How Technology Changed Politics

Twitter, Face book, My space, Google, Yahoo, and thousands of other social networking sites have forever changed Politics not only in America but also around the world. It was the summer of 2008 and we were in the height of the Presidential campaign. Then candidate Obama was in a fierce battle against the seasoned political veteran John McCain. Barack Obama being a fairly new face in American politics had just defeated the highly popular and presumed democratic candidate in Hilary Clinton. Obama launched a campaign like no one had ever seen before, a campaign that embraced new media and attracted demographics that traditionally had rarely been interested in voting or let alone politics all together. The young vote was penetrated for the first time in a long time. The "show me now generation" or so it is called is the generation that has made new media a way of life.

New media over the past ten years has changed the way we communicate for ever. First of all it's cheaper, and secondly it's extremely more convenient to access versus trying to find a newspaper stand, heading down to the local library, or sending a message via snail mail. In a five minute time span I am able to communicate with over fortey percent of my high school graduation class, check over five local news paper headlines from around the country, and im able get the latest call to action from my local political headquarters. From news blogs, to Facebook I am always connected to everyone all the time. During the campaign at times it almost didn't seem to be a fair fight between the two candidates. One's approach was traditional-grassroots, by knocking on doors and executing thousands of low ball robo-calls. The other candidates approach was also grassroots; it was new age grassroots campaign. By sending daily messages via twitter, facebook, and email updating followers on the status of the campaign and calling all to action, Barack Obama became the "Hip" candidate a candidate that young people could identify with.

Never before has a media outlet allowed for a politician to have instant access to the masses twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, also allowing for market segmentation (targeting a specific demographic). Followers signed on to Facebook and Twitter and added Barack Obama as a friend thus allowing them to follow the future presidents every move at the same time receiving updates on his political agenda. In the past, unless you were a part of the local chapter for your political party you would only have television and newspapers to receive your information. New media has allowed for millions to instantly become a part of the political system.

For better or for worse politics will forever be changed. Newspapers, news letters, and traditional magazines have begun to suffer significantly due to emergence of new media. This generation has really adopted the new media blitz and for a politician to get his or her message out they will have to adapt to the new marketing methods in order to be affective and efficient, and who knows….. if done right he/she may become the next President of the United States.

Outsourcing Information Technology

is a word that brings many different opinions to the table. Positive and negative feelings about outsourcing leave many organizations questioning whether or not it is a viable option to outsource information technology functions. The goal of this paper is to try and break down some of the risks and benefits to outsourcing and help any CEO or CIO come to a decision whether or not his organization will outsource information technology.

Risks

Before an organization decides to use an outsourcer for IT, management needs to consider the risks involved.

Loss of Control

The organization is invested in itself. Its employees have internal knowledge and a better understanding of the organization then does any outside company. According to Axelrod, “there are fundamental differences in motivation, goals, and attitude between internal staff and employees of outsourcers”. These differences may lead to poor IT service.

Viability of service providers

Axelrod mentions the risk of the service provider itself. Is it a viable company? Will the service provider be around in the next year? If the outsourcer fails, the organization will be left without “critical services and systems” (Axelrod).

Quality of Service

When an organization decides to outsource, one reason it does so is the organization may feel it cannot successfully perform the IT services it needs to at a satisfactory level. However, a risk of using outsourcing for IT is the quality of service the outsourcer brings to the organization. If an outsourcer is not carefully chosen, the level of service provided can be so poor as to be detrimental to the organization. The outsourcer can be fired by the organization, but where will this leave the organization’s IT services?

Lack of expertise

“Customers should beware of bait-and-switch tactics” (Axelrod). In other words, an outsourcer may state it has the knowledge to perform certain actions or utilize a certain programming language, but when the outsourcer begins work for an organization, the necessary knowledge the organization needed for its IT functions is just not there.

Morale

Morale is an important risk to consider. Outsourcing “raises employee concerns about job security” (Cashman, Rosenblatt, and Shelly). If the organization has its own IT department, the IT staff will want to work for a company they feel is committed to use the IT talent it has. If the organization decides to outsource its IT functions, the IT personnel may decide to leave and work for the service providers themselves. This isn’t just with IT staff, either. If other employees learn the organization is outsourcing IT, these employees may start to wonder what other functions will start to be outsourced.

Hidden Costs

Some costs are easily definable. What about intangibles? Outsourcing can bring about costs to the company that were unable to be planned for. The outsourcer may be in financial distress, but still providing services (Axelrod). How is this going to impact the costs of services if the outsourcer cannot pull itself out of a hole? Acquisitions and mergers can bring about changes in cost to IT services provided (Cashman, et al., 2003). According to Axelrod, hidden costs are either due to oversight, or unplanned, or hidden intentionally (2004). Both types of hidden costs need to be considered before deciding to outsource.

Benefits

Even though risks are involved with outsourcing, many benefits exist as well which lead organizations to outsource IT.

Lower costs

Cost is one of the major benefits which organizations consider before outsourcing. How much will it cost us to outsource our IT compared to paying our own employees and making sure we have all the necessary hardware and software to perform all the IT functionality we need? For many organizations, outsourcing saves the company cost – especially if it has no IT department to begin with.

Less time to implement

Using an outsourcer for IT eliminates time spent for a company to design, program, test, document, and maintain networks, hardware, and software (Cashman, et al., 2003). A quality outsourcer has already done the IT task multiple times for other companies, and should be an expert at all the IT tasks the outsourcing company needs.

Reliability and performance

If an outsourcer’s sole reason for business is IT, the outsourcer should have documentation proving what it has done, and metrics to show what it has done well. Any problems with IT tasks will be sorted out over time by the outsourcer. If the outsourcer provides a quality service, “it almost certainly has been rated and evaluated by independent reviewers” (Cashman, et al., 2003).

Systems support

Using an outsourcer for IT services, provides the organization with a greater breadth of IT services support. Most outsourcers provide support to many other organizations. When an organization has an issue with any IT function, they can call the outsourcer. The outsourcer will fix the issue, or be able to find the solution, leaving the organization to focus on its other business needs.

Extra Manpower

For smaller companies that do not have the manpower, outsourcing is an excellent means by which to get something done without the need to hire additional employees.

Specialized Skills

Organizations want to focus on their primary business processes to maximize revenue. Many times, these organizations do not have the skills to setup their own IT systems. Hiring an outsourcer helps to bring to the company a specialized skill set. The outsourcer’s primary function is providing IT. Also, using outsourcing for IT services is excellent for those organizations that may only need a small, specialized information system, perhaps a new software package. An outsourcer brings the skills to provide this service, and prevents the need for the organization to hire new employees with this skill set; especially if the employees’ services were only needed on a short-term basis.

Factors to consider

Once an organization decides to outsource, one should consider the following factors before finalizing any agreement (e-Zest, 2007):

Insurance

Simply put, does the outsourcer have any form of liability insurance to protect against loss, or damages?

Third Party Suppliers

If choosing to outsource, is the outsourced company going to provide all tasks, including maintenance, or is the outsourcer going to use any other 3rd party? This information should be provided, and agreed upon beforehand.

Software licenses

If the organization has purchased any form of licenses for software, which the outsourcer will be working with, it is necessary the outsourcer is covered under the licenses as well.

Ownership of information

When information technology leads to the design and use of proprietary information, the details need to be agreed upon whether the outsourcer will own this information, or the company.

Contract start and length

When outsourcing is used, the organization needs to determine when the outsourcing is to begin, and how long is the organization going to outsource its IT functions. At some point, the organization may decide to do everything in-house.

System Access and Security

This is an important factor when deciding to outsource. Much of an organization’s data is sensitive, and must be secure. The organization will have in place who can see what and do what, but this needs to be extended to the outsourcer, also. If anyone working for the outsourcer can see whatever, whenever, this can lead to security breaches.

Asset Ownership

Along with determining who will own certain information, asset ownership needs to be determined as well. The resources used to build systems or software can be expensive. Does the outsourcer purchase these assets and own them after the organization does not need them, or does the organization pay and own the hardware and software resources?

Disaster Recovery

Every organization should have a disaster recovery plan. What about the outsourcer? If an organization chooses to outsource its IT functionality, and the outsourcer suffers from a disaster, what will happen to the organization’s information systems? The organization needs to have reassurance the outsourcer has in place some form of disaster recovery which will protect the organization’s IT functions as well as the outsourcer.

Application to strategic planning

When considering a strategic plan, and looking forward to the future based on an organization’s vision plan, outsourcing may need to be considered. Depending on the IT needs of the organization and where it wants to be in the future, the organization may realize it cannot perform all the IT functions itself. The organization needs to place in its strategic plan whether or not it plans on finding ways to implement the IT services themselves, or to outsource. The strategic plan needs to be laid out explicitly for shareholders and other executives to get approval for the plan, and outsourcing may be a consideration.

Conclusion

The outsourcing of IT services has many risks, but also has many benefits. Any organization needs to look at the pros and cons of outsourcing its IT services when looking forward to the future. A strategic plan is designed to help an organization meet its vision for the future, and when IT services are involved, the organization may not be able to effectively provide the services itself. Considering all the factors will help an organization put together an effective plan for the future.

References

Axelrod, C.W. (2004). Outsourcing information security. Norwood, MA: Artech House Publishers.

e-Zest Solutions . (2007). Software development outsourcing issues. Retrieved from http://www.e-zest.net/Outsourcing_Central/outsourcing_issues.htmlCashman, T.J., Rosenblatt, H.J., & Shelly, G.B (2003). Systems analysis and design (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Thomson Course Technology.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION:
The Contributor has no connection to nor was paid by the brand or product described in this content.

PhotoWorks Introduces Back-to-School Technology

PhotoWorks, Inc., a photo-publishing company that is internet-based announced last Monday their six new line of products that is ideal for students of all ages going back to school this September. These back-to-school products are unique in the sense that students can personalize these gears.

PhotoWorks offers personalized stickers that costs $4.95 per sheet, each sheet has about 20 stickers and can include single or multiple printed images. This is the perfect way for students to print their Summer pictures and place them on notebooks, books, bags, lockers, and binders so that they can carry their Summer pictures anywhere.

PhotoWorks also offers locker posters 11×14 in size for $9.95 each. Locker posters are perfect for minimizing clutter in a student's locker, instead of having a barrage of photos hanging; they can just have their favorite vacation pictures or pictures of their friends collaged in one poster. There is also a large 16×20 poster for $17.95 that would be perfect for any dorm rooms or for anyone who just want to have a blown-up copy of their favorite picture.

For $19.95, you can have a personalized Clipboard that can feature a family photo, your pet, a picture of the gang, or your best friend. The Clipboard is not only for students but would be perfect for teachers as well, particularly coaches who may want to get motivated by featuring a picture of their favorite sports team.

But the best and the coolest of the bunch is probably a personalized messenger bag. Messenger bags are probably the most common sights in schools and there's a good chance that there will be two students sporting the same brand or design, to avoid this, a personalized Messenger Bag is probably the best way to ensure that your bag is unique. For $119.95, PhotoWorks can feature any picture on the Messenger Bag. You can choose your theme from sceneries, to family picture, to your pets, gang, your own picture, you and your best friend, or a collage of all of these.

"Everyone remembers the excitement and anticipation of picking out new

school supplies every August and September," says Andy Wood, President and

CEO of PhotoWorks. He said that PhotoWorks' personalized school products build on that same excitement by giving students, steachers and coaches the opportunity to be creative and design their very own products.

To create your own customized school supplies, just go to Photoworks.com and then head over to their Photo Gifts web page.

SOURCE:

PhotoWorks, Inc.,

In Time for Back-to-School, PhotoWorks(R) Introduces New Product Line of School Essentials. PRNewswire.com. URL: (http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY;=/www/story/07-30-2007/0004635163&EDATE;)

Technology Trends – Ultra High Definition Television

One example of modern technology that can be consistently counted on to change is the venerable television set. First there was original TV in all its black and white glory. Then along came color and that settled things for a while, then, seemingly out of the blue, flat screen technology arrived at the same time as a new television broadcast standard emerged: HDTV; high definition television that gave us sharper pictures than could ever have been imagined back in the early days. HDTV comes in three flavors, 1080p or i, and 720p. Here, "p" stands for progressive scan, not pixels as is commonly thought, and "i" stands for interlaced, but they all describe how many pixels are on the screen, more means smaller and smaller means a sharper image. Now, it appears, we are on the cusp of a new standard, ultra high definition television (UHDTV), though it's not yet clear what exactly that might mean; some say it will be "4K" while others insist it will be "8K".

The "K" in the upcoming standards refer to the number of pixels across one row, though not exactly evenly as the numbers imply. 4K would mean approximately 3840×2160 for a total of 8,294,400 pixels on a screen. 8K would mean 7680×4320 for a total of 33,177,600 pixels on a screen. The 4K standard appears ready for primetime, as Sony has announced a set ready for delivery by the holiday season this year, which will measure a massive 84 inches diagonally. 8K, though it's just been approved as a standard, hasn't yet matured into an actual product; some examples of what's coming could be seen at this past summer's Olympic games.

What's really important to note here is that there is a physical limit to how far high definition can progress, because of our eyes, not the technology. But then, that's assuming there will be some limit to the size of television set we want. That's because television standards apply across all sizes of TV sets. A forty inch 4K UHDTV will have the same number of dots as a 120 inch 4K UHDTV, which will mean the smaller TV will always have a sharper image than the larger TV; at least when compared at the same distances. That's where our eyes come into play. Experts tell us that if we sit far away from a giant TV, we get the same clarity we would sitting close to a smaller TV, even if the giant TV actually has the same number of pixels as the smaller one, meaning it's actually fuzzier when viewed up close. So unless we're planning to install thirty foot ceilings in our homes, 8K resolution will probably be the best we'll ever need, because we wouldn't be able to tell the difference with something sharper. This means, any future trends in television will likely involve modifying the number of colors each pixel can represent, giving us a picture that more naturally represents nature.

Three Dimensional Screens – the Technology Explained

When it comes to consumer electronics, there is no greater hype than 3D television. People want to watch 3D movies in their own home, now that they have seen them in cinemas. The supply of 3D technologies is growing rapidly these days. Creating a 3D image on televisions, can be done in a couple of ways. Some methods are more expensive than others. But other methods are more easily doable by manufacturers. Before a manufacturer brings 3D tv to the market, he will have to think about these trade offs. There exist three main technologies for creating 3D images on televisions.

Lenticular viewing. The Philips company came up with this one over a few years ago. This technology allows people to watch 3D without the well known 3D glasses. Most people think the glasses are either silly, cumbersome, or a combination of both. The lens used in televisions based on the lenticular viewing concept, send a different image to each eye. The left eye's image is going to differ slightly from the one that is sent to the right eye. A small viewing angle is the downside to this type of television. And they cannot be watched by multiple persons.

Passive glass systems. Currently, the Hyundai company is developing an LCD monitor which will allow for both 2D as well as 3D viewing. For viewing the 3D images that these televisions show, you must wear 3D glasses. The television will display two overlapping images. Each eye sees only one image, due to the polarized lenses in the glasses. This creates a very convincing three dimensional effect. You can already buy televisions like these today. A typical size for these screens is about 50 inches.

Active glass systems. This technology is much like the passive glass system, but not quite. The biggest difference is that the television is not responsible for most of the 3D effect. The effect is almost completely produced by the glasses. For starters, the glasses have to be synchronized with the television's refresh rate. Then, the television displays for left and right eye alternatingly. The shutter system in these glasses will make sure that the right eye only sees the images for the right eye. It goes without saying that the same happens for the left eye. This effectively halves the refresh rate of the television. It's highly recommend that you get a television with at least a 120Hz refresh rate when using active shutter glasses.

If you're in need of a bargain in 3D displays, be sure to visit Hd 3D Tv or 3D Television Future.

History of Technology – Ancient Inventions You Probably Used Today

Enjoying our iPhones, , and high-definition flat screen televisions, we generally think we live in a technologically advanced world. But we still use technologies that people used thousands of years ago.

Meet Lindsay. She’s a modern, stylish woman. Lindsay has a date tonight, so she soaks in a soapy bath with scented candles, applies her Chanel makeup, dons this year’s most stylish Versace skirt, and accessorizes with her finest gold jewelry. Lindsay feels modern, but she doesn’t realize that women have been using each of these technologies for over two thousand years.

Using the first ancient invention, Lindsay bathes with luxurious soaps from Bath & Body Works. According to ancient Roman legend, soap invented itself spontaneously at Mt. Sapo. During ancient animal sacrifices, goat fat dripped through fires and bonded to lye from the ashes, which flowed down the mountain and collected on clay. Women used this clay to scrub laundry, inadvertently aided by soap. Who knew sacrifice could be so clean? Soap gets its name from the Mt. Sapo legend. The legend is interesting, but soap actually existed before the Romans. In 2,200 BC, ancient Babylonians wrote instructions to create soap on clay tablets. Babylonians may have used soap as early as 2,800 BC. Fortunately, no animals were harmed in the making of Lindsay’s bar of soap.

Lindsay adds ambiance and scent to her bath with candles, which were invented by the Egyptians in 3,000 BC. The Egyptians dipped pith, the spongy center of a plant stem, into melted animal fat. These ancient candles looked more like torches than today’s candles, but they served the same function. Later, the Romans rolled up papyrus that they repeatedly dipped in melted tallow or beeswax, creating the wicked candle. In the 1850’s, chemists developed paraffin, the wax used in today’s candles. In 5,000 years, we’ve essentially only added a wick to the ancient candle. Because we now use electricity for functional lighting, modern candles have become more of a quaint luxury. We don’t have much need for improved candles, so we will probably continue to use Ancient Egyptian candle technology into the future.

After her candlelit bath, Lindsay applies her Chanel eyeliner. Again, so did the Egyptians! Archaeologists have discovered cosmetics dating back to 4000 BC. Lindsay’s date probably won’t wear eyeliner, but both men and women in Ancient Egypt used eyeliner to make their eyes look larger. Eyeliner also protected against the evil eye, a curse Egyptians believed they received from envious glances. Today, women who wear too much eyeliner still may receive an evil eye, but not necessarily from envy.

The ancients may have worn cosmetics, but surely Lindsay’s $600 Versace skirt must be modern. Actually, skirts are older than candles and cosmetics combined. However, Lindsay can rest easily knowing that the ancients didn’t pay Versace prices.

The skirt is one of the longest continuing clothing trends in the world, going back 8,000 years. Archaeologists have found small figurines from Neolithic Europe depicting women wearing Ancient skirts. These skirts were more risqué than today’s skirts, looking more like belts with pieces of fringe hanging down. Like modern skirts, ancient skirts were not especially functional, but they communicated information about a woman’s social and marital status. The skirt has sent different messages at different times in history, but Lindsay’s skirt still communicates a message, depending on the type of skirt she chooses to wear. In her expensive designer skirt, Lindsay communicates that she is proud of her status and her appearance.

To finish her ensemble, Lindsay accessorizes with her favorite jewelry. Jewelry dates back 100,000 years, when ancients in Israel and Algeria wore pea-sized shells that scientists believe were probably strung together into necklaces or bracelets. Between 3,000 and 1,000 BC, the Egyptians used precious metals in jewelry. Wealthy Egyptians preferred the most valuable precious metal, gold, and took their jewelry to the grave so they could take it into the afterlife. However, grave robbers often decided they needed the valuable jewelry for the earthly life.

In the past, jewelry was used to store wealth. If currency can lose its value, one might as well spend the money on jewelry that can retain value. With gold jewelry, people essentially wore their money on their bodies. Today, gold jewelry is more of a luxury than a store of value. Even though people can safely store their money in banks, both men and women continue to wear their gold jewelry. It has a mystique that will keep people wearing jewelry for years to come, just like the ancients did 100,000 years ago.

Lindsay is ready to leave her trendy loft, which is full of ancient technology, but she will continue to rely on ancient inventions for the rest of the evening.

First Lindsay locks her door, again mimicking the Ancient Egyptians. Locks in 2,000 BC worked like modern locks but were made out of wood. The ancient locks contained movable tumbler pins. A wooden key had pegs, like the grooves in modern keys, that pushed the tumbler pins to the correct height, which opened a cross bar that released the lock. We have advanced to stronger metal locks, but modern locks work the same way.

Thieves today can pick locks by pushing the tumbler pins to the correct height. Since Ancient Egyptians lost their jewelry to grave robbers, we might be wise to stop relying on 4,000-year-old technology. We have added the deadbolt to supplement locks, but deadbolts only help when we’re inside our home. We’ve also modernized locks with electronic devices, which replace keys with punch codes or swipe cards. The most advanced locks even use biometric “keys” like fingerprints, retinal scans, and voice recognizers. Unfortunately, these advanced locks tend to be expensive. Most modern homes will continue to use their 4,000-year-old locks until the new technology becomes more affordable.

After she secures her apartment with one ancient lock, Lindsay uses another ancient lock to gain access to her car – a 2008 hybrid-electric Prius. The modern car relies heavily on a 6,000-year-old invention-the wheel. The first wheels were pottery wheels, which helped ancient Mesopotamians make ceramics. In 2,000 BC, Mesopotamians used wheeled chariots for transportation. The wheel is amazingly simple, but the invention ingeniously reduces friction. Modern cars have replaced animal-drawn chariots, but both use the same technology to reduce friction between the vehicle and the ground. Since the wheel is so effective, it is almost irreplaceable. Until we improve hovercraft technology, we will stick with the 4,000-year-old technology.

After Lindsay rides her 4,000-year-old wheels and uses her 4,000-year-old key to lock her car, she meets her date at the city’s finest steakhouse. Her $100 Kobe steak is the finest available, but the steak would taste like rubber without the oldest invention you probably used today: fire. Fire was invented somewhere between 1 and 1.8 million years ago. We do not know much else about the invention of fire, but ancients have been using fire to heat and soften their dinners for millions of years. We have made cooking more efficient with microwaves and convection ovens, but for the finest steaks, you still can’t beat an open-flame grill.

Lindsay used nine ancient inventions. How many have you used today?