Friday, November 25, 2005


USB Devices for the Person Who Has Everything

Digg pointed to this GadgetSpy article on the most pointless USB devices, like this USB Christmas Tree.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Innovation Commons

A podcast on the concept by Paul Schumann here.


Seeing is Believing?

Here is an interesting visual illusions page.
Perpetually Ascending


CNET Podcast Central

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Can you Digg it?
Digg is a technology news website that employs non-hierarchical editorial control. With digg, users submit stories for review, but rather than allowing an editor to decide which stories go on the homepage, the users do.

And from Digg an AJAX Wikipedia Search.


Free-fi vs Fee-fi

Doc says that pay for wi-fi (fee-fi) is like pay toilets.


Identity 2.0

In this ITConversation, Dick Hardt argues that identity will move from a Web 1.0 directory centric model to a Web 2.0 user centric model.


The End of Process?

Ross Mayfield advances an interesting hypothesis:
If a knowledge worker has the organization's information in a social context at their finger tips, and the organization is sufficiently connected to tap experts and form groups instantly to resolve exceptions -- is there a role for business process as we know it?
He starts by quoting Clay Shirky:
process is an embedded reaction to prior stupidity.
A couple more quotes:

Organizations are trapped in a spiral of declining innovation led by the false promise of efficiency. Workers are given firm guidelines and are trained to only draw within them. Managers have the false belief engineered process and hoarding information is a substitute for good leadership. Processes fail and silos persist despite dysfunctional matrices. Executives are so far removed from exceptions and objections that all they get are carefully packaged reports of good news and numbers that reveal the bad when it's too late.
John Seely Brown and John Hagel point out that while 95% of IT investment goes to support business process (to drive down costs), most employee time isn't spent on process -- but exceptions to process. Further, competitive advantage comes from how we innovate in handling exceptions. When something fails, informed and empowered employees turn to their social network. The informal network, or heterarchy, is where most business gets done.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


WiFi goes to College

Slashdot points to a Slate article that reports on the effect of WiFi in the college classroom. The more a student surfs the web during class the lower the grade the student gets. However, the more browser windows are open during class the higher the grade the student gets. What this probably means is that WiFi amplifies the natural tendency--it makes the dum, dummer and the smart, smarter.

Which are you?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Virtual World Business Brands

Here is an interesting paper by Betsy Book about advertising in Online Games:
Massively Multiplayer Online Games, also known as virtual worlds, have become increasingly popular sites for branded advertising campaigns. While most in-game advertising efforts involve established corporations working with game administrators to deliver targeted ad campaigns or the development of separate branded worlds, players who frequent some MMOGs are taking matters into their own hands by creating original brands for avatar clothing, virtual vehicles, event hosting services and more. Although amateur virtual brand developers typically have no previous professional experience with advertising or brand building, they use conventional industry tactics such as the creation of memorable brand names, product lines, logos and promotional web sites to create and communicate complex brand identities, spending as much as 50 hours per week promoting and managing their brands. With close readings of four member-developed business brands within the virtual worlds 'There' and 'Second Life', this paper demonstrates how each brand's identity is deeply intertwined with its creator's personal identity and the identity of its parent world. Virtual world business brands originally developed for their creators' own entertainment have unexpectedly turned into profitable enterprises that defy stable definitions of work and play.


Be Careful What You Search reports prosecutors introduced search terms as evidence in a murder trial in North Carolina.
Robert Petrick searched for the words "neck," "snap," "break" and "hold" on an Internet search engine before his wife died, according to prosecutors Wednesday.
Thanks to Slashdot for the pointer. "Will police in the future simply serve a subpoena to Google to find out what you've been thinking about?"


Two Interesting Podcasts

ITConversations RSS'd me two interesting podcasts

Monday, November 14, 2005


Watch out for Sony CDs!

Rob Enderle of TechNewsWorld reports that Sony is putting "rootkits" on their music CD as a form of Digital Rights Management. Unfortunately, rootkit technology is so powerful that it is used maliciously to turn your PC into a zombie.
Rootkits, by design, are virtually undetectable by anti-virus and anti-spam products. Even if they are detected, they integrate themselves so completely into the operating system that they are almost impossible to remove without going through a clean OS installation. UK outlet The Register recently covered this at length. In effect, you are generally better off buying a new PC.
In essence, Sony is "attacking" your PC, something that at least three states believe violate their privacy laws, and have filed law suits against Sony.

Postscript (11/15/05): Yahoo News reports that Microsoft views the Sony rootkit a threat to its operating system and will distribute software to remove the rootkit from Windows.

Update (11/15/05): BusinessWeek Online reports that Sony will discontinue distributing the rootkit. Sony is making available software that will uninstall the rootkit. This software, however, is only available after filling out an on-line form and giving the Sony website unlimited access to your PC--a cure that is worse than the sickness. Bad Sony.


Now THAT's what I'm Talking About!

Warner Bros. will, in 2006, start distributing 300 old TV episodes a month through AOL's Video on Demand. The service is called In2TV. From Yahoo News.


More on Google as an Ad company

John Battelle points to an Online Daily Media article that explains how Google is extending AdWords into print.
GOOGLE IS CONSIDERING SELLING PRINT ads in two Chicago newspapers, a company spokesman confirmed Thursday. The initiative, described by the spokesman as "a potential print ads test" would allow advertisers to purchase ad space in the papers through Google's AdWords system. The beta service, called Google Publication Ads, is by invitation only, even to users with AdWords logins. It allows users to select a publication or list of publications by demographics, circulation details, or keywords; design an ad that incorporates text and images; and submit the ad online. The ad will then be forwarded to the publisher for approval, and when the ad runs, the user receives a proof of publication and a bill.


Contextual RSS

Charlie Bess at EDS blog expresses an idea for which many yearn: RSS feeds that adapt to the context in which I am working.
With the growth of blogs and other information delivered via RSS feeds, there is no way I could ever find all the useful content that is out there. I know there is someone in the blogosphere writing about a similar concept as I am right now - somewhere. (P.S. Here is one that's close)

The business possibilities of this context based delivery approach would be significant as well. Allowing the subscription to a number of different feeds with only the pertinent ones being displayed to the situation at hand. Because the value is high and the technology is ready, it will happen someday soon. I just can't wait.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Getting on the Ajax Bandwagon

Slashdot cits a ZDNet Australia account of a leaked Bill Gates memo. In it he cites an earlier Ray Ozzie memo
"We should've been leaders with all our web properties in harnessing the potential of Ajax, following our pioneering work in OWA (Outlook Web Access)," Ozzie wrote. "We knew search would be important, but through Google's focus they've gained a tremendously strong position."


Forbes in self-destruct mode

Doc has a good rebuttal to this Forbes headline. Mainline media companies are running scared.


Into the 600 range

Paper Stats:
Abstract Views: 3245
Downloads: 1412
Download Rank: 695

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


TV on Demand for 99 Cents

Now we're talking. CBS and NBC TV programs on demand for 99 cents. See Yahoo news report. The twin cracks of Google Video and iTunes Video in the broadcast TV dam have had their effect. Soon the whole thing will come crashing down. Affiliates and cable companies watch out.


Top 10 Software Bugs of All Time

Wired has an interesting list of the top 10 software bugs. Here is one that we all remember:
1993 -- Intel Pentium floating point divide. A silicon error causes Intel's highly-promoted Pentium chip to make mistakes when dividing floating-point numbers that occur within a specific range. For example, dividing 4195835.0/3145727.0 yields 1.33374 instead of 1.33382, an error of 0.006 percent. Although the bug affects few users, it becomes a public relations nightmare. With an estimated 3 to 5 million defective chips in circulation, at first Intel only offers to replace Pentium chips for consumers who can prove that they need high accuracy; eventually the company relents and agrees to replace the chips for anyone who complains. The bug ultimately costs Intel $475 million.


Telling Stories

Here is a great piece on the value of telling stories. The punch line:
There is a much more powerful source of influence available to
anyone with experience as a human being — telling an authentically persuasive story.

There are six types of stories that will serve you well in your efforts to influence others.
  1. Who I Am Stories
  2. Why I Am Here Stories
  3. My Vision Story
  4. Teaching Stories
  5. Values in Action Stories
  6. "I Know what you are Thinking" Stories
Those you wish to influence begin with two major questions: Who are you? and Why are you here? Until these questions are answered they don’t trust what you say.
Thx to Jay Pelt for the reference.

Monday, November 07, 2005


RFID Collision IDs

Bruce Schneier at Wired News has an interesting report on Passport RFIDs. The issue of Collision IDs is important for protecting the information on the RFID from evesdroppers.

RFID chips, including the ones specified for U.S. passports, can still be uniquely identified by their radio behavior. Specifically, these chips have a unique identification number used for collision avoidance. It's how the chips avoid communications problems if you put a bagful of them next to a reader. This is something buried deep within the chip, and has nothing to do with the data or application on the chip.

Chip manufacturers don't like to talk about collision IDs or how they work, but researchers have shown how to uniquely identify RFID chips by querying them and watching how they behave. And since these queries access a lower level of the chip than the passport application, an access-control mechanism doesn't help.

To fix this, the State Department needs to require that the chips used in passports implement a collision-avoidance system not based on unique serial numbers. The RFID spec -- ISO 14443A is its name -- allows for a random system, but I don't believe any manufacturer implements it this way.


Artificial, Artificial Intelligence

Amazon has introduced a very innovative web service call the Mechanical Turk.

For software developers, the Amazon Mechanical Turk web service solves the problem of building applications that until now have not worked well because they lack human intelligence. Humans are much more effective than computers at solving some types of problems, like finding specific objects in pictures, evaluating beauty, or translating text. The idea of the Amazon Mechanical Turk web service is to give developers a programmable interface to a network of humans to solve these kinds of problems and incorporate this human intelligence into their applications.

For businesses and entrepreneurs who want tasks completed, the Amazon Mechanical Turk web service solves the problem of getting work done in a cost-effective manner by people who have the skill to do the work. It does this by accessing a vast network of human intelligence with the efficiencies and cost-effectiveness of computers. Oftentimes people do not move forward with certain projects because the cost to establish a network of skilled people to do the work outweighs the value of completing it. By turning the fixed costs into variable costs that scale with their needs, the Amazon Mechanical Turk web service eliminates this barrier and allows projects to be completed that before were not economical.

For people who want to earn money in their spare time, the Amazon Mechanical Turk web site solves the problem of finding work that they can do wherever and whenever they want.

Thanks to John Battelle for the pointer.

Friday, November 04, 2005


The Wisdom of Crowds

I recently finished listening to James Surowieki's Wisdom of Crowds on my iPod. He mentions three critical components to extract wisdom out of a crowd.
  1. Cognitive diversity
  2. Independent thought, and
  3. Efficient aggregation
He goes on to analyze what happens when one or more of these charactertics is missing. Great book--five stars.


High Tech Materials

This week's Time Mag has an article on advances in Materials Science. The two that caught my eye are on Maggie Orth and cloth that computes and on Abhinand Lath and floor tiles that compute.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Wikipedia into Print

Reuters via CNN reports that the Wikipedia may go into print. We just can't seem to shake the 15th century. Thx, Mark for the pointer.


More Vernor Vinge Singularity

I've just about finished listening to the podcast referenced earlier. Vinge's view of singularity is that change accelerates so fast that it become impossible to see/predict/get ready for what comes next. The acceleration hits a saturation point. The exponential curve turns into an S-curve. But the new plateau is so different than what was before, it is a whole new world.

He uses an example. We are now embedding networked computing devices in the inanimate world around us. Once there is a critical mass of the networked embedded devices, the inanimate world will "wake up." The intelligent toaster will "converse" with the intelligent fridge without the mediation of the human. The emergent collective intelligence will create a world unlike anything we can imagine.

Vinge suggests reading Accelerando (2005) by Charles Stross. to get a sense for this kind of world.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?