Friday, October 19, 2012

Quick links

What caught my attention recently:
  • The latest Google and Microsoft earnings show damage from a tech disruption, a shift to mobile that is impacting both badly but for different reasons. Google needs to crack mobile ads. Microsoft needs to get share in mobile computing. ([1] [2] [3] [4])

  • Now "there are almost as many mobile phone subscriptions in the world as people" ([1] [2] [3])

  • Google is getting aggressive, releasing a $99 tablet and a $250 laptop ([1] [2] [3] [4])

  • Amazon prices their tablet at cost ([1] [2])

  • And decent tablets in the $50 range are already widely available in China ([1])

  • But Microsoft prices its new tablet above the cost of an iPad. ([1] [2])

  • Meg "Whitman liberally mixed metaphors to describe her awakening to just how screwed HP was" ([1])

  • "Prepare for Windows 8 induced user rage" ([1])

  • "The argument that C.E.O.'s will leave if they aren't compensated well, perhaps even lavishly, is bogus" ([1])

  • "FTC puts a bounty on the heads of robo-telemarketers" ([1])

  • On Amazon EC2, testing performance of the instances and rejecting ones with weak performance can make a huge difference ([1] [2])

  • Good article in The Atlantic about the considerable lengths Google is willing to go to increase the quality of Google Maps ([1])

  • "We read Apple's secret Genius Training Manual from cover to cover. It's a penetrating look inside Apple: psychological mastery, banned words, roleplaying—you've never seen anything like it." ([1])

  • Big data is "a process that uses data to refine our thinking. But it doesn't work without some thinking first." ([1])

  • Surprisingly detailed talks on Netflix and LinkedIn's recommender systems ([1] [2] [3])

  • Great talk on A/B testing, especially how to do A/B testing at large companies ([1] [2])

  • Amazing speaker list at a workshop on big data for personalized education, slides from many of the talks are available ([1] [2])

  • Sometimes research just confirms what we already know (or should know), in this case, that simpler websites with familiar themes in the design do better ([1] [2])

  • "Savvy Internet users know that all the great stuff they get from the Internet us for 'free' -- the searches, the social networks, the games, even the news -- isn't really free. It's an exchange, where companies are able to take user data, sell it to advertisers, and make money." ([1] [2])

  • In the US, "80% of teens ... have a game console" ([1] [2])

  • Meanwhile, in Estonia, "a new education program that will have 100 percent of publicly educated students learning to write code" ([1])

  • Xkcd on dinosaurs ([1])

  • Good TED talk on publication bias, which is caused by not publishing negative results ([1])

  • Got willpower depletion? One study claims, if you believe willpower depletion exists, it does, otherwise it doesn't. ([1])

  • "Ever heard of the marshmallow test? The outcome may have more to do with conditioning from a child's environment" ([1])

  • "Is playtesting essential to making a good game? Yes ... [But] playtesting is like an engraved invitation that reads: 'You are cordially invited to tell me why I suck. Bring a friend - Refreshments served.' The whole point of playtesting is to make clear to you that some of the decisions you made ... are completely wrong." ([1])