Bill Gates on Catalytic Philanthropy

Reads like one of those quotes that you’ll eventually see in the authorized auto/biography of Gates in a couple of decades (if he doesn’t cure death first)…

We work to draw in not just governments but also businesses, because that’s where most innovation comes from. I’ve heard some people describe the economy of the future as “post-corporatist and post-capitalist”—one in which large corporations crumble and all innovation happens from the bottom up. What nonsense. People who say things like that never have a convincing explanation for who will make drugs or low-cost carbon-free energy. Catalytic philanthropy doesn’t replace businesses. It helps more of their innovations benefit the poor.

via Bill Gates: Here’s My Plan to Improve Our World — And How You Can Help | Wired Business | Wired.com.

O’Connor’s Prayer Journal

Parker’s Back is still one of my favorite stories, and I’ll definitely be picking this up:

She sensed that the act of creation in both was not her own. “My dear God,” she wrote, “how stupid we people are until You give us something. Even in praying it is You who have to pray in us.” Like the Psalmist who asked God for words to pray, O’Connor believed that words themselves are a gift from God. She wrote, “There is a whole sensible world around me that I should be able to turn to Your praise; but I cannot do it. Yet at some insipid moment when I may possibly be thinking of floor wax or pigeon eggs, the opening of a beautiful prayer may come up from my subconscious and lead me to write something exalted.”

via Inheritance and Invention: Flannery O’Connor’s Prayer Journal : The New Yorker.

Twitter Learns from Pinterest

While tools like Storify have been doing something similar to this, Twitter’s newly unveiled custom timelines feature could be incredibly popular (and valuable for your business):

Starting today, we are introducing the ability to create custom timelines in TweetDeck. Custom timelines, which were just announced, are a new type of timeline that you control by selecting the Tweets you want to include.

via Twitter Announces Custom Timelines For Hashtags Or Topics On Tweetdeck, Launching API Too.

For instance, here’s a quick curated timeline I just put together:

Why are these important and not just another random Twitter feature that only a few power users will use?

Think of this as the ability to “pin” Tweets into curated lists as you would do with images around certain topics on Pinterest. While you can do something like that by favoriting tweets (something I love to do), being able to assemble tweets in a non-timed based manner and more focused on certain hashtags or topics is exactly what Twitter needed to compete with other social services.

It looks like Twitter learned a great deal from Pinterest here and this is going to be popular with live sports events and reality shows like The Voice (pictured above). Your business could benefit.

Google’s Hummingbird and the Importance of Social Signals

Google’s new Hummingbird engine for search is finally starting to give us some clues as to what Google is prioritizing in its algorithms now (mainly mobile and contextual).

Here are a couple of good sources and videos for you to ponder while you plan out your site’s marketing strategy.

Both links and social signals are forms of social proof, but they have different aspects to how they work and what is involved. For that reason, I expect there will be differences in how they are applied by Google. Regardless, building your reputation across many platforms and getting lots of different types of social proof signals is the heart of online marketing these days.

via What Everybody Missed About Hummingbird: Social Signals.

We can focus on the root of the matter: the major reason that Google has rolled out Hummingbird is because it wants to offer relevant and helpful results to conversational, voice searches. By creating content that is suitable for mobile users, you can optimize it for the Hummingbird algorithm.

via Six Vital Google Hummingbird Questions Answered.

While the Panda and Penguin updates were more punitive in nature, Google is giving out prescriptions for webmasters now. Namely, make sure your content is relevant to mobile users and more easily found in a “conversational” context.

The iPod is 12

Still amazing to watch all these years later (start at min 24 for a glimpse of pure joy if you don’t have time to watch the whole thing):

I can’t believe the iPod is twice the age of my oldest child, but I’m glad she’s growing up in a world of music sharing and discovery made more possible by that device.

The iPod first went on sale 12 years ago | TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog.

Now I need to go dig up my Gen 1 and Gen 2 iPods from whatever drawer they may be haunting…

What’s After Web 2.0?

My pal Wayne Porter and I got into a fun spat almost seven years ago about what web 2.0 meant for marketers. We had a similar “what’s next” private convo on Facebook a couple of nights ago regarding Twitter’s very successful IPO.

Seeing Twitter hit the mainstream over the last few years and now being a big public company has been weird to say the least. Not to compare, but I imagine the apostles felt the same kind of bittersweet “what now?” moment after seeing the early Jesus movement take off under Paul etc (yes, grossly simplified).

But what’s next?

Is there a web 3.0? Wearables like Google Glass?

I don’t know… it’s a strange world and we need new descriptive science fiction to point the way.

Here’s Dave Winer on the topic:

New models for communication can develop, independent of the needs of the companies that run the Web 2.0 servers. I don’t think Web 2.0 will go away, but a new net can take its place beside it. And that’s all that’s needed to boot up a new layer.

via Why the Web 2.0 model is obsolete.

Why isn’t Thomas Whitley in this competition?

Science Magazine has posted the 12 finalist videos from its annual Dance Your PhD contest. The contest asks scientists from around the world to send in videos of themselves interpreting their research in dance form. As usual, this year’s finalists have gone all out with some wacky, fun, and just plain bizarre videos. You can vote for your favorite, with the winner and reader’s choice announced on November 21.

http://m.slashdot.org/story/194043

Writing on the Wall

I definitely just ordered Writing on the Wall as it combines two of my favorite things… the social internet and anthropological archaeology…

Papyrus rolls and Twitter have much in common: They were their generation’s signature means of “instant” communication. Indeed, as Tom Standage reveals in his scintillating new book, social media is anything but a new phenomenon. Cicero’s web is just one of many historical antecedents of today’s social media. Other prominent examples include the circulation of letters and other documents in the early Christian church; the torrent of printed tracts which circulated in 16th-century Germany, triggering the Reformation; the passing from hand to hand of gossip-laden poetry in the Tudor and Stuart courts; the duelling political pamphlets with which Royalists and Parliamentarians courted public opinion during the English Civil War; the first scientific journals and correspondence societies, which enabled far-flung scientists to discuss and build upon each other’s work; the handwritten poems and newsletters of pre-Revolutionary France, which spread gossip from Paris throughout the country; and the revolutionary pamphlets and local papers that rallied support for American independence. Such social-media systems arose frequently because, for most of human history, social networks were the dominant means by which information spread, in either spoken or written form.

via Writing on the Wall | tomstandage.com.

Wow.

How To Setup Nexus 5 Stock Notifications

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Yes, it’s all come to this… python scripts (or you can follow @n5stock on Twitter but that’s too easy).

We’re a desperate lot.

Nevertheless, this is pretty awesome if you as excited about the hopefully imminent Nexus 5 launch as I am (my beloved Nexus 4 is long in the tooth and pretty smashed up).

Howto: Setup Nexus 5 Stock Notifications

via Howto: Setup Nexus 5 Stock Notifications : Android.

R.I.P. Lou Reed

“Oh, it’s such a perfect day
I’m glad I spend it with you
Oh, such a perfect day
You just keep me hanging on”

Lou Reed, a massively influential songwriter and guitarist who helped shape nearly fifty years of rock music, died today. The cause of his death has not yet been released, but Reed underwent a liver transplant in May.

via Lou Reed, Velvet Underground Leader and Rock Pioneer, Dead at 71 | Rolling Stone.

Is Our Universe a Computer Simulation?

I never get tired of reading articles pondering whether our universe is a computer simulation / hologram.

Now we just need the Ancient Aliens guy to explain how trans-dimensional mice created the original computer to figure out the question with the answer of 42…

As cosmic particles fly through the universe, they lose energy and change direction and spread out across a spectrum of energy values. There’s a known limit to how much energy those particles have, though, and Beane and his colleagues have calculated that this seemingly arbitrary cliff in the spectrum is consistent with the kind of boundary that you’d find if there was an underlying lattice governing the limits of a simulator. It should also, if present, scatter the particles in a certain way as they come up against it, and we should be able to investigate whether that’s the case. 

via Cosmic rays offer clue our universe could be a computer simulation Wired UK.

What Happens When You Just Give Money To Poor People?

As a Christian (not to mention a human), I think it’s our duty to give to others without stipulations and without strings when we can.

I appreciate the sentiment from people who like to make “care packages” for the homeless or poor, but there’s a balance between dignity and help that has to be walked. Cash does the best job of transcending that line. I also appreciate the effort of wealthy people to give in other philanthropic ways, although those aren’t always what they are cracked up to be and can be more self-serving than not.

I give cash. I’m a sucker. But I’m called to be foolish.

Read the first comment on the article if you have time…

“We don’t see people spending money on alcohol and tobacco,” he says. “Instead we see them investing in their kids’ education, we see them investing in health care. They buy more and better food.”

via What Happens When You Just Give Money To Poor People? : Planet Money : NPR.

I don’t say it often, but George W Bush was on the money here.

L.A.’s iPad Conundrum

I just re-checked the Apple site because I’m utterly confused as to why the L.A. school district would be buying $770 iPads when the $499 models are perfectly fine for school use (helped with a few deployments myself over the past few years).

I’m guessing they went with the 64 GB wifi models ($699 retail) for some reason (oh but students will need lots of space because more is better and the cloud is insecure!) instead of the perfectly reasonable and much cheaper 16 GB $499 models?

Weird.

According to the L.A. Times, a new school district budget shows that iPads will cost $770 each. Apple’s discount on the tablets doesn’t kick in until the District buys at least 520,000 of them. That will cost approximately $400 million. In a statement to the Times, officials said that earlier cost estimates, “preceded the actual procurement process.” The District went on to say, “The negotiated discount [i.e. $678] does not go into effect until the district has reached the $400-million spending threshold.”

via L.A. Unified’s iPad Rollout is Way Over Budget | PadGadget.

And who goes ahead with an order this large (and with this much national scrutiny) when you don’t have the final price from Apple nailed down??

New math indeed.

I don’t understand bureaucracies (and evidently they don’t understand technology or bulk purchasing or business economics).

Reconstructing Ancient Greek Music

Ancient_Greece_Music_Lesson

After studying attic and koine Greek for years in college and graduate school, I always wondered what their sing-song language would have actually spoken if I could have “Bill and Ted’ed” it back into ancient Greece.

This is pretty amazing…

One of D’Agour’s colleagues, David Creese, from the University of Newcastle, managed to play a song inscribed on a more than 2,000-year-old marble column. The tune is credited to Seikilos, and Creese played it on a zither-like instrument he constructed. 

via Classicists Reconstruct the Sound of Greek Music – Archaeology Magazine.

Instagram Gives a Preview of Its Sponsored Ads

Instagram is rolling out a preview of its coming ads with an example from Levi…

Now, Instagram, in a blog post today, revealed what ads will look like on the platform. It turns out, they look like any other Instagram photo with a “sponsored” tag and the ability to like and comment.

via Facebook’s Instagram Reveals What Sponsored Ads Will Look Like | Adweek.

With Instagram’s popularity still rising, it will be interesting to see the public reaction (particularly among its younger users who have moved away from Facebook partly because of its monetization attempts).