MIT Stata Center - June 2012
Last June, I decided to attend my college reunion for the first time. It had been quite awhile since I had seen many of my friends from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Many of the scheduled events were family-oriented, so I was delighted that my wife and our daughters drove up to Cambridge with me after school on a Friday afternoon to spend the next 1 1/2 days renewing friendships, as well as seeing my brother and sister-in-law. One of the events was a brunch on the Sunday of the reunion weekend. It was held at the Stata Center, a building with an unusual design that opened about a decade ago. It was a beautiful June day and our girls had a wonderful time playing with one of the interlocking design toys.
Who would have imagined that about ten months later, this same location would be the center of the world's attention? In the same area where my family walked, a young police officer who loved his job and the people he protected gave his life. From all accounts, the respect that the MIT community had for Officer Sean Collier was something special, something that will be lost forever. Perhaps his memory will be a catalyst for all of the good things that a community should be, not just in Cambridge, but around the globe.
The horrific events of last week hit home on so many levels. My brother has run in the Boston and New York City marathons in the past, and I have been a spectator in both cities. One of the victims was from his hometown. The little boy was the same age as one of my daughters. The graduate student was from China, where my daughters were born. My family previously signed up for several 5k runs and walks that are coming up soon. Besides supporting the various events, we will now also be thinking of all the families and friends impacted by the events in and around Boston, including those for whom recovery will be a very long-term process.
MIT always has been a leader in education and in trying to make the world a better place. I have never been more proud to be part of this community, which, regardless of where we live, feels closer today than ever. This was brought home yesterday with the memorial service for Officer Collier from the athletic fields at MIT. As an undergraduate, I participated in a variety of intramural sports at this very location. Yesterday, a tremendously emotional memorial ceremony was held for Officer Collier. The bagpipes, the color guards, the speeches of Vice President Biden and MIT President Reif, and the music of James Taylor with orchestral and choral groups from MIT all contributed to a very moving ceremony. The words of family and colleagues of Officer Collier brought it to an even more individual level of understanding the impact of senseless tragedies. The live streaming of the event by MIT enabled the global MIT community to feel closer to those in Cambridge.
For Officer Collier, Krystle Campbell, Martin Richard, and Lu Lingzi, may you all rest in peace, and may your families and friends find comfort in these difficult days and in the years ahead.
At home or in the air, consumers prefer mobile devices.
People like to have access to information while on the move. This becomes apparent when you consider the latest data from Gartner. The more convenient the information is, the better. While sales of PC's are very substantial, they are declining overall, whereas sales of ultrabooks (ultra-thin notebooks), smartphones, and especially tablets continue to grow. In fact, tablet sales are increasing at an incredible rate. Gartner reports that in 2012, over 340 million PC's shipped, versus 116 million tablets. Jump ahead to 2017 and Gartner projects that PC shipments will have dropped to about 272 million, while tablet sales will have soared to about 468 million units. Undoubtedly, there are many implications to this change. What started out as a trickle of tablet users will continue to be the fastest-growing device over the next handful of years. People will expect information in a clean, crisp format on their mobile devices. Working within mobile-based operating systems such as Android and iOS may very well cut into the lead enjoyed for years by the PC-based Windows operating system. Add the introduction of lower-cost mini-tablets such as the iPad Mini and these tablets should continue to grow strongly for the foreseeable future.
Hudson River activity from Liberty State Park (from iPhone).
I don't think that it's an overstatement to say that the success of smartphones and tablets is nothing short of astonishing. About a decade ago, the iPhone was still in development, still several years away from launch in 2007. The iPad was even further away on the horizon, with its launch not until 2010. The iPod had been around since 2001, but for the most part, its content focused on media such as music, movies, and photos. While the personal computer had been around for some time in the form of desktop and laptop machines, the success of the iPhone and other smartphones, as well as the iPad and other tablets, has in some ways made the mobile devices into an even more of a personal computer. Individuals select which apps to include on their mobile devices, in effect customizing all content. Once you add the convenience of the devices - they are lightweight and small, especially compared to PCs - it is perhaps not as surprising that mobile devices have become so popular. Internet access is a key feature of virtually all mobile devices these days.
The success is not limited to just the most affluent, although the usage does tend to be higher for this group. According to data from the Pew Research Center, lower income groups are flocking to mobile devices as well. 85% of those making under $30,000 had a cell phone as of December 2012, including 30% with a smartphone.For those in the $30,000-$50,000 bracket, smartphone use increases to 45%, and, unsurprisingly, higher as income rises. Ease of internet access appears to be important across the board, including the lower income groups, where just over half access the internet via phone. Online browsing is greater in the African-American (51%) and Latino (42%) populations than among the white population (24%). As of January 2013, 26% of those earning less than $30,000 had a tablet, slightly more than the $30,000-$50,000 group (24%) and close to the $50,000-$75,000 group (30%). With the rising popularity of the iPad mini and its lower cost, these figures should continue to grow. Important online activities for all demographic groups include accessing search engines, e-mail, social networking, and health information.
Blog Author - Ken Felsher
With over 25 years of writing, editing, and research experience. I enjoy sharing with my readers my love of working with content on a variety of subjects.
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