Lest there was any doubt, the incessant pre-opening buzz over " Snakes on a Plane " proved that the Hollywood studios are have discovered the power of viral marketing online .
And it's a good thing for them, because the dinosaurs of Madison Avenue certainly haven't been helping out much at a time when the big screen sometimes seems destined for a decidedly unhappy ending .
We've long wondered when the advertising industry would figure out that the old ways of business are over, but some signs indicate that it's finally starting to wake up--or, at least, some of its clients are. One example comes from Mashable , which pointed out an effective social-networking campaign by Dasani , the bottled-water subsidary of Coca-Cola.
Dasani began promoting its new line of flavored waters on Friendster and then MySpace with its " Fruit Signs " profile. There, any community member can take a quiz to determine his or her Fruit Sign and find others they're supposedly compatible with, as well as get a special MySpace page layout.
Yes, we know it's not rocket science. But it shows that at least some smart companies are getting serious about using the power of social networking to leverage their brands--and, in this case, apparently at minimal cost. No longer able to rely only on static media such as billboards or even TV commercials, companies and their ad agencies will need to be increasingly creative in promoting their wares.
If the Dasani campaign can be considered a form of entertainment as well as advertising, we can expect to see more innovations that cross the line between marketing and content. One of the better examples of this was aired on the hit NBC show "The Office," which featured an entire episode based around the iPod .
For MySpace, YouTube and other social networks, the question is this: How much will they charge for Dansani-type marketing ? And if so, where will they draw the line between advertising and entertainment content?
Something tells us they'll figure it out.
I wish I saw Billy Marshall, CEO of rPath, more often. His post today on new technology pervading an enterprise long before the CIO knows about it is spot on. It's how we get goofy survey data that suggest that open source is far away on the distant horizon ...despite it being widespread and heavily adopted already.
It just doesn't show up on the CIO's multi-million dollar check stub. Not yet.The CIO is always the last to know about new technology. The head of engineering brought UNIX into the enterprise for CAD/CAM and analysis applications, and the CIO was the last to know. Department managers brought in PCs and Windows for personal productivity and desktop publishing, and the CIO was the last to know. System administrators brought in Linux for network services, and the CIO was the last to know. The sales force brought in salesforce.com and introduced the enterprise to SaaS, and the CIO was the last to know. Developers in the business units will use cloud computing, and the CIO will be the last to know.
It's not that the CIO is clueless. It's just that she's not directly responsible for rolling out new technology. That happens at the rank-and-file level as needs arise and budgets get squeezed. The CIO buys from IBM; the architect and department IT lead buys from everyone else.
The CIO will probably say "No" to the latest open-source software investment, but that's because she doesn't realize it's already spreading like wildfire throughout her enterprise. By the time she does, she'll be there to negotiate the enterprise license/subscription agreement. Her timing, in other words, will be impeccable.
Entry-level workers at Vietnamese tech outsourcing operations earn an average of $3,276 a year, compared to $5,443 for such workers in India, $5,616 in Romania and $25,338 in Canada.
Those stats are among the juicy nuggets that can be snagged from a report released Wednesday by consulting firm neoIT. But the salary information must be put in context, neoIT cautions.
"Salary differences are huge when comparing IT jobs onshore versus offshore, but taken in isolation they don't provide an accurate picture of the total cost of offshoring since it requires a more complex management and governance structure in order to ensure that goals are met," Atul Vashistha, CEO of neoIT, said in a statement.
According to the report, firms have realized net cost savings in the range of 10 to 35 percent by outsourcing IT operations to lower-cost offshore and "nearshore" locations. Examples of "nearshore" nations include Hungary, Israel and Ireland, according to neoIT.
Of 18 outsourcing countries, India had the highest year-over-year growth in average salary for IT outsourcing professionals in 2004, at roughly 13 percent, the report found.Topics: Workplace Bookmark: Digg Del.icio.us Reddit cnet_news406:http://news.cnet.com/8301-10784_3-5728541-7.html
SAP has patched highly critical security flaws in EnjoySAP and SAP Web Application Server, as well as moderate vulnerabilities in its SAP Message Server, according to security advisories issued Friday by Mark Litchfield of Next Generation Security Software.
Security flaws in EnjoySAP were found due to ActiveX controls "kweditcontrol.kwedit.1" and "preparetopostHTML," which could allow a buffer overflow attack and remote access to users' systems, according to Litchfield, who discovered the flaws .
EnjoySAP is one of the more popular SAP GUIs, noted Litchfield in his advisory, which stated all platforms are affected.
SAP Web Application Server's Internet Communication Manager running on Windows was also found to have highly critical security flaws, according to the advisory . The ICM allows communication between the SAP Web Application Server and HTTP, HTTPS and SMTP protocols.
But an error in the Internet Communication Manager's ICMAN.exe component can be exploited, leading to a denial-of-service attack.
"This is a very effective denial-of-service attack within a SAP environment," Litchfield stated in his advisory.
A more moderate security flaw was found in SAP Message Server running on all platforms, which can be exploited when a boundary error occurs during processing of HTTP requests. That can lead to a buffer overflow attack and remote execution of arbitrary code, according to NGSS' advisory .
Elections departments around the country have spent millions on electronic voting systems that are flawed and officials aren't about to throw them out and start all over. The only solution is to conduct audits to verify the count after every election, a researcher and expert on electronic voting said at RSA 2008 on Thursday.
David Wagner, computer science professor at University of California, Berkeley, led a state of California-commissioned study last year of the three major electronic voting systems. The study found serious vulnerabilities in each system that would allow someone with access to just one of the machines to spread a virus that would infect all the other machines in the system and essentially control the outcome, he said in a panel discussion electronic voting.
The systems have architectural weaknesses, implementation flaws, and defects, similar to problems in commercial software that isn't designed with security in mind, according to Wagner.
"This puts our election officials in a terrible position," he said, adding that officials are stuck using the machines. As a result, audits are the only solution.
The audits should be public and they should be done automatically, as they are in California, which requires a paper trail, Wagner said. He praised the California audit methodology in which paper ballots are manually counted in a random sample of precincts.
Other researchers are coming to similar conclusions. At a conference in February , Princeton graduate student J. Alex Halderman suggested using machine-assisted auditing. And Ronald Rivest, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, said during a cryptographer's panel on Tuesday at RSA 2008 that voting systems should not depend on the software to capture the vote, but use paper or some other means.
The problem is, not every state that uses electronic voting equipment has a paper trail and many states don't do audits, even if they have paper ballots to count, Wagner said.
Hugh Thompson, chief security strategist at corporate security training firm People Security , who has researched flaws in e-voting systems, was pessimistic about whether audits will be widely adopted any time soon.
"If an election is close, in a lot of cases an audit, even if you have a paper trail, isn't conducted," he said. "In Florida, the election officials told us at the time that they were suspicious, they didn't have authority to institute a recount."
Scientists are making progress on neural devices that can translate the thoughts of a paralyzed person into driving action for a prosthetic device.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said Wednesday that they've developed an algorithm for a neural prosthetic aid that can link an individual's brain activity to the person's intentions; and then translate that intention into movement.
Of course, other scientists have already done that, and built prototypes for neural brain-to-machine devices that can work for animals or humans. But each team has taken a different approach to the problem, such as developing algorithms for measuring activity in a specific brain region, or measuring them through EEGs vs. optical imaging.
MIT said that it has developed a unified algorithm that can work within the parameters of these different approaches. Lakshminarayan "Ram" Srinivasan, lead author of a paper on the subject, said MIT's new graphical models are applicable no matter what measurement technique is used.
"We don't need to reinvent a new paradigm for each modality or brain region," he said in a statement.
Still, he said, the algorithm isn't perfect, nor the final solution to solving what is a difficult problem. "Translating an algorithm into a fully functioning clinical device will require a great deal of work, but also represents an intriguing road of scientific and engineering development for the years to come," according to MIT.
MIT will publish a paper on the subject in the October edition of the Journal of Neurophysiology.
Here's an evening treat for your eyes. CSS guru Eric Meyer has put together a spiffy-looking timeline chronicling the lives of five popular Web browsers. Internet Explorer makes it on there twice as Meyer has opted to split up the versions between 6 and the Version 7. the PC and now defunct Mac version, which Microsoft capped in 2003.
The most interesting takeaways from the graph? Opera's gotten the most versioning love for its age, and all of the browsers share a fairly similar updating schedule at various parts of each year.
Meyer notes that he created the graph after getting fed up with Wikipedia's vertical charts . The result is a chart that will likely require you to do the dreaded horizontal scroll--that is unless you've got your hands on one of those NEC wide-screen displays .
Note: viewing the chart in IE6 won't work.