IMMI creates a cell phone that really listens

ImiThe NYT published an article yesterday profiling Integrated Media Measurement (IMMI), a start-up based in San Mateo, Calif. that has taken the concept of measuring advertising effectiveness a step further.
Although companies can accurately track how effective their online ads are thanks to click-thru percentages and a variety of other metrics, someone has yet to come up with a reliable system to determine the success rate of ads for television and radio media. IMMI is prepared to tackle this problem with a creative, if not invasive, solution.

Once you agree to participate, IMMI provides you with a cell phone. Not only do they give you a phone for free, but they pick up the bill for all the calls you make on it. Here’s where it gets interesting: every 30 seconds, the phone records a 10 second sound clip from your surroundings. When you’re carrying the phone, a third of everything you hear is captured. That data is then uploaded to IMMI, at which point it is analyzed to determine exactly what advertisements you heard through out the day. That information is that cross-referenced with purchases you make; the company can install “Bluetooth beacons” in the stores of their clients, recording exactly when you enter and leave, in addition to what you buy.

The company launched in 2003 and so far has taken on 10 clients, among them ESPN and NBC. They currently have over 3,000 participants enrolled in the program (they recruit teenagers up to adults at 54 years old), each under an agreement to carry the phone for 2 years.

Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Advanced Technology Ventures funded the firm for a combined $14 million.

This technology brings us one step closer to the imagined future of the Tom Cruise flick “Minority Report,” in which stores scan your retina and identify you as soon as you walk in. Thanks to the wonders of Bluetooth, IMMI is already doing this. We’re still waiting on a company to come out with free designer sunglasses that record what ads you look at. This type of tech is surely coming. If IMMI is any indicator, we may not have to wait long.


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AMD and INTEL: The battle of the Quad Core CPUs

amd quad core barcelona

Continuing in their battle for supremacy, both Intel and AMD announced their new Quad CPU processors this month. A quantum jump from the dual processors, the new chips place 4 x86 cores on to a single die.

AMD’s Opteron 8000 series named “Barcelona”, hailed by AMD as the “world’s most advanced x86 processor ever designed and manufactured” is aimed towards the server market, and is positioned as having superior “performance per watt”. AMD also points out the fact it is a true native quad processor, which might be a bit of a dig at Intel’s “Tigertron” Xeon 7300 processor which is is a packaged combo of two dual processors.

intel opteron quad core cpu

Intel has released its quad core Xeon 7300 (”Clovertown”) series. Intel also claims better energy efficiency as well as enhanced virtualization capabilities.

So how do these two CPUs stack up?

The battle lines in the CPU market are generally drawn around the speed of the processors in handling computations, and in the power efficiency of the chips (power consumptions is not as much as an issue, as is the waste heat which limits the performance of the chips).

AMD claims that Barcelona will exceed the performance of Clovertown, by 40% at any clock speed. AMD has not released the clock speed of Barcelona but Intel’s Xeon clocks in at 2.66 GHz, although the company is also releasing 3.0 GHz processors.

Both companies claim lower power consumption, although no figures have been released.

Barcelona and Clovertown will both be aimed towards the high end commercial servers with an emphasis towards the speed gains in database applications.

While side by side comparisons of the two CPUs have not been published yet, there are some leaked reports of tests done by IBM (pdf here), for the two processors. According to some analysis by George Ou, a blogger at ZDnet, AMD’s Barcelona might indeed be behind at this point, and might not be able to catch up in performance to the Intel Opteron until they get to the 3.0 GHz clock speed (Intel already has a 3.0 GHz quad processor).

As with the dual processor race between AMD and Intel, this one promises to get pretty exciting!


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Facebook: A model for Web 2.0

Logo FacebookWired posted an article yesterday titled “How Mark Zuckerberg Turned Facebook Into the Web’s Hottest Platform.” Author Fred Vogelstein does a great job pointing out some of the key factors that turned Facebook into the Web 2.0 superstar it is today. And it’s still growing. These principles can be applied to any web startup that’s aimed at virtually any flavor of social interaction. Here are the elements that made it happen.

  • Real-world identity. At the start of the web, it was the companies you heard about. The AOLs, the Compuserves, the Netscapes. As the web has evolved, its no longer the companies that are the stars; now its the people: Robert Scoble, Michael Arrington, Mark Cuban, even Zuckerberg himself. With AOL, you were a screen name. Everyone was anonymous. Now, everyone wants to be themselves. Web 2.0 has people publicizing their thoughts on blogs, their photo albums on Flickr, and their bookmarks on del.icio.us. Facebook has capitalized and taken this a step further; now even your relationships between friends and significant others have their public place online. With people putting so much of their personal life onto the internet, its no wonder they want credit for it. Zuckerberg recognized that the value of internet socializing is not restricted to exchanges between faceless screen names in foreign chat rooms, but that people actually want to assume their own identity. Vogelstein writes, “Sites like MySpace practically encouraged users to create new identities and meet and link to people they barely knew. Zuckerberg didn’t care about using the Internet to make new friends. ‘People already have their friends, acquaintances, and business connections,” he explains. “So rather than building new connections, what we are doing is just mapping them out.‘”
  • The beauty of broadcasting. Although the web has always been a collection of information that perpetually updates itself, the way those updates are distributed to users is one of the major changes that Web 2.0 has brought about. Applications like Twitter allow you to notify your network of friends of exactly what you’re doing, thinking or feeling at the press of a button. RSS feeds mean you no longer have to tediously go down your list of bookmarks one by one to see what new information has been posted on your favorite sites; simply sit back and let it all come to you in one easily-managable stream. Facebook adopted this principle the day that they unveiled the “news feed”: now, every time you login to Facebook the first screen you are greeted with tells you all about what your friends have been up to. If they post new photo albums, send each other public comments or join a new group, the news feed will let you know about it by way of an easy to read list that comes off as surprisingly uncluttered. The feed is the key feature that allows anything interesting put on Facebook to do what interesting things in Web 2.0 do best: go viral. So, what’s the most interesting thing on Facebook right now? Actually, there are 3,200 of them with 180 being added per week. Which takes us to…
  • Unlimited functionality. On May 24th, Facebook unveiled their open development system to the rest of the world. This allows anyone to develop applications, or widgets, that can run right out of peoples’ profile. Best of all, as soon as a member adds an application to their page, it gets broadcast to all of their friends via the news feed. Its no wonder that developers have jumped at this opportunity; everyone from independent one man teams to companies with established revenue like LastFM are writing for Zuckerberg’s platform. Basically, if you can think of something you’d like to be able to do on Facebook, it can probably be done… if it isn’t already. Vogelstein writes, “more than 3,200 new applications have sprung up on the site, a number that is growing by about 180 a week. Those offerings have made Facebook a fully functioning social hub, where users can keep track of one another’s favorite music and videos, share and compare movie reviews, and hit one another up for contributions to pet causes.” This doesn’t even include the professional side of Facebook that is growing at a rapid pace: before the app platform, businesses were already sifting through Facebook’s broad member base to find potential applicants and recruit employees (both Microsoft and the CIA have a Facebook presence). Now, companies can use applications to actually generate cash flow from ads or otherwise, with Zuckerberg letting them keep 100% of the revenue (for the moment). With such a flexible platform, literally almost anything is possible.

Regardless of where Facebook and Zuckerberg’s future lead, right now Facebook is a living example of what it means to be at the edge of Web 2.0. And I wouldn’t expect that to change anytime soon.

    But hey, if it does, I’m sure my news feed will let me know.


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    Clupedia releases innovative social bookmarking tool Clucast

    ImageClupedia has just released its beta product, Clucast.

    Clucast is crowdcasting, meets social bookmarking, meets Sphereit .

    Clucast lets you visit any web page and leave a clue - a clue can be anything, a comment, a review, a bookmark, or a link. Any user who now visits the page can read the clue, if they have Clucast installed.

    But this is the really revolutionary part. When you write a clue on any piece of content, such as a product, your clue is immediately broadcast to thousands of websites which mention that product. So any Clucaster can now read your comment on any of those web sites as well.

    clupedia clucastThis is the only social book marking product that we know of which has this feature.

    The Clupedia Clucast plugin is now available as a download from their website. The product currently works on the Firefox browser, and requires Java to be installed. David Saad, CEO of Clupedia, spent several months in Bangalore, India, developing the software.

    The Clucast download is pretty fast and painless. Furthermore, they offer several incentives for installing Clucast, including revenue share with authors on ads which are viewed alongside the clues.

    I can see this tool becoming huge with bloggers, and publishers. Also advertisers, who have so far had to rely on third party review websites such as Epinion, or to set up their own dedicated review websites, should get very excited about Clucast.

    clucast


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