Four short links: 26 April 2010

Brand in China, Radio Apps, Valued Free Text, and Brain TV

  1. E-Commerce Booming in China (Economist) — bad time for Google to be leaving, just as online sales take off. Chinese consumers in stores check quality by hand but buying online requires trust, aka brands. This is a turn towards Western-style commerce built on trademarks and brand promise of quality, and away from the prevalent wild East style of commerce built on cut corners, deception, and mistrust.
  2. Comprehensive GNU Radio Archive Network — collection of GNU Radio applications. (via Hacker News)
  3. The Glass Box and the Commonplace Book (Steven Johnson) — essay on connected useful text vs frozen glass-walled text. As with paywalls, I am not dogmatic about these things. I don’t think it’s incumbent upon the New York Times or The Wall Street Journal to allow all their content to flow freely through the infosphere with no restrictions. I do not pull out my crucifix when people use the phrase “Digital Rights Management.” If publishers want to put reasonable limits on what their audience can do with their words, I’m totally fine with that. As I said, I think the Kindle has a workable compromise, though I would like to see it improved in a few key areas. But I also don’t want to mince words. When your digital news feed doesn’t contain links, when it cannot be linked to, when it can’t be indexed, when you can’t copy a paragraph and paste it into another application: when this happens your news feed is not flawed or backwards looking or frustrating. It is broken.
  4. Charlie Rose Brain Series — streaming video of the TV shows about the brain. (via Mind Hacks)
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  • John


    “East style of commerce built on cut corners, deception, and mistrust.”??

    Talk about stereotyping.

    How many decades have you been living in the East (expat communities don’t count) to make you such an authority on the “East”?

    And presumably you also speak Chinese like a native speaker in order for you to gain all that first hand expertise on the “East style of commerce”, right?

  • Nat

    @John: my experience and that of my friends and colleagues from and in China is that even locals shop for things like jeans by laboriously inspecting every seam. When Americans (and most of the West) shop for clothes, they buy based on brand and do not give more than a cursory inspection of quality. They do this because trademark law means there’s trust in brands in America that isn’t there in China. That’s trust in retailers to supply you with Levi goods if you see the Levi logo, and trust in Levi to ship the same quality goods each time. In China, neither of these preconditions for brand trust holds. Where Chinese manufacturers deliver consistent quality goods, it seems to be because of Wedtern buyers insisting on quality control.

    I apologise for the too-broad brush of “Eastern”. Japan has brand trust.

    If anything I’ve said is not true, or not even backed up by your experience, I’d love to hear about it and learn. Thanks!