Facebook & privacy

News feeds are one of the main features of Facebook. After all they might represent the Facebook answer to AdWords, with targeted ads based on the profile of the users and their social network.

At the same time, news feeds reveal a lot about yourself to your social networks and it is important to understand the implications for your privacy such as Facebook’s News Feed Knows What You Did Last Summer.

John Battelle reports some links and describes some of the implications both for Facebook users and Facebook itself.

Fooled by Randomness

Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets, is an interesting book by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

This book was a Financial Times best business book of the year and One of the Smartest Books of all Time (Fortune). I cannot really say if it is the smartest book, but it was a nice read. The new book from Taleb is The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable .

Reviews of his books from the major newspapers can be found in Nassim Nicholas Taleb website.

How to Write a Spelling Corrector

Who better than Peter Norvig , director of research at Google, can write an essay on how to write a spelling corrector.

type in a search like [speling] and Google comes back in 0.1 seconds or so with Did you mean: spelling.
In the essay he provides a simple example of spelling corrector in 21 lines of Python source code. His website is interesting and contains other various essays.

Google acquires Jaiku

Google acquires Jaiku, a Finnish start-up which created a presence-blogging service platform made by the integration of the web with mobile phones (called microblogging). (click here for Jaiku web site)
A similar service is twitter, popular in USA.

Interesting to see how Jaiku will evolve with Google, overall the idea is good. Actually, the context watcher application, developed during the MobiLife project, had similar features and more advanced ones. But that was a prototype application with research on context awareness in mind, while these are products.

Google acquires Jaiku from NYT

Playing games in a real-virtual world

An interesting evolution of gaming with the use of terrain and metadata from Google Earth.
Google Earth And 3D Warehouse Opened Up To ‘Game Developers

Second life brought you the experiences of a virtual world. In this case virtual worlds are created using real data.
See John Battelle´s post, Google v. Second Life? No Contest:
I’m going to guess that Google’s version is going to be all about reality, and mashing up AdWords, Google Earth, Sketchup, and the Yellow Pages/Google Local. The two will live quite nicely one next to the other, and most folks who use one will probably not see using the other as even

Cloud Computing

From NYT  Google and I.B.M. Join in ‘Cloud Computing’ Research.

Cloud computing research try to find the answers on how to build large data centers with an infrastructure that can scale, offer processing power and data integrity.
All essential ingredients if you want to create a successful Internet service.

With a blog post with the title let a thousand servers bloom Google presents the initiative and some educational material.
Very interesting five-part video lecture series (originally offered to Google Engineering interns) that introduces some of the fundamental concepts of large-scale cluster computing.

Career planning

Nice post by Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, on career planning, I suggest to read it through , an excerpt is below:

If you want an average successful life, it doesn’t take much planning. Just stay out of trouble, go to school, and apply for jobs you might like. But if you want something extraordinary, you have two paths:

1. Become the best at one specific thing.
2. Become very good (top 25%) at two or more things.

The first strategy is difficult to the point of near impossibility. Few people will ever play in the NBA or make a platinum album. I don’t recommend anyone even try.

The second strategy is fairly easy. Everyone has at least a few areas in which they could be in the top 25% with some effort. In my case, I can draw better than most people, but I’m hardly an artist. And I’m not any funnier than the average standup comedian who never makes it big, but I’m funnier than most people. The magic is that few people can draw well and write jokes. It’s the combination of the two that makes what I do so rare. And when you add in my business background, suddenly I had a topic that few cartoonists could hope to understand without living it.

Interesting posts of Marc Andreessen on career planning:

Nokia to buy Navteq

Nokia has agreed to pay $8.1bn (£4.0bn) for the US-based digital map supplier Navteq, but there are some concerns that it may be offering too much.

Well, it seems Nokia has paid a bit too much, considering that Tom Tom offered for the rival company Tele Atlas only $2.6bn.
However this is a great and important step for Nokia, the world’s biggest cellphone maker, that it is renewing itself to become, as the CEO OPK stated, an Internet company.

Still long way to go, but let´s not forget that Nokia has gone through big transformations during its life-time. A bit of history here:

Nokia, the telecommunication Finnish company, takes its name from the town were it was founded in 1865. At that time, Nokia was a conglomerate of three very different businesses and had its roots in paper, rubber, and cables. In the 1970s and 1980s Nokia expanded its activity into the area of consumer electronics (especially television), while a small part of the group began the development of mobile phones and digital communication exchange. The mobile era begins in 1981 when the first international mobile phone network was built. This network was based on the Nordic Mobile Telephone (NMT) standard and it was initially limited to Nordic countries. In 1987 the GSM standard was adopted. GSM stands for Global System for Mobile communications and it was a standard aimed at a widespread adoption worldwide. On July 1, 1991, Finnish Prime Minister Harri Holkeri made the worlds first GSM call, using Nokia equipment. Nokia launched its first digital hand held GSM phone, the Nokia 1011, in 1992.