We're going to start with news making headlines around the world the earthquake, tsunami and potential nuclear catastrophe looming in Japan.
Some analysts are predicting that it could take world technology hardware supplies as long as six months to resume normal flows. The quake damaged some Japanese tech suppliers while power shortages and transportation snags have hurt others. Sony said seven of its plants were not in operation on Monday. Several hundred Sony staff slept in one factory over the weekend because they faced problems getting home or because their homes were badly damaged.
NEC factories in Iwate and Fukushima prefectures are offline because of electricity and water supply problems and Hitachi has halted work at six factories. Fujitsu shut down 10 plants on Monday, while Canon has suspended work at eight and Nikon at four. The International Telecommunication Union is sending more than a number of satellite phones as well as terminals that can provide data services to quake stricken areas. Solar panels will also be supplied for charging the phones since some of the areas are still without electricity.
Changing gears, Microsoft released Internet Explorer 9 this week, the first upgrade to its browser since 2009. Microsoft's main selling point behind IE9 is the browser's ability to tell the graphics card in the PC to speed up to render graphics and motion more quickly. It also lets you interact with your favorite sites in a new way.
The buttons themselves are dynamic. For instance, if you are on another page with a download completes on the page corresponding with the icon, the icon starts to blink. If the icon is for an e-mail page, a number appears over the icon showing the number of new e-mails in your inbox. IE9 is availble for download now.
We have a couple of items for you in our news in brief this week. Some iPhone users in the US are complaining that their clocks didn't correctly adjust to the daylight savings time change, where the clocks moved ahead one hour early Sunday mornings. Users reported several variations of the problem, with some phones failing to jump an hour forward while other jumped forward and then jumped back. Whatever the cause, the latest problem is at least the third time iPhone users have seen trouble with their devices adjusting to daylight saving time.
A new market research study shows that Netflix's share of streamed or downloaded digital movies was a whopping 61%. That means 6 out of 10 streamed movies come from netflix. In 2nd place was Comcast with 8 percent and then Apple with 4 percent.
Game console and portably game player shipments declined in 2010, down about 3 percent for consoles and 30 percent for portable game players versus numbers in 2009. One analyst explained that the popularity of mobile gaming could have affected figures, while also some consumers may be beginning to wait for next generation equipment.
Hewlett-Packard CEO Leo Apotheker took a step out of Mark Hurd's shadow Monday, unveiling a new cloud computing platform that puts the company in competition with Amazon and Google.
Leo Apotheker, CEO, HP: "Not only will we help our customers transition to cloud through hybrid architectures, HP intends to build and run an HP cloud. We've launched infrastructure as a service for our enterprise customers, and we will be launching a public cloud offering in the near future."
HP also plans to open a marketplace that will include both applications and cloud-based services for enterprises, small businesses and consumers. To do so, the company will sharpen its focus on software, using the cloud to deliver specific functions such as advanced real-time analytics. Apotekar gave little detail on when most of these products will arrive, however.
HP's stock has been lagging the overall market since the resignation of former CEO Mark Hurd, Apotheker's predecessor. But Apotekar said he believes the company is on the right track.
Debuting on Friday night in Boston is an opera that features an unlikely cast of 12 robots. Called Death and the Powers, its the brainchild of MIT Media Lab professor Tod Machover.
The main character in the opera Simon Powers wants to leave the physical world, but remain there digitally so he downloads himself into what's called The System, which then interacts with characters throughout the show. From then on the main character sings off stage and conveys his feelings through a new technique called disembodied performance, which uses sensor and analysis software to translate the singers sounds and gestures into behavior on the set. After a run in Boston, the opera moves on to Chicago.