Seeing bias in the big indices?

Secrets of the A-list bloggers: Technorati vs. Google:

On average, blogs in the top 10 are 8% more likely to get indexed by both Google and Technorati than they are to be indexed by Google only. Considering that Google already admits to some level of bias in their system (part of the foundation for PageRank is that sites with higher PageRanks get indexed more often), it is a bit worrisome, especially if the trend holds across the whole of Technorati’s universe. If Google favors indexing more popular sites more often, a clear opprtunity for world-live-web search engines like Technorati would be in the long tail of less-often-indexed sites but Technorati seems to ignore that opportunity and concentrate on the top sites. What that will translate into is a direct reproduction of the power laws when it comes to indexing of blogs.

Tristan Louis has the first installment of an analysis of site rankings in Technorati. Interesting stuff. I think there is a simple explanation for the “bias,” that in taking a top-down approach to the Web—that is, by trying to index everything, a very difficult undertaking—the indexer, whether Technorati or Google, becomes dependent on the largest sites to rank links. This is a problem we’ve been wrestling with at Persuadio, taking a bottom-up approach, first finding a broad sample of links relating to a particular topic and digging into the network to get a more granular view of who is actually driving conversations about the topic.

If you focus on blogs at the top of a power curve, you get more power curves due to selection bias. Google provides wider coverage, though still biased by an algorithmic emphasis on sites pointed to by other sites that are, in turn, broadly linked to by other sites, because it is not constrained by Technorati’s focus on blog dialogue. I agree with Tristan that there’s a huge opportunity for Technorati simply in rejiggering its notion of “top” blogs.

BusinessWeek on the power of peer production

The Power Of Us:

Yochai Benkler, a Yale Law School professor who studies the economics of networks, thinks such online cooperation is spurring a new mode of production beyond the two classic pillars of economics, the firm and the market. “Peer production,” as he calls work such as open-source software, file-sharing, and Amazon.com Inc.’s (AMZN) millions of customer product reviews, creates value with neither conventional corporate oversight nor market incentives such as payment. “The economic role of social behavior is increasing,” he says. “Things that would normally just dissipate in the air as social gestures become economic products.”

Indeed, the value created by loosely affiliated peer participants in networks, organizations and movements is the most important driver of change in society. Measuring that phenomena is what Persuadio is all about.

Via Jon Husband.

Well, duh….

Security chip to limit OS X to Macs – vnunet.com:

Apple could use the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip to ensure that only Mac computers can run its OS X operating system, according to a news analysis from Gartner.

Did anyone think Apple was going to make its OS more competitive at the expense of its hardware. The Apple experience is a hardware thing, but I still think it is possible that Steve Jobs will approve a Mac cloner, particularly Hewlett-Packard, sometime in the next couple years.

There’s no democracy in MSN China

FT.com / Companies / IT – Microsoft bans ‘democracy’ for China web users:

Microsoft’s new Chinese internet portal has banned the words “democracy” and “freedom” from parts of its website in an apparent effort to avoid offending Beijing’s political censors.

This is just plain wrong, both in the willingness to cave in to political pressure to win business and the likelihood the ploy will work. Microsoft should be ashamed to erase “democracy” and, when the gaping void they leave is filled by individual Chinese acting to bring democracy to the country Microsoft will be remembered as being on the wrong side. Dumb move.

Hewlett-Macintosh and other thoughts on Steve’s Big Announcement

The most interesting idea to come out of the reporting about Apple’s move to Intel chips comes from Dwight Silverman at the Houston Chronicle, who writes on TechBlog: Report: Apple to switch to Intel chips:

What Cupertino-based company with a strong Houston connection already has a good relationship with Apple thanks to branded sales of the iPod? Don’t you think that company would be an obvious choice to help engineer the melding of the Mac OS and Intel? And then partner with Apple to sell x86-based Macs?

Indeed, an HP Mac may be just the thing the limping HP needs, and it comes in the wake of a big shake-up at the company that has produced nothing particularly interesting so far. A Steve-sanctioned clone would be a big deal.

All the chatter about whether OS X runs on Intel chips is kind of silly, as the magic still lies, in part, in the ROM (see your About this Mac dialog for your current version, which sits atop the PowerPC chip, just as it will with Intel silicon). The Unix kernel and libraries in OS X will run on Intel, they have for years—even before Steve Jobs got back in the saddle there were versions of OS 9 that ran on Intel systems, even experimental dual-OS machines with separate motherboards—so, an OS X compiled for Intel should operate almost (because there’s no such thing as 100 percent in compatibility) transparently.

It will be interesting to see if Apple makes a native Windows system available without emulation, as you can get through Microsoft’s Virtual PC today). That would mean not that Mac displaces Windows, but that they live increasingly side-by-side, which is exactly what I predicted here.

UPDATE: As the fated hour draws near and Steve Jobs prepares his choreographed stroll onto the WWDC stage, I wanted to add: While the Intel deal “makes sense” from a contra-Microsoft perspective, it doesn’t make any sense to move off of PowerPC as it is winning new platforms, such as Microsoft’s XBox 360. After having supported PowerPC’s rise, why would Apple want to abandon it when it is finally achieving some sort of parity in volumes with Intel? There’s more to the chess match than taking Bill Gates’ queen.

UPDATE, AGAIN: Apparently, it’s true. Macworld is blogging the keynote live and says Steve just confirmed.

AND AGAIN: According to Jason Snell and Peter Cohen at Macworld: The future of Mac OS X development is moving to Xcode, said Jobs. Of Apple’s top 100 developers, more than half — 56 percent — are already using Xcode, and 25 percent are in the process of switching to Xcode. “Less than 20 percent are not on board yet. Now is a good time to get on board,” said Jobs. A new build of Xcode, version 2.1, is being released today. This new release enables developers to specify PowerPC or Intel architectures. “… and you’re going to build what’s called a universal binary. It contains all the bits for both architectures,” said Jobs. “One binary, works on both PowerPC and Intel architecture. So you can ship one CD that supports both processors.”



So, as I was saying, the migration isn’t going to be a major headache for anyone who has been working in Xcode, not that this is a universal group by any stretch. The Rosetta technology that Jobs disclosed sounds like it is the short-cut for everyone not working with Xcode, but can’t be sure.

There’s no business like the credit data business, like no business full of security holes

WSJ.com – Citigroup Says Data Lost On 3.9 Million Customers:

Citigroup Inc. said that computer tapes containing personal information on about 3.9 million customers were lost by United Parcel Service Inc. while in transit to a credit-reporting bureau.

The tapes included information about CitiFinancial customers in the U.S., as well as customers with closed accounts from its CitiFinancial retail-services unit. The tapes didn’t contain any customer information from the financial giant’s auto, mortgage or any other Citigroup business, or its CitiFinancial customers in Canada or Puerto Rico.

Mmmm, that’s good security and cutting-edge data transmission! First off, it’s just good to know that UPS provides the same stellar service to big companies that it does to us little guys, but, geez, what could have happened to the tapes? It was stolen? Lost? What the hell is Citigroup doing moving data by tape-and-truck in an age when data security is supposed to be improving? Every time I hear about a tape falling off the back of a truck I wonder why it wasn’t sent on a DVD, with the savings in weight spent to ensure better security.

It’s a multimedia platform, ferchrissake….

E-books coming to PSP? | CNET News.com:

Sony Computer Entertainment may be planning to bring digitized texts to the PlayStation Portable. The company recently filed trademarks for “PSP Comics,” “PSP Books” and “PSP Magazine” with the Japan Patent Office.

Per my earlier comments about the PSP, this is a really interesting platform. I bought one to fool with and will have some extended thoughts on it soon.