Saturday, September 30, 2006

Google Pagerank Update

Google is in the midst up updating pageranks across their datacenters. Yes Google pagerank is not the holy grail some used to see it as still it is a very easy shorthand to get some idea of how much significance a page has. In concept it

You can track the progress using SEO Chat's tool. We moved our management blog from blogger (where this is hosted) to a wordpress blog a few months ago. It is nice to see that the new pagerank for our management blog is 5. We seem to have no trouble getting pages with pagerank of 5 but getting to 6 is rare. The lowest 5 site would also be nearly 10 times less than the highest 5 site (so the single pagerank number is a very rough guide indeed).

Pagerank is a logrithmic scale (so a pagerank of 6 is 10 times a 5 and 100 times a 4). Still it is surprising how easy it is to get to 5 and how difficult it is to get to 6.

Original paper by Lawrence Page, Sergey Brin, Rajeev Motwani and Terry Winograd: The PageRank Citation Ranking: Bringing Order to the Web.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Wordpress Copyright Feed Plugin

Angsuman's Feed Copyrighter Plugin

Unfortunately some people use technology to steal content. The current state of affairs makes it much easier for thieves than those trying to contract thieves. This plugin at least makes it obvious the thieves are intentionally being thieves. Unfortunately that is about all it does.

I would expect over the next few years trusted sources will emerge that categorize thieving domains as such. Then those who wish can have browser plugins that notify them a site they are viewing (or even links they see are to) steal content.

A good post on dealing with thieves: What to do when someone steals your content.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Home futures: Price-drop seen for 10 top markets

Home futures: Price-drop seen for 10 top markets

Trading in housing futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange point to declines by next August of at least 5 percent for 10 leading markets; speculators are betting the biggest decline will be in Las Vegas, with a drop of 8.2 percent.
According to Shiller, the numbers may exaggerate the extent of the decline because there is a risk premium that has to be taken into account. In other words, more traders are interested in protecting themselves against loss than are interested in investing in a growing market.

Related: Housing and the Economy - Real Estate Investing articles - more investing articles

Monday, September 18, 2006

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Bad Amazon Unbox

Bad Amazon Unbox:

Amazon's new video-on-demand store may sound like a good idea, but once you take a look at the "agreement" you enter into by giving them your money, that changes. The Amazon terms-of-service are among the worst I've ever seen, a document through which you surrender your rights to privacy, integrity of your personal data, and control over your computer

Amazon does many things right, but they need to fix this problem quickly.

Amazon Unbox better left off your box - My fight with Amazon Unbox

Friday, September 08, 2006

Database of Federal Grants and Contracts Bill Passes Senate

Senate OKs Coburn bill on spending:

Frist said in a press release, "A tremendous effort from the blogosphere and our constituents, and the patience and cooperation of colleagues, led us to take this healthy step forward when it comes to responsible federal spending."

The release said, "The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 will create a single, easily searchable database capable of tracking approximately $1 trillion in federal grants, contracts, earmarks, and loans."

Coburn cited the vote as proof that government works when people demand change.

It is true that if the public demands change something usually is done. Whether what is done "works" is not so definite though. Still, so far, so good on this effort of some to shine light on bad behavior and force those who often tolerate and encourage such behavior to take positive action.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Bad Behavior

Shining the light on the actions of those in power:

Robert Scoble, who rose to fame as Microsoft blogger and recently left for a small company, is adding his voice to those blasting HP:Corporate hypocrisy by HP

Check this out: testimony in front of the U.S. House of Representatives by HP's Scott Taylor, Chief Privacy Officer. What did he tell them? “First and foremost is that privacy is actually a core value at HP. As a company, HP is 100 percent committed to excellence in consumer and employee privacy…

Now compare that to what Patricia Dunn, chairwoman at HP apparently did. Lying. Breaking the law. And invading people's privacy.

If Patricia Dunn is ever hired to a company I'm working for I'm instantly quitting.

My comment on his blog post:

The best most of us can do is expose such bad behavior. It is up to those who control the votes of shareholders to act (which includes those representing most posting her probably - as anyone with an index mutual fund or large cap… probably owns some HP stock). If there are board members that were not in on it, they can either try and oust those that knew, or resign, or face the consequences.

Most likely the consequences won’t be much, but if the behavior is not accepted and publicity continues eventually action will be taken. As soon as most significant thought leaders turn away though the effort will likely stop. Keep up the good work publicizing such bad behavior.

One potential area for pressure against those who take such action is through other boards they sit on. And through places they might want to speak. If a business school brings her in to speak what does that say about their commitment to ethical behavior. I’m sure the school has classes on ethics but what do their actions say?

From HP's web site: "She also serves on the advisory board of the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, as well as the conference board’s Center for Corporate Governance, and serves as the director and a member of the executive committee of Larkin Street Youth Services in San Francisco." You might ask the conference board’s Center on Corporate Governance how to oust a board chair that has broken the law and violated the policies of the company and see what they suggest. I can’t imagine they would respond to me. But they might get enough pressure if you ask them (and others take on your cause) to be compelled to respond. I think that question is exactly the type of thing they are in business to address.

And here discussion of the "anonymous hold" used to block a bill to provide the public a simple way (modeled on the search engine concept) to find out how tax dollars are spent:

Spokesman for Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) confirms that Stevens is the one with the hold and called the move "unexpected." "We met with his staff last week," he said, "and provided a detailed cost-benefit analysis of our bill. Senator Stevens then lifted his hold. Only Senator Stevens can explain why he reversed his position and reinstated his hold."

Saturday, September 02, 2006

WiFi Security Tips

Coffee shop WiFi for dummies

If your company provides you with VPN access on your laptop, use it. That's a sure fire way to ensure that everything you send and receive is encrypted, and it makes your surfing much safer.