Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ezra Klein - Your brain -- and your search engine -- on Evernote [The Washington Post]

Check this page for more details on the Evernote Chrome extension

It's Evernote's integration with Google, however, that sold me. If you're using Google's Chrome browser, you can add an Evernote search to your Google searches. So when I search "China economy" in Google, I don't just get whatever Google turns up: I get everything I've ever saved in Evernote that includes those words. That is to say, I don't just get what Google thinks best. I get everything that I've ever thought best.

Ezra Klein - Your brain -- and your search engine -- on Evernote

Google's Secret Social Initiative Delayed Until Spring 2011 [EXCLUSIVE] [Mashable]

Maybe Facebook will take a weekend off to celebrate

Mashable(Mashable) has learned that Google’s big social play could debut in March or April, a far cry from earlier rumors that pegged a 2010 launch date.

The project is a top-secret affair, even within the company. It is being led by Vic Gundotra, one of the company’s public faces and a VP of engineering.

Google's Secret Social Initiative Delayed Until Spring 2011 [EXCLUSIVE]

MobleNoter Team Creates Evernote to Onenote Conversion Utility: Evr2One | GottaBeMobile

The MobileNoter team adds another utility

One of the ways to use your OneNote Notebooks on your iOS device (an Android release is promised soon) is to use MobileNoter, a very good iOS App that allows you to sync your OneNote notebooks with your mobile device.

But, if you’re a multiple device and platform guy like me, another amazing App, Evernote, has most likely become your repository of choice for all those things you pick up in your journeys around the Internet. Wouldn’t it be great if you could convert an Evernote notebook into OneNote? Well, it looks like the folks at MobileNoter have a solution for that. It’s called Evr2One. I haven’t used this yet, (I’m in running around mode today) but I plan on giving this a try.

MobleNoter Team Creates Evernote to Onenote Conversion Utility: Evr2One | GottaBeMobile

Why Wikileaks Is Bad For Progressive Foreign Policy | The New Republic

Check the article link below for details on the three themes

But, with all due respect to my friends in the blogosphere, diplomacy was never about stating the obvious. Here are three ways the leaks could have a lasting impact on American foreign policy. None of them will be good news for those of us who value transparency and who believe diplomacy, not force, should enjoy primacy in the U.S. approach to the rest of the world.

Making the Hardest Diplomatic Work Harder

Slowing the Movement Toward DeClassification and Openness in National Security

Undermining Progressive Policies and Frameworks

Why Wikileaks Is Bad For Progressive Foreign Policy | The New Republic

Elliott Masie's Learning TRENDS - Learning TRENDS - 648 - WikiLeaks: Chilling Corporate Collaboration?

Check the link below for some helpful guidance

The release of confidential US State Department memos, emails and reports by WikiLeaks is having a potentially chilling effect on corporate collaboration strategies. Organizations are asking if the shift towards widespread internal sharing - including collaboration sites with content, context, personal perspectives and harnessing the “wisdom of the crowds” - could backfire and end up in the public release of embarrassing information.

Elliott Masie's Learning TRENDS - Learning TRENDS - 648 - WikiLeaks: Chilling Corporate Collaboration?

An Interview With WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange - Andy Greenberg - The Firewall - Forbes

“… a coming age of involuntary transparency” – perhaps it will lead to an increase in responsibility and accountability, or maybe just more widespread and effective use of digital rights management services…

Admire him or revile him, WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange is the prophet of a coming age of involuntary transparency, the leader of an organization devoted to divulging the world’s secrets using technology unimagined a generation ago.

[…]

In a rare, two-hour interview conducted in London on November 11, Assange said that he’s still sitting on a trove of secret documents, about half of which relate to the private sector. And WikiLeaks’ next target will be a major American bank. “It will give a true and representative insight into how banks behave at the executive level in a way that will stimulate investigations and reforms, I presume,” he said, adding: “For this, there’s only one similar example. It’s like the Enron emails.”

An Interview With WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange - Andy Greenberg - The Firewall - Forbes

Gartner Forecasts: PC Shipments Down, Tablets Up: Tech News «

Check the full article for more details, but also note the misleading headline; year-to-year PC shipments are up, and will grow again next year, but earlier Gartner PC shipment estimates have been reduced, in part due to tablet market dynamics.  I wonder if the prognosticators will classify tablets running Windows 7 as PCs and/or tablets…

Gartner has cut its estimates on PC shipments, saying tablets are increasingly serving as substitutes for PCs for light data consumption. The firm said worldwide PC shipments were on pace for 352.4 million units this year, up 14.3 percent over last year but down from projected growth of 17.9 percent just two months ago. Similarly, worldwide PC shipments in 2011 are expected to hit 409 million, a 15.9 percent increase over 2010 but down from an earlier estimate of 18.1 percent growth.

Gartner Forecasts: PC Shipments Down, Tablets Up: Tech News «

Computers Get Help from the Human Brain - Technology Review

We are Borg

Most brain-computer interfaces are designed to help disabled people communicate or move around. A new project is using this type of interface to help computers perform tasks they can't manage on their own. In experiments, researchers used the interface to sort through satellite images for surface-to-air missiles faster than any machine or human analyst could manage alone.

[,,,]

Sajda's device, called C3Vision (cortically coupled computer vision), uses an electroencephalogram (EEG) cap to monitor brain activity as the person wearing it is shown about 10 images per second. Machine-learning algorithms trained to detect the neurological signals that signify interest in an image are used to analyze this brain activity. By monitoring these signals, the system rapidly ranks the images in terms of how interesting they appear to the viewer. The search is then refined by retrieving other images that are similar to those with the highest rank. "It's a search tool that allows you to find images that are very similar to those that have grabbed your attention," says Sajda.

Computers Get Help from the Human Brain - Technology Review

A Website for the World's Materialists - BusinessWeek

Behold a database of everything

Thingd's computer servers constantly crawl tens of thousands of product-rich websites, such as J. Crew (JCG) and Best Buy (BBY). When the program comes across an unfamiliar object—whether it be a shoe or a stapler or a truck—it collects an image, extracts whatever related facts it can find, and then adds the item to the database. So far, the crawler has identified more than 100 million items, and it aims for as much specificity as possible—a white 1999 Ford Explorer, for instance, rather than just an SUV. The Fancy is a crowdsourced supplement. When people upload photos to The Fancy, says Einhorn, "they're just training our database." The database becomes smarter over time—once it's seen several pictures of, say, a chandelier, it starts to recognize the same chandelier in other pictures, even when no identifying information is available.

A Website for the World's Materialists - BusinessWeek

WikiLeaks Using Amazon Servers After Attack - Digits - WSJ

Strange days indeed

WikiLeaks, the website that published a quarter-million sensitive diplomatic cables on Sunday, is using Amazon.com Inc. servers in the U.S. to help deliver its information. It sounds like an odd choice, but it could make sense.

The site cablegate.wikileaks.org, which WikiLeaks is using for the diplomatic documents, is linked to servers run by Amazon Web Services in Seattle, as well as to French company Octopuce. Wikileaks.org, the site’s front page, links back to Amazon servers in the U.S. and in Ireland. Several Internet watchers, including technologist Alex Norcliffe, reported earlier on WikiLeaks’ use of Amazon services.

WikiLeaks Using Amazon Servers After Attack - Digits - WSJ

Jumo, From a Facebook Founder, to Focus on Charities - NYTimes.com

Check the link below for more Jumo details

Chris Hughes, one of the founders of Facebook and the chief digital organizer for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, knows a thing or two about building online communities.

Now he is applying his expertise to a new venture called Jumo, which aims to connect people with nonprofits and charitable organizations.

The site, which is being unveiled on Tuesday, aims to “do what Yelp did for restaurants,” Mr. Hughes said, indexing charities “to help people find and evaluate them.”

Jumo, From a Facebook Founder, to Focus on Charities - NYTimes.com

Microsoft Sees Revenue Opportunity in Phone Patents | Ina Fried | Mobilized | AllThingsD

Interesting times

At the moment, there is chaos in the phone patent arena with Apple suing HTC, Microsoft suing Motorola and Oracle suing Google, to list just a partial court docket. However, Smith said he would not be at all surprised to see things shake out in the next couple years into a manageable patent licensing arrangement, not unlike the one that exists with the radio portion of a cell phone today.

About $20 per modern phone goes to patents, with the lion’s share of that going to Qualcomm. On the smartphone side, Smith said Microsoft and Apple hold the lion’s share of the intellectual property.

Microsoft Sees Revenue Opportunity in Phone Patents | Ina Fried | Mobilized | AllThingsD

Google’s Groupon Offer: $5.3 Billion, With $700 Million Earnout | Kara Swisher | BoomTown | AllThingsD

Not bad for a company started in 2008

Sources said the deal for the social buying site seemed likely to be struck, even as early as tomorrow, although it certainly could fall apart right up to the end.

But, if done, it will move the search giant instantly to the top spot in local commerce online and give it huge troves of data about consumer buying habits and merchant information across the globe.

Combined with its pending $700 million acquisition of ITA Software, the travel data firm, that should freak out regulators worldwide and could be considered Google’s own version of a jobs plan for antitrust lawyers.

Google’s Groupon Offer: $5.3 Billion, With $700 Million Earnout | Kara Swisher | BoomTown | AllThingsD

High court to review Microsoft patent case - The Boston Globe

A milestone patent case heads to the US Supreme Court

Microsoft, fighting a verdict won by closely held I4i LP, says the federal appeals court that handles patent cases is making it too hard for those accused of infringement to argue that a patent never should have been issued and is invalid.

The world’s largest software maker has support in its appeal from more than a dozen publicly traded companies, including Apple Inc. and Google Inc. Apple told the justices that the patent system “is tilting out of balance,’’ giving disproportionate power to people who secure patents of questionable legitimacy.

High court to review Microsoft patent case - The Boston Globe

Monday, November 29, 2010

WikiLeaks: WikiLeaks degenerates into gossip | The Economist

Check the link below on the Wikileaks take from The Economist

At this point, what WikiLeaks is doing seems like tattling: telling Sally what Billy said to Jane. It's sometimes possible that Sally really ought to know what Billy said to Jane, if Billy were engaged in some morally culpable deception. But in general, we frown on gossips. If there's something particularly damning in the diplomatic cables WikiLeaks has gotten a hold of, the organisation should bring together a board of experienced people with different perspectives to review the merits of releasing that particular cable. But simply grabbing as many diplomatic cables as you can get your hands on and making them public is not a socially worthy activity.

WikiLeaks: WikiLeaks degenerates into gossip | The Economist

How WikiLeaks' new release will increase secrecy and damage democratic governments. - By Anne Applebaum - Slate Magazine

An excerpt from a timely reality check

In fact, the world's real secrets—the secrets of regimes where there is no free speech and tight control on all information—have yet to be revealed. This stuff is awkward and embarrassing, but it doesn't fundamentally change very much. How about a leak of Chinese diplomatic documents? Or Russian military cables? How about some stuff we don't actually know, like Iranian discussion of Iranian nuclear weapons, or North Korean plans for invasion of South Korea Korea? If WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange is serious about his pursuit of "Internet openness"—and if his goal isn't, in fact, embarrassing the United States—that's where he'll look next. Somehow, I won't be surprised if he doesn't.

How WikiLeaks' new release will increase secrecy and damage democratic governments. - By Anne Applebaum - Slate Magazine

Acer CEO Plans to Make the iPad Look Like a Newton | John Paczkowski | Digital Daily | AllThingsD

Another near-term tablet market entry

Between them, those three devices cater to a pretty wide range of enterprise and consumer tastes. Add to this some elegant design flourishes and Acer’s manufacturing heft and Lanci’s prediction doesn’t seem quite so outrageous. Remember, Acer was once viewed as an also-ran in the PC space. Today, it’s one of the top PC makers in the world. Which is not to say that it’s destined to become one of the top tablet makers in the world, just that it’s certainly a possibility. That said, the company has a long way to go before it overtakes Apple. The iPad’s given Cupertino about 95.5 percent of the worldwide tablet market, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. And it won’t surrender it easily.

Acer CEO Plans to Make the iPad Look Like a Newton | John Paczkowski | Digital Daily | AllThingsD

The Strongest Link: Libraries and Linked Data [D-Lib Magazine]

A timely snapshot, via the excellent Cover Pages

Since 1999 the W3C has been working on a set of Semantic Web standards that have the potential to revolutionize web search. Also known as Linked Data, the Machine-Readable Web, the Web of Data, or Web 3.0, the Semantic Web relies on highly structured metadata that allow computers to understand the relationships between objects. Semantic web standards are complex, and difficult to conceptualize, but they offer solutions to many of the issues that plague libraries, including precise web search, authority control, classification, data portability, and disambiguation. This article will outline some of the benefits that linked data could have for libraries, will discuss some of the non-technical obstacles that we face in moving forward, and will finally offer suggestions for practical ways in which libraries can participate in the development of the semantic web.

The Strongest Link: Libraries and Linked Data

Microsoft Tech: WikiLeaks: China was behind Google hack | Network World

More Wikileakage

The much publicized attack on Google’s computer systems in China earlier this year was directed by China’s Politburo, according to classified U.S. government documents released by the Web site WikiLeaks.org and reported today by several news organizations.

“The Google hacking was part of a coordinated campaign of computer sabotage carried out by government operatives, private security experts and Internet outlaws recruited by the Chinese government,” The New York Times reported.

Microsoft Tech: WikiLeaks: China was behind Google hack | Network World

OnLive Gaming System Will Stream to TV Sets - NYTimes.com

Steve Perlman aims for the fence again

His OnLive game service works by keeping all of its games in the cloud. Consumers can stream the games to their PCs after installing a browser plug-in. Starting in December, users will be able to stream games to their televisions using a $99 box not much bigger than a cigarette package that taps a high-speed Internet connection, the company said two weeks ago.

OnLive Gaming System Will Stream to TV Sets - NYTimes.com

T.S.A. Furor Gives Media a False Positive - The Media Equation - NYTimes.com

Check the link below for some analysis

The pat-down story was the equivalent of vaporware — it seemed as if something huge was about to happen, but it turned out that it was a story about a story, the noisy, fervent sound of a news system feeding on itself.

What made the T.S.A. story so sticky and irresistible, a nearly perfect Perfect Storm?

T.S.A. Furor Gives Media a False Positive - The Media Equation - NYTimes.com

Now a Giant, Google Works to Retain Nimble Minds - NYTimes.com

New challenges inside the Googleplex

Google, which only 12 years ago was a scrappy start-up in a garage, now finds itself viewed in Silicon Valley as the big, lumbering incumbent. Inside the company some of its best engineers are chafing under the growing bureaucracy and are leaving to start or work at smaller, nimbler companies.

[…]

Much of Silicon Valley’s innovation comes about as engineers leave companies to start their own. For Google, which in five years has grown to 23,000 employees from 5,000 and to $23.7 billion in revenue from $3.2 billion, the risk is that it will miss the best people and the next great idea.

Now a Giant, Google Works to Retain Nimble Minds - NYTimes.com

Sunday, November 28, 2010

WikiLeaks Archive - Cables Uncloak U.S. Diplomacy - NYTimes.com

Some difficult dilemmas for responsible news publications – see the link below for extensive details on the latest WikiLeaks document dump

The 251,287 cables, first acquired by WikiLeaks, were provided to The Times by an intermediary on the condition of anonymity. Many are unclassified, and none are marked “top secret,” the government’s most secure communications status. But some 11,000 are classified “secret,” 9,000 are labeled “noforn,” shorthand for material considered too delicate to be shared with any foreign government, and 4,000 are designated both secret and noforn.

Many more cables name diplomats’ confidential sources, from foreign legislators and military officers to human rights activists and journalists, often with a warning to Washington: “Please protect” or “Strictly protect.”

The Times has withheld from articles and removed from documents it is posting online the names of some people who spoke privately to diplomats and might be at risk if they were publicly identified. The Times is also withholding some passages or entire cables whose disclosure could compromise American intelligence efforts.

WikiLeaks Archive - Cables Uncloak U.S. Diplomacy - NYTimes.com

I, Cringely » Blog Archive » The Decline and Fall of E-Mail - Cringely on technology

An excerpt from a Cringely e-mail reality check

E-mail will never completely die, but I feel it has lost critical mass and is fading rapidly. That’s why when Facebook announced Titan, its new inter-user communication platform, they had such a hard time explaining what it was. Zuckerberg & Co. want us to see Titan as the universal communicator but they feel they can’t, at the same time, say that other media are dying as a result. They don’t want to be seen as the predators they are.

But predators are an essential part of any healthy ecosystem, remember. So this is all good, I guess.

I, Cringely » Blog Archive » The Decline and Fall of E-Mail - Cringely on technology

Local News | Channeling the Web: How to plug your TV into the Internet | Seattle Times Newspaper

Check the full article for more details and a handy pdf summary table

Before buying one of these gadgets, there are a few things to check. For instance, AppleTV and GoogleTV will connect only to TVs that have the secure connection system known as HDMI.

You'll also need a home network that's fast enough to handle video. Most of the new wireless adapters take advantage of the faster speeds of equipment meeting the 802.11n Wi-Fi standard, but may work with the slower but more common flavor, 802.11g.

If you don't want to install or upgrade a Wi-Fi network at home, you can extend a wired connection to the TV with the proper cables. Or you can get "powerline" devices that extend network access through home electrical wiring to the TV set, where they connect with an Ethernet cable. Kits cost under $100.

Local News | Channeling the Web: How to plug your TV into the Internet | Seattle Times Newspaper

StatSheet Is Writing Sports Stories With Software - NYTimes.com

Sign of the templated times

The software is imbued with the smarts to flatter each particular team. The same statistics, documenting the same game, produce an entirely different write-up and headline at the opposing team’s page.

A team like No. 1-ranked Duke — whose StatSheet Network Web site is at BlueDevilDaily.com — does not lack for attention from human sports writers. But StatSheet expects that the sports programs of smaller schools will appreciate the advent of robot journalism.

StatSheet Is Writing Sports Stories With Software - NYTimes.com

Information overload, the early years - The Boston Globe

Check the link below for an extensive information overload reality check

But is it really so novel? Human history is a long process of accumulating information, especially once writing made it possible to record texts and preserve them beyond the capacity of our memories. And if we look closely, we can find a striking parallel to our own time: what Western Europe experienced in the wake of Gutenberg’s invention of printing in the 15th century, when thousands upon thousands of books began flooding the market, generating millions of copies for sale. The literate classes experienced exactly the kind of overload we feel today — suddenly, there were far more books than any single person could master, and no end in sight. Scholars, at first delighted with the new access to information, began to despair. “Is there anywhere on earth exempt from these swarms of new books?” asked Erasmus, the great humanist of the early 16th century.

Information overload, the early years - The Boston Globe

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Book Review - The Man Who Invented the Computer - John Atanasoff - By Jane Smiley - NYTimes.com

Kindle sample available

“You know the story of the invention of the computer?” one character asks another midway through Jane Smiley’s best-selling 1995 novel “Moo.” The speaker, an animal scientist, dreams of striking it rich by pioneering a new dairy-farming technology. To that end, he hopes to pry major grant money out of the agricultural industry, and he wields the history of the computer as both cautionary tale and crowbar. “The short version,” he explains, “is that the guy at Iowa State who invented the computer in the late ’30s never patented a thing. . . . And the university . . . forgot about the old machine, and threw it out.”

Book Review - The Man Who Invented the Computer - John Atanasoff - By Jane Smiley - NYTimes.com

Friday, November 26, 2010

Exclusive: Corruption charges to feature in WikiLeaks release | Reuters

More radical and inadvertent transparency ahead

The whistle-blowing website said on its Twitter feed this week its next release would be seven times larger than the collection of roughly 400,000 Pentagon reports related to the Iraq war which it made public in October.

Three sources familiar with the State Department cables held by WikiLeaks say the corruption allegations in them are major enough to cause serious embarrassment for foreign governments and politicians named in them.

Exclusive: Corruption charges to feature in WikiLeaks release | Reuters

Google Wave Comes Back From the Dead [Mashable]

Not entirely dead yet

The proposal’s three goals are to migrate Wave’s codebase from Google to the ASF’s infrastructure, to get Wave back to a state where development can be continued and to add new committers to the project. While the proposal notes that there is a risk to adopting Wave as an ASF project (it notes that Wave didn’t gain sufficient traction at Google), it also claims that its use by the U.S. Navy and other adopters makes it a worth project.

Apache Wave is still a proposal though; the ASF still has to accept the project. With a well-developed codebase and some big committers, we expect that this project will see the light of day. If it does, Wave will have been given a second life.

Google Wave Comes Back From the Dead

Thursday, November 25, 2010

FT.com / Technology - ‘Additional opportunity’ at Autonomy

An end to Open Text’s autonomy?

Mike Lynch, chief executive, has long said that the Cambridge-based company would make an acquisition “this autumn” after raising £500m in a convertible bond issue in February. Autonomy has a cash pile of about $1bn (£634m) to spend on an acquisition.

The software company has remained quiet over the identity of its target.

Analysts have speculated that it could include groups such as Open Text of Canada.

FT.com / Technology - ‘Additional opportunity’ at Autonomy

Google’s Chrome OS Is Prepared for a Netbook - NYTimes.com

An attempt to make sense of the Chrome OS strategy – perhaps the plan is to supply an OS from Google for which hardware partners won’t have to pay vendors other than Google for intellectual property licenses (unlike, e.g., Android)

Google says it will become clearer by the end of the year, when the company will introduce to the public a lightweight netbook computer that runs Chrome. Though Google declined to give details of the device, it is expected to be manufactured by another company and branded by Google, similar to the way Google released its Nexus phone, which runs on Android.

Google has high hopes for Chrome, and as the company weathers criticism for relying too much on search advertising for revenue, its executives have been describing Chrome as one of Google’s new businesses with huge potential.

Google’s Chrome OS Is Prepared for a Netbook - NYTimes.com

Netflix a Fast-Growing Rival to Hollywood and Cable - NYTimes.com

Check the link below for an extensive Netflix snapshot

Netflix now has the frothy stock price to show for its success. The stock has enjoyed a Google-like rise, nearly quadrupling from its 52-week low in January, and with a market value of nearly $10 billion, Netflix is now worth more than some of the Hollywood studios that license movies to it.

[…]

“Netflix used an open-source network, the U.S. Postal Service, to launch an alternative distribution business without asking anyone for permission,” said Tim Wu, a Columbia University law professor and author of “The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires.” “Now they are using another open-source network, the Internet, to transform the business. It is much easier for Netflix to change, because they don’t have to undergo a kind of religious conversion like media companies will have to.” 

Netflix a Fast-Growing Rival to Hollywood and Cable - NYTimes.com

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Apple Computer Sells For $213,000 At Auction - NYTimes.com

Think different

Who was the high bidder? According to Affaritaliani.it, an online Italian newspaper, it was Marco Boglione, an Italian businessman who likes to

Owning an Apple-1 is definitely the cherry on top of any historical computing collection. There were less than 200 of the machines built and sold before Apple moved on to create the Apple-II. The Apple-1 is also considered to be one of the first genre of computers that led to the genesis of the home-computing revolution.

Apple Computer Sells For $213,000 At Auction - NYTimes.com

Oracle Wins Copyright Case With SAP, and $1.3 Billion Damages - NYTimes.com

A big win for Oracle

The award, the largest ever for copyright infringement, comes as big technology companies, including Apple, Google and Motorola, have increasingly resorted to the courts to resolve patent and intellectual property disputes instead of quietly working out a deal. Rarely, however, do the lawsuits go to court or attract the attention this dispute did.

Oracle Wins Copyright Case With SAP, and $1.3 Billion Damages - NYTimes.com

Foursquare’s Newest Badge: For Getting Your “Baggage” Handled. | Beth Callaghan | Voices | AllThingsD

Sign of the times

Just in time for the busiest travel days of the year, Foursquare has released a badge for the select few who get to enjoy a TSA pat-down over the holidays–or at least for those who check in at any airport and shout, “TSA,” “grope” or, according to AboutFoursquare.com, “Don’t touch my junk, bro!”

Foursquare’s Newest Badge: For Getting Your “Baggage” Handled. | Beth Callaghan | Voices | AllThingsD

Brier Dudley's Blog | Take Microsoft private: It's been considered | Seattle Times Newspaper

An interesting permutation

Instead of throwing free cash into that black hole, Microsoft could use it to cover refinancing costs and share the rest with employees. It would be a better incentive than middling stock awards and could even start churning out Microsoft millionaires again.

Going private isn't that far-fetched. Dell's been thinking about this and will reportedly discuss it again during a board meeting next month.

Brier Dudley's Blog | Take Microsoft private: It's been considered | Seattle Times Newspaper

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Has Google Succumbed to Monopolistic Practices? - Technology Review

A timely Google reality check

When you control 85% of the search market, deciding to put your own services at the top of your search rankings, no matter their popularity or pagerank -- what's known as hard-coding, as opposed to "unbiased" algorithmic search results -- constitutes monopolistic practices. A straightforward analysis of Google's search results conducted by Ben Edelman, a professor at Harvard Business School, suggests this is exactly what the search giant is doing.

Has Google Succumbed to Monopolistic Practices? - Technology Review

How to Train Your Own Brain - Technology Review

Another type of cybertherapy

Technology might not be advanced enough yet to let people read someone else's mind, but researchers are at least inching closer to helping people to read and control their own. In a study presented last week at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego, scientists used a combination of brain-scanning and feedback techniques to train subjects to move a cursor up and down with their thoughts. The subjects could perform this task after just five minutes of training.

The scientists hope to use this information to help addicts learn to control their own brain states and, consequently, their cravings.

How to Train Your Own Brain - Technology Review

FT.com / Technology - Microsoft helps seal $2.2bn sale of Novell to Attachmate

The next chapter in this context will be interesting; tbd how much value evaporates, to prospective SUSE acquirers, in the Novell-minus-intellectual-property equation

Some leading tech companies, including IBM, have seen Suse as an important counterweight to both Red Hat and Microsoft, raising questions about its future following the Novell sale.

Attachmate said it would run Suse as a separate business unit after the deal, prompting several observers on Tuesday to suggest that it was paving the way for a later sale of the business.

VMware, which has emerged as one of Microsoft’s main rivals in corporate software, had been among those to express an interest in the Suse business as part of the Novell sale process, people familiar with the matter have said.

FT.com / Technology - Microsoft helps seal $2.2bn sale of Novell to Attachmate

In Cybertherapy, Avatars Assist With Healing - NYTimes.com

An introduction to cybertherapy

Researchers are populating digital worlds with autonomous, virtual humans that can evoke the same tensions as in real-life encounters. People with social anxiety are struck dumb when asked questions by a virtual stranger. Heavy drinkers feel strong urges to order something from a virtual bartender, while gamblers are drawn to sit down and join a group playing on virtual slot machines. And therapists can advise patients at the very moment those sensations are felt.

In a series of experiments, researchers have shown that people internalize these virtual experiences and their responses to them — with effects that carry over into real life.

In Cybertherapy, Avatars Assist With Healing - NYTimes.com

Study: Fifth of Facebook users exposed to malware | The Social - CNET News

Malware-friendly, for users who don’t exercise content discretion

Security software manufacturer BitDefender today released some statistics gleaned from Safego, a Facebook application that it offers to users of the social-network to keep an eye on their vulnerability to malware. The big finding: 20 percent of Facebook users are exposed to malicious posts in their "news feeds" of friends' activity, generally defined as posts that, when clicked on, result in "the user's account being hijacked and in malware being automatically posted on the walls of the respective user's friends."

Study: Fifth of Facebook users exposed to malware | The Social - CNET News

Great iOS 4.2 features in Evernote « Evernote Blogcast

The iPad evolves to become more than a media consumption device; see the link below for more Evernote update details

Here’s a reminder of Evernote’s iOS 4.2 features:

Easily send files into Evernote from other apps

iOS 4.2 allows apps to register themselves as destinations for certain file types. Evernote is now registered for PDF, TXT, WAV, MP3, HTML, and several others. This means that you’ll be able to send files into Evernote directly from other applications.

In Safari and Mail
Certain file types (PDF, TXT) now have an Open in button at the top right corner when they’re viewed. Tapping on the button will show Evernote as an option. Opening the file in Evernote will create a new note in Evernote with that file as an attachment. To send an audio file into Evernote, tap and hold on the file.

Great iOS 4.2 features in Evernote « Evernote Blogcast

Names You Need To Know In 2011: The Facebook Keiretsu - Oliver Chiang - SelectStart - Forbes

Check the full article for more details on the Facebook alumni network

Asana — a collaborative workspace information-sharing product, currently in private beta — is the brainchild of Dustin Moskovitz, Facebook co-founder, first CTO and ex-Zuckerberg roommate. Moskovitz’ list of advisors and investors includes at least five former Facebook executives. Both Cohler and D’Angelo have invested in Asana; D’Angelo contributed an angel investment of $1.2 million, while Cohler steered Benchmark Capital to contribute funds to Asana’s Series A round. The company received $9 million from Benchmark and Andreessen-Horowitz.

Names You Need To Know In 2011: The Facebook Keiretsu - Oliver Chiang - SelectStart - Forbes

Broadcast Networks Win Court Order Against FilmOn.com | Peter Kafka | MediaMemo | AllThingsD

The information empires strike back

A federal judge in New York has issued a temporary restraining order against FilmOn.com, which has riled up the U.S. TV industry for a couple of months. The four broadcast networks — News Corp.’s Fox, GE’s NBC, Disney’s ABC and CBS — had asked for the order on Nov. 9.

FilmOn argues that the U.S. copyright act allows it to redistribute broadcast programming; Ivi Inc., a Seattle-based company that offers a similar service, makes the same argument.

Broadcast Networks Win Court Order Against FilmOn.com | Peter Kafka | MediaMemo | AllThingsD

Monday, November 22, 2010

Israel uses Facebook to catch 1,000 draft dodgers

A sign of the social times

The Israeli military says its monitoring of Facebook has helped catch 1,000 women lying about their religious background to avoid serving.

Israeli military service is largely compulsory, but religiously observant Jewish women can be exempted from service.

Israel uses Facebook to catch 1,000 draft dodgers

Novell to be bought for $2.2B by Attachmate - Mass High Tech Business News

Hmm – perhaps Attachmate will do the tear-down and then sell the SUSE business

After months of rumors about a possible purchase, Novell Inc. reports it is going to be acquired by Attachmate Corp. for $2.2 billion, while at the same time selling off some intellectual property to a group including Microsoft Corp. for $450 million, which is part of the $2.2 billion.
Washington state-based Attachmate will pay $6.10 per share for all shares of Waltham-based Novell (Nasdaq: NOVL). Following the close of the deal, expected in early 2011, Attachmate says it will split Novell into two business units, separating the SuSE Linux business from the Novell networking business. If the deal falls apart, Novell will pay Attachmate $60 million as a termination fee.

Novell to be bought for $2.2B by Attachmate - Mass High Tech Business News

Like Democracy, the Web Needs to be Defended, Its Creator Says: Tech News [GigaOm]

A perspective on the recent Sir TBL SciAm article

The father of the web even takes what appears to be a thinly veiled shot at Apple, saying if the trends he’s describing toward more closed environments on the web aren’t checked, “we could lose the freedom to connect with whichever Web sites we want [and] the ill effects could extend to smartphones and pads, which are also portals to the extensive information that the Web provides.” Later in the piece, he mentions Apple specifically as one of the companies that doesn’t support open linking to things like songs within iTunes. He says most magazine iPad apps are “closed worlds” because they also fail to allow for links or sharing of content.

Like Democracy, the Web Needs to be Defended, Its Creator Says: Tech News «

5 Reasons a Google Phone Still Won’t Disrupt Carriers: Tech News [GigaOm]

Check the full post for some interesting speculation about potential wide-area networking scenarios; I expect carrier “disintermediation” is still in the future, Nexus or not

Here in the U.S., there have been high hopes that Google’s Nexus One might break the control of the wireless carriers. That didn’t happen for many reasons, however, and now James Allworth at the Harvard Business Review suggests that Google faces the risk of its Android cash cow running dry. Phone makers and carriers are stripping Google’s revenue opportunities from the platform by choosing different search engines, for example. Allworth points to a potentially dire future for Google, even though the search giant recently reported mobile search revenues topping $1 billion:

It won’t be long before Google’s “allies” in the Open Handset Alliance — the manufacturers making Android phones — realize that Google needs them a lot more than they need Google, and auction off the default search services on the phones they ship. Google may have no choice but to buy their support, too. And it surely won’t come cheap.

5 Reasons a Google Phone Still Won’t Disrupt Carriers: Tech News «

Business & Technology | Google envisions its own town | Seattle Times Newspaper

I predict the next Google employee perk will be optimized spouse selection for company new-hires

But that's just a start. On Silicon Valley's NASA base, Google is preparing to build a new corporate campus with fitness and day-care facilities and — in a first in Silicon Valley — employee housing, adding 1.2 million square feet of space to Google's real-estate holdings.

While other tech giants also occupy vast amounts of real estate, Google is growing in a way that is distinct, remaking its surroundings according to its own values.

Business & Technology | Google envisions its own town | Seattle Times Newspaper

Facebook Accounts for 25% of All U.S. Pageviews [Mashable]

And this is before Facebook fully deploys its new messaging service…

Facebook’s putting up some big numbers in terms of U.S. web traffic. Right now, the site accounts for one out of every four pageviews in the United States — that’s 10% of all Internet visits.

According to data from analysis and intelligence firm Hitwise, Facebook’s(Facebook) year-over-year growth has been phenomenal. We reported in June that the social network was set to eclipse Google in web traffic; now, Hitwise is showing that in the past week, Facebook.com saw 3% more web visits and almost five times more pageviews than Google(Google).com.

Facebook Accounts for 25% of All U.S. Pageviews

Worth It?: A WiFi Camera - WSJ.com

Stimulus-response

I can't remember the last time I used my point-and-shoot. I take most of my photos with my iPhone because it makes it so easy to share photos by email or on Facebook.

Now, some camera companies are trying to make it easier to share high-quality photos with WiFi-enabled digital cameras. I tested Samsung's ST80, a 14.2 megapixel point-and-shoot camera that lets you send photos straight from the device over WiFi.

Worth It?: A WiFi Camera - WSJ.com

Chatroulette Hatches Similar Web Services - NYTimes.com

Interesting times

Mr. Ternovskiy said he had spent the last several months working furiously to clean up the site in an effort to recapture the original wildfire interest in it. He has hired a team of moderators to cycle through users and flag the ones who are disrobing or otherwise misbehaving. Those users find themselves redirected to Hustler’s Web site, which pays Chatroulette for the referrals. And the home page of Chatroulette now bears this request: “Please stay fully clothed.”

Chatroulette has managed to hold on to an audience of 500,000 unique users a day, Mr. Ternovskiy said, though that is far below its peak of two million earlier this year.

Chatroulette Hatches Similar Web Services - NYTimes.com

An iPad Newspaper From News Corp. - David Carr - NYTimes.com

On a personal note, if I can’t easily blog from a news source, it’s far less useful to me

With The Daily, the News Corporation can enter the digital newsstand business in earnest with a new product that was never free on the Web and in a format for which payments are easily made. When I am on a Web browser and I bump into a pay wall, I reflexively pull back unless it is in front of something I really must have. But when I’m in the App Store on an iPad, I’m already in a commercial environment: pushing the button to spend small money on something I’d like to see or play with doesn’t seem like such a sucker’s bet.

But Mr. Murdoch’s view that Steven Jobs’s device is some kind of magical kingdom for news is up against some hard realities. As innovative as it seems, The Daily will be a newspaper, an ancient motif on a modern device. It will be produced into the evening, and then a button will be pushed and it will be “printed” for the next morning. There will be updates — the number of which is still under discussion — but not at the velocity or with the urgency of a news Web site.

An iPad Newspaper From News Corp. - David Carr - NYTimes.com

Latest apps let discounts find you. But will retailers see an advantage in mobile coupons? - The Boston Globe

See the link below for a snapshot of mobile coupon players

In an age when few of us leave home without a mobile phone in our possession, it seems obvious that the crinkly paper coupon would be ready for a digital upgrade. Businesses hope that the right offer on the screens of our smartphones might pull us over their thresholds, and that bargain-seekers may not be able to resist offers like a half-priced sandwich in the North End presented to them when they’re in the neighborhood.

So how do you get these new digital discounts, and who are likely to be the winning players in this market?

Latest apps let discounts find you. But will retailers see an advantage in mobile coupons? - The Boston Globe

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Long Live the Web: Scientific American

Check the link below for a timely reality check from Sir Tim Berners-Lee

The Web as we know it, however, is being threatened in different ways. Some of its most successful inhabitants have begun to chip away at its principles. Large social-networking sites are walling off information posted by their users from the rest of the Web. Wireless Internet providers are being tempted to slow traffic to sites with which they have not made deals. Governments—totalitarian and democratic alike—are monitoring people’s online habits, endangering important human rights.

If we, the Web’s users, allow these and other trends to proceed unchecked, the Web could be broken into fragmented islands. We could lose the freedom to connect with whichever Web sites we want. The ill effects could extend to smartphones and pads, which are also portals to the extensive information that the Web provides.

Long Live the Web: Scientific American

Steve Jobs: The [1985] Playboy interview - Apple 2.0 - Fortune Tech

Via Louis Gray (via Buzz)

Relations between Steve Jobs and John Sculley were already deteriorating when Jobs, then 29, sat down for a long interview with Playboy. The story was published in the magazine's February issue. Three months later, Sculley relieved Apple's co-founder of his duties as head of the Mac division.

Jobs puts on a brave face, but you get a feeling toward the end of the interview that he sensed his days at Apple (AAPL) might be numbered.

Steve Jobs: The Playboy interview - Apple 2.0 - Fortune Tech

Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction - NYTimes.com

Excerpt from a timely and extensive reality check

Several recent studies show that young people tend to use home computers for entertainment, not learning, and that this can hurt school performance, particularly in low-income families. Jacob L. Vigdor, an economics professor at Duke University who led some of the research, said that when adults were not supervising computer use, children “are left to their own devices, and the impetus isn’t to do homework but play around.”

Research also shows that students often juggle homework and entertainment. The Kaiser Family Foundation found earlier this year that half of students from 8 to 18 are using the Internet, watching TV or using some other form of media either “most” (31 percent) or “some” (25 percent) of the time that they are doing homework.

Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction - NYTimes.com

Notepads That Keep You on the Same Digital Page - NYTimes.com

A snapshot of Evernote and Simplenote

THREE-BY-FIVE index cards, those hallmarks of research, may be fading away in these digital times, but the need to take notes endures.

Human memory is as weak as ever, and people are still shoring it up by recording their observations, research and grocery lists, though many now use computers instead of pens and paper.

Notepads That Keep You on the Same Digital Page - NYTimes.com

Saturday, November 20, 2010

SAP to Back Research in Motion's Coming Tablet-PC - WSJ.com

Since we know that the only Playbook apps that matter will be Web apps, this shouldn’t be difficult for SAP

SAP AG said it will have mobile versions of its business software ready for Research In Motion Ltd.'s new Playbook tablet computer when the device hits the market early next year.

Its backing is a vote of confidence in RIM, as the BlackBerry maker struggles to defend its corporate market against incursions from Apple Inc. and gadgets built on Google Corp.'s Android operating system.

"SAP is definitely supporting the RIM Playbook," Oliver Bussmann, SAP's chief information officer, said Friday.

SAP to Back Research in Motion's Coming Tablet-PC - WSJ.com

As Tech Deals Boom, Talk Turns to Bubbles - NYTimes.com

The latest Harper’s Index page (available only to subscribers) notes that there were 164 episodes of Happy Days after the one in which Fonzie jumped the shark…

Many of the big players are back for a reunion. Mary Meeker, Morgan Stanley’s star Internet analyst who was once known as the Queen of the Internet, had been relatively quiet for the last 10 years. Just this week, however, she surfaced again with a stunning new prediction:  advertising for mobile Web would become a $50 billion business. Morgan Stanley, Ms. Meeker’s home, is the top adviser to technology mergers this year, just as it was during some of the boom years.

Then consider the return (don’t call it a comeback) of the dean of techology bankers, Frank P. Quattrone. Mr. Quattrone dominated Silicon Valley deal-making in 2000, earning more than $100 million in a single year. Now he is back in full form, having founded the advisory firm Qatalyst Partners in 2008.

As Tech Deals Boom, Talk Turns to Bubbles - NYTimes.com

Amazon Promoting Kindle E-Books as Gifts | Voices | AllThingsD

Just in time for the holiday season…

Amazon today began promoting a new gift idea that should appeal to the literate (as well as to procrastinators looking for a last-minute alternative to the ever-popular “back-rub coupon”)–Kindle e-books can now be given to anyone with an e-mail address. And you don’t have to worry about whether the recipient owns a Kindle device per se, because a bunch of free reader apps make a Kindle out of pretty much anything with a screen.

Amazon Promoting Kindle E-Books as Gifts | Voices | AllThingsD

Google Execs Seem Out of Touch With Social Networking Culture | Liz Gannes | NetworkEffect | AllThingsD

Check the article link below for some additional stats

According to a source, a Google engineer recently ended a counteroffer war with Facebook by accepting $6 million worth of Google stock to keep her job there. Apparently she was not in a senior role at Google, but part of what made her so coveted was the fact she’s a female engineer. And this was Google’s second counteroffer after she had already told them she was going to Facebook.

At this point, Facebook (narrowly) has fewer employees than Google has job openings.

Google Execs Seem Out of Touch With Social Networking Culture | Liz Gannes | NetworkEffect | AllThingsD

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thinking Outside the In-box - Technology Review

Room for improvement in the communication/collaboration/content market landscape

Search the Internet, and you'll find hundreds of applications designed to help you collaborate with other people more effectively. But examine your own habits, and you'll most likely find that you use just one piece of software for that purpose: an e-mail client.

You're not alone. A recent Forrester Research study found that 83 percent of business users typically send e-mail attachments to colleagues rather than using collaboration software. According to a recent survey by technology consulting company People-OnTheGo, the average information worker spends 3.3 hours a day dealing with e-mail, and 65 percent of such workers have their e-mail client open all the time.

Thinking Outside the In-box - Technology Review

Meet the New Monopoly, Same as the Old One - Technology Review

Excerpt from another review of The Master Switch

Thank goodness the confining days of the 20th century are behind us and freedom of expression and choice will forever reign, right? Don't be so sure, says Tim Wu, a law professor at Columbia University. In his new book, The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires, Wu argues that our Internet-driven, increasingly wireless information bounty could be on the verge of falling into the stifling control of a handful of powerful companies—just as TV, film, radio, and telephones did in their time. In Wu's view, such companies as AT&T, Comcast, and Apple will try to increase their power as gatekeepers of information, subverting the promise of the Internet as a revolutionarily open distribution medium. Google was founded on an alternative premise, one rooted in the ideals of the Internet, but Wu fears that Google might also be drawn to the dark side.

Meet the New Monopoly, Same as the Old One  - Technology Review

BBC News - MySpace deal looks to Facebook to gain and retain users

MySpace is officially off the Facebook competitive radar…

Industry analyst Augie Ray of Forrester Research told BBC News there were gains for both companies with this deal.

"People have come to think of MySpace in a certain way and while I don't think this deal will help them attract a lot of users it is necessary that those people on the site enjoy the MySpace experience and I think this helps.

"This is also a good opportunity for Facebook to demonstrate that the information you have about yourself and about your friends belongs to you. In many respects this is about Facebook changing attitudes over ownership of data than anything else."

BBC News - MySpace deal looks to Facebook to gain and retain users

Google Turns Dozens Of Its Consumer Products Into Enterprise Apps [TechCrunch]

Blurring boundaries (consumer/enterprise)

Earlier this year, Google announced that it would be rolling out Apps interactivity with iGoogle, YouTube, Blogger, Picasa, and other products in the Google family. Today the search giant is making over 60 of its homegrown products available for a deep integration for all types of Google Apps accounts.

Services like Google Voice, Reader, Analytics and AdWords will now be available on Google Apps accounts. The apps can be accessed through a new interface in administrative control panel for new customers. Existing customers can transition to the new interface at their own pace but Google says it will automatically shift all App customers over to the new control panel early next year.

Google Turns Dozens Of Its Consumer Products Into Enterprise Apps

Call of Duty Smashes Five-Day Sales Records - NYTimes.com

Sign of the times

The latest first-person shooter video game, Call of Duty: Black Ops, continues to break records worldwide after going on sale late last week.

According to Activision, its publisher, just five days after its release the game has generated more than $650 million in worldwide sales, beating out Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, which smashed previous sale records when it was released last year.

Just to compare, “The Dark Knight,” the top-grossing movie as measured five days after release, pulled in $200 million.

Call of Duty Smashes Five-Day Sales Records - NYTimes.com

Chinese Woman Sentenced to a Year for Twitter Post - NYTimes.com

Insufficient context-setting can be very expensive

The woman, Cheng Jianping, 46, was accused of “disturbing social order” for resending a Twitter message from her fiancĂ© that mocked young nationalists who held anti-Japanese rallies in several cities last month. The original message sarcastically goaded protesters to go beyond the smashing of Japanese products and express their fury at the heavily policed expo site.

Ms. Cheng added the words: “Charge, angry youth.”

Chinese Woman Sentenced to a Year for Twitter Post - NYTimes.com

Hands on with the Dell Inspiron Duo | Crave - CNET

Think different

Unlike traditional convertible tablets, which have screens that rotate 180 degrees horizontally, the Inspiron Duo screen flips 180 degrees vertically--hinged in the middle of the lid. When the screen is flipped over and the lid closed, the system launches a touch-friendly interface for interacting with photos, videos, and music (and returns to the basic Windows desktop when the transformation is reversed).

[…]

The system will be available to preorder in about a week, with units purportedly shipping in early December. The base price will be $549, or $649 with the JBL speaker dock.

Hands on with the Dell Inspiron Duo | Crave - CNET

Is Google Considering Buying Social Shopping Start-up Groupon? | Kara Swisher | BoomTown | AllThingsD

Google going shopping?…

According to multiple sources close to the situation, Google is in discussions with local deals powerhouse Groupon about buying it.

Without making the requisite joke about the deal of the day, sources said the price being considered is certainly no discount–well above the $2 billion to $3 billion that Yahoo offered Groupon in acquisition talks that took place earlier this year.

Is Google Considering Buying Social Shopping Start-up Groupon? | Kara Swisher | BoomTown | AllThingsD

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Google Takes the Mobile Shackles Off Docs: Tech News « [GigaOm]

A major milestone for Google Docs; also see the Official Google Blog overview for a video and other details.  The GigaOm article referenced below also highlights an interesting related trend – the increasing overlap between traditional productivity application models (seamlessly sync’d across multiple device types) and services such as Evernote and OneNote (e.g., when OneNote 2010 or OneNote Web App is used in conjunction with Windows Live SkyDrive).  A subtly significant competitive landscape is emerging for beyond-the-basics collaborative hypertext models, with one group of offerings (e.g., Google Docs, Office Web Apps, and Dropbox) starting with traditional file-centric concepts and another group (with Evernote and OneNote currently among the most widely-used offerings) starting with more Web-centric concepts.  Perhaps Google saw this shift coming when they terminated development on Google Notebook, assuming people using the multi-device, near-real-time sync’d version of Google Docs wouldn’t have much use for Google Notebook; I suspect the same market dynamics were part of the reason why Google Wave was shut down.

[…]

Collaborating in real time loses its value when you have to wait to get to a PC to contribute. By extending editing capabilities to mobile devices, it makes Docs a viable choice for mobile users who need mobile productivity tools. For tablets, it’s almost a must-have feature, as those devices supplant laptops for many people. Mobile editing is another selling point for living our lives in the cloud, as more of our computing shifts to mobile devices. It’s a good counter move to Windows Phone 7′s Office Hub, which includes the ability to edit and review Word, Powerpoint and Excel documents.

I think this will also be very helpful for users who want to write notes to themselves and view them later, like people do with Evernote.

Google Takes the Mobile Shackles Off Docs: Tech News «

BBC News - US Air Force warns Facebook 'may reveal location'

Sign of the times

The warning, posted on an internal website and sent to commanders, concerns new technology allowing users to pinpoint their location on the map.

It said careless use could have "devastating operations security and privacy implications".

The US Army is set to send a similar warning to its troops.

BBC News - US Air Force warns Facebook 'may reveal location'

What will Google do with NFC? • The Register

See the link below for more on the battle for your future wallet 

The inclusion of NFC is no surprise, but Google's unqualified support means that NFC-enabled Android handsets will proliferate next year, even if it remains unclear what we'll use them for. Even the good Mr Schmidt reminded reporters that it will be some years before Android handsets start replacing wallets. But if Google embraces the model it could happen sooner than most of the industry expects.

NFC, or "N-Mark" as it is more properly known (now that "NFC" has become a generic term), consists of three parts: a tag that can be powered and read by induction, a reader that can power and read a similar tag, and a secure element which can store cryptographic secrets in perfect confidentiality.

What will Google do with NFC? • The Register

Brain Odyssey Offers Brain Exercises in a Social Game - NYTimes.com

Perhaps the new series of games should be called “Plausible Deniability”

Dr. Michael Merzenich, co-founder and chief scientific officer of Posit Science, said in a telephone interview that the company had taken years of research associated with the brain, video games and technology and applied it to this online world.

Citing past research, Dr. Merzenich said that playing the game could help exercise areas of the brain associated with memory retention, and improve the speed and accuracy of the brain’s ability to process visuals.

Brain Odyssey Offers Brain Exercises in a Social Game - NYTimes.com

U.S.: Beijing backs hacking on 'massive scale' | Security - CNET News

Interesting times

The report specifically concluded that the Chinese government, Communist Party, and Chinese individuals and organizations continue to hack into computer systems and networks in the U.S. and other countries. Finding the methods used more sophisticated than in past attacks, the commission said that the hackers are increasingly using social-networking tools and malicious software with ties to criminal organizations.

CNET last month reported on the findings of the commission through information obtained from a draft report. Today's release marks the official version of the USCC's 2010 report to Congress.

U.S.: Beijing backs hacking on 'massive scale' | Security - CNET News

Google TV’s Chaotic Interface - David Pogue - NYTimes.com

Not a great press day for Google TV

This much is clear: Google TV may be interesting to technophiles, but it’s not for average people. On the great timeline of television history, Google TV takes an enormous step in the wrong direction: toward complexity.

Google TV’s Chaotic Interface - David Pogue - NYTimes.com

Google TV: No Need to Tune In Just Yet | Walt Mossberg | Personal Technology | AllThingsD

Surprisingly, the review didn’t conclude with “Buy Apple TV instead”

Google TV has its strong points. The integration of Web video and regular TV, while flawed, is a smart move. There is even a picture-in-picture feature that lets you keep watching TV while, say, using Twitter or any other Web function. And the Logitech box has an optional $150 camera that allows you to make free video calls. It worked well in my one test. Logitech also allows you to control the Revue from an iPhone or Android app.

But this is a 1.0 product. For now, I’d suggest average users dying to watch Internet video on a TV, either plug in a PC or use one of the wireless systems, like Intel’s Wi-Di, that wirelessly beam video from a PC to a TV. Or, you could wait for Google TV to improve.

Google TV: No Need to Tune In Just Yet | Walt Mossberg | Personal Technology | AllThingsD

Samsung’s tablet isn’t ready to take on iPad yet - The Boston Globe

Hiawatha Bray’s take on the Tab

I much prefer another Android mini-tablet, the Streak from Dell Inc. At 5 inches, it’s far more portable than either the Tab or the iPad, but large enough for typical tablet tasks like e-book reading. The Streak, sold through AT&T, is also a full-fledged cellphone. And with a two-year contract, it’s just $300. After all, if you want a cut-rate iPad, pick one that’s really cut-rate.

It’s not necessary to give up on the Tab; it will get cheaper and the apps will come. Price it right, throw in a phone, make it compatible with 4G wireless, and Samsung will have a serious iPad rival. That’s a lot better than having the next Zune.

Samsung’s tablet isn’t ready to take on iPad yet - The Boston Globe

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg puts 'The Social Network' behind him, talks about the future | Technology | Los Angeles Times

Check the link below for more snapshots

When asked about the "Points of Control" map onstage, the theme of the conference showing the power consolidation of large companies on the Internet, Zuckerberg replied that the uncharted territory online should be the biggest part of the map.

"Your map is wrong," Zuckerberg said. "The biggest part of the map has to be uncharted territory. This map makes it seem like it's zero sum, but it’s not. We’re building value, not just taking it away from someone else."

The audience burst into applause while Battelle and O'Reilly nodded in agreement.

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg puts 'The Social Network' behind him, talks about the future | Technology | Los Angeles Times

RIM Is Not App-Happy - NYTimes.com

R.I.P., R.I.M.

Mr. Balsillie’s contention is that apps aren’t as necessary as Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, leads the world to believe through his marketing of the Apple App Store. Nor does Mr. Balsillie agree with Apple’s requirement that developers use proprietary tools for building apps for the iPhone and iPad.

Unsaid is the fear that Apple will make R.I.M., which is far less app-happy, obsolete or that it will push the industry in a direction that is to R.I.M’s disadvantage.

RIM Is Not App-Happy - NYTimes.com

Yahoo in Four Words - NYTimes.com

It would have been more succinct to say “not search”

What is Yahoo? That’s the question Carol A. Bartz, Yahoo’s chief executive, gets incessantly in Silicon Valley, where technology industry insiders closely follow her company’s struggles and second-guess the direction it is headed this month.

Her response, at least on Tuesday at the Web 2.0 Summit conference in San Francisco, began lightheartedly when she spoke of how long she’s pondered the topic to come up with an answer. “Maybe it’s taken me two years, but I’ve got it,” she declared. “Content, communications, media and innovation.”

Yahoo in Four Words - NYTimes.com

Microsoft’s Web-Calling Unit Lures Boeing, Aims for $1 Billion - BusinessWeek

Check the Lync link below for more details

Microsoft Corp. has lined up customers such as Boeing Co. and France Telecom SA for new software that handles Web-based calling and videoconferencing, advancing an effort that may add $1 billion in annual sales.

The software, called Lync, debuts at an event today, before going on sale Dec. 1. It has the potential to generate sales on par with Microsoft’s SharePoint business, which makes about $1.3 billion a year, Kurt DelBene, president of the Redmond, Washington-based company’s Office division, said yesterday.

Microsoft’s Web-Calling Unit Lures Boeing, Aims for $1 Billion - BusinessWeek

Palm Chief Rubinstein Talks About Mobile Space, HP Acquisition | John Paczkowski | Digital Daily | AllThingsD

More wishful thinking at HP Palm

“Palm created the PDA (personal digital assistant) space with the Pilot and the smartphone space after it with the Treo,” Rubinstein said this morning, reflecting on the company’s state when he first came to it. “So by birthright, Palm should have owned the smartphone market, but it just lost its way. It’s a very similar story to what happened with Apple.”

Except, of course, Apple never forfeited its independence to another company in the hopes of reclaiming its birthright, or to execute the broader vision of connected devices that arose from it.

Palm Chief Rubinstein Talks About Mobile Space, HP Acquisition | John Paczkowski | Digital Daily | AllThingsD

Barnes & Noble Nook Color E-Reader Packs Punch | Katherine Boehret | The Mossberg Solution | AllThingsD

Apparently no Kindle reader client option yet; otherwise it looks like a fairly compelling $249 7” Android tablet

nook1
The Nook Color

Eight apps found in a section called Extras come loaded on the device including apps for Pandora Internet Radio, chess and Sudoku. I logged into my Pandora account, quickly retrieved my saved list of stations and played a QuickMix of music. I was able to work on a crossword puzzle or read a book or magazine on the Nook Color while still listening to Rihanna on the music app. Microsoft’s Quickoffice software for Word, Excel and PowerPoint comes built into the Nook Color so users can view—but not edit—documents in these programs if they’re loaded onto the device with a MicroSD card. Until the Nook Color’s app store launches early next year, there’s no way to download free or paid apps.

Barnes & Noble Nook Color E-Reader Packs Punch | Katherine Boehret | The Mossberg Solution | AllThingsD

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Facebook's new comms: 'our largest ever engineering project' • The Register

Small world…

The project spanned more than a year, according to company founder Mark Zuckerberg, and it included the roll-out of a new distributed database platform. The system uses HBase, the open source incarnation of Google's BigTable platform that was originally built by the semantic search outfit Powerset, now owned by Microsoft, as part of the Apache Hadoop project, which mimics multiple pieces of Google's proprietary infrastructure.

Facebook's new comms: 'our largest ever engineering project' • The Register

Why Facebook Wants Your E-Mail - Technology Review

From the 2nd page of the article:

What happens now? Two words: Privacy scare. Security and privacy advocates are already poring over Zuckerberg's words to find ways that the as-yet-unseen mail system might compromise its users. But from past experience, security holes are unlikely to slow the Facebook juggernaut. "The only fatal shortcoming would be a very serious breach of privacy that would scare anyone from using it," Bernardo Huberman, director of Hewlett-Packard's Social Computing Lab recently told Technology Review. So far, though, it seems Facebook users mostly choose to complain bitterly about Zuckerberg's privacy goofs while using his site nonstop.

Why Facebook Wants Your E-Mail - Technology Review

A Twitter Flub Becomes a 'Word of the Year' - NYTimes.com

See the full article for other leading indicators of cultural deterioration…

At the start of the year the word “refudiate” didn’t exist. In mid-July Sarah Palin, Alaska’s former governor, changed that when she used the word in a Twitter message, somehow mashing up “refute” and “repudiate,” while trying to say something like “reject.”

Now refudiate has been named the word of the year by the New Oxford American Dictionary, published by the Oxford University Press, beating out a number of other locutions — many technology-related — that have spread through the language and the Web over the past year.

A Twitter Flub Becomes a 'Word of the Year' - NYTimes.com

Schmidt: Android Phones Will Be Credit Cards - NYTimes.com

Grab your Google Goggles and head to the mall…

Near-field communication could be used in many ways, and Mr. Schmidt highlighted mobile payments. Phones will know when someone walks into a store and can provide relevant information, he said. The technology reduces the risk of fraud, he said, because the person and their phone must be present at the point of payment, and could be connected to a person’s credit card number.

“This could replace your credit card,” he said. “The reason this N.F.C. chip is so interesting is because the credit card industry thinks the loss rate is going to be much better, they’re just more secure.”

Search on mobile phones will also be part of Google’s venture into commerce, he said.

Schmidt: Android Phones Will Be Credit Cards - NYTimes.com

Facebook's New Front in Google Rivalry - WSJ.com

I’m surprised there hasn’t been more press/blogosphere coverage of the Office Web Apps dimension, as it makes Facebook’s services more directly competitive with Google Apps.  See Updated: Office + Facebook = Easily share your ideas and documents with friends for more details.

In a meeting with reporters at an Internet conference Monday, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said it "is basically good to have more competition in the space," adding, "they appear to be taking a different approach."

Facebook's service is designed to combine traditional email, instant message and cellphone text messages into one system, routing messages to whichever service is best for each person, and keeping an archive of it all.

Facebook's New Front in Google Rivalry - WSJ.com

China's 'State Capitalism' Sparks a Global Backlash - WSJ.com

What would Marx and Engels do?…  Perhaps post-90s centralized planning is the ultimate “big data” domain.  (BTW unless otherwise noted, the WSJ.com articles I reference are freely available)

Central to China's approach are policies that champion state-owned firms and other so-called national champions, seek aggressively to obtain advanced technology, and manage its exchange rate to benefit exporters. It leverages state control of the financial system to channel low-cost capital to domestic industries—and to resource-rich foreign nations whose oil and minerals China needs to maintain rapid growth.

China's policies are partly a product of its unique status: a developing country that is also a rising superpower. Its leaders don't assume the market is preeminent. Rather, they see state power as essential to maintaining stability and growth, and thereby ensuring continued Communist Party rule.

China's 'State Capitalism' Sparks a Global Backlash - WSJ.com

Beatles Songs Expected to Go On iTunes - NYTimes.com

Think different

Still, while getting access to the Beatles catalog has plenty of symbolic significance, it is unlikely to bolster the company’s bottom line.

“It is very symbolic because Steve Jobs is a huge fan of the Beatles,” said Tim Bajarin, an analyst with Creative Strategies, who has been following Apple for more than two decades.

But for all the success of Apple in becoming the largest distributor of music on the Internet, the iTunes store is not a major source of profits for the company. Apple executives have said that iTunes is roughly a “break-even” operation.

Beatles Songs Expected to Go On iTunes - NYTimes.com

Google's Schmidt Choosing Words More Carefully | Liz Gannes | NetworkEffect | AllThingsD

Looks like somebody had a PR refresher course; see the link below for a recap of recent “jokes” etc.

Speaking at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco today was a different Eric Schmidt from the Google CEO we’re all used to–the one who likes to use kooky metaphors and muse about the future of just about any topic. Instead, Schmidt, burned by publicity and interpretations of his recent remarks on privacy, is now keeping his foot as far away from his mouth as possible–but that too in somewhat awkward fashion.

Google's Schmidt Choosing Words More Carefully | Liz Gannes | NetworkEffect | AllThingsD

Google decries censorship - The Boston Globe

Interesting times

Google Inc., owner of the world’s most popular Internet search engine, is urging the US government to challenge Internet censorship abroad as an unfair trade barrier.

China, Vietnam, Iran, and Turkey are among the countries that have shut off search engines, blogging platforms, or social-media websites such as Facebook, Google said yesterday. Such actions are harming the ability of US companies to profit, Google said.

Google decries censorship - The Boston Globe

Facebook service aims to centralize messages - The Boston Globe

An AP perspective follows below.  I think the many-to-many communication channel (email, SMS, and IM, initially) generalization dimension is interesting.

The first Internet e-mail system arrived in the early 1970s, and it has been an integral part of most people’s lives for at least two decades. Though e-mail is still a primary form of communication for older adults, recent studies suggest this is not the case for young people. Text messaging has surpassed face-to-face contact, e-mail, phone calls, and instant messaging as the primary form of communication for US teens, according to a 2009 survey from the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

Facebook sees its messaging service as a way to deepen its connection with the more than 500 million users of its network. If it can persuade its vast audience to become faithful users of its messaging service, Facebook conceivably will have more opportunities to sell advertising that caters to their likes.

Facebook service aims to centralize messages - The Boston Globe

Monday, November 15, 2010

How Baidu Won China - BusinessWeek

On the capitalism + government + information empire themes, an extensive BusinessWeek Baidu profile

The world knows Baidu as the search engine that kicked Google's butt out of China, with an assist from the Communist Party. The company has a 73 percent share of the world's largest Internet market by users, and has the fifth-largest market capitalization ($38.3 billion) among the world's pure-play Internet companies, trailing Google (GOOG), Amazon.com (AMZN), Tencent (an instant messaging and gaming company based in Shenzhen), and only narrowly, eBay (EBAY). It's now 57 percent bigger than Yahoo! (YHOO)—and with significantly brighter prospects. Baidu "has the best business in the world," says Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray (PJC). "It's hugely profitable, with massive growth ahead in the population of Chinese Internet users, and the government backing it up. Essentially it's a state-sponsored monopoly."

How Baidu Won China - BusinessWeek

Samsung plans to smash Android rivals..what about the iPad? • The Register

Excerpt from a Samsung snapshot – with major market momentum (“Samsung's Galaxy S has shipped 7 million units and has set targets of 20 million for this year – plus one million tablets”)

So far, much of the impact of the Galaxy S will have been felt by other Android vendors such as Motorola or Sony Ericsson, whose smartphone growth has been slower than Samsung's. However, Apple is starting to lose some ground to the Google platform too, and the Korean OEM's advantages make it the most dangerous of the Android OEMs to the iPhone.

It has even greater economies of scale and purchasing power than Apple does. Like Apple, it has a level of control of its supply chain that promises cost efficiency and design innovation. Ironically, its sister company Samsung Electronics, provides Apple's distinctive apps processor, the A4, which is almost the same as the Hummingbird it makes for Samsung Mobile. But both OEMs have powerful control over their processor evolution and its optimisation for their software platforms.

Samsung plans to smash Android rivals..what about the iPad? • The Register

Sorting Through the Government Data Explosion - NYTimes.com

A case study in information value-add

All the data the American government is pouring onto the Web will be useful only if people can make sense of it. What’s needed are tools for sorting, combining and presenting raw data sets in visual form. That’s the challenge being tackled by Mr. Hendler and his team.

“There’s an unfathomable about of data out there,” Mr. Hendler said in an interview on Friday afternoon. “We’re trying to help people use it and understand it.”

Mr. Hendler, joined by two faculty colleagues, Deborah McGuinness and Peter Fox, and a handful of undergraduate and graduate students, have made more than 50 demonstration data projects in recent months. The data demos, tools and tutorials are on R.P.I.’s Data-Gov Web site.

Sorting Through the Government Data Explosion - NYTimes.com

Koobface Worm Sharpens Facebook Security - NYTimes.com

Malware-unfriendly

Raymond A. Pompon, senior security officer at HCL CapitalStream, which provides electronic services for financial institutions, said such prosecutions were tricky. “Oftentimes you do know who it is, but you actually have to prove this person did it — his hands were on the keyboard.”

If or when the time for prosecution comes, Facebook is unlikely to hold back. It has pursued a number of civil suits against spammers and scammers that have led to record judgments.

“We’re pretty relentless,” Mr. Sullivan said.

Koobface Worm Sharpens Facebook Security - NYTimes.com