Gongol.com Archives: September 2011
Brian Gongol

September 17, 2011

Weather and Disasters 300,000 people left homeless by flooding
That it's happening in Pakistan should make it no less important as an item of news...but it's certainly not making the headlines it should.

Computers and the Internet Heavy users of Verizon's wireless data networks will soon find themselves throttled
The new usage restrictions aren't particularly draconian, but they are a sign that the era of all-you-can-eat wireless Internet access are going away, at least for the time being. How the wireless network providers didn't see this coming -- that wireless Internet access would be spectacularly popular -- remains one of the great mysteries of this decade. It should have been patently obvious, right from the very start, that people would see how wonderful it would be to have Internet access everywhere, and that consumers would rapidly find ways to use it in massive volumes.

Computers and the Internet Chief scientist leaves Twitter
The chief scientist at the microblogging site du jour, Twitter, is leaving the company. It's not the first major departure of the last few months, either. The site is still successful and popular -- for now. But there are two signals afloat that suggest it's probably at its peak popularity right now. First is the rise of shameless self-promoters on the site. Anyone with an account on Twitter right now will probably notice that there aren't a whole lot of "real" or "authentic" new people joining the site anymore -- the newbies now are just a bunch of shameless self-promoters who advertise themselves as things like "SEO [search-engine optimization] specialist" or "sales leader" or "marketing and social media professional". These are not interesting people; they're just hoping to get away with free advertising. That pollutes the stream of valuable content on Twitter and makes the site less interesting to join or use. The other major signal is this departure of leadership from the company running the service. It's too young -- just five years old -- for them to truly be burned out. So if they're not burnt-out, why would they leave? Most likely, they're looking down the road and don't see a brilliant future ahead. As predicted here in January 2010, the clock is ticking for Twitter. It won't crash and burn, per se, but it will fade from the public's attention and likely end up being something less significant than it was. The peak appears to be happening now. (It should also be noted that insiders are finally getting a chance to sell out, and many are not doing so -- they will come to regret this decision. The time to sell out is when a company is at its peak, which for Twitter is right now.)

Science and Technology An iPad for every kindergartener?
A school in Maine is trying that approach in order to boost performance, including test scores in subjects like reading. It probably won't hurt, but it sounds like a long shot to help. One can't fault the school for trying, though: If they don't have enough money to hire additional teachers (thus creating smaller class sizes, in which it's more likely that a child will get individual attention and assistance with reading), then perhaps technology can help enhance the teacher's direct efforts to assess exactly which reading skills are weak in an individual child. The iPads may be able to help identify and diagnose the problems that the teacher can then set about trying to solve.

Broadcasting Live technology chat with the WHO Radio Wise Guys
The show is off the air due to the Iowa football game, but a live chat is still available for the audience wanting to know more about trends, tips, and technology

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