Archive for February 2007
Compare and contrast:
Before you could be signed in and be using one of the three products or two of the three products but not all and, of course, because people like to experiment with a new product, they forget whether they signed up for personalized search. Had they signed up for search history? This just makes it cleaner. If you’re signed in you’re using and/or have access to all three, if you’re signed out, you’re on the anonymous version of Google that doesn’t have personalization.
— Marissa Mayer: Feb 26, 2007, on personalization of search results.
As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don’t know
We don’t know.
— Donald Rumsfeld: Feb. 12, 2002, Department of Defense news briefing.
Is Google the new WMD?
This article, Three out of four MBAs are unemployable, says study, in DNA is a lovely example of how to write a scatterbrained story and still have your editors clear it for publication, typos included. The story starts with a quote from a MBA graduate, who having passed out in 2005, ended up working in a BPO because he could not find a job anywhere else. It goes on to mention a legion of jobless MBAs, the existence of which goes contrary to every number mentioned in the article. I can only assume that the writer does not know the difference between unemployable and unemployed.
But the article does make a larger point, that every Tom, Dick and Harry these days (or should it be every Tarun, Dinesh and Harpreet?) is doing an MBA these days. I can’t count the number of times numerous well-wishers, including friends and family, have asked me to do the same. And there is already a fair number of people that I know who are doing a MBA (or planning to do soon) as a way out breaking through the glass ceiling into the echelons of senior management.
That makes me really wonder, who is really an ideal candidate for doing a MBA? I don’t agree too much with the ‘do-it-to-get-ahead’ crowd because I’ve always hated shortcuts in life and you need to have a better reason than pelting stones at celings made of glass to do it. I don’t like 90% of the MBAs out there (the unemployable ones, that is), because they don’t understand business, operations and most importantly, common sense and think life is all about making amazing Powerpoint presentations.
Am I the only person who finds the idea of Hollywood studios using bittorrent to distribute their movies being ridiculous beyond any imaginable degree? While going through the latest offering from Bittorrent Inc., of some 3000 odd movie titles, I saw the pricing details that range from $1.99 to $3.99, depending on what you download. Where it gets even better is with the DRM, since they only allow you to ‘rent’ the movies you have downloaded, where they
explode expire 30 days into the download, or 24 hours after the first viewing.
One of my greatest doubts about what is being attempted is that it has hidden costs. The $3.99 price is the cost to unlock the movie, it will cost you more in terms of bandwidth to download and distribute the movies. In sharing the files, if anyone has a share ratio of more than 1, it is then costing that user more than what it cost to download him/her to seed the same file. And if there are seedless files, then you lose out on user experience. If Bittorrent Inc runs computers just to seed the files, then it ends up being not very different from any regular online distribution form.
In short, it is a situation where nobody, other than the entertainment industry, wins.
This is excellent news coming from New Zealand that Firefox3 will have support for offline applications. I’ve always clamored for applications like Gmail to have an extension version, so that we can spend all the lovely bits and bytes transferring data than the same UI elements all over again. It is nice to see some movement in that direction finally from the Mozilla guys, but there is not much by means of detail out there regarding what route they would take to achieve it. The current way of doing apps in Firefox — via extensions — has no data protection or encryption and I do not see many SaaS companies queuing up to use it, even if they introduce the feature in the same manner.
On the other hand, they could considerably overhaul the extensions spec and introduce all such features, but I am not sure if that would be a brilliant idea for any such overhaul would almost certainly bring out another round of compatibility nightmares for existing extensions. Another option would be to develop a fatter and fully-featured scripting component in the browser that will be an add-on than being a part of the core Firefox install. But communities don’t often react too well to such drastic changes and it also territory that’s not usually charted by your friendly neighbourhood browser. Firefox already has enough space for improvement without getting sidetracked by such developments.
In any case, most of this nothing more than idle speculation on my part. For now we just have to wait and watch out for more details.