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By Allan D. Francisco
EVERY MONDAY • August 15, 2011
Social media mining: Yes, No?
complex picture of your personal life can now be pieced together using a variety of public data sources, and increasingly sophisticated data-mining techniques. But just how accurate is that picture? Last week in Las Vegas, at the computer security conference Black Hat, Alessandro Acquisti, an associate professor of information technology and public policy at the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University, showed how a photograph of a person can be used to find his or her date of birth, social security number, and other information by using facial recognition technology to match the image to a profile on Facebook and other websites. Acquisti acknowledges the privacy implications of this work, but he warns that the biggest problem could be the inaccuracy of this and other data-mining techniques. Acquisti says that his current work is an attempt “to capture the future we are walking into.” In this future, he sees online information being used to prejudge a person on many levels—as a prospective date, borrower, employee, tenant, and so on. The Internet, he says, could become “a place where everyone knows your name”—a worldwide small town that won’t let you live anything down. Beyond the obvious concerns about strangers knowing more than ever about you, Acquisti worries about what will happen when the technology makes mistakes. “We tend to make strong extrapolations about weak data,” says Acquisti. “It’s impossible to fight that, because it’s in our nature.” A number of companies have already begun using social media to measure and track reputation. The
Is the Microsoft Windows Phone 7 dead in the water?
his early, some IT market analysts are concluding that the Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system is the latest in the software giant's growing list of failures. But the most brutal (some would say prejudiced) piece proclaiming Microsoft's failure in the smartphone market would be Don Reisinger's article, published on August 8, 2011, on the eweek.com Web site. Reisinger claims that there are at least 10 reasons why Windows Phone 7, including its Mango update, is a failed venture in the mobile phone market. The reasons he cites include plummeting sales. ComScore's latest market research shows WP7's already minuscule market share went down 38 percent. While Microsoft thinks WP7 sales can recover, Reisinger does not believe they would. He also claims that based on ComScore's market data, consumers do not care about Windows Phone 7. Consumers are happy with their Android- or iOS-based smartphones. Very much. So, what does it make of Nokia's embrace of WP7? Nokia does not matter at all, according to Reisinger who seems to imply that two entities that do not matter do not make one that does. Hmm, it is actually logical. For all we know, he could be right. Microsoft's latest mobile venture is doomed. Microsoft, led by its CEO Steve Ballmer, has to do a reprise of its Kin mobile misfire. But then again, Microsoft might be able to pull it off a few months from now. No one knows what the software giant might pull out of its magic hat. Although with each day that passes
by without the Redmond company coming out with something, anything, that can reverse its mobile woes, Reisinger looks more and more like a genius. Nokia Goes Pure WP7 Nokia, meanwhile, plans to focus its US business fully on the Windows Phone 7, abandoning its Symbianbased smartphones and feature phones. Media reports indicate that the Finnish handset manufacturer plans to bet everything on its WP7 move. The company believes that Microsoft's mobile OS will reverse its market share worries, and begin grabbing back some from its rivals. Also, Nokia plans to launch a marketing campaign in the US for its WP7 smartphones. Now, that is either an astute market move, or a last-money-never-loses gamble. We will know in a few months. No Vita Christmas Santa Claus regrets to inform Sony portable gaming fans that they will not have a merry Christmas. Sony's next-generation portable gaming console, the PlayStation Vita, will not be available in the US and Europe this Christmas shopping season. This will clearly hurt Sony's sales performance for the holiday season, the most important part of the year for marketers. But the Japanese consumer electronics giant chose that over launching the console without enough game software titles. Hmm. Short-term pain, long-term gains maybe for Sony? It might turn out yet to be a smart move. That's all for the meantime, folks. Join me again next time as we keep on watching IT.
Santa Barbara, California, company Social Intelligence, for example, performs social-media background screenings on prospective employees, promising to reveal negative information such as racist remarks or sexually explicit photos, or positive information such as signs of social media influence within a specific field. Other companies, such as Klout, track users’ level of social influence, allowing advertisers to offer special rewards to those with high scores. But Acquisti’s research demonstrated the pitfalls of placing too much relevance on social networking data. His team took photos of volunteers and used an off-the-shelf face recognizer called PittPatt (recently acquired by Google) to find each volunteer’s Facebook profile— which often revealed that person’s real name and much more personal information. Using this information, the team could sometimes figure out part of a person’s social security number. They also created a prototype smart-phone app that pulls up personal information about a person after they are snapped with the
device’s camera. In their experiment, the team was able to match about one-third of subjects to the correct profiles. From there, they made other predictions. Seventy-five percent of the time, they correctly predicted subjects’ interests. They correctly predicted the first five digits of volunteers’ social security numbers about 16 percent of the time given two tries. (Accuracy increased with more attempts.) But this means that two-thirds of the time, they did not identify people correctly. And those who were correctly identified were still incorrectly matched 25 percent of the time to particular personal interests, and more than 80 percent of the time to the wrong social security number. Acquisti expects facial recognition technology to continue improving in coming years, and he asks what will happen once it is considered good enough to be trusted most of the time. It could be nightmarish for those who are misidentified. “There’s nothing that we, as individuals, can control,” he says. (NYT)
What to expect from BlackBerry?
The future still shines bright for Research in Motion (RIM) as it continues to drive products and solutions that the consumers will benefit and enjoy. Coming from a successful business in Indonesia and India, RIM is now looking into focusing its efforts in propagating their products in the Philippines to eventually get a significant portion of market share in the country's smartphone industry. As they drive down the countryside, here are some of the things we can expect from RIM's BlackBerry: New devices Aside from the BlackBerry PlayBook which is totally a new product segment, RIM has announced several new devices such as the BlackBerry 9900 (an upgrade of BlackBerry 9700/9780, this time with a touch screen) as well as the BlackBerry Torch 9810 and 9860 (BlackBerry Torch 9800's successors). Of course it will be carrying the BB OS 7 and will have a sleeker body, faster processor plus bigger storage space. In addition, it will also have RIM's Liquid Graphics technology, which uses a dedicated graphics processor for smoother scrolling, zooming and panning. Native BB PlayBook applications The biggest frustrations people have about the PlayBook is the lack of native applications like e-mail, calendar, and contact list. RIM has announced that they are indeed working on a software upgrade that will have these functionalities. For the meantime, we can maximize the PlayBook's Bridge feature, which allows us to control our messages, appointments and contacts on the PlayBook after synchronization with a BlackBerry smartphone. BlackBerry Expert Centers Strategically located in Manila, Davao, and Cebu, RIM has opened 9 BlackBerry Expert Centers in the country to handle the after sales support of BlackBerry devices. As RIM sees the importance of communication with families and friends, a service unit will be provided when we have our devices upgraded or repaired. In addition to this, RIM has highlighted that once sales grow and there's a need for more centers, they will definitely be ready to provide additional services to consumers. Not to mention, BlackBerry devices now come with an extended warranty of 24 months. New buyers will automatically get this, while previous owners who still have the official receipt and bought their units from official channels may extend the warranty for free. Pinoy-centered applications RIM believes in quality versus quantity. Although the number of apps available for BlackBerry devices may seem few, RIM is continuously opening opportunities for developers to come up with usable applications. Just recently, they have partnered with a local software developing company named Novare, which is seen to produce more customized applications catered us Filipinos. BlackBerry on 4G Coping up with its competitors, RIM has plans of coming up with a BlackBerry that runs on 4G. As such, the smartphones will be capable of speeds up to nearly four times the network speed capability of previous models, so we can send emails, chat, and surf even faster. Some of us may find these expectations a bit late in the current mobile race, but RIM is confident that their innovations will bring BlackBerry a notch higher and be able to serve more consumers who are leaned towards social networking, connectivity, and ubiquity. (Glenn Richmond Ong)
Vuclip and ThumbMOB executives at the recent Vuclip launch event in Makati. From left: Vuclip CEO NickhilJakatdar, Vuclip Vice President for Marketing Judith Coley, ThumbMOB Head of Product Development Jaime Ocampo, ThumbMOB Founder and CEO Patricia Mulles, ThumbMOB Head of Business Development Victor Ocampo and Vuclip Vice President for Business Development AshwinPuri. ThumbMOB is the Official Channel Partner of Vuclip in the Philippines, dealing with local carriers, content publishers and advertisers interested in Vuclip. Vuclip is the world’s leading independent mobile video service. By Jaye C. Bautista
What travelling light means nowadays
he world seems to be getting smaller every day, especially for travelers like yours truly. I love going to new places, immersing myself in new cultures, sights, tastes and ambiance. It gets smaller in the sense that more and more people make it a regular course of action, part of their plans and goals. But traveling sometimes keeps us away from our regular work grind or for those “Techie addicts” (Err, guilty!) traveling creates some sort of panic attack. How do we stay connected while away? How do we keep abreast of all the online techy action for days or even a couple of hours? Well, thanks to techy wonder we can all have our just desserts bake it make it and eat it! So long as you pack the right gear you can pretty much go anywhere and still get that all important gadget fix. So, if you’re contemplating your latest adventure, taking another trip abroad and wanna know which tough travelfriendly gadgets to take, get a load of this.
one without some kind of camera on them. It’s an essential item to have on any trip! Picking the right one is important too, especially if you're a creative or adventurous type and will most likely expose your camera to non-camera friendly environments. The Sony Cybershot DSC-TX5 is right on the money and definitely worth a look; it's not only slim and portable at just 94 x 56.9 x 17.7mm and a weight of 144g, but it is dustproof, waterproof to 3 meters, freeze-proof to minus 10 degrees C and can withstand drops of around 1.5 meters not to mention taking some pretty decent pics. Phone - One has the option to take a one with you or not. Firstly, it's a prime target for thieves and second, you might literally want to get away from it all - including friends and family, so taking a phone won't help. However, they can be handy especially when in a bind. The thing to do nowadays though is to leave your expensive BB’s or iPhones and just buy a cheaper one and get local SIM cards. This saves on the “moo” allows you to stay in touch locally and if you wanna talk to your folks back home there’s Yahoo Mess or Skype you may do from your lappy at the hotel or call from a land line
using an International phone card. If you're going to be taking it into the wilds then you may wanna go for your classic tough phones like the Sonim XP3 Pro. It has a large range for you to consider as it not only will take a right battering, but it's got GPS built-in. Laptop - If you have to take a laptop with you on your travels, I recommend keeping it small, light and, if possible, a little on the battered side. At the very top end - you might want to take a look at the Panasonic Toughbook CF-C1; a hard as nails laptop, which would be ideal for travelling. It's not only relatively light, coming in at 1.69kg, but there's a whole lot of tough spec bundled in, so whatever you're doing it'll be able to take it. Pricey though so on the more practical side, there’s the Asus Eee PC 1015P, which boasts a whopping 13.5 hours mains-free action. Not only that, but along with it is 500GB of online storage spellin worry-free downloading of pics, videos or anything else you can think of, as it all goes up to the cloud. (To be continued) Lemme hear from yah: email@example.com
Camera - Have you ever seen a tourist without one? You look around and there’s practically no