Monthly Archives: May 2015

“Model” employee outsources his software job to China

Description: Bob was his company’s best software developer, got glowing performance reviews and earned more than $250,000 a year.

Source: www.theglobeandmail.com

Date: Jan 17, 2013

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Bob was paying a Chinese firm about $50,000 a year to do his work, then spent the day surfing the web, watching cat videos and updating his Facebook page.

“This particular case was pretty unique,” computer security investigator Andrew Valentine, who helped uncover Bob’s scheme, said in an e-mail to The Globe and Mail. “We thought it was actually pretty clever.”

Mr. Valentine made Bob’s tale public in a blog post on Monday and it has since been the talk of tech websites.    Read Rest of Story 

 Questions for discussion:

1. Is there an ethical dilemma in what Bob was doing at his place of work?  Why or Why Not??

2.  What benefits can you see with outsourcing as a company?

3.  What pitfalls can you see a company risking by outsourcing?

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Three-Day Weekend Killed by the Smartphones

Description: It would seem an ideal time to take a break, but our ability to unplug and relax is under assault. A three-day weekend? We can barely get through three waking hours without working, new research shows. The average smartphone user checks his or her device 150 times per day, or about once every six minutes.

Source: CNBC.com

Date: May 24, 2013

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There’s plenty of debate among economists and psychologists whether the economy is to blame, or we do this to ourselves. There’s little arguing that the concept of a Sabbath is in serious danger.

“It’s like an arms race … everything is an emergency,” said Tanya Schevitz, spokeswoman for Reboot, an organization trying help people unplug more often. “We have created an expectation in society that people will respond immediately to everything with no delay. It’s unhealthy, and it’s unproductive, and we can’t keep going on like this.”

There’s a long list of horribles associated with our new, always-on-digital lives: You are dumber. You are more stressed. You are losing sleep, and more depressed.  READ REST OF STORY 

Questions for discussion:

  1. Has Technology affected our ability to enjoy and have downtime from our daily pursuits?  Why or Why Not?
  2.  “We need a modern day-rest that brings balance back to life”  Do you agree of disagree with this statement? Explain.

A One Billion $ Bet by Disney on Technology to Track Theme-Park Visitors

Description: Jason McInerney and his wife, Melissa, recently tapped their lunch orders onto a touchscreen at the entrance to the Be Our Guest restaurant at Florida’s Walt Disney World Resort and were told to take any open seat. Moments later a food server appeared at their table with their croque-monsieur and carved turkey sandwiches. Asks McInerney, a once-a-year visitor to Disney theme parks: “How did they know where we were sitting?”

Source: businessweek.com

Date: March 7, 2014


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Change is always tricky for Disney, especially at its parks, where introducing a new brand of coffee can spark a revolt by fans. Unhappy mouseketeers last year began a petition drive to keep Disneyland in January from pulling the Billy Hill and the Hillbillies show after 21 years (it didn’t work). Others marched on the park’s City Hall in 2004 after recalibrations made to the Mad Tea Party ride in the name of safety slowed it down.

MyMagic+ promises far more radical change. It’s a sweeping reservation and ride planning system that allows for bookings months in advance on a website or smartphone app. Bracelets called MagicBands, which link electronically to an encrypted database of visitor information, serve as admission tickets, hotel keys, and credit or debit cards; a tap against a sensor pays for food or trinkets. The bands have radio frequency identification (RFID) chips—which critics derisively call spychips because of their ability to monitor people and things.  READ REST OF STORY 

Questions for discussion:

1.  Why is Disney investing in this RFID technology and why is it important?

2.  What potential applications do you see for RFID technology and in what industries will this add the greatest value?

3.  Comment on the statement “critics derisively call spychips because of their ability to monitor people and things.

How & Why, Apple Overtook Microsoft

Description: When Microsoft stock was at a record high in 1999, and its market capitalization was nearly $620 billion, the notion that Apple Computer would ever be bigger — let alone twice as big — was laughable.

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: Jan 29, 2015

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Mr. Gates “couldn’t imagine a situation in which Apple would ever be bigger and more profitable than Microsoft.”
“He knows he can’t win,” Mr. Gates said then of the Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
But less than two decades later, Apple has won. How this happened contains some important lessons — including for Apple itself, if it wants to avoid Microsoft’s fate. Apple, after all, is now as dependent on the success of one product line — the iPhone accounted for 69 percent of its revenue — as Microsoft once was with Windows. The most successful companies need a vision, and both Apple and Microsoft have one. But Apple’s was more radical and, as it turns out, more farsighted. Microsoft foresaw a computer on every person’s desk, a radical idea when IBM mainframes took up entire rooms. But Apple went a big step further: Its vision was a computer in every pocket. That computer also just happened to be a phone, the most ubiquitous consumer device in the world. Apple ended up disrupting two huge markets. Read the rest of the Story

Questions for discussion:
1. How did Apple overtake Microsoft in becoming more valuable?
2. How would you describe Apples strategy using one of Porter’s generic competitive strategies?

How Companies Can Learn Your Secrets

Description:  “If we wanted to figure out if a customer is pregnant, even if she didn’t want us to know, can you do that? ”

Source: nytimes.com

Date: Feb 16, 2012

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As the marketers explained to Pole — and as Pole later explained to me, back when we were still speaking and before Target told him to stop — new parents are a retailer’s holy grail. Most shoppers don’t buy everything they need at one store. Instead, they buy groceries at the grocery store and toys at the toy store, and they visit Target only when they need certain items they associate with Target — cleaning supplies, say, or new socks or a six-month supply of toilet paper. But Target sells everything from milk to stuffed animals to lawn furniture to electronics, so one of the company’s primary goals is convincing customers that the only store they need is Target. But it’s a tough message to get across, even with the most ingenious ad campaigns, because once consumers’ shopping habits are ingrained, it’s incredibly difficult to change them.  READ REST OF STORY 

 Questions for discussion:

  1.  Are there any ethical dilemmas to using big data in consumer services?
  2. What other commercial applications can you see for organizations in using big data?
  3. What skill would you need to be able to use Big Data in an organization that you work for?

Internet of Things Changes Almost Everything

Description: Currently in the business world we are witnessing something like the epic collision of two galaxies — a rapid convergence of two very unlike systems that will cause the elements of both to realign. It’s all thanks to the Internet of Things.

Source: Harvard Business Review

Date: May 7, 2013

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If you are not familiar with the term, the Internet of Things refers to a dramatic development in the internet’s function: the fact that, even more than among people, it now enables communication among physical objects. By 2015, according to my own firm’s projections, not only will 75 percent of the world’s population have access to the internet. So will some six billion devices. The fact that there will be a global system of interconnected computer networks, sensors, actuators, and devices all using the internet protocol holds so much potential to change our lives that it is often referred to as the internet’s next generation.
For managers, this development creates challenges both long-term and urgent. They need to envision the valuable new offerings that become possible when the physical world is merged with the virtual world and potentially every physical object can be both intelligent and networked. And, starting now, they must create the organizations and web-based business models that can turn these ideas into reality.  READ REST OF STORY

Questions for discussion:
1. What is the INTERNET of THINGS and why is it important?
2. List some market technologies that you see around you that are part of this INTERNET of Things.

BIG DATA

Description: Big Data is the next big thing in computing. This video explains Big Data characteristics, technologies and opportunities.

Source: http://www.explainingcomputers.com

Due to the issues raised by its volume, velocity and variety, Big Data requires new technology solutions. Currently leading the field is an open-source project from Apache called Hadoop. This is developing a software library for reliable, scalable, distributed computing systems capable of handling the Big Data deluge, and provides the first viable platform for Big Data analytics. Hadoop is already used by most Big Data pioneers. For example, LinkedIn currently uses Hadoop to generate over 100 billion personalized recommendations every week.

What Hadoop does is to distribute the storage and processing of large data sets across groups or “clusters” of server computers using a simple programming model. The number of servers in a cluster can also be scaled easily as requirements dictate, from maybe 50 machines to perhaps 2000 or more. Whereas traditional large-scale computing solutions rely on expensive server hardware with a high fault tolerance, Hadoop detects and compensates for hardware failures or other system problems at the application level. This allows a high level of service continuity to be delivered from clusters of individual server computers, each of which may be prone to failure. Processing vast quantities of data across large, lower-cost distributed computing infrastructures therefore becomes a viable proposition.     READ REST OF STORY 

Questions for discussion:

  1.  What is Big Data and why is it important?
  2. What potential applications do you see for Big Data and in what industries will this add the greatest value?