Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Hard to ignore the Facebook gaming growth

With Cityville reaching 100 million users in just 42 days (that’s 7x the number of people that live in the world’s largest city, Shanghai) it’s hard to ignore the continued Facebook gaming growth. Whether you love Facebook games or hate them they are fast becoming an integral part of the user experience. Social games-driven virtual goods market generated $7,300,000,000 in 2010 (12% of the entire video game industry) and, as mentioned back in December, games such as “Pet Society” sell more than 90 million virtual gifts a day!

So what can social commerce learn from social gaming’s success? Facebook games are built to have compelling incentives, rewards and challenges which drives their appeal. For social commerce to find it’s inner-CityVille, it’ll need to move beyond simply helping people connect and buy, the real opportunity for social success is when it is fun and rewarding.

Check out this infographic that shows 10 key stats for Facebook gaming.

via Digital Buzz

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mark Zuckerberg: TIME's 2010 Person of the Year

In less than 7 years, Zuckerberg wired together a twelfth of humanity into a single network, thereby creating a social entity almost twice as large as the U.S. If Facebook were a country it would be the 3rd largest, behind only China and India.
“It’s something that is transforming the way we live our lives every day,” Time Managing Editor Richard Stengel said as he announced the magazine’s 2010. “It’s social engineering, changing the way we relate to each other.”

But hey... Time Magazine, what's the point of asking for people votes then ???

Monday, November 08, 2010

RockMelt: A New Browser with a Social Network Bent

RockMelt, a startup backed by Netscape founder Marc Andreessen, will unveil its new browser Monday, entering a market already dominated by Microsoft's (MSFT) Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Google's (GOOG) fast-growing Chrome.
RockMelt claims that it is very different from its larger competition. It says that it "does more than just navigate Web pages. It makes it easy for you to do the things you do every single day on the Web: share and keep up with your friends, stay up-to-date on news and information, and search." The product is built on the Chromium open source platform, which was used to produce Chrome.
RockMelt is directly aimed at Web surfers who spend most of their time on social networks. "Your friends are important to you, so we built them in. Now you're able to chat, share that piano-playing-cat video everyone's going to love, or just see what your friends are up to, regardless of what site you're on. Your favorite sites are important to you, so we built them in too. Now you can access them from anywhere, without leaving the page you're on. And RockMelt will tell you when something new happens," the company's blog says.
RockMelt operates on the cloud, which means it can be instantly accessed from most computers and portable devices. The product has taken two years to build.

The question that the media and tech experts will ask over the next several days is whether RockMelt can make it in a market already controlled by three large browsers. Some may point to the success of Chrome, which has taken browser share quickly. But Chrome has the backing of Google's huge online presence which has helped drive downloads. RockMelt has no such distribution network. And, that is RockMelt's enemy. It has no large online company to aid it with visibility and adoption.

By Douglas Mcintyre

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

RIM Co-CEO Fires Back at Apple’s Jobs

Research In Motion Ltd. co-Chief Executive Officer Jim Balsillie fired back at Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs by saying customers are getting ‘tired’ of Apple’s controlling business strategy.

Balsillie was responding to criticisms Jobs made yesterday of RIM and Google Inc.’s Android software for mobile phones. Jobs said RIM would struggle to attract application developers to support its BlackBerry smartphone and that devices like its planned PlayBook tablet are “dead on arrival” because they’re too small to compete with Apple’s iPad.

“Many customers are getting tired of being told what to think by Apple,” Balsillie said in an e-mailed statement today. “For those of us who live outside Apple’s distortion field, we know that 7-inch tablets will actually be a big portion of the market.”

RIM, Apple and Google are battling for customers as computing moves to mobile devices from desktop machines. RIM, which has been making phones the longest, has seen its share of the global smartphone market slide to 18.2 percent in the second quarter from 19 percent a year earlier, according to Gartner Inc. The iPhone boosted its share to 14.2 from 13 percent and Android software surged to 17.2 percent from 1.8 percent.

The Apple CEO yesterday pointed to the fact that Apple sold 14.1 million iPhones last quarter to RIM’s 12.1 million BlackBerrys.

“I don’t see them catching up with us in the foreseeable future,” Jobs said.

Misleading Comparison?

Balsillie responded by pointing out that such a comparison of handset shipments is misleading as RIM’s quarter includes more of the summer months when consumers make fewer purchases. He also pointed out that Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM expects to sell 13.8 million to 14.4 million BlackBerrys this quarter.

Still Balsillie has to fend off inroads the iPhone and Android are making with RIM’s traditional corporate customer base. JPMorgan Chase & Co., for example, is testing whether to allow employees to use Apple and Android smartphones as an alternative to the BlackBerry for corporate e-mail, two people familiar with the situation said last month.

RIM, based in Waterloo, Ontario, is trying to differentiate its PlayBook tablet computer by emphasizing its ability to support Adobe Systems Inc.’s Flash technology used for video on the majority of websites. Apple’s iPad doesn’t support Flash.

“While Apple’s attempt to control the ecosystem and maintain a closed platform may be good for Apple, developers want more options and customers want to fully access the overwhelming majority of web sites that use Flash,” Balsillie said in today’s e-mail. “We know that Adobe Flash support actually matters to customers who want a real Web experience,” Balsillie said.

RIM fell $1.24 to $47.30 at 4 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The stock has dropped 30 percent this year while Apple has jumped 47 percent.

via Hugo Miller

Friday, September 10, 2010

Outsourcing: Building a new Bangalore

Africa is proving an attractive destination for business process outsourcing but it has a long way to go to provide end-to-end services for cost-conscious multinational corporations. Egypt, Ghana and Tunisia are climbing up global rankings of the best destination for offshoring services... In a sector where the bottom line is the priority, lowering costs is a key consideration for companies looking to set up their own ‘captive’ operations. Employing an operator in Morocco, for example, costs around one-third of the price it would in France.

Africa’s BPO sector is dominated by the call-centre market. In South Africa, where consultants Frost & Sullivan estimate that the BPO sector is now worth $1.6bn, 67% of the market share comes from contact centres. Now, some large multinationals that are already used to offshoring their French- and Spanish-speaking operations in North Africa (Dell, CapGemini, Atos Origin and Accenture all outsource information technology services to Morocco), are now looking to sub-Saharan Africa. Accenture has launched a pilot offshoring project in Kenya, where Virgin Mobile Canada is also outsourcing its database management with MFI Business, and Deloitte is considering setting up a 500-seat accounting and financing centre…
Although South Africa is marketing itself as a ‘tier-2’ country and can already offer advanced financial and accounting capabilities that have been well-groomed by the country’s domestic market, Spiwe Chireka, industry analyst at Frost & Sullivan, argues that South Africa remains focused on call centres: “It will catch up with them because the value from contact centres keeps going down.” South Africa is “actually underselling its capabilities in other areas”, says Chireka, mainly because of the push to create quick jobs in contact centres that can absorb the unemployed.
One way countries can hope to avoid being pigeonholed is to look closer to home and act as a ‘nearshore’ hub for the African region. The Mozambican IT infrastructure operations of Sasol, the South African chemical company, are managed by Business Connection (BCX), a South African company that delivers regional support for AngloGold Ashanti and BHP Billiton…
Ghana, a relatively new BPO destination, plans to add another 5,000 jobs to the existing 3,000-4,000 by 2012… Ghana’s short-term strategy is to target West African telecom and banking companies. Pradeep Mukherji, partner at Avasant, a US consultancy hired by the Ghanaian government, hopes that Ghana will “act as the gateway to Western Africa”, with an ability to offer francophone and anglophone services. After 18 months, its strategy will shift to targeting the UK and US, with a long-term plan to move into knowledge-process outsourcing, such as legal and graphic-design services…
To attract such business, governments understand that they must provide incentives for investors. They fall into three main categories: tax breaks, infrastructure and training. Morocco provides all three as part of a strategy to attract 100,000 full-time offshoring jobs by 2015 and to triple the sector’s contribution to gross domestic product to 18%. Incentives include a training subsidy of €5,800 per employee, a 20% ceiling on income tax for fully-payrolled employees and five years full exoneration from corporate taxes.
It is still early days for the African BPO industry, and there may be dramatic global realignments ahead. Futurist Patrick Dixon says that wage inflation in China and India plus an acute shortage of middle-managers are changing the economics of offshoring. He notes that companies are already leaving India for Pakistan, Bangladesh and Vietnam…
Platform-based services, particularly for the anglophone market, where one company manages an entire end-to-end process are still out of reach of most African markets. While it will be a challenge to stand out from other emerging market BPO destinations in Eastern Europe, South-east Asia and South America, Africa is well-placed to compete for business in this shifting global arena.

By Gemma Ware

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Platform helps jump-start new companies

Entrepreneurs can use HumanIPO to build a business by sharing their ideas in order to find partners, mentors, consultants, foreign sales agents and investors. Toward that end, leaders of startups can upload their business ideas in “stealth mode” on HumanIPO, including just basic details such as a startup teaser, pitch and attachments to explain the idea further. From there, they can invite feedback on their idea from contacts on LinkedIn and elsewhere. As on Facebook, visitors can post comments and suggestions on the startup idea's “wall”; they can also follow the concepts they like. Eventually, when the startup is ready for further visibility, the entrepreneurs involved can publish the teaser on the HumanIPO directory, opening it up to new potential partners and funding opportunities. In fact, HumanIPO can even help obtain funding from a number of different investors by setting up a separate investment company that will become a shareholder in the enterprise. Investors get charged a 5 percent commission on the invested amount, while entrepreneurs get charged EUR 1,000 per year for administration of the investment company and annual reports and for handling dividends.

By: John Greene

Friday, March 12, 2010

How LinkedIn will fire up your career

Facebook is for fun. Tweets have a short shelf life. If you're serious about managing your career, the only social site that really matters is LinkedIn. In today's job market an invitation to "join my professional network" has become more obligatory -- and more useful -- than swapping business cards and churning out résumés... The reason LinkedIn works so well for professional matchmaking is that most of its members already have jobs. A cadre of happily employed people use it to research clients before sales calls, ask their connections for advice, and read up on where former colleagues are landing gigs... In this environment, job seekers can do their networking without looking as if they're shopping themselves around. This population is more valuable to recruiters as well. While online job boards like Monster.com focus on showcasing active job hunters, very often the most talented and sought-after recruits are those currently employed. Headhunters have a name for people like these: passive candidates...

"You Google other people, so don't you think they're Googling you?" LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman asks. "Part of a networked world is that people will be looking you up, and when they do, you want to control what they find." Helping you present yourself well online is just the start. LinkedIn plans to go far beyond, making itself an active and indispensable tool for your career path. The secrets lie buried in the data: those 60 million profiles, including yours.

By Jessi Hempel

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Netscape Founder Backs New Browser

It has been 15 years since Marc Andreessen developed the Netscape Internet browser that introduced millions of people to the Internet. After its early success, Netscape was roundly defeated by Microsoft in the so-called browser wars of the 1990s that dominated the Web’s first chapter. Mr. Andreessen appears to want a rematch. Now a prominent Silicon Valley financier, Mr. Andreessen is backing a start-up called RockMelt, staffed with some of his close associates, that is building a new Internet browser, according to people with knowledge of his investment.
RockMelt was co-founded by Eric Vishria and Tim Howes, both former executives at Opsware, a company that Mr. Andreessen co-founded and then sold to Hewlett-Packard in 2007 for about $1.6 billion. Mr. Howes also worked at Netscape with Mr. Andreessen.
Little else is known about RockMelt, and Mr. Vishria was unwilling to discuss it. “We are at very early stages of development,” Mr. Vishria said. “Talking about it at this stage is not useful.”
After Microsoft defeated Netscape, it controlled more than 90 percent of the browser market. Interest in browsers among technology companies waned and innovation ground to a halt. But in the last 18 months, the Internet browser has become a battleground again with giants like Google, Apple and Microsoft fighting one another. The renewed interest in browsers is partly a result of the success of Mozilla, a nonprofit. The speedier, safer and more innovative Mozilla Firefox browser, introduced in 2004, has grabbed 23 percent of the market, and Microsoft’s share has dropped to 68 percent.
But the latest battle was also prompted by a giant shift in computing that is increasingly making the Web, not the PC, the place where people interact with complex software applications. Technology giants now see the browser as a control point to what users do online, and they want a say in shaping it. Mr. Andreessen’s backing is certain to make RockMelt the focus of intense attention.
For now, the company is keeping a lid on its plans. On the company’s Web site, the corporate name and the words “coming soon” are topped by a logo of the earth, with cracks exposing what seems to be molten lava from the planet’s core. A privacy policy on the site, which was removed after a reporter made inquiries to Mr. Vishria, indicates the browser is intended to be coupled somehow with Facebook. Mr. Andreessen serves as a director of Facebook. The policy says that a person could use a Facebook ID to log into RockMelt, suggesting that the browser may be tailored to display Facebook updates and other features as users browse the Web. Another browser, Flock, based on Firefox, already incorporates feeds from social networking sites.

By Miguel Helft

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Back in 1994...

Technology moves fast and we embrace it. We use all kinds of gadgets every day and take it for granted but often we forget how we used to do stuff before.

So I thought I should put this in writing before it goes out of my memory.

While I was living in Paris, I used to spend most of my nights browsing in Mosaic and downloading pictures over my dial-up modem at a bit rate of 14.400 kbps (actually that was on the box but it never reached that speed). Yes it was that fast ! I would find a pic, hit download and then go to bed hoping to get something appearing in my screen early morning.

I signed up on Compuserve and was one the happy few (at least I like to think it that way) to have an email address. Needless to point that at that time CompuServe was by far the top name in online services. The funny thing was that the email addresses by then were so long with all kinds of alphanumeric characters that it would almost not fit in a business card.
I remember I was so proud that I ordered business cards just to show my email address printed on it. My biggest problem was that I just couldn't use it : I surely had an email but didn't have any friends who had one !

One of my favorites : come back from school and find a voice message delivered in my laptop.
It was an Olivetti Philos 33, running a 386 Mhz, 4Mb RAM, a 9 (or was it 8) inch active matrix screen and a retractable mouse on the right side (left handed... sorry for you guys). It was connected to an external voice modem through the serial port, with BVRP software installed as an answering machine.

Monday, September 03, 2007

.ru or the greatness of a Nation

I just came back from a lovely trip in Russia.
This is my first day and first time visit to the land of Vladimir Ilitch Oulianov. The cab is driving us from Domodedovo Airport to our Hotel, my eyes are wide open trying to record every detail around me. The one thing that immediately catches my attention is the web addresses displayed in the different advertising hoardings on the streets of Moscow.
Every single Ad is complemented by an internet reference, and every single internet reference is a ".ru" website... for any product... any brand...
So I wonder, no dot com at all. How is it possible? Can a ".ru" be more attractive than a ".com"?
Then i suddenly realize, this is not like just any trip, this is my official visit to the ex great USSR. A Nation that used to live completely isolated from the rest of the World.
I contemplate the hundreds of ".ru" web addresses and I admire all these russians entrepreneurs who have the confidence to choose a ".ru" address for their business on the Net, as if they dont need to target anything more then the local consumers, as if they dont even mind looking outside Russia.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Ethiopia's digital dream

Ethiopia, one of Africa's poorest countries, is spending one tenth of its GDP every year on IT, the Guardian reports. Over the next five years, the government plans to invest more than $100m (£56m) in public sector computers. It aims to equip hundreds of government offices and schools with broadband internet connections. And by 2007,according to the plan, none of Ethiopia's 74 million people will live more than a few kilometres from a broadband access point. The nucleus of this network, 4,000km of optical fibre, has already been laid and will be fully commissioned later this year. Ethiopia's IT programme is an extreme example of the aspiration of several African countries to leap out of their quagmire of decaying public services with the help of IT. The dream is to skip an entire generation of infrastructure by going directly to internet technology.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Video and Copyright - YouTube

It's hard to understand why YouTube is such a big deal as there are hundreds of other free web-based video-hosting services. Yet despite its competitors, YouTube dominates the online world, streaming millions of videos everyday. And this led number of major media companies to explore the legal implications of the video site's unauthorized use of copyright material.
The good news for YouTube is that it stands on a much firmer legal ground than old Napster, thanks to a special provision in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). This safe harbor protection that the US Congress granted back in 1998 puts the burden on the copyright owner and the infringer, not the technology or service that allows for such material to be delivered or shared. The act grants online service providers immunity from monetary and injunctive relief if they are not aware that uploaded material is infringing, they remove infringing content immediately upon notification, and they do not receive direct financial benefit from the infringing material.
So basically, even if you find videos of Prison Break or Lost, YouTube would not be liable even if it's not proactive about taking down the material!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

New fashion Diva in Silicon Valley

If you have used search engines to look for products, you must know the process can be an exercise in frustration. Whether it be Froogle or Shopzilla, it’s often impossible to find the product you want.
Artificial intelligence that can detect faces and images is now applied to the most practical situations: How to find that piece of jewelry or shoe that's hard to describe! Like.com is a major new innovation to the world of image search. It creates a digital signature that describes the photo's contents and allows to search by image instead of text. What this means is that if you see the watch that Paris Hilton is wearing, you can use it as an image query and Like.com will return results showing watches that look similar. Then, you can further refine the search with sliders that let you rank the relative importance of shape, price and color.
Soon enough the service will expand to household goods such as rugs and clothing. At present, it gets paid about 10% commission on each order it refers.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Did you hear something?

In the latest example of how technology's rapid evolution has created new challenges for educators, some students are downloading a cell phone ring tone that is too high-pitched for most adults to hear.
Originally marketed to prevent unwanted gatherings of youths and teenagers in shopping malls and around shops or chase them away, Compound Security's Mosquito device emits a high-pitched sound, like a constant insect buzzing, to drive loitering teens away. Not only shopkeepers, Railway companies have placed the device to discourage youths from spraying graffiti on trains and the walls of railway stations.
While most human communication takes place in a frequency range between 200 and 8,000 hertz, most adults' ability to hear frequencies higher than that begins to deteriorate in early middle age. The company wasn't making any money off the ringtone because it was pirated, so the inventors started selling a ring tone of their own.
It is called Mosquitotone and has now become the secret ringtone that teens are using to get calls and text messages in class or other places where their phones are officially supposed to be OFF.
Download Mosquito Ringtone
BBC Radio Swindon feature

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Fixed-mobile convergence

One of the biggest drivers of fixed-mobile convergence is without doubt the enormous growth in wireless services. The dream of using one telephone with one number whether at home, at work or on the street is approaching reality and "Fixed-mobile convergence" is the buzzphrase for this telephonic utopia!
Pressured by VoIP operators such as Skype/eBay and Vonage, and anxious to reduce costs by bringing fixed and mobile businesses together, mobile operators, mobile virtual operators and integrated network operators are increasingly drawn to FMC. It seems to be more than just hype. With the ever-increasing availability of new wireless network technologies, traditional carriers from both the fixed and mobile worlds are being forced to re-evaluate their strategies, not least to defend themselves against the possible entry of new players.
The emerging trend of several users replacing their fixed lines, offers opportunities for carriers to develop an integrated device and eliminate the need for multiple address books, passwords and message portals. To avail of the opportunities that FMC offers, carriers will do well to offer complete service bundles, which will enable cross-selling, by which additional services can be sold to existing customers to avoid the high costs of customer acquisition.
Moreover, carriers can significantly reduce capital expenditure and operational expenditure by integrating core networks and sharing back-end functions such as customer service, network operations and maintenance, customer relationship management and other administrative functions.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A window on the planet

Tholos is an ambitious project aiming to create landmark tourist attractions in the centre of capital cities around the world where the public will be able to meet and talk as if they were facing each other even though they may be thousands of miles apart. Tholos uses a huge cylindrical 360 degree screen which is three metres high and seven metres in diameter. The screen simultaneously transmits and receives very high definition moving images in real-time and hence people will be able to have eye-to-eye conversations with non-distorted life-sized images of their friends overseas.
The idea is that each gateway kiosk will be linked to another in a different country, so that tourists and inhabitants of the two cities can interact, talk and wave to each other in real time. Tholos and its location in each city is expected to become the multi-cultural and tourist meeting center since it will also be a presentation tool for art movies, cultural media, documentations and other events. With these unique attributes, it is hoped that the Tholos project will become a high technology window to the world, with 'viral' international tourism promotional advantages for the hosts.
Each Tholos is expected to cost about AUD$3.5 million, though the obvious major overhead will be the real estate. Use of Tholos by the public will be free, with advertising expected to finance each installation with around 13% of the airtime allocated to advertising.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Looking for a virtual escape

The phenomenon "virtual community" reflects the social, political and economic impact of information and communications technology changing the architecture of interaction.
Imagine a 3D digital world created and owned by its Residents. This world really is whatever you make it, and your experience is what you want out of it. Participants will truly take on a second life, an escape to a place full of people, activity and possibility. From the freedom of creating a personal identity and claiming virtual land to the responsibilities of earning money and maintaining one's health to the social implications of joining a community and collaborating with others, residents will face a host of choices daily.Linden Lab has created Second Life as the next evolutionary leap in the formation of virtual communities. Second Life is what's known as a "metaverse," an alternative universe that exists along-side and somewhat outside of the real world. It's a simulation of the world, in which you create a character for yourself and then wander around the many spaces of Second Life. Second Life shares some of the qualities of a MMORPG (a massively-multiplayer online role-playing game), in that it features avatar construction and personalization, a vast array of spaces to explore, a huge number of other players to interact with, the ability to design and resell 3D content, combined with the ability to own and develop land and a microcurrency, which can be exchanged to real money... means that you can build a real business entirely within Second Life.
It is important to see how virtual communities are located at the boundary between formal organizations and social groups that exist despite the absence of any authority. I'm just worried it will end up taking too much time out of your real life!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

New search engine 'revolutionary'

A 26-year-old PhD student from the University of New South Wales has patented a new way of exploring the web that could revolutionise existing search engines. Search engines find pages on which keywords occur. Sometimes these pages are important to the topic. Other times they are not. Orion© finds pages where the content is about a topic strongly related to the key word. It then returns a section of the page, and lists other topics related to the key word so the user can pick the most relevant." The results to the query are displayed immediately in the form of expanded text extracts, giving you the relevant information without having to go to the website.
By displaying results to other associated key words directly related to your search topic, you gain additional pertinent information that you might not have originally conceived, thus offering an expert search without having an expert's knowledge."Take a search such as the American Revolution as an example of how the system works. Orion© would bring up results with extracts containing this phrase. But it would also give results for American History, George Washington, American Revolutionary War, Declaration of Independence, Boston Tea Party and more. You obtain much more valuable information from every search."

Saturday, September 17, 2005

A closer look at Skype acquisition

A few years ago, Skype co-founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis were persona non grata in the United States, scared to enter the country in case they were arrested for unleashing file-swapping Kazaa on the Internet. This week, they were glowing in the limelight as they sold their second venture to eBay. Now, instead of having to base themselves in Luxembourg to avoid legal threats, Zennstrom and Friis were fêted by eBay CEO Meg Whitman.
Skype already has 54 million members (2 million who make paid-for calls to traditional land lines using SkypeOut) in 225 countries, adding 150,000 users a day. The company generated $7 million in revenues in 2004, and anticipates more than $200 million in 2006. For the full year 2006, eBay expects the transaction to be dilutive to pro forma and GAAP earnings per share by $0.04 and $0.12 respectively. On a long-term basis, eBay expects Skype operating margins could be in the range of 20% to 25%.
eBay buyers and sellers email each other before concluding transactions, with eBay estimating five million such messages are exchanged every day. Skype can increase the velocity of trade on eBay, especially in categories that require more involved communications such as used cars, business and industrial equipment, and high-end collectibles. Skype offers a growth opportunity for eBay, which is nearing saturation in the United States where most of its customers are based; while half of Skype’s users are in Europe and only a quarter in the US. The acquisition also enables eBay and Skype to pursue entirely new lines of business. For example, in addition to eBay’s current transaction-based fees, ecommerce communications could be monetized on a pay-per-call basis through Skype. Pay-per-call communications opens up new categories of ecommerce, especially for those sectors that depend on a lead-generation model such as travel, cars and real estate.
The Skype business complements the eBay and PayPal platforms. The three services can also reinforce and accelerate the growth of one another, thereby increasing the value of the combined businesses. The Skype Journal predicts that the acquisition could invert the eBay model, with Skype technology allowing eBay to match up auctioneers with interested buyers. Skype down the road will enable eBay to aggregate consumer demand and auction it in the same way they currently auction consumer goods. All of us should come to recognize today's announced acquisition of Skype by eBay, as one of the great indicators of the historic transformation in telecommunications industry. It turns the entire telecom industry picture on its head, and demonstrates that voice, presence and text messaging will be essential for the company of the future.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

How video mobile can be integrated into the recruitment process

Arranging and conducting interviews can be very expensive and time-consuming. Recognising the power of video technology, In2Vista has developed a unique streaming video facility, which brings the delivery of multimedia content to within reach of every broadband enabled business.In an industry-leading initiative, 3, the UK’s first video mobile network, is now applying these innovative applications to its human resources recruitment. 3 has employed In2Vista’s video interviewing service (In2View™) into the recruitment process as a means of reviewing candidates in the early stages of selection, by organizing a serie of video interviews, which significantly accelerates the recruitment. This is particularly good for long-distance interviews, where face to face meetings are not possible.Using video mobile in this way is highly innovative and truly brings to life the business and its people!

Friday, September 09, 2005

Making Art out of sms

For this year's diploma exhibition of the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Dresden (Dresden's High School of art), Matthias Haase has presented a project using a special version of the SMS Chatwall event software. Haase installed the GSM-module, a computer and beamer equipment on a table with a projection screen, calling the installation "Bote" (messenger). Exhibition visitors can send short messages to the number shown on the screen. As a take-away gift for the visitor, the sculpture replies with an artist's "thank you" SMS, mentioning the art exhibition at the HfBK 2005. People who want to take part, but can't attend the exhibition can send an SMS to +4915204912748.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Mauritius envisions wi-fi from coast to coast

This tropical island off the east coast of Africa is best-known for its white-sand beaches, its designer clothing outlets and its spicy curries. But tiny Mauritius is about to stake a new claim to fame. By year's end, it is expected to become the world's first nation with coast-to-coast wireless Internet coverage, the first country to become one big hot spot. ADB Networks is the company installing the wireless radio network across the 40-mile-long island to cover up to 90 percent of the mountainous island. Like many African nations, this modest country has struggled economically. Looking for alternatives, the government has settled on a new and ambitious vision: Turning sleepy Mauritius with its endless sugar cane fields and tourist beaches into a high-tech computer and telecommunications center. Remote Mauritius is in many respects well-placed to win the high-tech investment it wants. Despite the government's effort to provide an inviting investment climate, regulation also remains a problem.The government holds a substantial share in Mauritius Telecom, the island's only fixed-line telephone operator, as well as one of its Internet providers and the company that controls the submarine broadband fiber-optic cable that provides all of the country's phone and Internet bandwidth. Still, Mauritius' courts have shown signs of holding the government to its competitiveness policies, which may ease the way for future investors.
Via Laurie Goering

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Mariza chante le Fado

Chanteuse d’un fado atypique et métissé, Mariza, née au Mozambique est reconnaissable à ses cheveux ras teints en blond. Cette chanteuse portugaise, appelée souvent "la nouvelle Amalia" en référence à Amalia Rodrigues, la diva du fado, a été nommée "Meilleure révélation de l’année" et "Plus belle voix du fado" en 2000, son talent pour créer lors de ses concerts, une ambiance proche du cabaret fait de cette jeune chanteuse l’une des étoiles de la scène portugaise. Si elle s'est imposée avec "Fado em Mim" et "Fado Curvo" comme la nouvelle gloire du fado, Mariza se fait un point d'honneur de bousculer le genre. À cet égard, son second album montrait la voie. On retrouve de façon plus achevée cette volonté de différence dans "Transparente". La fadiste présente une musique métissée et pourtant ancrée dans la tradition, subtilement nourrie de son folklore et des musiciens qui l'accompagnent. Le fado, une sorte de "blues portugais" qui chante la saudade (la nostalgie), depuis le XIXème siècle, connaît aujourd'hui un renouveau, avec des chanteuses comme Mariza, Cristina Branco, Misia ou encore Mafalda Arnaut.
Voir la video

Thursday, August 25, 2005

EchoStar will give away free service to the first town that agrees to change its name to DISH

The town must legally (and permanently) rename itself DISH, in honor of the name of EchoStar's service. "As part of DISH Network's re-branding efforts and new advertising campaign trumpeting 'Better TV for All,' we invite a city or town to join us by re-branding itself DISH," EchoStar President Michael Neuman said in a statement. The company said that it will accept submissions up until November 1 and that every household within the winning municipality will receive a free DISH Network satellite TV receiver, free standard installation and programming for 10 years. EchoStar estimated that it would cost approximately $4 million to set up equipment and provide free programming for a town with 1,000 households. In 2000, the small town of Halfway, Oregon, agreed to change its name to Half.com in exchange for $60,000 and 20 computers from the online retail company, which is now a subsidiary of eBayUltimately, Sanderson doubts that any town will agree to change its name to DISH. But he thinks it's a good way for EchoStar to easily drum up some brand-name recognition. Separately Tuesday, EchoStar announced another contest as part of its new promotional campaign to celebrate its 25th anniversary. It is giving anyone who goes to the company's Web site and enters its "Reach for the Stars" contest the chance to have their name written on the next EchoStar satellite to be launched into space. The satellite, EchoStar's tenth, will be launched sometime next year.
Via Paul R.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The basic rights of attention owners

Attention is the substance of focus. It registers your interests by indicating choice for certain things and choice against other things. Any time you pay attention to something (and any time you ignore something), data is created. That data has value, but only if it's gathered, measured, and analyzed. Right now, you generally lack the ability to capture that data for yourself, so you can't benefit from it. But what if you could? And what if you could share your data with other people, who were also capturing their own data, or if you could exchange your data for something of value with companies and other institutions that were interested in learning more about the things that interested you? You'd be in control--you would decide who has access to what data, as well as what you'd accept in exchange for access to your data.
Our attention data is ours, each of us individually. In the wake of the behavior of credit card companies, credit unions and data brokers, it is vital that we recognize our right, and our responsibility, to govern ourselves relative to the use of our private information. There are careful distinctions between data, meta data and attention, that I am still trying to figure out. In any case, by virtue of recognizing the above-listed rights, members of the AttentionTrust (both individual and corporate) express their participation in a free, open market for exchanging their attention. Our attention establishes intention; and our intention establishes economic value.
Via Steve Gillmor

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

LifeStraw purifies water for under 2 dollars

More than one billion people – one sixth of the world’s population - are without access to safe water supply. Safe water interventions have vast potential to transform the lives of millions, especially in crucial areas such as poverty eradication, environmental upgradation, quality of life, child development and gender equality. The aptly-named LifeStraw is an invention that could become one of the greatest life-savers in history. It is a 25 cm long, 29 mm diameter, plastic pipe filter and purchased singly, costs around US2.00. LifeStraw is a personal, low-cost water purification tool with a life time of 700 litres – approximately one year of water consumption for one person. Positive test results have been achieved on tap, turbid and saline water against common waterborne bacteria such as Salmonella, Shigella, Enterococcus and Staphylococcu.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

A9 transforms traditional Yellow Pages

Amazon said Tuesday that it's launched its own interactive maps called A9.com Maps. While the interactive graphical portion of the map looks similar to offerings from Google and MapQuest (a division of Time Warner's America Online), and slightly better than Yahoo's and Microsoft's MSN maps, A9.com has one feature that's very unique.
A9.com, currently in beta, has a corresponding street-level image next to some addresses, along with interactive maps. The feature, called Block View, shows street-level images of places -- giving users a feeling of being immersed in the address they're looking up. Check out A9.com MapsThe service has 35 million images in more than 22 U.S. cities. But not all locations in the cities have been shot. While block views may seem like bells and whistles, especially when initially introduced as part of A9's yellow pages, the feature is practical -- especially for tourists that want to see where they're going. It's far more practical than seeing the aerial, satellite images offered by Google Maps.Separately, Google disclosed in its quarterly filing Monday that its cost of revenues rose in the second quarter by $4.5 million, due to products like Google Earth, with its satellite imagery.
A9.com has a long way to go to be the top map destination on the Web. Those honors go to MapQuest, with 39 million unique monthly visitors. Yahoo Local comes in second, with 22 million visitors, followed by Google and then MSN.
Via Bambi Francisco

Friday, August 12, 2005

Google suspends ambitious Library Project

Google revealed yesterday that it will heed critics of its Google Print Library Project and delay scanning copyrighted texts until November. When announced late in 2004, the Library Project aimed to index book collections of major research libraries to make the content searchable through Google Print.However, the ambitious plan came under attack from several publishers and publishing groups, including the Association of American University Presses, which sent a letter of concern to Google back in May. In a blog post yesterday, Google Print Product Manager Adam M. Smith said that company made changes to the project designed to better meet the needs of publishers. Google now allows both its publishing partners and other book publishers to upload a list of books they don't want included in Google Print. Publishers can also request that a book be removed at any time from Google's search results.
Smith wrote: "We think most publishers and authors will choose to participate in the publisher program in order to introduce their work to countless readers around the world. But we know that not everyone agrees, and we want to do our best to respect their views too. So now, any and all copyright holders - both Google Print partners and non-partners - can tell us which books they'd prefer that we not scan if we find them in a library."To allow time to review the new options it is offering publishers, Google will refrain from scanning any copyrighted books until November, Smith wrote.
Via Cathleen Moore

Thursday, August 11, 2005

What to learn from Baidu IPO?

There are a lot of lessons we can learn from Baidu's IPO, not the least of which is that we haven't learned all the lessons from the dot-com days and here are the three points I'd like to make:
First, Baidu left a lot of money on the table. Priced at $27, it opened at $66 and ended its first day at $122. That means with 4 million shares offered, the company could have raised $488 million, rather than the $108 million, which raises the question of whether Wall Street has learned to properly price IPOs, and whether future IPOs may need to use the Google-like Dutch-auction process to get a fairer and truer picture of market demand.
Second, Baidu, which earned $1.4 million last year, is currently valued at $5 billion, raising the question of whether we'll ever learn not to let greed get the best of us and whether this company's shares are likely to trade below $100 in due time. Baidu traded as high as $153 in Monday's trading.
Third, if we thought that Google, eBay and Yahoo would rule the virtual world, we may have to rethink our assumptions. After a five-year lull in the IPO market, investors may warm up to emerging companies once again.
Via Bambi Francisco

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Bangkok fashion week

Thailand's focus on fashion, driven by the government-sponsored Bangkok Fashion City Project, will soon have a very visible and public presence in a five-day "Fashion Week" that runs from August 17-21 and which, say the organisers, will showcase more than 150 brands from three Thai fashion industries textiles and garments, jewellery and accessories, and leatherwear.
Kullawit "Ford" Laosuksri, the energetic and fashion-trained editor of Thailand's Elle magazine, is clear on what he believes is the right approach if Bangkok is to have more than second billing on the world fashion stage. "We have to stop comparing ourselves with Paris, with Milan. We don't have the same system. We're not the same. We don't do seasonal collections. We don't for example, do winter clothing. We need to concentrate on what I would call tropical fashion. At the moment we're doing the same as Singapore and Malaysia."Thailand's Christian Dior Somchai Kaewtong of the long stablished and highly successful Kai Boutique, and who also represents the kinder and caring face of fashion, is quick to add his voice. "In fact we're better than either of them in terms of creativity and craftsmanship. We've more than enough talent in Thailand. What we really need now is to be noticed."
Via Kelvin Rugg

Lennon is now playing on Broadway

Directed by Don Scardino, the show explores the life of John Lennon, from Liverpool to the limelight of the Beatles and his love story with Yoko Ono, using his own words and songs. To celebrate his Everyman appeal, various cast members — white, black, young, old, men, women — take turns playing him. For Don Scardino, the idea of writing and directing a musical about John Lennon was impossible to resist, even though the pitfalls of undertaking the project could not have been clearer. A Beatles fan since the group's earliest hits - now 57, he said he hightailed it to Kennedy Airport to see the group's arrival here on its first visit in 1964.
The Show, with permission from Yoko Ono, includes three rare and unpublished songs by John Lennon. Two of the songs, "India, India" and "I Don't Want to Lose You" were never published, and exist only on private recordings. A third song, "Cookin' (in the Kitchen of Love)," was recorded by Ringo Starr in 1976, but was never recorded by John Lennon.