- BBC Web Cuts Show Wider Disconnect (The Guardian) — I forget that most people still think of the web as a secondary add-on to the traditional way of doing things rather than as the new way. Interesting article which brings home the point in the context of the BBC, but you can tell the same story in almost any business.
- 40p Off a Latte (Chris Heathcote) — One of the bits I enjoyed the most was unpacking the old ubiquitous computing cliche of your phone vibrating with a coupon off a latte when walking past a Starbucks. This whole presentation is brilliant. I’m still zinging off how data can displace actions in time and space: what you buy today on Amazon will trigger a recommendation later for someone else.
- Long-Form Reporting Finds Commercial Hope in E-Books — ProPublica and New York Times have launched long-form reporting in Kindle Singles, Amazon’s format for 5k-30k word pieces. On Thursday, he told me his job involved asking the question, “How do you monetize the content when it is not news anymore?” Repackaging and updating the paper’s coverage of specific topics is a common answer.
- Why You Should Never Search for Free WordPress Themes in Google or Anywhere Else — short answer: free themes are full of SEO rubbish or worse. Every hit on your site boosts someone else’s penis pills site, and runs the risk that search engines will decide your site is itself spam.
BBC Pares Web, Data Interaction Design, Long-Form Commerce, and Dangers of Free Themes
This short article outlines some ideas about an open source, online platform for making books, based on WordPress.
Open Source CMS and OPAC, Timely SQL, A Bid Secret, Basic Research
- Scriblio — open source CMS and catalogue built on WordPress, with faceted search and browse. (via titine on Delicious)
- Useful Temporal Functions and Queries — SQL tricksies for those working with timeseries data. (via mbiddulph on Delicious)
- Optimal Starting Prices for Negotiations and Auctions –Mind Hacks discussion of a research paper on whether high or low initial prices lead to higher price outcomes in negotiations and online auctions. Many negotiation books recommend waiting for the other side to offer first. However, existing empirical research contradicts this conventional wisdom: The final outcome in single and multi-issue negotiations, both in the United States and Thailand, often depends on whether the buyer or the seller makes the first offer. Indeed, the final price tends to be higher when a seller (who wants a higher price and thus sets a high first offer) makes the first offer than when the buyer (who offers a low first offer to achieve a low final price) goes first.
- WiFi Science History — Australian scientist studies black holes in the 70s, has to develop a way of piecing together signals that have been distorted as they travel through space. Realizes, when he starts playing with networked computers in the late 80s, that this same technique would let you “cut the wires”. A decade later it emerged as a critical part of wireless networking. As Aaron Small says, it shows the value of basic research, where you don’t have immediate applications in mind and can’t show short-term deliverables or an application to a current high-value problem.