The Economist thinks Microsoft is a little like IBM, facing a form of competition where it cannot compete because of legacy software and a vulnerable business model.
That being said, the new version of Excel has some interesting features for data visualization.
My little math article is being commented by Meredith, who points to one of my favorite essays by Richard Feynman: A different box of tools.
Highly recommended – it shows some of the imagination necessary to turn theoretical constructs into practical applications.
BBC reports that people are buried with their cellphones. Might be smart to switch to a prepaid subscription before the funeral, though.
Steve Krause has an excellent in-depth post about the different approaches to recommendation engines for music: Pandora vs. Last. It takes understanding and imagination to refer to Pandora vs. Last as "nature vs. nurture."
I have previously blogged the furiously addictive word game Weboggle. Babble is another game of the same variety, but with a different twist: Rather than quick keyboarding, the game rewards a large vocabulary. Plus, there is a whole community of people who chat during the game, dropping hints, writing help pages and trying to get to the top score via a crib sheet called Babblers Anonymous.
And, like I said, addictive….
Dell is buying Alienware, which Nicholas Carr interprets as a deviation from Dell’s traditional business model.
I am not so sure. I see it as the disovery (by Dell) that the gaming machine market is not only large, but ready for folks that want the speed and the graphics and perhaps also the cool design, and want that in a package that does not require them to build the machine themselves or deal with smaller vendors with less global reach. Imagine a WoW environment with ads for Dell Computers inside, in many languages and delivered all over the world. Dell delivers in Norway, for instance, but I don’t think Alienware does.
So in my book, this is Dell taking their business model to the gaming market, which still wants to maximize performance for a given budget (which Dell is masterful at) and still demands customizability (as opposed to more and more of the business or private PC market, where any machine off the shelf is pretty near good enough.)
Move to where the money still is, in other words.
…on the main page: Going from three columns to two (to make it work better on small screens) and moving all the navigation and "about" information to the right column (to make it work better over slower interfaces, such as my cellphone.)