Saturday, November 22, 2008
(Click on above link to view YouTube video.)
This is an awesome video that I wanted to share. "We Are Living In Exponential Times!"
There are statistical comparisons of the United States and China populations in relation to each other.
Also, how we as Americans are failing our youth as compared to India.
The likely changes that will take place in the future based on trends that the world is currently using is also displayed.
The amount of information that we use our computers and the Internet for is astounding as compared to BG. (Before Google)
And More... It really makes you think!
Here is another one. It is very similar to the first and is also by Karl Fisch. It does not have the graphics that the above link has so it isn't quite as attractive. A lot of Knowledge!
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Where’s My Paper?
Whether you buy into the trend of purchasing a portable reader device or not, there is evidence all around us that paper is on its way out. Most newspapers, periodicals, magazines, and books come in a digital format to be used on computers, PDAs, cell phones, or e-Reader devices.
Why are These Options Popular?Because we are always on the go. We want our reading materials to be as accessible as everything else we have grown accustomed to having around us. As we get more accustomed to having and owning technologically advanced devices, we are less content with the old way of looking at printed paper. These devices are particularly attractive to the people who want to own the lasted new appliances and who are not particularly worried about the huge price tag that accompanies them.
Are We Green Yet?
It is advertised how these devices are eco-friendly by reducing paper consumption, fuel for delivery, ink supplies, and emissions caused by the actual printing and delivery processes. There is significant potential for minimizing the impact of creating and delivering just the daily newspaper, let alone, all the other printed materials we use on a daily basis. But paper for the most part is recyclable.
Do these new devices have a long life so that they will not add to the landfills too soon?
What does it take to produce one of these devices in terms of energy and supplies?
Will the benefits outweigh the exorbitant costs?
Is this process green or greener than what we are currently doing?
These answers cannot be easily answered without trial and use. Time will tell.
Why the e-Reader Instead of Your Laptop?
There are multiple e-Readers available now. The Sony Reader, Amazon’s Kindle, iLiad by iRex, Aztak’s EZ reader, and Plastic Logic by Liquavista (See Embedded Video From CNN) are among the ones currently on the market. These devices are typically made in a simple format to make the learning curve flat.
Most of these examples are using the technology to make the screen look as much like paper as possible. To accomplish this, there is no back light on the screen so the user must provide light to read by just like they would when using a book. They typically do not require power to show the current page, only when the action to turn the page is engaged some of the power is used. Usually, these devices have long battery lives depending on the custom settings by the user. They are made for reading and not for pictures so color is not added. The grey, black, and white format keeps it simple and slows the energy usage as compared to a computer. Readers are smaller, typically the size of a book, and light weight. It does not store all of your personal information so if it is lost or stollen, the damage would just be loss and would be replaceable.
What About Using Your Computer?
Let’s look at the New York Times new online reader. It makes the user feel like they are reading the newspaper because it adjusts to the screen size of the user and has a layout similar to a newspaper. It uses the best aspects of the written format and combines it with the digital capabilities we have grown accustomed to and expect when we use our computers. It is predicted that most websites will adapt to this type of format which is user friendly.
I went to my local library's site (http://www.infoway.org/) and found hundreds of ebooks available for download for free. The download format is made for a computer. It did provide some assistance for other devices but typically they were not automatically compatible. The e-Readers are slightly different from each other. I really hate it when developers do not find a common format. A consistent format makes it better for everyone involved, but apparently the e-Readers do not share my view. Maybe the future will bring some uniformity.
I love this idea of making less waste but as I look around my office, I see lots of paper oriented items. Can we really let go of the ease that paper provides for an electronic device? I wouldn’t mind giving it a try but it would have to prove itself to me before I could completely let go of paper. I have cut down on paper usage considerably just by using email instead of memos, so I can see how this trend could evolve further. Currently, I keep my master copies in digital format but I use the paper copy to make notes and adjustments on. Perhaps in the future, I could learn new ways to utilize the digital aspects via media storage which would mean less clutter and a better filing system. NOW That Would Be GREAT!
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
So where will the advertisers turn to generate exposure?
We are all familiar with advertising because we are accustomed to the seemingly constant barrage of information from products or services from any number of avenues including television, radio, magazines, newspapers, billboards, Internet, etc. Anywhere there is access to visual, audio, or printed information; it is fair game for advertisements. (Photo)
Marketing on the Internet has exploded and will likely grow even larger in the coming years. Strategies for advertising on the Internet are still in their growing stages, but many agencies have acquired the technical capabilities to operate effectively using a variety of forms such as pop ups (which I hate!), pop unders, flash, banner, pay per click, adsense, and email advertisements (AKA spam).
With the popularity of TiVo and other DVR capabilities, television viewers can record programs for later viewing and typically fast forward through the commercials making them less viable. Plus, more and more people are using the Internet to watch their favorite television shows via YouTube, Hulu, and others. This trend makes traditional advertising have less of an impact on our society.
There is also a growing trend of niche or targeted ads which focus on a specific audience. In the past, advertising was approached in a ‘blanket’ manner to market to the mass audience which is a hit-and-miss approach. Focusing on smaller targeted groups makes the advertisements carry more relevance to the viewers. This type of advertising is more effective even though it reaches smaller audiences.
Interactive Phone-Small Screen-Big Opportunities!
Yes, the iPhone is here and is the hot ticket item to buy even in our worried economy. Advertising on the iPhone is the next big trend that will cast its shadow over television commercials. “There are 405 million mobile internet users worldwide, according to Internet research firm eMarketer, and within four years this number is expected to double. Google mobile ads allow you to target this large and growing audience while they're on the go.” (Oct. 2008.)
Google Mobile Ads look like typical desktop web pages, only smaller. All mobile image ads are keyword-targeted and link to a mobile web page. Only one image per mobile page is advertised to provide better visual connection for the mobile viewer. It is based on the pay-per-click method that Google has used for years. “Contextual targeting keeps ads relevant, and with only one mobile image ad shown per page, you can uninhibitedly browse mobile websites while clicking only on the ads that interest you.” (Oct. 2008.)
By using Google Mobile Ads, advertisers have the options to track impressions and clicks, target by language and mobile carrier, provide call to action links, and more. (To learn more, read the mobile ads FAQ in the Google AdWords Help Center.)
As more brands become aware of the expanding shift that iPhones are providing, they will undoubtedly follow the consumers pace to utilize this budding technology structure. Brands will see the need to become compatible with the smaller screens to promote themselves.
MoboVivo is a company that is specific to i-users of today, be it iPhone, iPod, and other portable devices. It is made specifically for people on the go. MoboVivo distributes TV shows, movies, and music specially made for use on these mobile devices. But it also works on desktops and laptops as well. MoboVivo states they have licenses for this content to be viewed on their site. They offer a delivery program which allows users to buy the program via the iPhone. An email will then provide the download link.
Those of you who Twitter can appreciate this next iPhone experience. Twinkle is the iPhone Twitter experience with a twist. Twinkle lets you use the iPhone’s location feature to add location data that can also seek “near me” that will show comments from people within a certain distance of your location. No doubt someone innovative will think up a way to use this to advertise. Maybe restaurants could promote their daily specials when the location data is triggered or stores in a certain area could advertise their great value for the day… or whatever. It seems endless. (Photo).
I do not mind advertising. Someone must promote the widget or I will not know it exists. If I do not know it exists, how will I know if I want it or not… BUT it could easily get out of control. For instance, these political ads are outta control. I will be glad once they have ran their course.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Internet connectability and speed supplied from service providers are just a couple of ways that have impacted our culture. If we did not have the availability to connect to the Internet, the information that we are seeking would be limited. If we had to wait on dial up services to provide the speed in which to surf, many of us would not use it because of time constraints and frustration in unusable features. (Photo.)
By having Broadband in the form of DSL high speed or wireless Internet service providers (WISP), the service that we have grown accustomed to has broadened the ways in which we use the Internet. “The term broadband refers to any type of transmission technique that carries several data channels over a common wire.”
We can search for anything and everything at any moment of any day. This provides an unlimited amount of information that is not restricted to catching the late breaking news on television or reading the newspaper headlines. News is instantaneous and convenient to the user. (Photo)
Some communities have created ‘mesh-networks’ which join together numerous wireless public access points to provide a form of less expensive hotspots that bring in customers to use the wireless networks that are supplied for free in selected areas.
“A hotspot is any location where Wi-Fi network access (usually Internet access) is made publicly available.” These areas are often found in airports, coffee shops, hotels, libraries, and other places that wireless users tend to frequent and congregate. It is the provider’s goal to make connecting Wi-Fi users as simple and secure as possible. The problem with these public hotspots is that they are public and generally have less security levels than other wireless business networks. But this is a great way to provide a service that can generate sales in other forms of business. (October, 2008.
WISPs can further broaden our availability via use of cell phones and other wireless devices. This type of connectability is not as widely used across the board of users, so it provides selective service and is more expensive than the typical wireless Internet that we use for our laptops. WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) is a telecommunications technology that provides for the wireless transmission of data in a variety of ways ranging from point to point links to full mobile cellular-type access. WiMAX provides broadband speed enabling the delivery of the ‘last mile’ wireless usage without the use of cables. This option provides an alternative to DSL for areas where that is not feasible. The largest fully functional WiMAX network is located in Pakistan using Motorola hardware supplied to approximately seventeen cities throughout the region.
A general distinction of WiMAX and Wi-Fi is that the range system for WiMAX is typically a longer range than Wi-Fi which can allow for a wider coverage area. “WiMAX and Wi-Fi have quite different Quality of Service (QoS) mechanisms. WiMAX uses a mechanism based on connections between the Base Station and the user device. Each connection is based on specific scheduling algorithms, which means that QoS parameters can be guaranteed for each flow.
As with anything that is up and coming, as it becomes more standardized the availability and quality of service will most likely improve. The weather is a factor that inhibits the best service for wireless due to lightning, wind, and moisture interfering with the wireless transmission. Limited signal strength is also a factor in usability due to cellular tower strength. Also, geographical topography that is flat is best suited for wireless use, it is not always available which can limit signal strength. There is no doubt that these obstacles will be addressed and improved as the strength in users grows. (Photo)
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Are You Hooked Up?
In my quest to understand what it is that makes up a social network, I found there are thousands of sites that cater to very specific groups, topics, or hobbies and also ambiguous groups for anyone who wants to join. Are we lost in this ocean of networks bidding for our memberships? Yes, pretty much.
What is a Social Network?
The idea is based on the old adage… “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” Meeting people online with similar interests to expand our knowledge in that interest is basically the cornerstone of social networking. But it is much more than just making connections for business or comprehension purposes. We can seek out people that we have lost touch with or people that we are separated with geographically. In short, a social network allows people to come together in common interests.
Which One Should You Join?
There are many platforms on which one can participate. Which one is the best?: The one that you are able to utilize best. Be it MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, Reunion, LinkedIn, Tagged, Hi5, Piczo, Twitter, Flickr, or one of the many others available, in order for the network to work for you, you have to have someone to participate with. That is the concept that makes these sites grow at astounding rates. One person will join, tell others about their experience, then they tell others, and on and on it grows.
You may be willing to join multiple groups to be able to connect with the different sets of people you desire. This makes the growth compound even further. Some examples are: Facebook and MySpace each having 115 million people to their respective sites each month. There are many sources stating the most current statistics. It is an ever changing morphing system which is very hard to measure. (September, 2008.)
Changes in Progress
In the past few months, Facebook and MySpace have discussed opening their ‘walled gardens’ to allow other networks access to slow the multi-membership trend. The member would be given the option to share profile information with other websites to allow for more contacts. Some users stated that they actually enjoy having multiple groups because they can separate the amount of information that one group is allowed to view compared to another group which might be more casual in nature providing their privacy policies are in place. Graph found here.
Basically, the concept is separating business contacts or online contacts with close friends and family. This idea can be achieved through sites like LinkedIn which caters to the business/professional side of making contacts and networking off of those contacts. There are even expert searches available. The problem with this site (which is the problem with all social networking sites) is that people need to join and put their information into the system for it to work. The criticism for this site is that if the member publicly promotes himself, it can get back to his current employer. If the member was looking to leave the company anyway, this aspect wouldn’t be as damaging.
Expectations of Privacy
This process of using social networks to open oneself up to the public is ‘an experiment that involves radically redrawing the boundaries between what is public and what is private.’ Typically, people under the age of 25 years old think everything they do on their computer is public unless they choose to make it private. Most social network users say they feel strongly about their privacy but often ‘forget’ how public their words will become once they are posted. Some users treat their sites as an outlet to vent their current state-of-mind and do not realize that when that mood is over, the thought has been recorded for others to view. (Kiss and Tell of Social Networks by Nick Galvin.)
Chart found here.
“Privacy is the ‘right of people to control what details about their lives stay inside their own houses and what leaks to the outside.’ We have no control over who can read our seemingly private words”…when privacy settings are left at the default of public. (A Privacy Paradox by Susan B. Barnes.)
Who Can Peruse the Social Networks?
Employers (current or future), school officials, law enforcement, parents, and others can view this delicate information and make judgments based on it. I read that a respected police officer ‘vented’ on a social network and was asked to step down from his position for using improper dialog. Those who carry firearms can be held more accountable to abstain from acting recklessly, even if it is only with words. Another case was where students who were involved in hazing were reprimanded by their college administration. Other users confess that sometimes they fabricate their posts to make them seem more exciting, or they were dared to do it. They do not think about who will read it or how long the information will be available. There are new rules defining what is public and what should remain private.
Friends, and Family, and Data Miners, Oh My!
An industry that is profiting from this free exchange of information is the data mining industry. They collect, analyze, and interpret the volumes of personal information posted publicly and use it as marketing information about different areas of our culture and reinforce brand images. This is not a new concept. Almost every purchase we make is already tracked by some means for marketing purposes. The difference here is information is usually more ‘private.’
Conclusion: My Advice
My take on this cultural social networking system is that we, as adults, must be wise in that the written word or photos can be used in manners in which they may not have originally been intended. If you so desire, go forth and socialize, but do it intelligently. Do not forget that even though you may feel safe and private sitting in front of your computer typing out your thoughts, others do have access to them. Isn’t that the whole idea, anyway, to be social and interact with others? Be Smart, Be Safe.
Monday, September 15, 2008
What's with the silly name?
The name is a play on 'googal' which is a mathematical term meaning 10^100 (ten to the power of one hundred), which is ten followed by one hundred zeros. The first version of Page & Brin's search engine was called BackRub because it focused on the backward trail of the pages. When the system started indexing the World Wide Web in 1995, it was estimated there were 10 million documents and an unknown number of links to them. In that year, the Internet was growing at a rate of approximately 2,000 percent. BackRub was renamed Google in 1997.
(Sept 2008 http://www.google.com/)
How does Google work?
As a user, I don’t necessarily need to know how it works, but in a marketing perspective, I need to know how I can get my site to be on the first page of the search results. How can I do this? It is based on relevance.
How does PageRank work in relation to Google?
“PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page’s value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves (deemed) ‘important’ weigh more heavily and help to make other pages ‘important’.” (Sept 2008, http://en.wikipedia.org/.)
This system is an algorithm which is similar to the Richter scale .The content of the page is not evaluated when PageRank is calculating the index for the page. There are over a hundred variations of criteria that are measured in the search result process. This is in part, to keep the process secret so that the search method is as accurate as possible without being unduly manipulated by webmasters whose sole purpose is to rank their page as high as possible. http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007/06/05/google-pagerank-what-do-we-really-know-about-it/
Yes, as with any aspect of business, there are ways to manipulate the system. This process is known as search engine optimization (SEO) and is used to improve the volume of traffic to a web site when accessed through a search engine. The SEO experts attempt to discern how to make target words or keywords more relevant through the index parameters. The idea is to increase visibility for marketing strategies in gaining more hits to the designated page or site. The experts study the patterns in Google and other search engines, and then develop a course to try to maximize the rank placement for their keywords within the search index database. This process is updated and revised periodically to mix it up for accuracy.
(FYI: I Googled the term search engine optimization and received: about 32,500,000 results. There must be some relevance to SEO to employ this many hits.)
You might have a website that is more relevant than most for your subject, but is virtually unknown. Your site will rank low on the search scale, but there are legitimate methods to put your site in a better light to get noticed. The term used by SEO experts for these approaches are called white hat techniques. To attract the search engine's spiders or crawlers, you must use the right keywords positioned in the right places. Meta tags are hidden bits of information that are used at times by search engines to pull relevant keywords. Some search engines skip meta tags because of historic misuse. Key placement of your product word in the title, headers, and content are very important. But, there has to be a nice balance so that the site does not end up using a black hat technique called keyword stuffing which may trigger a spider to label your site as spam (also known as ‘unsolicited commercial e-mail’). (September 2008, http://computer.howstuffworks.com/)
Keyword stuffing is just like it sounds; stuffing the site with the words you want the search spider to recognize and then index. Some stuffers have used the same color for the text as the background so the text is invisible to the viewer but not to the search spider. Another unscrupulous way to generate traffic to a site is by using fake web pages that redirect visitors to a page they would not have gone to on their own. There is also a way to monopolize the search engine results once a reputable page ranks high, it duplicates itself over and over so that other competing sites will go further down the list and possibly off the front page of the search results. This is called page stuffing. Some search spiders are now capable of recognizing if two different pages have the same content. These are just a few of the reasons why Google must change their parameters and make the search spiders smarter as technology changes. Google wants the user to get the unbiased search result they are seeking as accurately and quickly as possible.
Before Google became widely known, portals like AltaVista, Yahoo, Excite, Lycos, and AOL viewed searching as a soft business with little to no profit potential. They thought of it as providing a route to travel away from their site. What could be profitable in that? Google found a way to make it lucrative by using advertising that was relevant to the search with ‘Pay Per Click’. The client only pays when they receive a hit to their ad. It is more profitable for the site owner to pay for this type of advertisement because the person who is clicking on the ad is already interested in their product so there is no revenue lost on blanket advertising that does not reach potential customers.
“‘Search is no longer a stand-alone application, a useful but impersonal tool for finding something on ... the World Wide Web," John Battelle writes in The Search. "Increasingly search is our mechanism for how we understand ourselves, our world and our place in it. It's how we navigate the one infinite resource that drives human culture: knowledge.’" (Sept 2008, http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2005/09/68792.)
Google timeline information and photos taken from http://www.google.com/corporate/history.html#1
(Left to Right- Sergey Brin, Larry Page.)
1995: Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page meet at Stanford University.
1996: BackRub, the precursor to the Google search engine, is founded.
1997: Brin & Page rename BackRub to Google.
1998: Google is incorporated and moves into its first office in a Menlo Park, California, spare bedroom and garage.
1999: Google moves its headquarters to Palo Alto, California, and later to Mountain View, California; Red Hat becomes Google's first commercial customer.
2000: Yahoo Internet Life magazine names Google the Best Search Engine on the Internet; Google becomes the largest search engine on the Web and launches Google AdWords & Toolbar.
2001: Google acquires Deja.com's Usenet archive and launches Google PhoneBook; Dr. Eric Schmidt joins Google as chairman of the board of directors and is later appointed CEO. Google Image Search launches.
2002: Google launches Google Search Appliance, Google News and Froogle, a product search; updates new version to AdWords.
2003: Voted ‘most useful’ Word of the year for 2002. Acquired Pyra Labs, the creators of Blogger.
2004: New milestone: 6 billion items, including 4.28 billion web pages and 880 million images. Initial Public Offering of 19,605,052 shares common stock @ $85 per share. Index of web pages reaches 8 billion.
2005: Milestone in Image Search: 1.1 billion images indexed. Google maps goes live. Google Earth's overlays help with rescue efforts for Hurricane Katrina victims.
2006: Picasa introduced in 25 more languages. Chat in Gmail. Dr. Larry Brilliant becomes executive director of Google.org. Oxford English Dictionary adds ‘Google’ as a verb. Gmail, Google News, iGoogle available on mobile phones in 8 more languages. Acquisition of YouTube. Release Google Patent Search.
2007: Gmail available to everyone. Traffic information introduced to Google Maps for 30+ cities in US. Google Hot Trends launches. Prime placement in iPhone. RechargIT unveiled.
2008: Five key initiatives announced. Google Sites debuts. Acquisition for DoubleClick. Google Earth adds new satellite information for recovery efforts. Google Translate has 23 languages. Google Finance has real-time stock quotes. Maps for Mobile updated. 1trillion unique URLs indexed. Google Suggest arrives. Chrome a new open source browser is launched. Upgrade for Picasa released.
10 year Anniversary Celebrated in September 2008.
Who knows what’s next…..something innovative that is certain.
The users of search engines today think this concept of making the volumes of information available at any time by a few key strokes as completely and utterly obvious. It is definitely a system that Internet users utilize almost every time they touch their computers. In some ways, Google has stayed the same as it started 10 years ago, but it has also grown to the needs of the users by creating more selected searches and libraries. Google has created a path that our society uses and now takes for granted. Google is now looking at ways to use the gathering of knowledge to fight diseases in third world countries. Perhaps in a few short years this concept will seem obvious, too.