nature

up sales, can tell if you’re a cheapskate

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/09/05/google-patents-buyer-specific-price-drops-for-follow-up-sales/

Google patents buyerspecific price drops for followup sales, can tell if you're a cheapskate

Ever been tempted to rent a movie again, but thought the price was just a little too dear? Google may soon be willing to haggle a deal. One of its newly-granted patents could automatically lower the price of repurchase-friendly content, such as a Google Play Movies rental, depending on how likely you are to pull the trigger. Its algorithm weighs your personal tastes and repurchasing habits against those of your peers: if the code senses you’ll be relatively stingy, you’ll get a better discount. The analysis could even factor in the nature of the content itself. A thoughtful movie, ownership of the soundtrack or just a lot of related searches could lead to a repurchase at the usual price, while a simple action flick with no previous interest may bring the discount into effect. We don’t know if Google will offer these extra-personal discounts to the public at any point in the future, but if you suddenly notice a lot of follow-up bargains in Google Play, you’ll know how they came to be.

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Google patents buyer-specific price drops for follow-up sales, can tell if you’re a cheapskate originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 05 Sep 2012 00:17:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Wednesday, September 5th, 2012 news No Comments

up sales, can tell if you’re a cheapskate

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/09/05/google-patents-buyer-specific-price-drops-for-follow-up-sales/

Google patents buyerspecific price drops for followup sales, can tell if you're a cheapskate

Ever been tempted to rent a movie again, but thought the price was just a little too dear? Google may soon be willing to haggle a deal. One of its newly-granted patents could automatically lower the price of repurchase-friendly content, such as a Google Play Movies rental, depending on how likely you are to pull the trigger. Its algorithm weighs your personal tastes and repurchasing habits against those of your peers: if the code senses you’ll be relatively stingy, you’ll get a better discount. The analysis could even factor in the nature of the content itself. A thoughtful movie, ownership of the soundtrack or just a lot of related searches could lead to a repurchase at the usual price, while a simple action flick with no previous interest may bring the discount into effect. We don’t know if Google will offer these extra-personal discounts to the public at any point in the future, but if you suddenly notice a lot of follow-up bargains in Google Play, you’ll know how they came to be.

Filed under:

Google patents buyer-specific price drops for follow-up sales, can tell if you’re a cheapskate originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 05 Sep 2012 00:17:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Wednesday, September 5th, 2012 news No Comments

We Love Facebook Because It Tricks Us Into Thinking We’re Doing Something Important [Science]

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5883160/study-we-love-facebook-because-it-tricks-us-into-thinking-were-doing-something-important

Study: We Love Facebook Because It Tricks Us Into Thinking We're Doing Something ImportantWhen you’re perusing your Facebook account, your brain might be fooling you into thinking you’re doing something incredibly creative and productive that will improve your life. If only that were true!

Scientists in Milan and at M.I.T. examined the various physiological states of 30 people using Facebook compared to when they were relaxing looking at natural panoramas or taking a math test. They measured physical and psychological responses including breathing rate, brain activation, and pupil dilation, and found that only while looking at Facebook (not while looking at nature pics or doing math), the study subjects were transported into a “core flow state,” which is that thing that people often call, simply, flow. It’s what you might experience when you’re practicing an instrument, or if you’re writing and feeling like everything is just, well, flowing. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes it wonderfully in this TED talk.

We already know Facebook is harder to resist than cigarettes and alcohol. So it’s not all that surprising that Facebook is enjoyable. Cocaine is enjoyable! But like an addictive drug, the results suggest the social network might have a sinister effect: Facebook makes you think you’re being productive when really you’re probably just telling everyone how delicious your lunch was and discovering that your best friend’s cousin’s baby just ate squash.

That’s why perhaps it’s important to keep in mind what Harvard’s Daniel Gulati said: over time, Facebook is making us miserable. Everyone is a shiny happy person on Facebook. Very few people share their insecurities, misgivings, evenings spent alone in the fetal position. And if you experience any of that you might feel very much alone if your visiting Facebook often. In which case maybe consider playing your favorite instrument, hanging out with your kids, working on that novel, or doing something else that leads to actual flow. [Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking]

Image: Shutterstock/PressureUA

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Tuesday, February 7th, 2012 Uncategorized 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

the whole story, regardless of where you jump in

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/01/30/follow-the-saga-engadget/

Over the years, stories have become more than just single bursts of information. These days, there’s as much drama in the consumer technology world as there is sports, politics or your average episode of Days of our Lives. Take SOPA, for example. We’d be remiss of our duties here if we simply reported on what it was, without ever following up on protests, delays, judgments and other vitally important developments. In fact, it’s tough to think of too many stories covered today that don’t correspond with some sort of saga — even the departure of RIM’s co-CEOs represents just a single slice of a far larger tale. For those that follow this stuff 24/7, jumping in at any point in the story is no issue; piecing together the past with the present is second nature. But if you’re actually working during the day, hopping aimlessly into an ongoing saga mid-stream can be downright disorienting. Painful, even. We’ve been working hard to come up with an unobtrusive solution, and we think we’ve found it.

We’ve actually had our Follow The Saga functionality since January of last year — we quietly debuted it with the launch of Verizon’s iPhone 4 — but today’s iteration is far more interactive. We’ve been testing these out over the past few weeks, and today we’re happy to officially introduce them. If you see the badge shown after the break in any post that pops up here at Engadget, just give it a click to be taken to the full saga, and scroll up and down to see related stories before and after the one you happen to ! be looki ng at. We’re hoping it’ll be particularly helpful to those who happen to stumble upon a saga somewhere in the middle, but want to get caught up on what happened prior and where we stand now. As with everything we do, we’ll be continually tweaking and evolving the tool in the months ahead. Enjoy!

Psst… want to see it in action? Have a look under the body of this SOPA post to see how we got to where we are today.

Continue reading Introducing ‘Follow The Saga’: the whole story, regardless of where you jump in

Introducing ‘Follow The Saga’: the whole story, regardless of where you jump in originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 30 Jan 2012 14:18:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 news No Comments

How Apple’s Business Completely Changed

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-apples-business-completely-changed-2012-1


What a difference a few years makes. Four years ago, Apple analysts fretted over iPod shipments and computer sales when an earnings call rolled around. All the early chatter is now focused on whether surging iPhone and iPad sales will even be enough to meet soaring expectations.   

The iPad, only a rumor two years ago, accounted for 24% of revenue last quarter. The iPhone, meanwhile, has jumped from 10% of revenue at the beginning of 2008 to 39% last quarter–and nearly 50% at the beginning of last year. With the tablet market still in its infancy and huge opportunities still available in mobile, the shift in Apple’s revenues has only just begun. All of which should futher underline the changing nature of their business: Apple is essentially a mobile computing company. 

Which is not to say the rest of the company isn’t growing. Mac shipments were up 20.7% year-over-year in the fourth quarter, according to Gartner–even as the rest of the PC market fell 5.9%. It’s just that they have not kept up with the astronomic growth of the company’s mobile products.

See our preview of Apple’s earnings here→

Apple Revenue Breakdown


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Tuesday, January 24th, 2012 news No Comments

How Apple’s Business Completely Changed

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-apples-business-completely-changed-2012-1


What a difference a few years makes. Four years ago, Apple analysts fretted over iPod shipments and computer sales when an earnings call rolled around. All the early chatter is now focused on whether surging iPhone and iPad sales will even be enough to meet soaring expectations.   

The iPad, only a rumor two years ago, accounted for 24% of revenue last quarter. The iPhone, meanwhile, has jumped from 10% of revenue at the beginning of 2008 to 39% last quarter–and nearly 50% at the beginning of last year. With the tablet market still in its infancy and huge opportunities still available in mobile, the shift in Apple’s revenues has only just begun. All of which should futher underline the changing nature of their business: Apple is essentially a mobile computing company. 

Which is not to say the rest of the company isn’t growing. Mac shipments were up 20.7% year-over-year in the fourth quarter, according to Gartner–even as the rest of the PC market fell 5.9%. It’s just that they have not kept up with the astronomic growth of the company’s mobile products.

See our preview of Apple’s earnings here→

Apple Revenue Breakdown


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Tuesday, January 24th, 2012 news No Comments

Gamers Redesign a Protein That Stumped Scientists for Years [Science]

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5878459/gamers-redesign-a-protein-that-stumped-scientists-for-years

Gamers Redesign a Protein That Stumped Scientists for YearsFolding: it’s detestable and boring, as any Gap employee can tell you. But it’s also a totally fun thing you can do in a video game! And today it’s particularly exciting because players of the online game Foldit have redesigned a protein, and their work is published in the science journal Nature Biotechnology.

It seems nobler than shooting people in the face, somehow. Granted, Foldit attracts a unique kind of gamer who enjoys obsessing over biological protein folding patterns. Proteins get their function from the way they are folded into coils like in the image above. When the amino acids in a protein interact, they create that coiled, three-dimensional structure. Scientists can manipulate the structure to make the protein more efficient. In Foldit, designs that create the most efficient proteins garner the highest scores.

University of Washington in Seattle scientists Zoran Popovic, director of the Center for Game Science, and biochemist David Baker developed Foldit (which is different from Folding@home, Stanford software that lets people donate their idle computer processing power to create a protein-folding supercomputer). By playing it, at-home gamers have redesigned a protein for the first time, and they did it better and faster than scientists who have trained their entire careers to build better proteins. Justin Siegel, a biophysicist in Baker’s group told Scientific American:

I worked for two years to make these enzymes better and I couldn’t do it. Foldit players were able to make a large jump in structural space and I still don’t fully understand how they did it.

Here’s how it works: Researchers send a series of puzzles to Foldit’s 240,000 registered users. The scientists sift through the results for the best designs and take those into the lab for real-life testing. They combed through 180,000 designs to get to the version of the protein published today. The paper details an enzyme that thanks to the crowdsourced redesign is 18-fold more active than the original version.

Now for the anticlimactic part: this particular enzyme doesn’t really have any practical uses. But the researchers say it’s a proof of concept, and future Foldit designs will be more useful. In fact, Baker has fed players a protein that blocks the flu virus that led to the 1918 pandemic—and their puzzle solving for this one could lead to an actual drug.

Nature via Scientific American

Image: Foldit


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Tuesday, January 24th, 2012 news No Comments

US Moves Toward Banning Photoshop In Cosmetics Ads (PG)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/us-moves-toward-banning-use-of-photoshop-in-cosmetics-ads-2011-12


ann ward cover girl

Procter & Gamble has agreed to never again run an ad for its CoverGirl mascara because it used “enhanced post-production” and “photoshopping” to make eyelashes look thicker than they were in real life. P&G agreed to the ban even though it disclosed in the ad that the image was enhanced.

The move is the latest in a series of baby steps that U.S. and international advertising regulators have taken to ban the use of Photoshop in advertising when it is misleading to consumers.

The company’s decision was described in a ruling by the National Advertising Division, the U.S. industry watchdog that imposes self-regulation on the advertising business. NAD is part of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. Its rulings are respected and followed by most advertisers because it enjoys a close relationship with the FTC, from which it has historically drawn some of its senior staff. Recalcitrant advertisers who refuse to withdraw or amend misleading ads are referred by the NAD to the FTC, which has the power to fine, sue or bring injunctions against companies.

When asked whether this was a de facto ban on Photoshop, NAD director Andrea Levine told us:

“You can’t use a photograph to demonstrate how a cosmetic will look after it is applied to a woman’s face and then – in the mice type – have a disclosure that says ‘okay, not really.’”

The ad in question was for CoverGirl NatureLuxe Mousse Mascara, which promised “2X more volume” on women’s lashes. After reviewing the ad, P&G agreed to yank it. (A different CoverGirl ad is shown here.) The NAD ruling said:

“… [P&G] advised NAD it has permanently discontinued all of the challenged claims and the photograph in its advertisement. NAD was particularly troubled by the photograph of the model – which serves clearly to demonstrate (i.e., let consumers see for themselves) the length and volume they can achieve when they apply the advertised mascara to their eyelashes. This picture is accompanied by a disclosure that the model’s eyelashes had been enhanced post production.”

In a footnote, the NAD said it was following the lead of its sister body in the U.K., the Advertising Standards Authority, which in July banned cosmetics ads featuring Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington because they used Photoshop. The NAD said:

“Advertising self-regulatory authorities recognize the need to avoid photoshopping in cosmetics advertisements where there is a clear exaggeration of potential product benefits.”

“… the picture of Ms. Roberts had been altered using post production techniques (in addition to professional styling, make-up, photography and the product’s inherent covering and smoothing nature which are to be expected), exaggerating what consumers could expect to achieve through product use.”

The U.K. ruling found the use of photo retouching misleading per se.

In the U.S., the FTC has has also tightened rules to hold celebrities accountable if they make claims in ads they know cannot be true.

And in France, in 2009, 50 politicians asked for health warnings to be imposed on fashion ads if they showed retouched models’ bodies.

SEE ALSO: Ryanair: ‘We Will Continue To Support The Right Of Our Crew To Take Their Clothes Off’

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Friday, December 16th, 2011 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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