Sunday, December 30, 2007

12/29/07 many news agencies picked up analysis provided by research firm Basex, which chose "information overload" as its 2008 "Problem of the Year."

Many Americans share this concern. In a 2007 Pew survey, 49 percent of Americans described themselves as having "few tech assets" and said that constant connectivity was an annoyance, not a liberation.

But young people don't seem to have (yet, anyway) developed the same sense of aggravation toward technology that forces them to multitask. Many choose to do so, in fact. The Kaiser Family Foundation found in a study this year that most junior high and high school students train themselves early in the dark arts of multitasking, with most listening to music or watching TV while they read books or surf the Internet. 30 percent of students even multitask while doing their homework.

Will these students feel the multitasking pinch when they grow up to become the new generation of "knowledge workers," or will constant exposure to interruptions make them more adept at handling the massive torrent of information that flows through modern computers and cell phones? Or is the "do more things at once philosophy" simply a dead end that produces only monstrosities, like the Internet-connected refrigerator we've heard so much about?

We should probably add to it calorie-, TV-, guns-, and other overloads that we've been suffering for years now. Though, I am yet to hear anything about vacation overload :)

Friday, December 28, 2007

12/27/07 News Agencies
Beijingers were warned to stay indoors on Thursday as pollution levels across the capital hit the top of the scale, despite repeated assurances by the government that air quality was improving.

"This is as bad as it can get," a spokeswoman for the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau told AFP.

"Level five is the worst level of air pollution. This is as bad as it has been all year."

According to the bureau's website, 15 out of the 16 pollution monitoring stations in urban Beijing registered a "five" for air quality rating.

The main pollutant was suspended particulate matter, which is usually attributed to coal burning and automotive exhaust.

Chinese cities are reaching growth limits.
12/28/27 Reuters:

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N) (BRKb.N) is starting a bond insurer that would help state and local governments lower their borrowing costs, and is likely to lure business from established rivals struggling with credit market turmoil.

Buffett, often called the world's greatest investor, is known for taking large business and investment risks.

He has said, for example, that Berkshire is willing to suffer a $6 billion insurance loss on a single storm. The company was able to boost premiums following Hurricane Katrina after weaker rivals reduced underwriting risk.

Buffet's risk profile fits the one of a risk-taker, while in reality his larger-than-life bets decrease risks because they enable him to shape the situation. He always buys control, not risk. He times his purchases so that his ability to control the developments in the industry is at a maximum. For example, now everybody is out of cash and he can come in and define his new rules for the game.
Kinsey Steven G., Bailey Michael T., Sheridan John F., Padgett David A., The Inflammatory Response to Social Defeat is Increased in Older Mice, Physiology & Behavior (2007), doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2007.11.003
As seen previously in young adult mice, social defeat caused an increase in anxiety-like behavior in the open field test, but had no effect on learned helplessness in the forced swim test. These data indicated that repeated social defeat results in a proinflammatory state that is exacerbated in older mice. The implications of these data are noteworthy, given the strong role of inflammation in many age-related diseases.

These findings relate to the problem we considered during the Summer 2006 Principles of Invention course: physical injures cause older people disproportionate amount of suffering, and often are a precursor to a downward health spiral.
12/28/07 By JEANNINE AVERSA, AP Economics writes:
New-home sales tumbled 9 percent in November from October to a seasonally adjusted annual sales pace of 647,000, the Commerce Department reported Friday. That was the worst sales pace since April 1995.

"It was ugly," declared Richard Yamarone, economist at Argus Research. "It is the one sector of the economy that doesn't show any signs of life. It doesn't look like there is any resuscitation in store for housing over the next year," he said.

The housing picture turned out to be more grim than most anticipated. Many economists were predicting sales to decline by 1.8 percent to a pace of 715,000.

By region, sales fell in all parts of the country, except for the West.

In the Midwest, new-home sales plunged 27.6 percent in November from October. Sales dropped 19.3 percent in the Northeast and fell 6.4 percent in the South. In the West, however, sales rose 4 percent.

Over the last 12 months, new-home sales nationwide have tumbled by 34.4 percent, the biggest annual slide since early 1991, and stark evidence of the painful collapse in the once high-flying housing market.

"I think you can classify what we are seeing in the housing market as a crash," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "Sales and home prices are in a free fall. The downturn is intensifying."

A very interesting trend. People will be spending less money on housing and loan servicing, and probably more on staples, entertainment, and communications.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Seth Godin talks about his newest book "All Marketers are Liars".

02:50 into the video he says: "Technology gives you a shot at marketing".

This is control point of the first kind: "remarkable product", i.e. something that gets you a foot in the market's door. Two more control points to go: ... still need to find good words to describe them.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Why do some theaters innovate more than others?

An Empirical Study. Paul Dimaggio and Kristen Stenberg. Poetics, Volume 14, Issues 1-2, April 1985, Pages 107-122.


The authors develop a measure of the ‘innovativeness’ of the repertoires of U.S. resident nonprofit theatres and test hypotheses about the relationship between environmental and organizational factors and innovation. Access to potential patrons rich in cultural capital appears to make theatre repertoires more innovate, while dependence upon the market (as opposed to grants and contributions) is associated with greater conformity of repertoire. Theatres with smaller budgets to maintain, fewer seats to fill, and less need for earned income are less conformist in their programming than are large theatres with capacious houses and high rates of earned income. Holding size and dependence on earned income constant, there is no evidence that age, structural differentiation, or the presence of subscription audiences—all associated with ‘institutionalization’ – have either a negative or a positive impact on innovation. New York theatres innovate more, and are less negatively affected by growth and the market, than theatres elsewhere in the U.S. It is suggested that artistic innovation has come to depend overwhelmingly on the behavior of formal organizations and that, consequently, we must understand the principles that govern the relationship of such organizations to their economic and social environments in order to understand artistic change.

Market breeds conformity. Very similar to ideas expressed in Christensen's "Innovator's Dilemma": one one hand you have to listen to your customers, because they pay your money; on the other hand you don't want to listen to them, because they do not know what they are going to need tomorrow.
That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow; this, in a few words, is the entire Torah; all the rest is but an elaboration of this one, central point. - Rabbi Hillel, 1st Cent, BCE.

quoted from The Happiness Hypothesis, by Jonathan Haidt, p. 45, NY. 2006

The question of technology

Prof. Hubert L.Dreyfus writes

How can we relate ourselves to technology in a way that not only resists its devastation but also gives it a positive role in our lives? This is an extremely difficult question to which no one has yet given an adequate response, but it is perhaps the question for our generation.

I think I am getting close to answering this question. The key is to consider various aspects of the innovation process and determine pathways through which we become devastated or enslaved by technology.

We start by thinking about technology as an evolving system of interacting elements. The devastation occurs when on a certain step of the system evolution we, without realizing the consequences, become objects of control rather its subjects.

Consider iPod.
When we buy one in a store on or on the internet, we acquire not just the device itself, but also cables, iTunes software, automatic connections to iTunes internet service, and, finally, a certain way to interface with media devices. We say we by an iPod, but in reality, we pay for one thing, specifically a piece of hardware, but acquire a whole system of elements and relationships that has products, services, and processes built into it.
The enslavement begins in this cognitive gap between "pay money for" and "acquire" which we tend to hide from ourselves by using just one word "buy".
In order to enjoy our purchase, we have to plug ourselves into a technology, which is being continuously developed by Apple corporation. In other words, we become a part of Apple technology - a living, breathing, consuming, paying part, capable of acquiring further products, services, processes, and, ultimately, led to the next Apple technology.

1. Reinventing the Wheel: A Buddhist Response to the Information Age", by Peter D. Hershock.
2. H.L.Dreyfus (above)
3. Faïz Gallouj, 2002, Innovation in services and the attendant old and new myths. Journal of Socio-Economics, Volume 31, Issue 2, 2002, Pages 137-154.
4. Jeffrey A. Martin and Kathleen M. Eisenhardt, 2004, COPING WITH DECLINE IN DYNAMIC MARKETS: CORPORATE ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND THE RECOMBINATIVE ORGANIZATIONAL FORM. Advances in Strategic Management, Volume 21, 2004, Pages 357-382
5. Jonathan D. Lintona, and Steven T. Walsh, 2007, A theory of innovation for process-based innovations such as nanotechnology, Technological Forecasting and Social Change ( Article in press).

Friday, December 07, 2007

Voter fraud detection in Russian elections

gaika on slashdot writes
"A graph in the best traditions of Edward Tufte shows how the voting was rigged in Russian parliament elections. Initially some regions were showing higher than 100% attendance, but later on everything was corrected, or way too much corrected, as the correlation between winning party's vote and attendance now stands at 90%. I guess the people who have rigged the vote have never heard about Correlation Cofficient."

Putin's Party Share and Invalid Ballots vs Turnout (Relative %)

A fraud detection problem has been solved. There's a strong indication that election laws were broken. The Systematic Innovation theory predicts that within an unconstrained system the next step would be activation of the "control" element, capable of addressing the abnormality. For example, in a country with independent press and/or judiciary an investigation and, possibly, a lawsuit would follow.

Now, I wonder what is going to happen with this discovery in Putin's Russia. In my opinion, there are several ways the situation can unfold:

1. Nothing happens. The government and the press ignores this information.
2. Strong negative reaction. The findings are suppressed and steps are taken to discredit the authors of the study.
3. A weak positive reaction. An independent investigation is initiated and it produces a credible explanation of the events.
4. A strong positive reaction. A government investigation is launched and it produces a credible explanation of the events.
4a. same as 4, but the government doesn't find anything suspicious.

Depending on the outcome, we'll be able to see which "control" mechanisms are the strongest, and which ones are entirely missing.

For comparison: Voting results in Canada.

Macrovision continues moving into meta-data

Macrovision, which makes technology that protects videos and music against illegal copying, said on Friday it agreed to buy Gemstar-TV Guide in a cash-and-stock deal worth about $2.8 billion.
Macrovision is betting that a combination of its security software with Gemstar's interactive program guide, technology used by cable and satellite television companies, will allow protected TV shows, films, personal photos, or music to be available on numerous devices beyond the television.

Gemstar-TV Guide shareholders will get $6.35 per share in cash or 0.2548 of a share of common stock in a new holding company that will own both Gemstar-TV Guide and Macrovision.

Macrovision is trying to jump to a different S-curve. The industry transition to digital video formats makes their analog content security system obsolete. The gravy train they were riding all these years is about to run out of space.
They recently bought another meta-data supplier - AMG(?).
Google's acquisition list keeps growing, and growing, and growing...

Over the last three years there were no major innovation from Google's internal development team. All this despite their reputation for being the best and brightest.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Absolutely no bubble in technology

A new concept from Philips Design

The Electronics Tattoo film expresses the visual power of sensitive technology applied to the human body. The film subtly leads the viewer through the simultaneous emotional and aesthetic transformations between two lovers.


This effect would look really cool in movies, stills, and live picture frames.

Predictions for 2008: A massive data meltdown
"You'll see a massive failure in a year," Bapat said at a dinner with reporters on Monday. "We are going to see a data center failure of that scale."

"That scale" referred to the problems caused by the worm created by Cornell grad student Robert Morris Jr. in 1988. His worm infected about 5 percent of the Unix boxes on the Internet, freaked people out, and helped jump-start the security industry.

On a more cheery note, Bapat and other Sun executives said that the IT industry is also on the verge of a construction boom that, if it happens, will lead to big orders for equipment for makers of servers, storage systems, and other data center equipment.

The typical life span of a data center is only about 10 to 12 years, said the Sun executives. Thus, a lot of those data centers built at the beginning of the dot-com era need to be rebuilt. Other companies like Facebook are expanding rapidly as well. (Sun CTO Greg Papadopoulos mentioned Facebook several times, so it sounds like maybe Sun is working with, or trying to work with, them. Just a thought.)

National labs and universities are also looking at new centers. Next year, one of the national labs has plans to build a data center that will take up 500,000 square feet and consume 50 megawatts. (Big data centers now take up 400,000 square feet and chew up 40 megawatts, Sun executives said.)

Looks like a great opportunity to inject new technologies and/or capture market share from the existing players.

Another angle: solar power. Some of those data centers will be equipped with autonomous power units.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Will drones kill helicopters?

September 10, 2007 8:20 AM PDT
On September 7, NASA launched the Ikhana unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) from Dryden Air Force Base to take a series of smoke-free images from the Lick wildfire near Gilroy, Calif. After sending images of the Lick fire, the drone was flown over Oregon and Washington to observe 10 other fires before returning after a 20-hour mission.

Ikhana, the Choctaw Nation word for "intelligent," is a Predator B unmanned aircraft system which has been refit with scientific instruments. It is being flown out of NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif.

Drones have been extensively tested in various military applications. Now they are finding their way into multiple civilian usage scenarios. My prediction is that they will replace helicopters as high resolution air vehicles: from traffic monitoring to neighborhood policing to forest fired detection to geological research.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Another sign that PC is losing its relevance:

Sunday November 4, 3:23 pm ET
By Hiroko Tabuchi, Associated Press Writer
TOKYO (AP) -- Masaya Igarashi wants $200 headphones for his new iPod Touch, and he's torn between Nintendo Co.'s Wii and Sony's PlayStation 3 game consoles. When he has saved up again, he plans to splurge on a digital camera or flat-screen TV.

There's one conspicuous omission from the college student's shopping list: a new computer.

The PC's role in Japanese homes is diminishing, as its once-awesome monopoly on processing power is encroached by gadgets such as smart phones that act like pocket-size computers, advanced Internet-connected game consoles, and digital video recorders with terabytes of memory.

"A new PC just isn't high on my priority list right now," said Igarashi, who was shopping at a Bic Camera electronics shop in central Tokyo and said his three-year-old desktop was "good for now."

Smart phones and gaming machines seem to be the next area of growth. The only constraint remaining is service providers desire to restrict access to third party software. Nevertheless, I think in 2008 we'll see major shifts in the industry.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

WSJ writes:
Microsoft Corp.'s $240 million investment in Facebook Inc. -- a three-year-old company with more promise than profit -- represents a huge bet that the online advertising boom will continue and the popular social networking site will be among the biggest beneficiaries.

The software giant said yesterday that it will buy a 1.6% stake in Facebook, beating out Google Inc. after intense lobbying. The deal places a $15 billion valuation on the closely held Palo Alto, Calif., start-up. Facebook, which runs a site where people set up personal Web pages, expects to break even this year, on a cash-flow basis, with revenue of $150 million, according to people familiar with the company.

Facebook and Google move further into the competition for controlling the social graph. Microsoft's money give Facebook a little bit of a breathing room to improve their technology.
Also, it reminds me the early days of Internet Search engines when banner ads were all the rage. This is another sign that there's no new social networking business model yet. Good :)

From a system evolution perspective, the synthesis stage in social networking is over. Time to invest in performance improvement and discovery of a new business model. Remarkably, Google has not come up with anything new since search relevant ads.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Steve Balmer at CTIA show ( on mobile phone):
The goal of the industry--and of Microsoft--should be to create devices that work for both home and work and are capable of handling running business applications, unified messaging and gaming.

"In a sense we have to think about the phone as almost a universal remote control for your life," Ballmer said.

Ballmer even conceded that the phone is taking on a more central role than the computer for many people.

"The phone has a unique role," he said. "While the PC is the most powerful device, the phone is most popular device." In a world of services (think Windows Live) that run over a variety of devices, it is the phone that any individual is most likely to have at any given time, he said.

In some cases, the phone will be the computer.

"In many countries the phone will be the PC for people that have very little money," he said, pointing to a scenario in which the phone plugs into a docking station and connects up to a keyboard and television to act as a PC-like device, something Microsoft has been developing in its labs and hopes to start testing over the next 12 months.

As I noticed earlier, the phone becomes a disruptor for the PC ( displacement would be a more precise term). There are several factors that help it: the moore's law, maturing communications infrastructure, and, of course, opening up of APIs ( see Apple's announcement earlier this month).
Ad social networking, and you get an incredible potential for growth.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Brad Fitzpatrick on the Social Graph problem:
There are an increasing number of new "social applications" as well as traditional application which either require the "social graph" or that could provide better value to users by utilizing information in the social graph. What I mean by "social graph" is a the global mapping of everybody and how they're related, as Wikipedia describes and I talk about in more detail later. Unfortunately, there doesn't exist a single social graph (or even multiple which interoperate) that's comprehensive and decentralized. Rather, there exists hundreds of disperse social graphs, most of dubious quality and many of them walled gardens.

Social graph is becoming an important infrastructure for content/ad/goods distribution. Facebook emerged as an early leader in this space, but, clearly, Google intends to wrestle this control point from them. Brad proposes an open framework that would benefit a major established player, which doesn't have access to the graph.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Forty years after the publication of his law, which states that transistor density on integrated circuits doubles about every two years, Moore said this morning: "It can't continue forever. The nature of exponentials is that you push them out and eventually disaster happens.

"In terms of size [of transistor] you can see that we're approaching the size of atoms which is a fundamental barrier, but it'll be two or three generations before we get that far - but that's as far out as we've ever been able to see. We have another 10 to 20 years before we reach a fundamental limit. By then they'll be able to make bigger chips and have transistor budgets in the billions."

UCB Prof. John D. Kubiatowicz said in his CS162 lecture that Moore's law died in 2002. Silicon manufacturers moved from pushing clock speeds to building multi-core systems. This probably means that PC growth will slow down dramatically over the next decade. On the other hand, portable, mobile, and embedded computers, e.g. phones, that have a lot processing power headroom will spawn a large software industry.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Fernando J. Corbato in his 1991 Turing Lecture On Building Systems That Will Fail said:
What I am really trying to address is the class of systems that for want of a better phrase, I will call "ambitious systems." It almost goes without saying that ambitious systems never quite work as expected. Things usually go wrong and sometimes in dramatic ways. And this leads me to my main thesis, namely, that the question to ask when designing such systems is not: "if something will go wrong, but when will it?"

All inventions are, to follow his definition, seeds of ambitious systems.

need to work through this paper to extract good complexity/scalability problems

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Guardian on the latest trends in book publishing:
The survey reached across the globe, from Afghanistan to Vietnam, with book industry workers, whose professions ranged from editorial to marketing to booksellers and literary agents, responding from 86 countries. Over half identified digitisation as the greatest challenge facing the industry, with concerns strongest in Anglophone countries (71% of North Americans and 68% of UK respondents). User-generated content was cited as a challenge by 22%.

Digitisation is one of the key themes of this year's fair, with a number of sessions aimed at helping publishers learn how to tackle the developments in electronic publishing. Amazon and Google are in attendance, and suppliers of digital products have taken around 10% more exhibition space than in previous years.

Well, maybe I shouldn't be trying to publish my book through traditional channels.

From a system evolution point of view this would be a change in packaged payload that will ripple through the whole publishing business.
Guardian on social aspects of book purchase motivation:

Social competitiveness about which titles we read has become one of the new mass forces of the era and only middle-aged people are relatively free of it.

Driven partly by pressure from incessant literary prize shortlists, more than one in three consumers in London and the south-east admit having bought a book "solely to look intelligent", the YouGov survey says.

The biggest group, more than two in every five people, follows the traditional method of choosing their reading; relying on recommendations from close family and friends.
I started listening to UC Berkeley podcast CS 162 Operating Systems and Systems Programming with John Kubiatowicz as it star performer, and was immediately rewarded with phrases like "taming complexity" and "scalable madness". He is absolutely right - programming billions of transistors, living and breathing electrons at astronomical speeds, is a huge control challenge. Operating system presents a software engineer with a "virtual machine" that is orders of magnitude simpler, and therefore much easier to deal with.
In a similar fashion we give students, inventors, and innovators a five-element system model, i.e. a technology-independent virtual machine, that they can play with without knowing all the gory details about mechanics, psychology, or biology of the underlying elements. Like a child, who accepts the magical nature of things around her, a person working with a model frees her mind to focus on her creative transformation impulse.

Should use it as an example in the five element analysis chapter
Tyler Cowen writes about, what he calls the "Me Factor" in "his book "Discover your inner economist (p. 52):
To put it crudely, we must force ourselves to keep on paying attention. Ranking the pictures focuses our attention on our favorites. It also focuses our attention on ourselves, which is in fact our favorite topic. Me, me, me. It sounds crude, doesn't it? But if the "Me Factor", as I will call it, is operating against the art rather than working with it, our love affair with museums won't last very long.

This a very effective technique. We deliberately activate this factor during Reverse Brainstorm sessions, when participants are asked to "invest" into problems. The attention, and as a consequence, the quality of input is much higher than during regular brainstorming. People tend to take their investment responsibilities very seriously, even when it is done with "funny money". We further strengthen their motivation later, by giving them several more opportunities to make their choice count, either through problem analysis or problem solving.

on p. 54 he also mentions the biggest scarcity of all: "our time and attention are scarce."

another thing that is really scarce, especially in the group dynamics context, is trust.
Stephen B. Dubner writes about energy creation and consumption in the new SimCity:

On a broader scale, it will be interesting to see how the millions of people who spend time in SimCity, Second Life, and other virtual worlds contribute to solving real-world problems. Experimenting virtually with the costs and benefits of different energy sources is a great start.

Virtual environment is quickly becoming an experimentation ground for exploration of social phenomena. This trend can be compared to the Gallup revolution of the 1930s when a new opinion measurement technique (model) led to much better predictions of complex society-wide outcomes.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Power generation-usage mismatch

the grid is currently constructed to accommodate capital-intensive fossil fuel plants that need to run 24/7 to be most efficient and economical. The natural load, on the other hand, is the demand for electricity created by people's and the economy's daily rhythm. That demand naturally peaks when people are up and about and falls at night when they're asleep. Renewable energy sources, Mills argues, more closely mirror human behavior. Solar electricity production soars when demand does during the day. At night, stored solar energy and other renewable sources like wind, which tends to blow strongest in the evening, can more closely match lower demand as people and machines wind down.

The end-to-end power consumption grid is a large scale mature system, where infrastructure and control dominates production and use. As any other mature system it eventually gets out of sync with new ways to produce and/or consume goods/services/content/energy.
A mismatch between generation (Source) and consumption (Tool) patterns create an opportunity for new solutions, that enable more dynamic control over the flow of payloads ( electricity, in this particular case).

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The game [Halo 3] is crucial to Microsoft's efforts to establish dominance in the $30 billion global video game industry that has been dominated by Sony the past few years. Microsoft also competes against Nintendo's Wii console, which has enjoyed stronger sales this year.

Successful innovation creates non-linear growth effects. Cool products lead to more device sales and service subscriptions, which in turn create a larger installed base that feeds demand for additional games and services.

The game is a control point of the first type ( Geoffrey More calls it "unmatchable differentiation").
Installed based is a CP of the second type ( often called "platform").

Domination, i.e. a company's ability to dictate the pace of innovation in the industry is a CP of the third type.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

In attribution theory, the fundamental attribution error (also known as correspondence bias or overattribution effect) is the tendency for people to over-emphasize dispositional, or personality-based, explanations for behaviors observed in others while under-emphasizing situational explanations. In other words, people have an unjustified tendency to assume that a person's actions depend on what "kind" of person that person is rather than on the social and environmental forces that influence the person. Overattribution is less likely, perhaps even inverted, when people explain their own behavior; this discrepancy is called the actor-observer bias.

This is rampant in literature on invention and creativity. Attribution to personality is most often used to describe his/her work that had a major influence on the society.

From this perspective it is useful to describe invention as a personal event, while innovation as a social event. This way we can shift participants' attention from psychological to systematic effects.

Friday, June 22, 2007

As a result, some sites are turning to a new strategy to keep their services "sticky" and their users satisfied: They're not just encouraging them to network online, but to attend offline events and parties in the real world as well. Yelp now regularly hosts parties in big cities around the country.

Now smaller start-ups are trying use the offline-online hybrid model to gain momentum against community heavyweights like Yelp and Meetup.

Recently relaunched Going, for example, is a "social-event calendar" that aggregates announcements, encourages members to network with each other online beforehand, and lets them maintain profiles with favorite events and photo galleries.

"The secret to Yelp bridging the online-offline gap is the reviews," Yelp user Adrian said. "Someone's writing can reveal a lot about that person, so before I meet a reviewer in real life, I have a general idea of who they are and what they are like. With Facebook, I might get an idea of what a person looks like, what movies and music they enjoy, but reading something (that) someone has put a piece of themselves into makes a complete difference."

For social networking web is becoming an orchestration layer that allows people to identify potential friends and control the flow of social events in their lives. Very similar to what Dell, for example, did to PC manufacturing, Amazon to book shopping, and etc. Also, very relevant to the emerging click-to-brick model.

ARM dominance

What's the most dominant company in the technology industry? Microsoft? Google? Intel? How about a 1,300-employee British company named ARM?

ARM has created the chip design that is at the center of virtually every mobile phone on the planet. About 98 percent of all mobile phones use at least one ARM-designed core on their motherboards, according to research from the analyst firm the Linley Group.

Monday, June 18, 2007

On the history of the Cartoon Bank:

Q: Tell us about how the idea first came about for Cartoon Bank. Was it yours exclusively?

A: I’ve been a cartoonist for the New Yorker magazine since 1977. For most of those years I would submit between 10 and 15 cartoons each week and might get one accepted for publication. That’s the case for most of the other cartoonists at the magazine. In 1990, during a week when I had sold no cartoons to the magazine (despite having drawn 15, some of which I thought were pretty good), it dawned on me that perhaps there was a market for the cartoons that the New Yorker rejected. I convinced friends of mine, who, not coincidentally, were also New Yorker cartoonists, and who, not coincidentally, I was buying drinks for, that they had nothing to lose by having me scan their rejects and try to market them.

So, the original Cartoon Bank was made up not of New Yorker cartoons, but of the rejects. The New Yorker got the cream of the crop, and the Cartoon Bank got the rest. Commercially, second-best proved good enough, and these rejected cartoons went into many textbooks, newsletters, CD’s, intranets, and onto the fledgling Internet, creating a profitable business.

Monday, May 14, 2007

The network's patents are available royalty-free to any party that agrees not to file infringement suits involving its own patents "against the Linux environment." Under the network's terms, that environment includes not just the kernel at the heart of the open-source operating system, but also higher-level components including the open-source MySQL and PostgreSQL databases that compete with Oracle's own core products.

Patent aggregation/pool as a way to stave off competition.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

For EA and its industry brethren, USC is looking more and more like it will be an invaluable source of talent and ideas. That's because the university is in the process of forming what it calls the USC Games Institute, an "umbrella of activity" surrounding the research, development and design of video games that is set to encompass the various programs of study currently being held at the university's engineering school, its School of Cinematic Arts, its Annenberg School for Communication, its Institute for Creative Technologies and its Roski School of Fine Arts.

Virtual world is increasingly becoming real.

Monday, April 30, 2007

SCOTUS majority opinion on non-obviousness

One of the ways in which a patent’s subject matter can beproved obvious is by noting that there existed at the timeof invention a known problem for which there was anobvious solution encompassed by the patent’s claims.

So if I teach in my class that there's only four types of problems, and there's only three types of solutions, then every patent claim that uses any of the 4x3 combinations should be denied as obvious.
The question isnot whether the combination was obvious to the patentee but whether the combination was obvious to a person withordinary skill in the art. Under the correct analysis, anyneed or problem known in the field of endeavor at the time of invention and addressed by the patent can provide areason for combining the elements in the manner claimed.
I guess there's a premium now on discovery of a new problem.
A person of ordinary skill is also a person of ordinary creativity, not an automaton.
A curious statement. Before courts had trouble identifying what "ordinary skill" was. Now they will have to figure out what "ordinary creativity" is.

We build and create by bringing to the tangible and palpable reality around us new works based on instinct, simple logic, ordinary inferences, extraordinary ideas, and sometimes even genius. These advances, once part of our
shared knowledge, define a new threshold from which innovation starts once more. And as progress beginning from higher levels of achievement is expected in the normal course, the results of ordinary innovation are not the subject of exclusive rights under the patent laws.
The difficulty of course is how to establish the threshold in each and every technology area at any given time.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

BBC NEWS | Technology | Mouse brain simulated on computer

BBC NEWS | Technology | Mouse brain simulated on computer: "US researchers have simulated half a virtual mouse brain on a supercomputer.

The scientists ran a 'cortical simulator' that was as big and as complex as half of a mouse brain on the BlueGene L supercomputer."

The researchers say that although the simulation shared some similarities with a mouse's mental make-up in terms of nerves and connections it lacked the structures seen in real mice brains.

Imposing such structures and getting the simulation to do useful work might be a much more difficult task than simply setting up the plumbing.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Botanists discover the signal that triggers flowering - life - 20 April 2007 - New Scientist

Botanists discover the signal that triggers flowering - life - 20 April 2007 - New Scientist: "After a quest lasting more than 70 years, botanists may finally have found what one leading textbook describes as 'the Holy Grail of plant biology' – the molecular command that tells a plant it is time to flower.

The discovery may help scientists tailor crops to different latitudes – an especially valuable ability as global warming begins to shift climate zones towards the poles."

A good example how solution to a detection problem creates potential for a much more efficient control in its supersystem.
Yahoo, founded in 1995, had a three-year head start on Google when it was launched as a human-created directory. Google has always relied on software spiders to crawl the Web and create its index. Hard as it is to believe now, Yahoo invested in Google early on and used its engine to power Yahoo search results until early 2004 when it began using its own search technology.

Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin were unsure what business model they would use when they started their business. After snubbing merger talks in 2001 with Overture, the first search provider to use ads, Google launched its own pay-per-click model in early 2002. Overture sued for patent infringement and the case was later settled. Yahoo acquired Overture in 2003.

Technology story very similar to IBM/Microsoft deal in the early 1980s. A dominant company outsources service that doesn't make money. Then a new business model is discovered that boosts the upstart. The lesson: check outsourced technology for potentially new business models, i.e. the ability of the component to become the foundation of a new system.

Yahoo was too early in its quest to become a media company. After ten years of development Internet-based content distribution business model has not materialized yet.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Keeping clean tech down-to-earth | Perspectives | CNET "Electric power worldwide is over 40 percent of total global carbon dioxide releases, and it is the fastest-growing portion (in terms of human-released greenhouse gases). India, China and other countries are rapidly industrializing and bringing basic electric power services to their peoples. Their development, like U.S. electric power, follows least-cost options.

Our least-cost electric power options--coal-fired power plants--are by far our most destructive and dangerous ones. Coal burning directly kills hundreds of thousands of people worldwide in particulate, sulfate and mercury releases, thousands of tons of radioactive emissions yearly, and emits over twice as much carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour (kWh) as any other form of power generation. The coming costs from worsening droughts from Africa to Indiana, intensified storms, and rising sea levels will bring misery to billions."

PC World - Three Minutes With: Second Life Exec

PC World - Three Minutes With: Second Life Exec: "But they're not using traditional advertising means. The ones that do it effectively are providing a capability, service or product in Second Life to residents that they'll use while in Second Life. The actual proposition of creating a message or value around your brand takes quite a different form when you have a place to exhibit and make it real in the virtual world of Second Life."

Interesting problem - what and how to advertise in a virtual world.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

G.S. Altshuller. The Fantogram Method. 1971.

1. The success of any problem-solving method depends, to a large degree, on the imagination of the inventor applying the method. Therefore, we recommend that inventors systematically develop personal creativity.

Inventing a magical plant is one of many tools that can be used for such purpose. The goal is to stretch and extend one’s imagination beyond the limits of everyday experience, so that a lack of "fantastic" thinking would not be a barrier to creating new ideas.

In this exercise [creating a magic object - ES], the task is to choose a set of common objects (M) and add to it one or more fantastic objects (x).

The set may comprise a certain type of objects: animals, birds, plants, flowers, sentient beings, machines, communication means, planets, hypothesis, elementary particles, etc. In the beginning of the course, it is more practical to use non-technical sets such as animals and plants because psychological barriers to understanding them are usually lower and easier to overcome.

2. The major difficulties in inventing a novel magical object are as follows: a) Identifying the boundaries for a selected set of objects, e.g. animals; and b) a psychological tendency to stay attached to common objects from the selected set.

One of the most common mistakes is combining two well-known animals and creating a chimera. Historically, this approach was used in myths and fairy tales to create more compelling stories. Some commonly featured chimeras were mermaids, centaurs, and sphinxes. Today, this method tends to generate trivial combinations that no longer excite readers.

Since the boundaries between common ideas and creative, imaginary ones are rather unclear, commonly “invented” fantastic objects tend to remain relatively close to everyday experience, or stay somewhere near its outer edges.

Our analysis shows that good sci-fi writers approach this problem from a slightly different angle. The writers begin with objects taken right from the border line between a common object to a more exotic one. For example, an average person may combine a dog with a dear and come up with a “dog with horns”. A good sci-fi writer would take a wolf and combine it with telepathy, thus inventing an animal that hunts its prey by tracking its victim’s thoughts. (R. Sheckley, The Odor of Thought). The difference between the results is quite striking. Nevertheless, we find that even the most talented sci-fi and fantasy writers actively employ a relatively small number of techniques and objects.

3. To have a productive “invent a magic object” session an inventor must learn how to determine boundaries for different object sets. Practice shows that even the simple step of identifying certain parts of a boundary line, i.e. different criteria for determining what would be a typical boundary, is often sufficient for making good progress.
To enhance the results we recommend using certain “boundary crossing” techniques according to the Fantogram method.
A fantogram, or fantasy table, lists typical attributes for different sets as well as recommended techniques for changing their characteristics ( see Table 1). It is a variation of the morphological analysis method proposed by F.Zwicky.

Transformation techniques
Generic Characteristic Specific Characteristic A B C D E F G H I
1g 1s

2g 2s

3g 3s

4g 4s

5g 5s

6g 6s

7g 7s

8g 8s

9g 9s

10g 10s

11g 11s

Table 1. A general purpose fantogram.
For an imagination development exercise we recommend the following generic boundary charactheristics (Column 1):
1g – chemical composition or physical state
2g – micro-structure ( e.g.. a sub-system of a object from the M group)
3g – object itself
4g – super-structure ( e.g. a super-system for the object)
5g – direction of evolution
6g – replication
7g – energy source
8g – transportation method
9g – habitat
10g – level of organization and/or control
11g – purpose, meaning of existence
These characteristics are key boundary segments for many technical and non-technical groups of objects.
Since any particular exercise involves objects from just one group, e.g. animals, we fill in some specific attributes for Column 2:
1s – proteins
2s – cells
3s - body
4s – pack, community, etc.
5s – from cell to organ, body
6s – reproduction, e.g. sexual, cloning, etc.
7s – oxidation of food
8s – walking, running, swimming, flying
9s – soil, water, air, etc.
10s – from chemical reactions within cell to laws in society
11s – food source, biological regulator, etc.

The transformation techniques can vary, but for traing purposes we use the following:
A – increase, decrease
B – combine, break apart
C – “anti-attribute” , i.e. change property to its opposite
D – speed up, slow down
E – shift forward and/or shift backward in time
F – change key dependencies, e.g. “property – time”, “structure – time”
G – separate the object from its function and/or attribute
H – change key relationship between the object and its environment
I – change an environmental ( physical) constant

The process of inventing a magic object using a fantogram involves five steps:
Step 1: Select a group of objects and fill in its specific characteristics in Column 2. (We just did it above for “animals”).
Step 2. Select a cell from the table that combines a characteristic of the group and a transformation technique
For example, take a combination of attribute 3S with technique A, i.e. “body – increase”. This means we are going to consider an animal whose size increases beyond customary boundaries.
Step 3. Run a “thought experiment” by applying the transformation technique to the characteristic.
Begin by imagining the animal gradually growing in size, as big as a mountain, a continent, an ocean, a planet a star.. (E.g. “ocean animal” in Solaris, by Stanislaw Lem; “planet animal in “When the World Screamed”, by A.C. Doyle).
Note: * Pay attention to concepts concepts created in the process because once in a while novel ideas start showing up in step 3.
Step 4. Select one of the ideas generated in the previous step. For example, let’s focus on an animal-mountain.
Step 5. Consider other characteristics from the table and apply them to the idea selected in step 4. For example, how does our animal-mountain grow (5s)? What does it eat (7s)? How does it move around (8s)? Where does it live (9s)?
Even first attempts to answer these questions may lead to interesting variations on the initial idea of the animal-mountain.
For example, a whale can be considered an “animal half-mountain” that lives in water. Animal-mountains could also live in solid environments or in an atmosphere. Imagine that The Great Red Spot on Jupiter is one of those animal-mountains…

Now that we have a specific object and have determined some of its characteristics, shift your attention to unexplored transformation techniques in columns B through I. Tackle the questions, “how does it eat?” etc mentioned in Step 5. For example, pick G, “separate the object from its characteristic.” Consider a small animal that can transform into a big one or behave like something other that itself. This means that the animal itself is small, but it looks or behaves like a big one. An example from nature would be a tiny spider that builds a large web, a foldable extension of its body. The spider spreads the web to capture its prey, and then takes it down before moving on to new hunting grounds ( a spider usually eats its old web before building a new one).
So, the animal has to be small AND big at the same time. Maybe it expands like gas? Let’s see how this could work. A relaxed, solid or liquid, animal lies quietly on the lawn. But when it wants to catch its prey, it “evaporates”, and becomes the size of a mountain, and hunts down its food. Such transition can be accomplished, for example, by a change in body temperature: warm-up, evaporate, condense, merge back into one small quiet body. An animal made of mercury rather than proteins.
This is just one of simple combinations of a characteristic and a transformation technique. If we try other combinations we may come up with a more exotic species. For example, in one of the training sessions, students combined characteristic 5k with technique G. They considered the same group, animals, but chose to separate its evolution from the animal itself.
In the beginning, this approach felt completely unworkable: how is it possible to separate the animal from its evolution? After some thinking, they figured out that technology evolution develops along similar lines: new ideas are tried on models, the best ones are selected, and mass production begins.
This way of thinking lead them to imagine a fish that, due to climate or other environmental changes, had to move to dry land. They imagined a fish that could create new variations of itself. The fish approached dry land. It didn’t know what dry land was, so it spawned lots of different fish variations. Some crawling, some jumping, some cold blooded, some warm blooded, etc. The vast majority of them died, but few returned – they passed the survival test. The parent fish then chose its favorite offspring model. The new generation of fish was created from the best model and moved onto dry land. Mission accomplished!
Later, the students found that this idea was genuinely new and it had not been anticipated in sci-fi literature. And it’s quite good too, since it’s built upon a fantastic notion, not a logical one.
Well, is this idea just a fantasy? Probably not. It’s quite possible that 30-50 years from now, space vehicles will be built using this principle. They might become capable of replicating and advancing in completely unknown, unpredictable environments.

Recommended exercises:
  1. Identify fantogram cells that represent:
    1. plasma creatures that live on the Sun;
    2. evolution that unfolds through changes in the same body, not through generational change;
    3. sentient ants;
    4. The Cheshire Cat.
  2. Describe a fantastic plant per 8u-C.
  3. Describe a fantastic plant per 8u-G.
  4. Describe fantastic clothing per 3u-H.
  5. Describe a fantastic building per 9u-C.
  6. Describe a fantastic source of light per 7u-C

A most common mistake in fantogram-based training is haste. We don’t recommend more than one imagination development session per day. Concepts must be thought through thoroughly, without unnecessary jumping from one concept to another. It is very important to learn focused imaginative thinking before taking on more difficult inventive tasks.

© G. Altshuller, 1971.
© E. Shteyn, 2007. English translation.

The association is urging locals to come up with their own ideas for the area's gardens and post them in the online world of Second Life, where people create virtual doubles of themselves called avatars.

Accomplir will shortlist five of the best projects, which will then be displayed on an island in Second Life.

The winner will be announced at the end of June and receive a reward of 275,000 linden dollars (785 euros, £530), the currency used in Second Life.

Accomplir will then go to the town hall with the winning idea, aiming to put pressure on officials to speed up the redevelopment process.

The alternative universe provides more opportunities for influencing the so-called real life. Blogging was just the beginning of the evolution. With regard to ideas, virutal world is a lot more productive than the material one. The selection process is also very scalable.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Research by security firm Symantec suggests that the raw value of a WoW account is now higher than a credit card and its associated verification data.

One card can be sold for up to $6 (£3) suggests Symantec, but a WoW account will be worth at least $10. An account that has several high level characters associated with it could be worth far more as the gold and rare items can be sold for real cash.

The value of virtual goods is increasing.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Microsoft has followed a rival in advocating virtualization as a way to try out software painlessly.

Microsoft's Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) format can be used to collect an operating system, higher-level software and specific configuration details into a single package. A particular VHD image can be loaded into a virtual machine software such as Microsoft's Virtual Server product.

A good example of the "virutalization" trend.
Larry Sanger was a co-founder and first paid editor of the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia.

Wikipedia has grown to be quite big. How do you plan on competing with them? Do you really think we need another wiki?
Sanger: I think we absolutely need another wiki--first of all, simply because Wikipedia lacks credibility, unfortunately. It's a good starting place, as people say--on some subjects anyway--but it isn't really what we want out of a reliable reference resource. And frankly, I don't think that the Wikipedia community is prepared to make the changes that I think need to be made in order to transform Wikipedia into something that's really reliable.

Integrity problem. The new site tries to compete with a "good enough solution". History shows that this approach rarely leads to success. Maybe there's a specialization area where they can establish credibility.
Google makes mashup easy to make

a new feature of its maps service that it plans to launch on Thursday called My Maps. It lets anyone create mashups by essentially pointing, clicking, dragging and dropping. I used a temporary log in and password since the feature hadn't publicly launched yet, but normally I would log in using my Google account information.

Simplifying user control enables greater flow of information. Users can easily add his/her own software "tools" to Google's ecosystem. Each tool has a built-in control dependency on Google Maps ( source), which creates a long-term control point in the mashup application space.
Control is made easy and its elements are given away - a powerful approach to control point creation.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

WASHINGTON--A rift has arisen among larger technology companies and smaller venture capital firms over whether dramatic changes to U.S. patent law are necessary.

You can clearly see the difference in opinion between players primarily associated with invention e.g. VCs, vs. the those who's business is almost pure innovation, e.g. Cisco.

Thursday, March 22, 2007
The preferred delivery for these Web 2.0 technologies, however, is through integrated product suites, the CIOs said. That's because these corporations are concerned with integrating new tools with the software from their existing suppliers.

"When asked if they would prefer offerings from major incumbent vendors like Microsoft, IBM, or Oracle rather than from smaller pure play firms like Socialtext, NewsGator, or MindTouch, the vast majority of CIOs indicated a preference for large vendors," according to the study which was written by G. Oliver Young.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Blogs turn 10--who's the father?
Blogs: The evolution

Sometime in 1971
Stanford's Les Earnest creates the "finger" protocol.

December 1977
The finger protocol becomes an official standard.

January 1994
Swarthmore student Justin Hall begins compiling lists of links at his site,, and continues adding to the site for 11 years.

January 1995
Early online diarist Carolyn Burke publishes her first entry for Carolyn's Diary.

April 1997
Dave Winer launches Scripting News, which he calls the longest-running Web log currently on the Internet.

September 1997
Slashdot begins publishing "News for Nerds."

December 1997
Jorn Barger's site apparently becomes the first to call itself a Web log.

Sometime in 1999
• Brad Fitzpatrick launches Livejournal, which he calls his "accidental success."
• Peter Merholz of declares he has decided "to pronounce the word 'weblog' as 'wee-blog.' Or 'blog' for short."
• The word "blog" first appears in print, according to dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster.

August 1999
Three friends who founded a San Francisco start-up called Pyra Labs create a tool called Blogger "more or less on a whim."

January 2001
First crop of blogs nominated for the "Bloggies" award.

October 2001
First version of Movable Type content management software becomes available.

February 2003
Google acquires Pyra and its Blogger software.

May 2003
First official version of WordPress open-source blogging software released for download.

October 2003
Six Apart releases first version of its Typepad blogging service.

January 2004
Boston-based Steve Garfield launches his video blog, considered one of the first such "vlogs."

October 2005
VeriSign buys Dave Winer's Around the same time, AOL snaps up blog publisher Weblogs Inc.

February 2006
Veteran blogger Jason Kottke abandons his yearlong attempt to live off of micropayments through his blog.

January 2007
Members of the Media Bloggers Association are among the first bloggers to receive press credentials from a federal court.

February 2007
Freelance video blogger Josh Wolf becomes the longest-serving journalist behind bars in U.S. history, on contempt charges.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Mystery mashup of Apple 1984 ad could mark new campaign era | | CNET

Mystery mashup of Apple 1984 ad could mark new campaign era | | CNET "March 19, 2007 11:09 AM PDT
Mystery mashup of Apple 1984 ad could mark new campaign era

No one is taking credit for a presidential campaign ad buzzing around the Web via YouTube that plays off Apple Computer's famous 1984 Super Bowl ad teasing the introduction of the Macintosh. But bloggers have their own theories--and plenty of them--on its origin and its significance as an example of a new political advertising frontier resulting from emerging and converging media."

Sunday, March 18, 2007
Box office data this year suggests that filmgoers seem to be having a great time at the multiplexes. The critics, by contrast, may be shopping around for a new line of work.

In reviewing "300" last week, for example, A.O. (Tony) Scott of the New York Times, said the movie was "as violent as 'Apocalypto' and twice as stupid."

That comment reflected the consensus among critics not only on "300" but also on "Ghost Rider," "Wild Hogs," "Norbit" and the other movie miscreants unleashed on the public since Oscar time.

The situation underscores yet again the disconnect between the cinematic appetites of critics vs. those of the popcorn crowd. The kids who storm their multiplexes to catch the opening of "Night at the Museum" don't give a damn what the critics think ("Museum" has passed $525 million worldwide).

The distribution gurus say they prefer "four-quadrant movies," but I"d suggest that there are only two: One quadrant consists of the hardcore fans who are propelled by "buzz" and the second embraces the rest of the filmgoing public who wait to learn whether the movie"s any good or not.

So several questions present themselves: If the established media want to stay relevant, should their critics make a passing attempt to tune in to pop culture? In short, should at least someone on the reviewing staff try to be relevant to both quadrants?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Mobile advertising hits wireless Web first | CNET "Fox News announced Monday that it is partnering with Third Screen Media to help it inject advertising throughout its mobile properties. Initially, Third Screen Media will insert banner advertising on Fox News' mobile Web site. While no further plans have been announced, Fox News will likely add video advertising and other forms of advertising using Third Screen's technology at a later date."

Monday, February 19, 2007

The winner of a business plan contest in Second Life is a company that's likely to help others come up with business plans for Second Life.

The honors, announced Monday, went to Minnesota-based Market Truths, which devised a market research and analysis system to help real-world companies figure out what works and what doesn't in the burgeoning virtual world.

Monday, February 12, 2007

shoe matching

Forsberg meets with Snider; future still uncertain - NHL - Yahoo! Sports: "Forsberg had said he did not want to commit to a contract until he was closer to finding a skate that will accommodate his surgically repaired ankle. He traveled to Sweden during the All-Star break and, with his skate woes seemingly solved, has played well recently."

Sunday, February 11, 2007

BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Face op woman braves media glare

BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Face op woman braves media glare: "'At the moment I can open my mouth and eat and use my lips and nose as well. However, I have to continue my exercises and take medication to exercise all my facial muscles.'"

The woman is trying to regain control over her facial features.

tags: control transplant interface

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

News in Science - Computer writes its own fairytale - 07/02/2007

News in Science - Computer writes its own fairytale - 07/02/2007: "A computer program that writes its own fiction with minimal human input has been developed by a Mexican researcher.

The program, called MEXICA, is the first to generate original stories based on computerised representations of emotions and tensions between characters.

'The program keeps a record of the emotional links between characters while developing a story, and employs its knowledge about emotions to retrieve from memory possible logical actions to continue the story,' says Dr Rafael P�rez y P�rez, the program's creator.

tags: script emotion entertainment profile

Monday, February 05, 2007

Who really won during the Super Bowl? | CNET

Who really won during the Super Bowl? | CNET "FKF Applied Research, with the help of UCLA's Ahmanson Lovelace Brain Mapping Center, said that Coca-Cola's 'Video Game' ad--a 60-second animated spot that promotes random acts of kindness--scored this year because it elicited the most positive emotions in subjects' brains.

'Coke's ad did well because it engaged a full range of emotions, including the mirror region, which is associated with connection and empathy,' said Joshua Freedman, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at UCLA and co-founder of FKF Applied Research. 'Asking someone what is going on in their brain is in some ways like asking them what is going on in their heart.'"

tags: psychology advertisement research control emotion

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

How Wall Street Can Catalyze Innovation - Money

How Wall Street Can Catalyze Innovation - Money: "Given Wall Street's propensity to stay on top of important business trends, I predict it won't take long for analysts to get smart about what it takes to be an innovation leader. Hence, the forward-thinking analysts who have heard the innovation drumbeat from this publication and others will start asking the tough questions of corporate leaders as they assess a company's real growth prospects."

tags: invention innovation market prediction

Monday, January 29, 2007

Patents for dynamic Web pages to get another look | CNET

Patents for dynamic Web pages to get another look | CNET "The patents in question, Nos. 5,894,554 and 6,415,335, cover systems and methods for managing dynamic Web page generation requests--that is, sites that return a customized page based on user input. An enormous number of Web sites use some form of dynamic processing, often through programming languages, such as PHP, that are designed to create Web pages based on database queries.

A Texas-based company called EpicRealm Licensing filed for the patents in 1996 and 1999. Critics have said the firm, which once offered services designed to speed up Web site performance, now exists solely to seek settlements or licensing fees from companies accused of infringing on its patents."

tags: patents internet example course

eBay to exempt 'Second Life' listings from virtual items ban | | CNET

eBay to exempt 'Second Life' listings from virtual items ban | | CNET "eBay spokesman Hani Durzy told CNET Monday that that exemption stems from the auction giant's interpretation of what Second Life is.

'If someone participates in Second Life and wants to sell something they own, we are not at this point proactively pulling those listings off the site,' said Durzy. 'We think there is an open question about whether Second Life should be regarded as a game.'"

tags: virtual life distribution control

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Computing Machinery and Intelligence A.M. Turing

Computing Machinery and Intelligence A.M. Turing: "A digital computer can usually be regarded as consisting of three parts:

(i) Store.

(ii) Executive unit.

(iii) Control.

The store is a store of information, and corresponds to the human computer's paper, whether this is the paper on which he does his calculations or that on which his book of rules is printed. In so far as the human computer does calculations in his bead a part of the store will correspond to his memory.

The executive unit is the part which carries out the various individual operations involved in a calculation. What these individual operations are will vary from machine to machine. Usually fairly lengthy operations can be done such as 'Multiply 3540675445 by 7076345687' but in some machines only very simple ones such as 'Write down 0' are possible.

We have mentioned that the 'book of rules' supplied to the computer is replaced in the machine by a part of the store. It is then called the 'table of instructions.' It is the duty of the control to see that these instructions are obeyed correctly and in the right order. The control is so constructed that this necessarily happens."

Here's the five elements projection on computers: Source (Store); Tool (Executive unit); Control (Control); Payload (assumed and discussed briefly in Store); Distribution ( assumed ).

tags: computing system synthesis

Friday, January 19, 2007

Netflix goes postal | Tech News on ZDNet

Netflix goes postal | Tech News on ZDNet: "Netflix has appointed a former postmaster general as its chief operating officer to help bolster its mail-intensive business. Bill Henderson, the former postal chief, will replace Tom Dillon, who plans to retire in April, the online DVD rental service said Wednesday.

Netflix is working to distribute movies over the Internet in the future, but the U.S. Postal Service remains its sole delivery method today. The company ships more than 1 million DVDs a day from 37 distribution centers in the U.S. and touts one business-day delivery."

tags: distribution DVD movies mail

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Can HP fool Moore's Law? | CNET

Can HP fool Moore's Law? | CNET "Researchers from HP Labs plan to publish a paper this month that outlines how it may become possible to substantially increase the performance of certain types of chips, and reduce their power consumption, by replacing the communication wires inside chips with an overhead grid of tiny nanowires."

tags: performance improvement distribution semiconductors computers

Friday, January 12, 2007

evolution and intelligence

Evolution by natural selection requires some degree of constancy in order to shape this [instinctive knowledge] heuristic. By contrast, unique or irregular events require a special class of adaptation ( a secondary heuristic, intelligence0 to allow an organism to cope with a future that is unlike its past. Intelligence tracks events that are too rapid to become genetically imprinted within the primary heuristic. Intelligent learning proceeds by the (genetically transmitted ) power of reason. Keynes and hayek. G.R. Steele. 2001

Persistent problems seem to be addressed at the genetic level, while more transient ones relate to evolution of reasoning methods.

tags: quote book transient persistent

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The history of credit card is anticlimactic after everything you have about the history of credit and debt so far. The credit token was developed in the late 1800's because stores wanted a faster way to complete transactions rather than have to lookup individual information or record the name and address of the buyer every time. To complete a transaction the clerk only had to record the identification number from the back of the token on the sales slip.

another instance of time savings inside the control function, i.e. tracking/orchestration of sales and transactions.

tags: control sales credit source

see also history of Visa

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Winner-Take-All: Google and the Third Age of Computing (Skrentablog)

Winner-Take-All: Google and the Third Age of Computing (Skrentablog): "Google has won both the online search and advertising markets. They hold a considerable technological lead, both with algorithms as well as their astonishing web-scale computing platform. Beyond this, however, network effects around their industry position and brand will prevent any competitor from capturing market share from them -- even if it were possible to match their technology platform.

To paraphrase an old comment about IBM, made during its 30 year dominance of the enterprise mainframe market, Google is not your competition, Google is the environment. Online businesses which struggle against this new reality will pay opportunity costs both in online advertising revenue as well as product success."

Most businesses on the net get 70% of their traffic from Google.

Search engines have zero user switching costs. Unlike switching email providers, there is no user data to move over, or addresses which need to be forwarded or communicated to peers. You just type in a new name and go to the new place.

If switching costs are zero, the first thought is that it should be easy for a worthy challenger to take some share away from the leader. Paradoxically, it's the reverse that happens.

Zero switching costs lead to a winner-take-all market for the leader. Even a modest initial lead will snowball until majority market share is reached and maintained. This is because, faced with a choice between two products, in the absence of switching costs users will choose the better one, even if it is only slightly better.

Google had a vastly better product than any other search engine for a number of years. Competitors have closed the gap somewhat, but Google is still better. Everyone (70-80%) knows this now, and so the Google-has-better-search concept is now built into Google's brand.

Even if a competitor such as Yahoo, MSN or Ask were to fully close the gap at this point, they would still have to overcome the final brand perception gap. This is the effect where market research shows that users who see Google's logo on top of Yahoo's results perceive the results to be of higher quality; users looking at Google's results with Yahoo's logo on top view them as having less relevance. Brand perception effects have been measured to account for about 8% in things like beer. A few years ago an AOL researcher replicated this study in a shopping mall in Virginia with AOL Search results vs. Google.

tags: control point domination search internet distribution