Blog Dance

The year is already 1/12 over!  How did that happen?   I’m a little late to the game with my tech predictions for this year but I figured better late than never.   Last year I batted around a .400.  Let see if this year is any better.  Here are my predictions for the coming year:

Photo: Matt Dunham/AP

There will be a large-scale botnet attack

Hackers have recently been mounting large-scale attacks on major corporations by using botnets.  Here’s how it works:   A botnet is a network of computers that are infected by a virus.  Hackers use this virus to take control of all the infected computers’ computing power and attack a specific target.

Hacktivist groups like Anonymous have recently made headlines by using botnets to attack organizations that criticized and withdrew support of Wikileaks.  Just a few days ago they were in the news again, threatening Egypt’s government for blocking internet access to protestors.  With more and more computers becoming infected, the botnets are growing exponentially in computing power.  I think we’ll see some major attacks this year, possibly to financial or government organizations.

Twitter will release a do-it-yourself ad service

This past year we finally saw an effort by Twitter to make some revenue.  Analysts say that their ad services may make as much as $250 million revenue by 2012.  Their challenge is going to be proving that these promoted tweets are actually effective, since Facebook offers the same service with a bigger user base.  Twitter has enough of a niche market that if they introduce something similar to Facebook and Google’s do it yourself ad services, they could start to be competitive.

Myspace will be bought, possibly by a recording company

Myspace is hurting badly.  It recently laid off about 50% of its workforce and continues to struggle to find a niche in the Facebook-dominated social space.  One thing that Myspace seems to have over Facebook is a good interface for sharing music.  Myspace continues to be a site for musicians looking to share their music and they still have recognition.  With some rebranding and significant downsizing, they must be useful to someone!

iphone cat

From tonymadrid on Flickr

iPhone on Verizon will crush Android sales

The iPhone is coming to Verizon in February and analysts predict anywhere from 12 to 25 million will sell in 2011.  That does not bode well for Android, which was able to compete with the iPhone in market share partially because of AT&T’s exclusivity deal with Apple. However, HTC and Motorola have some pretty nifty new Android phones coming out mid-year that will definitely be competitive, so we’ll have to wait and see!

Android Honeycomb will be beautiful, but iPad 2 will come out in the summer and dominate tablet sales

CES 2011 was a blizzard of tablets.  It seemed almost every single maker had their own tablet to announce.  Google will be showing off its new tablet operating system, Android Honeycomb, at a press event on February 2nd.

This is the operating system that many of the tablets at CES will be running and I can’t wait to see what it looks like.  We haven’t heard anything about iPad 2 yet, but the first generation has been out for so long with little to no competition that even with all the shiny new Android tablets hitting the market soon, I think iPad sales will continue to dominate in 2011.

Net neutrality will make front page headlines

Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers should put no restrictions on the type of content we receive and the methods in which we receive it.  Proponents for net neutrality argue that telecom companies are trying to enact a tiered model where the consumer would have to pay a different amount to access different data.

This model is ultimately harmful to the consumer because telecom companies would be able to remove competition to their services by controlling the flow of content and creating artificial scarcity.  This issue hasn’t had much effect on the mainstream media yet, but I think we’ll be reading a lot more about it this year, especially with the recent Comcast-NBC deal.

Yahoo will continue to lay off workers

I had this prediction written in early January and then it came true.  Yahoo announced more layoffs this month and I predict we’ll see more of that in 2011.  I also wouldn’t be surprised if Carol Bartz is out of there by December.

What do you think we’ll see if 2011? Angry Birds on gaming consoles? Apple shutting down it’s Ping service? Share your predictions in the comments below!

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January 31, 2011 | Filed Under Post, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

cesThis past week, thousands of tech geeks, journalists, booth babes, (and Top Chef Contestants?!) descended on Las Vegas for the annual Consumer Electronics Show, where companies show you mouth-watering products you’ll never be able to afford.

There were many big announcements, but in my opinion, Motorola and Verizon stole the show with a much anticipated iPad competitor, the Motorola Xoom, and a fleet of 4G LTE enabled smartphones and tablets. 4G LTE is the 4th generation of wireless standards (an upgrade to 3G), offering extremely fast download speeds on your mobile devices.

motorola xoom

Photo credit: Josh P. Miller/CNET

Motorola Xoom

The Motorola Xoom, winner of CNET’s Best of Show Award, is definitely drool worthy. The Xoom has a 10.1 inch screen, an Nvidia Tegra 2 dual core processor, rear and front facing cameras, 32gb built-in memory, flash support, and Android’s brand new Honeycomb interface, built specifically for tablets. Whatever you do with it, it’s going be pretty awesome. Play the latest Android games, update your Facebook, use the latest O2uk Mobile Broadband or watch Youtube videos. Basically whatever you do will seem bigger and better than ever. If you can afford to splurge on a hot new hi-tech gadget this year, this one is my recommendation. Compared to iPad’s 9.7 inch screen, A4 processor, no cameras, no flash, and iOS, this tablet is arguably better across the board. Oh, and it looks shiny too.

vizio, xvt3d6sp

Credit: Vizio

Vizio XVT3D6SP

The new Vizio line of TVs are not only beautiful (full-array LED backlight, 480hz refresh rate, etc.), they come with a host of Internet Apps (VIA). One of these apps, OnLive, is a cloud-gaming service that offers a bunch of cool features. My favorite is called “Versus”, which uses the 3D capability of the television to allow two separate gamers to use the entire screen without need a “split-screen mode”.

Each player wears the 3D glasses, which send a different image to the right and left eye, so that each player will simultaneously see a 2D image of their screen on the television. Halo party, my house?

Lady Gaga, Polaroid, Sunglasses

Credit: Gizmodo

Lady Gaga’s Polaroid Sunglasses

Last year I predicted that 3D glasses would be the new hipster trend, but I think I have a new favorite pair of sunglasses.  Lady Gaga paired up with Polaroid to introduce a pair of terminator-inspired specs that take pictures.

Ridiculous?  Maybe.  Expensive?  I’m sure.  Awesome?  ABSOLUTELY.

Panasonic 3D videocameras

Last year at CES, 3D was a big deal. However this holiday season, 3D TV sales suffered because of the lack of specialized content. Maybe this will help that. Now for the low cost of $1400 Panasonic released the first 3D videocamera last year for the low low cost of $21000, then a consumer friendly model last October for $1400, and now have upgraded their line.

I can hear it ten years from now at preppy private schools, “Oh… your home videos aren’t in 3D? I don’t know if we can be friends…”

motorola atrix

Credit: Josh Miller/CNET

Motorola Atrix 4G

Manufacturers have finally figured out a way to use the insane amounts of processing power they are putting into smartphones these days. Let you use it like a computer! The Motorola Atrix 4G comes with a laptop dock. This dock, once you plug in your phone, brings whatever you are doing on your phone into a larger screen, allowing you to surf the web, watch videos, write emails with the comfort of a full-sized laptop. Nifty eh?

iosafe portable rugged

Credit: Dong Ngo/CNET

iOSafe rugged portable

Tired of your external hard drive crashing and losing all your illegally downloaded movies? Well IoSafe is here to save you! In a video demonstration at CES, they showed how their external harddrive can withstand 10 rounds from a SHOTGUN. Since I often accidentally fire my shotgun at my hard drive, I’ll totally be buying this baby.

Verizon Home Security and Control System

Credit: Tim Hornyak/CNET

Verizon Home Monitoring and Control System

Verizon’s new system combines security, power usage, and appliance usage all into one manageable system. It allows you to check in either on your computer, smartphone, tablet, or FIOS-enabled TV to see how much power you are using and which appliances are turned on. Went on vacation and forgot to turn the porch light on? Just log online and switch the light off. Headed home after a long day of work and want to hop right into a warm bed? Just log onto through your smartphone and switch on your electric blanket. The possibilities are endless. Unfortunately, this system is only available right now in New Jersey. Verizon is missing a big opportunity if they don’t get the Jersey Shore to endorse this…

And there you have it! My favorite tech picks from CES 2011. What caught your attention?

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January 10, 2011 | Filed Under Post, Uncategorized | 2 Comments 

new years fireworks

Photo by linuslin on Flickr

In case you weren’t sure, this week marked the beginning of a New Year. You know what that means: a 2010 Year-in-Review from every blog, newspaper, magazine, and random mailing list you still receive and don’t know why. So to add to the pile, I’m taking a look back at my 2010 predictions to see how well I did (I wasn’t terrible!)

Prediction #1: Twitter will remain unpopular among college age students.

Verdict: Kind of.

It’s hard to say whether this prediction is right or wrong as Twitter does not often release usage statistics, but PEW Internet recently released an interesting study on social media usage by demographic. While the younger age group (15-24) still makes up a majority of social media users, the fastest growing group is the over 74 year cohort. This neither proves nor disproves my prediction, but it is still an interesting statistic!

Prediction #2: Twitter will be bought.

Verdict: False.

Okay, so Twitter wasn’t bought. BUT, I did say that they would not monetize. Given that they have not released any information regarding their profits (and given that they probably would have if they were actually making a profit), I’m going to postpone this prediction to 2011.

Prediction #3: LinkedIn profile expansion among college age students.

Verdict: False.

It seems that most college students still don’t understand the power of networking sites like LinkedIn. The usage demographic remains heavily skewed towards the older male demographic with fewer than 4% of users in the 18-24 age group. Hopefully my E-Book about Networking for New Grads will help that.

Prediction #4: People will actually start to care about Facebook privacy.

Verdict: True.

This summer, Facebook’s privacy debacle made headlines on almost all major newspapers. It’s agreed by basically all journalists that Facebook screwed up royally. Whether anyone actually cared about it? I hope so!

Prediction #5: Explosion in sales of E-book Readers and 3D TVs.

Verdict: Half true.

kindleDid you get a Kindle for Christmas? The Kindle has dominated the Amazon Best Seller’s list for the entire year. Gartner group reported in December that electronic book readers would reach 6.6 million by the end of 2010, which is a 79% increase from 2009.  If only I’d stopped there.  Due to a serious lack of content, 3D TV sales this holiday were dismal at best.  Guess no one wants to wear funky glasses in their living room.

Prediction #6: More cross-over between social platforms.

Verdict: True.

You can login to almost any website now using Facebook Connect and Twitter now allows you to look for friends by connecting your LinkedIn profile. The Facebook and Twitter APIs also allow lots of social media newcomers like bookmarking site Diigo to send updates straight to Facebook and Twitter.

Prediction #7: Pressure from baby boomers to improve Facebook usability.

Verdict: Kind of.

This is a hard prediction to measure and I don’t think there can be a definite answer. What we do know is that baby boomers are the fastest growing demographic on Facebook, so Facebook is making more of an effort to cater to this age group. I recently set up my aunt on Facebook and saw that they have a great new “Welcome to Facebook” page, something I would not have seen when I joined the site back in 2006. If they keep adding features like this to improve usability, I think baby boomers will continue to flock.

google wavePrediction #8: Google Wave will be an epic fail.

Verdict. SO true.

You may ask, “What is Google Wave?” Exactly. Google announced this August that they would no longer be developing their Google Wave product.  From one of the most buzzed about products in 2009 to a discontinued service in 2010, this definitely qualifies an epic fail.

Prediction #9: Backlash towards telegraphic communication.

Verdict: False.

Guess I was wrong. People don’t seem to have a problem with twitter’s 140 character limit. Is social media making us dumber?

Prediction #10: Service that combines personal recommendations with personal networks.

rotten tomato recommendationsVerdict: True.

Facebook has been doing this all over the place. With their Facebook Connect and API, websites can creepily steal utilize information on your facebook profile to offer recommendations based on what your friends like.

Well there you have it. With four and a half true, three false, and two kind of, I’d say that’s a pretty good showing for 2010. Check back soon to see a new set of predictions for 2011.

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January 7, 2011 | Filed Under Post, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

Last year, only 24% of college graduates who applied for a job had one waiting for them when they graduated.  As a graduating senior, that’s a very uncomfortable statistic.

I spoke with a few CRC people at Wesleyan about why they thought the number was so low and they told me that college students are generally not very good at networking.  Many students don’t get jobs before they graduate because they are opposed to networking or don’t understand it at all.

Networking is not ingratiation. A lot of college students say that they would never get a job through networking because they are morally opposed to “sucking up”.  While it’s a good thing these people are opposed to sucking up, it is a bad thing that they think sucking up and networking are the same thing.  They aren’t.

schmoozing

Photo Courtesy of foreverdigital

Networking is not schmoozing at a party. Many of my friends tell me that they hate networking because they feel awkward doing it.  I ask, “Doing what?”  They say, “You know, talking to random people at parties.”

First, if you’re having difficulty talking to people at parties, try drinking a glass of wine.  Second, networking is not about randomly approaching someone at a party that looks distinguished enough to be important.  That would be awkward.

So if you aren’t sucking up to people and you aren’t schmoozing at a party, how do you network?

Jobless Not Hopeless

Photo Courtesy of Steve Rhodes

  • Contact people you already know in order to get in contact with people you want to know. Being personally recommended for a job or interview from a trusted source will instantly get your resume out of the pile and into someone’s hands.  The key to any job search is finding out who the people are you want to know. Whenever I apply to a job, I first search on LinkedIn for the company, see if I have any 2nd degree connections, and then ask that connection to put me in contact with someone at that company.  If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile (which you should), or don’t think you have that many professional contacts (which is okay), there are other ways of doing this.
  • Find an advocate. Ask a past colleague who liked you if they have any suggestions for people to talk to or places to look at.  There is nothing more useful than a boss that loved you, whether it was from an internship or an on-campus job that relates to the field you are interested in. These connections are vital because they will know where you should look for jobs, they will likely know people at the places you are applying, and they will want you to be successful in your job search.
  • Use your network to find whether or not you are a good match. Leverage your contacts to ask around about the companies and positions you are applying for.  Learn if you are a good match by asking questions about the company, their reputation, their work environment, and the type of people that work there. By narrowing down your search to places where you would actually be a good fit, you are more likely to find a company or position that you like and a company that likes you.
  • Focus your efforts on contacts, not applications. According to a handout from Wesleyan University’s Career Resource Center, over half of graduating students get their jobs through networking.  So why do so many people spend a majority of their search applying to dozens of jobs. Rather than applying to 100 jobs, contact 100 people in your network.  It’ll take a lot less time and you’ll be more likely to find something that fits your needs well.

While schmoozing at a party and an appropriate amount of flattery may not hurt your job search, it is not the most effective way to go about focusing your efforts.  Instead, find out who the people are you want to know and then leverage your network to get in contact with them.  A good handshake doesn’t hurt either.

Good luck in 2011!

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January 4, 2011 | Filed Under Post, Uncategorized | 1 Comment 

How to Create a Viral Dance Video

December 17th, 2010

Pretty simple: Make something incredible. See below.

Thought of You from Ryan J Woodward on Vimeo.

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December 17, 2010 | Filed Under Post, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment