Advertising’s Evolution

Knowledge@Wharton writes:

As online and traditional forms of advertising evolve, new measurement techniques are likely to emerge.

According to Werbach, online advertising will at some point be able to more accurately measure what consumers do and what they value. “Online advertising has the potential to be radically more efficient, responsive, and measurable than traditional advertising, so ultimately it will be valued using different metrics. At the macro level, advertising will eventually track user attention, which means online advertising will grow substantially,” he says.

Although these new metrics are also likely to be applied to traditional media, Williams says these will be harder to track relative to Internet advertising.

New Devices

Forbes has an article by Elizabeth Corcoran:

A bevy of new devices are emerging, machines smaller than a laptop computer, bigger than a cellphone. Like variations of Darwin’s finches, each of these is evolving its own specialty:

–Steve Jobs’ iPhone will let you talk.

–“Mobile PCs,” based on Intel’s (nasdaq: INTC – news – people ) chips, will let you run the software written for PC on lightweight, portable machines.

–The “Foleo,” Palm’s (nasdaq: PALM – news – people ) new machine created by Palm Pilot and Treo inventor Jeff Hawkins, aims to be a “mobile companion” that sits somewhere between a PDA and a full-fledged laptop.

Each of these design efforts–and I’m sure there are scores more–are scratching away at the environment, trying to figure out what it will take to survive. What will consumers (and businesses) buy? At what price? With what usage caveats?

Google Gears

Dare Obasanjo writes:

It consists of three components

* LocalServer: Allows you to cache and serve application resources such as HTML pages, scripts, stylesheets and images from a local web server.
* Database: A relational database where the application can store data locally. The database supports both full-text and SQL queries.
* WorkerPool: Allows applications to perform I/O expensive tasks in the background and thus not lock up the browser. A necessary evil.

At first, this seemed like a lot to functionality being offered by Google Gears until I started trying to design how I’d take some of my favorite Web applications offline.

Steve Jobs Story

New York Magazine writes: “he Steve Jobs story is one of the classic narrativesmaybe the classic narrativeof American business life. Its structure has been rigorous, traditional, and symmetrical: three acts of ten years each. Act One (19751985) is The Rise, in which Jobs goes into business with his pal, Steve Wozniak; starts Apple in his parents Silicon Valley garage; essentially invents the personal-computer industry with the Apple II; takes Apple public, making himself a multimillionaire at age 25; and changes the face of technology with the Macintosh. Act Two (19851996) is The Fall: the expulsion from Apple, the wilderness years battling depression and struggling to keep afloat two floundering new businesses, NeXT and Pixar. Act Three (19972007) is The Resurrection: the return to Apple and its restoration, the efflorescence of Pixar and its sale to Disney, the megabillionairehood, the sanctification as god of design and seer of the digital-media future.”

Online Sales Growth Slowing

The New York Times writes:

In the last year, growth has slowed sharply in major sectors like books, tickets and office supplies.

Growth in online sales has also dropped dramatically in diverse categories like health and beauty products, computer peripherals and pet supplies. Analysts say it is a turning point and growth will continue to slow through the decade.

TECH TALK: Good Books: Everything is Miscellaneous (Part 2)

Cory Doctorow wrote in a review of the book:

David Weinberger’s “Everything is Miscellaneous” is the kind of book that binds together innumerable miscellaneous threads and makes something new, coherent, and incontrovertible out of them. Weinberger’s thesis is this: historically, we’ve divided the world into categories, topics, and hierarchies because physical objects need to be in one place or another, they can’t be in all the places they might belong. Computers and the Internet turn this on its head: because a computer can “put things” in as many categories as they need to be in, because individuals can classify knowledge, tasks, and objects idiosyncratically, the hierarchy is revealed for what it always was, a convenient expedient masquerading as the True Shape of the Universe.

It’s a powerful idea: from org charts to science, from music to retail theory, from government to education, every field of human endeavor is tinged with hierarchy, and every hierarchy is under assault from the Internet. One impact of this change is that it reveals the biases lurking underneath the editorial carvery of our systems. From the Dewey Decimal system’s laughable clunkers (mentalist bunkum gets its own category, but Islam has to share a decimal with a couple competing “Eastern” faiths) to the Britannica’s paring away at “old” biographies to make way for the new, Weinberger makes a compelling case for a new kind of knowledge that more faithfully represents the messy, glorious hairball of the real world.

Weinberger’s conversational style, excellent examples, and extensive legwork (the places he visits and people he interviews can best be described as wonderfully miscellaneous) give this the hallmarks of an instant classic. And unlike many business/tech books, whose simple thesis could be stated in a single New Yorker article, but which are nevertheless expanded to book-length for commercial reasons, every chapter in Everything is Miscellaneous brings new insight to the subject. This is a hell of a book.

Here is an excerpt from the book’s prologue:

The alternative universe exists. Every day, more of our life is lived there. Its called the digital world.

Instead of atoms that take up room, its made of bits.

Instead of making us walk long aisles, in the digital world everything is only a few clicks away.

Instead of having to be the same way for all people, it can instantly rearrange itself for each person and each persons current task.

Instead of being limited by space and operational simplicity in the number of items it can stock, the digital world can include every item and variation the buyers at Staples could possibly want.

Instead of items being placed in one area of the store, or occasionally in two, they can be classified in every different category in which users might conceivably expect to find them.

Instead of living in the neat, ordered shelves we find in the Prototype Labs, items can be jumbled digitally and sorted out only when and how a user wants to look for them.

Those differences are significant. But theyre just the starting point. For something much larger is at stake than how we lay out our stores. The physical limitations that silently guide the organization of an office supply store also guide how we organize our businesses, our government, our schools. They have guidedand limitedhow we organize knowledge itself. From management structures to encyclopedias, to the courses of study we put our children through, to the way we decide whats worth believing, we have organized our ideas with principles designed for use in a world limited by the laws of physics.

Suppose that now, for the first time in history, we are able to arrange our concepts without the silent limitations of the physical. How might our ideas, organizations, and knowledge itself change?

As we invent new principles of organization that make sense in a world of knowledge freed from physical constraints, information doesnt just want to be free. It wants to be miscellaneous.

Tomorrow: The Ghost Map

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