The Internet has a face

It seems to be a YouTube commercial. It is actually a good "piece of art" done by some students. Why big corporations pay millions of $$ to realize their commercials ?

Google's brand dilemma

Google became the Number 1 brand in the world in 2007, according to Millward Brown Brandz Top 100 (Google brand is worth 66M $), but the biggest problem of Google is paradoxically its brand itself. Like Microsoft in its youth, Google has a fantastic sparkling brand about which people feel good.
The majority of people like Google, most people used to like Microsoft at the beginning. But should they really trust Google now?
People feel good about scammers, too. They win your trust and then take your money. Google is by no means on the grift. But is Google worthy of trust? John Dalberg-Acton said, "Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely."
Only time will tell.

Top 100 PC Tech Innovations

What are the personal computer innovations that had the biggest impact on us? Maximum PC gathered a list with 100 of them. Below you will find the first 10:

  1. USB (1996)
  2. 3dfx Voodoo 1 (1996)
  3. Intel Pentium II (1997)
  4. NCSA Mosaic (1993)
  5. Windows XP (2001)
  6. Quake (1996)
  7. Hayes Smartmodem (1981)
  8. IBM 5150 (1981)
  9. Doom (1993)
  10. DirectX (1995)

The complete list here.

Five innovations that will change your life

The annual "IBM Next Five in Five" is a list of innovations with the potential to change the way people work, live and play over the next five years:

1. It will be easy for you to be green and save money doing it.
2. The way you drive will be completely different.
3. You are what you eat, so you will know what you eat.
4. Your mobile phone will be your wallet, your ticket broker, your concierge, your bank, your shopping buddy, etc etc
5. Doctors will get enhanced "super senses" to better diagnose and treat you.

Source : physorg.com

The Strategic Importance of Mobile Phones

Why everyone is jumping on the mobile phones' boat ? There are several reasons: the growth of the market, the high penetration of the handsets in the population, etc etc.
Sandy Pentland from MIT gives us a new and different insight; he explains how cell phones are able to provide a unique track record of people's actions, social behavior, and even social roles:

Just look at a cell phone. It knows where you are, and this is obviously sort of useful. But the generalization is that maybe it can know lots of things about you. Take your Facebook friends as an example. The phone could know which ones you socialize with in person, which ones are your work friends, and which friends you've never seen in your life. That's an interesting distinction, and reality mining can make it automatic. It's about making the "dumb" information-technology infrastructure know something about your social life. All this sort-of Web 2.0 stuff is nice, but you have to type stuff in ...

Today's cell phones are on us all the time, and they come with hardware that can act as sensors for your environment. For instance, if Bluetooth is turned on, then the phone can see and be seen by other Bluetooth devices. You can start to make a record of the Bluetooth-enabled devices you encounter throughout the day. Then you can figure out, based on the frequency [with which] you encounter other people's Bluetooth phones, what sort of relationship you have with them.

The iPhone also has an accelerometer that could tell if you are sitting and walking. You don't have to explicitly type stuff in; it's just measured. And all phones have built-in microphones that can be used to analyze your tone of voice, how long you talk, how often you interrupt people. These patterns can tell you what roles people play in groups: you can figure out who the leader is and who the followers are.

(extract from Technogy Review interview)

Spy planes to recharge by clinging to power lines


From New Scientist:

"In addition, so as not to arouse suspicion, AFRL says the spy plane will need to collapse its wings and hang limply on the cable like a piece of wind-blown detritus. Much of the "morphing" technology to perform this has already been developed by DARPA, the Pentagon's research division. Technologies developed in that program include carbon composite "sliding skins", which allow fuselages to change shape, and telescopic wings that allow lift to be boosted in seconds by boosting a wing's surface area. "


Interesting week: Nokia event & Google Christmas Party

Last Sunday Nokia invited me to a special event with Maroon 5 in a very fancy bar in Milan. There were not a lot of people and I received a signed copy of the last Maroon 5's album. Needless to say I did not have a clue who the Maroon 5 were before attending the event.

Yesterday night I attended the super-exclusive Google Christmas Party in Milan. The bar was too small for all the people dressed to kill. Since it was not so special as we thought, we had few free drinks and we left early (Google gave us a black Google Moleskine). The night was not wasted because I finally met one of my "virtual friend": Marco Montemagno, CEO of Blogosfere and Sky TV presenter. A very nice and humble guy; check one of his best presentation on Presentation Zen (in Italian, sorry).

Amazon like Google

Brad Shimmin, an analyst with Current Analysis, said that Amazon "is doing what Google is doing becoming a provider of hosted services." In Google's eyes, he added, "90 percent of the world's software will someday be online," and both companies are intending to leverage their infrastructure to enable this kind of ecosystem." For enterprises that can't afford to build out their own data centers, Shimmin said, services such as Amazon's can be an important asset.Amazon's prominence as an Internet company could help propel the growth of accessible computing resources "in the cloud," for database, storage, processing and other needs.


In another comment we can read: "The funny thing about Amazon's platform play is that it feels like something Google would have done. But they didn't (or at least they haven't yet). Amazon is out googling Google.".
Is Google losing its Midas touch ?

Disruptive GPS

This is what we call disruptive technology, an innovative next generation car navigation system with unlimited potential. The company is Making Virtual Solid from New Jersey.


The system uses a laser, a set of lenses, and a mirror mounted in the dashboard to project a 3D the red line above the road ahead. It makes driving like a video game and it might might a little dangerous for people like me who played GTA for extended periods of time. Sometimes I have a tendency to drive up onto the curb and not make any effort to avoid pedestrians

The company states mass-produced versions will cost somewhere around $400 as a factory-installed option, and can be easily interfaced with existing GPS systems.
Visit the company website for more information.

Holophonic sounds recording

A friend sent me this link. It is absolutely amazing and you are not going to believe it.
Holophonic sound recordings are designed to be listened to with headphones for the best effect. They have been recorded with a dummy head that has two microphones, one in each ear. The shape of the head and ears are designed to be similar to a human head to most closely replicate real human hearing. It’s pretty incredible.
I had my virtual haircut about 5 times, I really enjoyed it and it was free as well.

Google for Christmas


If you try a search for "Christmas" in google.com you will see several Christmas trees near the sponsored links.

Seth Godin, Knol e Squidoo

Seth Godin is one of my favourite writer. When I first saw Knol I thought it closely resembled Squidoo. Since then I have been waiting for Seth's blog entry. This is it.

Mahalo vs Google

I read the Mahalo vs Google article in Techcrunch and these here are my thoughts.

I think Mahalo needs a better way to indicate the quality of their links rather than just mentioning what the source is. It's tough to skim to see what might be useful if the page looks like:

http://www.mahalo.com/tea

Compare to any search engine with snippets

http://www.ask.com/web?q=tea&qsrc=0&o=0&l=dir

They also appear to leave QA to random people.
I've submitted a handful of links (I wanted to see how it works!), some of which have been taken, some of which haven't, with no real rhyme or reason as to which were taken and why.
That being said, I think that there's a good place for a user generated list of links for the top 20k queries or so. I just wouldn't want to be the one maintaining it.

I have to say, Mahalo's "one-box equivalent" (guide note/fast facts) is actually pretty cool. They seem to have them for tons of search terms, and I bet that often times they answer the searcher's question.
Just as an example: query="u2"

Guide Note: U2 are one of the most popular Rock bands in music history. Their lead singer, Bono, has also become known for his charity work and efforts to provide debt-relief to third-world nations.

Fast Facts

  1. Hometown: Dublin, Ireland
  2. Formed: 1976
  3. Bono's Real Name: Paul David Hewson
  4. The Edge's Real Name: Dave Howell Evans
  5. Worldwide Album Sales: Over 170 million
Mahalo uses Google to back-end fill all the queries to which they do not have user submitted articles for. There's a huge gap between what is being searched on the web and what Mahalo currently has in their database (and what they have the bandwidth to create). For this reason Mahalo is dependent on Google (at the moment) and can not be the "Google Killer" some blogs have said it is.

Furthermore, Mahalo's method of search doesn't mesh well with users who are looking for very specific content, breaking news, or a more mature subject matter (e.g. real estate, taxes, business, government info, etc.). As Mahalo user submitted pages are for the most part general and take time to be posted.

Where Mahalo looks to be thriving is in providing content for a much younger generation of users. The vast majority of their user submitted content focuses on movies, music, video games, etc.

Conclusion
Mahalo? Liked it better when it was called about.com.

Mahalo is an SEO play, not a search play -- just like the companies
that Calcanis bashes. The only different is that Calcanis is
pugnacious and connected to tech 2.0 media, so he can make a splash
with big, bold claims. You can actually see this in his earlier
startups, including his digg-ification of the Netscape homepage.

I think the guy is cheeky enough and has the force of personality that
he may have a big hit one day, but I don't think this is it.

Why a personal blog?

Every day I find beautiful pearls in the vast ocean of the web and I need a sort of bucket to collect them all. This is why I am starting a blog. I do not care if anyone reads it. I hope someone will, if not I am not going to commit suicide.

This is my first post

I spent about 2 hours trying to find a template for my new blog. I found this one. I do not particurarly like it, but I am going to give it a go. I will probably change it in the future.
This is my first post and it sucks.