PC is no longer personal computer

Do you own a Windows laptop, iPad and Android smartphone? Welcome to the post-PC era, which transition IDC describes as “profound”. During second quarter, smartphones and tablets commanded 69 percent of smart device shipment share, dwarfing PCs.

“Recent shipment data clearly demonstrates that we have fully entered into the multi-device era, where individuals are buying and using multiple devices per person, most often with different combinations of operating systems”, Bob O’Donnell, IDC vice president, says. “The implications of this development on application developers, device makers, Web service providers, businesses and even individuals is profound”.

The days of the PC being the device or one acting as main hub are over.

For about three decades, a single device defined computing — and with Windows dominance a largely singular platform for applications developers and other third parties. That’s changing at a fast pace and creating headaches for enterprise IT.

Manufacturers shipped 267.3 million smart devices during second quarter, up 27.4 percent annually but only 2.8 percent sequentially. Revenue rose 16.3 percent year over year to $131.5 billion but declined 2.7 percent quarter on quarter. That reflects weakness in the US market and increased price commoditization.

In the United States, unit shipments fell 7.8 percent from 2011 and 5 percent from second quarter to 47.4 million. Revenue declined even more — 8.6 percent annually and 10.3 percent sequentially, to $24.8 million. Saturation is major factor explaining these falls.

IDC predicts smart-device shipments of 1.2 billion for the year and 1.4 billion in 2013 — 27.4 percent and 19.2 percent year-over-year increases, respectively. Shipments should top 2 billion by 2016. In that year, Asia-Pacific will lead other regions with 800 million units, followed by the Americas (600 million) and Europe, Middle East and Africa (530 million).

Smartphones lead Asia-Pacific’s rising importance. For 2012, IDC predicts shipments to China will surpass the United States, becoming the top region. In 2011, US share was 21.3 percent compared to 18.3 percent for China. This year, China is expected to reach 26.5 percent, while the United States falls to 17.8 percent.

Not surprisingly, smartphones dominate the smart device market — 59 percent share this year growing to 63 percent in 2016. That’s 15.8 percent compound annual growth rate. But tablets are growing fastest and quickly encroaching on sacred PC turf. Globally, IDC predicts that tablets will reduce PC share of smart devices to 24 percent in 2016 from 31 percent this year. IDC predicts 22 percent CAGR for tablets, with share rising to 13 percent from 10 percent during the forecast period.

However, tablets are unpredictable, since most the of growth so far is in mature markets, leaving the majority of the world untapped.

Word of caution: IDC and most other analyst firms have to date grossly under-estimated smart-device growth rates. Smartphones, and Androids particularly, far exceed projections made even two years ago. In such rapidly changing market, tablet shipments could easily exceed forecasts or even fall below them. There, netbook is case study. The category analysts were so sure in 2009 would be big today collapsed, particularly after Apple released iPad two-and-a-half years ago.

Photo Credit: Digital Storm/Shutterstock


Source : http://betanews.com


10 Tips for helping our Matric Students

As  more than half a million matrics in South Africa begin their exams soon, the hopes and dreams of our country rest on their shoulders. This is a huge responsibility for many teens who hope to succeed, despite tremendous adversity. Knowing they are not alone and having every South African rooting for them will help them be champions- not only today, but in the future as well.

Here are 10 practical tips all of us can follow to help our matrics:

  •  Be patient and understanding by providing your 12th grader with silence, private space and support while he studies. Keep other children in the home quiet and away from him. Television and radio should be played softly so as not to distract the student. It is a good time to encourage silent reading in the family in support of the matric student. Family arguments should be taken outside where he can’t hear you. Worrying about family members will create an enormous amount of unnecessary anxiety and stress for him.

  • Have loads of healthy ”brain food” snacks around the house for him to munch on such as bananas, chocolate, fresh fruit and vegetables, watermelon, wholegrain bread and cereals, unsalted nuts, fresh water, and sugar- free chewing gum. Limit the amount of caffeine, sugar and energy drinks available to him. Provide healthy balanced meals  which contain eggs, yoghurt, sweet potatoes, turkey, beef, and fish for omega 3 fatty acids. Supplement his diet with a tonic containing vitamins C, E, B6, B12, calcium, magnesium, and Alpha-lipoic Acid.

  • Invite your child to exercise with you during his breaks. Walk the dog or encourage your teen to join in a family dance/sing-a long. Even playing a quick game of table tennis or swimming can help release endorphins that enhance serotonin production, which combats feelings of depression and anxiety.

  • Take the pressure off your child. At this stage, your child needs support, patience and understanding. He is under enough strain as it is, so nagging him while  writing exams is counterproductive. Help him to problem solve and think critically if the exams are proving to be difficult. Arguing about his untidy room is pointless at this stage.

  • Teach your teen perseverance. Even if he fails his matric exam, it is not the ‘end of the world.’ “Forget about the consequences of failure. Failure is only a temporary change in direction to set you straight for your next success,” says  Denis Waitley. People who ultimately succeed in life have the ability to pick themselves up, create a new path, and continue with determination. Devise a plan B with your 12th grader which he is excited about if things are not going well. “It matters if you just don’t give up,”says famous scientist Stephen Hawking

  • Be aware of signs of depression, negative self talk, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, changes in your teen’s personality, and behaviour such as withdrawing from the family.  Seek help immediately through your family doctor. Alternatively contact the South African depression and anxiety group on  0800 20 50 26 or the suicide hotline on  0800 567 567.

  • Sleep is vitally important for a student to be able to concentrate in an exam, so spending nights studying is not conducive to good results. Encourage your teen to get eight hours of sleep. If he is having trouble falling asleep, play  a meditation or sleep CD that could help him to control his breathing and thoughts.

  • Teach your 12th grader the power of positive thinking and visualisations. We don’t know the true power of the human brainl. Positive self- talk and creativity may help him through a difficult paper.”Work joyfully and peacefully, knowing that right thoughts and right efforts will inevitably bring about right results,” says James Allen

  • Provide practical support in the form of tutors, study guides, study groups, and assistance from teachers. Even at the last minute a session with a good tutor or a chat with his Maths teacher can provide your child with valuable tips.

  • Remember to celebrate even the smallest success with your 12th grader, looking forward with optimism and enthusiasm.  “If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.”says Nora Roberts.

Good luck to you all!

By Claire Marketos

Source : http://www.inspiredparenting.co.za


Malware inserted on PC production lines, says study

Microsoft discovered four factory fresh PCs that were pre-infected with malware

Cybercriminals have opened a new front in their battle to infect computers with malware – PC production lines.

Several new computers have been found carrying malware installed in the factory, suggests a Microsoft study.

One virus called Nitol found by Microsoft steals personal details to help criminals plunder online bank accounts.

Microsoft won permission from a US court to tackle the network of hijacked PCs made from Nitol-infected computers.

Domain game

In a report detailing its work to disrupt the Nitol botnet, Microsoft said the criminals behind the malicious program had exploited insecure supply chains to get viruses installed as PCs were being built.

The viruses were discovered when Microsoft digital crime investigators bought 20 PCs, 10 desktops and 10 laptops from different cities in China.

Four of the computers were infected with malicious programs even though they were fresh from the factory.

Microsoft set up and ran Operation b70 to investigate and found that the four viruses were included in counterfeit software some Chinese PC makers were installing on computers.

Nitol was the most pernicious of the viruses Microsoft caught because, as soon as the computer was turned on, it tried to contact the command and control system set up by Nitol’s makers to steal data from infected machines.

Further investigation revealed that the botnet behind Nitol was being run from a web domain that had been involved in cybercrime since 2008. Also on that domain were 70,000 separate sub-domains used by 500 separate strains of malware to fool victims or steal data.

“We found malware capable of remotely turning on an infected computer’s microphone and video camera, potentially giving a cybercriminal eyes and ears into a victim’s home or business,” said Richard Boscovich, a lawyer in Microsoft’s digital crimes unit in a blogpost.

A US court has now given Microsoft permission to seize control of the web domain, 3322.org, which it claims is involved with the Nitol infections. This will allow it to filter out legitimate data and block traffic stolen by the viruses.

Peng Yong, the Chinese owner of the 3322.org domain, told the AP news agency that he knew nothing about Microsoft’s legal action and said his company had a “zero tolerance” attitude towards illegal activity on the domain.

“Our policy unequivocally opposes the use of any of our domain names for malicious purposes,” Peng told AP.

However, he added, the sheer number of users it had to police meant it could not be sure that all activity was legitimate.

“We currently have 2.85 million domain names and cannot exclude that individual users might be using domain names for malicious purposes,” he said.

Source : http://www.bbc.com


Facebook's new ad tracking partnership stokes privacy concerns

Facebook is pairing up with Datalogix to track whether people who see ads for products on the social networking site actually go out and purchase them in stores.

To measure how well Facebook’s ads are performing, Datalogix will match up email addresses and other information from loyalty cards and programs at more than 1,000 retailers with Facebook account data, the Financial Timesreported. The emails and other identifying information will be anonymized, the Times said, and Datalogix will prepare a report for Facebook and its advertisers that highlights which methods and demographics targeting result in people buying advertised products in stores.

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed that it is working with Datalogix and said the social network also tracks the performance of ads through its own advertising tool and partnerships with Nielsen and ComScore.

“We know that people share a lot of information on Facebook, and we have taken great care to make sure that we measure the effectiveness of Facebook ads without compromising the commitments we have made on privacy,” the Facebook spokesman said. “We don’t sell people’s personal information, and individual user data is not shared between Facebook, Datalogix or advertisers.”

But at least one privacy advocacy group says Facebook’s partnership with Datalogix raises a red flag.

Jeff Chester, the executive director of consumer digital rights group Center for Digital Democracy, said this recent partnership is one in a series of moves Facebook has made that could violate the settlement terms it finalized with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). In particular, Chester argues that Facebook hasn’t been transparent to users about the data targeting and tracking activities it’s using for the new Facebook Exchange program, which offers marketers a way to purchase ads via real-time bidding.

“The FTC can’t be [Facebook CEO] Mark Zuckerberg’s privacy babysitter, but they clearly need one over there,” Chester said. “The expansion of data targeting by Facebook, such as the work it’s doing on Exchange, the role of sponsored stories on mobile, and partnerships with Datalogix and others clearly warrant an investigation.”

Facebook finalized its settlement with the Federal Trade Commission last month and agreed to take extra steps to secure the privacy of their users’ information. Among the settlement terms, the social network agreed to get users’ consent before sharing information that overrides what they chose in their privacy settings, maintain a comprehensive privacy program and be subject to audits every two years.

Justin Brookman, director of consumer privacy at the Center for Democracy and Technology, said this new partnership with Datalogix doesn’t raise immediate privacy concerns at this point.

“It sounds like they’re trying to set it up in a way that’s privacy protective,” Brookman said, though he cautioned “obviously it could be done in a bad way.”

Based on the initial reports of the partnership, Brookman said it sounds like “this [data] matching occurs in a perfect black box, which I’m OK with.”

By Jennifer Martinez

Source : http://thehill.com


Cell phone banking in South Africa


The delivery channels that South African banks use to service customers have changed drastically over the last 20 years. The original branch-only banks of the 1980’s have evolved into sophisticated electronic delivery channels such as telephone banking, automated teller machines (ATMs), online banking, and more recently, cell phone banking.

Online banking has become a de facto standard for South African banks, and all the major banks have some type of online banking service. The business drivers of online banking included additional transaction revenues, savings from reduced transactional costs, opportunities to acquire new customers and the improved ability to retain customers. The estimated cost savings are significant, with a simple traditional bank transaction estimated to be 11 times more expensive than an online banking transaction.

Yet, internet penetration is still relatively low with 4.6 million South African internet users measured in 20081. With an estimated population figure of 49.32 million2 this translates to a 9.3% penetration, which is very low, and with an annual expected growth of 12.5% it is going to be some time before internet and internet banking can significantly reach most South Africans.

Since cell phone telephony launched in South Africa in 1994, this revolutionary technology has made significant inroads into the South African population. The graph below shows that the number of unique cell phone users is estimated at 34.01 million users with the number of connections (number of SIM cards sold) estimated at 50.02 million. Globally, the rate of adoption of cell phones has varied significantly in different markets, and using income differentials as an explanation of these adoption rates does not seem to be a convincing claim as the highest take-up of mobile telephony has been observed in poor regions such as India and Africa. The graph below shows that South Africa itself has seen massive growth in mobile phone penetration.

1WorldWideWorx, 2009
2Statistics South Africa, 2009

Growth of cellphone connections and users in South Africa (WorldWideWorx, 2009)

In the modern age of electronic information flow, banking has become an industry that is based on intensive information and transaction flow and cell phones are ideally positioned as an information and transaction channel.

‘Cell phone banking’ in the context of this article means access from a cell phone to the various traditional services relating to banking and bank transactions. This generally includes informational services such as balance enquiries and basic statements, transactional services such as inter-account transfers and payments to third parties, as well as prepaid airtime top-ups.

The significant growth in cell phone technology in South Africa presented a potentially attractive opportunity for retail banks in South Africa to extend their electronic banking channels into cell phones, and all of the larger retail banks in South Africa offer some version of cell phone banking.

The biggest reasons why cell phone banking was seen as an opportunity for retail banks included:

  • Providing additional value added service to customers
  • Access to customers who don’t have internet
  • Decreased cost of transactions
  • Banking can be done anywhere and at any time
  • Customer retention

Typical cell phone banking transactions

Cell phone banking transactions can be classified based on how information flows. When the cell phone user actively requests a service or information, this can be classified as a pull transaction. A balance enquiry is a good example of a pull transaction. Transactions like beneficiary payments, inter-account transfers or prepaid airtime top-ups are also pull transactions. Pull transactions generally require two-way communication between the bank and the user.

When the bank sends information to a cell phone user, based on a set of rules, this is classified as a push transaction. Sending a transaction notification via SMS or a minimum balance alert are good examples of push transactions. Push transactions are generally one-way communications from the bank to the customer.

Cell phone transactions can also be classified based on the nature of the service. Transaction-based services, such as an inter-account transfers or beneficiary payments, involve moving money from one source to another. Inquiry-based transactions just require a response from the bank to a user’s query.

Push transactions are not as complex as pull transactions. Some cell phone banking offerings are more complex than others that only offer a limited number of services. Cell phone banking will never be the same as full-service banking received at a branch, but nevertheless fills a necessary gap for many customers.

The primary transactions generally implemented on South African cell phone banking are:

  • Balance enquiries;
  • Mini-statements;
  • Inter-account transfers;
  • Beneficiary, person-to-person and third party payments;
  • Prepaid airtime;
  • Other value-added services.

The most popular transactions are balance enquiries and prepaid airtime purchases. Cell phone banking also provides a perfect channel to make payments to third parties.

Due to the limited display size of the cell phone screen, the amount of information that can be displayed on the cell phone is limited. Often banks use SMS (Short Message Service) or MMS (Multimedia Message Service) to send information relating to accounts to customers.

Why is cell phone banking important to the banks?

Cell phones have been identified as the one mechanism that can fundamentally change the relationship between banks and their customers. Cell phone banking has also been identified as having remarkable potential in retaining bank customers and converting cell phone users to banking users.

Brown and Molla (2005, p.1) say that “Most banks are continually looking for alternative ways of relating to customers, reducing costs, (and) improving efficiencies”. This is supported by Perumal & Shanmugam (2004, p.6) who cites reduction in transaction costs as a major benefit of electronic banking. Cell phone banking can provide the ‘banking anywhere, anytime’ benefit that most other delivery channels cannot provide. It serves as a powerful sales channel for financial services, banking and other products as seen in the successes reported by First National Bank with a reported 1.29 million registered customers and ABSA with a reported 1.6 million customers. Both banks have also reported significant sales of prepaid airtime as well as other products such as prepaid electricity and traffic fines through their cell phone banking channels. Actual numbers have not been released but FNB claims that 13% of the R605 million worth of transactions through their cell phone banking products are prepaid sales. This translates into about R80 million per month, which means that prepaid sales account for 60% of their transactions in volume terms.

In a recent report, Mas & Kumar (2008, p.8) identified the strategic drivers for banks to implement cell phone banking as increasing market penetration – especially the currently underserved market segments; selling more services to existing customers; retaining customers; and reducing the cost of service provision. The report emphasised the benefits of cell phone banking and how it can address each of these drivers but did not quantify the benefit or incremental value cell phone banking can bring to the bank.

Cell phone banking is ideally positioned to service the LSM 1-5 market and create access to an untapped revenue source for banks. However, closer scrutiny of some of these strategic drivers reveals that the penetration of banking amongst South African adults is significantly lower within the LSM 1-5 group (estimated at 48%) than within the LSM 6-10 group (estimated at 77%).

An examination of the cost of cell phone banking (when compared to other electronic access channels) shows that cell phone banking can significantly reduce the cost of deploying customer touch points. If the assumption is made that the same cost-efficiencies are created with cell phone banking as with online banking, then the savings as estimated by Jayawardhena & Foley (2000) are also relevant here, though accurate estimations have not been publicly released. With cell phone banking the cost of transactions to the customer is also markedly decreased, firstly due to convenience (the customer does not need to travel anywhere to access his/her account) and secondly the cost savings mentioned above can be passed on to the customer. FNB stated that cell phone banking is now its cheapest transaction channel per transaction, yet did not give actual figures.

The recent Mobility 2009 survey found that the top five services in cell phone banking were balance enquiry, buying airtime, statement/mini-statement, notification of account limit and transfer funds between accounts – all of which would previously have required a customer without internet access to travel to a bank branch or ATM to access.

The costs to access cell phone banking for the user still needs to be considered, as the customer generally needs to pick up the mobile network access cost. First National Bank currently does not charge any banking fees for their cell phone banking service, and ABSA has also had free cell phone banking promotions.

Retention data on bank accounts is not widely published as it is deemed to be key competitive information; hence it has been very difficult to ascertain the retention problems banks might be facing in the LSM 1-5 segment. However, some assumptions can be made about entry-level account retention when examining a recent report by Bankable Frontiers on the Mzansi Account initiative. The Mzansi account is an entry-level bank account, based on a magnetic strip debit card platform, developed by the South African banking industry and launched collaboratively by the four largest commercial banks (together with the state-owned Postbank) in October 2004.

This report states that 42% of the 3.8-million accounts opened (at the four largest retail banks) have become inactive – that is, they were either closed, were never activated or dormant (unused) for 12 months. The report also suggested that nearest equivalent accounts (similar entry-level accounts offered by the banks) had similar churn rates.

No empirical study that establishes the retention rates of cell phone banking customers versus non-cell phone banking customers was found, but at a recent conference Len Pienaar, CEO of FNB’s Mobile and Transact Solutions division, stated that cell phone banking customers have significantly higher retention rates than non-cell phone banking customers, specifically in the lower LSM markets.


Cell phone banking presents an attractive opportunity for retail banks in South Africa to grow their client and at the same time their asset base. Two of the most convincing arguments for cell phone banking are:

  • Access to customers who don’t have internet
  • Customer retention

In South Africa in particular, cell phone banking enables the banks to reach out to the mass market and hence expand the bank’s client base. Unfortunately, there are no reliable figures about retention available as yet; however most of the South African banks are already offering cell phone banking to their customers and see it as a growing trend.


Bankable Frontier Associates, 2009. The Mzansi Bank Account Initiative in South Africa. Report commissioned by the Finmark Trust. Boston: Bankable Frontier Associates.

Brown, I., Molla, A., 2005. Determinants of Internet and Cell Phone Banking Adoption in South Africa. The Journal of Internet Banking and Commerce, Vol. 10 No. 1 pp. Unknown [Online] Available at: http://www.arraydev.com/commerce/JIBC/2005-02/brown.HTM [Accessed at 21 August 2009].

Jayawardhena, C., Foley, P., 2000. Changes in the banking sector – the case of Internet banking in the UK. Internet Research: Electronic Networking Applications and Policy, Vol. 10 No. 1, pp. 19-31.

Mas, I., Kumar, K., 2008. Banking on Mobiles: Why, How, for Whom? CGAP Focus note, No. 48 June 2008, pp 1-28.

Perumal, V., Shanmugam, B., 2004. Internet banking: boon or bane. Journal of Internet Banking and Commerce, Vol. 9 No. 3, pp. 1-6.

Pienaar, L., 2009. FNB Mobile & Transact Solutions: Where did we come from? As presented to the GSMA MMT Conference. Barcelona, Spain, 22-25 June 2009. First National Bank: Johannesburg.

This article has been adapted from Cellphone Banking: An Introduction, a study chapter authored by Yolande van Wyk. This chapter is included in study material for several Milpark Business School banking qualifications, namely Certificate in Banking, Higher Diploma in Banking and BCom in Banking Management. Yolande is the CEO of Smart Services at FNB.

Source : http://www.iob.co.za


Goodbye Ubuntu 11.04

Dear Ubuntu users, the time has come to say goodbye to the Natty Narwhal release of the popular Ubuntu operating system, Ubuntu 11.04, as on October 28th it will reach end of life. 


Announced last year, on Thursday, April 28th, 2011, Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) was the first Ubuntu release to bring the powerful Unity desktop interface.

Ubuntu 11.04 was powered by Linux kernel, GNOME 2.32.1, X.Org 7.6, and XOrg Server 1.10.1. It was the first release to introduce the reinvented scrollbar, add the LibreOffice office suite, revamped Ubuntu Software Center, revamped Indicator Applet, built-in support for installing proprietary software, multiarch support, Ubuntu One Control Panel, and much more.

Today, September 17th, we are sorry to announce that starting with October 28th, Canonical will stop “feeding” its Ubuntu 11.04 operating system with security/critical fixes and software updates!

Those of you who still use the Natty Narwhal release and want to upgrade to a newer version, will have to choose to do it incremental via Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot) first, and then upgrade again to Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin).

Detailed instructions and caveats for the upgrade may be found athttps://help.ubuntu.com/community/OneiricUpgrades.

On October 18th, Ubuntu 12.10 (Quantal Quetzal) will become the 17th release of the Ubuntu operating system. Don’t forget to visit our website next Thursday, September 26th, for an in-depth article on the Ubuntu 12.10 Beta 2 (Quantal Quetzal) release, where we will unveil more of its new features.

About Ubuntu

Ubuntu is a Linux distribution for your desktop or server, with a fast and easy install, regular releases, a tight selection of excellent packages installed by default, every other package you can imagine available from the network, and professional technical support from Canonical Ltd and hundreds of other companies around the world.

Source : http://news.softpedia.com


It’s Official: The Era of the Personal Computer Is Over

As a signpost on the road to the so-called Post-PC Era we’ve been hearing about for so many years, this one is pretty hard to argue with: As of this year, personal computers no longer consume the majority of the world’s memory chip supply.

And while it may not come as a terrible surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention to personal technology trends during the last few years, there’s nothing like a cold, hard number to make the point crystal clear.

Word of this tipping point came quietly in the form of a press release from the market research firm IHS (the same group formerly known as iSuppli). The moment came during the second quarter of 2012. For the first time in a generation, according to the firm’s reckoning, PCs did not consume the the majority of commodity memory chips, also known as DRAM (pronounced “DEE-ram”).

During that period, PCs accounted for the consumption of 49 percent of DRAM produced around the world, down from 50.2 percent in the first quarter of the year. The share of these chips going into PCs — both desktop and notebooks — has been hovering at or near 55 percent since early 2008, IHS says.

As shifts in market share statistics go, it at first seems insignificant until you consider the wider sweep of memory chips in the history of the modern technology industry. PCs have consumed the majority of memory chips since sometime in the 1980s. IHS couldn’t say when exactly when the first personal computers started showing up in appreciable numbers in homes and businesses.

And where are all those memory chips going? Tablets and smartphones for starters. IHS says that phones consumed more than 13 percent percent of memory chips manufactured, and it expects that figure to grow to nearly 20 percent by the end of this year. Tablets — including the iPad — consumed only 2.7 percent of the world’s memory chip supply. The remaining 35 percent, which IHS classifies as “other,” includes servers, professional workstations, and presumably specialized applications like supercomputers and embedded systems.

And given their rates of growth, IHS expects phones and tablets combined to consume about 27 percent of the world’s memory by 2013, while by that time PCs will consume less than 43 percent, making the decline, in the firm’s estimation, irreversible.

For PC-making companies, notably Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Lenovo, the shift marks the beginning of an overall decline in the importance of PCs in the overall chip supply chain. Memory chip makers like Samsung, Hynix and Micron will focus increasingly on winning the business of phone and tablet makers and over time concern themselves less with the needs of PC makers. “PCs are no longer generating the kind of growth and overwhelming market size that can singlehandedly drive demand, pricing and technology trends in some of the major technology businesses,” is how IHS analyst Clifford Leimbach put it.

Depending on when you start counting it, took about two decades for the PC industry to sell its first billion units, a milepost that the research firm Gartner pegged to the summer of 2002. Judging by its annual global sales figure since then, it took about five years to sell the second billion, and about three more years to sell the third billion.

Last year, PC makers shipped about 353 million machines, an increase of about one-half of one percent, and it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see the industry finish the year with a slight decline in shipments year-over-year. No less a barometer of the PC industry than Intel lowered its sales guidance for the third quarter of this year, citing weak demand. It is currently in the midst of a campaign to both re-ignite market interest in PCs and attack the market for phones and tablets.

Compare the PC to smartphones. IHS expects people around the world to buy 655 million smart phones this year, which would amount to nearly twice the number of PCs sold last year and almost three times the number of notebook PCs that will sell this year.

And as for tablets, look no further than the iPad: For the last four quarters reported (Q4 2011 through Q3 2012), Apple has sold 55.4 million iPads, which amounts to only 5 million fewer than all the PCs that Gartner says HP sold in 2011.

So perhaps now the academic debates about where the Post-PC Era begins can come to a close. I remember the first buzz about it back in 2000 with consumer electronics makers like Sony — jealous of being left out of the PC feeding frenzy brought on by the first wave of the consumer Internet craze — tried to sell “Internet devices” that looked like PCs and served up the Web and email without costing quite as much as one. They didn’t take.

PDAs like the Palm Pilot and Microsoft’s Pocket PCs made some progress, priming us for living with handheld devices that stored data we needed close at hand. The Blackberry and the Treo became the first of what we would call “smartphones.”

But the PC always held sway as the home base of any digital person’s daily life. Now, it’s entirely possible, though not yet common, to get through modern life without one. Some people have sought to “go paperless” in their day-to-day lives by relying on tablets and smartphones for the things they used to print to paper. I wonder now if there may soon be a trend of going “PC-less.” It’s not gone yet, but it is going.


Source : http://allthingsd.com


Get back to the basics


One of the surest signs that South Africa is failing its children is the latest rankings of our education system on a global survey as 140th out of 144 countries.

Even Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Swaziland beat us to it. Shamefully, Yemen, Haiti and Burundi are our soulmates in topping the charts of mediocrity.

Let’s take Haiti for example, with its population of 9,7-million.
According to World Bank statistics, 78% Haitians are classified poor and over 66% of the labour force is not in the formal economy.

Burundi, with a similar head count, is almost in the same league, with 66.9% classified poor. The life expectancy rate is 49,4 years and it has a predominantly youthful population at over 50%.

As a country with extraordinary wealth and resources, South Africa should not be in the same league as these countries Why is government reversing even the gains the apartheid government had made in black education prior to 1994?

Some serious soul-searching is needed if we are to revolutionise our education system.

Perhaps we should start by replacing the outdated discourse of the “national democratic revolution” with a discourse promoting a revolution in education!

This transformation needs to start with the elected officials, the civil servants, the unions, the governing bodies, the principals and the teachers.

If 5 000 out of 25 000 schools can do well, why can these teaching methodologies and management systems not be transferred to the weaker schools?

It is not as though we are starting from scratch.

Some of our schools function well and achieve world class standards, yet government refuses to learn from them and replicate their methodologies across the board.

Equally, many teachers do not belong in our schools, yet they are protected by our equally delinquent unions.

Performance management and ongoing training are no longer the sine qua non of the profession. Mediocrity gets rewarded and education unions are as complicit in keeping South Africa’s education standards low as are incompetent teachers.

They foster a culture of entitlement, laziness, delinquency and a lack of accountability among teachers, whose politics rather than commitment to the development of the child has become primary.

Hiring and firing are littered with labour regime obstacles and professionalism and accreditation are no longer key requisites of the profession. Teaching should be elevated to the stature it once had and should compete with some of the highest acknowledged professions.

A good start would be  abandon the asinine notions of “educators and learners” and a reversion to the original notion of teaching, as originating from the Latin docere, meaning to instruct, teach and tutor.

It implies that the person who does the instruction is trained to do so. Narrow definitions of teaching need to be replaced with holistic notions of educating the whole child.

Unless we depart from the straitjacket of teaching for the sake of teaching we shall never draw out the potential that resides in all our children.

The ANC government has abrogated its responsibility towards the education of the black child.

Consumed by  destructive internal politics, the ANC  have taken their eye off the ball. In the meantime, white South Africans, rightly, continue to educate their children in the best ways possible.


Source : http://www.citizen.co.za


10 Ways To Use Business Degrees [Infographic]

Business degrees are important foundation to becoming an entrepreneur. This infographic shows you 10 different ways to use business degrees to accelerate your personal and professional life. Your choice of degrees goes hand-in-hand with the choice of university.

Ensure the reputation of the university holds up on international rankings. The South African government merged several universities a few years ago, and all the new ones suffered a huge drop in brand awareness. Anyway this infographic will help you make a more informed decision on the course of study after you complete high school in 2012.

Via: DeVry University


Alarm as high number of motorists chat on move

AN alarming number of Port Elizabeth motorists are guilty of talking on their cellphones while driving – which is almost as dangerous as drinking and driving. And the worst offenders are women.
In a survey over a five-day period in the city last month, more than 7000 drivers were spotted tapping out messages or chatting on their hand-held phones while on the road. Of the 7650 culprits, 59% were women.

The survey was done by Port Elizabeth research company Listen To Survey.
Hundreds of tests around the world have already shown the dangers of using a cellphone while driving, with some comparing it to driving under the influence of liquor.

Listen To Survey principal Richard Holton said yesterday that the findings of the survey were shocking.

The company placed 20 people at various points around the city. They counted the culprits at traffic lights, shopping centres, the beachfront, government buildings, schools and on freeways.

“The traffic department has some work to do to educate all of us about the dangers of using cellphones while driving,” Holton said.

He said the cellphone spotters also tried to record the offenders’ ages. It was found that almost half of the culprits fell in the 36 to 55 years age group, while the 26- to 35-year-olds trailed slightly behind at 37%.

Surprisingly, 18- to 25-year- olds comprised only 17% of the total number of offenders. Only 5% of the culprits were over 55.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality can fine offenders R750 at present.  The survey was carried out for a cellphone company which plans on launching a new hands-free kit.

Michael Kimberley

Source : http://www.peherald.com