Facebook Filtering • Future Siri • Hot Skydrive • The Great iPad Caper • Geek Gifts

It’s that time of year when Geek Gift Lists start appearing. What Geek wouldn’t appreciate their own jellyfish tank? See details at the bottom of this post.
Photo Credit: Betabella

Big Name Facebook Pages that Oppose Relevance Filters are Wrong

Businesses, non-profits and celebrities promote themselves on Facebook by setting up branded pages. Fans of these entities follow them by “liking” those pages. As a Facebook follower, you might think that by liking a page, you will see every update to it in your newsfeed. This is not the case; page posts are filtered for relevance and are not guaranteed to show up in follower’s feeds. Page owners can increase the size of their audience by paying Facebook for greater reach. Some prominent Facebook page owners, including George Takei and Mark Cuban are upset about this.

The typical Facebook page post is shown to only about 15% of followers. Über blogger Robert Scoble correctly explains that the filtering is necessary to keep us from being overwhelmed by noise. By implication, Takei and Cuban should welcome the filtering because it helps ensure that their fans receive the subset of content they will most appreciate.

Entrepreneur Dalton Caldwell posits that Facebook’s paid reach is “the unfurling of the full Facebook business model.” He makes a very salient observation: The best ad is indistinguishable from content.

I can summarize Scoble’s and Caldwell’s arguments succinctly in economic terms. Facebook users do not have the time and attention capacity to consume all the content that page owners produce. Users’ attention spans are a scarce commodity and can thus be efficiently allocated to page owners by selling them at a market clearing price. Since Facebook has the largest audience and arguably the most sophisticated social media relevance algorithms, it is well placed to profit as the intermediary in the transaction.

Here’s Dalton Caldwell’s article, worth reading in its entirety.

Dalton Caldwell

Siri, Google and Semantic Search

In a thought-provoking post, anonymous blogger Kontra argues that Siri has the potential to beat Google at semantic search because it has access to more of its users’ personal details. For example, a future evolution of Siri could infer a more personalized meaning of ‘nice’ in a search for a ‘nice restaurant’ because it would have access to details of the user’s budget and/or spending—my middle-class definition of ‘nice’ may be very different from that of a multi-millionaire’s. Future Siri could take this into account in providing a recommendation that’s appropriate for me. I’m not sure Kontra’s implicit assumption that future Google Search will have less access to personal data than future Siri is correct, but Kontra’s notion to semantic search can work better with access to deep personal data is undoubtedly correct. If you’re interested in or work with semantic search, the blog post is worth reading.


If You Haven’t Paid Attention to Skydrive Lately, It’s Time to Look Again

The Microsoft Skydrive team has been rolling out innovations left and right the past few months, including easy-to-use clients for Windows and and Mac OS X as well as Windows Phone, iOS and Android.

This past week, the SkyDrive app for Windows was updated to allow selective sync, letting users choose which files to sync to each of their devices.

Ed Bott

The recent improvements have led to Skydrive usage doubling over the last 6 months.

Microsoft Windows Blogs

The (Almost) Great iPad Caper

A John F. Kennedy International Airport worker and his still-at-large accomplices made off with 3,600 iPad minis from a JFK cargo building. Perhaps they were channeling the ghosts of the infamous 1978 Lufthansa heist, in which thieves stole almost $6 million of cash and jewels from the same facility. Their leader, gangster Jimmy Burke, subsequently decided to murder everyone associated with the robbery. It’s a fascinating True Crime story, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Back to the present, it didn’t take federal agents long to track down the inside man. The agents had no trouble connecting the dots after co-workers recalled that the thief had asked questions about the iPad shipment and also about where to get a forklift.

$2 Million worth of iPads remain missing.

PC Magazine

Tech Briefs


  1. Apple’s stock price falls to lowest point in six months. Ars Technica
  2. Apple Granted Patent for Their Page Turn Animation. Good e-Reader
  3. Nokia to Offer Its Maps for iPhones and Android Phones – NYTimes.com. NYTimes Bits Blog
  4. Apple Gives In to Employee Perks. Wall Street Journal
  5. Evernote overhauls its Mac app with shortcuts and modified search. CNET


  1. Launches Ingress, a Worldwide Mobile Alternate Reality Game. AllThingsD
  2. Google is threatened with litigation on multiple fronts as U.S. and European regulators examine its business. The Guardian
  3. Google Preps Maps App for Apple Devices. Wall Street Journal
  4. Google’s High-Speed Internet Experiment Spawns Prairie Startups. Wall Street Journal
  5. Google Fiber is live in Kansas City, real-world speeds at 700Mbps. Ars Technica
  6. Google TV update adds voice control, taps into Knowledge Graph. Will version 3.0 finally get traction in the market? GigaOM
  7. Google Releases Search App For Microsoft Surface & Windows RT. Search Engine Land
  8. It appears that by leveraging Google’s Android operating system Samsung has become more profitable than Google itself. Asymco


  1. Microsoft CEO Ballmer suggests more hardware coming. Reuters
  2. Microsoft updates its Windows Embedded roadmap; Embedded 8 Handheld is alive. ZDNet
  3. At Microsoft, Sinofsky Seen as Smart but Abrasive. New York Times
  4. Sinofsky denies he tried to take over the Windows Phone division. The Verge
  5. Early data shows Surface as most popular Windows 8/RT device. Neowin
  6. Tests show Microsoft Surface RT has the best standard resolution display in its category. ZDNet
  7. Microsoft begs Web devs not to make WebKit the new IE6. Ars Technica
  8. Why Microsoft Says the Patent System Is Peachy Keen. Wired


  1. Jeff Bezos , the ‘ultimate disrupter,’ named Fortune’s Businessperson of the Year. GeekWire
  2. Netflix CEO Says Amazon Losing $1 Billion/Year on Streaming Video. AllThingsD
  3. Retailers Put Black Friday Specials Online. Wall Street Journal
  4. One Man’s Search for a Doctor Led to the Creation of Yelp. Wall Street Journal
  5. Zynga CEO Mark Pincus is striving to save the company. Wall Street Journal
  6. AT&T to offer Samsung’s Android-powered Galaxy Camera for $500 starting Nov. 16. 9to5Google
  7. Nintendo Wii U review. Engadget
  8. As Boom Lures App Creators, Tough Part Is Making a Living. New York Times
  9. Yahoo! plots alliance with Facebook in new search deal. The Telegraph
  10. The tech team and system that helped Obama win the election. The Atlantic
  11. Russia demands broad UN role in Net governance, leak reveals. CNET
  12. Twitter and developers, a love story. The Next Web
  13. Kill the Password: Why a String of Characters Can’t Protect Us Anymore. Wired
  14. PS3 neck and neck with Xbox 360 at 70 million consoles sold worldwide. The Verge
  15. Yahoo CEO Mayer Cuts End-of-Year “Week of Rest” for Employees and Prepares to identify bottom 20 percent of staff. AllThingsD

Just One More: Geek Holiday Gift Lists

The holiday season is almost upon us and it seems like every newspaper, magazine and blog feels obliged to publish a list entitled something like “20 great tech gifts for the nerd in your life.” The thing is, I look at these and think that I could care less about 99% of the featured products. I may have to compile my own list for an upcoming blog post. In the meantime, I just came across one of the first geek gift lists of this holiday season. It unfortunately features some of the usual ‘meh’ items such as novelty-shaped speakers and an “office chair strength trainer” that could have been featured on an episode of “The Office.” There are some cool things too, including:

See the entire list at ZDNet

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