Monday, January 29, 2007

Billboards That Talk To You

I wasn't sure how to categorize this, so I'm giving it a new "marketing" tag.

I know we're going to see more of this localized, location-based, Minority Report stuff in the future. For some reason though this makes me uncomfortable. I wouldn't opt in for this type of marketing, but I'd love to see the fool next to me using it...

"The enthusiastic guinea pigs for the Mini experiment will be more than a thousand Mini owners in New York, Miami, Chicago, and San Francisco who have signed up for what the company calls "an ever-changing array of unique, personal, playful, and unexpected messages."

The boards, which usually carry typical advertising, are programmed to identify approaching Mini drivers through a coded signal from a radio chip embedded in their key fob. The messages are personal, based on questionnaires that owners filled out: "Mary, moving at the speed of justice," if Mary is a lawyer, or "Mike, the special of the day is speed," if Mike is a chef."

I especially liked the 4th comment down.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sincerest Form of Flattery

Bo showed us ChaCha back in this September post.

Small world, eh?

Tech guru’s ChaCha to have human touch

Tim Durham, one of the wealthy individuals Jones approached for investment in his new search engine, said ChaCha’s business model is similar to one he attempted himself half a decade ago with a company called iNetNow. Now defunct, it also employed teams of college students to surf the Net on behalf of others.

“The difference is, we had a call center and you had to man that call center day and night. That was the bulk of your cost,” said Durham, CEO of Indianapolis-based Obsidian Enterprises Inc. “Scott’s unique approach is to have college students be his call center all around the country.”

Durham said he considered investing up to $500,000 in Jones’ company, but ultimately passed because his money was tied up elsewhere. He said ChaCha would likely be most useful to cell phone users, who could connect with it when they wanted rapid answers to questions like where to find the nearest Italian restaurant or men’s clothing store.

“I think the concept is a great one. Now, whether or not it becomes economically profitable is another issue,” he said. “There’s a lot of things that are neat ideas that don’t make money. I couldn’t get it to make money, but his model is different.”

Thursday, January 25, 2007

SMS: The Novel

Kinda steals my idea of telling the story of iNetNow only in emails...

Text message novel published in Finland

"The Last Messages" tells the story of a fictitious information-technology executive in Finland who resigns from his job and travels throughout Europe and India, keeping in touch with his friends and relatives only through text messages.

His messages, and the replies — roughly 1,000 altogether — are listed in chronological order in the 332-page novel written by Finnish author Hannu Luntiala. The texts are rife with grammatical errors and abbreviations commonly used in regular SMS traffic.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

She Came In Through the iTunes Window

Neat NPR story about meeting a wi-fi freeloading neighbor via the shared iTunes folder they left behind.

How I met my neighbor on iTunes

(Click the "listen" link near the top.)

via TUAW

Thursday, January 11, 2007

iPhone and the Blind

Couldn't resist...

Does the iPhone shaft the blind?

Comments are an especially fun read, running the full gamut from honest to troll to politically incorrect.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Stock Prices

Here's my obligatory iPhone post:

Check out the hourly stock price comparison for Apple, RIM, and Palm.

Wonder what happened midday today? ;)

Also interesting and amusing:

Note the difference in presentation between the Apple and Cingular websites.

Intended for different audiences maybe, but feels like different planets.

Monday, January 08, 2007

The Expert Mind

As you can guess, I tend to read Scientific American religiously.

It's a very interesting read on how experts process large amounts of information to come to their conclusions.

It talks about "innate talent" vs. "intensive training", and may give hopes to those of us who want to improve our mental abilities in a particular area.

Google's Hiring Algorithm

This reminds me of taking what we were trying to do with new surfers at iNetNow to the next level (OK, many levels above what we were doing).

"Google has always wanted to hire people with straight-A report cards and double 800s on their SATs. Now, like an Ivy League school, it is starting to look for more well-rounded candidates, like those who have published books or started their own clubs.

Desperate to hire more engineers and sales representatives to staff its rapidly growing search and advertising business, Google — in typical eccentric fashion — has created an automated way to search for talent among the more than 100,000 job applications it receives each month. It is starting to ask job applicants to fill out an elaborate online survey that explores their attitudes, behavior, personality and biographical details going back to high school."

Sunday, January 07, 2007


Interesting post over at TechCrunch theorizing that Web 2.0 isn't actually a bubble, but moreso a return to sanity for venture capitalists.

Bubble, Bubble, Bubble

"Remember that VC’s business models are designed to fail most of the time - the majority of their investments are expected to go belly up, and they hope that just one or two out of ten have a big return. VCs place a bet, and if it fails they move their money and attention elsewhere."

"In Web 1.0 companies didn’t fail (until the crash). They just raised more money, at a higher valuation, and gave it another shot. That isn’t happening today. VCs are letting their startups die, as they should. Things aren’t as exciting as they were in 1999, but it’s a whole lot saner."

Monday, January 01, 2007

Which Superhero Are You?

Gary will love this. I'm Spider-Man:

You are intelligent, witty, a bit geeky and have great power and responsibility.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test