Jul 09

Daily Links for July 6th through July 11th

All excerpts are quoted from the respective link(s).

  • The Curse of Cheap Money | The Big Picture – This is the central enabler of the Housing Bubble.
  • How to Ease Your Transition to Google Voice – Google Voice – Lifehacker – Once you accept an invite, register your number, and make your first text or phone call, you might be wondering how to go about actually using Google Voice—after all, nobody's calling you on that number just yet, and your number doesn't have any rules set up to begin with. That's where this guide starts off. There are lots of resources that explain how Google Voice's features work, but we're hoping to help you learn how to get people calling that number, work past the flaws in its system, and manage the callers for a better overall phone experience.
  • High-Priced F-22 Fighter Has Major Shortcomings – washingtonpost.com – Its troubles have been detailed in dozens of Government Accountability Office reports and Pentagon audits. But Pierre Sprey, a key designer in the 1970s and 1980s of the F-16 and A-10 warplanes, said that from the beginning, the Air Force designed it to be "too big to fail, that is, to be cancellation-proof." Lockheed farmed out more than 1,000 subcontracts to vendors in more than 40 states, and Sprey — now a prominent critic of the plane — said that by the time skeptics "could point out the failed tests, the combat flaws, and the exploding costs, most congressmen were already defending their subcontractors' " revenues.
  • Netanyahu’s paranoia extends to ‘self-hating Jews’ Emanuel and Axelrod – Haaretz – Israel News – Netanyahu appears to be suffering from confusion and paranoia. He is convinced that the media are after him, that his aides are leaking information against him and that the American administration wants him out of office. Two months after his visit to Washington, he is still finding it difficult to communicat[e] normally with the White House. To appreciate the depth of his paranoia, it is enough to hear how he refers to Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod, Obama’s senior aides: as “self-hating Jews.”
  • Consumerist – General Motors May Sell Cars Through eBay – General Motors – General Motors is considering a partnership with eBay to make it easier for consumers to impulse-buy new vehicles, the recently solvent car maker announced yesterday. Though the deal isn't yet finalized, General Motors would like to sell their vehicles both through traditional auctions and with a "Buy It Now" option.
  • Bill Moyers Journal . Wendell Potter on Profits Before Patients | PBS – Looking back over his long career, Potter sees an industry corrupted by Wall Street expectations and greed. According to Potter, insurers have every incentive to deny coverage — every dollar they don't pay out to a claim is a dollar they can add to their profits, and Wall Street investors demand they pay out less every year. Under these conditions, Potter says, "You don't think about individual people. You think about the numbers, and whether or not you're going to meet Wall Street's expectations."
  • Bob Sutton: Jeff Pfeffer on Why "Efficient Market" Thinking is Inefficient – Jeff's arguments (read the rest, it gets even better) for some reason reminds of what one of my friends in college used to say when people were following the herd rather than thinking for themselves or taking a different path: "Eat shit, 10 billion flies can't be wrong."
  • Jonathan Curiel – ’round the world we go – Robert McNamara: reluctant anti-war activist – True/Slant – During the run-up to the Iraq War, Robert McNamara never joined an anti-war protest, never went on CNN to voice his displeasure at George W. Bush. That wasn’t McNamara’s style. But he did announce his views on conflict in general, in the 2003/2004 documentary “The Fog of War.” And in interviews with reporters – including me – McNamara all-but-said the Iraq War was a big mistake that would lead to scores of American and Iraqi deaths, and the diplomatic isolation of the United States. As the Secretary of Defense under John F. Kennedy, and a still-admired figure in matters of warfare and diplomacy, McNamara had gravitas. He knew this. In his own old-school way, McNamara became an anti-war activist.
  • Sarah Palin Battles The Internet (And The Rest Of Your Scritti Politti) – Anyway, shortly after Sarah Palin went WARBONKERS on a blogger you never heard of, the entire internet responded in an even more vapid and juvenile fashion, and now there are stupid Photoshops everywhere, thanks to Sarah Palin, because that is what happens when you feed the beast with your stupid anger, instead of calmly letting some stuff slide and depriving the beast of oxygen.
  • Are Your Initials Holding You Back? « PsyBlog – In fact we are so sensitive to what things are called and the unconscious associations these generate, that our performance in a variety of arenas may be marred by something as seemingly insignificant as our own initials.

Dec 08

Upside to the Financial Apocalypse…

New and used Blackberry’s like the Curve  and Pearl  as well as the iPhone  seem to be going for drastically lower prices (the Pearl at $150, the Curve at $180, and iPhones in the $220s) on eBay than usual.   I guess all those displaced NYC iBankers are having liquidity issues.

Sep 08

The gPhone cometh…

The webcast is due to begin at 10:30 EST.   I can’t justify spending money for a new phone and a bigger data plan ($5.99 T-Zones and a 5-year old Nokia 3650 are fine by me).   Even the appeal of faster 3G connections is not enough.   $0.89 per DRM-free song from Amazon isn’t enough.   I’m just not ready.   I’d rather buy a used iPhone off eBay or wait for the second or third round of gPhones.

I’m prepared to be let down by the gPhone.   The initial leaked specs are a little weak – no video recording?   Really?   Most carriers free phones have video ability!   And no stereo bluetooth?   No inline headphone jack?

Feb 08

Daily Links

Feb 08

Trust, Collaboration, and the Internet

I’ve been reflecting how trust works on the internet, and specifically the blogosphere.When people discuss ‘trusted computing’ online, it’s usually in terms of ‘being ‘an authenticated user, meaning that they are who they say they are.   Since much of the activity online is either anonymously (although no one is ever truly anonymous) or pseudonomous, then   reputation is based on what you do (or don’t do) and what you contribute to your given group.

To quickly sum up what this means, here are some of the reputation metrics that I scribbled down:

  • eBay:   As a buyer and a seller, your reputation is customer/vendor reported based on the accuracy of your statements and the promptness of your payments.   It is desirable to have many transaction with good reputation scores.   Think of this as a credit-score for buyers and a ‘Better-Business-Bureau’ seal of approval for sellers.
  • del.icio.us: del.icio.us allows you to add people to your network – the size of your network, as in those you follow and those that follow you can be an indication of your reach and inclusion in the community.   By adding people you know or people who you feel bookmark items of value, you have a very powerful way to aggregate a zeitgeist of great bookmarks.
  • Subscribers to a given blog’s feed:   (Feeds are truncated syndicated streams of the blogs material, suited for display in lo-fi devices such as cellphones and PDAs, or in web app ‘feedreaders’ such as Bloglines or Google Reader).   Some of the feed services, such as Feedburner allow a ‘chicklet‘ (a small graphic) with the number of subscribers in it.   Since the majority of blogs has ‘a’ reader – the publisher, those with more are infinitely more popular.   Some blogs have 10-100k’s of readers.
  • Google Page Rank:   Google has an algorithim that measures the relative importance of pages in their index, on a scale of 0-10.   The higher the rank, the higher that site appears in the index – given that browser behavior indicates that most searcher give up after the third pages of results, the higher one is in the index, the better.   Also, for those that run advertising, higher Page Rank generally means higher advertising revenue.
  • Google Reader:   Google has recently made it possible to total up how many items have been ‘starred’ or ‘shared’, indicating the value the reader places on them, raising the visibility and presumed merit of those posted items.
  • Facebook:   Commenting on your friends ‘walls’ (a message board-like feature) and having an appropriate number of friends conveys some sort of status – too many or too few is perceived negatively.
  • Technorati Authority:   Technorati is a blog indexing service (previously very popular, however, they have recently lost a lot of relevance, particularly by only focusing on a limited period versus in-perpetuity) that measures the number of links IN and OUT from a site/blog to other sites/blogs.   Basically the more people link to yo, the better, with your links being important if there are reciprocal links back to your site.
  • Miscellaneous blog-related trust measures:   These could include being listed on someone’s blogroll (a list of read blogs), participations in ‘carnivals’ – a targeted, regular roundup across several blogs on a specific topic, comments on a particular post in a blog, or trackbacks (reciprocal links between blogs) from one blog to another.

The common themes here are popularity, individual participation, accuracy, responsibility, community participation, and reciprocity.   Since credentials are usually omitted, obscured, or unverifiable, you are usually represented by your efforts and ideas, and not by your pedigree or achievements.   I’m wondering where and how this will manifest in regards to closed collaborative systems where the partticipants have a specific shared reason to be there and generally know of each other (but not knowing each other personally) as opposed to an open ‘drop-in’ collaborative system like the blogosphere…