Lenovo used a boatload of resources to win the contest to design the Olympic torch for this summer's Games, and what's the world's reaction? Derision and anger.
Of course, it has nothing to do with Lenovo or the torch design and everything to do with China's human rights record, its crackdown on protesters in Tibet, and its ongoing support of Sudan's government.
The Wall Street Journal takes a look at how Lenovo's $100 million-plus marketing blitz as one of the official sponsors of the Games held in its own backyard could actually be a major blunder from a brand perspective.
Lenovo executives apparently expected some protests, but were "caught off guard" by the animosity the torch was met with during the traditional relay , particularly in London, Paris, and San Francisco . But Lenovo still has several months to go before the Games begin, and the company is adamant its association with the Games and with China won't hurt its aspirations of becoming a global PC brand name on the level of Hewlett-Packard and Dell.
See the Journal story for more.
Docstoc might just be a better source for boilerplate documents than paid services.
We covered the Docstoc community document library from the TechCrunch40 conference , and lately have been able to try it ourselves. It's a good library of documents. The community rating and commenting system is what will really make it work, though, if enough people join in. I can't really tell if one living will is better than another, so insightful commentary would help.
Docstoc can also be used like Scribd and other document sharing services , as an embedding engine for shared books or other nonvideo media files.
If you'd like to try out Docstoc while it's in private beta, go the signup page and enter "webware" as the invitation id.
See also this cute little video press release from Docstoc CEO Jason Nazar. We probably won't run this kind of a promo again, but he did put in our logo and everything...
As CNET reports , In response to concerns raised by the Bush administration and other politicians, the revised bill attempts to exclude the "casual blogger" from reaping those benefits by stipulating the protections apply only to those who derive "financial gain or livelihood" from the journalistic activity, Boucher said Wednesday. That broad rule could, however, include part-time writers who receive even a trickle of revenue from Google Ads or Blogads.com.
While the revised form of the law is not perfect, it does appear to offer a level of protection against Justice Department inquiries that doesn't currently exist. Although 33 states have some form of shield law, these protections do not apply in a federal context and several U.S. journalists have found themselves imprisoned in recent years as a result.
The 2007 Free Flow of Information Act was revised to exclude certain journalists and to limit the circumstances in which a privilege can be invoked after both the Bush administration and the Justice Department voiced their opposition to the act. The exact text of these new revisions doesn't appear to be online, but the changes appear to be small though significant. The most interesting change in the bill is that news published by foreign government's as well as any journalist who doesn't obtain "financial gain or livelihood" would be excluded from its protection. Of course, in order to qualify a blogger simply needs to install AdWords or another form of advertising on their site.
Does it really make sense to define journalists based on financial gain? I don't think it does. For one, those who've made a conscience decision not to have advertising on their site should not feel that such a decision could eventually lead to his or her jailing. In addition, this debate is not about commerce and establishing these fiscal requirements transforms the law from protecting the free flow of information to a law that protects members of the news media's ability to conduct business.
Nonetheless, I believe I am still in favor of the Free Flow of Information Act in its current form . This bill has been put forward unsuccessfully dozens of times, and if this minor change allows it to finally pass then I think I can live with it. Had this law been on the books at this time last year I wouldn't have spent a single night in jail. The act will likely prevent other journalists from going to jail in the future, and although I abhor the idea of the government forcing bloggers to put up ads it's a small price to pay to stay out of the slammer.
"A nanotube is the most rigid rod you will ever make, but in a cell level, it will be like spaghetti," he said during a question-and-answer session at the International Electron Devices Meeting in San Francisco this week.
Nanotubes are incorporated into polymers and other materials, so it would be hard for people who don't work in a manufacturing facility that uses the tubes to ingest them. "I'm talking about a hunk of plastic with very little of the stuff in it."
Nonetheless, scientists have to make sure "there isn't some crack that will allow these things to slip through," he added. After all, few people saw the consequences of pesticides until Rachel Carson's " Silent Spring ". As a result, Rice University, where Smalley teaches, is conducting toxicology tests .Topics: Bookmark: Digg Del.icio.us Reddit cnet_news406:http://news.cnet.com/8301-10784_3-5496058-7.html
Ok, my headline is harsh. The Experience Project is actually a very good social network play. It's all about life experiences, and it's designed around anonymity.
What's the point of hiding yourself in a social network? Say you're battling an illness, or trying to improve yourself in some way, or are struggling with an emotional issue, and you don't exactly want to share it with the world. You might not want to put "I'm fighting depression," in your public MySpace profile, but you might well want to talk it through with other people in a similar boat. The Experience Project lets you find these people, and share stories. It's an online, general-purpose support group site than can quickly be used for very specific topics.
Not all Experience Project experiences are negative. You can also read and post stories about singing karaoke, falling in love, or adoring Stephen Colbert. Once you have identified yourself through your stories, you can find the people most similar to you -- those that share similar stories.
My criticism of The Experience Project centers around its user interface: stories are sorted around free-form headlines. There are several stories, for example, entitled, "I battle depression," but if you answer the site's front-page question to tell your story, and you type in something slightly different, like, "I fight depression," it will create a new group with you as the only member. If you search for "depression," though, you'll quickly find the relevant groups.
Overall I think this is a strong and useful service. That's in large part due to my view that it makes sense for people to identify themselves by what they've done, much more than by what they've bought, as Zebo does . Yet the Experience Project is not likely to become a general-purpose social network, since it's got such a laser focus on protecting identity . But it could be a good tool for people to use in addition to a typical social net like MySpace or FaceBook .
Sirius XM Radio on Thursday announced that its Sirius side posted a 25 percent jump in second-quarter revenue and pared back its net loss as it closed its final quarter as a standalone company.
Revenues for Sirius Satellite Radio, which closed its long-awaited merger with XM Satellite Radio after the quarter ended , rose to $283 million for the three-month period ending June 30, up from $226.4 million a year earlier.
"Despite a tough economy and weak auto sales, gross additions set a new second-quarter record. In the second quarter, both revenue and subscribers grew 25 percent, compared with last year," CEO Mel Karmazin said in a statement, adding that the company's costs, meanwhile, remained essentially flat and aided in reducing its net loss.
Sirius posted a net loss of nearly $84 million, compared with a loss of $134.1 million a year ago.
With the merger now complete, the combined company is expected to generate $400 million in cost savings next year and annualized revenues in excess of $2.4 billion.
"The combined company now has an annualized revenue run rate of over $2.4 billion, making Sirius XM Radio one of the fastest-growing and best positioned subscription media businesses," Karmazin said. "With rapid integration efforts under way, we started realizing synergies on day 1."
Sun Microsystems has spent years getting bludgeoned by commodity hardware and software. Now it's planning to apply those painful lessons to its competitors in the storage industry, as highlighted by The New York Times reporter Ashlee Vance :
In the early part of this decade, Sun learned all too well just how disruptive can be. Customers moved away from products built on Sun's own custom microprocessors and software to cheaper servers that relied on Intel processors and the open-source Linux operating system. While larger customers still wanted Sun's high-end hardware for some tasks, the Intel-and-Linux combination could satisfy the majority of most customers' needs.
Software plays a large role in any discussion of this type, and again Sun thinks it has something that can rattle NetApp and EMC.
Sun spent years fighting this trend toward "good enough at a great price," but now it's wielding the weapon of open-source software and commodity hardware . It seems to be working. The Register reports that Sun grew its market share in the external disk storage market faster than any other vendor in the second quarter of 2008 at 34.7 percent to NetApp's 22.9 percent growth.
The key for Sun will be to sustain this growth. It won't be an easy task, but customers should be cheering as Sun lowers the cost of storage and improves choice and flexibility through open source. NetApp may not like it, but then, Sun didn't like getting beaten up for its former proprietary intransigence, either. Sun learned its lesson. Will NetApp also learn?