Friday, September 29, 2006

Amazon.com, "long tail" economy, time travel and aliens from Alpha Centauri



In an article posted on the Financial Times site, author James Boyle delivers a humorous commentary on the realities of the "long tail" economy. First, a brief explanation of the term:
"The academic in me has been very interested by the much hyped arrival of the “long tail” economy – the idea that the future lies in using the efficiency of the internet to sell smaller quantities of more goods (think of the astounding range of books on Amazon.com). One optimistic image is that thousands of small producers and entrepreneurs worldwide will be able to bypass the need for large chunks of capital and complex distribution schemes."
He then goes on to describe his experence as a book seller on Amazon.com:
I sometimes imagined the Amazon customer service folk borrowing the Tardis to deliver apologies for their incredibly rare mistakes before they even happened. But that was as a purchaser. As a vendor I entered into a shadowy different universe...

The problem with their representatives is not that their native language is not English, it is that their native planet is not Earth. Only that could explain the strange delays of weeks in replying to emails, the apparent time distortions that will suddenly lead them to re-enter a months-long dispute in the middle, and the curiously non-terrestrial logic of their replies...

Ezra W. and Mansoor, the earth names that our customer service reps use, just ceased replying at all at that point – being replaced by an automated response. That happens a lot. And as for the “search inside the book” people, it’s a tragedy. They have disappeared altogether. Perhaps a star portal went out.
If you're interested in the network economy, the long tail economy or The Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything you'll enjoy this article.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Iraq war drives world instability, tensions, creates Jihadists etc.



Holy cow! The elephant in the room has been exposed, and exposed, and exposed. What particularly rankles is that it had to come from the US intelligence community. Why haven't mainline world media been more scathing of the Bush administrations bungling? While it's true that many international newspapers' commentaries on Bush jave been vituperative, journals such as The Economist have been markedly silent in their analyses. Political correctness has won over honesty to the point of stupidity.

Clearly the US war in Iraq was bound to create sympathy among extremists and generate more canon-fodder for the terrorist machines in Iraq and elsewhere. Certainly, Bush's criminal lying about his justification for the war in Iraq are condemnable and deserve the most forceful censure. Most definitely his devestation of an already-devastated country like Afghanistan deserve rebuke. I am personally thrilled to see it come out into the open.

I am in admiration of our neighbors to the south, the Americans, for exposing foolish acts committed by their own president and his administration. It gives me hope for what this world will be when my children are adults in it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

SpaceX press release on NASA contract award



SpaceX, about whom I wrote here finally sent out a press release,
"SpaceX was one of two winners of the NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services competition. The SpaceX portion of the award is $278 million for three flight demonstrations of Falcon 9 carrying our Dragon spaceship, which are scheduled to occur in late 2008 and 2009. The final flight will culminate in the transfer of cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) and return of cargo safely to Earth."
I really, really hope they make it.

The entire press release can be found here. Unfortunately there's no direct link to the story (dynamic page) but check out the images of their launch and transport vehicles. Very cool.