- View from the Wing » Blog Archive » Air Traffic Delays Are Awful, Everything Else is Worse - "So in the end we’re left with piecemeal tinkering, and a recognition that in a politically constrained world we have tradeoffs — and the current world is better than the one of thirty years ago."
- EconLog, Loose Mortgage Credit, Arnold Kling: Library of Economics and Liberty - "Keep this in mind when people say that better regulation could have prevented this problem. It sounds like what they are talking is that lenders charged exorbitant interest rates to hapless borrowers. In fact, lenders were guilty of charging borrowers too little for loans, as well as approving too many unqualified borrowers. If you think that alert regulators would have cracked down on lenders for providing too many home ownership opportunities to Americans, especially minorities, then you believe in a different political environment than what I remember."
- Tilt Shift Photography Comes to Advertising - Shoot The Blog - I love how these look like miniatures-- I guess because we associate that sort of out-of-focusness with pictures of small things.
- Net, Blogs and Rock'n'Roll: The myth, science and craft of music discovery - "The dynamics of discovery include a whole ecology of social recommendations, automated recommender systems, happenstance and serendipity — and the interactions between all of these influences."
- Man discovers his net wasn't neutered | The Register - "So why wasn't accidental downtime the first suspect? That's the first sign that the mob is in charge. The most rational explanation becomes the least obvious. Occam's Razor has been put away and forgotten."
- Ten things to know about Microsoft’s Live Mesh | All about Microsoft | ZDNet.com - Nice overview of Microsoft's Live Mesh.
- How Is New York Like a Japanese Farm Stand? - Freakonomics - Opinion - New York Times Blog - I confess that I'm shocked the number is so high.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Posted by Gordon Haff at 1:56 PM
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
- Exodus of key figures from OLPC a troubling sign for project - "Although OLPC may be close to going on life support, it's important to note that its efforts so far have have contributed much to budget computing and open technology. The organization's vision largely influenced the emergence of competition in the budget subnotebook market." Sounds about right.
- The Constant Siege - I spent a lot of time in B&W darkrooms once upon a time even though I was never anything like this obsessive.
- HipMojo.com » eBay and Craigslist - Why Companies Who Invest Ask for Control" - '“Put the bong down, the honeymoon is over' is the only message I can walk away from this news that eBay is suing Craig Newmark." (of craigslist)
- implemented » Web 3.0 - The Semantic, Implicit, Mobile or Distributed Web? - A comprehensive study of the various definitions of Web 3.0 that people have used in the past, including the Semantic, Mobile, Implicit and the proposed Distributed Web.
- Google's festering problem with the AGPL | The Open Road - The Business and Politics of Open Source by Matt Asay - CNET Blogs - Not especially surprising that Google doesn't want to go anywhere near licenses that treat Web services as a form of software "distribution" from a license perspective.
- VMware placates Wall Street with 70 per cent Q1 revenue surge | The Register - It's worth noting that VMware leads in x86 virtualization revenue--by far (as in roughly two orders of magnitude).
- Airlines to Charge for Second Bag - New York Times - Five major airlines plan to start charging coach passengers as much as $25 next month to check a second bag. Uggh but probably inevitable. This doesn't affect me on business but will on personal trips when I'm lugging a lot of camping gear.
- WebUrbanist » 7 Abandoned Wonders of the Former Soviet Union: Deserted Cities, Buildings, Bases and More - I found this fascinating.
- Cloud Vendors A to Z (Revised) | John M Willis ESM Blog - A long list of cloud computing players--mostly those on the infrastructure side in one form or another. There are a few true SaaS (application) companies listed but it's just a sampling. I'd quibble with some of the specifics but a good view of the landscape.
- How Valid Are T.V. Weather Forecasts? - Freakonomics - Opinion - New York Times Blog - "no forecaster is ever better than just assuming it won’t rain. If you think that’s bad, sadly it gets worse"
Posted by Gordon Haff at 9:39 AM
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
The Monty Hall problem is always good for an argument. For me, though, the basic version is pretty straightforward. Well, after I found the right way to visualize it anyway. (Basically if he knows where the prize is and will always open one of his two doors without the prize, you're effectively being given the opportunity to trade your one door for his two.) However, the question of whether the assumption that Monty knows where the prize is affects the benefit of switching. It does and it's not intuitive--at least to me. The below comment does a good job of succinctly explaining.
There are a lot of people arguing that Monte not knowing still makes it worth switching. It doesn't. Here's why. (From here on I'm spelling it Monty.) If Monty knows, the possibilities are:
1. You picked car. Monty opens a goat. Switching bad.
2. You picked goat A. Monty opens a goat. Switching good.
3. You picked goat B. Monty opens a goat. Switching good.
Two good switch, one bad switch. 2/3 chance it's worth switching.
If Monty doesn't know, the possibilities are:
1. You picked car. Monty opens Goat A. Switching bad.
2. You picked car. Monty opens Goat B. Switching bad.
3. You picked goat A. Monty opens Goat B. Switching good.
4. You picked goat A. Monty opens car. No switch option.
5. You picked goat B. Monty opes Goat A. Switching good.
6. You picked goat B. Monty opens car. No switch option.
So in this case there is 2/6 chance switching is bad, 2/6 chance switching is good, and 2/6 chance you don't have the option to switch. If you *do* have the option, that leaves you 2/4 and 2/4 good or bad. (Fractions not minimised to avoid confusing people.)
Posted by: RavenBlack | April 15, 2008 at 05:56 PM
Posted by Gordon Haff at 9:27 AM
Monday, April 21, 2008
I'm trying out ma.gnolia.com as an alternative to del.icio.us. One advantage is that it doesn't truncate notes at a fairly limited character count. While twitter-ish enforced brevity isn't necessarily a bad thing for some of us, having more spce to play with can be handy sometimes.
- tecosystems » Ask RedMonk: Open Source Indemnification - the Q&A - "no software - open or closed - is risk free." See e.g. some recent stories around end-user lawsuits related to IBM's WebSphere.
- A wireless world | Our nomadic future | Economist.com - "Digital nomadism will liberate ever more knowledge workers from the cubicle prisons of Dilbert cartoons. But the old tyranny of place could become a new tyranny of time, as nomads who are “always on” all too often end up—mentally—anywhere but here (wherever here may be)."
- NOVELL: John Dragoon’s Blog » Blog Archive » All in One - I'm still not sure how appliance OSs will play out. It remains to be seen if they'll remain a sideshow or develop into a "Big Thing."
- Whimsley: Linux Grows Up and Gets a Job - Some additional good commentary on the Linux contribution numbers.
- Rough Type: Nicholas Carr's Blog: Open source as corporate joint venture - "the development of the Linux operating system - has shifted from being a volunteer effort to being a corporate initiative. Of the many thousands of changes that have been made to the Linux kernel over the past three years, fully 73.2% came from employees working on behalf of their companies."
- Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > Not the Strongest Possible Argument - This is either Photoshop, a joke, or someone who should have paid more attention in history class.
- My Life on Facebook as a Woman and Why Social Network Advertising Doesn't Work - "Since day 1 with Facebook, I've been shocked at how poor the ad quality is. For a company that has a $15B valuation, their ad sales teams plain suck."
Posted by Gordon Haff at 1:50 PM
Friday, April 18, 2008
- Open Reasoning: Some data points on social media - To very briefly summarize: Except for reading blogs there's very little use of social media for work/education purposes. Not especially surprising.
- Let's Tell a Story Together - Detailed history of interactive fiction.
- ASCII by Jason Scott: Twilight of the Area Code Master - "Once I could stand there and recite these numbers and their locations with the greatest pride. They were my geography teacher and my sage-like awareness of the lands around me. But those times are gone."
- Kevin Kelly: Digital Things I've Been Wrong About - "I believe no one can always be right about what will work because the number of variables determining success are too high. The details of execution for each idea matter greatly."
- Milliways: Infocom's Unreleased Sequel to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Waxy.org
- Megan McArdle (April 17, 2008) - Ms Fix-it speaks "Apparently, customers can now offer Starbucks suggestions on how to improve their service. My humble offering: tell the whoever runs the flamethrower they use on their coffee beans to throttle back on the oxygen and leave some actual flavor in the roast."
- Our Daily Bleg: Did I.B.M. Really See a World Market For About Five Computers? - Freakonomics - Opinion - New York Times Blog - (Supposedly) the truth behind the famous Watson "there's a world market for five computers" quote.
- Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > I've Got Two Words for You: Lawn Darts - I bought lawn darts a few years ago (via Yahoo auctions). I could never have them as a child. Parents probably thought I'd toss them at my brother. Probably true :-)
- Bruce Schneier's Security Matters: Prediction -- RSA Conference Will Shrink Like a Punctured Balloon - We're seeing much the same trend in virtualization. People don't want to assemble a whole lot of complicated piece parts.
- WebUrbanist » 10 Impressive Parkour and Free Running Videos: Urban Buildering and Building Jumping in Action
- Slides to JPEG Files [DIGITIZESLIDES] - $0.35 : Slides in a Flash, A New Alternative to Slide Scanning - Haven't tried them but another economical slide digitization option.
- Kevin Kelly -- The Technium - "The web is the initial OS of this new global machine, and all the many gadgets we possess are the windows into its core."
- Presentation Zen: Latest "Steve Jobs" keynote best yet: watch and learn - Spoof Steve Jobs keynote. This is pretty funny.
Posted by Gordon Haff at 9:31 AM
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
- Megan McArdle (April 16, 2008) - Taxes done: now, the fun - "It's the annual contemplation of what, exactly, is the stupidest question I was asked while filling out my taxes...New York swung back at the last minute with a roundhouse punch: did I engage, at any point during the year, in the production of maple syrup?"
- The charmed dot-com life of Jeff Bezos - Apr. 15, 2008 - Good piece on Bezos and Amazon.
- Psystar says rumors of its demise are greatly exaggerated, still selling Open Computers - OTOH, possibly legitimate but very small scale.
- So exactly who or what is Psystar? We dig a little.. | Technology | Guardian Unlimited - Some good reporting from the Guardian. The whole PsyStar thing is looking... odd.
- Megan McArdle (April 14, 2008) - Will downloading kill the music business, part 3,980,876,312 - "Depending on concert revenue is limiting in terms of market size, and also, it seems to me, puts a time limit on an act; once your core demographic hits thirty, you'd better start looking for another job."
- Say It Ain’t Slow: Much Ado About Website Performance: Making the Font Game - Making the Rather Difficult Font game.
- Blue Jeans Cable Strikes Back - Response to Monster Cable — Audioholics Home Theater Reviews and News - Looks like Monster picked on the wrong company.
- The News Business: Out of Print: Reporting & Essays: The New Yorker - "Few believe that newspapers in their current printed form will survive."
- Fold-Ins, Past and Present - The New York Times - An interactive history of the Mad back-cover fold-in — a defining feature of a defining magazine since 1964. Very cool. [Via Very Short List]
Posted by Gordon Haff at 9:12 AM
Thursday, April 10, 2008
- The Ships That Cut the Undersea Internet Cables - Cool animation about how undersea cables are repaired.
- A VC: We Need A New Path To Liquidity - To paraphrase: Individual Web services don't necessarily benefit from being gobbled up by something larger. But it's not clear what the other viable alternatives are.
- Technology Review: Microsoft's Shiny New Toy - The combination of technologies like Photosynth with geotagging could be very interesting.
- Cool Tool: Zamzar - Online document format conversion: I find this sort of thing far less important as time goes on but it crops up every now and then.
- The Volokh Conspiracy - First Amendment and Photography/Writing/Publishing/Book Distribution for Money: - Is wedding photography protected first amendment expression?
- Gartner: Windows collapsing under its own weight; Radical change needed | Between the Lines | ZDNet.com - "Valley of despair" parts of cycles and all that, some qualitatively different dynamics seem to be going on.
Posted by Gordon Haff at 2:19 PM
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
- IBM offers 4,000 frequent flyer miles per core to abandon HP | The Register - As Ashlee snarkily suggests, likening trade-in credits to frequent flyer miles is perhaps not the analogy I would have chosen.
- Netcraft: Google Offers Free Web Application Hosting - Web hosting is really a simple, specialized case of Cloud Computing.
- IDC Virtualization Forum West - Part 2 at Brian Berliner’s Brain - Further data points that the nature of the desktop client is changing but the exact nature of the shift(s) hasn't really played out yet.
- Scott Rosenberg’s Wordyard » Blog Archive » Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to write Facebook apps - A good post (together with others it links to) discussing the tension between third-party platform extenders and the tendency of the platform to usurp the function for its own use.
- Poker Cheating and Casino Cheating Blog: American Roulette: Poker Bots Continue Online Cheat Gains - A less noted face of the ongoing battle against "bad guys" on the Internet.
- Woot : Book Scavenger: The New Joys of Jell-O (1973) - "The New Joys of Jell-O radiates a certain naive charm, with its optimistic belief in the power of Jell-O and its cheerful disregard for the limitations of the human digestive system."
- Vegetarians are Evil - Official Homepage - A link to send to all your vegetarian friends.
- Milgram, the Torturers of New Haven and the Truth of that Obedience Experiment - The Medium - Magazine - New York Times Blog - I saw the actual films back in school. The shorthand summary of the experiment oversimplifies, but the overall results still seem notable. However, as the films show, subjects did hesitate to greater or lesser degrees.
Posted by Gordon Haff at 10:34 AM
Monday, April 07, 2008
- TinkerX » Trends: neither heads nor tails - Is the "Tipping Point" largely random?
- A VC: The Declining Power Of The Firm - In the context of cloud computing it's worht not completely losing sight of why we outsource tasks (or don't).
- What Newspapers and Journalism Need Now: Experimentation, Not Nostalgia -Britannica Blog - "What’s worth saving, as a critical function, is investigative journalism. We need someone, many someones, to do long, deep, boring research, for stories that may not even pan out."
- Should anonymous people be allowed to conduct business? — My Infocalypse - In this case, legal action is involved, so I would say "no." But the more general answer seems less clear.
- PC World's Techlog The Frustratingly Unfulfilled Promise of Google Gears - Is Gears deficient, is adding offline capability to Web apps particularly difficult, or is the basic idea flawed?
- Map Channels Hotel Directory Availability Search - A mashup with hotel listings and a map. Looks like it could be handy when you're looking for hotels near a specific location.
- New York Times: blog trolling 101 - mathewingram.com/work - I generally agree with Matthew's take. But there's also truth in Paul Kedorsky's comment: about the "...emergence of a piecework occupation where there is an economic incentive to produce 24x7."
- Marginal Revolution: Predictions about 2008 - Predictions about computers fundamentally missed how small and cheap they would be--and hence distributed and used for so many frivolous things.
- Cloud computing is well and good, but it can't beat the desktop computer. - By Paul Boutin - Slate Magazine - A skeptical look at cloud computing.
- Doc Edgerton Films on MIT TechTV - The Edgerton Center is putting a lot of Doc's work online--including, eventually, his lab notebooks. Quite a few videos are here.
Posted by Gordon Haff at 12:39 PM
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
The late winter/early spring travel craziness that I seem to have settled into the past few years is winding down so I should be shifting back into a more normal writing schedule.
- xkcd - A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language - By Randall Munroe - An ultimatelygnurdy cartoon.
- ASCII by Jason Scott: Scanning Infocom - Steve's a bigger packrat than I am.
- How Apple Got Everything Right By Doing Everything Wrong - "by Google's definition, Apple is irredeemably evil, behaving more like an old-fashioned industrial titan than a different-thinking business of the future." (Although they're both secretive.)
- Why (most) authors and publishers need not fear online piracy - Topic Powered by eve community - Some good discussion. As with movies, I suspect that it's mostly a matter of time (and therefore technology improvements) before this becomes more of an issue.
- Lulu Forums - Lulu.com - Long thread on LuLu about Amazon's ongoing changes about how they deal with non-Amazon Print on Demand (POD).
- Welcome to the echo chamber, Long | Ed Bott’s Windows Expertise | - "Long Zheng is shocked, shocked to discover that A-list online writers, given the choice between getting to the top of Techmeme or waiting to do some fact-checking, choose to hit Publish:"
- Corporate employee blogs: Lawsuits waiting to happen? | Tech news blog - CNET News.com - I'm not sure how broad the implications are for the case at hand which involved a senior IP person at Cisco blogging anonymously about a patent lawsuit involving Cisco.
Posted by Gordon Haff at 11:01 PM