By Tadashi Ushiroda

Understanding Social Networks - Paul Addams

Paul Addams discusses social networks and how online social networking websites break users' expectations for sharing and privacy. His main insight is that social networks consist of several distinct groups that do not mix with each other and that users have different ways that they share with these separate groups. This insight probably led to the creation of "circles" in Google + which allows users to bucket connections into different groups. While Facebook also lets users bucket friends into different groups, few people understand how to properly use this feature and it is not as well integrated as Google +'s offering.

Addams also goes into how purchasing decisions are affected our connections and finds that overall, the closeness of the relationship is the best predictor for influence. 

Addams formerly worked at Google as their Senior UX Researcher and was part of the team that created Google +. He is currently at Facebook as a researcher.



New technology makes textiles permanently germ-free


A University of Georgia researcher has invented a new technology that can inexpensively render medical linens and clothing, face masks, paper towels -- and yes, even diapers, intimate apparel and athletic wear, including smelly socks -- permanently germ-free.

Unfortunately the article does not go into any detail about how the technology actually works. Additionally it seems that the technology should be readily adapted for water filtration.


Profile - Sheryl Sandberg Facebook COO

[The New Yorker]

Also, her TED talk on Dec 2011

[TED Sheryl Sandberg]


Breakthrough in non-volatile memory by IBM

A recent breakthrough in Phase Change Memory (PCM) by IBM will lead to faster memory technology with lower power consumption.

IBM said it has produced phase-change memory (PCM) chips that can store two bits of data per cell without data corruption problems, something that has plagued PCM development from the start. [Article]

PCM can endure up to 5 million write cycles which is far higher than the 100,000 cycles in enterprise-class NAND flash products. IBM does not plan to build their own products but will license the technology to memory manufacturers such as Toshiba and Samsung.


Why Thunderbolt Cables cost $50

Thunderbolt cables require transceiver chips on both ends so that there are no transmission errors and so that the signal to noise ratio can be increased. In return for $50 these cables this will give you omnidirectional 10 Gbps transmission, electrical power, and the ability to handle daisy chained devices.


Not so incognito - Google Search

I'm sure many of you have already seen the new Google search interface that puts a black bar across the top of the browser window. What you may not have noticed is that on the right hand of the black bar is a button for options. Within options you can select web history and then select Trends which then gives you some basic stats such as  Top queries, Top sites and Top clicks.

What's interesting is that when I was looking at my web history trends last night, I saw items in the top queries that I only made in Incognito mode, which is Google Chrome's safe browsing mode. The splash screen when you open Google Chrome reads:

Pages you view in this window won't appear in your browser history or search history, and they won't leave other traces, like cookies, on your computer after you close the incognito window. 

The problem is that if this statement were true my searches in incognito mode should not be showing up in my web history. Even more curious is the fact that these items disappeared from my Top queries list this morning. The fact that the query item showed up on my Top queries list means that this tracking has been going on for a long time as I have been a Chrome user since March 2007. Overall it is very concerning that Google is tracking web searches make in incognito mode and linking them to your Google accounts.


Google Plus, yet another social network.

Google is beta testing a new social networking service called Google Plus. However they may be too late to the party as network effects are extremely strong for social networking services. Even though Facebook has had its own issues with privacy, the vast majority of users are satisfied with the service and are unlikely to switch without significant incentive.

Feature innovation is not the most important consideration for social networking service users so Google can't simply out innovate Facebook. [Article]


WDYL by Google

A new site by Google called "What do you love" is up at The website aggregates different Google search products such as Books, and Picasa and brings them under one roof. The interface is snappy and cool, although the usability may be somewhat limited at least in it's current state. WDYL does not seem to recognize different search content, and simply returns results from all search products. 

It's refreshing to see that Google is still actively tacking how to improve search search and brining new innovations to the space. Via TechCrunch


Why Nokia Partnered With Microsoft

To better understand Nokia’s decision to partner with Microsoft, I looked at the different potential partnerships that Nokia could have made.

Nokia & Google

With Google, Nokia would have access to a growing developer base, and could reduce their costs by shrinking their development team. In exchange Nokia would have no control over the core OS development and would be competing with other hardware manufacturers such as HTC. Additionally Nokia would also have to abide by hardware specs outlined by Google in order to have access to the newest build of Android. In this scenario Nokia would have the least risk but would forever be a minor player with little control over their future.

Nokia & Nokia

Nokia could have decided to not partner with anyone and maintain control over their own smartphone ecosystem. The N9 with MeeGo clearly demonstrated that they had all the necessary pieces to create a competitive product. However to be truly relevant in the marketplace they would need to be able attract talented developers. Given the strong competition from iOS, Android and RIM and the maturing state of the industry Nokia might have lacked confidence that they could attract developers for MeeGo. Even RIM, with their significant smartphone market share is having difficulty keeping their developers because RIM is eroding market share.

Nokia & Microsoft

With Microsoft, Nokia would not have to create their own OS and developer tools. Nokia would also have more leverage with Microsoft because they would be the single largest partner for Windows Phone 7 and could negotiate beneficial terms at this stage. Nokia would have far more input in terms of hardware specifications and OS development with Microsoft than they would with Android. Another benefit with partnering with Microsoft would be that they would have priority access to Microsoft products such as MS Office. As smartphones rapidly increase in processing power, tight integration with fully featured Microsoft software products not only becomes possible but also could be a major point of differentiation in the future.   


We can conclude from the partnership with Microsoft that Stephen Elop did not have confidence that Nokia could attract developers. Elop would also have to have assumed that the smartphone market is not mature and could experience major penetration by significant players such as Microsoft. However this still would be a risky move unless Microsoft showed a compelling vision for smartphones that outweighed the value of having immediate access to developers. This would mean that Microsoft would have to have guaranteed a major investment in WP7 for Nokia to bet the farm on a partnership with Microsoft. The launch of Mango and the surrounding ad campaign will be a good example of the first step in Microsoft’s plan to regain relevance in the smartphone market as well as what they showed to Nokia as compelling reason to join them.



Great article about the differences between the two exchanges and the increasing rivalry between them.

Many of the biggest IPOs in the past few months have gone to the NYSE. LinkedIn, Pandora, Fusion-IO, Bankrate, Demand Media, and RenRen have all chosen the New York Stock Exchange for their listings. SuccessFactors recently switched its listing on the NASDAQ to the NYSE. But Russian search engine Yandex chose NASDAQ for its IPO, and upcoming offerings from HomeAway and Zillow will also be listed on the NASDAQ. [Article]


Rovio Mobile, Experimentation & Innovation

Rovio Mobile, the creator of Angry Birds, has released a new update for Angry Birds Seasons, one of many extensions in the Angry Birds franchise. In this update users can only access one new board per day instead of all the new boards at once. This has led to a small backlash among users who responded by giving the game an unusually low two and a half start rating. While this latest update is clearly a misstep by Rovio, the company will probably quickly correct their mistake.

Rovio has been successful in past because of their ability to experiment and innovate. With iOS they were one of the first companies to create a game that was better experience on a touch based user interface. I think that their willingness to experiment is the critical element that will carry Rovio forward as they grow as a company. 


Nokia N9 with MeeGo - Design Story

The multi-task switching looks better than that on iOS.

The unanswered question is why would Nokia CEO, Stephen Elop abandon MeeGo with such a compelling product in the pipeline. The most likely answer is that Elop intends on competing on factors aside from product, such as brand, channel and distribution. This strategy may allow Nokia to reduce their costs since they can cut R&D and share marketing expenses with Microsoft. However long term, the company has removed a major component of differentiation leading to their reduced competitiveness in the smartphone market.


How Fiber Optics Work

You should subscribe. 


Capture Camera Clip System (Kickstarter)

The main reason why I stopped carrying around a SLR was because there was no good way to carry it around. This product looks like it would be a great solution to that problem. Via (Fred Wilson)


Facebook Revenue for 2011 estimated at 2.2 Billion

Facebook's U.S. advertising revenue will total roughly $2.2 billion in 2011, displacing Yahoo Inc to collect the biggest slice of online display advertising dollars, according to a new study.

Facebook's U.S. advertising revenue will give it a 17.7 percent share of the market for graphical display ads that appear on websites...

Google's revenue from U.S. display ads will total $1.15 billion in 2011, up 34.4 percent year-over-year. [Article]