Sunday, August 17, 2008

MOSS to power Olympics portal

Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server will be powering the search engine on a portal that more than thousands of people will use to access information about the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

Cool. Good win for Microsoft and MOSS.


IBM introduces eDiscovery to expand its Enterprise Content Management Solutions

Over and beyond FileNET and Content Manager On Demand, IBM just introduced its new enterprise content management software IBM eDiscovery for its clients to meet legal discovery requirements. It is intended to help organizations to proactively take control of electronically stored information across the enterprise and help reduce eDiscovery costs and improve responsiveness to litigation.

It is also expected to integrate with IBM (or FileNET's ?) records management technology.

In industries like healthcare, auto insurance, financial services, which are regulated and are subject to litigations from time to time, eDiscovery and records management are key to success and reduce the costs of litigation. IBM, which is a big player in the ECM sector, with this product, is in line with taking things a step forward in the electronic documents world.


Google maps blooper! Russia invades Georgia - Atlanta ! ???

Google Maps, when used in an Associated Press Report about the Georgia conflict (that's the Georgia near Russia of course) got mixed up and used the Georgia in the United States. Yeah, right. And this is the image they had in the report

I tried Google Maps for "russians invade georgia" as my search string and this is what I get still.

I think journalists will remember and laugh over this for a while. Google goofies.


Heights of security - using SMS to unlock public toilets in Finland

That's what it's come down to. In response to an increase in arson and damage to public isolated roadside toilets, the transport authority in Finland has come up with a solution (stupid ? but seems to work) where the user needs to SMS "open" (in Finnish) to a short code to open the door and use the toilet.

The solution is as stupid as breaking into a public toilet and damaging it. Seems to work though, since they installed it in Feb 2008, or at least that's what they claim.


Smart self-service scales on the radar for future grocery stores

German researchers have developed new self-service scales able to automatically recognize fruit or vegetables placed on them. As says the lead scientist, 'The scales automatically recognize which fruit or vegetables are to be weighed and ask the customer to choose between only those icons that are relevant,' such as various kinds of tomatoes. These scales are equipped with a camera and an image evaluation algorithm which compares the image with other ones stored in its database. These scales are now being tested in about 300 supermarkets across Europe

I think this is cutting edge. Useful ? Certainly, yes. Profitable ? Well, I'm not sure how much grocery stores would be willing to pay for this feature. But again, I'm not a big self-service guy when it comes to grocery-shopping, primarily because most often I cannot get it to work upto satisfaction and ease. I have to call somebody. Plus, I think entire grocery shopping should be done online, although I still end up visiting the store at least every week, because we're not there yet. Also, I don't see big lines in the self service stations which means the idea still hasn't taken off big. I do see value for grocery stores to go self-service or even enforce them for their customers - saves labor, time and money.

So, I guess grocery stores still need to do a better job in selling their self-service lines rather than labored billing lines. Maybe offer a discount for a while? or some free coupons ?. On the flip side, these smart scales that are being researched on are a good idea and may make things easier for the consumers to check out faster and easier. Adoption period ? Not very near, IMO...let's see...The question is - when would you be ready to pick a grocery store over another because it has a smart self-service scale and makes checkout easier ?