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Ban the word bossy. Sheryl Sandberg lights up TEDWomen 2013

TED Blog

“It’s nice to look out and see so many women. That’s not my norm,” Sheryl Sandberg comments drily as she takes her place onstage at TEDWomen 2013  at the SFJazz Center. She’s here to talk with co-host Pat Mitchell, in a Q&A follow-up to her incendiary 2010 TED Talk, given at a TEDWomen three years before.

First, Mitchell asks her to remember the process of putting together that talk. The subject matter wasn’t her first choice; in fact, Sandberg recalls that she’d had absolutely no intention of talking about anything so personal. “In the business world, you never talk about being a woman, because someone might notice you’re a woman,” she says. Friends told her that if she gave a “woman’s” talk, it would end her career. She realized she was scared. And then she realized that she had to face her fear. So she put aside the wonky…

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Attack of the Drones: A View from the Unfriendly Skies

TED Blog


Marc Goodman

 is the founder of the Future Crimes Institute and chair for Policy, Law and Ethics at Singularity University. At TEDGlobal in Edinburgh in 2012, Goodman shared a sobering look at the dark side of technology in his talk, “A vision of crimes in the future.” The TED Blog asked him to share his latest thinking on the promise — and threat — of drones.

For most people, drones are flying robots irrevocably associated with killing, warfare or even war crimes over the skies of Iraq or Afghanistan. Yet what started out as a purely military technology is rapidly migrating into our everyday lives.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its Customs and Border Protection Agency has been flying drone missions along the Southern US border to enforce everything from fishing and game violations to illegal immigration and narcotics smuggling. The FAA has authorized…

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How Our Files Are Safer And Stronger Than Ever

Cloud software often makes headlines as a means to optimize business and convenience, and it is still a long ways off from becoming as mainstream in our lives as say, cell phones and USB ports but having access to your data anywhere isn’t just about convenience, it’s also about disaster-proofing. Not everyone understands the mechanics of cloud software, but they do come to understand that backups of your files are stored somewhere safe and can be made to appear out of thin air. Smart use of these programs means that the age of losing documents to hardware failure is almost over.

Software like Dropbox allows files to transcend the physical frailties of paper and ink. Not just in the sense that paper can be ripped or damaged, but that these documents can actually be made to exist in multiple places at once via the cloud. It is a level of data security that is unprecedented for the average consumer until recent times. It has gone even farther beyond just safely keeping information though. Functional use of electronic documents has been around since the first email attachment, and only continues to improve as electronic devices become more and more portable. Keith Krach’s Docusign has not only digitized important forms but their function as well; you can send legally binding signatures electronically and securely. It’s a seemingly mundane step up, but the translation of physical action to digital transmission with no real downside is probably the biggest step towards the future of business interaction. And consumers seem to agree, with Dropbox reporting 100 million users in 2012 and Docusign reporting 13 million and growing around the same time.

This becomes particularly relevant when you consider the recent surge of natural disasters. When Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast, many companies found out the hard way that data centers are just as susceptible to flooding and power outage as any other building. Entire data storages that only had backups in Sandy’s path were lost. The flip side of this is that those who took advantage of the clouds ability to easily allow data redundancy survived unscathed, and events like Sandy are highlighting the needs to keep data secure from all threats, including Mother Nature.

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Video Streaming Accounts For Roughly 50% of Internet Traffic

Broadband service company Sandvine released a traffic report for North America, reporting that Netflix accounts for the most downstream traffic in North America at about 31%. Youtube is a distant second at around 18%. Together the two video streaming giants come out to roughly 50% of all downloaded traffic.

In comparison, Hulu and Amazon Instant Video were both somewhere between 1% and 2%. Though raw data figures are not a conclusive measure of success (subscriptions counts are another big factor), the huge gaps between Netflix and its competitors are telling. Amazon is about to release their homegrown series “Alpha House” in competition with Netflix shows like “House of Cards”. Whether or not that will make a difference in traffic or subscription rates is up to speculation.

At the same time, peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing services such as Bittorrent have dropped considerably-under 10% of total internet traffic. Sandvine CEO Dave Caputo seems to believe that this is due to the “on-demand” nature of streaming services offering a better experience up front than an “experience later” downloads such as P2P. If his theories prove correct, we could see a continued trend of growth for streaming services as direct downloads and P2P of media decrease.

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