DAILY FIVE (2/17)

17 February 2011

1. Intel’s Otellini: Obama friend or foe?, Biz Journals, Suzanne Stevens

Intel CEO Paul Otellini will host President Barack Obama at the technology giant’s Hillsboro campus on Friday. Six months ago, the Intel chief was bashing the president and his economic policies, saying the administration was stunting America’s growth.

2. Google Android vs. Apple iOS: Feature War Heats Up, PC World, Ian Paul

The Android versus iOS platform war is heating up. Just one day after Apple announced its new in-app subscription model, Google responded with a similar scheme

3. Obama to arrive in California today to talk technology, Los Angeles Times, Michael Memoli

President Obama will meet with some of the nation’s top executives in the technology sector during a visit to California on Thursday, as he continues to sell the innovation agenda he unveiled in last month’s State of the Union address.

4. Nokia and Microsoft deal: View from Mobile World Congress, BBC, Staff

A great deal of talk at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona has centred on the announcement that Nokia will start using Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 instead of its own Symbian operating system.

5. MOBILE WORLD: Tablets, Location-Based Apps, To Spur Mobile Ads, Dow Jones, Ruth Bender

The growth of tablets and smartphones with bigger screens will help to spur the nascent mobile advertising industry, but hurdles remain before it contributes more than a trickle to the flood of global ad dollars, industry experts said at the annual mobile industry fair in Barcelona.

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DAILY FIVE (2/16)

16 February 2011

1. Could the technology that upended Egypt create similar unrest in the U-S?, Examiner, Bruce Maiman

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered an interesting speech at George Washington University Tuesday, one that may have greater meaning than she can imagine, or that she and other government leaders might not want to imagine.

2. Analysis: Alliances Sought in Barcelona, Wall Street Journal, Ben Rooney

If you want an illustration of the speed of change that is taking place in the mobile industry, take two examples; Windows Phone 7 and HTC’s announcement of the “Facebook” phone (we have to put it in quotes because Facebook have made it clear that it isn’t really their phone at all).

3. Nokia paves the way at Mobile World Congress, Investors Chronicle, Malar Velaigam

The Mobile World Congress kicked off on Monday, but the crowd was still abuzz from Nokia’s news of its alliance with Microsoft in a bid to revive its fortunes in the smartphone world. But while Nokia may have jumped off what its new chief executive described as its “burning platform” into the cold, wet embrace of Microsoft, what could this mean for UK semiconductor companies?

4. Schmidt promises to get ‘permission’ before taking over our world, The Register, Bill Ray

Eric Schmidt wants us to love the Earth more, and tells us that the more information we share with Google the easier that will be – all with our permission of course.

5. Clinton on Internet Freedom: Living by the Standards We Hold the World To, The Atlantic, Bruce Gottlieb

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has delivered a bold and — given the context — important speech today about freedom on the Web.

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Technology and the Obama Budget

15 February 2011

Several defining characteristics separate those that live and work inside the Beltway from the rest. For example, you know you’re from D.C. if:

o   Your trips to the Mall have nothing to do with shopping

o   The Washington Monument is your main tool of navigation

o   You put the Virginia-Maryland rivalry on par with Capulets vs. Montagues, Michigan vs. Ohio State, and Harry Potter vs. Voldemort

Monday reminded me of another annual event that mainly pertains to those of us inside the Beltway: you know you’re from D.C.  if you get genuinely excited about the release of the President’s budget proposal.

Yes, President Obama has released his budget for the upcoming fiscal year. He and his Democratic allies will need to gear up for a battle, as Congressional Republicans have already expressed their strident objections.

While the budget features across the board spending cuts, the technology industry actually emerged relatively unscathed. Indeed, the federal technology budget actually increased 1.3 percent to $80.5 billion. This is partly explained by major internal appropriations for cloud computing solutions, which is expected to eventually result in substantial reductions to the federal government’s IT costs.

Obama put his money where his mouth is, following through on several major initiatives announced at his State of the Union address. The National Institute of Standards and Technology, one of the nation’s most prominent physical science research laboratories, is the eager recipient of an additional $100 million in appropriations pending Congressional approval. And wireless broadband was a big winner, as the Administration is officially proposing $5 billion to bring wireless broadband to rural areas and $10 billion to produce a national wireless network for public safety agencies.

Long a proponent of renewable energy, President Obama is proposing further investment in green technology to the tune of $8 billion. He elaborated on this commitment in his official statement to Congress: “We are eliminating subsidies to fossil fuels and instead making a significant investment in clean energy technology—boosting our investment in this high-growth field by a third—because the country that leads in clean energy will lead in the global economy.” Specifics include implementing three additional Green Energy Innovation Hubs as well as a plan to put one million electric cars on the road by 2015.

In his statement, President Obama was clear on his vision to bring the U.S. out of the depths of the recession: “a serious commitment to research and technology; and access to quality infrastructure like roads and airports, high-speed rail, and high-speed Internet. These are the seeds of economic growth in the 21st century. Where they are planted, the most jobs and businesses will take root.”

It’s easy to recognize the vast potential of the tech industry, but it won’t matter until these investments produce a tangible impact on the American economy  and – perhaps more importantly – begin creating jobs. Is President Obama making the right call by doubling down on wireless broadband and green technology? Post your thoughts below!

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DAILY FIVE (2/14)

14 February 2011

1. Less-Pricey iPhone in the Works , Wall Street Journal, Yukari Iwatani Kane and Ethan Smith

Apple Inc. is working on the first of a new line of less-expensive iPhones and an overhaul of software services for the devices, people familiar with the matter said, moving to accelerate sales of its smartphones amid growing competition.

2. 5 of the Best Streaming Media Services Compared, Mashable, Christina Warren

A few years ago, most people probably got the majority of their media content from either a cable box, an optical disc or from an Internet download. Today, with the advent of YouTube, ubiquitous connectivity and better access to broadband, many users now get the bulk of their content streamed directly to their devices from the cloud.

3. Clean energy technology wins out in Obama’s budget, Daily Caller, Amanda Carey

While House Republicans are preparing to slash spending for renewable energy projects in their plan to fund the government through the rest of this year, President Obama proposed “significant investment” on similar projects in his budget proposal released Monday for fiscal year 2012.

4. Windows Phone 7’s future revealed: multitasking, IE9, Twitter, Ars Technica, Peter Bright

At the Mobile World Congress today, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Windows Phone director Joe Belfiore showed what to expect from Windows Phone 7 later this year. The headline features of this big update are multitasking support for third-party applications and a new Web browser based on Internet Explorer 9.

5. Intel invests in 6 mobile technology companies, Associated Press

Chip maker Intel Corp. said Monday it has invested a total of $26 million in six companies offering mobile products and services.

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Technology Straight Up!

11 February 2011

Last week I attended Tech Cocktail: Winter Mixer, a technology media mixer for emerging technologies and innovations, at Slaviya restaurant in Adams Morgan.  The event was hosted by Digital Capital Week’s co-founder Frank Gruber and Eric Olson. The purpose for this mixer is to help entrepreneurs by educating and better connecting local technology communities. In attendance were tech influencers, and enthusiasts as well as members from the media (rumor was that the Washington Post’s Rob Pegoraro was there!).

One of the coolest things I came across was a social networking platform called WatchParty. WatchParty is a community that allows people to interact with one another who are watching the same TV show.  Once you are in a WatchParty, there are four features you can use to express yourself and communicate with other audience members (Blip, Flips, Traks, Slide).

This is a really great measuring tool for those who do researching analytics for television networks. This community enables participants to share their opinions on their show in real time.

Several WatchParty’s for you to be on the lookout this week include: Glee, The Good Wife, and Parenthood.

Start a WatchParty or join one!

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Mobile Apps Reach Higher Power

11 February 2011

The evolution of mobile applications has transformed the value of mobile devices. We’re seeing apps used in a variety of ways, from traditional games and social media, to ones like mobile health and GPS that improve daily life experiences. But for those who thought we already had an app for everything, guess again.

A new application, published for Apple’s iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch devices will help Catholics prepare for going to confession. Created by Little iApps, and blessed by the Catholic church, The Catholic Confession App (available to download for $1.99) is making it easier “for Catholics who frequent the sacrament and those who wish to return.” The application appears to be an educational tool for those who have been away from the Catholic church and wish to re-acquaint themselves.

No matter which religious affiliation you follow, this is another great example of how mobile applications are improving our lifestyle.

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The Technology Industry: Paving the Way to Recovery

11 February 2011

This week, I had the pleasure of attending The Atlantic’s digital town hall on “Finding Work, Finding Our Way: Building the Economy & Jobs of the Future” at the Newseum. Those of us in attendance were treated to enlightening interviews and discussions with a “who’s who” of D.C. power brokers and thought leaders. We witnessed a lively debate on America’s place in the global economy – and how to get back to our pre-crisis level of prosperity.

Leading off was the main headliner, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. Undeniably brilliant and fascinatingly complex, it’s intriguing to see him in person. Perhaps no man or woman in the country (outside of President Obama) is under more pressure than Geithner, and it’s evident when you see him speak. Every word he says is so carefully measured, as if he’s constantly thinking “one careless word could send the markets back into a tailspin.” Geithner acknowledged the uphill climb he’s responsible for leading– after all, eight million jobs were lost at the onset of the recession, only a million of which have returned. He was also realistic about the immediate prospects of struggling industries such as housing and construction, after effects of the “trauma” of the crisis.

But the industry leading the way through the recovery?: hi-tech. Secretary Geithner explained America’s technology companies are innovating at higher rates than ever – a bright spot in an otherwise bleak economy. And he said the industry isn’t outsourcing jobs at nearly the same rate as others. The top engineers in the world still gravitate here, he said – a trend that is helping the U.S. mitigate the effects of the recession. Geithner left us all with a greater understanding of our current economic status and provided a road map to spur further growth.

Reserved. Discreet. Apathetic. None of these words describe FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. He’s emerged as one of the more high profile members of the Obama Administration. The President’s State of the Union pledge to bring wireless broadband to 98% of the American population has put Genachowski firmly in the spotlight, while his pro-net neutrality stand has earned him equally populated legions of loyal fans – and heated rivals.

The always engaging Genachowski repeatedly stressed the importance of bringing high-speed internet to rural areas normally slow to adopt advanced technology. Genachowski said internet access is critical to farmers who rely on it to sell their produce and follow weather patterns. Businesses are rapidly fleeing small towns where high-speed wireless is unavailable.

Moderator Judy Woodruff of PBS asked how the U.S. stacks up against the world in wireless technology. Genachowski’s answer was to the point: “not well.” He reaffirmed his commitment to pushing 4G throughout the country in support of the “apps economy” – something he sees as a major growth factor. Genachowski was eager to discuss the tablet rise, predicting tablets will soon replace textbooks in high school and college classrooms throughout the country. As someone who not too long ago was lugging 40 lb backpacks from class to class, all I can say is “amen.”

While Geithner and Genachowski were hard acts to top, the ensuing participants offered some interesting insights. Senator Orrin Hatch (likely facing a conservative primary challenge) answered the question “is it possible to insert Tea Party rhetoric into every answer no matter the question?” with a definitive yes. He topped it off by recalling a conversation with “my good friend Jeff Zuckerberg from Facebook.” Maybe they’re not as close as he thought…

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell gave an impressive outline of ways state governments can engage with China. I was also intrigued by the manner in which states are engaging in intense competition for relocating businesses. McDonnell and North Carolina Governor Beverly Purdue in particular appear to be in the swing of a friendly business recruitment rivalry.

For me, the highlight of the event came in one of the panel discussions, courtesy of Safi Bahcall, CEO of Synta Pharmaceuticals – a successful startup focusing on cancer medication. He spoke in reference to Woodruff’s earlier satellite Q&A with students from the University of Miami (Ohio) and University of North Carolina. Literally every student who had secured a job for next year was on his or her way to a financial firm. Bahcall commented, “you know what I want to see some of these kids say? ‘I want to cure cancer.’ I’m pretty sure the world doesn’t need another hedge fund manager.”

And that’s the message I took from Finding Work, Finding Our Way. The current economic picture may be somber at best, but no country has more resources to dig its way out than the United States. It’s a matter of aiming big, not small. Bunt singles are nice, but its home run hitters like Chairman Genachowski and Safi Bahcall who will truly put runs on the board.

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DAILY FIVE (2/11)

11 February 2011

1. Egypt: Tech seen as offering challenges, solution, San Francisco Chronicle, Joe Garofoli

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said it was “pure coincidence” that she spoke Thursday at the San Francisco social networking site Twitter moments before Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak refused to step down – a move that enraged street activists, many of whom have been using Twitter to organize their three-week-long uprising.

2. Deadly Sins the Tech Industry Can’t Seem to Shake, InfoWorld, Bill Snyder

The technology industry moves so fast and values change so much that its collective attention span and memory can be as ephemeral as a game of Angry Birds. So when I heard that Ken Olsen, the pioneering founder of the Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC), had died this week at age 84, I was reminded of all the good — and bad — that occurred in his career, showing the unlearned lessons that still plague the tech industry.

3. Facebook-Phone Maker Praises Nokia-Microsoft Deal, Forbes, Parmy Olson

Nokia’s partnership with Microsoft is already getting flack being a better deal for the Windows maker than its Finnish counterpart, but one competitor thinks the partnership is great news for both.

4. Augmented reality helps you fix your printer, VentureBeat, Ciara Byrne

Augmented reality (AR) company Metaio will show a demo at next week’s Mobile World Congress in which AR on your mobile phone shows you how to change a printer toner cartridge.

5. Nokia ‘Has Pretty Good Shot’ at Revival, Wall Street Journal, Lilly Vitorovich

Nokia Corp. has 12 to 18 months to make its strategic tie-up with software giant Microsoft Corp. work, a top European mobile executive said Friday.

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DAILY FIVE (2/8)

08 February 2011

1. Verizon iPhone Now Available for Jailbreaking, PC World, Blair Hanley Frank

Just as the Verizon iPhone 4 has begun reaching people who pre-ordered it, the Chronic Dev Team has released a fresh update to Greenpois0n, their jailbreaking tool. The update makes it possible for anyone with iOS 4.2.6 (the version currently powering the Verizon iPhone) to jailbreak their phone.

2. Google executive’s 12-day Egypt blindfold ordeal, AFP

The young Egyptian Google executive who was arrested during protests against President Hosni Mubarak has spoken of his 12-day ordeal arrested and blindfolded by the feared state security services.

3. Tech industry uses the spectacle of the Super Bowl to launch products, IT World, Peter Smith

Yeah, I’m going to talk about Super Bowl ads, and will freely admit I’m a bit late to the party. I couldn’t help coming away from the game feeling like more than just the football season had ended. Some of these tech ads felt like they marked the end of a long period of rumor-mongering for their products.

4. High-Tech Initiative in U.K. Is Key Test, Wall Street Journal, Jeanne Whalen

The closing of a big Pfizer Inc. pharmaceutical research and development center in southern England underscores a conundrum in Prime Minister David Cameron’s economic growth plan: He is counting on high-tech jobs like those in the drug industry to pull the U.K. out of a severe slump, just as many drug giants are slashing R&D spending and shuttering labs.

5. CEOs: Locke Obama’s secret weapon, Politico, Ben White

Klayko is one of many executives and entrepreneurs interviewed who characterize Locke as a sort of secret weapon in the Obama administration. An official who has scored trade deals for U.S. companies, especially in China, defended intellectual property rights and responded to complaints about burdensome regulation.

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DAILY FIVE (2/7)

07 February 2011

1. Verizon iPhone arriving February 7 for some?, CNET, Don Reisinger

Some people who preordered the Verizon iPhone might get their hands on it a tad bit early.

2. Justin Bieber 6G Fever: Best Buy has Justin Bieber in beard at end, Examiner, Jodi Jill

The Justin Bieber Best Buy Super Bowl commercial tonight on Super Bowl Sunday had the fans watching, but most missed the entertainer played two characters during the 30 second spot.

3. AOL acquires Huffington Post, CNN

AOL, the online media company that has recently snatched several smaller content firms, has agreed to purchase news blog service The Huffington Post for $315 million, the two companies announced Monday.

4. Super Bowl: The tech winners and losers, CNET, Chris Matyszczyk

I know there will be some who were devastated not to see Google advertising during this year’s Super Bowl. And yet tech companies decided to see and be seen, with all the consequences that might entail.

5. US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke leads hi-tech trade mission to India, Net Indian News Network

United States Commerce Secretary Gary Locke is leading a high-technology trade mission to India to promote exports of leading US technologies and services related to civil nuclear energy, civil aviation, defense, homeland security and information and communications technology.

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