WORLD> Lessons for students to kick-start careers
By Martin J Young
HUA HIN, Thailand - A new social networking service designed to help students
get career assistance is being launched by Yahoo Inc. The service, called
Kickstart, will help college students tap into a network of professionals
prepared to offer them career advice, internships and job prospects.
In a recent blog post about the new project, Yahoo's Scott Gatz, senior
director of advanced products, explained Kickstart as a
way for college students to connect with alums and professionals to locate
internships, advice and ultimately jobs.
"College students are amazingly well networked on Facebook, but that network is
about connecting with friends and is more appropriate for fun - in fact many
students we talked to expressed frustration that 'old folks' were coming onto
Facebook and forcing them to lock down their profiles, or worse yet, clean up
their act. Lastly, unlike someone like me who already has an established social
network, these folks are just beginning to build their network," Gatz said.
Kickstart is still in "preview" mode Gatz says, which means there could - will
- be changes. "Right now we're in our 'preview' release and we're mostly
focused on getting alumni and professionals to join. And, to give you more
incentive: the US college with the most alumni signed up on Kickstart will get
a $25,000 donation to their alumni program."
Yahoo also intends to launch a project codenamed FireEagle which will enable
users to enter real-time location information via social networking sites.
Software developers will then be able to draw on this information for
applications as Yahoo hopes that this platform will be adopted by other
websites for handling user location data.
scientific research project initiated by Stanford University to help study
diseases has been officially claimed as the most powerful distributed computing
network in the world by Guinness World Records. The Folding@Home project allows
users to download software onto their PC which conducts research using spare
CPU power when the machine is idle, the results are then sent back to
headquarters to join thousands of others who contribute to the research.
An estimated 200,000 PC users have signed up to contribute to the project, but
more assistance has come from Playstation 3 users with 670,000 consoles
registered. Stanford chemistry professor and Folding@Home project leader Vijay
Pande said, "To have Folding@home recognized by Guinness World Records as the
most powerful distributed computing network ever is a reflection of the
extraordinary worldwide participation by gamers and consumers around the world
and for that we are very grateful." To contribute to the project visit this
Mozilla released another update for its popular Firefox browser this week,
patching some issues that were overlooked in the previous recent release. The
18.104.22.168 release fixed over 200 issues, however, a few were regressed; 22.214.171.124
will fix these minor performance issues arising from security updates in the
Most users probably won't notice any visible difference, but nevertheless are
advised to keep their browser updated at all times.
Also updating and patching their software this week is Apple Inc, which
released QuickTime 7.3 to fix a number of security bugs. Six of the flaws in
the software could allow an attacker to run unauthorized code on the victim's
computer, deceiving the user into viewing a malicious image or movie file.
Apple said the updates are for the latest versions of the Mac OS X operating
system as well as Windows Vista and XP. Security researchers have closely
scrutinized QuickTime over the past year and this was the company's fifth
security fix for the media player in the past 12 months.
Live has finally lost its Beta tag after two years of tweaking, updating and
branding. Little is new in the suite of free online email, messaging, blogging,
photo sharing and security tools aside from the fact that it is no longer in
the testing phase.
Microsoft is injecting considerable resources into making sure users are aware
of this release. An online marketing campaign aims to deliver 12.5 billion
advertising impressions for the service, most of which are targeted to current
email and messenger users. Billions of dollars are being invested in
Microsoft's online services, including the development of giant data centers
around the world to support Windows Live and similar systems.
The battle of the Terabyte begins as hard-drive manufacturers start shipping
their latest models. Samsung and Seagate intended to overtake Hitachi by
producing Terabyte disks of a higher density and lower platter count, fewer
platters means fewer parts and faster transfers rates.
The latest 1TB three platter offering is Seagate's Barracuda 7200.11, with
Samsung soon to follow. Capacities have been stationary at the 500GB mark for a
while but we currently have three contenders for the Terabyte territory.
Essentially it will all come back to question regarding the future of hard
drives; Western Digital stated its objective to deliver 3TB hard drives by 2010
and many manufacturers are experimenting with alternative technologies, such as
solid state, flash hard drives and hybrid hard drives which are traditional
hard drives that also have an additional Flash memory bank used to store
frequently accessed data.
run-up to the holiday season, a number of stores have published retail prices
of AMD's latest offering on the CPU front. The quad core Phenom processors will
initially have three units available: X4 9500 at 2.2GHz, X4 9600 at 2.3GHz and
the X4 9700 at 2.4GHz. They will be in direct competition to Intel's Penryn
CPUs with prices expected to range from $250 to $350.
On the dual core front, AMD's new Phenom X2 processor is expected to be
positioned below the $250 mark to compete with Intel's Penryn dual-cores E8200
to E8500. Quad core PCs are slowly becoming more accessible to the mainstream
market, but the dominance of dual core systems is likely to remain for the
The reputation of Microsoft's Xbox 360 has been good so far with
record-breaking titles such as Halo 3 to give it a boost. However, the software
giant's flagship games console seems to be heading for an identity crisis. The
new drive is a games console that is "everything to everyone", a notion which
follows the success of Nintendo's Wii platform, offering games and utilities
that appeal to a wide range of consumers.
A number of new games are slated for the Xbox for the year end, including
Avatar, Scene It, Need For Speed Prostreet and multiplatform games like Rock
Band and the Lego Star Wars trilogy.
The move seems to be diversifying from traditional Microsoft releases, many of
which were not family orientated. Despite the fact that the Xbox has sold more
units in the US than the Wii (although it did have a year's start) the Nintendo
console has taken gaming to another level by offering causal games. It still
remains to be seen whether the Xbox will continue to remain on top with Halo 3
powering sales, or whether Wii and PlayStation 3 will become serious contenders
with their wider appeal to non-traditional gamers.
announced the launch of new versions of its PS2 and PSP this week. The latest
version of the PlayStation 2, which has sold over 120 million units
internationally, will have a built-in AC adaptor and come in three colors. The
new PlayStation Portable called "Deep Red" will go on sale in Japan for $200
and feature a pouch, hand strap, cleaning cloth and 32MB Memory Stick Duo for
game data. The two releases are timed for the holiday season.
Google gas is on the way as consumers may soon see the search engine giant at
the pumps. No, they haven't just bought out an oil company, but they will be
offering services when you fill up. The provision of color screens at thousands
of gas stations across the US will assist motorists with driving directions
employing Google Map technology.
The deal also includes gas retail product company Gilbarco Veeder-Root, which
will create specially designed pumps to include an Internet connection and a
modified version of Google Maps. Users will be able to select from a range of
local attractions, hotels, hospitals and destinations on touch screens, the
data will be chosen by the operators of each gas station.
Print-outs will be available and the screens can also be used by the store
owners to advertise their products and promotions. About 3,500 gas stations are
part of the initial test launch, a number that will expand depending on the
success of the project. Further services may also be added, including weather
and traffic reports and public service announcements.
Martin J Young is an Asia Times Online correspondent based in Thailand.