The end.

27 04 2012

Well, my faithful readers (all six of you!) the InfoMan2020 blog is coming to an end. Since I am no longer the instructor for Marketing Information Management (MCS*2020), I figure it is time to put this blog to bed. I’ll leave it up for the time being, but I will not be updating it any more.

Don’t worry, I’ll still be following technology and information trends, but I’ll be doing it with some colleagues over at our new project: PIM Labs. Come check us out at  We’ve got a podcast, a blog, and some other fun stuff. Join the conversation.

You can also find out more about some of the innovation and entrepreneurship work that I’m doing on my personal site:

It’s been fun…good luck to all my former students.

M.J. D’Elia


R & D Decline

14 11 2011

The CBC has an interesting story on the reduction in R&D spending for Canadian firms. Apparently, companies aren’t investing in research and development like they used to – although if you remove a few of the anomalies (e.g. Nortel) the picture isn’t quite as bad as the headline suggests. The article contends that universities and governments (at all levels) in Canada are doing their part to push the innovation agenda and now it’s time for the corporations to step up. When you look at the companies who are investing in R&D, Research In Motion (RIM) out invests everyone by a long shot. Although RIM has had some rough times recently, they still remain one of this country’s most important companies – especially when it comes to the government’s much vaunted innovation-agenda.

Read the full story here.

iPods and Thermostats

26 10 2011

Although this isn’t the typical “news” story that I might include on this blog, I think Steven Levy’s article on the new thermostat designed by Nest Labs is worth the read. The story discusses some improvements in thermostat technology that will help us save money (and the environment!) by managing our air conditioning/furnace/HVAC systems more efficiently. In particular the thermostat learns to adjust our heating/cooling requirements from our own patterns (not full artificial intelligence, but neat nonetheless). I originally read this article because the Nest Labs founder, Tony Fadell, designed hardware for the iPod and headed the iPhone team. In the end, I guess I just love good design (both user interface and physical objects). Who knew that my next thermostat could be a piece of modern art?

Read the story from Wired here.

Fast and loose with facts

2 10 2011

The BBC has an interesting video/short article on the fact that young people are a little too reliant on the grand old Internet. Instead of doing a little bit of digging, most young people simply believe whatever they encounter online. Check the source? Who has time for that?

After watching the video I was struck by the sentiment that the websites and stories must be true because they were delivered by Google – as if Google performs some sort of “fact-check” for us when we search. Relevancy algorithms and popularity rankings don’t necessarily deliver the best quality information on the first try (it’s called re-search for a reason).

Here’s the story from the BBC, or check out the video on YouTube below

Till Facebook Do us Part

7 03 2011

A recent study from American marriage lawyers suggests that 20% of divorce cases cite Facebook in the proceedings. Extramarital affairs begin innocently enough online (just as they do in real life) but a few flirty messages eventually turn into something more serious – and then you’re forced to change your relationship status.

Read the story from the CBC here.

Walled gardens and open access

29 11 2010

Ars Technica has a great article on the nature of academic publishing and open access. I wouldn’t typically write about this type of story for the InfoMan blog, but AT does a good job of talking about weighing the economic evidence. Publishing is expensive (even online) but it is also highly profitable (just check Elsevier’s and Wiley’s earnings). 

Of course, academic publishers face some of the same challenges that other content providers face when their content leaks into the “free” web. Publishers like their walled gardens even if they leave the gate open occasionally. Open Access models are great, but it will be some time before momentum shifts in this direction. As Adam Stevenson notes, the transition to more “open access” is desirable, but it will probably be pretty rocky.

Check out the full article from Ars Technica.

The new hard drive

12 10 2010

In a post on Google’s official blog, the company announced that engineers have been designing and test driving a car that can drive itself. According to their records the cars have logged 140,000 miles already – and some of those miles have been in real traffic conditions. While the technology make make automated vehicles a reality, the question remains are we really willing to let software take the wheel?

Read more detail directly from Google’s blog.