Schmidt: Google Once Considered Issuing Currency
When I saw the phrase "peer to peer money's system" I immediately think of the Ripple Monetary System. Please also check out the new Ripple website, Villages.cc, created by Ripple's founder Ryan Fugger last year.
I am not sure whether Google was trying to do the same thing, but it would be a total waste if they gave up on the exact same idea. If there is one thing that Google should do with it's power, it would be P2P money. The entire economic system is in total mess now, and the whole world is in deep need right now for a better economic system, yet why is the financial regulation trying to stop all innovations happening?
The US government is seriously killing all financial innovations by labeling everything alternative to the USD as "money laundering". Remember how Liberty dollar and other gold currencies ended up? How about the countless payment startups that has been killed under the name "money laundering" during the dotcom boom? The Hawala System is very useful even today and it has a very similar concept to Ripple, but it's whole advantages are completely denied by US in the name of money laundering, again. I bet that the FBI would even declare Bitcoin as illegal when it generates enough threat.
I have only been staying in Stockholm for a month, but currently it gives me the feeling that Sweden and some other Europe countries have much more financial freedom than in US. If I were to create a startup based on alternative currencies ideas similar to Google's P2P money or Ripple, then Stockholm would be a much better place than Silicon Valley, all due to the absurd US anti-money laundering regulation.
New Google Tool To Find Trend Correlations
This is great! Now we can finally analyse what people are correlating in Google Trends that tells us what people are searching, then we can use this correlation search data to build Google Correlate Correlate, then we can use this to analyse what people are correlating on things that other people are correlating, then.. then the thing goes on and on and on..
1) Google Search
2) Google Trends
3) Google Flu Trends
4) Google Correlate
5) Google Correlate Correlate
6) Google Correlate Correlate Correlate
OMG my head is so dizzy now!!
Malaysian Government Offers Free E-mail To All Citizens
I am from Malaysia. The problem for this project is more complicated actually. There are several concerns that we as citizens of Malaysia are worry about:
1. The project is run by a public company named Tricubes. The company is under financial difficulty and is listed under GN3 in the Malaysia stock exchange market (which means near bankruptcy). Because of this announcement, the share price of Tricubes raised from RM0.055 to RM0.325 within a week - a whopping 491% increase.
2. Tricubes claim that the RM50 million investment is a private investment. Citizens however believe that the government will eventually pay a huge amount of service fees to Tricubes.
3. A simple analysis on the domain shows that the domain myemail.my is merely using Microsoft Windows Live Mail as the back end provider. It is hard to believe that a service that directly use the domains.live.com API can cost that much, not less to say the entire potential vendor lock-in by Microsoft to this email infrastructure.
4. Tricubes will charge 50 cents (RM0.50) for every email sent. Do some calculation and you can tell how much it will cost the government to make an announcement by sending one email to each of the 27 million citizens in Malaysia.
From the facts that we have, it is obvious that there is a high possibility that this is yet another corruption of the government to let people with internal connection make free money.
While I understand that building an email system do cost money, it is absurd to spend RM50m in something that directly uses Windows Live services and provide nothing more than that. And it is even more absurd to charge that much for an email delivery that is essentially free. Even though we have the freedom to decline this project by not using this service, it is impossible for us to stop the corrupted government from sending costly emails to our inactive accounts, thus giving tax payers' money to Tricubes.
The 'Three Ton' Hard Drive Destroyer
Can't we just blend it? Surely we all know everything can blend!
If Search Is Google's Castle, Android Is the Moat
Although there are already many startup advices that ask entrepreneurs to identify who is their customers, it is only until recently I understand what it really means.
Customers are the people who pay you money, and products are the things that your customers is paying for. People who *don't* pay you are not your customers, and things that you give away for free is not your products.
Web technology companies have more complicated business models because it is usually not just about building something that you call "product" and sell it to your customers. Instead, most web sites use their core technology to build something that is free and give it away to people, who we call the users. When there are enough users, the websites turn the users into products and sell it to their customers.
Google is a typical example of such business model. Almost all of the Google "products" that we know today, including the search engine, Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, Android, Chrome, etc are NOT Google's products - because Google is giving them away freely. Free services are NOT products because there is no way to get money from it. To understand what is Google's products, we have to see where it's revenues come from - Adsense, that's right, is Google's real product.
But if Google Search et al. are not Google's products, does this mean that they are not important? No, because those are what allows Google to make great products - it's users. Google will continue to provide more free services to it's users as long as the added cost is believed to directly bring more revenue to Google.
Ok but everyone understands that, but what's the point of identifying what is product and what is not? Well, the notion of products and non-products is very important when it comes to competition. When a non-product enters an existing market to compete with other products, it becomes disruptive and can potentially make many competitors out of business. This is because non-product can be given away free but products can't.
This is why Gmail was disruptive to the email market because it was the first email service that do not rely on pro accounts as their product. Google identified that Gmail is not their product and therefore willing to provide so much storage space and features because they believed that doing so allows them to build better products (more users) and get more revenue from their customers (advertisers). When Gmail competed as a non-product, it became almost impossible for competitors to compete unless they changed their business model to something else other than pro accounts.
The same could be say for Microsoft IE vs Netscape. While Microsoft could be partly blamed for their anti-competitive practices, it is also clear that Netscape had a fatal business model of identifying the wrong thing as their product, making it failed to compete with IE when it became a non-product.
I had a hard time to understand how YouTube really works as a business, because it's so hard to understand how to pay for so much bandwidth just for users to watch free videos. But the answer is actually quite simple - YouTube is free because it is NOT Google's product.
If something is not your product, do NOT ever think of getting your money back from your users. Just give up your damn mind and give it away free generously, as long as you can make a product out of it.
You should have also realized that Android is not Google's product. But there is an important distinction on the business model between Android and iPhone - Google do realize that Android users are the product to sell to the App developers, who are the customers; but for Apple it's products are the iPhone and it's apps, and it's customers are the consumers who buy iPhones. The difference in business model makes it obvious how Android is different from iPhone - that Android developers are Google's top priority while Apple treats it's iPhone developers badly; Apple's iPhone is designed such that it can be sold expensively to it's customers, but Google does not care about the price of Android phones and do not try to make money out of the phone buyers. The two different business models currently creates different market segmentation for Android and iPhone, and as the market gradually merges, Apple would start to feel the pain of competing with a non-product.
So the most important lesson that we should learn is that, the reason that Google can become so disruptive in so many markets is because they have a disruptive business model that allows them to turn a traditional product into non-product to compete with other products.
Every entrepreneurs should now understand that it is extremely important to identify the right product, and never let that product has chance to directly compete with non-products, ever.
Beware of Using Google Or OpenDNS For iTunes
I already knew this, but now it makes me think why not we instead use HTTP redirection strategy? That is, say the client hits the server directly at http://example.com/very-large-file.zip, the server detects the client's IP and permanently redirects it to http://[location].static.example.com/very-large-file.zip, where static.example.com is a subdomain managed by Akamai and [location].static.example.com always resolves to CDN node nearest to the specified location regardless of the client's IP address.
Does Typing Speed Really Matter For Programmers?
It is not really that inconvenient once you have made the habit. I started using vim recently and soon I have made the habit of immediately pressing esc whenever I finished typing sentences, even when I'm not in vim. Given that the delay between my last letter and pressing esc is no longer than typing other letters, and our brain usually need to pause a while and think for much longer moment on what to do next, it doesn't really slow me down much. [ESC]
Progress In Algorithms Beats Moore's Law
I don't understand, how does it mean algorithm improvement of 43,000 fold? Who needs 43,000 fold when anyone can easily make 1,000,000 fold improvement!
O(N^2) = 1,000,000
O(N) = 1000
O(log N) = 3
O(1) = 1
O(N^2)/O(1) = 1,000,000 / 1 = 1,000,000
Wait till we made improvement in O(N!) problems like traveling salesman and see how huge improvement that's gonna be!
Drop Out and Innovate, Urges VC Peter Thiel
No you are wrong. No matter which stage of life you are in, whenever you attempt to walk an unusual path in your life, the pessimistic laborers will always use the 99% failure cases to forcefully stop you from ever trying; while the optimistic entrepreneurs will get excited with you that there is a 1% chance to become successful.
Yahoo! To Close Delicious
This is the dumbest move I see Yahoo doing, for shutting down the only Yahoo product left that is ACTUALLY USEFUL. (besides Flickr, but I don't use it anyway)
Seriously I am horrified and disappointed if this decision is for real. I have over 300 bookmarks stored in Delicious, and Delicious has been an extremely useful search engine for me. Because the search is based on social tagging that has gone through by human mind, Delicious is far more powerful than even Google for generic terms search, especially for single term queries that are too generic to return any useful results from other search engines. I don't know why such a useful site has become so less popular, but I believe it is just largely due to the lack of marketing and ignorance by Yahoo since the acquisition.
So far I don't know any other social bookmarking site that is better than Delicious. Perhaps I should start searching, but if anyone here in Slashdot knows one, please do tell me.
Anyway for those who are desperate like me to backup their Delicious bookmarks, here is the export link.
Google eBookstore Launched
When I purchase an ebook the most top criteria that I look for is freedom:
1. Freedom to read it on any device.
2. Freedom to read it using free software.
3. Freedom to archive and read it offline.
4. Freedom to copy/paste and print selected pages.
Now Google eBooks gives me the first freedom to read it on most of the devices, and have some nifty features such as nice Web UI and synchronization through cloud. But it still doesn't meet my criteria 2 and 3. Now I don't mind too much about criteria 4, but there is no point to prohibit printing if digital duplication is allowed.
The freedom of offline access is the most important criteria that I need. The time when I have no Internet access is the time I have the least distraction and the time I need to read the most to pass my time, and I want to read anywhere including on the bus and plane. The ebook must also readable in Linux as I spend most of my time in front of my Linux laptop, and there is no way I want to be forced to read on Windows or other reading devices if I already have a laptop sitting in front of me.
It is kinda sad that even with so many choices, most of the ebooks stores are still encumbered with the stupid DRM stuff. I know it's not Google or Amazon's fault as there is no way the publishers allow them to sell DRM-free ebooks. But until the day DRM-free ebooks are widely available, no thanks I'm not buying eBooks from any of the store. And if I really want to support the author, I would rather purchase physical books, and then download pirated copy of the DRM-free ebooks for the sake of really reading those books anywhere I want.
Robot Actress Makes Stage Debut In Japan
I don't know much since most of the materials are in Japanese, but I think before this it is called Actroid F. There is a Youtube video on the late testing phase of Actroid F. Three months ago I also saw two obscure videos with translated title "Long Distance Service Terenoido" which I believe shows the early prototype of the robot. Through the videos of the naked robot we can see pretty clear why the robot can only sit still and not move it's hand.
Google Give Searchers 'Instant Previews' of Result Pages
There is now a link on Google's homepage for you to try out the instant preview feature. Or you can go from here: http://www.google.com/landing/instantpreviews/
Btw one other nice thing is that you can now use instant preview to easily see how exactly Google's crawler "sees" a web page. (Though yes Google Cache can show it too but is in HTML with broken CSS and images)
Microsoft Open Sources F#
Does this mean that we can use the source code to port F# to other platform such as GCC and LLVM?
Flash Can Rob 2 Hours From MacBook Air's Battery Life
Every time I have used Flash on my Ubuntu, mostly for playing videos, I must manually use the `top` and `kill` command or Chrome's task manager to manually kill the npviewer.bin process. Flash always eats more than 50% of my CPU even long after I have closed all web pages using Flash, only killing it will bring my CPU back to idle and shuts off the noisy laptop fan. There is huge difference in power consumption between an idle CPU and running CPU, that's why for laptop it is best to keep the CPU idle most of the time to save power.
Now having to kill the Flash process manually is not user friendly at all. I'd imagine that average joes can't do anything on it and have no idea that Flash is the one that causing their laptop fan spinning, heating up, and soaking battery powers.
Google Settles Buzz Privacy Suit
I have used Buzz for a month now and I'm quite satisfied with its functionality. IMHO Google Buzz is way different from what we all thought and is much more sophisticated. Buzz is some sort like Facebook operates in Twitter mode, that is, conversations and social interactions are made in Facebook style, but the social connection model is Twitter's public follower/followee style.
I feel that Google Buzz was already designed for public communication since it is launched. Currently I'm following 90 people with professional Google Profile who I think have use Buzz in the correct way. By professional I mean, these people write meaningful microblog posts that span few paragraph, share interesting links that talk about technology, and have meaningful discussion with their followers. I think the private features are just minor side features that allow some private communication, but Google is not really interested in that and the private features have proved to be more troublesome than is useful.
Google Buzz is just so much cooler than Twitter when you use it in a public way. You can post messages as long as you want, no 140 characters limit on Twitter and 420 characters limit on Facebook; You can write comment directly on someone's Buzz post and seen by everyone directly; You can embed links, photos, and videos directly in your Buzz post - no more short URL; You can "retweet" someone's Buzz post easily by clicking the reshare button. When Buzz is so powerful, I just don't see the point of using Twitter anymore.
Behind the scene, Google Buzz is also significantly different than other social networks. The protocol behind Buzz is really just the core product Google is creating, and Google Buzz is expected to be one of the providers within the decentralized Buzz social network. Google has developed various technologies such as PubSubHubbub and Salmon protocol in hope to create a public, open, and decentralized social network, but we all fail to see the true value behind Buzz. Still though, I don't really like the current Buzz protocols, and I think there are better ways to build such protocols.
Google Buzz also has significantly improve its privacy settings since its troublesome debut. When I first used Google Buzz, Buzz will notify me that the stuff that I'm doing is public whenever I first time made public actions such as posting public message, comment in public posts, follow other public profiles, like or reshare a post. And to avoid people confused on the publicy of their actions, the privacy scope is shown clearly in each and every post. It even states clearly on resharing that "X people publicly reshared this". Sometimes I even found it too annoying and thought, why don't Buzz says "X people publicly liked this" as well.
I think the biggest mistake Google Buzz has is its integration with Gmail. Google first introduced Buzz through Gmail in the hope of gaining market share through Gmail - HUGE mistake. There is a fundamental mismatch between Buzz and Gmail - Buzz is public oriented but Gmail is private oriented, and when public features are mixed into private account, disaster happens. While I am happy to have a public Buzz profile, I don't necessary want to correlate it with my private Gmail profile. That's why I created a separate Google account just for the use of Google Buzz. Now it's not that I have embarrassing stuff associated in my email account, but I want a way to clearly separate my public and private identities - albeit a weak separation that people can still find out the link if they want it bad enough because I made no effort to hide the link. We just need a way to separate identity from account - so that we can create multiple identities (persona) in one account and associate the identities with different purposes and privacy scope.
The other problem of Buzz integrated with Gmail is that the UI sux. Google Buzz is no way similar to Gmail, and forcefully cram the Buzz interface into existing Gmail interface is stupid. It would be much better to move Buzz into a separate page, to make both products less bloated.
Japan's Latest Rockstar Is a 3D Hologram
For those of you who don't know, this singing synthesizer technology is called Vocaloid. The impressive thing about Vocaloid is that it can synthesize the singing of a whole song without requiring a real human singer. Miku actually got popular by the vast amount of fan made viral musics spread in YouTube. This just show us the power of user generated content and the value of "open source" music, because anyone with the Vocaloid software can use Miku's voice to "sing" easily.
The technology may not be perfect yet, as the singing still sound a bit unnatural. But as technology advances, we can expect it to mimic human voice more closely or even make it hardly distinguishable. Combining this with the virtual intrument technology, just imagine how much creativity we will have when average joe can produce studio quality music with just a computer.
Data Miners Scraping Away Our Privacy
You missed something else: you get privacy protection in public places through publicy. Although everyone can see what you are doing, you are also protected because you can see what everyone else is doing. In physical public space, it is very hard for casual stalker to stalk anyone exactly because the stalker himself don't have privacy in public space. If someone stalks you, he can be spotted easily by you or people around you and get his reputation ruined.
CCTV invades people's privacy by introducing asymmetry in publicy: Anyone including the CCTV can see you, but you can't see the person watching you behind the CCTV. This can actually be solved by increasing the public visibility of the watchers, for the watchers to be watched. If the security room itself has CCTV so that everyone else can see what the watchers are doing, we'll get back the publicy symmetry and get protected.
The same can be said to public photography including smart phone cameras and street view. Traditionally, camera was large so the photographer had increased public visibility when taking photograph. Smart phones break the publicy symmetry by making it not obvious that someone is taking a photograph. To protect our privacy on being photographed, we need to increase the publicy of the photographer to make his action of taking photograph obvious. This is why making rules like the Camera Phone Predator Attack Alert Act is better than making laws that prohibit people to take photograph in public. Though, I'll not comment on whether we really need a law to enforce this, but having a rule at least allows ethical photographers to play nice with public photography.
Google street view is just a form of intensive photography, but we can't really define how much photos taken are considered too much and thus illegal. But what we can do is to increase the publicy of the street view vehicle, so that people can notice the vehicle more easily and avoid being photographed. For example, the street view vehicle can be painted bright color, install flashing light bar, or even make noise and warning before photographing, depending on how much we're willing to trade off between visibility and annoyance. But what about those stuff that you can't move such as buildings? Well, the same as basic photography, if you refuse to move away things that you don't want to be photographed even after the photographer give full notice in public space, then the photographer has full right and to take the photograph ethically without your consent.
You said that looking into your house from places higher than your fence is illegal, what about if I view it through a nearby multi-story apartment? If I stay at the fourth floor of the apartment and I look at your two-story house through my window, does it consider illegal? How about the children who look into your house when they are in school bus going home? You made the assumption that the world is full of low density residence where there is no higher ground or public places that are higher than one story, but that is really the minority rather than norm. If seeing your house through fence is considered privacy invasive, then today we won't have skycrappers and multistory apartment that allow us to look through any window over the next block.
HTML5 Draws Concern Over Risks To Privacy
So will IPv6, Semantic Web, Social Web, Facial Recognition, and any P2P protocols coming in future seriously invade our privacy. Neither did HTTP, IPv4, and SMTP cared about privacy.
Get over of the privacy FUD and face the reality: We the programmers who design the architecture of the Internet don't care about privacy. Tell me brilliant slashdotters, if you have the manpower and time, how would you redesign IPv6, Semantic Web, or any other protocols from the ground up to protect users' privacy, and whether you would or should care about privacy protection within the protocols?
The age of privacy is over, the Internet is all about publicy. I might get troll for saying this, but privacy is more like copyright protection and censorship rather than freedom and openness. For those of you who are still open minded towards the discussion on privacy and publicy, please do visit Jeff Jarvis' blog and reconsider whether you'd like to join the publicy camp instead.
Facebook Implements 'Download Your Profile' Option
Thank you Facebook for supporting data portability and not use it as lame anti-competitive lock-in feature like Yahoo and M$ does.. I don't care how other slashdotters think, but you will earn more of my respect as you make your platform more open and release more open source projects. Well done for your effort, keep it on!