Show of 2-12-2011

  • Email and Forum Questions
    • Email from Paula: Dear Tech Talk, please go over the Android tablets again. I know that you talked a little about then last week, but David Burd visited the show and you ran out of time to go into detail. I am trying to decide between the iPad and a new Android tablet. Love the show. Thanks, Paula
    • Tech Talk Responds: I will review the Honeycomb OS again since we were interrupted last week.
    • Email from Frequent Listener: Dr. Richard Shurtz, I want to upgrade my home computer. I own a Dell Inspiron bought 2006. I don’t do gaming and don’t download music. I mainly use MS office and do emailing. I have Verizon FIOS and also do online research. When I bought this Dell it came with a LOT of crapware–software I didn’t ask for was preloaded. If you recommend I stay w/ a Dell machine, how do I ENSURE it is not sent with crapware? If another manufacturer, who would you recommend? Most Appreciated. Frequent listener in Bethesda MD
    • Tech Talk Responds: I have good news. As of June 2007, Dell lets users configure the amount of preloaded software on their PCs, giving customers more control simply by checking the right boxes when placing an order online. Software not requested (crapware) is not loaded. Dell is doing something right. Other vendors (Acer, Gateway, HP, Sony, and Toshiba) still preload unwanted programs. Sony, Toshiba, and HP are the worst according to a recent laptop review
    • Email from CS: Dear Dr. Richard Shurtz, I can’t recall you ever talking about standards in IT. As a tech writer, these are appearing to be more and more important. Esp ISO 20000. My boss has bought this book and he and I are reading it– Implementing ISO/IEC 20000 Certification – The Roadmap. I’d be grateful if you can devote some time to BSI and Implementing ISO/IEC 20000 Certification. Thanks, CS in Bethesda
    • Tech Talk Responds: ISO/IEC 20000 is the first international standard for IT Service Management. It was developed in 2005 and is based on BS 15000 that was developed by BSI Group, a UK national standards organization. The ISO/IEC 20000-1 promotes the adoption of an integrated process approach to effectively deliver managed services to meet the business and customer requirements. This is standard applied project management methods to IT Services.
    • IT has always been driven by standards. ISO is the European Standards Group. BSI is the UK Standard Group. IETF is the Internet standards group (TCP/IP is an IETF standard), IEEE is the networking standards group (802.11 wireless standard is an IEEE standard).
  • Profiles in IT: Andrew Mason
    • Andrew Mason is the founder and CEO of Groupon, a Chicago-based website offering users deep discounts on local businesses.
    • Andrew Mason was born in 1981 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Mason grew up in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh.
    • At age 15, he started a Saturday morning delivery service called Bagel Express.
    • He moved to Chicago to attend Northwestern University. In 2003 he graduated with a degree in music. He plays the piano and was in a rock band.
    • Mason interned and worked at prominent Chicago recording studio Electrical Audio under recording engineer Steve Albini, whom Mason cited as being an inspiration on his work ethic.
    • After graduating from Northwestern University, he worked in web design for Chicago serial entrepreneur Eric Lefkofsky.
    • After dabbling in software development, Mason developed Policy Tree (www.policytree.org), a policy debate visualization tool, and won a scholarship to attend the University Of Chicago Harris School Of Public Policy in 2006.
    • Mason stopped working with Lefkofsky in order to attend the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy on a scholarship.
    • In 2006 Mason has a problem with his cell phone contract. He had to cancel his contract with much difficulty. He thought there had to be a large number of people with the same problem. If we were united, we could leverage collective power.
    • That began pondering the idea of a social networking site like Facebook but aimed at organizing people to take collective action.
    • Mason started working on a platform for collective action based on the principal of a tipping point (the number at which many small individual items reach critical mass).
    • Word of the project reached Lefkofsky, his old boss. Lefkofsky asked Mason to put together an outline about his business idea.
    • Lefkofsky provided Mason with $M dollars in "seed money" to bankroll the project.
    • He dropped out after 3 months and began working on The Point (www.thepoint.com)
    • Launch in 2007, The Point never really caught on except with some esoteric causes.
    • After a year, Lefkofsky wanted him to figure out how to make money on the site.
    • Mason suggested collective buying and Groupon was born. Groupon is a mashup of Group and Coupon.
    • Groupon was officially launched in 2008. According to the website, Groupon has sold more than six million deals.
    • With Groupon taking 50 percent of every deal, plus a small credit-card handling fee, Groupon’s revenue was reported to be $800 million in 2010.
    • Groupon says that it has expanded to 35 countries and grown to 50 million users.
    • They have raised $950M in second round venture capital. First round was $500M.
    • They expect to go public with a market cap of $15B.
    • On December 1, 2010, The New York Times reported that Groupon was the subject of a $6 billion dollar acquisition bid from Google, which was reportedly turned down.
    • Amazon and Google are moving into social marketing. Can Groupon beat them out?
    • Web address: www.groupon.com
  • The Unexpected Hero: Weal Ghonim
    • The demonstrations in Egypt which led to the resignation of Hosni Mubarak were organized through a Facebook page called We Are All Kaled Said.
    • This page has nearly 74,000 followers and was started in the middle of 2010.
    • The page is about Khaled Said, a 28-year-old Egyptian from the coastal city of Alexandria, Egypt, was tortured to death at the hands of two police officers.
    • This Facebook page was used to organize the public protests on January 25th, 2011.
    • The secret administrator of this site was Wael Ghonim. He has become a folk hero.
    • Wael Ghonim was born to a middle-class family on 23 December 1980 in Cairo, Egypt and grew up in the United Arab Emirates.
    • He earned a computer engineering degree from Cairo University in 2004 and an MBA in marketing and finance from the American University in Cairo in 2007.
    • His career much earlier.
      • From 1998 to 2002, he helped launch Marefa.org, a popular Arab website.
      • From 2002 to 2005, Ghonim was Marketing and Sales Manager of Gawab.com, the leading e-mail service provider in the Middle East
      • From 2005 to 2008, he founded and was managed Mubasher.info, the leading Arabic financial portal in the Middle East
      • From November 2008 to January 2010, he was Regional Product & Marketing Manager of Google Middle East and North Africa.
      • From January 2010 to present, he was Head of Marketing of Google Middle East and North Africa based at Google’s UAE office in Dubai.
    • Ghonim persuaded Google to allow him to return to Egypt, citing a personal problem.
    • After his arrival, he disappeared on 27 January 2011 during the unrest in Egypt.
    • His family informed the international media that he was missing. Google confirmed his disappearance. Many bloggers campaigned to find him.
    • On 5 February 2011, Mostafa Alnagar, a major Egyptian opposition figure, reported Wael Ghonim as alive and would be released within hours.
    • On 6 February 2011, Amnesty International demanded that the Egyptian authorities disclose where Ghonim was and to release him.
    • Ghonim was released on 7 February, after 11 days in detention.
    • The same day, Ghonim appeared on the Egyptian channel DreamTV on the 10:00 pm programme hosted by Mona El-Shazly.
    • In the interview he praised the protesters and mourned the dead as the host read their names and showed their pictures, eventually rising, "overwhelmed," and walking off camera.
    • At the end …, he gathered himself for a few seconds and tried to make the most of the platform. ‘I want to tell every mother and every father who lost a child, I am sorry, but this is not our mistake,’ he said. ‘I swear to God, it’s not our mistake. It’s the mistake of every one of those in power who doesn’t want to let go of it.’"
    • On 9 February, Ghonim addressed the crowds in Tahrir Square, telling the protesters: This is not the time for individuals, or parties, or movements. It’s a time for all of us to say just one thing: Egypt above all.
    • His most recent post to the Facebook page: Just back from celebrations in the street. My voice is completely gone from shouting & chanting. It’s an incredible day in Egyptians life. Incredible day in Egypt’s history. We will build a new Egypt. A new fair, free & just Egypt for all.
    • Google has been silent about Ghonim’s political activities while on leave.
    • He intends to write a book with Revolution 2.0 as its title, highlighting the role of social media in this historic political change.
    • The Internet and Social Networking have become a force that is difficult to contain.
  • Website of the Week: Google Transparency Report
    • According this site: Transparency is a core value at Google.
    • This site includes an interactive map of Government Requests that shows the number of government inquiries for information about users and requests for Google to take down or censor content.
    • No requested censorship from Egypt.
    • The China entry is interesting: Chinese officials consider censorship demands to be state secrets, so we cannot disclose that information at this time.
    • It also includes interactive Traffic graphs provide information about traffic to Google services around the world.
    • Each graph shows historic traffic patterns for a given country/region and service.
    • By illustrating outages, this tool visualizes disruptions in the free flow of information, whether it’s a government blocking information or a cable being cut.
    • For install this traffic graph showed the Internet outage in Egypt from January 28th to February 2nd.
    • Web address: www.google.com/transparencyreport/
  • Honeycomb: The New Android 3.0 (Revisited)
    • Google’s tablet-ready mobile OS Android 3.0, Honeycomb, has arrived.
    • It includes camera support, improved navigation, graphics and a new Android Market for apps.
    • Honeycomb will be all about tablets. Google said it is working to bring Honeycomb to smartphones as we speak.
    • The first device to offer Honeycomb, the Motorola Xoom, is scheduled to arrive in late February.
    • The Motorola Xoom features a 10.1-inch display at 1,280-by-800 resolution, dual-core 1GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, 32GB of on-board storage and SD card slot.
    • Onscreen widgets that let you quickly access data without launching an application. The Gmail and Calendar widgets are scrollable, letting you have a snapshot view of your mail or appointments.
    • You can quickly scroll your video or Google Books collections using Cover Flow-like widgets that show images.
    • Honeycomb tablet devices won’t have any physical buttons. Instead, navigation will be handled using software buttons located on a system bar at the bottom of the tablet.
    • The action bar is a customizable menu that applications can place at the top of the screen. It can include common tasks such as compose, star or delete for e-mail.
    • Google has created a new graphics engine for Honeycomb called RenderScript to allow for hardware acceleration for 2D and 3D graphics and improved animations.
    • Gmail video chat will be available Honeycomb, but will obviously require a Webcam built-in to the tablet. Google says it has also built image stabilization into video chat.
    • Honeycomb has password-protected full hard drive encryption, a move designed to appeal to enterprise users.
    • Google has finally released a browsable Web-based version of the Android Market that is accessible from any browser.
    • Android 3.0 will include a few tools from Chrome including tabbed browsing, bookmark sync and incognito mode.
    • There are quite a few Android 2.1 tablets. I would wait for the 3.0 tablets with video conferencing capability.
  • Nokia and Microsoft Cell Phone Partnership
    • Nokia has scrapped its smartphone software for Microsoft’s mobile operating system.
    • 1000 Nokia employees walk off the job in a one day protest.
    • Can this partnership compete Apple’s iPhone and Android handsets.
    • Microsoft is hoping that its alliance with the world’s largest mobile phone maker will catapult Windows Phone 7 (WP7) from the rear of a smartphone market that Nokia barely rules with Symbian software.
    • A key to success for Microsoft will be winning over developers whose applications are vital to the popularity of smartphones.
    • Nokia should make it an irresistible proposition for developers since the Finnish firm commands more than 30 percent of the mobile phone market, giving "app" makers a vast audience of potential customers for digital wares.
    • The hope is that Microsoft’s Windows Phone Marketplace complement a Nokia shop that delivers four million downloads daily.
    • Nokia’s distribution network trumps those for Apple or Google-backed Android devices, while Windows Phone 7 is an impressive platform with terrific tools for developers.
    • This is a gamble for both companies, but Nokia has more to lose.
  • Voyager 1 Leaving Solar System
    • Voyager 1 is now 10.8 billion miles from Earth.
    • I has detected a distinct change in the flow of particles that surround it.
    • These particles, which emanate from the Sun, are no longer travelling outwards but are moving sideways.
    • It means Voyager must be very close to making the jump to interstellar space – the space between the stars.
    • Voyager was launched 33 years ago and is still returning data.
    • Voyager 1 was launched on 5 September 1977, and its sister spacecraft, Voyager 2, on 20 August 1977.
    • The Nasa probes’ initial goal was to survey the outer planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, a task completed in 1989.
    • They were then dispatched towards deep space, in the general direction of the centre of our Milky Way Galaxy.
    • Sustained by their radioactive power packs, the probes’ instruments continue to function well and return data to Earth, although the vast distance between them and Earth means a radio message now has a travel time of about 16 hours.
    • The newly reported observation comes from Voyager 1’s Low-Energy Charged Particle Instrument, which has been monitoring the velocity of the solar wind.
    • This stream of charged particles forms a bubble around our Solar System known as the heliosphere. The wind travels at "supersonic" speed until it crosses a shockwave called the termination shock.
    • At this point, the wind then slows dramatically and heats up in a region termed the heliosheath. Voyager has determined the velocity of the wind at its location has now slowed to zero.
    • This phenomenon is a consequence of the wind pushing up against the matter coming from other stars. The boundary between the two is the "official" edge of the Solar System – the heliopause.
    • Once Voyager crosses over, it will be in interstellar space.
    • Although launched first, Voyager 2 was put on a slower path and is currently just over 8.7 billion miles from Earth.