Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, July 30, 2021

Because Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz maintains a blog, he thinks all corporate head honchos should:

C.E.O. blogging should no longer be viewed as extreme sport. Mr. Schwartz’s example shows that blogging fits quite naturally into the chief executive’s work week. In an exhortatory piece, “If You Want to Lead, Blog,” published in The Harvard Business Review last year, Mr. Schwartz predicted that “having a blog is not going to be a matter of choice, any more than having e-mail is today.”

Well, it’s taken many moons for a lot of C-level execs, typically in the older demographics, to warm to email… I personally know of at least a couple who still have nothing to do with inboxes and spam filters, and have their assistants manage their electronic mailboxes, including printing out all missives for offline reading and archiving. But I digress.

It’s a common misperception among those who’ve guzzled the permalinking Kool-Aid (like Schwartz), but the fact is, blogging is still distinctly a minority pursuit. I’m not talking just about the corporate world, either: This month’s Pew Internet & American Life report finds that only 8 percent of the adult Web population maintains a blog.

That’s not likely to increase much, no more than the late ’90s predictions that everyone would someday have their own personal website. It’ll always be a pursuit for a limited segment of the population, for one simple reason: Not everyone is desires, or is comfortable with, writing (or audio/video recording) stuff for public presentation. It’s not a question of competency or resources. I have a bunch of friends and family that are more than capable of putting up their own blogs, but they’re never going to. It’s not something they feel the need to do, nor do they feel they’d write compelling enough content to make it worthwhile.

So why should CEOs be much different from the mainstream? Granted, a big part of their job duties involve communication, so they have to do some of that. But via blogging, as an unfiltered channel? There’s no reason to expect the head guy/gal to be locquacious in their writing.

If the premise behind CEO blogging is to present a positive perspective from the corner office, how would it look if a company’s top dog posted clumsily-crafted missives that looked amateurish? So much for public confidence. And using PR help and other ghost-posting help defeats the purpose.

If a CEO isn’t cut out for blogging, so be it. They’re part of a big crowd that do their jobs and don’t feel the need to add online publishing to their skills set. Leave the blogging to those who have the special touch for it ;)

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 07/30/2006 11:12:43 PM
Category: Bloggin', Business
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Looks like now is the right time for me to spring for a condominium: The decompressing national housing market is sending loads of high-flying condo projects begging, including kill-offs of long-planned projects.

The set of dominos that are tumbling have a familiar look:

[McCabe Research and Consulting CEO Jack] McCabe considers the condo market, especially the luxury end, at risk of a crash. Over the next few years, he sees prices falling by double-digit percentages.

The luxury condo surplus is to blame. McCabe said about 25,000 condos are under construction in Miami-Dade County, with two-thirds costing $700,000 or higher; another 25,000 units have gotten building permits and 50,000 have been announced for future construction.

McCabe said the median household income in the county qualifies local buyers for a $225,000 home, so the luxury units are targeted mainly toward affluent, out-of-state buyers.

Meanwhile, speculators have driven up prices by flipping units, he said. But they’re now leaving the market — driving down demand — and putting up for sale properties they own, adding to the glut.

And this inflated market — in many cases, the real-estate equivalent of vaporware — was sustained solely by the prolonged sellers’ market over the past several years. This is precisely why a housing slowdown won’t have a much-hoped-for soft landing — the speculation-driven luxury market overexpanded, leaving it dangerously exposed. Their hard times aren’t going to be restricted to just them; the entire construction and development sector’s going to feel the ripple effect.

As that rolls in, there are deals to be had:

[McCabe] said desperate developers with finished condos are offering plenty of incentives in South Florida.

Freebies range from one year’s free mortgage to the use of a yacht or upgraded kitchen packages. McCabe thinks some developers might even sell units at cost if condo sales continue to weaken.

Maybe a relocation to Miami is in order. Except that I love New York so much right now. Besides, the bubble-pop will hit Manhattan soon enough.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 07/30/2006 07:59:25 PM
Category: Business, Society
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The concept’s been kicked around for years, but it looks like wireless phones that can piggyback onto wi-fi Web hotspots for connections are closer to reality, as Skype and ISPs collaborate with handset manufacturers to make it happen.

“It’s a phone that looks, feels and acts like a cell phone, but it actually operates over the Wi-Fi network,” said Steve Howe, vice president of voice for EarthLink, which is building networks in Philadelphia and Anaheim, Calif.

Later this year it plans to introduce Wi-Fi phone service that Mr. Howe said could cost a fifth as much as traditional cell service.

The technology is in its early stages, and it faces some hurdles to widespread use. But it is being promoted by big technology companies like Cisco Systems and giving rise to new competition in the mobile phone business.

A handful of companies are already using Wi-Fi phones to cut costs within offices or on corporate campuses, and the phones will soon be reaching the consumer market.

This looks to be a threat to the telcos, which rely on people burning through their plan minutes. If your phone can regularly bypass the wireless provider’s celltower, especially in a wi-fi dense area, then what’s to stop the average consumer from going with a wireless plan with the minimum number of minutes? (I’m assuming you wouldn’t be able to forego a wireless plan altogether — for instance, you’d still need the phone activated, with an assigned phone number, etc.)

But if it is a threat, the telephone companies’ first reaction is to (uncharacteristically) co-opt it:

The major cellphone companies have taken notice of Wi-Fi phones, and some have chosen to deal with the potential threat by embracing it, building it into their business plans.

Cingular Wireless plans to introduce phones next year that will allow people to connect at home through their own wireless networks but switch to cell towers when out and about.

Later this year, T-Mobile plans to test a service that will allow its subscribers to switch seamlessly between connections to cellular towers and Wi-Fi hotspots, including those in homes and the more than 7,000 it controls in Starbucks outlets, airports and other locations, according to analysts with knowledge of the plans. The company hopes that moving mobile phone traffic off its network will allow it to offer cheaper service and steal customers from cell competitors and landline phone companies like AT&T.

“T-Mobile is interested in the replacement or displacement of landline minutes,” said Mark Bolger, director of marketing for T-Mobile. Wi-Fi calling “is one of the technologies that will help us deliver on that promise.”

So everyone’s onboard, it seems.

I can’t help but notice, though: In order to be a viable out-and-about option, these phones would rely upon unsecured hotspots; that’s the only way to maintain a fairly consistent connection while switching from one zone to another. In that case, isn’t this an example of wi-fi leeching, which is generally frowned upon? I can’t believe everyone involved would want to dip into that morass.

And that’s the viable solution. These phones would be high-and-dry when encountering encrypted connections. I imagine the phones could be configured to tap into a WEP-protected setup, but that doesn’t jibe with the operating principle here — the ability to use a mobile phone while in transit, when a celltower can’t/won’t do. I guess the owners of such phones can sync up with their household wi-fi access points, and the corporate-campus environment cited above seems like another ideal setting for a wide-area network solution. But in that case, I can’t believe the phone companies would play along, ceding network access time in physical areas where the majority of phone usage would occur.

So I’m not sure this concept is fully thought-out. It sounds to me like it’s dependent upon the indefinite continuation of hundreds of open wi-fi hotspots in tight physical zones, even as encryption becomes more of an out-of-the-box solution with wireless equipment. Take that away, and the wi-fi switching trick seems like a rarely-usable option.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 07/30/2006 06:56:25 PM
Category: Tech, Wi-Fi
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While all those nanotech geeks are focused on the prospect of green and/or gray goo drowning Earth’s ecosystem, a decidedly more mundane threat is starting to poison the planetary well. Runoff pollution, combined with overfishing of larger aquatic lifeforms, is leading to a toxic oceanic stew that produces virulent organisms.

In many places — the atolls of the Pacific, the shrimp beds of the Eastern Seaboard, the fiords of Norway — some of the most advanced forms of ocean life are struggling to survive while the most primitive are thriving and spreading. Fish, corals and marine mammals are dying while algae, bacteria and jellyfish are growing unchecked. Where this pattern is most pronounced, scientists evoke a scenario of evolution running in reverse, returning to the primeval seas of hundreds of millions of years ago.

Jeremy B.C. Jackson, a marine ecologist and paleontologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, says we are witnessing “the rise of slime.”…

Industrial society is overdosing the oceans with basic nutrients — the nitrogen, carbon, iron and phosphorous compounds that curl out of smokestacks and tailpipes, wash into the sea from fertilized lawns and cropland, seep out of septic tanks and gush from sewer pipes.

Modern industry and agriculture produce more fixed nitrogen — fertilizer, essentially — than all natural processes on land. Millions of tons of carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide, produced by burning fossil fuels, enter the ocean every day.

These pollutants feed excessive growth of harmful algae and bacteria.

Basic water chemistry that an intermediate aquarium owner knows, really. The more junk in the water, the better the breeding ground for bio-goo.

Instead of fearing the menace of phantom hordes of nanobogs, we should be concerned about the old-fashioned filth we’re unleashing on the environment.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 07/30/2006 02:06:59 PM
Category: Science, Tech
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Nothing like some random blog goofiness to bring to mind the Jive Dudes’ dialectic dynamism in Airplane!.

Yes, even in such a broad farce, it’s embarrassingly Caucasian to serve up such nonsense. But it was funny, especially with the subtitles.

Incidentally, I’ve always thought that the sole funny part of the ill-advised Airplane II: The Sequel was that, years later into the ’80s, the Jive Dudes were still talking that way.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 07/30/2006 01:37:03 PM
Category: Movies
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