it would take a few years to fully flesh out the technology.

PowerShell is a fairly complex endeavour for Microsoft, which has previously focused its attention on the graphical interface while competing server software remains primarily command line based. The idea was to build an Unix-like shell for administrators that offer advanced scripting capabilities while remaining easy to programme, the company said.

"Think of it as an integrated version of the Windows Command Prompt (cmd.exe) and VBScript that is easy to use and will allow you to automate and control system administration tasks," said PowerShell developer Alex Heaton.

Windows PowerShell 1.0 runs on Windows XP SP2, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Vista. For more information on what PowerShell can do on Microsoft's new operating system, visit Heaton's post on the Windows Vista Blog.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

How quickly will business adopt Vista?

By Ina Fried, CNET News.com
Tuesday , November 14 2006 11:56 AM

Microsoft has said that it will have Windows Vista ready for large businesses by the end of this month, but are businesses ready for Vista?

That is a key question for Microsoft, now that it has wrapped up its development work on the new operating system and is shifting into sales mode. It will start selling Vista this month to large companies that have volume license contracts, while smaller businesses will have to wait until the mainstream consumer launch in January.

According to a new poll, 86 percent of IT decision makers surveyed said their companies plan to implement Vista, though only 20 percent plan to do so in the next year. The poll of 761 buyers, commissioned by online retailer CDW, found 51 percent of respondents saying that they would have to replace or upgrade half of their PCs in order to run Vista.

Rob Helm, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft, said that most large businesses won't start looking at Vista until January or February and will then spend a year or more planning their rollouts.

"We're talking the end of 2007 and into 2008, before you start seeing mass production deployments," Helm said.

The CDW survey appears to back up Helm's estimate. While many businesses expressed their intent to move to Vista, only 24 percent of respondents said they had even a rough plan for how they would make the move.

It's not that the improved security isn't a good selling point, Helm said. It's just that it will take time for businesses to adapt to Vista, as they deal with new requirements that companies individually activate each copy of Vista--a step that wasn't needed with Windows XP.

Microsoft, meanwhile, is predicting a speedy adoption for Vista. Brad Goldberg, general manager for Windows Client product management, predicted in September that Vista would be put in use by twice as many businesses in the first year as Windows XP was in the 12 months following its October 2001 release.

Research firm IDC said that Windows XP usage was at 10 percent after a year in release. But IDC analyst Al Gillen said in September, talking about Vista, that "for them to do 20 percent in the first 12 months of availability is almost impossible."

Microsoft is counting on several factors to boost Vista adoption. One is, of course, the new features in the update --particularly the security enhancements and improved means for deploying the operating system throughout a large company. The software maker also said it is ready far earlier with tools that help businesses figure out which of their applications are Vista-ready.

Gillen was still skeptical that even those efforts would enable Microsoft to meet that goal.

"They have done all the right things, but adoption is going to be driven by corporate adoption and deployment cycles--more so than by whether Microsoft has greased the skids to make the product glide in faster," Gillen said in the September interview.

Jeff Rosado, who runs a computer consulting business in Pensacola, Fla., said that he is recommending large businesses wait before moving to Vista.

"For large institutions, I am recommending probably waiting until Service Pack 1," Rosado said. That will give Microsoft more time to work out any bugs and allow other companies to update their drivers and applications. "I think that Vista is a great operating system, but the third-party support is going to take a while," he added.

For small businesses, though, Rosado said the security features and improved ability to do remote management are good reasons to move sooner.

"Generally, (for) small businesses, I'm recommending almost an immediate implementation," said Rosado, who has been an early tester of Vista.

Aiming to get some of those mall businesses as early customers, Microsoft announced on Monday a partnership with CompUSA. Under the deal, businesses that want five or more licenses for Vista or Office Small Business 2007 will be able to buy them as of Nov. 30 under Microsoft's Open Value or Open Business licensing options. The software won't actually be in the box, though, meaning customers will have to download the programs.

Rosado said that companies that have compatibility issues can take advantage of virtualization to run Windows XP from within Vista, using Microsoft's Virtual Server and Virtual PC products. The upside of running Vista, he said, is that it is much easier for remote management, meaning an eye can be kept on a company's PCs without having to make a service call.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

How to Succeed in Business

INTERVIEW
How to Succeed in Business
OCTOBER 15, 2006 CIO MAGAZINE, Abbie Lundberg


In the past six years, Kevin Turner has occupied three of the most senior offices in the corporate C-suite: CIO, CEO and COO. He talks about what's different and what's the same, and shares the secrets of his success.

Turner Talks

Hear Kevin Turner and other IT leaders talk about the future of U.S. competitiveness.

CIOs today have more opportunities than ever to move out of IT and into other C-suite positions, including that of CEO. Yet many IT executives worry that they lack the knowledge and leadership skills to achieve success in a new setting.

Not so for Kevin Turner. His career could serve as a how-to for CIOs who are aiming for the corporate ladder's highest rungs. Turner became CIO at Wal-Mart, one of the world's largest companies and most successful users of IT, at 34. At 37, he was promoted to run Sam's Clubs as its president and CEO, with more than 46 million members and $37.1 billion in annual sales. Last year, at the age of 40, he left the company where he'd spent his career to become COO at Microsoft. There he leads a global organization of more than 32,000 employees, including field sales and marketing professionals who delivered more than $40 billion in revenue during fiscal 2005. As COO, he is responsible for product and customer support services, branding, advertising, public relations, market research and relationship marketing. He also oversees corporate operations and internal information technology that supports the work of 71,000 employees worldwide. Turner serves on the senior leadership team that sets Microsoft's strategy and direction.


He spoke with CIO Editor in Chief Abbie Lundberg during a recent visit to Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Wash.

CIO: When you were Wal-Mart's CIO, what were the three most important things you did to prepare yourself for a broader role in the business?
Kevin Turner: When you're in a company that believes in the value of IT and where there are high expectations on the delivery of that value to the business, the ability to work with people and teams [is critical. You need to be able to] pull together a focused agenda with clear definitions of success. So building self-managed, high-performing teams in IT was a necessity that proved very useful on the business side.


Next would be building relationships with peers in the business group. When you work closely with people to deliver results, audit the payback, review what's been implemented and come up with a mechanism to drive improvement, it gives you a good understanding at a high level of how the company or the operation works. That became something I relied heavily upon in my next role [as CEO of Sam's Clubs]. Finally, an understanding of what's possible with technology and the ability to map it to business problems and solutions to drive results [is critical]. Applying that knowledge in the business role was instrumental for me.

What it takes to be a successful CIO sounds similar to what it takes to be successful moving into that broader business role.
You have to tailor your terminology and your approach, but the principles are solid and they very much transport.

Has technology hit a tipping point in terms of its relevance and importance to the business?
I think so. In the early '90s, I would have characterized the CIO grade card [this way]: being under budget, enabling the company to grow and keeping the systems running. Those were the main drivers that could get you a decent grade as a CIO.

You still have to do those things. But now the world-class companies are saying, "How can IT really help us change the world? How can IT help me change my business model and change our game against the competition?" That's the biggest fundamental shift.

Wal-Mart was perhaps on the front side of that change. It is in a very low-margin business [where you have to make] sure that every dollar spent is accounted for and that we got the payback out of it. I had a lot of help from senior management to say whether we got what we said we'd get, and if not, why? Was it a bad decision, or was it something that we simply didn't execute as well as we should have? Having that follow-up was important.

Of the positions you've had since being a CIO—COO and CEO—which is the more natural next step for an IT executive?
The CIO could graduate into either of those roles, or head of a division or head of procurement or marketing, depending upon the operation. The sophistication of what's required [to run a business] is escalating like crazy. Staying on top of that is something CIOs are used to doing. They're used to a lot of change coming their way. That dynamic environment really puts them at an advantage as they go into the business.

Which is the harder job: CIO or CEO?
Well, it depends upon the amount of change you're trying to introduce and the results that you're up against. They both have their moments. With everything the CEO faces today from the standpoints of governance, competition and shareholder expectation—let's just say there's less under your direct control than with the CIO role. The CEO role has a lot of external complexities. But the CIO has some moments that would be very comparable to the most difficult day of the CEO.


Why did you leave Wal-Mart after almost 20 years?
It's an interesting story. My relationship with Microsoft went back 14 years with Steve Ballmer. I worked directly and indirectly with him during my time in Wal-Mart's IT department, then when I was CIO, and after I moved into the business.


Being at one highly successful company and making the transition to another was, with the exception of marrying my wife, the greatest single decision I ever made. It was a great chance for me to get back to technology, which is what I loved, but it was also a great opportunity to learn from another successful company. If I hadn't moved [to Microsoft], I probably would have finished my career [at Wal-Mart].


What advice would you give CIOs who are ready to move to a different role?
Take inventory of what you've been exposed to and learned. Make sure you have an understanding of how the business operates, the external marketplace and how the customer responds. And remember: Creating and driving business value is really meaningful to taking that next step.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Goodbye quarterly reports?

By Gemma Simpson, Special to ZDNet Asia
Friday , November 10 2006 09:36 AM


Six financial heavyweights have called for companies to overhaul financial reporting to make it more suited to the Internet age.

This could potentially mean the scrapping of traditional quarterly and annual reports.

The top accounting firms, including Deloitte Touche Tohumatsu, Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers and KMPG, joined forces to release a report on Wednesday that proposes a real-time reporting system to allow people to access and choose business information as easily as buying a book on Amazon.com.


Details on what this new reporting model would look like are still hazy. But digitization and the Internet could enable people to customize the company information they receive and choose how it is presented, said the report.

A representative for Information Builders, a business intelligence company, said that real-time reporting is a "nice concept but difficult to implement in practice due to cost and complexity."

The representative said he does expect to see such systems emerging within the next few years, although there will not be a sudden shift away from traditional reporting until a handful of the big players make a move into the digital arena.

War looms over global tech talent

By Andy McCue, Special to ZDNet Asia
Tuesday , November 07 2006 12:22 PM


A global war for technology talent is looming that will lead to severe skills shortages and rising salaries, according to a new study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

But businesses will not simply be able to rely on tapping more affordable and plentiful tech labor overseas and in emerging economies, which will be hit by skills shortages, the report warned.

The survey of 153 senior executives in technology companies around the globe found that European executives, in particular, anticipate a "severe shortage" of overseas pools of talent within the next three years.


It is a similar picture in emerging markets, with 41 percent of all survey respondents finding it difficult to locate technical skills and almost half (48 percent) having trouble retaining the talent they do find.

A result of this increased competition for skills has led to salaries in the technology sectors of emerging markets rising, and the report claims compensation levels are increasing to the point where China and India will no longer be viewed as more cost-effective locations to source talent.
Graham Wyllie, director at PwC, said in the report, "Competition for talent has never been fiercer and there is likely to be another industry talent war if demand increases."


Despite this, the survey found widespread weaknesses in recruiting capabilities, developing in-house talent and training for senior executives.


But some organizations are taking action to address the skills shortage by working with schools to encourage students to study mathematics and sciences, and using "talent maps" to assess their present and future skills needs.

The Technology Executive Connections--Successful Strategies for Talent Management report was conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit for PwC.

Outsourced IT to return home

By Lynn Tan, ZDNet Asia
Monday , November 06 2006 05:39 PM

SINGAPORE--The next wave of outsourcing is expected to see companies in Asia taking back selected IT functions, according to a senior executive at Big Four accounting firm KPMG.

Speaking at the Outsourcing Conference 2006 last week, Lim Yen Suan, KPMG Business Advisory's head of business performance services, said organizations are taking back some IT functions such as IT strategy and architecturing, from service providers.

"Usually, [companies in the Asia-Pacific region] outsource the maintenance, application development, network management and infrastructure," Lim told ZDNet Asia in an interview. "The rest they still very much keep within their own organization."

KPMG's latest survey showed that some call center functions have also been brought back in-house by enterprise customers in the region, primarily because of language and cultural issues, she said. Lim added that companies in the Asia-Pacific region are comparatively more conservative, and only outsource basic IT functions such as software development and application maintenance.

The survey also showed that there is a greater emphasis toward a partnership arrangement between enterprises and their service providers, rather than the client-service provider approach previously adopted in the first wave of outsourcing.

As such, the selection process for service providers is also changing, she said. Lim explained that companies that experienced the first wave of outsourcing--which was quantitative and technology focused--are now considering qualitative factors, such as cultural compatibility and business values of service providers.

"[Businesses] focus a lot on chemistry between themselves and the service providers because [the outsourcing contract] is a fairly long-term arrangement," she said.

According to Lim, enterprises take the selection process seriously because they are looking for a "business partner rather than a pure service provider", since the outsourcing arrangement will have a huge impact--whether it will be successful or not--on their business operations.

She added that this approach will allow both the organization and the service provider to obtain more transparency out of each other's processes and infrastructure, helping both parties achieve a win-win arrangement.

However, the trend toward a two-way partner relationship will be played out in terms of the way both parties work with each other, rather than as a contractual arrangement, she said. And it is not likely to take place immediately, Lim said.

She noted that the fledgling trend is likely to take off in the Asia-Pacific region in three to five years, and early adopters are expected to include MNCs (multinational corporations) from the United States and Europe that have presence in this region.

Early last month, Asia-Pacific's first certification program for IT outsourcing management--the Certification in Outsourcing Management for IT (COMIT)-- was launched in Singapore by the Singapore Computer Society, in partnership with Singapore's Institute of System Science and supported by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore. Endorsed by industry practitioners, the new three-day certification course is targeted at infocomm professionals seeking to pursue a career as IT project manager or outsourcing manager, as well as experienced professionals who want to attain accredited professional qualification.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Skype tests new features in bid to diversify sales

By Eric Auchard

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Web telephone-calling company Skype on Wednesday unveiled new software with automatic click-to-call features designed to make shopping easier and that also encourages users to join group conversations.

Skype Chief Executive Niklas Zennstrom said in an interview that features in the new Skype 3.0 -- available in a public test version starting on Wednesday -- can help the company move beyond its dependence on communications revenue.

The company has said it expects $195 million in revenue, up 225 percent from $60 million it took in in 2005.

"You are also going to see new services which are more targeted to e-commerce," Zennstrom said.

Skype-calling software allows users to place free phone calls to other Skype users on computers. It also offers cut-rate prices for calls to conventional landline or mobile phone users from either computers or a new generation of Skype-ready phones now available worldwide.

Click-to-call allows calls to be to be placed the moment a Skype user clicks on a phone number listed on any Web page.

The promise of such features for use in Web-based customer service or closing sales was a big selling point that online auctioneer eBay Inc. had highlighted when it acquired Skype a year ago in a deal worth more than $4 billion.

Skype 3.0 automates this process by allowing users with only one click to make ordinary phone calls from Web pages.
"Our long-term goal is to have much more balance between e-commerce and telecommunications revenues," he told Reuters.

Speaking to an audience of Internet industry insiders at the annual Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco, Zennstrom reiterated that Skype must move to replace communication revenue as phone calls eventually become free.

Two significant partnerships should help drive Skype business in 2007: Skype's parent eBay has struck partnerships with Yahoo Inc. in the United States and with Google Inc. outside U.S. territory.

"There are other e-commerce services that I cannot talk about today that we are working on as well," he said.

Skype 3.0 software is designed to run on Microsoft Corp. Windows-based computers.

Another feature allows users to set up text-based chats with up to 100 Web users, whether Skype users or not. This text chat feature complements an earlier group audio feature called Skypecast, which allows live, moderated audio conversations with up to 100 participants.

"When Skype started out, people communicated with people who knew each other already, one-to-one," Zennstrom said. "Now you can host a public conversation on any topic."

The public chat feature, which can be initiated and moderated by any Skype user to control who else takes part, also can be embedded into blogs or Web pages to encourage such conversations to take place across the Web, Zennstrom said.

Skype had 136 million users registered users at the end of the September, up 23 million in the three months from June.

The Linux game has changed forever

By Stan Beer
Tuesday, 07 November 2006

The events of the past two weeks, which have seen the two largest companies in the world enter the Linux space, demonstrates that the party is over and the Linux game has changed forever. Red Hat is making a brave stand but stands little chance against the likes of Oracle and Microsoft.

One very much gets the feeling that in the enterprise at least, both Oracle and Microsoft are now ready to acknowledge that Linux is a game that they cannot afford to ignore. Both companies realize that they are missing out on a potential growth business by leaving to others what they could do themselves.

In Oracle's case, the company has weighed up the pros and cons and come to the conclusion that it has the people resources, expertise and existing customer base to usurp a growing Red Hat Linux support business worth hundreds of millions of dollars annually. There is little Red Hat can do except fight the good fight, but it is badly outgunned by a much more powerful opponent with little barriers to entry into its market.

Microsoft's case is different. Recognizing that Linux is definitely not going to go away, Microsoft wants to make sure that its software applications work as well with Linux as they do with Windows - interoperability is the name of its game. Working together with Novell, Microsoft wants to get closer to the Linux users, which are gradually infiltrating all enterprise sites. Microsoft is missing out on potential business because its applications can't run on Linux.

Oracle has demonstrated in no uncertain terms that the business of Linux distribution is not about selling software but support. It's a lesson that both Microsoft and Novell could not afford to ignore.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Microsoft Vows to VoIP

By Bill Snyder
TheStreet.com Senior Writer
11/6/2006 6:46 PM EST

Microsoft will make it easier to make telephone calls over the Internet by adding so-called VoIP technology to its products, the company's CEO said Monday.

"We are going to enter the voice-over IP market in the beginning of next year," Steve Ballmer said at a Microsoft conference in Tokyo, according to a report by the Associated Press.

Ballmer said his company will incorporate VoIP across the company's operating system, desktop applications and server software. He added that it would be unified with email, video and instant messaging. Microsoft has previously released software with VoIP functionality, but the technology was not uniformly available in many of the company's applications.

AP also reported that Ballmer said the company will not wait five years to introduce the version of Windows that will succeed Vista.

Vista, the successor to XP, will be released in two stages -- first to large business customers at the end of November, and then to consumers in late January. The long-delayed operating system will reach the market five years after XP.

"We will never have a five-year gap between releases again," Ballmer said.

Monday, November 6, 2006

Microsoft completes Office 2007

Mon Nov 6, 2006 9:03am ET15

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp. said on Monday it has completed the software code for its Office 2007 suite and will begin to offer the world's most popular package of desktop software to corporate customers on November 30.

Microsoft will also make the new Windows Vista operating system and 2007 Exchange e-mail server available to business customers on the same day, and said all the products will become widely available to consumers in early 2007.

By announcing the Microsoft Office 2007 suite was ready for "release to manufacturing," it signals that the product is relatively bug-free and suitable for wide distribution.

"We've crossed the development finish line," said Jeff Raikes, president of Microsoft's business division, in a statement.

In June, Microsoft pushed back the release of its upgrade to Office, which includes the Word processor, Excel spreadsheet and PowerPoint presentation software, marking the latest in a series of development delays that have plagued the company.

Windows Vista and Office 2007 represent major upgrades to Microsoft's two most important products at a time when investors question the software giant's ability to keep up with nimble, faster-growing competitors seeking to offer software over the Internet instead of on the desktop.

Windows and Office together account for more than half of the company's total revenue and nearly all of its profit.

Web search leader Google Inc. already offers online versions of popular Office applications such as word processing, spreadsheets, e-mail and calendar.

Microsoft Linux!

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Plugging Asia's IT skills gap


Skills shortage is a perennial issue, both for the IT industry and businesses looking for in-house technical expertise. According to Hudson's latest report, the lack of candidates with the right skill sets is the No. 1 reason for recruitment difficulties in Asia. This was cited by 75 percent of respondents across the four markets surveyed--China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan.

This is no surprise considering the pace at which technology changes, but there is, unfortunately, no quick solution. Two years ago, I filed a story on the need to re-skill IT workers, and here I am today writing about this.

A notable difference between then and now is the list of the top five skills that are lacking. (Unfortunately, I've only got information on Singapore.) Below is a comparison of IDA's manpower survey findings:

Top 5 skills most lacking (2003):
1. IT project management
2. database management
3. sales and marketing
4. quality assurance and management
5. business continuity/disaster recovery management

Top 5 skills most lacking (2005):
1. software development
2. infocomm security
3. database management
4. IT project management
5. Web services

I'm not sure if successful marketing of professional courses like the Certification for IT Project Managers (CITPM) is the reason for the improved ranking of IT project management (it's now the fourth-most lacking skill instead of the first), but certainly any kind of industry-level effort helps.

This year, we've seen the introduction of new certification programs targeted at hot areas such as RFID (radio frequency identification) by CompTIA and IT outsourcing by Singapore Computer Society. It's still too early to tell what effect they will have on the IT skills gap, but at least those, who are keen on these areas, can upgrade their skills and remain employable.

But certification alone is not enough. A long-term, multi-prong plan is needed to tackle this critical talent issue. The question is what?

Asia desperately seeking IT talent

By Isabelle Chan, ZDNet Asia

Wednesday, November 01 2006 02:54 PM

Hiring expectations have fallen this quarter but job prospects remain rosy, so much as that recruiters are finding it difficult to fill IT positions, according to latest findings from human resources agency Hudson.

In its fourth-quarter study of Asia's recruitment trends, Hudson noted that permanent employment expectations have fallen from five-year highs in China, Hong Kong and Singapore. The survey polled 2,300 decision makers from multinational organizations of all sizes in major industry sectors in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan.

Hiring expectations have fallen in China from 62 percent in the third quarter to 56 percent this quarter, with similar growth sentiments in Hong Kong where 53 percent plan to hire between October and December, compared to 62 percent in the third quarter. In Singapore, expectations have also fallen from 56 percent to 52 percent in the fourth quarter.

Japan is the only market where hiring expectations remained unchanged. Some 63 percent of respondents indicated plans to hire more staff, the same figure reported for the second and third quarters of 2006. Banks in Japan have the highest expectations, with 75 percent expecting to hire more staff.

Gary Lazzarotto, Hudson's CEO for Asia, said in a statement: "Employment expectations are falling in every market surveyed, expect Japan. However, [hiring expectations] are still [at] a high level, and staff recruitment and retention are seen as the most critical HR challenge across the region.

"Employers are increasing salaries and performance bonuses, and offering more training opportunities to attract the talent they need," he said.

Tech prospects
Recruiters looking to fill IT-specific positions as well as vacancies in the IT and telecommunications sectors, are having difficulty hiring and retaining staff, particularly in Hong Kong and Singapore, according to Hudson's report.

Demand for sales staff in Hong Kong is strong, particularly in IT and finance, while sales and IT professionals are sought after in Singapore where 22 percent and 19 percent, respectively, of new jobs are from these categories.

Hudson also reported that all of its Hong Kong respondents cited skills shortage as a leading obstacle they face in hiring for positions in the IT and telecommunications sectors.

The human resources agency attributed the continued strong demand for IT personnel to Singapore's rapid development as a regional IT and technology hub, particularly in the banking sector. Higher salary demands also have the greatest impact on hiring in the IT and telecommunications sectors, the report found.

Commenting on these market trends, Andrew Sansom, director of DP Search, told ZDNet Asia in an e-mail: "The recruitment wave surged and peaked in third quarter, and is a little slower in the fourth quarter. [Recruitment drive] in the first quarter, and especially the second quarter, of 2007 will most likely be back up again.

"Invariably when demand is high, the pendulum swings back to become a seller's market and candidates will have multiple job offers and higher expectations, like [they do] now," Sansom added. DP Search is a recruitment agency specializing in the IT and finance industries in Southeast Asia.

Recruitment has been challenging in the wake of higher demand for sales positions and senior IT management roles. "Untypically, we have had a rush [hiring demand for] senior user organization roles such as CIO, CTO and IT director," said Sansom. "Senior IT roles in businesses are not always easy to fill because of the corporate cultural fit.

We have also seen an insatiable demand for good sales people in a variety of disciplines, particularly with software companies and systems integrators."

DP Search's Sansom said: "Our biggest challenge is finding good quality people prepared to make a move. Advertising is not the answer; people have to be hunted down and coaxed out of their positions. Of course, then they make demands like higher pay and they have higher expectations.

"We need to be careful we don't unwittingly fuel a wage spiral such as the one that took place in the late 1990s. That kind of thing almost always precedes a total slowdown, which is good for none of us. Candidates need to be reasonable in their demands, employers need to be realistic," he advised.

Cheong Yen Niap, sales director for Asia at Software AG, agreed that finding good hires has become an issue: "The ability to recruit and retain IT talents has been a challenge for our industry." In the past few months, he noted that his company has found it "particularly difficult" to recruit suitable SOA (service-oriented architecture) architects.

Cheong said: "While most IT talents do posses basic pre-requisites like analytical ability, positive attitude, strong communication skills and the ability to appreciate cultural diversity across Asia, it is a challenge to find suitable candidates who have the skill sets that fit our requirements," he explained. These required skills sets include a good knowledge of SOA, methodologies, business processes, and a broad understanding of IT infrastructures, he said.
Equally important, Cheong added, are domain knowledge of key vertical markets such as banking and finance, manufacturing, retail and logistics, and strong consulting skills.

Hiring in the fourth quarter is also a challenge because that is when annual bonuses are paid out. "Most potential candidates, especially those in the Greater China region, prefer to wait for the payout of year-end bonuses and salary review before deciding on the next course of action, for example, to move or remain in the company," said Cheong.
It is also a tight labor market for logistics service providers which are increasingly dependent on IT.


James Loo, CIO of YCH Group, told ZDNet Asia in an e-mail: "Recruiting is difficult for us not just because of the good economy, but experienced staff with both IT and/or logistics domain knowledge are really hard to find.
"We have a very small pool to begin with because only until very recently, the logistics sector in the region has been slow in its use of IT," he explained. "Unlike most logistics companies, YCH began investing in IT early--about 25 years ago. Today, we are focused on supply chain management technology, and having [employees with] a good logistics background is a prerequisite."

With the increased focus on IT in the logistics sector, Loo said "everyone is fighting for a very limited pool of good professionals". Hiring is also difficult as the industry has moved to more advanced technologies such as RFID (radio frequency identification), and is therefore in need of qualified personnel.

Loo said: "In the past, the industry relied heavily on barcode technology for data capture, but it has now moved on to RFID… With demand greater than supply, the other problem is quality which also suffers. We simply can't get the same value for money as in the past."

But the biggest challenge for YCH, he noted, is that the "logistics industry will always be less attractive compared to telecommunications, banks and other financial sectors". "And even if you look within the transportation sector, logistics will be less attractive when compared to the airlines," Loo said.