Infographic: Mac Users Are Liberal, Vegetarian, City-Dwellers offers a great visual snapshot of Mac users and their PC counterparts over on the site’s blog today. As you can see for yourself below, at least a good portion of the results are pretty much in keeping with prevailing stereotypes.

Why the Netflix Prize is a Kind of a Big Deal

netflix_logo(Updated to include the previously overlooked “The Ensemble”) Netflix (s NFLX) posted an announcement yesterday that it has closed its Netflix Prize recommendation improvement contest. Though no official winner has been announced, the two leading teams, The Ensemble and BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos (Team Pragmatic Theory and Team Bellkor in Chaos joined forces) have supposedly cracked the Netflix nut by improving recommendations by 10.5 percent. You may yawn, say to yourself “Whatever, 10.5 percent, recommendations, blah blah blah.” But recommendations will play an increasing part of your viewing experience in the coming years.
To give you a sense of the size of this endeavor (and how difficult it was to find a winner), according to a post on the Official Netflix Blog, over the past three years there have been 44,014 entries from 5,169 teams in 186 countries vying for the top prize. The New York Times magazine ran an excellent feature last year about the challenges faced by the teams in the competition.
For Netflix, improved recommendations means you’ll rent more movies, be happier with Netflix and ideally keep the company on its hot stock streak. But this will go beyond Netflix.
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Strands & Twine: Sipping From the Information Firehose

I am once again overwhelmed by too much information.
And lately, I’m even overwhelmed by too many tools to access, filter and read that information or to save it for later or add it to various Web 2.0 tools.
On my browser bar alone I have my Google Reader Subscribe button and the ability to save information to Kirtsy,, Second Brain, Instapaper, Evernote, Tumblr, and more recently Strands and Twine.
Before I talk a little more about Strands and Twine, I have to voice a few complaints:

  1. I’m getting tired of having to learn new iconography every time a new site launches and decides to create a unique set of icons to represent the same functionality found on their competitors’ sites. I would love for everyone to adopt a basic set of icons to illustrate features such as Profile, Settings, Publish, etc. so I’m not trying to figure out that that stapler icon means files. Kudos for the adoption of the RSS feed symbol. Let’s get more of those universal icons, please.
  2. I’m growing weary of all this new terminology that is proprietary to a particular site. Do new companies really believe that their terminology will become the definitive words that we’ll be using 5, 10 years from now? I mean every one of them? What struck me during the demos of both Strands and Twine (which I like, by the way, so don’t let this rant confuse you), is that “strands” and “twine” both basically stand for “interests.” Why not call them “Interests”???

Phew! Okay. Got that off my chest. Now on to Strands and Twine.
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Quick Tip: Print to PDF

Printing to a PDF is a useful feature to have for saving receipts of online purchases or sending screenshots of webpages to friends (these aren’t the only useful times to print to PDF’s, but they are the only ones I can think of off the top of my head).

In OS X printing to a PDF is a as simple as:

  1. File > Print
  2. PDF > Save as PDF

NBC to Delay Some Online Olympics Coverage

The upcoming Olympics are bringing out the competitive streak in NBC. Though the network will make more than 2,200 hours of live competition available online, according to the AP, events scheduled to be on TV won’t be shown on the web until after they’ve been televised.

Translation: Hope you enjoy synchronized swimming, because track and field won’t be live.

But while my initial gut reaction was that NBC really blew this one, upon closer inspection I realized that’s maybe it won’t be such a big deal after all.

To be sure, NBC seems to be missing a — pardon the phrase — golden opportunity by delaying the webcast. Live sports is scoring big online. Major League Baseball’s, March Madness and the U.S. Open are all pulling in good if not record-breaking numbers. What bigger sporting event is there than the Olympics?

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FlipStart is now shipping

Flipstart_smallI just received a notice from the folks at FlipStart that the little PC is now shipping.  I wasn’t able to say anything while I was evaluating the FlipStart due to an embargo but I can now say that the device integrates EV-DO Rev A from Sprint.  I experienced great connectivity both here in Houston and in Seattle while testing the FlipStart and had no problems with the Sprint connection which is good news for prospective buyers.  The FlipStart is $1,999 and you’ll find full specs after the jump.

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Skype, Yahoo in talks?

It is too early to tell, what is going on, but there seems to be rumors floating that Skype and Yahoo are in close contact, and perhaps cooking up a commercial partnership. The reports are based on a post on Jean-Michel’s blog. It might be too soon for Skype to be cashing out, and I am not sure if Yahoo can justify the big ticket valuation that would be slapped on Skype. There maybe a revenue share deal in the offering! That would make my recent post on Skype, more relevant.
I have a feeling that two companies could be working on ways to get together and make their individual IM/VoIP clients work with each other. Some sources say that Yahoo’s Messenger team has been hyperactive, and is trying to find creative opportunities, so lets not rule out a possibility of an outright purchase. Still given the 41 million downloads, Skype would be a great acqusition for Yahoo, because it could add some significant heft to the Yahoo! Messenger platform. Yahoo has been spending significant amounts of money on turning this into a voice client as well.
The big problem to this deal would be cozy relationship Yahoo enjoys with the baby bells. Skype is public enemy #1 in those circles, and it could mean a big risk for Yahoo which is building itself as media giant of the 21st century. Stay tuned – I am on the trail right now!