Friday, September 26, 2008

Tracking Hurricanes Live Online

This has been quite a season for hurricanes. I’m not going to get into the whole global warming debate here, but talk about how technology is literally saving lives when these storms happen.

Galveston appears to have been the hardest hit by Hurricane Ike. In 1900, Galveston had a devastating hurricane that claimed at least 8,000 lives. Back then there weren’t weather satellites, the Internet, computers or PDA’s. By the time people realized what was about to happen, it was too late.

Flash forward a century and it’s a completely different world. Not only were scientists able to track Ike for weeks, but we were too.

I found myself going to a variety of web sites to watch the hurricane develop, and track its projected path. I could access fresh images moment by moment.

I am sure that this proved to be a wonderful tool for the people in the path of Hurricane Ike. Those with computers or PDA’s had plenty of warning time, and plenty of time to evacuate to safety. Imagine how helpful it was for people with PDAs traveling in their cars to get the latest information on evacuation routes and other necessary things.

Yes, there was loss of life, and the damage is simply horrendous. But thousands were saved because they had direct access to warnings, evacuation information and where to go when it came time to try and return home.

Another example of what computer technology is designed to do. Empower, and in this case, save lives.

John W. Scherer
John is CEO and founder of Video Professor, Inc.
Contact him at

Friday, September 19, 2008

eBay has been in the news lately. JetBlue® used the popular buying and selling site to auction off hundreds of airline tickets with bids starting as low as 10 cents.

Republican candidate for Vice President, Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska brought the house down at the GOP convention when she talked about auctioning off a state-owned jet on eBay.

In both cases, the goal was more about PR than sales, and that mission was accomplished.

I have to admit that when our team talked to me about producing a tutorial about buying and selling on eBay, I was skeptical. I’m not anymore. It’s Video Professor’s No. 1 seller.

It’s a sophisticated buying and selling tool, the keyword being sophisticated. Think about having a sales tool that allows you to market to the world from your own home.

The best part about eBay is that it’s open to everyone. Not just commercial airlines or state governors.

This is yet another example of how technology and the Internet are opening a world of opportunities to anyone with a computer who has willingness to truly understand and use the power it holds.

John W. Scherer
John is CEO and founder of Video Professor, Inc.
You can reach him at

Friday, September 12, 2008

CDC reports alarming rise in cyber bullying

The Centers for Disease Control is reporting that cyber bullying against children from the ages of 10-17 has risen 50 percent from 2000-2005, from 6 percent to 9 percent.

I encourage you to read the full report.

This sort of “Electronic Aggression” comes in many forms from nasty instant messages, malicious and often fake posts on popular social network sites to text messages on the child’s cell phones.

The CDC makes the point that it’s not only adults on the cyber prowl, but other kids as well. Bullying is bullying, and technology just provides new ways for kids to pick on others.

It’s critical for parents to be involved in where and how their kids communicate on the Web and with whom. We developed a very useful tutorial, “Protect Yourself Online” to help you do just that. We worked with Cyber Crime Expert and Author Jayne Hitchcock on the project. Jayne was also a victim of cyber bullying.

This tutorial is a great tool to help protect your kids. And you too.

Please read the CDC report, and check with your State Attorney General for further information and tips.

Cyber bullying is a growing problem. While sometimes difficult, it’s important to sit down with your kids and be involved with them in person and online. Children are often hesitant to admit to being bullied, so work as hard as you can to get them to open up to you about any possible threats.

John W. Scherer
John is CEO and founder of Video Professor, Inc.
You can reach him at

Friday, September 05, 2008

It’s September and it’s about time!

A lot of folks head back to work after the Labor Day Weekend a bit depressed. It means that summer is over, and the next holiday isn’t until Thanksgiving. So there is a little blah in the air.

Except, of course, for those of us who love football, both NFL and college. We have picked our fantasy teams, spent extra money for all the game day television packages, we’ve found an even bigger flat screen than we had last season and generally, we’re a very happy bunch.

Our PDA’s have been programmed for scoring alerts, as have our laptops and desktops. Our Favorites list tends to be dominated by web sites of our favorite teams, both real and fantasy.

We’re not hard to miss. We have sort of a glazed over look in our eyes and a big smile on our faces. The best place to find us Mondays is by the water cooler or in the break room. If you can’t see us, you’ll hear us talking rather animatedly about plays both big and blown, along with no small amount of trash talking.

It’s a new season. Anything is possible. At least in your heart and mind, if not backed up by the roster.

Here at Video Professor, Friday is casual day and when Fall arrives, just about everyone here is wearing the jersey of their favorite NFL or college team. From the Broncos to the Bills, Texas to Kansas, our team is ready to root for their team.

The long summer is over. Football is here and life is as it should be.

John W. Scherer
John is CEO & founder of Video Professor, Inc.
You can reach him at

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Google: 800 pounds and counting.

I wonder how Olympic swimmers who had to compete against Michael Phelps felt? Years of training and preparation just to watch the ’08 Games Golden Boy feat.

It must be the same feeling for search engine newcomers like Cuil or Wikia.

Cuil launched over a month ago to much hype, and less than positive reviews. So how’s it going today? Writer Dan Nystedt of IDG News Service says Cuil has .0070 percent market share in the Internet search business. By contrast, Google® has over 70 percent.

However, Sam Diaz writing in ZDNet says that “nibbling” might be a better approach compared to a full frontal attack on Google. Death by a thousand digital cuts.

Ultimately consumers always need a compelling reason to switch away from something they’re familiar with.

Just a few years ago people asked, “Do you Yahoo?” Since then Google has become both a noun and a verb, and the first choice in search engines for most people.

As social networking grows in popularity around the world, some search engines might think less about market share, and more about niche opportunities. Less indeed, could really be more.

It’s all about choice, and there is plenty of it out there on Web 2.0.

That’s good news for all of us.

John W. Scherer
John is CEO & Founder of Video Professor, Inc.
You can reach him at