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Simon Beardow - Deputy Director, British Council, Vietnam

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Mega Trend Technologies And Cocktails




The New York Times technology writer David Pogue in an interview with WebProNews highlights the technology trends as he sees them.

One of the most revealing statements relates to the pace of change and how businesses will always struggle to keep pace and capitalise upon new technologies.

Stripped down technologies are replacing developments with multiple features; the notion that simpler is better is finally getting through.

Danny Groner writing in the Huffington Post attended the event and wrote:

"I was amazed by some of the products that Pogue showed off or talked about. A top-of-the-line camera that fits in your pocket. An app that turns your iPhone into a musical instrument. Ways to ensure that you never lose an internet signal. 

These products will encourage creativity and connectivity, and Pogue is helping to escort in a new era. His hour-long presentation carried with it the ability to get even technology novices excited and inspired about what's to come. 

With so much new technology already in place, that's the biggest obstacle standing in the way."

One who has had great success with picking a trend and capitalising on it is Zynga's Mark Pincus.  He has made a large fortune from online gaming and allying it to the Net's social revolution. 

Farmville, the addictive game on Facebook is one of his better known successes and he was an early investor in both Facebook and Napster, the P2P music sharing site.

Talking to The Telegraph Pincus said:

"Since the likes of Napster, MySpace and Facebook were created, the web is a social place, with lots and lots of smaller cocktail parties happening everywhere. 

Beforehand, the web was a huge place that wasn't connected in any way – and then Napster launched [and] the web suddenly lit up. 

The internet became this place where people could come together around their interests. And now I am hosting one of the biggest cocktail parties online."
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Thursday, 2 December 2010

Role Of Twitter In Marketing Strategy



Loic LeMeur on the role of social media in marketing.  Loic is the founder and CEO of the popular Twitter+Facebook application and site Seesmic.com.

He founded and hosts th premier tech event in Europe, LeWeb.net, which brings together 2000 entrepreneurs from 40 countries each year.

Business Week named Loic one of the 25 most influential people on the web.  He advises the World Economic Forum and covers the Annual Summit every year in Davos.
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Tuesday, 30 November 2010

About Face

Official seal of the USPTOUnbelievable as it may seem, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office have sent the Facebook offices a Notice of Allowance, effectively awarding then the trademark of the word ‘Face’.

Am I alone in thinking that this is a preposterous decision?

While it is true that the use of the "face" trademark comes with strings attached, it seems patently absurd (pun intended) to grant rights over a common term such as this.  The company must pay the issue fee within three months and their terms of usage covers:

Telecommunication services, namely, providing online chat rooms and electronic bulletin boards for transmission of messages among computer users in the field of general interest and concerning social and entertainment subject matter, none primarily featuring or relating to motoring or to cars.”

Why the "cars" exclusion you may well ask? 

I wish I could provide an answer but clearly the motor vehicle industry in the USA carries a lot of clout.

Facebook is not alone in attempting to trademark common names. Anything with the word "pod" in it has attracted Apple's attention, as far back as 2006.

In March 2004, Donald Trump tried to officially register “You’re fired”, his catchphrase from then television programme, The Apprentice. The USPTO claimed that it was too similar to other trademarked property and his application was declined.

Some have succeeded. The boxing announcer Michael Buffer has become known for his phrase “Let’s get ready to rumble!” and since his trademarking of the phrase, has reportedly reaped a massive $400 million over the years through its use in various media.

Now all Facebook needs to do is file a Statement of Use and they are the proud 'owners' of "face".

What happens with the word's existing usage in other parts of the online world?  Ken Santema points out that:

" The term face is already used in the software industry, in the context of GUI's and skin's ..... this would be a sub-sect of the software industry wouldn't it? "

A wit commented on the Techcrunch coverage of this decision:

 "Let's Face™ it, this is ridiculous. "

I cannot help but agree.
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Monday, 29 November 2010

Getting Tough But Will It Work?


Illegal file sharing and counterfeit goods sites are in for a shock.  The US Government has commenced a domain seizure programme in an attempt to close these illegal traders down.

According to CNet News, the seizures came after a Senate committee unanimously approved a controversial proposal earlier this month that would allow the government to pull the plug on Web sites accused of aiding piracy.

A division of the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE),is handling the crackdown.

Not surprisingly there are critics of this action. CBS News and CNET Technology Analyst Larry Magid says
 
"This is a very controversial practice, which of course is supported by companies in the video and motion picture and music business, but opposed by some civil rights activists and organizations who feel that it's an improper use of government authority, because it's shutting down an entire domain in an attempt to get at some allegedly infringing material".

It also begs the question how effective such a programme of seizure actually is?  Pirate Bay for example, is still up and running despite its principals being found guilty in a court of law.

In addition, to prosecute pirates there needs to be evidence and this resides on a server, not within a domain name. 

Without a server no warrant can be issued and without a warrant, a prosecution cannot proceed.  To try and do so without following this due process would seem to contravene the USA's Fourth Amendment.

There a number of avenues available for site owners to circumvent these restrictions.  The US Government can only seize US-registered domain names so there is nothing to stop a US citizen registering a site in an off shore registry.

The Internet will respond to such censorship by finding a way around it, a process which has become the norm. The pirates will no doubt do likewise.

In another court ruling, this time in the UK, it has been decided that news monitoring agencies will have to pay publishing companies foer the use of their web content.

According to The Telegraph which reported the verdict:

"Headlines are now considered separate literary works, and thus subject to copyright, which means that clients of aggregation websites that charge for a service will have to pay for a license in order to use headlines, links and short extracts from online stories".

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