Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Larry Page

Tim Cook

Steve Ballmer

The Fast Paced Smartphone

Source: Technology Review

The ITU claims that 90 percent of the world's population is already covered by 2G networks, many of which can provide data services like Internet access via slower "2.5G" technologies such as EDGE and GPRS. The more modern 3G networks that have catalyzed the current smart-phone boom by providing richer, quicker mobile experiences have been expanding rapidly and now cover 45 percent of the world's population, more than three billion people.

Smartphones Are Taking Over The World

Are Smart Phones Spreading Faster than Any Technology in Human History?
the unprecedented speed at which mobile computers are spreading

Big Money In Big Data

Big Data, The Moving Parts: Fast Data, Big Ana...
Big Data, The Moving Parts: Fast Data, Big Analytics, and Deep Insight (Photo credit: Dion Hinchcliffe)
I do think there is big money in Big Data. A lot of people do. But here is a disagreeing thought.

Is There Big Money in Big Data?
Peter Fader says a flood of consumer data collected from mobile devices may not help marketers as much as they think. ..... Few ideas hold more sway among entrepreneurs and investors these days than "Big Data." The idea is that we are now collecting so much information about people from their online behavior and, especially, through their mobile phones that we can make increasingly specific predictions about how they will behave and what they will buy. ..... what was going on 15 years ago with CRM (customer relationship management) .... ask anyone today what comes to mind when you say "CRM," and you'll hear "frustration," "disaster," "expensive," and "out of control." It turned out to be a great big IT wild-goose chase. And I'm afraid we're heading down the same road with Big Data ..... many "big data" people don't know what they don't know. ..... the still-powerful rubric of RFM: recency, frequency, monetary value. .... Ask anyone in direct marketing about RFM, and they'll say, "Tell me something I don't know." But ask anyone in e-commerce, and they probably won't know what you're talking about. ...... Chartists are looking at the data without developing fundamental explanations for why those movements are taking place ..... Among financial academics, chartists tend to be regarded as quacks. But a lot of the Big Data people are exactly like them. They say, "We are just going to stare at the data and look for patterns, and then act on them when we find them." In short, there is very little real science in what we call "data science," and that's a big problem. .... the more data we have, the more false confidence we will have
If his point is that collecting Big Data is not enough, you also have to make sense of it. I agree. But in my definition the whole idea behind Big Data is that of course you are going to make sense of it.

One part where I agree is that Big Data enthusiasm will have plenty of accompanying froth.

What he is saying is making sense of data is going to be more important than collecting data. I agree. But that is what I thought Big Data was all about. To me it never was simply collecting.
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Leap Motion

English: 6 degrees of freedom
English: 6 degrees of freedom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Big Data could save Yahoo. Gestures could save Microsoft. But startups stand strong chances in those spaces.

The Most Important New Technology Since the Smart Phone Arrives December 2012
Leap Motion, a small, $70 gesture control system that simply plugs into any computer and, apparently, just works ..... Unlike a touchscreen interface, with the Leap, there's no friction. That sounds trivial, but it isn't. It's the difference between attempting to conduct a symphony with a wand and attempting to conduct the same symphony by sketching out what the orchestra should do next via chalk on a blackboard. ..... Leap operates in three dimensions rather than two. Forget pinch-to-zoom; imagine "push to scroll," rotating your flattened hand to control the orientation of an object with a full six degrees of freedom, or using both hands at once to control either end of a bezier surface you're casually sculpting as part of an object you'll be sending to your 3D printer. .... the Leap can see almost any combination of objects - a pen, your fingers, all 10 fingers at once

This is a leap from 2D to 3D.

One question though, if it picks up gestures well, would you not need to be trained to use it? What if you end up making unwanted gestures? Not everyone can conduct a symphony, you know.
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Algorithmic Management

This is not an example of the machine taking over the human. It only makes management sense to let algorithms do what they do better.

Machines manage people to do work machines can not do. That is a tongue twister, if you ask me.

Human Workers, Managed by an Algorithm
the latest trend in crowdsourcing: organizing foreign workers on a mass scale to do routine jobs that computers aren't yet good at, like checking spreadsheets or reading receipts. .... The best-known crowd marketplace is Mechanical Turk, which Amazon launched in 2005. ..... Turkers, who are based mostly in the United States, make only $1 or $2 per hour. ..... 41 percent of all jobs posted to Mechanical Turk were for generating spam, generating clicks on ads, or influencing search engine results ..... Consider inDinero, a three-year-old San Francisco Web startup whose software helps small businesses track their finances. Businesses can e-mail or upload scanned receipts (including handwritten ones) that then need to get logged—so inDinero sends the images to MobileWorks, which in turn farms them out to workers in India or the Philippines, who transcribe the receipt amounts into online forms.

Microgrids And The Indian Power Outage

I think it is first and foremost a demand and supply problem, not a grid problem. Although I think microgrids can help. But the real solution is on the moon.

How Power Outages in India May One Day Be Avoided
Some 600 million people in India have been left without power after parts of the country's massive electricity grid collapsed Tuesday. ..... the simple backup diesel generators that are keeping many essential services in India going right now ...... distributed solar can be cheaper than running diesel generators alone for backup power. "Solar power is very attractive when compared to diesel generators in the daytime" ...... While news reports suggested that there are 600 million people who lost power with this week's outages, that's almost certainly an overestimate—if only because hundreds of millions of people in India didn't have grid power to start with.

It's Climate Change, Stupid

A few years back random fires were getting started all over Greece. The authorities went ahead and arrested the known arsonists.

It was climate change.

This past winter in NYC was unusually warm. That was climate change. This summer in NYC was unusually hot. That was climate change.

This thing is for real.

Is Climate Change to Blame for the Current U.S. Drought?
In large parts of the Midwest, the drought has reached the worst classification possible, a D4 drought that could bring "exceptional and widespread crop and pasture losses" and "water emergencies" due to shortages in reservoirs, streams, and wells ....... the drought will worsen. ..... we're seeing, not only here in the U.S., but across the globe, events that we've never before witnessed in our instrumental record, and it's quite apparent there's a human contribution ..... You actually see more precipitation in the mid and high latitudes like Canada and the northern U.S. border, less precipitation in the southwestern U.S. and along the subtropics. You're seeing a whole shift in the atmospheric circulation system
The time to act was yesterday.

Facebook Eating Into Its Ecosystem

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase
Right before Bill Gates retired he was talking in terms of baking anti-virus software right into Windows. He had been doing things like that during the entire life of that operating system. Remember when he baked the web browser into Windows and got into trouble?

I think it is but natural for Facebook to eat up into its ecosystem. Instagram owed no small amount of its user base growth to the fact that it used the social graphs on Facebook to spread the word. And guess what happened.

Mark Zuckerberg Reveals He Is Open To A Radical Change In Facebook Strategy
Facebook's sudden openness to owning more of its platform
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Republic Wireless' $19 Feast

It should not be possible to escape wireless broadband. Anywhere. In that ocean smartphones should float. Voice is just data. It can be super cheap.

Republic Wireless reopens its unlimited $19 per month beta, starts offering Motorola Defy XT
the Motorola Defy XT, an Android 2.3 device with a 3.7-inch display, 1GHz CPU, 1650 mAh battery, 5MP camera / VGA front camera, 1GB of ROM and microSD slot. It can be your for $249
Republic Wireless Outs The Defy XT, Reopens Beta For $19/Month Unlimited Wireless Service
For just $19 a month customers get truly unlimited data, voice and text messages. Plus, this is offered free of a contract. .... The Defy XT .. won’t topple any of today’s flagship phones .... But thanks to a deal with Sprint, the phones also work wherever there is a cellular signal. ..... the company is going to be a disruptive force in the wireless industry. Republic Wireless isn’t a scrappy startup either. It’s a division of the Cary, North Carolina-based Bandwidth.com, the VoIP company responsible at least in part for Google Voice, Skype, Pandora and many more data services.
Republic Wireless reopens $19 service, sells Motorola Defy XT
Let the Waves Begin!
It’s a great phone, and it’s incredibly durable. ..... With the DEFY XT, you don’t have to worry about expensive replacements and insurance policies. This phone is the real deal, with Corning Gorilla Glass and an IP67 Rating for solid particle and water resistance. .... at a time when Big Cell is busy making more money at higher prices, with more restrictions and continued confusing business practices.
Republic Wireless now brings Motorola Defy XT to its $19 unlimited monthly plans
Republic Wireless is an unusual carrier.
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