Monday, April 28, 2008

Mobile TV

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I was reading an article on the Internet discussing the future potential of cellphones. One day “Mobile Phone TV” might be possible, according to China Daily. However, this would require the cooperation of network providers and everyone needs to be on the same page. This could be a lucrative market as there are 430 million phone users in China.

One problem is that different manufacturers or operators might be creating their own propriety software, when they should all use one software platform so that the streaming video can be broadcast on different phones and can communicate with one another. Standardization in technology is necessary to achieve this.

The mobile TV, would be very useful and could apply to all age groups, as cellphones are used across different generations. In emerging markets, it is sometimes cheaper or more viable to have a cellphone than a landline as it is more expensive to lay down cable in every part of the country. This is especially seen in African countries such as Nigeria.

In the end, the main success factor in making mobile tv a reality, is if manufacturers and network providers work together on the technology. Secondly, there needs to be public acceptance, which may arise if the technology works and people can appreciate the convenience of watching tv remotely. It can also provide a good source of ad revenue income.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Monetization of Social Networks

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Many email sites such as yahoo, gmail, and hotmail have not been able to generate a significant revenue base for offering such services. Likewise social networking sites such as facebook and orkut may find it difficult to generate sizeable income from such ventures. Microsoft’s takeover bid illustrates the point that Yahoo may be failing to adequately profit from its online services. Some may argue that founder and CEO of Yahoo, Jerry Yang, was crazy not to accept Microsoft’s $44 billion dollar offer, because there are many challenges to earning a decent revenue base from certain online sites. Once facebook becomes too commercial with an abundance of online advertisers, viewers may move on to the next best thing. Charging people to use the service, is also a deterrent and so ad revenue is a more legitimate way to monetize social networking websites.

Providers of social networking sites find it a challenge to offer the service and yet profit from them. As soon as they start charging for services, people move on to a competitors network. It would be interesting to see what is in store for the future of social web sites, web portals and Internet Technology. If Microsoft takes over Yahoo, I fear that this would be anti-competitive and not to the benefit of Internet Users. Microsoft has a trend of being too business savvy and concentrating on their bottom line, then on the best interests of society.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Mobile Technology & Me

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I have learnt my lesson of being too connected. Sometimes when I’m with friends and in a social setting, I feel I should value the time I spend with them and try to resist always checking my iphone (or blackberry or mobile device for some people), for email messages. I think I have gotten over, being fascinated by the Internet, especially in terms of being connected to people via IMing, chatting or facebook. I use it as a way of communicating and keeping in touch with people, but I feel it is not my primary interaction with people. Using the map function on my iphone allows me to reduce the chances of getting lost in DC. Mobile technology definitely has its function, but it only enhances our lives but does not supplant it.

Some people use mobile technology to tell people what they are doing every second of their lives. They use mobile phones combined with web technology to upload live stream videos and pictures of the things that they are doing. Also through GPS, people can track their friends. I believe if people want to share their lives in such a way, as with what is happening with facebook, then so be it. Their might be someone out there who is interested and has the time to check out your webpage. As for me, I would not post on facebook, for example, if I just ordered “pizza from Bertucci’s” or am “napping,” for the whole world to see. But I guess some people feel more comfortable in sharing every little mundane detail about their lives.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Internet and Politics

Image Taken from Yahoo News. The popularity of blogs and the Internet have provided a new avenue for political candidates to have their voices heard. I subscribed to Hillary Clinton's and Barack Obama's listserv and I regularly get personalized emails regarding their campaign and requests for donations. However, they probably know what the other is doing, and therefore I get similar emails from each one, as one tries to combat the others attempts in fundraising.

However I do feel that the Barack Obama website is much more simple and user friendly than the Hillary Clinton website. He must of employed a better web developer. It seems more sophisticated and less cluttered than Hillary’s website. This creates a better impression of Barack Obama and makes it seem that his campaign is more organized.

In terms of policy, I do like Hillary Clinton’s policies such as making the Government more accountable, her take on renewable energy sources and so on. Perhaps through the Internet and blogging, people’s voices can be heard and this is consistent with her policy of making the Government more accountable and to give people what they want rather than the Government dictating what is good for the people. The Internet can definitely make the Government more customer-oriented if used properly.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Effort into Online Postings –Extra time into your postings, can payoff.

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I think its interesting how employers post ads on craigslist. The way employers write their employment ads, need to be realistic and also need to sell their company as much as the requirements they look for in a candidate. Employers have the responsibility to place appropriate ads, that don’t take advantage of potential employees, and post impossible requirements for potential candidates. Just as an employee has to present a cover letter and a resume, to sell themselves, employers too, should craft their postings, to create interest and enthusiasm in the business they’re in.

I read a cover letter posted on the Hong Kong craigslist by a person interested in a finance position. She graduate from Columbia University with an MBA in Finance, and seemed very eloquent and qualified for a trading job. If I was a hiring manager, seeking new graduates hires, I would have definitely contacted her for an interview. What impressed me was the long and detailed cover letter she provided and the specific skills and classes she took that would be applicable for the job. She highlighted all her main talents and achievements, such as being a scholarship recipient in Gaungzhao, China and achieved an impressive GPA at Columbia University.

I believe, through the Internet, you can make connections to potential employers, depending on how impressive your resume and cover letter looks. Spending the extra time in crafting your cover letter and resume, and customizing them for the job that you seek, can pay huge dividends. Likewise, employers posting job ads, can receive more responses from the right candidates, if they put more consideration into the audience they are reaching out to and the level of information on their ads.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Social News Websites

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I believe there is great potential in social news website, where people can view stories they feel are most interesting and read other peoples comments and leave back their own. An interesting take on such a social news website is the celebrity gossip columnist, Perez Hilton's website. Its interesting how he digs up dirt on celebrities and posts it on his blog, with readers being allowed to add comments, which they are no shortage of. Its all in the name of fun and is often hilarious, yet surprisingly, the website is a good source of up to date and speedy information on celebrity gossip.

I think some of the things he posts, can sometimes go a bit too far, and is just aimed at creating shock. However, you could say this is in line with the trashy celebrity gossip business and that he is satisfying the market.

In some way, Youtube could be another social news websites, since it allows people to post their own videos and you can see how popular a video might be. People search for whatever interests them, and the most talked about news, hot topic or media figure may get the most searches. For example, when Britney Spears did a poor performance on the VH1 Music Awards, I tried to search it on youtube because I missed the show.

Some social news sites may have more integrity and discuss more serious topics, while others are more for entertainment. However, they have provided a useful means of accessing information and provide greater interaction and feedback from readers.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Virtual Meeting

Over spring break I visited San Francisco, CA and had the opportunity to visit reputable companies in the Silicon Valley. One such company was Cisco Systems. They are at the forefront of video conferencing, where they have developed meeting rooms with audio systems, plasma screens, and video cameras to simulate a board-room meeting, yet with counterparts in remote locations. They called their system “Telepresence.”

Although the package costs $300,000 USD to buy, it would serve large corporations very well, as they could gain huge cost savings from having managers being able to save time and money from traveling to far off locations for meetings. I was able to experience the video conferencing where fellow students were placed in separate meeting rooms. The desk, seating 10 people, were equipped with speakers and microphones. They were three cameras placed in different directions and three plasma screens next to each other, to create the platform. It worked surprisingly well and you could make eye contact with people across the screen.

You can watch a video about it from YouTube:

Video taken from and provided by Cisco Systems

The disadvantage of such a live and realistic video-conferencing solution, was that you know if a person is not paying attention if they are reading emails, checking their blackberries etc, which you would not know over teleconferencing. In some ways, the meetings are too real and too transparent.

Also in some ways, it cannot overcome face-to-face meetings because you lose the personal touch, there is less trust and camaraderie and it cannot go that extra distance to close the gap. For example, we met a secretary through a plasma screen, and he looked very real. We did not realize he was on TV, until we came closer, as he could see us through video and therefore we could interact with him. It was a very funny experience. However, while on the tour of the Cisco building, we met him on the second floor, and he physically looked very different and seemed more approachable.

There are huge advantages to virtual teams and using the web to conduct meetings, which can create convenience, with possible time and cost reductions. However, for certain meetings such as meeting new clients, face-to-face contact may still be necessary to build trust.