Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Crop Circle Day on Google

Its Crop Circle day on Google 15 September 2009. Why Not, there pretty and mysterious, and so this is the girl from hipper liner. I run a crop circle list myself. So does google like me? Where is my list entry, Crop Circles @ Feed Distiller.com, secret. Shout it from the roof tops baby. Guess what most of the top pages are Virals. Crystal Links was typical, links on crop circles and a spooky infovermercial bleep virt. Beamed me to mean me. You pay for the link by paypal, and the love and attention that went into the graphics was UGLY. I've not master of graphic design either. And graphic Designers have turned me down, when I was offering cash. Lazy Gits. Crystal link could get a link to from my system for the price of reading it. If that has a name its probably "open viral". So...

I'm also interested in the mechanics of the ecology of Viral themes. Do you like being called Viral? Its just descriptive here. Lazy people people want free money from google, and will pay a lot to get it. What traps do those playing P.J.Barham fall into here. The laws of the arena are not clear to me. If Google and Microsoft Bing, want to, they could wipe me out a second. Where's the L in the logo. Do microsoft or google, want the job of managing the ecology. Probably No, its to much thinking. Plus all the politians and pressure group will want to interfere in it. God help us all, if widow twanky starts making the laws. Google and Microsoft make the algorithms, to manage the ecology. Gaming the ecology, matters. Money grows on trees. Sometimes decision trees. But Societies has to work fairly fairly. I've lost the lottery, now what, sofa surfing?. Are the skills going in the tea shops and pubs you'll retreat to. Porcelain china, and Do a lot of work for charity. Graphic designers are safe, especial if they look like models. Another cold hard day for the morlocks.

How do you measure the productivity of a web site, for its money, and for how good it is at doing its reason for existance. As judged by the reviews I guess, is looking deeper a mind trap? But if you don't get the attention of the reviewer that doesn't happen. Google choose crop circles today, which was lucky for crystal links. So it began. And what was the top page on google: The Daily Telegraph. News Matters.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

The Chip of Future, AD 2020

Since I'm blogging here about the future of computing, i'd thought i'd have a look today, at what the next ten years will bring to the CPU, the processor chip at the heart of all modern computers. Futurology is often a difficult subject but when it come
to silicon the future has been pretty well mapped out by maths. Back in the 1960s when the silicon chip was first invented Gordon Moore of Intel, predicted the following.

  • The number of transistors on a chip will double every two years.
  • Or equivalently the width of a transistor will shrink by 1.414 every two years.
  • (From the speed of light), the frequency will increase by 1.414 every two years.

Taking these a face value, and starting with 2010s model CPU, 8 cores each running at 4GHz, 12MB of cache. We can extrapolate tens years, five die shrinks of 1.414 time smaller a piece. Lets make that six, to make the math easier, so where really looking at the chip of 2022. Here what we get:

  • 512 Cores on a chip each running at 32GHz
  • 512MB of cache
  • 35 TeraFlops or 35 Million Million Floating Point Math Operation per Second
  • RAM modules will be 128 GB and run at about 10GHz
  • Flash Memory will around 1TB module size
  • Hard Disks? Might well not keep place, might only have 10s of TBs

Are we really going to get a chip like that? In particular does the average user need 500 way multicore chips. The Multicore trend only started in the 2004 because chip designer found it was the most efficient way to increase the power of there processors. If it is to continue, software needs to change in order to use many processors at the same time, this will be a big change in programming style, it will
require new Operating Systems that can intelligently schedule big tasks to many processors while keeping small regular tasks easierly started on other spare processors. I'm sure it can be done, but will it? If not manufacturers will find it difficult to sell such massively parallel many core chips.

The ATOM version

If multi-cores don't catch on, then its more likely manufacturers will opt to use the space on silicon chip to build complete computers on a chip, with I/O, Graphics, Memory all integrated into a single chips, continue the trend started with AMD Fusion chips (graphics processor and cpu on the same chip). For gamers a big GPU and a few cores of CPU, perhaps with a dedicated physics unit, might be the prefer options.

This might be the final chip too

Our chip of 2022, is made at 4nm lithography (6 shrinks from the 32nm Intel and AMD will be using in 2010), this is about the limits as to how small we can design chips. In a Silicon Crystal atoms of silicon are spaced about 0.5nm apart. Our 4nm chip has wires just 8 atoms thick. Quantum tunnelling between adjacent wires becomes a problem already at 16nm (scheduled for 2013-2016). Once we can't shrink processors any further we can only make more powerful computers by increasing the size of chip itself or by building vertically, but either way we would have to pay more for building either. Once we stop shrinking chips, the price for each transistor stops going down. So it really looks that the end point of conventional silicon chips is reached in the 2020s.

The revolution is Over and still no AI

Our computer of 2020, is still at bit short of a human brain, which is estimated to need about 10^16 Computations per second, and 10TB of memory to emulate. We're about 300 times to slow to match a human brain, and 100 times to little memory. To get there we need another 6 dies shrinks, but one atom thick wires just aren't possible. Having said that a 2020s supercomputer made with hundreds of processors is there, so big organisation, can start playing god with brain rate supercomputers if the're so funded. In fact through, for modelling the brain, we've very much got the wrong architecture above.The brain is made of 100 billion slow but parallel operating neurons connected by 100 trillion interconnections. To emulate really we want chips
which are vastly more parallel, integrated with a rewire-able transport system able to connect any segment to any other in real time. Such a chip might only be made once AI or mind-uploading is already standard.

Conclusions: The singularity is delayed

Once we reach the end of Moore's Law, I'm sure innovation will continue in computing, certainly in software, but hardware will have stalled, improving only gradually from then on. It might be a long wait before the next revolution, Nanotech, starts. Nanotech rewrites the rule on how to build computers (and everything else), to start it will require 3 dimensional atom by atom construction of self replicating robots, thats not any easy task, nor is it easy to design, Nanotech might come anywhere next century, or never. Some futurologist would like to start Nanotech in the 2020s just to keep Moore's Law working, but Moore's Law is just a line drawn in a existing trends. Hard work makes it continue to be true, but hard work, can't get past the limit of the laws of physics. The computer of much of the current century may have specs like I've describe above, and it will take new revolutionary technology to better it.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

The Internet, the Worlds biggest Ponzi Scheme?

Not to long ago, i attended a one of those Internet Business Meet up groups. Not many people turned up, certainly no one with success or money to invest. One of the guys there had produced tens of sites, promoted up the hundreds of thousand of hits per month level, but total failed to monetize the sites, despite Google Adsense and various affiliate programs. In his bitterness, he describe the Internet as the World biggest Ponzi Scheme. Is the Internet or part of a Ponzi Scheme? A Ponzi Scheme, named after Charles Ponzi any pyramid marketing scheme that make the early adopters money, by dragging ever more new people to invest in it, and then dies when it runs out of suckers.

Technically of course, the Internet, and the web, aren't any kind of money making scheme at all, there purely enabling communication protocols. Never the less, there is an over large part of Internet business involved purely in promote other parts of the Internet, commonly known as SEO, or Search Engine Optimising. If your involve in any new Internet business you'll want to get in Marketed and if like the majority, you don't have much money to spare, this often means SEO. The nature of Google and most of the modern search engine, is that the more your pages are linked to, the more search hits you get, so the more people see you. While goodness will out, its otherwise a self-reinforcing systems, keeping the old and already popular businesses at the top, and producing barriers to entry for any new operation.

Because of this a major industry of SEO, and Internet promotion has sprung up often promising at lot more traffic and advertising money than is reasonably believable. Many sites, and chat room posts, will inform you of how to start a blog, how to get traffic for it, and write of successful bloggers that have made big money out of it. Showing the self referential nature of the net, many of the these most successful blogs are themselves about SEO, and that part of the Net almost qualifies as a Ponzi Scheme. Fads on the Internet come and go. At the moment Tweeter is in fashion, Tweeter is real time chatting, and doesn't (yet) favour old established sites, yet if you only did Tweeter and ever stop your Tweeter marketing, your find no record of your messages no links to your website or business. Many SEO sites recommend Tweeter marketing it, to my mind it might as well be vapour marketing. We've yet to see what comes out of the growth of Tweet Marketing, as expect nothing, at it to be replaced by a newer fad, but I've been wrong before.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Aggretators and the Death of Journalism

You may well have read about the 'death of journalism' recently, the web is a buzz, with, for example this BBC article. Newspapers are complaining that there readers are disappearing to the internet, and there internet content is being 'stolen' by news aggregators. Since one of my companies products is a blog aggregator, i've a special interest in such stories, which as I'll show
are not true. Newspapers are getting quite angry at there loss of revenue. The angry brewing as for example the editor of the wall street journal describes aggregators as 'parasites or tech tapeworms in the intestines of the internet'

There is a whole host of issues to cover in story of Newspaper and the Internet. Lets first tackle the 'death of journalism'. Being a journalist is a wonderful job, you get paid to write your views, you get to market the truth (as you see it) to the populus. If you a foreign correspondant you get paid to travel, a wonder, marred only be the chance of being shot at or kidnapped. In fact the web has led the growth of Journalism, not its death. Many internet only magazine style sites have spung up covering areas which just wouldn't have been covered pre-internet. Meanwhile, the ordinary person has a chance to post there view to anyone who might read them, via blogs. Suddenly there opinons can be heard. In the pre-internet days, i can remember my dad, posting hundreds of letters and opinons pieces off to newspapers and endless being rejected. There no doubt for the todays reader, the state of journalism has never being better.

So the problem isn't the 'death of journalism' the problem is that 'newspapers are an endangered spieces'. This is only partial true, paper is still a reasonable medium for certain functions, and indeed free sheet that the London Metro started out in 1999, during first dot com
boom. Whats notable is the free sheet part. The Internet has an enormous amount of content and most of it is either self funded or funded by advertising. With so much content no one want to pay to read, micropayments never managed to take off, not enough paper would agree to pay a penny to read a page. Free just seems so much cheeper. So when newspaper publish there content on-line they find they just can't be payed to produce it. That the problem they facing, in they current form, while Journalism will continue, newspapers will have to adapt to find new ways to publish and new ways to get paid for producing content.

Next, Aggretators. Aggretators aren't damaging Journalism, they don't steel content, they pick up on the content that writers decide to free syndicate and draw traffic into the newspapers piece. This actually helps the content providers. What annoys the editor of the 'wall street journal' is not that his piece appears in the aggretator, its that all the smaller papers and bloggers items appear in the aggretator as well. And so why should be reader pay to read a Wall Street Journal piece, when theys plenty of free pages, posting much the same news. Thats whats annoying in the old school of papers. Our 'internet tapeworms' are doing a valuable job of promoting the smaller paper, webazines, and the bloggers. All of which is taking money away from the the old lumbering ink media. Rather than complain or ask for laws to help them, old
media need to adapt and using its advantage of money and scale, to produce content and systems that user want, before there advantages disappears.

Aggretators are boone to knowlegde finding, exspecially if you have obscure pet subjects you want to follow. Thats way I started Feed Distiller, its great to be able follow the new about tiny
subarea of physics, e.g. Neutrinos, and put it all in one place, for when you'll in the mood to research it. In fact aggretators like Feed Distiller are still in a very early stage of technology, and very far from perfect. For example when an personnal obitary piece ended up on our Humour page, is wasn't funny. But that to be expected, until computers can read and understand as well or nearly as well as human, aggretators are going to be less than perfect. In fact, until them, aggretators probably going to Niche compared with Social bookmarking, a tool for subjects that don't have too many people bothering to swap links about.

So Long Live Journalism, Long Live the Human Quest for Knowlegde, and Long Live Aggretators: AI might well start there.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Great start up article in time. The modern dot com startup.

Thanks to Krish Sridhar for pointing me to this article in Time about modern internet startups. Its a biopic about another new web company. But the major point is just how cheap starting a internet company is these days, the intrepid entrepreneur in case, John Tayman, took an idea for a website from idea to breakeven profitability on $10,000, despite having to buy in all the programming and design skills, and without even giving up his day jobs. The article also publishes the wonderful term: Ramen profitable:

The term ramen profitable was coined by Paul Graham, a Silicon Valley start-up investor, essayist and muse to LILO (little in, lot out) entrepreneurs. It means that your start-up is self-sustaining and can eke out enough profit to keep you alive on instant noodles while your business gains traction.

Time contrasts this modern ultra light startup, with the pre dot com crash startup, like amazon, those companies, had business plans, and big venture capital funding behind them. The modern ultra light, has personal funding, and build it and see what happens attitude. This changes is large due to the fact that the skills and technologies need to make web businesses are so prevalent these days, that the capitial needed is so much smaller.

So with it so easy to start a company, are we all going to web millionaires. Of course not, the market can only handle so many ideas. There's a pot of advertising revenue (since google has most of the internet market, this roughly equal to googles add revenue), which has to pay for
all the websites that don't sell a product. Anyone great article reveals how that pot is distributed.
Right now you need to be in the top 100,000 on-line sites in order to make money in the thousands of dollars. Since an unpromoted site might have an alexis rank of 20 million. Your need a lot of marketing to get to the profitable region, worse once your in the region it probable that your have to make a lot a new backlinks in just to keep at the current place.

This isn't surprising, economic theory tells us, once the barriers to entry are low, the market rapidly gets full with companies, profit gets driven out, and price of the commodity gets driven down the cost of its production. The article above, puts the average income of those bottom rung bloggers as 13$/hour. Which is just about good enough to kept a blogger interested in working, but is hardly the "little in, lot out" dream mentioned above in time.

The internet itself, and the pot of advertising revenue is still growing, and this should help to
keep those ramen profitable companies (that are probably very useful to there readers, the dross have already be driven out, by the ramen stage), improving and going forward. But as the
internet grows and gets saturated, whats going to keep the never truly successful dreamers doing there bit for noodle money. That;s a good question, that may haunt the internet to come. Myself i think there's plenty of room for ten or more times advertising growth on the internet over the next ten years, probably given by new and innovative technologies and advertising stategies. So for those starting now, if they stick at it, and serve a useful propose, should gain
above average ricks, based on overall future growth.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Ultra Light Startups

Ultra light startups are an Event based group focusing at starting in internet company for the initial stage of a idea to a full funded company. Unfortunate its an US groups, and i don't intend to fly all the way to New York, just to watch to there Presentation and Event. The problem of starting a company and bring it to market it one, i know well. I'm doing it the moment at Majorana Informatics. I was first programmer in a Magus Research, and I started a couple with friends just before the internet bubble of 2008.

The problem is of course money. Well a single man operating from his home, can easily build a website, a full fledged internet business, requires staff and office. You'd would hope to have a programmer, a graphic designer, a marketer and an office. That run to between 100,000 and 200,000 a year, rapidly eating up an venture captial that you can get hold of. So between the one man stage, and the small business stage, is there any way to build the company up without getting the VC. I think in practice the answer is yes, but its not yet easy. The economy is very much geared up to salaried employers working at offices currently. And that creates big barriers to growth to the small business stage.

But I believe it is indeed possible out source in all the required parts of a ultra light start-up, running with just a few core people. Consider first the marketting. Its indeed possible, to do your own micro marketing without, spend much money, which very many bloggers talk about, you'll find at selection at our Internet Advertising Feed or for specific area at our Niche Marketing feed. With money not doubt a full advertising campaign would rapidly bring users. But if your website is only funded by advertising can paying of advertising, bring you your own advertising revenue later. The answer is own if the user become regulars at your website, and the means you require interesting lively content that changes regularly for them to read, or some application that will be regularly useful for them.

You can also skip the office, if you can find reliable freelancers for the development areas (programming, graphic design etc) that you can't do yourself. Phone and fax answers services are available to deal with incoming requests. So order to have a business you avoid needing a building or employers at all, to begin with. Which of course saves on Rent, Rates and Tax. The internet should make it easy to find freelancer developers, but in fact, there still a big problem with trust that work will actual get down to specification. And it good to meet up with the workers in person regularly.

Almost every company need to go through this pre-seed stage, and prolonging it without needing capital is an economic advantage even if it might fill that the growth is much slower. If you can show a steady income or the beginning of one, you'll be able to keep a lot more of your company at the VC stage.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Recession may be good time for growth of Hobby Networks

With the world entering a global recession, one that might in the best case last a just few years. Inn the worst case our current recession might last near a decade, fading into the next recession due to the lack of fossil fuels. This will be lean times for many people, with a large rise in unemployment. People will have a lot of spare time, the missing increase in leisure time, that was supposed to happen but never did in our modern hectic lives.

The internet offers a lot of free activities, and it might make the modern unemployment a lot more productive than the previous generations were. No doubt a lot of the unemployed with take refuge into computer games, and on-line virtual worlds. They'll have more time to message friends swap emails. But they'll also have a lot my time to take up productive hobbies and learning. The internet will no doubt help this a lot. I can expect to a see a lot more blog and self help pages, spring up. If people can be local kings and queens of there hobbies or spread them around the world, then this time of unemployment might bring more happiness than the dull days of 9 to five ever did.

With the modern world of the social internet, the hobbies don't have to be lonely crank obsession, but can be fully networked, peer judged creative activities, some of the new activities might will end up as future businesses. So good luck to all that attempt to enrich there lives, in these financially dark times.

On the basis of the above hopes. I can predict that the internet, the web and social networking sites will continue to grow quickly over the next five or so years.