In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Yo! Reality's Over Here!
2. Today's Top Story
- Dell Recalls More Than 4 Million Laptop Batteries
3. Breaking News
- Firefox 2.0 Delayed Until October
- Report: Expect Offshore IT Services Firms To Grow
- Blogs, Wikis, Forums Sway Consumer Opinion, Research Shows
- Microsoft OneCare Snaps Up Second Place In Security Sales
- Microsoft Delays 11 Patches To Push One
- CA Plans To Cut 1,700 Jobs, Profit Falls
- Next-Generation AMD Opteron Paves The Way For Quad-Core
- HP, Lenovo, Others Unwrap Linux Offerings At LinuxWorld
- Sun Server Customers Qualify For Power Company Rebates
- Motorola Improves Wireless Roaming For Public Safety Workers
- Google Calls In Developers For Code Jam 2006
4. Grab Bag
- You TubeMe Watch (BusinessWeek)
- Google Sees Content Deals As Key To Long-Term Growth (Wall Street Journal)
- RIAA's 'Abundance Of Sensitivity' Ends Harassment Of Grieving Family (Boing Boing)
5. In Depth: Digital Entertainment
- IAC Takes Majority Stake In CollegeHumor
- Sales Of Music-Enabled Phones Double
- Twentieth Century Makes Movies Available For Windows Media Player
- Google Adds Video Link To Home Page
- Bully Video Game Draws Fire
- Hooray For Broadband Hollywood
6. Voice Of Authority
- Dell's Computers Are Hot, But Not The Company
7. White Papers
- Web Self-Service: Making It Work
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription
Quote of the day:
"I like nonsenseit wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living. It's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope...and that enables you to laugh at all of life's realities." -- Theodor S. Geisel, a.k.a. "Dr. Seuss"
1. Editor's Note: Yo! Reality's Over Here!
Judging by the spate of news that hit this past week, the impending end of summer is causing people to disappear into technology-fueled fantasies. More power to them, I say.
The first evidence: Firefox (yes, the browser) ran for Prom Queen at a high school and gave the living candidates a run for their big-haired money.
A high school junior identified only as Joe, a Firefox fan andone presumessomeone lacking a date to the big event, came up with the idea of nominating the popular open-source browser for queen. He created a blog, posted posters and flyers, sold T-shirts, and in general proved so successful at securing votes that school authorities became alarmed. They were forced to do what was almost certainly a first: forbid all browsers from being elected prom royalty. The Firefox for Prom King committee, which apparently didn't have the popular support of its softer side, folded up its camp, too.
This happened more than a year ago, but the Web site documenting the feat only spread through the blogosphere this week.
Pity the poor human contestants more, though: In a write-in campaign, two of them were defeated by their open-source rival.
In London, meanwhile, grown men and women this past month were prowling the streets engaged in high-tech play, with plots and characters inspired by computer games. Just yesterday, a three-week tournament of a 24/7 immersive game called Street Wars: Killers ended. Armed with cell phones and PDAs that provided them with ubiquitous connectivity to the Web, 200 participants were given instructions on who they were supposed to rub out and then sent out over the city to find and shoot their targets using water guns purchased at Toys "R" Us.
Gee, hundreds of people roaming the streets of London pretending to be killers in the midst of heightened security warnings about terrorism. As the Fark catchphrase goes: What could go wrong?
They weren't the only ones giving the British public a view of high-tech fantasy spillover into flesh-and-blood shenanigans. Last year, a British company called Mind Candy introduced Perplexcity.com, a live-action game played out in the real world that has become all the rage throughout Great Britain. Utilizing blogs, the Web, text messaging, and low-tech media (ads placed in newspapers), this game allows participants to participate in an unfolding story line about a fantasy city populated with virtual as well as real characters. The incentive (other than the fun of the chase) to join in: a buried treasure of 100,000 British pounds (about $180,000).
Then there's BotFighters, which allows you to create a virtual robot that "lives" online. You fight other robots using your cell phone whenever they come within a one-mile radius. How do you know when that happens? Your own personal GPS, of course.
Okay, I'm in. Where do I line up to drink the Kool-Aid?
And finally, the hospitality industrywhere escapism, after all, is part of the business modelhas now gone the extra mile. One of the industry's largest conglomerates, Starwood Hotels and Resortswhich owns, among other properties, the Sheraton and Westin chainshas decided to open a virtual version of a new line of hotels before breaking ground on its brick-and-mortar inns. The first of the real-world Aloft brand of hostelry won't be ready for almost two years. In the meantime, an Aloft inn is being built in the popular Second Life world, a 3-D virtual space with its own geography, culture, and currency.
Second Life securing a real-world brand name for its imaginary world isn't newWells Fargo, among others, jumped on the bandwagon some time ago. No, the most interesting aspect of this news is that Starwood actually expects to glean enough valuable data from the way online avatars react to the new hotel to help shape the one being constructed on Planet Earth. As bloggers at Techdirt note: "So the next time you check into a hotel from this company and there's nothing to eat (since SL avatars don't need food) and the bed is gone (they don't need sleep, either), you know who to blame."
How about you? How are you handling the end of summer? Thinking of disappearing from your humdrum life in favor of something more thrilling? Drop me a line at my blog entry and let me know.
Firefox 2.0 Delayed Until October
There are approximately 40 bugs in the under-construction Firefox 2.0 Beta 2, and about 100 that need to be addressed before the final version goes out the door, Mozilla says.
Microsoft Delays 11 Patches To Push One
The company has made delivering the patch for the vulnerability cited in security bulletin MS06-040 its highest security priority, letting other patches slide until later, a program manager confirms.
Analyzing The Outsourcers: Global Services
Learn how more than 400 business technology professionals rated six of the leading outsourcers in InformationWeek Research's "Analyzing the Outsourcers: Global Services" report.
Get the best technology audio and video delivered at our new Podcast Central page, including The News Show, the InformationWeek Daily News Podcast, and Dr. Dobbs' .Net Casts.
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IAC Takes Majority Stake In CollegeHumor
Media mogul Barry Diller's Web content group has picked up a controlling interest in CollegeHumor.com, a comedy Web site that offers edgy material for the college-age crowd.
Sales Of Music-Enabled Phones Double
As expected, mobile phone sales dipped a bit in the first half of 2006, while sales of music-enabled phones rose to 10% of all shipments in the second quarter, up from 5% in the same period a year ago.
Google Adds Video Link To Home Page
The new link is part of a reshuffle in which Google dropped links to its search engines for books, discussion groups, and shopping, placing them in a dropdown box instead.
Web Self-Service: Making It Work
Many Web self-service offerings fail because they don't go far enough. Simply posting information about products and services on a Web site is no substitute for a complete online experience that empowers would-be customers to easily find, configure, and purchase the right products and services to meet their needs.
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