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书评 | oprah time | 서평

Oprah Time: Nexus: Small Worlds and the Groundbreaking Theory of Networks by Mark Buchanan

Reading Time: < 1 minute

I met up with Tim Hoang earlier in January and he marked this book for my reading list. The book’s primary goal is explaining the Small World phenomenon as a modern network theory.

Buchanan begins by explaining Stanley Milgram’s social network experiment of the sixties which revealed that there are rarely more than six steps between any two people on the planet – now known as the principle of six degrees of separation – by which popular culture has forever attached to actor Kevin Bacon. He then goes on to explain the clustering tendency of connections in our social networks, in the web and in nature.

Loose connections bridge from one cluster to the next. The author moves beyond network modeling to show how small world theory can be used to understand a diverse range of phenomena from the numbers and location of tributaries to major rivers through to how the AIDS virus spread.

The ideas in the book are as powerful as chaos theory was a decade ago. explaining the Small World phenomenon in this readable and well balanced account of modern network theory. Nexus: Small Worlds and the Groundbreaking Theory of Networks by Mark Buchanan

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初 | hygiene | 기본

Links of the day

Reading Time: < 1 minute

EETimes.com – Analysis: Japan’s electronics giants face inevitable breakup

 

Microsoft Chief Still Stuck on Yahoo – DealBook Blog – NYTimes.com

Ballmer: Office 14 not this year | All about Microsoft | ZDNet.com

TWEAKBENCH – free VST plugins for windows. free VST instruments and free VST effects

Ballmer on iPhone: Mr. Mojo Risin – Microsoft knocked out of 4th place in world phone OS stakes

MeGlobe | Instant Messaging with Language Translation, Free IM Chat! – nice site that gives Meebo a run for its money and has great translation

My MidemNet Presentation: Trent Reznor And The Formula For Future Music Business Models | Techdirt

easyHotel: How to Make Cheap Look Not-So-Cheap – PSFK.com

Twitterverse for PR – PR Week

Debunking Six Social Media Myths – BusinessWeek – another voice on social media isn’t free advertising

Categories
创造力 | innovation | 독창성 思想 | ideas | 생각

What’s so high about high technology?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Information technology has been called high technology for years in a reverential way. Lots of smart things have happened in the computing field over the past three decades. Computers have become our constant companions as smartphones, netbooks and laptops.

Internet access is now a necessity rather than the luxury it was ten years ago.

However most of the major innovations that facilitated these changes come from the late 1960s and 1970s. Operating systems and computing paradigms owe a lot to Doug Engelbart, SRI, Xerox PARC, Bell Labs work on UNIX and the DARPA investments in packet networks. With the exception of MapReduce and Hadoop facilitating cloud computing for the likes of Google and Yahoo! pretty much everything else were systematic iterative improvements or if you want to be less charitable window dressing on top of these innovations.

So why is IT treated so reverently as being a more innovative, more worthy technology: high technology? The ironic thing is that some of the deepest areas of research are going into surprising low-tech areas. Nano-technology into sun screen, or materials science innovations in the food and consumer packaged goods industries. A great example of this is Procter & Gamble.

Now I work for a PR agency so what would I really know about innovation? Prior to working in PR, I helped develop four commercially successful products that were subsequently patented. One of which was for a plastic that laminated toughened glass sheets together making this glass sandwich bulletproof. It frequently saved lives, occasionally when it failed we were sent samples of the glass back for us to find out what went wrong.

Contrast this with if your computer fails, you can’t get into your email account or Twitter goes down. Ok, that’s a bit trivial: computing also keeps us alive with it allowing a mass-market audience for anti-lock brakes and defibrillators.

That doesn’t take us away from the fact that we accept a lower standard of relability in IT. Thinking about other technologies, we turn on a tap and expect clean water under an appropriate pressure come out, or switch on lamp and expect the darkness to disappear immediately. Contrast this with the reliability we accept from computers: rebooting after a freeze, the blue screen of death or the experience of the Thai government minister held hostage in his bullet-proof limousine by computer failure.

IT is important, but we shouldn’t delude ourselves that innovation is purely about the computer. If you have an open and enquiring mind it can be found everywhere from potato chips and other consumer-packaged goods to heavy industrial plant. A great example of this is the occasional ‘What’s Inside’ section that Wired Magazine does each month. After reading about what goes into simple household times like contact lens solution even a crass simpleton should be able to start and appreciate the innovation all around us.