Matt Ingram’s asking about Facebook and politics, noting that CNET thinks they don’t mix all that well.
They do mix. Superficiality, negativity, whimsy, and personalities are all key components of social networks and of the American political experience. The best online strategies may actually win these races, especially in the wide open Republican nomination. I predict Romney will win that in some part thanks to his excellent family blogging efforts. Online campaign marketing will certainly contribute to the win in ways disproportionate to their cost and to other media efforts.
More politics here at President Picker
Center Networks is reviewing yet another DiggEsque application called, in what has got to be one of the most questionable rebranding efforts of the year: Propeller . Propeller started life as the Netscape ranking site that was very similar to Digg and designed to compete with it. That effort having failed, it appears Propeller is an attempt to rebrand things such that they can take another shot at Digg.
I’m having a lot of trouble understanding “the point” in what seem like similar approaches to the same challenge, which is getting people to *participate* very actively in story selection and commentary. Rather than “we’ll build a site and they’ll come to it” approach I want to see dramatic improvements to portable identities. MyBlogLog is the closest thing to what I think is the clear “right answer” here. Basically, what I want is for every online person to have an identity. I want to see that identity when they visit my websites and I want to see that identity when I am visiting a site they’ve also visited recently (or maybe … visited ever). One interesting extension that might come out of this would be a superior “vote by your feet” ranking system where pages at which many people spent a lot of time would have more authority, and when this was combined with tags and comments by the visitors you’d have a fairly robust system for ranking sites.
Ray Kurzweil and Peter Thiel are not crackpots.
Kurzweil, among other things, was a major pioneer in speech recognition software and electronic musical instruments, from which he made a fortune. Kurzweil still works in the music field on SONY projects, but his passion is … immortality, and he’s working hard towards that end.
Thiel has made a king’s fortune in online projects like EBAY and PayPal, but he’s got more innovative things up his sleeve. Like Kurzweil, Theil’s looking to help fund the holy grail of humanity – immortality.
Even a few decades ago reasonable people would have considered much of the talk about a technological singularity and massive superintelligent computers to be fanciful at best and insanity at worst, but the inexorable march of technology is bringing us to within about a decade – probably two at the most – of human quality artificial intelligence. The processing power of the human brain will be reached soon, and unless there is something more to our human intellect than one can reasonably assume we are going to be chatting intelligently with our computers fairly soon. After that milestone is reached it is likely that it won’t be long before “recursive self improvement” by these intelligent computers will create artificial intelligences far superior to our current human intellects. Not to worry though, because it also appears likely that improvements in medicine, brain research, and nanotechnology will allow us to enhance our bodies and intellects such that we’ll live much longer and be much smarter.
Kurzweil, in the book “The Singularity is Near”, argues that the historical exponential growth of technology shows no signs of slowing down – in fact he’s convinced the growth is speeding up. At the current rates of increase we’ll see the same improvements over the next decades that we have seen in the past hundred years. For Kurzweil these improvements will lead to a utopian future of no poverty, massively improved intellects, and eventually immortality as we download our brains into machines.
Sounds cool to me Ray, I’m IN!
Conde Nast on Kurzweil
More at kurzweilai.net
During weekends and holidays my favorite news site, TechMeme, gets wilder than usual because I think there are fewer news outlets posting stories and even the big tech blogs dry up on the weekend. Even more wild are holidays, which may explain the odd top story today at TechMeme today about MIXX versus DIGG.
Mike over at TechCrunch is reporting that a lot of Digg users are heading over to the new social story tagging site called Mixx. He notes that Digg users have become increasingly frustrated with the Digg communities and mini-scandals. A quick Alexa take on Mixx did not really seem to support the idea that MIXX poses much threat right now to DIGG, though since MIXX is still in beta it’s possible MIXX is going to be a contender when it’s known to more people. Mixx appears to have 150k-250k daily visits (per my rough Alexa extrapolation from approx 35k Alexa rank). Given the up and down traffic pattern at MIXX though it’s not clear it’s “taking off”, rather than it’s setting in as one of the many DIGG “also rans” that have little chance of even catching the big DIGG.
Over at Webguild I noted a really interesting quote from Sabeer Bhatia, co-founder of HotMail, who suggested very recently that shrinkwrapped software is dead and everybody is going to go online for their office and other applications by 2010. Consistent with this hypothesis and blustering claim, Bhatia has just launched a new online suite of MS office-like tools.
Sridhar over at Zoho blogs is really taking Bhatia to task for suggesting that the new product, Instacoll, might capture 1% of the market. Of course Zoho is not exactly a fan of Instacoll which is a very direct competitor to their offerings, but Sridhar’s point is that venture capital people don’t want companies to shoot for 1% of a market – they want it all.
Frankly, I’m not convinced by any of these points. People are stubborn with changes. So first, I think Microsoft will keep plugging along and shrinkwrap will die a slow, not quick, death. Microsoft’s version of online office tools will be in the best position to win in this game because if they do it cleverly they will slowly transition a huge customer base from Word and Excel and Access over to the online environments and find ways to make money during and after the transition.
Second, only Microsoft and Google with maybe Yahoo as a distant runner up shot, are likely to capture the online document market. Why will people choose Instacall or Zoho when they can go with the big guys? Assume you have three free parties and you are invited to all of them. They all have a nice dinner for you with similar food, and all are just around the block. One is at my house, the other at your friend’s house, and the other at Bratt Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s place. You are going to Brangelinas, just like you are going to use Google docs. 1% of the office market? Maybe, but what are you having for dinner again?
Some of my old posts here at WordPress started showing ads, which was odd since I didn’t put any ads up. At first I thought JoeDuck.com had been hacked, but it now appears this is a form of Internet Explorer browser malware that is injecting advertising into the code as you surf. I prefer Firefox to Explorer but the laptop is not working well with Firefox – I think a almost-full-disk memory issue but I don’t want to mess with it now.
SEO Roundtable has a discussion of another WP blog with this problem and the adsense publisher code is the same as in my problem. That’s an old discussion so this probably infects a lot of IE browsers out there by now.
I’m wondering if I should be annoyed with Google for not having a system in place to alert people when they are getting adsense hijacked? Google must know about this WP exploit, and since the code would alert them why can’t they have an automated routine to warn me? Perhaps they can’t ID my compromised machine via an email address? They almost certainly deleted this publisher by now … right? Better email Mr. Adsense himself, Shuman.
This just in from the “Seasonality matters” department: My Elf Yourself post of about 11 months ago has risen to the top of the list of viewed posts even though it’s old and not particularly insightful.
Elf Yourself is Office Max’s very clever (or very annoying, depending on your mood) animation routine that lets you upload a picuture of your face and paste it on an elf which dances around.
ReadWriteWeb has an excellent summary of the idea that online relationships between people can be described in terms of a “Social Graph” that defines and to some extent dictates those relationships.
I guess I’m OK with a lot of the faux complexity that Social GraphOlogy is going to bring the table, though it would sure be nice if Tech folks and academics could just talk about things in the simple terms they deserve. All this stuff, and most of the internet, is about the intersection of information with *human relationships*. We are talking about basic sociology here, and I’m not sure it’s going to be helpful to redifine things with new terminology when it’s not really needed. The Social Graph recognizes and defines online human relationships. Couldn’t we just talk about this in the same way we talk about other things and preface everything with “online”? Probably not, because that won’t socially graph well enough.
Tim Berners-lee has referred to the “Global Graph” in a recent blog post over at TBL. There have recently been several blog posts suggesting that the word ‘Graph’ is too confusing or inappropriate as a way to describe concepts surrounding social networking, but now the the big Tim BL is on board, now it’s all about the graph baby!
The Register has a story about a philandering Wii Wife that is sad, funny, poignant, and patriotic all at the same time.
The internet never fails to deliver high quality entertainment, does it?