Posts Tagged ‘Technology’

It’s hard to make close friends on Facebook, study says

June 1, 2008

From CBC News Last Updated: Monday, September 10, 2007 | 1:36 PM ET>>read more.  read two related posts: post 1 and post 2.          Social networking websites such as Facebook and MySpace aren’t expanding people’s circles of close friends, but they are creating plenty of meaningless relationships, according to British researchers.           A study of the sites revealed that while many users have hundreds or even thousands of acquaintances on their accounts, their core group of close friends is still unchanged at around five people. However, weak ties among people around the globe are rising exponentially, said Will Reader, an evolutionary psychologist at Sheffield Hallam University, at a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.           The online study used a questionnaire and, based on the first 200 responses, found that close friendships were formed through in-person meetings in an overwhelming 90 per cent of cases.     “Face-to-face contact is a requirement for intimate friendships,” he told the conference. “There are many emotional cues that people give face to face, such as smiling and laughing, which are impossible to fake, whereas online it is easy to say, ‘You are wonderful, I love you.’ ”          A previous study done at the University of Liverpool found that most people have an average of 150 acquaintances in their social network yet also maintain a small core group of friends, which may indicate limitations on the human brain.          Reader said there are “good evolutionary reasons” why core friendship groups are so small. Making friendships means investing time and even money in another person, in which case face-to-face contact is invaluable so that people can see whether their investment is worthwhile. On the internet, it is “very easy to be deceptive” he said.          Social networking sites are, however, giving rise to a group of people known as friend collectors, who add little-known acquaintances just for the sake of having a large number of contacts on their profile. This allows people to “collect friends like boys collect Airfix models.”

WiFi on the Highway

May 19, 2008

Dash ExpressFrom LiveScience>>read more.   The information superhighway hits the real road, giving drivers interactive directions, real time traffic, entertainment, e-mail in the car, shopping and dining choices and emergency services.     Autonet Mobile an Internet service provider,Autonet in-car Internet router makes on-road surfing a reality via an in-car subscription based wireless router.     Dash Express, the first two-way, Internet-connected GPS navigation system. Dash delivers traffic and destination information in exciting new ways, and offers a wide range of new capabilities available from the car that makes a typical GPS practically obsolete. Dash is the smartest way to get from A to B, and find everything in between.

Don’t get caught up in Third-screen thinking

May 8, 2008

Mobilenet Promises to Be the Next Big Medium     But Don’t Get Sidetracked Into Third-Screen Thinking     From AdAge Published: May 06, 2008 by Al Ries>>read more.     We are on the verge of witnessing the birth of a new mass-communications medium. It’s the second new mass medium to appear in the last two decades.     The internet arrived in the 1990s, joining the other four mass media: 1) The book 2) The periodical 3) Radio 4) TV. Each new mass medium has created enormous upheavals in society.     The book ignited the knowledge explosion.      The periodical furthered the growth of democracy.     Radio created a celebrity-oriented society.     TV homogenized the culture.      The internet, the latest and newest mass medium, continues to make waves. “We are not witnessing the beginning of the end of old media,” Advertising Age’s Bob Garfield wrote recently. “We are witnessing the middle of the end of old media.”     “Both print and broadcast — burdened with unwieldy, archaic and crushingly expensive means of distribution — are experiencing the disintegration of the audience critical mass they require to operate profitably,” Mr. Garfield continued. “Moreover, they are losing that audience to the infinitely fragmented digital media, which have near-zero distribution costs and are overwhelmingly free to the user.”     Fasten your seat belts. On the horizon, there’s another profound shift in media, consumer behavior and technology coming. In the near future we are likely to welcome the arrival of a sixth mass-communications medium.     And what is this earth-shaking new medium? It’s the Mobilenet.     The what? Surely you are joking, Al. The Mobilenet is just a subset of the internet. Just another way of going online. Just another way of surfing the net without using a computer. That’s why mobile devices are commonly called the “third screen.”      Third-screen thinking is going to cause you and your company to miss the boat. Which big brands were created by moving content from one medium to another? Very, very few.      Moving The Wall Street Journal online didn’t save Dow Jones from the clutches of Rupert Murdoch for just $5 billion.      Moving ESPN onto cellphones didn’t take it to the big leagues.     So far, moving TV shows to the internet hasn’t created as much value as one internet site, Less than 20 months after its launch, YouTube was bought by Google for $1.65 billion.

Cutting-Edge Robots

May 4, 2008

From LiveScience by Zina Deretsky, NSF>>read more about the other robots.
USC Humanoid Robot     This freaky looking USC-built robot head can learn facial movements from human teachers and watches objects it finds interesting. This collaboration between neuroscience, robotics, and computer vision is the first step to building full-body humanoid robots. Click to enlarge.

The Newspaper Death Watch

May 4, 2008

John Kuczala>>read more.From AdAge by Nat Ives Published: April 28, 2008     Photo illustration: John Kuczala>>read more.
Newspapers’ overall ad revenue has been falling, down to $42.2 billion last year from $48.7 billion at the millennium.     Tumultuous Week Highlights Industry’s Many Challenges     NEW YORK ( — By now you know the story: The business of newspapers is in decline.     It’s a terminal decline, if you believe experts such as Jeffrey Cole, director of the Center for the Digital Future at the University of Southern California at Annenberg. His research suggests traditional media in general must learn to shrink but newspapers in particular are a special case. “When an offline reader of a paper dies, he or she is not being replaced by a new reader,” he said. “How much time do they have? We think they have 20 to 25 years.”     Of course, newspaper owners aren’t going to just give up and wait — and that’s why Ad Age is launching this series about the 1,437 dailies still working hard in the U.S. It’ll look at the thought leaders in the industry, their attempts to leave the past — and even formats — behind and their strategies for finding new business models.     But let’s start with the industry’s travails, because the news last week was full of them.     Tough Times     The New York Times Co. elected its first outside directors since going public in 1967, capitulating to a pair of hedgefund shareholders demanding divestitures and a quicker turn toward digital. The first mass newsroom layoffs for its flagship paper bore down after buyouts found too few takers. And Moody’s Investors Service cut its ratings on the company two notches — to its lowest investment grade.     Meanwhile, Rupert Murdoch neared a deal to buy Long Island’s Newsday from Tribune Co., a company that CEO and maybe-savior Sam Zell had said he could at least hold together.     And Mr. Murdoch’s New York Post reduced its height by an inch and a half, following the Times and The Wall Street Journal and newspapers across the country in literally shrinking from costs.     These were just the concrete results of trends that are gradually but relentlessly weakening newspapers as we know them. Trends such as the migration of classifieds, worth 40% of newspapers’ ad revenue as recently as 2000, to the internet, which better organizes and offers them to consumers.      Last year classifieds mustered $14.2 billion for newspapers — which sounds like a lot until you see that’s 16.5% less than the year before. That’s according to statistics from an industry trade group, the Newspaper Association of America.     Revenue down     Newspapers’ overall ad revenue has been falling too, of course, to $42.2 billion last year from $48.7 billion at the millennium.

Chumby’s cute; is that enough?

April 27, 2008

Photo by K.C. ALFRED / Union-Tribune Say hello to Chumby, a tiny Linux computer disguised as a snugly toy – sort of a Tickle Me Elmo for gadget geeksFrom Union-Trbune By Mike Freeman UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER April 24, 2008 click to read more
Advertisers will be needed to make toy profitable    It resembles an alarm clock – except it’s squishy like a beanbag. You can buy charms to hang on it. To say it’s being marketed as cute would be an understatement.     Say hello to Chumby, a tiny Linux computer disguised as a snugly toy – sort of a Tickle Me Elmo for gadget geeks.     Chumby is the brainchild of San Diego venture capitalist Stephen Tomlin, chief executive of 40-employee Chumby Industries. The touch-screen device connects via Wi-Fi to the Internet and streams information that owners choose – local traffic, weather, sports scores, appointments, podcasts from the New York Times – to Chumby. The information either scrolls across the screen every few seconds or comes out of speakers.     “There is a group of people for whom the Internet is vital to their lives,” Tomlin said. “It’s too important to be trapped on a beige box in the den.”

Bionic eye implants make blind ‘see again’

April 22, 2008

Bionic eye implants make blind ‘see again’ in pioneering operation
From the Daily Mail By JENNY HOPE Last updated at 23:52pm on 21st April 2008 click to read more.
Two blind men who thought they would never see their families again have had vision restored by Britain’s first “bionic” eye operations.     Electronic receivers were implanted which take signals from a camera mounted in a pair of glasses.      The technology allows enough vision to find doorways, follow individuals, locate objects across the room and help with eating.     It gives new hope to sufferers of diseases affecting the retina for which there is no cure.    Surgeons at Moorfields Eye Hospital in central London implanted the artificial retinal devices as part of a Europeanwide clinical trial.

Facebook users translate new versions for free

April 19, 2008

Posted on Chicago Tribune From the Los Angeles Times By Tomoko A. Hosaka The Associated Press 1:31 PM CDT, April 18, 2008 click to read more.
TOKYO — The three-year-old social networking phenomenon Facebook, worth more than $15 billion by many estimates, got a good deal on going global.     Its users around the world are translating Facebook’s visible framework into nearly two dozen languages — for free — aiding the company’s aggressive expansion to better serve the 60% of its 69 million users who live outside the United States.     The company says it’s using the wisdom of crowds to produce versions of site guidelines — especially terms specific to Facebook — that are in tune with local cultures.     “We thought it’d be cool,” said Javier Olivan, international manager at Facebook, based in Palo Alto, Calif. “Our goal would be to hopefully have one day everybody on the planet on Facebook.”


Next iPhone Iteration is fuckin Scary!

March 30, 2008

How much does my cell phone really need to know about what I do and more IMPORTANTLY, whom is it telling?  The people at AdRANTs have this to say: iPhone Doesn’t Just Want to Be Your Expensive New Friend; It Wants to Be Your Lifestyle Companion  Engadget says Apple has applied for six patent applications that reveal plans to turn iPhone into a “lifestyle companion.” (Is that anything like a domestic partner?)  The patents would make iPhone the only product of its kind with the ability to scan product barcodes, track workouts and suggest new ones.