Friday, 25 January 2013

Technology set to boost NZ ranking

New Zealand's "exceptionally strong" performance in technology is set to propel it up the globalisation rankings, a new report from Ernst & Young says.
The international accountancy firm has released its 2012 globalisation survey, measuring the world's 60 largest economies according to their openness to trade, capital flows, exchange of technology and ideas, labour movements, and cultural integration.
New Zealand is ranked 21st, ahead of Australia at 24th and the United States at 25th. Hong Kong is ranked first, and the United Kingdom comes in at No 10. The lowest-ranked country is Iran.
New Zealand's position remains the same as the previous year despite achieving a slightly higher score this time around.
But New Zealand is already outperforming in the technology category, with its broadband penetration key to an improved ranking in the index, the report said. "We expect New Zealand to climb up into 12th position by 2016, helped by an exceptionally strong performance in technology, where it will top the ranking on broadband penetration."
The percentage of the population with access to broadband has improved from 25.7 per cent to 30 per cent, it said.
New Zealand Ernst & Young technology specialist Paul Mahan said he agreed with the report's findings "to a point".
While the Government was pushing the rollout of broadband across the country, links out of the country had not progressed. "We've got one link, basically."
This posed challenges in terms of potential failures and the competitive pricing of data, he said.
However, IDC research analyst Glen Saunders said this had been the case for some time, and the Southern Cross Cable had served New Zealand's needs so far. With New Zealanders using more and more data and much of it coming from abroad, it was getting to the point where a second connection would become cost-effective.
New Zealand's broadband penetration was up to about 64 per cent of households - a measure IDC preferred because average numbers of people in households varied from country to country.
"We can say our broadband penetration, for our country's size and real GDP, we're doing quite well."
The E&Y globalisation report also said investment opportunities in New Zealand should improve in coming years with the Government's plan to partly privatise some state-owned enterprises. Household debt would act as a drag on consumer spending, it said.

iPhone 6 Fingerprint Technology

Apple stock is currently in free fall (albeit from record-setting highs) amid speculation that the company is losing a little bit of its innovative edge. 
An iPhone 6 with fingerprint technology could change that.

iPhone Fingerprint

According to AppleInsider, the rumored innovation for this year or early next could come in the form of a sensor beneath the iPhone's home button.
The iPhone 6 fingerprint sensor would be "an intuitive design that could be difficult for competing Android and Windows Phone devices to copy."
The (unconfirmed) fingerprint technology would come from one of Apple's recent acquisitions, AuthenTec. The report about the development continues:
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities says it would "allow iPhone users to replace usernames and passwords, allowing users to authenticate in a more efficient manner."
The fingerprint scanner "could integrate with applications such as Passbook to enhance their functionality" as well, giving Apple another key edge.
Kuo's track record has been pretty solid, as he predicted Apple's entire Fall product line last year, but for now this rumor is exactly that - a rumor.
A pretty cool one, but just a rumor just the same.

BMW and Toyota advance battery technology agreement

Automakers working on development of lithium-air batteries, a more powerful, energy-dense improvement on today’s lithium-ion batteries.

Today Akio Toyoda, Toyota Motor Corporation president, and Dr. Norbert Reithofer, chairman of the board of management at BMW AG, signed a binding agreement that will push their advanced battery technology collaborative research agreement into its second phase. The first phase of the research collaboration began in March 2012.
The two automakers are working on the joint development of lithium-air batteries, which will replace today’s lithium-ion batteries. Lithium-air batteries will have an energy density that is greater than lithium-ion batteries and a more powerful battery means more driving range for an all-electric vehicle.  
With recent research showing that a 150-mile range is ideal for electric vehicle adoption rates, any advanced battery technology that expands today’s typical range could drastically enhance the electric vehicle market.
Today’s agreement also includes three more goals:
Fuel cell system – The two automakers will work on a jointly developed fuel-cell vehicle system that will be ready for market by 2020.
Sports car – BMW and Toyota are also working together to develop a mid-sized sports car concept by the end of 2013.  
Lightweight technology – The auto body of future BMW and Toyota vehicles may be made from reinforced composites and other lightweight technologies based on the research that comes out of this binding agreement.
“TMC and the BMW Group share the same strategic vision of future sustainable mobility. In light of the technological changes ahead, the entire automotive industry faces tremendous challenges, which we also regard as an opportunity,” said Norbert Reithofer, chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG. “This collaboration is an important building block in keeping both companies on a successful course in the future.”  Source: BMW

HP Technology Helps Up-and-coming Fashion Designers Make It Work on “Project Runway”

PALO ALTO, Calif. — HP technology will make a return appearance on the 11th season of Lifetime Television’s Emmy® Award-nominated hit “Project Runway,” celebrating five years of incorporating technology into the compelling fashion competition and recognizing its increasing impact on the creative arts.
“Project Runway” is at the forefront of the intersection of the fashion and technology industries. The capabilities of HP and Intel allow the show’s competitors to make technology matter in their work by integrating it into fashion’s creative process.
“Whether providing superior ability to sketch on the HP ENVY TouchSmart UltrabookTM or delivering crisp and unique prints, HP and Intel’s innovative technologies will help play an essential role in the show’s creative process,” said Chris Bohrer, director, Worldwide Consumer PC Marketing, HP.
“We are again delighted that HP will join us as a sponsor of ‘Project Runway,’” said Meryl Poster, president, Television, The Weinstein Company. “HP technology, combined with Intel’s, provides the designers with a rich canvas on which to develop and visualize their ideas, from silhouettes to textiles. I continue to be impressed and inspired by the garments they bring to life.”
Premiering tonight on Lifetime Television, season 11 of the hit series will showcase the HP TouchSmart, HP ENVY x2, HP ENVY TouchSmart Ultrabook, HP Elitebook and HP ENVY Spectre XT Ultrabook, all of which will be integral to the contestants’ design process. Also this season, the HP ENVY All-in-one PC will be used to make textile pattern ideas.
About “Project Runway”
Hosted by supermodel and fashion maven Heidi Klum, the hit series “Project Runway” provides budding designers with an opportunity to launch their careers in fashion, under the watchful eye of mentor and Liz Claiborne Chief Creative Officer Tim Gunn. “Project Runway” was 2010’s No. 1 rated and most watched competitive reality program on ad-supported cable among Women 18-49, Women 25-54, Women 18+, Adults 18-49, Adults 18+ and Households. The show recently was awarded with a 2011 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Reality Program and also was nominated for a Critics’ Choice Television Award in the Reality-Competition Program category.
Project Runway” is produced by The Weinstein Company, Bunim-Murray Productions and Full Picture. Executive producers include Bob and Harvey Weinstein (co-chairmen of The Weinstein Company), Meryl Poster of The Weinstein Company, Jon Murray and Sara Rea of Bunim-Murray Productions, Heidi Klum, and Jane Cha and Desiree Gruber of Full Picture Entertainment. Barbara Schneeweiss oversees the production on behalf of The Weinstein Company. Rob Sharenow, Gena McCarthy and David Hillman of Lifetime Television also executive produce.
About The Weinstein Company
The Weinstein Company (TWC) is a multimedia production and distribution company launched in October 2005 by Bob and Harvey Weinstein, the brothers who founded Miramax Films in 1979. TWC also encompasses Dimension Films, the genre label founded in 1993 by Bob Weinstein, which has released such popular franchises as Scream, Spy Kids and Scary Movie. Together TWC and Dimension Films have released a broad range of mainstream, genre and specialty films that have been commercial and critical successes. TWC releases took home eight 2012 Academy Awards®, the most wins in the studio’s history. The tally included Best Picture for Michel Hazanavicius’s The Artist and Best Documentary Feature for TJ Martin and Dan Lindsay’s Undefeated. The Artist brought TWC its second consecutive Best Picture statuette following the 2011 win for Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech.
Since 2005, TWC and Dimension Films have released such films as Grindhouse; I’m Not There; The Great Debaters; Vicky Cristina Barcelona; The Reader; The Road; Halloween; The Pat Tillman Story; Piranha 3D; Inglourious Basterds; A Single Man; Blue Valentine; The Company Men; Miral; Submarine; Apollo 18; Our Idiot Brother; I Don’t Know How She Does It; The Untouchables, Killing Them Softly; The Master; Silver Linings Playbook and Django Unchained.
TWC is also active in television production, led by former Miramax Films President of Production and current President of Television Meryl Poster, with credits including the Emmy® nominated and Peabody Award winning reality series Project Runway, spin-off series Project Runway All Stars and Project Accessory, the VH1 reality series Mob Wives, spin-off series Big Ang and Mob Wives: Chicago, and the critically acclaimed HBO comedy/crime series The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency which also received a Peabody Award. The company is currently in pre-production on the martial-arts epic Marco Polo for Starz as well as production on the second season. TWC additionally has 17 series in different stages of development, including The Nanny Diaries, being adapted for ABC by Amy Sherman Palladino (Gilmore Girls).
About Lifetime
Lifetime is committed to offering the highest quality entertainment and information programming, and advocating a wide range of issues affecting women and their families.  In 2012, as a result of its aggressive triple threat programming strategy doubling its amount of original programming spanning scripted dramas, reality series and movies, Lifetime posted its strongest year-on-year growth among the key demographics in 10+ years, while also reaching its youngest median age in 16 years.  Lifetime Television®, LMN®, Lifetime Real Women® and Lifetime Digital™ are part of Lifetime Entertainment Services, LLC, a subsidiary of A+E Networks.  A+E Networks is a joint venture of the Disney-ABC Television Group and Hearst Corporation.
Ultrabook is a trademark of Intel Corporation.

Audi Using Solar Power to Make Fuel

The automaker is using technology from SolarFuel to make renewable methane for natural-gas vehicles.

Audi is building a plant that will use solar and wind power to make methane from water and carbon dioxide. The plant, which will use technology developed by Stuttgart, Germany-based SolarFuel, is scheduled to start operation later this year. It will produce enough methane to power 1,500 of Audi’s new natural-gas vehicles, which also go on sale this year.
SolarFuel’s process uses excess renewable energy generated as a result of Germany’s push to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. There’s now so much renewable energy in Germany that supply sometimes exceeds demand—such as when the wind is blowing late at night. That power could be cheap enough to make methane from water and carbon dioxide, even though the process for doing so is inefficient.
To make the methane, SolarFuel combines two existing technologies. One is electrolysis, which splits water to produce hydrogen and oxygen. The other is methanation, which combines hydrogen with carbon from carbon dioxide to make methane. The company says its innovation lies in the way it’s combined the two processes.
SolarFuel’s chief customer officer, Stephan Rieke, says that the amount of excess renewable energy in Germany grew, in two years, from 150 gigawatt-hours per year to 1,000 gigawatt-hours per year. “That’s electricity that we could use for nothing,” he says. The amount is expected to continue to grow as Germany pursues ambitious goals to cut greenhouse-gas emissions 80 percent by 2050 using largely renewable energy (see “The Great German Energy Experiment”).
SolarFuel can’t compete directly with the wholesale price of natural gas. But it hopes to compete with biogas—methane produced from organic sources—a relatively large industry in Germany. It may also compete with retail natural-gas prices by building its plants close to consumers.
The uses of the technology outside of Germany—with its excess supply of cheap renewable energy—will be limited. The company is in talks with mining companies in Chile that currently get power from expensive diesel generation—its system could help such operations cut costs. The technology might also be attractive for rural communities without grid power (see “How Solar-Based Microgrids Could Bring Power to Millions”).
One major drawback of the process is its inefficiency. Its small-scale demonstration systems are only 40 percent efficient at converting electricity to methane. It hopes to improve that to 60 percent efficient in its commercial plants. Even then, when factoring in the losses from burning methane to generate electricity again, the overall process is at best 30 percent efficient. SolarFuel hopes to recoup much of that lost energy by using it for steam, but doing that is limited by the demand for steam and the infrastructure for distributing it.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Microsoft's New Secret Phone Project

Windows Phone 8 just came out in November, but it's not a huge shock to learn that Microsoft is already working on the next major version of its mobile OS. On Wednesday, a job recruiter for the company, Ashley Zenner, posted up a note on her Twitter account.
The Microsoft Careers link that was placed inside Zenner's Twitter post is for a Senior Software Engineer Post, but oddly the job description says nothing about working with the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface mentioned in her post. Here's what it does say: "The role will expose you to multiple subsystems across Windows Phone and requires an ability to ramp to new hardware and software technologies quickly."
So the big question is, "How does this new job involve UEFI?" It's possible that this position at Microsoft could be for improving security for the next version of Windows Phone, or perhaps a way to boost performance or maybe something that is totally new and unexpected. In any case, it's likely that we won't learn about this new mystery tech for months, or even years.
Source: Microsoft Careers via

One-to-One Mobile Targeting With New technology

The mobile device is the single device that follows a person around at all times. It lies on the dresser next to them while they sleep; it’s in their pocket on the commute to work and is utilized for communication, education and entertainment throughout the day.
Targeting capabilities in the mobile space are still limited but a recent development by a company called 4Info and their AdHaven platform has opened up tremendous possibilities for advertisers.

What Can It Do?

The Adhaven platform from 4Info allows you to target individuals on their mobile device by just knowing their physical address. This essentially allows one-to-one marketing capabilities through a mobile device.
One-to-one marketing allows you to target down to the individual. If you happen to have target lists for email or direct mail, one-to-one marketing allows you to deliver messaging to the individual.
When asked how this unique targeting option works, Tim Jenkins, CEO of 4info, explained:
"In mobile it is tremendously difficult to know what audience you’re reaching. The AdHaven platform uses household address (or more specifically, the household segmentation information associated with the household associated with the device), as a sort of “cookie” for mobile devices. This allows 4INFO to deliver extremely precise, durable, yet anonymous targeting. For the advertiser, it means reaching the buyers you want to reach, with less waste, and therefore much greater ROI."

How Can This Be Used?

This type of targeting presents great opportunities to advertisers. There are millions of records available through list management companies and many companies have a robust CRM database. All of these individuals are potential targets for the 4Info program.
If you don't have you own data, 4Info works with a wide array of data partners such as Acxiom, Nielsen, and datalogix. They can help you find your target market and deliver messaging to the right individuals.

Examples of Potential Programs

  • Upselling to Current Customers: By targeting your current set of customers, you can deliver targeted mobile ads about add-ons to their current program. Companies such as Comcast and Verizon Fios can advertise premium channels or pay-per-view fights.
  • Life Events: Many products and services are purchased due to major life events. The birth of a child, turning 65, and other life events such as marriage all come with the need to purchase certain products or services. Lists are available for many different life events and programs can be developed to finely target individuals who are going through these events.
  • Retargeting: When users fall off during the purchase cycle we often hope they will click on a desktop-based display ad. Why not broaden the devices you retarget on and utilize mobile as an additional channel? With additional options like click to call on mobile devices, getting someone back into the purchase cycle is easier than ever.
  • Segmentation/Personas: When combing through your customer database or a recent purchased list there is an opportunity to segment users or even develop personas based on demographic data. Individual campaigns can be set up to target these segments with specific messaging and landing pages.

How it Works

The proprietary technology analyzes millions of ad requests that contain a location. Algorithms identify a device matched a physical location.
The device is then assigned to a unique identifier. As time passes and the device registers at the physical location multiple times, it becomes assigned to the address.
Multiple phones can be tied to a single address, so you happen to be targeting an office, you can pitch your products and services to everyone in the company. If you happen to be targeting a household, you can make sure Mom, Dad and the children receive your message.

Why This Option Beats Out the Rest

No other mobile ad network has the ability to target at this level currently. Many networks offer the option to target down to the ZIP+4 level, but that can be as large as a city block and many impressions will be wasted.
Carriers like AT&T are working on advertising options to target mobile devices by phone number but the technology is still months away and there are privacy issues that linger over this tactic.

Cinema with IMAX technology coming to First & Main Shopping center

The First & Main Shopping center at twilight.

It will be called CineBowl & Grille and will include an arcade, bowling alley, bar and restaurant, according the plans announced today.

The owners hope the cinema will help invigorate the luxury retail complex that has been a source of disappointment for some merchants and area residents. The center opened on South Main Street at the onset of the recession in late 2008 and has been unable to fill shops or lure substantial retail foot traffic.

Wells Fargo, which lent money to the project developer, took ownership of the property in a type of transaction normally associated with a foreclosure-like event in November 2010.

In June 2012, a group of VT alums bought the property through a newly formed company, Blacksburg APF Partners, for nearly $11.8 million, according to Montgomery County real estate records. At the time, the group said its goals were to “stabilize” the center and complete its construction according to original plans. Part of the 24-acre parcel remains vacant.

The First & Main shopping center in Blacksburg will be expanded to include a 12-screen cinema with IMAX technology, under plans revealed this morning by a group of Virginia Tech alums who bought the center about six months ago.

Can New Technology Could Drastically Reduce Cost of Offshore Wind Power?

Suction Bucket
A new technology for anchoring offshore structures to the seabed could drastically reduce the cost, and increase the speed of installation for offshore wind farms; making the offshore wind a far more attractive source for renewable energy. The new technology, designed by Universal Foundation, will be tested in the North Sea where it will be used to support 120 metre meteorology masts which will be used to provide data for the deployment of future wind farms in the area. Betting on Mediterranean Shale: 3 Plays, 1 Winner What Traders of Commodity Stocks Need to Know About Rio Tinto’s Writedown Tapping into Pakistan's Massive Oil and Gas Reserves Oil Market Forecast & Review 18th January 2013 Algeria Hostage Crisis - Look to Mali for Answers What resembles an upside down, giant steel bucket will be lowered down to the seabed where it will then sink down into the seabed, and through the power of suction, become stuck fast, forming a rock solid foundation.

If successful in this preliminary installation, then the technology could be used as the base for thousands of giant offshore wind turbines which are planned to be erected in UK waters as part of the largest offshore wind project in the world, capable of supplying around 26 million homes with electricity by 2030.
Phil de Villiers, from the Carbon Trust, said that “the suction bucket foundation is a really great innovation for the industry as you can install it faster and at lower costs than conventional foundations. That is good for everyone as it brings down costs.”
De Villiers estimates that if this technology is used for the 6,000 wind turbines to be installed over the next decade, then around £5 billion could be knocked off the £90 billion total cost, because it is 20% cheaper than the traditional foundations used for offshore wind turbines

Technology is Killing Middle Class Jobs New reports suggest

NEW YORK — Five years after the start of the Great Recession, the toll is terrifyingly clear: Millions of middle-class jobs have been lost in developed countries the world over.
And the situation is even worse than it appears.
Middle Class Jobs
Most of the jobs will never return, and millions more are likely to vanish as well, say experts who study the labor market. What’s more, these jobs aren’t just being lost to China and other developing countries, and they aren’t just factory work. Increasingly, jobs are disappearing in the service sector, home to two-thirds of all workers.
They’re being obliterated by technology.
Year after year, the software that runs computers and an array of other machines and devices becomes more sophisticated and powerful and capable of doing more efficiently tasks that humans have always done. For decades, science fiction warned of a future when we would be architects of our own obsolescence, replaced by our machines; an Associated Press analysis finds that the future has arrived.
EDITOR’S NOTE: First in a three-part series on the loss of middle-class jobs in the wake of the Great Recession, and the role of technology.
“The jobs that are going away aren’t coming back,” says Andrew McAfee, principal research scientist at the Center for Digital Business at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and co-author of “Race Against the Machine.” `’I have never seen a period where computers demonstrated as many skills and abilities as they have over the past seven years.”
The global economy is being reshaped by machines that generate and analyze vast amounts of data; by devices such as smartphones and tablet computers that let people work just about anywhere, even when they’re on the move; by smarter, nimbler robots; and by services that let businesses rent computing power when they need it, instead of installing expensive equipment and hiring IT staffs to run it. Whole employment categories, from secretaries to travel agents, are starting to disappear.
“There’s no sector of the economy that’s going to get a pass,” says Martin Ford, who runs a software company and wrote “The Lights in the Tunnel,” a book predicting widespread job losses. “It’s everywhere.”
The numbers startle even labor economists. In the United States, half the 7.5 million jobs lost during the Great Recession were in industries that pay middle-class wages, ranging from $38,000 to $68,000. But only 2 percent of the 3.5 million jobs gained since the recession ended in June 2009 are in midpay industries. Nearly 70 percent are in low-pay industries, 29 percent in industries that pay well.
In the 17 European countries that use the euro as their currency, the numbers are even worse. Almost 4.3 million low-pay jobs have been gained since mid-2009, but the loss of midpay jobs has never stopped. A total of 7.6 million disappeared from January 2008 through last June.
Experts warn that this “hollowing out” of the middle-class workforce is far from over. They predict the loss of millions more jobs as technology becomes even more sophisticated and reaches deeper into our lives. Maarten Goos, an economist at the University of Leuven in Belgium, says Europe could double its middle-class job losses.
Some occupations are beneficiaries of the march of technology, such as software engineers and app designers for smartphones and tablet computers.
Overall, though, technology is eliminating far more jobs than it is creating.
To understand the impact technology is having on middle-class jobs in developed countries, the AP analyzed employment data from 20 countries; tracked changes in hiring by industry, pay and task; compared job losses and gains during recessions and expansions over the past four decades; and interviewed economists, technology experts, robot manufacturers, software developers, entrepreneurs and people in the labor force who ranged from CEOs to the unemployed.
The AP’s key findings:
-For more than three decades, technology has reduced the number of jobs in manufacturing. Robots and other machines controlled by computer programs work faster and make fewer mistakes than humans. Now, that same efficiency is being unleashed in the service economy, which employs more than two-thirds of the workforce in developed countries. Technology is eliminating jobs in office buildings, retail establishments and other businesses consumers deal with every day.
-Technology is being adopted by every kind of organization that employs people. It’s replacing workers in large corporations and small businesses, established companies and start-ups. It’s being used by schools, colleges and universities; hospitals and other medical facilities; nonprofit organizations and the military.
-The most vulnerable workers are doing repetitive tasks that programmers can write software for – an accountant checking a list of numbers, an office manager filing forms, a paralegal reviewing documents for key words to help in a case. As software becomes even more sophisticated, victims are expected to include those who juggle tasks, such as supervisors and managers – workers who thought they were protected by a college degree.
-Thanks to technology, companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index reported one-third more profit the past year than they earned the year before the Great Recession. They’ve also expanded their businesses, but total employment, at 21.1 million, has declined by a half-million.
-Start-ups account for much of the job growth in developed economies, but software is allowing entrepreneurs to launch businesses with a third fewer employees than in the 1990s. There is less need for administrative support and back-office jobs that handle accounting, payroll, and benefits.
-It’s becoming a self-serve world. Instead of relying on someone else in the workplace or our personal lives, we use technology to do tasks ourselves. Some find this frustrating; others like the feeling of control. Either way, this trend will only grow as software permeates our lives.
-Technology is replacing workers in developed countries regardless of their politics, policies, and laws. Union rules and labor laws may slow the dismissal of employees, but no country is attempting to prohibit organizations from using technology that allows them to operate more efficiently – and with fewer employees.
Some analysts reject the idea that technology has been a big job killer. They note that the collapse of the housing market in the U.S., Ireland, Spain, and other countries and the ensuing global recession wiped out millions of middle-class construction and factory jobs. In their view, governments could bring many of the jobs back if they would put aside worries about their heavy debts and spend more.
Others note that jobs continue to be lost to China, India, and other countries in the developing world.
But to the extent technology has played a role, it raises the specter of high unemployment even after economic growth accelerates. Some economists say millions of middle-class workers must be retrained to do other jobs if they hope to get work again. Others are more hopeful. They note that technological change over the centuries eventually has created more jobs than it destroyed, though the wait can be long and painful.
A common refrain: The developed world may face years of high middle-class unemployment, social discord, divisive politics, falling living standards and dashed hopes.
In the United States, the economic recovery that started in June 2009 has been called the third straight “jobless recovery.”
But that’s a misnomer. The jobs came back after the first two.
Most recessions since World War II were followed by a surge in new jobs as consumers started spending again and companies hired to meet the new demand. In the months after recessions ended in 1991 and 2001, there was no familiar snap-back, but all the jobs had returned in less than three years.
But 42 months after the Great Recession ended, the United States has gained only 3.5 million, or 47 percent, of the 7.5 million jobs that were lost. The 17 countries that use the euro had 3.5 million fewer jobs last June than in December 2007.
This has truly been a jobless recovery, and the lack of midpay jobs is almost entirely to blame.
Fifty percent of the U.S. jobs lost were in midpay industries, but Moody’s Analytics, a research firm, says just 2 percent of the 3.5 million jobs gained are in that category. After the four previous recessions, at least 30 percent of jobs created – and as many as 46 percent – were in midpay industries.
Other studies that group jobs differently show a similar drop in middle-class work.
Some of the most startling studies have focused on midskill, midpay jobs that require tasks that follow well-defined procedures and are repeated throughout the day. Think travel agents, salespeople in stores, office assistants and back-office workers like benefits managers and payroll clerks, as well as machine operators and other factory jobs.
An August 2012 paper by economists Henry Siu of the University of British Columbia and Nir Jaimovich of Duke University found these kinds of jobs comprise fewer than half of all jobs, yet accounted for nine of 10 of all losses in the Great Recession. And they have kept disappearing in the economic recovery.
Webb Wheel Products makes parts for truck brakes, which involves plenty of repetitive work. Its newest employee is the Doosan V550M, and it’s a marvel. It can spin a 130-pound brake drum like a child’s top, smooth its metal surface, then drill holes – all without missing a beat. And it doesn’t take vacations or “complain about anything,” says Dwayne Ricketts, president of the Cullman, Ala., company.
Thanks to computerized machines, Webb Wheel hasn’t added a factory worker in three years, though it’s making 300,000 more drums annually, a 25 percent increase.
“Everyone is waiting for the unemployment rate to drop, but I don’t know if it will much,” Ricketts says. “Companies in the recession learned to be more efficient, and they’re not going to go back.”
In Europe, companies couldn’t go back even if they wanted to. The 17 countries that use the euro slipped into another recession 14 months ago, in November 2011. The current unemployment rate is a record 11.8 percent.
European companies had been using technology to replace midpay workers for years, and now that has accelerated.
“The recessions have amplified the trend,” says Goos, the Belgian economist. “New jobs are being created, but not the middle-pay ones.”
In Canada, a 2011 study by economists at the University of British Columbia and York University in Toronto found a similar pattern of middle-class losses, though they were working with older data. In the 15 years through 2006, the share of total jobs held by many midpay, midskill occupations shrank. The share held by foremen fell 37 percent, workers in administrative and senior clerical roles fell 18 percent and those in sales and service fell 12 percent.
In Japan, a 2009 report from Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo documented a “substantial” drop in midpay, midskill jobs in the five years through 2005, and linked it to technology.
Developing economies have been spared the technological onslaught – for now. Countries like Brazil and China are still growing middle-class jobs because they’re shifting from export-driven to consumer-based economies. But even they are beginning to use more machines in manufacturing. The cheap labor they relied on to make goods from apparel to electronics is no longer so cheap as their living standards rise.
One example is Sunbird Engineering, a Hong Kong firm that makes mirror frames for heavy trucks at a factory in southern China. Salaries at its plant in Dongguan have nearly tripled from $80 a month in 2005 to $225 today. “Automation is the obvious next step,” CEO Bill Pike says.
Sunbird is installing robotic arms that drill screws into a mirror assembly, work now done by hand. The machinery will allow the company to eliminate two positions on a 13-person assembly line. Pike hopes that additional automation will allow the company to reduce another five or six jobs from the line.
“By automating, we can outlive the labor cost increases inevitable in China,” Pike says. “Those who automate in China will win the battle of increased costs.”
Foxconn Technology Group, which assembles iPhones at factories in China, unveiled plans in 2011 to install one million robots over three years.
A recent headline in the China Daily newspaper: “Chinese robot wars set to erupt.”
Candidates for U.S. president last year never tired of telling Americans how jobs were being shipped overseas. China, with its vast army of cheaper labor and low-value currency, was easy to blame.
But most jobs cut in the U.S. and Europe weren’t moved. No one got them. They vanished. And the villain in this story – a clever software engineer working in Silicon Valley or the high-tech hub around Heidelberg, Germany – isn’t so easy to hate.
“It doesn’t have political appeal to say the reason we have a problem is we’re so successful in technology,” says Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist at Columbia University. “There’s no enemy there.”
Unless you count family and friends and the person staring at you in the mirror. The uncomfortable truth is technology is killing jobs with the help of ordinary consumers by enabling them to quickly do tasks that workers used to do full time, for salaries.
Use a self-checkout lane at the supermarket or drugstore? A worker behind a cash register used to do that.
Buy clothes without visiting a store? You’ve taken work from a salesman.
Click “accept” in an e-mail invitation to attend a meeting? You’ve pushed an office assistant closer to unemployment.
Book your vacation using an online program? You’ve helped lay off a travel agent. Perhaps at American Express Co., which announced this month that it plans to cut 5,400 jobs, mainly in its travel business, as more of its customers shift to online portals to plan trips.
Software is picking out worrisome blots in medical scans, running trains without conductors, driving cars without drivers, spotting profits in stocks trades in milliseconds, analyzing Twitter traffic to tell where to sell certain snacks, sifting through documents for evidence in court cases, recording power usage beamed from digital utility meters at millions of homes, and sorting returned library books.
Technology gives rise to “cheaper products and cool services,” says David Autor, an economist at MIT, one of the first to document tech’s role in cutting jobs. “But if you lose your job, that is slim compensation.”
Even the most commonplace technologies – take, say, e-mail – are making it tough for workers to get jobs, including ones with MBAs, like Roshanne Redmond, a former project manager at a commercial real estate developer.
“I used to get on the phone, talk to a secretary and coordinate calendars,” Redmond says. “Now, things are done by computer.”
Technology is used by companies to run leaner and smarter in good times and bad, but never more than in bad. In a recession, sales fall and companies cut jobs to save money. Then they turn to technology to do tasks people used to do. And that’s when it hits them: They realize they don’t have to re-hire the humans when business improves, or at least not as many.
The Hackett Group, a consultant on back-office jobs, estimates 2 million of them in finance, human resources, information technology, and procurement have disappeared in the United States and Europe since the Great Recession. It pins the blame for more than half of the losses on technology. These are jobs that used to fill cubicles at almost every company – clerks paying bills and ordering supplies, benefits managers filing health-care forms, and IT experts helping with computer crashes.
“The effect of (technology) on white-collar jobs is huge, but it’s not obvious,” says MIT’s McAfee. Companies “don’t put out a press release saying we’re not hiring again because of machines.”
What hope is there for the future?
Historically, new companies and new industries have been the incubator of new jobs. Start-up companies no more than five years old are big sources of new jobs in developed economies. In the United States, they accounted for 99 percent of new private sector jobs in 2005, according to a study by the University of Maryland’s John Haltiwanger and two other economists.
But even these companies are hiring fewer people. The average new business employed 4.7 workers when it opened its doors in 2011, down from 7.6 in the 1990s, according to a Labor Department study released last March.
Technology is probably to blame, wrote the report’s authors, Eleanor Choi and James Spletzer. Entrepreneurs no longer need people to do clerical and administrative tasks to help them get their businesses off the ground.
In the old days – say, 10 years ago – “you’d need an assistant pretty early to coordinate everything – or you’d pay a huge opportunity cost for the entrepreneur or the president to set up a meeting,” saysJeff Connally, CEO of CMIT Solutions, a technology consultancy to small businesses.
Now technology means “you can look at your calendar and everybody else’s calendar and – bing! – you’ve set up a meeting.” So no assistant gets hired.
Entrepreneur Andrew Schrage started the financial advice website Money Crashers in 2009 with a partner and one freelance writer. The bare-bones start-up was only possible, Schrage says, because of technology that allowed the company to get online help with accounting and payroll and other support functions without hiring staff.
“Had I not had access to cloud computing and outsourcing, I estimate that I would have needed 5-10 employees to begin this venture,” Schrage says. “I doubt I would have been able to launch my business.”
Technological innovations have been throwing people out of jobs for centuries. But they eventually created more work, and greater wealth, than they destroyed. Ford, the author and software engineer, thinks there is reason to believe that this time will be different. He sees virtually no end to the inroads of computers into the workplace.
Eventually, he says, software will threaten the livelihoods of doctors, lawyers and other highly skilled professionals.
Many economists are encouraged by history and think the gains eventually will outweigh the losses. But even they have doubts.
“What’s different this time is that digital technologies show up in every corner of the economy,” says McAfee, a self-described “digital optimist.” `’Your tablet (computer) is just two or three years old, and it’s already taken over our lives.”
Peter Lindert, an economist at the University of California, says the computer is more destructive than innovations in the Industrial Revolution because the pace at which it is upending industries makes it hard for people to adapt.
Occupations that provided middle-class lifestyles for generations can disappear in a few years. Utility meter readers are just one example. As power companies began installing so-called smart readers outside homes, the number of meter readers in the U.S. plunged from 56,000 in 2001 to 36,000 in 2010, according to the Labor Department.
In 10 years? That number is expected to be zero.

New talking car Technology

SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) – They’re working on developing a talking car and Tuesday the auto supplier DENSO Corporation donated their technology to students at over a dozen local schools.
Southfield High School is one of 17 schools to get the advanced technology.

DENSO Senior V.P. of (File photo/credit: Vickie Thomas/WWJ)Engineering Doug Patten tells WWJ’s Sandra McNeill it’s not exactly the Knight Rider; it’s one car talking to another.
“… So you can understand what’s going on, what conditions did the car coming in your direction just see? He can tell your car what he just saw so you can be prepared for whatever that condition may be …”
“It’s not really talking to you – it’s talking to your car,” said Patten. It will display a warning on your car’s dashboard.
DENSO Corporation is looking to get feedback and insight from bright young students to improve the technology.
Pioneer high school junior Michael Schilling says he can’t wait to get his hands “This is an opportunity we didn’t think we’d get, now we get to try out technology that hasn’t even hit the street – so, it’s cool,” he said.
Denso hopes to get this technology into cars by 2019.

What is Inside of President Obama's High tech Limo

Sure, you'd expect President Obama's limo to be bulletproof and carry a few weapons on hand for defense, but did you know it can also be locked down in seconds like a mobile panic room? And that it has a supply of his blood type on board in case of emergencies?
The General Motors-built limousine, which looks like a Cadillac and is appropriately named "The Beast," is as heavy duty as it gets, with a super-strong structure made of titanium, ceramic, steel and aluminum. Not to mention the doors are eight-inches thick and there's even a back-up oxygen supply in the rear of the vehicle in case of a bio-chemical attack.
Meanwhile, the tech features are on another level. According to, The Beast has night-vision cameras, tear gas cannons and steel wheels that work even without tires. Although the cabin is sealed so no outside sound enters, it features external microphones and internal speakers so outside noise can be heard when needed.
There are also a few other bells and whistles that have been reported but not officially confirmed, such as the ability to shoot smoke grenades to hide the limo during an attack and a video system for the driver to see even in bad conditions.
Finally, you must be wondering how the presidential limo is in front of Buckingham Palace in the picture above. According to reports, it's flown on a cargo plane ahead of Air Force One, so it's ready when the president lands.Whoa.

what 50 Things we don't do beacouse of latest technology

Remember the days of disposable cameras and dialing *69 to see who called you? Talk about ancient times.
As modern technology evolves and pushes out the old, it's fascinating to look back at what's been replaced in the past few years thanks to tech advancements. The folks at Mozy have put together an entertaining infographic that highlights just how far we've come over the years and what items got the boot along the way.
What things do you think are currently on the way out? Will smartphones and tablets be old news in just a few years? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.