Walter

Aug 282014
 

There’s a great piece in The Atlantic this month on advertising, the internet’s “original sin”, by MIT’s Ethan Zuckerman. Advertising, he argues, has stripped us of our privacy, to the point of normalizing constant online surveillance. Add to that the fact that it’s not yet clear how well even these sophisticated data-heavy ad products are at actually making

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Aug 222014
 

Mobile apps are dominating media consumption, but getting users to use your app is really, really hard: U.S. users are now spending the majority of their time consuming digital media within mobile applications, according to a new study released by comScore this morning. That means mobile apps, including the number 1 most popular app Facebook, eat up

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Aug 052014
 

To hear pundits talk about it, it’s easy to conclude that we have no idea what policies will help with economic growth. After all, we’re debating whether we’re stuck in stagnation or about to witness a new era of technology-led expansion. But there are a set of policies the majority of economists believe will be growth

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Jul 042014
 
Beating the algorithm, for now

The New York Times has a fun interactive that lets you compete against an algorithm designed to predict which tweets will get the most retweets. The Times also has a story about the algorithm and its implications. Its takeaway: That an algorithm can make these kinds of predictions shows the power of “big data.” It

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Jun 282014
 
Our patent problems go way beyond trolls

UPDATE: More recent data documents the serious uptick in patent troll litigation. Likely still true that the patent problem goes way beyond trolls, but they are a problem nonetheless. Recent research is here. I did a Google Hangout with two intellectual property experts this week, and wrote an article to go along with it. The

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Jun 132014
 

Having just finished the Steve Jobs bio, and so freshly reminded of how Apple borrowed the idea of the graphical user interface from Xerox to great effect (only to later turn around and call Microsoft a thief for doing the same), I enjoyed this back and forth on Xerox. It’s a piece of an extremely

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Apr 262014
 
Net neutrality is about more than small vs. big

With the FCC reportedly considering allowing paid “fast lanes” for internet traffic, the principle of net neutrality looks more at risk than ever. One of the big concerns of net neutrality advocates is that its absence might empower incumbent firms over newer, smaller, more innovative ones. That is a very valid and important concern. But small

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Apr 052014
 
The promise of NYT Now

There are few if any media outlets that can really go up against the big social networks and have a prayer of stealing away attention. The New York Times might be an exception. When I first heard about NYT Now I didn’t think twice. It seemed like yet another addition to an already complicated, expensive

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Apr 042014
 
Who cares if the stock market is rigged?

One of the most interesting bits of the debate over high frequency trading sparked by Michael Lewis’s new book is the question of why we should care that some Wall Street firms are ripping off other ones. One reason might be if Main Street’s money is disproportionately tied up in the funds that are getting

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Mar 192014
 

Interviewed by Goldman Sachs, he comes to much the same conclusion as I did in my previous post on the attendant fees: Eric Posner: I think there could be some advantages of usingBitcoin over existing payment systems, but these advantages are not as obvious as they might seem. For example, probably themost compelling advantage is that

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