Is your family burned out on Webkinz and Club Penguin ? Are you ready for a new online "game" with a purpose?
The public radio producer American Public Media has launched an interactive game called Consumer Consequences that allows users to model their own ecological footprints. The game prompts users to describe their lifestyles in terms of house size, car travel, energy use, food and shopping consumption, and the mathematical model behind the game translates the information into an easy-to-understand visual summary.
The bottom-line result tells you how many "Earths" of natural resources it would take to sustain all 6.6 billion humans...if everyone lived like you.
The model starts out with an Earth score of 1.0 and changes at each step as you describe your lifestyle. My final score was 8.1 Earths, a shocking number to internalize. The overall score is broken down into categories at the end of the simulation, which helps players identify sources of excess and potential areas of improvement. My trash, home and electricity scores were reasonably good, but even though I drive a Prius, my transportation subcategory had high consumption because of my frequent-flyer airline travel.
The program doesn't just end on potentially bad news, but rather gives each player an opportunity to go back and tinker with the inputs to see how changing various aspects of consumption, or aspects of government policy, would change one's overall environmental impact.
The Consumer Consequences game would be a thought-provoking activity to do as a family, providing kids a vivid snapshot that will allow them to consider their own consumption. The game is part of APM's "Consumed" series, which explores whether the modern American lifestyle is sustainable in the long run.
The exercise provides a good reminder for all of us that we can't just rest on our "green" credentials in one area of our lives. We need to look at the overall picture of our consumption to understand the impact each one of us has on the Earth's resources.
Business is slowing a bit in the drive industry.
The Scotts Valley, Calif.-based company said it pulled in $3.1 billion in revenue for its third fiscal quarter, which ran from January through March, and $344 million in net income. Net income per share came to 65 cents.
While the figures for the January-March represents an increase in revenue and net income over last year, retail sales of drives and sales into the notebook market in the past three months came in at less than expected, said CEO Bill Watkins in a prepared statement.
The company, however, also lowered forecasts for the current quarter. Seagate says revenue will come to $2.85 to $3.0 billion while net income will come to 41 to 45 cents per share, excluding certain charges. Analysts have expected $3.1 billion and 57 cents a share excluding charges. It is unclear what might be causing the more drastic drop off in net income, but it could be price declines, a never-ending fact of life for hard drive makers.
In all, Seagate shipped 43 million units during the quarter. In the previous quarter, the end of 2007, the company shipped 50 million units. Business usually drops off from the last quarter of a year to the first quarter by around 6 to 12 percent. Thus, the decline in shipments is a little steeper than the norm.
Update: Matt Bryson of Avian Securities concurred, stating that shipments were about three million light in the quarter. The extra inventory will cause earnings to sag a bit, but the second half will be stronger.Topics: PCs Tags: seagate , earnings , hard drive , PC Bookmark: Digg Del.icio.us Reddit cnet_news406:http://news.cnet.com/8301-10784_3-9919662-7.html
After fighting off an unsolicited buyout offer and reviewing its options with other potential suitors over the past five months, Take-Two Interactive Software announced on Thursday it has decided to remain an independent company.
Take-Two, publisher of the popular video game franchise Grand Theft Auto and other titles, said it has completed its strategic review and determined that it would like to continue operating as an independent entity, following a couple of strong quarterly results.
"Take-Two's recent performance demonstrates our potential to create value for the long term. We have delivered solid financial results and expanded our portfolio of leading titles, which includes the powerful Grand Theft Auto franchise," Ben Feder, Take-Two chief executive, said in a statement.
He added that Take-Two also has no debt and has yet to draw on a $140 million credit line, giving the company financial flexibility.
Nonetheless, Wall Street has yet to applaud the company, since Electronic Arts withdrew its unsolicited $2 billion buyout offer in mid-September . After that announcement, Take-Two shares plummeted nearly 25 percent to end the day at $16.57 per share. The stock closed on Wednesday at $15.93 a share.
"Take-Two's board of directors and management have a clear mandate from stockholders to maximize value," Strauss Zelnick, Take-Two's chairman, said in a statement.
EA went public with an unsolicited buyout offer for the company in February at $26 a share and then launched into a hostile bid in March. In August, EA dropped its hostile tender offer, and the companies entered negotiations up until several weeks ago, when EA stepped away from the deal.
Demand Media, an aggregator of specialized Web sites, has acquired social-networking software company Pluck, according to the company.
The deal closed late Monday night. Demand Media did not disclose financial details, but various reports pegged the deal worth between $50 million and $75 million.
Richard Rosenblatt, founder of Demand Media and former MySpace CEO, said the acquisition of Pluck marks a new direction for his company. Demand Media has built a collection of roughly 60 niche Web sites that produce content and video on everything from golfing to gardening tips. By buying Austin, Texas-based Pluck, a supplier of social-networking software to media companies such as USA Today and Fox, Demand Media plans to distribute its own content to a much wider audience.
"Before, we were 100 percent focused on building out our network. Now we have a way to distribute that content off our own network," Rosenblatt said in an interview.
"At some point, we want to offer every Web site the ability to get social media tools and content integrated into their site," he added.
Demand Media's first product with Pluck tools will be a social media site launched in partnership with Lance Armstrong, called Livestrong.com. Demand Media plans to introduce a beta of the site in May.
Los Angeles-based Demand Media, whose network attracts roughly 60 million monthly visitors by Google Analytics' measure, has raised $350 million from a group of investors that includes Goldman Sachs and Spectrum Partners, according to Rosenblatt. He said that he plans to take his company public next year if the public markets are healthy. Demand Media made about $150 million in revenue last year and is profitable, he said.
Most Americans probably are not intimately familiar with Huawei . The company's founder, Ren Zhengfei is a former officer of the People's Liberation Army.
Tough to know what to make of that. When it comes to speaking with the press, Ren is a regular Greta Garbo. A mini-profile Forbes ran three years ago noted that many of Huawei's major customers are state-run businesses in China. And while Ren owns 1 percent of the company, the rest belongs to an unidentified "union."
Meanwhile, Ren has gone about building Huawei into a success story disregarding the usual corporate niceties. In 2000--three years before the WMD craze got us all nutso about taking out Saddam--the CIA accused Huawei of secretly selling a communications system to Iraq. In the final report of the Iraq Survey Group , Huawei and two other Chinese companies were singled out for carrying out "extensive work in and around Baghdad"--mainly telecommunication switches and the installation of fiber-optic cable.
Then in 2003, Cisco socked Huawei with a patent infringement lawsuit. Cisco claimed Huawei ripped off its intellectual property to make a lineup of routers and switches. Huawei denied the allegations though in the end caved.
But if at all possible, business doesn't let politics intrude. So it is that Friday we learned that Bain Capital is paying $2.2 billion to acquire 3Com . Part of the deal involves China's Huawei Technologies, which will acquire a minority stake in 3Com.
And, oh, by the way, Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor running for the Republican presidential nomination--he headed Bain Capital for 14 years.
Six degrees of separation. In this case only 2--but who's counting.
I wonder whether a future President Romney might have commented on Huawei figuring in a major U.S. tech acquisition. I'm darned sure candidate Romney has since turned off his cell phone for an early start to the weekend.
FriendFeed , that "social feed" aggregator that's ubiquitous among the Web 2.0 set, is just so charitable. Instead of forcing procrastinating office drones to hit the "refresh" button on their browsers to see what their friends are doing, it'll do it for you .
The service has launched a new option called "Real-Time View," which is pretty much exactly what you'd think it is, and FriendFeed says that it's "experimental." In other words, there might be bugs. But if it's whirring along too quickly, you can hit the "pause" button. Kind of cool.
The update was conveniently rolled out on the evening of the final U.S. presidential debate, at a time when there would be a heck of a lot of FriendFeed updates coming out from the tech-friendly news hounds who make up its most loyal pack of users .
SANTA CLARA, Calif.--The technologists and businesspeople working to create the next generation of mobile computers know they're going to have to play in the cloud.Former Oracle executive Timothy Chou urged businesses to plan for the coming of the cloud.
About 45 miles down the road from the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco, where cloud computing is enabling an industry, attendees at Sofcon 2008 on Tuesday morning are thinking about how to unlock all the data stored inside corporations and make it accessible by mobile computers through the cloud. Timothy Chou , author and a former executive at Oracle, thinks that as businesses adopt mobile computers, they'll dramatically expand the need for cloud computing infrastructure.
"The deep Web is about 10,000 times the surface Web," Chou said. He's referring to the amount of data buried inside corporate networks, as opposed to the "surface" Web accessible by Google's search engine, estimated at about 100 terabytes.
Extracting that data is going to require more than just Web servers, currently being added to data centers like Google's and Amazon.com's at a frantic pace. That build-out is extremely important , as truly mobile Web-surfing computers could produce billions of transactions a day, as compared with a typical 200 million transactions a day at Google, Chou estimated.
But it's the tricky stuff--business models, privacy concerns, and bandwidth issues--that will dictate how quickly mobile computers are embraced by those of us who haven't yet drank from the pitcher of iPhone/MID/smartphone Kool-Aid , Chou said. Few of those people were in attendance at the Santa Clara Convention Center, but they make up the majority of the U.S. population; people are still quite content to use their basic data-poor cell phones.
At some point, however, those folks will get it, as carriers and phone makers build smarter devices and faster networks with no data restrictions. Application developers inside companies should start to think about that steady growth as they design any new corporate applications. Before too long, those apps will need to interact with the cloud, and they'll need to be usable on a small device, Chou said.