Posted by & filed under Business Analytics, Cloud Computing, Cyber Security, E-Business, E-Commerce, IT Governance, IT Infrastructure, IT Security, IT Strategy, Video.

Discussion: Amazon’s cloud services recently suffered a massive crash that left many of its East Coast customers without access to their data, including dozens of websites.  The company cited a mistake made by engineers that triggered a cascade of other bugs and glitches, overwhelming the master system and causing a “brown out.”  Amazon spun the mistake as an “opportunity to protect the service against any similar event reoccurring” and gave a credit for 10 days of free service to affected customers.  But Amazon’s cloud customers weren’t too thrilled to be guinea pigs in this cloud-crash learning experience.

Amazon's cloud service, EC2, suffered a technical perfect storm.

Source: CNNmoney.com

Date: April 29, 2011

Link: http://money.cnn.com/2011/04/29/technology/amazon_apology/index.htm

Questions for discussion:

  • Is Amazon’s “glitch” further evidence of just how vulnerable electronic data is or, in the whole scheme of things, is this simply par for the course in cloud computing?
  • Discuss Amazon’s strategy to issue not only an apology but also a detailed 5,700-word explanation of what went wrong.

 

Posted by & filed under Business Analytics, Cloud Computing, E-Business, E-Commerce, IT Infrastructure, IT Standards.

The company's new data center in North Carolina, scheduled to open this spring, will triple its annual consumption of electricity

Discussion: Greenpeace recently issued its report, “How Dirty Is Your Data? A Look at the Energy Choices That Power Cloud Computing” (PDF).  Relying on public information, the report ranks Apple as the least ethical among several tech giants for transparency, mitigation strategy, and infrastructure siting.  Apple’s low rating is mostly due to investing in a North Carolina facility that will triple its annual electricity consumption, 61 percent of which is powered by coal.  But probably the most compelling numbers in this report cite overall electricity demands of the world wide web: if the Internet alone was a country, it would rank 5th overall in energy consumption.  That’s a lot of dirty data.

Source: theAtlantic.com

Date: April 21, 2011

Link: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/04/greenpeace-argues-that-apple-is-the-dirtiest-tech-company/237674/

Questions for discussion:

  • Is it inevitable that the number one tech company is going to have dirty data centers or does Apple need to do a better job of using cleaner electricity to power its soaring profits and sales?
  • Do infrastructure siting decisions drive consumers to one tech company over another?

Posted by & filed under Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Career, No Discussion Questions.

Steve Jobs is arguably one of the most successful CEOs ever, so it’s hard to imagine he was ousted from the company back in 1984 only to return 12 years later. 

Source: theAtlantic.com

Date: April 28, 2011

Link: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/04/infographic-apples-rise-to-1/238007/

 

 

Posted by & filed under Civil Liberties, Electronic Surveillance, IT Security, Mobile Computing, Open Source, Privacy, Video, Wireless.

Discussion: A team of researchers at iPhone Tracker recently discovered that iPhones and 3G-enabled iPads appear to be tracking and storing data about their users’ whereabouts without their knowledge.  Although most cell phone providers collect similar data as part of their operations, it is kept behind a firewall and normally requires a court order to gain access to it.  But this information is now available to anyone that can get their hands on the phone.  Apple has yet to respond to the allegations and researchers can only speculate about Apple’s motive.  “One guess might be that they have new features in mind that require a history of your location,” they said.  As for iPhone users, some describe it as “cool” while others are outraged.

Source: CNN.com

Date: April 21, 2011

Link: http://www.cnn.com/2011/TECH/mobile/04/20/iphone.tracking/index.html

Questions for discussion:

  • Why do the researchers believe that this tracking file is not accidental?
  • What kind of businesses could capitalize on this kind of information?
  • Discuss the adage “marketing is the art of deception?”

Posted by & filed under Civil Liberties, IT Security, Mobile Computing, No Discussion Questions, Privacy, Wireless.

Alex Madrigal, a correspondent with the Atlantic.com and iPhone user, downloads a map of his secretly-tracked life in the D.C. Metro area.

Source: theAtlantic.com

Date: April 20, 2011

Link: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/04/my-life-according-to-the-iphones-secret-tracking-log/237636/

Posted by & filed under Change Management, IT Infrastructure, IT Investment, IT Planning, IT Security, IT Strategy, Privacy, Video.

Healthcare Heartbeat uses smartphones instead of beepers to help doctors keep track of their patients

Discussion: In an ideal world, all hospitals would integrate their medical files via single online platforms and share patient information efficiently and accurately.  But as different hospitals adopt different IT products ad hoc, integrating these systems is very complicated.  So tech companies are focusing less on concentration of existing patient records and more on communication between health professionals in any location – an approach they view as much more realistic and secure for healthcare IT.

Source: BBC News

Date: April 18, 2011

Link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-13118566

Questions for discussion:

  • Why are developing countries at somewhat of an advantage when it comes to integrating IT into their healthcare system?
  • What is the most expensive and complicated obstacle in healthcare IT?

Posted by & filed under Business Analytics, Civil Liberties, Cyber Security, E-Business, E-Commerce, IT Security, IT Standards, IT Strategy, Privacy, Search Engine.

Discussion: On January 27, 2006, Google.cn went live in China, and within a few months, Google China’s headquarters was outfitted with the usual frills: foosball tables, a fully equipped gym, massage room, a huge cafeteria with free meals.  But signs of a distressed relationship soon followed: unexplained outages, Google’s operating license was suddenly no longer valid, and in 2008, Chinese authorities demanded censorship of objectionable links from the Chinese-language version of Google.com.  As the demands for censorship mounted and Google stalled, a sophisticated hack into Google’s system dug into the Gmail accounts of Chinese dissidents and human rights activists.  This was too much for Google execs in Mountain View, CA, and on January 10, 2010, Google pulled the plug in China.

Source: CNN.com

Date: April 15, 2011

Link: http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2011/04/15/googles-ordeal-in-china/

Questions for discussion:

  • Do you think Google execs made the right choice to retreat from China or should they have continued to cooperate with the Chinese authorities?
  • What trend does Kai-Fu Lee see as the long-term solution to a more open China?

Posted by & filed under Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, E-Business, E-Commerce, IT Planning, IT Projects, IT Trends.

Discussion: TechStarsNY, one of the most successful tech incubators in the country, recently hosted Demo Day, a ritual that allows young startups to strut their stuff in front of venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and the media.  Illuminated through a series of slides or videos, the startup founder begins with a problem – i.e. digital billboards aren’t nearly good enough at adjusting their ads – then a solution, a demo, how they plan to make money, and finally, the pitch for funding.  At the end of the day some learn that their startup is funded, and others regroup for a longer season of pitching.  But they all soon have to find their own office space to make room for a new crop of tech heads to “incubate.”

Source: CNN.com

Date: April 15, 2011

Link: http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2011/04/15/startup-mating-rituals-101/

Questions for discussion:

  • Why do the startups show recordings of their product in action as opposed to giving a live demonstration?
  • Discuss the notion that a tech “incubator” like TechStars NY is tantamount to getting a college degree from Harvard or MIT.

 

Posted by & filed under Cyber Security, IT Security, IT Standards, Privacy, Social Computing, Social Networks.

A digital photo is like an onion, and software scanning can help peel back layers to extract information from images.

Discussion: Digital photos on the Web may contain information revealing where and when the shot was taken and might even lead to the identification of the faces in the photo.  Coye Cheshire, A UC Berkeley professor, is researching people’s perceptions of the pictures they post online and he’s learning that people tend to perceive a loss in their ability to control or contain this kind of information, yet they aren’t necessarily more cautious about their online behaviors.  While some companies focus their capabilities on keeping the layers of information in a photo private, others are working to make the information public and instant.

Source: CNN.com

Date: April 8, 2011

Link: http://www.cnn.com/2011/TECH/social.media/04/08/photo.privacy/index.html

Questions for discussion:

  • What are the implications of public (and even free) software that allows the user to obtain the exact location of a photo published on the Web?
  • Is it up to the person that publishes the photo to use software to conceal the identifying information before they post to the Web?
  • Is it good business for a company like Facebook to remove identifying info from each image uploaded on its website?

Posted by & filed under App Economy, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, E-Business, E-Commerce, IT Planning, IT Strategy, IT Trends, Mobile Computing, Wireless.

The global app industry will be worth more than $30 billion by 2015

Discussion: ABI Research, a marketing intelligence company, says that almost 8 billion apps were downloaded in 2010.  Ebay claims 15 million people worldwide have downloaded its iPhone app in 190 countries and in eight different languages.  Clearly apps are popular but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are right for every business.  Apps are expensive and take months to create, and competition is fierce.  But as the popularity of mobiles and tablets outpace desktops, it’s not a matter of if a businesses should engage customers through mobile devices, it’s a question of how.

Source: BBC news

Date: April 7, 2011

Link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-13000883

Questions for discussion:

  • What are the most important factors to weigh when contemplating an app for your business?
  • Discuss the statistic that 75% of users believe the quality of the app makes the brand more trustworthy.