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Archive: June 20, 2005

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morning notes

Monday,  06/20/05  07:26 AM

A few notes as I drink my coffee:

There will be a lot of buzz around Google's payment system.  I totally think this is real.  They will need a solution as they offer more consumer-to-consumer solutions - like their Video search - and they don't want to give that revenue to someone else.  Completely understandable.  Will they succeed?  I think, no.

Consider the lesson of eBay.  They have a natural monopoly based on a network effect if ever any business did.  eBay began without a settlement solution.  I'm sure if they had to do it over, they would incorporate payments on day one, but they didn't.  So after a while there were about 50 companies in the person-to-person payment space, and they bought Billpoint.  But despite having high-profile partners like Wells Fargo and Visa, Billpoint lost out to PayPal.

Three reasons - first, the network effect.  PayPal already had a lot of momentum when eBay got behind Billpoint.  Today PayPal is the clear leader.  Second, PayPal was easier to use.  It might look easy to make something easy, but it isn't.  Google is great at UIs, but they will find it hard to be easier than PayPal.  Third, PayPal had a better handle on fraud, which enabled them to be less expensive.  The margins are razor-thin in the payments business.  Unless Google uses this as a loss leader for a while - quite possible - they'll find they will be more expensive than PayPal.

More on multi-dreaming.  I now think this is more like cooperative multi-tasking than multi-processing.  In my dream, I made an explicit decision to switch to the other dream.  I actually think the brain's hardware can probably only handle one scenario at a time.  This might explain why we only dream when we sleep, and it might even explain why we need to sleep.  The downtime from the real world enables us to explore new scenarios.

Beyonce on InStyle magazineHalley Suitt bemoans the fact that female standards of beauty are unnaturally thin.  "Women are constantly served up visual images in women's magazines and TV and all media that they should look like skinny little girls."  Is this as true as it was?

I think the pendulum on this is swinging back.  My daughter reads InStyle magazine, and on the cover each month they have glamorous pictures of “current stars”.  Recent covers include Reese Witherspoon, Beyonce (cover tagline: “I have curves, most women do – and I'm happy with them”), Drew Barrymore, Terri Hatcher, Diane Lane, Halle Berry, Liv Tyler, Jennifer Lopez, even Queen Latifa.  These are women who are shaped like women.  I'm happy for Alex – she’s 11 – that she's not growing up feeling like she has look like a boy.

317 spams in the last 24 hours.  Er, make that 321.  Thank you, SpamBayes.  However it isn't obvious why this won't increase without limit.  If I received 3,000 spams in a day instead of 300, I might be able to handle it.  30,000, not sure.  300,000, now we have a problem.  And especially since all 300,000 would pass through a mail server somewhere which has many more clients than just me.  Since the incremental cost of sending spam is essentially zero, this might happen.  Some sort of solution in the network is going to be required.

And note: with 300+ spams per day, I've already passed the point where I can review the classifications.  If SpamBayes says something is spam, I don't even look at it.  There is a nonzero probability that I've trashed good mail because of this.

This will be an interesting week.  I'm looking forward to Dave Winer's  editor - to be announced at Gnomedex.  Billed as "really simple groupware".  I sort of get OPML, but I think I don't get the whole picture.  But then, I didn't get RSS at first, either, and now I am a huge fan.


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Correlation vs. Causality
The Tyranny of Email
Unnatural Selection
On Blame
Try, or Try Not
Books and Wine
Emergent Properties
God and Beauty
Moving Mount Fuji
The Nest
Rock 'n Roll
IQ and Populations
Are You a Bright?
Adding Value
The Joy of Craftsmanship
The Emperor's New Code
Toy Story
The Return of the King
Religion vs IQ
In the Wet
solving bongard problems
visiting Titan
unintelligent design
the nuclear option
estimating in meatspace
second gear
On the Persistence of Bad Design...
Texas chili cookoff
almost famous design and stochastic debugging
may I take your order?
universal healthcare
triple double
New Yorker covers
Death Rider! (da da dum)
how did I get here (Mt.Whitney)?
the Law of Significance
Holiday Inn
Daniel Jacoby's photographs
the first bird
Gödel Escher Bach: Birthday Cantatatata
Father's Day (in pictures)
your cat for my car
Jobsnotes of note
world population map
no joy in Baker
vote smart
exact nonsense
introducing eyesFinder
to space
where are the desktop apps?
still the first bird
electoral fail
progress ratches
2020 explained