Only 18% of Top CEOs are on Social Networks

Only 18% of Top CEOs are on Social Networks

Only 18% of the CEOs of the world’s top 50 biggest companies by revenue have one or more social networking accounts, according to a study released Tuesday by global pr firm Weber Shandwick.

I’m not sure what is more likely here — that these folks are woefully out of touch with the rest of society, or that the corporate PR folks have muzzled the CEOs to keep them from embarrassing the company.

About those $199 Android tablets…

Perhaps learning a thing or two from Amazon, Nvidia’s head honcho hints at more affordable Android tablets in the near future.

Actually, it sounds like Nvidia hasn’t learned anything from Amazon at all.

The Kindle Fire isn’t succeeding because it’s cheap.  It’s succeding because Amazon is making a serious effort to match the ecosystem Apple has created around iOS.  They don’t just sell you the hardware, they also offer the apps, movies, music and TV shows to fill your tablet.

Being cheaper than the iPad is nice, but it’s not enough.  Until these hardware vendors figure that out, we’ll see a lot more disasters like the Asus Transformer.

TV is Broken

TV Is Broken by Patrick Rhone

“What’s a commercial?”, she asks.

“It is like little shows where they tell you about other shows and toys and snacks.”, I explain.

“Why?”

“Well the TV people think you might like to know about this stuff.”

“This is boring! I want to watch Shrek.”

This echos what I see with my own kids. They have become so accustomed to the DVR and AppleTV that they think of Live Television as something foreign.

Even at 5 years old, my daughter still struggles to understand why I can’t just fast forward through all the commercials to get to the good stuff.

TV Broadcasters take note. The next generation has no patience for your 3 minute blocks of annoying commercials at ear-splitting volumes. Find a better solution now, or you’ll be relegated to the scrap pile like the newspaper and radio industries.

Rapid Reaction: The Kindle Fire

Amazon has just announced their long rumored Kindle Fire tablet.  For $199 Amazon presents a 7 inch tablet based on the Android platform.  It will play music, show movies, run apps, and — of course — let you read Kindle books.

The announcement is only a few hours old, but my initial reaction is that the Kindle Fire may be a slight misstep by Amazon.  Here’s why:

  • I’m not a fan of the 7″ form factor. It’s still too big to fit in your pocket, yet too small to read for long periods.  It’s smart to not try to tackle the iPad head-to-head, but the odd size adds no value.
  • No 3G? The trend it to be more mobile, not tied to locations. Even in large cities WiFi coverage is very sporadic.
  • No camera. This was the biggest complaint on the original iPad.
  • No microphone = No Skype.
  • Amazon Silk.  This one is scary.  The idea is that Amazon will make web browsing faster by doing some of the work in the cloud to pre-render the page and send it to the tablet.  Sounds good on paper, but what it really means is that the Kindle Fire will tell Amazon.com about every web page you view.  Privacy concerns anyone?

On the bright side, the price is fantastic.  $199 is a point where you’ll attract a lot of consumers.  Unfortunately, the Kindle Fire feels like a product where they started with a price, then worked their way back to figure out which features they could afford.  That results in lots of compromises.

Without seeing the device in person it’s hard to tell if the Kindle Fire has the wow factor that may lure people away from the iPad.  The Amazon name has a lot of brand recognition, and their success with the Kindle shows they can go toe-to-toe with the big boys in the consumer electronics industry.  I’m guessing the Kindle Fire will sell well this Christmas, and eventually settle as the #2 consumer tablet.  It’s far from an iPad Killer, but for those willing to sacrifice features in exchange for price, it’s a reasonable choice.

Would you trust your business servers to AVG Antivirus?

Can free really be good?

Millions of people trust AVG Antivirus to protect their home computers.  I don’t have any hard statistics, but given that the product is free, I’m guessing that it’s one of the most widely used security programs in the world.

The fact that AVG is free does give it a bit of a stigma, however.  Companies like NortonMcAfee and ESET charge $40 or $50 per year for their AntiVirus programs.  Could a free program really be as good?

This stigma is particularly true in the business world.  A free antivirus program might be okay for your home computer, the common wisdom holds, but for your business computers you need serious malware protection.  This is even more true when you talk about file and web servers, right?  Typical security software for a server costs hundreds of dollars each year.  You wouldn’t trust that valuable information to a company known for hawking free software, would you?

I’m about to find out.

Let the experiment begin

Today I’m replacing the $400 ESET security suite that has been protecting our development server with the $39.99 equivalent from AVG.  I’m about to find out if you really do get what you pay for when it comes to virus protection.

The machine in question is running Windows Web Server 2008.  Security software from big name threat protection companies would cost 10x more than what AVG File Server 9.0 costs.  What I want to know is:  Do you really get what you pay for, or are the big name products just overpriced?

I’m not going in to this blind, mind you.  I have used the free AVG desktop software for a while now in some of my virtual machines.  So far, so good.  The reality is that the most important component of any threat protection program is common sense.  Don’t download files from sites you don’t trust.  Don’t open attachments unless you’re sure they’re safe.  Run a firewall on your router, etc.  The harsh reality is that we people are usually the weakest link in the security chain.

And so, the adventure begins.  I’ll post here in a few months to let everyone know how this little experiment goes.

Rapid Reaction: The Apple iPad

Apple just announced their newest wonder device — the iPad — to great fanfare. There’s no doubt that it’s pretty, but I’m a bit skeptical that it’s a gadget we all need.

The iPhone seemed like a no brainer when it was announced. If Apple could make it work — a big IF back in those days — it seemed like a knockout. Who wouldn’t want their Phone and iPod as one device instead of carrying two? Being able to surf the web, view email and play games at the same time was just icing on the cake.

Apple iPadWith the iPad however, I’m not entirely certain I see the need…

It won’t replace my iPhone. It’s too big to fit in my pocket when I’m headed out the door.

It won’t replace my desktop. It’s not powerful enough for process intensive work like video, data crunching or serious gaming.

It might replace a laptop, but only if it can do everything my laptop already does. Is typing on the iPad as easy as typing on a real keyboard? Probably not, since Apple is offering a full keyboard as an add-on. That only makes the device more awkward to travel with, however, and it inflates the cost.

It also won’t run Microsoft Word or Excel. Apple did make a point of porting their iWork suite to the device, but I don’t think it’s enough. I’ve used iWork. When I first made the big switch to Apple I purposely bought a copy with the intent of trying to live the full Apple lifestyle. In the end, I went out and bought Office for the Mac. iWork is fine if you’re printing up the PTA newsletter, but you can’t easily exchange documents with the rest of the world using Microsoft Office. Like it or not, Word and Excel are what the real world uses for business. Unless Steve Jobs can convince Steve Balmer to make and iPad version of Office, this isn’t a business device. Which means you still need your laptop when you travel.

I’m sure there will be some niché areas where an iPad will fit in nicely. It’s probably great for presentations, and it should make for a great entertainment device.

When I think about how this device might fit in to my life, only one thing comes to mind. It would probably be a nice way to surf the web when I’m on the couch at night watching TV. I’m not sure I would pay $500 for that though…

In the end, I’m not certain where this device fits in the 21st century lifestyle. It doesn’t seem to replace any current gadget we may already own. That puts Apple in the tough position of needing to carve out a niché for the iPad to dwell in. No easy task.

It’s not often a smart move to bet against Apple, so I wouldn’t be surprised to look back on this post two years from now and marvel at how dense my current observations are. Based on how the world looks today, however, I’m struggling to see the iPad match the success of the iPod or iPhone.

5 More Reasons why Internet Explorer 6 Must Die

The folks over at Mashable have just posted an excellent article on why everyone — individuals and businesses alike — need to stop using Internet Explorer 6.  I have been screaming this from the rooftops for years now, so it’s great to see it receive more attention.

Internet Explorer 6 is not safe.  Period.

Surfing the web using IE6 exposes you to potentially dangerous security risks, including viruses, spyware and identity theft.  Even Microsoft recommends you stop using their browser.

It has reached the point that everyone needs to upgrade to FirefoxChromeSafari or even Internet Explorer 8.

Please read the full Mashable article for the details:

http://mashable.com/2010/01/18/5-more-reasons-why-ie6-must-die/