Archive for the ‘Tech’ Category

I love my iPod and use it all the time. I've tried to convince my wife and son that they each need one, but so far they have resisted the hypnotic pull of Cupertino's bestselling product.

According to this post from Engadget "iPod has new role as educational tool" Pearson Education plans to start making downloadable study guides and audio review notes available for iPod users.

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As a prof who has been teaching online for eight years now, I always love these kinds of articles where the writer suddenly “discovers” this thing known as learning online. From today’s Washington Post:

Angela
Bostic will get her MBA in August from the University of Maryland
University College, part of a dual master’s degree she is pursuing. She
has never met a professor, has never sat in a classroom and has checked
out the Adelphi campus only once, long after she had enrolled. In fact,
until recently, the 28-year-old graduate student had been studying from
Brussels.

Bostic is among an extraordinarily fast-growing number
of students nationwide and worldwide who are turning to online degree
programs to complete or advance their educations while they work,
decisions that are driven by economics as well as by a society that is
increasingly mobile.

According to a story in this morning's WSJ, McAfee will be releasing a report today that demonstrates that a major source of spyware, malware, and other online junk is: search engines.

Search Sites Tied
To Viruses, Spyware

McAfee Unit Study Says
Results Pages Have Links
To Risky Web Addresses

By KEVIN J. DELANEY
May 12, 2006; Page A16

New research scheduled to be released today by McAfee Inc. unit SiteAdvisor Inc. links the epidemic of spyware, viruses and other nasty online traps to search engines.

The study, based on thousands of searches using the
most-popular search queries and providers, shows that the results pages
of the biggest search engines include links to sites that can infect
consumers' personal computers or expose them to nuisances such as spam
email. SiteAdvisor found that roughly 5% of the search results on
average were risky sites on the first five results pages. That included
about 3% of the normal Web-search results and 9% of the paid
advertisements the search engines serve up alongside them.

By comparison, the company said, about 2% of the total
of 3.3 million Web sites rated in its database, accounting for 95% of
all Web traffic, expose consumers to risks or nuisances.

After doublechecking my calendar to make sure that it was no longer April 1st, I share the following announcement:

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Apple Computer Inc. (Nasdaq:AAPL – news), the maker of the Macintosh computer and iPod music device, on Wednesday rolled out a first-ever software patch to run Microsoft’s dominant Windows operating system on its PCs, a move that could draw millions of new buyers.

By enabling the move to Windows, the world’s No. 1 operating system, Apple hopes to draw people who want Macs, considered by many as easier to use and more stylish, but prefer the Windows operating system.

Apple shares rose 5.7 percent in early trade on Nasdaq.

Apple said the “Boot Camp” software, available immediately as a download, enables Macs powered by Intel Corp. (Nasdaq:INTC – news) chips to run either Windows XP or Apple’s Mac OS operating system software.

http://tinyurl.com/lyb47

Or Thunderbird. Or Eudora. Or a blog. Or a wiki. Or Basecamp. From today’s Wall Street Journal “Washington Wire” column (link unavailable)

TECHNICALLY CHALLENGED: Among other woes at Homeland Security,
the inspector general’s office says it can’t widely distribute
electronic announcements of new watchdog reports. A spokeswoman
explains the department lacks capacity to create a mass email list
, (emphasis mine) and
“We don’t have a fix at this point.” Former Inspector General Clark
Kent Ervin calls circulating such information crucial.

So……the people who are supposed to be keeping us safe from the bad guys can’t figure out how to mass e-mail a PDF file. Great.

How not to solve a problem

While I strongly disagree with Google’s decision to capitulate to the Chinese government’s censorship wishes, this proposed legislation from Congress is NOT going to do a thing to make the problem any better. From today’s USA Today:

Bill would keep servers out of China

By Jim Hopkins, USA TODAY
SAN
FRANCISCO — Free-speech advocates have blasted Google and other
Internet companies for bowing to China’s demands that they censor or
fork over information the communist government deemed objectionable.
A partial screen shot of Google.cn's search returns on the words A partial screen shot of Google.cn’s search returns on the words “Tiananmen Square”:

Now,
Congress is stepping in with proposed legislation that could hobble the
companies as they plunge deeper into one of the world’s hottest
economies. This is Round 2 for Congress. Last year, it scrutinized and
slowed other business deals with ties to China’s government among oil
companies and computer makers.

Rep. Chris
Smith, R-N.J., is drafting a bill that would force Internet companies
including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to keep vital computer servers
out of China and other nations the State Department deems repressive to
human rights. Moving servers would keep personal data they house from
government reach. But that also could weaken the firms’ crucial
Internet search engines.

Anti-Apple backlash brewing?

I love Apple. I use my iPod and iBook on a daily basis.

Having said that, I’m fully aware that they, like any other company, are far from perfect. But within the past few days I’m starting to notice an anti-Apple backlash developing in a few places.

First, there was Joseph Nocera’s piece (trapped behind the NYT’s firewall) about his problems with his iPod and Apple’s response (or lack thereof).

Then yesterday John Jantsch of the terrific Duct Tape marketing blog wrote in regards to Apple:

“No matter how good your product or service is-if you constantly treat your customers as though they are disposable, well that’s what they will become.”

And lastly Reed Hundt, former chairman of the FCC, is apparently not having alot of luck with Apple these days either:

“I will believe the Web has really arrived when it enables mass e-protests against Apple customer care — which is woeful, exasperating, insulting, and massively time-consuming.

Hopefully Apple will adress this issue before it becomes a groundswell.