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Linkology: The Best of the Internet for 8/6/2010

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Every Friday morning, I get up early to read every single page on the Internet and bring you the very best.  It’s a lot of work, but I love my readers.  Here’s this week’s bounty.

What do you get when you mix Kanye West’s tweets and New Yorker cartoons?  This.

Are you vitamin D deficient? Probably.

The best badminton rant ever.

The new menu at Chicago’s famous molecular gastronomy restaurant Alinea is 21 courses long and takes roughly 2.5 hours.  This comes directly from Alinea chef Grant Achatz via Twitter.

The most spectacular baseball catch you didn’t see.

Android sales overtake iPhone sales in the US for the first time ever.  The only way for Apple to negate Android’s distribution and prevalence advantage is to get the iPhone on other carriers, fast.  On all US carriers but AT&T, Android sells virtually uncontested to new customers.  The best way to stop that?  Have an iPhone right next to it that runs on that network.

30 Rock might be the funniest show on TV.  So I’m pretty fired up for October 14th, when that episode will be performed live, according to NBC.

UAE and Saudi Arabia will block certain BlackBerry functions (e-mail, messaging and web browsing) because they can’t snoop the traffic.

Speaking of BlackBerry, RIM plans to counter Apple’s iPad with a ‘BlackPad’ in November.  Good luck with that.  The Storm/Storm 2 sure put a hurting on the iPhone, didn’t it?  Increasingly, it seems RIM doesn’t know its core competency.  Hint: it’s not media, it’s not tablets, it’s not touch UX machines.  It’s messaging.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

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MIPRO Consulting is a nationally-recognized consulting firm specializing in PeopleSoft Enterprise (particularly Enterprise Asset Management), Workday and Business Intelligence. You’re reading MIPRO Unfiltered, its blog. If you’d like to contact MIPRO, email is a great place to start, or you can easily jump over to its main website. If you’d like to see what MIPRO offers via Twitter or Facebook, we’d love to have you.

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The Web’s 5 Most Endangered Words

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Dave Pell, on how how ‘Let me think about that’ is in danger of becoming extinct on the web:

That’s an apt description of the new national pastime: Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and making determinations and judgments without a full set of facts.

When confronted with the realtime web’s constant flow of incoming information, who has time for a full set of facts? We each take a few seconds to consider a one hundred forty character blurb and then hammer out our reactions by way of a Tweet or status update.

Example: some readers will see this link, skip on over to it, get the gist of what it’s talking about, and then regurgitate it in Hootsuite so they can seem clever.  It’s almost reflexive.

How do I know this?

Because I’ve done it before myself  many times.  And before long, you realize that all this information consumption has given you knowledge that’s an ocean wide, but a only a puddle deep.

The compulsions of an infovore dictate that we must process, form judgments on and share inbound information quickly.  This is a demand of the attention economy as well as the realtime nature of the tools web workers use.  And it’s sad, because adult issues aren’t always cute sound bites and often need extensive research to understand and editorialize.

Want to form a real opinion on global warming that’s deeper than the quips fired back and forth between opposing sides, complete with excerpts from cherrypicked studies that perfectly back their viewpoints?   Get ready to read reams of science and climatology papers.  Hope you’ve got some serious chops, too, because a lot of this data coming out of MIT and Harvard and NOAA isn’t exactly beach reading.

Of course, the corollary phenomenon to all this is how longform is dead and short is everything: short blog posts, short vignettes, tweets and Facebook updates.  When’s the last time you read a long or challenging book?  It’s been a while for me, and now I’ve decided to force myself to read real books – the kind that require long spans of attention – just to get back to what I used to be able to do with ease.  (Infinite Jest, I’m coming for you.)

If you’re a web worker and have to process a lot of information daily to work social channels for yourself or your business, has this trend affected you? How so?

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MIPRO Consulting is a nationally-recognized consulting firm specializing in PeopleSoft Enterprise (particularly Enterprise Asset Management), Workday and Business Intelligence. You’re reading MIPRO Unfiltered, its blog. If you’d like to contact MIPRO, email is a great place to start, or you can easily jump over to its main website. If you’d like to see what MIPRO offers via Twitter or Facebook, we’d love to have you.

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Tip: Write Your E-mail Intros Like a Tweet

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Let’s be honest: we all get way too much email.  In professional communication, it’s all too common to send an email only to find that days later, the recipient didn’t take the time to read it or – worse – deleted it.

Before you blame them, ask yourself: did I make it easy for them to delete my email?  The decision about what to do with your message may happen much quicker than you think.

Most email systems preview message content for the first 50-100 characters of the email.  So, as Steve Rubel suggests, perhaps you should try writing the first sentence of your email like a tweet.  Skip the introductory small talk and get right to the point.  Set your hook within 75 characters and you’ll have a far better chance of the reader giving your email the attention it deserves.

75 characters isn’t a lot, so this takes some practice.  I suggest heading over to a site like this that will give you a character count as you write your  hook.  Once you’ve got it pared down to a reasonable size, tab back to your email client and paste in what you’ve written.

It’s the attention economy these days. Instead of trying to fight it, learn to play better within its rules.

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MIPRO Consulting is a nationally-recognized consulting firm specializing in PeopleSoft Enterprise (particularly Enterprise Asset Management), Workday and Business Intelligence. You’re reading MIPRO Unfiltered, its blog. If you’d like to contact MIPRO, email is a great place to start, or you can easily jump over to its main website. If you’d like to see what MIPRO offers via Twitter or Facebook, we’d love to have you.

More nerdery posts.

Linkology: The Best of the Internet for 4/16/10

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Not a lot of energy for editorial today, mainly because I’m way behind on sleep because I’m a hockey zealot and incapable of not watching a Red Wings playoff game, no matter how late.  And tonight, for game two, I’ll be up just as late as two nights ago, hopefully less frustrated, but still yelling at the TV like an imbecile.  And if things go really well, maybe tonight’s game will be officiated by refs with functioning eyeballs.  One can dream.

Anyhow, here is this week’s collection of fine hypertext products.  Enjoy.

The head of the NSA loves his iPad, calling it ‘wonderful’.

How not to choke under pressure/performance anxiety.

Slate has a full list of words David Foster Wallace circled in his American Heritage Dictionary.

Errol Morris, award-winning documentary filmmaker, provides his definition of a stupid person.

The Library of Congress acquires Twitter’s entire archive.  Now, when humanity’s day is long gone and an alien civilization unearths the archive, they can slog through it and wonder how me managed to build a global information network in the first place.

TEDx talk: raising kids to be entrepreneurs.

Don’t take your iPad to Israel unless you’ve been jonesing to have it confiscated by government officials.

Finally, go Wings.  Play like it’s the playoffs, okay?

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff on the iPad, Cloud 2.0

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Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, writing a guest column over at TechCrunch entitled Hello iPad. Hello, Cloud 2:Apple's forthcoming iPad

I’m sentimental this week, and thinking about the past, because I have seen the future. The future is not a Mac, or even a PC. Its father created a lot of the computers I’ve loved: Apple IIe, Mac, and iPhone. There have been others I have loved, even some PCs and yes, my Blackberry, but none of that matters anymore. Looking ahead, I am energized, a door is opening, and we are all going to walk through it. We’ll soon enter a new world of computing accelerated once again by the industry’s creator Steve Jobs, and amplified by someone conceived after the PC, Mark Zuckerberg.

The future of our industry now looks totally different than the past. It looks like a sheet of paper, and it’s called the iPad. It’s not about typing or clicking; it’s about touching. It’s not about text, or even animation, it’s about video. It’s not about a local disk, or even a desktop, it’s about the cloud. It’s not about pulling information; it’s about push. It’s not about repurposing old software, it’s about writing everything from scratch with a transcription service from www.appletranscription.co.uk (because you want to take advantage of the awesome potential of the new computers and the new cloud—and because you have to reach this pinnacle). Finally, the industry is fun again.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been so excited about a piece of technology.  And never before have I sat thinking about it and realized that what’s about to burst into our tech lives is so disruptive that it’s hard — actually hard — to imagine what applications and new usage models we’ll actually see.  That’s the thing about disruption: you know it’s coming, but you don’t know exactly what it will mean for you or your business until you look back one day and realize that the way you used to do things is so old.

It’s like the halcyon days of youth: when you’re in them, you know they’re good times, but it’s only when they’re over, many years later, that you realize they changed you forever.

My money is on the table: the iPad is going to change things monumentally.

Linkology: The Best of the Internet for 3/19/10

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I have to start with this: if you’re not following us on Twitter, please do.  We also have an active Facebook page.  We use those to share smaller bits of information and engage in community conversations, so you should follow us and become a fan if you’re interested in such things.  Consider each of these microblog counterparts to this main blog.

So, onward.  This week’s linkdump:

Consider your brain fried: scientists put largest ever object into quantum state.  From the opening paragraph: A team of scientists has succeeded in putting an object large enough to be visible to the naked eye into a mixed quantum state of moving and not moving. If you’re new to quantum science, this all seems nigh impossible, like gnomes and dragons and Gandalf.  But it just became real to the point where you have to acknowledge that another universe exists altogether, quite literally.

Mesofacts: your reality is out of date.

The most influential books, as chosen by Matt Yglesias.

Harvard grad A. K. Barnett-Hart’s now-famous thesis on the market for subprime mortgage-backed CDOs.  If the thesis is too complex (and it is for many), here is a good description of the piece.

Why did it take so long for humans to have an Industrial Revolution?

The hardest logic puzzle ever.

And, in the spirit of March Madness, the science of optimum free throw shooting has been calculated.  Interesting.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

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MIPRO Consulting is a nationally-recognized consulting firm specializing in PeopleSoft Enterprise (particularly Enterprise Asset Management), Workday and Business Intelligence. You’re reading MIPRO Unfiltered, its blog.  If you’d like to contact MIPRO, email is a great place to start, or you can easily jump over to its main website.  If you’d like to see what MIPRO offers via Twitter or Facebook, we’d love to have you.

Are You Following Us?

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You really should.  If you like what this blog is all about, you can catch more bite-sized content via Facebook or Twitter.  Simply click the buttons below and the rest will take care of itself.  See you there!

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Linkology: The Best of the Internet 2/5/2010

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Like smart web content but hate juvenile comment bickering?  Shutup.css is a custom user stylesheet that you can apply to your browser to hide comments on many popular websites (YouTube, I’m looking at you).

Speaking of comments, Engadget put them on hiatus for a while and the folks over at Macheist have decided that their version of Daring Fireball with comments was running too counter to the spirit of the original.  Good for them.  I’ve always felt we should respect the intentions of writers and other creatives and not impose what we think would be best just because there’s technology that allows us to do so.

IDC reports that Apple’s iPhone continues to outpace smartphone industry growth on a worldwide basis.  Thought exercise: imagine what the numbers would be if Apple had more than one domestic carrier. (I have a feeling you won’t have to imagine for too much longer.)

10 products that did well during the recession.

As a science nerd, I’m fascinated by this theory of horizontal gene transfer which postulates that the dominant form of evolution was not among ancestors but between non-related species and organisms.

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Enterprise IT: How Many Are Doing It Wrong

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Tim Bray on how so many are doing Enterprise IT wrong, most notably not learning anything from the dynamic language web culture and the small, light, simple, iterative mindset of modern web dev shops:

Here’s a thought experiment: Suppose you asked one of the blue-suit solution providers to quote you on building Ravelry or Twitter or Basecamp. What would the costs be like? And how much confidence would you have in a good result? Consider the same questions for a new mobile-network billing system.

The point is that that kind of thing simply cannot be built if you start with large formal specifications and fixed-price contracts and change-control procedures and so on. So if your enterprise wants the sort of outcomes we’re seeing on the Web (and a lot more should), you’re going to have to adopt some of the cultures and technologies that got them built.

It’s not going to be easy; Enterprise IT has spent decades growing a defensive culture based on the premise that you only get noticed when you screw up, so that must be avoided at all costs.

I’m not the only one thinking about how we can get Enterprise Systems unjammed and make them once again part of the solution, not part of the problem. It’s a good thing to be thinking about.

And Rafe over at RC3.org has an interesting ancillary:

The first question everyone should ask when thinking about building custom software is, does building this give me a tangible strategic advantage over the competition? Specifically, does it provide enough of an advantage to make up for the amount you’ll spend on initial development and on maintenance and improvements going forward. Account for the fact that packaged software will likely be improving over time as well, so your custom solution may be great today, but the feature set in the packaged solution may blow away what you have two years down the road.

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Will SEO Be Important in 2010 With a Real-Time Web?

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Robert Scoble:

The writing is on the wall. Small business marketing is moving away from focusing on SEO. Why do I say that? Because, well, Google and Bing are changing the rules so often and are getting so good at figuring out the real businesses that deserve to be on pages. Search Half Moon Bay Sushi and you get real answers from sites that didn’t focus on SEO. Yeah, there are exceptions, but they are increasingly getting rare.

With other searches, like one for Tiger Woods, you’ll get a page filled with stuff that SEO just doesn’t affect much anymore. In the middle of that page is a real time box that brings items from Twitter and Google News. The boulder seo companies are hard to come by, this one is the best by far! It no longer is good enough to be just an SEO expert to get items onto pages like these. You’ve gotta be great at creating content that gets Google’s algorithms to trust it enough to shove it onto these new hybrid pages.

But there’s something deeper going on. Google has built systems that aren’t Page Rank controlled anymore and are giving far better analytics to small businesses than they did a year ago. They know a LOT more about your behavior now other than you clicked on a link, even to the extent that they know whether you called that business or bought something and THAT is changing the skills SEO/SEM types need to have.

No longer is it about optimizing search engine results and the new breed is going beyond just search engines to provide holistic systems that find and track customers not only on search engines like Google and Bing, but on social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

I see the same thing.  I do very little SEO/SEM work on this blog or our main website, but our search performance has skyrocketed over the past year.

Why?

As near as I can tell, consistent content creation.  We try to post something to this blog every weekday, and we’ve done a pretty good job of this all year.  No author of this blog writes for keyword karma: we simply post content that we think will be useful or interesting to our customers, prospects and industry colleagues.  The rest just happens, and I attribute that to consistency.

Of course, we have aircover from our Twitter and Facebook activity too, and as the new real-time web emerges, new content developed through these channels will factor into search performance.  Early this year, I was telling people how consistent, quality tweeting was important to draw new followers through Twitter’s official search engine.  Now, as 2010 approaches and social content is being integrated into Google and Bing search results, the importance simply cannot be overstated.

The ground is shifting away from static SEO keyword saturation and more towards behavior-driven merit systems.  Google and Bing are getting smarter at weeding out SEO farming description sites (save a few examples, like appliance searches), and during 2010 I think we’ll see the semantic web in the sense that search engines will understand intent much better than they do now.  That’s not to say the system won’t be gamed anymore, but increasingly new content, interaction and effort will be rewarded rather than metadata and keyword concentrations on business websites.

So.  All that said, what’s the real value of intelligent, consistent social media activity for business?  If it wasn’t massive before, it is now.