Free CBS shows

YouTube, hoping to counter the competition from sites like NBC and Hulu, has started running full-length episodes of CBS programming.

Executives at the Google-owned video site told Reuters that CBS would handle ad sales for its shows and share the revenue with YouTube. In the meantime, CBS does not have a programming deal with Hulu, although the video site does direct users who search for that network’s shows back to the CBS site.

CBS has one of the most subscribed channels on YouTube, with 83,000 users signed up. The channel debuted two years ago and has recorded 4.2 million views. There are only four CBS shows currently available in the full-episode mode on YouYube-- Beverly Hills 90210, StarTrek: The Original Series, The Young and the Restless and MacGyver.

You can access the episodes from here, but geographic restrictions applies (US residents only).

Best free blackberry applications

The title says it all.

WorldMate Live: check your flight on real time
WorldMate Live will manage your full itinerary, including travel arrangements and business meetings, making all details immediately accessible on your mobile device, and ensure smooth as possible trip by pushing alerts regarding imminent events.
Free features available include the My Itineraries function, which stores information on flights, hotels, meetings, public transportation and car rentals on BlackBerrys. The application also lets users export travel information from booking confirmation e-mails, corporate calendars and more, directly into WorldMate Live, and it automatically assembles their itineraries.



Google Maps: Mobile Mapping With Satellite Imagery
Google Maps for BlackBerry is a mobile mapping application that provides location-based information and services to mobile handsets with or without the use of GPS. The "My Location" function employs nearby cell towers to determine rough locations of mobile phone users so no information needs to be entered. The application also provides satellite imagery from the Google Earth service and can deliver driving--or step-by-step walking--directions with real-time traffic alerts in some 30 major U.S. cities.

The best story I have ever read



The author is unknown, the story is amazing, enjoy it :

An American businessman was standing at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish.

"How long it took you to catch them?" The American asked.
"Only a little while." The Mexican replied.
"Why don't you stay out longer and catch more fish?" The American then asked.
"I have enough to support my family's immediate needs." The Mexican said.
"But," The American then asked, "What do you do with the rest of your time?"

The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life, senor."

The American scoffed, "I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds you buy a bigger boat, and with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats."

"Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the consumers, eventually opening your own can factory. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise."

The Mexican fisherman asked, "But senor, how long will this all take?"
To which the American replied, "15-20 years."
"But what then, senor?"

The American laughed and said, "That's the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO (Initial Public Offering) and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions."
"Millions, senor? Then what?"

The American said slowly, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos..."

Do not always rationalize decisions

This is taken from a Martin Luther King speech:

“I say to you, this morning, that if you have never found something so dear and precious to you that you will die for it, then you aren’t fit to live.

You may be 38 years old, as I happen to be, and one day, some great opportunity stands before you and calls upon you to stand for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause. And you refuse to do it because you are afraid.

You refuse to do it because you want to live longer. You’re afraid that you will lose your job, or you are afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity, or you’re afraid that somebody will stab or shoot or bomb your house. So you refuse to take a stand.

Well, you may go on and live until you are ninety, but you are just as dead at 38 as you would be at ninety.

And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit.

You died when you refused to stand up for right.

You died when you refused to stand up for truth.

You died when you refused to stand up for justice.”

Solving problems by reversal assumption

1. Think of a situation, product, or concept, related to a challenge you are facing, and think about the assumptions associated to that situation

2. Write down those assumptions; then reverse them

3. Finally, think about how to make those reversal meaningful

Example taken from "Cracking Creativity" by Michael Michalko
Suppose you wish to open a restaurant but are having difficulty coming up with new ideas and a novel concept.
Write the most common assumptions about running a restaurant:

ASSUMPTION
Restaurants have menus
REVERSAL
Restaurant have no menus


ASSUMPTION
Restaurants charge money for food
REVERSAL
Restaurants do not charge money for food


ASSUMPTION
Restaurants serve food
REVERSAL
Restaurants do not serve food

Now think about a reversal business.

A restaurant with no menus.
The chef informs each customer what he bought that day at the market: meat, vegetables and fish. The client selects the food and the chef makes something out of it, unique and specific for each customer.

A restaurant that does not charge for food
This restaurant is a coffee bar where people get together to talk and work with each other. The restaurant charges for the time spent there. Selected low cost food and beverages are given for free.

A restaurant that does not serve food
The restaurant has a unique and beautiful decor in an exotic environment. People bring their own food and beverages in picnic baskets and pay a service charge for the location.

Escape the usual chain of associations and come up with new ideas !

Another example is to make a banking experience pleasant.
Instead of thinking how can I make it pleasant, think the opposite way.
I can I make it horrible? The answer might yeld to some interesting insights.
Try to enter in a bank in Italy and you will understand :)

Any other examples ?

The problem of Zimbabwe is Mugabe

This is one of the presentation which won the Slideshare competition.

Zimbabwe in Crisis
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: refugee hyperinflation)

Robert Mugabe once was hailed as a symbol of the new Africa, but under his rule the health and well-being of his people have dropped dramatically, which is as much an abuse of human rights as arbitrary arrest and torture. According to the World Health Organization, Zimbabwe has the world’s shortest life expectancy—37 years for men and 34 for women. It also has the greatest percentage of orphans (about 25%, says UNICEF) and the worst annual inflation rate (1,281% as of last month). He last allowed an election in 2002 but “won” only after having his leading opponent arrested for treason.

On April 8, 2005, Mugabe attended the funeral of Pope John Paul II, a move which could be seen as defiance of a European Union travel ban that does not, however, apply to Vatican City. He was granted a transit visa by the Italian authorities, as they are obliged to under the Concordat.

Because United Nations events are exempt from the travel bans, Mugabe attended the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) summit in Rome. African leaders threatened to boycott the event if Mugabe were blacklisted; when he was not, the United Kingdom refused to send a representative. British and Australian officials denounced the presence of Mugabe.

Italy is among the few countries in the World that passively accepted Mugabe in their land; what sort of country entitles a ferocious dictator like him to freely walk without being arrested ?

Why a Google browser ?


I agree with Nicholas Carr that states :

To Google, the browser has become a weak link in the cloud system - the needle's eye through which the outputs of the company's massive data centers usually have to pass to reach the user - and as a result the browser has to be rethought, revamped, retooled, modernized.

Its real goal, embedded in Chrome's open-source code, is to upgrade the capabilities of all browsers so that they can better support (and eventually disappear behind) the applications. The browser may be the medium, but the applications are the message.


Also Google may want to switch from being a pure advertising profit company to a more mathematical algorithmical reality. This is the foundation of the company and I think Larry and Sergey see themselves more as engineers rather than marketeers.

Google Browser

According to some rumours Google is about to launch a new web browser.

What would happen if Google decides to release a Safari-based browser?
A Google Browser would give the Webkit platform instant credibility and would definitely be a huge hit (and it will be Open Source).
If Google offered a browser that was as powerful, reliable and easy to use as their search engine and didn't mess up with our system, everyone, I mean EVERYONE, will download it.
IT departments wanting to switch away from IE would have some formidable gunpowder when talking to upper management.
"A Google Browser ? Really? Trash IE and Safari ...install it immediately on all the machines !"

More to follow...

Are car seats safer than seat belts ?


Steven Levitt did a great speech at TED . He told the story of the car seats.

Turns out that car seats for kids over 2 are no more effective than seat belts.
His study took in consideration 45,000 cra crashes during 30 years, from 1975 to 2005.
So if it's so clear, and if it means that Americans are wasting $300 million a year on car seats, what's going on?
Why is it that in New York State it's a crime to put a six year old in the backseat of your car with just a seatbelt?
For more details check out this video.

The Therapeutic Value of Blogging


Scientists (and writers) have long known about the therapeutic benefits of writing about personal experiences, thoughts and feelings.

Research shows that it improves memory and sleep, boosts immune cell activity and reduces viral load in AIDS patients, and even speeds healing after surgery. A study in the February issue of the Oncologist reports that cancer patients who engaged in expressive writing just before treatment felt markedly better, mentally and physically, as compared with patients who did not.

Whatever the underlying causes may be, people coping with cancer diagnoses and other serious conditions are increasingly seeking—and finding—solace in the blogosphere. “Blogging undoubtedly affords similar benefits” to expressive writing, says Morgan, who wants to incorporate writing programs into supportive care for cancer patients.

Some hospitals have started hosting patient-authored blogs on their Web sites as clinicians begin to recognize the therapeutic value. Unlike a bedside journal, blogging offers the added benefit of receptive readers in similar situations, Morgan explains: “Individuals are connecting to one another and witnessing each other’s expressions—the basis for forming a community.”

Extract from SCIAM website

Year 2010 according to Raymond Kurzweil



Raymond Kurzweil is an inventor and futurist. He has been a pioneer in the fields of optical character recognition (OCR), text-to-speech synthesis, speech recognition technology, and electronic keyboard instruments.
Here are his predictions:

* Supercomputers will have the same raw power as human brains (although not yet the equivalently flexible software).

* Computers will disappear as distinct physical objects, meaning many will have nontraditional shapes and/or will be embedded in clothing and everyday objects.

* Full-immersion audio-visual virtual reality will exist.

* High-quality broadband Internet access will become available almost everywhere ( I do not presonally agree)

* Glasses that beam images onto the users' retinas to produce virtual reality will be developed. They will also come with speakers or headphone attachments that will complete the experience with sounds (I already saw and tried a prototype of this)

* The VR glasses will also have built-in computers featuring "virtual assistant" programs that can help the user with various daily tasks. (Augmented Reality)

* Virtual assistants would be capable of multiple functions. One useful function would be real-time language translation in which words spoken in a foreign language would be translated into text that would appear as subtitles to a user wearing the glasses.

* Cell phones will be built into clothing and will be able to project sounds directly into the ears of their users.

* Advertisements will utilize a new technology whereby two ultrasonic beams can be targeted to intersect at a specific point, delivering a localized sound message that only a single person can hear. This was already demonstrated in the films Minority Report and Back to the Future 2.

* The author of this blog will be 37 years old (I am sure about this)

Focus on Being Productive instead of Busy


There are two synergestic approaches (or laws) for increasing productivity that are inversions to each other:


1. Pareto's Law (the 80-20 rule, the law of the vital few and the principle of factor sparsity)

Limit tasks to the important to shorten work time.
It is a common rule of thumb in business that 80% of your sales comes from 20% of your clients. Focus on this 20% who make up the majority of your profits and fire the 80% of your customers who take up the majority of your time.

2. Parkinson's law
Shorten work time to limit tasks to the important.
Identify the few critica tasks that contribute most to income and schedule them with very short and clear deadline.
Stick a post-it on the monitor and write "Am I being productive or just active?"
Focus on demonstrating results instead of showing dedication.
Identify 2 mission critical items for the day and get them done.
Limit the number of items in your to-do list and use impossibly short deadlines to force immediate action.

And please do not multitask, if you prioritize properly there is no need to multitask.

Help children with life-threatening illnesses



I did not know the organization Make a Wish whose mission is to create hope and happiness for children with life-threatening illnesses around the world outside of the United States.

The creation of the Make-A-Wish Foundation was inspired in the U.S. in 1980 by the fulfillment of a wish of a 7-year-old boy with leukemia named Chris Greicius, who wished to be a policeman. His mother, several friends and a group of police officers, with the cooperation of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, granted his wish with a custom-made uniform, helmet, badge, and helicopter ride!

After he passed away two policemen realized how happy Chris was knowing his wish came true, and that the wish seemed to take some of his parent' pain away – replacing the anguish with smiles and laughter. They thought that if one boy's wish could be granted, maybe the same could be done for other children. At that moment, the idea of the Make-A-Wish Foundation was born.

You can donate online from this link.

Achieve more, boost your productivity with less email



The Internet, conceived as a research and a productivity tool, has become a weapon of mass distraction. A study by the University of Illinois and Microsoft found that it takes, on average, 16 minutes and 33 seconds for a wroker interrupted by an email to get back to what he/she was doing before receiving the email.
Stop checking emails every five minutes, it will boost your productivity.
Even Intel and Deloitte & Touche now have email free days to boost productivity.

Define locavorism

I am a locavor, but what does it mean ??
Locavor is someone who mainly eats local food.

Localization of food systems is often advocated as a way to reestablish connections between producers and consumers, and as a way to achieve specific social and environmental goals. Advocates of local food systems often state that:

- Eating locally reduces the food miles (and therefore carbon emissions) of food. Meaning cows will fart less.

- Eating locally will support the local economy and help reconnect consumers with the producers of their food . Meaning the farmer will be happier and you will be healthier.

...And drinking coke will not make you healthier. In the world we drink 1 billion cans of coke per day...this is why everyone burp and fart, please stop it.
When launched Coca Cola's two key ingredients were cocaine (benzoylmethyl ecgonine) and caffeine. The cocaine was derived from the coca leaf and the caffeine from kola nuts - Coca-Cola (the 'K' in Kola was replaced with a C for marketing purposes).

This article does not make sense, but if you learned one new thing I am happy and healthy.

Cut your working hours and live a better life

You are working too much or you are just not being productive. Cut your working hours with Tim Ferris's training. You do not need to work more hours, you need to be efficient.
Look at this stats first

63% of all employees want to work less, up from 46% in 1992 [1].

26% of adult Americans report being on the verge of a serious nervous breakdown [2].

40% of workers describe their office environment as “most like a real-life survivor program [3].”

Only 14% of Americans take two weeks or more at a time for vacation [4]. The average American therefore spends more time in the bathroom than on vacation.

61% of Americans check email while on vacation [5].

53% of employees would opt for a personal assistant rather than personal trainer [6].

62% of workers routinely end the day with work-related neck pain, 44% report strained eyes, 38% complain of hand pain, and 34% report difficulty in sleeping due to work-related stress [7].

88% of employees say they have a hard time juggling work and life [8].

70% of working fathers and working mothers report they don’t have enough time for their children [9].

In 2005, a psychiatrist at King’s College in London administered IQ tests to three groups: the first did nothing but perform the IQ test, the second was distracted by e-mail and ringing phones, and the third was stoned on marijuana. Not surprisingly, the first group did better than the other two by an average of 10 points. The e-mailers, on the other hands, did worse than the stoners by an average of 6 points [10].

Now enjoy the video and for English subtitles, choose “Danish” from the “Choose Language…” drop-down.

Cows' farts are worse than carbon dioxide (CO2)

It is not a joke: Cows' farts are worse than carbon dioxide (CO2)
In this video New York Times food writer Mark Bittman weighs in on what's wrong with the way we eat now (too much meat, too few plants; too much fast food, too little home cooking), and why it's putting the entire planet at risk.
In US they are killed 10 billions animals per year and we eat them. We do not need to go down that path. Watch this video for more.

Free cartoon made using open source software

The cartoon Big Buck Bunny is a extremely nice and entertaining short animated film made using open source software by the Blender Institute. It shows how free software can create animation work that is comparable or even better than some high-level commercial product.

This film was officially released April 10th in Amsterdam. Big Buck Bunny was awarded a special mention from the jury of Cyborg Film Festival within the section animation. It opens an important reflection on the value of the open source and of the free software in the professional and commercial world.


Big Buck Bunny from Blender Foundation on Vimeo.

Kentucky Fried Cruelty with Pamela Anderson

Once I fell in love with Pamela Anderson when I first watched the tv series Baywatch; today I fell in love with her again because of her involvment in this campaign.
Yesterday I posted about McDonald French Fries, today a post against KFC. But I am not at all against Fast Food.
The video is very explicit because it shows abuses on animals; please do not watch it if you are sensitive to this kind of content.



The next President of the USA

Well, this is not a secret anymore, then enjoy the news:

Why McDonald french fries taste so good ?

I love McDonald's french fries, McDonald's fries taste great regardless who made them because McDonald's has a great system that works, for all its employees, regardless of where they are.
Why are they so good?
The answer is Artificial Flavour.
The aroma of a food can be responsible for as much as 90 percent of its taste.

The act of drinking, sucking, or chewing a substance releases its volatile gases. They flow out of your mouth and up your nostrils, or up the passageway in the back of your mouth, to a thin layer of nerve cells called the olfactory epithelium, located at the base of your nose, right between your eyes. Your brain combines the complex smell signals from your olfactory epithelium with the simple taste signals from your tongue, assigns a flavor to what's in your mouth, and decides if it's something you want to eat.

But this is not the purpose of the article...the purpose of the article is this YouTube video and I am not going to eat McDonald french fries anymore.

American Political Campaign

This video is really funny.

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Windows Mobile 7 : a revolutionary change ?

I was reading this article from Microsoft BlogNews Channel and I could not notice few things.

Before Apple came up with a product that swallowed a big part of the market, all mobile OS improvements were fairly incremental(and disappointing) : Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Symbian.

The article says that Windows Mobile 7 is a revolutionary change, but they forgot to mention that Microsoft don't actually have a product yet. They are announcing something today that's going to ship in 2009. In the meantime we are
being shown mock-ups that are supposedly better than the market leader.

In this case they seem to be glossing over some pretty hard problems:

- using computer vision to recognize gestures reliably enough and
efficiently enough to be the primary input mechanism for a low power
device
- writing multi-ui (touch/stylus/normal input) versions of all the
standard WinMobile apps

What's more this document assumes that in 2009 they'll still be
competing against iPhone 1.0 rather than iPhone 5.0.
Sorry Bill, this is just a pre-announcing not-working strategy. Think again.

The lesson of living from Randy Pausch


This is not the usual post, this is the story of Randy Pausch, a Professor of Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction, and Design at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh.

Randy is dying, but in the process, he's teaching millions of people about living. Randy was told last August that his pancreatic cancer had spread and he had just three to six months to live. He's 47 and has three kids—almost 2, 3 and 6—and a wife he clearly adores.

Most of us would slip into a deep depression, but Randy used the experience as teaching material. And thanks to YouTube, his lecture doesn't require any tuition checks. His scenes from a life are punctuated with humor and humility. He deadpans, "My mother took great relish in introducing me as 'This is my son—he's a doctor but not the kind that helps people.'" After showing the walls of his childhood bedroom covered with his drawings of rocket ships and math equations, he tells his audience, "If your kids want to paint their bedrooms, as a favor to me, let 'em do it."

Pausch delivered his "Last Lecture," titled "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams," at CMU on September 18, 2007. This talk was modeled after an ongoing series of lectures where top academics are asked to think deeply about what matters to them, and then give a hypothetical "final talk," i.e., "what wisdom would you try to impart to the world if you knew it was your last chance?"
Before speaking, Pausch received a long standing ovation from a large crowd of over 400 colleagues and students. When he motioned them to sit down, saying, "Make me earn it," some in the audience shouted back, "You did!"
During the lecture, Pausch was upbeat and humorous, alternating between wisecracks, insights on computer science and engineering education, advice on building multi-disciplinary collaborations, working in groups and interacting with other people, offering inspirational life lessons, and performing push-ups on stage.

After Pausch finished his lecture, Steve Seabolt, on behalf of Electronic Arts, which is now collaborating with CMU in the development of Alice 3.0, pledged to honor Pausch by creating a memorial scholarship for women in computer science in recognition of Pausch's support and mentoring of women in CS and engineering.

Here you can find his updated medical information.
He also wrote an inspiring book to inspire us all to live each day of our lives with purpose and joy.

Good luck, dear Randy.

Is Powerset the New Google?

Powerset is a new kind of search engine that will understand natural language searches and compete with keyword matching engines that dominate search today (Google).

Ok let's try it. Let's start with something simple:

"who was the first king of england"

The right result is number 5. Interestingly, "the first king of england" gives the right result at number 1. The least I would expect from a NLP search engine would be figure out what "who was" means. On the other hand, Google gives the right result at number 1 for both of the above versions.

Let's try with movies.
What movie featured lightning hitting a clock tower ?
Impressive ! But Google gives the same result.

What about Thomas Jefferson?
It disambiguates incorrectly here!

Last not least, let's try geography.
What is the population of China?
1,321,851,888 (July 1, 2007)

What is thea area of China?

3.4 Square kilometers

It seems rather crowded.

Moreover, it seems to give different answers depending on whether or not the query includes a question mark, and whether or not China is capitalized:

[what is the area of China] = 147 sq km
[what is the area of China?] = 3.4 sq km
[what is the area of china] = 9,598,086 sq km

Sorry Powerset, still a lot to be fixed, but keep up the good work and good luck.

Speak & Spell Simulator


The Speak & Spell was an electronic toy consisting of a speech synthesizer and a keyboard. It was produced by Texas Instruments and introduced at the summer Consumer Electronics Show in June 1978.
A whole generation of kids learned to spell on this cheery orange device with alphabet keys and a hardy handle. Speak & Spell contained a single-chip speech synthesizer, a disrupting innovation for the time, and a robotic voice that encouraged children to spell more than 200 common words.

I dreamed of this toy but my parents never got me one. I can finally play with one from this page.

Boring Useless Meetings


It is better to laugh and not to comment on this ...thank you, Seth.

Weak iPhone sales in Europe



There might be a bunch of reasons:

1. It's not (yet) 3G, and Europeans have a different choices of 3G phones to compare it too (Nokia in primis). Edge Technology is not common in Europe

2. The iPhone is locked to one carrier, and while Americans are used to buying phones directly from the carrier, unlocked phones and prepaid service are more common in Europe.

3. iPhone is just too expensive in Europe. In France, for example, it costs 399 Euros (640$) to buy an 8 gig iPhone from Orange. Many Europeans are buying a $399 iPhone in the States, through friends who are visiting the U.S. and then unlock it.

4. Lack of GPS and poor camera quality.

5. It is marketed as a social phone in Europe, and not a business tool, so they are well behind RIM here in the corporate market.

The cheapest VOIP rates


Skype, the Internet calling subsidiary of eBay Inc., has introduced its first plan for unlimited calls to overseas phones. The plan will allow unlimited calls to land-line phones in 34 countries for $9.95 per month(landlines for all, mobile too for US/Canada/China/HongKong/Singapore).

Voice communication has become a very inexpensive commodity and this is obviously much cheaper than the extortionist rates that traditional phone companies charge, but that's still more expensive than what consumers could get if they only shopped around a bit.

As an example of more affordable rates: for the first 120 (or 90) days, Betamax companies (e.g. Poivy, Internetcalls, ...) give you 300 free minutes per week to most international minutes. After this time, subsequent phone calls typically cost around €0.01/min to the same international destinations. Accounts can be recharged in €10 increments and account balances do not expire. The exact details are needlessly complicated (and differ depending on which of the Betamax companies the consumer signed up with), but unless a consumer needs more than 1200/min per month, this comes out at about €10 for 5-6 month of international calling.

Evernote: the Google of your personal life

Evernote is the software that helps you remember everything, forever. It is a "human memory extension", according to Libin, CEO of Evernote.
Evernote combines several recent tech innovations: digital photography, ubiquitous networking, cheap storage and powerful image processing.
The service runs on a desktop program that works on both Macs and PCs, as well as a Web client for mobile phones. The software is well-designed and easy to use but it is currently operating in an invitation-only "beta" mode.

Evernote's real power isn't in the saving of your memories; it's in the recall. Because Evernote is networked, any bit you add to it becomes available everywhere: when you add a memory on your PC, you can find it on your MAC and on the Web, too. More important, because Evernote mines every image for text, you'll find information in documents that would normally be hidden to a search program.

Watch the video showing its full potential.


Read full article heredi

Effective Speech and Presentations



First. What’s your point?

Second. Why does it matter?


There’s no single formula for making a point and showing why it matters, but you typically won’t go wrong if you abide by four principles:

1. Give the speech a beginning, a middle, and an end.

2. Mix up the elements.
Variety can keep your audience engaged. For instance, funny stories are great. But a half-hour of nothing but zany tales can actually undermine your point. Pelting people with factoids for 40 minutes is usually a mistake. But removing them altogether is also an error. Mix it up. Audiences are so accustomed to predictable speeches that surprise can be your ally.

3. Once you’ve mapped out your speech, remove 20 percent. In all my years of preparing and watching political and business speeches, I’ve yet to hear anyone say, “Gee, I wish that speech were longer.”


4. It’s not about you.
That’s doubly true for speeches. It’s not about you. It’s about the audience. Think of it from their perspective. Again, at the risk of being too critical of all those who stride the stage or command the podium, too many speechmakers – either through nervousness or ego – seem to forget that what really matters is the audience’s experience, not their own.

5. Be Authentic

Advices stolen from Al Gore’s Chief Speechwriter

Be more efficient at work and in life

"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." - Mark Twain


1. Do not answer calls from unrecognized phone numbers

2. Do not e-mail first thing in the morning or last thing at night
The former scrambles your priorities and plans for the day, and the latter just gives you insomnia.


3. Do not agree to meetings or calls with no clear agenda or end time

If the desired outcome is defined clearly with a stated objective and agenda listing topics/questions to cover, no meeting or call should last more than 30 minutes.

4. Do not let people ramble
Forget “how’s it going?” when someone calls you. Get To the Point Fast.

5. Do not check e-mail constantly — “batch” and check at set times only.
Get off the habit of having your email client bother you whenever a message arrives. Focus on execution of your top to-do’s instead of responding to manufactured emergencies.


6. Do not over-communicate with low-profit, high-maintenance customers

There is no sure path to success, but the surest path to failure is trying to please everyone. Do an 80/20 analysis of your customer base in two ways : which 20% are producing 80%+ of my profit, and which 20% are consuming 80%+ of my time? Then put the loudest and least productive on autopilot by citing a change in company policies. Send them an e-mail with new rules as bullet points: number of permissible phone calls, e-mail response time, minimum orders, etc. Offer to point them to another provider if they can’t conform to the new policies.

7. Do not work more to fix overwhelm — prioritize
If you don’t prioritize, everything seems urgent and important. If you define the single most important task for each day, almost nothing seems urgent or important. Oftentimes, it’s just a matter of letting little bad things happen (return a phone call late and apologize, pay a small late fee, lose an unreasonable customer, etc.) to get the big important things done. The answer to overwhelm is not spinning more plates — or doing more — it’s defining the few things that can really fundamentally change your business and life.

8. Do not carry a cellphone or Crackberry 24/7
Take at least one day off of digital leashes per week. Turn them off or, better still, leave them in the garage or in the car. I do this on at least Saturday, and I recommend you leave the phone at home if you go out for dinner. So what if you return a phone call an hour later or the next morning? As one reader put it to a miffed co-worker who worked 24/7 and expected the same: “I’m not the president of the US. No one should need me at 8pm at night. OK, you didn’t get a hold of me. But what bad happened?” The answer? Nothing.


9. Do not expect work to fill a void that non-work relationships and activities should

Work is not all of life. Your co-workers shouldn’t be your only friends. Schedule life and defend it just as you would an important business meeting. Never tell yourself “I’ll just get it done this weekend.” Review Parkinson’s Law in 4HWW and force yourself to cram within tight hours so your per-hour productivity doesn’t fall through the floor. Focus, get the critical few done, and get out. E-mailing all weekend is no way to spend the little time you have on this planet.

Adapted from a great article from Tim Ferries

Nokia Morph Phone, better than the iPhone

In the UK Nokia has established a partner with Cambridge University and is focusing on the application of nanosciences to the mobile phone market.
Morph is a concept phone that revealed the company's long-term ambitions; a mixture of high technology and services.

Morph could lead to mobile devices that use transparent materials, repel dirt and fingerprints, use solar energy to charge, and use integrated sensors to provide more information about the environment -- an idea that Nokia introduced earlier with its Eco Sensor Concept that involves a wearable mobile phone and a sensing device that analyzes a person's health and surrounding environment.

Funniest Joke Ever

Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn't seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy takes out his phone and calls the emergency services.

He gasps: "My friend is dead! What can I do?" The operator says: "Calm down, I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead." There is a silence, then a gunshot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says: "OK, now what?"


The result is released by LaughLab research which carried out by psychologist Dr. Richard Wiseman, from the University of Hertfordshire. The research attracted more than 40,000 jokes and almost two million ratings.

The Future of Silverlight


According to Microsoft, Silverlight™ is a cross-browser, cross-platform, and cross-device plug-in for delivering the next generation of media experiences and rich interactive applications for the Web.

Actually, Silverlight is Microsoft's Flash competitor and Bill Gate's company is getting more and more serious about developer adoption. It is another example of Microsoft versus the open web world.
The story repeats itself: Microsoft has been using various standards body tactics to stall and block development of JavaScript since 1999. It's a long story that would take me several hours and articles to tell.

Silverlight is about making a part of the web 'off limits' to people who aren't running Microsoft's proprietary extension. We have something like this with Flash today, but Adobe is a fairly benevolent dictator; should Microsoft succeed in sucking the air out of Flash's business model, we would be left with a web whose rich content would be only accessible via Microsoft software.

I think this isn't a world we want.

Flash is also arguably positioned as an alternative to the open web, but most of the time is only used as a vector/media rendering engine for regular pages (e.g. as used in YouTube and Google Finance).

If the web's default programming model were not so woefully deficient when it comes to 'rich media' and vector graphics (SVG/Canvas notwithstanding as they're still unavailable on the vast majority of browsers), then the door wouldn't even be open to Silverlight. They're using this deficiency to promote an alternative to the whole stack, rather than addressing the single problem of media and graphics rendering.

I believe the best thing we can do to counter the Silverlight play is to promote reasonable 'open' alternatives to the real problems it's trying to address. Flash is imperfect, but provides a reasonable solution to rendering audio/video.

Sunday Bloody Sunday by George W Bush



Awesome piece of work. Too bad Bush did not actually listen to the song itself. He might have learned something from it.

The goal of advertising

The strength of advertising lies in its ability to:

Inform
Give information to the consumer. Marketers use this form of advertising when trying to create awareness of a new product.

Persuade
Influence the consumer to buy.
They use persuasive ads to focus on competitive advantages of a product.

Remind
maintain consumer awareness.
Marketers use reminder ads to keep an aging brand in the consumers' minds.

Hulu to replace YouTube ?

I found an interesting article on the future relationship between Hulu and YouTube. I particurarly like the following line:

That's not to say that Hulu will ever supplant YouTube. On the contrary, I suspect that they will ultimately develop an interesting symbiotic relationship with each other, with YouTube being the home of the homemade, the obscure and the populist, with Hulu (or another site like it) aggregating the professional-grade productions from movie and television studios. That's not a bad combination for us consumers

What do you think ?
I think Hulu will eventually replace TV, not YouTube. It is about content. Hulu overlaps with the content type that people put on TV, it is a different distribution medium for it with greater reach that airwaves. YouTube is most community-generated content (along with pirating) and that makes its content different. With Hulu, the pirated content on YouTube may disappear, but I think that is what the guys at YouTube want in the first place.

The ideal is that people anywhere in the world should be able to see any content they want, without the limitation of IP banned websites like Hulu. It has been a long time that I have been waiting for this. It seems silly that cable companies in US sell you "channels". What people want to see are shows, I do not think people really care whether its Fox, ABC, NBC or whatever. It is about the shows. A good show is a good show no matter which channel broadcasts it.

Disruptive teaching

Walter H. G. Lewin is currently a professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He earned his Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics in 1965 at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.

If only my phisics' teachers had such dedication and enthusiam! What a difference Science class would have made if he had been my teacher! I might have actually learned something!

Watch the video here.

Google secondary search boxes: evil or not ?



I think it is important to evaluate this feature in terms of what it offers to users, rather than what it offers to Google. The user may save time by not having to go to Amazon.com first, but does Google site search provide a superior search experience for Amazon and every other site for which they offer this UI?

In my case I often search on amazon.co.uk and I have to admit their search is near useless. It doesn't seem to handle synonyms, or misspellings and sometimes you have to tell it which corpus to search if you want to get results. Amazon search is slow and has a very clumsy interface, compared to Google. If you already have a navigational subpage in mind, the Amazon search experience will take longer and probably distract you. This may be fine for Amazon if you get distracted and browse around their site for a while they make more money. But many users want a way to hop directly to the page they're interested in.
The search box saves the user a click. Won't a good search engine reduce a user's browsing time normally?

On the other side it is important to remember that some of these websites rely on users browsing their pages and they make money that way. This feature seems to be pretty arrogant: Google assumes can search their own site better then them, and that user's search experience of the website via Google search is better, which in some cases is far far from the truth. It is crucial to notice that Google offers an opt-out option for those who do not want it, so it is not so evil.

But when does the secondary search box appears ?
If you read the official blogpost, it explains that Google is only showing it on searches where it would be useful.

. Like the rest of our snippets, the sites that display the site search box are chosen algorithmically based on metrics that measure how useful the search box is to users.

That is, it's only appearing when people are already searching for a domain, and then modifying that domain to add some specific terms.
It seems fair to me. What do you think ?

How to create a Favicon


A favicon (short for 'favorites icon'), also known as a website icon, page icon or urlicon, is an icon associated with a particular website or webpage. Browsers that support them may display them in the browser's URL bar, next to the site's name in lists of bookmarks, and next to the page's title in a tabbed document interface.

A favicon can add to a websites “look and feel”, and could give the site character, and a more professional appearance. The major advantage however of the favicon is that if someone has a lot of links in their favorites, your site is more likely to stand out with the favicon bookmark: this mean an increase in brand awareness.

You can create the icon with free icon editor software: Icon Forge or favicon. Save your icon as “favicon.ico” and upload it to your root web directory. That’s the same place as your homepage is located.

Are you asking why I do not have a favicon? I do not have time to create one, sorry...


Google's mistake: Bell wrong logo


Today I have noticed a Google logo in honor of Alexander Graham Bell, the alleged inventor of the telephone.
I am sorry Mr Google, this time you are wrong. The real inventor of the telephone is Antonio Meucci. On the past June 15th, 2002, the US Congress officially recognized that the italian inventor Antonio Meucci is to be credited for the invention of the telephone, and not Alexander G. Bell, as so far claimed. This was the end of a long controversy, started when a poor italian immigrant in New York sold the prototypes of his invention to a Telegraph company, that later gave them to Alexander G. Bell, who in turn patented the invention of the phone.
Read the full article here.

EA marketing initiative and Simcity

I admit this is old news and it only come to my attention after reading Damien's blog, but I cannot stop myself from saying something.


How many of you know the videogame Simcity ?
SimCity is a city-building simulation game, first released in 1989 and designed by Will Wright
I played SimCity on a Commodore 64 when I was a kid. When you are 12 years old it is very exciting laying out your own city, making decisions about geography, building roads, residences, and commercial areas.

Electronics Art has announced that they will be donating the original 1989 SimCity game to the One Laptop Per Child initiative. The goal of One Laptop Per Child is to provide children around the world with new opportunities to explore, experiment, and express themselves. To that end, OLPC is designing a laptop, educational software, manufacturing base, and distribution system to provide children outside of the first-world with otherwise unavailable technological learning opportunities.

Simcity reveals the importance of city planning and civic policy-making to ordinary citizens, making it likely that at least some children in developing countries could be inspired to begin a career in that field. Placement of homes, schools, hospitals, water supply, and shipping docks, for example, is a central part of the game and may shed light on children's own civic situation, as it has for students and users in "developed" countries.

This is a first time a major game developer has provided a game for free to the whole world. Laptops with the game should begin arriving in countries such as Uruguay, Peru, Mexico, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Haiti, Cambodia and India by the end of this year.

Simcity has been out since 1986, so it is a really old game. Why EA did not give away Simcity 2000 at least ?
Simcity 2000 was a major extension of the concept; the view was now dimetric instead of overhead, land could have different elevations, and underground layers were introduced for water pipes and subways.


Simcity is a 20 years old game, and you can already download for free from many websites around the planet. Giving a videogame for free seems really to be a nice gesture from EA; in my humble opinion it is just a mere marketing idea.
They did not give away Simcity2000 because probably kids in developing countries might have a hard time relating to alien attacks that the rest of us have come to accept.

Google's marketing problem

Yahoo! plans to launch Open Search, which will let site owners display multimedia content such as images directly onto Yahoo!'s search results page.
Yahoo! will allow site owners to choose, build and present the information they want to feature on the results page.

"Website owners like Yelp, WebMD, The New York Times, and anyone else can supply us with their data and [we will] ensure these results are presented to users at the right time," Yahoo! explains on its search blog. Instead of the simple text links currently featuring on its search page, the idea is for results to include reviews, images and videos. Users, however, will not be able to alter the ranking of their results on the page.

Google has been doing the same for ages.
Nobody knows about subscribed links, but everyone is happy and blogging about Yahoo! OpenSearch.
Marketing only have so many hands, and can only support so many products.
Look at labs.google.com, see for youself; there are a load of features for each product which have relatively low visibility (have you ever heard of business search on maps ?).

The futuristic Rubik Cube

The video above shows the World’s first cubic multi-touch touchscreen games platform. Featuring a unique ultra-bright (even in daylight) full-colour cubic screen and a unique cubic multitouch touchscreen technology (patent pending) this games platform has been programmed to implement various multi-dimensional games, puzzles, and lighting effects. In this video clip the Fentix Cube has been programmed to emulate a Rubik’s cube puzzle. Many more applications have been developed.

Presenteeism : a comment from Cali and Jodi

Cali and Jodi are wo social visionaries and workplace activists that are revolutionizing the relationship between employers and the people who get the work done.

They left a very interesting and polite comment on my previous post "The High cost of presenteeism" which I publish below.

Although we agree with all of your tips (and would love to see people use them!), we would argue that presenteeism will be a problem until the structure of ‘work’ changes. Until we change our beliefs about how work needs to happen, this country will continue to lose billions every year due to presenteeism.

As long as people that come to work sick are rewarded, we’ll have a problem. As long as people that stay home when they’re sick get judged (“Can you believe Jack took ANOTHER sick day?!), we’ll have a problem. As long as people need to use their sick days as ‘mental health’ days and not have any more sick days when they’re really sick, we’ll have a problem. As long as there is a limit on ‘sick days’, we’ll have a problem.

You can read more interesting insights on www.caliandjody.com .

Effective Powerpoint Presentations



Somewhere I read: Powerpoint keeps evolving, presenters keep devolving. I totally agree. I work for one of the best companies in the World and I often see boring presentations made with more than 50 slides presented by extremely boring and pedantic people.

Guy Kawasaky is trying to evangelize the 10/20/30 rule.
- Ten is the optimal number of slides in a PowerPoint presentation because a normal human being cannot comprehend more than ten concepts in a meeting.

- You should give your ten slides in twenty minutes. Sure, you have an hour time slot, but you’re using a Windows laptop, so it will take forty minutes to make it work with the projector. Even if setup goes perfectly, people will arrive late and have to leave early. In a perfect world, you give your pitch in twenty minutes, and you have forty minutes left for discussion.

- The reason people use a small font is twofold: first, that they don’t know their material well enough; second, they think that more text is more convincing. Total bozosity. Force yourself to use no font smaller than thirty points. I guarantee it will make your presentations better because it requires you to find the most salient points and to know how to explain them well.

I have been presenting for about 10 years, and although I am not Guy Kawasaky (my hero) here are few advices taken from Kosslyn's "Clear and to the Point".

The Goldilocks Rule
Present the "just right" amount of data. Never include more information than your audience needs in a visual image. As an example, Kosslyn showed two graphs of real estate prices over time. One included ten different numbers, one for each year. The other included two numbers: a peak price, and the current price. For the purposes of a presentation about today's prices relative to peak price, those numbers were the only ones necessary.

The Rudolph Rule
If you refer to simple ways you can make information stand out and guide your audience to important details. If you are presenting a piece of relevant data in a list, why not make the data of interest a different color from the list? Or circle it in red? The eye is immediately drawn to any object that looks different in an image, whether that's due to color, size, or separation from a group.

The Rule of Four
Human brain can generally hold only four pieces of visual information simultaneously. So don't ever present your audience with more than four things at once. This is a really important piece of information for people who tend to pack their PowerPoint slides with dense reams of data. Never give more than four pieces of information at once.

The Birds of a Feather Rule
"We think of things in groups when they look similar or in proximity to each other," Kosslyn pointed out. Translation into PowerPoint? If you want to indicate to your audience that five things belong in a group, make them similar by giving them the same color or shape. Or group them very close together. This sounds basic, but it often means taking your data apart and reorganizing it.

The danger of using banners


A while ago, I captured this screenshot from Digg. A negative article regarding EA and EA's banners all over the page. Not the best combination.

Dell+Google+Alienware = the coolest mobile phone


If this is not a mock-up, I am definitely going to buy one !

* Classic Alienware eye catching design
* Large screen with high resolution
* Superb video gaming capability
* Fantastic Audio
* Built on the Google Android platform

Read the full article here.

The high cost of presenteeism

As winter moves along, many of us are surrounded by sick co-workers who show up in the office, at lunches and at meetings, determined (or so it seems) to infect the rest of us. This behavior is so prevalent that it now has an official name, “presenteeism,” and it costs companies a lot of money because it makes other people sick. The good news is that some companies have started to recognize the high cost of presenteeism and encourage sick employees to stay home and rest (or work from home if they are up to it).

I recognize that some employers may not be enlightened enough to embrace this way of thinking, and that some people don’t have enough sick days or feel secure enough in their jobs to stay home even when they are sick. But here are a few reasons why you should stay home if you can.

1. We all know that you can often accomplish more work in a few hours at home with no interruptions than in eight hours in the office. If you have the flexibility to work from home, then days when you are brewing a cold or dealing with a full-blown one are the ideal time to practice your telecommuting skills.

2. Since people are most contagious in the first two or three days of a cold, you will help your whole organization by not getting your colleagues sick.

3. Putting aside those who are legitimately fearful of losing their jobs, the people who show up while sick tend to be the ones so arrogant that they think work cannot go on without their presence. You don’t want to be one of those. (If this sounds like someone you know, you may want to print out this post and leave it anonymously where that person can find it.)

4. If you rest, you will probably get well faster. So by taking some time off, you will probably improve your overall productivity.

5. In these days of meeting overload, you will probably make someone very happy if your absence means that a meeting has to be canceled.

Extract from a NYT article

Copying DVD movies

I have a 3 years old son who loves to destroy our DVDs collection, especially his cartoons, so I needed a cheap and effective solution to back-up his favourite movies. I tried 1Click DVD copy and I am very happy with my choice. It is fast, easy-to-use and the latest version utilizes CPRx™ error correction technology to ensure the highest level of success copying the latest generation of DVD movies. You can make a perfect copy of a DVD movie with just one click.

In order to work at its best you need a DVD decryption utility. I recommend DVD43, a free DVD decryption utility that runs in the background and decrypts DVDs. DVD43 will decrypt (unlock) a movie DVD so that 1 click DVD can read it.

The most comfortable motorbike


I love motorbikes, but this must not be the most comfortable one.

The Third Place


One of the objective of this blog is to teach YOU, the reader, new concepts and present new ideas. Today, after reading an interesting article on "Why Social ads don't work" I came accross a new interesting concept: The Third Place (Thanks Matteo for pointing it out).

"The Third Place" is a term used in the concept of community building to refer to social surroundings separate from the two usual social environments of home and the workplace.
Ray Oldenburg, an urban sociologist from Florida, coins “first” place as our home and those we live with. Our second place is the workplace — where we may actually spend most of our time. Third places, then are "anchors" of community life and facilitate and foster broader, more creative interaction (Thanks Wikipedia!).
Oldenburg argues that bars, coffee shops, general stores, virtual worlds and other "third places" (in contrast to the first and second places of home and work), are central to local democracy and community vitality. By exploring how these places work and what roles they serve.

What is your favourite Third Place?
Mine is a Starbucks Coffee in Notting Hill Gate in London; I spent several hours just reading books, writing poems or just looking at the interesting people walking down the road. I wish those moments could last forever.

Nokia N96 : the answer to the iPhone



The N96 dual slider has gone all official on us at Mobile World Congress today. Though the phone it replaces is still a beast by any measure, the N96 pushes the envelope further by packing a solid 16GB of storage internally in addition to a microSD slot, something the N95 8GB lacks. The 5 megapixel autofocus camera with Carl Zeiss Tessar lens carries over, but there are now two LEDs doing flash and video light duty. The 2.8 inch QVGA display will come in handy for the integrated DVB-H mobile TV tuner, while a 3.5mm headphone jack, A2DP, and integrated stereo speakers should handle audio with aplomb.
Here is a preview on YouTube.

Tech specs
* Quadband EDGE
* Dualband HSDPA 850/2100 MHz
* DVB-H Class C
* 92 cc volume
* 125 gram weight
* 103 x 55 x 18 mm
* 16 GB internal memory AND a microSD slot; 24 GB total if you spend an extra €55 ($80)
* 950 mAh battery
* 6.1 cm (2.8 inch) 320×240 display with 16 million colors
* 3.5 mm headphone jack
* WiFi (802.11b/g)
* AGPS
* 5 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss lens that also does VGA video recording at 30 FPS, Dual LED flash that can also be used when video recording!
* S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2 (Flash Lite 3 enabled web browser included)
* microUSB

Free books, free music, free movies ?

Neil Gaiman's publisher HarperCollins have given him the green light to do a free web-release of one of his books and Neil's running a poll to see which one he should put online. Go vote! They'll leave it up for a month and track sales; if the experiment succeeds, they'll do more.

Paulo Coelho, the best-selling author of “The Alchemist”, is using BitTorrent and other filesharing networks as a way to promote his books. His publishers weren’t too keen on giving away free copies of his books, so he’s taken matters into his own hands.
Coelho’s view is that letting people swap digital copies of his books for free increases sales. In a keynote speech at the "Digital, Life, Design" conference in Munich he talked about how uploading the Russian translation of “The Alchemist” made his sales in Russia go from around 1,000 per year to 100,000, then a million and more.

So is Coelho just seeding torrents of his books? That’s just the beginning. He took it one step further and, as quoted above, set up a Wordpress blog, Pirate Coelho, where he posts links to free copies of his books on filesharing networks, FTP sites, and so on.

Radiohead's seventh album, In Rainbows, was released in October 2007 as a digital download for which customers chose their own price. Although it was reported that 1.2 million digital downloads were sold by the day of the album's release, Radiohead's management have not released official sales figures, claiming that the Internet-only distribution was intended to boost sales of the physical album. Yet according to Yorke, Radiohead's profits from the digital download of In Rainbows outstripped combined profits from digital downloads of all of the band's other studio albums.

What about free movies? Hulu is already going towards this direction with free episodes of popular series. The model is feasible and will be sustained by ads. Who is it going to be the first ?

Like Seth Godin used to say :


Most industries innovate from both ends:

* The outsiders go first because they have nothing to lose.
* The winners go next because they can afford to and they want to stay winners.
* It's the mediocre middle that sits and waits and watches.

The mediocre record companies, mediocre A&R guys and the mediocre acts are struggling to stay in place. They're nervous that it all might fall apart. So they wait. They wait for 'proof' that this new idea is going to work, or at least won't prove fatal. (It's the impulse to wait that made them mediocre in the first place, of course).
So, in every industry, the middle waits. And watches. And then, once they realize they can survive the switch (or once they're persuaded that their current model is truly fading away), they jump in.
The irony, of course, is that by jumping in last, they're condemning themselves to more mediocrity.

Best Free Alternative to Nero CD DVD burner

Nero 8 is probably the best piece of software available in the market for CD/DVD Burning Purposes, but it is expensive and comes with a lot of feautures you are never going to use.
On the other hand CDBurnerXP is a free application to burn CDs and DVDs, including Blu-Ray and HD-DVDs. It also includes the feature to burn and create ISOs, as well as a multilanguage interface. Everyone, even companies, can use it for free. It does not include adware or similar malicious components.



Key Features

• burn all kinds of discs
• audio-CDs with or without gaps between tracks
• burn and create ISO files
• data verification after burning process
• create bootable discs
• bin/nrg → ISO converter, simple cover printing and much more!
• Operating Systems: Windows 2000/XP/2003 Server/Vista

Nevertheless to say, I have been using it for almost two years and I have never had the urge to go and buy Nero or other expensive similar software.

The future of online video

Ever since Google paid $1.65bn for YouTube in October 2006, video-sharing sites have sprung up all over the web. But YouTube was not the first to set the online video craze rolling; among those video sites that are not YouTube, Metacafe has a good claim to be the pioneer in the field.

Cisco Systems made its own detailed projections in August of 2007. In “The Exabyte Era,” Cisco stated that “YouTube is just the beginning. Online video will experience three waves of growth.”

1.
The first wave is driven by YouTube and similar applications, which Cisco generalizes as Internet Video-to-PC.
By mid-2007, YouTube was streaming around 50 petabytes per month, or 600 petabytes (PB) per year. This was approximately ~7% of all U.S. Internet traffic. For another reference point, consider that all original broadcast and cable TV and radio content totals around 75 PB per year. YouTube streams that much data in 1.5 months. A Hi-Def YouTube would mean 12 exabytes per year, or almost as large as the entire U.S. Internet in 2007.

2.
The second wave is Internet Video-to-TV. Cisco believes this category, which includes IPTV (Joost, Hulu f.i.), will overtake the first wave in traffic volume by 2009.
Joost, led by former top Cisco executive Mike Volpi, and a number of similar services offer free, advertising-based TV over the Net. The networks have also begun parallel strategies focusing on the Internet: NBC, for example, streamed 50 million of its shows over the Net in October 2007. NBC Universal and News Corp. launched Hulu, a premium online video site that combines their considerable TV and film resources

3.
The third (and potentially largest) wave is Internet Video Communication, or video calling and conferencing.
By mid-2007, MSN Video Messenger was already generating 4 PB per month, or as much as the entire Internet in 1997. A move to video-phones would mean 300 exabytes—at least—or 30x the size of the existing U.S. Internet.
In coming years, we can easily imagine high-definition always-on “Virtual Windows” that open permanent visual portals across the globe.

My opinion is that Video content might be the king, but the telcos and cable companies will reign supreme in controlling the future of online video.

Extract from "Estimating the Exaflood - The Impact of Video and Rich Media on the Internet – A ‘zettabyte’ by 2015? "

Chaos in public places

Improv Everywhere causes scenes of chaos and joy in public places. Created in August of 2001 by Charlie Todd, Improv Everywhere has executed over 70 missions involving thousands of undercover agents. The group is based in New York City.

On a cold Saturday in New York City, the world’s largest train station came to a sudden halt. Over 200 Improv Everywhere Agents froze in place at the exact same second for five minutes in the Main Concourse of Grand Central Station. Over 500,000 people rush through Grand Central every day, but today, things slowed down just a bit as commuters and tourists alike stopped to notice what was happening around them. Enjoy the video.

The best subnotebook PC : Asus Eee PC 4G


First, what is a subnotebook?
In its most essential configuration the subnotebook is trimmed down to just a display, a keyboard, a hard drive, and a few vital data ports. The end result is incredibly compact, lightweight, highly portable and expandable. When drives are needed they can be added by simply connecting a USB cable.

The Asus Eee PC is the smallest subnotebook PC on the market, and probably the best value for money deal in the planet.

Specs

* CPU: 900 Mhz Intel Mobile Celeron
* Video: Intel GMA 900
* Display: 7" LCD widescreen at 800x480
* Storage: 4GB internal flash
* OS: Custom Xandros-based Linux
* RAM: 512MB
* Optical drive: None
* Networking: Atheros AR5007EG wireless, 10/100 ethernet

The Eee PC may be designed to appeal to children and older customers, but it should also tempt anyone looking for a lightweight budget PC that weighs next to nothing and connects to the Internet easily. It is ten times simpler to use than any Windows machine, starts up twice as fast, and is only about a fifth of the cost of other systems in its weight class (Sony and Apple Air f.i.).
The Eee runs Xandros Linux, Jumbo icons let you launch a web browser, Skype, office apps, all separated by tabs to let you know if it's "Work," "Play," "Internet," and so on.

It's an excellent secondary computer for households with children, and it's a very good primary computer for novice PC users who never had the time or patience to master an operating system. I am definitely going to buy it for my parents ($400 in US, 299€ in Europe).

Commercial 3D Printers not a distant dream

According to Gartner, through 2011, the number of 3-D printers in homes and businesses will grow 100-fold over 2006 levels. The technology lets users send a file of a 3-D design to a printer-like device that will carve the design out of a block of resin. A manufacturer can make scale models of new product designs without the expense of model makers. Or consumers can have models of the avatars they use online. Ultimately, manufacturers can consider making some components on demand without having an inventory of replacement parts. Printers priced less than $10,000 have been announced for 2008, opening up the personal and hobbyist markets.

The real thing
If you have $40,000, you can buy a Z Corp Z450 colour 3D printer, which is the real thing, straight out of Blade Runner. It lays down layers of starch-based powder, zaps it into shapes and paints them different colours. It takes a few hours to make impossible-looking plastic models.
Here there is an incredible video of the Z450 in action here at YouTube, and here is the company home page.

The Power of Brand

SlideShare is a website that lets users upload PowerPoint or Open Office presentations and share them online through a Web 2.0 interface (what is the definition of a Web 2.0 interface?).

Today I came across this presentation below. Take 10 minutes out of you day and watch this amazing presentation full of insights. It is an incredible presentaion about branding.

Nokia should buy Yahoo

Why Nokia should buy Yahoo? Here are five good reasons:

1. If Nokia wants to be a Web company, it needs a stronger desktop presence to complement its push into mobile applications.

2. Navteq + Yahoo = Nokia's dominance of mobile location.

3. Nokia needs to grow its U.S. market share and Yahoo is a brand that could help it.

4. Nokia is a mobile ad company that needs to grow its share of online advertising.

5. Nokia cannot afford to let Microsoft or Google gain any more online market share.

Extract from Information Week

Airbus A380 cockpit view

Click on this link and enjoy the experience of driving in the front seat.
I imagined at least twice as much buttons. I'm a little bit disappointed.

Bad Product Placement

Forrester Newsletter

Yesterday morning, I received a newsletter from Forrester. One of the reports is titled "Microsoft Will Make Small Acquisitions: Its Size, Visibility To Antitrust Bodies, And Strategy Rule Out Big Deals.".
Am i missing something? I think Microsoft's bid for Yahoo is about $45 billion. And they call this a Small Acquisition ? :)

Microsoft + Yahoo = (Google) * (Google)

Do two losers make a winner? Analysts and basically anyone with a keyboard seem to agree that the timing for this acquisition couldn't be better, and the deal is expected to go through unless a surprise third-party pops up to intervene with a competitive bid.

Wonderful as Google is, the world and the entire Internet and media industry needs for its power to be countered and, if possible, matched. Without genuine competition everybody loses. That's what drives innovation. Even Google may benefit because if its share of search and online traffic grew much larger regulators would almost certainly begin to find ways of restraining it.

Today we've seen the beginnings of a bi-polar Internet, one that will influence and rearrange the competitive alliances and strategy of just about every company that aspires to a digital future.
But I have few questions in my mind which remain unanswered:

How long will an integration take?
How well will the integration go ? MS is a Web 1.0 company compared to Yahoo (huge cultural differences)
How much time will that give Google to widen its lead?
Which one will surive : Hotmail, Outlook, Zimbra or Yahoo Mail ?

But the bigger question is :
Will Google make a bid as well ?
If Google win the deal it will have destination properties beyond YouTube.
Google will get content.
Google will get newspaper partnerships.
Google will get more users.
Google will dominate display advertising with DoubleClick and Yahoo in the fold.
Google everywhere ...
But watch out: the Antitrust may ruin their dreams.

< Extract and mixed from various articles online >

How glasses affect your image

Great Ebay Feedbacks

Every eBay member has a Feedback Profile, which includes basic information about the member and the Feedback that their trading partners have left for them. Learning to trust a member has a lot to do with what their past buyers or sellers have to say.
For each transaction, buyers and sellers can rate each other by leaving Feedback. Each Feedback consists of a positive, negative, or neutral rating, and a short comment.
Look at these feedbacks:

POSITIVE: Item shipped quickly, have been having erotic dreams about seller. Thanks!

NEUTRAL: Excellent communication, but should've poked holes in box before shipping the kitten. Refunded.

NEGATIVE: Despite indication in listing, I could not fit item into any of my body cavities.

NEGATIVE: The dog won't hunt.

NEGATIVE: Though you did nothing wrong, I am giving you this negative feedback to teach you that the universe is arbitrary and unfair.

NEGATIVE: Buying this Space 1999 Lunchbox did not fill the void in my empty life for as long as I'd hoped.

NEGATIVE: Honda R-Type sticker did not add horsepower as advertised.