* You are viewing the archive for July, 2007

Top Ten “How To’s” Your IT Department Doesn’t Want You to Know

The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) has compiled a top ten list of “How To’s” that IT Departments want to keep a secret. Along with the article is a video interview with a “security expert” from PricewaterhouseCoopers’s. The issue at hand (in a nutshell): should companies be able to monitor and/or limit your non-work activity in the office?

This seems to be a complicated issue that will never go away. I’m usually one to stand up for privacy and flexibility in the workplace. But then, it only takes one bad experience (spyware / virus / porn) for an employer to tighten up for a legitimate reason (even if often in an over-reacting way). In any event, see below for the video interview and the top ten workarounds:

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14 Countries Have More Cellphone Subscribers than People

Cellphone subscribers in the 30 countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reached close to 933 million in 2005, meaning 80 subscribers per 100 people. Interestingly enough, there are 14 countries which have more cellphone subscribers than people with Luxembourg having the highest penetration rate: 157 subscribers for every 100 people!

The United States is below the average with at least 15 countries that have a higher penetration rate. South Korea and Japan appear to be the only countries which have adopted more third-generation (3G) phones than 2G phones. See below for a chart (via the Economist):

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Can an iPhone improve your social life?

While some are celebrating Apple’s profits and Steve Jobs is saying things like, “We’re thrilled to report the highest June quarter revenue and profit in Apple’s history, along with the highest quarterly Mac sales ever,” others are digging deeper and asking the tough questions. Check it out:

Nintendo Profit Quadruples, Wii Continues to Outsell Competition

Nintendo WiiCompared to the same period last year, Nintendo sales more than doubled while net income jumped to ¥80.3 billion ($668.82 million) from ¥15.6 billion. Nintendo’s strategy of bringing gaming to the masses is paying off. Approximately 9.3 million Wii consoles have been sold world-wide as of the end of June. Wii sports seems to be fueling the sales at least in part with women and even seniors participating. While sales are strongest in Japan, the Wii has been incredibly popular in the U.S. outselling the PlayStation 3 by nearly 4 to 1 and the Xbox 360 by close to 2 to 1.

But will the success last in the long run? Is there more fun to be had by the casual gamer past Wii Sports? Whatever the answer, Nintendo has proven in the here and now that gaming can be for everyone.

Amazon Profit Triples, Consumers Love Free Shipping & Harry Potter

Harry PotterAmazon reported that profit more than tripled in the second quarter and was optimistic enough to raise its forecast for the year. And the sales momentum is set to continue, especially considering more than 2.2 million copies of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” were ordered on the site in advance of the July 21 release. That sets the record for Amazon’s largest new product release ever.

The company’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, is attributing the success to its membership program, Amazon Prime. Incidentally, I tried out Amazon Prime for the first time this past month (if you haven’t used it before, you can usually sign up for a one month free trial here). Here are the details:

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Erasing or Changing Emails Even After They’re Delivered: Good Idea?

BigStringBigString is a company set on eliminating “email sender remorse” by allowing you as the email sender to control emails even after they’ve landed in the recipient’s inbox. I was intrigued both from a technical perspective (i.e., how does it work?) and from a sociological perspective (i.e., what does potentially needing this technology tell us about ourselves?). The company even hosts a weekly contest where it asks for your worst emails (sent to wrong person, reply all mistakes, email while drunk, etc.) and awards the most embarrassing ones with cash prizes. So, first off, here’s how it works:

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Will Google Come to Microsoft’s Consumer Privacy Party?

SearchTrafficSo the big news today comes in the form of a Microsoft press release explaining a strategic alliance of sorts between Microsoft and Ask. The two companies are “joined together in the commitment to call on the industry to develop global privacy principles for data collection, use and protection related to searching and online advertising. The companies will work with other technology leaders, consumer advocacy organizations and academics to come together and join them in working on the development of these principles, which could include developing and sharing best practices to provide more control for consumers.”

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Is Google Still the Best Option for Search?

Ask.comSwitching from one search engine to another is simple, right?

Well, I thought I’d try a couple new options, but it was difficult. I had to consciously remind myself that I was going to use new (for me) search engines. If I didn’t think about it, Google is always where I ended up.

First on the list, the other two of the big three: Yahoo and Microsoft / MSN / Live (come on, Microsoft, I still don’t know what you want to be called here).

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