Notable bits

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Large-scale graph computing at Google 

In Pregel, programs are expressed as a sequence of iterations. In each iteration, a vertex can, independently of other vertices, receive messages sent to it in the previous iteration, send messages to other vertices, modify its own and its outgoing edges' states, and mutate the graph's topology

Geeking with Greg: On the front lines of the Netflix Prize 

We found that most nearest-neighbor techniques work best on 50 or fewer neighbors, which means these methods can't exploit all the information a viewer's ratings may contain. Latent-factor models have the opposite weakness: They are bad at detecting strong associations among a few closely related films, such as The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

What’s your business mantra 

Because it’s easy to get sidetracked (or just blinded by all of the possibilities out there) I often suggest to companies that they come up with a “mantra”. It’s oversimplified and doesn’t work for every situation (and of course needs to be revisited as the business changes over time) but the idea is to boil the key drivers of the company down to a sentence or two – maybe some broad categories that define they most important areas of focus or possibly something that looks like a statement of purpose.

Ruby slippers 

If you could make one thing come true that would change everything for your project, do you know what the one thing would be?

But for many sites, many companies, there isn't a thing. They can't articulate it. They have no wish. If you have no wish, how can it possibly come true?

Free and Geeky Places Worth Visiting in California - Travel Tips from John Graham-Cumming, Author of The Geek Atlas 

In the San Francisco Chronicle, John Graham-Cumming recently detailed five uber-geeky spots in California and Nevada that won't cost you a penny to visit. From visiting the Computer History Museum to checking out the Joint Genome Institute, even if you're traveling on a budget you'll find plenty to do.

Adding HTML entities using CSS content 

How do you use the CSS content property to add html entities?

A Lesson From Morty 

But the point Morty made rang true to me and I've lived by his rule ever since. I never ever say that a specific provision is "standard". Nothing is standard. You either need it or you don't. Explain why

What Drives Consumer Adoption Of New Technologies? 

So it seems to me that consumers are driven to new experiences that are simple and useful and/or entertaining. It is not enough to be the first to market with a new technology. You have to be the first to market with a version of the technology that is simple and easy to use.

Let's take ten of the most popular new consumer technology products in recent years

  • iPhone - mobile browser with a killer touch screen interface
  • Facebook - a social net with real utility
  • Wii - gesture based user interface for gaming
  • Hulu - your favorite TV shows in a fantastic web UI
  • FlipCam - a video cam that fits in your pocket comfortably
  • Rock Band - everyone can be a rock star for a few minutes
  • Mafia Wars - a natively social game built for social nets
  • Blogger - a printing press for everyone
  • Pandora - drop dead simple personalized radio
  • Twitter - blogging everyone can do in less than a minute

Extremely good comments:

Pierre here

Sometimes the best products / innovations are the ones which are open for everybody else to innovate on top of them. I call this innovation^2 (squared).

Finally products need to be simple, viral, usable, and FAST (eg. to adopt, understand, use etc.) - users have less and less time available for new products.

Steven Kane here

peer pressure - "so many people i know are into this, its not so alien, I should try it" (facebook, iphone, twitter)

media saturation - "i keep hearing so much about this, i should check it out" (facebook, iphone, twitter, wii, blogging, guitar hero, rock band, most "green" things)

familiarity - "oh that's new but so similar to what I already know and like, why not?" (mafia wars, hulu, twitter, pandora)

anxiety and insecurity - "holy moley it feels like everyone is into this, i don't want to be a luddite or out of fashion, i better check it out" (iphone, twitter, facebook, most "green" things)

Jim Kerr (long comment worth reading it all)

The most important engine driving consumer adoption of new technologies is when they remove an artificial barrier to consumer desire. I describe this as "consumers abhor a vacuum." The company that can fill this vacuum will have consumers flocking to its doors.

Ian Stewart (long comment worth reading it all) brings up: relative advantage, compatibility, simplicity, trialability, observability.

johndodds: Simplicity and purpose

Hemlock: An Open-Source Real-Time Web Platform 

Hemlock, a new open-source framework for building real time web apps in Flash with an XMPP back-end has been released by MintDigital, a development shop in London and New York