Monday, March 19, 2012

Representative Issa Talks About SOPA's Defeat

Mashable's interview 5 Questions For Rep. Darrell Issa, SOPA Opponent and ‘Internet Defender’ provides an interesting look, not only at what stopped the SOPA legislation, but also how Washington deals with technology. Essentially they're behind the times, and for the few legislators who do have a grasp on current (or emerging) technologies political party is of little consequence.

When the technology community rallied together in opposition of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), Rep. Issa was at the front lines of Congress fighting to kill the bill. And as a former electronics company CEO, he’s one of the few Congressman who seem to “get it” when it comes to technology (Fun fact: Rep. Issa lent his voice to the alarm system for the ultra-sleek Dodge Viper).

The debate around SOPA and other technology bills doesn’t divide neatly along party lines. Do you think technology issues are, in a way, bipartisan?

“Intellectual property and how we deal with that is always bipartisan … Sen. Wyden (D-Ore.) was particularly helpful in this entire debate, he brought his own version [of an intellectual property bill] to the Senate floor. [Rep. Jared] Polis [D-Colo.] was great to have as somebody else who knew the Internet and what it could do.”

You put the draft version of the OPEN Act online for the public to read and comment upon. Do you think that kind of transparency is the future of politics and technology?

“I do believe it is the future. Congress has to be willing to fund it. The Madison project had to be done at an external site because that kind of interactive exchange isn’t allowed under the House’s firewall rule, so we went to an outside storage facility.

“We don’t like to call the people who make the rules in the House and the Senate “Luddites,” but they’re pretty close. They’re very ultra-conservative on what (new technologies) they’re willing to adopt. Congress only went to Outlook Web a year ago — and it was still only a belt-and-suspenders type of access … our whole infrastructure is built around not getting hacked rather than getting access.

“The technology systems in the House are quite archaic, and if you’re dealing with members that have been around for a long time, it’s harder to adopt new platforms than if you’re in the private sector and more comfortable with new platforms. A big part of the House’s bandwidth is actually used for an off-site redundancy, which duplicates every one of our sites for Outlook and all of our servers. We use so much bandwidth for that, I’m still fighting to get (Voice over IP) telephones installed in the House.”

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Google Play Goes Toe to Toe with Apple

Google has just announced their new service 'Google Play.' A combination of media sources (music, movies, books and apps) Google is clearly challenging Apples online media supremacy. While this isn't likely to immediately knock out i-tunes and the like, Google's offering a decisive alternative. Android users will now have more than just Android Market, but a full media center. While Google's entry into social media has been less than complelling, this is definitely one to watch, as it is full of potential.

From Google's Blog... Introducing Google Play: All your entertainment, anywhere you go

"Starting today, Android Market, Google Music and the Google eBookstore will become part of Google Play. On your Android phone or tablet, we’ll be upgrading the Android Market app to the Google Play Store app over the coming days. Your videos, books and music apps (in countries where they are available) will also be upgraded to Google Play Movies, Google Play Books and Google Play Music apps. The music, movies, books and apps you’ve purchased will continue to be available to you through Google Play—simply log in with your Google account like always.

To celebrate, we’ll be offering a different album, book, video rental and Android app at a special price each day for the next week in our “7 Days to Play” sale. In the U.S., today’s titles include the collection of top 40 hits Now That's What I Call Music 41, the popular game Where's My Water, the novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and the movie Puncture for just 25 cents each. In addition, you'll find great collections of hip-hop, rock and country albums for $3.99 all week, detective novels from $2.99, some of our editorial team's favorite movies from 99 cents, and our favorite apps from 49 cents."

Monday, March 5, 2012

Yahoo Reportedly Will Cut Jobs

Reuter Reports via Yahoo...

Yahoo preparing layoffs, could affect thousands: report

"SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Yahoo Inc's new chief executive is preparing a significant restructuring of the Internet company, including layoffs that could cut thousands of employees from its payroll, according to a technology blog.

The moves could be announced as soon as the end of the month and would represent the first major changes under CEO Scott Thompson, the former PayPal president who took the top job at Yahoo in January.

The changes at the struggling Web pioneer, which recently hired the Boston Consulting Group, will focus on its products group, as well as on research, marketing and public relations and businesses that are not core to the company, according to the report on Monday in the blog, which cited anonymous sources."

Yahoo preparing layoffs, could affect thousands: report