infrastructure

drag2share: Why The $130 Billion Deal For Verizon Wireless Is Key To Verizon’s Fight For The Future Of Mobile And Media

source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/businessinsider/~3/cORDms6-N3I/verizon-wireless-and-mobiles-future-2013-9

CarrierDataRevenueData revenues: Another way to drive revenue growth is to encourage customers to consume large amounts of wireless data, by playing games and watching videos, and paying for it on their mobile bills. Telecommunications’ future will be won by the company that can foster a new culture of heavy data consumption and build the best 4G infrastructure to support it. It’s an expensive, risky game. Only the largest, most disciplined companies will win it.


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Monday, September 2nd, 2013 news No Comments

Rice University And OpenStax Announce First Open-Source Textbooks

Source: http://techcrunch.com/2012/02/07/rice-university-and-openstax-announce-first-open-source-textbooks/

openstax

When we think about the distribution industry being disrupted, we tend to think about music and movies, whose physical media and vast shipment infrastructure have been rendered mostly obsolete over the last decade. To a lesser extent, we hear about print, and the effect of e-readers and web consumption on books and magazines. No one is making the change particularly gracefully, and the same can be said of the textbook business, which does millions of dollars of business every year selling incredibly expensive items to students — who likely consider them anachronisms.

Rice University, which has been pushing alternative distribution mechanisms for scholarly publications for years, has announced a new initiative, by which they hope to publish free, high-quality textbooks in core subjects like physics and biology via a non-profit publisher called OpenStax College. It’s the polar opposite of Apple’s iBooks textbooks, which, while they too help drag this dusty industry into the present, amount more to a new sales vector for the publishers than competition.

Rice and OpenStax aren’t the first people to propose open-source or free textbooks. There are collections here and there, like Flat World Knowledge and Apple’s iTunes U — but they’re decidedly short on the type of books a freshman might have to buy for their year of survey courses: Biology 1, Physics 1, Sociology 1, Psychology 1. And 11 Learning has a similar idea of collaboration producing a book, but their creation model may not be economically feasible.

And of course there are the many companies that want to remove textbooks from the equation entirely. Setting up textbook platforms on new devices like Kno and Inkling, making an environment for meta-curricular activities and non-traditional learning like Khan Academy, or virtualizing the whole education experience, something with which many universities are tinkering.

But textbooks are still big business, and their utility in the education system is difficult to argue with right now. So OpenStax splits the difference: fueled by grant money from a number of private foundations (i.e. not government grants), they’re putting together full-on textbooks, peer-reviewed, professionally laid out, and all that. These textbooks will be provided for free in file form. But supplementary materials — quizzes, videos, presentations, and the like, presumably — cost money.

It would be petty to call this a bait and switch, since the bulk of the material is being provided for free. And a savvy professor or TA can scrape quite a few supplementary materials from the web already, thanks to those post-textbook services already mentioned. Providing the meat for free and the potatoes for a price is perfectly reasonable.

What remains to be seen is the quality of the textbooks. So far OpenStax has signed up “in the low tens” of colleged and universities to use the books. Institutions probably are waiting to see how the next year or so plays out: everything is in flux and to commit to one platform over another when the true costs and benefits are still unclear would be a bad move.

OpenStax’s first textbooks, for physics and sociology, will be coming in March, with others following later in the year. A strange time to make a debut, in a way, as the school year is well underway and many intro courses won’t be offered. But it will give time for the creaking machinery of academia to notice, acknowledge, examine, and judge the OpenStax offering. It may be that they can demonstrate their agility in fixing, improving, and expanding the content on the fly, which could either impress or terrify nodding faculty members who use the same text for a decade at a time.


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Wednesday, February 8th, 2012 news No Comments

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5882542/new-york-citys-energy-consumption-mapped-out-building+by+building

New York City's Energy Consumption Mapped Out, Building-by-BuildingConvinced you’re more environmentally aware than your neighbors? Now you can find out: scientists have mapped the entire energy use of New York City, building by building.

The interactive map, created by Bianca Howard, a PhD student in mechanical engineering at Columbia University, uses publicly available data to work out which buildings are using the most energy and how they are using it. Then, it displays the energy use on a color-map. Howard’s PhD supervisors, Professor Modi, explains:

“While discussions frequently focus on electricity use, homes in New York City, whether a townhouse or a large apartment building, use far more energy in form of heat rather than electricity. Nearly all of this heat is obtained from heating oil or natural gas. In addition, current electricity distribution infrastructure in many urban areas relies on large amounts of electricity brought in from outside the city, making it difficult to support increased future use without requiring significant investment of resources and funds. We are looking at ways we can address both these issues-reducing our heating bills and increasing local electricity generation capacity.”

The resulting interactive map is great fun to play around with, allowing you to see how energy use is split down between electricity, space heating and cooling, and water heating. The best bit is that, as mentioned, its detail lets you study energy use down to the scale of individual buildings. You can play around with the map here. Every city needs something like this. [Columbia Engineering via Boing Boing]

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Monday, February 6th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

EMV in, magnetic strips out

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/01/31/mastercard-reveals-roadmap-for-our-electronic-payment-future-em/

MasterCard reveals roadmap for EMV electronic payments It’s been over fifteen years since MasterCard, Visa and Europay developed EMV technology to make your credit cards more secure, but it has yet to really catch on here in the US. However, MasterCard has created a master plan to help usher in the EMV era and sound the death knell for the magnetic strip. Why? The EMV infrastructure is far more fraud-resistant because each transaction is authenticated dynamically using cryptographic algorithms and a user-specific PIN. That’s why MasterCard plans to help build out the EMV POS infrastructure by April of next year and have its secure e-payment system functioning at ATMs, online and with its myriad mobile payment options as well. For now, the nuts and bolts of how the credit card firm plans to bring its plan to fruition are few, but more details will be forthcoming, and there’s a bit more info at the source and PR below.

Continue reading MasterCard reveals roadmap for our electronic payment future: EMV in, magnetic strips out

! MasterCard reveals roadmap for our electronic payment future: EMV in, magnetic strips out originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 31 Jan 2012 05:42:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 news No Comments

Who Wants In Google’s Experimental Fiber Network? (Map)

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5504381/who-wants-in-googles-experimental-fiber-network-map

Who Wants In Google's Experimental Fiber Network? (Map)The short answer? Everyone wants in Google’s experimental 1Gbps fiber optic network(s). The company received “1,100 community responses and more than 194,000 responses from individuals” after announcing their plans. And these requests span the entire US.

(Each small dot you see on this map represents the response from local government. Each big dot represents communities with over 1,000 respondents.)

Some may see this map as people hungry for fiber; I just see it as people hungry for Google. How many communities would beg big businesses like Walmart to set up shop, not just in some lot, but in their very infrastructure—especially knowing that whatever service there is will be in beta? [Google]

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Monday, March 29th, 2010 charts No Comments

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