- All the New Fall Shows - Zap2it - I can't say that there's anything here that especially makes me perk up and pay attention.
- Sam Johnston: The case against 'private clouds' - a [counter]example. - Can clouds be private? Sam thinks not. I agree in at least certain respects.
- Andy Riley - Return of the Bunny Suicides - I like these.
- Deep Glamour: At the Intersection of Imagination & Desire - New Virginia Postrel blog worth checking out.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Posted by Gordon Haff at 1:25 PM
Monday, August 25, 2008
- Are You Trustworthy? | Copyblogger - I used to drive one of my editors crazy because I always had to cover all the bases in my writing. I still tend in that direction but it's moderated these days.
- Presentation Zen: Learning slide design from an IKEA billboard - I can think of a number of IT vendors who would do well to read this.
- F|R: What Startups Can Learn From Billy “Moneyball” Beane - GigaOM - "Trust your data. Even when your intuition suggests otherwise. You have to have the courage and conviction to trust your data, and act on it, Nelson says. If your data says spending money on conferences like CES or Web 2.0 Summit does not convert to sales, don’t go — no matter how important you think it is to be seen at such events." I used to work for someone who was always deeply skeptical about all these trade shows that everyone said we had to attend.
- Latency is Everywhere and it Costs You Sales - How to Crush it | High Scalability - Nice piece on latency.
Posted by Gordon Haff at 2:06 PM
Friday, August 15, 2008
Netflix is having some severe computer problems and is having trouble shipping DVDs.People are unhappy. A typical comment from the company's blog:
Patience? I've run out of patience and I would cancel and go to Blockbuster but they say I've already got an account with them, which isn't true. I'm sure it's my address.I really have to wonder about anyone for whom getting their DVDs delayed a few days is apparently some great existential crisis in their lives. If you can't or won't just go outside, there's lots of Olympic footage to watch.
This is unacceptable and as it's been a week, the credit better be at least 25% of my monthly fees.
"Around the clock" ~ yeah, and you've got a bridge in Brooklyn you'd like to sell me.
Posted by Gordon Haff at 10:08 AM
- Irving Wladawsky-Berger: Indifference, Hostility, Isolation and Other Obstacles to a Healthy Innovation Environment - Management vs. leadership.
- Dan Heller's Photography Business Blog: Orphan Works Fallout? History may lend a clue. - Very detailed discussion of the Orphan Works Act.
- Uni. Washington and Microsoft Research collaborates on (yet another) mindblowing 3D photo viewer - istartedsomething - Microsoft is soing a lot of interesting research into what might be called "next generation" photography.
- EXILED ONLINE - MANKIND’S ONLY ALTERNATIVE » War Nerd: South Ossetia, The War of My Dreams - By Gary Brecher - Mean and wry--but pretty accurate methinks.
- Megan McArdle (August 11, 2008) - The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation: Sheer genius - This is hilarious. Driver's license suspended for underage drinking--at the age of 35.
- Nieman Reports - "The risk for journalism, of course, is that people spend all day Twittering and reading other people's Twitter entries and don't engage with the news in any other way." Good piece on twitter. Although I think it can become too much of a distraction if you let it.
- p2pnet news » Blog Archive » Could ‘legal free’ displace ‘illegal free’? - Long discussion. I'm not sure I came away with a lot.
- Welcome! | RiffTrax - At least some of the clips are fairly funny.
- TweetStats :: Graphin' Your Stats - Geekily interesting. Although, I suppose, could be used in more questionable ways as well.
- Code: Flickr Developer Blog » Location, keeping it real on the streets, yo! - I was just digging into geocoding a bit last week. It turns out to be surprisingly tricky at scales smaller than well-defined geographical boundaries. Watch this space. It's going to heat up as GPS increasingly embedded in things.
- Intel's Larrabee--more and less than meets the eye | Speeds and feeds - Technology analysis by Peter N. Glaskowsky - CNET News - Good in-depth analysis of Intel's Larrabee.
Posted by Gordon Haff at 9:52 AM
Friday, August 08, 2008
- The Rise and Fall of Twitter - I don't suppose you're really allowed to use Hitler in comedy (unless you're Mel Brooks). But this is pretty funny.
- Maybe everything (not just VMware) violates the GPL | The Open Road - The Business and Politics of Open Source by Matt Asay - CNET News - Or none of this violates the GPL. It gets into subtleties of linking and specific technical relationships. Becomes academic with VMware's embedded hypervisor anyway.
- Report: Intel’s Atom chip, Netbooks demand strong | Between the Lines | ZDNet.com - I've been skeptical about the netbook category but at least some preliminary indications of sales strength there.
- 50 Photoshop Tutorials For Sky and Space Effects | Tutorials | Smashing Magazine - I especially like the alien invasion one.
- NEWS! - Micro Four Thirds System - Dave's Analysis - Good analysis of four thirds photo systems.
Posted by Gordon Haff at 3:11 PM
Thursday, August 07, 2008
- Twitter: The hottest Web startup - Aug. 6, 2008 - Absolutely fracking brilliant line: "Only in the tech business are companies born with neither a clear reason for being nor a clue as to how they'll produce profits."
- Total solar eclipse of 2008 - The Big Picture - Boston.com - More great photos from The Big Picture.
- The Despair Inc. Blog » Minds are like Parachutes… - Hilarious. Made my morning!
- louisgray.com: Relax, Bloggers: Nobody Is Keeping Score, and There's No Quota. - Good advice. RSS is the key ingredient here.
Posted by Gordon Haff at 1:02 PM
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
- When Google disowns you | Software as Services | ZDNet.com - This may apply less to Google, but most Web 2.0 companies are very lightly staffed for their transaction volume. My observation is that many are not really prepared to deal well with issues that require a human to individually resolve.
- 451 CAOS Theory » LinuxWorld 2008 - nobody cares - I didn't even seriously consider attending LinuxWorld this year and I have seen a real downturn in the LinuxWorld-related briefing requests, etc. And the comments are unintentionally hilarious--the Linux Hater's blog couldn't have done it better.
- John Beardsworth Photography News/Blog - Using Lightroom 2 smart collections for workflow.
- The Reality Club: ON "IS GOOGLE MAKING US STUPID" By Nicholas Carr - Lots of interesting discussion by smart people here.
- Rackable Shares Slide After Earnings Miss - Data Center Knowledge - I wouldn't read too much into this but does at least suggest the bargaining power held by large-scale computing providers.
- Your honor, he didn't mean to poison readers! - Dishing - Boston.com - Oopsie.
- Scott Rosenberg’s Wordyard » Blog Archive » Sarah Lacy’s Once You’re Lucky: Money doesn’t change everything - Good succinct thoughts on some of the threads that went tinto Web 2.o.
- tecosystems » Big Brother is Watching You. On Twitter. - No easy answer here. I guess that one could have two accounts and keep the personal one invitation only. And make those invitations strictly for "real friends" as opposed to professional acquaintances that I more or less like. I felt similarly when I got my first professional friend-request on facebook. I'm more or less resigned to it but mostly because I don't really have an active network of friends on facebook. I might feel differently if I did.
- Inside Lightroom - Lots of presets.
- Flagstaff Lake - Going to try doing this in a couple of weeks, weather permitting.
- Experience Backpacking in Restructured Iraq - Umm... Words elude me. via @guykawasaki
Posted by Gordon Haff at 12:52 PM
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
- Coding Horror: On Our Project, We're Always 90% Done - A great description of the 90% done--only 90% left to do--problem.
- Damian Conway, Thoughtstream: "Temporally Quaquaversal Virtual Nanomachine Programming In Multiple Topologically Connected Quantum-Relativistic Parallel Timespaces...Made Easy!" - O'Reilly Open Source Convention on blip.tv - Video from this year's OSCON now up. I haven't watched how they come across on the video but some of the more interesting presos at the original include Damina Conway, Tim Bray, Sam Ramjhi, Danese Cooper, and Robert Lefkowitz.
- Oracle's Burlington complex to double in size - The Boston Globe - Guess proprietary software isn't dead yet.
- Cool Tool: Free topo maps - As the post says, buying topo CDs isn't cheap. I'll have to look at these free alternatives.
- tecosystems » Will There Be Only One Cloud? - I'm probably between the extremes here. I'm not sure I really buy the "five computers" theme but I think there could be more centralization. Would like to understand the economics of scale better.
- Free Online Course Materials | MIT OpenCourseWare - OCW is more a resource for creating courses than for getting access to MIT course "out of the box" but a great resource nonetheless.
Posted by Gordon Haff at 8:51 AM
Monday, August 04, 2008
- apophenia: knol: content w/out context, collaboration, capital, or coruscation - I'm not sure the issue with Knol is so much that content created by a single expert can't be good, but that a lot of the Knol content is non-expert, indifferently assembled, or self-promotional/spammy.
- Large Hadron Collider nearly ready - The Big Picture - Boston.com - Great photos of the LHC.
- gapingvoid: "cartoons drawn on the back of business cards": the cloud's best-kept secret - Not sure it's really a secret. If you take Greg P's "Five computers" literally that's been the implication. The question of economic scale point is an important one.
- Magazine Preview - Malwebolence - The World of Web Trolling - NYTimes.com - "Technology, apparently, does more than harness the wisdom of the crowd. It can intensify its hatred as well." This is a pretty scary article.
Posted by Gordon Haff at 10:36 AM
Friday, August 01, 2008
- Language on Twitter » Delusions of Adequacy - Interesting discussion about language on twitter. One of the challenges is that it's very much a mix of personal and professional with the way that individuals use it very dependent on the individual.
- The Wages of Pointless Rewrites - I don't have any knowledge of the backstory myself, but interesting perspective on delicious 2.0.
- Movie-O - Movie Trailers, DVD Releases, Reviews, Showtimes... - Interesting movie site that specializes in the facts behind movies based on real stories.
- Cloud versus cloud: A guided tour of Amazon, Google, AppNexus, and GoGrid | InfoWorld | Review | 2008-07-21 | By Peter Wayner - A review of some cloud offerings with an emphasis on SLAs.
- Open Source and Cloud Computing - O'Reilly Radar - Federation as one approach to transportability in the cloud.
- SEC says blogs = proper disclosure » mathewingram.com/work | - I mostly agree with Mathew here. It's a welcome change but there are all sorts of reasons that public companies will still tend to push out material announcements in a formal, legal-vetted form. It will probably be comporting for companies that if something gets mentioned in a blog but not a press release that it will be less cause for concerb, but I don't see them dispensing with the press release.
- Opt-in or opt-out? Street View case echoes privacy debate - I'm not sure how germane it is here; the Street Views opt-out process seems more a case of Google making the tradeoff that small incremental coverage isn't worth angry people. But the basic point about the war between opt-in and opt-out models is certainly true.
- Megan McArdle (July 31, 2008) - GDP: A few pictures are worth a book - Some interesting economic observations via world maps.
Posted by Gordon Haff at 11:02 AM
I've been toying with this idea of how valuable social networks are for a while now. Not value in any quantitative sense, but how things work conceptually. Metcalfe's Law, which states that the value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of users of the system (n²), is often invoked in this regard. However, I'm not sure it really captures the dynamics of social networks which place a relative premium on the right kind of connections.
(There's also been some debate about Metcalfe's Law in its original context as well. However, I've always taken the "law" to be a statement that increased network size predictably increases value rather than a precise mathematical description of that value--which is a somewhat vague concept in any case.)
Anyway, it strikes me that there are two critical points when it comes to the value of a social network--or, indeed, any communications network.
The first is the point of critical mass. Critical mass is the idea that we reach a point where there are enough people in one of our relevant social groups connected through a product or technology that it starts to have real value. This value, in turn, starts to provide a real incentive for others in that social group to get on the network, increasing its value still further.
Let me give you an example from past lives. I first had access to email in an MIT lab in 1978 or so. It was sort of neat. I occasionally traded emails with a friend who worked in the MIT AI Lab. I didn't know anyone else on email though so it wasn't really especially useful.
Flash forward to the late-1980s. I had email at work, but it was a closed system. My personal email was through Compuserve. I used it a bit--I used BBS message boards a lot more--but, for example, it wasn't all that useful for things like organizing hiking trips or board meetings because only a few people in those groups were on email. So I had to resort to snail mail and telephone anyway. The sea change came when enough people were on email that I could start treating it as the preferred and default communications medium. Over time, backup communications methods became more and more deprecated until everyone pretty much had to be on email.
Whether it's a true point or just some exponential growth relationship, the fact remains that network value is hard to grow at first but if it can get to a certain mass, things really take off. I think we're seeing this right now with analysts and analyst relations folks on twitter. Once enough people are using a given network, it puts pressure on the rest to join as well.
(Conversely, this is probably why I don't get a lot of value out of facebook. There I don't really have a critical mass of friends for whom facebook could provide a useful coordination point.)
At the other end of the scale, I see a given social network stopping to increase in value after a while--certainly at the same rate. Once my network is saturated--perhaps I'm already spending as much time on twitter as I care to, a larger network size doesn't increase the value of twitter to me; I'll cap the number of people I follow even if my number of followers rises. Other networks just tend to cap at a particular size and value because all the relevant people are on and using it.
Even more interesting is the idea that a social network's value can actually decrease past a certain point. (See Clay Shirky's thoughts on the subject.) Further thoughts deserve a separate post but, essentially, what I think of as "pollution" can set in. Think of the problems with email today. Or, historically, the "Eternal September."
In short, it's hard to get a network to the point where it has real value. This is another face of the familiar bootstrapping problem. At the same time, especially absent appropriate access and filtering controls, that same network can collapse under its own weight if it grows too large.
Posted by Gordon Haff at 10:44 AM