baratillo @ cubao : www.baratillo.net

The Fox, the Cat and Information Overload

Posted in Gadgets & Technology, Opinion by juned on the October 23rd, 2008

A post from the past. Re-written and re-posted. Cross-posted at DilisMedia.com.
This one from Old Aesop.

One day the Cat and the Fox were having a talk across a field in front of the orchard as they would do from time to time. At one point their discussion led to how they would escape their sworn enemy the dogs of the Farmer. The Fox got up and strode in front of the Cat and boasted he would never run out of means to out-fox the farmer and his pack of dogs. The Fox’s pun was deliberate and he smirked. He told the Cat that he had over a thousand tricks in his pocket to outrun, outsmart and out-fox his enemies.

The Cat only gazed across the field and begun to survey the area. Then the Cat looked at the smirking Fox and said that he had only knew of one trick.

Suddenly, it just happened, barks (several) were heard. A mass of brown, black and white appeared on the horizon. Several sets of canine teeth could be seen as sharp as the scmitar of the executioner at Kublai Khan’s court. It was the Farmer’s dog pack.

And the pack saw the two and descended upon the unlikely pair - the Fox and the Cat. It just so happened the Cat only knew one trick and it was to climb the nearest tree. With much effort and dash the Cat was able to get to the tree and sanctuary. He was safe.

Unlike his friend The poor Fox who was so busy to decide what tricked to employ that he was captured and killed by the Dog.

The Fox made the wrong choice.

The Fox made no choice at all.

The Fox died of information overload.

++++

The Gennady Notes: Information Overload

Notes from the mundane library at Alexandria Major , written down by the scribe-scholar only known as Gennady the Unremarkable.

Information overload is the state when there is too much information that it makes it difficult or nearly impossible to make a decision or be effectively informed.

But what causes this?

This can be caused by but not limited to the following:

(i) Large amounts of information to read;
(ii) A high rate of new information being added constantly;
(iii) Contradictions in available information;
and (iv) Difficulty of identifying relevant information.

G.

To telecommute or not

Posted in Gadgets & Technology by juned on the June 9th, 2008

A few weeks ago I was watching the news and came across this little tidbit from Malacanang about how cabinet secretaries would be obliged to to ride public transport to go to Malacanang. This would and probably is a rich fodder for ridicule if it was not apparent that Malacanang thought it was a joke too. Particularly this Malacanang.

Anyway there are other options for the Cabinet Secretaries: (i) They could live in the San Miguel baranggay. The problem with that is that they could easily be targeted and would cost additional money just to sustain them. (ii) And the other option would be to telecommute.

In this age of information it would be natural to use the technology to speed things up and make faster communication in government. There are concerns one would be security: sensitive discussions and documents could be compromised. And the setting up of the system itself could lead to other expenses - expenses brought about by the itchy palm. Something my ZTE modem reminds me from time to time.

And of course the image of secretaries and government officials talking via monitors in a darkened room brings up images of 1984, V for Vendetta and a slew of dystopian images of the future. Something I am sure any government will not want to project unwittingly.

Still it was worth a shot.

But …

Sooner or later it will come - the telecommute option. Slowly it is being adopted. We might not have teleportation figured out but given the conditions and time - high fuel prices and overpopulation - the telecommute option is viable and very attractive. And no need for Scotty to beam you up.

uMobile or ?Mobile gets a c for cunning

Posted in Gadgets & Technology, Opinion by juned on the May 21st, 2008

I read Jayvee’s post, U Mobile (?mobile): Country?s 5th Telco is the Free, Advertising Based Service , and it got my interest more than usual. And this is because of the words free, advertising, and telco service. One can but stand and admire the simplicity and craftiness of the plan.

Nothing that deals with technology and information in our time is free. We pay for it one way or ther other. Whether directly or by paying in kind or time. And for the mobile company ?Mobile it provides the service by providing companies ready access to consumers - direct advertising. Charging companies to display their ads to a consensual audience. A goldmine.

Especially if your target market is between 15 to 35. Heavy technology users but not yet enough income to afford post paid services. And then do not sell the phone but make it by invite and this adds the allure of exclusivity. Then give a free load of P100 for six months and possibly more in order to give enough time to build the advertising base - companies that subscribe to the service. Brilliant!

All of this is of course funded by advertisements that one subscribes to or consent to. A quick check of their website gives enough details of how this works:

Customers are rewarded 50 cents everytime they received an ad from a number (998) and P350 is the maximum(?) amount of load that can be recieved in the ad program per month (?). At 50 cents that is around 700 advertisements for a month and 23 ads per day for 31 days.

For six months customers get P100 free load. So for the first six months assuming you get the maximum, you have P450 balance.

This seems to be augmented by top-ups through special promos and purchase of loads. At this point it does not seem clear how the loads are purchased, we shall have to wait and see.

At 450 pesos and considering the cost of all the services, based on the proposed rates:

I. Standard calls
Voice Call
? to ? P6.50
? to other networks P7.25
? to landline P7.25
IDD P15.00

Video Call

? to ? P6.50

Fring Messaging
Data rate P10.00/30 mins.

II.Standard Messaging
SMS
? to ? P0.15
? to other networks P0.75
ISMS P8.00

MMS
? to ? P0.50
IMMS P15.00

Fring Messaging
Data rate P10.00/30 min

VALUE ADDED SERVICES

Full track music P50.00
True Tones P30.00
Images, wallpapers, screensavers P10.00
Themes P20.00
Java Games P30.00
Video Streaming P20.00
Network Game Download Free
5 Tokens P5.00
10 Tokens P10.00
20 Tokens P40.00

Mobile Internet
Data rate P10.00/30 minutes

The 450 pesos will probably be used up fast.Hence the need to load up. Whether this be done by viewing more adds or loads.

Once must pause and admire the work. Prof Cunning from the University Cunning, at Cunningham near Lake Cunningness could not have crafted a more cunning plan.

One of the hurdles that it must jump over unfortunately seems to be potentially the ads themselves. Nobody likes ads unless they are entertainig or atractive. As Jakob Nielsen stated there are three design elements that are most effective at attracting eyeballs. And these are (i) Plain text, (ii) Faces, and (iii) Cleavage and other “private” body parts.

The problem with ads and ad driven site is that the ads become obnoxious and intrusibve Yes for ?Mobile the ads are selected by the user. They select the content but now how the content is going to be displayed. Its the advertising techniques or design elements that get negative reaction from the viewer. There are top design errors that get negative reaction from viewers:

Pops-up in front of you
Loads slowly
Tries to trick you into clicking on it
Does not have a “Close” button
Covers what you are trying to see
Doesn’t say what it is for
Moves content around
Occupies most of the page
Blinks on and off
Floats across the screen
Automatically plays sound
[Source]

Some may and some may not be acceptable to the negative impact of advertising. But you get the drift.

For me the ?Mobile thing is a brilliant business plan in terms baiting and hooking a customer and advertiser. The only problem with is the strain and negative of how potentially the ads will be presented. If it is obstructionist then wave bye bye if not then congratulations are in order. However, It is not free in any form, spirit or definition.