OMG – It is Socialism on the Internet!


There does not seem to be enough reporting or buzz about about Google and Facebook’s social networking widget strategy..

The Industry Standard notes the growing Facebook v Googe battle for “internet mindshare”.

I’d argue this is the single most important aspect of the current internet landscape, where users will eventually insist that their their single identity flows around the internet as seamlessly and simply as possible,in what I like to think will be an analogy to a global gathering / party / conference / lounge environment.

Soon we will surf on in to a website and decide what information we’ll share with that site and with others who arepresent there at the time.

MyBlogLog, now owned by Yahoo, is for me the closest thing to that ideal environment because it allows you to see others who are at the site and then click off to more information about them.

How low can stocks go? DOW drops to 7997. Panic or just … Palindromic?


Answer:  Very low, though I wildly speculate (putting me in the same expert category as any expert you can name) that DOW at 7000 and S&P at 700 will be the bottom of this megabear market, after which we’ll continue to see major trouble with the economy continue for at least 2 years during which many businesses will die, successful ones will consolidate and just keep in the game, and a handful of nimble and clever new businesses will thrive and lead the new “post recession” economy forward, probably based on impressive technological innovations now testing in a handful of big company R&D departments and literally *millions* of small business efforts around the globe.

Thanks to the internet, the rise of highly social media, and the plummeting cost of powerful computing I remain optimistic that technological innovation will pull us out of this crisis and remain for yet another century the key force behind most socioeconomic progress.

What’s pushing things down in stocks?    I think the main factor is simply that the market, which is predictive rather than reactive, overvalued how fast technology would trump other considerations and continue to lift mediocre companies ever higher.    It’s not as if many companies were doing profoundly brilliant stuff out there – on the contrary the auto companies were up to the same old stupid nonsene they’ve been doing for decades.   Financial companies were gambling with Credit Default Swaps and fueling the mortgage crisis with fundamentally irresponsible and misguided profiteering.   Even high tech companies, home to many of the globe’s best and brightest working for Yahoo, Intel, [Google?], and MSN found themselves in huge battles to protect market share and profitability while containing the onslaught of online spam.    Google may be something of an exception here as their profitability and advertising brilliance has – until recently – kept them squarely above much of the fray and on the path to more innovation.

About eight years ago this foolishness led to the bubble of 1990 where the internet company valuations were out of line with their potential for innovation.    The commercial internet revolution was an amazing thing in the 1990s and remains the most profound new development in history, but the companies were not all that inspired and most companies were destroyed by the very markets they had convinced to fund them in the first place.

So a far better question than “why are my stocks dropping?” is “Why were all these companies valued so highly in the first place?”     We needed a contraction to square the values with the prices, and now we are watching that happen.

Why 7000 DOW and 700 S&P?    At that point the markets will have dropped just over 50% from the highs of a few years ago.    I see that as a significant practical and psychological milestone.    “half off” is a very accessible notion as we know from retail, and we already know there’s a lot of money waiting on the sidelines to buy into a “market bottom”.     It’s reasonable to assume that at least some, and probably many of the companies hammered by this have been penalized irrationally by the broader market downturn.  As prices drop to 5 and 10 year lows some of these bargains will be irresistable to those with cash on hand, and this buying should  stabilize the market.

Will it rise quickly from 7000?    I say no – I think the globalized chickens have largely flown the coop and many of the unfair advantages we have enjoyed as Americans … will be no more.      I see no major depression looming and I see the USA as the economic “safe harbor” and leader for at least the next decade, but the days of easy prosperity are probably gone for some time so … buddy …. can you spare …. a dime?

Artificial Intuition


Convergence08 was a great conference with many interesting people and ideas. Thankfully the number of crackpots was very low, and even the “new age” mysticism stuff was at a minimum. Instead I found hundreds of authors, doctors, biologists, programmers, engineers, physicists, and more clear thinking folks all interested in how the new technologies will shape our world in ways more profound than we have ever experienced before.

My favorite insights came from Monica Anderson’s presentation on her approach to AI programming, which she called “Artificial Intuition“. Unlike all other approaches to AI I’m familiar with Anderson uses biological evolution as her main analogs for conceptualizing human intelligence. I see this approach as almost a *given* if you have a good understanding of human thought, but it’s actually not a popular conceptual framework at all.

It has always surprised me how poorly many computer programmers understand even rudimentary biological concepts such as the underlying simplicity of the human neocortex and the basic principles of evolution which I’d argue emphatically have defined *every single aspect* of our human intelligence over a slow and clumsy, hit and miss process operating over millions of years. I think programmers tend to focus on mathematics and rule systems which are great modelling systems but probably a very poor analog for intelligence. This focus has in many ways poisoned the well of understanding about what humans and other animals do when they … think… which I continue to maintain is “not all that special”.

….. more on this later over at Technology Report …..

ASUS eeePC 901


The EeePC 901 from ASUS looks very impressive based on the specs.   I’ve been using the original eeePC for several months and my two main concerns have been keyboard size (which I’ve become used to) and screen size (still a bit small for quality browsing).    Otherwise I’ve been impressed with the light weight, small size, and fairly error-free operation with the one exception of an early flash memory failure that required a reconfiguration and lost me 100+ Hong Kong photos.     Still, for $400 this unit was an amazing bargain compared to the 1500 or so I would have spent for a full blown Ultra mobile laptop in this weight class.

The new eeePC unit probably solves the screen size issue with a 9.1 incher vs the 7 inches and I assume a slightly larger keyboard.    The 3.75G access could really be a boon for those in areas where that will be supported, assuming a reasonable cost by providers.

I’m anxious to hear from folks who get this unit.   The mini Dell looks good as well, but if ASUS has created a comparable machine I’d be inclined to go with them over Dell based on my experiences with each company.

ASUS Press Release

Google Dance at the GooglePlex. Search Engine Strategies Event


Google Dance at the GooglePlex

Originally uploaded by JoeDuck

Last year they had “Candy Bars” where you could fill a bag with all sorts of great candy. I brought one home for my daughter who now dreams of going to a Google party.

The Google Dance has been going on for several years as part of the SES Conference series. Held at the Googleplex the party features a huge buffet, food, wine, and beer stations all over the Google commons. For those who can’t separate work from leisure (which would be most tech folks), there are demonstrations of new technologies from Google and a “meet the engineers” face to face talk that is always very enjoyable.

Google: A Trillion URLs and counting


The Google blog notes how huge the web is now, with Google indexing over a trillion unique URLs.  As they note in the article the actual number of indexable URLs is, in one sense, infinite.    For example calendar pages will automatically appear as you scroll through many applications, continuing through the years until..the singularity and beyond.     Of course Google does not index many of these “empty” URLs or even a lot of junk or redundant content, so the true number of real, unique URLs is actually well above a Trillion.

I think a fun question is this:   What will the information landscape look like in, say, 20 years when we should have the ability to pour *everything* from the past and the present online?     Questions might take a different form if we had access to every reference on a topic that has ever been produced.    Algorithms will be used to sort through the oceans of content much as Google does now, but with far more precision and better comprehension of the whole mess.

Free Google blog at your own website? Priceless.


Google has a great feature where you can add a free blogger blog to your website.  I use that for some other blogs though JoeDuck is hosted at WordPress, which offers more powerful content management features than blogger blogs.

Here are the directions for a free blogger blog.  This is for domains hosted at Godaddy but similar will work at most registrars except for Verio where you’ll need to use the IP and not ghs.google.com 

Setting up a free blog that will be hosted at blog.example.com involves TWO basic steps.   First setting up the blog at blogger.com, then configuring the DNS at Godaddy to direct people to the blog as if it was at your website.   The existing pages at your *website* will be unaffected by these change though be sure you have pages backed up for good measure.  

1)  Set up account or log in to existing Google account at blogger.com
2)  Create new blog with blog address (URL) “example.blogspot.com”
3) Under “advanced settings” choose “custom domain” and enter in box:     blog.example.net

1) Next, head to your Godaddy account and “manage domains”.  Select   example.net
2) Click on “Total DNS Control….”
3) Create create CNAME record
4) Enter Alias name:    blog.example.net
5) Points to Host name:     ghs.google.com 

The blogger.com blog will have a small default blog toolbar at the top of the blog that can be deleted as well.  As far as I know Google is OK with this modification to delete the obnoxious toolbar though I’m not positive it’s OK.    I don’t have time to look up that little coding hack now but will try to post later …

PDF won’t print on Lexmark


Wow, I just spent an hour troubleshooting only to realize the problem was not printer ink or settings so much as the IRS PDF file which was not printing for me.

I got it to work by printing in standard and in a smaller screen view.    So…if you have this problem I recommend first try to print a text file – if that fails you may have ink or other problems, but if it’s a PDF try messing with the printer quality settings (use standard first) and the view settings.

Yahoo Microsoft: Is the fat lady almost singing at $34?


Henry Blodget is whining that the Yahoo Microsoft deal is back to where it started, but I think Henry’s wrong … again!     

I’m glad Henry was wrong about the rumor that Yahoo’s Q4 would beat expectations because it was part of the reason I bought YHOO then, and even though the stock dipped due to a bad Q4, it surged on Microsoft’s offer of $31 per share so I’m well in the black.   But now he’s wrong to say the deal is not almost done.  I think this Yahoo Microsoft merger is coming very soon to an internet near you.

Citibank Analyst Maheney upgraded Yahoo this morning, anticipating a boost in the MS bid to $34.   Hey, maybe he read my blog post of about 6 weeks ago where I suggested Microsoft raise their bid to $34?    

Unlike Henry, I think this is not back to where it all started at all!

Yang didn’t want to merge, now he sees it as almost inevitable.  Yahoo board wanted more, now they know anything past initial offer is gravy.  Part of the show was probably the board protecting itself against lawsuits from the unlucky minions who bought their Yahoo at $35+, some at over $100.

Barring a Q1 miracle that would recalibrate Yahoo prices without help of MS bids, I think the fat lady is now almost done singing on this deal.

 Disclosure:  long on YHOO