среда, 5 ноября 2008 г.

WARNER WEB SITE; NEW JAZZ ONLINE

WARNER BROS. RECORDS debuted its World Wide Web Internet site Aug. 15 (http:/www.wbr.com) with another de-but--that of the first single, "Warped," from the forthcoming Red Hot Chili Peppers album, "One Hot Minute," due out Sept. 13. The single went online three days prior to its release to radio. Warner is putting together a "hot minute" of music, composed of sound bites from every song on the album, which will be made available for download beginning this week. Warner also plans to preview videoclips and other songs online, according to the label's new media director, Todd Steinman, and is running a slow striptease of the album cover--veiling puzzle pieces over the course of the month before the Sept. 13 launch. The strategy is one that Warner intends to pursue with other releases online, Steinman says.

WARNER BROS. JAZZ, meanwhile, is showing off its hot new look in the "WB Jazz Space," its revamped arena in the comprehensive Jazz Online (http:// www.), which is hotlinked to the sister Warner Bros. Records site. Randall Kennedy, Warner's senior director of marketing and sales, jazz, has big plans for the jazz site--including a live audio/ video online event based on the new Xing technology (Billboard, Aug. 19) marking the kickoff of Joshua Redman's world tour in October. He also has lots of the lower-tech information his visitors clamor for. "They want to know simple things: 'Who's producing? Who are the side guys?'" Kennedy says. "These things mean a lot to the jazz lever." Audioclips, peppered throughout, are also crowd pleasers, he says.

ELEKTRA RECORDS IS adding a live-chat feature to its recently launched World Wide Web arena (http://www.elektra.com) and will inaugurate the section with a "live" appearance by recording artist Natalie Merchant Wednesday (23) at 8 p.m. EST.

Merchant, who is promoting her new album, "Tigerlily," will be the first in a planned series of Elektra artists stopping by to chat in real time with Web visitors within the label site, Elektra says.

To take part in the chats, users first need to download a special software program, "Global Chat," which is being made available for free through developer Prospero Systems' home page (http://www.prospero.com). The chat room is accessible through a link within the Elektra site, which is designed as a "virtual" office, complete with snaps of Elektra employees at work.

STEVE RACE, who abruptly resigned as president of Sony Computer Entertainment of America Aug. 8 (Billboard, Aug. 19), is back on top--at Spectrum HoloByte. Race was named CEO of the Alameda, Calif.-based game publisher two days after leaving SCEA, which is the Sony arm charged with the Sept. 9 U.S. launch of Sony's new video-game unit. Spectrum HoloByte's most recent project is the just-out CD-ROM "Star Trek: The Next Generation--The Final Unity." Martin Homlish, formerly senior VP of the consumer products group of Sony Electronics, took the SCEA reins as acting president.

IT'S ELEMENTARY!

Should elementary schools in this country be connected to the Internet and be given the opportunity to reach out and explore the far corners of the globe? That this happened at Carminati Elementary School is the result of a district-wide planning effort involving teachers, the state legislature, the community, and business leaders. While the journey toward Internet connectivity is sometimes long and tedious, our experience has yielded rich rewards for the students and faculty of our small K-5 school in Tempe, Arizona. HOW IT HAPPENED

Six years ago, Carminati Elementary was a good school. It was successfully serving the needs of its students. The Tempe Elementary School District had already developed strategic plans to improve the quality of education for all students throughout the district. It seemed a logical next step for each school to also put together plans for improvement. The Carminati staff began to think about how they could create an even better school and provide the best education for every student.

Under the leadership of an innovative principal, teams of teachers applied skills from Total Quality Training to create a framework for change. After the 1989-1990 school year, most of the staff volunteered to return for two days of hard work. They developed a vision statement, and a mission statement, and set many goals. Specific areas of weakness were targeted for improvement; teams were formed and action plans were written. The process of reform and restructuring had begun.

Later that summer, some Carminati staff attended the Arizona Leadership Academy sponsored by the Arizona State Department of Education, and began to solidify plans for change. At the same time, the Arizona Legislature offered grants for school restructuring. Because the groundwork had been done and a plan was in place, Carminati completed an application and was one of the fifteen schools selected. Each school received funds according to its student enrollment. Over a 4-year period, Carminati received $56,000, most of which was dedicated to staff development to support and sustain technological change. Concurrently, the School Governing Board and administration of the Tempe Elementary Schools proposed a $67 million school bond to improve physical facilities. Of that amount, $13 million was earmarked to upgrade district technology. The voters supported this bond issue. Change at Carminati was assured. THE PLAN UNFOLDS

Soon after the bond initiative, an opportunity for a business partnership developed for Carminati. Motorola Corporation had been working with many schools in the state to support the use of technology to educate children. Because Carminati already had a plan to incorporate technology in the school, the timing was perfect for one of the community's largest employers to join with Carminati to work for Tempe children.

The partnership board of directors established two main goals at Carminati: 1) to foster parent and community involvement and 2) to promote the use of technology at the school. Carminati would become a model for the school district. It was due to the countless hours of technical assistance donated by Motorola and the forward thinking of many interested Tempe citizens that Carminati became the first elementary school in Arizona with a direct connection to the Internet.

This private-public partnership represented a big step forward in a continuing district effort to encourage business involvement in the district. When the Carminati plan to become a model for technology implementation in the district was presented to the Tempe Schools Governing Board, Carminati was moved to the top of the school district priority list. In the fall of 1993, a T1 line was installed. Motorola donated two servers--one for district use and another was placed at Carminati. Motorola engineers designed the layout and plan for the local area network. School district staff arranged Internet access courtesy of Arizona State University. They also installed the necessary wiring and hardware to support the local area network connecting all classrooms in the building. Each classroom was equipped with a telephone, television, and VCR, and the ability to reach laserdisc players and the satellite access in the Media Center by remote control. A school-wide voice mail system was installed. And, in December 1993, the Carminati Internet connection was officially established.

Although the bond issue guidelines had stipulated the purchase of one computer for every three teachers, Carminati asked the School Board for an exception to pilot, the effect of which was having a computer on every classroom teacher's desk. Because of a price reduction at the time the purchase order was placed, we procured additional Macintosh computers. Equipping each classroom teacher with a networked computer is a productive model that will eventually be implemented throughout the district. The networked classroom computers also enable teachers to share two laser printers, access the Internet, and keep in closer contact with parents via the voice mail system. In one two-week period, 175 parents were called by teachers, and this in a school with a population of 380 students! TECHNICAL SUPPORT AND STAFF DEVELOPMENT

Most school district employees who work in technical services are familiar with computers, tape recorders, and video cameras, but they have never been trained to install network systems or to connect routers to a global network. Formal training is needed to provide district staff with the necessary skills for continued technical support. Presently, Motorola is supplying technical support for the server at Carminati, and district technical support persons are learning to cope with many challenges. But, because of the limitations on the ways bond money can be spent, priorities must be changed within our school system to support new equipment purchased.

Just as students need time to become comfortable and competent with any new skill, teachers must be introduced, convinced, and inserviced in the advantages of using a new tool to enhance a job they already do quite well. In the fall of 1993, Arizona State University helped us get started. Doctoral students shared their ideas with us and introduced us to the mechanics of logging in and traveling around cyberspace. This workshop proved important as it encouraged teachers to begin personal learning. The presentation also represented an important first step in forming a strong and continuing relationship with the Department of Education at ASU.

Ongoing assistance has been provided by an ASU graduate student who visits Carminati to help with project plans and technical problems. In May 1994, still more ASU graduate students returned to demonstrate Mosaic to all teachers. Our resident doctoral student has constructed a Carminati home page, which will point to the many World-Wide Web resources of interest to Carminati teachers and students. Mosaic enables us to take "virtual field trips," something that may change the way many subjects are taught. From Tempe, students can "stand" in the Louvre and look at classic artwork or "walk" through the botanical gardens in Missouri or Australia and compare what they see with their own desert landscape.

Hive wins grant

According to a recent report issued by Amnesty International, Chinese authorities have dramatically increased actions against citizens who express opinions or download information from the Internet. The report, "People's Republic of China: Controls Tighten as Internet Activism Grows" (http://news.amnesty.org/library/index/ENGASA170012004), contains details of actions against Internet users and makes specific appeals on behalf of eight individuals, including Huang Qi, a computer engineer from Sichuan who has been detained since June 2000 and was sentenced to 5 years in prison.

INTERNET software developer HarvestRoad has been awarded a $900,000 AusIndustry research and development start grant.

The grants are awarded to Australian companies that are able to prove they are working on products with potential for international success.

HarvestRoad managing director Grame Barty said the grant would be used to develop the company's content management system.

Called Hive, the product is a browser-based application that separates the structure of the content from the way it is presented.

This allows content to be easily viewed on any type of device.

International REPORT

Amnesty International's records indicate that in 2003, there was a 60-percent increase over the previous year's figures in the number of people detained or sentenced for Internet-related offenses. As of Jan. 7, 54 people were held and a further unknown number detained for disseminating information relating to the spread of SARS. Criminal charges of "subversion" or "endangering state security" have been brought for offenses such as signing petitions, calling for reform and the end of corruption, or communicating with groups abroad.

The growth of Internet use in China (as elsewhere) has been phenomenal. Only 6 percent of China's population has Internet access, but that still amounts to 80 million users, a number that's nearly equivalent to the entire population of Germany.

Growing user sophistication and activism make censorship and control difficult for China's Ministry of Culture. But in the report, Amnesty International draws attention to Western companies that it believes have supplied technologies to help the Chinese government do just that. These businesses are Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Nortel Networks, Websense, and Sun Microsystems.

The companies dismiss such allegations, claiming that they have no control over how their technologies are used. However, Amnesty International is concerned that in their pursuit of new and lucrative markets, corporations may be indirectly contributing to human rights violations or at the very least failing to give adequate consideration to the human rights implications of their investments.

On Feb. 25, the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor issued its 2003 Annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. The section on China (http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2003/27768pf.htm) reiterates many of Amnesty International's concerns about freedom of speech, Internet use, and the imprisonment of journalists.

However, China does not accept such criticism without pointing out what it views as serious human rights issues in the West. On March 1, China released "Human Rights Record in the United States in 2003," a response to the U.S. report.

Reported in full in the People's Daily (http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200403/01/eng20040301%5f136190.shtml), the report points out the U.S.'s poor record in crime, violence, drugs, and race relations and includes a special mention of the USA PATRIOT Act. "Under the authority of the PATRIOT Act, the government departments are empowered to wiretap phone calls of citizens, trace their online records, [and] read their private mails and e-mails. The FBI is even allowed to keep a watch on people's reading habits. They check the booklists of what people borrow from libraries so as to judge whether they have been influenced by terrorism." Internet Hate-Mongering

The rights to freedom of expression enshrined in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which has been signed but not yet ratified by China, says: "Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing, or in print ... or through any other media of his choice."

It seems reasonable for Amnesty International to quote this article in its case against China. But coincidentally, only a couple of days after the release of Amnesty's report, Bertrand Ramcharan, U.N. Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights, called for new measures to prevent genocide, ethnic cleansing, and the propagation of hatred through the Internet.

At a meeting of an intergovernmental working group on racism in Geneva, Ramcharan called for an international convention on the prevention of ethnic cleansing, an international convention on human rights education, a protocol to the Genocide Convention enshrining strong measures for the prevention of genocide, an international declaration to counter discrimination against indigenous populations, and an instrument to prevent the propagation of hatred through the Internet.

Expanding on his concerns about the Internet, Ramcharan said: "It is a sad fact of the contemporary world that hatred is being spread through the Internet by unscrupulous and misguided people. The Internet is one of the most effective medium[s] of communication we have in the contemporary world. If we are seeking to promote the values of human rights, tolerance, and respect, can we turn a blind eye to this phenomenon--even recognizing the legitimate issues of freedom of expression involved? It would be hard to let the spread of hatred continue. The drafting of an international convention would provide a process to distill the issues and to work out the strategies and norms required."

It's not clear what form this "instrument" or "standard" would take, and no doubt there will be many months of U.N. debate and argument about it. Let's hope the U.N. doesn't lose sight of its aims to prevent one evil--censorship and the suppression of freedom of speech--while preventing another: the propagation of hatred.

Half of all email is junk: report

* Internet attacks

GENEVA: About 50 per cent of all email messages in circulation by the end of the year could be unsolicited spam, which would cost as much as E17.2 billion ($28 billion) in wasted technical resources, a UN report warns.

Digital attacks over the internet are also rising.

The US was hit hardest in 2002 followed by Brazil and Britain, according to an annual study undertaken by the UN Conference on Trade and Development.

Internet security problems ``have acquired serious dimensions, and spam is now proliferating at an alarming rate,'' the E-Commerce and Development Report 2003 says.

Most spam victims are in North America, which generates about 58.4 per cent of the junk mail, the study finds.

It notes that a growing number of governments are developing anti-spam laws. UNCTAD says cyber attacks, such as the damaging Blaster worm virus that struck in August, undermined public confidence in the internet, particularly in developing countries.

Citing statistics compiled by mi2g, a digital risk manager, UNCTAD says more than 91,000 digital attacks occurred in the first half of this year, up from about 87,500 in all of 2002.

'Web for Development' conference concludes at Headquarters

The third annual Web for Development (Web4Dev) Conference, which brought together more than 80 organizations to exchange ideas on how to best incorporate the use of information and communication technology in development projects, concluded at United Nations Headquarters today.

The Conference was held in conjunction with the AIT Global Eighteenth Annual Conference and Exhibit at the United Nations. AIT Global was selected by the Global Alliance to help plan and manage the information and technology component for the largest United Nations meetings and conferences.

Topics discussed over the past three days included building service-oriented information and communication technology architecture, website evaluation, multilingual websites, accessibility and inclusive development, Internet broadcasting and collaboration tools.

In closing remarks, Ahmad Fawzi, Director, United Nations News and Media Division in the United Nations Department of Public Information, said that, while access to information and technology tools was "inching" forward, real steps could truly be taken with the involvement of the private sector.

"There are more Internet cafes in Accra now than in London," he said. Indeed, the private sector was looking at ways to involve the developing world, with a very real interest. For one, this year's partnership with AIT meant that horizons had been expanded. Second, the joint cooperation signified that the "buzz" surrounding cutting-edge technologies -- and one normally reserved for the private sector -- would be accessible to the non-profit sector, as well.

He added that the Department of Public Information was tasked with a challenging mandate -- that of strategically communicating to its constituency, the world, with maximum impact. In fact, that task was larger and broader in scale than any other enterprise in the Secretariat. The Web had, therefore, become invaluable.

He said that over the few days, the Conference had included many informative presentations, including one by David Kirkpatrick, Senior Editor, Fortune Magazine, who spoke to the scope of the opportunity for the United Nations Information and Technology Task Force (ICT), in all its forms, to advance worldwide economic and social development, particularly in developing countries. Alsoilluminating was a presentation made by Professor Jeff Cole, Director, Centre for the Digital Future, USC Annenberg School for Communication, resulting in a number of concrete predictions and pointing out several, notable future trends in technology.

One such trend was Short Message Service (SMS) being the way of the future, which implied huge cost savings and benefits for the developing community, he added. The use of SMS for microbusinesses, such as those found in the slums of Mumbai, for example, allowed for cheap and accessible technology that could transform lives.

Mr. Fawzi said he hoped to see all participants again at the 2008 fourth Web4Dev Conference and he opened the floor up to proposals on where to hold it. The three locations discussed were Nairobi (to be hosted by United Nations Habitat); Paris (to be hosted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)); and Geneva (to be hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO)).

New city Web site caters to prospective employers

If nothing lasts longer than a good first impression, Waterloo should stay high on the minds of prospective businesses for quite some time, thanks to a new economic development Internet site, www.cityofwaterlooiowa.com

The site was developed by Terry L. Butz Creative of Waterloo for the city in cooperation with the Waterloo Industrial Development Association. Each contributed $15,000 to the project.

Butz put the site together in consultation with a WIDA committee. "The city of Waterloo probably has one of the best economic development Web sites, frankly, I've seen anyplace in the country," said Tom Penaluna of CBE Group, a member of a WIDA committee working on the project and a former Waterloo City Council member.

"We owe that to the committee for vision and patience to put this together," Butz said. "There's nobody that can compete with this site."

It took nine months to develop. "Tom's committee went over a lot of ideas. They didn't approve the first run," Butz said. "We had to do a lot of proposals, a lot of ideas to make sure we hit the nail on the head. What they came up with is a winner."

The site is amied at anyone interested in economic development in Waterloo.

The site includes area demographics; available development sites and buildings; economic incentive programs and designated economic development areas; building and zoning regulations and maps; quality of life attractions; utilities; transportation; as well as economic development news and testimonials from businesses which have located here. It links to the Web sites of a number of community attractions and organizations and offers contact information for Waterloo senior planner Noel Anderson at City Hall.

The committee got input from people looking to relocate or open a new facility.

"There isn't too much that isn't here," Penaluna said. "We wanted a Web site that is second to none. This is a Web site that will be copied and utilized by businesses, cities and counties all over the country because of how easy it is to use and all the elements it provides businesses."

"We're not going to lose any (business) leads because they don't know what's here," Butz said. "The bottom line of this whole process is you're going to attract business. Tom's committee is going to generate millions of dollars in revenue to this city because of this site if people get the information they need and relocate here."

It is a site where prospective new or expanding businesses can obtain basic information about economic development in the city, said Lisa Skubal of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance, who worked on the project in an advisory role.

Such Web sites are indispensable for economic development, Skubal said. "Companies, individuals will call and say, 'I need some demographic information and I need it now.' There's nothing better than to be able to say 'This is where you can find it on our Web site.' The moment you tell them that, it's like you gave them a $100 bill."

With the new Web site, a prospect also can have a presentation of information tailored to their needs transmitted to them over the site.

"They can seek information in Washington and we can send them the necessary stuff right off the bat off the Web site," Molinaro said. "You want to communicate directly with people, and that allows us to do it."

The cost of the project was low in comparison to what Butz and his staff invested into the project, WIDA committee member and Warren Transport Inc. president Bob Molinaro said. "There was a lot of Waterloo pride on his part. He wanted to do something for the community," Molinaro said.

"This is a work in progress," Butz said. "As people call in and want to be investing Waterloo, we're going to add new businesses."

"It'll always be updated and changed," Molinaro said. "We're at the point now where it's more than good."

"I think it's great," Mayor Tim Hurley said. "One of my goals when I ran for mayor four years ago was to improve the image of the city, both real and perceived, and this certainly is one of those gateways. I navigated this site and found it very user-friendly. And I know there'll be some continuous improvements on it. So it's a great first step."

It eventually will be linked to a revamped official City of Waterloo Web site, a separate project still under development, Hurley said. A Web service offered by the National Council of Mayors will be in town this summer, filming different aspects of the city for "video streaming" on that revamped site. The mayor also is working with the private sector for assistance to fund the update.

"It will again, complement the economic development" site, Hurley said. "We're going to have an eventually interactive city Web site, to get into the 21st century."