Learning on the Web
Taking Care of Your Cyber Health
It seems that some people have nothing better to do than wreak havoc by spreading computer viruses, and as a computer user, you should know how to protect yourself from malicious tampering. One place to start is by reading the article “How Computer Viruses Work,” by Marshall Brain, which you can access by going to the How Stuff Works Web site (http://computer.howstuffworks.com/virus.htm). After reading the article, answer the following questions:
- Why do people create viruses?
- What can you do to protect yourself against viruses?
Could You Manage a Job in IT or IS?
Do you have an aptitude for dealing with IT? Would you enjoy analyzing the information needs of an organization? Are you interested in directing a company’s Internet operations or overseeing network security? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then a career in IT and IS might be for you. Go to the U.S. Department of Labor Web site (http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos258.htm) and learn more about the nature of the work, qualifications, and job outlook in IT and IS management. Bearing in mind that many people who enter the IT field attain middle-management positions, look for answers to the following questions:
- What kinds of jobs do IT managers perform?
- What educational background, work experience, and skills are needed for positions in IT management?
- What’s the current job outlook for IS and IT managers? What factors drive employment opportunities?
- What’s the median annual income of a mid-level IT manager?
Ethics Angle (AACSB)
Campus Commando or Common Criminal?
Do you want to be popular (or at least more prominent) on campus? You could set up a Web site that lets fellow students share music files over the campus network. All you have to do is seed the site with some of your own downloaded music and let the swapping begin. That’s exactly what Daniel Peng did when he was a sophomore at Princeton. It was a good idea, except for one small hitch: it was illegal, and he got caught. Unimpressed with Peng’s technological ingenuity, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) sued him, and he was forced to settle for $15,000. Instead of delivering music, Peng’s Web site now asks visitors to send money to help defray the $15,000 and another $8,000 in legal costs.
To learn more about the case, read these articles from the Daily Princetonian: “Peng, RIAA Settle Infringement Case” (http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2003/05/02/8154/), and “Peng ’05 Sued by Recording Industry for ‘Wake’ Site” (http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2003/04/04/7791).
After researching the topic, answer the following questions:
- The practice of sharing commercial music files is illegal. Do you think that it’s also unethical? Why, or why not?
- What steps to curb the practice are being taken by the music industry? By college administrators? By the government? Do you approve of these steps? Have they been effective?
- What, ultimately, do you see as the solution to the problem?
Source: Josh Brodie, “Peng, RIAA Settle Infringement Case,” The Daily Princetonian, http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2003/05/02/8154/ (accessed November 14, 2011); Zachary Goldfarb and Josh Brodie, “Peng ’05 Sued by Recording Industry for ‘Wake’ Site,” The Daily Princetonian http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2003/04/04/7791/ (accessed November 14, 2011).
Team-Building Skills (AACSB)
It’s no secret that college can be fun. For one thing, you get to hang around with a bunch of people your own age. Occasionally, you want to spend time with just one special someone, but finding that special person on a busy campus can take some of the fun out of matriculating. Fortunately, you’re in the same love boat with a lot of other people, so one possible solution—one that meshes nicely with your desire to go into business—is to start an online dating service that caters to your school. Inasmuch as online dating is nothing new, you can do some preliminary research. For example, go to the Internetnews Web site (http://www.internetnews.com/ec-news/article.php/2228891/Online+Personals+Big+Profits+Intense+Competition.htm) and read the article “Online Personals: Big Profits, Intense Competition.”
Next, you and several of your classmates should work as a team to create a business model for an online dating service at your school. After working out the details, submit a group report that covers the following issues:
1. Services. How will you earn revenues? What services will you offer? How will you price these services? What forms of payment will you accept? Will you sell ads? If so, what kinds?
2. Appearance. What will your site look like? Will it have graphics? Sound? Video? What will your domain name be? What information will you collect from customers? What information will you provide to visitors?
3. Operations. What criteria will you use to match customers? How will your customers interface with the Web site? How will they connect with each other? Will you design your own software or buy or lease it from vendors? Before you answer, go to these vendors’ Web sites and check out their dating software:
- WebDate (http://www.webscribble.com/products/webdate/index.shtml)
- PG Dating (http://www.datingpro.com/dating)
4. Attracting Customers. How will you attract customers to the site? How will you monitor and analyze site activity?
5. Security. How will you guarantee confidentiality? How will you ensure that your site is secure? How will you limit access to students at your school?
6. Opportunities and Challenges. What opportunities do e-businesses offer? What challenges do they create? How would your business model change if you decided to run it as a traditional business rather than as an e-business?
The Global View (AACSB)
“Hong Kong—Traditional Chinese”
Hewlett-Packard (HP) provides technology solutions to individuals, businesses, and institutions around the world. It generates annual revenues of $80 billion from the sale of IT products, including computers, printers, copiers, digital photography, and software. Anyone in the United States who wants to buy an HP product, get technical support, download software, learn about the company, or apply for a job can simply go to the HP Web site. But what if you live in Hong Kong? How would you get answers to your questions? You’d do the same thing as people in this country do—go to HP’s Web site.
Try to imagine, however, the complex process of developing and maintaining a Web site that serves the needs of customers in more than seventy countries. To get a better idea, go to the HP Web site (http://www.hp.com). Start by looking at HP’s line of notebooks and checking its prices. Then, review the company information (click on “About HP” in the bottom right) that’s posted on the site, and, finally, look for a job—it’s good practice (click on “Jobs” in the bottom right).
Now pretend that you live in Hong Kong and repeat the process. Start by going to the same HP Web site (http://www.hp.com). Click on the United States (next to U.S. flag in the bottom left) and then Asia and Oceania. If you can read Chinese, click on “Hong Kong—Traditional Chinese.” Otherwise, click on “Hong Kong—English.” Then, answer the following questions:
- How easy was it to navigate the site and to switch back and forth between the U.S. and Hong Kong sections of the site?
- Identify at least five differences between the two sections.
- Does HP’s Web site meet the needs of customers in both the United States and Hong Kong? Why, or why not? How could it be improved?