Posted by & filed under Copyright, IS ethics, Security.

Description: So how do we protect and promote Canadian culture in the digital age?   Right now, the answer to that question is intertwined with the fate of Canada’s copyright policies.

Source: The Globe and Mail

Date: Nov 17, 2010

For years, Canada has attempted to protect its cultural content – books, music, television, film – from being overshadowed by those of larger nations, notably the United States. Canadian private television broadcasters such as CTV and Global are required to spend 30 per cent of their gross revenues on Canadian programming. Thirty-five per cent of the songs on Canadian commercial radio stations must be by Canadian artists.   Click here for rest of story

Questions for discussion:

  • Do you think Canadian content rules are still relevant in the digital age?
  • Should Canada’s copyright policies be more about economic protection or Canadian social content protection?
  • Are their downsides to Canadians of making this copyright policy to strict and onerous?

Posted by & filed under Business Intelligence, Human Resources, Software.

Description: They’re doing it using modern business intelligence, or BI. Analyzing large sets of data to rev up business operations is as old as arithmetic.

Source: USA Today

Date: Nov 17, 2010

Sitting in a cafe in Sydney awhile back, Danny Kennedy and Andrew Birch mused about all the valuable free data Microsoft and Google float out on the Internet.  In particular, they wondered if they could tap into the tech giants’ mapping services to remotely design rooftop solar energy systems using satellite images and aerial photos.  Turns out they could. Four years after that “aha” moment, Kennedy and Birch operate Sungevity, a thriving solar energy firm with 100 employees involved in designing residential solar energy systems.  Click here for rest of story

Questions for discussion:

  • How has Business Intelligence spurred on the development of unique business start-ups?
  • How have data visualization tools changed who uses BI in an organization?
  • What skill sets do you think will be the most important for employees to posses in using BI in the future?

Posted by & filed under Cloud Computing, Privacy, Security, WI-Fi.

Description: Firesheep — a month-old Firefox plug-in that anyone can use to sidejack your free Wi-Fi session — is gaining attention in tech-security circles.

Source: USA Today

Date: Nov 10, 2010

Any time you use a free public Wi-Fi hookup — such as those you find at Starbucks and many airports — your risk of having someone sitting nearby commandeer your session is imminent. That’s because most free Wi-Fi hookups are unencrypted.

Sidejacking has been around since at least 2007. It’s considered an obscure attack vector. However, no one we know of has yet done a comprehensive study to measure how often sidejacking actually takes place.  Firesheep was unveiled on Oct. 25 by Eric Butler, a Seattle-based Web application software developer and researcher. Good guy researchers like Butler are referred to as white hats. White hats try to beat black hats — bad guy hackers — to the punch in finding fresh security flaws. White hats release their findings to start public discussions. Their goal is to prompt quick fixes and thus do their small part to improve overall security.      Click here for rest of story

Questions for discussion:

  • What is Firesheep and what are the security concerns of this product?
  • Is sidejacking a real threat or just driven by alarming media reports?
  • What is the difference between a white Hat hacker and a Black Hat hacker in regards to Firesheep?

Posted by & filed under Cloud Computing, M-commerce, outsourcing, Supply Chain Management, System development.

Description: DO one assigned task on your computer. It shouldn’t take you more than two seconds. Repeat 14,399 times. Congratulations! Your eight-hour work day is complete.

Source: NYT.com

Date: Oct. 30, 2010

No such workplace yet exists, but with the fiendishly clever creation of standardized two-second tasks, delivered to any computer connected to the Internet, it is now technically possible to set up.    Microtask, a start-up company in Finland, has come up with the software that delivers such tasks. The company offers to take on “dull, repetitive work” — like digitizing paper forms or business cards — for prospective clients. As it says in a video on its Web site, “Microtask loves the work you hate.”

Microtask is in a position to love that work because not one of its 12 employees actually performs it. Its software carves a given task into microscopically small pieces, like transcribing a handwritten four-digit number in a tiny rectangle on a form. (Handwritten numbers and letters are the bane of text-recognition software.) These tasks, stripped of identifying information about the client or the larger task, can then be distributed online anywhere.        Click here for rest of story

Questions for discussion:

  • Does Microtask have a viable business model?
  • Which industries do feel are the target market for this type of outsourcing?
  • Do you feel that this work will stay in developed countries or move into low wage areas of the world?

Posted by & filed under Apple, FaceBook, Google.

Description: The battle for total world domination has moved well beyond the computer operating system, and even beyond the computer. The biggest contenders at the moment are Google ), Facebook and Apple.

Source: Forbes.com

Date: Nov 8, 2010

In the mid 1990s, when Microsoft seemed invincible, company leaders hung posters inside their offices with the letters “TWD” boldly emblazoned on them. When the Justice Department and the European Commission began investigating Microsoft‘s monopolistic tendencies, those signs suddenly disappeared. TWD stood for “Total World Domination.” That’s not something you want to advertise when you’re under government scrutiny.

Fast forward to 2010. The battle for total world domination has moved well beyond the computer operating system, and even beyond the computer. The biggest contenders at the moment are Google Facebook and Apple It’s likely that only one company will emerge as the winner in this high-stakes game, which slices effortlessly through the walls between social networking, corporate collaboration and enterprise communication. Whether it’s one of those three companies or another one altogether is uncertain.  Click here for rest of story

Questions for discussion:

  • What is the business model that drives the competition between these three companies?
  • Do you feel there is only room for one winner in this goal to dominate the advertising industry?
  • Which company would you be on winning this race and why?

Posted by & filed under Human Resources, IS ethics, Social Media.

Description: The  National Labor Relations Board has issued a complaint against a Connecticut company for firing an employee after she posted critical, derogatory comments about her supervisor on Facebook.

Source: CNN.com

Date: Nov 10, 2010

The labor relations board argues that workers’ criticism of their bosses on social networking sites like Facebook is generally “a protected concerted activity.”    “You are permitted to talk about terms and conditions with employees or anyone else, it’s public because you are protected under the National Labor Act,” says Jonathan Kreisberg, the board’s regional director in Hartford, Connecticut.   Click here for rest of story

Questions for discussion:

  • Do you feel employees should be held accountable for their participation on social networking sites?
  • What topics are inappropriate for employees to be discussing?
  • Should employers be held to the same standard as employees in relation to social media sites?

Posted by & filed under Ecommerce, M-commerce, revenue model, Supply Chain Management.

Description: Quidsi, which expects to ship 500 million diapers this year, will help Amazon cater to new parents and gain expertise in warehouse management and low-cost shipping.

Source: Businessweek.com

Date: Nov 8, 2010


The company profits from diaper-buying customers who also purchase higher-margin products such as brand-name baby shampoo, wipes and formula.  Amazon is looking for products that customers need to keep coming back for that aren’t just one-time transactions, said Josh Goldman, a partner at Norwest Venture Partners in Palo Alto, California. He oversees the venture capital firm’s investments in e-commerce companies.   “When you can get into a replenishment model, it’s very powerful,” Goldman said. “Amazon hasn’t done much of that on their own. The Diapers.com guys have done a really good job of getting you to come back for replenishment items.” Click here for rest of story

Questions for discussion:

  • Why was Diaper.com such an attractive takeover target?
  • Is this a good strategic fit for Amazon? Why or Why not?
  • Do you agree with statement that there is only room for one big winner in e-commerce?
  • Where does Quidsi add the most value in Amazon’s value chain?

Posted by & filed under Cloud Computing, Hardware, System development, wireless networks.

Description: Don’t expect a DVD slot in your next Mac laptop, or your next desktop computer for that matter.  Apple hopes to replace those discs with a fluffy white iCloud, where software, music, video and your own personal content fly around in the air like happy seagulls at the beach.

Source: NYT.com

Date: Nov 2, 2010


Remember the floppy disk? I’m willing to bet Steve Jobs does. I’m also willing to bet he remembers when he killed it.  It was 1998, to be precise, and the murder weapon was the new iMac, a computer that was missing the then-standard internal floppy drive.  Last month Mr. Jobs rang the final death knell for another piece of technology: optical discs like DVDs and CDs.  For this execution, his weapon of choice is the new MacBook Air, with a little extra help from the iTunes store, of course.   During the unveiling of the new MacBook Air line, Mr. Jobs said these computers were next-generation laptops. This was reiterated in the commercials for the computers, in which a voiceover calls them “the next generation of Macbooks.” Click here for rest of story

Questions for discussion:

  • IS the CD/DVD drive on computers on the way out and becoming extinct?
  • What  are the strengths and opportunities of  CD/DVD drives on computers?
  • What  are the weaknesses  and threatsof  CD/DVD drives on computers?

Posted by & filed under M-commerce, revenue model.

Description: The News Corporation said on Tuesday that it had gained 105,000 paying customers for the digital versions of The Times and The Sunday Times of London since it started charging for access to their Web sites this summer.

Source: NYT.com

Date: Nov 2, 2010


The company said about half of those additions were regular, active subscribers to the newspapers’ Web sites, iPad application or AmazonKindle edition. The rest were occasional purchasers. Another 100,000 readers have activated free digital accounts that are included in print subscriptions to the papers, the News Corporation said.  The company’s initiative has been closely watched among media analysts and advertisers because The Times and Sunday Times are among the first prominent general-interest newspapers to start charging for their digital content. Other newspapers are also moving to introduce paid services as online advertising falls short of publishers’ hopes that it might someday replace dwindling print ad revenue. Click here for rest of story

Questions for discussion:

  • Is a subscription revenue model for content viable on the internet?
  • Why has this revenue model not succeeded in a large way in the past?
  • As an investor, do you feel that the publishing industry has a bright future and would you would want to invest for the long haul?

Posted by & filed under online education, System development.

Description: Online education is best known for serving older, nontraditional students who can not travel to colleges because of jobs and family. But the same technologies of “distance learning” are now finding their way onto brick-and-mortar campuses, especially public institutions hit hard by declining state funds.

Source: NYT.com

Date: Nov 4, 2010

Across the country, online education is exploding: 4.6 million students took a college-level online course during fall 2008, up 17 percent from a year earlier, according to the Sloan Survey of Online Learning. A large majority — about three million — were simultaneously enrolled in face-to-face courses, belying the popular notion that most online students live far from campuses, said Jeff Seaman, co-director of the survey. Many are in community colleges, he said. Very few attend private colleges; families paying $53,000 a year demand low student-faculty ratios.  Colleges and universities that have plunged into the online field, mostly public, cite their dual missions to serve as many students as possible while remaining affordable, as well as a desire to exploit the latest technologies. Click here for rest of story

Questions for discussion:

  • Can online education be as effective as face to face mode of university education?
  • What are the strengths of online education?
  • What are the weaknesses and threats of online education?