Thursday, September 22, 2011

Want Super Powers? Try Super Technology

What is the limit for how far technology can/will go? We truly cannot pinpoint the finish line for technological advancement because researchers always find a way to upgrade our systems. After reading "Want Super Powers? Try Super Technology" by Venessa Wong, one comes to the realization that data, information, and knowledge will constantly be growing and upgrading.

The dream of obtaining special powers that defeats all limitations of our naturally given bodies and minds has been existent in society for as long as humanity came to existence. People always seem to want more and researchers from Intel Labs Pittsburgh (INTC), Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Pittsburgh are working on a project to give us that "more." This project is called NeuroSys. Through producing a thousand word database, they have developed software that uses a system of algorithms that can correlate a person's brain functioning with words they are thinking. Essentially, this is software developed to predict and read the thoughts of the human mind.

The focus behind NeuroSys is the analysis of the thoughts and ideas of the people. As our textbook says, "the single most important resource in any organization is its people. People set goals, carry out tasks, make decisions, serve customers, and, in the case of IT specialists, provide a stable and reliable technology environment so the organization can run smoothly and gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace." NeuroSys can take technology where it has never been before. Information and technology literacy will be the clearest it has ever been. Ideas, thoughts, and knowledge can all be provided without the time and effort of collecting and working for all the data. According to the researchers behind NeuroSys, the project is based on the assumption that society will not be completely natural until the interface vanishes for good, and accessing information involves only a simply thought and that is exactly what they want to accomplish. The ultimate vision of the NeuroSys project is to exchange information between the human mind and computers and mobile devices through the sole use of thought.

The NeuroSys Project is evolving through the use of a magnetoencephalography (MEG) machine that a person enters upon which their brain is then monitored. One is presented with a set of words to think and the machine identifies the locations in his brain that show increased activity. Each word processed contains different reactions and are shown through a variety of lights. The machine provides a location for which the word was used in the brain thus narrowing the possibilities. Preciseness, location, and language have all been issues raised concerning the NeuroSys Project but the ability of the machine has survived the struggles by providing accurate information when tested.

Overall, Neurosys is a technological advancement no one thought was possible. Even though it is not complete yet, the fact that such a device can be created is remarkable. The differentiation of the NeuroSys Project is what makes it a true specialty and one of a kind. A machine this unique is bound to impact technology immediately and it is just a matter of time before the demand of such a device is through the roof. Helping teachers use YouTube to engage and educate their students

James Sanders, a middle school history teacher at KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy, talks about a very interesting tactic involving the use of YouTube in his middle school classes. Obviously, there are positive and negative aspects to using video technology in a class, which Sanders understands, but he finds many more positive aspects than negative ones. He is now teaming up with the people at YouTube to create a tool to use YouTube as an educational tool. I agree with him when he says, "What was the one tool I found most useful as a teacher and most engaging for my students? YouTube." As a student myself, I have experienced extremely boring class lectures where the teacher simply talks the whole time and the students are almost falling asleep. However, when a teacher shows a video from YouTube, it immediately gauges my attention. Most students prefer visual learning than auditory learning, that is, lecturing. The problem, in my eyes, that teachers have with showing their class numerous YouTube videos like Sanders does is that the teacher does not feel in control of the class and simply takes a back seat to the creators of each video. The videos may contain certain elements that the teacher does not want to present to the class. Also, if the students were told to watch videos individually during class, teachers may fear that the students are roaming on other websites using the Internet or other YouTube videos that are off-subject. A simple solution to this is a tool that my computer science teacher used last year that can monitor what each student is doing on their own computers on his main computer. Internet is a very addicting thing, which YouTube video-watching has notoriously backed-up. Despite that side of the argument, Sanders and the people at YouTube point out, "Award-winning teacher trainers Jim Sill and Ramsey Musallam led workshops on “Finding your inner Spielberg” and “FlipTeaching,” and I taught about using YouTube as a powerful educational tool." when they organized the YouTube Teacher's Studio, a workshop for teachers from around the world to train them on using YouTube in the classroom. In my opinion, this new teacher's studio is and will be an incredibly efficient tool in filtering the best and most educational videos for teachers to utilize in their efforts at engaging their students in the material. Sanders explains, "There are lesson plan suggestions, highlights of great educational content on YouTube, and training on how to film your own educational videos." I think that if teachers learned how to make their own videos, and even possibly using clips of other videos in making their own, students would be much more attentive. Overall, I believe that technology is a wonderful thing to incorporate in classrooms. It is time-efficient, organized, and attractive. Students like to watch things, and if teachers get to create or manage the videos that they show their class, education may make a giant step in a positive direction in that students will be more excited to learn.

PayPal Unveils the Future of Shopping

PayPal has been working on a service to provide a new payment technology that will make shopping at a store quicker and easier. Shopping has evolved tremendously since its start. Online shopping created the opportunity to shop twenty-four hours a day, everyday. PayPal is implementing new technologies to allow shoppers to receive coupons, scan barcodes, determine availability of an item, and finally purchasing it with a mobile device at the store.

This technology will make shopping extremely convenient for the customers. Instead of waiting in a long line to pay for clothes or groceries, or instead of waiting for the bill at a restaurant, customers will be able to pay right from their phone using PayPal. This will change the way people shop, and unlike online shopping, it will be possible to see in person what is going to be purchased. This service will undoubtedly cause less ruckus in stores especially during holidays and sale times.

This system is a customer self-service system similar to an ATM because it will allow the customers to use technology to make their own transactions. Companies will not need as many employees working at the cash registers. Less people will be waiting in line to purchase their items while there will be an increase in consumers using this service. PayPal’s plan is to eventually eliminate the need for cash registers and credit card terminals. This technology would change the way people shop forever.

PayPal will probably include a commission fee on every purchase made with this offline service. There are already more than one-hundred million users on PayPal. When this new payment plan is available, I think that the number of users will increase substantially because transactions will be processed more conveniently for the customers. Who wants to wait on a line to pay for an item, regardless if the line is small or long? Nobody does, and with the ability to pay via mobile device, who would not want to try it. Nobody enjoys waiting forever for the waiter to bring their check either, which would make the push of a button easier for everyone.

PayPal will gain the first mover advantage because it will be the first company to implement this type of service for its customers. Companies that want to compete will need to create a more efficient, problem free service if they want to gain the competitive advantage. This strategy of business is defined as above the line because PayPal is trying to increase revenue by offering a new product that will gain numerous customers. I believe this system will revolutionize the shopping world for the future and will make a faster, and more efficient way to shop.

Facebook Advances Once Again

There are more than 800 million active users on Facebook. More than fifty percent of the active users log on to Facebook in any given day. More than seventy languages available on the site. More than seventy-five percent of users are outside of the United States. On average, people on Facebook install apps more than 20 million times every day. Every month, more than 500 million people use an app on Facebook or experience Facebook Platform on other websites. More than 7 million apps and websites are integrated with Facebook. There are more than 350 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices and there are more than 475 mobile operators globally working to deploy and promote Facebook mobile products. ("Facebook") One week ago a half a billion people used Facebook in a single day. This was an all time record for Facebook. The site expanded users from Harvard, to all colleges, and now to the entire world.

Facebook is constantly changing its layout and features to benefit the users, making it easier to navigate. They receive immediate feedback from the users by status updates. They then see what the users like and do not like. Every time the layout changes everyone has some sort of criticism to say about it. It may be bad at first but in the long run we all get used to it and realize that it is actually easier and more beneficial. All the employees have a Facebook, so they know firsthand how to change it to make it easier and more technological advanced.

The New York Times reported on Facebook’s recent changes they are making. The company realized it was hard to navigate to older posts so they released a product called Timeline. This allows users to view a profile based on photos, events, and apps up to the entire time the user had a Facebook. (“nytimes”) They are now trying to partner with other popular online sites to incorporate them into the layout. In July Facebook partnered with Skype to create video chat. Now users can stay in touch with their friends in live time rather than just posting pictures on their wall. The new technology that the company is creating is a way to share music, TV shows, and movies with Facebook friends. It is going to partner with ten companies including Vevo, Spotify, Rhapsody, Rdio, MOG, and the French company Deezer to make this possible. Some of these companies will offer free music with advertisements and others will offer a small price or even both. The entertainment one user is listening to will appear on their profile page in a link, allowing others to listen to it as well by the click of a button. This content will also appear in newsfeeds. Facebook is constantly improving to stay ahead of the technology of this day.

"Statistics." Facebook. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Sep 2011. .

"Facebook Unveils Timeline View and Media Partnerships." nytimes. N.p., 09 22 2011. Web. 22 Sep 2011. .

"Facebook ." nytimes. N.p., 09 22 2011. Web. 22 Sep 2011. .

Facebook wants to be your music platform (among others)

As of September 20, 2011 it has become a known fact that the creators of Facebook have been tweaking their website to provide users with even greater access to the whereabouts, thoughts, and media (pictures, videos, etc) of their friends. The recent introduction of the new “ticker” is proof their innovations. On September 22, 2011, Facebook will hold its annual developer meeting —called “F8”. According to the article, what is going to be announced as the goal for Facebook for this year is a music platform. Facebook is said to be teaming up with companies such as Rhapsody, Spotify, Rdio, and Mog to develop this new platform. While this idea seems to be well calculated in that it will provide Facebook with an even greater opportunity to charge companies for advertisements on their site, it makes me wonder—I am an avid user of social media and have experience using most of the sites—is Facebook going to become the next MySpace?
In its prime, MySpace was a seemingly revolutionary concept which seemed to just pop-up over night. At the time I had discovered the site (2006-2007) it had a similar build to Facebook. You were able to post pictures of yourself, add personal information comment on pictures of your friends, etc. However what made MySpace so unique was its heavy integration with the music industry. MySpace had been a place where you could find, rate, and discover new bands and artists; on top of that, you were even able to share it with your friends by placing the music of one of the artists/bands on your MySpace page. At the time it had seemed revolutionary. Sometime later Facebook began to become more main-stream. To counter this MySpace had begun to sell out from its initial glory to a more commercialized and overly advertised version. This is what I feel caused Facebook to skyrocket to its iconic position. Facebook is now the epitome of what social networking sites aspire to be. To date—Facebook has over seven hundred and fifty million users and growing.
The innovations that Facebook creates can be highly desirable for business strategy and information. For example, an information system technician for a company may want to track the interests of people who “like” their company. Tracking the interests will allow the company to produce advertisements and improve their marketing by focusing on these users and their specific interests. The introduction of a music platform can only further increase the ways in which companies can interact and survey their customers. It’s clear that Facebook can be an extremely powerful tool to an information analyst but the article brings up a good point. The article states “Some of those new features seem a bit – well, familiar. Subscriptions essentially brings Twitter-like updates to Facebook, while the curation tool Facebook calls ‘smart lists’ isn’t too far removed from Circles on Google Plus.” Is it possible that Facebook has reached its creative limit? Or could this just be evolution? The integration of the positive aspects of other social media sites to the site seems to suggest so.

Hewlett Packard moves toward Cloud software

Co. Executive Officer Leo Apotheker of Hewlett Packard announced the plan for his company to expand their software technologies and markets for online computing. The use of a new cloud computing service will allow developers to make their own applications for potential buyers using the Hewlett Packard tools and servers. As well, plans to install the WebOS mobile software into much more of their products has projected to increase their output of devices to past the 100 million mark. Apotheker stated, “It’s the first time HP is trying to put all of the elements of what it’s doing together”.

Hewlett Packard’s goal to have all of their products working together while expanding their software markets has put them in the competitive running for business with the corporate demographic because the new technology will allow for data movement and organization at the scale needed. Still, problems due to the high cost of the cloud computing and the power needed to move the immense amounts of data have the CEO’s and leaders of the operation treading carefully.

The cloud technology implemented will allow users to accesses an online store where, because of the new technology, consumers will have the tools necessary to build the software they need or search the organized center for what they are looking for. As well, the ownership of a cloud will allow Hewlett Packard to host an area where other companies can distribute their own software through use of the cloud. This centralized station puts the company in a position of leverage by making them the one area that can tie together both corporate and personal technology needs. Along with the cloud, the 100 million plus output of personal devices has been made possible by this process. The use of the WebOS will open the market for the corporate side by offering the technology that most big business’s need for their employees to everyone.

Hewlett Packard’s decision to implement the new software, although risky in the cost sector, has already taken off running. By making this move, they have reversed their competitive and industry pressures while working both above and below the line. Opening the door to the corporate software market while keeping their personal consumers will optimize their revenue while staying organized all under one cloud. Already, Hewlett Packard sales have been projected to rise and the shares of their stock to move up in price. The cloud itself works as a giant knowledge management system where data from all over the world can be filed and searched for in one place. This system allows for the all of the integrated software’s access to be monitored and the data from sales to be monitored to help maximize revenue. Combined with the massive out put of devices, the cloud technology has the potential to open doors for Hewlett Packard that no other company has the resources to keep up with and could potentially have huge rewards for the company itself.

Wal-Mart's Implementation of New Data Mining Technology, Hadoop, on E-Commerce

Officially released ten days ago, a free computer software program called Hadoop has been highlighted by an article online by Bloomberg Businessweek. It has already been utilized by many large companies like Wal-Mart, Bank of America, Orbitz, AOL, Walt Disney, IBM, Nokia, and Yahoo to collect vast amounts of data to efficiently analyze consumer trends.
One of the most evident examples of the application of Hadoop is depicted through Wal-Mart’s use of this computer software. Wal-Mart has always been a dominate physical presence to consumers with stores seemingly everywhere across the United States. However, this commerce giant is currently in an uphill battle with Amazon in the realms of e-commerce, or the buying and selling of goods online. Anand Rajaraman, senior vice-president of global e-commerce at Wal-Mart explains how the consumers are now getting past e-commerce and into “social commerce” through Facebook and Twitter. To adequately assess these sites Wal-Mart is turning to Hadoop to gather data on statuses, posts, and searches to successfully place the right products with the right consumers. With Wal-Mart predicting this e-commerce market morphing into a “social commerce” market, the company can get a leg up on Amazon by collecting this data for consumer analysis. For example, Hadoop helps Wal-Mart convert and organize words in statuses like “back-yard chair” and relate them with a section of Wal-Mart products like “patio furniture”.
With the influx of data that the internet provides, it is essential that companies like Wal-Mart collect and analyze as much data as they can from the extremely lucrative social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Wal-Mart’s usage of Hadoop also reflects a great model of business planning. It all started with a problem. Wal-Mart was failing in the realms of e-commerce and they foresaw this market expanding into the social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. With this problem they developed a solution: connect searches, statuses, and tweets by using a language identifier to link words to a selection of products it provided. To act on the solution, Wal-Mart utilized an IT program, Hadoop, to generate data to convert to analysis to better sell their products and increase their presence on the e-commerce market.
However this article is interesting in the fact that it begins to form the question of, when does specialized advertising become too much? If companies like Wal-Mart are using information from numerous statues to develop software to pinpoint words with products, when does the user (or consumer in the eyes of companies) of a site like Twitter become fed up with every tweet they make then becoming linked to a product? Take into consideration Rajaraman’s example (that software aided by data from Hadoop could connect “backyard chair” to Wal-Mart’s line of patio furniture) for a moment. Imagine Tweeting, “just fell off my backyard chair while tanning #embarrassing #thankgodforfences”. Ideally Wal-Mart would want to then connect that tweet with patio furniture it is trying to sell. This could create social media consumer hatred and eventually turn Wal-Mart’s anticipated success into failure.
Despite a potential e-commerce “bubble” far in the distance, Wal-Mart’s business moves provide a good example of solving a problem using an IT application.

King, Rachael. "CEO Guide to Hadoop." Bloomberg Businessweek. 07 Sept. 2011. Web

Hadoop, an Elephant's Name

Rachael King’s article “Getting a Handle on Big Data with Hadoop” posted in Bloomberg Businessweek, explains the importance of controlling data in a corporation. 
In today’s age of technology businesses need to control the amount of information that social media websites obtain about their business. Wal-Mart analyzes what users say about their products from popular sites such as Facebook and Twitter. However, how does WalMart sort through this large amount of information in an efficient amount of time? They use Hadoop software.
            Doug Cutting is the creator behind Hadoop. In 2006, Cutting named this software after his son’s stuffed elephant. It is a free database that analyzes information more efficiently than traditional databases used in the past. Chief Executive officer Mike Olson says, “It was obvious to me that the problems that Google and Yahoo and Facebook had were the problems that the other companies were going to have later.” Companies quickly realized this problem. Today corporations such as General Electric, Walt Disney, Bank of America and Nokia have adopted Hadoop in their research analysis. Hadoop is applied to marketing, advertising, and customer relation tasks within a company.  In 2011, “1.8 zettabytes (1.8 trillion gigabytes) of data will be created and replicated”. This software will provide a handle on the overwhelming amount of unstructured information that corporations obtain. An important element of this unstructured information is the social media content regarding customer feedback.  Wal-Mart wants to gain insight into what their loyal customers truly want. Wal-Mart realized that the shopping experience is headed for a change. This generation is social and completely dependent on the Internet. Wal-Mart has about $6 billion in online sales. The corporation needed an outlet for its customers. Wal-Mart created @WalmartLabs, which contains the Social Genome, a network that connects millions of consumers with the most valuable products based on the customer’s interests. The social data analysis for @WalmartLabs uses Hadoop to “create language models so that the site can return product results if the shopper enters a related word”. This innovative thinking will make the customer’s online experience more enjoyable. Wal-Mart is hoping to gain information about a customer’s Facebook updates or Twitter status and apply it to a certain consumer good category.
            Hadoop’s growth in corporations shows the popularity of handling this overwhelming amount of data due to social media. The unstructured data makes up 80 percent of the company’s information. This data includes emails, documents and social media content. The fast and efficient performance of Hadoop has improved the quality of Wal-Mart’s research. I believe that this new software has greatly impacted Wal-Mart and other corporations. Doug Cutting has created an innovative network that has led to connecting customers with their favorite brands. He has helped corporations use social media to their advantage as well as control customer information. Right now, customer satisfaction has become the most important aspect in corporations. The main question is not how to attract customers but what do customers truly need. Hadoop is directing businesses to figure out this question by using social media.

Glowpoint Open Video cloud

My first blog I have decided to write about is how Over 60% of Fortune's 'World's Most Admired Companies' for 2011 have benefited from Glowpoint's OpenVideo cloud. The Glowpoint cooperation offers cloud managed video services that delivers constant high-quality video conferencing and telepresence service as easy as the Internet, linking any endpoint, business and network. Using their OpenVideo cloud architecture, Glowpoint allows businesses big or small to adopt business-class video effortlessly, scale immediately and work together openly, yet securely across technology borders, and to understand the full importance of visual communications. “The 3 largest management consulting firms in the world, 5 of the 6 largest global Network and Communications and Equipment companies, 3 of the 5 largest global Health Insurance and Managed Care companies, 3 of the 6 largest global Household and Consumer Products companies, and 6 of the 10 largest accounting firms in the United States,” all use and prospered from the Glowpoint Open Video cloud. The Glowpoint Open Video adopts video easily by lengthening video services to users with point-and-click access they scale instantly to hold more users, sites and video call volume on a insist, price effectively, they also collaborate openly by allowing you to use business video as openly as the Internet, securely.

Now in today’s society it’s becoming more and more prevalent to stay in contact with each other technologically with Facebook, Twitter, and Skype; there are no exceptions for businesses and corporations. Being the economy the way it is businesses are cutting spending on IT, yet the huge selling point with Glowpoint’s Open Video cloud is that it will save corporations money. By eliminating travel time, expenses, and the actual cost of travel saves enormous amounts of money. Glowpoints Open Video cloud should too be viewed as a telephone and travel enhancement—a way to reinforce bonds with distant colleagues and clientele between visits in person. Also the idea of going “green” is a big attraction for companies, the reduction of gas fumes and power used to travel is a big environmental savior.

The Glowpoint Open Video cloud will have a dramatic change on productivity in the work place. By using the capability to effortlessly share any type of information is another plus to the Cloud that was not easily as possible in a local meeting. As a result, decisions are made quicker; bringing products or services to market faster; and allowing you to stay one step ahead of the competition.

The Hiring processes for companies can be extremely long and expensive, particularly when potential workers are in other cities or when more than one person is involved in the interview process. Companies using Glowpoint Open Cloud can reduce operating cost and time by bringing potential empoloyees into the nearest facility or computer and allowing interviews to be done in person and over video. The Glowpoint Open Video helps employees balance work and home life by drastically minimizing travel so they can spend more time with their families; maybe even making it possible for workers to work partially or full time from home, to ease the burden of commuting.

Mitsubishi Leaks Our Information

In this weeks news it was reported that confidential information was possibly leaked from Japan inside of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The article states that the information Mitsubishi holds are from clients such as the Japanese government and U.S. military. The information at risk is mostly based around the F-15 Fighter Jet which is a U.S. military plane along with Japan defense information. We learn from the articles that computers in the facility were infected with a virus due to a hole in security. The reported incident happened in mid August but was kept secret but has made recent headlines as the U.S. government issues a "warning" against other possible incidents.

I don't find this to be a surprise at all, because of the nature of the battle. Those who are targeting these major companies and systems have the advantage because they are on the offensive looking to win, while the companies themselves can mostly only play defensively. Most of our information stored electronically is no longer ours once it is published nor can be taken back. The most we can do is try to protect/hide it. In this case the information was being protected and too the credit of Mitsubishi its all they could do. They on the other hand have failed their clients, which can become an issue legally, and finically. In the business world a tainted name especially for a large company such as Mitsubishi can cause panic, fear, and a loss of trust.

This reminds us that information we collect, store, and share has a purpose and we should be conscious of that. Different levels of security should be instilled for different kinds of information we store. Things such as military information is more valuable and more harmful too all compared to the ingredients in HEINZ Ketchup. And with the U.S. having its own issues with security breaches on its private information referring too the attacks on Lockheed Martin, its obvious there is an issue. To solve this technology must be continually explored to stay 1 step ahead of those who try to go against it.

The servers, which were at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries plant, have not been identified to a brand. This is a new issue now that companies have begun to produce their own servers as a way of keeping cost down and become more self-dependent. Mitsubishi has been hit with a major spotlight but with little word coming from there side its unfair too say we know what happened and why.

But for those who may not see the major issue at hand here for the general public here it is. Our information we collect and store is not safe, we have become reliant on technology and have become complacent with the possibility of having our information given out to the wrong people. A thing such as typing in a phone number at grocery store is your information you have given to someone else to protect and use. When we ourselves cant guarantee we can protect our information giving it to someone else only makes us more prone to losing what is ours.