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)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Google Plans to Develop Cheaper Solar, Wind Power

By Ari Levy

Nov. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Google Inc., whose corporate motto is ``don't be evil,'' created a research group aimed at developing cheaper renewable energy sources, focusing on solar, wind and other alternative forms of power.

Google, owner of the most-used Internet search engine, is hiring engineers and energy experts to lead a development process that may cost hundreds of millions of dollars, the Mountain View, California-based company said today in a statement.

The project, called Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal, follows initiatives earlier this year to develop hybrid and electric cars and to maximize the efficiency of its data centers, which account for most of the energy Mountain View, California- based Google consumes.

``We want to apply the same creativity and innovation to the challenge of generating renewable electricity at globally significant scale and produce it cheaper than from coal,'' Larry Page, Google's co-founder, said in the statement.

The goal is to create enough renewable energy to power a city the size of San Francisco for less than it would cost using coal, in ``years, not in decades,'' Page said. Coal accounts for more than 50 percent of all U.S. power and is one of the biggest sources of carbon emissions.

Google rose $5.24 to $671.24 at 11:38 a.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The shares had gained 45 percent this year before today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ari Levy in San Francisco at levy5@bloomberg.net .

Windows XP Significantly Outperforms Vista, Tests Show

Windows XP trounced Windows Vista in all tests, regardless of the versions used or the amount of memory running on the computer, says Devil Mountain Software.

By Paul McDougall, InformationWeek, November 27, 2007 11:49 AM

In the latest Mac versus PC ad, that put-upon Windows guy quietly concedes he's "downgrading" from Vista to XP. He may have good reason: new tests show that the older XP runs common productivity tasks significantly faster than Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT)'s newest operating system.

Researchers at Devil Mountain Software, a Florida-based developer of performance management tools, have posted data from their most recent Windows performance tests -- and Vista, even after it's been upgraded to the new Service Pack 1 beta package, is shown to be a laggard.

"The hoped for performance fixes [from Vista SP1] that Microsoft has been hinting at never materialized," said Devil Mountain researchers, in a blog post summarizing their results.

The researchers compared patched and unpatched versions of Vista and XP running Microsoft Office on a dual-core Dell notebook. The results revealed the time taken to complete Office productivity tasks such as the creation of a compound document and presentation materials.

Devil Mountain researchers ran a mix of tests comparing existing versions of the operating systems -- the original Vista and XP SP2 -- and versions that had been patched with the latest updates -- Vista SP1 beta and XP SP3 beta. Tests were also run on machines with 1 Gbyte and 2 Gbytes of memory.

Windows XP trounced Windows Vista in all tests -- regardless of the versions used or the amount of memory running on the computer. In fact, XP proved to be roughly twice as fast as Vista in most of the tests.

For instance, notebooks running Vista SP1 took more than 80 seconds to complete a series of Office tasks in the OfficeBench test suite, while notebooks running Windows XP SP2 completed the tasks in just over 40 seconds.

What's more, the tests showed that the resource-hungry Vista gobbles up most of the additional RAM added to a computer. By upgrading a notebook running Vista SP1 from 1 Gbyte to 2 Gbytes of memory, "we managed to achieve a 'whopping' 4% improvement in OfficeBench throughput," the researchers noted.

The test results are the latest black eye for Windows Vista -- an operating system that Microsoft unveiled in January amid much fanfare but which has since failed to capture the hearts and minds of computers users in both the home and business markets.

A recent InformationWeek survey found that 30% of businesses have no plans to upgrade their computers to Vista -- ever.

Many users have voiced worries about Vista's resource requirements and compatibility with older applications and peripherals. The concerns have prompted some PC makers, includingDell ( Dell) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HP), to reintroduce XP as an option on certain systems.

Microsoft rival Apple is seizing on the Vista backlash to promote its new Leopard operating system. Its latest ad is an attempt to portray Microsoft as a company that's tone deaf to user concerns about Vista.

"Ask not what Vista can do for you, but what you can do for Vista," says the PC guy, posing as a politico. Given the latest research, an increasing number of Windows users may end up seeking a new candidate.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Skype encryption stumps German police

Yahoo News

By Louis Charbonneau Thu Nov 22, 12:29 PM ET

WIESBADEN, Germany (Reuters) - German police are unable to decipher the encryption used in the Internet telephone software Skype to monitor calls by suspected criminals and terrorists, Germany's top police officer said on Thursday.

Skype allows users to make telephone calls over the Internet from their computer to other Skype users free of charge.

Law enforcement agencies and intelligence services have used wiretaps since the telephone was invented, but implementing them is much more complex in the modern telecommunications market where the providers are often foreign companies.

"The encryption with Skype telephone software ... creates grave difficulties for us," Joerg Ziercke, president of Germany's Federal Police Office (BKA) told reporters at an annual gathering of security and law enforcement officials.

"We can't decipher it. That's why we're talking about source telecommunication surveillance -- that is, getting to the source before encryption or after it's been decrypted."

Experts say Skype and other Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calling software are difficult to intercept because they work by breaking up voice data into small packets and switching them along thousands of router paths instead of a constant circuit between two parties, as with a traditional call.

Ziercke said they were not asking Skype to divulge its encryption keys or leave "back doors open" for German and other country's law enforcement authorities.

"There are no discussions with Skype. I don't think that would help," he said, adding that he did not want to harm the competitiveness of any company. "I don't think that any provider would go for that."

Ziercke said there was a vital need for German law enforcement agencies to have the ability to conduct on-line searches of computer hard drives of suspected terrorists using "Trojan horse" spyware.

These searches are especially important in cases where the suspects are aware that their Internet traffic and phone calls may be monitored and choose to store sensitive information directly on their hard drives without emailing it.

Spyware computer searches are illegal in Germany, where people are sensitive about police surveillance due to the history of the Nazis' Gestapo secret police and the former East German Stasi.

Ziercke said worries were overblown and that on-line searches would need to be conducted only on rare occasions.

"We currently have 230 proceedings related to suspected Islamists," Ziercke said. "I can imagine that in two or three of those we would like to do this."

(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; editing by Sami Aboudi)

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Evolution Of The CIO

The role of the CIO is at a critical point of change. It's time for CIOs to step up -- or step back.

By John Soat, InformationWeek, Nov. 17, 2007

At the annual meeting last month of the Society for Information Management, rumor had it that a bombshell was buried in the results of the organization's annual IT management survey. And so there was: The percentage of CIOs and other top IT executives reporting directly to CEOs had fallen dramatically from the year-earlier survey, SIM revealed.

Last year, 45% of the business technology executives surveyed said they report to the CEO; this year, it's just 31%. At the same time, the percentage of CIOs reporting to the company CFO has risen, to 29% from 25%.

The implication? The CIO's influence is waning. "If the CEO number is going down, clearly [CIOs are] losing traction," says survey principal Jerry Luftman, associate dean of the Graduate Information Systems Programs at the Stevens Institute of Technology. "I'm hoping it's a blip."

Another interesting result nestled in the SIM study suggests that IT execs aren't feeling altogether secure. For the first time in the 27-year history of the survey, execs were asked about "the evolving CIO leadership role," and they cited it among their top concerns--No. 10, precisely--indicating some uncertainty about how and where they fit within their organizations.

Whether the SIM data is an early indicator or a blip, there are signs that the CIO role is at a crossroads. "The non-business-oriented CIO is about to take a shift down a tick in the reporting structure," predicts Bobby Cameron, a principal with Forrester Research. M.S. Krishnan, chair of business information technology at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, presents it as a challenge. CIOs are "going to step up or they're going to step down," he says. "They cannot be where they are."

Because customers will increasingly have more choices, and because of globalization, companies will be forced to change their business models, says Krishnan, who with partner C.K. Prahalad is writing a book on the subject. As part of that transformation, CIOs have an unprecedented opportunity to seize control of their careers and help chart the future of their companies, he says. In order to innovate rapidly, a company's business processes must be docu- mented, understood, and governed, and where does responsibility for most of those processes lie in the modern-day, automated business organization? The CIO.

"It's IT that runs every business process today," Krishnan says. "And while the IT department takes the responsibility for running those processes--the applications are doing fine, transactions are going great--they don't take ownership."

But somebody will take ownership, he predicts, and soon. "As companies become global, this will become a critical position," Krishnan says. The overseer might be called one of several things: chief operating officer, chief process officer--or chief information officer. But if the CIO doesn't step up, he predicts, "the CIO will be subsumed."

THE DEMOCRATIZATION OF TECHNOLOGY

Bruce Rogow, principal of consulting firm Vivaldi Odyssey & Advisory, has been traveling the country for several years interviewing a spreadsheet's worth of CIOs in support of a project he calls his IT Odyssey. Rogow's most recent revelation: an alarming turnover in the CIO positions he's been tracking. "Everything I'm seeing says that we're in a transition period with the CIO," he says.

Some CEOs are beginning to question whether their companies even need a CIO, Rogow says, or at least if they have the right person in the job. That's because more responsibility for technology projects is moving into business units. One indication is that IT vendors increasingly are targeting business unit managers, pitching their products "to the people who use the technology," Rogow says, paraphrasing the vendors, "not to the fool who's keeping them from using it."

End-user-driven technologies such as software as a service, social networking, mashups, and wikis are contributing to what the University of Michigan's Krishnan calls "the democratization of technology," shifting IT responsibilities to business units and pressuring the CIO position to change. Rogow hits on an important point: There's a perception that IT departments in general, and CIOs in particular, are at best order takers and at worst control freaks.

In a survey conducted last month by InformationWeek Research of more 724 business executives--CIOs, CXOs, and line-of-business managers included--43% say that business managers are taking on more responsibility for IT projects; only 11% say they're taking on less.

That's a trend CIOs must be keenly aware of, says Forrester's Cameron. But of those who are, too few take it seriously. He offers the example of a $2 billion-a-year consumer services company in Canada he visited recently. The marketing department had signed up for a Web-based subscription software service, and Cameron summarized the CIO's reaction this way: "They're going to fail. They'll come running back." From another perspective, Aneel Bhusri, president of software-as-a-service startup Workday, says he targets mostly departmental executives but is ever-mindful of CIOs mostly because of the "veto power" they wield--hardly a strategic influence.

The irony is that for years, IT managers have been trying to get business decision-makers more engaged in technology. Now that it's happening, many want to shut it down. "But it's too late," Cameron says.

Mike Cuddy, CIO of Toromont Industries, a Toronto-based distributor of construction equipment, says the biggest change he's seeing from the business executive ranks is "a much greater sensitivity to the potential for the applicability of technology to business."

So what's bad about that? Here's what: Savvy business execs increasingly are aware of new technology trends and eager to have their companies embrace them. If there isn't a focal point for that change--i.e., the CIO--change will happen ad hoc: marketing guys looking at marketing solutions, finance guys looking at finance solutions. All those disparate systems will generate important corporate data that's spread across various business units. The net result: "You get a bit of a dog's breakfast," Cuddy says. In other words, an integration nightmare.

Those integration efforts generate higher infrastructure costs, which sounds all too familiar to senior execs who by now are well aware that "technology decisions made in a vacuum or a silo ultimately drive up costs," Cuddy says. Therefore, it's incumbent on the CIO to lead process changes through IT initiatives across the enterprise, rather than following the lead of departmental executives. Otherwise, the CIO role will be relegated to that of an infrastructure manager, responsible mostly for cleaning up the integration mess. Cuddy says he's seen CIOs replaced because "the perception was that the CIO was just a technology manager."

WHAT'S CHANGED?

John Zarb, a long-time technology manager, now an independent consultant, is unfazed by predictions of the CIO's demise. "When are we going to accept the fact that the CIO is vital, needed, and here to stay?" he says.

Churn in the CIO ranks isn't new and it doesn't necessarily mean the position is in danger of extinction, at least not any time soon. Umesh Ramakrishnan, vice chairman of executive search firm CT Partners, says his company is conducting more CIO searches this year than last, with eight to 12 going on at any given time. Also, the number of companies wanting the CIO to report to the CEO has increased in that time, he says, and current searches indicate an almost even split between the CIO reporting to the CEO and the CFO. That data point in the SIM survey may turn out to be a blip after all.

CIOs seem to be gaining respect, at least at some organizations. In the InformationWeek Research survey of C-level executives, 41% say the influence of the CIO at their company is on the rise, while 40% say there's no appreciable change, and 19% say that influence is declining.

So what's changed in terms of what companies are looking for in a CIO? "We're seeing a lot more business leaders being brought in to fill the CIO role," Ramakrishnan says. Those with proven records of solving business problems and increasing revenue streams are the ones most in demand; those who come in with a new set of toys ... not so much. "There's a bias against those who have implemented the latest technology but not solved any business problems," he says.

Tim Stanley, the hard-charging CIO of Harrah's Entertainment, the hotel and casino company, is a good example of the evolved CIO. Besides holding the title of CIO, Stanley is senior VP of innovation, gaming, and technology. In that role, according to his lengthy corporate profile, he's responsible for "the strategy, architecture, program management, development, support, and operations of the entire portfolio of Harrah's gaming and IT-enabled business capabilities in the U.S. and abroad, as well as the identification and enablement of new business & IT innovation within the company." Back to Krishnan's thesis: Business process ownership and oversight go hand in hand with Stanley's many technical responsibilities.

CIOs who want to step up must refocus the culture of IT, become more of a technology venture capitalist, says Dave Aron, a VP of research at Gartner. As such, they must challenge the value of projects, suggest alternatives, and make sure the proper procedures are in place, both inside and outside the IT department, to ensure success. CIOs must "exercise influence rather than just control," Aron says.

For Ken Harris, senior VP and CIO of Shaklee Corp., it helps that he works in a midsize company, and it isn't just the big-fish, small-pond factor. Harris, the former CIO of Gap and before that Nike, came to Shaklee two years ago, after the company was acquired by a private equity firm, to determine the role IT would play in helping the company "become relevant again to a younger generation" and figure out how to get "the biggest bang for the buck."

What's different about this current position, Harris says, is that it's much more about strategy than tactics. "I can help them make decisions that are doable from a technology standpoint," he says.

Harris is a believer in software as a service, not only for the low up-front costs but also for the rapid deployment capabilities, having implemented several SaaS projects at Shaklee in the last two years, such as RightNow's CRM service, Web analytics from Visual Sciences, and address verification with the help of data services company StrikeIron, which customer service reps had been clamoring for. "On the business side, users are demanding so much more, more quickly," he says.

One of the virtues of Web 2.0 technologies, according to Rod Smith, VP of emerging Internet technologies at IBM, is being able to act quickly on emerging business opportunities. Chief among them are partnerships, but partnerships create integration work, and the time frame for that work is collapsing rapidly, Smith told a group of financial services technology managers at a recent conference. Customers tell him that in the current business environment, 20% of relationships last less than six months, and that "drives IT crazy, because it takes IT six months to get started on a project," Smith said.

Those dynamics--speed, change, partnerships, business process transformation--will only accelerate in the coming years. "The next decade will not be about control. It will be about innovation without permission," says Jeremy Burton, CEO of Serena Software, a vendor of software-configuration and mashup technology. "Guys who made a reputation with control will struggle."

Or maybe they'll just stay where they are, consolidating data centers, maintaining applications, and managing server boxes, instead of leading business-process change through technology innovation. That change agent is a role that will surely be filled by someone. But if not by the CIO, then by whom?

Write to John Soat at jsoat@cmp.com.

Visit our CIOs Uncensored blog at informationweek.com/blogs/cios.htm.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Singapore lifts ban on Microsoft video game: paper

Sat Nov 17, 2007 2:35am GMT

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore has lifted a ban on a Microsoft Corp. video game that contains a scene showing a human woman and an alien woman kissing and caressing, a local newspaper reported on Saturday.

The Strait Times said Mass Effect would instead be sold with an M18 label, meaning it can't be bought by anybody under the age of 18.

Mass Effect is the first video game to be given a rating in the country, and follows a public outcry over the ban. It effectively fast tracks a new ratings system that was due to come into effect in January, the paper said.

A similar move was made for the movie Lust, Caution, which was released uncut with a R21 age restriction after first being shown in a censored form.

(Reporting by Michael Urquhart; Editing by Bill Tarrant)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Websites for cell phones

More small firms reach out to on-the-go customers.

CNNMoney.com, By Mina Kimes, FORTUNE Small Business Magazine

November 16 2007: 9:17 AM EST

Brett Dewey's company thrives on spur-of-the-moment purchases. His North Hollywood, Calif., web business, WickedCoolStuff, collects $1 million a year for nostalgic merchandise such as Captain Picard action figures, Underdog lunch boxes, and toys based on Monty Python movies. His customers, mainly men in their late 20s, are more tech savvy than most online shoppers, but they aren't chained to their computers. Even Star Trek fans venture outdoors.

So when Dewey heard about a new kind of website tailored to conduct e-commerce over cellphones, he jumped at the chance to make himself accessible to clients during virtually all their waking hours. "If someone sees an advertisement, he may not remember it by the time he gets back to his computer," he says. "But his phone is always on hand for an impulse buy."

If the first wave of online business was all about getting a dot-com, the next may be about adding a dot-mobi. The new web address became available for the first time in May and is administered by Mobile Top Level Domain (mTLD; mtld.mobi), a private company based in Dublin. Sign up for a dot-mobi address and you'll be required to stick to a list of best practices, such as using the xhtml language. Complex design elements such as frames are banished. "When a site is built that way," says mTLD marketing director Vance Hedderel, "it's guaranteed to work well on every cellphone in the world."

Nearly all new cellphones are set up to browse the web, but what users often see is a site designed for viewing on a PC that is being squeezed onto a matchbook-sized screen. A better browsing experience could provide a much-needed boost for mobile commerce in the U.S. Unlike their counterparts in Asia and Europe, Americans seldom use their phones to access the Internet. Telephia, a communications research firm in San Francisco, says that just 13% of Americans with Internet-capable cellphones go online - and a paltry 1% have bought a product via mobile browsers, compared with 28% in Japan. "Consumers are paying for Internet on their phones, but they're not using it," says David Gill, a Telephia analyst.

Read More ....

Unilever uses information management to keep shelves stacked

Kalido software provides locally relevant reports to help improve supply chain

By Leo King, Computerworlduk.com

Unilever has completed an information management software implementation to ensure stores are well stocked with its products.

The consumer goods giant, which makes brands such as Hellmann’s mayonnaise, Dove soap and Surf washing powder, has implemented an Active Information Management system from supplier Kalido, to process in-store audit data sent from shops to the Unilever data warehouse.

Unilever is also using Kalido's Master Data Management and Dynamic Information Warehouse to create reference data and analyse transaction data.

The information is translated into relevant, actionable data by the new software, so that executives can take decisions to improve supply chain efficiency and ensure shops do not have a shortage of Unilever products.

Unilever also extensively uses SAP's supply chain management and enterprise resource planning software.

The product availability project has been rolled out in the UK and US markets, though Unilever did not disclose how much it had increased availability, other than to say the original estimate had been "conservative". It expected “to see the benefits flow” as it refined processes and added new markets to the programme.

Gary Calveley, VP global customer service, said: “We need the most up-to-date information on how our business is operating to successfully stay ahead of market trends and our competitors. Kalido’s business-oriented information management software forms part of the solution enabling us to utilise consolidated operational and transactional data and provide critical visibility into business performance.”

In August, the company revealed it was in the midst of a ‘One Unilever’ programme designed to save costs and increase efficiency by standardising regional business processes and streamlining IT systems.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

IBM in big push to build data centers for clients

Washingtonpost.com

By Eric Auchard, Reuters, Thursday, November 15, 2007; 2:32 AM

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - IBM (IBM.N) is staking out a major new source of business helping clients like banks or retailers manage data centers on a par with Internet players such as Google or Microsoft, a top official said on Wednesday.

Bill Zeitler, the executive in charge of IBM's hardware business, said the initiative to set up customers with the technology, software and services to operate data centers could rank in significance with IBM's support for Linux in recent years or its push to get businesses on the Internet the 1990s.

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IBM has dubbed its new strategy "Blue Cloud."

The name is a play on IBM's corporate nickname "Big Blue" and "cloud computing," the trend by Internet powerhouses to array huge numbers of computers in centralized data centers to deliver Web-based applications to users, rather than making their customers run such programs on their local machines.

IBM, which pioneered centralized data centers decades ago, is looking to arm its customers with technology similar to what it has long offered in the form of hosted services for clients who rely on IBM to operate their data centers for them.

It now wants to help customers build data centers for themselves composed of thousands of low-cost personal computers, equipping them with the data-crunching power of consumer Internet giants Google Inc (GOOG.O), Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), Yahoo Inc (YHOO.O) and Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O).

"I think Google and Amazon are on to something," Zeitler said. "Our particular focus is taking these standards of Internet computing and bringing them to the mainstream in the commercial world."

Read More ....

Monday, November 12, 2007

Cognos to be acquired by IBM

Yahoo Finance

Monday November 12, 9:05 am ET

International Business Machines Corp. said Monday it will acquire Cognos Inc. for $4.9 billion to enhance the company's business intelligence offerings.

Cognos (Nasdaq: COGN - News), a Canadian-based business software firm with U.S. headquarters in Burlington, Mass., already had an alliance with IBM where the two served customers such as the New York City Police Department and Canadian Tire Corp., according to a statement.

The merger plan follows similar moves from IBM rivals Oracle Corp. and SAP AG. SAP agreed to buy Cognos's rival Business Objects SA last month for $7 billion. Oracle acquired Hyperion Solutions Corp. for about $3.3 billion in April.

IBM (NYSE: IBM - News), based in Armonk, New York, is the world's biggest computer-services company.

Published November 12, 2007 by the Boston Business Journal


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Web game provides rice for hungry

BBC News

An internet word game has generated enough rice to feed 50,000 people for one day, the UN's World Food Programme (WFP) has said.

The game, FreeRice, tests the vocabulary of participants. For each click on a correct answer, the website donates money to buy 10 grains of rice.

Companies advertising on the website provide the money to the WFP to buy and distribute the rice.

FreeRice went online in early October and has now raised 1bn grains of rice.

That is enough rice to feed 50,000 people for one day, the WFP said on Friday.

'Viral marketing'

The head of the WFP, Josette Sheeran, said: "FreeRice really hits home how the web can be harnessed to raise awareness and funds for he world's number one emergency."

She said word of the game has spread with the help of internet bloggers and websites like Facebook and YouTube.

"FreeRice really hits home how the Web can be harnessed to raise awareness and funds for the world's number one emergency," she said.

"The site is a viral marketing success story."

FreeRice is the invention of US online fundraising pioneer John Breen.


How to take your IT systems global

Author: Lindsay Clark, Computerweekly.com, 15:38 09 Nov 2007

There is an old Irish joke about a hapless Englishman asking a local for directions on the Emerald Isle. In the end, the Irishman says, "Y'know, if I were going to Balbriggan I would not start from here at all."

When trying to create coherent technology standards across the globe to lower costs, your average CIO finds himself in a similar position, says Andy Kyte, research fellow at analyst firm Gartner. "Anybody can design the perfect end state of IT to support the business. If you draw it and show it to the board, they would say, 'yes, we will have that'.

"Nearly always you are faced with the more difficult challenge of managing the transition from a heterogeneous legacy environment.

"They will have multiple datacentres, enterprise resource planning, disparate business processes, markets and cultures. The general response of anybody looking at the requirement to globalise is, 'I would not start from here'."

Yet it is a challenge many global businesses see as essential to overcome as they strive to grow without facing a massive increase in support costs.

Unilever's globalisation path

Few companies exemplify the trend towards globalisation more than Unilever. Last year the consumer goods multinational - with an annual turnover of £27bn - extended a deal with BT to manage its global network infrastructure in an effort to lower costs.

In the contract, worth nearly £100m annually, BT took over the operation of Unilever's fixed and mobile voice, data and video services for about 1,000 sites in 104 countries. In total, 119 Unilever staff were transferred to BT.

Unilever sought to save 20% on network spending, which BT aimed to achieve largely by standardising and rationalising the huge variety of technologies it was using around the globe.

Read More ....

Related Aricle:

How to Build a Brand on the Web? Ask Unilever


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Microsoft giving away business search tools

Software maker slims down SharePoint into a free server-based program for managing corporate search, aiming to take on Google and start-ups.

By Ina Fried, Staff Writer, CNET News.com, November 6, 2007, 6:00 AM PST

Microsoft thinks it has found the right price for its enterprise search tool: free.

Starting next year, the company plans to give away a new product, dubbed Microsoft Search Server 2008 Express, which enables workers to see a collection of search results spanning databases, internal computer systems, and the Internet. In addition to the free product, Microsoft plans a paid version that is essentially the same, but is licensed to run on more than one physical server. Microsoft said it will announce pricing for that product closer to its launch next year.

But by announcing the product now, Microsoft hopes to garner some attention, and eventually bring out a product that can boost its position in both enterprise and Web search.

"We really believe enterprise search is at a tipping point," said Jared Spataro, group product manager for enterprise search. "We really think people will look back on this time as the time when search went from just being a consumer tool to one that businesses can harness."

Read More ....

Google Enters the Wireless World

By Miguel Helft and John Markoff, The New York Times,

Published: November 5, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 5 — Google took its long-awaited plunge into the wireless world today, announcing that it is leading a broad industry alliance to transform mobile phones into powerful mobile computers that could accelerate the convergence of computing and communications.

Mobile phones based on Google’s software are not expected to be available until the second half of next year. They will be manufactured by a variety of handset companies, including HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung and be available in the United States through T-Mobile and Sprint.

Read more ....

Related Article:

Oprah launches channel on YouTube

BBC News

US talk show host Oprah Winfrey has launched her own channel on the video sharing website YouTube.

Behind-the-scenes video footage from her television show and interviews with people who have become famous through YouTube will be shown on the channel.

In a message posted on the website the 53-year-old said she was "excited" to have her own channel.

Winfrey, who has been hosting her show for 22 years, said videos sent in by viewers would also be broadcast.

Powerful celebrity

Footage of previous YouTube stars will also be shown on the site.

A couple who re-enacted the final dance from Dirty Dancing at their wedding has appeared as guests on her show after the video was uploaded to YouTube.

And a dog called Tyson, who also appeared on the site skateboarding, was invited on her show as a guest along with rapper P Diddy's assistant, who was employed after applying for the job via the networking site, MySpace.

"I laughed until I was falling over with some of the already stars of YouTube," Winfrey said.

In September the website, Forbes.com, revealed that Winfrey was the highest-paid personality on TV.

She also topped the site's most powerful celebrity poll in June.

Her chat show is watched by 30 million viewers each week in the US.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Internet allows Cirebon furniture firm to taste success

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The World Wide Web offers immense marketing opportunities for businesses of any industry and size, in any location, as it allows them to transcend traditional market boundaries.

But in a country like Indonesia, where Internet penetration is still low, selling a product through the Internet is probably the last route any enterprise would dare to take.

Taking a risk, however, has proved worthwhile for Tonton Taufik, a 34-year-old civil engineering graduate living in Cirebon, West Java.

PT Rattanland Furniture, which he established in his town in 1999, has turned into one of the most successful companies in the country thanks to the power of the Internet.

Rattanland, which exports almost all of its rattan furniture to over 40 countries worldwide, banked sales of up to US$1.42 million in 2006 despite the slowdown in the country's furniture industry that year.

The company's sales grew by between 20 and 50 percent per annum over the past five years -- a stunning performance that led it to win a 2007 Primaniyarta Award, the government's highest recognition for export performance.

This scent of success was far from Tonton's senses when he first started business eight years ago. Like many of his school mates, he went to Jakarta to find a job following graduation. But it was not easy at the time to find a good job in the big city. Unemployed and frustrated, he decided to return to his hometown Cirebon.

"Soon after, I attended a workshop on marketing by management guru Rhenald Kasali, who just happened to be in town, and then a course at the Indonesian Export Training Center in Jakarta on establishing business networks online and a Web site-design workshop in Bandung," the father of two said.

Tonton then tried his luck in the rattan furniture industry with nothing more than a desktop computer, a printer and a dial-up modem, which he bought after selling several personal items and borrowing money from friends, which he eventually paid back after making his first sale. He spent a full week, day and night, to set up his first Web site.

"I remember first hosting my company's homepage on a free Web hosting Web site: 'welcome.to/rattanland', before finally purchasing my own domain name for $70, which at that time I felt was quite expensive," he said.

He began his business by selling rattan furnitures produced by small furniture shops in the town, known as the center of the rattan furniture in the country.

"At that time I didn't have the money to purchase a furniture workshop nor hire woodcraftsmen. I also didn't know how to deal with export documents, so I passed the first order to another furniture company and collected a commission," Tonton said.

He continued to serve as a middleman between international buyers and rattan furniture manufacturers for several years until he finally purchased a 9,000 square meter plot of land and built his own workshop in 2004, which now employs 100 skilled woodcraftsmen.

About a year into the business, in 2000, Tonton hit a crossroad. His company faced a damage claim worth Rp 75 million, an amount beyond the capacity of his startup to pay.

"I tried to keep smiling and feel upbeat about the business, despite having this massive debt creeping from behind. It was a very difficult time; I really had considered giving my business up altogether," he said.

But he persevered and kept on marketing his products online until a buyer from Canada placed a significant order, the profits of which soon covered his debts.

Tonton also had his share of being cheated by buyers in payment arrangements. Learning from his mistakes, he later required interested buyers to make a down payment before the furniture was delivered.

Soon after Tonton completed his company's Web site, his only competition in business took place on the net, as he competed with other rattan furniture companies worldwide on major search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN.

"Do you know that 85 percent of buyers come from search engines like Google? That is what I learned from a CNN news report and I have kept that information in mind ever since," he said. "The trick to advertising online is to get as many visitors or potential customers on your Web site as possible. So I had to come up with as many keywords as I could to define www.rattanland.com and in turn boost my site's hyperlink popularity on pages containing search results."

In addition to search engines, Tonton also registered his company's homepage on several trade leads like AliBaba.com and TradeWorld, which he says did wonders for his business, with noticeable growth performance taking place between 2002 and 2006.

"From 2002, the company's year-on-year sales grew by 50 percent up until 2005. The growth rate has since slowed down to 15-20 percent, but this is largely due to a shortage of raw rattan caused by illegal smuggling abroad," he said.

One of the primary advantages of marketing products online, he added, was that it had allowed his company to serve the global market with little in the way of advertising costs, especially when compared to the fees for participating in trade exhibitions.

Tonton said he had only once participated in a trade exhibition in Jakarta, back in 2002, and the result was quite disappointing. His customers still mostly came from the Internet.

His buyers mainly come from the European continent, with Spain being the largest market. His company has also penetrated North and Latin America, as well as East Asia and Oceania.

He added that buyers commence their orders by emailing him for quotes after perusing his Web site which is accessible to English, German, Dutch and Spanish speakers and displays the images of more than 1,000 furniture items his company is able to manufacture.

Tonton's ambition is to turn Rattanland into a household brand worldwide and to help Indonesia become a country that is able to export finished high-quality products, shifting its current reputation as a raw material exporter.

At present, he exports about 20 containers a month and says he confident that in the next few months this will increase to 30 containers.

Windows Home Server Available Now to Help Families Protect, Connect and Share Their Digital Experiences

Press Release Source: Microsoft,

Yahoo Finance,
Monday November 5, 12:01 am ET

The HP MediaSmart Server is now available for pre-order and will be shipped to customers this month; new hardware and software partners announce Windows Home Server products and solutions.

REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 5 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Windows Home Server, a new solution to help families easily protect, connect and share their digital media and documents, is generally available today. The HP MediaSmart Server, powered by Windows Home Server software, is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com, Best Buy.com, Buy.com, Circuit City.com and CompUSA.com. It will be shipped to customers and available via other leading retailer Web sites later in November.

Additional Microsoft hardware and software partners are also delivering new consumer products and solutions designed to work with Windows Home Server.

"Digital devices and content are everywhere in our day-to-day lives and they are more important all the time," said Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft. "With the launch of Windows Home Server, Microsoft and its partners are creating a new consumer product category that will help people keep their digital media safe and make it easier for them to enjoy it with friends and family."

Windows Home Server is a "stay-at-home" server that delivers the benefits of powerful server technology used by many people at work within a simple, easy-to-use solution for the home.

It automatically backs up Windows XP-based and Windows Vista-based home computers each night, provides a central place to organize digital documents and media, and includes a free Windows Live Internet address to access the home server from virtually anywhere and share content with friends and family. It also monitors the health and security status of home computers and can stream media to other devices in the home, such as Xbox 360, allowing people to enjoy digital music, photos and videos on their television.

Read More ....

Windows Home Server features at a glance:

  • Your family's digital memories and media organized in one central hub
  • Home PCs backed up daily, automatically
  • Simple recovery of lost files or even entire PCs
  • Complete access from networked PCs to all your Windows Home Server files
  • A personalized Web address for sharing your photos and home videos
  • Easy and quick setup
  • Expandable storage space for future use
  • Innovative third-party applications

Sunday, November 4, 2007

PCs being pushed aside in Japan

Yahoo News

By HIROKO TABUCHI, Associated Press Writer 26 minutes ago

TOKYO - Masaya Igarashi wants $200 headphones for his new iPod Touch, and he's torn between Nintendo Co.'s Wii and Sony's PlayStation 3 game consoles. When he has saved up again, he plans to splurge on a digital camera or flat-screen TV. There's one conspicuous omission from the college student's shopping list: a new computer.

The PC's role in Japanese homes is diminishing, as its once-awesome monopoly on processing power is encroached by gadgets such as smart phones that act like pocket-size computers, advanced Internet-connected game consoles, digital video recorders with terabytes of memory.

"A new PC just isn't high on my priority list right now," said Igarashi, shopping at a Bic Camera electronics shop in central Tokyo, who said his three-year-old desktop was "good for now."

"For the cost, I'd rather buy something else," he said.

Japan's PC market is already shrinking, leading analysts to wonder whether Japan will become the first major market to see a decline in personal computer use some 25 years after it revolutionized household electronics — and whether this could be the picture of things to come in other countries.

"The household PC market is losing momentum to other electronics like flat-panel TVs and mobile phones," said Masahiro Katayama, research group head at market survey firm IDC.

Overall PC shipments in Japan have fallen for five consecutive quarters, the first ever drawn-out decline in PC sales in a key market, according to IDC. The trend shows no signs of letting up: In the second quarter of 2007, desktops fell 4.8 percent and laptops 3.1 percent.

Read More ....

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Microsoft sues Google over search

BBC News

Microsoft has sued Google for hiring one of its vice presidents to set up a research centre in China.

Google has more than 20% of the Chinese search market and the country is a new battleground for the two firms, which offer online and desktop search tools.

Dr Kai-Fu Lee, who played a key role in the development of Microsoft's search tools, said he was leaving on Monday.

His contract forbids working for direct rivals within a year, Microsoft said. Google said the claim had no merit.

Growth market

Google said Dr Lee would "lead the [Chinese] operation and serve as president of the company's growing Chinese operations."

In its lawsuit, Microsoft said it was seeking a court order forcing Dr Lee to abide by terms of confidentiality and non-compete agreements that he signed at Microsoft.

It has also accused Google of "intentionally assisting Lee" in flouting his 2000 contract.

There are forecast to be 135 million internet users in the fast-growing Chinese market by the end of the year.

It is second in size only to the US internet market.

According to web consultancy Shanghai iResearch, Google already has a 21.2% share of web searches in China, making it the country's third most popular web search engine after Baidu.com and Yahoo.

Apps Already Coming for Google's New OpenSocial

A day after MySpace and Google sent shockwaves through the Web 2.0 world - and a shot across the bow of current social networking darling Facebook - third-party developers have already started announcing plans to build applications using their jointly developed social network APIs.

Heather Havenstein, Computerworld

Friday, November 02, 2007 1:00 PM PDT

MySpace and Google announced Thursday that they had joined forces

to create a set of APIs that can be used to by third parties to create social applications on a variety of sites.

Plaxo, for example, Friday unveiled new dynamic profiles that support Google's new OpenSocial APIs. Users of Plaxo's Pulse social network can now create distinct professional and personal profiles that include photos, contact information and privacy settings. Any applications written to the Google OpenSocial APIs can be embedded in the profiles, Plaxo said.

The impetus behind OpenSocial, Google said, was to allow developers to learn one API and then be able to write a social application for any OpenSocial partner site. "And because it's built on Web standards like HTML and JavaScript, developers don't have to learn a custom programming languages," noted Amar Gandhi and Peter Chane, group product managers at Google in a blog post.

Google estimates that more than 200 million users of the Web sites that have committed to OpenSocial, like MySpace, Friendster and LinkedIn, will have access to these applications.

"Perhaps most interestingly, we will see social capabilities move into new contexts," the two noted in the blog. "OpenSocial will also work in nontraditional social contexts, such as on Salesforce.com and Oracle. With a common set of APIs, it will be even easier to extend social functionality. Beyond the many fun and entertaining social applications we already have seen, we think we'll see a number of social applications emerge in business contexts."

Marc Andreessen, who co-founded Netscape (later acquired by AOL in 1998) blogged that OpenSocial dispels the common assumption held by some that Facebook has established unquestionable dominance in the social networking world. He noted that while many people assumed in the mid-1990s that AOL owned the Web because it had amassed tends of millions of users, it lost its dominance when broadband became widely available and people no longer needed a dial-up ISP.

"I am not predicting the death of Facebook," Andreesen blogged. "I think the Facebook people are brilliant and are going to do very well over the next several years. But the idea that you hear from time to time that 'all the users are on Facebook' and 'the game is over; the Facebook platform has won' is silly, as you can see every time you use a web site that doesn't end in aol.com."

Andreessen, of course, founded Ning, a company that allows users to build their own social networks and is an OpenSocial partner. Ning plans to make OpenSocial applications available to all of its 113,000 social networks later this year or early next spring, the company said. OpenSocial applications will run inside social networks across Ning, the company said.

"All of the partners finalizing and releasing all of the initial OpenSocial container and application implementations, of course," Andreessen noted in his blog. Everyone can just smell the opportunity, and people are going to drive to ship as quickly as possible."

Thursday, November 1, 2007

CIO View: Don't outsource your security

Business security is a serious business. When it comes to large companies that hold a lot of valuable data, any security breach can mean a loss of credibility and thus customers.

Munir Kotadia and Alex Serpo, ZDNet Australia

01 November 2007 03:40 PM

Cesare Tizi ZDNet Australia CIO of the Year 2007, and former chief information officer at Australia's largest energy supplier AGL Energy, spoke to ZDNet Australia about the importance of keeping security in-house.

In this exclusive video interview, Tizi comments that "one of the big risks … is that you carry a lot of credit cards in your system. This means the risk associated with someone gaining access to this information is very high."

So "you have to take it seriously" said Tizi. "In all the IT teams I have had I have never outsourced security…I tell my IT teams that they are privileged people". Tizi claims he always has his head of security reporting directly to him.

Since no security system is fool proof, Tizi recommends "making the business aware of what to do if you have a breach, and making a plan."

Wikipedia becomes a class assignment

YahooNews

By JESSICA MINTZ, AP Technology Writer Wed Oct 31, 4:14 PM ET

SEATTLE - Some academics cringe when students turn to Wikipedia as a reference for term papers.

University of Washington-Bothell professor Martha Groom has more of an "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" response to the online encyclopedia that anyone can write or edit.

Instead of asking students in her environmental history course to turn in one big paper at the end of the semester, she requires them either to write an original Wikipedia article or to do a major edit on an existing one.

The inspiration came to her as she prepared teaching materials for her class.

"I would find these things on Wikipedia," she said, and would think, "Gosh, this is awfully thin here. I wonder if my students could fill this in?"

Wikipedia has been vilified as a petri dish for misinformation, and the variable accuracy of its articles is a point Groom readily concedes. Since the advent of the Web, she said, the quality of sources students cite has deteriorated.

For her students, the Wikipedia experiment was "transformative," and students' writing online proved better than the average undergrad research paper.

Knowing their work was headed for the Web, not just one harried professor's eyes, helped students reach higher — as did the standards set by the volunteer "Wikipedians" who police entries for accuracy and neutral tone, Groom said.

The exercise also gave students a taste of working in the real world of peer-reviewed research.

Most of the articles were well received, but Groom said some students caught heat from Wikipedia editors for doing exactly what college students are trained to do: write an argumentative, critical essay.

"Some people were a little rude," she said of the anonymous Wikipedia editors. Ultimately, she had to teach the students the difference between good secondary research and the average college paper.

"You don't get to say that last little bit on, 'This is why this is the truth and the way,'" she said.