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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Blogs, Everyone? Weblogs Are Here to Stay, but Where Are They Headed?

From Knowledge@Wharton Blogs, Everyone? Weblogs Are Here to Stay, but Where Are They Headed? . Good overview article on blogging. Quotes marketing professor Peter Fader, who we have linked to several times.

Tivo Pops-Up ads

More details about the testing of the Tivo ads that pop-up during fast-forward. This was apparently part of the recently announced Comcast-Tivo deal. I previously posted on this, with some links to Tivo economic models. This brings to mind the book: The Big Picture: the New Logic of Money and Power in Hollywood by Edward Jay Epstein, which talks at considerable length about the evolution of content delivery economic models. This is just another example, perhaps the first interactive one. Slashdot post on Tivo's test. Via Richard L. James.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Chernoff Faces

I was reminded of the method of 'Chernoff Faces'; in Clifford Pickover's 1990 book: "Computers, Pattern, Chaos and Beauty" (p. 47-) .. I was led there by a pointer to some Java implementations of Chernoff faces. For those that have not seen this, its the use of cartoon faces, whose attributes (eyes, ears, mouth, hair, etc) are varied in their size and orientation based on some numerical measure. Specifically using a cartoon face is said to allow us to use our own facial pattern recognition ability to better understand complex multidimensional data. Can anyone point me to other implementations or examples of a similar idea ... linking numeric measures to the size of other aspects of an image in general? Is this idea used very often today?

Hortense Powdermaker

New to me, Hortense Powdermaker, anthropologist ... author of Hollywood, The Dream Factory ... famously quoted to have said ... that Hollywood was a " dream factory .. engaged in the mass production of prefabricated daydreams ...". Quoted in Edward Jay Epstein's recent book The Big Picture: The New logic of Money and Power in Hollywood, under review. Lots of interesting financial detail in this book, alternative economic models for dealing with content. Though fairly dry in style, not for everyone.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

V. S. Pritchett

Just reading VS Pritchett's London Perceived, a 1962 book about London supported by a number of excellent photographs by Evelyn Hofer. Its a 42 year old book, so you can't use it as a guide today, but Pritchett provides such a lyrical overview of his subject that this is still excellent reading. There are a few overlaps with the London I know, and it makes me want to re-examine those. It a guide to time and place when bomb-sites still existed, and the economy of London was very different. If you like the topic, well worth the read, its still in print. Likely in your local library. Also has inspired me to look into Pritchett as an author.

Friday, March 25, 2005

First look at Yahoo! 360

Charlene Li posts on First look at Yahoo! 360. Yahoo's new social networking and blogging service. Overall, based on the description, I am not impressed. I have experimented with a few of these social networking services, and they leave me cold.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Numenta: Hawkins Brain Models for Intelligence

I reviewed Jeff Hawkin's book: On Intelligence last year. The founder of Palm Computing suggested a model using the architecture of the brain to build artificially intelligent systems. This is a novel approach, since most AI systems do not attempt to use the brain as structural model. His book was very good, but I suggested that he had considerable work to do to implement his ideas. Its another commendable attempt at the holy grail of machine intelligence.

Now an article in today's WSJ: Next Case for Palm Pilot Creators: The Brain and another in BusinessWeek: Jeff Hawkins' Bold Brainstorm, suggest that some progress has been made. He linked with Dileep George, who has started to implement some mathematics based on Hawkin's ideas, and formed a company called Numenta to work on practical applications. Both articles quote Intel scientist Gary Bradksi who says "Even if he's wrong, his theory is better than nothing. And it's 'attackable' -- and that's a good thing." Likely early applications are in machine vision and drug discovery. See also article in the NYTimes. Well worth tracking.

Michael Faraday Bio

A Life of Discovery: Michael Faraday by James Hamilton is the first bio I have read of Faraday. Hamilton is an architect, and sometimes fits in pieces about London architecture into the work, I didn't mind that, since I enjoy London, but it can seem forced. Good descriptions of Faradays lectures and the amount of time and care he took to get them right. I doubt he would have used Powerpoint. The most amazing part is his description of Faraday's creation of the first simple electric motor, the rush of creativity, if it could only always be that way ... his own enthusiasm then got him into trouble as he rushed to get the word out. I also recall reading parts of his chemical history of a candle in chemistry class, a tour-de-force of observation. He was to follow with the invention of the transformer, the dynamos and electrolysis, plus a great deal of fundamental chemistry and physics. His correspondence with Ada, Lady Lovelace, is also intriguing. Good bio.
The Wikpedia entry on Michael Faraday is also worth a look.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Dvorak on 1995

Short but interesting column by Dvorak, who I have been reading since then 1995: That Was the Year That Was. Although I had used the Darpanet back in the 70s, this was about the year I was first introduced to the Web and Internet. It took a few more years for the corporation to discover it. Shortly after this I remember giving a talk to management introducing the web, and their astonishment that their prime products were not showing up on search engines of the time. It is amazing how much has happened in the last 10 years. Nostalgia in just so few years.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Chance Discovery

I have just received the book Chance Discovery, by Yukio Ohsawa and Peter McBurney. I met Yukio at a recent meeting at the University of Illinois. Ohsawa is from the University of Tsukuba. The idea is intriguing and am looking forward to reviewing. I was introduced to the idea as part of a look at the DISCUS method of augmenting focus groups. See also his Chance Discovery site for an overview.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Norbert Wiener The Father of Cybernetics

Itching to read Dark Hero Of The Information Age .... I read a few of Wiener's books, and the insight into our current age is amazing. Yet few people today, even those in the business, have heard if him. In the NYTimes review its mentioned that the Soviets thought highly of him, and I remember getting some English translations of Soviet work in 'Cybernetica' in the 80s that often mentioned his work. NYT suggests that ...information as a discrete concept did not widely exist before Wiener .. early Bell engineers referred to the signal traveling over telephone wires as 'the commodity to be transported by a telephone system' ... Intriguing, if true.

Understanding Comics: Scott McCloud

I read McCloud's Understanding Comics back in 1993, I was pointed back to it again by Christ Atkinson's book Beyond Bullets, now I am re-reading. Here is his site. Some very interesting things here ... See in particular the interface to the 'Morning Improv', something I would like to experiment with myself for instructional interaction.

In the early part of this book McCloud posits a fascinating distinction between realistic drawings of people and various levels of stylizing with a minimal number of pen-strokes. In real-life, whenever we talk to people we look at them directly and get a realistic view, but our pictoral view of ourselves in that interaction is stylized, since we cant see ourselves. So he suggests that by using a level of simplification in cartoons, it allows us to put ourselves in the position of the character. Thoughtful view.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Psychophysiology of Risk

Posted for potential workup into an article: MIT Laboratory for Financial Engineering: Psychophysiology of Risk

Communications Models

An interesting post on communications models at iaocblog. Steve King of IFTF provides some interesting thoughts about this. Particularly interesting , the stoller queen example. Though not a blog, this is an excellent example of consumers taking control of the marketing conversation.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Sign Language

Fascinating pointer Sign Language on work underway about using gestural interfaces to control geospatial interfaces. Apparently designed to be used in high stress situations, such as the emergency management centers, to help partipants collaborate and interact with geospatial data. I have worked on some relatively primitive GIS systems, this would have been useful. Can we ultimately just wave our hands at out data?

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Spring comes to AI winter: Hecht-Nielsen's Confabulations

This article Spring comes to AI winter Mentions neural net commercialization pioneer Robert Hecht-Nielsen and his confabulation idea. Its also described in a Physorg post. Some pretty bold predictions of the generality of the approach. I have not looked at the technical article as yet. Is it available online anywhere? We worked with Hecht-Nielsen's HNC Software back in the 90s to develop neural nets for corporate pattern recognition problems. They were acquired by FairIsaac.

MemCheck Memory News from Cognitive Labs

Consumer Marketing taking hints from neuroscientists. Another example of neuromarketing ideas.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Why Stock Markets Crash

Inspired by an article in MIT's Tech Review on using Physics models to predict book sales (No longer online, you would think MIT Tech Review would know better?) I just read: Why Stock Markets Crash: Critical Events in Complex Financial Systems, by Didier Sornette. Here is UCLA's press release on the work. The book is a well-done overview of complexity work as it relates to financial markets. Though technical, the book spends much time in setting up coherent descriptions of how models link to financial problems. Leading to an 'autopsy' of major crashes. I can't speak to the validity of the conclusions in detail, since finance is not my world. Many, many useful references here to related work, and good thumbnail descriptions of advanced modeling work in finance. Obvious overlap with Benoit Mandelbrot's The Misbehavior of Markets. The last chapter addresses the question of if we are in for a end of growth by 2050. Optimistic overall. Here is chapter 1, though its the least technical.

IFTF's Future of Marketing

I am blogging now at IFTF's Future of Marketing specifically for marketing related emergent technology ideas. Some of those posts will start to be initially outlined here, with sometimes a request for information I can fold up to that blog. Not sure how many people are reading this, but always welcome additional information, credit and links will be given to those that contribute.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Strange Angel

Completed Strange Angel, by George Pendle, bio of rocket fuel pioneer John Whiteside Parsons. Early history of JPL and rocketry in the US. Also, Parsons connection to cult leader Aleister Crowley. Sometimes uneven , but interesting view of that time.

Beyond Bullet Points

I completed my review of Cliff Atkinson's Beyond Bullet Points and posted it in Future Now. Good book, I found a number of its ideas useful and plan to use them in upcoming presentations. Also interesting, some of the pointers in it to research on effectiveness of multimedia presentations.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Gallups New Poll on Blogs

Gallups new poll on blogging is worth noting: Blogs Not Yet in the Media Big Leagues As bloggers we do lots of introspection about this emerging idea, around since only 1997 ... As has been pointed out to me, we have been doing things like blogs for some time, but only in these last few years have we seen its explosion. The study makes the case that three quarters of US public uses the internet, but only one in four is even somewhat familiar with blogs ... just slightly more than half of the US public has no knowledge at all of them. There is considerable room room yet for the expansion of this idea. Well worth reading in its entirety.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Understanding Comics

I was referenced to this book: Understanding Comics. Via Cliff Atkinson's Beyond Bullet Points. See also his excellent Beyond Bullets site.

Stay-in-car shopping : Autocart

Stay-in-car shopping | www.azstarnet.com �

I found this during some research on the drive-through superstore concept, note it mentions IFTF.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

AutoCart revs up drive-through supercenter

I wrote about this before in Future Now ... AutoCart revs up drive-through supercenter. Still looking for more details, would appreciate anything people can send along.

Monday, March 07, 2005

On Demand Blogosphere

Jon Udell introduced me to bookmarklets, and although I am mostly an ad-hoc programmer, used to constructing things to solve problems, rather than a professional programmer, his simple examples helped me collaborate with the local library to construct a simple interaction between web pages and the library reservation system. That resulted in something I use daily now.

Since then I have been following his work, Now he is working on another problem of note, how do you make your RSS feeds more useful, how do you find out who is talking about a topic you want additional commentary on. In his recent post he provides a short screencast that describes how he is working towards the goal of constructing tighter networks between bloggers and their networks of information.

Augmented Marketing Focus Groups: Discus

Here is a blog post I wrote about our recent visit to Professor David Goldberg's GA lab at the University of Illinois to observe the first test of their Discus augmented focus group idea.

Charles Stross' Singularity Sky

Just completed Charles Stross' SF novel Singularity Sky. Very nicely done, a wild compendium of technology touched upon, less on the side of character development. Still a very good, readable story, recommended.Here is his blog. Just starting to peruse.

Envisioning a Leapfrogged World

Envisioning a Leapfrogged World

Saw this noted in Rajesh Jain's Emergic blog ... Thoughtful piece on the subject of technology leapfrogging ... in particular how the process of leapfrogging is also likely to change over time as some of the development capabilities are also leapfrogged. (Note the recent Businessweek article on product development in China) Will become an increasingly important issue for the west.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Professionalization of Blogs

The Professionalization of Blogs

Good article by Steve King addressing the professionalism of blogs, and the apparent movement from amateur to professional.

Friday, March 04, 2005

HP Blog Epidemic Analyzer

I was reminded of this research on blog academics by a recent link, out of HP's Information Dynamics Lab. See their demonstration, and their related FAQ. The research and data is a couple of years old now, but its an intriguing piece of work.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

GPS and Google Maps

Jon Udell: Walking tour of Keene: followup

Here is another clever thing from Jon Udell. Last summer I played with his library lookup capability, and with just a little help from the local library folks, was able to set up searches based on ISBN, author, title and subject. This introduced me to bookmarklets, and now I use these lookup capabilities most every day. Very nice for a biblio junkie. I continue to try to get other folks to use them ... a very nice capability.

This new example makes use of Google Maps, which I have played with a bit as well, and although still Beta, boasts a very nice interface. Udell has worked on setting up a GPS-based tour of a set of locations, based on Google maps. He points to a live example, and outlines how to do this.

See also pointers to Google Maps Hacking Wiki, which I am also starting to explore.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

RiverGlass Real-Time Analytics


RiverGlass develops software that merges multiple data streams from disparate sources and applies powerful, real-time data analysis and modeling techniques that help customers manage risks, solve critical problems, and make informed decisions.

I am starting to look at this provider of data mining capabilities. Especially with regard to the real-time aspects of its capabilities. Will update this post as I progress.