magic

NY court lifts temporary ban on cab-hailing apps, pilot program to continue

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2013/06/06/nyc-courts-lifts-temporary-restraining-order-on-ehailing/

The on-againoff-again status of NYC’s e-hail pilot program is now, well, back on. A New York state court has just lifted a temporary restraining order brought on by the city’s livery cab companies that halted the year-long trial of taxi-hailing apps like Uber, Hailo and Taxi Magic. They argued that using the apps to book cabs counts as pre-arranging a service, which is strictly their territory. After weeks of deliberation, judges sided with the city, which contended the software is just another way to hail a cab.

 

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Friday, June 7th, 2013 news No Comments

Facebook’s Magic Number 16%

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/facebooks-entire-brand-advertising-business-boils-down-to-one-number-16-2012-3

 

Sheryl Sandberg at Facebook

One secret reason why Facebook ad revenues haven’t quite taken off like they should – and are, in fact, decelerating – is that for years now, brands have advertised on Facebook without paying Facebook.

Here’s how they’ve been doing it:

  • Brands build a “page” on Facebook.
  • Facebook users become “fans” of that brand page, thanks in part to ad campaigns off Facebook.
  • The brands post video, photos, or text to the page.
  • That content goes into fans’ News Feeds.
Yesterday, in front of more than 1,000 advertising executives here in New York, Facebook announced a new ad product it hopes will finally convince brands to do more than use Facebook’s free features.
The pitch boils down to a number: 16%
When a Facebook page owner posts a piece of content to their page, and that content gets disperse red into the News Feeds of that page’s fans, only 16% of those fans will actually see that piece of content.
Facebook’s new ad product, called Reach Generator, is supposed to take that number, 16%, and push it toward 100%. Test campaigns pushed it past 95% in some cases.
Basically, when a brand buys into a Reach Generator campaign, Facebook will push posts from that brands page into its fans’ News Feeds, mobile News Feeds, and log-out screen until almost all of that brand’s fans see it.

 

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Thursday, March 1st, 2012 display advertising No Comments

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5882648/purify-your-water-with-a-burnt-stick

Purify Your Water With a Burnt StickIt uses the same principle as your Brita filter to purify water, but Black+Blum’s Eau Good bottle does it with way more style using a stick of charcoal that’s always visible through the bottle’s lovely curves.

Known as Binchotan, the black stick is a type of carbon made from tree branches, which the Japanese have been using to soften and purify water for centuries. It can even reduce the amount of chlorine in your H2O, though the passive process does require quite a few hours to work its magic. So it’s recommended you leave the Eau Good bottle sitting overnight before drinking. We recommend staring at the bottle while it works.

To prevent the charcoal from floating to the surface, the $20 plastic bottle has been designed with a slight bulge on the side, keeping the $4 Binchotan stick submerged at all times. It’s promised to work for up to 6 months before it needs to be replaced, while a quick 10 minute boil at the 3 month mark will help ensure its effectiveness. And when it does stop working, you can of course just toss the charcoal stick in your garden, where mother nature will recycle it for you. [Black+Blum via bookofjoe]

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Monday, February 6th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

Hate To Be Rude, But Facebook Is Not The Next Google. It’s Not Even Close (GOOG)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-hate-to-be-rude-but-facebook-is-not-the-next-google-its-not-even-close-2012-1

Information about Facebook’s 2011 revenues and operating profits leaked last week, just ahead of this week’s expected IPO filing.

If CNBC’s reporting is accurate, the numbers are disappointing for a company that’s supposed to be valued at $75 billion to $100 billion when its shares start trading.

Revenues came in at $3.8 billion, less than an expected $4+ billion. Operating profits were $1.5 billion, less than an expected $2 billion.

Facebook’s results look particularly disappointing in comparison to Google’s first seven years of business. We’ve drawn out that comparison below. 

The comparison is actually worse than it looks. Remember, Google was born at time when Internet usage, and online ad spending, wasn’t even half of what it is today. 

The fact is, Facebook is a huge consumer hit – 850 million people us the site each month – but it’s ad products are not, really. 

Google’s ad products are business magic. Consumers see ads for products that they literally want to see. 

So far, Facebook hasn’t found that kind of magic. Investors looking at Facebook’s S1 filing this week will have to wonder if it ever will.

chart of the day, revenue after launch for tech companies, 01/31/12

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Wednesday, February 1st, 2012 news No Comments

GameChanger Turns Your iPad into a Closet’s Worth of Board Games [Video]

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5855547/gamechanger-turns-your-ipad-into-a-closets-worth-of-board-games/gallery/1

You can tweak the rules to keep it interesting, but that copy of Monopoly sitting in your closet is always going to be Monopoly. The GameChanger, however, incorporates swappable skins and an iPad running accompanying apps so every game night it can be something completely different.

Instead of just using the iPad as a source for quiz questions or flashy animations, the GameChanger board actually serves as an iPad dock, allowing it to interact with the four included game pieces as they make their way around the board. Out of the box it includes two skins, The Magic School Bus and AnimalMania, with free downloadable apps that provide instructions, trivia, a virtual wheel and even automatic score keeping. But replay value isn’t its only advantage. The use of the iPad also eliminates the need for stacks of cards, dice, hotels, tiles and other accessories that can get bumped or even go missing, rendering a traditional board game unplayable. GameChanger’s available now for $80, while additional skins are promised to be released sometime in November. [GameChanger via Engadget]

GameChanger Turns Your iPad into a Closet's Worth of Board Games
GameChanger Turns Your iPad into a Closet's Worth of Board Games


drag2share – drag and drop RSS news items on your email contacts to share (click SEE DEMO)

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Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011 news No Comments

GameChanger Turns Your iPad into a Closet’s Worth of Board Games [Video]

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5855547/gamechanger-turns-your-ipad-into-a-closets-worth-of-board-games/gallery/1

You can tweak the rules to keep it interesting, but that copy of Monopoly sitting in your closet is always going to be Monopoly. The GameChanger, however, incorporates swappable skins and an iPad running accompanying apps so every game night it can be something completely different.

Instead of just using the iPad as a source for quiz questions or flashy animations, the GameChanger board actually serves as an iPad dock, allowing it to interact with the four included game pieces as they make their way around the board. Out of the box it includes two skins, The Magic School Bus and AnimalMania, with free downloadable apps that provide instructions, trivia, a virtual wheel and even automatic score keeping. But replay value isn’t its only advantage. The use of the iPad also eliminates the need for stacks of cards, dice, hotels, tiles and other accessories that can get bumped or even go missing, rendering a traditional board game unplayable. GameChanger’s available now for $80, while additional skins are promised to be released sometime in November. [GameChanger via Engadget]

GameChanger Turns Your iPad into a Closet's Worth of Board Games
GameChanger Turns Your iPad into a Closet's Worth of Board Games


drag2share – drag and drop RSS news items on your email contacts to share (click SEE DEMO)

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Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011 news No Comments

How Google Crunches All That Data

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5495097/how-google-crunches-all-that-data

If data centers are the brains of an information company, then Google is one of the brainiest there is. Though always evolving, it is, fundamentally, in the business of knowing everything. Here are some of the ways it stays sharp.

For tackling massive amounts of data, the main weapon in Google’s arsenal is MapReduce, a system developed by the company itself. Whereas other frameworks require a thoroughly tagged and rigorously organized database, MapReduce breaks the process down into simple steps, allowing it to deal with any type of data, which it distributes across a legion of machines.

Looking at MapReduce in 2008, Wired imagined the task of determining word frequency in Google Books. As its name would suggest, the MapReduce magic comes from two main steps: mapping and reducing.

The first of these, the mapping, is where MapReduce is unique. A master computer evaluates the request and then divvies it up into smaller, more manageable “sub-problems,” which are assigned to other computers. These sub-problems, in turn, may be divided up even further, depending on the complexity of the data set. In our example, the entirety of Google Books would be split, say, by author (but more likely by the order in which they were scanned, or something like that) and distributed to the worker computers.

Then the data is saved. To maximize efficiency, it remains on the worker computers’ local hard drives, as opposed to being sent, the whole petabyte-scale mess of it, back to some central location. Then comes the second central step: reduction. Other worker machines are assigned specifically to the task of grabbing the data from the computers that crunched it and paring it down to a format suitable for solving the problem at hand. In the Google Books example, this second set of machines would reduce and compile the processed data into lists of individual words and the frequency with which they appeared across Google’s digital library.

The finished product of the MapReduce system is, as Wired says, a “data set about your data,” one that has been crafted specifically to answer the initial question. In this case, the new data set would let you query any word and see how often it appeared in Google Books.

MapReduce is one way in which Google manipulates its massive amounts of data, sorting and resorting it into different sets that reveal new meanings and have unique uses. But another Herculean task Google faces is dealing with data that’s not already on its machines. It’s one of the most daunting data sets of all: the internet.

Last month, Wired got a rare look at the “algorithm that rules the web,” and the gist of it is that there is no single, set algorithm. Rather, Google rules the internet by constantly refining its search technologies, charting new territories like social media and refining the ones in which users tread most often with personalized searches.

But of course it’s not just about matching the terms people search for to the web sites that contain them. Amit Singhal, a Google Search guru, explains, “you are not matching words; you are actually trying to match meaning.”

Words are a finite data set. And you don’t need an entire data center to store them—a dictionary does just fine. But meaning is perhaps the most profound data set humanity has ever produced, and it’s one we’re charged with managing every day. Our own mental MapReduce probes for intent and scans for context, informing how we respond to the world around us.

In a sense, Google’s memory may be better than any one individual’s, and complex frameworks like MapReduce ensure that it will only continue to outpace us in that respect. But in terms of the capacity to process meaning, in all of its nuance, any one person could outperform all the machines in the Googleplex. For now, anyway. [Wired, Wikipedia, and Wired]

Image credit CNET

Memory [Forever] is our week-long consideration of what it really means when our memories, encoded in bits, flow in a million directions, and might truly live forever.

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Wednesday, March 17th, 2010 news No Comments

Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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