Newswatch: Government hiring hackers, Comcast raises rates as Internet service costs fall
Monday 8am Silicon Valley news report:
Comcast told investors that the hardware to provide 50-megabits-per-second service costs less than it had been paying for the equipment for 6 megabits per second.
Microsoft Corp. is counting on Larson-Green, its head of "Windows Experience," to deliver an operating system that delights the world's PC users as much as its last effort, Vista, disappointed them. She's in charge of a wide swath of the system, from the way buttons and menus work to getting the software out in January as scheduled.
"There are plenty of indicators that the basic core of the Bay Area economy is going to do fine in 2010 and beyond," Levy said. "All of the administration's efforts are focused on the application of technology and innovation and the kinds of things that we do here."
MySpace's objective will be to find "half a dozen new revenue streams" that will help recording labels move away from just selling song downloads and CDs, said Rio Caraeff, executive vice president of Universal Music Group's digital strategy unit. "We'd rather have 10 healthy revenue streams than one big revenue stream prone to disruption."
There is more at stake here, though, than a gentle generational rivalry. Tech companies should pay close attention to this explosive adoption rate among the older crowd. Silicon Valley, as much as any place, can be obsessed with youth and the so-called "digital natives." You can see it in the cubicles across the biggest of companies and smallest of startups, where there seems to be a premium on hiring young.
In an analyst meeting last month, eBay announced that it was returning to its roots and focusing more on the classic auction side of their business. It's too early to tell how this about-face will affect eBay, but there may be more signals in this week's first-quarter earnings call. If this was accompanied by an improvement in eBay's fraud prevention and customer service, it might just return some of the fun to buying and selling products.
Last week, I reviewed six half-truths of the cloud. Here are six more commonly held views that, while not completely wrong, may not be entirely accurate:
This week's IPOs for Rosetta Stone and Bridgepoint are, let's face it, good news. The fact that "people even opened their checkbooks at all has got to provide at least a glimmer of hope," says former VC and current hedge-fund manager Bill Burnham. But people shouldn't hold their breath waiting for a flood of VC-backed deals, Burnham says. The market will have to pick up appreciably before the gates truly open.
General Dynamics Information Technology put out an ad last month on behalf of the Homeland Security Department seeking someone who could "think like the bad guy." Applicants, it said, must understand hackers' tools and tactics and be able to analyze Internet traffic and identify vulnerabilities in the federal systems.
Steven Brill—the man who gave the world American Lawyer magazine, CourtTV and the Clear card—is looking to do a little something for the ailing journalism industry. Brill announced this week that he and partners L. Gordon Crovitz, the former publisher of The Wall Street Journal, and Leo Hindery Jr., the former CEO of AT&T Broadband, have started Journalism Online LCC. The company plans to help publishers charge readers for online access to some stories as well as negotiate licensing fees with news aggregators and search engines that use their content.
Aneesh Chopra, currently Virginia’s Secretary of Technology, got the nod and will soon join his former colleague Vivek Kundra, the national Chief Information Officer, on a team tasked with using technology to make government more efficient. “Aneesh will promote technological innovation to help achieve our most urgent priorities — from creating jobs and reducing health care costs to keeping our nation secure,” Obama said in his Saturday radio address.
But YouTube's problems point to a larger difficulty for many Web startups: "User-generated content" is proving to be a financial albatross.
The NHL and other brands are taking a page from political groups that use social-networking tools to help their constituencies organize themselves. The most prominent example, of course, is Barack Obama's presidential campaign, which proved social networking is a powerful way to create a grassroots movement. Brands are eager to replicate his success -- both online and in real life.
E-con artists are getting more sophisticated in approaching potential victims. One tactic has been to write spam that purports to come from a trusted source, like Paypal.
Distributing content digitally over the Internet, rather than in physical form, seems to be the wave of the future.
A search for the term "real estate" in Twitter turns up hundreds of people or businesses tweeting on the subject. So one way is to sign up to receive real estate agents' tweets and then engage them with details of your home.
According to the Symantec researchers, the botnet has some sophisticated capabilities that suggest the work of an experienced programmer who may have rented out his creation to someone else who actually used it for denial-of-service attacks, a common pattern seen in botnets formed from Windows PCs.
As the number of these virtual worlds grows, so, too, does the demand for sophisticated monitoring software and people, called moderators, who can act as virtual playground monitors.
Today, notebooks are second class no more. More notebook machines will be sold worldwide this year than desktops, the first time in the industry’s history, according to the research firm IDC. In the United States, the milestone has already been reached: last year, notebook sales passed those for desktops.
"Their endless stalemate really amounted to them pouring sugar in their own gas tank," said Jonathan Handel, an entertainment lawyer who has followed the talks closely. "The SAG hard-liners have inflicted serious damage on their own union."
Investors will get a lot more clarity next week when IBM, Microsoft and EMC Corp, which all do substantial business selling to corporate customers, report their earnings.