31 Jul

Sony, Yahoo! cut co-branding deal

MSNBC:

"Under the terms of the agreement, Sony Corp. of America and Yahoo! will develop and distribute a Web site called Sony on My Yahoo!, and the portal giant will feature Sony electronic products on its shopping page as well as provide consulting services and content integration and promotion"

Hmm, looks like a deal empty of any substance. We’ll see what features and content the Yany’s site will come up with.
Update: The Vaguest Deal Of The Century.

31 Jul

The Usability of Usability

interview with Jared Spool:

"Usability is not usable! It doesn’t work. It doesn’t produce the results we promise it will. And we get angry when people stop paying attention to us. As a profession, we need to spend a lot more resources on basic research. We need to stop thinking that there are pat, one-size-fits-all solutions to every problem. And we need to align ourselves with the business goals more directly."

31 Jul

What is Reptile?

Reptile is:

"[…] an easy way to share information with others on the Internet in a distributed and efficient manner. Generally this information is news syndicated through RSS but Reptile can support any content type including other XML formats and potentially binary data […] Reptile also includes integration of a Reputation Management Framework (RMF) which is used to eliminate useless information. […] Basically you could think of reputation in terms of a very advanced collaborative filtering system or an Advogato type trust metric (which we plan on implementing)."

Update: this project turned into Newsmonster in 2002.

30 Jul

No Option to Strong Dollar Policy

Jim Griffin:

"It’s a bad idea, for all concerned, to let key currencies get so far out of alignment, but Americans can run only American economic policies. On this side of the water, there is no alternative to a strong dollar policy. If the rest of the world will not take effective action to bring their own economies up to speed, there may be no way, finally, to avoid an unnecessary global recession. […] The U.S.’ interest-sensitive, nontradable housing sector can’t indefinitely propel the global economy."

I’m struggling to get a better grasp on macroeconomics. It amazes me how weak is the layman’s (put me in that category, I admit to have skipped more than a few parts of that syllabus in business school) understanding of monetary policy or inflation. Every day you hear about interest rates this and unemployment that, but I’m not sure we have the necessary tools to turn that kind of data into anything useful.
On a professional level, it doesn’t make much sense to me to become the expert in foam who wouldn’t know what is an ocean as a whole. And in these times of globalization, we need to keep learning, if we want to at least try to make our own educated opinion.
Can we even make sound personal investment decisions without that kind of knowledge? I’m European but most of my assets are stocks priced in dollars. I’ll most probably move from France to another European country next year, but even a shortlist of two countries requires hours of research on local laws, real estate markets, and business opportunities. I don’t know how I’d do it without the Internet, but it’s still a lot of data to gather, compare and ponder. I guess intuition will have to handle what analysis can’t. Ants didn’t need to understand the life of elephants to carve their successful niche in the ecosystem. But hey, they’re not trying to beat the system and retire by age 40! For one, ants would have to retire by age 7 to enjoy such a long period not having to work. Some say it’s only a matter of not being the greater fool.
06/19/04 update: I relocated to Portugal last year, and I’ve been subscribed to The Economist for a while now, so I’m a bit more familiar with these issues, but trying to guess whether a major currency is going to go up or down seems to be quite an ordeal even for the best investors and economists. Right now we’re considering moving to a dollarized economy as real estate in Europe is just too expensive in dollar terms, and we’re fed up renting the place where we live (though we know it’s the smart thing to do when you’re in a real estate bubble).

29 Jul

Dot-Coms Ride Again

BusinessWeek:

"Probably the last place you would expect to find stocks that derive some benefit from a weak economy is in the Internet sector. But when sifting through the limited number of positive second-quarter earnings reports, a surprising number of Web stocks with countercyclical attributes emerge. They aren’t all good buys — quite a few are looking pretty pricey after steep runups following their reports. But given that economic weakness will likely persist into 2002, these companies, which so far have been able to buck all the bad news, are worth keeping an eye on."

06/19/04 update: there was big money to be made with dotcoms in 2003, but this year most of the sector is overbought again.

27 Jul

Weblogs as part of a whole?

Matt Webb:

"[an individual weblog isn’t] really a slice, it’s more of a trail, a chronological record of a passage through the web (a trail in the memex sense). Every so often, the trails overlap, and there would be value in seeing who else has crossed this point (a point being a node, a post, often a link, or a piece of commentary), and maybe following their trail for a while instead."