Archive for the ‘thoughts’ Category

The Web

Posted on: June 18, 2006

Here is a manifesto called "Social Silicon Valleys" that describes by social innovation is important.

Here is an article where Jakob Nielsen, a big HCI guru, gives his views on the "Evolving Web".

Lastly, this is an article for The Edge that has caused a big stir in the blogosphere: Digital Maoism. Although I do not agree with these views, they are an interesting counterpoint to all my research :P


A report released by Consumers Union, Consumer Federation of American and Free Press states that if Congress does not support Net Neutrality, that the economic effects will be substantial.

"The proponents of network discrimination get the policy problem exactly backward," said Mark Cooper, director of research for the Consumer Federation of America. "They say we should not risk imposing Network Neutrality for fear of stifling competition and innovation. Yet it is Network Neutrality that has given us vibrant competition and innovation. The question Congress should be asking is why abandon network neutrality and risk destroying the Internet?"

See the press release here, and the full report here

Also, several musicians have come together and created a song for Net Neutrality. Listen /download the song and view lyrics here

I have used IStockphoto for at least 5 years now, and all of a sudden their business model gets a new name: Crowdsourcing. Instead of "outsourcing" to countries like India or China, Crowdsourcing relies "on the spare processing power of millions of human brains" from people that might live down the block or half-way across the world. Essentially, a bunch of amateurs get together on an Internet site and produce products that other’s can lease for a fraction of the cost of hiring a professional. I personally always thought that IStockphoto had some great stuff, and at only $1 a picture, it was certainly affordable (even to a poor college student!). Apparently this idea has spread:

"Technological advances in everything from product design software to digital video cameras are breaking down the cost barriers that once separated amateurs from professionals. Hobbyists, part-timers, and dabblers suddenly have a market for their efforts, as smart companies in industries as disparate as pharmaceuticals and television discover ways to tap the latent talent of the crowd. The labor isn’t always free, but it costs a lot less than paying traditional employees. It’s not outsourcing; it’s crowdsourcing."

View the full Wired article here:

Last semester I came up with an idea for my theoretical foundations class, and I thought it was a bit silly. My adviser totally loved it though, so now it has turned into my dissertation topic. I am going to be studying the social construction of knowledge on social bookmarking sites. I think I am mostly going to be concentrating on delicious. I am not sure exactly where this research will take me, but I am going to be writing a grant proposal to NSF in the summer. Since no one has actually done any significant research on social bookmarking, I am totally starting from scratch here which is a bit daunting to say the least. Good thing I have a few *years* to work on it. I think I will need all the time I can get!

Oh and I have recently (as in today), downloaded a desktop blog client, which I think will help me be a bit more posty. I usually have lots of things to post over the course of the week, but I hate logging into the web interface because its slow and clunky. So this is me taking Qumana for a spin, and hey its free, a poor PhD student couldn’t ask for more :)

Here is a video: The Death of the Internet?

Here is a petition:
Do you buy books online, use Google, or download to an iPod? Everything we do online will be hurt if Congress passes a radical law next week that gives giant corporations more control over what we do and see on the Internet.

Internet providers like AT&T are lobbying Congress hard to gut Network Neutrality–the Internet’s First Amendment and the key to Internet freedom. Net Neutrality prevents AT&T from choosing which websites open most easily for you based on which site pays AT&T more. doesn’t have to outbid Amazon for the right to work properly on your computer.

If Net Neutrality is gutted, many sites–including Google, eBay, and iTunes–must either pay protection money to companies like AT&T or risk having their websites process slowly. That why these high-tech pioneers, plus diverse groups ranging from MoveOn to Gun Owners of America, are opposing Congress’ effort to gut Internet freedom.

You can do your part today–can you sign this petition telling your member of Congress to preserve Internet freedom? Click here

I signed this petition, along with 250,000 others so far. This petiton will be delivered to Congress before the House of Representatives votes next week. When you sign, you’ll be kept informed of the next steps we can take to keep the heat on Congress., which monitors various causes that circulate on the Internet, explained:

Simply put, network neutrality means that no web site’s traffic has precedence over any other’s…Whether a user searches for recipes using Google, reads an article on, or looks at a friend’s MySpace profile, all of that data is treated equally and delivered from the originating web site to the user’s web browser with the same priority. In recent months, however, some of the telephone and cable companies that control the telecommunications networks over which Internet data flows have floated the idea of creating the electronic equivalent of a paid carpool lane.

If companies like AT&T have their way, Web sites ranging from Google to eBay to iTunes either pay protection money to get into the “fast lane” or risk opening slowly on your computer. We can’t let the Internet–this incredible medium which has been such a revolutionary force for democratic participation, economic innovation, and free speech–become captive to large corporations.

Politicians don’t think we are paying attention to this issue. Together, we do care about preserving the free and open Internet.

Please sign this petition letting your member of Congress know you support preserving Internet freedom. Click here


Good Quote

Posted on: March 31, 2006

“We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.” – Tom Stoppard

CRIA’s (the Canadian version of RIAA) own study counters P2P Claims

Here is a Sample:
“The survey asked for the sources of music on people’s computers.  Among those who download music from P2P services, the top source of music was ripping copies of their own CDs (36.4%), followed by P2P downloads (32.6%), paid downloads (20.1%), shared music from friends (8.8%), downloads from artist sites (5.6%), and other sources (2.9%).  In other words, even among those who download music from P2P services, the music acquired on those services account for only one-third of the music on their computers as store-bought CDs remain the single largest source of music for downloaders”

Here is a great piece explaining why you should choose to take math in high school (and I would add college as well):

Some Is a Highlight:

Choose math because you will make more money. Winners of American Idol and other “celebrities” may make money, but only a tiny number of people have enough celebrity to make money, and most of them get stale after a few years. Then it is back to school, or to less rewarding careers (“Would you like fries with that?”). If you skip auditions and the sports channels and instead do your homework — especially math — you can go on to get an education that will get you a well-paid job. Much more than what pop singers and sports stars make — perhaps not right away, but certainly if you look at averages and calculate it over a lifetime.”

I am going to be attending the Annual Sunbelt Social Networking Conference this year from April 25-30. Its in Vancouver this year, so I get to visit someplace new :) Here is my abstract:

The World Wide Web is filled with unreliable information, unscrupulous merchants, and malicious attacks. As a response, an increasing number of commercial websites have set up reputation systems in order to aid customers in evaluating products and services, as well as increase trust in the company. This paper proposes that we leverage an individual’s social network to extend beyond localized and branded reputation systems in the evaluation of website authenticity and reliability. This paper will present historical data from early print culture to demonstrate that people have formerly relied on social networks to negotiate saturated and uncertain information environments. Unreliable information was evaluated through the transfer of trust inherent in personal networks to entities outside of the network. Furthermore, current research findings indicate that individuals continue to rely on trust transfer via social networks for information evaluation in complex environments such as the Internet. Drawing on historical experience, this paper will discuss how social networks can be leveraged to create a more trustworthy and reliable environment in the new print medium, the Internet.

I was the graduate researcher for the ACM Job Migration Study. Now that the report has been released, its getting a good amount of press coverage. Here are some highlights:


NYT story:

NYT Editorial:

Its gotten lots more hits, but there are good highlights.

Alla Zollers

I design products and services that just. make. sense.

When products make sense, customers are happy.

If customer are happy, they sign-up, stay on site, engage, share, and buy your product or service.

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I provide the following services:

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