Posts Tagged ‘technology’

Linkology: The Best of the Internet for 4/9/10

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The truth goes like this: it’s a big vacation week, opening day here in Detroit, and I thought — naively, as it turns out — that I could get away with not worrying about the Friday links post.

I was wrong.  Turns out some colleagues here in the office, while I was wrestling with the byzantine processes that govern streaming MLB games and the even despairingly more complex blackout restrictions guidelines, told me that if I didn’t put up a Friday links post, they would lie down on train tracks until I did.  That last part is a lie: they didn’t threaten any railroad sit in.  My unpopular indifference to baseball led me to prefer to write this post rather than listen to baseball audio, which is all we can get even though we subscribed to and don’t even get me started on the relative uselessness of a product that (a) is supposed to enable live streaming but (b) cannot stream live games for local teams due to the aforementioned ridiculous blackout guidelines.

So without too much further ado (and the irony that the preceding paragraph was indeed a lot of ado is not lost on me), here is this week’s collection of very fine HTTP products.


Trouble in the Middle Market

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You might think that in our fragile economy companies that target the huge, amorphous mid-market would be thriving.  You’d be wrong.  The ‘mushy’ middle market — served by brands like Sony, Dell, GM and others — is getting cannibalized at the high end by brands like Apple and Hermes, and at the low end by Ikea and H & M.  The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki explains:

The products made by midrange companies are neither exceptional enough to justify premium prices nor cheap enough to win over value-conscious consumers. Furthermore, the squeeze is getting tighter every day. Thanks to economies of scale, products that start out mediocre often get better without getting much more expensive—the newest Flip, for instance, shoots in high-def and has four times as much memory as the original—so consumers can trade down without a significant drop in quality. Conversely, economies of scale also allow makers of high-end products to reduce prices without skimping on quality. A top-of-the-line iPod now features video and four times as much storage as it did six years ago, but costs a hundred and fifty dollars less. At the same time, the global market has become so huge that you can occupy a high-end niche and still sell a lot of units. Apple has just 2.2 per cent of the world cell-phone market, but that means it sold twenty-five million iPhones last year.

The Children of Cyberspace

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My 2-year-old daughter surprised me recently with two words: “Daddy’s book.” She was holding my Kindle electronic reader.

Here is a child only beginning to talk, revealing that the seeds of the next generation gap have already been planted. She has identified the Kindle as a substitute for words printed on physical pages. I own the device and am still not completely sold on the idea.

My daughter’s worldview and life will be shaped in very deliberate ways by technologies like the Kindle and the new magical high-tech gadgets coming out this year — Google’s Nexus One phone and Apple’s impending tablet among them. She’ll know nothing other than a world with digital books, Skype video chats with faraway relatives, and toddler-friendly video games on the iPhone. She’ll see the world a lot differently from her parents.

Fascinating article from Brad Stone stating that, quite simply, the unflagging rate of tech advancement is creating mini generation gaps whereby these mini-generations can be identified and grouped by what technology they grow up with during formative years.  Makes perfect sense, because more than once I’ve observed that young kids today are familiar with an iPhone in a way that kids of eight years ago are not.  My son, now 5, tries to touch, swipe and pinch the screen of every mobile phone he comes across.  Eight years ago, kids would have been introduced to a BlackBerry or Windows Mobile phone or something from Nokia and then introduced to an iPhone.


Linkology: The Best of the Internet for 11/6/09

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I have parsed every single page on the Internet this week and distilled the  highlights, which means you don’t have to, because it takes a very long time.  Iimage selflessly bring this feature to this blog every Friday, primarily out of social altruism, but also because it gives me a legitimate reason to scour weird, primary-colored corners of the Internet while I’m here at work.  Don’t tell anyone.

This week’s top fare, as decided by yours truly:


How’s Your Willpower? Friday Links for 9/25/2009

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I am going to provide you two sets of links today. One set of links you shouldblack_knight not click if you want to be anything resembling productive; the other you can click and still salvage your workday.

The first set comes to you courtesy of Jason Kottke, who has decided to post some of the most addictive Flash games on the Internet on a single page.  Games like Hedgehog Launch 1 and 2, Shields of Gemland, Max Damage, and UPGRADE COMPLETE will devour your day faster than Usain Bolt tears through the 40.  If you have willpower and can make yourself stop upgrading your hedgehog thrusters, check them out.  If you’re prone to losing hours on end in good games, don’t go here. Here’s the bonus link – if you’re looking for a job in iGaming. It won’t be just a flesh wound.

The other set of links, however, is pure brilliance offered by the Internet, and you should click them if you’re interested in such mundane things as society, life and culture.


A New Settlement Method for PeopleSoft Payables

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(Ed. Note: April Black is a MIPRO Senior Principal Consultant, focused mainly on PeopleSoft SCM/Financials.)

As experienced PeopleSoft Payables clients know, the system delivers the  standard payment methods including paper checks Payables-invoiceprinted by the system and EFT/ACH, in addition to globally-standard payment methods.  Also, utilizing procurement cards have been a longstanding approach to decentralize payment processing and reconciliation to the user.  Vendor ghost cards can be used to process payments per-vendor, per-card which, of course, requires the maintenance of multiple cards.

But, the exciting news is that a new settlement method gaining momentum is paying the vendor invoices directly from PeopleSoft Payables using a credit card through the VISA network to the vendor’s VISA account.  This method works in lieu of exchanges between a client’s bank and vendor banks.  In the eyes of many organizations, this is both more secure and convenient, with the added benefit of having the insulation and benefit of the VISA network. A lot of people is planning their holidays, some of them are planning on travel to another countries like Canada, if you like to know more about Canada visit this article

Following is an strawman agreement for this settlement method.  Every agreement of this nature will be different, but the following illustrates how it works.


Oracle to Sun Customers: It Gets Better From Here

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I love what Oracle has to say – and the attitude with which it says it — to Sun Microsystems customers in a recent print ad.  This was placed on the front page of the European edition of The Wall Street Journal.


The only oddity is that there is no mention of MySQL’s future, which has been an outstanding concern since the Sun acquisition.

Nonetheless, this is quite the brazen ad for an enterprise software (and now hardware) company.

What Drives Clients to PeopleSoft Real Estate Management (REM)

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We’ve talked about PeopleSoft Real Estate Management (REM) before, but I  want to take a moment to highlight an for-lease-signexample of two common pains that many companies endure before realizing they need a full REM solution.  Like everything else, this is an exercise in tipping points: your tools work well enough until one day, frustration and complexity and lack of functionality gain critical mass and you begin searching for something better.

Let me be clear: Microsoft Excel – what most companies use until they realize they have created a bit of an XLS monster – is a great tool, but it quickly crumbles under its own weight when its forced to keep track of buildings, valuations, depreciation and lease renewals across lots of physical locations.

Below is an illustration of only two pain points that I see very frequently with clients who are looking to graduate to a full REM solution.


What is a browser?

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This was the question asked of over 50 people of different ages, races and occupations in New York’s Times Square.  The wide range of answers is fascinating.

Palm Pre review roundup (includes Pre welcome video)

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Looks like the iPhone had better bring its game face to WWDC and OS 3.0, because the Pre isn’t kidding around.  It gets high marks for its WebOS, which allows real app multitasking, and reviewers unanimously praise its OS speed, browser, screen and overall user interface/experience.

It gets nicked for a fairly poor keyboard, some random crashing/hanging issues (to be completely expected with first-gen OS and hardware) and a few memory management issues. Not to mention a nearly-nonexistent App Catalog to rival Apple’s App Store.

Bottom line: the Pre – especially once Palm offers an SDK and gets a robust App Catalog going – pushes the high-end touchscreen smartphone market forward in several big ways.  The Pre might not be the iPhone killer (I’ll wait to see what comes out of WWDC before judging that), but it’s the closest we’ve seen so far.

Here is a roundup of the early Pre reviews on the web right now.