Esther's comment about Appforce

Speaking to Marc Benioff about Appforce, the creation of a platform of SaaS tools now offered to the community at large, Esther said: "I just realized whose business model you're most like... Second Life."

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Don McLagan - Standing in the Clickstream

Don McLagan, CEO of Compete, is on stage with Esther Dyson and others at PC Forum 2006. The panel is "Behavioral Targeting 2.0: Transparent Spyware?". He mentions that the company has over 2 million internet users who permit the company to monitor their clickstreams, and are open to receiving (and responding) to the company's surveys, which then are used to coordinate behavior and attitude or intention.

This starts to get scary in a big way. The services sold start to look like arbitrage for large companies who can (based on analytics), understand and target (based on profiles) customer base. He mentions that competitors, for example, have been able to look at individual and group behavior to accurately predict "flipping" from one service to another. (Think Sprint users about to move their business to Cingular.)

I know that it's "opt in", and that these "Nielsen familys on the internet" have provided the information willingly, but I wonder how many of them know to whom and in what form their information is provided to vendors?

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Government and our choice

Barry Schwartz at PC Forum: Choice is good. Interesting that, in the US, most persons when discussing the merits of this country and the meaning of "freedom", rarely mention the fact that they get to choose the government. "And let me say, that in the US, one area in which we do not have ENOUGH choice is in our political parties and elective choice."

If our choice is meant to be a statement of who we are and a representation of our individuality, the choice of government is and should be a high-profile, extremely important marker. We are, as a rule, ticked off when our choice (of car, clothes, etc.) becomes common... When the next door neighbor shows up with the same car, since it reduces my personal sense of individuality, of being special. Why aren't we more outraged by the dearth of choices we have in electing/selecting our government?

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PC Forum 2006

This afternoon was the start of PC Forum 2006. I'm here for probably the 10th or 11th year, and can only say that this is one group of people capable of rocking me with creativity and their "headroom."

Barry Schwartz has kicked off the session this afternoon with the interesting and completely believable notion that with an abundance of choices can lead to less enjoyment, possibly contributing to depression, but certainly greater dissatisfaction or paralysis of action.

Schwartz presented a concept of "Libertariain Paternalism" -- setting the default in the best interest of the user or of the community. He quoted the difference in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and their respective approach to opting in/opting out of no-fault insurance. New Jersey, an opt-out state, where the default is no-fault auto insurance, has successfully saved the citizens of that state over $400 MM in the past two years. In a panel session going on now, Esther and Barry are discussing the basis on which the "default" is set in place. Who decides, on what basis?

Then Philip Rosedale spoke with Esther Dyson about Second Life, an immersive, multi-player online game in which the users are almost unfettered in their ability to create, as opposed to choose. It was a bit creepy, to tell you the truth. It reminded me of the Neil Stephenson's Diamond Age, in which a group of artisans derive their pleasure and self-worth by placing individual craftsmanship as the highest goal. But it also was with a twist... because it was so unfettered, the ability to create "a second life", it seems also to lead to the creation of potentially aberrant behavior. Someone sitting next to me, after hearing Rosedale speak about avatar-sex and the growing SL industry of "sex furniture", asked aloud... Are kids permitted on the site?

But the notion of Second Life brings up a fundamental difference between the impact of unconstrained choice (Schwartz) and creation in an unfettered environment. Clearly, they're not the same, and the opportunity of unfettered creation seems to me a boon to personal well-being and welfare.

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Origami - MagicLink: Separated at birth?

Being a gadget guy, I was interested in getting more information on the Origami project about which a few facts had been revealed over the past few weeks. Not a full tablet, not a PDA, something that was similar to the digital document readers I used to covet when watching Star Trek.

So, yesterday I see that Samsung has broken radio silence at CeBit. I jump on the faithful Firefox browser to pull up the pictures and description, and ... Hell's bells ... Damned if that doesn't look JUST like a Magic Link, the personal intelligent communicator developed at General Magic when I was there. Here's a picture of the Sony version, the PIC-2100. Now, you tell ME...


Check Out Our Exclusive Origami Photos

Posted by Liane Cassavoy

Wednesday, March 08, 2006, 07:03 AM (PST)

You've been hearing about Microsoft's mysterious Origami project for weeks. Now you can get a peek at the first Origami-based device, on display at the CeBIT electronics show in Germany. Martyn Williams (a correspondent with the IDG News Service and a regular contributor to our Digital World blog) has snapped one of the first pictures of the device. Take a look.


If anyone mentions animations of dancing candles, I'll KNOW that this is one of Magic Link's long lost brethren.


A fellow General Magician, Steve Jarrett, pointed me to this article. If you replaced every reference to "Windows" with "Magic Cap", and every instance of "Microsoft" with "General Magic", it could have been one of our press releases from about 1994.

Microsoft unfolds Project Origami to reveal ultracompact PC running XP

Update update:

This gets even better. Dave Caolo at The Unofficial Apple Weblog thinks it's more similar to his Newton!