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)

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Internet opens elite colleges to all

By Justin Pope, AP Education Writer Sat Dec 29, 10:06 PM ET

Yahoo News

Gilbert Strang is a quiet man with a rare talent: helping others understand linear algebra. He's written a half-dozen popular college textbooks, and for years a few hundred students at the elite Massachusetts Institute of Technology have been privileged to take his course.

Recently, with the growth of computer science, demand to understand linear algebra has surged. But so has the number of students Strang can teach.

An MIT initiative called "OpenCourseWare" makes virtually all the school's courses available online for free — lecture notes, readings, tests and often video lectures. Strang's Math 18.06 course is among the most popular, with visitors downloading his lectures more than 1.3 million times since June alone.

Strang's classroom is the world.

In his Istanbul dormitory, Kemal Burcak Kaplan, an undergraduate at Bogazici University, downloads Strang's lectures to try to boost his grade in a class there. Outside Calcutta, graduate student Sriram Chandrasekaran uses them to brush up on matrices for his engineering courses at the elite Indian Institute of Technology.

Many "students" are college teachers themselves, like Sheraz ali Khan at a small engineering institute in Peshawar, Pakistan, and Noorali Jiwaji, at the Open University of Tanzania. They use Strang and other MIT professors as guides in designing their own classes, and direct students to MIT's courses for help.

Others are closer to MIT's Cambridge, Mass., campus. Some are MIT students and alumni, while others have no connection at all — like Gus Whelan, a retiree on nearby Cape Cod, and Dustin Darcy, a 27-year-old video game programmer in Los Angeles who uses linear algebra regularly in his work.

"Rather than going through my old, dusty books," Darcy said, "I thought I might as well go through it from the top and see if I learn something new."

There has never been a more exciting time for the intellectually curious.

The world's top universities have come late to the world of online education, but they're arriving at last, creating an all-you-can eat online buffet of information.

And mostly, they are giving it away.

MIT's initiative is the largest, but the trend is spreading. More than 100 universities worldwide, including Johns Hopkins, Tufts and Notre Dame, have joined MIT in a consortium of schools promoting their own open courseware. You no longer need a Princeton ID to hear the prominent guests who speak regularly on campus, just an Internet connection. This month, Yale announced it would make material from seven popular courses available online, with 30 more to follow.

As with many technology trends, new services and platforms are driving change. Last spring marked the debut of "iTunes U," a section of Apple's popular music and video downloading service now publicly hosting free material from 28 colleges. Meanwhile, the University of California, Berkeley recently announced it would be the first to make full course lectures available on YouTube. Berkeley was already posting lectures, but YouTube has dramatically expanded their reach.

Read whole story ....

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Russia launches final satellites for its own GPS

Tue Dec 25, 2007 8:37pm GMT

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia successfully launched a rocket on Tuesday carrying the last three satellites to complete a navigation system to rival America's GPS.

The military-run GLONASS mapping system works over most of Russia and is expected to cover the globe by the end of 2009, once all its 24 navigational satellites are operating.

A space rocket blasted off from Russia's Baikonur cosmodrome on the steppes of neighbouring ex-Soviet Kazakhstan, from which Russia rents the facility.

"The launch was carried out smoothly at 10:32 p.m. (1932 GMT)," RIA news agency quoted a spokesman for the Russian space agency as saying. "We expect satellites to separate from the booster on the orbit at 2:24 a.m. (2324 GMT)".

Work on GLONASS -- or Global Navigation Satellite System -- began in the Soviet Union in the mid-1970s to give its armed forces exact bearings around the world.

The collapse of the Russian economy in the late 1990s drained funds and the plans withered, but President Vladimir Putin has ensured the project is now being lavishly funded from a brimming government budget.

Officials said GLONASS would mainly be used alongside the U.S. global positioning system, which Washington can switch off for civilian subscribers, as it did during recent military operations in Iraq.

(Writing by Chris Baldwin, editing by Richard Meares)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Googling for Your Grade

Time, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2007 By S. James Snyder/New York

It's the week before finals, and Jamie Wilkinson's students are getting nervous. No matter how many videos they post, how many blogs they subscribe to, how many friends they sign up, it just isn't working. They aren't reaching enough people; they still aren't famous enough.

And no, they aren't goofing off.

On the contrary, becoming famous is the main point of Wilkinson's class, organized through Parsons The New School for Design in New York City. All semester long his students have monitored their own progress, fully aware that a piece of Internet-scouring software, not their teacher, will be issuing the final grades. And as the 15 students regularly check the class's blog for the latest rankings, Wilkinson has structured his curriculum to give them tips on how to get — and stay — famous in this increasingly saturated virtual world.

"Actually, we don't call it being online famous; we call it 'famo,'" says Wilkinson, who conceived the "Internet Famous" course along with friends and semi-famo digital artists James Powderly and Evan Roth. The trio came up with the idea after realizing that their online strategies for distributing and promoting their own art would one day become essential tools for emerging 21st century artists trying to break through the static.

Read More ....

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Queen launches YouTube channel

BBC News

The Royal Channel will feature her Christmas Day message as well as recent and historical footage of the monarch and other members of the Royal Family.

The launch marks the 50th anniversary of the Queen's first televised festive address in 1957.

The palace said it hoped the site would make the 81-year-old monarch's annual speech "more accessible to younger people and those in other countries".

Changing times

The opening page of the channel, which went live just after midnight, bears the title "The Royal Channel - The Official Channel of the British Monarchy" and features a photograph of Buckingham Palace and the Queen's Guards.

This year's festive address will appear on the site at about 1500 GMT on Christmas Day.

Back in 1957, when the Queen delivered her first television message, she acknowledged the need to adapt to changing times.

"I very much hope that this new medium will make my Christmas message more personal and direct," she said from her Sandringham estate in Norfolk.

"That it is possible for some of you to see me today is just another example of the speed at which things are changing all around us."

Clips from garden parties, state visits, prime ministers, investitures and a day in the life of the Prince of Wales will all be available to watch on the channel.

Newsreel

Among the older clips is footage from a film by Lord Wakehurst called Long to Reign Over Us, which has never been released to the public.

The former Tory MP, who died in 1970, was a keen amateur film maker and charted many key royal events, including the death of King George VI, the Queen's accession and her coronation.

The site also has footage of Queen Alexandra's West End tour among the rose-sellers in 1917 and silent newsreel of the 1923 wedding of the Duke of York and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon - the Queen's parents.

Announcing the launch of the channel, a spokeswoman for Buckingham Palace said the Queen "always keeps abreast with new ways of communicating with people".

She added: "She has always been aware of reaching more people and adapting the communication to suit.

"This will make the Christmas message more accessible to younger people and those in other countries."

The Royal Channel can be viewed at www.youtube.com/theroyalchannel and the Queen's Christmas message can also be downloaded as a podcast from www.royal.gov.uk.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Single brain cell's power shown

There could be enough computing ability in just one brain cell to allow humans and animals to feel, a study suggests.

BBC News

The brain has 100 billion neurons but scientists had thought they needed to join forces in larger networks to produce thoughts and sensations.

The Dutch and German study, published in Nature, found that stimulating just one rat neuron could deliver the sensation of touch.

One UK expert said this was the first time this had been measured in mammals.

The complexity of the human brain and how it stores countless thoughts, sensations and memories are still not fully understood.

Researchers believe connections between individual neurons, forming networks of at least a thousand, are the key to some of its processing power.

However, in some creatures with simpler nervous systems, such as flies, a single neuron can play a more significant role. The latest research suggests this may also be true in "higher" animals.

The team, from the Humboldt University in Germany and the Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands, stimulated single neurons in rats and found this was enough to trigger a behavioural response when their whiskers were touched.

A second research project from the US suggests the computational ability of the brain cell could be even more complex, with different synapses - the many junctions between neurons and other nerve cells - able to act independently from those found elsewhere on the same cell.

This could mean that, within a single neuron, different synapses could be storing or processing completely different bits of information.

Computing power

Dr Douglas Armstrong, the deputy director of the Edinburgh Centre for Bioinformatics, said the research did not mean all neurons had an individual role to play but that, in some instances, they might be capable of working alone with measurable results.

He said: "The generally accepted model was that networks or arrays make decisions and that the influence of a single neuron is smaller - but this work and other recent studies support a more important role for the individual neuron.

"These studies drive down the level at which relevant computation is happening in the brain."

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Surf the net while surfing waves

BBC News,

For a decade, "surfing" has come to mean browsing the net rather than riding ocean waves on a plank.

But a surfboard has now been developed that lets surfers surf while surfing. The prototype board has been built by Devon "shaper" Jools Matthews.

It houses a laptop, solar panels, and video camera, and is to launch at the Intel GoldCoast Oceanfest on 18 June.

The world's first wi-fi board uses a high-speed net connection point - hotspot - positioned on the beach.

Chip makers Intel has commissioned the unusual surfboard as part of the free sports and music festival in North Devon to show off how technology can be brought to the sea and sand.

The board will have its maiden outing on the waves when it is used by international pro surfer Duncan Scott at the event.

Ride with the best

"As a professional surfer, explorer, writer, film producer and world traveller, being able to communicate quickly and effectively is critical to my success," said Mr Scott, who also advised on the board's design.

"In the near future," he added, "via wireless real-time streaming, it could be possible that observers will, for the first time, actually be able to 'ride' a wave with the best surfers in the world."

The board itself is 9ft 4 inch long board, ideally suited to the particular waves found along the UK's "Surfers' Paradise" in North Devon.

The technology, supplied by Intel, is tucked away neatly in the board, inside a specially designed waterproof casing.

The casing is made of a tough but lightweight tray, and has a silicone seal, a crystal PVC cover and an aluminium gasket.

The tablet laptop has a wireless chip, a 1.7Ghz processor and a 80Gb hard drive.

Power comes from the solar panels fitted onto the board, and it also has a video camera which can store 64Mb worth of wave-catching action.

Serious side

But even though it is all a bit of fun, serious efforts have been made to ensure the technology did not interfere with the ride and feel of the board, said Intel.

The laptop weighs in at 2.3kg and its position in the board was careful calculated to maintain the desired balance for surfers.

"It's all about giving people the freedom to get online when and where they want - and this technology demonstrates that with a bit of imagination you can do just that," said Tim Hatch, Intel's consumer marketing manager.

The GoldCoast Oceanfest takes place from 18 to 20 June at Croyde beach in North Devon.

Unilever uses SFIAplus to get more from its IT skills

Rebecca Thomson, ComputerWeekly.com, 19 Dec 2007

Unilever has adopted an IT career framework to help managers and employees understand IT skills and capabilities within the company.

The firm, which owns brands such as Hellman's, Knorr and Domestos, hopes the framework will help it to exploit IT more effectively by making it clear what skills are available.

The intranet-based framework was created using a best practice model from the British Computer Society. The company used SFIAplus, which contains the Skills Framework for the Information Age model, to make it clear what IT roles were needed and the development necessary to fulfil these roles.

Work on the career framework started in 2006, when a cross-regional team identified 10 "role families" from the 78 skills held in SFIAplus. Role profiles were then created for each of the role families and aligned to a future IT function.

The functions were created using browser-based skills manager software from the BCS.

Employees can now access the profiles and compare their own IT skills to those required for either potential or current roles. They can then enrol on to a relevant development programme to reach the required skills level as well as gaining appropriate external accreditation.

Daryl Beck, director of Unilever's IT academy, said, "It is all about enabling Unilever to gain competitive advantage through IT. For the members of the IT team it is about having the right qualifications, being professional, and enabling the business to move forward."

He added that the changes were part of a business change at Unilever. "Over the past two years we have been putting in a new IT model, and this has enabled that new group to understand what was expected of them."

The challenge, he said, was to convince employees of the benefits. "It is not just a sheet of profiles, it is a change programme. People do not like change, and the biggest challenge is convincing people this is what they should be using.

"We have had to spend a huge amount of time this year talking to people about the benefits of the framework and new skills."

CIO Must Read: "Breakthrough IT"

In his new book, consultant Patrick Gray examines how to take your IT organization from a cost-centric services provider to a valuable business partner. Here's a hint: Do your homework.

John Soat, Informationweek.com, Dec 17, 2007 08:17 PM

Gray is the president and principal of the Prevoyance Group. "It means foresight in French," he says. "And there was a domain name available." His new book is "Breakthrough IT: Supercharging Organizational Value Through Technology" (John Wiley & Sons; 2007), a detailed outline, including chapter summaries and action items, of how to transition IT from a corporate utility to a strategic asset.

On the book jacket, Mark Lutchen, CIO of PricewaterhouseCoopers, describes the book this way:

  • As business changes, so, too, does the role of the CIO and the overall IT organization. In "Breakthrough IT," Patrick Gray provides a necessary road map for shifting IT from an operational entity that simply manages technology, to a powerhouse that combines strategy and technology to deliver measurable business results and long-term value.

I talked with Gray to get some insight into how he sees the role of the CIO having to change to accommodate "breakthrough IT," and what CIOs should do to accelerate that change.

The first thing, Gray says, is a mindset makeover. "The CIO has an asset no one else has: Visibility into the whole organization," he says. "The CIO has more of a vision into the organization than anybody else." Unfortunately, CIOs haven't traditionally thought of that enterprise view as something they can leverage.

In fact, the biggest obstacle to CIOs moving into positions of strategic importance is that they're used to being thought of as "operational" types -- and of thinking of themselves that way. "It's a matter of getting out of that operational mode, and of thinking of IT as a [business] tool in and of itself," Gray says.

Another factor that keeps CIOs out of the business strategy circle is that the CIO position isn't thought of as a developmental role. CIOs mostly come up through the technical ranks and that's all they really know, he says. They're not groomed to be C-suite leaders like other CXO positions. If you go to Wharton or Sloan, for instance, and talk with a hundred of their MBA types, only one or two may aspire to be a CIO. "Companies need to pitch the CIO as a valuable C-level position," he says.

So what can CIOs -- and those who aspire to be CIOs -- do to make themselves more strategic and less operational? "The biggest thing: Get out of technology for a while," he says. "Get some experience where IT is not your primary focus."

As for transitioning your IT organization from a cost-centric services provider to a business partner, the first step is getting the services piece right. And that means getting IT to a high service level, and then getting it out of the CIO's purvey. "That's something a middle manager should handle," he says. It's important to get the CIO out of the mode of constantly fighting fires. That way, the CIO can have these "Aha! moments," where he or she might see, for example, that the company is going into a new market and that the ERP system that was just put in won't accommodate that market very well, Gray says.

Another important point: CIOs need to do their homework about the companies they work for. CIOs aren't usually experts on the company's products or markets, Gray says, and they need to be in order to realize, and be able to explain, the true value of IT across the enterprise. "It's a big shift in focus," he says. The CIO needs to go "from being a pure technologist to being a student of the business."

And CIOs need to insert themselves into areas not traditionally thought of as involving IT. For example: product development. "I think there's a space in product development for IT," he says.

The main thing is for CIOs to get out of the mindset of being simply technologists and services providers, and into the mindset of being business executives and strategists, Gray says: "Then the CIO can make the argument [to upper management], 'Hey, you're spending all this money on IT. What more can we do?' "

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Startup Unveils Tools to Build Phone Apps Across Platforms

Ribbit developers design programs to record, track, or make calls, integrated with sites or other apps.

Nancy Gohring, IDG News Service

PCWorld, Monday, December 17, 2007 5:01 AM PST

A Mountain View, California company is launching today a platform designed to let developers create telephony applications they can embed in Web pages and existing Web-based services.

Ribbit's back-end technology includes a software switch that essentially connects Internet-based voice communication services with mobile phones, landline phones and text messages. On top of that connection is the Ribbit API that lets developers build applications that unify the wide variety of communication methods.

Developers can build applications that include functions such as recording, sending and receiving voicemail, and making and receiving calls. The applications can be built using Flash, embedded into any Web site, and integrated into existing Web-based services. The platform supports many existing Web-based calling services, such as Skype, GoogleTalk and MSN.

Developers can charge end-users for the applications, and Ribbit can handle the billing for them. There are several ways developers can offer and charge for their products, and in some cases Ribbit will share revenue with developers.

Ribbit showed off one application a developer has created that embeds phone capabilities into Salesforce.com. By keying a code into a mobile phone, users essentially replace their current voicemail with Ribbit for Salesforce. Then users can listen to or see text transcripts of their mobile voicemail messages within Salesforce. They can send the messages to colleagues and tag them for easy sorting later.

Users can also make and receive phone calls through their Salesforce page. Such calls are automatically logged in their Salesforce application.

Ribbit for Salesforce will cost US$25 per user per month for end-users. It is currently in a private beta with more than 90 companies, and should be widely available in February, according to Ribbit representatives.

Salute America's Heroes, a veterans' association, has built essentially a call center application that lets veterans who work for the group make and receive browser-based phone calls while at home. The capability is integrated into a Web site that also hosts tools they use while making the calls. The capability allows the association to take on the cost of the calls rather than reimbursing workers for the use of their home phones.

Ribbit designed its own softswitch, which runs on Linux blades and has been certified in an Alcatel-Lucent lab to meet the capabilities and reliability that telecommunications providers typically require, said Ted Griggs, CEO and co-founder of Ribbit. Ribbit's network operations center is hosted by a third party in Virginia, and the company is working on opening one on the West Coast to offer geographic redundancies. It can add capacity simply by adding more servers.

Another, more consumer-oriented application is available to try on the Ribbit developers page. The AIR iPhone is essentially a software-based voice over IP phone that looks just like Apple's iPhone. Users can make and receive calls to mobile and fixed-line phones, including from the contact list in the phone, on their computers.

Ribbit hasn't quite yet configured its offering in terms of pricing for such consumer applications, but expects to in the first quarter of next year. In the case of the AIR iPhone, Ribbit would share revenue from end-users with the developer.

Ribbit says that more than 650 developers are working on new applications, although on Friday only two were listed on the developers site. "Dozens" are near release, a few additional applications should be available on Monday, and many more should be available in the early months of next year, according to the company.

Ribbit opened its offering to developers in August but plans to officially launch the company, along with details about how its technology and business model work, on Monday.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Happy Birthday to The Transistor: Where it all Started

Arguably the 20th century's most important invention made its debut 60 years ago today.

Sharon Gaudin, Computerworld

Sunday, December 16, 2007 6:00 AM PST

You can forget inventions like air conditioning, television, the computer and the Internet. The single most important invention of the 20th century was the transistor, according to some researchers and analysts, .

Yes, that's right. The transistor. The little-talked-about transistor is the building block for the processor. Without the transistor, some say our servers would be three-stories high and laptops would be a prop on Star Trek. Our televisions would still use tubes and our cars couldn't guide us to the nearest Indian restaurant.

Heck, without the transistor, what would the digital economy look like? Would Microsoft and Google have become giants? Would geeks have become cool, rich guys driving BMWs?

Probably not.

Sixty years ago -- on Dec. 16, 1947, to be exact --the transistor was invented at Bell Labs, igniting a series of changes and advances that would change the way people listen to their favorite music, do their jobs, pay their bills, educate themselves and buy everything from books to used toaster ovens. Transistors inside pacemakers keep our hearts going. Computer chips run inside our cars, cell phones and even tiny, implantable LoJack-like devices that find our lost pets. The personal computer and the Internet have been phenomena, but how usable and ubiquitous would they be without millions of tiny transistors running inside laptops, desktops and servers.

Read More ....

Innovation Predictions 2008

Get ready for … anything. As companies, governments—indeed, entire countries—confront an array of dilemmas, the only constant will be change

by Bruce Nussbaum, BusinessWeek

Innovation & Design

Building the next-generation enterprise—and maybe even the next-generation nation—will preoccupy most of us in 2008. The demand for innovation is soaring in the business community and is just beginning to gain traction in the political sphere. Most of the leading Presidential candidates have thoughtful positions on innovation (BusinessWeek.com, 11/15/07). And nearly all CEOs and top managers who have learned the language of innovation are now seeking the means to make it happen. It took the Quality Movement a generation to change business culture. The Innovation Movement is still in its infancy, but it's growing fast.

You can see that in the vast changes taking place within the field. Companies are demanding new tools and methods to execute that change within their existing organizations, as well as for the kind of design thinking that transforms cultures. To take advantage of the opportunities, chief innovation officers in big corporations such as Procter & Gamble (PG) and Harley Davidson (HOG) are leaving to join consultancies or set up shop for themselves. Consolidation is quickening apace as small innovation consultancies try to combine big-picture thought leadership with specific, on-demand Web applications that manage networks, talent, customers, suppliers, and employees around the world. In 2007, consultancy Monitor bought into innovation strategy specialists Doblin, led by Larry Keeley, while another large consultancy, BSG Alliance acquired research firm New Paradigm, led by Wikinomics co-author Dan Tapscott.

What's up for 2008? Keep an eye on the business schools. Companies are demanding that their managers be more creative and less obsessed with cost and efficiency. The last revolution within executive education was the introduction of Management Science in the 1950s. Will we see the spread of IM—Innovation Management—in "exec ed"?

Privacy, Mobility, and the Next Big Idea

And expect the whole realm of social networking to change in 2008. Just when you "got it" and thought it was all about open, personal, and casual online relationships, social media will morph into another ecosystem—one with lots of gates. Who your friends are is becoming far more important than how many friends you have. We can probably thank our advertising friends for this. The drive to monetize Facebook and MySpace (NWS) by using members' personal information is alienating many people, driving them to more private networks. Stay tuned, and watch Europe and Brazil for future trends. Social networks are beginning to feel a lot like hot nightclubs—with velvet rope barriers.

As for hot products in 2008, prepare for yet more surprises. The triumph of opening up the cell phone will create an array of new applications we can only dream of right now. GPS may seem old hat by next summer. The mobile Facebook is bound to be fascinating. And the e-book may be just an iteration away from taking off. Want to reduce your personal carbon footprint easily? Read books, magazines, and newspapers on an e-book.

And the Big Idea for 2008? Stop competing against your competitors. Your traditional rivals aren't your biggest worry. Disruptive innovation is hitting corporations from outside their business. Verizon (VZ) was forced to open its cell-phone service because Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) smacked it hard. Verizon's new business model will probably generate 10 times the demand for service. You just never know. That's life, in beta.

For more on 2008 innovation predictions, see BusinessWeek's slide show.

Nussbaum is an assistant managing editor in charge of BusinessWeek's innovation and design coverage. In 2005, he was named one of the 40 most powerful people in design by I.D. Magazine .

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Google tests Wikipedia-like knowledge pages on Web

Fri Dec 14, 2007 4:28pm EST

NEW YORK, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Web search leader Google Inc (GOOG.O: Quote, Profile, Research) is testing an Internet site for sharing knowledge about any subject under the sun, one that could eventually compete with the popular user-edited encyclopedia Wikipedia.

Google's "knol" project started earlier this week and is working with a group of writers by invitation only, Google vice president of engineering Udi Manber wrote in a company blog post.

"There are millions of people who possess useful knowledge that they would love to share, and there are billions of people who can benefit from it," Manber said in the post.

"The goal is for knols to cover all topics, from scientific concepts, to medical information ... to how-to-fix-it instructions."

The word "knol" is used to refer to the project and to an entry on the shared Web site. Google's site will identify the authors posting the information. It will not serve as an editor of the information or endorse what is written on the site.

The site will eventually be opened to the general public and allow users to submit comments, questions or edits, as well as rate posts. Knol writers will be able to include ads in their posts, sharing the revenue with Google.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is working on a community- developed Web search service that would compete with search engines such as Google and Yahoo Inc (YHOO.O: Quote, Profile, Research).

(Reporting by Michele Gershberg; Editing by Andre Grenon)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Bill Gates: The skills you need to succeed

One of the most important changes of the last 30 years is that digital technology has transformed almost everyone into an information worker.

BBC News

By Bill Gates, Chairman, Microsoft

In almost every job now, people use software and work with information to enable their organisation to operate more effectively.

That's true for everyone from the retail store worker who uses a handheld scanner to track inventory to the chief executive who uses business intelligence software to analyse critical market trends.

So if you look at how progress is made and where competitive advantage is created, there's no doubt that the ability to use software tools effectively is critical to succeeding in today's global knowledge economy.

A solid working knowledge of productivity software and other IT tools has become a basic foundation for success in virtually any career.

Beyond that, however, I don't think you can overemphasise the importance of having a good background in maths and science.

If you look at the most interesting things that have emerged in the last decade - whether it is cool things like portable music devices and video games or more practical things like smart phones and medical technology - they all come from the realm of science and engineering.

The power of software

Today and in the future, many of the jobs with the greatest impact will be related to software, whether it is developing software working for a company like Microsoft or helping other organisations use information technology tools to be successful.

Communication skills and the ability to work well with different types of people are very important too.

A lot of people assume that creating software is purely a solitary activity where you sit in an office with the door closed all day and write lots of code.

This isn't true at all.

Software innovation, like almost every other kind of innovation, requires the ability to collaborate and share ideas with other people, and to sit down and talk with customers and get their feedback and understand their needs.

I also place a high value on having a passion for ongoing learning. When I was pretty young, I picked up the habit of reading lots of books.

It's great to read widely about a broad range of subjects. Of course today, it's far easier to go online and find information about any topic that interests you.

Having that kind of curiosity about the world helps anyone succeed, no matter what kind of work they decide to pursue.

Bill Gates is chairman, chief software architect and one of the founders of Microsoft, the world's largest software company. From July 2008 he will end his day-to-day involvement in the company and focus on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and its global health and education work.

Related Article:

Bamboo PC is eco-friendly and looks nice too

By Philipp Gollner

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Bck in 1976, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak built the Apple I, an early personal computer that consisted of a circuit board in a simple wooden box.

Apple Inc (AAPL.O: Quote, Profile, Research) and other computer makers went on to make advanced PCs in metal and plastic casings, but now Taiwan's Asustek Computer Inc (2357.TW: Quote, Profile, Research) is finding potential beauty -- and sales -- in an eco-friendly notebook PC encased in another natural material: bamboo.

The Asus Eco Book, as it's dubbed, has a case made of laminated bamboo strips available in different shades.

Harvesting bamboo, an abundant, flexible, durable and fast-growing grass, is unlikely to harm the environment as processing wood from trees might, Asustek said, although glues and laminates for shaping and fortifying the material sometimes contain toxins.

The product is still in the prototype stage and engineers are checking to see if bamboo is suitable for laptops, which have to endure extreme conditions while allowing heat from microprocessors and monitors to escape.

The Eco book is a new tack for a company that caters to executives and other high-end users with its calf leather-bound notebooks and faux alligator-skin models.

"Originally we came out with a leather model style-book," said Cher Chronis, director of marketing communication for Asus Computer International, the Taipei-based company's U.S. unit.

"It was very popular," she said. "After that, it was kind of natural for us to experiment with other types of materials, so we decided to go green."

Asustek says its leather notebooks have not been criticized by animal-rights activists and that the Eco book is not meant to assuage critics.

Read More ....

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Shock at $85k mobile phone bill

BBC News

A Canadian man has been shocked to receive a mobile phone bill for nearly $85,000 (£41,000).

Piotr Staniaszek thought he could use his new phone as a modem for his computer under his $10 unlimited mobile browser plan from Bell Mobility.

He downloaded high-definition movies and other large files unaware that this incurred massive extra charges.

Bell Mobility has since lowered the bill to $3,243, but Mr Staniaszek says he intends to fight the charges anyway.

'Nobody told me'

The 22-year-old oil-field worker from Calgary said he thought a first bill for $65,000 in November was a mistake.

When he spoke to Bell Mobility he was informed the bill had climbed to nearly $85,000 after more downloading.

He said he normally paid about $150 a month for his phone and used to be notified of high charges.

"The thing is, they've cut my phone off for being like $100 over," he told CBC News.

"Here, I'm $85,000 over and nobody bothered to give me a call and tell me what was going on."

Bell Mobility said they would lower the bill to $3,243 in a "goodwill gesture" to match the best data plan available for using mobile phones as a modem, the Globe and Mail reported.

The trouble stems from the new phone he received when he renewed his mobile phone contract.

The new model allows him to connect with his computer and download data.

"I told them I wasn't aware I would be charged for hooking up my phone to the computer. I'm going to try and fight it, because I didn't know about the extra charges."

Canadians complain that their mobile phone charges are much higher for comparable service in the United States.

Microsoft posts Vista SP1 RC for download

But users must reboot three times before the upgrade shows on Windows Update

December 12, 2007 (Computerworld) -- Microsoft Corp. today opened the preview of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) to the general public, but it required users to go through an elaborate process that involves multiple reboots before they are allowed to download it from the company's update service.

The long-anticipated Vista SP1 Release Candidate (RC) has been added to Windows Update, where any user running a valid copy of Vista can grab it, the company said today. Microsoft first seeded preliminary copies of the service pack to thousands of by-invitation-only testers in September.

"Today we made the SP1 RC available to the public on Microsoft's Download Center," a company spokeswoman said in an e-mail. "Because Windows Vista SP1 will be available to hundreds of millions of customers, we want to make sure we get a breadth and depth of customer feedback. By increasing the test base of SP1, this helps customers ensure [there] will be a thoroughly tested product at RTM [release to manufacturing]."

To get the release candidate, however, users must jump through the hoops detailed in a document posted to Microsoft's support Web site. "Systems running on Windows Vista RTM require as many as three updates before SP1 can be installed," the document warns. "Windows Update will detect your system configuration and offer the prerequisite packages that are applicable to your system."

Read More ....

Related Article:

Microsoft Delivers Office 2007 Service Pack 1

To begin the process of updating a Vista-powered PC to SP1 RC,
users should follow these instructions.

(This Vista SP1 update worked well with me - approx. one hour after 70+ MB download and solved most of the driver & network issues. The Office 2007 SP1 was installed one day earlier included in a massive 180+ MB download)



Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Internet keeps news agencies alive

Alfian, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

News agencies, having adapted to the hunger for new types of media, are thriving amid information globalization instead of competing with the Internet, a media expert said here Monday.

Prof. Oliver Boyd-Barret of Bowling Green State University, Ohio, in the United States, said the Internet was initially considered a threat rather than opportunity for news agencies. "It reduced the costs of market-entry for news gathering and distribution," said Olivier.

However, the assumption has proven wrong. All major news agencies that operate news Websites now benefit from the Internet.

"The Internet has greatly expanded the number of potential clients for agency services, increased agency flexibility in generating novel information, and reduced the costs of distribution so that a greater proportion of expenditure could be dedicated to content and service quality," Oliver told a colloquium dubbed "The Future of News Agencies in Media Convergence Era".

The seminar was part of the 13th general assembly of the Organization of Asia-Pacific News Agencies and was attended by 39 agencies from 32 countries. The assembly takes place in Jakarta from December 9 to 14.

At the seminar, Prof. Alwi Dahlan, a communication expert from University of Indonesia and a former Indonesian information minister, discussed the role of the Internet in ushering in the "media convergence era".

He explained that printed, audio and visual features converged in the new medium of the Internet.

He said the Internet provided an opportunity for personal media to become a source of information for the public. He gave the example of now-famous tsunami footage captured by Cut Putri, a woman from Aceh, which was relayed by many TV stations.

The question in the convergence era, Alwi said, is who are the real (news) players? "Will the news agencies lose their power as information brokers?"

Oliver said that while the emergence of web-logs (`blogs') had considerable influence on news agencies, it didn't threaten their existence.

Few news sites or blogs had the resources to compete with major agencies and most depended heavily -- directly or indirectly -- on news agencies," he said, adding that research strongly suggested that established news agencies continue to have a strong presence on the web.

News agencies in general experienced a better period this year, Oliver said; however Western agencies were dominant.

Indeed, Reuters has been acquired by Thompson Corporation from Canada. Thus, the four biggest news agencies, Reuters, AP, Bloomberg, and Dow Jones, are controlled by businesses based in North America," said Oliver.

He added, however, that the most profound challenges facing news agencies were related to the news itself. Describing the work of news providers as a "public service", he said "greater transparency and sharper articulation" in selecting and presenting the news were in order, in view of "the severity of multiple crises around the world."

Monday, December 10, 2007

Corporations form group to create blogging best practices

Companies like Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo say their needs are different from individuals, small business

December 07, 2007 (Computerworld) -- Executives from 12 large companies, including The Coca-Cola Co., Wells Fargo & Co., Kaiser Permanente, General Motors Corp. and Dell Inc., have jointly formed a blog council aimed at promoting corporate blogging best practices -- a plan that has already elicited skepticism from many in the blogosphere.

The founders described The Blog Council, which launched this week, as a forum for executives to meet in private to share tactics and develop standards for corporate blogging.

Major corporations don't use blogs in the same way that individuals and small businesses do, but they must abide by the same rules and etiquette, noted Andy Sernovitz, CEO of the council. "Individual and small-business bloggers don't face the same issues [as large companies]," he said in a statement. "For example, we still need to deliver a responsible and effective corporate message, but we need to do it in the complicated environment of the blogosphere. We have to speak for a corporation, but never sound 'corporate.' And we have to learn to do it live, in real time."

The council plans to discuss various issues, including the role of the corporate blog in a media landscape increasingly geared toward consumer-generated content; the correct way to engage and respond to bloggers who write about a company; and how to manage blogs in more than one language.

Other founding members of the council include AccuQuote, Cisco Systems Inc., Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc., Nokia Corp. and SAP AG. The first meeting of the council will be on Jan. 22.

Technology bloggers greeted the announcement of the council mostly with skeptical posts. Robert Scoble, for example, noted that many companies today just don't get Web 2.0 technology and don't use it to tap into the voice of their customers. Scoble noted, for example, that some online retail sites don't engage customers and provide online avenues for them to contribute content.

"Industry has a long way to go before it understands the real value that seemingly unimportant conversations have," he noted in the blog post. "Every company I've spoken to, from L'Oréal to Target to Boeing, gets that you need to pay attention to the New York Times. I don't know of a single corporation who won't return a journalist's phone call from the New York Times. But how many companies respond to a kid in Australia who only has three readers? How many companies respond to comments made on people's Facebook walls? How many companies meet regularly with bloggers?"

Mashable blogger Mark Hopkins said that big corporations "are just starting to realize how obsolete they are becoming in the new social space that is the Internet. They're starting to realize that the millions of dollars they spend on massive international video and print branding campaigns are just as effective as Google's decision to create a solid service and a colorful logo instead of marketing themselves in the traditional sense.

"Instead of creating a committee, these companies should instead try to recruit companies to the council that have already created engaging blogs that aren't constantly mired in PR and legal clearance," he noted.

News agencies urged to adapt to media convergence era

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - News agencies must quickly adapt to the era of media convergence so they can continue to play their role as sources of news, a journalistic expert said.

Speaking at a scientific discussion on the occasion of the 13th General Assembly of the Organization of Asia Pacific News Agencies (OANA) here on Monday, Prof Oliver Boyd-Barrett from the Browling Green State University, Ohio, said in the era of media convergence, news agencies must adapt their products to the market need.

From the point of view of defining business models and business viability, news agencies in 2007 had rarely and collectively experienced a better period, he said.

They had found a role, after all, in the age of the Internet, and had learnt to dominate the Internet as news providers, he said.

"They have done so at a time when, in the Western World, retail news media suffer circulation and advertising losses and continue to cut back in their reporting strength," he said.

As a result, their need for news agencies` services increased, while in many parts of the developing world, there had been a profusion of new newspapers and broadcasters and new advertising income, and all of this increased the demand for news agencies` services, he said.

"Despite these differences between `developed` and `developing` worlds, in many ways we may say that news agencies around the world are converging towards the business model pioneered in the developed world, the market-driven model of news, a model that is open to multiple revenue streams, some related to content, others to cognate service areas," he said.

Meanwhile, OANA President Datuk Azman Ujang saw the urgency in reforming news agencies` roles in the face of media convergence era.

"In the face of imbalanced information flows between developed and developing nations, OANA must take concrete actions and improve the quality of their information services," Datuk Azman Ujang said.

"OANA must encourage close cooperation among its members," he said.

ANTARA President Director Ahmad Muchlis Yusuf said the news agency had no other choice but to look at the market potentials and demand for its products to withstand competition in the era of media convergence.

So far, there has been tendency to develop a combination of print, audio and visual media. "This requires news agencies to be more proactive and to adapt to latest developments in information technology," he said.

Muhammad Alwi Dahlan, communications professor of the University of Indonesia (UI), said a better knowledge of the rapidly growing information technology is a prerequisite to pave the way for the agenda of news agencies` reforms.

The 13th OANA General Assembly which will last from Dec 9 to 14 is themed "News Agencies in the Media Convergence Era: Strengthening and Promoting Asia Pacific Voices".

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Web Hosting Providers Let Security Sag

Web hosting providers that can't keep DNS servers clean are exposing low-budget government Web sites to malware.

eWeek.com, by Lisa Vaas, December 4, 2007

Riddle: What do the city of Plainville, Kan., and the Transportation Authority of Marin County, Calif., have in common?

Answer: a Web hosting provider that can't seem to keep its DNS servers clean.

Both .gov domains in the past few months have seen their sites seeded with redirects to malicious servers in other countries that have pushed pornography, malware, Viagra ads and the like to site visitors.

TAM and Plainville are, in fact, two examples of what security researchers are calling an epidemic of sites being compromised through their hosting providers and injected with malicious Web attacker paths that lead to tool kits such as Icepack, Neosploit and Web Attacker. These malcode tool kits serve up anywhere from five to a dozen or more exploits that latch on to site visitors' machines through their browsers to infest the systems with malware.

Plainville and TAM have more than their victim status in common. On the face of it the two had separate hosting providers—StartLogic and IPowerWeb, respectively—but those two are in fact all but the same company, both headquartered at the same Phoenix address and both sharing the same customer contact listing.

IPowerWeb/StartLogic hadn't provided input by the time this story posted. Their track records paint a colorful portrait, however: The Better Business Bureau has processed 191 complaints about IPowerWeb in the last three years. StartLogic is not only rated as an "unsatisfactory" business at BBB but also has its own hate site, StartLogicSucks.com, which ranks third in a Google search on "StartLogic."

Not all site poisonings can be blamed on ISPs. Security problems arising from collaborative software such as wikis are the customer's fault, as are those associated with poorly written ASP code, sloppy PHP work and SQL hacks.

So it's not always the ISP's fault when a site gets seeded with garbage. Then too, there are plenty of ISPs that respond promptly when customers' security staffers report that their sites have been hijacked.

Judging by Morgan Bailey's experience, IPowerWeb is not one of those.

On Nov. 19, Bailey, an information security analyst for the Enterprise Security Office for the state of Kansas, noticed a number of discrepancies in the DNS registrar information for some sites pertaining to the city of Plainville, Kan. If he queried the DNS server to find out what company was hosting the Plainville.ks.gov domain name, it delivered one set of information. If he tweaked the host name to query about Plainville-kansas-gov, he received the correct DNS information. If he queried 7.t.city-of-plainville.ks.gov, he got servers located in Moldavia, or Serbia, or Estonia. The sites were redirecting to pages hosting malware

This was not the customer's fault. In fact, the city of Plainville didn't even have a site. The city had registered a domain name, but it had never gone live with a site and didn't have an IP address for its domain name. Everything that was being served on the pages was residing within IPowerWeb's servers, which had been infiltrated by attackers.

Because IPowerWeb's servers were vulnerable, criminals were able to register false DNS information, including different site names under the city of Plainville's domain name. Bailey's research turned up other sites with the same problem, also being hosted at IPowerWeb, including at least two other government sites: csm.ca.gov and Bridger-mt.gov.

Obviously, IPowerWeb had a problem. Getting it fixed would be an uphill battle, however, given the lack of human contact available.

Bailey found he had to send repeated e-mails to IPowerWeb's abuse e-mail contact—a frustrating exercise, given that the contact information was hidden and could only be retrieved via Google searches for cached information that had been removed from the site. When the ISP finally responded, it initially tried to brush him off by laying the blame back at the customer's feet.

"I sent them several e-mails," Bailey told eWEEK. "They returned [my e-mail] once saying it wasn't their fault, when it clearly was. I could trace everything back to their DNS servers."

Imagine the frustration of squeezing an ISP's site in an effort to find a responsive human to deal with a site that's been seeded with malware, with more and more innocent citizens potentially suffering drive-by malcode downloads as the clock ticks. Imagine that same frustration if the news has gotten out to security researchers, been blogged about, featured in news headlines, and resulted in the GSA pulling the plug on an entire state's domain, as happened in the case of California with TAM in October.