Wednesday, March 23, 2011

BlackBerry Removing DUI Checkpoint Apps

First off I'm not too sure why an app like this was even allowed to make it past the filter on BlackBerry's app store. This app basically allows people to report DUI checkpoints, speed cameras, etc. to each other using a GPS feature to show exact locations, allowing people to avoid these areas. You would think someone might say "Hey this might be a problem because it lets drunk drivers and speeders avoid things that could correct their behavior and prevent them front injuring someone." Apparently no one thought this was a problem and so some of the apps have been allowed to get up to 10 million users. It took senators writing to BlackBerry for these apps to get any attention at all, however, luckily BlackBerry has responded by already having some apps removed with promises of looking into the others that fit the same niche. I don't want to be an advocate for these types of apps because they should probably be illegal, but they aren't which means they are protected free speech. You have to wonder how the creators of these apps feel when one day they find out they are no longer making money off an app they created because government officials decided it wasn't protected by free speech. This could definitely hurt BlackBerry's already minuscule appstore because creators could end up feeling like this could happen to them so they might become hesitant to release their apps to BlackBerry. This would probably hurt BlackBerry severely and could cause them to start on a downward spiral where they may end up being purchased by one of the bigger companies, like T-Mobile. This would make the market even smaller, especially for smart phones, which would just hurt everyone in the long run and could cause the government to step in and put regulations in place within the cellular phone industry.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Traveling Wave Reactor

TerraPower’s traveling wave reactor (TWR) will offer a path to zero-emission, proliferation-resistant energy thatproduces significantly smaller amounts of nuclear waste than conventional nuclear reactors. After an initial start-up with a small amount of low-enriched material, this innovative reactor design can run for decades on depleted uranium – currently a waste byproduct of the enrichment process. An established fleet of TWRs could operate without enrichment or reprocessing for millennia. TerraPower has explored the advanced physics of this concept in detail with 21st-century computational tools and is moving forward with the overall plant design.

Out of all the destruction and devastation caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan something that could be beneficial to our current use of nuclear power. In light of the current situation with the half melted down reactor many companies and even some governments have begun to push for new ways to create nuclear power or at least better ways to store the waste and make a safer reactor. The company TerraPower has created something they call the Traveling Wave Reactor, which you can read more about above and on their website. This reactors purpose is to use spent or depleted fuel rods to generate even more energy. At current companies have to pay large amounts of money to store, and ensure that the spent fuel rods produced by the reactors they run are well contained to prevent radio-active fallout from impacting the area around the storage sites. Now that we have a use for this nuclear trash and we do not have to store it, it will save the companies refining and using enriched uranium a large amount of money each year. This savings translates into the ability for energy prices to be lowered. With the reduced cost to produce it and the larger amount being produced, the supply goes up with a almost unchanged demand. With a higher supply it is guarantee that the cost will drop saving the consumers money. With more money in their pockets, the consumer will be more willing to go out and spend some money, stimulating the economy and helping out road to recovery. 

Will AT&T's merger leave room for competition?

"The wireless space is competitive." AT&T made the case that it operates in a "fiercely competitive" industry, and lofted praise at its competition for the work that they have done to build up a highly contested landscape. Customers in 18 of the top 20 U.S. markets would have at least four carriers to choose from even after the deal is completed, company officials pointed out.

AT&T is counting regional players like MetroPCS (PCS), Leap Wireless (LEAP) (Cricket), and nTelos as competition.

"If you live in Tulsa, Okla., you don't look in the yellow pages for who has service in San Francisco," said Wayne Watts, AT&T's general counsel during the presentation. "You look for who has service in Tulsa."

Still, customers aren't exactly flocking to that "competition" in droves. After the proposed merger is completed, AT&T and Verizon (VZ, Fortune 500) would control 70.1% of the U.S. market, according to eMarketer (or 80%, according to Sprint).

With the AT&T merger seemingly dividing the market between two major providers, can the competition really compete? As the article states AT&T and its leading competitor Verizon would now see a 70% vice grip on the wireless cellphone market in America. With the merger comes concerns that prices on data plans will continue to rise for consumers. With the market becoming less and less competitive prices are no longer being slashed due to competition. So even as AT&T customers prepare to see their coverage double, they can expect data plans to retain their high prices.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

No more Android Phones?

Here's the breakdown, Oracle is a software company that filed lawsuit last summer over the Android phone. Google's Android mobile software infringes Java patents and copyrights that Oracles owns due to their acquisition of Sun Microsystems. Most of you are thinking, " Oh it's Google they have stupid amounts of money," well here's the rub, Oracle wants acquisition of all Android phones and once all Androids are taken, they are to be destroyed. Oracle wants complete annihilation of the phone.
So let's say another smart phone is taken off the market, this makes phones such as the iPhone more valuable. Will this drive people towards iPhones now that a substitute is completely destroyed? Will current Android users who have their phones destroyed go towards iPhone next? We'll have to wait and see if this lawsuit has any legitimacy to it. I honestly think that people are going to lean towards the iPhones even more so now than ever. With AT&T buying T-Mobile, this lawsuit, and iPhones being released to Verizon, there's nothing I can really see that will stop iPhone from being completely dominant. There's also the economical aspect of this. This will force people to buy more smart phones which will force them to spend more money on the luxurious phone rather than the standard cell phone. Nowadays people like to do more than just one thing than call and text people.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Is Microsoft Kinecting with gamers?

Microsoft has sold more than 10 million Kinect systems for the Xbox 360 to retailers, the company announced Wednesday.

Kinect, a controller-free gaming system that competes with the Nintendo Wii and Playstation 3 Move, has been selling at an impressive rate since it launched in November.

During the first three months after its launch, this rate was fast enough to earn Kinect the title of "fastest-selling consumer device." According to Guinness World Records, which officially confirmed the record today, Microsoft sold an average of 133,333 units per day between November 4 and January 3.

In an article featured on, Microsoft's new motion peripheral is said to have set a new record for its sales. With motion gaming being popularized by the Nintendo wii console, it was only a matter of time before its competitors followed it into the motion gaming market. Sony produced the move motion peripheral, but didn't push as many units as rival Microsoft. The Kinect motion camera has already reached the 10 million units sold milestone, becoming the fastest selling consumer device in history. With sales peaking and Microsoft making major profits, does this help the American marketplace at home?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Remember the BlackBerry?

Believe it or not cellphones still exist that don't run on the Android or Apple OS. BlackBerrys used to be very popular a few years ago back when the iPhone didn't exist. However, now Android and iPhone now almost entirely own the cellphone market. What does this really mean? Well this shows that in a very short number of years two brands have been able to emerge and put a duopoly on the market. This means that most people are no longer giving their money to the BlackBerry, Nokia, Windows, and Palm brands. With a duopoly on the market, it is only a matter of time before the opposing companies either merge with Apple and the Android producers or go out of business. I don't think this would effect us too much since these opposing companies sell so little merchandise in comparison. Some might say that with only a few companies in the market, after removing at least a half a dozen non Apple/Android companies, we might start to see a sharp rise in prices. This would be accredited to the small amount of competition, but I'm not so sure I agree with that. I don't agree with it because Apple and Android are big rivals and would do anything to get the other out of the market. This means that the prices would stay roughly the same since they are competing against each other mainly anyway. This would end up being good for us the consumers because we will still be able to afford our fancy new tech in our still recovering economy.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Piracy in Emerging Economies

Media Piracy in Emerging Economies is the first independent, large-scale study of music, film and software piracy in emerging economies, with a focus on Brazil, India, Russia, South Africa, Mexico and Bolivia.
Based on three years of work by some thirty-five researchers, Media Piracy in Emerging Economies tells two overarching stories: one tracing the explosive growth of piracy as digital technologies became cheap and ubiquitous around the world, and another following the growth of industry lobbies that have reshaped laws and law enforcement around copyright protection. The report argues that these efforts have largely failed, and that the problem of piracy is better conceived as a failure of affordable access to media in legal markets.
     A three year study conducted by thirty-five researchers shows that Piracy in emerging economies is growing almost as fast the economy itself. This study focused on Brazil, India, Russia, South Africa, Mexico and Bolivia. It found that the this surge in piracy is caused by high prices, good competition, a failed anti-piracy education system, breaking habits is hard, criminals can not compete, and there is a overwhelming lack of enforcement.

     The high prices of media and entertainment causes nations that have a high poverty level to also have a high rate of piracy because who can argue with free when you don't have money to spend? Even if you are still buying the media from the underground markets it is cheaper then getting it legally. Also with competition being great amongst these underground media dealers, it keeps their prices down so those that cannot download the material itself can get it for an extremely reduced price at no repercussion to them. This is because the enforcement system of the laws that were changed to prohibit piracy forgot that outlawing something doesn't break the habit. Being that they do not have the ability to enforce these laws it is like they do not exist. Then you could ask why don't they teach people about anti-piracy? Well they tried and have failed, governments in these countries just can't convince the population that it is bad or wrong to use pirated media. So with a almost unregulated and uncontrolled piracy system in emerging economies, it will never go away.

     This large amount of piracy is not only bad for their local economies, it hurts international economies. Selling media, video games,  you name it causes the amount of monetary circulation through out the world to be reduced. Less money movement leads to weaker and smaller economies, and thus starts a snowball of an increase in piracy to make up for the fact that people have less money and media moguls want more. Unless we can start preventing piracy in places other then the United States, or other major nations, there will always illegal media trafficking and we can do nothing to stop it.

    However there is another way to look at this, it can be helping the local economies by adding another way to move money within the region. Causing less money to be moved out of the area and more being brought in. Piracy has its both good and bad, but the overall view is that it is bad for the global economy and needs to be stopped.

Malicious Apps

Now according to CNET, Google has confirmed of pulling malicious rogue apps from the market for the Android. These apps would attack known information in the phone as well as "the only information accessed by the apps were the unique codes used to identify the the specific device and the version of Android that it was running." Now we can all agree that these new smart phones are like small computers yes? With that in mind, this was going to happen eventually, rogue apps or pirated apps with viruses and malware. It was only a matter of time. The kicker here is that it only applies to the Android so far. I'm going to guess pretty soon that this will decrease the popularity and demand for them. 58 apps were rogue apps and were downloaded to 260,000 devices. I'm going to assume that the iPhone isn't affected by these apps purely because it runs off of the Apple OS and is similar to the Mac OSX in a sense, different coding and what not. Now if this is the case and the iPhone isn't affected by these apps just as the computers aren't truly affected by it. This will give more leverage for the iPhone. Let's say this does hurt Google and the Android phones, will people shell out money for the iPhone now that they know alternative phones are susceptible to malware? Possibly, another outcome of this is that people just might not spend money on either phones and just stick to phones with no apps and what not. They decrease spending and are not helping the circular flow of economy. They won't be putting money into the economy therefore this will slow down recovery time.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Facebook expanding

Facebook is making a play for a piece of the small butmuch-buzzed-about group text messaging market. On Tuesday, it announced that it has acquired eight-month-old Beluga.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The move gives Facebook both the Beluga service and, more significantly, the engineering team behind it. Beluga has a small but skilled staff of three, all of whom are former Google employees. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., the company is located just a few miles away from Facebook's new Menlo Park headquarters.

In an article on the social network giant Facebook is looking to expand the way you use it. The Beluga service that Facebook is acquiring allows for group texting, this allows for multiple texts to be sent to multiple people. With this new service I think Facebook is looking to continue to expand upon their mobile front. Does the Beluga service allow for Facebook to become an even bigger entity on the mobile market? With Facebook looking to become a worldwide juggernaut in social networking, can we expect to see it expand and create more jobs due its growth?