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)

Monday, December 29, 2008

4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... 1 ... Happy New Year!


Jennifer Daniel 

By THOMAS VINCIGUERRA, The New York Times, December 27, 2008 

If you’re fretting that 2008 is about to end, and that another year has slipped by, don’t panic: you do have some extra time on your hands. one second, to be precise. 

On New Year’s Eve, the international authorities charged with keeping precise time will add a single second to our lives. It will be the 24th “leap second” since 1972, and the first since 2005. 

If that doesn’t sound like a big deal, consider that in one second a cheetah can dash 34 yards, a telephone signal can travel 100,000 miles, a hummingbird can beat its wings 70 times, and eight million of your blood cells can die. 

As the saying goes, every second counts. In the case of leap seconds, that is especially true. 

Leap seconds are needed to reconcile two very different ways of measuring time. Traditionally, humankind has reckoned time by the spin of the Earth and its orbit around the sun. Under this astronomical arrangement, a second is one-86,400th of our planet’s daily rotation. But because of tidal friction and other natural phenomena, that rotation is slowing down by about two-thousandths of a second a day. 

Since the 1950s, however, atomic clocks — which are based on the unwavering motions of cesium atoms — have made it possible to measure time far more accurately, to within a billionth of a second a day. Unfortunately, every 500 days or so, the difference between the time registered on those clocks and time as registered by the Earth’s rotation adds up to about ... well, a second. 

So at irregular intervals, the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service, based in Frankfurt, orders that the world’s atomic clocks be stopped for a second. This puts the two systems back in sync — at least until the next leap second. 

“It’s an aesthetic thing more than anything,” said Geoff Chester, a spokesman for the United States Naval Observatory. “Life wouldn’t end if we eliminated the leap second.” 

Indeed, life might be easier if we did. In our digital world, the smooth operation of everything from A.T.M.’s to the Internet depends on the exactly timed transmission of electronic data. Leap seconds can crash cellphones, G.P.S. receivers, computer networks and other modern conveniences that have not been programmed to expect them. “Leap seconds turn out to be more of a pain in the neck than Y2K ever was,” Mr. Chester said. 

That’s why a working group of the International Telecommunications Union, part of the United Nations, has proposed ending the leap second. Conceivably, we could see the introduction of a “leap minute,” slipped in only once every century. 

The idea has many critics. One is Judah Levine, a physicist at the Time and Frequency Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colo. “A minute is an intolerably long period of time,” he said. “The only advantage is that it pushes the problem so far into the future that no one is worried about it.” 

As it is, the I.T.U. working group proposal has been years in the making. An actual decision on discarding the leap second won’t come until the World Radio Conference in 2011 at the earliest. 

Clearly, these things take time. 

“I think the leap second is the least bothersome interval,” said Norman Ramsey, emeritus professor of physics at Harvard University, whose work on atomic-beam magnetic resonance helped make cesium clocks possible and won him the 1989 Nobel Prize for Physics. “For most people, it doesn’t make much of a difference.” 

Dr. Ramsey said he had no special plans to observe the passage of the upcoming leap second on Dec. 31. 

“That’s the beauty of it,” he said, laughing. “I won’t even notice it.”

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Pew study: Internet takes over papers as news source

Posted by Michelle Meyers, cnet news,  December 24, 2008    

Here I am using my two unread newspapers as a thick place mat for my Christmas Eve Chinese lunch, and what should cross my desk: a new Pew study showing that the Internet has surpassed newspapers as Americans' main source for national and international news. 

How appropriate--albeit a little sad for this ol' school journalist who still romanticizes about the days when you could truly stop the presses.

 

(Credit: Pew Research Center for the People & the Press)

 

Some 40 percent of those surveyed by Pew Research for the People & the Press say they get most of their international and national news from the Internet, up from 24 percent in September 2007. Internet coverage of the presidential campaign--much of it buoyed by social networks--was likely the reason for that recent growth.



(Credit: Pew Research Center for the People & the Press) 

TV, however, continues to be cited most frequently as a main source for international and national news, according the study. 

Other interesting findings of Pew's News Interest Index are the top news stories of 2008. The economy took the top spot, followed by rising gas prices and the debate over the Wall Street bailout. 

Click here (PDF) for more details on the study. 

Michelle Meyers is an associate editor who tracks online happenings in media, entertainment, and politics. E-mail Michelle.


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Friday, December 26, 2008

Amazon.com Rises After Reporting ‘Best-Ever’ Holiday Season

By Allison Abell Schwartz 

Dec. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc., the world’s largest Internet retailer, rose as much as 4.9 percent in early Nasdaq trading after saying it had its best holiday-shopping season ever. 

More than 6.3 million items were ordered worldwide on Dec. 15, its peak day, the Seattle-based company said today in a statement. The Internet retailer didn’t provide specific revenue or profit data, and a phone call to its media hotline wasn’t immediately returned. 

Online spending at U.S. retailers dipped 1 percent in the holiday season through Dec. 19, research firm ComScore Inc. said last week, less than the 19 percent gain seen during the 2007 holiday season. Inclement weather during the second half of December may have caused more people to buy over the Internet instead of driving to the mall, SpendingPulse said yesterday. 

Excluding fuel, total sales may have dropped 4 percent during the holidays, SpendingPulse said. 

More than 5.6 million items were shipped on its peak day and 99 percent of goods arrived in time to meet holiday deadlines, Amazon.com said. Top-selling items included Samsung Electronics Co.’s televisions, Nintendo Co.’s Wii, Apple Inc.’s IPod touch, J.K. Rowling’s “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” and Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” books. 

Amazon climbed $2.01, or 3.9 percent, to $53.45 at 9:36 a.m. in Nasdaq Stock Market composite trading. The shares fell 45 percent this year before today. 

To contact the reporter on this story: Allison Abell Schwartz in New York at aabell@bloomberg.net.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

The World's 10 Most Influential and Innovative Companies

David Hunkar, Seeking Alpha, December 25, 2008 

The December 22nd edition of Business Week published an article titled “The World’s Most Influential Companies”. As per Business Week, “they are the innovators and front-runners that are shaping business today”. 

The following is a brief overview of the the top ten companies from the list. These 10 companies “have devised winning strategies in their industries. They are the ones with the game-changing ideas, the greatest impact on consumers, and the bold tactics rivals emulate. None is infallible or without controversy”. Five of the 10 companies are US-based. 

  1. Apple (AAPL) is a Cupertino, California-based maker of many technology products like cool laptops, iPhones, iPods, etc.that are “imaginative, irreverent, and pleasing to the eye”. Apple’s annual sales are $24.0 B. AAPL does not pay a dividend. After reaching a high of $200 in January, the stock closed for $85.04 yesterday. Annual revenue growth in the past 5 years is 39.23%. However, sales may not continue at this pace due to the economy being in recession and many folks who own iPods, iPhones do not find the need to replace them. 

  2. Google (GOOG) is the world’s top search engine. It processes “3,000 queries per second in the U.S. alone”. GOOG has a P/E of 19.07 and does not pay a dividend. Late last year the stock reached a peak of $716. Yesterday it closed at $302.95. 

  3. Huawei is a Shenzen,China-based maker of “networking equipment, cellular handsets, and other telecommunications gear. Huawei’s stock is not listed in the US markets. The company competes against other network equipment makers like Nortel (NT), Alcatel-Lucent (ALU), Cisco (CSCO),etc. Annual sales are $12.6 billion. 

  4. JPMorgan Chase and Co (JPM) is one of the so called three giant “superbanks” that dominate the financial industry in the USA. JPM currently pays a dividend of 5.22%. In September,Chase bought the failed West Coast bank Washington Mutual (WaMu). 

  5. St. Louis-based Monsanto (MON) is “a global provider of agricultural products for farmers”. Business Week said, “About 97% of U.S. soy is now grown using Monsanto technology, and the company’s insect- and herbicide-resistant corn and cotton have become the default standard for U.S. farmers”. The current yield is 1.45%. 

  6. News Corp (NWS) is is one of the world’s largest media conglomerates. In the US, News Corp. owns many newspapers including The Wall Street Journal, New York Post and the Fox TV news channel. NWS pays a dividend of 1.36%. 

  7. The oil company Saudi Aramco is based in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Annual sales are $210 B. As the world’s largest oil producer it “ships around 8 million barrels to industrial powers” everyday. Saudi Aramco does not trade in the USA. 

  8. Toyota Motor Corp (TM) is one of the world’s largest auto makers. TM’s current yield is 4.8%. While revenue increased annually about 11% in the past 5 years, this week Toyota announced that auto sales plunged 21.8% in November, the biggest drop in 8 years. The company also projected that it will report its first operating loss in 70 years due to the current slowdown in the global economy. 

  9. Unilever PLC (UL) is one of the parent companies of the Unilever Group (Unilever) with headquarters in London, UK. Unilever owns brands such as Dove, Lipton, Vaseline, etc. and they are popular in many emerging countries such as India and Brazil. Unilever was successful in marketing its products to poor consumers by making the packages very small and setting the price accordingly. The P/E is 9.48 and the yield is 2.91%. 

  10. Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT) is the world’s largest retailer. The company operates the Wal-Mart Stores and Sam’s Club in the USA. Sam’s Club’s sales accounted for 11.8% of total net sales in 2008. About 100 million Americans visit its stores each week. WMT pays a dividend of 1.72%.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

LEDs And Smart Lighting Could Save Trillions Of Dollars, Spark Global Innovation

ScienceDaily (Dec. 20, 2008) — A "revolution" in the way we illuminate our world is imminent, according to a paper published this week by two professors at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. 

Innovations in photonics and solid state lighting will lead to trillions of dollars in cost savings, along with a massive reduction in the amount of energy required to light homes and businesses around the globe, the researchers forecast.


If all of the world's light bulbs were replaced with energy-efficient LEDs for a period of 10 years, researchers say it would reduce global oil consumption by 962 million barrels, reduce the need for 280 global power plants, reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 10.68 gigatons, and ultimately result in financial savings of $1.83 trillion. (Credit: Rensselaer/Kim and Schubert)

 

A new generation of lighting devices based on light-emitting diodes (LEDs) will supplant the common light bulb in coming years, the paper suggests. In addition to the environmental and cost benefits of LEDs, the technology is expected to enable a wide range of advances in areas as diverse as healthcare, transportation systems, digital displays, and computer networking. 

"What the transistor meant to the development of electronics, the LED means to the field of photonics. This core device has the potential to revolutionize how we use light," wrote co-authors E. Fred Schubert and Jong Kyu Kim. 

Schubert is the Wellfleet Senior Constellation Professor of Future Chips at Rensselaer, and heads the university's National Science Foundation-funded Smart Lighting Center. Kim is a research assistant professor of electrical, computer, and systems engineering. The paper, titled "Transcending the replacement paradigm of solid-state lighting," will be published in the Dec. 22, 2008 issue of Optics Express. 

Researchers are able to control every aspect of light generated by LEDs, allowing the light sources to be tweaked and optimized for nearly any situation, Schubert and Kim said. In general LEDs will require 20 times less power than today's conventional light bulbs, and five times less power than "green" compact fluorescent bulbs. 

If all of the world's light bulbs were replaced with LEDs for a period of 10 years, Schubert and Kim estimate the following benefits would be realized: 

  • Energy savings of 1.9 × 1020 joules
  • Electrical energy consumption would be reduced by terawatt hours
  • Financial savings of $1.83 trillion
  • Carbon dioxide emissions would be reduced by 10.68 gigatons
  • Crude oil consumption would be reduced by 962 million barrels
  • The number of required global power plants would be reduced by 280 

With all of the promise and potential of LEDs, Schubert and Kim said it is important not to pigeonhole or dismiss smart lighting technology as a mere replacement for conventional light bulbs. The paper is a call to arms for scientists and engineers, and stresses that advances in photonics will position solid state lighting as a catalyst for unexpected, currently unimaginable technological advances. 

"Deployed on a large scale, LEDs have the potential to tremendously reduce pollution, save energy, save financial resources, and add new and unprecedented functionalities to photonic devices. These factors make photonics what could be termed a benevolent tsunami, an irresistible wave, a solution to many global challenges currently faced by humanity and will be facing even more in the years to come," the researchers wrote. "Transcending the replacement paradigm will open up a new chapter in photonics: Smart lighting sources that are controllable, tunable, intelligent, and communicative." 

Possible smart lighting applications include rapid biological cell identification, interactive roadways, boosting plant growth, and better supporting human circadian rhythms to reduce an individual's dependency on sleep-inducing drugs or reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. 

Journal reference: 

E. Fred Schubert and Jong Kyu Kim. Transcending the Replacement Paradigm of Solid-State Lighting. Optics Express, Vol. 16, Issue 6, December 22, 2008 [link

Adapted from materials provided by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.


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Google dominates ad server market, study shows

Posted by Natalie Weinstein, CNET News

It will surprise no one that Google accounts for a lion's share of the ad server market. However, it may come as a shock that Microsoft holds only the equivalent of a lion's paw. 

Attributor, a content-tracking company, analyzed ad server calls across 75 million domains in October. According to the data Attributor released this week, Google--through DoubleClick and AdSense--accounts for 56.5 percent market share. 

Meanwhile, Microsoft's equivalent figure hovers at 3.8 percent. Yahoo came in behind Google with 9.7 percent. If Microsoft and Yahoo ever end up combining forces, they still wouldn't touch Google. 

A server call, by the way, is the "moment when a Web site requests an ad to serve up to a user. The study examined whose ad code was on that page," according to AdAge.com


Here is Attributor's breakdown of the ad server market, as of October.

(Credit: Attributor)


DoubleClick and AdSense are definitely playing to different markets, according to Attributor's figures. DoubleClick dominated with larger sites, while AdSense did so for smaller sites. 

It's not all good news for Google, though. Back in January, when Attributor last took a look at ad server calls, Google's AdSense and DoubleClick accounted for 69.7 percent share. That's a drop of more than 13 points. 

Google didn't lose out to Microsoft or Yahoo, though. They also lost share. Instead, Google lost little bits to a lot of other players, including AOL and Revenue Science. The latter shot into the top five with 6.7 percent market share in October.

Natalie Weinstein is an associate editor who works out of Austin, Texas. She spent a decade as a reporter and editor in the newspaper industry before joining the CNET News staff in 2000. E-mail Natalie.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Severed cable disrupts web access

BBC News

Internet and phone communications between Europe, the Middle East, and Asia have been seriously disrupted after submarine cables were severed.

It is thought the FLAG FEA, SMW4, and SMW3 lines, near the Alexandria cable station in Egypt, have all been cut.

A fault was also reported on the GO submarine cable 130km off Sicily.

Experts warned that it may be days before the fault is fixed and said the knock on effect could have serious repercussions on regional economies.

Jonathan Wright - director of wholesale products at Interoute which manages part of the optical fibre network - told the BBC that the effects of the break would be felt for many days.

"This will grind economies to a halt for a short space of time," he said "If you look at, say, local financial markets who trade with European and US markets, the speed at which they get live data will be compromised."

"If you think how quickly trades can be placed, if they are suffering from bad latency times, then by the time a trade is placed, the market may well have moved on."

The cause of the break is as yet unknown, although some seismic activity was reported near Malta shortly before the cut was detected.

In a statement released in relation to one of the breaks, France Telecom said: "The causes of the cut, which is located in the Mediterranean between Sicily and Tunisia, on sections linking Sicily to Egypt, remain unclear."

The French firm said it was sending a ship out to fix the line between Italy and Egypt, although it could take until 31 December to fully repair the line.

The main damage through is to the four submarine cables running across the Mediterranean and through the Suez Canal.

It is thought that 65% of traffic to India was down, while services to Singapore, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Taiwan and Pakistan have also been severely affected.

Earlier this year, the same line was damaged in the same area - off the Egyptian coast - although only two lines were snapped then.

"We've lost three out of four lines. If the fourth cable breaks, we're looking at a total blackout in the Middle East," said Mr Wright.

"These three circuits account for 90% of the traffic and we're going to see more international phone calls dropping and a huge degradation in the quality of local internet," he added.

"Normally you would expect to see one major break per cable per year. With four you should have an insurance policy. For this to happen twice in one year, on the same cable, is a serious cause for concern."

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

LinkedIn CEO out, founder takes over

Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal - by Patrick Hoge 

LinkedIn Inc. founder Reid Hoffman has retaken the reins of the fast-growing online social network for professionals and Dan Nye, the man Hoffman recruited for the job in 2007, has resigned, the company said Wednesday.

In addition, Jeff Weiner, a Yahoo Inc. executive until the middle of this year, has joined LinkedIn as interim president, with responsibilities for overseeing day-to-day operations, the company said. Weiner, who will report to Hoffman, will remain in his executive-in-residence position at the venture capital firms Accel Partners and Greylock Partners during the transition. 

The company did not give a reason for Nye’s departure, which will occur in the middle of January. The company said that “under Nye’s leadership, the LinkedIn network has grown by more than 400 percent from 8 million members to 33 million. The company was also able to establish a solid business model, achieve profitability and secure $80 million in funding from some of the world’s premiere investors.” 

In a statement, Hoffman praised Nye, saying he did what he was hired to do. 

“Dan joined LinkedIn with a mission to help us build a company that was strong and sustainable. In two years, he has succeeded in this objective, transforming LinkedIn from a young start up to a high growth business,” Hoffman said. “Dan deserves tremendous credit for his contributions to LinkedIn. His passion and commitment will continue in the efforts of the team that he’s helped build here.” 

Nye also issued a statement. 

“I am incredibly proud of all that we have accomplished. Our business model, balance sheet and infrastructure are strong. We were profitable in both 2007 and 2008, and have experienced outstanding network growth. Reid is a close friend of mine, and I have great confidence the company will continue to thrive under his leadership,” said Nye. 

The company said that the hiring this month of Dipchand “Deep” Nishar, who was recruited by Nye, as vice president of products will allow Hoffman “to renew his focus on the overall vision and strategy for the company in his role as chairman and CEO.” 

Weiner held leadership roles at Yahoo, most recently as executive vice president of the division responsible for the consumer web product portfolio, including Yahoo’s front page, mail, search and media products.

Monday, December 15, 2008

PC sales to fall, notebook demand to strive in 2009

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Mon, 12/15/2008 10:37 AM  

With notebooks becoming more popular and affordable, their sales grew this year by 65 percent and will continue strong next year, although this will not make up for an overall decline in sales of personal computers, an association says. 

Overall computer sales are expected to fall on the back of a drop in sales of desktops because of weaker purchasing power, despite continued growth in notebook sales, according to the Indonesian Association of Computers Business (Apkomindo). 


Potential buyers check out computers on display at a Jakarta shopping center. With notebooks becoming more popular and affordable, sales grew this year by 65 percent, with strong growth anticipated next year. This will not make up for an overall decline in the sales of personal computers. (JP/Arief Suhardiman)


Suhanda Wijaya, the association's newly elected chairman, said at the weekend that total PC sales in 2009 were forecast at around 2.2 million units -- of which 1.2 million would be desktops and 1 million notebooks. 

The sales forecast for notebooks represents 10 percent growth from this year's sales estimate of 900,000 units. However, the forecast for sales of desktops reflects a 20 percent decrease from the estimated 1.5 million units sold this year. 

Last year, a total of 1.85 million personal computers were sold with desktops making up the lion's share at 1.3 million units. 

In contrast to computer sales, sales of servers are expected to remain steady. 

The number of servers sold in 2007, estimated sales in 2008 and projected sales for 2009 are the same at 20,000 servers annually, Suhanda said. 

Suhanda said the drop in computer sales next year would be temporary because of the unfavorable global economic situation, but the long-term outlook for the industry remained positive. 

"The market penetration of computers in this country is still very low, around 3 percent, and with a population of 230 million this means the computer industry has a huge market to explore," he said. 

He cited as an example a large computer expo in November, which attracted thousands of visitors over five days, and at which sales increased by 30 percent to Rp 195 billion (US$16.25 million) from Rp 150 billion in the previous year's exhibition. 

Brands manufactured in Indonesia include Zyrex, Axioo, Mugen, and Byon. 

National growth in computer sales is usually at 20 to 30 percent every year, said Merry Harun, deputy chairman of Apkomindo. She said businesses had to strengthen their partnerships if they wanted to return to the regular annual growth in the near future. 

The association is working on building the industry by creating a more conducive business environment for its 2,500 members, Suhanda said. 

One way it supports the industry is by bridging communication with the government. 

Existing regulations require a computer business to have an industrial license even if the business is a small one and only sets up one or two computers a day. 

"This has slowed down the speed of the business cycle," he said. 

"But the government has listened to our comments, and they have come to realize that requiring a small business to have an industry permit is not helpful to the business sector." 

According to International Data Center (IDC), the computer market in the Asia-Pacific region (excluding Japan) grew 12 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2008, reaching a record 20.2 million units. 

The main portion of market share in the Asia-Pacific region was held by Lenovo, with 18.2 percent, followed by HP and Dell, with 14 percent and 8.9 percent, respectively, according to IDC. (iwp)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Revving China's auto industry

Cars leave me cold, but not the BYD F3DM. I drove it the other day, and it really is remarkable.

By Peter DayGlobal business correspondent, BBC News

In one way, it is a rather ordinary compact saloon car, though it did have exceptional acceleration when I put my foot down zooming round the factory grounds in Shenzhen, the vast new Chinese city just north of Hong Kong. 

This is a plug-in electric car, hence the acceleration, but when the electric battery runs out after 80 miles (128km), the petrol engine switches in seamlessly. 

"Oh, just like one of those new eco-friendly hybrid cars," you may think. 

But the makers argue that hybrids are more gas-guzzler than battery driven, whereas this model tries to be half and half. 

And the makers? Well they are called BYD, a Chinese company which has been in existence for a bare 13 years, and which only recently started making any kind of car at all. 

This new dual mode rechargeable car makes its launch appearance in China on 15 December, but BYD's Paul Lin let me have my test drive the other day. 

And then when he showed me the company museum, he really set me thinking.

What is a business only 13 years old doing with a museum anyway? 

Because the company has such enormous ambitions it wants to tell the world how far it has come and how much further it intends to go. 

Rapid growth 

Paul Lin showed me how BYD has evolved, starting with rechargeable batteries that soon became standard parts for one third of all the world's mobile phones, following the research speciality of the founder and chairman Wang Chuanfu. 

And the modest battery making company grew and grew. 

Wang Chuanfu soon saw that battery powered cars might be the future. 

BYD knew a lot about batteries, and it was not daunted by the complexities of car-making either. 

Six years ago, it bought two established Chinese car firms, and now BYD has seven huge plants with 130,000 employees. 

The car I drove is made at the new headquarters factory - a giant one in Shenzhen, a city which was just a fishing town 30 years ago, with some 70,000 inhabitants. 

Thanks to China's rush to modernise, Shenzhen is now part of the global manufacturing powerhouse in the Pearl River Delta, with an estimated population of 14m. 

Wheel of modernization 

BYD's vast new factory did not exist 15 months ago, and they had to level several hills and fill in several lakes to create the site. 

The workers mostly live in vast dormitories close by. 

Like most of the Shenzhen workforce, they have migrated into the city from distant country places, moving from poverty in search of the fabled better life, spinning the great wheel of China's modernisation.

The size and scale of what BYD has already achieved is breathtaking, but that is nothing compared to its ambition. 

This company has already made public its aim to be the number one car firm in China by the year 2015, and then - deep breath - number one in the whole world in 2025. 

Despite my scepticism, Paul Lin had no doubt about this. The current fate of the American car industry suggests there may be room at the top some time before that date. 

But to Paul Lin and the company he is part of, this ambition is entirely natural. 

Car making is less difficult than high technology, they argue, and many of the techniques they have learned in high tech can now be applied to the automobile. 

Remarkable endorsement 

I put my foot down and revved almost silently across the factory campus in my (sample) new car, and wondered about the future. 

As an exporter, China is going to be badly hit by the global recession, but already the best factories are evolving up the technology chain in much the same way as BYD has transformed itself from a supplier of other people's mobile phone batteries into a car maker with its own name on the front. 

Critics say this is a copycat car, but that is how the Japanese auto industry started. 

And in September there was a remarkable endorsement of BYD when even as global stock markets were plunging, the canniest American investor of them all, Warren Buffet of Omaha, Nebraska, paid $230m (£155m) for a 10% stake in the Chinese company. 

Mr Buffett is a quite notorious investor for the long-term, not the quick buck, so he must recognise something in those initials BYD. 

The company says they stand for "Build Your Dream", but they could mean absolutely anything.


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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Climate change 'largely ignored' by many big firms: report

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) — Corporate America is making progress on addressing climate change but many company executives are "largely ignoring" the issue when it comes to making business decisions, a report released Thursday said. 

Global technology titan IBM scored highest, 79 on a scale of 100, when it came to the fight against Earth-warming gases, according to a report titled "Corporate Governance and Climate Change: Consumer and Technology Companies." 

Britain-based grocery giant Tesco was ranked second most climate-conscious firm with 78 points and US computer maker Dell was third with 77. 

More than half the companies evaluated scored less than 50 points. 

While some companies were adapting the way they do business, many others "are still largely ignoring climate change, especially at the board and chief executive officer level," said the report authored by RiskMetrics Group and for the Ceres investor coalition. 

It scrutinized governance practices at 63 of the world's largest consumer firms in arenas including retail, pharmaceutical, technology, and clothing. 

"Overall responses among these companies are very spotty, especially in the restaurant, real estate and travel & leisure sectors where climate change is barely on their radar," said Ceres president Mindy Lubber. 

The median score was a dismal 38 out of 100 on a scale weighing factors such as boosting energy efficiency, increasing reliance on renewable power sources, and setting goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

"With or without a recession, climate change is a core business issue that all consumer and tech companies should be focused on," said Lubber. 

Technology and pharmaceutical firms were among those best factoring climate change into business strategies, she added.


Final Chrome Version Boosts Speed, Compatibility

By Michael Muchmore, PC Magazine, 12.12.08 

PC Magazine has performed follow-up tests of Google Chrome to see how much progress the browser has made since coming out of beta. The results show that its already fast JavaScript performance on the respected Sunspider benchmark has gotten even faster and compatibility with popular sites such as Facebook has improved.

The retest shows a 24 percent speed improvement, bringing this released browser to the same level of performance as Firefox's second beta 3.1 version. The new numbers far outstrip what Microsoft's Internet Explorer was capable of, by a factor of nearly 100, and even bested the released version of Firefox 3.0's results more than threefold. 

However, there are still sites that kick back an "unsupported browser" message when a user attempts to view them using Chrome, such as Microsoft's Office Live site. Chrome has added a separate bookmarks window, though it still lacks many capabilities found in the competition, such as bookmarking multiple sites at once (also known as tabbed groups) and tagging. 

In memory usage, Chrome still holds up the rear, using somewhat more RAM than Internet Explorer, and more than double what Firefox consumed in testing with the same set of ten content rich sites. In standards support, Opera is still the leader, garnering 85 out of 100 possible points on the Acid3 Browser Compatibility test from the Web Standards Project. 

To read the full review, with more details of how the browser differs from the better-known web browsers, read PCMag.com's full review of Chrome 1.0.


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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Intel works on tiny devices for eco-technology

Some of Intel Corp.'s tiny devices could one day have a big impact on the environment. 

David R. Baker, Chronicle Staff Writer, Friday, December 5, 2008 

The computer chipmaker on Friday offered reporters a glimpse of its research into products such as chip-size sensors that monitor air quality while riding piggyback on street-sweepers. Or cell phones that recharge themselves with energy "scavenged" from the environment. 

Sensing 

Intel has designed tiny sensors that can continuously analyze pollution. The company has tested a version of this technology in San Francisco, putting the sensors in small boxes attached to street-sweeping machines. A transmitter connected to the sensor relays the data to whoever needs it. Distributed around the globe, these devices could give scientists up-to-the-minute details of air quality worldwide. "We could, in fact, litter the planet with these things," Rattner said. "Why can't we have these sensors on your cell phones?" 

'Free' energy 

Intel is developing devices that can tap the energy in the environment around them. Sunlight is one possibility, but so are television signals, cell phone towers and body heat. The amounts of energy captured at any one time would be very small, so the devices would need to act as "scavengers," storing up energy until they had enough to perform a specific task. 

Wireless Identification and Sensing Platform (WISP) 

This concept merges sensing and energy scavenging. Intel is researching sensors that would store up energy until they had enough to run a built-in data transmitter. Again, because the amount of power involved would be small, the transmitter would have very limited range. But it could still be useful. Rattner gave an example of a medical implant monitoring a patient's health and transmitting data to a doctor by shipping that data to a cell phone near the implant. 

Adaptive power 

Energy demand in a computer or a data center isn't constant - it increases or decreases depending on what tasks the gear is performing. Intel is trying to develop processors that can follow changes in energy demand microsecond by microsecond (one millionth of a second), minimizing the amount of electricity lost to idling. 

E-mail David R. Baker at dbaker@sfchronicle.com.


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Friday, December 5, 2008

IBM Drops Two Bombs on Microsoft

Seeking AlphaJoe Panettieri,   December 05, 2008   

More than a decade after IBM’s (IBM) OS/2 lost the corporate desktop wars to Windows, Big Blue is back. And this time, IBM is aiming to knock Microsoft (MSFT) Windows AND Microsoft Office off of corporate desktops. 

The strategy involves a partnership with Canonical (maker of Ubuntu Linux) and Virtual Bridges (a virtualization software company). The trio has developed a "virtualized" Linux release -- complete with productivity applications. The software system costs a scant $49.00 (US) per user for 1,000-user deployments. Prices fall further if customers buy in greater bulk. 

Moves like this have got to drive the folks in Microsoft crazy. The old per-seat PC Windows tax is on its death bed, folks. 

  • In the consumer market, low-cost Ubuntu Netbooks (from Dell and others) are putting the squeeze on Microsoft Windows margins. 
  • In the corporate market, thin clients from folks like Wyse and Novell (NOVL) are selling fast, and Novell’s year-over-year Linux sales are up more than 30 percent
  • And now again in the corporate market, IBM is changing the rules of the game by placing all the horsepower on servers that deliver virtualized Ubuntu to corporate deskops. 

And it’s not just an attack on Windows. Remember, the $49.00 price point also includes Lotus Symphony productivity applications that compete with Microsoft Office. 

Will all businesses switch to virtual and physical Linux desktops? Certainly not. But some will certainly give IBM’s pitch a try. 

Microsoft Windows' market share recently fell below the 90% mark, according to The Raw Feed, a gadget blog I follow closely. (Full disclosure: I used to work with The Raw Feed's editor, Mike Elgan.) 

Are we looking at 85% market share for Microsoft Windows within three years? I sure think so. And even Red Hat (RHT), our resident blogger believes, must be starting to wonder if they should have found more aggressive or progressive ways to promote Linux desktops. 


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