Tuesday, December 27, 2005
To Fail or Succeed
Worldly wisdom teaches that it is better for reputation to fail conventionally than to succeed unconventionally.Which is taken from:
Keynes, John Maynard (1936). The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money. Cambridge, England: Macmillian Cambridge University Press, Chapter 12, section 5.Surowieki argues that to achieve better wisdom it is better for people to be in loosely coupled networks, than tight-knit networks. The exposure to diverse ideas helps more than the focus of concerted thought.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Storing Passwords On-line
The most important aspect of a password service is the trust the end user has in the service. This depends in part on how well the service encrypts the passwords. Unfortunately, the description they give--that they use "cipher block" encryption--is not self-evident for the average user and it sounds like they are trying to hide something from the technical user.
I suggest they give a better description for the average user--only use the word 'encryption' and then talk about how passwords are accepted, encrypted, stored, retrieved, decrypted, and presented to 3rd party websites in a secure way--include a diagram that a 6th grader would understand. I would also suggest including a more technical description of which type/mode of cipher block encryption being used (ECB, CBC, OFB, CFB, CCM, EAX, OCB, or one of their own making). We want to know that you know what you are doing.
Finally, some metrics would also add to the confidence factor: "15,392 passwords secured and counting" "368 websites safely accessed in the last 24 hours," etc.
Good luck, Agatra.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Wikipedia as good as Britannica
- Study performed by Nature Magazine found that comparing 47 subjects, Wikipedia is nearly as accurate.
- Wikipedia takes it a bit further and shows that since its articles are longer the errors/byte are smaller.
- NPR link for the audio comment on the same story.
Incremental vs Transformational Innovation
The xBox and PS3 focused on incremental innovation, whereas the Nintendo has focused on transformational innovation. I am betting the transformational innovation wins in the marketplace.
Patents hurt Innovation
Patents are about invention, that is, protecting inventions. Innovation is about creating new value. Patents block the availability of inventions to be used the creation of new value.
I personally don't mind awarding reasonable inventions patents for a short period of time before the invention becomes public domain. The same is true for copyright--short periods of time. I believe the recents extensions of the term of copyright is bad for America because it limits the availability for innovation. The Founders had it right. Corporate America does not.
Opps, That's a No-No
Monday, December 19, 2005
Free Give-away of Sun Servers
- Windows Live Local adds a 360-degree bird's eye view to satellite maps.
- Google Home page lets you customize your homepage with Web 2.0 "portlets/gadgets."
- Protopage lets you customize your own homepage with Web 2.0 "sticky portlets/gadgets."
- Bash has top 100 quotes from chatrooms.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
We're primed to think that talent is the key to success. But what counts even more is a fusion of passion and perseverance. In a world of instant gratification, grit may yield the biggest payoff of all.In the Editor's note at the beginning of the issue Kaja Perina comments on Steve Jobs' commencement speech at Stanford University.
He told of blazing a trail to the top of Apple, only to be ousted at age 30 after a board dispute. Jobs was appropriatelly devastated, until he realized that being fired didn't alter his approach to his work. On the contrayry it was the best thing that could have befallen him: "I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything . . . It freed me to enter one of the most successful periods of my life."
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
A frustrated grade school artist, Vashti sits slumped over her blank piece of paper at the end of art class. "I just CAN'T draw!" she tells her teacher. Her teacher first uses wit, then subtle yet clever encouragement to inspire her student to go beyond her insecurities and become, in the words of a younger boy who "can’t" draw either, "a really great artist."
Peter H. Reynolds crafts a quiet, pleasing story in The Dot--one that will strike a chord with children who have outgrown the self-assurance of kindergarten and begun to doubt their own greatness. His marvelous watercolor, ink, and, yes, tea illustrations are appealing in a Quentin Blakey way, especially as Vashti begins to go wild with her dots. The delightfully open-ended conclusion will have readers of all ages contemplating how they can make their own mark in the world. Highly recommended.
Monday, December 12, 2005
High Tech Humor?
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Web Services Security
How Professionals Avoid Learning
Competitive success depends on learning, but most people, including professionals in leadership positions, are not very good at it. Learning is a function of how people reason about their own behavior. Yet most people engage in defensive reasoning when confronted with problems. They blame others and avoid examining critically the way they have contributed to problems. Companies need to make managers' and employees' reasoning patterns a focus of continuous improvement efforts.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Anthropomorphic Interface Agents
World (Wide or Live) Web
When I started out, during the height of the dotcom boom, it was extraordinary how many of my customers, especially the local community councils, had no idea really of why they needed a website. They just knew that they wanted one. And you could sum up what they thought they wanted thus -
- A domain: a private, fenced off plot of their own on the new frontier
- A homepage: a manuscript, a monument to the people, their history, their past.
- A webmaster: a scribe to shield them from the complexity of publication.
Whereas, what they actually needed was -
- An address: Which is easier to find - a ranch in the desert or an appartment in the middle of town? A top level domain is an unnecessary conceit in most cases.
- An online community hall: A virtual meeting place, a means of communicating the present and the future.
- An editor: the software, not the person!
With those lessons in mind I'm setting out to get my local communities back on the web - the new web, the live web. They'll take up virtual residence at blog subdomains, located by directory 'signposts'. Their editors will be the text messaging facility on their mobile phones and they'll communicate news, schedules and updates through live feeds.
The World Wide Web documents the past, the World Live Web broadcasts the present and the future.
Into the 500 Range
Abstract Views: 4250
Download Rank: 589
Into 600s - 09 November 2005
Into 700s - 24 October 2005
Into 1000s - 18 October 2005
Three IT Conversations
- a talk James Surowieki gave at the E-Tech Conference. He explores some downsides to the Wisdom of Crowds;
- a talk Norman Packard gave at Pop!Tech on Protolife or synthetic biology -- creating living cells from non-living materials; and
- a talk by Bruno Haid on the convergence of Social Software, the Semantic Web, and Seach.
Saturday, December 03, 2005
MP3 Audio Books
They have five levels of quality. The "old-time radio" quality (8 kb/sec) small MP3s are free. The higher quality require a payment to paypal. The highest quality (48 kb/sec) cost $7.00 payable via PayPal.