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How far does the internet go? April 17, 2007

Posted by Abby in innovation, Internet, Technology.
6 comments

It’s amazing what you can find on the internet. It’s only been 1 day since the Virginia Tech tragedy, and already there are all kinds of things that have been published about the student. His assignments for a Creative Writing class, and scripts have all been made public online. There is an audience for it too, everyone seems to be hungry to find out what his motivations were.

If we simply looked back, perhaps 5 years, none of this would be available. Online documents/readings/files of another student. The curiosity of the public, and how much they want to know is slowly affecting the design and abilities of the internet.

On a separate note, in my ‘Topics in Gender Studies’ class, we were discussing porn. Our professor mentioned that it is the porn industry and it’s technicians that are the driving force creating new technologies for the web. This is an example of how a market drives what technologies need to be created, and how technicians might be inspired and given new ideas.

Update (4/18)
Here is a little section from a reading that I have for this English class, relating to the internet and developing technologies:

“The Internet and all sex trade, tourism, trafficking and pornography are experiencing unprecedented growth. Donna Hughes claims that “the Internet as a communications medium would exist without the sex industry, but the Internet industry would not be growing and expanding at its present rate without the sex industry” (2000:36). In 1998, it was estimated that 69 percent of the total Internet content sales were related to adult content (Hughes 2000). Jonathon Coopersmith reminds us that what is driving the transformation of the sex industry technology has been “the great capitalist engines of innovation and the quest for profits” (28). Internet pornography has become the highest growth, highest profit market ever known (Hughes; Coopersmith). “

– ‘E-Brides: The Mail-Order Bride Industry and the Internet’ by Julie Pehar

Twitter April 5, 2007

Posted by Bertan in blogs, Internet, Social Networking Sites.
2 comments

Twitter (Twitter.com) is a site which has close connections to our class. We all blog weekly for mgmt339, so I thought I’d talk about a new concept called “microblogging” or “moblogging”. I have checked out the site myself, and though I have questions about privacy, it seems like a pretty decent idea to keep in touch with your friends at all times. “Maybe you’re really busy. Maybe you don’t have much to say. Or maybe you’re just lazy. Not a problem.” is how the site defines it seld because the service allows you to broadcast text messages from your phone, your instanst messenger or the actual site, to their phones and accounts on twitter.com.

Twitter currently has 100,000 members, twice as many as 3 weeks ago. Even John Edwards is a member of twitter and uses it daily. The site became popular two weeks ago at a multimedia fare in Texas where the inventor of the multifunction blog was chosen to be the best designer blogs. Other information says that Twitter is still the most searched blog on search engines which I find a little hard to believe. The reason why Twitter has been on the rise is because they worked out a deal with myspace, and to all those who are addicted to Myspace (which I find ridiculous) can now bring myspace to their phones because messages from myspace is sent to their twitter account which is then sent to the member’s mobile phone.

This new blog site got me thinking why is everyone so interested in having their pictures online, always keeping in touch and meeting or “poking” new people online. Now don’t get me wrong, I have a facebook account too, but just what is it that makes it so popular you think? I will give my thoughts soon because I personally don’t know the answer right now either..

The Future of Books March 28, 2007

Posted by breichen in civil society, innovation, Internet, Knowledge economy, Retail, Technology.
4 comments

Employees of Google, the world’s largest web-search company, are scanning books into computers using secret methods at secret locations. Although Google has not released any official tallies, Daniel Clancy, the project’s top engineer, has given some clues as to what is actually going on. He has stated that Google has a contract with UC Berkeley requires them to digitize some 3,000 books a day for the university. Google also has contracts with 12 other universities and a number of independent publishers. Some conservative estimates are that Google will be digitizing books at a rate of 10 million per year. The total number of book titles said to exist is estimated at 65 million.

This is not the first project like this to exist. The Internet Archive is a non-profit organization created in 1996 by Brewster Kahle in the attempt to recreate a contemporary Library of Alexandria containing all public-domain texts and videos. Other organizations such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Yahoo! have all been scanning books but the scale to which Google is digitizing them is far greater than any of them.

As books go digital, new questions, both philosophical and commercial, arise. How, physically, will people read books in future? Will technology “unbind” books, as it has unbundled other media, such as music albums? Will reading habits change as a result? What happens when books are interlinked? And what is a book anyway?

The physical medium of books is unlikely to disappear in the digital age. Sony already sells an electronic book reader with about 12,000 titles available for download. Ron Hawkins, head of marketing for the Sony Reader, states that ““our mission is not to replace the print book.” You may be wondering then, who is going to be reading the millions of pages being digitized by Google and their competitors? The idea is that some people will read the books on a computer screen, some will use Google as a method for previewing books they are considering purchasing in paper form, and some will use the service to “look for specific snippets that interest them.”

Print media is already being diminished by digital replacements. Wikipedia for example, is a free online encyclopedia which is said to have severely reduced the sales of paper-bound alternatives. It is speculated that books which people would not ordinarily read all the way through or that require frequent updates will likely migrate to the digital medium. Other examples of print media being accessed in a digital format more and more frequently include dictionaries, cookbooks or recipes, telephone books/directories, etc.

It will be interesting to see how Google’s project turns out. I think it would be pretty amazing if you could get a digital copy of ANY book in the world just by searching Google Books. I don’t think, however, that paper-bound books are likely to disappear behind the shadow of the digital book.

Is Wikipedia a Reliable Source? March 25, 2007

Posted by Elaine in Internet.
98 comments

Wikipedia has become one of top websites visited even though it was created just six years ago. This online encyclopedia is educational and has viewpoints from various sources, but it may also contain inaccurate information. Their unique “edit” button allows any user to edit or add information to the page on any topic.

Wikipedia’s co-founder, Larry Sanger, did not expect this website to contain such erroneous data. He feels that people use Wikipedia, even with its inaccuracies, because there aren’t better similar sources online.

If there’s going to be a free encyclopedia, I’d like there to be a better free encyclopedia. It has bothered me that I helped to get a project started, Wikipedia, that people are misusing in this way, and yet the project itself has little chance of radically improving.

His discontent is motivating him to create a new online encyclopedia called Citizendium. It will be nonprofit and devoid of ads. It will also enable users to edit and add information. However, contributors will be expected to provide identification. Then, the web page will be given to experts to check for accuracy.

Do you use Wikipedia? Do you think the advantages (large amount of information from various viewpoints) outweigh the disadvantages (inaccurate information)? Would you consider Wikipedia to be a legitimate source for research? Would the new program, Citizendium be successful if created?

I believe that if we need information, we should have accurate information. I don’t trust people to edit/add their own knowledge on these “informative” websites unless they are licensed or expertise in the field with a degree, etc. I personally don’t use Wikipedia for my academic papers.

Google gets Sued March 23, 2007

Posted by wilson7 in Internet, media, Technology.
4 comments

I thought that it was ironic that we were talking about places where people watch movies or clips on the internet then I found this article. Viacom Inc. sued the video-sharing site YouTube and its corporate parent, Google Inc. seeking more than $1 billion in damages on claims of widespread copyright infringement. Viacom claims that YouTube has displayed nearly 160,000 unauthorized video clips from its cable networks, which also include Comedy Central, VH1 and Nickelodeon. This is the biggest confrontation between a major media company and the video sharing site owned by Google. The lawsuit came nearly six weeks after Viacom demanded that YouTube remove more than 100,000 unauthorized clips after several months of talks over licensing arrangements broke down. YouTube agreed at the time to comply and said it cooperates with all copyright holders to remove programming as soon as they’re notified, but since then, Viacom has identified more than 50,000 additional unauthorized clips. What do you think about the lawsuit? Do you think that Viacom has a legit reason to sue YouTube?

 

Copyright infringement (or copyright violation) is the unauthorized use of material protected by intellectual property rights law, specifically copyright law, in a manner that violates one of the original copyright owner’s exclusive rights, such as the right to reproduce or perform the copyrighted work, or to make derivative works that build upon it.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_infringement

 

Other media companies have also clashed with YouTube over copyrights, but some, including CBS Corp. and General Electric Co.’s NBC Universal, have reached deals with the video-sharing site to license their material. CBS Corp. “We will certainly not let this suit become a distraction to the continuing growth and strong performance of YouTube and its ability to attract more users, more traffic and build a stronger community,” Google said. Personally, I use YouTube everyday and I think that they have a great selection of material that an individual can watch on their. I wonder is it too late for YouTube to reach a deal now.  

Business Week’s 50 Top Performers March 20, 2007

Posted by Stephanie in Customer Service, Finances, innovation, Internet, Manufacturing, media, pharmaceutical, Public Interest, Retail, Technology, telecommunications.
2 comments

 

Business Week recently announced its yearly 50 Best Performers article in the March 26, 2007 edition of the magazine. When first looking even at the title of the article I was skeptical about how these companies were selected. It seems impossible to compare every company in every sector and rank their performance. I was pleased however to find their criteria for making the selections seems to be as fair as possible.

Financially they use specific criteria and what they look for in companies when making this list. The two principal financial figures Business Week uses in its analysis are average return on capital and sales growth over the past 36 months. They also consider the importance of examining sectors separately, as factors within one particular sector may inflate or deflate the appearance of a company’s performance unfairly.

Specific quotations I highlighted when reading the article regarding what BW determines as strategies for success:

“…rewriting the rules of engagement in their industries.”

“…a deep understanding of customers, a competitive advantage that has enabled them to sell more good and services than rivals.”

“…work hard to anticipate and head off potential problems well before outsiders are even aware of these looming challenges.”

Details about all 50 companies are included in the compilation of roughly 40 pages of discussion. One particular company I had not heard of before, ranked 31 is Stryker. The company manufactures artificial joints, such as knees, shoulders and hips. Part of their success is due to the baby boomer generation who show no signs of slowing down in retirement even as natural aging takes is toll. Anther interesting aspect of the company is its preparation in changing CEO’s. As the current CEO, John Brown is planning on retiring, COO, Stephen MacMillan has had roughly 4 years to shadow and plan the transition. Both the process the company has developed for the transition and the mere fact that the CEO is not being forced out of the company it seems are two incidents not seen as often anymore.

I am still hesitant to agree that companies covering the full spectrum of all organizations and industries can not only be compared but ranked in a hierarchy. Business Week does an excellent job at attempting this challenge but I feel that some subjective factors weigh into the decision, especially between close rankings, say between spot 8 and 9.

 

1 Google

2 Coach

3 Gilead Sciences

4 Nucor

5 Questar

6 Sunoco

7 Verizon Communications

8 Colgate-Palmolive

9 Goldman Sachs Group

10 Paccar

11 Amazon.com

12 Cognizant Technology Solutions

13 Avon Products

14 Varian Medical Systems

15 Bed Bath & Beyond

16 CB Richard Ellis Group

17 Robert Half International

18 Chicago Mercantile Exchange Holdings

19 Adobe Systems

20 EOG Resources

21 Sempra Energy

22 Sherwin-Williams

23 Lehman Brothers Holdings

24 Rockwell Collins

25 IMS Health

26 Allegheny Technologies

27 Oracle

28 Starbucks

29 Moody’s

30 PepsiCo

31 Stryker

32 Best Buy

33 United Parcel Service

34 Apple

35 T. Rowe Price Group

36 Valero Energy

37 Constellation Energy Group

38 TJX

39 Morgan Stanley

40 Paychex

41 Coventry Health Care

42 United States Steel

43 United Technologies

44 Hershey

45 Black & Decker

46 Synovus Financial

47 Linear Technology

48 AT&T

49 XTO Energy

50 PNC Financial Services Group


Alternative Workspaces March 20, 2007

Posted by Stacey Swift in environment, Internet, Technology, work-family balance, Workplaces.
2 comments

The invention of the Internet made working from the home a possibility for many employees. Technology such as telephones, laptops, fax machines, and even web-cams helped to make home offices a great alternative for many people. Whether its being home with the kids or working on a different coast, people no longer need to leave their home in order to conduct business. Recently, people are discovering the advantages of “alternative work-spaces” rather than isolating yourself in a home office. Darius Roberts is a 27 year old starting a company that prefers to work out of a coffee shop rather than his apartment. Those who work at home often complain of loneliness and lack of a social network. With access to wireless and coffee and the opportunity to meet other developers he finds the coffee shop to be a productive “office.” In addition to informal work spaces such as coffee shops, more structured communal work spaces have been introduced. Roberts found a flyer for the Hat Factory, a community office space that offers a communal kitchen, a desk, private meeting room, and a lounge for just $10 a day or $170 a month. He says this encourages more meaningful connections than just a coffee shop. It is a great place for entrepreneurs to share not only resources but also ideas and network.

co-working facilities help fill the social needs people have as well—either informally, by simply bringing together a group of people with similar interests, or formally, through networking events, holiday parties, and even softball leagues.

Last week in class we discussed social networks. The use of technology has broken down many social networks, eliminating a lot of the personal interaction that used to be necessary. Do you think working from home is a good option? People do have social needs, does working from home destroy these social networks, or is being able to conference call to an office a sufficient alternative? I think as long as a certain level of personal interaction is maintained working from home can be a great alternative, especially for those with children. Additionally, for those who feel lonely at home or are just starting up a business I think the use of community offices is a great way to create social networks. People who would otherwise be working in isolation can share their ideas with others in similar situations. How much social interaction does one need to work?

I lost my car keys! Nissan’s New Marketing Campaign March 20, 2007

Posted by K.C. in advertising, Auto's, Internet, media.
3 comments

           Recently, Nissan North America began a campaign to promote its next generation car technology, particularly the new push-button ignition system that will soon be available on most of its cars. Nissan is attempting to use a different style of advertising that will target only a specific niche of consumers. Unlike previous Nissan advertising, their campaign will not be mass marketed on traditional media outlets. Instead, Nissan will be loosing car keys at clubs, bars, and concerts in hopes of targeting a more “in” young crowd. The keys will be on a key chain that include actual metal car keys, a card that says,

“If found, please do not return,” because the Altima “has Intelligent Key with push-button ignition, and I no longer need these”  

      The key chain also includes a short paragraph about the Nissan Altima, and a gas card that can be redeemed online for entrance into a sweepstakes and $15 worth of gas. Nissan used the True Agency who use guerilla style marketing and have been used for previous Nissan advertising campaigns. While the keys are fake, Nissan hopes to target consumers who are less influenced by traditional marketing campaigns and attract traffic to its newly updated website.

           

        This type of guerilla marketing is more prevalent in large cities where advertising space both, on the street and on TV and the internet is scarce. Personally, I think guerilla type marketing is very powerful and if I were to find a set of these keys, I would visit Nissan’s web site.     

Can YouTube resist organizational change? March 19, 2007

Posted by Lady in brand, Consumers, Internet, monopoly, Organizational Environment, sustainable development.
3 comments

I recently read an article entitled, “YouTube struggles despite dominance” which discussed how YouTube is struggling to compete for the business of media companies even after the fact that they were recently acquired by Google.  YouTube’s inability to prevent unauthorized uploads has caused them to lose potential deals with prominent media companies such as Viacom. In addition, some media companies such as Viacom were not pleased with the way YouTube attempted to seal a deal because they felt as though YouTube did not display “respect for their content.”

Analysts have different opinions of what this problem would do for the future of YouTube. Some analysts believe that YouTube needs to make a change in order to build long-lasting relationships with some of these media companies. They believe that they need to adopt new technology to prevent unauthorized uploads and also establish trust with these media companies by protecting the media companies’ copyright terms. Without making some necessary changes, these analysts believe that YouTube will eventually lose out to its’ competitors such as iFilm and Revver. Other analysts believe that YouTube can easily obtain deals with media companies just because of their brand name. These analysts do not believe that competition is a big threat to YouTube.

I chose this article because it shows the existence of some forces of organizational change within YouTube. They may need to do some things differently in order to continue to compete for business with these media companies. What are the forces of change? Well the obvious one is competitive forces since media companies can seek service from competitors such as iFilm and Revver. Might there be social forces working against YouTube because of the increased demand for established trust with these media companies and demand for software that would protect the media company’s content? I believe so.

Does YouTube need to give in to these forces of changes? Or does YouTube have enough bargaining power to resist these forces? Might their strategy of being the most dominant and popular free video sharing website allow them to resist making the changes that these media companies prefer? I believe that this may be the case in the short run. However, I believe that it will not be sustainable once YouTube’s competitors become more popular and trusted by these media companies.

The future of magazines March 7, 2007

Posted by Charley S in Internet, Manufacturing, media.
6 comments

http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/content/mar2007/id20070307_564812.htm

This article in BusinessWeek describes the trend right now of how printable magazines are moving from print to online content.  The current way that magazines are distributed is extremely wasteful; over 50% of the magazines printed are not read at all and are either trashed or recycled immediately.  In addition, despite the launch of hundreds of new magazines each year the overall consumption of magazines in America remains constant.  New magazines are finding it harder and harder to remain profitable, even though many are extremely innovative and win all sorts of awards.  Many publishing companies are trying to milk the paper magazine while it still lasts by changing from a monthly to a weekly schedule, which quadruples the potential revenue from advertising.  Still, the trend to have all online magazines is unstoppable and eventually you will only be able to view magazines online.  To establish themselves to take advantage of this new trend, publishers will have to gain a new set of core competencies like internet website designers and graphic artists.  Publishers will have to combine these new people with the traditional magazine workers to make sure that they are profitable in the future.

Another topic that is touched on in this article is the issue of smaller magazines that may only have as few as 1,000 subscribers.  The author of this article contends that these smaller magazines will still remain in print because the people that read these types of magazines are very interested and committed to the magazine.  I desagree with the author because I think that costs will increase too much for small magazines to remain printed.  As the big publishers move to new online distribution methods, the old printers of magazines will either go out of business or will be forced to increase prices to remain in business.  Therefore, small magazines will not have the same number of printers to use  because in affect the large publishers were subsidizing the smaller magazines.