Thursday, June 30, 2005


Software Project Failure Rates

IT Cortex has a list of references to studies on the failure rates of software products. For large projects, the failure rates are very high--from 50 to 80 percent.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Search Books with Google

Google Print is on-line.


Yahoo!'s Social Search

Ross Mayfield on Many2Many has a great review of Yahoo!'s new social search engine called My Web 2.0. It requires a free Yahoo! account. This service allows me to "save" web pages and add metadata to the pages. I can then share my tagged pages with others. Thus, in return, I can search the open web like normal, or search only those pages tagged by me, or search only those pages tagged by my like-minded friends, or search only those pages tagged by the general membership of My News.

This is a three tier foldering service. The quality of the tagging (and hence the quality of the searching) goes up as the tier becomes more like-minded.

I love this. Yahoo! (like Flickr) is harnessing the power of complex adaptive systems.

I've noticed that since My Web went live last Friday at 10 am nearly 5000 tags have been entered. They are already conforming to a Zipf distribution, so common when language is used. In essense, the use of tags is not evenly distributed, but the most used tags account for a very disproportionate usage, so that--colloquially speaking--the top 20 percent of the tags account for 80 percent of the usage.

The beauty of this system is that anyone can enter any tag they want, but core meaning of the tag set emerges from the contributions of many, many people entering the same tags. It allows for both individuality at the periphery and coherance at the center.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


New iPod / iTunes Features

For what I spent on my iPod last December, I can now get one with an extra 20 gigs of disk space (60g), a color screen, and photo capabilities, according to Greg Sandoval, AP, via WashPost. iTunes is also adding capabilities to automatically receive podcasts. At least I get the iTunes upgrades. I wonder how much my 40g iPod is worth as a trade-in. . . .

Saturday, June 25, 2005


Two Old Shirky Pieces

Shirky got cranky about the Semantic Web. And tells us why there are A-list bloggers in a supposedly democratic web.

Friday, June 24, 2005


Summer Projects with Mac Mini

Nerd Vittles has 50 ideas for projects with your Mac Mini. From turning it into a Media Center PC to making it a web data server to integrating it into your car. See also 123macmini and modmini.


eBay Diversified

Rachel Conrad, writing for AP via Yahoo News reports that eBay is offering a $7/month retail website hosting service for small business (plus commissions). So now eBay is becoming a virtual mall landlord. Great idea.


Let me SEE that word, please

Visual Thesaurus lets you see the connections among words. Very cool! And other languages too. Try spring. Based on Thinkmap server software.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Google Sitemaps!

see the XML.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005



archive . . .

Monday, June 20, 2005


Critical Thinking on the Web

Tim van Gelder has a great website that brings together materials from across the web that bear on critical thinking.



Earn thousands of dollars as a free lance scientist. It is a great business model. They have a couple of winners a month.


The End of Corporate Computing

The MIT Sloan Management Review has a provocative Nicolas Carr article entitled, "The End of Corporate Computing."

He asserts that IT will shift from an in-house capital asset to a centralized utility service (like electricity or HVAC). Just as a electrical wall outlet doesn't care what appliance is plugged in (within a robust set of parameters), one day the network infrastructure will not care what kind of application (within tolerance parameters) runs on it.

Think about the different role software engineering plays in this world.


Free Arcade Classics

Asteroids, Pacman, Space Invaders, and Pong! Get'm at


New AI Programming Language

Tired of LISP and Prolog? Try ISO 18629. According to Robert Jaques at, this will be the greatest thing since . . . LISP!

(BTW, the International LISP conference is currently underway. One of my friends is giving a paper there.)

Thursday, June 16, 2005


I would like some dulce de leche, please!

The Star Trek replicator is coming soon to a home near your, according to this USA Today article by Kevin Maney.


The Return of the Apple

Ed Oswald at BetaNews cites a Fortune article says Dell wants to sell Mac OS/X on its boxes.

WOW! Talk about the impact on Microsoft -- and on Apple.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005




Two Big Brothers Gang up on Bloggers

Microsoft's China blogging service, MSN Spaces, automatically censors politically incorrect words, according to Jonathan Watts in the Guardian. Nothing like two big brothers joining forces.

According to Boing, Boing, even the US version of MSN Spaces has the censorship feature. They remove more than just the seven dirty words.

Monday, June 13, 2005


Can't Wait for the Thought Activated Google Implant

Joshua Foer in the Washington Post Book World reviews Radical Evolution by Joel Garreau. The book looks at several scenarios in which computered aided human life (implants) change the way human society will work. Reminds me of the pair of Vernor Vinge books I read over a decade ago, The Peace War and Marooned in Realtime.


'bot Tournament

The rise of software robots playing on-line poker games on behalf of their human masters paves the way for a 'bot tourney. According to the LA Times
The march of the machines will be celebrated in Las Vegas next month with the world's first money tournament for robots — and the $100,000 prize is drawing a handful of coders out of anonymity.
I want a 'bot who can wait in the DMV line for me.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


MS-Word and RSS

Just listened to the Gilmore Gang's "Gang War on the Desktop" (podcast). They were wondering why Microsoft is giving up it proprietary document format (my posting). One speculation is that MS is trying to stave off the RSS tidal wave. MS should embrace RSS. Just think of MS-Word as an RSS generator. Compose in Word, publish in RSS from the File pull down menu. "RSS as . . ." fill in the url.


Technorati Tags

Use the rel="tag" attribute.

  • <a href="[tagname]" rel="tag">[tagname]</a>

  • <a href="" rel="tag">iPod</a>

  • <a href="" rel="tag">Gravity</a>

  • <a href="" rel="tag">Chihuahua</a>

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


MacIntel is Hot

21 of the top 40 BlogPulse top links yesterday cited Steve Jobs announcement, making it the most blogged item in the blogosphere yesterday.

Monday, June 06, 2005


Sun's Policy on Public Blogging



I did not want to be the only blogger who did not mention the Apple switch to Intel CPUs - see the Ashlee Vance report in The Register. I gues this means I will not by another Mac until 2008 -- a year after the complete revamp. I wonder if this will hurt sales over the next two years.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


PowerPoint Backgrounds

From Brainy Betty.


Good Quote

Linus Pauling is reported to have said:
The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas, and throw the bad ones away
I found it here, but could not find an authoritative source. But this expresses the sentiment of one point I was trying to make in my 27 May essay.


MS Office to do the XML thing

The 'Between the Lines' blog reports that Office 12 (due mid 2006) will use the .XML file format as its default format. It seems the recent healing of the Sun/Microsoft wound is paying off. Apparently, MS Office will use the XML File Format which may be adopted as the OASIS Open Document Format . A MS official is quoted as saying the value of the MS products is in the user experience, not in the file format. Freeing the data from the application is a very good thing.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


Social Software

Michael Fitzgerald has a great piece entitled, Group Rethink in this month's Technology Review, which highlights the power of social software.


Pictures of the Blogosphere

Just discovered an old Ross Mayfield blog posting that contains a graphic that depicts what my Thinking on Thinking essay was trying to express.

Which was spawned from the Ecosystem of Networks posting which contained this graphic.


Change Your Mindset

Susan Kuchinskas reports in InternetNews a new Yahoo search tool called Mindset. After returning the search hit list, it presents a slider bar that allows a person to "tune" their search between "shopping" at one pole to "researching" at another.

Now imagine a search appliance that looks like a sound mixer with 300 sliders. I could then "name" my favorite configurations and save them. I would then like my appliance to continuously run my favorite configuration and alert me when the top search hit result changes. (Now if I could just get someone to pay me to sit around and search all day. . .)

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