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20 predictions for the next 25 years | Society | The Observer Tuesday, September 13 2011, 10:12 AM

20 predictions for the next 25 years From the web to wildlife, the economy to nanotechnology, politics to sport, the Observer's team of experts prophesy how the world will change – for good or bad – in the next quarter of a century

reddit this Comments (267) The Observer, Sunday 2 January 2011 Article history

Customers crowd into a department store in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. China will continue to rise in the coming decades. Photograph: Chinafotopress/Getty Images

1 Geopolitics: 'Rivals will take greater risks against the US' No balance of power lasts forever. Just a century ago, London was the centre of the world. Britain bestrode the world like a colossus and only those with strong nerves (or weak judgment) dared challenge the Pax Britannica. That, of course, is all history, but the Pax Americana that has taken shape since 1989 is just as vulnerable to historical change. In the 1910s, the rising power and wealth of Germany and America splintered the Pax Britannica; in the 2010s, east Asia will do the same to the Pax Americana. The 21st century will see technological change on an astonishing scale. It may even transform what it means to be human. But in the short term – the next 20 years – the world will still be dominated by the doings of nation-states and the central issue will be the rise of the east.

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By 2030, the world will be more complicated, divided between a broad American sphere of influence in Europe, the Middle East and south Asia, and a Chinese sphere in east Asia and Africa. Even within its own sphere, the US will face new challenges from former peripheries. The large, educated populations of Poland, Turkey, Brazil and their neighbours will come into their own and Russia will continue its revival. Nevertheless, America will probably remain the world's major power. The critics who wrote off the US during the depression of the 1930s and the stagflation of the 1970s lived to see it bounce back to defeat the Nazis in the 1940s and the Soviets in the 1980s. America's financial problems will surely deepen through the 2010s, but the 2020s could bring another Roosevelt or Reagan. A hundred years ago, as Britain's dominance eroded, rivals, particularly Germany, were emboldened to take ever-greater risks. The same will happen as American power erodes in the 2010s-20s. In 1999, for instance, Russia would never have dared attack a neighbour such as Georgia but in 2009 it took just such a chance. The danger of such an adventure sparking a great power war in the 2010s is probably low; in the 2020s, it will be much greater. The most serious threats will arise in the vortex of instability that stretches from Africa to central Asia. Most of the world's poorest people live here; climate change is wreaking its worst damage here; nuclear weapons are proliferating fastest here; and even in 2030, the great powers will still seek much of their energy here. Here, the risk of Sino-American conflict will be greatest and here the balance of power will be decided. Ian Morris, professor of history at Stanford University and the author of Why the West Rules – For Now (Profile Books)

2 The UK economy: 'The popular revolt against bankers will become impossible to resist'

A view across the City at dusk. Photograph: James Brittain It will be a second financial crisis in the 2010s – probably sooner than later – that will prove to be the remaking of Britain. Confronted by a second trillion-pound bank bailout in less than 10 years, it will be impossible for the City and wider banking system to resist reform. The popular revolt against bankers, their current business model in which neglect of the real economy is embedded and the scale of their bonuses – all to be underwritten by bailouts from taxpayers – will become irresistible. The consequent rebalancing of the British economy, already underway, will intensify. Britain, in thrall to finance since 1945, will break free – spearheading a second Industrial Revolution. In 2035, there is thus a good prospect that Britain will be the most populous (our birth rate will be one the highest in Europe), dynamic and richest European country, the key state in a reconfigured EU. Our leading universities will become powerhouses of innovation, world centres in exploiting the approaching avalanche of scientific and technological breakthroughs. A reformed financial system will allow British entrepreneurs to get the committed financial backing they need, becoming the capitalist leaders in Europe. And, after a century of trying, Britain will at last build itself a system for developing apprentices and technicians that is no longer the Cinderella of the education system.

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It will not be plain sailing. Massive political turbulence in China and its conflict with the US will define part of the next 25 years – and there will be a period when the world trading and financial system retreats from openness. How far beggar-my-neighbour competitive devaluations and protection will develop is hard to predict, but protectionist trends are there for all to see. Commodity prices will go much higher and there will be shortages of key minerals, energy, water and some basic foodstuffs. The paradox is that this will be good news for Britain. It will force the state to re-engage with the economy and to build a matrix of institutions that will support innovation and investment, rather as it did between 1931 and 1950. New Labour began this process tremulously in its last year in office; the coalition government is following through. These will be lean years for the traditional Conservative right, but whether it will be a liberal One Nation Tory party, ongoing coalition governments or the Labour party that will be the political beneficiary is not yet sure. The key point is that those 20 years in the middle of the 20th century witnessed great industrial creativity and an unsung economic renaissance until the country fell progressively under the stultifying grip of the City of London. My guess is that the same, against a similarly turbulent global background, is about to happen again. My caveat is if the City remains strong, in which case economic decline and social division will escalate. Will Hutton, executive vice-chair of the Work Foundation and an Observer columnist

3 Global development: 'A vaccine will rid the world of Aids' Within 25 years, the world will achieve many major successes in tackling the diseases of the poor. Certainly, we will be polio-free and probably will have been for more than a decade. The fight to eradicate polio represents one of the greatest achievements in global health to date. It has mobilised millions of volunteers, staged mass immunisation campaigns and helped to strengthen the health systems of low-income countries. Today, we have eliminated 99% of the polio in the world and eradication is well within reach. Vaccines that prevent diseases such as measles and rotavirus, currently available in rich countries, will also become affordable and readily available in developing countries. Since it was founded 10 years ago, the Gavi Alliance, a global partnership that funds expanded immunisation in poor countries, has helped prevent more than 5 million deaths. It is easy to imagine that in 25 years this work will have been expanded to save millions more lives by making life-saving vaccines available all over the world. I also expect to see major strides in new areas. A rapid point-of-care diagnostic test – coupled with a faster-acting treatment regimen – will so fundamentally change the way we treat tuberculosis that we can begin planning an elimination campaign. We will eradicate malaria, I believe, to the point where there are no human cases reported globally in 2035. We will also have effective means for preventing Aids infection, including a vaccine. With the encouraging results of the RV144 Aids vaccine trial in Thailand, we now know that an Aids vaccine is possible. We must build on these and promising results on other means of preventing HIV infection to help rid the world of the threat of Aids. Tachi Yamada, president of the global health programme at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

4 Energy: 'Returning to a world that relies on muscle power is not an option' Providing sufficient food, water and energy to allow everyone to lead decent lives is an enormous challenge. Energy is a means, not an end, but a necessary means. With 6.7 billion people on the planet, more than 50% living in large conurbations, and these numbers expected to rise to more than 9 billion and 80% later in the century, returning to a world that relies on human and animal muscle power is not an option. The challenge is to provide sufficient energy while reducing reliance on fossil fuels, which today supply 80% of our energy (in decreasing order of importance, the rest comes from burning biomass and waste, hydro, nuclear and, finally, other renewables, which together contribute less than 1%). Reducing use of fossil fuels is necessary both to avoid serious climate change and in anticipation of a time when scarcity makes them prohibitively expensive. It will be extremely difficult. An International Energy Agency scenario that assumes the implementation of all agreed national policies and announced commitments to save energy and reduce the use of fossil fuels projects a 35% increase in energy consumption in the next 25 years, with fossil fuels up 24%. This is almost entirely due to consumption in developing countries where living standards are, happily, rising and the population is increasing rapidly. This scenario, which assumes major increases in nuclear, hydro and wind power, evidently does not go far enough and will

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break down if, as many expect, oil production (which is assumed to increase 15%) peaks in much less than 25 years. We need to go much further in reducing demand, through better design and changes in lifestyles, increasing efficiency and improving and deploying all viable alternative energy sources. It won't be cheap. And in the post-fossil-fuel era it won't be sufficient without major contributions from solar energy (necessitating cost reductions and improved energy storage and transmission) and/or nuclear fission (meaning fast breeder and/or thorium reactors when uranium eventually becomes scarce) and/or fusion (which is enormously attractive in principle but won't become a reliable source of energy until at least the middle of the century). Disappointingly, with the present rate of investment in developing and deploying new energy sources, the world will still be powered mainly by fossil fuels in 25 years and will not be prepared to do without them. Chris Llewellyn Smith is a former director general of Cern and chair of Iter, the world fusion project, he works on energy issues at Oxford University

5 Advertising: 'All sorts of things will just be sold in plain packages'

Advertising in Tokyo. Photograph: Mike Long / Alamy/Alamy If I'd been writing this five years ago, it would have been all about technology: the internet, the fragmentation of media, mobile phones, social tools allowing consumers to regain power at the expense of corporations, all that sort of stuff. And all these things are important and will change how advertising works. But it's becoming clear that what'll really change advertising will be how we relate to it and what we're prepared to let it do. After all, when you look at advertising from the past the basic techniques haven't changed; what seems startlingly alien are the attitudes it was acceptable to portray and the products you were allowed to advertise. In 25 years, I bet there'll be many products we'll be allowed to buy but not see advertised – the things the government will decide we shouldn't be consuming because of their impact on healthcare costs or the environment but that they can't muster the political will to ban outright. So, we'll end up with all sorts of products in plain packaging with the product name in a generic typeface – as the government is currently discussing for cigarettes. But it won't stop there. We'll also be nudged into renegotiating the relationship between society and advertising, because over the next few years we're going to be interrupted by advertising like never before. Video screens are getting so cheap and disposable that they'll be plastered everywhere we go. And they'll have enough intelligence and connectivity that they'll see our faces, do a quick search on Facebook to find out who we are and direct a message at us based on our purchasing history. At least, that'll be the idea. It probably won't work very well and when it does work it'll probably drive us mad. Marketing geniuses are working on this stuff right now, but not all of them recognise that being allowed to do this kind of thing depends on societal consent – push the intrusion too far and people will push back. Society once did a deal accepting advertising because it seemed occasionally useful and interesting and because it paid for lots of journalism and entertainment. It's not necessarily going to pay for those things for much longer so we might start questioning whether we want to live in a Blade Runner world brought to us by Cillit Bang.

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Russell Davies, head of planning at the advertising agency Ogilvy and Mather and a columnist for the magazines Campaign and Wired

6 Neuroscience: 'We'll be able to plug information streams directly into the cortex' By 2030, we are likely to have developed no-frills brain-machine interfaces, allowing the paralysed to dance in their thoughtcontrolled exoskeleton suits. I sincerely hope we will not still be interfacing with computers via keyboards, one forlorn letter at a time. I'd like to imagine we'll have robots to do our bidding. But I predicted that 20 years ago, when I was a sanguine boy leaving Star Wars, and the smartest robot we have now is the Roomba vacuum cleaner. So I won't be surprised if I'm wrong in another 25 years. Artificial intelligence has proved itself an unexpectedly difficult problem. Maybe we will understand what's happening when we immerse our heads into the colourful night blender of dreams. We will have cracked the secret of human memory by realising that it was never about storing things, but about the relationships between things. Will we have reached the singularity – the point at which computers surpass human intelligence and perhaps give us our comeuppance? We'll probably be able to plug information streams directly into the cortex for those who want it badly enough to risk the surgery. There will be smart drugs to enhance learning and memory and a flourishing black market among ambitious students to obtain them. Having lain to rest the nature-nurture dichotomy at that point, we will have a molecular understanding of the way in which cultural narratives work their way into brain tissue and of individual susceptibility to those stories. Then there's the mystery of consciousness. Will we finally have a framework that allows us to translate the mechanical pieces and parts into private, subjective experience? As it stands now, we don't even know what such a framework could look like ("carry the two here and that equals the experience of tasting cinnamon"). That line of research will lead us to confront the question of whether we can reproduce consciousness by replicating the exact structure of the brain – say, with zeros and ones, or beer cans and tennis balls. If this theory of materialism turns out to be correct, then we will be well on our way to downloading our brains into computers, allowing us to live forever in The Matrix. But if materialism is incorrect, that would be equally interesting: perhaps brains are more like radios that receive an as-yetundiscovered force. The one thing we can be sure of is this: no matter how wacky the predictions we make today, they will look tame in the strange light of the future. David Eagleman, neuroscientist and writer

7 Physics: 'Within a decade, we'll know what dark matter is' The next 25 years will see fundamental advances in our understanding of the underlying structure of matter and of the universe. At the moment, we have successful descriptions of both, but we have open questions. For example, why do particles of matter have mass and what is the dark matter that provides most of the matter in the universe? I am optimistic that the answer to the mass question will be found within a few years, whether or not it is the mythical Higgs boson, and believe that the answer to the dark matter question will be found within a decade. Key roles in answering these questions will be made by experiments at Cern's Large Hadron Collider, which started operations in earnest last year and is expected to run for most of the next 20 years; others will be played by astrophysical searches for dark matter and cosmological observations such as those from the European Space Agency's Planck satellite. Many theoretical proposals for answering these questions invoke new principles in physics, such as the existence of additional dimensions of space or a "supersymmetry" between the constituents of matter and the forces between them, and we will discover whether these ideas are useful for physics. Both these ideas play roles in string theory, the best guess we have for a complete theory of all the fundamental forces including gravity. Will string theory be pinned down within 20 years? My crystal ball is cloudy on this point, but I am sure that we physicists will have an exciting time trying to find out. John Ellis, theoretical physicist at Cern and King's College London

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8 Food: 'Russia will become a global food superpower'

A woman works on the production line of a poultry processing factory in Stary Oskol, central Russia. Photograph: Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images When experts talk about the coming food security crisis, the date they fixate upon is 2030. By then, our numbers will be nudging 9 billion and we will need to be producing 50% more food than we are now. By the middle of that decade, therefore, we will either all be starving, and fighting wars over resources, or our global food supply will have changed radically. The bitter reality is that it will probably be a mixture of both. Developed countries such as the UK are likely, for the most part, to have attempted to pull up the drawbridge, increasing national production and reducing our reliance on imports. In response to increasing prices, some of us may well have reduced our consumption of meat, the raising of which is a notoriously inefficient use of grain. This will probably create a food underclass, surviving on a carb- and fat-heavy diet, while those with money scarf the protein. The developing world, meanwhile, will work to bridge the food gap by embracing the promise of biotechnology which the middle classes in the developed world will have assumed that they had the luxury to reject. In truth, any of the imported grain that we do consume will come from genetically modified crops. As climate change lays waste to the productive fields of southern Europe and north Africa, more water-efficient strains of corn, wheat and barley will be pressed into service; likewise, to the north, Russia will become a global food superpower as the same climate change opens up the once frozen and massive Siberian prairie to food production. The consensus now is that the planet does have the wherewithal to feed that huge number of people. It's just that some people in the west may find the methods used to do so unappetising. Jay Rayner, TV presenter and the Observer's food critic

9 Nanotechnology: 'Privacy will be a quaint obsession' Twenty years ago, Don Eigler, a scientist working for IBM in California, wrote out the logo of his employer in letters made of individual atoms. This feat was a graphic symbol of the potential of the new field of nanotechnology, which promises to rebuild matter atom by atom, molecule by molecule, and to give us unprecedented power over the material world. Some, like the futurist Ray Kurzweil, predict that nanotechnology will lead to a revolution, allowing us to make any kind of product for virtually nothing; to have computers so powerful that they will surpass human intelligence; and to lead to a new kind of medicine on a sub-cellular level that will allow us to abolish ageing and death. I don't think that Kurzweil's "technological singularity" – a dream of scientific transcendence that echoes older visions of religious apocalypse – will happen. Some stubborn physics stands between us and "the rapture of the nerds". But nanotechnology will lead to some genuinely transformative applications.

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New ways of making solar cells very cheaply on a very large scale offer us the best hope we have for providing low-carbon energy on a big enough scale to satisfy the needs of a growing world population aspiring to the prosperity we're used to in the developed world. We'll learn more about intervening in our biology at the sub-cellular level and this nano-medicine will give us new hope of overcoming really difficult and intractable diseases, such as Alzheimer's, that will increasingly afflict our population as it ages. The information technology that drives your mobile phone or laptop is already operating at the nanoscale. Another 25 years of development will lead us to a new world of cheap and ubiquitous computing, in which privacy will be a quaint obsession of our grandparents. Nanotechnology is a different type of science, respecting none of the conventional boundaries between disciplines and unashamedly focused on applications rather than fundamental understanding. Given the huge resources being directed towards nanotechnology in China and its neighbours, this may also be the first major technology of the modern era that is predominantly developed outside the US and Europe. Richard Jones, pro-vice-chancellor for research and innovation at the University of Sheffield

10 Gaming: 'We'll play games to solve problems' In the last decade, in the US and Europe but particularly in south-east Asia, we have witnessed a flight into virtual worlds, with people playing games such as Second Life. But over the course of the next 25 years, that flight will be successfully reversed, not because we're going to spend less time playing games, but because games and virtual worlds are going to become more closely connected to reality. There will be games where the action is influenced by what happens in reality; and there will be games that use sensors so that we can play them out in the real world – a game in which your avatar is your dog, which wears a game collar that measures how fast it's running and whether or not it's wagging its tail, for example, where you play with your dog to advance the narrative, as opposed to playing with a virtual character. I can imagine more physical activity games, too, and these might be used to harness energy – peripherals like a dance pad that actually captures energy from your dancing on top of it. Then there will be problem-solving games: there are already a lot of games in which scientists try to teach gamers real science – how to build proteins to cure cancer, for example. One surprising trend in gaming is that gamers today prefer, on average, three to one to play co-operative games rather than competitive games. Now, this is really interesting; if you think about the history of games, there really weren't co-operative games until this latest generation of video games. In every game you can think of – card games, chess, sport – everybody plays to win. But now we'll see increasing collaboration, people playing games together to solve problems while they're enjoying themselves. There are also studies on how games work on our minds and our cognitive capabilities, and a lot of science suggests you can use games to treat depression, anxiety and attention-deficit disorder. Making games that are both fun and serve a social purpose isn't easy – a lot of innovation will be required – but gaming will become increasingly integrated into society. Jane McGonigal, director of games research & development at the Institute for the Future in California and author of Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Happy and How They Can Help Us Change the World (Penguin)

11 Web/internet: 'Quantum computing is the future' The open web created by idealist geeks, hippies and academics, who believed in the free and generative flow of knowledge, is being overrun by a web that is safer, more controlled and commercial, created by problem-solving pragmatists. Henry Ford worked out how to make money by making products people wanted to own and buy for themselves. Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs are working out how to make money from allowing people to share, on their terms. Facebook and Apple are spawning cloud capitalism, in which consumers allow companies to manage information, media, ideas, money, software, tools and preferences on their behalf, holding everything in vast, floating clouds of shared data. We will be invited to trade invasions into our privacy – companies knowing ever more about our lives – for a more personalised service. We will be able to share, but on their terms. Julian Assange and the movement that has been ignited by WikiLeaks is the most radical version of the alternative: a free, egalitarian, open and public web. The fate of this movement will be a sign of things to come. If it can command broad support, then the open web has a chance to remain a mainstream force. If, however, it becomes little more than a guerrilla campaign, then the open web could be pushed to the margins, along with national public radio.

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By 2035, the web, as a single space largely made up of webpages accessed on computers, will be long gone. As the web goes mobile, those who pay more will get faster access. We will be sharing videos, simulations, experiences and environments, on a multiplicity of devices to which we'll pay as much attention as a light switch. Yet, many of the big changes of the next 25 years will come from unknowns working in their bedrooms and garages. And by 2035 we will be talking about the coming of quantum computing, which will take us beyond the world of binary, digital computing, on and off, black and white, 0s and 1s. The small town of Waterloo, Ontario, which is home to the Perimeter Institute, funded by the founder of BlackBerry, currently houses the largest collection of theoretical physicists in the world. The bedrooms of Waterloo are where the next web may well be made. Charles Leadbeater, author and social entrepreneur

12 Fashion: 'Technology creates smarter clothes'

A model on the catwalk during the Gareth Pugh show at London Fashion Week in 2008. Photograph: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images Fashion is such an important part of the way in which we communicate our identity to others, and for a very long time it's meant dress: the textile garments on our body. But in the coming decades, I think there'll be much more emphasis on other manifestations of fashion and different ways of communicating with each other, different ways of creating a sense of belonging and of making us feel great about ourselves. We're already designing our identities online – manipulating imagery to tell a story about ourselves. Instead of meeting in the street or in a bar and having a conversation and looking at what each other is wearing, we're communicating in some depth through these new channels. With clothing, I think it's possible that we'll see a polarisation between items that are very practical and those that are very much about display – and maybe these are not things that you own but that you borrow or share. Technology is already being used to create clothing that fits better and is smarter; it is able to transmit a degree of information back to you. This is partly driven by customer demand and the desire to know where clothing comes from – so we'll see tags on garments that tell you where every part of it was made, and some of this, I suspect, will be legislation-driven, too, for similar reasons, particularly as resources become scarcer and it becomes increasingly important to recognise water and carbon footprints. However, it's not simply an issue of functionality. Fashion's gone through a big cycle in the last 25 years – from being something that was treasured and cherished to being something that felt disposable, because of a drop in prices. In fact, we've completely changed our relationship towards clothes and there's a real feeling among designers who I work with that they're trying to work back into their designs an element of emotional content. I think there's definitely a place for technology in creating a dialogue with you through your clothes.

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Dilys Williams, designer and the director for sustainable fashion at the London College of Fashion

13 Nature: 'We'll redefine the wild' We all want to live in a world where species such as tigers, the great whales, orchids and coral reefs can persist and thrive and I am sure that the commitment that people have to maintaining the spectacle and diversity of life will continue. Over the past 50 years or so, there has been growing support for nature conservation. When we understand the causes of species losses, good conservation actions can and do reverse the trends. But it is going to become much harder. The human population has roughly doubled since the 1960s and will increase by another third by 2030. Demands for food, water and energy will increase, inevitably in competition with other species. People already use up to 40% of the world's primary production (energy) and this must increase, with important consequences for nature. In the UK, some familiar species will become scarcer as our rare habitats (mires, bogs and moorlands) are lost. We will be seeing the effects from gradual warming that will allow more continental species to live here, and in our towns and cities we'll probably have more species that have become adapted to living alongside people. We can conserve species when we really try, so I'm confident that the charismatic mega fauna and flora will mostly still persist in 2035, but they will be increasingly restricted to highly managed and protected areas. The survivors will be those that cope well with people and those we care about enough to save. Increasingly, we won't be living as a part of nature but alongside it, and we'll have redefined what we mean by the wild and wilderness. Crucially, we are still rapidly losing overall biodiversity, including soil micro-organisms, plankton in the oceans, pollinators and the remaining tropical and temperate forests. These underpin productive soils, clean water, climate regulation and disease-resistance. We take these vital services from biodiversity and ecosystems for granted, treat them recklessly and don't include them in any kind of national accounting. Georgina Mace, professor of conservation science and director of the Natural Environment Research Council's Centre for Population Biology, Imperial College London

14 Architecture: What constitutes a 'city' will change In 2035, most of humanity will live in favelas. This will not be entirely wonderful, as many people will live in very poor housing, but it will have its good side. It will mean that cities will consist of series of small units organised, at best, by the people who know what is best for themselves and, at worst, by local crime bosses. Cities will be too big and complex for any single power to understand and manage them. They already are, in fact. The word "city" will lose some of its meaning: it will make less and less sense to describe agglomerations of tens of millions of people as if they were one place, with one identity. If current dreams of urban agriculture come true, the distinction between town and country will blur. Attempts at control won't be abandoned, however, meaning that strange bubbles of luxury will appear, like shopping malls and office parks. To be optimistic, the human genius for inventing social structures will mean that new forms of settlement we can't quite imagine will begin to emerge. All this assumes that environmental catastrophe doesn't drive us into caves. Nor does it describe what will happen in Britain, with a roughly stable population and a planning policy dedicated to preserving the status quo as much as possible. Britain in 25 years' time may look much as it does now, which is not hugely different from 25 years ago. Rowan Moore, Observer architecture correspondent

15 Sport: 'Broadcasts will use holograms' Globalisation in sport will continue: it's a trend we've seen by the choice of Rio for the 2016 Olympics and Qatar for the 2022 World Cup. This will mean changes to traditional sporting calendars in recognition of the demands of climate and time zones across the planet. Sport will have to respond to new technologies, the speed at which we process information and apparent reductions in attention span. Shorter formats, such as Twenty20 cricket and rugby sevens, could aid the development of traditional sports in new territories. The demands of TV will grow, as will technology's role in umpiring and consuming sport. Electronics companies are already planning broadcasts using live holograms. I don't think we'll see an acceptance of performance-enhancing drugs: the trend has been towards zero tolerance and long may it remain so.

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Mike Lee, chairman of Vero Communications and ex-director of communications for London's 2012 Olympic bid

16 Transport: 'There will be more automated cars' It's not difficult to predict how our transport infrastructure will look in 25 years' time – it can take decades to construct a highspeed rail line or a motorway, so we know now what's in store. But there will be radical changes in how we think about transport. The technology of information and communication networks is changing rapidly and internet and mobile developments are helping make our journeys more seamless. Queues at St Pancras station or Heathrow airport when the infrastructure can't cope for whatever reason should become a thing of the past, but these challenges, while they might appear trivial, are significant because it's not easy to organise large-scale information systems. The instinct to travel is innate within us, but we will have to do it in a more carbon-efficient way. It's hard to be precise, but I think we'll be cycling and walking more; in crowded urban areas we may see travelators – which we see in airports already – and more scooters. There will be more automated cars, like the ones Google has recently been testing. These driverless cars will be safer, but when accidents do happen, they may be on the scale of airline disasters. Personal jetpacks will, I think, remain a niche choice. Frank Kelly, professor of the mathematics of systems at Cambridge University, and former chief scientific adviser to the DfT

17 Health: 'We'll feel less healthy'

An overweight woman in Maryland, USA. Photograph: Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images Health systems are generally quite conservative. That's why the more radical forecasts of the recent past haven't quite materialised. Contrary to past predictions, we don't carry smart cards packed with health data; most treatments aren't genetically tailored; and health tourism to Bangalore remains low. But for all that, health is set to undergo a slow but steady revolution. Life expectancy is rising about three months each year, but we'll feel less healthy, partly because we'll be more aware of the many things that are, or could be, going wrong, and partly because more of us will be living with a long-term condition. We'll spend more on health but also want stronger action to influence health. The US Congressional Budget Office forecasts that US health spending will rise from 17% of the economy today to 25% in 2025 and 49% in 2082. Their forecasts may be designed to shock but they contain an important grain of truth. Spending on health and jobs in health is bound to grow. Some of that spending will go on the problems of prosperity – obesity, alcohol consumption and injuries from extreme sports. Currently fashionable ideas of "nudge" will have turned out to be far too weak to change behaviours. Instead, we'll be more in the realms of "shove" and "push", with cities trying to reshape whole environments to encourage people to walk and cycle. By 2030, mental health may at last be treated on a par with physical health. Medicine may have found smart drugs for some conditions but the biggest impact may be achieved from lower-tech actions, such as meditation in schools or brain gyms for pensioners. Healthcare will look more like education. Your GP will prescribe you a short course on managing your diabetes or heart

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condition, and when you get home there'll be an e-tutor to help you and a vast array of information about your condition. Almost every serious observer of health systems believes that the great general hospitals are already anachronistic, but because hospitals are where so much of the power lies, and so much of the public attachment, it would be a brave forecaster who suggested their imminent demise. Geoff Mulgan, chief executive of the Young Foundation

18 Religion: 'Secularists will flatter to deceive' Over the next two and a half decades, it is quite possible that those Brits who follow a religion will continue both to fall in number and also become more orthodox or fundamentalist. Similarly, organised religions will increasingly work together to counter what they see as greater threats to their interests – creeping agnosticism and secularity. Another 10 years of failure by the Anglican church to face down the African-led traditionalists over women bishops and gay clerics could open the question of disestablishment of the Church of England. The country's politicians, including an increasingly gay-friendly Tory party, may find it difficult to see how state institutions can continue to be associated with an image of sexism and homophobia. I predict an increase in debate around the tension between a secular agenda which says it is merely seeking to remove religious privilege, end discrimination and separate church and state, and organised orthodox religion which counterclaims that this would amount to driving religious voices from the public square. Despite two of the three party leaders being professed atheists, the secular tendency in this country still flatters to deceive. There is, at present, no organised, non-religious, rationalist movement. In contrast, the forces of organised religion are better resourced, more organised and more politically influential than ever before. Dr Evan Harris, author of a secularist manifesto

19 Theatre: 'Cuts could force a new political fringe' The theatre will weather the recent cuts. Some companies will close and the repertoire of others will be safe and cautious; the art form will emerge robust in a decade or so. The cuts may force more young people outside the existing structures back to an unsubsidised fringe and this may breed different types of work that will challenge the subsidised sector. Student marches will become more frequent and this mobilisation may breed a more politicised generation of theatre artists. We will see old forms from the 1960s re-emerge (like agit prop) and new forms will be generated to communicate ideology and politics. More women will emerge as directors, writers and producers. This change is already visible at the flagship subsidised house, the National Theatre, where the repertoire for bigger theatres like the Lyttelton already includes directors like Marianne Elliott and Josie Rourke, and soon the Cottesloe will start to embrace the younger generation – Polly Findlay and Lyndsey Turner. Katie Mitchell, theatre director

20 Storytelling: 'Eventually there'll be a Twitter classic' Are you reading fewer books? I am and reading books is sort of my job. It's just that with the multifarious delights of the internet, spending 20 hours in the company of one writer and one story needs motivation. It's worth doing, of course; like exercise, its benefits are many and its pleasures great. And yet everyone I know is doing it less. And I can't see that that trend will reverse. That's the bad news. Twenty-five years from now, we'll be reading fewer books for pleasure. But authors shouldn't fret too much; e-readers will make it easier to impulse-buy books at 4am even if we never read past the first 100 pages. And stories aren't becoming less popular – they're everywhere, from adverts to webcomics to fictional tweets – we're only beginning to explore the exciting possibilities of web-native literature, stories that really exploit the fractal, hypertextual way we use the internet. My guess is that, in 2035, stories will be ubiquitous. There'll be a tube-based soap opera to tune your iPod to during your commute, a tale (incorporating on-sale brands) to enjoy via augmented reality in the supermarket. Your employer will bribe you with stories to focus on your job.

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Will 2011 be the year online video unravels the Internet? | VentureBeat Tuesday, September 13 2011, 10:39 AM

Will 2011 be the year online video unravels the Internet? January 3, 2011 | Peter Yared

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Peter Yared is the vice president of apps at Webtrends, which acquired Transpond, a social-apps developer he founded. He submitted this column to VentureBeat.

The explosive growth of online video over the past couple of years has begun to unravel the way both businesses and consumers have used and paid for Internet access over the past decade. Although past Internet growth has been exponential, the deluge of video that is coming in the next decade has already forced a series of legal, regulatory, and business disputes that have set the stage for significant changes for the next decade of video on the Internet. A lot of this has been talked about in the lofty intellectual framework of net neutrality, which advocates present as the principle that providers of Internet access should not discriminate between types or sources of traffic on their network. But what it really comes down to are a new set of business arrangements for who will pay to get the bits from point A to point B. A host of developments in the past year have set the stage for major battles over bandwidth

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in 2011. In April, the US Court of Appeals in Washington, DC overturned a 2008 Federal Communications Commission ruling forbidding Internet service providers from throttling BitTorrent, a popular video sharing protocol. With that ban overturned, ISPs now had free reign to meter particular bandwidth-hungry protocols. Comcast had already effectively worked around the FCC decision by capping consumer consumption to 250 gigabytes, a relatively large amount of bandwidth that most consumers never came close to reaching. However, with the advent of HD streaming from Hulu, Netflix, iTunes, Amazon.com, and others watching 100 hours of HD video, or just 3 hours a day, can exceed that cap, prompting many “over the top” users to transition to more expensive “business class” plans that do not cap bandwidth. Right before the Christmas holiday, the FCC issued a description of an upcoming set of rules regarding net neutrality for service providers. Wired broadband providers such as Comcast and Time Warner could no longer “unreasonably discriminate” against competing content providers like Hulu, but they could theoretically still discriminate against bandwidth-hogging protocols like BitTorrent. In a King Solomon-like decision, the FCC also decided that wireless providers like AT&T and Verizon Wireless could definitely discriminate against particular protocols and apparently even particular providers such as Hulu, although this aspect is not completely clear until the full rules are published early next year. Most wireless providers had already capped their “unlimited” data plans earlier this year in response to the increasing consumption of video on their networks. This FCC decision to allow discrimination on wireless neworks set the net neutrality community into a holiday-season tizzy. Despite the uproar, it has to be argued that since bandwidth is indeed limited on wireless networks, allowing providers to discriminate was a reasonable decision. At some level of bandwidth, even net neutrality advocates cave. I had a funny exchange with a prominent net neutrality advocate earlier this year after he had posted on Facebook that he was using GoGo, the inflight Internetaccess provider, on a plane. “Aren’t you glad GoGo caps your neighbors from sucking up all the bandwidth with Hulu and YouTube?” I asked. “This is different,” he responded. The FCC thinks that wireless networks, too, are different, with inherent limitations in bandwidth. So it ruled they can discriminate in order to maintain predicable service, although the may revisit this once fourth-generation, or 4G, wireless technologies like WiMax and LTE get larger penetration. While most of the fuss was about the legal landscape, the biggest video salvo came on the business front in late November, when Level 3, an Internet backbone provider that had recently entered the content delivery network business through its acquisition of Savvis’s operation, publicly complained that Comcast was attempting to extort large fees in order for Level 3 to deliver Netflix’s video streams to Comcast customers. Level 3 claimed that Comcast was doing this in a discriminatory manner in order to promote its own competing Fancast property and its soon to be acquired stake in Hulu via the Comcast acquisition of NBC Universal. Comcast in turn argued that it was simply charging for a standard “peering” arrangement in order to deliver a vastly increased amount of data from Level 3, that Level 3 had underbid to win Netflix’s business and was trying to have Comcast, in essence, subsidize its contract. For many readers of VentureBeat who invest in or operate Internet businesses, the practice of paying to serve content on the Internet is well known. The more successful a company is at distributing its content, the more it has to pay in hosting bills. All the main hosters used by startups and large companies alike, ranging from MediaTemple to Amazon.com to Rackspace tier their prices based on the number of bytes sent out.

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Why do content companies have to pay by the byte sent if the Internet is “free”? Because, in fact, the hosters in turn must pay to plug into various backbones, and they pay by the amount of traffic they are sending upstream, and deduct by the amount of traffic they are accepting back. The word “Internet” is short for “internetworking.” What’s presented as a single network is in fact a collection of interconnected networks, each of which pay to send data to each other. This system of “the more you send, the more you pay” has been in place since the start of the commercial Internet. It’s called “peering”: If two companies are sending each other the same amount of data at an interconnection point, they are by definition “peers”. If one is sending a lot more, it has to pay more. The commercial Internet has long had a “fast lane,” called a content-delivery network, where companies like Akamai and Limelight Networks have servers and data centers located in the same facilities as ISPs or close by. They pay the ISPs for a high level of peering connections and copy content to those colocated facilities. So when you are reading a New York Times article, or watching a YouTube video, chances are it is being served from an Akamai server very close to you, and the content provider is not paying to send the content from their server through their backbone links. This is cheaper for a media distributor since the CDN only has to pay for the uplink into your ISP or to colocate servers at your ISP, and is faster as well since it is not hopping across a bunch of networks. The most interesting aspect of the Level 3 and Comcast fracas is that it is an attempt to use regulatory and fair-trade claims to change how the commercial Internet has worked to date. It is unlikely that the FCC or Federal Trade Commission will force ISPs to deliver an unlimited amount of data for free. What if Netflix was plugging directly into Comcast’s network? Wouldn’t they be expected to pay a connectivity fee like they are currently paying their backbone and CDN providers? Peering arrangements are the fabric of how the commercial Internet has operated, and it is unlikely that regulators will attempt to change this. Netflix already accounts for an estimated 20 percent of primetime Internet traffic, a figure that is constantly growing. That company can easily switch to Akamai or Limelight which already have the infrastructure in place with ISPs like Comcast to delivery video streams. However, it is likely that regulators will force ISPs like Comcast, which also provide their own competing video streams and services, to offer CDNs reasonable and nondiscriminatory pricing for peering connections. The FCC mandate requiring wireline ISPs not to discriminate will be pushed to the limits by multichannel video providers like Comcast and AT&T U-Verse, since it is a fundamental aspect of their operation to discriminate. A multichannel wire coming into your home might provide digital TV, digital telephone, and Internet data. But it’s not three different connections: It’s just one, with Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner, Verizon and the rest operating their networks to deliver a certain amount of bandwidth to each service. As it stands right now, these providers secure video content licenses from firms like CBS and HBO and deliver it with dedicated bandwidth to proprietary cable boxes. It really is no different than Netflix licensing the same content, paying for connectivity with a CDN, and streaming it to a Roku box. But although both signals are coming across the same cable, for now everyone is committed to keeping them separate from a regulatory perspective. As more and more video viewing shifts from cable television to Internet video, multichannel providers like Comcast and AT&T are very likely to want to shift dedicated bandwidth from the digital television portion of their networks to the Internet portion, and allow viewing of their licensed video content on Web browsers and Roku boxes in addition to proprietary cable boxes. Such a shift will likely cause a huge battle with net neutrality advocates and streaming competitors such as Netflix. It is not clear how the FCC and FTC will rule on this issue, and is very dependent on the upcoming government climate. One option would be to force providers to lease dedicated bandwidth to video streaming competitors at reasonable and nondiscriminatory pricing, much like how in the early days of broadband phone companies were forced to lease their lines to competitive DSL providers. This would enable legacy providers such as Comcast and new entrants like Netflix to play on a relatively even field.

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But as the heated discussion around net neutrality shows, there’s no guaranteed bandwidth for reason in this discussion. [Image via Theoffside.com] Next Story: BitTorrent hits 100M monthly active users Previous Story: Khosla makes good on wishful thinking for Ciris Energy's clean coal Print

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2010: The Year the Internet Went to War | Threat Level | Wired.com Tuesday, September 13 2011, 10:30 AM Previous post Next post

2010: The Year the Internet Went to War By David Kravets December 27, 2010 | 7:00 am | Categories: Copyrights and Patents, Cybersecurity, WikiLeaks

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gives a statement on the WikiLeaks document release on November 29, 2010, at the State Department in Washington, D.C. Photo: AP It was a year without parallel. Threat Level’s bread-and-butter themes of censorship, hacking, security,

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privacy, copyright and cyberwar were all represented in tug-of-war struggles with unprecedented outcomes. Google defeated China’s censors, but caved to corporate censorship in the United States. The largest computer-crime case ever prosecuted ended in the nation’s longest prison term. A small-time Xbox modder who advertised his services online beat the federal rap. And a mysterious computer virus called Stuxnet finally put proof to decades of warnings that malware will eventually be used to kinetic effect in the real world. A myriad of court decisions seemed to be a boon for online rights, while others clearly were a step backward. The year 2010 saw the rise of the newspaper copyright troll, and judges pushed back on absurd jury verdicts for music file sharing and outdated electronic spying rules. And a secret-spilling website flirting with insolvency and dissolution suddenly burst onto the world stage. WikiLeaks was without a doubt the biggest 2010 development in Threat Level’s world.

WikiLeaks Takes On World Powers As the year began, the project appeared to be on its last legs — just another cypherpunk fever dream destined for the same dustbin as digital cash and assassination politics. Site founder Julian Assange had abandoned the wiki portion of the concept, after crowds of volunteer analysts failed to congeal around WikiLeaks’ impressive, but not yet explosive, trove.

Bradley Manning as he appeared in his Facebook photo. Assange also experimented with auctioning early access to leaks for news outlets, without immediate success. By January, the site had hit financial bankruptcy, and its homepage and archive were replaced by a public plea for donations. Then came Bradley Manning, a disaffected 22-year-old Army intelligence officer who wanted “people to see the truth.” With one disturbing video and nearly a million leaked U.S. documents later, WikiLeaks had raised more than $1.2 million, and ignited a battle over the meaning of journalism, national security and censorship.

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The WikiLeaks saga began in earnest with the April release of the “Collateral Murder” video showing more than a dozen people in Iraq being killed in three U.S. Apache helicopter attacks. Victims included two Reuters employees, one carrying a camera that was apparently mistaken for a weapon. The partial release of 92,000 reports from the war in Afghanistan followed in July. Then came 400,000 Iraq war reports in October, and finally the slow, steady disclosure of 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables that kicked off just after Thanksgiving.

The "Collateral Murder" scene shortly after the 2007 Apache helicopter attack in Iraq was exposed by WikiLeaks. Along the way, Manning was arrested and locked away in a Marine brig. A war broke out within WikiLeaks’ ranks. And Assange became the subject of a U.S. grand jury investigation that may have broad ramifications for the First Amendment. The State Department said Assange’s publication of U.S. diplomatic cables was “illegal.” But Assange bills WikiLeaks as a media organization, and no media outlet has ever been prosecuted for publishing classified information in the United States.

WikiLeaks and the Future Yet more is at stake than Assange’s freedom and the future of WikiLeaks. The site has shown us that the right to maintain a presence on the internet regularly runs counter to the net’s gatekeepers that often are

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motivated by profit. As the New Year approached, WikiLeaks was caught scrambling to maintain its online presence and financial pipeline. Amazon cut off its web hosting, and PayPal, Visa, MasterCard and Bank of America blocked donations to the organization. Apple even banned an iPhone app designed to facilitate access to Wikileaks’ cache of leaked U.S. diplomatic cables. “A lot of really important stuff happened this year that forces us to begin to think about that there are so many people who depend on private companies to enjoy the fruits of technology,” said Cindy Cohn, the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s legal director. “If the private company stands up for us we have rights, and if it doesn’t, we don’t.” Springing to WikiLeaks’ defense were the pranksters and activists known as Anonymous, who overwhelmed the websites of WikiLeaks’ enemies — real and perceived — with junk internet traffic in coordinated attacks dubbed Operation Payback. A more constructive protest grew from the grassroots, with supporters volunteering their own websites to host mirrors of WikiLeaks’ “Cablegate” page, ensuring it can never be removed from the web. More than anything, the online protests exposed a generational struggle for the heart and soul of the net. It’s a high-stakes conflict between corporations that have grown fat and powerful off the web over nearly two decades and the first generation to grow up with the modern internet as a daily element in their lives. Both sides believe the internet belongs to them. If history is a guide, it would be unwise to bet against the kids over the establishment. Pages: 1 2 3 View All David Kravets is a senior staff writer for Wired.com and founder of the fake news site TheYellowDailyNews.com. He's a dad of two boys and has been a reporter since the manual typewriter days. Follow @dmkravets on Twitter. Tags: Albert Gonzalez, Censorship, courts, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Fourth Amendment, google, Julian Assange, malware, Matthew Crippen, MediaNews Group, Righthaven, Stephens Media, Stored Communications Act, Stuxnet, verizon, Xbox Post Comment | Permalink

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40 New Social Media Resources You May Have Missed Tuesday, September 13 2011, 10:21 AM

Happy new year! Oh, sorry, was that too loud? We all may be nursing festive hangovers from spilling too much bubbly, food, or maybe we’re just winding down from the end of the (overlong) holiday season.

Whatever the cause, tuck into your favorite reading chair with your favorite digital device and scroll through our list of social media tools and resources from the past week or so. Contained below are some tech and media predictions for the new year and even a few apps to help you stay on track with your perennially frustrating New Year’s resolutions. So rest up, whatever the reason, and have a wonderful New Year. Looking for even more social media resources? This guide appears every weekend, and you can check out all the lists-gone-by here any time. Image courtesy of Dawghouse Design Studio

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19 of the Best Infographics From 2010 Research can sometimes be a chore, but when good information is wrapped up in a visual medium, things can become that much clearer. HOW TO: Customize the New Facebook Profile Here are some ways to put your best features forward with the new Facebook profile layout. HOW TO: Back Up Your Social Media Presence Before the Ball Drops Think of it as stockpiling food and building a fallout shelter for the 21st century. 4 Predictions for the Future of Politics and Social Media As social media continues to approach true mainstream adoption, it grabs a larger slice of the political pie with

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each election cycle. Here’s a look at what may be in store. HOW TO: Launch a Successful Twitter Contest Here are five steps to launch a Twitter contest that will boost sales and brand recognition and help your company reach specific social media marketing goals. HOW TO: Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions Using Social Media This year, instead of making your goals big and broad, why not take a page from the web world and use analytics to pinpoint the specific stuff you want to change? 44% of Online Sharing Occurs Through Facebook [INFOGRAPHIC] Sharing widget AddThis released an infographic Wednesday with some interesting statistics about about our sharing habits. The First Rule of Social Media: Know Your Audience [COMIC] If you plan to leave the house in web-themed attire, for the love of Google, know your audience. 6 Predictions for Social Networks in 2011 What’s going to happen to Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Bebo, Google and the rest of the social networking world in 2011? We have a few predictions. For more social media news and resources, you can follow Mashable’s social media channel on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

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5 iPhone Apps for Festive Photo Fun We’ve selected five novelty photography apps that will add some serious silly to your holiday celebrations and impart festive fun for all. Quick Start Guides: Getting the Most From This Year’s Hottest Gadgets Whether you got an iPad or a Kindle, a new camera or TV, a Roku or an Xbox, we’ve got you covered. Check out our quick start guides for getting the most from your gifts. Free Kindle Books: A Guide A collection of resources for getting free Kindle books on your new device. The Ultimate iPhone Guide: 60+ Essential Resources The iPhone had a great year in 2010 and we’ve been there to cover it all with news, features, galleries, tutorials and more. Here’s a roundup of all our iPhone coverage this year. 7 Great Mobile Apps for Environmentally Friendly Eating Small eating decisions have major consequences for the environment. These apps give you the information to make earth-friendly choices. 7 Predictions for the Gaming Industry in 2011 The video gaming industry made great strides this year. Here are 7 predictions for what to watch in 2011. iPad Guide: 25+ Essential Resources for Your Apple Tablet From ace accessories to amazing apps, read through for a ginormous list of all the iPad features we’ve published on Mashable during 2010. 10 Predictions for Web Development in 2011 As a class, developers have had a great year. Here are 10 things we think the world of hacking will hold in 2011.

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HANDS ON: LunaTik iPod Nano Watch Kit Makes Us Swoon Scott Wilson and the crew at MINIMAL were nice enough to send Mashable one of the early prototype runs of the LunaTik. These are our thoughts. 8 Educational Gadgets That Make Learning Fun Everyone knows that learning is more valuable when you’re having fun doing it. These great toys and games will keep your kids “infotained” for hours at a time. Tech’s Biggest Win, Flop and Surprise of 2010 2010 was a year of big changes in the tech world. Find out our picks for the biggest victories, losses, and unexpected developments. The History of Tech via Google’s Book Data [CHARTS] Google’s Ngram Viewer tool helped us map out the browser wars, Bill Gates’s popularity, and other facets of tech history as they appear in 5.2 million books from 1500 to 2008. iPad 2 Rumors: The Comprehensive Guide Can’t make sense of all the iPad 2 rumors? We’ve created a straightforward guide to explain what rumors are most likely true and which ones are bogus. 80+ Terrific Tech and Gadgets Resources From 2010 From facts about big tech brands to unusual laptop sleeves and geeky tees for kids, we’ve written a lot for gadget lovers in 2010. Check out this best-of megalist. 90+ Dev & Design Resources for Building Better Sites and Apps Whether you want to improve your existing skills or learn new ones, start with our megalist of the best dev and design resources from the past year. Open Data: Why the Crowd Can Be Your Best Analytics Tool How do you handle the enormous volume of data available online? The answer is in opening your analytics to the crowd and making them more social. HOW TO: Use Amazon’s New Kindle Lending Feature Amazon has rolled out its lending feature for its Kindle ecosystem of devices and apps. Users can loan out supported titles once for a period of 14 days. 4 Predictions for Web Design in 2011 It’s an exciting time to be a web designer, and the coming year has even more interesting changes in store. 12 iPhone Apps to Jumpstart Your New Year’s Resolutions Need some help sticking to those resolutions? What better place to turn than the one thing that’s always with you? You’re iPhone. HOW TO: Get More Out of Your Web Fonts Need more pizazz in your web typography? Here are some select ideas and advice that will put you on the path to becoming a font savant. HOW TO: Your Get Your Old PC Running Like New Again Is your PC starting to get sluggish after a year’s worth of installs, downloads, and heavy lifting? These tips can help you get it back up to speed. For more tech news and resources, you can follow Mashable’s tech channel on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

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6 Free Chrome Apps and Extensions for Small Businesses This post highlights six notable apps and extensions ranging from note-taking to project management. For small businesses with limited budgets, these resources are worth investigating. 5 E-Book Trends That Will Change the Future of Publishing E-books have certainly shaken up the publishing industry, but some of the best content and most important changes may be yet to come. HOW TO: Get the Most Out of Facebook Insights for Small Business How do you know if your Facebook Page is actually helping your business? Check out these scenarios and tips for extracting the most value from Facebook’s built-in analytics tool. HOW TO: Attract Early Adopters to Your Social Startup Here’s a look at the science behind some of the most well-known social networks, and how they answered the age-old question: Which came first, the users or the utility? 4 Social Media Marketing Predictions for 2011 Social media marketing – fewer things are so lavishly spent on, yet so poorly measured. Here are a few predictions for 2011 on where the smart money and dumb money will go. Why Chocolate Companies Are So Sweet on Social Media In a world where communication between brand and consumer continues to become more and more personalized, conversational and transparent, chocolatiers have a unique opportunity to connect. Why the Fashion Industry Is Betting Big on Branded Online Content Fashion marketers should focus on the use of video, big brand collaborations, Tumblr as an engagement platform, and possibly giving online customers a healthy dose of reality in 2011. 7 Handy iPhone Apps for Creating Expense Reports There are plenty of mobile apps that make it easier to track and submit expense reports. Here are seven handy apps specific to the iPhone. 3 Tools Realtors Can Use to Increase Sales on the Web Here are three recommendations and accompanying tools that will not only increase sales, but will enhance the overall customer experience and set you apart from the competition. 5 Predictions for Startups in 2011 2010 may have been the year of the checkin and the mobile photo boom, but the startups that push new tech forward are just getting warmed up. For more business news and resources, you can follow Mashable’s business channel on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

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6 Technologies That Will Change Education -- THE Journal Friday, June 3 2011, 7:09 PM Advanced Search

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Ed Tech Trends | Research

6 Technologies That Will Change Education By David Nagel

05/17/11

Over the next five years, six technologies will have a profound impact on teaching and learning, according to a new report released Tuesday by the New Media Consortium (NMC) in collaboration with the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), "2011 Horizon Report K-12 Edition." The annual Horizon Report focuses on the key technology areas that researchers identify as likely to have a major impact on educational institutions and other learning-focused organizations within the next five years, broken down into the technologies that will have an impact in the near term, those that are in the early stages of adoption (two to three years out), and those that are a bit further out (four to five years). The report also identifies trends and "critical" challenges facing education in the near future.

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Researchers and analysts this year identified six technologies that they indicated have the potential to expand the classroom toolset without increasing costs, that will extend learning into the home, that will inform decision making, and that will increase student engagement. Near-Term Technologies In the near term--one year or less--those technologies include cloud computing and mobile devices. For education, the relevance of cloud computing this year--as opposed to last year, when cloud computing was focused more heavily on data systems--will be in allowing schools to expand the tools available for learning and teaching in ways that desktop software, with its restrictive licensing and often high costs, cannot. "Schools are increasingly taking advantage of ready-made applications hosted on a dynamic, everexpanding cloud that enables end users to perform tasks that have traditionally required site licensing, installation, and maintenance of individual software packages," according to the authors. "E-mail, word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, collaboration, media editing, and more can all be done inside a Web browser, while the software and files are housed in the cloud." Mobile devices, of course, are already having an impact, but their potential, according to the report, has increased considerably with the launch of Apple's iPad, as well as the new and upcoming slate of Android- and webOS-based tablets that will help solidify the mobile/handheld device class as a well rounded and feature-rich technology category. "With always-on Internet, mobiles embody the convergence of several technologies that lend themselves to educational use, including electronic book readers, annotation tools, applications for creation and composition, and social networking tools," the report said. Mid-Term Technologies Technologies whose impact will be felt in education a little further out--in two to three years--include game-based learning and open resources, according to the report. Analysts said that will educational gaming has been around for year, game-based learning has recently made strides in K-12 adoption through the "proliferation of gaming platforms and the evolution of games on mobile devices." Game-based learning is still a few years out though owing in part to the "scarcity of quality educational games" and the inability of education developers to keep up with the technology used in consumer games. "This year, there has also been a great deal of traction surrounding online games and game apps for mobile devices," the report said. "Schools are beginning the transition from blocking Web-based games to integrating them into their classrooms and curriculum." Open content is also a few years out, largely owing to restrictions on textbook adoption imposed on schools by some states. But the benefits of open materials are numerous, including cost savings over traditional textbooks, agility for tackling new information, convenience when delivered digitally, interactivity, and potential for collaborative learning. « previous

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AI Autos: Leave the Driving to Us | Magazine Tuesday, September 13 2011, 10:32 AM

Crash avoidance and automatic parking are just the start. Tomorrow's cars will be brains on wheels. Photo: Mauricio Alejo

AI Revolution The AI Revolution Is On Wall Street Algorithms Are in Control

The 200-mile trip from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe can be a frustrating slog in the wintertime traffic on Interstate 80. Speeds in the fast lane swing from 90 to 30 for no discernible reason. Slow, fast, faster, slow. Hit rush hour in Sacramento—or Donner Pass on a snowy day—and you’ll see the speedometer’s needle tapping the 10 mph mark like a woodpecker on a tasty log. Stick-shift drivers collapse with dead legs on the side of the road; even the P-R-N-D crowd can be seen massaging their sore knees at roadside burger joints and woodsy rest stops. Not me. I’m playing the license plate game and humming through playlists with a few friends, happy and comfortable in a borrowed Mercedes-Benz S550, a luxury sedan that’s currently justifying the pants off its $100,000 window sticker. We’re bopping through the same unpredictable range of velocities as everyone else, but I haven’t touched a pedal in hours.

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Fraud Detection The neural nets are watching. Credit card fraud costs US merchants and credit card companies more than $3.4 billion a year. That figure would undoubtedly be much higher without the use of computer surveillance systems to monitor every transaction. One of the most proven antifraud systems is FICO’s Falcon Fraud Manager, which keeps tabs on more than 4 billion transactions a month and uses lightning-fast neural networks to scan for suspicious purchase patterns. Neural networks were originally designed to mimic human gray matter. Over time, however, the technology has moved far beyond brain simulation to become a basic building block of many computer systems capable of learning and pattern recognition. The networks typically consist of layers of interconnected “neurons,” each of which produces a signal only when its input exceeds a certain threshold. Though the individual neurons are simple, the net as a whole can learn to recognize complex patterns of inputs. The Falcon system specializes in detecting things a human would never notice. For example, if you use your card to buy a tank of gas and then go directly to a jewelry store to make a purchase, your account will almost surely be flagged, especially if you’re not a person who buys a lot of bling. The reason: Over years of correlating variables, testing, and learning, the system has noticed that a criminal’s first stop after stealing a credit card is often a gas station. If that transaction goes through, the thief knows the card hasn’t yet been reported as stolen and heads off on a spending spree—often at some high-priced retailer. —J.S.

The Benz is doing most of the driving, keeping us a comfortable distance from the cars ahead with its next-gen cruise-control system. The core of the setup is a pair of radar emitters—a narrow-banded one that pings vehicles up ahead and a wide-angle unit that watches the rest of the traffic and keeps a sharp eye out for jackasses weaving into our lane. All that locational info is fed to the car’s vehicle control unit, a computer that smoothly modulates the brakes and throttle to keep us moving with traffic. The driver specifies a maximum speed, and the car does its best to hit that number—without hitting anything else. The first time you let the car do its thing is a magically scary experience: You see the cars ahead closing at a rate that activates the “I’m going too fast” reflex; your foot hovers over the brake pedal as your frontal cortex strenuously attempts to override your survival instinct. Cognitively, you know that this system has been meticulously tested by obsessive German engineers who would never let an unsafe car cross the threshold of their shiny factory. And then, just as you’re contemplating the various safety regulations the car must have complied with on its way to the dealership, you feel yourself slowing—gently, autonomously, in perfect control. The cold cannonball in your gut turns back into warm muscle, and you chuckle softly to yourself for being so silly as to doubt such a well-engineered system. Getting used to these autonomous systems takes time. It turns out that we have to adapt to the machines more than they have to adapt to us. Cruise control is just the most obvious sign of a particular kind of AI that has been accelerating for decades. Think about it: Antilock brakes know when to back off the pedal. Airbags know that you just smacked into something. Stability control knows that you just overcooked your Volvo into that hairpin and need a little help to stay out of the ditch. Your nav system knows where you are, your wipers know it’s raining, that annoying seatbelt chime knows you’re flouting the law. In short, modern cars are loaded with sensors and computing power. The 2011 Chevy Volt, for example, runs on some 10 million lines of code—more than Lockheed Martin’s new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The marquee innovation that made intelligent cruise control possible is the drive-by-wire throttle: the introduction of motor skills to the automotive body. The throttle is a flap that lets air and fuel enter the engine. In the conventional setup, it’s linked to the gas pedal by a thin metal cable threaded through a grooved wheel. But many newer cars have done away with the cable. Instead, there is a sensor on the gas pedal and a small electric motor on the throttle. Step on the accelerator and an electrical impulse travels to the computer, telling it how far the pedal is depressed; the computer then tells that little electric motor how wide to open the flap. Electronics and software are mediating the whole process. Voilà You’re driving by wire. Of course, by-wire technology isn’t just for throttles. The same exquisitely sensitive actuation systems are finding their way into brakes and steering as well. And where there are electronically controlled systems, there are sensors and software and processors that can command them. In other words, by-wire technology is paving the way to truly smart cars. Drive-by-wire didn’t start in the automotive industry. It’s a descendant of an aerospace technology called, yes, fly-by-wire. The first aircraft to fly with it—a Canadian fighter jet called the Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow—took off in 1958. Most of the pilot’s controls, from the elevators to the rudders, were triggered electronically. The advantages—instantaneous response and lighter weight—were compelling: Within a few decades, many commercial airliners were using fly-bywire technology. It made every aircraft from the Concorde to the Boeing 777 possible and was integral to improving autopilot systems—including those that can land a plane. It’s nice to have Captain Sullenberger on board, but he’s only needed on special occasions.

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Evernote Web The by-wire throttle first made its way into cars in 1988, in the BMW 750iL, and it now makes radar-assisted cruise control possible in any number of Fords, Lincolns, Volvos, Jaguars, and Mercedes. Some hybrids rely on it to switch nimbly between gas and electric power. Pages: Previous 1 2 |

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Algorithms Take Control of Wall Street | Magazine Tuesday, September 13 2011, 10:31 AM

Algorithms Take Control of Wall Street By Felix Salmon and Jon Stokes December 27, 2010 | 12:00 pm | Wired January 2011

Today Wall Street is ruled by thousands of little algorithms, and they've created a new market—volatile, unpredictable, and impossible for humans to comprehend. Photo: Mauricio Alejo

AI Revolution The AI Revolution Is On AI Autos: Leave the Driving to Us

Last spring, Dow Jones launched a new service called Lexicon, which sends real-time financial news to professional investors. This in itself is not surprising. The company behind The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires made its name by publishing the kind of news that moves the stock market. But many of the professional investors subscribing to Lexicon aren’t human—they’re algorithms, the lines of code that govern an increasing amount of global trading activity—and they don’t read news the way humans do. They don’t need their information delivered in the form

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Evernote Web of a story or even in sentences. They just want data—the hard, actionable information that those words represent. Lexicon packages the news in a way that its robo-clients can understand. It scans every Dow Jones story in real time, looking for textual clues that might indicate how investors should feel about a stock. It then sends that information in machine-readable form to its algorithmic subscribers, which can parse it further, using the resulting data to inform their own investing decisions. Lexicon has helped automate the process of reading the news, drawing insight from it, and using that information to buy or sell a stock. The machines aren’t there just to crunch numbers anymore; they’re now making the decisions.

Music An app that jams with you. A good session player is hard to find, but ujam is always ready to rock. The Web app doubles as a studio band and a recording studio. It analyzes a melody and then produces sophisticated harmonies, bass lines, drum tracks, horn parts, and more. Before ujam’s AI can lay down accompaniment, it must figure out which notes the user is singing or playing. Once it recognizes them, the algorithm searches for chords to match the tune, using a mix of statistical techniques and hardwired musical rules. The stats are part of the software’s AI and can generate myriad chord progressions. The rules-based module then uses its knowledge of Western musical tropes to narrow the chord options to a single selection. The service is still in alpha, but it has attracted 2,500 testers who want to use the AI to explore their musical creativity—and they have the recordings to prove it. As ujam gathers more data on users’ preferences and musical tastes, programmers feed this info back into the system, improving its on-the-fly performance. In this respect at least, ujam is like a human: It gets better with practice. —Jon Stokes

That increasingly describes the entire financial system. Over the past decade, algorithmic trading has overtaken the industry. From the single desk of a startup hedge fund to the gilded halls of Goldman Sachs, computer code is now responsible for most of the activity on Wall Street. (By some estimates, computer-aided high-frequency trading now accounts for about 70 percent of total trade volume.) Increasingly, the market’s ups and downs are determined not by traders competing to see who has the best information or sharpest business mind but by algorithms feverishly scanning for faint signals of potential profit. Algorithms have become so ingrained in our financial system that the markets could not operate without them. At the most basic level, computers help prospective buyers and sellers of stocks find one another—without the bother of screaming middlemen or their commissions. High-frequency traders, sometimes called flash traders, buy and sell thousands of shares every second, executing deals so quickly, and on such a massive scale, that they can win or lose a fortune if the price of a stock fluctuates by even a few cents. Other algorithms are slower but more sophisticated, analyzing earning statements, stock performance, and newsfeeds to find attractive investments that others may have missed. The result is a system that is more efficient, faster, and smarter than any human. It is also harder to understand, predict, and regulate. Algorithms, like most human traders, tend to follow a fairly simple set of rules. But they also respond instantly to ever-shifting market conditions, taking into account thousands or millions of data points every second. And each trade produces new data points, creating a kind of conversation in which machines respond in rapid-fire succession to one another’s actions. At its best, this system represents an efficient and intelligent capital allocation machine, a market ruled by precision and mathematics rather than emotion and fallible judgment. But at its worst, it is an inscrutable and uncontrollable feedback loop. Individually, these algorithms may be easy to control but when they interact they can create unexpected behaviors—a conversation that can overwhelm the system it was built to navigate. On May 6, 2010, the Dow Jones Industrial Average inexplicably experienced a series of drops that came to be known as the flash crash, at one point shedding some 573 points in five minutes. Less than five months later, Progress Energy, a North Carolina utility, watched helplessly as its share price fell 90 percent. Also in late September, Apple shares dropped nearly 4 percent in just 30 seconds, before recovering a few minutes later. These sudden drops are now routine, and it’s often impossible to determine what caused them. But most observers pin the blame on the legions of powerful, superfast trading algorithms—simple instructions that interact to create a market that is incomprehensible to the human mind and impossible to predict. For better or worse, the computers are now in control. Ironically enough, the notion of using algorithms as trading tools was born as a way of empowering traders. Before the age of electronic trading, large institutional investors used their size and connections to wrangle better terms from the human middlemen that executed buy and sell orders. “We were not getting the same access to capital,” says Harold Bradley, former head of American Century Ventures, a division of a midsize Kansas City investment firm. “So I had to change the rules.” Bradley was among the first traders to explore the power of algorithms in the late ’90s, creating approaches to investing that favored brains over

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Evernote Web access. It took him nearly three years to build his stock-scoring program. First he created a neural network, painstakingly training it to emulate his thinking—to recognize the combination of factors that his instincts and experience told him were indicative of a significant move in a stock’s price. But Bradley didn’t just want to build a machine that would think the same way he did. He wanted his algorithmically derived system to look at stocks in a fundamentally different—and smarter—way than humans ever could. So in 2000, Bradley assembled a team of engineers to determine which characteristics were most predictive of a stock’s performance. They identified a number of variables—traditional measurements like earnings growth as well as more technical factors. Altogether, Bradley came up with seven key factors, including the judgment of his neural network, that he thought might be useful in predicting a portfolio’s performance. He then tried to determine the proper weighting of each characteristic, using a publicly available program from UC Berkeley called the differential evolution optimizer. Bradley started with random weightings—perhaps earnings growth would be given twice the weight of revenue growth, for example. Then the program looked at the best-performing stocks at a given point in time. It then picked 10 of those stocks at random and looked at historical data to see how well the weights predicted their actual performance. Next the computer would go back and do the same thing all over again—with a slightly different starting date or a different starting group of stocks. For each weighting, the test would be run thousands of times to get a thorough sense of how those stocks performed. Then the weighting would be changed and the whole process would run all over again. Eventually, Bradley’s team collected performance data for thousands of weightings. Once this process was complete, Bradley collected the 10 best-performing weightings and ran them once again through the differential evolution optimizer. The optimizer then mated those weightings—combining them to create 100 or so offspring weightings. Those weightings were tested, and the 10 best were mated again to produce another 100 third-generation offspring. (The program also introduced occasional mutations and randomness, on the off chance that one of them might produce an accidental genius.) After dozens of generations, Bradley’s team discovered ideal weightings. (In 2007, Bradley left to manage the Kauffman Foundation’s $1.8 billion investment fund and says he can no longer discuss his program’s performance.) Bradley’s effort was just the beginning. Before long, investors and portfolio managers began to tap the world’s premier math, science, and engineering schools for talent. These academics brought to trading desks sophisticated knowledge of AI methods from computer science and statistics. And they started applying those methods to every aspect of the financial industry. Some built algorithms to perform the familiar function of discovering, buying, and selling individual stocks (a practice known as proprietary, or “prop,” trading). Others devised algorithms to help brokers execute large trades—massive buy or sell orders that take a while to go through and that become vulnerable to price manipulation if other traders sniff them out before they’re completed. These algorithms break up and optimize those orders to conceal them from the rest of the market. (This, confusingly enough, is known as algorithmic trading.) Still others are used to crack those codes, to discover the massive orders that other quants are trying to conceal. (This is called predatory trading.) Pages: Previous 1 2 |

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An Introduction to Net Neutrality: What It Is, What It Means for You, and What You Can Do About It Tuesday, September 13 2011, 10:29 AM

EXPLAINER

An Introduction to Net Neutrality: What It Is, What It Means for You, and What You Can Do About It

BY WHITSON GORDON DEC 29, 2010 9:00 AM 69,338

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We've dropped the net neutrality term around here a few times, but you may not entirely understand what it's all about. Here's a primer on what net neutrality is, how it might affect you, and what you can do about it. Photo remixed from an original by The Local People Photo Archive

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As its name indicates, net neutrality is about creating a neutral internet. The basic principle driving net neutrality is that the internet should be a free and open platform, almost like any other utility we use in our home (like electricity). Users should be able to use their bandwidth however they want (as long as it's legal), and internet service providers should not be able to provide priority service to any corner of the internet. Every web site (whether it's Google, Netflix, Amazon, or UnknownStartup.com) should all be treated the same when it comes to giving users the bandwidth to reach the internet-connected services they prefer. Your electric company has no say over how you use your electricity—they only get to charge you for providing the electricity. Net neutrality aims to do something similar with your internet pipes. Those against net neutrality—commonly including internet service providers (ISPs), like Comcast or AT&T—believe that, as providers of internet access, they should be able to distribute bandwidth differently depending on the service. They'd prefer, for example, to create tiers of internet service that's more about paying for priority access than for bandwidth speeds. As such, in theory, they could charge high-bandwidth services—like Netflix, for example—extra money, since their service costs more for Comcast to provide to its customers—or they could charge users, like you and me, extra to access Netflix. They can also provide certain services to you at different speeds. For example, perhaps your ISP might give preferential treatment to Hulu, so it streams Hulu videos quickly and for free, while Netflix is stuck running slowly (or we have to pay extra to access it).

What are the Arguments For Net Neutrality? Proponents of net neutrality don't want to give the ISPs too much power because it could easily be abused. Imagine that Verizon or AT&T don't like the idea of Google Voice, because it allows you to send text messages for free using your data connection. Your cellphone carrier could block access to Google Voice from your smartphone so you're forced to pay for a texting plan from them. Or, they see that a lot of people are using Facebook on their smartphone, so even if they have the bandwidth to carry that traffic, they decide to charge you extra to access Facebook, just because they know it's in high demand and that they can make a profit.

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Image via Reddit. Hit the link for the full image. Similarly, Comcast recently got in a tiff with Netflix over its streaming video offerings, essentially telling Netflix's partners that they'd need to pay if they wanted their content delivered on their network. Comcast argued that streaming Netflix is a huge traffic burden, and if they're going to provide that service they'll need to update their infrastructure. Netflix's argument was that Comcast provides the internet, and it's Comcasts users that have requested that extra bandwidth for the services they want. Another way to look at it: Comcast also has their own On Demand service which directly competes with Netflix—and if Comcast is allowed to divide up their service as they please, the option to give preferential treatment to their own service isn't exactly fair just because they're the internet provider. And, with Comcast and NBC looking to merge, the waters can get even murkier. The resulting superpower could give preference to all of NBC's content too, thus leaving other content providers out in the cold.

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Another problem here is that while big services like Netflix could, in theory, afford to pay Comcast for using extra bandwidth, the small, lesser-known services—that could be big one day but aren't yet—can't. Really great web sites or internet services might never gain popularity merely because ISPs would have control over what kind of access users like you and me have to that service. That could greatly stifle innovation, and we'd likely miss out on a lot of cool new services.

What are the Arguments Against Net Neutrality? Anti-net neutrality activists argue that internet service providers have a right to distribute their network differently among services, and that in fact, it's the ISPs that are innovating. They argue that giving preferential treatment to different services isn't a bad thing; in fact, sometimes it's necessary. In the recent Comcast/Netflix debate, they point out that if Netflix is sucking up all their bandwidth, they should be the ones to pay for the necessary updates that Comcast's systems will require because of it. Many free market proponents are also against the idea of net neutrality, noting that Comcast and AT&T are companies like any other that should be able to compete freely, without government regulation. They themselves aren't "the internet"—they're merely a gateway the internet, and if they're each allowed to manage their networks differently, you're more likely to have competition between service providers which ultimately, they claim, is better for the users. If you don't like the fact that Netflix is slower on Comcast than it is on AT&T, you can switch to AT&T. The problem, however, is still that ISPs could always favor their own services over others, leaving services with no connection to the ISP out in the cold. Furthermore, most people don't have much choice in who their ISP is, since in any given location there may be only one or two ISPs providing internet.

What are the Current Laws? The Federal Communications Comission (FCC) released a new set of net neutrality rules on December 21, 2010 for internet service providers. Here's the state of net neutrality regulation as of right now:

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Transparency

First and foremost, the FCC requires that ISPs publicly disclose all their network management practices, so that users can make informed decisions when purchasing internet service. That means they'd have to say what speeds it offers, what types of applications would work over that speed, how it inspects traffic, and so on. It does not necessarily mean that those disclosures will be understandable by non-tech savvy individuals—in fact, we've already seen how ISPs try to spin their "what you'll get" charts to you purchase the most expensive internet (see the misleading image above)—so this rule doesn't necessarily mean a lot to the average consumer.

No Blocking or Unreasonable Discrimination for Wired Internet Wired ISPs—that is, providers of the internet in your home—are not allowed to outright block any legal web content, applications, or services. The FCC also notes that they aren't allowed to slow down traffic either, as this often renders a service unusable and thus is no different from outright blocking. For example, Comcast has always throttled BitTorrent downloads, but it didn't block them completely—it just slowed them down to a crawl. Under these new rules, that wouldn't be allowed either. Photo by Kelly Teague.

The new rules also do not allow wired ISPs to discriminate against legal network traffic. This means that Comcast cannot, in fact, discriminate against competitive services like Netflix or stifle free speech (by, say, discriminating against political outlets that have views different from the ISP or its parent company).

Your Smartphone Doesn't Count

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Mobile ISPs, on the other hand, are not subject to the same rules. The FCC believes mobile broadband—that is, the data plan you have on your cellphone—is still young enough that it may need heavier network management than wired broadband. As such, they haven't made any broad net neutrality rules as of yet. Mobile ISPs are still prohibited from blocking services on the web that compete directly with their own, but they can continue to discriminate—which means that at any given point, you could find an internet service blocked or deliberately slowed down when accessing it from your smartphone. Furthermore, if the ISPs so choose, they could charge you extra to access certain services, like Facebook or Netflix. App stores are exempt from these rules, so the App Store and Android Market can be as closed as they want to be. So, if Apple decided that they no longer wanted Google Voice to be available in the App Store, they could remove it—even though it's a service that directly competes with AT&T.

Photo by David Fulmer. The other group exempt from the rules are managed services—services that companies pay extra for, and thus require a higher level of service. A good example is AT&T's IPTV service—they provide television and on demand services through the internet instead of over cable or radio frequencies, and they dedicate a certain amount of their bandwidth for just those services, leaving less bandwidth for everything else. Again, this isn't intrinsically bad, but giving ISPs unlimited power to do this can lead to dangerous territory.

So Why the Fuss? The rules as I've laid them out above offer a pretty condensed summary of the main points in the FCC's latest release, and while they seem like a big step forward (namely the neutrality rules in place for wired connections), a lot of net neutrality proponents are still unhappy. The exception for mobile broadband is a pretty big complaint, as are the exceptions for managed services. A lot of folks also argue that loopholes abound in the new rules, like the fact that all the rules are subject to "reasonable network management", which isn't very well defined. To be fair, neither side is happy with the current rules—which is to be expected in such a heavily debated issue. Proponents think the rules aren't strict enough and that the ISPs have gotten "exactly what they wanted", while the anti-net neutrality camp think that the internet companies are being too

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heavily regulated. In the end, it's all about the control you, as a user, have over how you use the internet. While net neutrality's opponents argue that tiered service creates more control for the user, most of us don't see it that way—we'd like to be able to access all internet services equally, instead of having certain services given preferential treatment. After the passing of these rules, the wired internet in our homes is a bit safer, but the internet we access from our smartphones isn't. ISPs could still block, discriminate against, or charge extra for web sites and services we get on-the-go, taking control out of your hands. If you really want to argue about the finer points, you'll want to dig into the actual FCC release, as this or any other summary isn't going to provide the nuances and specifics nearly well enough. But in general, this should give you a good idea of where we are now.

What Can I Do to Get Involved?

If you're reading this and foaming at the mouth in anger, there are a few things you can do. The FCC has a complaint system set up for citizens to voice their issues on communications-related topics.

Submit an Informal Complaint Submitting an informal complaint is easy, as it's all done online, and anyone can do it. Right now, the form isn't exactly friendly—there don't seem to be any specific sections about the new net neutrality rules—but the FCC says they'll be making resources available for net neutralityspecific complaints. For now, Ars Technica recommends hitting "Internet Service and VoIP", then heading to "Billing, Service, Availability" and going to the online form from there.

Submit a Formal Complaint End users can't submit formal complaints, but if you're a company or public interest group that's very concerned about the new rules (and you've got $200 to spend on the filing fee), you can file a formal complaint, which is often like a court hearing. You'll probably need a lawyer, and for most of us, the informal route is the best bet. But Ars has more information on formal complaints if you're interested.

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Spread the Word Net neutrality's a complicated issue, and a lot of people still aren't informed about what's going on. Explain the issue to your friends and family—the more people know about it, the more people that might be affected and might speak out. You can also check out each side's respective organization, SavetheInternet.com for pro-net neutrality voices and HandsOff.org for anti-net neutrality voices. They've each got a ton of links to other ways you can talk to your congresspeople, write letters and sign petitions to make your voice heard. We here at Lifehacker are open supporters of net neutrality, but we know it's a very hot-button issue, and many of you probably have your own opinions on the subject—whether you agree with us or not. So let's get some discussion started in the comments below. RELATED STORIES

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Back to the Future: Reviewing Social Media Trends — Online Collaboration Tuesday, September 13 2011, 10:20 AM

The end of one year and beginning of the next always bring a slew of prediction and trend posts, so I had to jump in. I particularly enjoy looking at previous “predictions” and see what actually happened. I’m revisiting my 2010 post 8 Significant Developments in Social Media You Should Watch and providing additional thoughts for 2011. Here’s what I predicted for 2010 and the outcome as of the end of the year: 1. Myspace will die. Like a bad rash, MySpace is hard to eliminate. The site has been rebranded as “My___” — dumb branding that’s in the same league with The Gap’s short-lived new logo. Myspace is still being (ab)used by bands and musicians, comedians, C-list actors, “models” and other celebrity wannabes, as well as by people who didn’t get the memo that Myspace is dead. I wouldn’t be surprised if Myspace limped quietly through 2011 and finally expired. In order to survive, Myspace needs to create something truly new, engaging, user-friendly, and groundbreaking, but I don’t think it will happen. Facebook has taken over the space like the 800-pound gorilla it is. 2. Virtual goods: insanely popular. Huge. Bigger now than a year ago. You’re making a mistake if you think virtual goods are nothing more than “playing games.” A 2009 report from Inside Network put revenue from the purchase of virtual goods in online games at $1 billion. Their prediction is that the U.S. virtual goods market will reach $2.1 billion in 2011. Even if you don’t understand why people adopt and purchase virtual goods, those numbers are nothing to sneeze at. 3. Gaming: Not just for kids. This trend is still heading up, up, up. You’re missing the boat if you think casual and social game-playing is a passing fad. According to a study by market researcher the

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NPD Group, 56.8 million U.S. consumers have reported playing a game on a social network. That’s 20 percent of the U.S. population. In their report “The Future of Social Gaming 2011,” Inside Network predicts the social gaming market will reach $1.25 billion. 4. Twitter: Transforming communications. Yes, still doing it. At the same time, Facebook is transforming the way we view privacy, and what, how, and how much personal information we share. 5. Niche networks: Good for marketing. I’m still convinced that niche networks are valuable for smaller, more concentrated and highly targeted numbers. Get beyond the giddiness of having hundreds or thousands of “likers” on your Facebook Page, and you can create real value for your company, customers, vendors or targeted consumers by using niche networks. Industry-specific social networks are good for professional networking and information exchange, while open, relevantlythemed social networks are helpful for marketing, branding, and customer interactions. Despite Ning no longer offering free networks, I find that many niche, topic-specific custom networks are still being built on the Ning platform. But running your own niche network is a beast to build and manage without resources. That’s why Facebook Pages are the low-hanging fruit of niche, branded communities. 6. Augmented reality: Really here. Yes, it is here, but still on the fringe. I think 2011 will see mobile devices more capable of supporting AR, programmers developing useful AR applications, and marketers testing the space. AR will become more widespread, and really great and useful applications will proliferate. The next step will be to get consumers on board. 7. Google Buzz: Hmmm. I thought Google Buzz would be big and important because Google is big. Google Buzz is still out there, but I don’t see much buzz about it, and I barely use or notice it myself. Do you have any interesting use cases for Google Buzz? 8. Mobile. Be there. That’s what I’m still saying. I’ve outlined a few things to consider about mobile in a recent post. And don’t just think about devices, apps, and networks, but also communications and commerce. 5 More Trends to Watch in 2011 Before throwing out some ideas for this year, I want to first say that the trends above (other than Google Buzz) aren’t over yet. Each continues to evolve over time with greater adoption, better applications, and solid case studies. So, in 2011, the above trends will solidify into the mainstream of our technology landscape (some more than others).

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Here are some more trends to watch for this year, in no particular order: 1. Location, location, location. This should have been on my 2010 list, but it was still early. Within months after my trends post, location exploded and I professed my love for Whrrl, Foursquare and the like, and I was recently blown away by Glyph Glympse: tip of iceberg stuff. I constantly use AroundMe and have started to use Foodspotting when I travel. And have you seen Path? 2. Semantic technologies. Hard for the layperson to grasp, but the applications will continue to improve and impress. Imperfect but interesting: Qwiki, iGlue, Wolfram Alpha, Evri. 3. Crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, crowdproducing. You ain’t seen nothing yet in terms of what crowds can do. Real time traffic from Waze, crowdfunding through Kickstarter and Profounder, and many more examples not yet built will be transforming business, creativity, production, process. 4. QR Codes. I’m still wrapping my head around them, but they are worth watching, learning more about, and using. 5. iPad (and other tablets). I’ll be honest: I don’t love my iPad. But really, it isn’t a lack of love for the device, which is sleek and uber-portable. The applications don’t do it justice. You can’t just port what was on the computer to the iPhone and then to the iPad. You have to think different. In 2011, some companies will do just that. 6. Apps commerce and communities. When was the last time you bought software in a box? That activity will continue to decrease. I’m pretty sure the Apple App Store will have plenty of competition cropping up in the next year, including the Chrome Web Store, Google Apps Marketplace, and all the mobile device-specific stores, as well as apps communities like OneForty.com. Developers will have more and more outlets for different versions of the apps they’re producing. Marketers will get into the game as well. Way into the future? I know 2011 isn’t the year, but soon, touch screens will be the norm. My own four-year-old daughter touches every screen she sees, because she has no concept that not every screen operates like an iPod, iPhone or iPad. Soon she won’t have to look at me after touching the television screen to say “Mommy, it’s not working.” What trends are you watching in 2011? Image by sxc.hu user clix Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub. req.):

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Controlling your digital identity is as easy as 1-23 - NL Connect Tuesday, September 13 2011, 10:16 AM Cross posted at The Innovative Educator Google or You? Who Would You Rather Control Your Digital Identity?

This question was asked by Dean Shareski recently who presented at #BLC10 on ideas for managing and manipulating what Google says about us. While many users of the internet have accepted a passive digital footprint over which they have not taken control, Shareski offers advice to take charge with three steps. 1) Get in touch with what your digital footprint says about you, 2) Determine if that is what you would like your digital footprint to say and if not, determine what you do want. 3) Start establishing your digital footprint. Here’s how. 1. Get in touch with your digital footprint. Do you know what your digital footprint says about you? If not, find out. Here’s how. a. Google yourself. You can start in the obvious way and just Google yourself by typing your name into Google’s search box in whatever way(s) someone doing a search about you might i.e. John Smith, teacher. Take a look at what you see. Any surprises? Anything you wish were different? b. Spezify who you are. Spezify is a search tool presenting results from a large number of websites in different visual ways. The site moves web search away from endless lists of blue text links and towards a more intuitive experience giving viewers an overview of a subject. The site mixes all media types: blogs, videos, microblogs and images. Everything communicates and helps building the bigger picture. c. Check out your online Persona. Personas shows you how the Internet sees you. It is a critique of data mining, revealing the computer’s uncanny insights and inadvertent errors. It is meant for the viewer to reflect on our current future world where digital histories are as important, than oral histories, and computation methods of condensing our digital traes are largely opaque and socially ignorant. d. Use Google Alerts to monitor what others are saying about you You can sign up for Google Alerts to receive email updates of the latest relevant Google results about you by simply visiting the site and entering your name. You can click preview to see the type of results you'll receive.

2. Determine if your digital footprint conveys the message you want. Once you’ve investigated what your digital footprint says about you, it’s time to determine if this is the message you want to convey. If it is there

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are several ways to grow the message more widely. If it is not there are several ways you can begin taking control of your digital footprint. Step three outlines several such ways. 3. Begin taking control of your digital footprint There are several things you can do right now to begin taking control of your digital footprint. a. Create your Google profile What do people see when they find you online? You can control how you appear in Google and tell others more about who you are by creating a personal profile. A Google profile, enables you to easily share your web content on one central location. You can include, for example, links to your blog, online photos, and other profiles such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and more. You have control over what others see. You can also allow people to find you more easily by enabling your profile to be searched by your name. Simply set your existing profile to show your full name publicly. b. Connect with Flavors.me Go to Flavors.me and BAM you have your resume online. This site allows users to create a free and easy one page summary of who you are including your Facebook, Twitter, blog, website, and more. c. Create a wiki Use a site like Wikispaces to create a wiki that can serve as a collection of materials that you want people to find about you. Wikispaces is an easy[-to-use option that is free for educators. d. Launch a blog. You can launch a blog in minutes and for free on sites like Blogger and Word Press. A blog provides a terrific forum for you to right about topics of importance to you and enables you to begin to establish credibility and expertise in areas that are important to you. e. Make videos or podcasts Make videos about topics important to you. This ultimately serves the same purpose as a blog. High school student Armond McFadden did a great job of this with his Transcast and Mass Transportation series on YouTube. When you look up Armond McFadden, you immediate know what this young man is expert in. Transportation, busses, trains. f. Comment on blogs and in discussion forums Comment on blogs and in discussion forums about topics and issues important to you. Be sure to include your name and if applicable a link to your webpage or blog. This ultimately will come up in searches and will. let people know what you stand for and how you feel about topics of importance. g. Tweet Set up a Twitter page and join the conversation. Make sure you fill out the bio information with your real name and important information about yourself. You can start following friends on Twitter by searching for a topic. For instance someone interested in education could simply search for “education” or search for a popular education search term like #edchat. You may want to follow the people who tag Tweets with this tag. Find one that’s interesting and reply to it. This becomes part of your digital footprint. h. Create a Facebook Page While some people use Facebook for purely personaly purposes, a growing number of individuals are using Facebook to establish a digital presence from which they can

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make professional connections and join conversations. The beauty of Facebook is the ease in which you can share links and information with specific people by tagging them and others can see and join the conversation as well. You can create a public Facebook page that conveys who you ae and what you stand for while at the same time developing and maintaining valuable connections. You can visit my Facebook page for an example of what that might look like at Lisa Velmer Nielsen. Chris Lehmann also has a professional Facebook page worth visiting. i. Create your own domain Select a domain that represents you. In many cases this will simply be your name. In other cases it may be a phrase that represents you. For instance, I bought the domain www.educatinginnovatively.com but there are also those who buy their name as a domain such as www.angelamaiers.com. To create your domain you need to do two things. i. See if the domain you want is available at a site like http://www.Godaddy.com ii. Buy your domain at any number of sites. http://www.10dollar.ca is one that Dean Shareski recommends Dean shared the story of one innovative school Nokomis Regional High that upon graduation bequeaths each graduate with a domain using their name. After one year students can keep the domain or choose to let the renewal lapse. Some innovative schools are taking this a step further and providing students with a domain upon entry to school and supporting students in developing a site that represents them during their years in school. Thanks to Dean Shareski for inspiring this post and providing a thought-provoking and engaging session. For more ideas on controlling your digital footprint you can view the entire presentation filled with thought provoking questions and quotes, advice, and videos here.

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Everything’s connected: Why all marketing will become social | VentureBeat Tuesday, September 13 2011, 10:27 AM

We all know the Facebook story or at least saw the movie. A site for college kids to publish their pictures became an Internet phenomenon. But while grandma may now be posting what she ate for breakfast, the real revolution Facebook has created is for advertisers. Brands are salivating at the prospect of reaching the 500 million users who collectively spend over 700 billion minutes a month on Facebook.

In 2011 and beyond, Facebook will become one of the most important marketing channels in the world. Already, Facebook is on track to generate more than $2 billion in ad revenues in 2010, far surpassing earlier estimates of around $1 billion, and will likely skyrocket past that figure in 2011, as more marketers shift budgets from TV, radio, and print to the social realm. Proctor & Gamble got a head start on this move by recently announcing it would transfer the majority of its daytime TV advertising budget to social platforms like Facebook and Twitter. And, it’s not just Facebook that’s having an impact on marketing. In fact, all social media – from Twitter and blogs, to forums and YouTube – is having a profound impact on how consumers interact, find products, get deals, shop, and get information. For marketers, that means social is no longer just a channel, but an integral part of a strategic marketing plan. Social media now impacts all of a brand’s marketing campaigns, with free viral “sharing” beginning to surpass paid marketing channels like search engine marketing, display, and print advertising at driving large audiences to campaign pages and brand websites. To be sure, brands are already spending on social media marketing-– but 2011 will likely see a huge surge in investment into social as Facebook, Twitter, and all things social become increasingly measurable and ROI-focused. The investment in online advertising iw predicted to set a new record in 2011, growing 14 percent to $51.9 billion, up from $45.6 billion in 2010, according to Borell Associates. Two of the fastest-growing segments of online advertising are the local sector and social media. So what will the social media marketing landscape look like in 2011? Here are four predictions based on our work with hundreds of top brands to measure, track, analyze their social media marketing programs. 1. Social media will kill the TV star – Okay, “kill” may be a stretch but did you know that more people play Farmville than watch daytime TV? A recent study by Deutsche Bank found that 7.5 million people tune

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into Oprah every day, whereas 43 million people play a Zynga game each day. In contrast to advertising on TV, targeted social media campaigns offer brands the ability to deliver relevant messages with precision to specific, highly engaged audiences –0 and present them with compelling offers and instantlyredeemable coupons. In contrast to the “lean back” experience offered in front of the TV, social media brings brands and consumers closer together than ever before. TV watchers may see a brand flash before them on the screen, but game players may see an offer from your brand within a game they are playing, and be offered free game credits for taking a survey, referring a friend, or making an immediate in-game purchase of one of your products. 2. The Groupon effect is here to stay — Consumers today have a “deal mentality”. With the rise of daily deal sites like Groupon, flash sales sites like Gilt, and myriad coupon sites, consumers don’t want to buy a product unless they feel they’ve gotten a great deal on it. What’s more, customers now expect recognition and rewards for spreading the word about deals, discounts, and exclusive opportunities. They don’t just want a good deal, they want an even better deal for promoting deals to others! Most brands now use Twitter and Facebook to publicize deals, and an increasing number are experimenting with Groupon and other deal sites, but future sales belong to marketers who not only publicize their promotions, but reward sharing in real-time so buyers have a strong incentive to spread the word and extend the reach of every campaign. 3. Mobile is social According to Facebook, there are more than 200 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices, and these mobile users are twice as active as nonmobile users. With the emergence of location-based services like Foursquare and Facebook Places, the integration of social and mobile is growing ever stronger. Today, not only are we constantly connected via our mobile devices, but as our friends discover content, deals, and discounts, they share them with us – spreading brand campaigns directly from phone-to-phone. People are beginning to expect that relevant content, including advertising, will reach them via the friends or contacts they trust. Some of the fastest-growing segments of mobile marketing include mobile coupons that customers can use by presenting a barcode on their phones to scanned at checkout; iPhone apps that allow price comparison, product searches, and immediate transactions; and Foursquare-type services that allow businesses to reward frequent store visitors with discounts and promotions. The best mobile marketing promotions and content are those that can be shared. 4. Sharing is the new search — While Google will continue to prosper in 2011, the role of “sharing” in how people discover information, deals, and products is changing how we search and what we search for. News finds us. Fun, entertaining content finds us. Deals and discounts find us. In fact, from our own research across Meteor Solutions’ customers, we found that influencers –- those who share your campaigns across their social graph –- can directly influence 40 to 60 percent of all visits to an advertising campaign page. More and more, people will get product information through the social graph –- instead of directly from a brand advertiser. Search will remain the most efficient way for people to find something specific, but sharing will become the most efficient way for relevant, useful, and entertaining content to find us. Marketers need to create campaigns that go beyond interrupting consumers with advertising, and create content that’s highly useful and easily shareable –- such as contests, deals, promotions, inside information, and product reviews. The social graph is creating effective ways for marketers to reach audiences at scale.

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Social media is no longer just a way for consumers to waste a few minutes looking at funny cat photos. Today, Facebook and other social channels are becoming the way people interact with the larger world around them –- and brand marketers are going to make sure they’re not too late to the party.

Ben Straley is the CEO of Meteor Solutions, a company offering website tracking and content sharing tools to advertisers and publishers. He’s also the lead instructor for the University of Washington Certificate Program for Advanced Interactive Marketing. He can be reached at ben@meteorsolutions.com or @meteorsolutions. Next Story: Winklevoss twins on Facebook lawsuit: It’s not about the money Previous Story: RunKeeper sprints to the top of the charts with fitness free promotion Print

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Facebook gets serious about face recognition | VentureBeat Tuesday, September 13 2011, 10:16 AM

If you thought Facebook knew a lot about you before, wait until it recognizes your face.

The company published a blog post this afternoon announcing a new feature called “tag suggestions,” which use face recognition technology to suggest which friend is probably featured in which photo. So when you upload a big batch of photos, Facebook will group similar faces together, because they’re probably photos of the same person. It will also look at past photo tags to suggest who the person in the photo might be. This sounds like a big step forward from the face detection feature that Facebook launched in July, where the site found the faces in a photo and selected them for tagging, but it didn’t do anything to suggest whose faces might be featured. If the new tag suggestions work as planned, they could be a threat to startups like Face.com, which offers its own face recognition apps for Facebook users — but at least Face.com extended its technology beyond Facebook earlier this year. The social networking site is pitching the new feature as a way to make tagging easier, especially when you upload a big photo album and have to tag the same person over and over again. I don’t think Facebook Photos were suffering from a dearth of tags, but it makes sense for Facebook to streamline this process as much as possible – the company has credited the tagging feature for making Facebook the most popular photo site around. I’m betting that some users will be uncomfortable with this idea, especially if there are embarrassing photos of them on Facebook that they’ve hidden by un-tagging themselves. This new feature shouldn’t do anything to affect your ability to do that, but it might still be disconcerting to realize that Facebook has the technology to know that you’re in

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the photo, tagged or not. Facebook is trying to head off privacy concerns by giving users an option to turn off the feature so that their names are never suggested when their friends tag photos. And users will have a few days to get used to the idea before they see it live, because it doesn’t roll out until next week.

Next Story: LG launches Optimux 2X with Android, world's first dual-core smartphone Previous Story: With Kleiner funding, Twitter’s valuation climbs to $3.7 billion

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How evolution begat the cloud revolution | The Pervasive Data Center - CNET News Tuesday, September 13 2011, 10:14 AM commentary Asking why cloud computing is happening today is something of a tautology. That's because an inclusive definition of cloud computing essentially equates it with a broad swath of the major advances happening in how IT is operated and delivered today. Pervasive virtualization, fast application and service provisioning, elastic response to load changes, low-touch management, network-centric access, and the ability to move workloads from one location to another are all hallmarks of cloud computing. In other words, cloud computing is more of a shorthand for the "interesting stuff going on in IT" than it is a specific technology or approach. But that doesn't make the question meaningless. It would be hard to argue that there isn't a huge amount of excitement (and, yes, hype) around changing the way that we operate data centers, access applications, and deploy new services. So forget the cloud computing moniker if you will. Why is this broad-based rush to do things differently happening right now? The answer lies in how largely evolutionary trends can, given the right circumstances, come together in a way that results in something that's quite revolutionary. Take the Internet. The first ARPANET link--the Internet's predecessor-dates to 1969. Something akin to hypertext was first described by Vannevar Bush in a 1945 article and Apple shipped Hypercard in 1984. But it took the convergence of things like inexpensive personal computers with graphical user interfaces, faster and more standardized networking, the rise of scale-out servers, the World Wide Web, the Mosaic browser, open source software like Linux and Apache, and the start-up culture of Silicon Valley to usher in the Internet as we know it today. And that convergence, once it began, happened quite quickly and dramatically. The same could be said of cloud computing. The following interrelated trends are among those converging to make cloud computing possible.

Archaeopteryx is widely considered to be the first bird but it actually had more in common with theropod dinosaurs than with modern birds. Comfort level with and maturation of mainstream server virtualization. (Credit: H. Raab/CC Wikimedia) Virtualization serves as the foundation for several types of cloud computing including public Infrastructure-as-a-Service clouds like Amazon's and most private cloud implementations. So, in this respect, mature server virtualization software is a prerequisite for cloud computing. But the connection goes beyond technology. Increasingly ubiquitous virtualization has required that users get comfortable with the idea that they don't know exactly where there applications are physically running. Cloud computing is even more dependent on accepting a layer of abstraction between software and its hardware infrastructure. The build out of vendor and software ecosystem alongside and on top of virtualization. From a technology perspective,

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cloud computing is about the layering of automation tools, including, over time, those for policy-based administration and selfservice management. From this perspective, cloud computing is the logical outgrowth of virtualization-based services or--put another way--the layering of resource abstraction on top of the hardware abstraction that virtualization provides. Cloud computing can also involve concepts like pay-per-use pricing, but these too have existed in various forms in earlier generations of computing. Browser-based application access. The flip side of mobile workloads is mobility of access devices. Many enterprise applications historically depended on the use of specific client software. (In this respect, client-server and then PCs represented something of a step back relative to applications accessed with just a green-screen terminal.) The trend towards being able to access applications from any browser is essentially a prerequisite for the public cloud model and helps make internal IT more flexible as well. I'd argue that ubiquitous browser-based application access is one of the big differences between today's hosted software and Application Service Providers circa 2000. Mobility and the consumerization of IT are also driving the move to applications that aren't dependent on a specific client configuration or location. For more than a decade, we've seen an inexorable shift from PCs connected to a local area network to laptops running on Wi-Fi to an increasing diversity of devices hooked to all manner of networks. Fewer and fewer of these devices are even supplied by the company and many are used for both personal and business purposes. All this further reinforces the shift away from dedicated, hard-wired corporate computing assets. The expectations created by consumer-oriented Web services. The likes of Facebook, Flickr, 37signals, Google, and Amazon (from both Amazon Web Services and e-commerce services perspectives) have raised the bar enormously when it comes to user expectations around ease of use, speed of improvement, and richness of interface. Enterprise IT departments rightly retort that they operate under a lot of constraints--whether data security, line-of-business requirements, or uptime--that a free social-media site does not. Nonetheless, the consumer Web sets the standard and IT departments increasingly find users taking their IT into their own hands when the official solution isn't good enough. This forces IT to be faster and more flexible about deploying new services. And none of these trends really had a single pivotal moment. Arguably, virtualization came closest with the advent of native hypervisors for x86 servers. But, even there, the foundational pieces dated to IBM mainframes in the 1960s and it took a good decade even after x86 virtualization arrived on the scene to move beyond consolidation and lightweight applications and start becoming widespread even for heavyweight business production. The richness of Web applications and the way they're accessed are even more clearly evolutionary trends which, even now, are still very much morphing down a variety of paths, some of which will end up being more viable than others. Developments like HTML5, Android, Chrome OS, smartphones, tablets, and 4G are just a few of the developments affecting how we access applications and what those applications look like. Collectively, there's a big change afoot and cloud computing is as good a term for it as any. But we got here through largely evolutionary change that has come together into something more. And that's a good thing. New computing ideas that require lots of ripping and replacing have a generally poor track record. So the fact that cloud computing is in many ways the result of evolution makes it more interesting, not less.

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How to Stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi Networks Tuesday, September 13 2011, 10:26 AM Starbucks is offering free Wi-Fi to all customers, at every location, starting today. Whether you're clicking connect on Starbucks' Wi-Fi or some other unsecured, public Wi-Fi network, here's how to stay safe and secure while surfing a public hotspot. Just because most wireless routers have a firewall to protect you from the internet doesn't mean you're protected from others connected to the same network. Lots of wireless hotspots these days are completely unencrypted, usually so they're easier to connect to (baristas don't need to be giving out the internet password to everyone that walks in). However, this leaves you unprotected against malicious users in the same coffee shop, so there are a few settings you should always make sure to tweak when you're connected to a public network. We're going to show you which settings are the most important ones, as well as how to automatically change your settings to the appropriate level of security every time you connect to a public network.

The Settings

1. Turn Off Sharing When you're at home, you may share files, printers, or even allow remote login from other computers on your network. When you're on a public network, you'll want to turn these things off, as anyone can access them—they don't even need to be a hacker, and depending on your setup, some of that stuff probably isn't even password protected. Here's how to turn off sharing:

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In Windows: Open your Control Panel, then browse to Network and Internet -> Network and Sharing Center, then click Choose Homegroup and Sharing Options -> Change Advanced Sharing Settings. Once here, you should definitely turn off file and printer sharing, and you may as well turn off network discovery and Public folder sharing. Some of this is done automatically by Windows if you specify the network as public (more on this later). In Mac OS X: Go to System Preferences -> Sharing and make sure all the boxes are unchecked. You'll also want to turn off network discovery, which will be in the same place. This will prevent others from even seeing your machine on the network, meaning you're less likely to be targeted. On Windows (as I mentioned), it's just another check box under advanced sharing settings. On OS X, it will be called "stealth mode" and be under your firewall's advanced settings (see below).

2. Enable Your Firewall Most OSes come with at least a basic firewall nowadays, and it's a simple step to keeping unwanted local users from poking at your computer. You may already be using a firewall, but just in case, go into your security settings (in Windows under Control Panel -> System and Security -> Windows Firewall; and on Mac under System Preferences -> Security -> Firewall) and make sure your firewall is turned on. You can also edit which applications are allowed access by clicking on "allow a program or feature" in Windows and "advanced" in OS X. Your firewall is not an end-all, be-all protector, but it's always a good idea to make sure it's turned on.

3. Use SSL Whenever Possible Regular web site connections over HTTP exchange lots of plain text over the wireless network you're connected to, and someone with the right skills and bad intent can sniff out that traffic. It's not that big of a deal when the text is some search terms you entered at Lifehacker, but it is a big deal when it's the password to your email account. Using HTTPS (for visiting web sites) or enabling

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SSL (when using applications that access the internet, such as a mail client) encrypts the data passed back and forth between your computer and that web server and keep it away from prying eyes. Some sites will do it automatically, but keep an eye on the address bar and make sure the "s" in "https" is always there when you're exchanging sensitive information. If it disappears, you should log out immediately. Note that if the sensitive browsing can wait, you might as well just do it at home—no reason in risking more than you have to. Other sites will default to HTTP connections, but support HTTPS if you manually type it in. Gmail, for example, will allow you to log in using HTTPS, and you can specify in your Gmail Settings whether you want it to use HTTPS automatically in the future. (Go to Settings, find the Browser connection setting, and set to Always use https.) If you access your email from a desktop client such as Outlook or Mail.app, You'll want to make sure that your accounts are SSL encrypted in their settings. If not, people could not only theoretically read your emails, but also get your usernames, passwords, or anything else they wanted. You'll need to make sure your domain supports it, and sometimes the setup might require different settings or ports —it's not just a matter of checking the "use SSL" box—so check your email account's help page for more details. If it doesn't support SSL, make sure you quit the application when you're on an insecure public network..

4. Consider Using a Virtual Private Network Unfortunately, not all sites offer SSL encryption. Other search engines and email providers may still be vulnerable to people watching your activity, so if you use one of these sites frequently (or really just want the extra protection), you may want to try using a VPN, or virtual private network. These services let you route all your activity through a separate secure, private network, thus giving you the security of a private network even though you're on a public one. We've detailed how to set up a VPN with Hamachi, though there are a number of great services—check out our Hive Five for best VPN tools for more ideas. If all that's a bit too complicated, you can always go with previously mentioned Hotspot Shield, which is a fairly popular app that will run in the background and set up the VPN automatically.

5. Turn It Off When You're Not Using It

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If you want to guarantee your security and you're not actively using the internet, simply turn off your Wi-Fi. This is extremely easy in both Mac and Windows. On a Mac, just click the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar and select the turn off AirPort option. On Windows, you can just right-click on the wireless icon in the taskbar to turn it off. Again, this isn't all that useful if you need the internet, but when you're not actively using it, it's not a bad idea to just turn it off for the time being. The longer you stay connected, the longer people have to notice you're there and start snooping around.

How to Automate Your Public Wi-Fi Security Settings You don't want to have to manually adjust all of these settings every single time you go back and forth between the coffee shop and your secure home network. Luckily, there are a few ways to automate the process so you automatically get extra protection when connected to a public Wi-Fi network.

On Windows When you first connect to any given network on Windows, you'll be asked whether you're connecting to a network at your home, work, or if it's public. Each of these choices will flip the switch on a preset list of settings. The public setting, naturally, will give you the most security. You can customize what each of the presets entails by opening your Control Panel and navigating to Network and Sharing Center -> Advanced Sharing Settings. From there, you can turn network discovery, file sharing, public folder sharing, media streaming, and other options on or off for the different profiles.

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That's a good start, but what if you want a bit more control? Previously mentioned NetSetMan is a great program to customize your network profiles for different networks; you choose your IP address, DNS server, or even run scripts (opening the window for pretty much any action) every time you connect to one of your preset networks.

On OS X On OS X, you don't have a lot of options for automating your network preferences, but previously mentioned Airport Location will do everything you could possibly want and more. With it, you can turn on your firewall, turn off SMTP mail, connect to a VPN, and a whole lot more, all depending on the network you've connected to. Heck, you can even change your desktop background for each given network, as well as run Applescripts for those functions that just aren't built in to the app.

In Your Browser

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The previously mentioned HTTPS Everywhere Firefox extension automatically chooses the secure HTTPS option for a bunch of popular web sites, including the New York Times, Twitter, Facebook, Google Search, and others, ensuring secure HTTPS connections to any supported web site, every time you visit. You can even add your own to their XML config file. Note that as a Firefox extension, this works on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Consider a Safety-First Approach If you're a real road warrior, you may find yourself adding so many profiles that automating your safe settings at every step along the way may seem like a lot of work. While most chains like Starbucks or McDonald's should have the same names for each of their Wi-Fi networks (and thus your profiles will carry over), a better approach may be to make your more secure settings the default for your system, and create just one profile for your home network. Thus, by default, file sharing would be turned off, your firewall would be at its most secure state, and so on—then, when you return home to your protected network, you can have Airport Location or NetSetMan turn your less secure settings on. This isn't all-encompassing by any means, but should give you a good quick checklist of things you should do every time you connect to a public network. There are certainly a number of other things you could do (such as setting up a SOCKS proxy over SSH), but these steps will take you a long way on the road to security when you're browsing on those public hotspots. Of course, some of you already have your own public browsing routines, so be sure to share your safe networking tips in the comments.

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Internet Gains on Television as Public’s Main News Source | Pew Research Center for the People and the Press Tuesday, September 13 2011, 10:28 AM Publications > Survey Reports

Released: January 4, 2011

Internet Gains on Television as Public’s Main News Source More Young People Cite Internet than TV OVERVIEW

The internet is slowly closing in on television as Americans’ main source of national and international news. Currently, 41% say they get most of their news about national and international news from the internet, which is little changed over the past two years but up 17 points since 2007. Television remains the most widely used source for national and international news – 66% of Americans say it is their main source of news – but that is down from 74% three years ago and 82% as recently as 2002.

The national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Dec. 1-5, 2010 among 1,500 adults reached on cell phones and landlines, finds that more

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people continue to cite the internet than newspapers as their main source of news, reflecting both the growth of the internet, and the gradual decline in newspaper readership (from 34% in 2007 to 31% now). The proportion citing radio as their main source of national and international news has remained relatively stable in recent years; currently, 16% say it is their main source. An analysis of how different generations are getting their news suggests that these trends are likely to continue. In 2010, for the first time, the internet has surpassed television as the main source of national and international news for people younger than 30. Since 2007, the number of 18 to 29 year olds citing the internet as their main source has nearly doubled, from 34% to 65%. Over this period, the number of young people citing television as their main news source has dropped from 68% to 52%. Among those 30 to 49, the internet is on track to equal, or perhaps surpass, television as the main source of national and international news within the next few years. Currently, 48% say the internet is their main source – up 16 points from 2007 – and 63% cite television – down eight points.

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The internet also has grown as a news source for people ages 50 to 64; currently 34% say the internet is their main source of national and international news, nearly equal to the number who cite newspapers (38%), though still far below television (71%). There has been relatively little change in the how people age 65 and older get their news. The internet has risen to 14% from 5% in 2007, but is still far behind newspapers (47%) and television (79%) as a main source.

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The decline in the share of Americans who cite television as their main source of national and international news crosses all age groups. Over the past three years, the number saying TV is their main source has fallen 16 points among 18-29 year-olds, eight points among those 30 to 49, and six points among those age 50 and older.

TV News Still Dominates Among Less Educated College graduates are about as likely to get most of their national and international news from the internet (51%) as television (54%). Those with some college are just as likely as college grads to cite the internet as their main source (51%), while 63% cite television. By contrast, just 29% of those with no more than a high school education cite the internet while more than twice as many (75%) cite television. Similarly, those with household incomes of $75,000 or more are about as likely to get most of their news on the internet (54%) as from television (57%). People with household incomes under $30,000 are far more likely to cite television (72%) than the internet (34%).

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There also are different patterns of news consumption across regions of the country. Notably, people living in the West are the most likely to cite the internet as their main source of national and international news (47% vs. 40% in other parts of the country), and the least likely to cite television (55% vs. 68% elsewhere).

Both Cable News and Broadcast News See Declines Reflecting the slow decline in the proportion of people getting most of their national and international news from television, the numbers specifically citing cable news outlets or broadcast networks as their main news source has fallen. When asked where on television they get most of their news, 36% name a cable network such as CNN, the Fox News Channel or MSNBC; 22% name ABC News, CBS News or NBC News; and 16% say they get most of their national and international news from local news programming.

Compared with five years ago, the share citing a cable network as their main source is down seven points (from 43% to 36%), and the share citing a broadcast network is down eight points (from 30% to 22%). The local news figure has remained relatively constant over this period. Pages: 1 2

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Seven Digital Media Trends of 2011 | Social Media Today Tuesday, September 13 2011, 10:13 AM

Seven Digital Media Trends of 2011 Tags: Social Networks trends 0

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Posted December 25, 2010 by Jessica Northey with 15042 reads

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With 2011 on the horizon, this week features an overview of the top seven digital media trends coming in 2011.

1. Print Goes to the Tablet Reinvention and new digital distribution is better late than never for print media. Some big breakthroughs are on the way for print media moving onto the tablet. Touch screens are the new newsprint. Last month, a new iPad only newspaper was announced by Apple and News Corp. Rupert Murdoch is investing $30 million to create The Daily, a new “paper” that will have no website and… no paper. It will only be available through an iPad application, which will cost $0.99 per week to use.

Wired Magazine and Adobe Digital Publishing have also been collaborating to create a new digital magazine experience for the iPad, Kindle, and other mobile devices. The business model for distribution via tablet has also become more competitive. Amazon.com announced last month that they would pay publishers 70% of the retail price of their magazines and newspaper sales on the Kindle electronic reader—a virtual 180 degree turn from the terms the company previously had with major publications like the Wall Street Journal.

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2. The Digital Talent Pool Media Executives: Forget everything you think you know about where your talent pool is forming. It’s not growing in smaller markets, and with a few exceptions, it’s not coming from your programming or sales internship programs. Thereal talent—the ones you really want—are entrepreneurial and creative, and they’re not waiting around in your lobby to get a job. They’re trying it on their own. Media outlets will find future talent on YouTube, iTunes, or other popular audio/video on-demand sites like BlogTalkRadio. In fact, equal-opportunity stages like the above-mentioned sites already made stars out of many living room dwellers. This year in Radio3D, we have featured a number of YouTube producers who are earning six figure incomes by creating videos on a regular basis on all sorts of topics from how-to videos to comedy spoofs. NBC Universal announced an initiative last week to harness the power of the 20 most influential Twitter users in each of the ten markets where NBCU has a local TV station. They will select 20 popular “tweeters” in each market to create content for their websites, broadcast segments, and other distribution channels. 3. Deal Hunters If you are a deal-seeker and coupon-clipper, this is the most glorious time to be alive! Groupon is just one of many local deal-brands that are emerging now with growing reach and success stories. Other players in the deal-and-savings space include The Dealmap, AOL Wow, Dealradar, and Yipit. Amazon.com and eBay are also investing in the local retail business. This is a significant move by ad networks that have typically been national in focus. Now, there will be more local reach where radio, television, and print have long exclusively dominated. 4. Mobile Momentum Like radio, mobile media is instant and portable. It has one more killer trait though—it’s personalized. It may be premature to say that mobile has revolutionized the way people consume entertainment and news, but it is certain that mobile has changed the way we communicate. Next year will bring some big breakthroughs for traditional media in the mobile world. Right now, radio does mobile through a one-way speaker into the car. Mobile media offers a whole new toolbox for creating a mobile brand experience for radio stations. Any radio station without a strategy for reaching mobile users in 2011 is woefully behind and missing a major opportunity to reach literal movers-and-shakers in the marketplace.

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5. Social Nets Deliver Qualified Traffic Facebook and Twitter are significant traffic and awareness drivers—especially when used in tandem with traditional media. Already, many ad agencies use social media to amplify a client’s local reach and customer engagement. The cost of marketing on Facebook and Twitter makes it hard to justify their absence in any marketing strategy. Social networking for broadcasters will become an even more important part of maintaining and growing audience. Next year, smart broadcasters will use social networking as a way to drive web engagement, tune-ins, and time spent viewing/listening. 6. Power to the People Audience-driven television shows like Dancing with the Stars, American Idol, and America’s Got Talent have harnessed the power of the crowd to create compelling and interesting programming. Watch Twitter or Facebook during any big TV show, whether it’s the NBC Christmas Special or Glee, and you’ll see people posting comments and having conversations about the programming in real time. In my other life as President of Listener Driven Radio (LDR), we have been working with radio stations to create interactive broadcast programming. Our software is in use at some of the world’s leading broadcast companies, and we’re seeing some fascinating impact on station ratings and website traffic as a result of empowering the audience to participate in real-time programming. We’ve seen real-time voting on music stations impact tune-ins and website traffic. In an instant-gratification society, giving your audience real-time influence in programming is natural and powerful. 7. Target Power Digital ad targeting technology is getting better, more accurate, and more important to ad buyers. Precise geographic, demographic, and psychographic targeting is increasingly valuable, and I anticipate the technologies and systems that make better targeting possible will appreciate in value in 2011. Broadcasters’ digital outlets have a unique asset already, in that their digital audiences are largely concentrated with a specific demo group / lifestyle group respective to the station. Broadcasters have an important road ahead of them in developing audience databases, since precise tracking/databasing of the audience is the first step in

making targeting possible.

Original article Jessica Northey

Other Posts by Jessica Northey

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Social media - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Tuesday, September 13 2011, 10:19 AM From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article may require copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone, or spelling. You can assist by editing it . (July 2011) The term Social Media refers to the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into an interactive dialogue. Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein define social media as "a group of Internetbased applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of usergenerated content."[1] Social media are media for social interaction, as a superset beyond social communication. Kietzmann et al. (2011) argue that “social media introduce substantial and pervasive changes to communication between organizations, communities, and individuals” (p. 250),[2] enabled by ubiquitously accessible and scalable communication techniques. Contents [hide] 1 Shaping 1.1 Patents 2 Purpose 2.1 Distinction from industrial media

An example of the share buttons common to many social web pages.

3 Managing Social Media 4 Building "social authority" and vanity 4.1 Internet usage effects 4.2 Probable historic impact 5 Criticisms 5.1 Economic impact by social marketing 5.2 Ownership of Social Media Content 6 Application examples 6.1 Brand monitoring 6.2 Communication 6.3 Collaboration/authority building 6.4 Entertainment 6.5 Leisure example 6.6 Multimedia 6.7 Reviews and opinions 7 See also 8 References 9 Further reading

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Shaping

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Social media can take on many different forms, including Internet forums, weblogs, social blogs, microblogging, wikis, podcasts, photographs or pictures, video, rating and social bookmarking. By applying a set of theories in the field of media research (social presence, media richness) and social processes (self-presentation, self-disclosure) Kaplan and Haenlein created a classification scheme for different social media types in their Business Horizons article published in 2010. According to Kaplan and Haenlein there are six different types of social media: collaborative projects (e.g. Wikipedia), blogs and microblogs (e.g. Twitter), content communities (e.g. Youtube), social networking sites (e.g. Facebook), virtual game worlds (e.g. World of Warcraft), and virtual social worlds (e.g. Second Life). Technologies include: blogs, picture-sharing, vlogs, wall-postings, email, instant messaging, musicsharing, crowdsourcing, and voice over IP, to name a few. Many of these social media services can be integrated via social network aggregation platforms. Kietzmann et al. (2011) present a honeycomb framework that defines how social media services focus on some or all of seven functional building blocks (identity, conversations, sharing, presence, relationships, reputation, and groups). These building blocks help understand the engagement needs of the social media audience. For instance, LinkedIn users care mostly about identity, reputation and relationships, whereas YouTubeĘźs primary building blocks are sharing, conversations, groups and reputation. [2]

Patents

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There has been rapid growth in the number of US patent applications that cover new technologies related to social media. The number of published applications has been growing rapidly over the past five years. There are now over 250 published applications. [4] Only about 10 of these applications have issued as patents, however, largely due to the multiyear backlog in examination of business method patents [5]

Purpose

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Number of US social network patent applications published per year and patents issued per year[3]

Distinction from industrial media

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Businesses may refer to social media as consumer-generated media (CGM). A common thread running through all definitions of social media is a blending of technology and social interaction for the co-creation of value. [citation needed] People obtain information, education, news and other data from electronic media and print media. Social media are distinct from industrial or traditional media, such as newspapers, television, and film. They are relatively inexpensive and accessible to enable anyone (even private individuals) to publish or access information, compared to industrial media, which generally require significant resources to publish information. One characteristic shared by both social media and industrial media is the capability to reach small or large audiences; for example, either a blog post or a television show may reach no people or millions of people. Some of the properties that help describe the differences between social media and industrial media are:

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1. Reach - both industrial and social media technologies provide scale and are capable of reaching a global audience. Industrial media, however, typically use a centralized framework for organization, production, and dissemination, whereas social media are by their very nature more decentralized, less hierarchical, and distinguished by multiple points of production and utility. 2. Accessibility - the means of production for industrial media are typically government and/or privately owned; social media tools are generally available to the public at little or no cost. 3. Usability - industrial media production typically requires specialized skills and training. Conversely, most social media production does not require specialized skills and training, or requires only modest reinterpretation of existing skills; in theory, anyone with access can operate the means of social media production. 4. Immediacy - the time lag between communications produced by industrial media can be long (days, weeks, or even months) compared to social media (which can be capable of virtually instantaneous responses; only the participants determine any delay in response). However, as industrial media begin adopting aspects of production normally associated with social media tools, this feature may not prove distinctive over time. 5. Permanence - industrial media, once created, cannot be altered (once a magazine article is printed and distributed changes cannot be made to that same article) whereas social media can be altered almost instantaneously by comments or editing. Community media constitute an interesting hybrid of industrial and social media. Though community-owned, some community radios, TV and newspapers are run by professionals and some by amateurs. They use both social and industrial media frameworks.

Managing Social Media

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Kietzmann et al. (2011) contend that social media presents an enormous challenge for firms, as many established management methods are ill-suited to deal with customers who no longer want to be talked at but who want firms to listen, appropriately engage, and respond. The authors explain that each of the seven functional building blocks has important implications for how firms should engage with social media. By analyzing identity, conversations, sharing, presence, relationships, reputation, and groups, firms can monitor and understand how social media activities vary in terms of their function and impact, so as to develop a congruent social media strategy based on the appropriate balance of building blocks for their community. [2]

Building "social authority" and vanity According to the European Journal of Social Psychology, one of the key components in successful social media marketing implementation is building "social authority". Social authority is developed when an individual or organization establishes themselves as an "expert" in their given field or area, thereby becoming an influencer in that field or area.[7]

[edit] Business metrics (revenues, reputation...) Social media analytics (share of voice, resonation, support response...)

Engagement Data (clicks, fans, followers, views, check-ins...) Social media ROI pyramid according to one blogger[6]

It is through this process of "building social authority" that social media becomes effective. That is why one of the foundational concepts in social media has become that you cannot completely control your message through social media but rather you can simply begin to participate in the "conversation" expecting that you can achieve a significant influence in that conversation. [8]

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However, this conversation participation must be cleverly executed because while people are resistant to marketing in general, they are even more resistant to direct or overt marketing through social media platforms. This may seem counter-intuitive but is the main reason building social authority with credibility is so important. A marketer can generally not expect people to be receptive to a marketing message in and of itself. In the Edleman Trust Barometer report in 2008, the majority (58%) of the respondents reported they most trusted company or product information coming from "people like me" inferred to be information from someone they trusted. In the 2010 Trust Report , the majority switched to 64% preferring their information from industry experts and academics. According to Inc. Technology's Brent Leary, "This loss of trust, and the accompanying turn towards experts and authorities, seems to be coinciding with the rise of social media and networks." [9][10]

Internet usage effects

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A study by the University of Maryland suggested that social media services may be addictive, [11] and that users of social media services leads to a "fear of missing out". [12] It has been observed that Facebook is now the primary method for communication by college students in the U.S.[13][14] There are various statistics that account for social media usage and effectiveness for individuals worldwide. Some of the most recent statistics are as follows: Social networking now accounts for 22% of all time spent online in the US. [15] A total of 234 million people age 13 and older in the U.S. used mobile devices in December 2009. [16] Twitter processed more than one billion tweets in December 2009 and averages almost 40 million tweets per day.[16] Over 25% of U.S. internet page views occurred at one of the top social networking sites in December 2009, up from 13.8% a year before.[16] Australia has some of the highest social media usage in the world. In usage of Facebook Australia ranks highest, with over 9 million users spending almost 9 hours per month on the site. [17][18] The number of social media users age 65 and older grew 100 percent throughout 2010, so that one in four people in that age group are now part of a social networking site.[19] As of June 2011 Facebook has 750 Million users. [20] According to a report by Nielson[21] “In the U.S. alone, total minutes spent on social networking sites has increased 83 percent year-over-year. In fact, total minutes spent on Facebook increased nearly 700 percent year-over-year, growing from 1.7 billion minutes in April 2008 to 13.9 billion in April 2009, making it the No. 1 social networking site for the month.� The main increase in social media has been Facebook. It was ranked as the number one social networking site. Approximately 100 million users access this site through their mobile phone. According to Nielsen, global consumers spend more than 6 hours on social networking sites. "Social Media Revolution" produced by Socialnomics author Erik Qualman contains numerous statistics on Social Media including the fact that 93% of businesses use it for marketing and that if Facebook were a country it would be the third largest.[22] In an effort to supplant Facebook's dominance, Google launched Google+ in the summer of 2011.

Probable historic impact

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Social media may have been integral to the Arab revolutions and revolts of 2011.[23][24] As one Cairo activist succinctly put it, [25] However, there is some debate about the extent to which social media facilitated this kind of change.[26]

Criticisms

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Andrew Keen criticizes social media in his book The Cult of the Amateur, writing, "Out of this anarchy, it suddenly became clear that what was governing the infinite monkeys now inputting away on the Internet was the law of digital Darwinism, the survival of the loudest and most opinionated. Under these rules, the only way to intellectually prevail is by infinite filibustering."[27] Tim Berners-Lee contends that the danger of social networking sites is that most are silos and do not allow users to port data from one site to another. He also cautions against social networks that grow too big and become a monopoly as this tends to limit innovation.[28]

Economic impact by social marketing

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Thus, using social media as a form of marketing has taken on whole new challenges. As the 2010 Trust Study indicates, it is most effective if marketing efforts through social media revolve around the genuine building of authority. Someone performing a "marketing" role within a company must honestly convince people of their genuine intentions, knowledge, and expertise in a specific area or industry through providing valuable and accurate information on an ongoing basis without a marketing angle overtly associated. If this can be done, trust with, and of, the recipient of that information – and that message itself – begins to develop naturally. This person or organization becomes a thought leader and value provider - setting themselves up as a trusted "advisor" instead of marketer. "Top of mind awareness" develops and the consumer naturally begins to gravitate to the products and/or offerings of the authority/influencer.[9][29] Of course, there are many ways authority can be created – and influence can be accomplished – including: participation in Wikipedia which actually verifies user-generated content and information more than most people may realize; providing valuable content through social networks on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter; article writing and distribution through sites such as Ezine Articles and Scribd; and providing fact-based answers on "social question and answer sites" such as EHow and Yahoo! Answers. As a result of social media – and the direct or indirect influence of social media marketers – today, consumers are as likely – or more likely – to make buying decisions based on what they read and see in platforms we call "social" but only if presented by someone they have come to trust. Additionally, reports have shown organizations have been able to bring back dissatisfied customers and stakeholders through social media channels. [30] This is why a purposeful and carefully designed social media strategy has become an integral part of any complete and directed marketing plan but must also be designed using newer "authority building" techniques. [31] In his 2006 book, The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom, Yochai Benkler analyzed many of these distinctions and their implications in terms of both economics and political liberty. However, Benkler, like many academics, uses the neologism network economy or "network information economy" to describe the underlying economic, social, and technological characteristics of what has come to be known as "social media". The basic assumption with social media is there will be a demand for the information published using such media. The quantity of subscribers to the various providers seems to prove that assumption. However, the quality of the contents casted by individuals may be subject of a more distant view, regarding the multicast or even broadcast distribution as powered by vanity of the issuers. In contrast the reception of contents published by organisations shows the curiosity of the subscribers to learn more about the ever renewing world they are part of. Both aspects may generate economic value beyond the providers sake for the issuers of the contents. However, building reputation and becoming recognised as an expert with a high yield in "social authority" may remind the fact that there is no quality assessment for the issued contents but the acclamation or applause by the readers or the opposite, deprecation or disapproval. That does not guarantee for a reasonable value of the messages.

Ownership of Social Media Content

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Social Media content is generated through social media interactions done by the users through the site. There has always been a huge debate on the ownership of the content on social media platforms since it is generated by the users and hosted by the company. Critics contend that the companies are making huge amount of money by using the content that does not belong to them.[32] Hence the challenge for ownership is lesser with the communicated content, but with the personal data disclosed by the subscribed writers and readers and the correlation to chosen types of content. The security danger beyond is the parasitic conveying, diffunding or leaking of agglomerated data to third parties with certain economic interest.[33]

Application examples

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Brand monitoring

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Social media measurement: Attensity, Statsit, Sysomos, Vocus

Communication

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Blogs: Blogger, Drupal, ExpressionEngine, LiveJournal, Open Diary, TypePad, Vox, WordPress, Xanga Microblogging: Dailybooth, FMyLife, Foursquare, Google Buzz, Identi.ca, Jaiku, Nasza-Klasa.pl, Plurk, Posterous, Qaiku, Tumblr, Twitter, *Engagement Advertising & Monetization: SocialVibe Location-based social networks: Facebook places, Foursquare, Geoloqi, Google Latitude, Gowalla, The Hotlist, Yelp, Inc. Events: Eventful, The Hotlist, Meetup.com, Upcoming, Yelp, Inc. Information Aggregators: Netvibes, Twine (website) Online Advocacy and Fundraising: Causes, Jumo, Kickstarter, IndieGoGo Social networking: ASmallWorld, Bebo, Cyworld, Diaspora, Facebook, Google+, Hi5, Hyves, IRC, LinkedIn, MySpace, Ning, Orkut, Plaxo, Tagged, Tuenti, XING, Yammer

Collaboration/authority building

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Collaboration: Central Desktop Content Management Systems: Drupal, Joomla, Plone, Siteforum, Wordpress Diagramming and Visual Collaboration: Creately Document Managing and Editing Tools: Docs.com, Dropbox.com, Google Docs, Syncplicity Social bookmarking (or social tagging):[34] CiteULike, Delicious, Diigo, Google Reader, StumbleUpon, folkd Social Media Gaming: Empire Avenue[35] Social navigation: Trapster, Waze [36] Social news: Digg, Mixx, Newsvine, NowPublic, Reddit Wikis: PBworks, Wetpaint, Wikia, Wikimedia, Wikispaces

Entertainment

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Game sharing: Armor Games, Kongregate, Miniclip, Newgrounds Media and entertainment platforms: Cisco Eos, Myspace, Youtube Virtual worlds: Active Worlds, Forterra Systems, Second Life, The Sims Online, World of Warcraft, RuneScape

Leisure example

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The Dutch man Ramon Stoppelenburg traveled around the world for free, without spending any money, from 2001 to 2003, thanks to his blog on Letmestayforaday.com . His website was his profile with which he created his own

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necessary network of online offered places to stay for the night. This made Stoppelenburg one of the first people online who used the online media in a social and effective manner. [citation needed]

Multimedia

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Livecasting: blip.tv, Justin.tv, Livestream, oovoo, OpenCU, Skype, Stickam, Ustream, Youtube Music and audio sharing: Bandcamp, ccMixter, Groove Shark, The Hype Machine, imeem, Last.fm, MySpace Music, Pandora Radio, ReverbNation.com, ShareTheMusic, Soundclick, SoundCloud, Spotify, Turntable.fm Photography and art sharing: deviantArt, Flickr, Photobucket, Picasa, SmugMug, Zooomr Presentation sharing: Prezi, scribd, SlideShare Video sharing: Dailymotion, Metacafe, Nico Nico Douga, Openfilm, sevenload, Viddler, Vimeo, YouTube

Reviews and opinions

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Business reviews: Customer Lobby, Yelp, Inc. Community Q&A: ask.com, Askville, EHow, Quora, Stack Exchange, WikiAnswers, Yahoo! Answers * Product reviews: epinions.com, MouthShut.com

See also

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Brand infiltration Citizen media Connectivism (learning theory) Human impact of Internet use#Internet and political revolutions Metcalfe's law MMORPG Networked learning New media Online research community Participatory media Social media marketing

References

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1. ^ Kaplan, Andreas M.; Michael Haenlein (2010). "Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media" . Business Horizons 53 (1): 59–68. doi:10.1016/j.bushor.2009.09.003 . ISSN 0007-6813 . Retrieved 201009-15. 2. ^ a b c Kietzmann, Jan H.; Kris Hermkens, Ian P. McCarthy, and Bruno S. Silvestre (2011). "Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media" . Business Horizons 54 (3): 241–251. doi:10.1016/j.bushor.2011.01.005 . ISSN 0007-6813 . Retrieved 2011-08-23. 3. ^ Mark Nowotarski, "Do not Steal My Avatar! Challenges of Social Network Patents, IP Watchdog, January 23, 2011. 4. ^ USPTO search on published patent applications mentioning “social media” 5. ^ USPTO search on issued patents mentioning “social media” 6. ^ Framework: The Social Media ROI Pyramid 7. ^ European Journal of Social Psychology 8. ^ Research Survey 9. ^ a b Inc. Technology Brent Leary Article 10. ^ Edelman 2010 Trust Barometer Study 11. ^ "Students Addicted to Social Media - New UM Study"

. Retrieved 23 May 2011.

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12. ^ "FOMO: The Unintended Effects of Social Media Addiction" . Retrieved 23 May 2011. 13. ^ Harris, Kandace (2008). "Using Social Networking Sites as Student Engagement Tools". Diverse Issues in Higher Education 25 (18). 14. ^ "Statistics" . Facebook. Retrieved 23 May 2011. 15. ^ http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/global/social-media-accounts-for-22-percent-of-time-online/ 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21.

^ a b c http://digital.venturebeat.com/2010/02/10/54-of-us-internet-users-on-facebook-27-on-myspace/trackback/ ^ . http://www.socialmedianews.com.au/social-media-stats-in-australia-facebook-blogger-myspace/ . ^ . http://www.socialmedianews.com.au/ . ^ "Boomers Joining Social Media at Record Rate" . CBS News. 2010-11-15. ^ http://techcrunch.com/2011/06/23/facebook-750-million-users// ^ "Time Spent on Facebook up 700 Percent, but MySpace.com Still Tops for Video, According to Nielsen" .

22. 23. 24. 25. 26.

^ Social Media Revolution Video ^ http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/01/tunisia/ ^ Kirkpatrick, David D. (2011-02-09). "Wired and Shrewd, Young Egyptians Guide Revolt" . The New York Times. ^ http://www.miller-mccune.com/politics/the-cascading-effects-of-the-arab-spring-28575/ ^ Malcolm Gladwell and Clay Shirky on Social Media and Revolution, Foreign Affairs March/April 2011

27. ^ Keen, Andrew. The Cult of the Amateur. Random House. p. 15. ISBN 9780385520812. 28. ^ http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=long-live-the-web 29. ^ Search Engine Watch 30. ^ http://www.marketingforecast.com/archives/10548 31. ^ Business Expert Brent Leary on Inc Technology Website 32. ^ "How much is your content worth?" . 33. ^ Jones, Soltren, Facebook: Threats to Privacy, MIT 2005 34. ^ Golder, Scott; Huberman, Bernardo A. (2006). "Usage Patterns of Collaborative Tagging Systems" Information Science 32 (2): 198–208. doi:10.1177/0165551506062337 . 35. ^ "Empire Avenue, the stockmarket where YOUʼRE for sale" . Retrieved 22 March 2011. 36. ^ 10 Ways Geolocation is Changing the World

. Journal of

Further reading

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Benkler, Yochai (2006). The Wealth of Networks. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0300110561. OCLC 61881089 . Gentle, Anne (2009). Conversation and Community: The Social Web for Documentation. Fort Collins, Colo: XML Press. ISBN 9780982219119. OCLC 464581118 . Johnson, Steven Berlin (2005). Everything Bad Is Good for You. New York: Riverhead Books. ISBN 1573223077. OCLC 57514882 . Li, Charlene; Bernoff, Josh (2008). Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies. Boston: Harvard Business Press. ISBN 9781422125007. OCLC 423555651 . Scoble, Robert; Israel, Shel (2006). Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers. Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley. ISBN 047174719X. OCLC 61757953 . Shirky, Clay (2008). Here Comes Everybody. New York: Penguin Press. ISBN 9781594201530. OCLC 458788924 . Surowiecki, James (2004). The Wisdom of Crowds. New York: Anchor Books. ISBN 0385721706. OCLC 156770258 . Tapscott, Don; Williams, Anthony D. (2006). Wikinomics. New York: Portfolio. ISBN 1591841380. OCLC 318389282 . Powell, Guy R.; Groves, Steven W.; Dimos, Jerry (2011). ROI of Social Media: How to improve the return on your

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Some Internet-Use Tracking Firms to Reveal What They Know - WSJ.com Tuesday, September 13 2011, 10:21 AM By EMIL Y STEEL

Seeking to head off escalating scrutiny over Internet privacy, a group of online tracking rivals is building a service that lets consumers see what information those companies know about them. The project is the first of its kind in the fast-growing business of tracking Internet users and selling personal details about their lives. Called the Open Data Partnership, it will allow consumers to edit the interests, demographics and other profile information collected about them. It also will allow people to choose to not be tracked at all.

Seeking to head off escalating scrutiny over privacy, a group of online data and tracking firms are joining forces to build a service that lets consumers see what information those companies know about them. WSJ's Emily Steel reports.

When the service launches in January, users will be able to see information about them from eight data and tracking firms, including BlueKai Inc., Lotame Solutions Inc. and eXelate Inc. Additional tracking firms are expected to join once the system is live, but more than a hundred tracking firms and big Internet companies including Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc. are not

involved. The companies involved represent some of the most aggressive trackers of Internet users, many of which have been profiled in The Wall Street Journal's "What They Know" series about online privacy. (See related article on page B2.) "The government has told us that we have to do better as an industry to be more transparent and give consumers more control. This is a huge step in that direction," said Scott Meyer, CEO of Better Advertising Project, a New York-based start-up that is directing the Open Data initiative.

It's rarely a coincidence when you see Web ads for products that match your interests. WSJ's Christina Tsuei explains how advertisers use cookies to track your online habits.

Journal Community

The $25 billion Internet advertising industry is scrambling to make more transparent its widespread practice of collecting, selling and using Web browsing and other profile information about consumers, as part of a broader effort to ward off federal regulation. Online tracking is legal, and companies currently aren't bound by government rules to show people what they know about them. In a report on Internet privacy on Wednesday, the Federal Trade

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Commission called for the development of a do-not-track tool system that would enable people to avoid having their actions monitored online—a move the online advertising industry opposes. Internet and advertising companies typically gather information about users to target ads. A person's Web activities and location can be used to tailor the type of credit cards pitches they see, for instance.

More on Digital Privacy Policing Privacy on Web Debated House Committee Asks Professor to Censor Facebook Remarks FTC Backs 'Do Not Track' Law Would Prohibit Online Tracking of Kids digits: FTC Calls for Non-Tracking System Digits: An Icon to Tell You About Web Tracking on Ads Complete Coverage: What They Know

BlueKai trades data on more than 200 million Internet users, boasting the ability to reach more than 80% of the U.S. Internet population. The new Open Data initiative marks the first time consumers will have a one-stop-shop to see all the information these companies know about them. Previously, a handful of Internet and tracking firms, including Google, Yahoo, BlueKai, Lotame and eXelate, made such information available on their own sites. However, few consumers were aware. "Not all consumers know who eXelate is, but if we can create a central portal where eXelate and all our lovely competitors can be in one place, it provides an easier way for consumers to get access to these tools," said Mark Zagorski, chief revenue officer at eXelate.

Enlarge Image Better Advertising Project

Web ads carrying the above logo will let consumers find out what information is known about them.

What You Can Do How to Avoid Prying Eyes | Step by Step

A website, betteradvertising.com, will list online data and tracking firms that have collected or used information about a person's interests, Web browsing or other details. For the companies that sign up for the initiative, a person will be able to see what information they have collected, Mr. Meyer says.

Escaping the 'Scrapers'

Users also will be able to access their profiles via advertisements that display an icon: a lowercase "i" encased in a triangle. Clicking on the icon displays more information about how the ad was targeted to a user and further clicks provide more information about how to see the information that the companies know about users and how to opt-out. What They Know About You

Journal Community DISCUSS

Once many of us see what

A visitor can see, for instance, that eXelate has pegged them as a person interested in buying a hybrid or luxury automobile, with a household income of $60,000 and an interest in shopping for personal technology. That user can change the income bracket or remove it entirely from his profile.

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they really know about us we will quickly hit the conveniently available don'ttrack-me button.

—Bill Brown

Users also can decide not to be tracked. The information displayed as part of the Open Data initiative also won't be shared and used for tracking purposes. However, some of the companies will show only broad categories in which they classify users rather than the minute details that they know.

Better Advertising says it is not charging the data companies to be a part of the service, which is free to consumers. Advertisers ultimately will have to pay for the service that places the Open Data icon and information in their ads. Write to Emily Steel at emily.steel@wsj.com

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Study says training with video games can help you do your job better | VentureBeat Tuesday, September 13 2011, 10:37 AM

Study says training with video games can help you do your job better December 1, 2010 | Dean Takahashi

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Incorporating video games into work training can help people do their jobs better, according to a new study by the University of Colorado in Denver.

The study found that trainees who used video games to train had a nine percent higher retention rate, an 11 percent higher factual knowledge level and a 14 percent higher skill-based knowledge level, according to an announcement today by the game industry trade group, the Entertainment Software Association. The study lends support to the trend of “gamification,” also known as “serious games,” where non-game applications are made more fun, engaging and memorable by making them more game-like. Employee training is ripe for gamification because it can be so boring. By making it more game-like, employers can communicate, particularly with young employees, in a medium they can understand. The study by Traci Sitzmann, a professor at the university’s business school, examined 65 existing studies on the use of games in training, She also collected and examined data from 6,500 trainees, some of whom used games in training and some who didn’t. The game players got better results. Sitzmann also found that games were most effective as training tools when they engaged the user actively and were accompanied by traditional forms of instruction before and after play.

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A bunch of companies are already hip to the trend. The Hilton Garden Inn hired the Virtual Heroes game studio to develop Ultimate Team Play (pictured), a game that places employees in a virtual hotel where they have to field requests from guests. Electronics distributor Arrow Electronics worked with BrandGames to make a game that teaches customer account managers customer service skills and supply-chain management. And the U.S. Department of Homeland Security sponsored a game, Zero Hour: America’s Medic, to help emergency personnel deal with disasters. Next Story: Racktivity raises $8 million for data center efficiency Previous Story: By suing popular chat app Kik, is RIM poisoning its own ecosystem? Print

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The AI Revolution Is On | Magazine Tuesday, September 13 2011, 10:31 AM

Today’s A.I. bears little resemblance to its initial conception. The field’s trailblazers believed success lay in mimicking the logic-based reasoning that human brains were thought to use. Photo: Dwight Eschliman; Illustration: Zee Rogér

AI Revolution Wall Street Algorithms Are in Control AI Autos: Leave the Driving to Us

Diapers.com warehouses are a bit of a jumble. Boxes of pacifiers sit above crates of onesies, which rest next to cartons of baby food. In a seeming abdication of logic, similar items are placed across the room from one another. A person trying to figure out how the products were shelved could well conclude that no form of intelligence—except maybe a random number generator—had a hand in determining what went where. But the warehouses aren’t meant to be understood by humans; they were built for bots. Every day, hundreds of robots course nimbly through the aisles, instantly identifying items and delivering them to flesh-and-blood packers on the periphery. Instead of organizing the warehouse as a human might—by placing like products next to one another, for instance—Diapers.com’s robots stick the items in various aisles throughout the facility. Then, to fill an order, the first available robot simply finds the closest requested item. The storeroom is an ever-shifting mass that adjusts to constantly changing data, like the size and popularity of merchandise, the geography of the warehouse, and the location of each robot. Set up by Kiva Systems, which has outfitted similar facilities for Gap, Staples, and Office Depot, the system can deliver items to packers at the rate of one every six seconds. The computers are in control. We just live in their world. The Kiva bots may not seem very smart. They don’t possess anything like human intelligence and certainly couldn’t pass a Turing test. But they represent a new forefront in the field of artificial intelligence. Today’s AI doesn’t try to re-create the brain. Instead, it uses machine learning, massive data sets, sophisticated sensors, and clever algorithms to master discrete tasks. Examples can be found everywhere: The Google global machine uses AI to interpret cryptic human queries. Credit card companies use it to track fraud. Netflix uses it to recommend movies to subscribers. And the financial system uses it to handle billions of trades (with only the occasional meltdown). This explosion is the ironic payoff of the seemingly fruitless decades-long quest to emulate human intelligence. That goal proved so elusive that some scientists lost heart and many others lost funding. People talked of an AI winter—a barren season in which no vision or project could take root or grow. But even as the traditional dream of AI was freezing over, a new one was being born: machines built to accomplish specific tasks in ways that people never could. At first, there were just a few green shoots pushing up through the frosty ground. But now we’re in full bloom.

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Evernote Web Welcome to AI summer.

Transportation All aboard the algorithm. Model trains are easy to keep track of. But building a model to run real trains is a complex undertaking. So about two years ago, when Norfolk Southern Railway decided to install a smarter system to handle its sprawling operation, it brought in a team of algorithm geeks from Princeton University. What they got was the Princeton Locomotive and Shop Management System, or Plasma, which used an algorithmic strategy to analyze Norfolk Southern’s operations. Plasma tracks thousands of variables, predicting the impact of changes in fleet size, maintenance policies, transit time, and other factors on real-world operations. The key breakthrough was making the model mimic the complex behavior of the company’s dispatch center in Atlanta. “Think of the dispatch center as one big, collective brain. How do you get a computer to behave like that?” asks Warren Powell, a professor at Princeton’s Operations Research and Financial Engineering department. The model that Powell and his team came up with was, in effect, a kind of AI hive mind. Plasma uses a technology known as approximate dynamic programming to examine mountains of historical data. The system then uses its findings to model the dispatch center’s collective human decisionmaking and even suggest improvements. For now, Plasma is serving just as a tool to help Norfolk Southern decide what its fleet size should be—humans are still in control of dispatching the trains. At least we’re still good for something. —Jon Stokes.

Today’s AI bears little resemblance to its initial conception. The field’s trailblazers in the 1950s and ’60s believed success lay in mimicking the logicbased reasoning that human brains were thought to use. In 1957, the AI crowd confidently predicted that machines would soon be able to replicate all kinds of human mental achievements. But that turned out to be wildly unachievable, in part because we still don’t really understand how the brain works, much less how to re-create it. So during the ’80s, graduate students began to focus on the kinds of skills for which computers were well-suited and found they could build something like intelligence from groups of systems that operated according to their own kind of reasoning. “The big surprise is that intelligence isn’t a unitary thing,” says Danny Hillis, who cofounded Thinking Machines, a company that made massively parallel supercomputers. “What we’ve learned is that it’s all kinds of different behaviors.” AI researchers began to devise a raft of new techniques that were decidedly not modeled on human intelligence. By using probability-based algorithms to derive meaning from huge amounts of data, researchers discovered that they didn’t need to teach a computer how to accomplish a task; they could just show it what people did and let the machine figure out how to emulate that behavior under similar circumstances. They used genetic algorithms, which comb through randomly generated chunks of code, skim the highest-performing ones, and splice them together to spawn new code. As the process is repeated, the evolved programs become amazingly effective, often comparable to the output of the most experienced coders. MIT’s Rodney Brooks also took a biologically inspired approach to robotics. His lab programmed six-legged buglike creatures by breaking down insect behavior into a series of simple commands—for instance, “If you run into an obstacle, lift your legs higher.” When the programmers got the rules right, the gizmos could figure out for themselves how to navigate even complicated terrain. (It’s no coincidence that iRobot, the company Brooks cofounded with his MIT students, produced the Roomba autonomous vacuum cleaner, which doesn’t initially know the location of all the objects in a room or the best way to traverse it but knows how to keep itself moving.) The fruits of the AI revolution are now all around us. Once researchers were freed from the burden of building a whole mind, they could construct a rich bestiary of digital fauna, which few would dispute possess something approaching intelligence. “If you told somebody in 1978, ‘You’re going to have this machine, and you’ll be able to type a few words and instantly get all of the world’s knowledge on that topic,’ they would probably consider that to be AI,” Google cofounder Larry Page says. “That seems routine now, but it’s a really big deal.” Even formerly mechanical processes like driving a car have become collaborations with AI systems. “At first it was the automatic braking system,” Brooks says. “The person’s foot was saying, I want to brake this much, and the intelligent system in the middle figured when to actually apply the brakes to make that work. Now you’re starting to get automatic parking and lane-changing.” Indeed, Google has been developing and testing cars that drive themselves with only minimal human involvement; by October, they had already covered 140,000 miles of pavement. In short, we are engaged in a permanent dance with machines, locked in an increasingly dependent embrace. And yet, because the bots’ behavior isn’t based on human thought processes, we are often powerless to explain their actions. Wolfram Alpha, the website created by scientist Stephen Wolfram, can solve many mathematical problems. It also seems to display how those answers are derived. But the logical steps that humans see are completely different from the website’s actual calculations. “It doesn’t do any of that reasoning,” Wolfram says. “Those steps are pure fake. We thought, how can we explain this to one of those humans out there?”

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Evernote Web The lesson is that our computers sometimes have to humor us, or they will freak us out. Eric Horvitz—now a top Microsoft researcher and a former president of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence—helped build an AI system in the 1980s to aid pathologists in their studies, analyzing each result and suggesting the next test to perform. There was just one problem—it provided the answers too quickly. “We found that people trusted it more if we added a delay loop with a flashing light, as though it were huffing and puffing to come up with an answer,” Horvitz says. But we must learn to adapt. AI is so crucial to some systems—like the financial infrastructure—that getting rid of it would be a lot harder than simply disconnecting HAL 9000’s modules. “In some sense, you can argue that the science fiction scenario is already starting to happen,” Thinking Machines’ Hillis says. “The computers are in control, and we just live in their world.” Wolfram says this conundrum will intensify as AI takes on new tasks, spinning further out of human comprehension. “Do you regulate an underlying algorithm?” he asks. “That’s crazy, because you can’t foresee in most cases what consequences that algorithm will have.” In its earlier days, artificial intelligence was weighted with controversy and grave doubt, as humanists feared the ramifications of thinking machines. Now the machines are embedded in our lives, and those fears seem irrelevant. “I used to have fights about it,” Brooks says. “I’ve stopped having fights. I’m just trying to win.” Senior writer Steven Levy (steven_levy@wired.com) wrote about the rise of hacker culture in issue 18.05.

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The Case for the Virtual Classroom Tuesday, September 13 2011, 10:37 AM

Online education is often dismissed as a pipeline for expensive degrees of little value and a sponge for veterans’ tuition payments. But while it’s true that for-profit universities have made a hefty business out of e-learning, it’s becoming apparent that learning online can also benefit almost everyone else.

“It’s very clear that five years from now, on the web, for free!you will be able to find the greatest lectures in the world on the web,” Bill Gates recently predicted in an interview at Techonomy 2010. Gates is not the only smart guy pulling for online education to extend the reach, affordability, and even quality of education. Here’s why the virtual classroom counts deans of prestigious universities, entrepreneurs, and people who want to change the world as its advocates.

1. Online Education “Doesn’t Have to Suck”

This July, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s business school will enroll the first students of its online MBA program. Offering an online component to university courses isn’t a new idea. In the 2006-2007 school year, 66% of postsecondary learning institutions included in federal financial aid programs were already reporting that they

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offered some form of online education. But one of the top business schools making an entire degree program available online raised some eyebrows. “What we try to explain is that [while] there are low-quality providers online, there are also low-quality classroom providers,” Dean James Dean says. “There’s nothing about the particular delivery mechanism that makes it intrinsically low quality, and that we had the opportunity to reinvent what was meant by online and to really shatter those perceptions.” The co-founder of 2tor, UNC’s technology partner for the course, puts it more bluntly. “Online education doesn’t have to suck,” Jeremy Johnson says. According to the U.S. Department of Education, Johnson is right. In a 2009 report based on 50 independent studies, the agency found that students who studied in online learning environments performed modestly better than peers who were receiving face-to-face instruction. 2tor also works with a master’s of arts in teaching program at the University of Southern California, and other partnerships with prestigious universities are in the works. “We believe that we can basically preserve the higher education experience if the university controls the faculty, the curriculum, and the selective admissions,” explains Alexa Scordato, the community manager for 2tor. The USC online program, for instance, has components the student completes on his own time as well as discussion sections and lectures in which the class interacts through video feeds that several people have described as “stacked like the intro to the Brady Bunch.” The professor can break the students into discussion groups, and the class can interact outside of the classroom on a Facebook-like wall. Ninety-eight percent of the faculty hold Ph.D.s or Ed.D.s, and the admission requirements are parallel to those of the program at the physical university. Online students complete the student teaching component of the program at one of their local schools, and their performance is evaluated by both a supervising teacher at that school as well as their instructor, who watches videos that the students take of themselves teaching. About 80% of the first class, according to USC, are now employed as teachers.

2. Universities Have Limited Physical Space

The online programs at USC and UNC charge the same tuition as courses at the physical university. According to Dean, maintaining a low student-to-teacher ratio and paying for technology means that, at least at UNC, the cost to the university won’t be drastically reduced either. But offering programs online does enable both schools to educate more students without expanding its facilities. “We’re not that big of a physical facility, so in order to grow, we’re looking for innovative ways to grow that don’t

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involve building new buildings,” Dean explains. “This isn’t really a good time to do that. So this is really an opportunity to give access to our MBA program to people around the world without having to increase the size of our facility.” Before instating its online teaching program in 2009, the MAT program at USC graduated about 100 students every year. By contrast, it currently has more than 1,500 students enrolled in the online program.

3. Education Can Change the World

Over his 20 years of work at for-profit online universities, Shai Reshef started to notice something spectacular. Online communities that helped each other with their homework were popping up all over the Internet, and people were teaching each other –- for free. At the same time, open educational resources and open source technologies were becoming increasingly available. This gave him an interesting idea. “If we take the millions of people around the world who could not afford going to university and teach them tuitionfree, we’re not only changing their lives, and their families’ lives, we also change their communities, their countries,” he says. “And if we have a lot of them, we will change the world.“ Reshef left the for-profit education industry and founded a very different organization in 2009. The University of the People is a completely tuition-free university that offers programs in business administration and computer science. Volunteer professors teach the courses using free and donated educational materials, and discussions take place in online rooms among about 20 students per class. The university has enrolled about 700 students from 100 countries over five terms, the first of which will graduate from associate programs in 2011. But Reshef expects the power of the idea to reach many more than just the University of the People’s students. “I think that what we’re doing is building a model for developing countries’ governments, and they can see what we’re doing and instead of keep trying, with the few millions that they have, to build universities, build buildings to create their own Harvard!instead of wasting the few million dollars that they have, they can build a university that is similar to us and teach the entire population,” he says.

4. Global Understanding Is More Important Than Ever

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In an increasingly global world, it makes sense for students to interact with students from other countries. An increasing number of students study abroad or cross international borders to attend school, but it’s much easier to create an international classroom on the Internet, which has no borders to begin with. “If you take a class, in our case, you’re very likely to meet 20 students from 20 countries,” Reshef says about University of the People. “We believe, by the way, that being exposed to 20 people from 20 cultures — the way they think, the way they function in the class — is as important, if not more, than the subject area itself.” Offering programs to international students without making them relocate can also make programs more competitive. Dean, for instance, says that UNC believes there are thousands of people worldwide who would qualify for a UNC MBA degree but who can’t physically be in Chapel Hill. The school hasn’t opened its application for its online program, but it’s received 423 inquiries about the program since it made the announcement in November. More than half of them are from outside of North Carolina.

5. The Internet Empowers Self-Motivated Learners

The virtual classroom provides access to materials that were once only available to students enrolled in college courses. Consequently, we are approaching the day when self-motivated learners are limited only by their initiative. Bill Gates habitually praises the efforts of Khan Academy, an organization that posts math and science lectures online for topics ranging from kindergarten level addition to college-level calculus. There are a number of similar websites. Academic Earth offers free videos of lectures with professors at top universities, and MIT posts free lecture notes, exams, and videos on a website that anyone with a desire to learn can access. In some ways, said Gates during the Techonomy interview, this approach is superior to traditional lesson plans. “We re-teach the same concepts again and again,” he said. “The teacher has no sense of who in his classroom is getting it, not getting it!and when you look at all of the successful innovations, it’s where you let the student assess his knowledge, understand where they are, and proceed at a pace where they’re actually seeing that they know something before they move on.” The Department of Education’s meta-analysis, which focused on older learners, supports this. Online learners who self-monitored understanding — by, for example, deciding when to move on to the next lesson — performed better.

6. The Virtual Classroom Can Make the Physical Classroom More Effective

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Nobody suggests that online learning will ever completely replace traditional classroom learning, especially for K-12 students. But research suggests that online learning can make classroom time more effective. The modest difference in performance between online and physical classroom learners in the meta-analysis, for instance, was larger for those students who learned through a blend of online and physical classroom conditions. The report warned that the results might not be caused by the medium itself because the students in blended learning conditions often had extra learning time and instructional elements. Which is exactly the advantage, says Sandy Sandy Khaund, the founder of Irynsoft, which makes social apps to complement online course material. Right now class time is typically used by a lecture. But if teachers move the lecture online for students to watch on their own time, they can use the class time to work on activities and interact with students. “It’s sort of inverting the model so that homework happens in the classroom and classroom happens at home,” Khaund says. “And the idea of that is that then the actual student-instructor relationship, the actual reaction, is going to be far more valuable.” There are other advantages to moving the lecture online, and universities like UC Berkeley offer video and audio podcasts of lectures for its on-campus students. When watching a lecture on a video, the student can pause it to reference something the teacher has mentioned or rewind and replay it to listen to something he didn’t understand. “If you try to do that in a classroom setting, it either slows everybody down or you don’t ask the question and you’re confused,” Khaund says.

More Education Resources from Mashable:

- 8 Ways Technology Is Improving Education - The Case For Social Media in Schools

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Theopeninter.net, A Visual Guide To Net Neutrality | TechCrunch Tuesday, September 13 2011, 10:29 AM

With Theopeninter.net, web designer Michael Ciarlo has given you the holiday gift of being able to explain to the less web savvy members of your friends and family what net neutrality means (simply, and with visuals) and why exactly laymen should care about the FCCʼs recent attempts to create “enforcable” Internet regulations. Ciarlo describes the inspiration behind the site as stemming from a conceptual expansion of already existing situations where ISPs exert control over access. “In November my console was updated to include ESPN3. To my surprise, much of the content was unavailable, despite being an XBOX Live customer with a broadband Internet connection. As it turns out, Time Warner Cable had disabled much of my access to this feature, on a device purchased independently of their services, because I didnʼt pay for a cable package that included ESPN3. I

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was angered and frustrated that my ISP had blocked features of a product they did not sell or control.” Granted thereʼs a lot more complexity surrounding the issue than “All ISPs are inherently evil and want to charge you for Skype” Theopeninter.net does, as Reddit commenter lolinyerface (yeah I know) put it, “The job of showing how things we get for free now, could one day be per item additional cost.” Explains Ciarlo: “I created TheOpenInter.net to depict a time in the future when ISPs control the Internet and all data is not downloaded equally. While creating the siteʼs design, I had the idea to bundle Netflix and Hulu as a package ISPs required you to buy. Halfway through development, I questioned the reality of my portrayal. Was I too far off-base? Then to my surprise a Wired article titled “Mobile Carriers Dream of Charging per Page” showed almost the exact same scenario. While there is no documentation within the article to prove wireless carriers have any current plans to implement a similar pricing structure, the fact that evidence exists to suggest its consideration is frightening.” The ghost of Christmas future, indeed.

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Uptick In Corporate Interest In Use Of Second Life « Sitearm Monday, April 25 2011, 7:32 AM

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Uptick In Corporate Interest In Use Of Second Life April 2, 2011 — sitearm I was holding a virtual meeting using the cloud and… Bill Prensky is a Cyber Work Visionary. He is the CEO of Chant Newall Development Group, LLC (Chant Newall is his Second Life avatar name) which builds complex applications and solutions for large global organization on Second Life. I checked in with him and he reports an uptick in corporate interest in use of Second Life. I asked him what the contributing factors might be

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and we had a further discussion of the implications for use of Second Life and use of 3D Web technology in general. Speculation

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What is it that makes 3D Web viable? What distinguishes it from social networking tools such as Facebook and work networking tools such as GoToMeeting? What is the killer application for 3D Web?

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Bill Prensky states that it is the capability of 3D Web to convincingly create the

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experience of sitting in a room together, virtually, with others. Your Avatar is in

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the room with their Avatars. You can see your Avatar with theirs. You can pull up a chair,

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literally, to sit on and to sit in on the discussion.

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The experience of 3D Web virtual presence cannot be duplicated through

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videoconferencing or web seminars, not even with web cameras. Bill emphasizes

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that 3D Web is immersive as well as interactive. This facilitates a greater, engaged, social presence while interacting with others. He

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calls it, snapping into presence.

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agree with the phenomenon of presence. But I am still hesitant that 3D Web allows better presence than the 2D Web (i.e., Facebook,

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Skype). I think people can project their presence, but I think they can do so using any media. So I don’t concur that presence is the

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“killer application” for 3D Web. But I may be wrong and it may be that Bill is accurate – 3D Web is an enabler for social interactive presence, where you are “in the flow” with at least two other persons, not just yourself. If you put social interactive options on a scale, you might say LIVE is first, 3D WEB second, 2D WEB third, and phone and email last. And for the case where Live is not an option, as in remote collaboration, 3D Web takes first place Contributing Factors Bill lays out the case for renewed corporate interest as follows:

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The revamping of Linden Lab last year was viewed by many businesses as a Good Thing. Companies who want to stay alive must

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periodically refocus staff and priorities. Even as many residents and educators were dismayed by major turnovers in Linden Lab

Second Life

(layoffs, merging grids, eliminating SL Enterprise, eliminating nonprofit discounts), companies were reassured. They saw these as

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changes made to keep Linden Lab viable, which, to them, makes Second Life more viable.

organizational value of SL’s new business model « CNDG Blog on Uptick In Corporate Interest In Use Of Second Life

For corporations, OpenSimulator has not been an attractive alternative to Second Life. Although OpenSim uses the same engine and browser base as Second Life, there are as yet no companies providing OpenSim services on a commercial basis with the same scale, functionality (e.g., Assets, Worldwide Availability, Proprietary Media On A Prim Technology), and track record. Furthermore, after a working meeting, training class, or customer focus group held in the cloud, business people LIKE to go

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hang out in the rest of Second Life to shop, drive a virtual Ferrari, and meet friends at a virtual bar to chat and listen to

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music in the cloud. OpenSim services are not connected worldwide on a significant basis.

Second Life

Another factor is that Linden Lab seems to have gotten Second Life technology done right. That is, with the appropriate

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balance of performance versus resource demand necessary to run the product on a normal computer and be connected in a 24.7

Corporate Interest In Use Of

“cloud” world. Competitors have yet to develop a working alternative that comes close to the Second Life server engine and thin

Second Life

client technology combination. And, lord knows, competitors are trying. Linden Lab also has developer tools built into the public Second Life package for free use by all. This means that, while LL provides the platform, residents provide the content. And there are a lot of residents; skilled, savvy, and creative. No 3D Web competitor with a proprietary developer kit can compete – the cost to try to privately clone SL’s “free labor pool” is out of reach. And the cost to try to privately clone SL’s third-party paid labor pool is also out of reach. Implications for Use of Second Life If corporations are seriously revisiting use of Second Life, Bill projects a significant increase in simulator sales by Linden Lab. Not to the corporations – their sim purchases are a drop in the bucket compared to total sim sales – but to corporate employees for personal use. The scenario is that some of the employees who attend work meetings held in corporate sims will become interested in the rest of Second Life, get a personal Avatar, and start to hang out just as other residents do. Some of these new residents will then further become interested in owning their own virtual homestead, and will convert to a premium account and get land. They will become active economic participants and content contributors in the virtual world cloud of SL. A mid-sized company of 50,000 might add several hundred new active residents a year. Implications for Use of 3D Web 3D Web practitioners report that virtual worlds are becoming more ubiquitous and accepted by leaders as a valid way of doing business. The adoption pattern is similar to that for net technology, which began in the 60’s, and for web technology, which began in the 90s, that, together, have become part of everyday global life today. If a typical adoption cycle is 30 years, they say, 3D Web has just started and is on its way. The standard for virtual worlds platforms continues to be Second Life. Entry costs to just try it are low (a computer with a graphics card, a broadband internet connection, and a bit of patience, or a friend who’s already a resident, to get you started). It’s available to login to from anywhere in the world. If you learn to use Second Life you’ll also know how to use OpenSimulator, which has the same technology base. Alternatives such as Blue Mars are available, but are distant thirds in terms of function and use. Mobility As mentioned, existing 3D Web technologies use a special browser program, installed on a user’s laptop, to interact with the virtual world, hosted on the platform’s servers. A small program is a “thin client” and is desirable. What if a special client weren’t required? What if a user could just use their favorite web browser as their client? Linden Lab and others are working on this but there are limits – browser access lets you “drop in” to view and talk but, so far, you can’t intervene (e.g., pull up a chair). You’re sort of a talking ghost at the banquet, so to speak – a half step backwards to 2D Web (2.5D Web?). Yet the push to go mobile is clear and it’s projectable that there will be a mobile client that you can run on your tablet, if not your smart phone, to create 3D Web content. Versions will likely be provided by third-party developers for customers, and the technology will evolve from there. Ease of Use Bill discussed a recent article decrying difficulty of use of 3D Web clients. Bill states that 3D Web interfaces of necessity must be complex to give the full, intense, immersive experience. I tend to agree, stipulating that complexity is not the same as complicated. Complexity indicates we are onto something workable and learnable. Email is complex – just try to teach someone brand new at it. Texting is complex – just get yourself a smart phone and try it. Both are powerful. Both take a learning curve. I don’t disagree that 3D Web clients must retain complexity to retain power. I do think that user interface design is still a factor. In fact that’s how Bill and I first really met – I attended a meeting he hosted discussing the new Linden Lab Viewer 2 and how it had hidden key developer commands, sacrificing developer usability in the name of newcomer user friendliness. There are approaches that accommodate multiple use cases and, fortunately, Viewer 2 has since been updated to do so. Conclusion 3D Web stands as a powerful enabler of social and work networking. Whatever the 3D Web factor is, it seems that it is here to stay. William Prensky is CEO, Chant Newall Development Group and CTO, The FutureWork Institute Sitearm is le nom en ligne for James Neville, Strategist and Expediter for Virtual Worlds Projects in Business, Music, Tourism, Arts 3D Web is the set of technologies that put user browsers in an online, interactive, 3D environment. Cloud Computing is “just another place to run your applications.” Killer Application is a computer program that is so necessary or desirable that it proves the core value of some larger technology or platform on which it runs.

Comic image courtesy Scott Adams 3D Web image courtesy Tolle Photography Videoconference image courtesy EPIX Webinar image courtesy Small Business Computing

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Warrantless cell phone searches spread to more states - CNN.com Tuesday, September 13 2011, 10:25 AM

Around the U.S., some state and local police officers are taking the initiative to search arrestees' cell phones without warrants.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS In California it is legal for police to search an arrestee's cell phone with out a warrant A Florida appellate court upheld warrantless cell phone searches Michigan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is fighting back

RELATED TOPICS American Civil Liberties Union Cellular Phones Crime and Law

Editor's note: Amy Gahran writes about mobile tech for CNN.com. She is a San Francisco Bay Area writer and media consultant whose blog, Contentious.com, explores how people communicate in the online age. (CNN) -- Think about all the data -- photos, videos, text messages, calendar items, apps, call log, voice mail, and e-mail -- on your cell phone right now. If you're arrested, could the police search your cell phone? And would they need a warrant? That depends on which state you're in. In California, it is legal for police to search an arrestee's cell phone without a warrant -- ever since a January decision by the California Supreme Court. California civil rights advocates are pushing back. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is supporting California Assembly Bill SB 914,

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which would require police in that state to get a warrant before searching an arrestee's cell phone. EFF also recently filed an amicus brief in the Oregon case of James Tyler Nix, a criminal suspect who was arrested and placed in a holding cell. According to EFF, "Forty minutes after the arrest, without a warrant, an investigator fished through the suspect's cell phone looking for evidence related to his alleged crime. Law enforcement officials claim they didn't need a warrant because the search was 'incident to arrest' -- an exception to the warrant requirement intended to allow officers to perform a search for weapons or to prevent evidence from being destroyed in exigent circumstances." EFF senior staff attorney Marcia Hofmann contended: "This is an empty excuse from the police -- the suspect was in custody and unable to destroy evidence on his cell phone." Meanwhile, in Florida, an appellate court decision upheld warrantless cell phone searches, defining the phone as a kind of "container." This case may be considered by the Florida Supreme Court. A similar Georgia appellate court decision upheld a warrantless search of a cell phone found in an arrestee's car (not on her person). In contrast, the Ohio Supreme Court has barred warrantless cell phone searches. The Michigan State Police (MSP) use data extraction devices to pull data off arrestee's smartphones. This is done only with a warrant, according to a state police press release. But when the Michigan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain details about how these devices are being used, they encountered serious obstacles. "MSP claimed that the cost of retrieving and assembling the documents that disclose how five of the devices are being used is $544,680. The ACLU was then asked to pay a $272,340 deposit before the organization could receive a single document," said a Michigan ACLU statement.

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"In order to reduce the cost, the ACLU of Michigan narrowed the scope of its request. However, each time the ACLU submitted more narrow requests, MSP claimed that no documents exist for that time period and then it refused to reveal when the devices were used so a proper request could be made." The pattern appears to be that around the U.S., some state and local police officers are taking the initiative to search arrestees' cell phones. In some cases this yields information relevant to the alleged crime, which has contributed to indictments and convictions. Only then do some of these cases wind up in appellate or state supreme courts in a process that often takes years. If you're concerned about police or anyone else getting into your cell phone, a basic precaution is to configure your phone's security settings to always require a passcode or pattern to access any of the phone's data or functions. According to Catherine Crump of the American Civil Liberties Union, "The police can ask you to unlock the phone -- which many people will do -- but they almost certainly cannot compel you to unlock your phone without the involvement of a judge." Data extraction devices used for cell phone forensics can bypass passcode security in some cases, but so far there appears to be little evidence that police are using these devices without warrants. The opinions expressed in this post are solely those of Amy Gahran.

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