Monday, May 28, 2007

Picnik, an excellent Internet-based photo editor

We talk about the increasing viability of applications that are hosted on the Internet as connectivity spreads and improves. The Picnik photo editor provides a good example. Once loaded, it is a fast photo editor with a very simple user interface. It cannot do everything a high-end editor like Photoshop can do, but it can do most of what an amateur photographer wants. Your photos are online and sharable, and they can easily be imported from other online photo-sharing sites. The basic program is free, and there will be a subscription-based professional version.

What are some of the key features of Photoshop or your favorite desktop editing program that are missing from Picnik? Yahoo allows Picnik users to import photos from their online photo service Flickr. If you were a Yahoo executive, would you allow users to export their photos?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Will business customers force cell network neutrality?

A recent Information Week article criticizes the US cell phone industry for disabling phone features, restricting phones to one network, restricting Internet access, using incompatible communication technologies, and poor quality of service and coverage. For example, the article says that "by some estimates, nine out of ten cell phones in the US are sold by carriers, nearly reverse the ratio in other countries." Compared to the cell companies, wired Internet service providers are good guys and network neutrality advocates.

That is all bad news, but the article maintains that since mobile access is becoming very important in business, the cell companies might be pressured into reform. Consumers take whatever the operators offer, but business will not.

We spoke of this topic in an earlier post on Tim Wu and efforts to obtain wireless net neutrality.

In some nations, cell phones and cell service must be sold separately -- can you find which ones?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Will rising gasoline prices lead to more telecommuning?

Rising gasoline prices have led to reduced driving in the US, and may also lead to increased telecommuting.

We have looked at the case of an hypothetical teleworker. Would you like to telecommute? What are some of the pros and cons from the standpoint of the society, the organization and the worker?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

PRAM -- future memory and electronic storage technology

Our class notes cover progress in electronic, storage and communication technology. Russell Kay has written a short introduction to an emerging technology, phase change random access memory (PRAM). PRAM records ones and zeros by changing the electrical resistance of a microscopic spot. High resistance = 0, low resistance = 1. Intel expects to ship product in 2008, and PRAM may one day replace flash storage and RAM memory.

Hosted versus in-house CRM

As networking technology improves, the alternative of using a software service improves relative to the alternative of running software in house. Still, there are pros and cons for both alternatives, some of which are covered in our class note on software as a service. Network World asked the question "is on-demand CRM better than an on-premises solution?" and published a short debate. You can read the Yes and No arguments online.

Monday, May 14, 2007

How Internet search works

Consultant Mike Moran tells how search works in this four minute audio clip. He describes both organic search, based on page content and link frequency, and paid advertising search. This is an excerpt from a longer interview on his "how to" book on search engine marketing.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Using the Web for customer feedback

Dell solicits product requests from customers on their Ideastorm site. That is fairly common, but they have added a voting mechanism. If a user likes a posted suggestion, he or she can endorse it with a single click. Dell decsion makers (and customers) can query the site to see which requests are most popular and take appropriate action.

37 Signals also makes excellent use of Web forums for customer feedback using threaded discussion forums. Here is the forum for their Basecamp project management service. They accept and discuss feature requests, tips and tricks, how-to questions, bug reports, and examples of Basecamp use along with making announcements.