Monday, April 21, 2008

News Report 10: MySpace's Collaboration With Top Record Companies

According to an article found on the New York Times website entitled “Three Record Companies Team Up With MySpace for Music Web Site” just that is planning to occur. On April 4, 2008 Jeff Leeds and Brad Stone wrote about the launch of a music website created by MySpace in conjunction with the top recording companies. The companies will use the website to make their entire music collection digital in a way to compete with the iTunes store. Myspace wants to differeniate itself from facebook by remaining a good site to discover music and network with other music fans. The site intends to be a complete stop for all music through the addition of streaming music, shared custom playlists, and downloadable tracks. Over the past couple years album sales in the United States alone have been dropping and the amount of individual digital tracks purchased has increased. However, overall music sales have decreased and there is a strong need to compete against Apple’s strong business model.

MySpace has become a place where people look to discover new music. I think that from a business perspective the record companies are trying to diminish their losses and recognize the new shift that has occurred in the music industry due to the presence of technology. I believe their sales will most likely increase because of this new website. From a music fan point-of-view, I think the new website is a good idea also. I find new music through MySpace and usually wonder how I can download the track to my mp3 player. These songs are often not available to purchase online. This site might make that easier, however; if the music selection on this website is limited to only artists signed by the top 3 record labels there still might be a lack of selection and a big problem. MySpace has become known for Indie music and hopefully this site would make that Indie music available without stealing the profits from the artist. Through this venture, MySpace is definitely taking leaps to become a tough competitor with,, and Apple iTunes. (WordCount: 345)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Reading Report 5: Web Hoaxes, Counterfeit Sites, etc.

This article, Web Hoaxes, Counterfeit Sites, and Other Spurious Information on the Internet, was very informative and eye opening. It is very interesting to learn that I've wrongly assumed websites are displaying facts when they may be counterfeit or fake. I only seem to question material on websites when they are very poorly designed and do not look professional. However, the article helped me realize how cautious I have to be when researching or reading material online because the internet is becoming more and more unreliable. Also, it is becoming easier to design websites, which makes it easier to make websites look professional and believable. I think that websites that might be counterfeit or not should be carefully monitored especially with the ongoing terrorist threats and war. These sites, that may be a joke, could potentially be taken seriously. These monitors should be warning internet browsers about certain fake sites so that people don't fall prey to the misinformation. Furthermore, it seems like a lot of these sites are purely for entertainment and humor rather than to deliberately misinform readers. For example, the article wrote about a site some creative writing students made up to make fun of current events; this is clearly harmless fun. The article talked about categorizing websites which would be extremely difficult to categorize all the pre-existing websites and try to keep up with every website added every day. Ultimately, I found the article rather monotonous because I can not imagine who would take the time to categorize the billions of websites out there and have everything remain up-to-date. It seems like an impossible feat. (WordCount: 268)

Monday, April 7, 2008

News Report 9: Library of Fear

According to an article in The Edmonton Journal, published on April 5th, 2008 by Jim Farrell, an area surrounding an Edmonton, Alberta, Canada library is extremely dangerous. A man stumbled into Stanley A. Milner Library and collapsed on the ground apparently due to a stab wound in the stomach. The victim had been involved in an altercation with another man outside the library and came into the library as a place to receive attention. A security guard used CPR to revive the man and get him breathing again. The man was taken to the hospital and no one had been arrested yet. The library is located in downtown Edmonton and the area has been increasingly violent with assaults and muggings becoming more common. A security guard claimed, “It’s the library of fear.”

Libraries are known as a safe place, but this is definitely an extreme definition. It is very scary for the residents of Edmonton that their library is becoming surrounded by frequent criminal activities. I have read of several libraries updating their facilities to attract more visitors and welcome younger generations. This library is definitely in a predicament. I would be hesitant to visit especially by myself; libraries should be a place where the patrons feel safe inside and out. I think the Edmonton authorities should take action to restore their library and downtown area to the safe-haven for people and readers alike. Increased security and perhaps renovation of the facilities will make the area more attractive for visitors and less attractive for criminal activity. (Word Count: 255)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

News Report 8: Appointments Made Easy

In the article found on the New York Times website entitled “Making Appointments for Doctor or Dinner” Bob Tedeschi informed readers of new online booking companies. These companies take one of the most dreaded business tasks, setting up appointments, and make it incredibly easy with their online interface. The companies HourTown, Genbook, and BookingAngel are especially helping small service businesses that waste a lot of time by playing phone tag and writing e-mails to set up appointments. The way it works is that the person trying to book an appointment will have access to a calendar and can mark all the times they will be available for an appointment. The business they are trying to book with will go in and look at those times and send something back to them confirming which time works for them.

With technology constantly surrounding us and people spending more time using their phone for the internet rather than actually talking on it, these online booking agents will be incredibly attractive to use. It can be a bothersome process to try to book an appointment if you are trying to book with smaller service business that might only have a couple of employees. This can also be an important feature of a business that does actually have an appointment maker. These businesses can market this addition to busy professionals who do not have time to book their appointments by phone. If they simply enter their availability they will get a response which will fit their schedule. I think it is a good idea and I would probably use it on occasion, but I like the interaction with the business. The service will make business less personable. (WordCount: 282)

Article published March 31st, 2008

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Reading Response 4: Will Wikipedia Ever Make the Grade?

I had no idea before reading this article how content of wikipedia was actually checked. I admit that I use wikipedia fairly often to retrieve information and it never occurs to me to second guess my findings. I immediately take the information as valid if listed in wikipedia. Since the information is updated by users, I assume it can be very easy to put in false information. After reading the article “Can Wikipedia Ever Make the Grade” I have realized that there are people who are constantly checking the validity of new posts, editing or deleting, and then contacting (in the nicest possible way) the false reporter to make sure they have their facts straight. Apparently scholars doubt the information posted and are skeptical, but I believe they should join the wikipedia crew and share their knowledge with everyone to help make the online encyclopedia more credible. I did not know that original research is discouraged from being posted, which could lead to the fact that scholars are not so keen on posting. Furthermore, some scholars post and things they write get edited and chopped down, this could also make scholars dislike the process. It makes me wonder who the person is editing the posts and how they are expert in that field. The article stated that topics like science are more accurate than those about law and art. Science is all about facts, formulas, and numbers which can be hard to get wrong. I can see how it could be easy for posts to get messed up when they are covering areas that are lacking in cold, hard facts. The article does not make me want to stop using wikipedia, but it does make me think twice about using it in research and where the information is coming from and if it is all completely accurate. Furthermore, the ease of use and conciseness of the text make it extremely appealing to refer to when trying to find information...wikipedia makes the grade for me. (Word Count:329)

Monday, March 24, 2008

News Report 7: Government taking $44 Million Technology Risk

John Markoff, a writer for the New York Times online site published an article on March 24, 2008 about a technological breakthrough that will most likely occur due to a new grant by the United States Pentagon of $44 Million to Sun Microsystems. Sun Microsystems wants to experiment with replacing wires that connect internal microchips in computers with lasers. Lasers will have the ability to communicate information faster between chips and will increase speed of processing for computers. If this technology proves successful, computers will be much more efficient and able to be “faster, more energy-efficient and more compact.” The plan seems to be risky, but they expect if it works for the performance of computers to be a thousand times faster.

This technology is really great and can definitely improve the functioning of computers. I imagine that computers will be able to handle the multiple things users try to do at a time way better. Hopefully there will be less computer crashes and every computer will be a much better performer. The article claims that it will be cheaper to produce these computers using this technology, but I think that companies will take advantage of this and just increase the prices to make higher profits. This technology will completely change the way get information. It will either decrease the amount of time that we spend on computers or it will increase the amount of things we try to do at one time. I hope with the $44 million grant that every succeeds as planned and in the future we will see cheaper, quality computers available to everyone. (Word Count:268) Replacing Wire With Laser, Sun Tries to Speed Up Data

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

News Report 6: TiVo brings YouTube videos to the TV

From an article published on the New York Times website on March 12, 2008, Brian Stelter discussed a new breakthrough in the technology and internet fields. TiVo and YouTube are joining forces to be able to bring YouTube videos to television screens. The videos offered on YouTube will be able to be accessed from TiVo subscribers that have up-to-date TiVo boxes that can support this new advancement. There is a lot of content on the internet and especially on YouTube that is causing people to spend more and more time on their computers and to abandon their televisions. Currently users can watch almost anything on their computers because the internet makes things incredibly accessible. TiVo working with YouTube will combine all ways to watch videos and television shows. Recorded programs, YouTube videos and playlists, movies, cable, and satellite will all be able to be watched from one component.

I think this is a good idea because I am seeing in my life I spend most of my time on the computer. YouTube is a site that I go to multiple times daily; I rarely turn my television on. TiVo is taking advantage of YouTube being such a strong site. I think this will be good for existing TiVo users that have the box that has the right specifications. However, as far using this as a marketing tool to get more people to buy and subscribe to TiVo I don’t believe that this gives people an incentive to run out and drop some cash on this product and service. Computers are a part of everyday life and if YouTube is free to watch on a computer it would be extremely stupid to pay money to watch it on a television set. (Word Count: 290)