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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sherry Turkle on the Death of the Phone

Currently reading Sherry Turkle's book, mentioned below:

A podcast from HBR IdeaCast: Productivity, Multitasking, and the Death of the Phone

Featured Guest: Sherry Turkle, MIT professor and author of Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other.

Empower Research Site and Blog

I was told that Empower Research has updated their blog.  Here it is.  I was recently introduced to some of their work.  Emphasizes social media research,  Media Monitoring and Data Management.  See also their blog Newsense, which covers social media conversations and more.

Google Working on Face Recognition App

Have now worked on a number of image recognition applications.  And have always noticed the big G working around the edges of this space.  Here Engadget describes some of their work in face recognition.

Lessons from Loyalty Marketing on Job Growth

Post from the Burghard group. " ... Eric Canada has studied the impact of existing companies on job growth in communities. His data suggest attraction generally accounts for only 15% of jobs and capital attraction compared to 76% from existing businesses and 9% from entrepreneurial start-ups. In fact, in an interview with Canada he noted, “If I could only implement one economic development strategy, it would be an existing business strategy – and I am a marketer! ... "

Reinventing Analysis With Memory

A quite interesting video series by Saffron Technology,   I have mentioned them in this space a number of times.   A unique application of technology for the enterprise memory.   I had met with them as part of my innovation center work and was impressed.  They continue to progress.   I will look at these tapes  and report back in more detail later.  Brought to my attention by Sammy Haroon.

Apps as the New Wallet

Good piece in GigaOm about the continuing march towards the smartphone largely  replacing the credit card and the wallet.  Covers as  well as some of the issues involved. Plus the implications of new kinds of data that can be collected at point-of-sale.   And at point of consideration.  Inevitable that there will be considerable unintended consequences to watch for.

Mynd: A Thought Cap by Neurofocus

In FastCompany:  Thinking Cap: "Mynd" Is the First Dry, iPhone-Compatible, Portable Brain Scanner

"Neuromarketing goes mobile with this lightweight, dry, and iPhone- or iPad-compatible new device from NeuroFocus. DiY brain researchers rejoice! NeuroFocus, a firm that brings brain research to marketing, today unveiled what it deems “the first dry, wireless headset designed to capture brainwave activity across the full brain.” The device, three years in the making, debuted at the 75th Annual Advertising Research Foundation conference in New York ... "

Hardly the first portable scanner.  I have seen them demonstrated several years ago.  And I am not sure what iPhone compatible really means.  Probably that they have written an App to display the data gathered.   Clearly though Neurofocus, with the support of Nielsen, is the pre-eminent seller of the neuromarketing concept to many large marketers.  Will you see someone wearing one of these in your local store?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Online Degrees: Future Phone View

Anna Miller sends along a link to a good article on the future of phones in her blog.

She writes for Online Degree:   " ... When we first started Online Degree there were a number of websites which provided encyclopedic reference for students who were interested in attending an online university. But for students who were looking for a single one page resource from which they could glean just the essential information they needed to make an educated decision about their online degree, there was no such resource. To fill that void we created Online Degree ... "

Educators, Enterprises and Gaming

An HBR post asks when educators will get serious about gaming?  The same question could also be asked about when business will become serious about gaming constructs.   New generations are emerging with skills and attitudes that match well with gaming approaches to problem solving.  We explored those ideas, but previous generations never saw them as serious solutions to tough, collaborative work methods.  It is time to get serious here. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

GPS Check-ins, True and False

Short piece on the opportunity of using GPS check-ins for disaster relief and location.  Nice idea I had been thinking about. But at the same time showing the ease of falsely doing check-ins most anywhere.  This was my original problem with FourSquare for loyalty applications.  Seems it has only become easier to spoof a location.

RFID Plays Matchmaker

In a previous post I mentioned an RFID name tag being marketing by Wizard Studios that aids in interest match-making at conferences. .  Here is more about that idea and its use.  " ... RFID Plays Matchmaker at Conferences ... Badge2Match's RFID-enabled badges light up whenever two people with complementary interests get close to each other.... "

Cloud Computing in IEEE Computer

This month's IEEE Computer emphasizes Cloud Computing.  A number of useful articles including some freely accessible.   


Was just introduced to Axatra, a company that develops cloud-based solutions. See their site for more about their custom development capabilities.

Energy Saving IT in Manufacturing

Short HBR piece on smart energy saving in manufacturing at GM.  In my own experience in manufacturing, similar things had been done for years.  Yet it is good that more of this has been systematized.

Flipping Education

Watch videos at home, then have limited class time for help with a teacher.  A TED  video.  Overall not a bad idea.  The social dynamics of teacher and student will change, but we have already started to see that.

Yet I am concerned about the technology-centric aspects of this: " ... All fifth through twelfth graders in Little Falls, Minnesota will get iPads next year, reports the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. This year, fifth graders were given iPads. Some teachers are flipping instruction ... " .   It is not all about the fancy hardware, it is about the human interaction too.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Smartphones and Shopping

Chief Marketer dissects a recent study of smartphones for retail.   The overall conclusion is they are in heavy use for information gathering.   This study includes all uses of smartphones, whether it is in-store or not,  Useful but not surprising statistical results by age and gender.  The most surprising thing I found was in the following para, which suggests that the use of barcode scanning App is much more common than have have personally observed.  I have my doubts, will look to the original study report:.  If so this changes the interactive  landscape of in-store considerably.

" ... Asked what apps they were most likely to open when using their smartphones to shop, respondents most often cited scanner apps for 2D barcodes or QR codes (44%), followed by discount apps such as Groupon or LivingSocial (38%). And customer review apps such as the one from Consumer Reports (31%). Branded store apps were name by 26% of those polled, and 22% pointed to product comparison apps. Only 13% said they were likely to open geo-location apps such as Foursquare, Gowalla or Shopkick ... "

Admitting Failure

Charlene Li in the HBR, on the art of admitting failure.

Agile Data Integration

What is agile data integration?, and how do you do it? Good overview in BeyeNetwork by Ralph Hughes  that lists alternatives and describes directions.

BBC Dimensions

A simple BBC site that allows you to graphically deal with relative sizes:  " ... Dimensions takes important places, events and things, and overlays them onto a map of where you are. Type in your postcode or a place name to get started ...  ".    Although a UK site, US zipcodes work. 

Library Augmented Reality for Grocery Shelves

Found this Readwriteweb article on book shelf placement to be interesting.  I have worked with libraries on catalog systems.  It is not only libraries where things can become become disarranged. Shelves in grocery often do not conform to the prescripted plan-o-gram.  Is there a reapplication of this mobile library App to the complexity of a grocery shelf?  I can think of further information that could be leveraged at the shelf beyond position of an item.

" ... If you've ever worked in a library, you're familiar with the drudgery of shelf reading. That's the process of verifying that all the books on a shelf are in the right order, based on their call numbers. Books get out of order fairly easily, when they're taken off the shelf and examined, for example, or when they're just stuck in the wrong place.

Miami University's Augmented Reality Research Group (MU ARRG) ...  led by Professor Bo Brinkman, has developed an Android app that could save librarians a lot of time and hassle. Using the Android's camera, the app "reads" a bookshelf, and with an AR overlay, quickly flags those books that are misplaced. It will also point to the correct place on the bookshelf so the book can easily be re-shelved correctly ... "

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Facebook's Question Tool

On Facebook's Question Tool.  How is this just released tool good for businesses and brands?  Examining further now.

" ... The feature, which Facebook rolled out to all users March 24, functions as a recommendation engine. It also presents a major opportunity for businesses to conduct market research and crowdsource in a far more elegant way than was previously possible, according to Ben Grossman, communication strategist for marketing agency Oxford Communications ... "

Getting the Most Out of Adwords

Good article on the topic in Mashable.  Continuing to get a grounding in the advertising aspects and how to link that to available quantitative data that supports related promotion data.  There is much of this data available and mining it for relationships should be worthwhile.

Social Media Detox

If you think you need a social media detox, check out this post via GigaOm.

Protein Folding Modeling

Speeding up the understanding of how proteins fold, from the MIT CSAIL Laboratory. We examined related approaches in the enterprise.  " ... Processing vast amounts of genomic data is an ongoing battle, but a new technique coming out of CSAIL for modeling nuances in protein folding looks to be more computationally efficient than current models. The method could cut the time needed to run atom-by-atom simulations from months to mere minutes. This discovery could be helpful in further examining genes’ role in disease.  .... "   Press release.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Conversational Marketing

Since the Cluetrain Manifesto we have been pushing 'conversational marketing'.  Yet I have also observed that it is fairly rare that you get a robust conversation going on between company and customer.  So is there a way that the idea of conversational marketing can be evolved into something better?   ECommercetimes posts about it's evolution.


Was just reminded of the UK firm: Neurosense.  Who I connected with at a Krakow conference a few years ago.  " .... Accurate insight into consumer responses to products, advertisements and mainstream marketing materials depends on precise knowledge about how these strategies impact on memory, learning, emotion and decision-making. These processes are largely inaccessible through introspection, so traditional methods that require consumers to explain how they might feel or think in the future, are limited in predictive power. At Neurosense, we specialise in using modern scientific research technologies that go straight to the powerhouse of thought and emotion - the human brain ... ". 

Friday, March 25, 2011

More on the Effectiveness of QR codes

Another look at QR Codes, which makes some obvious conclusions.  It is true that the mere use of a QR code in an ad or display may attract your attention.  Yet you also have to have a smartphone AND be willing and able to use it to to get what you want.  So you need some practice with an easy to use scanning App.

It is just this past year I have seen other people in retail scanning barcodes.  In a couple of these cases I have seen the person sheepishy look around to see if the coast was clear before scanning.  As long as the behavior is seen as 'odd'  the idea has no chance.  The industry needs to develop ads that show lots of people happily scanning without fear and liking it.  Then we will see some progress.

A Slice of the History of Executive Information Systems

I have been doing some exploration of Executive Information Systems (EIS) and BI, which I was involved in for a number of years, and was sent this excerpt: -

"Executive Information Systems (EIS) evolved from single user model-driven Decision Support systems and improved relational database products. The first EIS used pre-defined information screens and were maintained by analysts for senior executives. For example, in fall of 1978, development of an EIS called Management Information and Decision Support (MIDS) system began at Lockheed-Georgia (cf., Houdeshel and Watson, 1987). Beginning in about 1990, data warehousing and On-Line Analytical Processing (OLAP) began broadening the realm of EIS and defined a broader category of Data-Driven DSS (cf., Dhar and Stein, 1997). Nigel Pendse (1997) claims the first Executive Information System product was Pilot Software’s Command Center. He notes both multidimensional analysis and OLAP had origins in the APL programming language and in systems like Express and Comshare’s System W. Nigel Pendse of the OLAPReport.com has written and updates a much more detailed history of the origins of OLAP products.

Nylund (1999) traces the developments associated with Business Intelligence (BI) to Procter & Gamble’s efforts in 1985 to build a DSS that linked sales information and retail scanner data. Metaphor Computer Systems, a spinoff of researchers from Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), built the early P&G DSS. Metaphor alumni latter founded many of the BI vendors: Richard Tanler founded Information Advantage and Katherine Glassey co-founded Brio Technologies. The term BI is a popularized, umbrella term supposedly introduced by Howard Dresner of the Gartner Group in 1989. BI describes a set of concepts and methods to improve business decision making by using fact-based support systems. BI is sometimes used interchangeably with briefing books, report and query tools and executive information systems. Business Intelligence systems are data-driven DSS."

Brain Computer Implant

A novel in brain computer-neural  implant has now passed the 1000 day milestone: " ... A paralysed woman was still able to accurately control a computer cursor with her thoughts 1000 days after having a tiny electronic device implanted in her brain, say the researchers who devised the system. The achievement demonstrates the longevity of brain-machine implants ... "

Why Only Some Apps Succeed

A GigaOm look at why some Apps work and some do not, by Om Malik.  Fundamentally he suggests its all about either utility or happiness. 

The Psychology of Collaboration

As in most cases where groups of people are involved, it is not mostly about the technology.  We used Greif's work in the 80s about 'Computer  Supported Cooperative Work', a term little used today.  We addressed different scales of problems from tiny remote groups, to merged companies, to entire enterprises.  This is a good interview article:

The Psychology of Collaboration
An IBM researcher examines the limitations of collaborating through software. In the 1980s, long before the rise of online social networks, Irene Greif helped found the field of computer-supported coöperative work (CSCW), which explores how technology helps people collaborate. Today Greif is an IBM fellow, the company's highest technical honor, and director of collaborative user experience in IBM Research. Jodi Slater, who worked with Greif at Lotus Development after it was bought by IBM in the 1990s and later cofounded the business consultancy MarketspaceNext, recently spoke with Greif for Technology Review about why some of the hardest collaboration problems have nothing to do with technology .... "

Trolls and Copyrights

A judicial case addresses the right to re-post. But I don't think this is the last we will hear about fair-use in blogs.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Leadership Lessons from P&G

From the Burghard Group:

Leadership Lessons From P&G,   10  Lessons from Leaders:

1.Get to know people as individuals. Group activities are great for building teams, but one-on-one interactions build trust.

2.Be predictable by being constant. It is okay to change your mind, but if you do, explain the rationale so people can trust you. Walk the talk   .....

Starbucks Mobile Payment Popular

Starbucks payment method using mobile phones and 2D bar code scanning is apparently quite successful. Now over three million people have used the capability.  There have been some issues with the security of the method.  Pushing forward again towards phone as a wallet that could replace the credit card in many circumstances. 

Google Online Magazine

Google has started a quarterly online magazine, based in the UK.  Think Quarterly.  There is also a good Mashable review of the first issue.   Glossy format,  overviews of technological issues. Each issue is described and formatted  as a 'book'.   You can view the book in a simulated page-turning mode.  This is cool and perhaps works well on well on a tablet, but it is also quaint, forces me to play with zooming to read the text.  I would prefer it in single page scrollable windows. There is a mobile version I have yet to experiment with. 

The first issue is devoted to data.   What I have seen so far are easy to read, not overly technical, executive overview level pieces that are worth reading.  I am reminded of IBM's similarly named Think Research Magazine, which we used to read religiously, but seems to have gone away.  Will pass along links to the articles as they are of interest.  I agree with their general 'slow down', breathing-room premise:

"At Google, we often think that speed is the forgotten 'killer application' – the ingredient that can differentiate winners from the rest. We know that the faster we deliver results, the more useful people find our service.

But in a world of accelerating change, we all need time to reflect. Think Quarterly is a breathing space in a busy world. It's a place to take time out and consider what's happening and why it matters.

Our first issue is dedicated to Data – amongst a morass of information, how can you find the magic metrics that will help transform your business? We hope that you find inspiration, insights, and more, in Think Quarterly ... "

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

HP Mergers and Acquisitions

In the newly discovered Software Advice Blog  -  An intriguing article:  HP Mergers and Acquisitions, Who's Next?    I have linked with HP for many years while I was in the enterprise.  For a number of years we visited HP Labs yearly to see what was happening in their innovation space.  They also visited out innovation centers.  I was disappointed in recent years when their Labs took less interest  in pushing good ideas. 

This article explores the acquisition space in interesting ways.   Including a visual view of the acquisitions that HP has done historically.  That reminded me of several interesting connections with those events. 

The article then goes through a number of context areas.  I agree with many of them, in particular BI and Imaging, where I saw early evidence of their work at HP Labs.  Bringing up SAP as a merger was interesting though I think that there are many barriers  including size and corporate culture.  My own former enterprise now works with both companies and I think there would be some loud opinions from that direction.

The article ends with a survey.  I will follow with a post to the results.  There are also a number of largely thoughtful comments on the post which suggest other targets and strategies.   I agree with many of the suggestions. Overall if you have been involved with HP this is an excellent and thought provoking piece.

Crowd Sourcing Systems

In the ACM: An excellent and broad article on the the use of crowd sourcing.  Includes some interesting updates on Amazon's Mechanical Turk. Must reading for those interested in this topic and its broad application. 

" ... This survey attempts to provide a global picture of crowdsourcing systems on the Web. We define and classify such systems, then describe a broad sample of systems. The sample ranges from relatively simple well-established systems such as reviewing books to complex emerging systems that build structured knowledge bases to systems that "piggyback" onto other popular systems. We discuss fundamental challenges such as how to recruit and evaluate users, and to merge their contributions. Given the space limitation, we do not attempt to be exhaustive. Rather, we sketch only the most important aspects of the global picture, using real-world examples. The goal is to further our collective understanding—both conceptual and practical—of this important emerging topic ... "

Coming Convergence of Big Data and Predicitive Analytics

Data is surging and everyone is seeking to leverage it in new and better ways, In ITBusiness Edge:

" ... As it becomes more affordable to collect massive amounts of data, there’s been a corresponding increase in Big Data. But according to Deepak Advani, IBM vice president for predictive analytics, collecting more data than ever simply because it’s less expensive to do so misses the point. What customers want to do, says Advani, is get more value out of the data they are collecting. To achieve that goal, Advani says there will need to be a corresponding increase in investments in predictive analytics to make all the investments in Big Data worthwhile ... "

RFID Badge Networking

Wizard Studios CEO C. Russell Brumfield, who we hosted at the innovation center for scent marketing methods,  is marketing a new people communications device for meetings, reunions and even the singles market.  See their site    Includes an explanatory video.

Google Latitude Gets Checkin/Out

The Google mobile application for the Android and now for the IPhone called Latitude allows you to share information about you and any group on the Web.  Had always thought it would be good for mobile service and work groups.  The newest version of Latitude allows you to check in and out of locations as well.  Similar to location services like Foursquare.  Had examined these as methods to link with loyalty programs online.  A quick look at Latitude for the IPhone shows that there are now many options available, such as automatic check in.   It also allows a number of privacy options.  Despite the fact that this was an early location based system,  I have seen relatively few examples of it in use.  Any enterprise examples?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Physics of a Flower's Bloom

Mathematicians build a model of flowers' blooming.  An unexpected and magical thing.   I hope this kind of modeling has other applications.  Surely it must have.  Inspired by spring in my garden, picture at the right. " ... Not content to just watch flowers dance in the breeze, Harvard physicists have described for the first time how flowers generate the forces needed to curl open come springtime. In the asiatic lily (Lilium casablanca), this poetic blossoming is driven by skewed growth at the edges of petals, the team reports online Mar. 21 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences ... "  

Fibonnaci Investments

Good piece on the the use of Fibonacci technical analysis in the investment world.  Also a good explanation of Fibonacci numbers and their relationship to concepts like the golden ratio.  I have never used Fibonacci  as an investment tool, and this does look somewhat doubtful.  Yet worth understanding.

Design Principles for Visual Communications

In the ACM:  Design Principles for Visual Communication: How to identify, instantiate, and evaluate domain-specific design principles for creating more effective visualizations. Good, detailed exploratory piece.

ScanBuy at Home Depot

Do it yourself stores have a particular challenge, they often need to train shoppers in the use of many products that they might buy at a store for the first time.  Sometimes called 'extended packaging', the idea is to link a shopper to necessary information, specifications, sales-pitches, promotions and use videos that might be available.  We talked to Scanbuy about their 2-D barcode reading system several years ago. You can experiment with their Scanlife concept online.  They now support all kinds of barcode types.

 More shoppers understand the concept today and there are more smartphones out there.  Yet it still requires a level of 'training' to do the scanning.   It was an early implementation of reading barcodes from a smartphone.   Different than a location based system. The codes can be read at home in printed advertisements, online or at the store.  More about what Home Depot is doing in Mashable.  ScanBuy was impressive in attempting to address the problem of understanding shopper behavior.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Microsoft Research: Probase and AI

Good piece in Readwriteweb that describes some items still cooking in MS Research.  We had heard hints of these over the years. In particular Probase, which we heard descriptions of after we had taken a close look at the much anticipated Cyc.    Also some indication of where they are going in the knowledge management realm.  The enterprise is ready for it.  I want to see more.   ....  " ... Probase is a Microsoft Research project described as an "ongoing project that focuses on knowledge acquisition and knowledge serving." Its primary goal is to "enable machines to understand human behavior and human communication." It can be compared to Cyc, DBpedia or Freebase in that it is attempting to compile a massive collection of structured data that can be used to power artificial intelligence ... ". 

Nerve Electronic Hybrids

Will mind and machine be more intimately connected?  What are the implications? The idea has been around for some time, but with little firm results yet on the shelf.   In Wired Science News:

" ... Nerve-cell tendrils readily thread their way through tiny semiconductor tubes, researchers find, forming a crisscrossed network like vines twining toward the sun. The discovery that offshoots from nascent mouse nerve cells explore the specially designed tubes could lead to tricks for studying nervous system diseases or testing the effects of potential drugs. Such a system may even bring researchers closer to brain-computer interfaces that seamlessly integrate artificial limbs or other prosthetic devices ... "

A Mathematics of Cooperation

An interview in New Scientist about the quantitative logic of success:    " ... Martin Nowak has concluded that an ability to cooperate is the secret of humanity's success. He talks to Michael Marshall about drawing fire from Richard Dawkins, the perils of punishment, and devising the mathematical equivalent of the rules of religion ... "

Solar Goose

A friend and colleague of mine, Tom Chorman, former P&G exec, is running a company that manufactures and sells solar powered rechargeable lights and related products.  Check out Solar Goose.  Interesting to follow a startup that includes all aspects of the supply chain.  Take a look at his site and comment.

Thinking Too Much

In HBS Working Knowledge: Are We Thinking Too Little, or Too Much?  With a retail example.  I agree that it is a context thing, but the recent writing about the value of snap 'blink' decision making is troubling.  It depends on the nature of the decision.

"  ... "And then there's this whole stream of research about ways in which you should think more carefully in more logical ways—creating decision trees that map out 'if you want to do this, then you should do this and not that,' making lists of the pros and cons and making a decision based on which list is longer, and so on." - However, there has been little research that considers the notion that overthinking a decision might actually lead to the wrong outcome. Nor have researchers come up with a model that explores how to determine when we're overthinking a decision—even though logic tells us that there certainly is such a thing ...  '

Open Data and Transparency

Matthew Hurst posts on the fact that Open Data is Not Transparency.  Yes, clearly.  This also occurs in the enterprise, where there are multiple and rich sources of data.  Yet if they are not understood in the context of specific decision makers they are useless, even dangerous.  Yet can we convert streams of data into simple statements in natural language?   That is also hard,  a complex analysis using data cannot usually be converted into a simple statement without support from data analysts and statisticians.  I think the best way to address this is to provide constructs where decision makers can interact with their data. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Internet Research

Nice post by Walter Riker on Internet Research And Learning - Sometimes The Hard Way.  Good stuff, lots of links.  And thanks for the mentions Walter!  Add him to your feed. 


Ron Wright of Sands Research sends along this interview with Graham Page, head of Millward Brown's consumer neuroscience practice, about how market research is putting methods like eye tracking, EEG scanning and implicit association tests into practice.

Behavioral Classification by Burnett

Suspicious of highly generalized views of human behavior, but here is another for consideration:

In  AdAge Blogs " ... As Leo Burnett moved from considering itself a "brand-centric" agency to one focused on "HumanKind," it decided that it should spend some time researching just what humans do. Carol Foley, exec VP-director of research services, and her team set out on a quest to define types of human behavior. After months of digging through academic literature, they realized there really wasn't a good model. One problem was that a lot of psychological research is focused on abnormal behaviors. That's not what drives purchasing decisions. "Most of what we're dealing with is just pretty normal behavior," she said. So they created their own framework.

"Behavioral Archetypes" is based on a review of the theories followed by a series of research and development surveys and more than 10,000 interviews allowing for the classifications of 1,500 to 1,800 discreet behaviors. Based on the data, those behaviors were clustered into eight "buckets" along two axes. ...  The outer rings are behaviors that happen when the behavior we want to engage in isn't possible due to something we don't have control over, such as a recession.... . ?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Agile Commerce

In ReadwriteWeb: On the nature of agile commerce. Is it what we can expect in the near future?  What are the architectures and planning required?  Who makes sure that the data is there and is correct?  Update: More on agile commerce in the Forrester blog, and more links.

Time You Spend Grocery Shopping

Hardly a statistical view.  But some interesting comments.  I spend much more than the suggested seventeen minutes, but I am a foodie.  Lots of discussion of cause oriented shopping, which I avoid.

Re-Examining Google

Danny Sullivan revisits his excellent 25 Things I hate about Google.  Five years after the original article.  I read that original article, and it made me think about the process of search and what I was really being provided, and not provided,  when I use Google search.  The first several gripes, like those covering the presentation of results, are particularly on point.  There are now always too many results.  Worth looking at again.  The article covers only the Google tools he uses, and there are too many now to cover well.

Is Telephoning Over?

In the NYT Fashion and Style section:  Don’t Call Me, I Won’t Call You.   Have we reached a new social and cultural change?   I do seem to get fewer voice messages too.  Generational and permanent, or just an option that will always be there?   I do like to hear the voice of people I feel close to, text is not enough.  Perhaps generational as well. 

Interdisciplinary Computing Blog

Interdisciplinary Computing Blog. by Lisa C. Kaczmarczyk. Brought to my attention recently.  In particular an article on earthquake preparation and response and the importance of computing as it is used in cultural anthropology.  Since computing is now used in every aspect of business and science, you could say that this is obvious.   Yet I like the more detailed description of how computing can be used specifically in each area, and how particular advances can help.  Look forward to more articles.

Friday, March 18, 2011

High Memory Tags

It used to be a feature of RFID tags that they contained very small amounts of data, with the tag acting as a link to data sources.  Yet there appears to be an increase of high memory tags, containing multiple kilobytes of self-contained data, that contain, for example,  historical data about what they are attached to.   Here the example is aircraft parts.

Hacking into Cars

In Technology Review:  Hacking into cars wirelessly.  More holes in the infrastructure.


Good piece in Fast Company on Telehealth.  Which seems to say that it is effective to use remote sensors and expertise to deliver health.   I further think that the use of sensors integrated in simple, consumer owned and friendly devices like smartphones can make this easier and more pervasive. 

Green Goose Sensors

In Engadget:  A set of sensors that can monitor many aspects of your life, like exercise, then award you with experience points, compete with others, etc.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Corning's Glass House

We developed a 'Home of the Future' back in  '00 .... and have always been interested how the home would evolve to integrate internet technologies. 

We saw Phillips efforts in this area, which used mirrors to display online information.  A mirror in our bathroom displayed makeup options.  A medicine cabinet showed the status of your prescriptions.  A talk with a office furniture company showed how the sides of an office could be used as displays. In the den your grandchildren's pictures are displayed in picture frames and continually updated. In the kitchen a refrigerator display shows the latest scores and tells you whats in the frig via RFID tags and cameras.

A friend sends me this recent video which shows Corning's view of a complete home of the future, using glass displays and surfaces.  It is very sexy, lots of clear glass displays that can be anywhere.  In the walls,  tables, anywhere.   They can also be pulled out, adjusted placed anywhere for your convenience. Check out the video above for their view.

Very nice, very impressive, very flexible.  But to actually integrate all of this in the walls and infrastructure of a home is expensive and complex.  Do I want to embed a technology into a home that has a lifetime of 18 months to two years, and then soon replace it?  Probably makes more sense to have a number of wireless iPad style displays throughout the home that I can move and update as needed.  Corning's view is not for the ordinary house for some time.

Bam Analytics

I have been looking for a good App to run site analytics on mobile.  I found BAM Analytics, which the reviews claimed worked well for Running Google Analytics on the IPhone.  At first it repeatedly crashed, but after an update today, it is now working reliably. Does most of what the laptop version does and lets you tailor analyses.  Nicely done. 

Converging Disciplines in Analytics

In SASCom, a review of a talk with  Tom Davenport's  on converging analytics disciplines, at Predictive Analytics World.  Largely obvious, seems correct overall,  worth looking at. Analytics is booming everywhere. More on Davenport in this blog.

Unilever Augments Reality in a London Train Station

An intriguing experiment with augmented reality ideas by consumer goods giant Unilever.   Seems mostly stunt-like but probably got lots of local attention. This does not appear to utilize any devices owned by the consumer.   We experimented in the lab with a system called Reactrix that had similar goals, but later went backrupt.  See also the related capabilities of GestureTek, who we also talked to.  All this attracted much attention, but led to little incremental sales.

" ... Angels fell to earth, in augmented reality at least, in a recent campaign for Lynx in London. On March 5, the Unilever-owned brand (known as Axe in the U.S.), put signs in the Victoria railway station telling travelers to look up to a giant video screen. On the screen, they saw an image of themselves plus the angels, who are featured in both the English and U.S. ad campaigns. As this video shows, the reactions ranged from surprised to somewhat lewd ... "

What is the Legacy of Your Online Data?

Revelatory piece in Popular Mechanics on this mostly overlooked aspect of data privacy. Bottom line, it is unclear:  ' ... Our lives are inundated with more data than ever. But when we die, our passwords and online accounts may live on. According to tech experts at this year's SXSW conference, no one yet knows just how to handle a person's digital legacy .. '

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Scanning a Barcode to Save your Place in Line

A simple clever idea in Mashable: " ... Scan QR codes to save your place on multiple wait lists.Proving that nine guys can successfully launch a startup in 48 hours on a bus, WalkIN is walking away from SXSW Interactive a big winner. The now one-week-old startup, which lets users save their places on restaurant wait lists by scanning a QR code at the door' ....   But does it go away once more general location sensing becomes common?

Oracle Mobile Client for Supply Chain

New on Oracle and Supply Chains.    I like that these systems are being delivered for mobile use.  Linking to sensors and other real time connections makes sense as we start to immerse ourselves in these complex networking problems.  I want to be able to scan a network and understand its issues quickly.  Lots of historical data and information about the 'now' is required. 

Oracle has introduced a Windows-based mobile client that will allow workers to access its supply chain management software directly from the retail floor or warehouse.  The app, called PeopleSoft Mobile Inventory Management, has been folded into Oracle's PeopleSoft Enterprise Supply Chain Management suite. It requires a copy of the PeopleSoft Inventory and Fulfillment Management application to operate ....

Google Building Bosses

Google, using analytical methods, discovers that it is listening and asking good questions that are better qualities of a manager than having deep technical experise.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Google Mobile Updated

I see that the Google mobile App for the IPhone and iPad have been updated to include a much easier to use interface.  More here.  Works particularly well for searching images from a mobile device or changing media.I like the idea of speech driven search, but rarely find myself using it. 

The Honesty of Smart Devices

How Honest should a smart device be?   In Design Mind.   Cultural anthropologists look at the interaction of devices, data and the expectations of human behavior. " ... what happens when our devices are sensitive, respectful, devout, and perhaps a bit secretive? Smart devices are "more than being context aware," Bell said. "It's being aware of consequences of context." ... '

Google Testing Phone-as-Wallet

Some reports via Ars Technica about Google testing the NFC short range capability for SmartPhones.   There were rumors about the IPhone including NFC this year, but these have been squelched in the most recent wave of information.  Will Google beat Apple in coming up with a robust contact less payment system?

Bringing R to the Data Warehouse

Given the increasing use of R in academia, this makes much sense.  Increasingly people come out of school with knowledge of the Open Source package and its application. 

In ReadWriteWeb: " ... IBM Netezza and Revolution Analytics announced today at the Predictive Analytics World event that the two companies are working together to integrate the statistical programming language R into Netezza's Netezza TwinFin data warehouse appliance. The companies want to make it possible use R to process data on the data warehouse appliance without moving to another system. This should enable much faster data processing .... "

The Moving Value of an Impression

Good recent piece in AdAge Digital.  As I sit in a restaurant watching a number of people heads-down on smartphones. The attention budget we have is clearly now somewhere new, has changed remarkably and it is mobile.

How Social Media Stole Your Mind, Took Advertising With It
And Now, a Tweet From Your Sponsor: With Multitasking Stretching Cognitive Capacity, Are Messages That Drive Marketing Meaningless? The impression is the basic unit of attention that has been sold by media and bought by advertisers for more than 50 years. But in the past decade, something has happened to it; it's not just newspapers, magazines, TV, radio and the web. It's infiltrated every waking moment of our lives through social networks and devices, competing for every last scrap of our cognitive capacity. But we have none left, which is why the impression, and all the economies based on it, may be doomed .... 

Monday, March 14, 2011

KMart Tests AT&T Geolocated ShopAlerts

A not unexpected next step.  The use of geo-fencing to understand location and react to it with push marketing.  Most interesting will be how consumers buy into this idea with opt-ins.   Some testing I have seen shows that shoppers react react most negatively outside a store, since it obviously betrays their location.  Within a store, say in front of a specific shelf, is less intrusive, since they have already chosen to enter.  Overall though, with the right promotions, any location access may be seen as acceptable.  In ChiefMarketer:

Brands will erect virtual fences around locations in four markets and push messaging to opt-ins
Some big names in both retail and consumer goods are partnering with wireless carrier AT&T to test the impact of text messages that send themselves automatically when customers come within a certain distance of the marketers’ store locations ... '

Associative Memory in Defense and Aerospace

I have mentioned Saffron Technology several times here, we examined them for associative applications in the AI space for example-based knowledge systems.   Here they are in the news:

CDG, a Boeing Company, Becomes First to Offer Saffron’s Associative Memory Solutions into Worldwide Aerospace & Defense Industry

CYPRESS, CA & CARY, NC – March 2, 2011 –– CDG, a Boeing Company and Saffron Technology, Inc., a privately-held software firm providing Natural Intelligence1 solutions for business and government, today announced that CDG has joined the Saffron Natural Intelligence Network as an Authorized Saffron Partner. ... CDG is becoming the first authorized distributor of the Saffron Natural Intelligence Platform™ for the worldwide aerospace and defense industry.   ... CDG is a recognized leader in technical data and technical documentation solutions, supporting some of the world’s leading aerospace manufacturers and suppliers. CDG became a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company in 2000, and has continued to expand its portfolio to offer advanced software solutions, training solutions, engineering services, and process consulting for aerospace and defense and other engineering-focused industries.

Too Reliant on GPS?

In O'Reilly Radar, an article about the increasing reliance on GPS location signals.  They are a critical part of our information infrastructure.   Although it is illegal, the signals can be jammed and spoofed.  There is also little current backup for GPS generally available.  Some potential alternatives are described in the article

Easier Access to E-Books

More on E-Books from the library:

"he steady growth of e-books has forced libraries to contend with how to curate and distribute materials in a way that makes them easy for increasingly technology-oriented patronage to access. ome 150 public and academic libraries are trying to respond to that challenge through a new collaboration with the Internet Archive and Open Library. The arrangement will allow library patrons at participating institutions to access e-books owned and stored at libraries other than their home libraries. Brewster Kahle, founder and digital librarian at the Internet Archive, says the group has come up with a solution in which “the tech doesn’t suck” and “everyone will get paid.” ... '

Dropping the Dollar Bill

A clear case for replacing all US denominations below five dollars with coins.   Why has it not worked in the past?  Because they didn't remove the dollar bill.   In MF Perry's blog.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Smartphone Enabled Cancer Detection

A protype that is a good example of mobile sensor-based data display and analysis:  At the Singularity Hub: " ... Massachusetts General Hospital that have knocked it out of the park by integrating a microNMR device that accurately detects cancer cells to a smartphone. Though just a prototype, this device enables a clinician to extract small amounts of cells from a mass inside of a patient, analyze the sample on the spot, acquire the results in an hour, and pass the results to other clinicians and into medical records rapidly. How much does the device cost to make? $200.   ... "

Google Circles

It has been rumored that Google will soon launch a new social networking system called Google Circles.  Do we need a new social network?  The emphasis stated is that this will be about circles of colleagues and the ability to tailor persona's easily.  A good idea, depending on its execution.   An excellent overview in ReadWriteWeb. So what is happening to Buzz?  Likely on its way out as Circles emerges. Make sure to get the privacy right this time, easy to use, and don't make it GMail-centric.

TED Opens up Data and Talks

FastCompany reports that the TED conference will open their talks and related data sources with an API around midyear.  Creative idea.

Fumbling the Future

Mini review and current perspective of the book:

"Fumbling the Future: How Xerox Invented, Then Ignored, the First Personal Computer is the title of a classic 1998 book by D.K. Smith and R.C. Alexander that tells the gripping story of how Xerox invented the personal-computing technology in the 1970s, and then "miscalculated and mishandled" the opportunity to fully exploit it. To "fumble the future" has since become a standard phrase in discussions of advanced technology and its commercialization .... "

Foursquare and Amex Test Loyalty Marketing

A local merchant test to see how Foursquare can be used to build loyalty:  " ... The pilot program started Friday and will run through Tuesday, March 15. Participating merchants have posted “Austin Unlocked” window clings to highlight their participation, and Foursquare users need only register their American Express cards to unlock this new type of special — the Loyalty Special.... "

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Daylight Savings Time

A history of daylight savings time.

SMS Codes for Postage in Europe

In Readwriteweb: Could it be that postage stamps are on their way out?  I am a long time student of the history of the postage system , and this makes sense. Of course as long as we still need the ability to send physical information on paper.  We continue to progress in a connected world.

" ... Licking a stamp could become so last century, if a logical plan in Europe ends up spreading as far as it could. Danish letter mailers, beginning April 1st, will be able to send an SMS to that nation's Postal Service and receive a short code back, confirming that they have paid to mail a letter. They'll write that code on the envelope and then the post office machines will scan that, instead of a stamp. Sweden says it's working on a similar system ... "

Tracking Haiti Water with RFID Tags

Another example of how touchless scanners using smartphone can be used for rapid identification.  " ... Deep Springs International is using NFC-enabled phones provided by Nokia Research Center, as well as software designed by a U.C. Berkeley professor, to track chlorine levels in household drinking water ... " .  There will be many more examples, some which come out of necessity, but ultimately from the need to find, organize and analyze based on the data that is everywhere. 

Social Media Success

What does social media success look like?  " ... While firms are realizing that social media networks harbor the potential to provide intelligence and engage customers, it can be hard to form a picture of what success looks, feels, and smells like ... "

The Legality of Selling Yellow Margarine

MJ Perry on the inefficiency of using laws to distort free markets.  Using the US case of Margarine.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Posterous App Group Management

Posterous has announced updates to its mobile apps, for both iOS and Android. The updated versions of the apps bring support for creating and managing Posterous Groups, which is an email list-like service that can be used either as a traditional email list, or as a group sharing service. Up until now, you could only set up a new group via email....'

Learning from Operations Research

In The Atlantic, a short post on using what is called 'Operations Research', and the value it has added to the efficiency of industry since WWII, improving everyone's lives.  I am a long time practitioner.  The article is non technical, and provides an introduction to the basic idea, but no where enough detail.

Open Source Location Service

In ReadwriteWeb:  " ... Until now, Ushahidi has been most known as a service for reporting location during times of crisis ... Today, the company has taken a bit of a turn with the release of its open-source check-in service. Now, anyone with a bit of PHP knowledge and a server can create a Foursquare, Gowalla, Facebook Places or check-in service of their own and keep their location data out of the hands of the public and corporate alike ... "

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Turing Award Winner

The 2010 Turing Award goes to a Harvard researcher in machine learning:, much more here:

ACM has named Leslie G. Valiant of Harvard University the winner of the 2010 ACM A.M. Turing Award for his fundamental contributions to the development of computational learning theory and to the broader theory of computer science. Valiant brought together machine learning and computational complexity, leading to advances in artificial intelligence as well as computing practices such as natural language processing, handwriting recognition, and computer vision. He also launched several subfields of theoretical computer science, and developed models for parallel computing ...

FourSquare Grows Up and Serves up Promotions

I have updated my mobile version of Foursquare, after having become disenchanted with the location based check-in game aspect.  GigaOm posts on the new suggestion-based, promotion-offering aspects of the new Foursquare and what you can expect from it.  So far I have taken a quick look and am not that impressed so far.

QR Media Site

A useful site on many aspects of QR codes, applications and related topics. Note their article on Macy's QR Code campaign.

Building It and Getting the Shopper to Buy

Herb Sorensen, well known retail scientist publishes an interesting article in Views: If you build it, they will NOT come!   An evidence-based quantitative view of how shopping works.  Highly recommended.

"It helps to think about retailing, beginning with its basic elements. The driving force behind it is the needs and wants of people. Other people have produced those needs and wants, and it is a matter of getting the stuff together with the people who want and need it. Of course a driving force behind the small store movement is the effort on the part of retailers to get the stuff closer to where the people are, rather than having it in huge stores, where shoppers may have to travel some distance to get access to their needs and desires. But there are other important factors here, relating to what happens once the shopper gets to the store and goes inside. ....  "

What Your EMail Domain Says About You

Fascinating blog post in Hunchblog about what your choice of domain says about your demographics. This is surprisingly important, it has been used by the enterprise to sort and estimate the importance of incoming messages.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Bing Adds QR Codes and Grabbing Text

For a recent study I compared Redlaser and ShopSavvy smartphone barcode readers for on shelf use.   I notice today that Microsoft has added a QR barcode reader to its Bing mobile App.  I tested it on an IPhone 4.3. Their 2D QR barcode reader works quite well, under the same conditions I tested the other two Apps.  Required no specialized orientation and scanned quickly. It also provides a useful list of barcodes read.

Also discovered their text selection and search method, which lets you search for text, say on package copy, select all or part of it, and then save it or search with it.  Clever idea for research in the aisle?

If anyone has related solutions, or would like to collaborate in research oriented applications that deal with barcode reading or other data gathering in retail contexts, contact me.  See my contact info in the left hand column.

Brands as Media Properties

In Brandweek: Unilever says that brands must be turned into media properties via content.

Febreze Reaches Billion Dollar Mark

Commentary regarding the Febreze benchmark on the Brand Channel.  A Billion dollars in sales for a quite simple concept.

Problems with Mobile Location Data

A thoughtful interview post on issues that occur with mobile location data.  " ... Between identifying relevant and accurate data sources, harmonizing data from multiple sources, and finding new ways to store and manipulate that data, location technology can be messy, says SimpleGeo's Chris Hutchins. But there are ways to clean it up. Hutchins explains how in the following interview ... "

Computing Beyond Mathematics

An interesting viewpoint article in ACM.  In one way this is quite obvious, computer science has gone far beyond mathematics ... far beyond just 'computing':

Computer and Information Science and Engineering: One Discipline, Many Specialties
Mathematics is no longer the only foundation for computing and information research and education in academia..... "

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

SAS Pushes Business Intelligence to Mobile

A very good direction we are seeing as key Business Intelligence vendors are supporting mobile.  You should be able to take your intelligence to wherever your data comes from.

SAS pushes BI to Apple iPad, iPhone
SAS Institute is teaming up with mobile BI vendor Mellmo to bring analytic applications to Apple's iPhone and iPad, the companies announced Tuesday. ... "

Location Based Marketing

In Adage:  a good overview of what marketers should think about when considering the use of  location based services.

Remote Food

3D Printers creating food.   It appears there is still much to do here before this becomes practical or very appetizing.  Yet the direction is clear, digitally formulate food and send it to a remote location where it can be manufactured from primary components.

The Rise of the Service Robot

The past and future of the US Robotics Industry in a good BusinessWeek article. " .... U.S. robotic companies have regained their strength, but face tough Asian and European rivals in the service robot market ... " .   I had watched their downturn, along with US machine tools, and then some unexpected developments in home robotics.  Can they come back?

Monday, March 07, 2011

Webinar on Neuro-Ranking Superbowl Ads

This webinar looks to be very useful, especially for someone interested in the practical application of neuromarketing.  It will be held tomorrow March 8 at 2 PM EST, Here is the complete invitation, with lots more information, including the background behind why they believe VW won, excerpt below:

" ... Sands Research will demonstrate and discuss how we collect this key data for establishing the ranking using our EEG and SMI's Eye-tracking technology. Dr. Sands will also discuss our Neuro Engagement Score (NES) and  Emotional Valance Score (EVS) and the overall Ranking of all the 69 ads presented during this year's Super Bowl.

Learn the details by attending the webinar  When: Tuesday, March 8th  2:00 PM EST / 11:00 AM PST, How: For log-in information email - info@sandsresearch.com  and we will send you the details.
To view all the previous Sands Research Super Bowl Ad Studies follow
this link ....  "

Carr on Memory and Self

Nick Carr excerpts a chapter of his book: The Shallows, on the concept of aiding memory.  Is memory being killed by all our digital memory aids and resources?   " ...  I looked into what we know (and don't know) about human memory and its role in our thinking and the development of our sense of self.... " .    I agree that the search memory model we have taken from our recent involvement with computers is wrong, but there are other models that are much more brain like, like associative memory, which we are just starting to examine.  Take a look, for example at developments by companies like Saffron Technologies.  Not to say the problem is solved, but there are other approaches.  Does this ultimately hurt a person's sense of self?  No more than having a big library does.  It does make recall much more efficient.

iPad Providing Comfort in Hospitals

A good example of how an easy to use pad can provide comfort and address boredom in hospitals and nursing homes.  Laptops and Smartphones can work there too, but the simplicity of manipulation that a pad provides, and a relatively large screen, can make a big difference.  At the link a number of comments on experiences people have had.  Also, why not link it to the institutes systems so it can be used to communicate with the patient?  An iCare App?

Disney Advertising Lab

Roger Dooley on the Disney Advertising and Media Lab.  Surprised they were not doing this earlier. " ..  As much as we hear about neuro-cinema and neuro-enhanced movies, it seems that Disney’s goal is more prosaic: determining which ads actually work " .... Well yes, what works is the first step for any lab.  They visited our labs a long time ago, and are a force for any kind of innovation work.

Science of Business

Evocative piece by always interesting Steve Miller in Information Management:

" ... A recent MIT article is making blogger/analyst Steve Miller question whether there might be a nuanced difference between the science of business and evidence-based management that’s important for BI ..  I've written a lot over the past couple of years on the science of business and evidence-based management. In my "Science of Business Manifesto" blogs a few months back, I used EBM as a synonym for the SOB, drawing on the connotations of both to the conduct of business by the rigorous formulation, measurement, testing and evaluation of alternative courses of action. But a recent interview/article in the MIT Sloan Management Review, “Matchmaking With Math: How Analytics Beats Intuition to Win Customers,” is making me question whether there might be a nuanced difference between the two that's important for BI.... "

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Tobii Prototype Eye Controlled Laptop

The well known eye-tracking company Tobii is a likely origin to this kind of innovation.   I would like to understand how stable the control of a laptop can be using eye tracking.  

Tobii unveils the world’s first eye-controlled laptop

Stockholm, Sweden, Hannover, Germany—March 1, 2011—Tobii Technology today unveiled the world’s first laptop with integrated eye control. The prototype laptop has been developed in collaboration with computer manufacturer Lenovo and will be shown publicly for the first time at CeBIT in Hannover, March 1-5.  Lenovo, the world’s fourth largest manufacturer of personal computers, has built the world’s first eye-controlled laptop, using eye tracking technology from Tobii. The laptop is a fully functional conceptual prototype and an important breakthrough for Tobii in its mission to bring its eye tracking technology to serial production and consumer products ....  "

Disarming Internet Trolls

A cognitive therapy method to disarming Internet Trolls. A method that differs from the old approach of not feeding them.

Ted Nelson and Content Syndication

We followed the activities and writing of Ted Nelson since the early days of hyperlinks.  Met him at a meeting at the Insititute for the Future.  More on his latest activities: " .... Mr Nelson's current focus is on making it easy for people to republish content on the Internet. His proposal is to charge readers and publishers, based on how much content they read or re-publish. He presented his ideas on syndication at the "Future of Money" conference on Monday ... "

Too Much Information, A Brain activity study

Some interesting questions to ask, from an article in Newsweek:

I Can’t Think! ... The Twitterization of our culture has revolutionized our lives, but with an unintended consequence—our overloaded brains freeze when we have to make decisions.

Is there too much information?  Too many choices?  A neuro study using fMRI is described:  " ... As the information load increased, she found, so did activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, a region behind the forehead that is responsible for decision making and control of emotions. But as the researchers gave the bidders more and more information, activity in the dorsolateral PFC suddenly fell off, as if a circuit breaker had popped ... "

Literally True

A lovely look at the meaning and uses of the term 'literally' in the Language Log.  As usual, the LL is not pedantic as you might think, looking at language as a dynamic and changing force.   There is rarely a clear right and wrong.  The availability of many language use databases makes this much easier now.  While formally the term 'literally' means word-for-word and 'not metaphorical', it is used today by most people to signal emphasis. Also fun, and increasingly interesting, the LL looks at what terms show up in your advertising column  when you use a term like 'literally' often.   The semantic net that leads to the results is revealing but also mystifying.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Shortened Links Slowing the Web

Via ACM.  Are a number of link-shortening capabilities slowing the web?  A strange case of unexpected side-effects of a popular capability.

Echo Nest

There are 30 million songs stored at the Echo Nest.  So what are they good for?  Intriguing article at Fast Company.

New Burden on Retail Infrastructure

A good e-Commerce Times article  brings up the issue of how retail infrastructures can be weighted down by any number of new transactions that may be required by new sensors in the store: " ...thousands of transactions taking place as a system monitors a customer's every move can strain a retailer's IT infrastructure. It can impact transaction response times and, ultimately, the business bottom line ... "  - Worth considering as we re-engineer the aisle, and the article is a good start.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Message Minus Meaning

Nick Carr discusses Message Minus Meaning in his review of  James Gleick's new book: The Information.   We now gather, update, use and mis-use and store more information than ever before.   What are the cautions for understanding this behavior of ours?

Dealing with Presentation Nerves

In the Presentation Zen Blog.  With some emphasis on Steve Jobs as an example of a casual, conversational approach.

Bing Aggregates Coupons

Microsoft builds a coupon aggregator into their search engine Bing.  ' ... "This is a savvy move on Microsoft's part," said Azita Arvani, principal of the Arvani Group. "Instead of building their own daily offers, they are becoming an aggregator of deals from several deal providers. The fact that it also ties in the location on your mobile device will make it much more useful." .... '

Conducting a Virtual Choir

The following is pretty remarkable.  A virtual choir.  Play the video.  Now if we could only do the same thing with a conductor/manager performing in front of a group of people who are attempting to do something like orchestrate the completion of a project.  How can we make beautiful music together at a distance with each element in synchrony?   Like all of the net, though, it turns the human element somewhat cold ... Is it worth it?

" ... Who knows what the sound of one hand clapping is, but a choir of hundreds of singers connected by nothing more than webcams and an internet connection sounds, surprisingly, pretty sublime. Classical composer and conductor Eric Whitacre unveiled a clip from his new virtual choir project at TED on Tuesday and got the first complete standing ovation at the conference — something generally reserved for speakers much later in TED’s lineup.It all began when Whitacre received a video from a young girl named Britlin Losee, who was singing one of his choral pieces called “Sleep.”

“I was struck so hard by the beauty, the intimacy of it, the sweetness of it,” he said at the time.  He wondered what it would sound like with 50 singers performing different parts, and sent out a call to choirs and schools around the world to submit videos. “It was all about connecting … these individuals alone, together,” Whitecre wrote on his blog. “For me, singing together and making music together is … a fundamental human experience.” ... "

Robonaut 2

Launched into space,  a humanoid robot.  Not sure what the humanoid aspects gets you exactly besides overblown implications about it 'thinking' and being autonomous.   Impressive though, and it tweets as well.