Web Chat Meets Hangout

Google Hangouts are gaining in popularity not only among private groups who wish to chat collectively, but as a a viable medium for politicians, celebrities and others who wish to bend the public's ear. With Hangout, it does not require the use of satellite trucks and miles of cable to beam images across the globe. Google Hangouts is one of the latest services being offered by the the search engine icon and is rapidly becoming an alternative to traditional broadcasting. Google Hangouts made a big splash at the Republican National Convention in Tampa last year when it was used in lieu of the more mainstream media as a vehicle with which to get the word out from political pundits participating at the event.

However, unlike mainstream media, Google Hangout is not the exclusive purview of a few privileged media personalities or well connected pols.  Hangout is accessible to anyone who has an interest in sharing their views with an audience large or small. The screen consists of boxes within the frame containing the live feed of those participating in the discussion. Essentially, Hangout serves as a TV station utilizing a computer and camera to ”broadcast” online around the world.  Although the quality may not match the quality of a full blown TV station, users are learning fast how to create studio quality lighting and produce shows that only recently was the exclusive territory of major media entities.

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Summoned To Work

Fledgling Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer upset Yahoo's cultural apple cart with the recently announced dictum that all employees must report to the office for work or resign their positions. Moving forward, the popular telecommuting policy enjoyed by many of its employees is significantly curtailed. While this represents a significant shift in culture at Yahoo, Meyer concluded that the policy change was necessary in order to get the company on the same page as Yahoo struggles for its very survival. Mayer reasoned that, if Yahoo is to survive, a sea-change was necessary to foster a new paradigm of cooperation and collaboration. Prior to announcing the new policy , Mayer tried the “be nice” approach with offer of free food and iPhones to lure workers into the office but to no avail.

Yahoo's worker policy change has raised a number of concerns regarding web developers who are heavy users of telecommuting. While Yahoo has found the practice to be unmanageable, the question becomes is this a failure of Yahoo's employees or its management? More importantly, how will this change in policy going to impact web developers who are contracted by companies such as Yahoo to work at home.

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A Small World - 19 Click Study

According to a study conducted by Albert-Lasko Barabasi, a Hungarian-based physicist, claims any two pages on the internet are separated by only 19 clicks of the mouse. This equation applies regardless of whether its the most remote location in cyberspace or Facebook. Barabasi estimates that there exists 14 billion web pages on the world wide web. By including images, videos and hosted files to that count, the number becomes 1 trillion documents floating around the web.

This rather shocking discovery regarding our more intimate access to everywhere on the web renders the immensity of cyberspace to something more akin to Mr. Rodgers neighborhood. Based on Barabasi's findings, you are within 19 clicks of reaching any other site on the the internet at any time. For example, contacting that childhood buddy you haven’t seen since the third grade is only 19 click away from you. Although, one's intuition goes counter to the study's findings, the 19 click theory is based more on human behavior than physics.

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Time For More Space

iCloud's offer of 5 GB's of free storage to all comers has generated a stampede for storage mongers who are desperate to find more memory real estate in Cyberspace. This brings file hoarders to a cross-roads with only three viable choices: Delete existing files and create space for new files, purchase an external drive or use cloud storage services to lighten your internal hard drive's load. As inviting as the free 5 GB storage is, the digital pack-rats among us are finding the free storage too limited for their needs. The problem is that many of  the "file-o-philes" among us would rather undergo a root canal than push that delete button.

Before we continue, it should be explained that Apple does not count many types of purchased files such as downloaded music, movies, TV shows and apps as part of the free 5GB storage. Consider those as bonus free storage. With that said, upgrades are available at reasonable rates. Currently, the additional cost break down is like this:

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Deleting From the Internet

The Internet is riddled with unidentified data bases that harbor your personal data. We all leave trails of unsecured data as we travel through cyberspace. Traces of our personal life litter the information highway as we fill out forms, make internet purchases, or visit insecure web sites.

The unsecured information can be sold to sources such as marketing companies, phishing practitioners, credit companies- the list is endless. Some are legitimate but others use the personal information for more nefarious purposes. Regardless, it is data of which we have lost control over.

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