December 10, 2006

Del.icio.us Summary

Del.icio.us was a useful tool this semester, not only for BIT200, but also for networking with classmates and gaining significant knowledge into the technology industry, both from a product-specific and financial standpoints. Our search strategy was somewhat varied, however, it centered around a three-pronged approach. We primarily utilized the following methods/venues in gathering information for our project:

  1. News Sites
  2. Del.icio.us terms searches
  3. A wide array of blogs on a variety of topics

Starting Out: Searching Broadly
At the project's onset, we tended to search in a rather unorganized fashion, typically running Google searches for relevant material. However, as we quickly learned better ways to apportion or time, we quickly gravitated toward news sites. These tended to offer timely and relevant announcements that aided us in our furhter searches. We explored a variety of news sites, but kept coming back to CNN's tech site, ABC's tech site, and CNBC's site. We did not initially capitalize on the vast searching potential of del.icio.us. Toward the end of our general searching, we began to use del.icio.us search terms more frequently to discover what our peers and other users were intrested in regarding technology. Our blog exploration tended to be haphazard as well, as we went through a period of trying to find reliable and timely postings.

Narrowing Focus: More Refiend Search Methods
As the semester progressed, our interests became more focused, and we soon realized that we wanted to concentrate on online mergers and acquisitions. Most notable in the evolution of our project was our incorporation of many of del.icio.us' features in our foraging for information. We typically would follow certain users that we had identified as tech-savvy. One such example is the del.icio.us tagger known as ibrent, presumably an afficionado of most things tech. Additionally, we became much more adept at conducting focused terms searches. Finding the appropriate terms to search became something of an artform. Queries such as Google and Yahoo! tended to yield far too many listings. Similarly, mergers or acquisitions also tended to draw a lot of seemingly irrelevant material. Thus, our news sites and blogs became of critical importance in finding appropriate material to search. Our blog searches and usage became much more focused. While we tended to explore from time to time, always looking for new useful opinions, we tended to use the same blogs quite frequently. Techcrunch is notable as one of the centerpieces of our blog tracking effort. Also, as noted in one of our previous blogs, Google's blogsearching utility was also helpful. News sites continued to be an instrumental feature of our research, as they provided timely updates on mergers and acquisitions happenings. Thus, after learning about acquisitions of such startups as Writely or Jotspot on our news feeds and blogs, we would search these terms (typically with great success) on del.icio.us. Moreover, our

Tagging
Our tagging became much more focused throughout the semester, as our areas of concentration shrank. Aside from the required BIT200F06 and Group7 tags, we typically included labels such as mergers and acquisitions, along with the name(s) of the comapines acquired, and those doing the purchasing. Tags such as web2.0 also became commonplace. Doubling back to check articles tagged by other users using the same tags also proved to be a worthwhile search tactic.

SO...
In all, the techniques we learned through this project translated into useful skills for conducting searches and navigating the vast wealth of information available on the web.

Posted by jzemon at 10:27 PM | Comments (0)

M/A: IBM acquires Consul

Today’s technology industry is constantly evolving, with new mergers and acquisitions taking place every week in a trend towards market consolidation. On December 7, 2006, IBM acquired Consul Risk Management, a provider of compliance and security audit software. This acquisition is just one of the several hundred to occur in the past year. Consul provides technology that uncovers insider threats and delivers reports designed to address customers’ compliance activities related to regulations, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and has more than 350 major client-customers worldwide, operating from its base in the Netherlands. IBM is ranked number 17 on Washington’s Top 100 List of major I/T providers, with over $9.1 billion in annual sales. From an industry standpoint, the merger marks a trend in major I/T providers utilizing leveraged buyout procedures with large amounts of debt to purchase smaller, regional software providers to bolster market position and share.

link

Posted by jzemon at 10:24 PM | Comments (0)

Blogging Summary

In covering the topic of internet business mergers and acquisitions, we have encountered a broady array of perspectives and opinions Some believe the outlook for the web will be far rosier as a result of the M and A activities of internet superpowers Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft. Still, others feel that the future of the internet is vested in the freedom of individually-generated material, web 2.0. Some feel that the Big Three can help the growth of web 2.0, while others feel that they will inhibit its expansion. Essentially, this multitude of persuasions regarding the future of the web can be parried down into two camps: those that support large entitiies on the internet, and those that favor smaller-scale, user-generated players.

The advantages of having large-scale entities like Google and Yahoo! run the show are fairly obvious. First, they provide a very central, convenient location for a huge number of resources. Aside from being search engines, companies like these also offer online services such as document editting, maps services, online calendars, and social networking extensions, to name only a few. Many of these resources were not produced in-house by the companies that now offer them. Most of the resources now available through Google and Yahoo! were originally offered by much smaller internet companies that were purchased and rebranded. Does such rebranding hurt or help the original service? It depends. Sometimes the function is integrated into a larger service, such as GoogleDocs or GoogleEarth. In this case, the original service becomes more useful, as it is paired with other services, and their collective utility is greater to the user than their separate values. However, services are occasionally purchased and discontinued. This likely happens for one of two reasons:

  1. The service was purchased to keep it from competing with one offered by the acquiring company
  2. The service became redundant because the acquiring company already offered, or came to offer, a similar service.

Aside from convenience, one can argue that allowing large internet firms to freely engage in growth activities through M and A will make them more competitive with one another, and provide better services for their users. However, as Yahoo! has somewhat proven, this may not be the case. In its frenzy to acquire, Yahoo! purchased quite a few redundant services, that cannabilized one another. Yahoo!'s business strategy became so muddled that one of its Vice Presidents felt compelled to release the notorious Peanut Butter Manifesto - a badly-written memo decrying the firm's lack of direction and sloppiness.

On the flipside of things, one can adopt the viewpoint of a small startup firm. The company likely has one of two motives in its business model:

  1. Independence and customer service as an autonomous unit
  2. The hope of being acquired by a larger firm

The main argument here is: what plan best suits the internet user? It largely true that the hope of being acquired may pull more entrants into the internet world. This was proven during the early dotcom boom with firms looking to be bought up by companies like microsoft. However, such a plan could be detrimental to the quality of sites produced, as startups could merely look to emulate the large firms they hope will target them - this way they are hoping to be bought up as a measure preventing competition. This strategy also poses the threat that true creativity and innovation will be stifled, as companies might be bought and reconfigured before the true potential of their service is realized.

One final consideration in this argument is the legal implications. Microsoft has already had a brush with the monopoly stigma through its software strategy. Will the Justice Department eventually dub behemoths like Google and Yahoo! to be monopolies? Is it possible to actually calculate market share in space as expansive as the internet? These are questions that will likely be answered in years to come, as the internet continues to develop as one of mankind's most useful knowledge-sharing inventions to date. One thing looks sure though: barring any major hurdles, the expansion of the net at large does not look to slow in the near future.

Posted by danepr at 11:18 AM | Comments (0)

December 07, 2006

HP + VooDoo PC

Since HP acquired Voodoo PC, little has been known about their plans. On December 4th, however, a new video clip showed kids playing virtual scavenger hunt games on portable gaming machines. The difference between these games and others that current video games offer, is that the children playing the games are running in alley ways collecting real clues to solve their puzzles.

An open-source platform called Media-Scape allows HP to do this. With the help of Voodoo, HP is able to mesh the real and virtual world. Few trials have already taken place with activities for children to reinact animals or play in different areas of a tower. As technology continues to develop and advance, HP will enjoy experimenting with wireless to take the next step in games such as these.

Posted by shina at 04:29 PM | Comments (0)

How Tech. Companies are Investing their Money

Tech companies are making a lot of money these days. Profitable companies are choosing to invest there money in several different ways. Yahoo, Intel and EA games for example are putting their money into research and development. Other companies such as Microsoft, HP, IBM, and Qualcom are paying out more dividends and buying back more stock.

In addition to these things, companies are investing their money in future profits through mergers and acquisitions. For this reason "M&A rose 20% last year, to $60 billion, according to Thomson Financial (TOC )," and estimated to increase 10% this year. Some examples of companies that have made use of mergers and acquisitions are:Verizon taking over MCI, Ebay buying shopping.com and rent.com, and the merge of Sprint and Nextell.


See link for more information:


business week

Posted by shina at 03:09 PM | Comments (0)

December 04, 2006

Information Ethic$

After reading the Mason article which discusses the principles of information security (PAPA), we have found that internet retailers have immense potential to capitalize on the technologies on the market that catalog consumer information for their personal benefit. Specifially, online retailers like ebay.com and amazon.com utilize key information about internet shoppers, including gender, percieved age, location, spending patterns, internet connection speed, and other variables to maximize sales, and therefore profits. Individually, any of these characteristics are seemingly harmless and anonymous, but in unison, can create a consumer profile that most users would prefer to remain private. In fact, we feel that internet retailers invade shoppers' privacy in attaining this information without any type of notification, and then using it to "better serve" shoppers through promotional campaigns, sales, etc.

In order to promote a fairer internet retailing environment, we believe that firms such as ebay or amazon should always notify shoppers when their personal information is being documented. Without such notification, a shopper's personal privacy is being violated. Additionally, shoppers may become victims to price discrimination as a result of this scheme of information recording. Accordingly, these technologies should be limited in their use, and when implemented, customers must be notified.

Posted by jzemon at 04:02 PM | Comments (0)

November 26, 2006

Sticky Situation

Brad Garlinghouse, a senior VP at web search engine, Yahoo!, recently penned a memo lamenting the company's seeming lack of direction in its widespread acquisitions. The cliche-laden document - eventually nick-named the PEANUT BUTTER MANIFESTO for its frequent allusions to the sandwich shmear - was almost immediately leaked to the Wall Street Journal. While some question whether or not this slip-up was intentional, one thing is for certain: THIS DOCUMENT WILL RAISE MUCH DEBATE ABOUT THE FUTURE OF WEB2.0. The PB Manifesto criticised Yahoo! for being reckless and unfocused in its purchases of smaller, user-oriented startups. The document claimed that Yahoo! was over-diversified and its many subcomponents were actually canablizing one another and hurting the overall corporation. Such views prompt one to wonder: since this was a rather forseeable outcome, why would companies such as Yahoo! go on buying-sprees in the first place? Competition could be one motivator; rivalry with Google and Microsoft could have incited a "take-it-so-they-can't" mentality. Or, the big boys simply may have not appreciated the gaining popularity of the smaller Web2.0 ventures they schooped up (acting somewhat monopolistically in the process).
However, whatever the initial intent of Yahoo's loose purse-strings, a more pressing inquiry might be: what's the plan for the future? Pass the Jelly.

Posted by danepr at 01:11 AM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2006

Plans for Yahoo

When searching for anything on the internet, I always use google. It is my one and usually only source for internet information. Because there are millions of others just like me, companies like Yahoo are losing internet advertising space and money to google.

To do something about this, Yahoo is planning several mergers and acquisitions. They have already missed out on the opportunites with youtube and myspace, so they are considering the following:

  • 1. Buy Aol
  • 2. Sell to Microsoft
  • 3. Merge with Ebay
  • 4. Purchase Facebook

Some of these ideas are said only to be rumors, like the purchase of facebook, but others like selling to Microsoft could be the real deal. If this takes place, Microsoft and Yahoo would combined only have about the same revenues as google. Will anyone or any combination be able to beat out google?

Posted by shina at 02:15 PM | Comments (0)

Google: Wal-Mart of the Web World???

The story of the big, bad greed-driven corporation moving in to gobble up all of the smaller, more well-inentioned businesses that make up the apple-pie foundation of America is far from new. However, it seems that Wal-Mart is no longer the only big-timer drawing criticism for tampling all over small-town ventures. The fight to preserve small business has moved from Main Street to data stream; the latest accusations: Google's perceived plot to dismantle Web 2.0...the umbrella term for cyber-content that is becoming increasingly more user-generated. The prolific acquisitions made in recent months are likely just more cheap fuel for the maelstrom of Google growth...NOT some evil ploy to control the net, as some overly dramatic bloggers posit. Still, over the past several years, the search giant has kept quite busy in buying, and repackaging small startups for its own. Here are some recent contestants in Google's game of buy and rename that company:


While this all seems to be a concerted move on the part of Google to create a more centralized suite of offerings for webusers, some are crying foul. The users of web calendar program, Kiko, recently protested when Kiko was put up for sale on eBay as a result of its inability to compete with Google's newly acquired online calendar features. The one upside: Google doesn't have really creepy greeters.

Posted by danepr at 12:17 AM | Comments (0)

November 19, 2006

Topic Announcement

Online Mergers and Acquisitions



After much deliberation,we, the members of Group 7, have decided to cover the topic of online mergers and acquisitions. The trend of internet-based companies had its beginnings in the DOTCOM REVOLUTION, but has more recently manifested itself in the activities of websearch giants, Yahoo! and Google. The particular aim of our investigation of this topic will be the purchase of user-generated sites, such as Facebook and MySpace. Deals like these are becoming ever more common, as these titans of cyberspace square off in a contest to draw continually larger user bases, and, of course, mega BUCK$ along the way. We look to explore the motives behind these deals, how they are reshaping the way the net works, and how they change the entities involved.

Posted by danepr at 10:23 PM | Comments (0)

November 18, 2006

Search Tip!


Searching Blogs using Google
Undoubtedly, blogs are becoming an ever more important and widespread means of expression and communication on the web. However, with so many blogs out there, and so many different forums in which they are posted, finding specific blogs can be a hassle. Oftentimes, using normal search techniques with conventional engines yields results that are mediocre at best. Recently, many engines have begun offering features to expressly answer this problem. One particularly useful option is the Blog Search Beta feature offered by none other than the almighty Google. Google's Blog Search allows users to enter searches in a fashion similar to its normal engine, with key words generating relevant results. However, certain tools help to refine these searches and produce much more usable results. For example, a date filter allows searchers to pare down the time-frame during which searched blogs were published. Also, users can subscribe to an e-mail based alert whenever their favorite blogs are updated. The world of blogging is rapidly changing, and the major entities in cyberspace are doing their best to keep pace.

Visit GOOGLE BLOG SEARCH

Posted by danepr at 10:46 PM | Comments (0)

November 08, 2006

New Entry: Freedom of Speech on the Internet

Watchdog adds Egypt to Internet "Blacklist"

This article, dated November 8, 2006, discusses an internationally important issue: freedom of speech. This week, an international journalist organization placed Egypt on an “internet blacklist,? criticizing the nation for its intolerance to free expression of ideas. Traditionally, the freedom of speech debate as a core aspect of world democracy has stemmed from verbal and written forms of expression, including newspapers and magazines. However, as technology advances have pushed across the world, the internet has become one of the main forums for communication of ideas and opinions in the form of blogs, etc.
http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/internet/11/08/rights.internet.reut/index.html

Posted by jzemon at 11:52 AM | Comments (0)

November 07, 2006

Search Tip!

The Quest for IT information

Finding good IT information on the internet can be difficult at times.
Luckily, search engines like google and newspapers online make the search less challenging.

Using google, our group was able to find several reliable websites that inlcluded IT related information. The following are some IT sources we found through google:

  • ITworld
  • slashdot
  • techcrunch
  • techdirt
  • PC world

In addition to using google,we found that online newspapers were are good source for IT articles. Some of the newspapers we found helpful were:

  • Nytimes.com
  • cnn.com
  • usatoday.com

Conclusion:

when in doubt...google can help you find what you are looking for, or at least help lead you in the right area.

Posted by shina at 12:52 PM | Comments (0)

November 06, 2006

Virtual Earth...Virtual Ads


<b><font size=+2>Virtual Earth...Virtual Ads</font></b>
This afternoon (11/6/'06) Microsoft unveiled its entry into the 3-D internet cartography market: MICROSOFT VIRTUAL EARTH . This program aims to spar with the likes of Google's Google Earth . While Microsoft's new release seems to cover less geography at present than Google's offering, Microsoft's program purports to boast staggering detail of the areas it does cover. Based on airplane photography, the images will be integrated into search software on INTERNET EXPLORER and WINDOW'S VISTA . This is in contrast with Google Earth, which stands alone as a desktop item. Bill Gates' firm seeks to bring the most realistic 3-D modeling to market with Virtual Earth. However, this facet is somewhat overshadowed by the prevalence of that scrourge of internet tranquility: OMNIPRESENT ONLINE ADVERTISING. Microsoft seeks to inject reality into Virtual Earth by creating plenty of adspace in astonishing resolution. If it's emblazoned in technicolor over some billboard, poster, etc in real life, you can make a bet it shows up on VE in equally annoying detail. What's more, users of VE are badgered with opportunities to CLICK TO LEARN MORE about the ads that litter this virtual landscape. While this resembles a crafty bit of marketing integration on Microsoft's part, it could prove to be a real nuissance to users. This looks to be another standard feature of Vista that could either make or break the new OS, based on users' approval or distaste.

LEARN MORE ABOUT VIRTUAL EARTH HERE

Posted by danepr at 09:14 PM | Comments (0)

October 31, 2006

Not playing around: Scientists say video games can reshape education


This article is interesting as it draws on the connections that video game designers and marketers have tried to establish between their products and educational value. Typical sentiment towards the video game industry has been negative over the past several years, denouncing its glorification of violence, murder, and abuse. But designers and marketers are trying to turn this image around, focusing on the “analytical thinking, team building, multitasking and problem-solving under duress? skills that avid gamers are developing as a result of their time in front of their consoles and televisions. What’s more is that the American Federation of Scientists have refocused their efforts on creating positive gaming experiences that build player’s skills, enabling them to be successful in the workplace. In fact, the very strategies that today’s video games require are the same strategies necessary to flourish in today’s business markets. The inverse cultural perception of the video game industry is a revolutionary and increasingly popular trend, solidly routed in the fundamental skills these games build.

Link to Article

Posted by jzemon at 02:25 PM | Comments (0)

October 18, 2006

"HP's Email Tracer in Widespread Use."

Summary

A web bug is a technology tool used in email messages to find information. Web bugs are usually sent through emails with a link to an image on a unique web server. Looking up the image, sends information to that server.

HP uses web bugs to track where the email has been and is also used for some investigations. With the help from ReadNotify, an Austrialian company that HP used to help track email messages, information on certain emails have been found.

Now, people are questioning the legality of this technology. HP seems to think it is a legitimate use of their technology, while others think it violates anti-hacking laws. No one knows for sure, however, if using a web bug is in fact violating laws.


HP Article

Posted by shina at 08:23 AM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2006

"Anti-piracy system could hurt YouTube"


<b><font color="Red">Filtration Software and File-Sharing</font></b>

Filtration Software and File-Sharing: Compatible???




MSNBC ARTICLE



Nowadays, online file-sharing seems to be a constant compromise between giving users optimum content, and meeting the legal standards for publishing copywritten material online. The latest episode of this internet struggle comes about as Google finalizes its plans to acquire online video-sharing site, YouTube. YouTube, widely known as a grassroots net hub for finding virtually any video related content online, has recently begun using " audio-signature technology" to verify the quality of posted video. This measure targets " low-quality copy", material often synonymous with pirated video, or other illegal abuses of copyright. While regulators and organized entertainment producers are applauding this move, some critics are forecasting a decline in YouTube's public appeal as a result of this action.

YouTube has garnered a reputation for delivering perhaps the greatest wealth of user-generated video on the net. Users previously enjoyed largely unrestricted freedom in publishing online video. Now, concern over tighter regulation could send YouTube faithful elsewhere. The likelihood of such an exodus in heightened by the fact that YouTube's filtering systems seemingly air on the side of caution, latching onto even amateur home video with licensed songs as background noise. And while YouTube claims that its filters will allow users to alter the content of objectionable videos before removing them, the monitoring alone may be sufficient to send a good number of users running.

One cannot help but ask where the equilibrium lies in the scrum surrounding online media. While it is obviously illegal for users to misuse copywritten material, how great is the obligation of online loci such as YouTube to monitor this activity? Are they compelled to do so even if it conflicts with their own interests? It seems taht in the not too distant future we may find where the balance between freedom and legality lies once the scales are tipped too far in either direction.


Also visitYouTube.com

Posted by danepr at 02:17 PM | Comments (0)

October 08, 2006

Welcome


WELCOME!
WELCOME!

This is our first posting for the BIT term project!
We are GROUP 7, and consist of:

  • Dane Rook

  • Ami Shin

  • Josh Zemon


We are all in Section 1, which meets on Wednesdays from 11:30-1:00.



Posted by danepr at 11:16 PM | Comments (0)

October 04, 2006

Hardware Questions


<b>Group 1 Hardware Questions</b>

Written by Group 1: Ankur Amin, Doug Hurt, and Dane Rook





  1. Why is the capacity of a computer processor rated in Hz?

    This inquiry was inspired by perusing BEST BUY's website. A group member looking to purchase a new computer was browsing the store's online offering of computers and noticed recurrent listings in this metric.

    Visit:BestBuy
  2. What is the composition of a laptop battery, and what is the real risk of one exploding?

    Recent news stories have covered the potential of laptop batteries to explode under the right conditions. Several group members wanted clarification on whether this was a legitimate concern, and to better understand what makes these power cells so volatile.

    One such story
  3. What is the best, fastest CPU in the world today? How much faster can they conceivably become?

    This represents a general curiosity question brought on by browsing technology sites and viewing the capacity of various machines.

  4. What are the advantages of the new Blu-ray technology over more standard CD&DVD reader systems?

    This question is drawn from claims that the highly-touted Sony PS3 will feature Blu-ray technology. For a group member that is an avid videogamer, this was a point of special interest and could mark a " competitive advantage " for Sony over other systems.

    See Here
  5. What is a SCSI card and what does it do?

    This question arose while tagging Del.icio.us sites. A site mentioned the superiority of this technology, but remarked that is is unnecessary for " ordinary " users. The actual post itself wasn't particluarly helpful to those unfamiliar with SCSI.

    CLICK ME!
  6. What are the minimal hardware components necessary to run a computer?

    This question is drawn from a longstanding curiosity about computer essentials. Specifically, it first came to a group member when watching Pirates of Silicone Valley and noticing the " barebones " machines that existed when computers were in their infancy.

  7. What distinguishes Bluetooth from other short-range transmission frequencies? What actual hardware in a computer (or other such device) receives/transmits this signal?

    This question came from an article on MSNBC's website. The article features a watch that displays callerID on a wearer's wrist (transmitted from a cellular phone). The piece caused some curiostiy about the technology upon which it is based.

    Take a peek at: MSNBC
  8. What are the distinctions, benefits, and downsides of a LCD display relative to a conventional monitor?

    This question is a response to all of the clamor about the superiority of LCD displays over their more traditional predecessors. A group member's housemate claimed that the additonal cost on LCD isn't offset by added picture definition, and asserts that LCD technology is prone to malfunction.
  9. How do the different power sources of laptops affect their performance and overall lifespan (if they in fact do at all)?

    This query comes from real-world concern over a purchase decision. It also references an onine article
  10. Does whether a USB device is linked internally or externally to a computer (e.g. Hard Drives) affect the device's performance?

    This is a question inspired by a student's intention to purchase an external hard drive, and curiosity regarding any disadvantages such hardware might hold.


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