Friday, February 22, 2008


My pick of the week's top 5 items of interest:
  1. This is why I'm not an early adopter: HD DVD will be joining Betamax as another technology that lost a format war. Sorry, Microsoft, but this time Sony is on the winning side. Anyone want a $50 HD DVD player? Cheer up... maybe the Micro-hoo thing will still work out...

  2. Building and deploying a 5000 pound spy satellite: $100 million. Destroying the same satellite because it never worked: $60 million. Watching all that tax payer money explode in space: priceless.

  3. An interesting study has been done by Peter Gloor at MIT. He mines Google for the web graph associated with the name of a political candidate or a company and uses it to predict election results and stock prices. I wonder about the effectiveness of this technique though since it can easily be corrupted by individuals creating frivolous links and because Google does not report all the backlinks it is aware of.

  4. Microsoft has just made a brilliant move: they are now giving away development tools like Visual Studio and SQL Server to college students. This is an excellent way to get universities to adopt MS tools since the financial considerations are now a mute point.

  5. It seems that my students aren't the only ones tempted to copy-and-paste from the Web. The Wall Street Journal reports that plagiarism on social networking sites is on the rise:
    In a recent survey of more than 400 online daters commissioned by, 9% of respondents said they copied from another person's profile; 15% suspect their own words were stolen.