Tendências emergentes, factos e dados reveladores da evolução dos media, cultura, economia e sociedade. Impacto social, económico e cultural da tecnologia.


segunda-feira, novembro 28, 2005

One in Six Online Americans Sell on Web

One in six U.S. Internet users have sold goods and services online and 2 percent do so on a given day, a new study found.

Sales are typically done through such online classifed ads sites as Craigslist or through an auction like eBay, the Pew Internet and American Life Project said Sunday.

Those who use the Internet more frequently, have high-speed broadband connections or have been online longer are more likely to be an online seller, the study found.

Online selling is also higher among men, the more affluent and the better educated.

The study is based on a random, telephone-based survey of 1,577 adult Internet users conducted Sept. 14 to Oct. 13. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Print Story: One in Six Online Americans Sell on Web on Yahoo! News

domingo, novembro 13, 2005

Norway in women bosses ultimatum

The new coalition government in Oslo said it was considering introducing a law which would require 40% of boardroom posts to be filled by women.

Norway's previous government drew up the law, which it threatened to apply if companies failed voluntarily to meet minimum quotas by 1 July this year.

Only a fifth of Norway's 590 publicly listed firms comply with the quotas.

"It's not going fast enough," said Karita Bekkemellem, Norway's minister for family and children.

"I don't want to wait 20 or 30 years until sufficiently intelligent men finally appoint women to the boardrooms."

She added: "I wish to establish, from January 1 2006, a system of sanctions which makes it possible to break up companies."

BBC NEWS | Business | Norway in women bosses ultimatum

sexta-feira, novembro 11, 2005

Productivity Killers

A new study on the productivity of the white collar workforce by training organization IBT-USA begs for commentary and further discussion. IBT-USA collected information over a five-year period on the work habits of over 1,000 employees at 30 companies.

Some key findings and what they mean:

* Time spent handling e-mail has increased 220% in the past four years and now averages 8.8 hours per week. I wish I spent 8.8 hours a week handling e-mail. In my case, the figure is at least 15 hours, possibly more. If I read every e-mail I got, it would likely be 30 hours per week.

* Working hours devoted to handling paper or snail mail is down 35%, to 1.3 hours per week. Unless you’re managing the mailroom, an employee who spends nearly an hour and half per week processing snail mail is low-hanging fruit when it comes to better productivity.

* Workers say their time spent attending ineffective meetings increased 300% to 2.1 hours per week. If you notice how hard it can be to schedule meetings with people inside and outside your company -- some of whom apparently spend anywhere from 20 to 30 hours per week in meetings -- I'd guess the actual figure is a lot higher than 2 hours per week. Rather than focus on the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the meetings themselves, I think the focus should be on whether a given person needs to be in some meetings, or whether there's some other revenue-producing activity they can spend time on.

* The amount of time people spend "being interrupted" is up 37%, to 4.5 hours per week. There's two ways to look at this: people get interrupted, but could easily cut the interruptions short and trim that figure by a couple hours. However, those "interruptions" can also be viewed as personal interactions with coworkers, which pay dividends over time in team-building, collaboration and camaraderie.

* Time devoted to "looking for information" is up 13% to 1.7 hours per week. Weren't computers, networks, databases, business intelligence and other systems supposed to make this figure go down, not up? We may have an IT problem there.

* If you took a big chunk out of many unproductive functions (working on backlog, 3 hours per week; planning work, 2.2 hours; attending ineffective meetings, 2.1 hours), the amount of time spent "working overtime" (6.4 hours per week) could go away.

* In a somewhat oxymoronic finding, the average worker spends 3.5 hours per week "delegating work." Can it really consume 9% of the week having other people do work?

How do these data points map to your experiences in your company? Are e-mail, unproductive meetings and the search for information dragging your productivity down?

InformationWeek Weblog: Productivity Killers

“next sea change”

In an introduction to Mr Ozzie’s memo, Mr Gates said the “next sea change” was upon the company and “the coming services wave will be very disruptive.” He predicted Mr Ozzie's memo would be as critical as “The Internet Tidal Wave” one that he himself wrote 10 years ago when he belatedly issued a rallying cry to embrace the internet or risk drowning in its backwash.

The Ozzie memo outlines a similar challenge saying the growth of broadband, wireless networking and a new business model around advertising-supported Web services and software “has the potential to fundamentally impact how we and other developers build, deliver and monetise innovations.”

Mr Ozzie said Microsoft “must respond quickly and decisively.” “It's clear that if we fail to do so, our business as we know it is at risk,” he said.

FT.com / Home UK - Lex: Microsoft

The Eternal Now of Television

We already live in a world where nearly everything that has ever been produced for television and the movies seems to be showing on some station somewhere. But what's coming is a world in which all that programming is showing on your personal station now.

It doesn't take too much imagination to suspect that we will soon be watching Google TV - searching for "Laura Petrie" and "rubber raft," for instance, as a way of finding just the episode of "The Dick Van Dyke Show" we want to watch. All it will take is a little more bandwidth, a little more storage and, of course, the beginning of the end of free TV.

The Eternal Now of Television - New York Times

quinta-feira, novembro 10, 2005

Portugal é o país da União Europeia onde se regista uma maior disparidade na utilização da Internet em função das habilitações dos utilizadores

Portugal é o país da União Europeia (UE) onde se regista uma maior disparidade na utilização da Internet em função das habilitações dos utilizadores, segundo um estudo do Eurostat divulgado hoje em Bruxelas.

No primeiro trimestre de 2004, apenas 14% dos portugueses que não completaram o 12º ano acederam à rede, enquanto 84% das pessoas com nível de instrução superior utilizaram a Internet - registando-se uma diferença de 70 pontos percentuais, a maior de toda a UE, cuja média se encontra nos 52 pontos.

Esta desigualdade foi também notória na Eslovénia (68 pontos percentuais), Espanha (61), Reino Unido (59) e Itália (58), enquanto que os países onde menos se fez sentir foram a Lituânia (11%), a Suécia (24) e a Alemanha (25).

O instituto responsável pelas estatísticas europeias revela que a maior taxa de acesso à Internet se registou entre os estudantes - cerca de 91% do sector estudantil português e 85% do europeu - e o mais pequena entre os reformados, apenas 3,0% dos aposentados em Portugal e 13% em toda a UE.

As disparidades na utilização da Internet também se registaram entre trabalhadores (cerca de 37% em Portugal e 60% em todo a UE) e desempregados (15% em Portugal e 40% no espaço europeu).

O mesmo estudo mostra também que o universo dos utilizadores - com idades entre 16 e 74 anos - constitui 29% da população portuguesa e 47% da europeia.

Segundo o Eurostat, os fossos apontados devem-se sobretudo a uma ausência de infra-estruturas para aceder à Internet, a uma falta de estímulo para utilizar as novas tecnologias e a poucos conhecimentos informáticos.

AP. DE Nacional Economía Desarrollo

sexta-feira, novembro 04, 2005

American teenagers today are utilizing the interactive capabilities of the internet as they create and share their own media creations

American teenagers today are utilizing the interactive capabilities of the internet as they create and share their own media creations. Fully half of all teens and 57% of teens who use the internet could be considered Content Creators. They have created a blog or webpage, posted original artwork, photography, stories or videos online or remixed online content into their own new creations.

Teens are often much more enthusiastic authors and readers of blogs than their adult counterparts. Teen bloggers, led by older girls, are a major part of this tech-savvy cohort. Teen bloggers are more fervent internet users than non-bloggers and have more experience with almost every online activity in the survey.

Teens continue to actively download music and video from the internet and have used multiple sources to get their files. Those who get music files online believe it is unrealistic to expect people to self-regulate and avoid free downloading and file-sharing altogether.

Pew Internet & American Life Project Report: Teen Content Creators and Consumers

Massive Brain Drain From Some of the World’s Poorest Countries

"While over 50 percent of college graduates leave countries in Central America and the Caribbean, in some of them, the figure is as high as 80 percent."

L. Alan Winters, the director of the Bank's Development Research Group, says while the mobility of highly skilled workers can offer many benefits, the consequences of the brain drain could be serious for many developing countries.

And he says understanding the so-called brain drain remains one of the highest priorities for development research in the future.

The report's findings are based on the most comprehensive and rigorous database on the brain drain to date, created by researchers Frédéric Docquier and Abdeslam Marfouk, and presented in chapter five of the volume.

Larger Countries Less Brain Drain

Schiff says the report shows the extent of the drain brain problem in larger countries is much less.

"On average for countries with more than 30 million people, the brain drain is less than five percent of all college educated people. The reason is that they have a large population of skilled people, so that even with a large share of skilled people in the migrant population, their share in the skilled population is nevertheless small," he says.

Countries such as China and India only have about three to five percent of their graduates living broad. And it's a similar situation in Brazil, Indonesia and the former Soviet Union.

By contrast in Sub-Saharan Africa, skilled workers only make up four percent of the total workforce. But these workers comprise more than 40 percent of people leaving the country.

"Most of these college educated professionals from developing countries go to the United States, as well as the European Union, Australia and Canada. In fact Canada and Australia have the largest share of educated migrants out of the total number of migrants to those countries," Schiff says.

A Brain Waste?

With all the college graduates leaving their homelands, it raises the question as to whether their skills are being put to good use in the destination country.

Part of the volume looks at this issue, with co-editor and Bank economist Caglar Ozden finding that skilled migrants to the United States often fail to get jobs that match their education levels.

Overall, immigrants from Latin America and Eastern Europe with similar education levels are more likely to end up in unskilled jobs in the U.S. than immigrants from Asia, the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Schiff says the data from the U.S. show educated migrants from India and the United Kingdom are more likely to get jobs in the US equal to their skill level.

"One of the main reasons is language. Both tertiary educated people from India and the United Kingdom speak English, and of course that's a big advantage when they come to the U.S. ," he says.

News - Massive Brain Drain From Some of the World’s Poorest Countries

Mobile wallets take off in Japan

The idea of a virtual wallet on your handset instead is coming of age and the education process is well under way.

What it means is that you can ditch your smart cards, because they will all be stored on your phone instead.

Shopping for groceries, renting a video, buying a drink, or going to the theatre can all be done now with your mobile.

Edy is the name of the service leading the charge into this brave new world of mobile cash. It began life as a smart card but made the leap onto mobiles last year.

"We're promoting Edy in places where it's more convenient than using cash", said Usoke Oue, a spokesperson for bitWallet which makes Edy.

"We need to communicate the advantages to consumers, not just the convenience factor, but also the fact that you can earn reward points."

You can charge your Edy-enabled handset with up to 50,000 yen (around US$450 or £250).

It can be done in various ways. For example, place your phone against a reader at a charging station and it will take your cash and credit your mobile in return.

You can also load your mobile wallet by using the handset itself to go online and make a transfer directly from your credit card or even your bank.

With your mobile cash in hand you can begin your retail therapy in earnest.

To pay, you just put your mobile against the reader-writer and the goods are yours.

"When you wave the smart card or the phone in front of the reader-writer, a signal is transmitted from the reader-writer to the chip, and it actually interrogates the chip," explains Daniel Scuka from the online publication Wireless Watch Japan.

It finds out how much money is on there and debits the chip for the amount of the transaction.

"The money is transferred from the chip that's on the card of the phone into the merchant's system and more or less immediately into the merchant's bank account."

'Chicken and egg'

While Edy is not a major feature on the High Street yet, its presence is steadily growing. It is now accepted by around 25,000 retailers.

Gerhard Fasol, from the consultancy Euro Technology Japan, says: "Bringing bank transactions into mobile phones, to get that started is like a chicken and egg problem.

"There are big investments necessary and also people have to change their habits. That will only happen if there is a benefit for all parties involved.

"So if only the carriers profit, or only the banks profit, or also if the banks make a loss and only the consumers profit, it will not happen. What has happened in Japan is main industry players here found a formula so that everybody has an advantage from it."

The biggest boost to the mobile wallet will come in January when Edy's rival Suica joins the party.

Suica has millions of commuters already using its smart cards to get through ticket barriers. Once these commuters find they can use a mobile instead it will raise awareness of the potential of the entire system.

"In the coming years people are going to start leaving home in the morning without cash," says Daniel Scuka. "They're going to have their phone, and that's it.

BBC NEWS | Programmes | Click Online | Mobile wallets take off in Japan

quinta-feira, novembro 03, 2005

When the next disruptive communications technology - the next web - is thought up, the lawyers and the logic of control will be much more evident

World Wide Web imageThe web is having a birthday. This month, we will have the 15th anniversary of the creation of the first web page. It is the birthday of Tim Berners-Lee’s amazing idea that there could be a worldwide web, linked not by spider silk but by hypertext links and transfer protocols and uniform resource locators.

How should we celebrate? We are too close to the web to understand it. And those who lost money in the dotcom boom greet any celebration of the web the way a person with a hangover greets a mention of the drink of which they overindulged. The knowledge of shameful excess produces a renunciant puritanism. No more tequila or web romanticism for me!

That is a shame, because there are three things that we need to understand about the web. First, it is more amazing than we think. Second, the conjunction of technologies that made the web successful was extremely unlikely. Third, we probably would not create it, or any technology like it, today. In fact, we would be more likely to cripple it, or declare it illegal.
The web developed because we went in the opposite direction – towards openness and lack of centralised control. Unless you believe that some invisible hand of technological inevitability is pushing us towards openness – I am a sceptic – we have a remarkable historical conjunction of technologies.

Why might we not create the web today? The web became hugely popular too quickly to control. The lawyers and policymakers and copyright holders were not there at the time of its conception. What would they have said, had they been? What would a web designed by the World Intellectual Property Organisation or the Disney Corporation have looked like? It would have looked more like pay-television, or Minitel, the French computer network. Beforehand, the logic of control always makes sense. “Allow anyone to connect to the network? Anyone to decide what content to put up? That is a recipe for piracy and pornography.”

And of course it is. But it is also much, much more. The lawyers have learnt their lesson now. The regulation of technological development proceeds apace. When the next disruptive communications technology – the next worldwide web – is thought up, the lawyers and the logic of control will be much more evident. That is not a happy thought.

FT.com / Comment & analysis / Comment - Web’s never-to-be-repeated revolution

We may end up with much less oil from the Middle East than we demand

The International Energy Agency, the oil sector monitoring body, on Wednesday said that oil prices by 2030 would be 50 per cent higher than today if Saudi Arabia did not muster the political will to invest billions of dollars in new production.

Fatih Birol, the group's chief economist, said in an interview with the Financial Times that Saudi Arabia, the most important oil producer, might not make the investment needed to ensure production met the strong demand growth in China and India.

“It is not a problem of availability of reserves or capital. We need to be sure that the increase in production will be high enough and a sustained production capacity increase policy is in place. That will need sustained political will,” he said. Saudi Arabia has plans to invest $14bn to raise output capacity from 11m barrels a day to 12.5m b/d by 2009, according to a report by Samba Financial Group, a Riyadh-based bank.

The IEA said Saudi Arabia would need almost to double current output of 10m b/d to meet the expectations of demand in 2030. But Mr Birol said the kingdom might muster the long-term political will only to produce just over half the extra barrels deemed necessary.

Iran and Iraq are also vital to ensuring adequate oil and natural gas supplies in the next 25 years. But both face political hurdles to achieving the necessary investment. Many Middle East countries fear that investing heavily in new oil supplies will deplete fields too quickly and cut revenues by depressing oil prices.

Mr Birol said: “We may end up with much less oil from the Middle East than we demand. There is substantial risk of substantially high oil prices if current investment in the Middle East is not stepped up substantially. “Such high oil prices would be an additional trigger for major consuming nations to introduce policies to save oil and look for alternative sources. If they don't, the global economy but mainly the economies of the consuming nations will suffer.”

FT.com / International economy / Oil for food - IEA warns of 50% oil price rise by 2030

A third of people in the US and Europe will abandon phone lines in favour of wireless and broadband telephony come 2009, say analysts Gartner.

A third of people in the US and Europe will abandon phone lines in favour of wireless and broadband telephony come 2009, say analysts Gartner.

Broadband telephony is gaining ground among consumers as people become more confident users of their high-speed net connections.

It offers a cheap alternative to fixed-line voice calls.

By 2009, 70% of voice connections around the world will be wireless, the Gartner report found.

This is due to falling mobile costs and greater penetration in countries such as China and India.

Market research group Gartner predicted that handsets would be available for as little as £14 by 2010.

Skype, which provides software for broadband telephony via the PC, has proved immensely popular with consumers, although Gartner predicts that VoIP-enabled telephones will eventually win out.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Internet phone calls on the rise

French politicians are facing up to the reality that many of the mainly immigrant populations in cities have long been in a state of chronic tension

Rioting youths opened fire on police and set dozens of vehicles ablaze in a seventh night of violence in Paris.

In escalating unrest, shots were fired at police and firefighters, while gangs besieged a police station, set fire to a car showroom and threw petrol bombs.

At least 15 people were arrested and nine injured across north-east Paris.
Wednesday night's violence erupted in 10 areas across the Paris department of Seine-Saint-Denis, home to poor, largely immigrant communities with high levels of unemployment.

Locals officials said rioters set fire to 177 vehicles across the region. In the flashpoint town of Aulnay-sous-Bois, youths set fire to a car showroom and damaged two primary schools, a post office and a shopping centre

Two live rounds were fired in the town of La Corneueve, and fire fighters in Saint-Denis and Noisy-le-Sec were also shot at, a senior local official said.

There was violence in another northern area, Le Blanc Mesnil, where a French TV truck was overturned and burned. In the western Hauts-de-Seine department, a police station was bombarded with petrol bombs, the AFP news agency reported.

The situation also remained tense in Clichy-sous-Bois, where the teenagers died, and where the rioting first broke out.

In recent days there have also been incidents involving groups of youths in other departments near Paris, including the Val-d'Oise, Seine-et-Marne and Yvelines.

BBC NEWS | Europe | Fresh violence hits Paris suburbs