Me Too! – You Had Me At EHLO…

First off, the original mail went to 13,000 users.  Assuming that 1,000 of those 13,000 users replied, that means that there are 1,000 replies being sent to those 13,000 users.  And it turns out that a number of these people had their email client set to request read receipts and delivery receipts.  Each read and delivery receipt causes ANOTHER email to be sent from the recipient back to the sender (all 13,000 recipients).  Assuming that 20% of the 1,000 users replying had read receipts or delivery receipts set, that meant that every one of the message that they sent caused another message to be sent for every one of the 13,000 recipients. So how many messages were sent?

Source: Me Too! – You Had Me At EHLO…

Yahoo releases massive research dataset

The data release, part of the company’s Webscope initiative and announced on Yahoo’s Tumblr blog, is intended for researchers to use in validating recommender systems, high-scale learning algorithms, user-behaviour modelling, collaborative filtering techniques and unsupervised learning methods.

Source: Yahoo releases massive research dataset

From: Yahoo Releases the Largest-ever Machine Learning Dataset for Researchers

Today, we are proud to announce the public release of the largest-ever machine learning dataset to the research community. The dataset stands at a massive ~110B events (13.5TB uncompressed) of anonymized user-news item interaction data, collected by recording the user-news item interactions of about 20M users from February 2015 to May 2015.

Review: Facebook Home

It’s not simply the case that ­Zuckerberg is sneaky in his promotion of sharing and creepy in his ambivalence about privacy. Rather, he is a true believer. Privacy lowers the value of the social graph. If one sincerely believes in the merits of the graph, then one should be suspicious of privacy, because privacy is selfish.

via Review: Facebook Home | MIT Technology Review.

iPad and file systems: failure of empathy

The easiest decision is no decision. Let’s have two user interfaces, two modes: The easy mode for my mother-in-law, and the pro mode for engineers, McKinsey consultants, and investment bankers. Such dual-mode systems haven’t been very popular so far, it’s been tried without success on PCs and Macs. (Re-reading this, I realise the Mac itself could be considered such a dual-mode machine: Fire up the Terminal app, and you have access to a certified Unix engine living inside)

via iPad and file systems: failure of empathy | Technology |

Human Interaction Under Threat from NINA

Nina stands for Nuance Interactive Natural Assistant and was launched on the iOS and Android platforms last August, allowing businesses to integrate the sophisticated voice recognition and natural language engine into their apps.

via Human Interaction Under Threat from NINA – the Virtual Assistant – IBTimes UK.

This sounds like an interesting development offshoot from projects like IBM’s Watson (the computer that beat the best humans on Jeopardy).  Then there’s this.

The days of human behind the counter or at the end of a telephone line at coming to an end. As voice recognition and natural language engines become ever more sophisticated, it may soon be hard to distinguish between an automated system and the real thing.

I am not looking forward to this day.  Perhaps this is what HAL tried to warn us about in 2001 A Space Odyssey.  Very prescient indeed.

Smartphone Screen Real Estate: How Big Is Big Enough?

First, let’s talk small. At just 3.5 inches, the iPhone 4 (and earlier) is relatively small compared to most higher-end phones on the market, yet it’s immensely popular. (Technically, the iPhone 5 has a 4-inch screen, but it’s just longer–not wider–so that doesn’t really count.) Apparently, then, that’s a good baseline for an acceptable screen size for a large swathe of the mobile market.

via Smartphone Screen Real Estate: How Big Is Big Enough? – HotHardware.

Why Touch Screens Will Not Take Over

There are three big differences between these handy touch screens and a PC’s screen: angle, distance and time interval.

The screen of a phone or tablet is generally more or less horizontal. The screen of a desktop (or a laptop on a desk), however, is more or less vertical.

via Why Touch Screens Will Not Take Over: Scientific American.

My belief is that touch screens make sense on mobile computers but not on stationary ones. Microsoft is making a gigantic bet that I’m wrong.

From: Windows 8 — Disappointing Usability for Both Novice and Power Users

With the recent launch of Windows 8 and the Surface tablets, Microsoft has reversed its user interface strategy. From a traditional Gates-driven GUI style that emphasized powerful commands to the point of featuritis, Microsoft has gone soft and now smothers usability with big colorful tiles while hiding needed features.

A Light Bulb with a Computer and Projector Inside from the MIT Media Lab Augments Reality

The LuminAR device, created by Linder and colleagues at the Media Lab, can project interactive images onto a surface, sensing when a person’s finger or hand points to an element within those images. Linder describes LuminAR as an augmented-reality system because the images and interfaces it projects can alter the function of a surface or object. While LuminAR might seem like a far-fetched concept, many large technology companies are experimenting with new kinds of computer interfaces in hopes of discovering new markets for their products (see “Google Game Could Be Augmented Reality’s First Killer App” and ”A New Chip to Bring 3-D Gesture Control to Smartphones”).

via A Light Bulb with a Computer and Projector Inside from the MIT Media Lab Augments Reality | MIT Technology Review.

BlackBerry 10: AWESOME. If the hardware matches it, RIM jobs are safe

For example, the BlackBerry knows when it’s in a holster. It knows when it’s on a nightstand so it can do all kinds of “I’m in a nightstand now” things. You know what’s “incoming” without taking it out of its case – you can tell that from the LED indicator. (Enthusiasts have written programs to allow you to set sophisticated ‘Blinkenlights’ sequences of coloured flashes, telling you in much more detail what is going on.) The obsession with usability extends to giving everything a shortcut key. You can set up a custom shortcut key to show you all the emails from Alice in the last three months, for example.

via BlackBerry 10: AWESOME. If the hardware matches it, RIM jobs are safe • The Register.

Once you’ve got used to it, and that the Hub is the home screen, BB10 is by some distance the most brutally efficient multitouch interface I have used so far. It makes the others look like hard work.