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.)

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls

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

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

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

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Could the Tesla Model S become the Google Car?

ComputerWorld, Seth H. Weintraub, March 28, 2009

Tesla Motors introduced their $50,000 Model S Electric Sedan this week to lots of ooohs and ahhhs from the automobile and tech communities. The bad news is that this won't roll off the assembly line until 2011-2012, at the earliest. The car is a model of inspiration to a dying domestic car industry even though Tesla as a company has had its internal struggles.

Besides its great looks and incredible specs (and unfortunate leadership controversies), there is something else interesting about the Tesla. Google's founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page are big investors.

We learned this week that the Tesla would have an industry first 17-inch display that would include Google Maps for driving guidance and a 3G connection to use services like Pandora radio. You can also check the battery charge on mobile devices as well. For instance, you can check the charging while you are at work.

But that isn't all that the Google founders would probably like to get into this car.

If they had their way...

The car's web browser of choice will undoubtedly be Google Chrome. The OS that is running the system will likely be Android. Google Talk/Google Voice (Grand Central) could also be used for communications.

Going international? Use Google Translate to navigate your way to Cabo San Lucas...or Quebec.

Youtube could keep the kids occupied in the back while driving or be a distraction while waiting for a Big Mac in the drive thru line. Speaking of distraction, how about seeing your Google Reader feeds or Google News on that 17-inch display.

Mobile shopping is getting bigger and Google Checkout/Product Search could play a part of this. Need to exchange a battery for the Tesla? Pull up Google to find the closest/cheapest battery refilling station.

That's just the beginning. Google has their hands on what could be the most revolutionary vehicle of the millennium, if they put those big brains to work on what automobile consumers want, they'll likely come up with things that make other cars last century.

Cyber spies break into govt computers

The Jakarta Post, Chairmaine Noronha, The Associated Press, Toronto | Sun, 03/29/2009 11:38 AM

A cyber spy network based mainly in China hacked into classified documents from government and private organization in 103 countries, including the computers of the Dalai Lama and Tibetan exiles, Canadian researchers said Saturday.

The work of the Information Warfare Monitor initially focused on allegations of Chinese cyber espionage against the Tibetan community in exile, and eventually led to a much wider network of ompromised machines, the Internet-based research group said.

"We uncovered real-time evidence of malware that had penetrated Tibetan computer systems, extracting sensitive documents from the private office of the Dalai Lama," investigator Greg Walton said.

The research group said that while it's analsis points to China as the main source of the network, it has not conclusively been able to detect the identity or motivation of the hackers.

The Chinese Embassy in Toronto did not immediately return calls for comment Saturday.

Students For a Free Tibet activist Bhutila Karpoche said her organization's computers have been hacked into numerous times over the past four or five years, and particularly in the past year. She said she often gets e-mails that contain viruses that crash the group's computers.

The IWM is composed of researchers from Ottawa-based think tank SecDev Group and the University of Toronto's Munk Centre for International Studies. The group's initial findings led to a 10-month investigation summarized in the report to be released online Sunday.

The researchers detected a cyber espionage network involving over 1,295 compromised computers from the ministries of foreign affairs of Iran, Bangladesh, Latvia, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei, Barbados and Bhutan. They also discovered hacked systems in the embassies of India, South Korea, Indonesia, Romania, Cyprus, Malta, Thailand, Taiwan, Portugal, Germany and Pakistan.

Once the hackers infiltrated the systems, they gained control using malware - software they install on the compromised computers - and sent and received data from them, the researchers said.

Two researchers at Cambridge University in Britain who worked on the part of the investigation related to the Tibetans are also releasing their own report Sunday.

In an online abstract for "The Snooping Dragon: Social Malware Surveillance of the Tibetan Movement," Shishir Nagaraja and Ross Anderson write that while malware attacks are not new, these attacks should be noted for their ability to collect "actionable intelligence for use by the police and security services of a repressive state, with potentially fatal consequences for those exposed."

They say prevention against such attacks will be difficult since traditional defense against social malware in government agencies involves expensive and intrusive measures that range from mandatory access controls to tedious operational security procedures.

The Dalai Lama fled over the Himalaya mountains into exile 50 years ago when China quashed an uprising in Tibet, placing it under its direct rule for the first time. The spiritual leader and the Tibetan government in exile are based in Dharmsala, India.

Related Article:

Canada uncovers cyber spy network

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Facebook users wage condom campaign against Pope

CNN, Faith Karimi, 28 March 2009

(CNN) -- Critics took to the social networking site Facebook to voice their fury over Pope Benedict's remark that condoms do not prevent HIV.

Thousands of Facebook supporters plan to send condoms
to the Vatican.
Thousands have pledged to send the pontiff millions of condoms to protest the controversial comment he made to journalists as he flew to Cameroon last week.

"You can't resolve it with the distribution of condoms," the pope told reporters. "On the contrary, it increases the problem."

Pope Benedict XVI has made it clear he intends to uphold the traditional Catholic teaching on artificial contraception. The Vatican has long opposed the use of condoms and other forms of birth control and encourages sexual abstinence to fight the spread of the disease.

About a dozen Facebook groups have sprang up, mostly from European countries, criticizing the pontiff.

"The clergy aren't supposed to have sex at all, but they are free to tell people how to conduct themselves? That's like a girl who wears no make-up as the CEO of CoverGirl," one member posted on the page, "Condoms for Pope Benedict XVI."

"It frightens me that a man who has devoted his life to moral guidance ... and is undeniably a learned, intelligent man can be at the same time so narrow-minded, bigoted and irresponsible," posted another person on a different page.

The online campaign added another voice to a deluge of criticism, which includes the governments of France, Germany and Belgium. Aid agencies and other health organizations have also chimed in.

The Lancet, a British medical journal, urged the pope Saturday to issue a retraction for themore "outrageous and wildly inaccurate" statement to journalists aboard his plane.

"When any influential person, be it a religious or political leader, makes a false scientific statement that could be devastating to the health of millions of people, they should retract or correct the public record," The Lancet said in an editorial.

"Anything less from Pope Benedict would be an immense disservice to the public and health advocates, including many thousands of Catholics, who work tirelessly to try and prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS worldwide."

Some in the Catholic Church have rallied to the pontiff's support.

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, head of the Italian Bishops Conference, told Times Online in Britain that Benedict was simply pointing out that condoms "had not solved and could not solve the AIDS problem."

Despite the controversy, the pope's pilgrimage spurred excitement in Africa. An estimated 1 million people turned out to hear him preach a Mass in Angola on Sunday, the last major event of his trip. He spoke of the need for reconciliation in the country, which has endured a brutal civil war.

"Look to the future with hope, trust in God's promises and live in his truth. In this way you will build something that will stand and endure," he said.

Related Articles:

Singapore, China Shine in Global IT Index

The latest World Economic Forum rankings list Singapore as Asia's most "networked" economy. China is No. 46, up from 57th last year

BusinessWeek, By Vivian Yeo, Friday 27 March 2009

Singapore—the island-state is the most ICT-savvy economy in Asia, according to a new report released today.

The country was ranked No. 4 on the Networked-Readiness Index (NRI) of the Global Information Technology Report 2008-2009, the eighth produced by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in partnership with business school Insead. Last year, Singapore was fifth worldwide.

The index examines ICT effectiveness of economies based on three dimensions: business, regulatory and infrastructure environment for ICT; readiness of individuals, businesses and governments to benefit from ICT; and their actual usage of the latest technologies available. Through a combination of public data and executive perception surveys, a record 134 economies were reviewed this year.

In a repeat of last year, Denmark and Sweden were ranked first and second, respectively in the new index. The United States climbed up one spot to No. 3, while Switzerland fell two notches to fifth. Other Nordic countries—Finland, Iceland and Norway—also made it to the top 10, while the Netherlands and Canada took the last two spots.


In the case of Singapore, the strong focus on ICT, education and public-private partnership transformed the resource-lacking economy into a high-tech powerhouse within just a few decades, Irene Mia, senior economist and director at the World Economic Forum and co-editor of the Cisco-sponsored report, said in a briefing via Cisco's TelePresence technology.

"Singapore's prowess in the ICT readiness has much to do with its excellent market and regulatory environment, conducive to innovation and ICT advances, as well with the prominent and consistent role played by the government in setting a vision for ICT penetration and innovation-based development," she pointed out. "This is confirmed by the first and second positions Singapore got for the government readiness and usage, respectively.

Elsewhere across the region, several economies ascended the index. China made the most significant move up the index, occupying No. 46 compared to last year's No. 57.

At the same time, the world's most populous nation overtook India for the first time to lead the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) economies, said Mia. China, she told ZDNet Asia, improved "very much" over the last year in terms of ICT readiness of its stakeholders. The Chinese government, for instance, has increased its focus on ICT, which has also been worked into political agendas. "This translates into better services and efficiency," she said.

On the other hand, the country also faced some weaknesses, in terms of a low penetration rate for broadband connectivity, given its mass, she noted. There appears also to be improvement needed on the regulatory front, such as protection of intellectual property, as well as in its business environment in terms of availability of venture capital.

Nonetheless, it was clear that "China is a country that has been progressing consistently" on the index, said Mia.

Shaun Rein, managing director of China Market Research, said in an e-mail that in 2008, the number of Internet users in urban areas of China grew 35.6 percent over 2007, while the online population in rural areas increased 60.8 percent year-on-year to reach 84.6 million. Last year, the country's total Internet population hit 298 million.

"This trend is likely to continue as the government is investing to ensure that broadband coverage is increasingly comprehensive outside of major cities," Rein noted, adding that the authorities are likely to focus on the western and central regions where broadband penetration is currently significantly lower.

Taiwan and Japan, both in the top 20, also climbed up several notches. Vietnam, ranked No. 73 last year, rose by three places to No. 70.

However, a number of Asian economies also slid in this year's rankings. Cambodia was the worst hit at No. 126, down 11 places from No. 115 in the last edition. Indonesia and Thailand both fell seven spots to No. 83 and No. 47, respectively.

According to WEF's Mia, Indonesia seemed to lag as it did not progress as much as other countries in terms of absolute scores, while Thailand's recent political turmoil may have affected business sentiment.

India dropped four notches to No. 54, while the Philippines fell by the same margin to No. 85. Malaysia and Korea dropped two positions each, to No. 28 and No. 11, respectively.

Brunei made its entry into the index at No. 63.

Provided by ZDNet Asia—Where Technology Means Business

Related Article:

The Networked Readiness Index 2008–2009 rankings (Pdf)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Earth Hour Participants to Turn Off PCs, Smartphones, By Nathan Eddy, 2009-03-27

This year's Earth Hour event is expected to draw participants from all seven continents, who will turn off their smartphones, PCs and lights for an hour on Saturday. Major technology companies such as RIM, maker of the BlackBerry, are participating, but an Earth Hour spokesman wants businesses of any size to know they can participate.

At 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, people from all corners of the world will turn off their lights for one hour - Earth Hour, as 8:30 p.m. rolls across the world to their time zones.

This year, the event’s organizers, the Word Wildlife Fund has set a goal of 1 billion participants. Major landmarks around the world, including the Empire State Building, the Acropolis and the Eiffel Tower will go dark for an hour. While your business may not have so prominent a location, the event’s organizers are encouraging everyone to participate—as are major IT companies around the world.

BlackBerry manufacturer Research in Motion launched a special Website, accessible only through certain BlackBerry devices, supporting Earth Hour. Owners of the BlackBerry Bold, Storm, Curve, Curve 8900, 8800 and Pearl smartphones will be able to access the site, which allows users to access the latest news and videos about Earth Hour, which is being celebrated in 81 countries across the globe.

BlackBerry owners can also access Earth Hour profiles on YouTube and social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. Electronics manufacturer Belkin International released a statement reminding businesses and individuals that turning off all your lights doesn’t mean you’re saving all the electricity you could be.

“Whether the lights are on or off, standby power is using more electricity than you realize and contributing to your personal greenhouse gas emissions,” the statement reads. “Standby power, also called vampire power, phantom load or leaking electricity, refers to the electric power consumed by appliances while turned off but still plugged into a power outlet.”

Belkin recommends unplugging the unused devices or switch off devices that are often used together and replacing battery-powered devices, such as cordless phones or rechargeable razors, with corded alternatives. This not only cuts down on the standby power required to charge the battery, but also reduces energy lost in battery charging and discharging inefficiencies.

In Doha, Qatar, HSBC said it would request all office employees to switch off all non-essential electrical appliances such as lights, televisions and computers for the hour. In South Africa, Vodacom, the country’s largest cellular network, will switch off its electronic billboards around Johannesburg and turn off the lights at fifteen of Vodacom’s offices throughout the country.

Suntech Power Holdings, the world’s largest photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturer, announced that it would turn off lights of its solar headquarters in Wuxi, China, and 500 employees, customers, partners and government officials would hold an event themed "What do we do if the Earth has no electricity?" in front of the company headquarters.

Closer to home, Con Edison, one of the largest energy companies in the United States, is also teaming up with the WWF to encourage New York City residents to power down for an hour on Saturday, and is taking the lead by announcing plans to dim the lights on the company’s headquarters in Manhattan. Earth Hour began in Sydney in 2007, when 2.2 million homes and businesses switched off their lights for one hour.

WWF spokesman Dan Forman wants small businesses to know they can participate as well, encouraging business owners to visit the Earth Hour Website and register their “Vote for Earth.” The companies will then be listed on the site as active participants. “Earth Hour is a movement anyone can participate in—from large corporations to small businesses,” he said. “Without a doubt there are small businesses from Alaska to the Florida Keys who are participating in Earth Hour.”

Forman says turning off decorative lighting, no matter how big or small, is something many small businesses can do to participate. Powering down non-essential electrical components will also help, though the symbolic nature of the event is best expressed by the absence of light more than the absence of power. “We don’t want businesses to turn all their lights off,” he explains. “We want your business to thrive during the hour, but do what you can as a symbolic gesture.”

Other ways small business owners can help the event is by spreading the word to employees and customers. “Put signs up in your windows, get the word out,” he says. “Your employees respect the fact that their employers care about the environment." Forman said “mom and pop” movie theatres are even running Earth Hour PSAs in their venues. “This is a great event for small businesses,” he says.

Related Article:

The Thinker: Nyepi, The Ultimate Earth Hour Offering

The Permaculture Master Plan - Permaculture Centres Worldwide

Tourism Industry Missing the Big Attraction

The Jakarta Globe, Nanda Ivens, March 26, 2009

I can only hope I did not sound like I was from another planet when I spoke about the urgent need to listen to “word of mouth” and “engage social media” with top executives and entrepreneurs from the tourism industry at a seminar in Jakarta earlier this month.

To build awareness among the seminar participants about the power of Internet-based social media, I had to accept the fact that only a small number of participants raised their hands when asked whether they had corporate Web sites and almost none updated them regularly.

Have I been in Europe so long that I have lost touch with the developments of my own people? I doubt it. Just the other day there was an encouraging picture in a local paper of residents in a village near the West Nusa Tenggara provincial capital surfing the Internet through a program called “Digital Village.”

Consider these statistics: As of May 2008, there were 25 million Internet users in Indonesia, or 10 percent of the population. Friendster, a popular online social networking site, has eight million users in Indonesia, and WordPress and BlogSpot, free Internet blogsites, have 300,000 and 247,000 members from Indonesia. Bahasa Indonesia is the third most-used language on after English and Spanish, and Facebook, another Internet social media site, grew 645 percent in Indonesia in 2008. There are currently 831,000 Indonesians on Facebook. These are really amazing statistics for a country where about 15 percent of the population still survives on less than $1 a day.

The conclusion is clear: While most business executives in the tourism sector don’t seem convinced about the power of the Internet, the reality is that Indonesians have embraced it in full force. The 2009 Edelman Trust Barometer released this month in Jakarta makes it very clear that the future of communications in this country belongs to Internet-based social media.

According to the findings, 40 percent of young, informed respondents aged 25-34 said they consider information about a company on Internet search engines, particularly Google, extremely or very credible.

This is significantly higher than the 26 percent of respondents from the same age group who find information in newspaper articles extremely or very credible. For respondents aged 35-64, the information in Google has the same level of trustworthiness as articles in newspapers. Strong evidence that Indonesians are moving away from traditional media and looking for information on Internet-based sites.

Is the tourism industry aware of all the activity on social media? Or are we still limiting our interaction with customers to single-channel communications through advertising, when most of the informed public has migrated to the Internet for credible sources of information?

The current global financial and economic crisis may force the local tourism industry to shift its target from a foreign-arrival-oriented approach to one of cultivating and nurturing domestic tourist potential. Domestic tourism potential is huge, and local travelers share their experiences and seek information from social groups or their peers through social media. Pictures of tourist spots are shared on Facebook, and there is a significant amount of online chatter about tourist-related topics.

The Internet allows companies to be creative in the way they approach potential customers. Through interactive social media activities, companies are better able to focus potential customers on more detailed content about tourism hot spots, unique facets of the culture and rare cultural activities. This is all packaged in content-rich products that can easily be disseminated and linked to multiple digital platforms from social media to mobile. Travelers search the Internet for ideas and inspiration, and when they do they expect to get concise information on the destination of their choice, before interaction and engagement begins. Comments, feedback and customer ratings on the Internet are important to the traveler’s decision-making process. More importantly, a multichannel approach is necessary to enable, as well as empower, potential customers to make contact and ask questions without feeling intimidated.

Let’s start with the Web site. The Web site for a travel and tourism establishment is the sales agent on the Internet and the first point of entry for many potential tourists. The Web site needs to be easy to find on Google or Yahoo searches and present a professional and engaging image to build credibility with customers. This can be enhanced by linking to content sharing, social networks, travel advisory or micro-blogging sites; developing active blogs; and forging partnerships with travel aggregators and online travel agents overseas.

One of the most attractive aspects of Internet-based outreach for both companies and their audiences is the efficiency with which properly developed online communications can work. Not only is communicating online cost effective, a clear advantage given the current financial climate, but it is also accountable and measurable. It is accountable because it is measurable. The measurement metrics are not just about how many people see, click or engage, but include the sphere of influence of these visitors. It is cost effective because an effective digital campaign does not require more than 25 percent of a company’s overall marketing communications budget, but can reach a highly targeted audience with higher potential to purchase. This has become a strong driver in shifting tourism-related companies to online marketing on Internet portals and search engines.

Going beyond domestic tourism, we often wonder why more tourists visit Singapore and Hong Kong than our beautiful country. In 2008, a mere 6.23 million foreign tourists visited Indonesia, compared to the 10.1 million and 29.5 million tourists in Singapore and Hong Kong in the same year.

The fact is that these countries have managed to utilize the power of the Internet very effectively. Living outside Indonesia, it was much easier for me to find information online about traveling in these countries than for Indonesia. We have often used issues like political instability as the reason for our lackluster tourism, but we have a growing reputation for stability today and this excuse no longer holds water.

The future of tourism is in the Internet, and it is high time that we start by using this channel to market ourselves domestically first, then use that expertise to market ourselves abroad.

The writer is director of the digital division at IndoPacific Edelman.

Related Article:

RI's online ad market to go bigger despite crisis: Yahoo

Saying No To A Bonus: Google's Kordestani Declines His Award

Forbes, Joseph Tartakoff , 03.25.09, 08:08 PM EDT

Wall Street may now be infamous for wealthy execs clinging to their bonuses even in the midst of a downturn, but that’s not always the way it plays out in big tech.

Google (nasdaq: GOOG - news - people ) sales chief Omid Kordestani, for example, turned down the $1.4 million bonus he was awarded in March. From the company’s proxy statement: “Omid Kordestani declined his 2008 bonus payment ... Omid also declined to receive any equity awards in 2009.”

True, every other senior Google exec kept his 2008 bonus. And Kordestani is worth $1.4 billion, according to Forbes, so he certainly doesn’t need the extra cash.

Alexander Cwirko-Godycki, a research manager at Equilar Inc., a Redwood Shores, Calif., company that specializes in executive compensation, said an increasing number of executives at big tech companies were forgoing bonuses as the economy weakens, even when those executives were achieving some of their performance goals.

A recent Equilar report found that technology companies accounted for the largest chunk—38%—of the 133 companies that have cut the base salaries of executives since June. Financial firms made up a comparatively small 12 %.

At Google, base salaries of top executives stayed flat last year and bonuses for top executives fell only slightly. Former chief financial officer George Reyes, senior vice-president for product management Jonathan Rosenberg, senior vice-president for engineering and research Alan Eustace and chief legal officer David Drummond each made $450,000 in base pay, the same as in 2007. Their base wages were all bumped up from $250,000 to $450,000 that year. Google didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

As usual, the Google triumvirate of Eric Schmidt, Larry Page and Sergey Brin (who are all paid $1 a year) declined to participate in the company’s executive bonus plan in 2008, according to the proxy statement, filed Tuesday.

Brin and Page are worth $12 billion, while Schmidt is worth $4.4 billion.

Related Articles:

Google still hiring, even after layoffs

Google to Cut About 200 Jobs in Sales and Marketing

Thursday, March 26, 2009

IBM Jumps on the High-Speed Rail to China

Fastcompany, BY Ariel Schwartz, Wed Mar 25, 2009 at 1:50 PM

Oil prices may not be rising quite as dramatically as they were a year ago, but mass transportation--and more specifically, high-speed rail--is still growing in scope and importance. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), three quarters of G-20 countries (including France, China, Germany, Indonesia, and Italy) plan to increase funding for transportation infrastructure. And since the cornerstone of any successful transportation network is reliable computer technology, it's not surprising to hear that IBM is jumping on the high-speed rail train.

The computer giant announced plans today for high-speed rail projects in China, Taiwan, and the Netherlands. IBM will be responsible for managing maintenance, logistics, and IT needs in the China and Taiwan projects, while the Netherlands will rely on the company for resource utilization. It's not a small job.

In the Netherlands, IBM will oversee nearly 5,000 trains passing through a network of 279 stations. The Guangzhou Metro Corporation (GZ Metro) transports 2 million passengers per day across 60 stations, and is investing $1.76 billion this year to expand the network.

All of this is great news for denizens of these three countries, but what about those of us in the United States? When do we get our fancy high-speed rail lines? Relatively soon, if the U.S. government's $8 billion in rail-line stimulus funds goes ahead as planned. And when we do get our high-speed rail, IBM is likely to be a part of it. The company, which manages Amtrak's reservation system, is already angling for a chunk of the stimulus money. In the end, IBM might be known more for its ubiquitous transportation software than its consumer technology.

Related Article:

IBM to Cut 5000 Jobs; DC Area Largely Not Affected

Questions pour in for Obama's online town hall meeting

By Stephanie Chen, CNN

(CNN) -- During the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt reassured anxious Americans through his famous fireside chats over the radio.

Americans can submit questions on for President Obama to answer live online Thursday.

Now, in the 21st century, President Obama has found his own fireside equivalent, launching an online town hall meeting Thursday where he will answer citizens' questions about the troubled economy and his efforts to fix it.

Americans can submit questions on
for President Obama to answer live online Thursday.

"We're going to try something a little different. We are going to take advantage of the Internet to bring all of you to the White House to talk about the economy," he says in an introductory video on the site.

As of late Wednesday afternoon, more than 30,000 people had submitted more than 32,000 questions on the official administration Web site,

Americans may submit questions, and vote on others' queries, until 9:30 a.m. ET Thursday. Obama has promised to answer the most popular questions through a live video stream on beginning Thursday at 11:30 a.m. ET.

The site had recorded more than 1 million votes as of late Wednesday afternoon.

The White House's Web site asks people to agree to post "only questions related to the economy (including topics essential to long-term economic growth, such as education, fiscal responsibility, green jobs and energy, health care reform, and home ownership)."

A quick review of questions revealed deep concerns among Americans trying to make ends meet.

"What is the government doing to make higher education more affordable for lower and middle class families?" asked James of Bloomington, Indiana, who described himself as a full-time student who also works full time, "only to break even at the end of the month."

"Why do I have to be to the point of foreclosure to get any help with my mortgage? Why aren't you helping the people who want to prevent foreclosure?" asked another questioner from Providence, Rhode Island.

Observers say Obama, who revolutionized the use of technology as a political tool during his campaign, will be the first president to address questions from the public live on the Internet. By allowing people to submit any question they want and answering them live on the Web for the entire world to see, the administration hopes to create a more transparent style of governing that will help win public support.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg," said Don Tapscott, author of "Growing Up Digital," a book exploring the generation that has grown up on the Web. "It turns out that the Internet is a new medium of human communication that not only helps you get elected, it changes the way you govern."

Along the presidential campaign trail, Obama was praised for his innovative use of social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook to announce events, rally volunteers and raise money.

Nine years ago, when George W. Bush ran for president, Internet media tools such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube didn't exist.

Bush and former President Bill Clinton engaged in online chats with citizens, but neither relied on the Internet as a platform for reaching the American public as Obama does, said Andrew Rasiej, co-founder of the Personal Democracy Forum and the techPresident blog.

"It's changing the relationship between the president and the country," Rasiej says. "It's building on a 21st-century information age platform. We want to make sure our president isn't stuck in a bubble."

Some observers wondered whether Obama's creative social media initiatives, dubbed Obama 2.0, would continue once he entered office. But Thursday's online meeting -- the first of many, according to the government -- reaffirms his commitment to engaging with Americans through technology, Rasiej said.

While Obama's staffers have stopped posting updates on social networking sites since the election, they are sill reaching constituents through, which is more interactive than previous administrations' Web sites.

Launching an online town hall meeting will allow more effective communication with citizens, said Ellen Miller, executive director at the Sunlight Foundation, a group that advocates government transparency. Americans can submit their own questions and receive direct responses without questions or answers being filtered by the media, she said.

"There might be a question asked that wouldn't have been asked at a press conference," she said. "It's a significant step forward for new-media communications."

Adam Ostrow, editor of, a guide to social media, said the online town hall-style meeting will encourage Americans to get involved beyond the election.

"It gives people a sense of participation and what is going on and to be able to shape some of the decision that will be made," he said.

Michael Dell: IT-Driven Innovation a Key to Economic Recovery

Strategic, Focused Investment in IT Carries Additional ‘Green’ Benefit
High-Performing, Energy-Efficient Technology Can Help Define Post-Recession Leaders, Thursday March 26, 2009, 1:30 am EDT

BEIJING--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Strategic use of information technology streamlines businesses and governments and makes them more effective, especially in the midst of economic weakness, Dell Chairman and CEO Michael Dell told members of the international news media here today. Mr. Dell was in Japan and is visiting China this week, meeting with customers, business leaders and government officials.

“Leaders will continue to tap into IT for innovation and efficiency, and doing so now will help organizations set themselves apart as the global economy inevitably improves,” said Mr. Dell. “We’ve seen that many times before, including in the 1980s and following softness in 2001.”

IT a Common Thread for Winning

Mr. Dell said many of the most successful organizations will share three approaches:

  • Increasingly standardizing IT in part by applying virtualization, a highly efficient technology that allows one server to do the work of many.

  • Employing IT to unlock innovation, freeing resources that in the past have been consumed by maintaining technology.

“Forward-looking businesses are using IT to target unnecessary cost and complexity,” said Mr. Dell. Unlocking time, money, and human resources, he said, enables organizations to create new and higher levels of customer value; and,

  • Creating a competitive advantage even as their organizations become greener. Dell, for example, is currently saving approximately $3 million annually and avoiding 20,000 tons of carbon dioxide through facility improvements and a global power-management initiative that turns computers off when not in use.

Driving Innovation

  • Dell is helping small and medium businesses, large enterprises and public-sector organizations worldwide achieve improved performance and increased efficiency. Mr. Dell today made reference to a breakthrough portfolio of next-generation enterprise products and services that enable businesses to be more efficient and maximize people, time and money.

  • The company’s new 11th Generation PowerEdge servers and Dell Precision workstations give customers outstanding performance, world-class management capabilities and thermals that can help them make the most of their IT infrastructure. The new PowerEdge portfolio offers optimal virtualization, system management and usability capabilities while providing exemplary power and thermals for overall energy efficiency.

  • Last week, Dell introduced the world’s thinnest laptop, the first product from the new Adamo by Dell brand. Adamo is the flagship in a range of beneficially disruptive computer systems that combine leading design aesthetics, personalization and technologies.

  • By listening to customers, Dell is also setting the standard for environmentally-responsible IT. Since 2005, Dell has enabled customers using Dell OptiPlex desktop systems to save an estimated $3 billion in energy costs and avoid more than 32 million tons of carbon dioxide through power management and energy-efficient features. Last September, Dell announced that all of its new notebooks would come with energy-efficient, mercury-free LED displays within 12 months.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Teen hacker turns corporate cyber-crime consultant

The Jakarta Post, The Associated Press, Wellington, New Zealand | Wed, 03/25/2009 7:37 PM

A New Zealand teenager who helped a crime gang hack into more than 1 million computers worldwide and skim millions of dollars from bank accounts has a new job as a security consultant for a telecom company.

Owen Thor Walker has the skills that can help senior executives and customers understand the security threats to their computer networks, TelstraClear spokesman Chris Mirams told National Radio on Wednesday.

Walker pleaded guilty last July - when he was 18 - to a raft of charges connected to his work for an international network that the FBI estimated infiltrated 1.3 million computers and skimmed bank accounts or damaged computer systems to the tune of more than $20 million.

The charges against Walker - who used the online name "AKILL" and wrote so-called botnet infiltration programs for the crime network - were dismissed and he was released without a criminal record after paying a fine and forfeiting cash paid by the criminal group for his expertise.

Walker already has delivered a series of seminars for TelstraClear, advised senior security and management staff at the company and has taken part in an advertising campaign, Mirams said.

"It was really just ... to let them know the type of cyber threats that are out there," Mirams said, adding that Walker also discussed how to defend against those threats.

Some hackers send mass e-mails to a target corporate or government computer system to overload it and crash the system. Others assume control of thousands of computers and amass them in centrally controlled clusters known as botnets.

The hackers can then use the computers to steal credit card information, manipulate stock trades and crash industry computer systems.

Monday, March 23, 2009

RI's online ad market to go bigger despite crisis: Yahoo

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Mon, 03/23/2009 1:22 PM

The deepening global financial crisis may provide an opportunity for the online advertising industry in Indonesia to expand, Yahoo says.

The US giant Internet service provider said that not only would promotions become more targeted and thus relatively more efficient, but online ad performance can also be measured in real-time

"Based on a study at the end of last year, the online advertising market in Indonesia was estimated to worth more than US$26 million and we see that tracking towards almost $42 million in 2010," Yahoo's senior director for business development in Southeast Asia Pontus Sonnerstedt said last week.

"We are very aware of the economic situation, which puts advertisers in a tough position in terms of the ad budget," Sonnerstedt said. "That is why it is very important that every rupiah is spent on reaching the target audiences."

According to Sonnerstedt, there are many benefits that online can offer to advertisers in times of tight budgeting during the crisis such as real-time measurability and accountability.

"For example, if you run a campaign today, you can actually measure the clicks and response rate of your campaign in real time. If you don't see results, you can always change your campaign immediately," he said.

"By doing that you can optimize your campaign in real time. In any other media it would be difficult and costly and you can't measure the campaign performance in real time."

Sonnerstedt also said another benefit online advertising could offer was much more accurate targeting of prospects and audiences.

"In the digital space, there are many unique ways that you can do targeting such as location, time and age," he said.

Despite the hefty target growth of around 61 percent for the next two years, spending on online advertisements is still relatively small compared to promotions in other media.

Data from the Indonesian Association of Advertising Agencies (PPPI) and Nielsen media research revealed that advertisers spent between Rp 42 trillion (US$3.6 billion) and Rp 47 trillion last year.

The figure was projected to increase by another Rp 5 trillion this year, spent 60 percent on television advertising and 30 percent on daily newspapers.

Yahoo's survey, done with Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS), based on about 2,000 individuals in eight Indonesian cities shows only 3 percent of the country's internet users often purchase products online.

However, Sonnerstedt believes that online advertisements will still be an interesting investment for advertisers. "eCommerce, as we saw here is quite limited. But you don't advertise to only sell online, you can also advertise to sell offline as well," Sonnerstedt said.

Sonnerstedt said the key for advertisers to reach their target is to combine online and offline media.

"So far, we have seen that the effect of using online and offline advertising has been very encouraging," he said.

The survey also reveals that internet usage is much higher amongst the young segment with over 64 percent of usage by individuals between the age of 15 and 19.

"You can see a very youthful segment of internet users. That means, internet is the proper media if you want to reach the young market," TNS deputy managing director Suresh Subramanian said. (hdt)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Things That CIOs Should Know Keep Their CEOs Awake Nights

By Timothy Prickett Morgan, ITJungle, March 23, 2009

This year is a bit of a mental and emotional challenge as well as being an economic one. And the whiz kids at Gartner make a habit and a business out of trying to say something intelligent about the goings-on in IT Land to help CIOs cope with conditions and their bosses, the CEOs, presidents, or owners.

We are all in a bit of a state of shock absorbing the changes to the economy, our businesses, and our lives. But you have to shake it off and start planning for the future, all the same, says Gartner, which released a report called CEO Concerns 2009: Dealing with the Downturn last week. (You can view that report at this link.)

"Today's CEO concerns provide an advanced look at what will become CIO priorities in 6 to 18 months," explains Jorge Lopez, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "We've identified these conclusions based on more than a dozen sources of CEO insights, our own analysis of business and economic trends, and changes in the IT landscape."

So without further ado, here are the seven things that are apparently keeping your CEO up at night, in order of importance:

  1. Restructuring: This is the real problem caused by economic instability. Layoffs of employees and shutdowns of business units, mergers and acquisitions, and rejiggering of entire industries is happening out there and very likely at your company, too. "As the restructuring plan unfolds, CIOs must be prepared to clear the table of current plans and start again, deliver significant cost reduction, deliver significant headcount reduction, cancel some major projects no longer aligned with survival and ensure that all outsourcing partners are viable," says Gartner in the report. "At the same time, they will need to deal with unexpected acquisitions and divestitures, manage higher risk taking on projects, work with lower procedural obstacles and stronger CIO powers, and build contingency plans for significant suppliers."

  2. Can't Write Off Fast Enough: CIOs have to be ready to jump at a moment's notice and help in any way when the CEO wants to start paring down. And watch out for talent raids on your organization even if you preserve key IT employees after layoffs.

  3. Loss of Business and Governmental Trust: The lack of transparency and regulation in the economy has been exposed, and people are not looking too kindly at businesses and governments. A lot of trust has been lost, maybe even more trust has been lost than money, if you can believe it. And unlike money, you can't borrow trust. (Gartner didn't say that--I did.)

  4. Globalization Instability: Supply chains and manufacturing operations are now global, just like sales channels have been for many years. When one part of the world goes haywire, it can have far-reaching effects.

  5. New Major Regulation Coming: After decades of deregulation, expect a backlash. New regs from local, state, and national governments means changes to IT operations and business processes. And that means headaches akin to Sarbanes-Oxley. Brace yourself.

  6. Green Is Not Going Away: Going green with IT operations was all the rage in the IT press right up to about August 2008, when the economy went south and cutting costs--a lot more than you can do by saving energy in the typical data center--came to the front burner. But Green IT is still on the back burner, waiting for its turn to be a priority again. Go green where you can, when you can. Save that money.

That's Gartner's take on what CEOs are worried about as it related to IT. I think CEOs are not all that complex, and I think some of these issues are overblown by Gartner. I think CEOs are only worried about two things: staying in business now and laying the groundwork to position themselves to beat the competition when--and if--the economy returns to something akin to normal. Staying in business now usually means cutting costs and preserving as much revenue and profits as possible. Anything a CIO can do to cut costs is needed right now, no matter what pet projects might be on the table.