links for 2009-12-02

  • It has become many celebrities' favourite way to share their thoughts, however mundane, with the world.

    But now internet phenomenon Twitter has become the most popular word in the English language, according to researchers.

    The microblogging website – which allows its 20million users including Stephen Fry and Demi Moore to transmit 140 character messages across the globe instantly – beat Barack Obama into second place in a survey of the most-used phrases this year.

    (tags: twitter)

  • I'm wondering if Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Wave is like a concept car for Google. We'll never see it in production–but all of its features and capabilities will emerge in other products released by Google and other companies. Google Wave solves some very real business problems. But I think even Google will have trouble getting companies to adopt it.

    Google says Wave is "what e-mail might look like if it were invented today." If you haven't tried Wave, you probably think that's an empty marketing slogan, that it sounds catchy but means nothing. But if you have played with Wave, you see that it's actually the best possible description. If you took a bunch of Web 2.0 geniuses, locked them in a room, and asked them to invent a system that solves the major problems with using e-mail in a business environment, you'd end up with something like Wave.

    (tags: google wave)

  • Arthur Colby arrives at Quantico Marine Base by way of Groton boarding school and Dickinson College — exclusive, private institutions that aren't exactly pipelines to the military. Officer Candidates School, he knows, will be unlike anything he's faced in his young life.

    At 20, Colby has a résumé crammed with hallmarks of the young and ambitious — president of Dickinson's freshman class, internships with the Bush and McCain campaigns, a stint with a high-powered Washington consulting firm. He'd be well on his way to a bright future without the Marines.

    Instead, he's expecting six hellish weeks. Predawn hikes, obstacle courses, push-ups, sit-ups, all on very little sleep. But perhaps the biggest challenge he faces at Quantico is not so much physical as cultural.

  • More and more startups are finally focusing on real business models, ones that are based on actually selling a product or service. You know, for money.

    The irony is that many get pretty far down the development path before realizing that adding billing infrastructure to their offering may not be as simple as integrating with PayPal's API or some other payment processor.

    Choosing the right processor, and many times, processors, from a confusing multi-layered vendor ecosystem can be tricky. Poor decision-making when it comes to issues such as terms of pricing, business fit, or processing capability, can each be a deep gash in any startup's soft underbelly.

    (tags: payments)

  • Digital Sky Technologies (aka DST), the Russian Internet holding company that holds stakes in several major Russian-language social networking and communication players and notably also recently invested in Facebook, is melting two of its largest portfolio companies together into one online powerhouse.

    Astrum Online Entertainment, itself formed by DST after merging five online game companies that were active mainly in Russia and Eastern Europe (Astrum Nival, Nikita.Online, IT Territory, TimeZero and DJ Games) back in 2007, will effectively become 100% owned by Mail.ru, the leading Internet portal in the Russian speaking world and equally majority-owned by DST.

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