2005 Plans

I haven't been posting much but I am still here, a little busy, but here nonetheless.  On the last day of 2004, I am thinking about some of the ideas I'll be working on next year.

Most significant one is a new form of micropayment service.  I hesitate to call it technology because there is nothing new there in terms of technology.  Rather, it's pulling together old pieces into new configuration and wrapped with easy to use surface.  The goal is to make micro-content purchase addictive and hassle-free.

A less grandiose idea is hopefully a mobile killer app: HyperCard for mobile devices.  The goal here is to make it really easy for cellphone users to create and share simple mobile apps.

I am gonna start exploring and experimenting with both ideas and see where they might lead.

Happy New Year Everyone.

Tsunami, News, and Time

The tsunami born out of the massive 9.0 earthquake in the Indian Ocean took two hours to reach Sri Lanka, but there was no warning.  When the earthquake occured, another tsunami was born: tsunami of information.  Unprepared, tsunami of seawater across the ocean outraced tsunami of information across fabric of technology over social networks.

We can build a tsunami warning system in little time with just what we already have: networks of telephones, instant messaging, e-mail, news feeds, TV, and radio.  If spammers can 'inform' millions of people with a single button, any one of us could have sent tsunami warnings to all the TV and radio stations in the Indian Ocean.

This tragedy reminded me how important time really is in news processing.  While Google News obviously doing much more than time analysis, you can get a lot with simple keyword search for news articles created within a range of time that starts with approximate time of event.  Also general culture or region specific shape of news propagation can be used to increase or decrease search weights.

By combining time analysis with language analysis, it should be possible to identify smaller waves of news within a larger wave.  In a sense, each propation of news is a synchronization in language, meaning we tend to use the words we are exposed to.

Implementation is rather simple but time consuming.  You look for a set of keywords and time range that returns the desired shape.  This process can be short-circuited by increasing weights on words used by search engine users during the same time period.

Hmm.  Looks like I got side-tracked.

Woes of Big Holidays

Egad.  One down, one more to go.  I hate big holidays because the big ones are actually three in one: Blah Eve, Blah itself, and After-Blah Sales Day.

On Blah Eve, my wife expects me to pay attention to her.  That means lots of kisses and lip service.  I wonder if the word Eve being the name of the first gal had something to do with this.

On the Blah Day, my wife expects me to pay attention to the family.  In modern terms, this means doing far more TV watching than my usual 30 minutes a day.  The worst part is that TV programming really sucks on such days.  Radio is even worse.

On the After-Blah Sales Day, my wife expects me to be invisible.  Actually she is the one that does the disappearing act from dawn til dusk.  If I happen to get up too early, I get the deathray look.  This morning, I got up just as she was putting on her shoes to go out shopping.  Oops.

Scoble Hunt

Scoble is getting a lot of heat for his Hi Bill post.  I don't see why they think he is crazy or accuse him of insulting the Windows Media team.  The only part that rubbed me the wrong way was the firing part.  The rest is just a post written by an employee who cares enough about the company he works for to hang his balls out the window.

Who cares if his suggestions don't make sense?  That's his blog.  Should bloggers be restricted to writing posts that make sense to everyone?  Well, up your foobar if you think so.

As to what I think about his post, I think his suggestions are good.  Good, not in the sense of success or brilliance, but in the sense that such change will be good for Microsoft even if the project fails.  Like people, companies don't learn or evolve while doing the same things the same ways.

Pokey Man

In case you are wondering what happend at the final poker tournament, things were going very smoothly for me until only five players were left, including me.  I had a decent size stack by that time but I made the mistake of fainting and jabbing when there were four really good players looking to score a KO.  In short, I failed to shift gear in time.

Two half-hearted plays knocked my stack down low enough for the leading player to swoop in to finish the kill.  I did receive a decent prize earlier for knocking out a former champion so my ego is still in a pretty good shape though.  Most importantly, I can now get some sleep.