Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Can Google Glass ever be fashionable?

While Robert Scoble posts pictures of himself wearing Google Glass in the shower, those of a more intellectual bent offer that there are historical reasons why Google Glass may never catch on.


Style, this is not.
(Credit: Robert Scoble/Google+)


When real, normal people get a hold of Google Glass, they might be fascinated.
Equally, they might be underwhelmed. Their sense of underwhelment might increase with every mocking comment they get from other real, normal people.
In any case, Google Glass won't be thrust into the real, normal world for a year. Or even more.
Meanwhile, we have to struggle with the knowledge that tech personality Robert Scoble wears his in the public toilets. During the weekend, he even posted an image of his hirsute, unsuited torso, complete with head and Google Glass on nose, in the shower.
Though some would have been moved to paroxysms of excitement at this sight, others would have had their prejudice confirmed that wearing Google Glass made you look like something of an alien. And not in the sense that Ted Cruz might mean.
I tend to side with those who believe that the nerds have lost their marbles with this notion. I feel sure this is why Google is rumored to be discussing Google Glass design with retro spectacle designers Warby Parker.
This is merely an instinctive human reaction. But a more intellectual reasoning for the potential rejection of Google Glass by what's left of normal society was offered by David Galbraith.
The Scottish co-founder of Yelp suggested that it is the very futuristic look of Google Glass that might be its downfall.
In a far-sighted and rear-sighted analysis at Medium.com, he offered that the things people find fashionable all have their roots in the past.
Suits are 18th century hunting wear. Jeans are so 19th century. And those painfully ugly chinos and Oxford shirts hail from Yale students before the world started fighting in the 20th century.
If only they could go back there.
"Looking futuristic is cool if you are a spaceman but not for hanging out in Williamsburg," he wrote.
That, of course, explains the proliferation of terribly expensive vintage clothing stores there.
Galbraith went on to explain that Apple's very popular designs have their roots in post-war Germany.
He likened Google Glass to the Bluetooth headset.
I don't know about you, but every time I see someone wearing a Bluetooth headset I want to quietly walk up to them and then scream very loudly in their ear for them to stop.


Friday, April 26, 2013

Google offers clearer search labels after EU probe

Google has agreed to alter its search results in the light of a European investigation into whether it unfairly promoted its own services.

The firm said that it will more clearly label results from YouTube, Google Maps and its other sites.
It also agreed to display links to rivals close to where it displayed its own services on its results page.
EU regulators are asking for feedback and have proposed that the concessions be tested for a month.
If the European Commission accepts them, they will become legally binding for the next five years.
As part of the agreement, Google will clearly separate promoted links from other web search results as well as displaying links to three specialised search rivals "close to its own services in a place that is clearly visible to users".
"The objective of this process is to try to see if we can achieve a settled outcome in this antitrust investigation," said Commission spokesman Antoine Colombani.
But the Microsoft-backed lobby group Initiative for a Competitive Marketplace (Icomp) was not convinced the changes went far enough.
"It is clear that mere labelling is not any kind of solution to the competition concerns that have been identified. Google should implement the same ranking policy to all websites," it said.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

IT Outsourcing to Eastern Europe

IT outsourcing is now far more than just a trend or innovation. Each day more and more companies entrust their IT-related tasks to outsourcing partners benefiting in many ways. Eastern Europe is one of the most effective IT outsourcing destinations. In this article we will talk about peculiarities, principles and main facts of IT outsourcing to Eastern European countries.

Advantages of IT Outsourcing to Eastern Europe
Allowing IT outsourcing companies, located in CEE (Eastern Europe in particular) to solve IT-oriented tasks and issues a customer obtains the following advantages:
  • Considerable budget savings;
  • Ability to focus on core competencies;
  • Extensive experience of an outsourcing subcontractor;
  • Speed increase in projects tasks solutions;
  • Reduced capital investments;
  • Full-time access both to IT innovations and high-qualified IT experts;
  • Internal processes optimization;
  • Improved manageability.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Global IT spending to rise 4.1% to $3.8 trillion in 2013

Worldwide spending on IT products and services will grow 4.1% this year to roughly $3.8 trillion, according to new forecast figures released by analyst firm Gartner.

Cuts in U.S. government spending and the debt crisis in Cyprus have caused "the fragile business and consumer sentiment throughout much of the world" to persist, Gartner analyst Richard Gordon said in a statement Thursday. "However, the new shocks are expected to be short-lived, and while they may cause some pauses in discretionary spending along the way, strategic IT initiatives will continue."
Telecom services spending, the largest segment tracked by Gartner's forecast, will rise 2% this year to $1.69 trillion after experiencing a 0.4% drop in growth last year. Declining voice-related revenue will be offset by mobile data services spending, according to Gartner.
Enterprise software revenues will also see an uptick this year, rising 6.4% to $297 billion, compared to a 3.5% growth rate in 2012.
While that growth rate is the same as predicted in a previous Gartner report, it "belies significant changes at a market level," according to the forecast.
Database, data integration and supply chain software will make up for softer growth in IT operations and operating systems products, Gartner said.
IT services spending will grow 4.5% to $918 billion in 2013, while data center systems spending is set to jump 3.7% to $146 billion.
Devices spending will be $718 billion this year, rising 7.9%


Sunday, April 14, 2013

What happens to your docs and data after you have logged out of life? Now you can plan it out with Inactive Account Manager

Our online lives have become so important that Google just released a feature that enables users to control what happens to their data after they die.
Our digital lives have become complex. What we share on Google+, YouTube and Picasa, along with what we store in Google's cloud storage Drive, isn't just funny cat videos and pictures of your new haircut.
Today, we might store personal financial information, system backups or important work documents on Drive, which enables users to store Google Docs, photos and documents.
We might even have posted meaningful thoughts or photos on Google+ that we'd want a loved one to have access to. Or maybe there are pictures or videos uploaded that you'd rather your parents didn't see.
Google is giving you a way to figure out now what you want to happen to all of this information.
"The feature is called Inactive Account Manager not a great name, we know and you'll find it on your Google Account settings page," wrote Google product manager Andreas Tuerk in a blog post. "You can tell us what to do with your Gmail messages and data from several other Google services if your account becomes inactive for any reason."
"We hope that this new feature will enable you to plan your digital afterlife -- in a way that protects your privacy and security -- and make life easier for your loved ones after you're gone," he wrote.
Tuerk added that users can choose to have their information deleted after three, six or 12 months of inactivity. They also can name one or more people to receive the data from Google's various services.
Just in case you're inactive and not actually dead, Google is set to send you a warning via an email to a secondary address, and a text message to your cellphone.
"This is good. It's going to force people to think about what they want done with their digital artifacts and data after they're gone," said Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group.
"There's a reason that people keep some things private even inside public services like those provided by Google," Olds said. "If someone was able to get at that information after your death, it could cause emotional or even legal problems for others."
He added that he expects other Internet companies to start adding this kind of afterlife feature. "Actually, I think this is going to be increasingly a serious concern," said Olds. "As people put more and more important data online, it starts to matter what happens to it after they've logged out of life."


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Silicon Valley stymied on immigrant worker plan


Google, Intel, HP and other tech firms backed a pair of proposals this year to increase H-1B visas. They're now bogged down in the political mess known as "comprehensive" immigration reform.  
Silicon Valley firms aren't going to get the immigration changes they want, at least not right away.
Straightforward fixes to a legal framework that just about everyone agrees is broken -- the fixes would let foreign engineers and scientists remain in the United States post-graduation -- have run aground on the usual shoals of special interest politicking and partisan bickering.
Technology companies were hoping for prompt action on a pair of bills introduced this year that would ease a shortage of skilled workers, in part by expanding the H-1B visa program. It's a bipartisan idea backed by Microsoft, Facebook, Google, the Consumer Electronics Association (which organizes CES), TechAmerica, TechNet, and the wireless providers' CTIA trade association.

Friday, April 12, 2013

How Benchmarking Can Improve IT Outsourcing Deals

As IT outsourcing has evolved so have IT outsourcing customers' benchmarking needs. As a result, a new approach to benchmarking is necessary. Kathy Rudy, partner with outsourcing consultancy ISG, discusses pros and cons of benchmarking for transformation and how to do it right.

Traditionally, IT services customers have approached periodic benchmarking of their outsourcing deals as a hammer to tamp down on vendor pricing. But as outsourcing itself has evolved so, too, have outsourcing customers' benchmarking needs.

"Customers are upping the ante on the providers and pushing the envelope on benchmarking suppliers," says Kathy Rudy, partner with outsourcing consultancy Information Services Group (ISG). IT leaders don't just want to know that their costs are in line with the market. Increasingly, they may want to see where they stand in areas of innovation, agility, standardization and quality.
That requires a new approach to benchmarking, says Rudy, one that's approached not as a way to tighten the screws on the way things have always been done, but as a method for establishing new and better ways of operating.
How is benchmarking of an outsourcing deal typically approached?
Kathy Rudy, Partner, ISG: Clauses have historically often been used to focus on discrete service towers. While this is useful in terms of making adjustments to pricing within individual functional areas, this perspective is limited, as it doesn't take a holistic view of the enterprise.
Also, at the end of a contract term, companies will sometimes seek a benchmark without formally executing the clause to determine if the price is market competitive. This way they can use the results either as a renegotiation tool or to provide evidence to management that they don't need to go out for a full competitive bid. The potential downside of this approach is that it can be shortsighted and may not provide the full range of benefits; specifically, running scenarios for future state, working on stronger governance, understanding different sourcing strategies, and so forth.
What about the changing nature of today's outsourcing relationships calls for a more nuanced approach to benchmarking?
Rudy: Increasingly, outsourcing relationships involve driving transformational change within the client operation. So, rather than simply ensuring that the pricing a supplier provides is in line with the market, clients are looking to their outsourcing partners to build new operating models. Rather than saying, "How do I compare with the top ten percent of companies?" clients want to know, "What's the optimal future state I can achieve?"
Clients want benchmarks that not only validate that they are getting value for services today, but that the service bundles are in line with emerging trends. They're asking if other companies are buying outsourced and retained service bundles in different packages, and if they're missing a competitive advantage by not understanding where the market is headed.



Products with faster USB speeds to reach market in 2014

Products based on a USB specification that will double the data transfer rates between host devices and peripherals will reach the market in late 2014, the USB Implementers Forum said on Thursday.

The standards-setting organization is working on a new specification that will enable data transfers at a rate of 10Gbps (bits per second), which is twice the speed of the current USB 3.0 protocol. The speed boost will enable PCs to move gigabytes of data in a matter of seconds to connected peripherals such as portable hard drives.
"We anticipate the specification to be finalized in July of this year and if it follows the typical path of adoption by manufacturers we should see end products by late 2014, early 2015," a spokesman for USB-IF said in an email.
The new specification will be beneficial for moving video files, which are getting larger by the day with the adoption of higher pixel resolutions. The new specification will work with existing USB 3.0 ports, but will require new cables to handle the faster speeds.
It is not clear yet if the specification will ultimately make its way to mobile devices. Smartphones and tablets are recharged and transfer data to external devices via the micro-USB 2.0 port, and the USB 3.0 specification is expected to reach mobile devices soon. In addition to faster data transfer speeds, the mobile USB 3.0 protocol will be able to carry more power, which will help charge mobile devices faster.
Even with the new specification, USB will not match the data transfer speeds of Thunderbolt, an interconnect that was jointly developed by Intel and Apple and introduced in 2011. Intel earlier this week announced that it would boost the data transfer speeds of Thunderbolt to 20Gbps, which is twice its current speed.
But USB 3.0 ports are in most computers that ship today, while Thunderbolt is in Macs and just a handful of PCs that ship. PC makers have resisted installing Thunderbolt as it is expensive, and there are few peripherals in the market. Intel sees USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt as being complementary technologies.