Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Another Service Interruption for BlackBerrys

A month after BlackBerry service crashed worldwide, stranding some customers for up to three days, the company said on Wednesday that some users were again experiencing service delays.

And earlier in the day, Google said it would stop offering a Gmail application for BlackBerrys on Nov. 22. While the app will continue to function after that date, Google also plans to abandon support for it.

Tenille Kennedy, a spokeswoman for RIM, said the users whose service was affected on Wednesday were in Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa. Thats the same part of the world where the failure of a major networking component led to last months shutdown. The problem that time became worldwide as the buildup of undelivered data it created eventually overwhelmed all of RIMs network.

Speaking late on Wednesday afternoon, Ms. Kennedy said it was unclear how many users were affected or exactly what sort of delays they were encountering.

She emphasized that the trouble appeared to be isolated to that part of the world.

“Theres no systemwide outage, she said.

RIM operates a proprietary, worldwide network to handle data traveling to and from BlackBerrys. For corporate users, the network creates a high degree of security. For all users, including consumers, the network has technologies that speed up Web browsing, lower wireless data bills and enable the companys BlackBerry Messenger instant messaging system. When, of course, everything functions properly.

The announcement about the Gmail apps on BlackBerrys was less significant than perhaps symbolic of growing competition between Google, which makes the Android smartphone operating system and which is acquiring Motorola Mobile, and other smartphone companies — even though BlackBerrys have suffered in some markets like North America because of a comparative lack of apps,

Since 2009, all BlackBerrys have shipped with software in their operating systems that supports a variety of Google services, including Gmail, Google calendar and contact syncing.

In a statement, RIM said, “The large majority of users who access Gmail on their BlackBerry smartphones do so through RIMs software rather than Googles Gmail app. As well, BlackBerry users can also use Gmail through the browser on their phones although that can be a less than optimal experience on some models with small displays.

RIM said it would continue to expand and improve its operating support for Google products.

Earlier this month, Google introduced a Gmail app for Apples iPhone and then withdrew it for repairs after the software proved flawed. As is the case with BlackBerrys, the the iPhone’s iOS operating system allows users to use Gmail without downloading any additional apps from Google.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Nokia’s Comeback Strategy in Smartphones

Stephen Elop, Nokia's chief executive, in London last month.

The challenge Nokia faces in the smartphone market was grimly detailed last week. In the third quarter, according to IDC, Nokia’s worldwide smartphone sales fell 37 percent to 16.8 million phones from 26.5 million a year ago.

Nokia’s retreat comes in a booming market. Smartphone shipments grew 43 percent in the third quarter.

Stephen Elop, Nokia’s chief executive, is not despairing, and he has a turnaround strategy. The game plan is coherent and ambitious, but its success is not assured.

The opening for Nokia, Mr. Elop explained, depends on Nokia’s ability to exploit the rapidly shifting market in smartphones, to profit from its new alliance with Microsoft and to develop services based on its own assets, like the company’s advanced mapping and location data technology.

“There is tremendous opportunity for differentiation,” Mr. Elop said Monday in an interview.

The difference, said Mr. Elop, who joined the Finnish phone maker from Microsoft just over a year ago, starts with Microsoft’s new Windows Phone operating system. The well-reviewed software presents the user with large touchscreen tiles, which can be tailored to collect all the communications — e-mail, Twitter, Facebook — from a person’s family or spouse, for example.

Its smartphone interface, Mr. Elop said, contrasts with the “grid of icons” for software apps that greet users of Apple‘s iPhone or phones that run Google‘s Android software. The first Nokia smartphones powered by Windows software were announced two weeks ago. They will go on sale in six European countries this month and in the United States next year.

But Nokia and Microsoft face the latecomer’s dilemma. The smartphone market is a business with powerful network effects — the more people who use your hardware and software, the more applications developers who are attracted to your platform, whose apps in turn attract more users.

Once that snowballing effect gets under way, it can be quite powerful. And things are rolling for both Apple and Google’s Android. Samsung, for example, jumped to the top of smartphone market in the third quarter; its sales tripled thanks to its popular Android smartphones.

Such technology platforms are often called ecosystems, and Mr. Elop described Nokia’s strategy in those terms. Mobile network operators, like AT&T and Verizon, would welcome more smartphone competition. “They want a third ecosystem,” Mr. Elop said.

Nokia competes with other handset makers, like Samsung, HTC and LG. But Mr. Elop made it clear that was not his greatest concern.

“The highest priority for us is to beat Android and Apple,” he said. “This is an ecosystem to ecosystem battle.”

Nokia, Mr. Elop said, is also developing services to try to distinguish itself from the smartphone leaders. He pointed to the company’s Navteq location data as an example. Nokia acquired Navteq,a leading provider of mapping and location data,for $8 billion in 2007. It supplies GPS systems like Garmin and Magellan, online map services like Mapquest, Yahoo Maps and Bing Maps, and the geographic data to create the flyover terrains in Microsoft’s Flight Simulator.

Nokia recently announced a location-based service called Nokia Live View. Point the smartphone’s camera at a building like Madison Square Garden, and it not only identifies the building but, based on past browsing and purchasing behavior, it might tell Mr. Elop, who is Canadian and a hockey fan, that a professional hockey game is scheduled that night at the Garden.

“These devices are essentially a platform of sensors,” Mr. Elop said. “The Navteq location data is one of the best assets we have. Fully integrating that technology into our smartphones is a major area of investment for us and a real area of differentiation.”

The Nokia strategy in alliance with Microsoft, analysts say, makes sense. Yet even if  it is successful, it will take time and a lot of money. “Birthing a new platform is a big deal,” said Al Hilwa, an analyst at IDC. “It’s a long-run game, one that will take years.”

Sunday, November 27, 2011

OneID Aims to Unite Devices to Fight Hackers

Steve Kirsch, the founder of OneID, in 2007.

Assume your computer, your cellphone and your iPad are all insecure, subject to hackers. All three of them working together to protect your information — would that be better?

It would, according to OneID, a start-up company in San Jose, Calif., that is trying to promote a new kind of single sign-on security for the Web.

Single sign-on is a kind of holy grail on the Internet, a way of avoiding having to remember separate passwords for every Web site and service a person uses. Like the original grail, lots of people have believed in it and no one has found it. In this case, Microsoft, IBM, Sun Microsystems and long-forgotten companies like Oblix (now part of Oracle) have all tried.

Frequently the technology behind one company or another’s single sign-on is plausible, but everyone else on the Internet is not comfortable turning their customers’ identities over to one big player. Facebook might want to be the one-stop identity company, too, but would face distrust. This may leave an opening for a smaller company with sufficient financing and a novel technology.

Enter OneID, founded by Steve Kirsch, a well-known Silicon Valley multimillionaire who founded, among other companies, the search engine Infoseek. His technology confirms who you are by combining the private security keys of several devices, which are then encrypted in a blob in a remote data center. Supposedly your personal information, including your name and address, passwords and credit card data, cannot be obtained there, either. When you want to log on to a Web site, OneID checks the security of the site, then determines who you are by confirming three different digital signatures on different devices. Merchants never see your credit card information but receive a clearance from OneID.

(Mr. Kirsch is also somewhat known in the valley for having technologygone public about his blood cancer, which a few years ago threatened his life. He appears healthy and says he is taking a drug that keeps the condition stable. In addition, he is closely following new therapies, one of which he thinks looks quite promising.)

The redundancy in the OneID system, Mr. Kirsch says, is what makes the product effective. You have to compromise three different private keys to break into this, he says. Distributing information across devices makes it safer. In some cases, the individual digital signatures are stored with other providers, so one step to hacking OneID would involve hacking Apple without a trace. There is usually an added level of security, Mr. Kirsch notes, in that many cellphones and tablets have their own access codes, so a hacker would have to obtain all of a user’s devices, break into them and get at the personal information before his target could know that anything was wrong.

OneID recently won a VC Bait contest at a big e-commerce trade show called X.Commerce. Mr. Kirsch is also offering $1 million of his own money, plus his name and one password, to hackers who are willing to try cracking the overall system.

The product is set to have its debut in February, but if you register at the company’s site now, OneID will give you priority in securing the handle by which you wish to be identified â€" which could be a valuable thing, if OneID catches on.

I recently ran into Mr. Kirsch along Sand Hill Road, the center of the venture capital universe, and he invited me down for a look at the product. It seems easy to use, and graphically very attractive, particularly the control screen for the iPad. This allows you to set higher levels of security for certain places or tasks, allow or shut off access to other devices and deal with browsers you might use at a public computer. Mr. Kirsch has similar interfaces for other devices and has worked on a QR code version of the service, so you could establish your identity at a checkout stand by holding a phone over a scanner. It seemed to work quickly enough, despite all the cross-checking going on in the background.

It is all very nice, but as much as the fancy security, the real test of single sign-on is how readily others are willing to use it. As Mr. Kirsch put it at the start of our meeting, Hundreds of people have tried this already, so why shouldn’t you write my obituary? His advantage, he thinks, is in the compelling nature of the technology, his network of connections into big companies that might be interested in such a product and a general dissatisfaction with the current system.

I have one wife, one car, three kids, one cat, and 352 user names and passwords, he says. We have plenty of allies who want to move past this. Facebook has already been somewhat successful as a single sign-on service for social sites, though not yet for financial information. Mr. Kirsch may hope Facebook’s size makes others wary, giving him an opening.

As for another likely competitor, PayPal, he says, They are focused on being a payments company. OneID is an identity company. In his mind, anyway, payments are just a subset of identity. Can’t say the man is thinking small.

Mr. Kirsch was clearly in the middle of several demonstrations and negotiations with computer, payments and social media companies, but so far would not say if he had any agreements. He will need a lot, if the company is to get any traction. But then, that was the initial problem for the credit card companies. People were first suspicious of plastic  and accepted it more readily once others did.

Friday, November 25, 2011

What’s Really Next for Apple in Television

Ive finally cracked it! Steven P. Jobs, co-founder of Apple, told his biographer, Walter Isaacson.

Although Mr. Jobs was referring to Apples plans to build a full-fledged television, he was not actually referring to the TV set, which is how the comment has been widely interpreted. Instead, it is becoming clear that Mr. Jobs was talking about Siri, Apples new artificial intelligent software on the iPhone 4S.

Apple engineers and designers, spurred by Mr. Jobs, have been struggling for years to find a new interface for the television. One of the biggest hurdles, according to people with knowledge of the project, has been replacing the television sets annoying best friend: the awkward and confusing remote control. Apple would give people a way to choose the content on their television that is as easy as choosing the content on their iPod, iPhone or iPad.

Alternative remote ideas floated by Apple included a wireless keyboard and mouse, or using an iPod, iPhone or iPad as a remote. None of these concepts worked. But there was one I finally cracked it moment, when Apple realized you could just talk to your television.

Enter Siri.

Its the stuff of science fiction. You sit on your couch and rather than fumble with several remotes or use hand gestures, you simply talk: Put on the last episode of Gossip Girl. Play the local news headlines. “Play some Coldplay music videos.” Siri does the rest.

Of course this experience goes beyond just playing TV shows or the local news. As the line between television programming and Web content continues to erode, a Siri-powered television would become more necessary. You aren’t going to want to flip through file folders or baskets of content, checking off what you want. Telling Siri to play videos of cute cats falling asleep would return an endless YouTube stream of adorable napping fur balls.

The television project has been in the works for sometime. I first heard about Apples television plans over a year ago.

At the time, an individual who has knowledge of Apples prototype supply chains overseas told me they had seen some large parts floating around that belonged to Apple. This person believed that it looked like the parts could be part of a large Apple television.

I immediately began snooping around, asking Apple employees and people close to the company if a full fledged Apple Television was in the works. Several people, all speaking on condition of anonymity for obvious reasons, told me that nothing was actively being built, but and this was a big but I was told repeatedly that Apple would eventually make a television. Absolutely, it is a guaranteed product for Apple, I was told by one individual. Steve thinks the industry is totally broken.

Mr. Jobs reiterated this sentiment in his biography, explaining to Mr. Isaacson that an Apple television will have the simplest user interface you could imagine.

So what could be simpler than barking commands to your television?

On my quest to learn more about the Apple television project, I learned that executives at Apple knew as far back as 2007 that the company would eventually make a dedicated TV. This realization came shortly after the company released the Apple TV, a box that connects to any manufacturer’s television to stream iTunes content. Consumers did not flock to the Apple TV, and rather than abandon the project, Apple began calling it a hobby.

But that hobby could soon reap astounding financial returns. A recent report issued by Barclays predicted that if Apple made a television set, excluding content deals, Apple could generate an additional $19 billion in revenue a year. This number would not be a stretch either; Barclays said in the report that Apple would only need to capture 5 percent of television buyers to reach this goal.

So wheres the Apple television? The company still has quite a bit of work to do on the project. Apple has perfected ultra-thin, portable devices the Macbook Air, iPhone and iPods, for example but it has not applied this innovation to gadgets that hang on a wall, yet.

The company also needs to wait until the cost of large displays falls. Although some 42-inch LCD televisions from mainstream consumer electronics companies can cost as little as $500, the Apple television would include computer electronics and other technology that may make the price uncompetitive. And as my colleague Nick Wingfield recently noted, technology Apple is no longer the high-priced producer in any category it has entered. The company is now close enough that it could announce the product by late 2012, releasing it to consumers by 2013.

It is coming though. Its not a matter of if, its a matter of when.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Technology, Schools and a Big Black Bug

I was on a hike in August when one of my hiking companions bent down to the dusty path to examine a thumb-size black beetle. My fellow hiker, Harry Barker-Fost, stared at the chunky insect as it crawled onto his hand and then over and around his forearm for the better part of three minutes.

Could his comfort with nature and his intense focus and curiosity have something to do with the fact that Harry, age 12, rarely uses technology? Thats what Harrys parents think.

Harry attends the Greenwood School in Mill Valley, which doesnt use computers of any kind in class and discourages their use at home. The idea is inspired by Waldorf teaching principals, as outlined technologyin an article we published today.

Harrys father, Dan, wrote a terrific article about Waldorfs relationship with technology, which helped inspire our piece today. Dan is a friend and freelance writer, who has occasionally written for The Times, and recently put out a book about the San Francisco Giants.

His job entails relying on lots of technology — the laptop, of course, the iPhone. “Technology is such a part of life,” he said. “Its like furniture in our house.

But like other parents who send their children to schools built around Waldorf principles, Dan said he didnt worry that he was setting Harry back by keeping the bits and bytes at arms length.

“The devices are so easy to learn now,” Dan said of Harry. “Ive got zero doubt he can function in the high-tech world. I often think about how Steve Jobs and Bill Gates didnt grow up with technology.

By contrast, Dan thinks that Harry learns invaluable early-life lessons by being in an environment that emphasizes engaging with a teacher and being in nature (at his school, classes tend to spend a half-day each week on a field trip in nature, like hiking). Dan thinks Harry tends to take his time, examine his surroundings and the people hes with (or the beetles) and not be so susceptible to switching from one task to the next. Some technology evidence suggests that heavy technology use, for all its extraordinary benefits, can shorten attention span.

Dan does have one worry, though: that limiting Harrys technology use will make the young man crave the forbidden.

Thats not usually the case, but every once in a while, Harry gets hold of a device and digs in. For instance, Dan says hell be driving in the car and hand Harry the phone. “Ill ask him to call his mother to tell her well be home shortly, Dan said. “Hell make the call and hang up and then things will get really quiet in the back seat.

“After a little bit, Ill say, ‘Hey, whats going on back there?’ And Harry will say, ‘Dad, Ive got to show you this cool new app.’

Monday, November 21, 2011

Phishing attack drill Apple Fans

Security vendors Trend Micro identifies phishing activity (theft of sensitive data) that target the users of Apple products and services. Still the traditional mode used, ie, via email.

Fake emails purporting to come from Apple's admit it in writing to inform the update of data that must be performed by users.

"Trend Micro's security research team, after investigating the email, phishing has proved the existence of action on behalf of Apple," said Trend Micro, in his statement on Friday (11/11/2011).

After the message is opened, Trend Micro, and then compare it with similar email from Apple that the original shipment.

And two emails almost identical at first glance, it turns out one of them is trapped by inputting a link that asks you to enter personal data via the Apple site ID made ​​the phisher who appears to have ads at the bottom of the page.

"And when you get stuck, without realizing it you will be prompted to enter your username and password, which will be stolen by them," said Trend Micro.

One sign is the easiest to identify where the email is genuine or fake from Apple is to look at the email address of the sender.

Because in this case, a fake email claiming to be from Apple, sent from an address via smtp.com do_not_reply@itunes.com. "Gmail also detect that the email was sent using third party email service," Trend Micro stressed. Here are examples of fraudulent emails for Apple fans.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Teenagers Tell Researchers It’s a Cruel, Cruel Online World

A word cloud showing how teens believe people act online.

State legislatures across the country have passed or proposed laws against what they call cyberbullying. But how do young people parse bullying from being mean online? And when it happens, what do they do about it?

A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center and released Wednesday teases out these complex, often painful threads of teen life on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Two-thirds of the teenagers surveyed said people were “mostly kind to each other on these networks, even as 88 percent said they had witnessed “people being mean or cruel. One in five admitted to having joined in on the cruelty.

Notably, one in five teens surveyed said they had been “bullied, but of those, the largest share said they had been bullied in person, not online. Indeed, online and offline sentiments often merge: one in four said an online squabble resulted in a face-to-face argument or worse.

What do they do when they see or feel the brunt of cruelty online?

The vast majority say they ignore it. Girls are more likely to seek advice than boys. And when they do seek advice, teenagers are more likely to turn to their peers than their parents. Parents are not entirely useless. The survey found that 86 percent of teens said parents advised them on “how to use the Internet responsibly and safely.

Those surveyed expressed a certain savvy in manipulating their online profiles: Close to half lied about their age in order to access a site off limits to children under 13. Most said they tweaked their privacy settings so their posts were not widely visible.

The survey also revealed some of the new anxieties that parents experience. Three out of four parents said they “checked which Web sites their child visited. Pew researchers said that could have been as simple as checking the browsing history on their computers. And among parents who have a Facebook account, 80 percent were on their childrens list of friends.

The survey was conducted by phone earlier this year on 799 children, aged 12 to 17, and their parents or guardians. The margin of error was plus or minus 5 percentage points. Nearly all kids in that age group are online, and among them, four out of five use a social network like Facebook, MySpace or Twitter. The report aptly calls them “spaces where much of the social activity of teen life is echoed and amplifiedâ€"in both good and bad ways.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Head of Google’s Public Policy Operations Resigns

Alan Davidson, left, testified about privacy issues at a Congressional hearing in May.

As Google faces stepped-up interrogations from regulators and policy makers, Alan Davidson, who runs its public policy operations for North and South America, announced  Monday that he would leave the company this month.

Mr. Davidson’s departure comes as Google faces a wide ranging antitrust investigation by the Federal Trade Commission and days after Google’s chairman, Eric E. Schmidt, submitted answers to questions posed by senators on the antitrust subcommittee, before which technology Mr. Schmidt testified in September.

Mistique Cano, a Google spokeswoman, said Google had not named a successor and had no imminent plans to do so. She said Google had “a deep bench” of people handling public policy, including Pablo Chavez, director of public policy in the United States.

Mr. Davidson started Google’s Washington office in 2005 as a one-man operation. He previously was associate director at the Center for Democracy and Technology, a nonprofit group that advocates for an open Internet.

He significantly increased Google’s lobbying efforts, building a robust Washington office and public policy teams in other cities. Google’s operating expenses, a large portion of which go to lobbying efforts, were $3.28 billion in the three months through September, up from $2.19 billion a year earlier.

“After six and a half years, Ive decided its the right moment for me to leave my current role at the company,” Mr. Davidson wrote in an e-mail to Google employees  on Monday afternoon. “Starting later this month, I will be taking a sabbatical to explore other opportunities.”

In a statement, David C. Drummond, Google’s chief legal officer, said:, “Alan has done an extraordinary job building the team in D.C. and working on the important policy issues facing the Internet and Google. Were grateful for everything hes done and wish him the best.”

Friday, November 18, 2011

In a Quest for Focus, Google Purges Small Projects

Larry Page in September.
.Since he has taken the helm at Google, Larry Page has aggressively pushed to make new acquisitions and jettison projects that he does not think are working.
One day, the Google engineers developing a new photo-sharing app, Photovine, were dreaming that their app could be Google’s next household name and basking in the glow of the $200 million that Google had paid to buy their start-up, Slide.

The next day, Google announced that their whole operation was shut down, just one of more than 25 projects that Larry Page, Google’s chief executive, has stopped since taking over in April.

Google has said it has cut projects that weren’t popular enough or didn’t fit neatly into one of Google’s main businesses. “We have to make tough decisions about what to focus on,” Mr. Page told analysts last month. “This prioritization is crucial if we are to really invest in the extraordinary opportunities that are in front of Google today.”

But it is a big change in strategy for Google, which since it was small company has succeeded in large part by letting engineers have free reign to experiment and come up with new ideas. As I technology/googles-chief-works-to-trim-a-bloated-ship.html?ref=technology">wrote about in The Times on Thursday, it’s all part of the changes Mr. Page is making as he takes over the top job.

Some people worry that Google risks squelching innovation if it discourages engineers’ independent projects, and say that these changes in particular have frustrated some employees.

But others say that as Google grew, it became impossible for so many projects to continue unchecked because there were just too many engineers and managers. That is one reason Mr. Page streamlined the management structure, sacrificed projects and encouraged employees to align their work with Google’s big goals.

“It has been somewhat of a change of approach,” Sergey Brin, who founded Google with Mr. Page, said at the Web 2.0 conference last month. “We’ve always run the company as let a thousand flowers bloom.”

But now, he said, “we want to make sure that we really focus on the really great successes that have bloomed from those thousand flowers.”

Engineers, in the name of experimentation, had created so many small products that people were confused about Google’s brand, Mr. Brin said.

Mr. Page, he said, has emphasized “not thinking of it as a hundred independent little start-ups, but really providing a coherent user experience.”

The projects in the Google cemetery include all but one of Slide’s apps, Google Health, Buzz, Google Labs and Google PowerMeter.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Apple Doles Out Stock to Keep Top Executives

One of the biggest questions about Apple’s future has been whether its top executives would head for the exits after the death of the company’s chief executive and cofounder Steve Jobs. Apple just gave them a big incentive to stay put.

In a series of filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday evening, Apple disclosed a series of huge stock grants to nearly all of the company’s senior executives. Peter Oppenheimer, Bruce Sewell, Philip Schiller, Jeffrey Williams, Scott Forstall and Robert Mansfield all received 150,000 restricted stock units from Apple — worth approximately $60 million each at Apple’s current stock price.

Each of those executive need to stay at Apple for nearly five years to collect the full amount of the grants. Half of the shares in their stock grants vest on June 21, 2013, while the second half vest on March 21, 2016.

Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president for Internet software and services, received 100,000 restricted stock units, worth about $40 million at Apple’s current share price and subject to a slightly different vesting schedule. Mr. Cue, though, received an earlier 100,000 share grant in early September when Apple promoted him.

“Our executive team is incredibly talented and they’re all dedicated to Apple’s continued success,” Apple said. “These stock grants are meant to reward them down the road for their hard work in helping to keep Apple the most innovative company in the world.”

There were only two people from Apple’s senior leadership team for whom Apple did not disclose stock grants on Friday. One is Jonathan Ive, the company’s senior vice president for industrial design, whose position at the company does not trigger S.E.C. rules requiring public disclosure of stock awards.

The other person is chief executive Timothy D. Cook, who received an even bigger stock award in late August after agreeing to take over the top job at Apple from Mr. Jobs. That one million share grant to Mr. Cook is currently worth about $400 million. To collect half of that grant, Mr. Cook needs to stay at Apple until August 24, 2016, and, to get the full amount, he must stay until the same date in 2021.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tim Cook Is Thinking Different

For people who are curious about how Apple’s new chief executive, Tim Cook, will compare to the company’s previous C.E.O., Steve Jobs, there’s not a lot to go on yet.
Tim Cook, chief executive of Apple.AppleTim Cook, chief executive of Apple.

Mr. Cook took the helm of Apple from Mr. Jobs only in late August. Even then, Mr. Jobs was still chairman of Apple until his death last week at the age of 56. There was, however, one tantalizing clue about how the two men differ at an Apple event to introduce the new iPhone last Tuesday, the day before Mr. Jobs’s death was announced:

Mr. Cook didnt demonstrate any new Apple products.

Instead, he left all of the demonstrations of new technologies like the iPhone 4S to his lieutenants. This may seem like a picayune detail, but it could underscore one of the biggest differences between the two men.

Technology, product design and marketing were among Mr. Jobss abiding passions. The level of attention he paid to all three areas was unusual for the chief executive of such a large company. While Mr. Jobs sometimes delegated new product demonstrations when he was chief executive, he invariably showed off the most important products for the first time, like the iPad, iPhone and iTunes.

Mr. Cook, in comparison, is a sales and operations guru who whipped Apples supply chain into an efficient machine over the past 14 years. At the event, Mr. Cook said he loved Apple and considered his career at the company the privilege of a lifetime. He let a trio of Apple senior vice presidents with stronger product credentials — Eddy Cue, Scott Forstall and Philip Schiller — show off Apples new toys.

Van Baker, an analyst at the research firm Gartner, was at the Apple event and said he thought Mr. Cook was wise to avoid trying to seem Steve-like. I think one of the things Tim did was to, in essence, put a stake in the ground and say Im not Steve, dont expect me to be Steve, he said.

In the end, it may not matter much if Mr. Cook can effectively delegate the responsibilities Mr. Jobs previously held as de facto editor in chief and chief pitchman for Apple products. The change in style certainly hasnt hurt Apples products yet, despite the grumbling from some quarters about Apples decision to leave the new iPhone largely unchanged on the outside from its predecessor. Apple sold one million iPhone 4Ss in the first 24 hours after it became available for online ordering, compared with 600,000 in the same period for the iPhone 4.

On Sunday though, the venture capitalist and former Apple executive Guy Kawasaki posted a list of lessons he learned from Mr. Jobs, including one he titled: Real CEOs demo. Mr. Kawasaki asked why, in contrast to Mr. Jobss hands-on approach, do many chief executives call on their underlings to do product demonstrations.

Maybe its to show that theres a team effort in play, Mr. Kawasaki wrote. Maybe. Its more likely that the CEO doesnt understand what his/her company is making well enough to explain it. How pathetic is that?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Snubbed by Apple, T-Mobile Looks Beyond the iPhone

T-Mobile must feel like the only kid in the class who didnt get invited to the party of the year.

Its the only one of the nation’s four major wireless carriers that wont be selling the iPhone 4S, the new Apple device that officially goes on sale Friday and has already generated record numbers of pre-orders. The other big domestic carrier that was previously left out of the iPhone party, Sprint Nextel, finally struck a deal with Apple to carry the iPhone, joining AT&T and Verizon Wireless.The T-Mobile model won’t be pitching an iPhone.
T-Mobile is performing a balancing act in responding to the snub. The carrier is clearly disappointed it doesnt have the iPhone. Its chief marketing officer, Cole Brodman, wrote a blog post addressed to its customers last month that said the iPhone is a great device and Apple knows that wed like to add it to our line-up. T-Mobile executives say the decision is up to Apple, not the carrier.

But T-Mobile is also gently thumbing its nose at Apples star product. It began selling two new smartphones on Wednesday — the HTC Amaze 4G and Samsung Galaxy S II — and its executives say both of them outclass the new iPhone in a couple of different areas.

Andrew Sherrard, senior vice president of marketing at T-Mobile, said the phones, both of which are based on Googles Android operating system, have bigger screens and better cameras than the iPhone 4S. While the first claim is indisputable, Apple has also boasted of greatly improved photo-taking in its new iPhone, and Mr. Sherrard said he hadnt yet had the benefit of a hands-on evaluation of the iPhone 4S.

He also said the T-Mobile 4G wireless network will deliver faster network speeds than the iPhone will enjoy on rival networks.

Mr. Sherrard said T-Mobile planned to market really aggressively against the new iPhone, as it had in the recent past. Since last year, the carrier has been running television commercials that send up Apples well-known Mac vs. PC advertisements, with the part of T-Mobiles myTouch 4G phone played by a perky young woman in a dress and Apple and its carrier partners represented by bumbling men.

T-Mobile also says it has a wireless family plan that offers a cheaper monthly bill than rival carriers offer for the iPhone. But its two new phones are actually more expensive than the iPhone 4S. The Samsung device costs $230 and the HTC phone is $260, both with two-year wireless contracts, while the new iPhone 4S starts at $199.

People want to make an investment in a phone and keep it for years, Mr. Sherrard said. Even at that price, they will choose to get a higher-quality product.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Big Business of Big Data

GE Appliances & Lighting, via Business WireA GE data center.

Is Big Data a Bubble?

In case youre in a hurry: Of course it is. And that is good.

Longer version: Last week there were several events that convinced me that one of the great tech bubbles inflating right now is around what people have agreed to call Big Data. Basically the term reflects the fact that its now so easy to digitize and put on the Internet all kinds of information — things as diverse as the measurements of passive sensors,  most or all the worlds books, 200 million tweets a day and most of the worlds significant financial transactions — that the data is growing enormously.

Big Data is really about, however, the benefits we will gain by cleverly sifting through it to find and exploit new patterns and relationships. You see it now in things like Facebook ads, which are put in front of you because the posts you have read and contributed to (which Facebooks algorithms get to examine as the price of this free service) indicate you might be ready to buy the advertised good.

Other companies look at air and soil data to write insurance about crop production. Further out, people want to seek patterns in raw medical data for possible causes and cures for disease, bypassing much of the old hypothesis-experiment model; this article from Wired tells of how the Google co-founder Sergey Brin used this in Parkinsons research.

Last weeks gathering of the tech tribes, the Web 2.0 conference, focused heavily on the benefits of the ubiquity of Big Data — ad placement at Google, Coca-Cola vending machines that develop a personal relationship with the buyer, or what Facebook algorithms are doing to the cultivation of our souls. Microsoft held a one-hour session for developers on all the big, reliable databases it would offer them to make new products.

Sometimes there were overreaching conclusions.

In a memorable 10 minutes, Alex Rampell, the chief executive of TrialPay, made a case that credit card companies should not charge their 2 percent fees on a transaction, since the value of the transaction isnt in the fees, its in the data that is generated. When you know what someone has purchased, you can make a case of what ad to put in front of them next. Citing Amazon.coms relentless upselling approach (people who bought X also bought Y), Mr. Rampell said, Theres an Amazon.com for everything, its called Visa, its called American Express.

Mr. Rampell may be right, but there was no proof in his admittedly brief talk that this is actually true. Is it really easier and better to move a 2 percent business, with relatively fixed costs of technology and insurance, over to a much more variable ad-based business? If all advertising heads toward this model, and we dont purchase particularly more stuff, doesnt the value of the technology start to diminish, and simply turn from a competitive edge into a must-have?

This is not to pick on TrialPay, but to point up a common problem in the Big Data proposition: Often people wont know exactly what hidden pattern they are looking for, or what the value they extract may be, and therefore it will be impossible to know how much to invest in the technology. Odds are that the initial benefits, as it was with Googles Adwords algorithm, will lead to a frenzy of investments and marketing pitches, until we find the logical limits of the technology. It will be the place just before everybody lost their shirts.

This is a common characteristic of technology that its champions do not like to talk about, but it is why we have so many bubbles in this industry. Technologists build or discover something great, like railroads or radio or the Internet. The change is so important, often world-changing, that it is hard to value, so people overshoot toward the infinite. When it turns out to be merely huge, there is a crash, in railroad bonds, or RCA stock, or Pets.com. Perhaps Big Data is next, on its way to changing the world.

Another Web 2.0 speaker was Josh James, who founded Omniture, a Web click-tracking and ad placement service that is now part of Adobes Big Data play. Mr. James, a somewhat pragmatic Mormon who lives in Utah, far from Silicon Valley, has started a company called Domo. Rather than search for new patterns in the big piles of data, Domo will focus on delivering to a top executive simple existing data, like how large a banks deposits are on a given day, or how many employees a company has, that are still hard to locate. Everyone is saying that the team with the best data analysts will win, he said.

We have all the data we need. The focus ought to be on good design, and telling the vendors the simple things you really need to see.

Big Data is clearly big business, adding a new level of certainty to business decisions, and promoting new discoveries about nature and society. That is why over the past two years I.B.M., E.M.C. and Hewlett-Packard have collectively invested billions of dollars in the field. This past week, Oracle bought Endeca, a company to manage and search through large volumes of things like e-mail, for a rumored $750 million. H.P. paid $10.3 million for Autonomy, which does a much bigger version of the same thing. The first H.P. products with Autonomy technology, along with pattern-finding algorithms from an outfit called Vertica, which H.P. bought earlier this year, will most likely be out next month.

There are an uncountable number of data-mining start-ups in the field: MapReduce and NoSQL for managing the stuff; and the open-source R statistical programming language, for making predictions about what is likely to happen next, based on what has happened before. Established companies in the business, like SAS Institute or SAP, will probably purchase or make alliances with a lot of these smaller companies.

Expect to see a lot more before it all gets sorted out.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Tech Talk Podcast: Big Data

Just what is Big Data and why is it such a big business? Quentin Hardy, a deputy technology editor at The Times, discusses his recent Bits blog post on the topic  and why it might be a good idea for future college students to consider a major in statistics.

Iomega has long been known for making colorful external hard drives (including models bound in leather or sporting a camouflage pattern), and recently the company has taken some design cues from Apple. Team Tech Talk takes a look at two new Iomega external drives, the Helium portable and the Mac Companion, which visually complement Apples MacBook Pro laptops and iMac desktop machines.

Andrea Electronics has been producing radio and audio gear since 1934 and is still around today making  among other things  noise-canceling headsets  for gamers and social media mavens. Doug Andrea, the chief executive, visits the podcast to chat about his companys long history, including its work with the American space program.

This weeks technology headlines include the arrival of new phones from the Nokia-Microsoft alliance; Netflixs plummeting subscriber numbers; a new version of the Grand Theft Auto video game; and computer scientists cracking the code of the Copiale Cipher, an 18th century manuscript created by a German secret society. The Tip of the Week offers suggestions for quickly cleaning out ancient unused sites from the Firefox bookmark list.

To find out more about the show and links to topics that were discussed, go to the technology/techtalk.html">Tech Talk page.

You can download the show by subscribing from the New York Times podcast page or directly from iTunes.

For help finding specific segments of the Bits: Tech Talk podcast, use these time codes:

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Tech Talk Podcast: Search Engines for Phones

How do people use search engines on mobile devices compared to those on computers? On this week’s Bits: Tech Talk podcast, Claire Cain Miller, a Times technology reporter in Silicon Valley, discusses how behavior differs. She also explains how advertisers are adapting to search-on-the-go, and how Google came to its early dominance of the mobile-search market.

While its simple enough to find British dramas and comedies for sale or rent on DVD, the Acorn Media Group has started its own video-streaming service to make it even easier for Anglophiles to find their favorite shows on this side of the pond. Miguel Penella, the chief executive of the Acorn Media Group, talks about his companys Acorn TV subscription site, which streams a rotating roster of classic British TV programs to American Web browsers.

This weeks roundup of technology news includes the memorial for Steve Jobs, a look back at the life of the audio pioneer Edgar Villchur, Research In Motions apology offer to frustrated BlackBerry users after the recent network disruption, the new features of Googles new Android 4.0 mobile operating system (also known by the tasty code name Ice Cream Sandwich) and two familiar products getting modern makeovers.

The Tip of the Week points the way to posting to popular social-media sites with SMS text messages.

To find out more about the show and links to topics that were discussed, go to the Tech Talk page.

You can download the show by subscribing from the New York Times podcast page or directly from iTunes.

For help finding specific segments of the Bits: Tech Talk podcast, use these time codes:

Friday, November 11, 2011

Books Unbound

Is any form of traditional media under more assault than the book? For half a millennium, it was happily contained between covers: easily understood by a child, disposable, nearly indestructible, demanding minimal energy, a triumph of economy and form. The Internet has upended all that, of course. Yet the strongest impression from several of the sessions at the Books in Browsers conference in San Francisco over the last two days is that while the off-line book might be dying, the online book has yet to be born.

The most basic definitions are still being worked out.

“My stupid question of the day is, ‘What is a book?’ ” asked Eric Hellman of
Gluejar. He noted that the traditional virtues of books are permanence, independence and privacy, most of which the Internet seems designed to remove. “An e-book is a Web site that would be better if it were paginated,” suggested Joseph Pearson of Inventive Labs.

The conference was organized by the Internet Archive, a nonprofit
digital library, and O’Reilly Media. It was presented in the archive’s
1923 headquarters, a repurposed church. Unlike many Internet
conferences, the goal here was less a frenzied pitch by individual
firms than a reasoned discussion of a way forward.

One thing that seems clear: In the future, just about everyone on
the Internet will be publishing all the time, and the once-rigid
boundaries between “reader” and “writer,” already blurring, will
disappear entirely. “If there is anything the Web has taught us, it is
that consumption is not the only role for a human being anymore,” said Richard Nash, a publisher.

The challenge will be to sort all of that material into ephemeral
and semipermanent baskets, some of which might be called, for lack of a better term, books. But at the moment, as Mr. Hellman said, online books are largely stuck in the “pretend it’s print” model. That works for traditional publishers because it offers a model that looks a lot like the past but ultimately depends on a notion of false scarcity.

Mr. Hellman’s own idea, which he is developing as Unglue.it, is
to crowd-source the money to digitize individual titles and basically
set them free. It sounds like a dreamy but impractical idea, but he
added this to ground it in reality: “Have you ever given a book to
someone? Have you ever given the same book to multiple people? Would you like to give this book to the entire world?”

Much of the start-up activity around books is eager to make a
hermetic activity more social: share your opinions about this book or this sentence. Bob Stein of SocialBook spoke about building a YouTube for documents that would involve both private and public
collaboration. Others seem to have similar ideas. But Peter Meyers of newkindofbook.com struck a chord when he cautioned against fixing what is not broken: long-form narrative. “Reading is all about immersion,” he said; successful Internet publishers would preserve that experience rather than dragging you out of it.

The conference was down the street from Green Apple, the city’s
best bookstore — a distinction that would matter more if it were not
one of the last. During a break, I ducked inside. The traditional book
has problems with distribution and pricing, but as a technology it is
still hard to beat. I bought a copy of The Review of Contemporary
Fiction, a special issue on failure. It reprinted several hectoring
letters from the late avant-gardist Gilbert Sorrentino, written to his
publisher in the early 1990s.

“The problem with writers,” Mr. Sorrentino observed, “is you can’t shut them up.”

If only he could see them now.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Questions for Amazon on Privacy and the Kindle Fire

The dream of every retailer is to know exactly what its customers are thinking. Are they comparison-shopping? Just looking? Will a discount help close the deal? Or is price no object? Amazon’s coming tablet, the Kindle Fire, is equipped with a Web browser that, thanks to the wonders of cloud computing, is partly housed on Amazon’s servers. That will give the retailer opportunities to track customer behavior all over the Web, gathering data and marketing intelligence as it goes.

Representative Edward Markey, the Massachusetts Democrat who is co-chairman of the Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus, has concerns about the Fire’s potential implications. On Friday he sent Jeffrey P. Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive, a letter asking for more information about how the retailer intends to gather Internet data. This is the first request the caucus has ever made of Amazon.

Among the congressman’s questions: What information is Amazon planning to collect? Does it plan to sell, rent or otherwise make available this customer information to outside companies? How will it convey its privacy policy to users? Will customers be asked to opt-in to having their browsing tracked, or will they have to opt out?

Amazon declined to comment. When it introduced the Fire two weeks ago, the retailer drew a bold line between activity on its own site and on the rest of the Internet. The first is individually tracked (with the user’s permission) but the second would not be. All browsing activity would be aggregated and not linked to individual users’ identities.

This could get very blurry, however. For instance, if you use the tablet to buy a novel by Umberto Eco, Amazon might promote another book by Mr. Eco to you. But if you use the tablet to post reviews of
Italian restaurants on Yelp, Amazon would merely collect that data, bundle it with the fact that a lot of customers in your community seemed to be favorably reviewing Italian restaurants, and then strike a deal with one restaurant to offer discounts, which it would e-mail to you. Some customers might feel tracked; others might not even notice.

“Consumers may buy the new Kindle Fire to read 1984, but they may not realize that the tablets Big Browser may watching their every keystroke when they are online, Mr. Markey said. As the use of mobile devices, especially tablets, becomes ubiquitous, we must ensure that user privacy is protected and proper safeguards are in place so that consumers know if and when their personal information is being used and for what purpose.

Users can also turn off the cloud side of the Fire’s browser, although the device presumably would then suffer some slowdown — defeating at least part of the point of having the tablet in the first place.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Return of the Video Game Sequel: Part 12

There may not be an entertainment category that is so predictable as video games. The latest video game sales figures came out Thursday from NPD, which measures sales of consumer products. And the list of best-selling games looks very familiar, going back many, many years.
Electronic Arts has made a dozen versions of its popular football game.Electronic Arts has made a dozen versions of its popular football game.The war game has remained a bestseller in its third time out.The war game has remained a bestseller in its third time out.
The top-selling game in September was Madden NFL 12. That’s the 12th iteration. As in dozen. Next on the list was Gears of War 3. The fourth best-selling game was Fifa Soccer 12, then NHL 12, both made by Electronic Arts, king of the sequel.
Others on the Top 10 list: Resistance 3, Lego Stars Wars III, and Call of Duty: Black Ops, all sequels.
It all stands to reason. When a publisher makes a hit game, it creates a base of loyal users who, having played a particular version for a year, are ready for another version. It’s not quite tantamount to movie or television sequels because the players of a particular game, like Madden, actually get invested in playing and improving at the game. So the sequel is as much about the game content as it is about a player’s involvement.
But, still. No one wants to see Terminator 12, although there have been 6 sequels to Saw.
Other tidbits in NPD’s numbers: September’s total video game sales (hardware and software) were $1.16 billion. That’s down about 6 percent from the same period a year earlier. Not great but better than August, when sales fell 23 percent from a year ago.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Google Tries Again With Google TV

Google redesigned the YouTube app so it feels more like TV.
Google redesigned the YouTube app so it feels more like TV.

to lukewarm reviews. Its remote control was big and complicated, its software was clunky and confusing, and it didn’t live up to the promise of Internet-connected TV’s — that they would allow us to cut the cable cord and watch whatever we wanted whenever we wanted.

Now Google is trying again. On Friday, it will introduce the second version of its Google TV software. The hardware, which is made by Sony and Logitech, will stay the same for now. New devices, including from Samsung and Vizio, are scheduled to arrive next year.

This time, Google TV has a simpler user interface, smarter tools for searching, and is open to developers to build TV apps. It also has much humbler goals. Google no longer has visions of cord-cutting. Instead, it says it wants to complement what is already available on TV by offering new channels.

“We don’t believe the Web is going to replace linear TV,” said Mario Quieroz, head of Google TV. “This is designed to be complementary to cable TV.”

“It’s not a new strategy, but I think we’re articulating it better now,” he added.

That means don’t expect any new content partnerships; the major television networks, including ABC, NBC and CBS, are technology/05google.html">still not offering on-demand viewing for Google TV users.

“The content industry is adjusting, but they’re adjusting at the pace that they’re comfortable adjusting,” said Rishi Chandra, head of product for Google TV. “We believe the bigger value proposition is a bunch of content you can’t access on TV, and we’re going to unlock that.”

After its underwhelming first try, Google replaced much of the Google TV team, from the head of the project to the person in charge of pitching it to the media. Mr. Quieroz, who worked on Android during its spike in growth, now runs Google TV.

“We’re trying to do in the living room something similar to what we’ve done in the mobile phone space,” he said.

Google, Apple and other companies are fighting to get into the living room because people still spend so much time watching TV and advertisers spend so much money on TV ads. But first Internet TV has to be a better option than what consumers already have.

One plug connects Google TV, cable and Internet to the television set, which gives viewers a unified TV-watching experience, Mr. Quieroz said. The new design makes it easier to move among apps, TV shows and Web content, Mr. Chandra said.

With Google TV, people can view their cable channels and more than 80,000 shows and movies, some of them for a fee, on services like Amazon.com, Netflix, HBO Go and YouTube. Google improved search in the new version to make it easier to find what you are looking for.

Search for “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” for instance, and see a list showing the next time it is playing on TV and where you can watch it online or on streaming services like Netflix. Or say you want to watch a romantic comedy, but don’t want to search the TV listings, Netflix and Amazon separately. Google will scan them all and offer personalized recommendations.

“Every time you fire up this app, we show you great content you can jump into right away,” Mr. Chandra said. “It shouldn’t matter whether it’s from the Web, TV, or a live sporting event from YouTube or ESPN.”

When television arrived, the first shows showed radio announcers speaking into microphones. Then TV producers realized what they could do differently with the new medium. Google says Internet TV is undergoing the same evolution, so that now it is offering made-for-TV apps instead of just slapping Web sites on the TV screen.

For example, Google redesigned the YouTube app so it feels more like TV. It’s faster, without lag time for buffering. YouTube listings show up alongside TV shows in searches and people can create their own TV channel based on a search query, like one with ballet or cooking videos from YouTube. The idea is for Web TV to have millions of channels, just as cable introduced hundreds.

“We’re looking for the next generation of MTV’s and HBO’s, just like cable,” Mr. Chandra said.

As it did with Android, Google is counting on software developers to build apps that make Google TV more useful.

Developers could previously offer apps for Google TV, which uses Google’s Android operating system, but they had to build them for Web browsers. Now Google TV connects with all of Android’s technology, so developers of mobile apps, for instance, can easily turn them into built-for-TV apps. To start, the app marketplace for Google TV has about 50 apps.

An app called Qello, for instance, licenses live concerts in high-definition, which makes much more sense on a TV than a phone. Another app, Thuuz, recommends the most exciting sporting events of right now, based on how close the games are and how many people are commenting about them online, which is also more useful on TV than on phones.

People with Google TV’s made by Sony will begin to get the software updates Sunday night and Logitech customers will get them next week, Google said.

Monday, November 07, 2011

New iPhone Faces Battery Complaints

The introduction of a new iPhone wouldnt be complete without at least one baffling technical problem ticking off customers. The iPhone 4S hasnt disappointed in that regard.

The discussions forums on Apples Web site are ablaze with comments from iPhone 4S customers about the poor battery life of the new Apple phone. Many of the people complaining say the battery on the iPhone 4S seems to drain quickly even when theyre not using the device much and even after they have shut down some of the power-hungry features that can affect battery performance.

My iPhone 4s battery life is terrible, one person on the forums posted. I’m always experiencing a 10-15% drop per hour. I unplugged my phone this morning at 8:20 and it’s now 12:15 and my battery is on 53%. I have almost everything turned off that you possibly can.

For now, Apple isnt saying anything about the issue â€" a spokeswoman didnt respond to multiple requests for comment â€" in what has become a typical pattern of silence for the company after customers begin complaining about a technical problem with a new iPhone. Often Apple waits to speak out on issues like this after several days of investigating the matter.

In the meantime, iPhone customers are left troubleshooting the problem themselves, coming up with workarounds that may or may not alleviate the problem. The Guardian reported that some iPhone customers had seen improved battery life by shutting off a feature called Setting Time Zone buried within the location services menu of iPhone settings.

That feature automatically adjusts the time zone settings of an iPhone when a user travels. Turning it off means the clock on users phones wont adjust unless they manually change it. Some people on Apple’s discussion forums still report poor battery life even after making the change.

Battery complaints about new iPhones arent new, but they have generally failed to grow into controversies as big as the mother of all iPhone blow-ups, known as Antennagate. In that case, the iPhone 4 introduction last year was met with a wave of bad publicity and customer complaints about dropped phone calls and weak wireless signals. Apple eventually conceded that the problems were caused by the design of the iPhone 4’s antenna and offered customers free protective cases to remedy the problem.

Apple also said at the time that the antenna problems had been overblown and that only a small portion of its customers complained about them. The company appeared to be vindicated after the gangbuster iPhone 4 sales that followed.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

H.P. Builds Servers With Cellphone Chips

Hewlett-Packard announced on Tuesday a new design for some of the worlds largest computer centers and says it could reduce power consumption in some cases by 90 percent.

The design, called Project Moonshot, replaces the conventional microprocessors used in computer servers with the kind of chips used in cellphones and notebook computers. These mobile chips, which have usually run on small batteries, are designed as power misers, shutting down some inessential tasks and slowing others when placing calls or reaching the Web.

It is, for now, a specialty service for perhaps 50 of the worlds largest online companies, said Paul Santeler, the manager of H.P.s hyperscale business. Believe me, theyll all be kicking the tires on the new offering, he said. For a Web architecture with tons and tons of users, where all the growth is, it makes a lot of sense. The world is adding 7,000 computer servers a day, he said, most of them for Web activities like social networking and watching video.

The new design will use chips made by Calxeda, an Austin, Tex., maker of low-power ARM chips for servers.

Over time, the computers may also be attractive to financial firms, scientific researchers and government security organizations, all of which have to plow through increasingly large amounts of data, looking for meaningful patterns, Mr. Santeler said. In a few more years, analysts say, they could also end up in mainstream corporate computing.

While a transition to these chips in servers has been predicted by makers of the mobile chips, H.P. is the first major computer company to offer a commercial product. In addition to incorporating the mobile chips, building the computers required innovations in software, data storage, and networking.

H.P. plans to start selling the Moonshot computer in mid-2012 and is still figuring out what to charge. The company says that in addition to saving power, the machines will save money on real estate and ancillary gear. H.P. says a load that normally requires a $3.3 million system of 400 servers, with 10 storage racks and 1,600 networking and power cables, and using 91 kilowatts of power, could be done in the new system for $1.2 million, using one-half a storage rack, 41 cables and 9.9 kilowatts. The mobile chips are smaller, so there would be 1,600 of them in such a system.

Mobile chips have another distinctive feature: Most are not made by Intel,  the dominant supplier of traditional personal computers and servers. Intel, however, has a line of low-power chips, called Atom, and though these are not now used in Moonshot, H.P. went out of its way to say that Atom would be used in future versions.

Mr. Santeler dismissed the idea that Moonshots mobile chips would be a threat to Intel, H.P.’s biggest supplier of microprocessors. Intel chips have the preponderance of compiled code and real-life solutions for established businesses, he said. This is for a part of the market that buys in bulk, thousands of machines at a time.

Richard Fichera, an analyst with Forrester Research who has studied the new design, said about one-third of his business clients have expressed interest in such computers. In three to five years, he said, servers built on cellphone chips will be “fairly ubiquitous in big companies.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Privacy and Security, Issues Warm Cloud Computing

Jakarta - The issue of privacy and security so hot issues being discussed about the implementation of Cloud Computing in Indonesia, which this year is its market estimated to reach Rp 2.1 trillion.

According to Director of IT & Supply Telkom, Indra Utoyo, there are seven raised about the security risks in Cloud Computing. "Seven of risk it is Privilege User Access, Regulatory Compliance, Data allocation, Secure Data, Recovery, Investigative Support, and last longterm Viability," he said as quoted from the live tweet @ idcloudforum, Wednesday (26/10/2011).

National Technology Officer at PT Microsoft Indonesia, Tony Seno Hartono, did not deny that the factor of security and privacy become two of the four most important issues surrounding the implementation of Cloud Computing in Indonesia, in addition to the limitations of internet access problems and the existence of the data itself.

"Worse knowledge of people about security on the Internet haunts the adoption of Cloud Computing. In addition, people feel more secure storing data on your own computer rather than in the cloud. In reality, the data in the cloud can be much more secure than data stored on the computer itself," he explained.

Data, said Tony, in truth certainly is safer because there are rules which require that every cloud computing service providers to adhere to regulations and related rules. For example, ISO 27 002 which is standard on information security best practices that can also be used to assess the level of security in a Cloud Computing service provider.

In addition to concerns over the safety factor, privacy is also an issue of concern to Microsoft. "The era of social media is changing the habits of people in dealing with privacy. Privacy is very important in Cloud Computing, the desired level of privacy because everyone is different. With the ability to data privacy, then each person can determine who is entitled to access or modify any information on the identification digital, "said Tony.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

4 Criteria for Digital Cities

Geneva, Switzerland - A number of cities often making claims that its territory has become a digital city. But in reality, what the criteria for the prestige of the title?

According to the International Telecom Union (ITU), there are at least four criteria must be met if a city wants to be known as a digital city.

The first is broadband connectivity. For the digital city, the availability of broadband becomes vital. Needs even likened tub water supply and roads are smooth stretches.

Digital City is required to have a clear vision on the future of broadband in the future, as well as related regulatory commitments are reflected in policy development and realization.

Second, digital inclusion. Described ITU, digital city is required to introduce those who are less technology literate by the things that smelled of digital and broadband technologies.

The point related parties are expected to provide training to hone the skills above and provide access to government and commercial services.

Innovation became the third requirement. Broadband is believed to be the main medium for companies to deliver innovation, creating new jobs, and reduce costs. On the other hand, companies are also required to provide services anywhere and anytime.

Last requirement is the knowledge for the workforce. Related parties are required to recognize their employees so that knowledge can be optimized to create economic value.

The reason, said digital city will rely on ICT to support education and training sector in order to boost the ability of human resources (HR).

"Our planet (Bumi-red.) will soon be populated by 7 billion people. And the ever-increasing demands of the industrial sector," said Secretary General of ITU, Dr Hamadoun Toure.

"Meanwhile, accounts (internet services) will be half the population of the world's population. It's time to open up insights into a world that is always connected and the digital future," he concluded.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Toyota production 4 Robot Nurses

TOKYO - Four robots dibesut by the Toyota car company in Japan. These robots were created to help the elderly who suffer a stroke - that's why the robot is eventually called 'robot nurses'.

In creating this robot, Toyota's own use of technology embedded in the car besutannya usual.

"This robot helps people who are unable to move without the help of others," said Eiichi Saito, Fujita Heakth professor at the University who helped develop this robot nurses.

As for the Toyota four robots being developed are: