Archive for March, 2007

Why to Not Not Start a Startup

Why to Not Not Start a Startup


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Rich Speaks Again: How to beat Google, part 1

Rich Speaks Again:

Every so often, Rich gets up and rips one off. His most recent is called “How to beat Google, part 1.”

From it:

Our entire industry is scared witless by Google’s dominance in search and advertising. Microsoft and Yahoo have been unsuccessful at staunching the bleeding of their search market share. VCs parrot the Google PR FUD machine that you need giant datacenters next to hydroelectric dams to compete. They spout nonsense about how startups should just use Alexa’s crawl and put some ajax on top of it. Ye gods.

Grow a spine people! You have a giant growing market with just one dominant competitor, not even any real #2. You’re going to do clean-tech energy saving software to shut off lightbulbs in high-rises instead? Pfft. Get a stick and try to knock G’s crown off.

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All hail the Java-based x86 emulator | Reg Developer

All hail the Java-based x86 emulator | Reg Developer:
Researchers at Oxford have built an x86 emulator that runs purely on Java, making it ideal for security researchers who want to analyze and archive viruses, host honeypots and defend themselves against buggy or malicious software without hosing their machines. The JPC also emulates a host of other environments, giving technophiles the ability to play Asteroids and other software that’s sat on shelves for years collecting dust.

What’s more, JPC will run on any device with a Java virtual machine, so cell phones, set-top boxes and RISC systems are all fair game, according to researchers in the university’s physics department, where the project was developed.

“Some might see JPC as part of a nefarious plot by mad scientists who want to harness every last CPU in the world for their research – but we prefer to see JPC as Java-hardened protection against their buggy programs,” they say. JPC’s Java-based architecture gives it cross-platform capability, the security of running code in the Java sandbox and the flexibility of configuring virtualization platforms and software libraries.

JPC emulates other environments, including the Commodore 64, Atari ST, Nintendo and ZX Spectrum. The researchers boast its x86 emulation, at 10 per cent native speed, puts it among the fastest x86 emulators.

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An idol market: a prediction market for American idol

An idol market:

American Idol market on BixI always get asked to gaze into the future. As I review the top searches on Yahoo! day after day, week after week, year after year, people think I’ve developed some magic soothsaying powers. Sadly, it just isn’t so.

When people ask about using search as a predictor, I have to tell them past search behavior isn’t always indicative of future performance. Although it makes me sound like a mutual fund manager, it helps to illustrate that search behavior is often reactive. Reactions to scandal, shock, and surprise fuel scads of searches. To wit — if searches were the only gauge, Antonella Barba would be your next “American Idol.” Raw searches illustrate, but they can’t connect all the dots.
That’s where the Bix team fills in the picture. They’ve created a dream tool for all Idol fans — a true prediction market for Idol contestants.
In talking to Mike Speiser and John Hayes from Bix, it’s obvious they love Idol’s premise. Hey, the voting process is what makes Bix so awesome. The entire team is curious about what happens when we come to decisions collectively. With that concept firmly in mind, the Idol market was born.
Mike calls it a “really cool research experiment,” but the usefulness of the Idol contestant market is immediately apparent to fans of the show. Who wouldn’t want to buy 10 shares of Lakisha or Melinda right now? However, the key to success is buying low and selling high. So if you think Stephanie Edwards is an undervalued asset, put up the virtual dough and dive in. I’ve signed up as erikg and although I can’t share my investment strategy with you, I doubt you’ll find me on the leaderboard… yet.
The more Idol players we get, the more efficiently the market operates. And if the Idol market works, just imagine other concepts you can extend it to. I can assure you the smart folks at Bix are already letting their imaginations run wild…
BTW: For the geeks out there, this isn’t Yahoo!’s first foray into prediction markets or automated market makers. Our own research scientist Dave Pennock launched the Tech Buzz Game in 2005 and is organizing an academic workshop on these markets in June. In fact, Dave lent sage advice to the Bix team in developing their game.
Erik Gunther
Senior Editor|Writer, Yahoo! Buzz

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John Backus has passed away

John Backus has passed away:

John Backus, inventor of FORTRAN, the BNF, and winner of the 1977 Turing Award, has passed away. New York Times has an obituary. I’m sure the more eloquent members of LtU will have much to say about him, so I’ll just point out that his Turing Award lecture is an absolute classic, and seems to be more relevant than ever. My condolences to the Backus family and friends.

I was not a big fan of Fortran but I used BNF a lot when designing languages and grammars for domain specific languages.

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TWITTER: Talk isn’t cheap

TWITTER: Talk isn’t cheap:

Jasoncalacanis-1Twitter binging comes with a price, as Jason Calacanis discovered Sunday. The Weblogs Inc co-founder, now a Sequoia Capital “entrepreneur in action,” racked up a $236.70 bill on his T-Mobile plan for having the chatty “microblogging” service send 2,367 status messages to his cellphone. Maybe there’s a business opportunity here for Evan Williams’ Twitter — teaming up with T-Mobile to reach the market of savvy entrepreneurs who have trouble choosing the right cellphone plan. The ultimate irony? Calacanis couldn’t stop himself from posting to Twitter about it. Sunday he returned to the service to report one more update to his status. “Crushed by twitter bill.” DC

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Fabrice Grinda: Musings of an Entrepreneur » 9 Business Selection Criteria

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