links for 2010-05-07

  • At the Web 2.0 Expo on Thursday, conference co-chair and publisher Tim O’Reilly observed, “If you invent for the world that exists now, you’re behind the curve.”
    As an example of this maxim — attributed by O’Reilly to technologist Ray Kurzweil and strikingly similar to hockey great Wayne Gretsky’s advice “to skate where the puck’s going, not where it’s been” — O’Reilly pointed to Google’s substantial investment in translation technology.
    (tags: google goggles)
  • In his widely read open letter about the alleged shortcomings of Adobe’s Flash technology on the iPhone, Apple CEO Steve Jobs wrote, “Most Flash Web sites will need to be rewritten to support touch-based devices. If developers need to rewrite their Flash Web sites, why not use modern technologies like HTML5, CSS and JavaScript?”
    Scribd, the social document sharing Web site, has done just that.
    (tags: html5 flash)

  • Users of e-mail and cloud computing services need to have the same protections from law enforcement searches as do people who leave information on laptops or in office cabinets, witnesses told a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee.
    Congress should rewrite the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), a law governing law enforcement agencies’ access to electronic information, to account for changes in technology in the past two decades, representatives of Microsoft and the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) said during a hearing Wednesday.
    There’s widespread confusion over the law, said James Dempsey, CDT’s vice president for public policy.
    (tags: privacy law)
  • Researchers say that the site is set up like a traditional news media outlet and can’t be defined as a social network.
    Twitter has evolved into a major distributor of timely information, as opposed to a social network, making the microblogging site an oracle on the future of news, a recent study shows.
    In a paper presented late last month at the International World Wide Web Conference, a group of Korean researchers found that people use Twitter as a means of communication that reaches and influences people widely. Such a use fits the definition of media, such as radio, television, newspapers, and magazines.
    (tags: twitter)
  • Apple recently released a third beta of iPhone OS 4.0 to developers. After spending a day with the code, developers have found a few new features previously undisclosed by Apple.
    The first new feature is simplified multitasking. In previous betas, turning off apps that were running in the background was as serious pain. It required users to press, hold, and then click to close each open app one at a time. No more. The simpler version in beta 3 allows users to press and hold one app, and then quickly close whichever apps they want quickly rather than cycling through each one at at time. This is a significant improvement in how multitasking behaves.
  • When the Library of Congress announced this month that it had recently acquired Twitter’s entire archive of public tweets, the snarkosphere quickly broke out the popular refrain “Nobody cares that you just watched ‘Lost.’ ” Television tweets are always the shorthand by which naysayers express how idiotic they find Twitter, the microblogging site on which millions of users share their thoughts and activities in 140 characters or fewer.
    (tags: twitter)
  • Positioning your company as a “product business” not a “people business” allows you to value your business at a higher multiple of revenue when it’s time to sell.
    I was sipping a tall Americano at the Starbucks on University Avenue in Palo Alto when I overheard the conversation beside me:
    “Our business is worth four times.”
    “Four? I think we’re worth more like five or six times.”
    I assumed they were using the typical valuation formula employed by most buyers: a multiple of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization – or EBITDA.
    (tags: m&a)

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