Monthly Archives: April 2013

Canadians’ Internet usage nearly double the worldwide average



Date: March 8, 2011


According to the comScore report, the number of unique online visitors in Canada hovered at about 23 million users in the fourth quarter of 2010, almost unchanged from the same period a year earlier, and less than a 10th of the number of Web users in China. Of 11 countries surveyed, Canada ranks first in the number of website visits per user per month, at 95.2, and second only to South Korea in number of pages viewed, at 3,349. Read rest of story

Questions for discussion:

1. Why do you feel that Canadians use more Internet that other countries?

2. Are there any downsides to Canada as a result of Canadians using the Internet more than others?


A Big Data Approach to Measuring Small Businesses in America

Description: The hype around “big data” in Silicon Valley has left many people confused with what “big data” actually means. There are numerous news stories and articles which catalogue the disasters facing many large enterprises when it comes to analyzing large data sets.


Date: April 4, 2013

The hype around “big data” in Silicon Valley has left many people confused with what “big data” actually means. There are numerous news stories and articles which catalogue the disasters facing many large enterprises when it comes to analyzing large data sets. Most companies aren’t sure what they’re looking for or are confused with how to make sense of disparate data — I call this a problem of “haystacks without needles”. Rather than data for data’s sake, the question should be how does one use data to generate genuine insight that can influence and inform business strategy, create efficiencies and build the business.  The other key issue is how to do all this while ensuring clean and accurate data upon which those business decisions will be made. These fundamental issues are what drive us at Radius.

The key to success with analyzing any large data set is focus. At Radius, we’ve decided to focus on small business data. We’ve built a system that indexes the web just like Google and then organizes that information around 23 million small businesses in the United States. The types of data we collect include social reviews, Twitter and social information, owner background, news articles about small businesses themselves, or even the success (or failure) of running Groupon and LivingSocial deals. These make up only a small fraction of the sources and types of information we collect about small businesses.

Small businesses are close to my heart. My grandfather owned a textiles and dress-making shop in Iran before he had to flee to America after the 1979 revolution. Most of my extended family run small technology consulting firms or local service-based businesses. As Americans, it is incredibly important that we be absolutely certain our small business economy continues to grow and thrive. As cliché as it might sound, small business is the heart and soul of the American economy and embodies the quintessential American spirit of optimism, risk and ambition. Without small businesses, our free market can’t survive — Fortune 500 companies rely on smaller buyers to continue to buy.  READ REST OF STORY

 Questions for discussion:

1. Can Big Data be used effectively with small business? Why or Why not?

2. What questions would a small business want answered with Big Data?




Chief Tries to Infuse Yahoo With a Start-Up’s Spirit

Description: Since taking the reins at Yahoo, Marissa Mayer has been trying to convince customers and employees that there is still life in a company that Silicon Valley long ago left for dead.


Date: April 7, 2013


Yahoo, an Internet pioneer, missed the boat on social networks and mobile devices as the new gateways for information and, in recent years, had been losing advertisers and employees to rivals like Facebook and Google.

Critical to Ms. Mayer’s turnaround effort is infusing fresh blood and ideas into the company by buying creative start-ups and integrating them into the company. So since she took over last July, she has been on a splashy shopping spree, spending tens of millions of dollars to acquire six start-ups.

But in many ways, it has been a tough sell.  READ REST OF STORY

 Questions for discussion:

1. Do you feel thaqt Yahoo will be able to be a major player in this market with the likes of Google, Apple, Microsoft etc.?  Why or Why not?

2. Does this feel like a company that you would like to work for when you graduate? Why or Why not?

Is Someone Recording This? It’s Harder to Find Out

Description: The undercover F.B.I. agent, posing as a businessman, was recording the conversation with a device secreted someplace close enough to capture the politician’s words, but obscure enough to remain undetected.


Date: April 7, 2013

Today, eavesdropping equipment is sophisticated enough to record high-definition video and sound, and stream it live to a remote computer. Devices no bigger than a pen cap can be slipped into a coat pocket and easily record through the person’s clothing, said Bob Leonard, a retired police officer and founder of the Spy Store, which sells a quarter-sized item called the “Super Mini Covert Wireless Camera” and recording devices disguised as a calculator, cigarette carton or cordless phone.

“Short of having the person stripped down naked, it’s almost impossible to detect,” Mr. Pollini said.  READ REST OF STORY

 Questions for discussion:

1. With this new technology, what protections if any should people have to their privacy of not being recorded secretly?  Should there different standards for government vs private citizens?

2. Are smart phones a part of this wiretapping and eavesdropping devices and methods?  How can we protect ourselves from being secretly recorded?

Two tech firms that undermine the broadcast TV model

Description: Two fledgling technologies could dramatically reshape the $60-billion-a-year U.S. television broadcast industry as they challenge the business model that has helped keep broadcasters on the lucrative end of the media spectrum.


Date: April 8, 2013


The threat so far is limited. The number of people using Aereo – backed by media heavyweight Barry Diller, who launched the Fox network in 1986 – is miniscule compared to the number of pay TV customers in the United States. Dish’s Hopper is a more mainstream device that Dish’s 14 million subscribers have access to.

But broadcasters fear the services will continue to expand, cutting into their viewing audience and advertising revenue.

Both the Hopper and Aereo take advantage of changes in how TV viewers get their shows. Increasing numbers are “binge watching,” or tuning into libraries of recorded episodes on their DVRs or on the Internet. As many as 5 million homes now “cut the cord” and get their TV shows from sources such as streaming on the Internet or watching DVDs or game consoles, according to a March 11 Nielsen study.  READ REST OF STORY

 Questions for discussion:

1. Describe the business (revenue) model that network TV employs?  Are these new technologies a serious threat to threat model?

2. What would you do a manger of a TV network to combat what you see happening in the network TV environment? What changes if any could you make to strengthen you position in the market?

The Practical University

Description: The best part of the rise of online education is that it forces us to ask: What is a university for?


Date: April 4, 2013


Are universities mostly sorting devices to separate smart and hard-working high school students from their less-able fellows so that employers can more easily identify them? Are universities factories for the dissemination of job skills? Are universities mostly boot camps for adulthood, where young people learn how to drink moderately, fornicate meaningfully and hand things in on time?  READ REST OF STORY

 Questions for discussion:

1. Answer the question posed by columnist “ What is a university for?”

2. How does technology affect or enhance the answer you gave as to what a university is for?  Why? & How?

Netflix Announces $100,000 in Prizes for Coders

Description: Last night Netflix hosted a gathering at its spa-like headquarters for 200 or so members of the Clouderati—the engineers building out the computing infrastructure on which businesses will someday run. Netflix (NFLX) has a reputation for pushing the limits of cloud computing, running much of its movie streaming business on’s cloud rental system.


Date: March 14, 2013


When it comes to infrastructure technology, we live in absurd times. Netflix—like Facebook (FB), LinkedIn (LNKD), Twitter, Yahoo (YHOO), and other Web celebs—open sources much of the software that underlies its operations. Put more bluntly, they fight for the right to heap money on the smartest engineers, then give away their work so that others can build on top of it. Together, all these companies are forging the cutting-edge cloud computing technology that mainstream companies will use in the years to come.

At its event, Netflix looked to turbocharge the process. The company announced $100,000 in prizes—$10,000 for 10 different awards—for volunteer coders who can develop interesting tools based on Netflix’s open-source code over the next six months. (Rules here.) The revelation of these prizes was met with great applause. Now the race is on for people who don’t work at Netflix to improve the company’s infrastructure. READ REST OF STORY

Questions for discussion:

1. What is the model that Netflix is using to develop a technology infrastructure?  How is it different from say companies like Microsoft and IBM?

2. DO you feel that Netflix’s model is the way IT development will happen in the future or do you see this as just a fad?

3.  What are the strengths and weaknesses of this model?