Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Sea change in web advertising

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

Although this article got talked up on the web, few seemed to understand how important this data is, and why it signals a favorable Microsoft/Yahoo balance against Google in the next generation:

The study illustrates that heavy clickers represent just 6% of the online population yet account for 50% of all display ad clicks. While many online media companies use click-through rate as an ad negotiation currency, the study shows that heavy clickers are not representative of the general public. In fact, heavy clickers skew towards Internet users between the ages of 25-44 and households with an income under $40,000. Heavy clickers behave very differently online than the typical Internet user, and while they spend four times more time online than non-clickers, their spending does not proportionately reflect this very heavy Internet usage. Heavy clickers are also relatively more likely to visit auctions, gambling, and career services sites – a markedly different surfing pattern than non-clickers. ^

Ouch! This means that many of those great online sales leads clicking away may be the same audience who are targetted by garden-variety spam. This of course threatens Google’s dominance of the adsphere, because they specialize in ads without tracking, and throws the balance to companies like Microsoft and Yahoo who offer a wider range of social networking-styled services to get users to log in, so that their searches can be tracked and better ad targetting can exist.

In other terms, hitting this 50%-6% audience is easy, because they’re going to visit the most basic and spammy services the net has to offer. Advertisers are increasingly going to want ads for, as an example, high-end laptops, to be directed to the audience that not only likes the product but has the wherewithal to buy it. The recent rush by Google to get people into online mesh applications is part of their desire to adapt to this new reality, as is Gmail. Want to bet their internal metrics, six months before Gmail’s launch, revealed this same trend?

Red light cameras

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

Some of my friends say they’re a good idea because they fear the incompetence of others. Others say the cameras are an awful idea, but I think it’s because they’re afraid of getting caught. I just detest them. Cameras do not understand special circumstances, and they prompt a very negative reaction of slamming on the brakes suddenly when approaching a stale green turning yellow.

Photoenforced lists red light cameras and camera speed traps around you. If you can’t avoid them, see if you can run into them so I can avoid them.

The secrets of the mystic art

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

From William Gibson:

I suspect I have spent just about exactly as much time actually writing as the average person my age has spent watching television, and that, as much as anything, may be the real secret here. ^

You will meet many “artists” in this life. Most of them are not serious about writing for four to six hours a day, or even for three, or even writing at all. Gibson said what all of us are thinking when we see this phenomenon.

The origins of language

Saturday, January 26th, 2008

I was looking for a word today to describe an optimal situation in design, where a proposed idea matches its function exactly. It means part efficiency, part good design, part relevance to the task (even if the client isn’t fully aware of it). I found:

Arete (areth): Appropriate form to or for purpose, with strong overtones of ideal good

When it comes to technology design, it doesn’t get any clearer than that.

Meta-Social Networking

Monday, January 14th, 2008

A new spin on social networking from a Slashdot user:

I’ve now been meta-social networking on Slashdot for six months, and my meta-friends list runneth over with people who have distinguished themselves with their brains and personalities and knowledge. I’m proud of this list, because when I go through it, I see people who are using their brains to make technology and humanity better. These aren’t the couchbound slackers that make our lives miserable by failing to fix obvious deficiencies. These people represent the kind of people whose company I’d want to seek, the kind of people who bring a sense of hope for humanity.

Here’s that meta-social networking list again. Check ‘em out. I’m proud of them, even if I only know a few of them. ^

An interesting take on an old dilemma of online “avatars” and how well they translate into the real world. I’ve got my shingle out at LinkedIn, FaceBook, Slashdot, MySpace, Amazon and Technorati. Drop me a line sometime!

Man arrested for novelizing murder he committed

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007

A Polish crime writer has been jailed for 25 years after authorities found he had committed a murder that had been described in one of his thrillers, officials said Wednesday. ^

I can sympathize with him. Commit a murder, get away with it, and pleased with your own creativity, think maybe you can write a book about it. That turns out well, so you write more… but are there more murders?

A study of genius

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

I’ve found that people who are great at something are not so much convinced of their own greatness as mystified at why everyone else seems so incompetent. ^

Nothing’s that hard once you put a clear, calm mind to it and some effort.