frank's blog

Amazon Signing Authors Directly – Cutting Out The Publisher

Posted in internet, Media by aldorf on October 17, 2011

After years of turning the traditional brick-and-mortar bookstore business on its head, online retail giantAmazon is now taking aim at the publishing business by getting writers to ditch their publishers in favor of Amazon.

The company is scheduled to publish 122 books this fall in print and e-book form, according to a report from the New York Times. The move puts Amazon in more direct competition with some of its largest suppliers, like Penguin, Random House and MacMillan. Read full story here.

Why Amazon Keeps Spending Billions On Amazon R&D

Posted in innovation, internet, Media, pioneers by aldorf on April 29, 2011

In his annual letter to shareholders, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos explains why his company continues to re-invest in technology.

Random forests, naïve Bayesian estimators, RESTful services, gossip protocols, eventual consistency, data sharding, anti-entropy, Byzantine quorum, erasure coding, vector clocks … walk into certain Amazon meetings, and you may momentarily think you’ve stumbled into a computer science lecture.

Look inside a current textbook on software architecture, and you’ll find few patterns that we don’t apply at Amazon. We use high-performance transactions systems, complex rendering and object caching, workflow and queuing systems, business intelligence and data analytics, machine learning and pattern recognition, neural networks and probabilistic decision making, and a wide variety of other techniques. And while many of our systems are based on the latest in computer science research, this often hasn’t been sufficient: our architects and engineers have had to advance research in directions that no academic had yet taken. Many of the problems we face have no textbook solutions, and so we — happily — invent new approaches…Read full article.

All the effort we put into technology might not matter that much if we kept technology off to the side in some sort of R&D department, but we don’t take that approach. Technology infuses all of our teams, all of our processes, our decision-making, and our approach to innovation in each of our businesses. It is deeply integrated into everything we do.

7 Must Reads: Presentation Skills

Posted in conference, design, ideas, Media, quality by aldorf on January 18, 2011

Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery

by Garr Reynolds

Clear and to the Point: 8 Psychological Principles for Compelling PowerPoint Presentations

By Stephen M. Kosslyn

The Craft of Scientific Presentations: Critical Steps to Succeed & Critical Errors to Avoid

by Michael Alley

slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations

by Nancy Duarte

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs

by Carmine Gallo

The Jelly Effect: How to Make Your Communication Stick

By Andy Boundes

The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures

by Dan Roam

 

Before you leave take a look at my bookshelf

Successful People Read More

Posted in ideas, inspiration, your take on... by aldorf on January 6, 2011

Over the holidays I picked up four new books. I love to hear your thoughts on these authors and publications.Wishing you all the very best for 2011! Cheers, keep up the good work and happy reading.

You’ll find them all in my bookstore.

The Internet And How It Effects Our Brain

Posted in ideas, web by aldorf on August 27, 2010
Cover of "The Shallows: What the Internet...

Cover via Amazon

An experiment of UCLA professor Gary Small showed that web surfers brain activity is far more extensive. Particular in areas of the prefrontal cortex associated with problem solving and decision-making.

Small concluded, “the current explosion of digital technology not only is changing the way we live and communicate, but is rapidly and profoundly altering our brains.”

When we go online we enter an environment that promotes cursory reading, distract thinking and superficial learning. The Internet is turning us into shallower thinkers and changing the structure of our brain.

In the 1980’s people thought the introduction of hyperlinks would strenghten critical thinking, enable us to switch easily between different viewpoints – a technology of liberation.

But because it disrupts concentration it weakens comprehension. A study from 1989 showed that readers tended just to click around and could not remember what they had and had not read.

People, who read linear text comprehend more, remember more, and learn more than those who read hyperlinked text. It took the hypertext readers longer to read the document and found it confusing.

Whenever a link appears, your brain has at least make the choice not to click, which is itself distracting.

And more recent research suggests that links surrounded by images, videos, and advertisements could be even worse.

In a study text-only viewers answered significantly more questions correctly. They found the presentation more interesting, more educational, more understandable, and more enjoyable.

It’s single-minded and we can transfer information into our long-term memory that is essential to the creation of knowledge and wisdom.

While reading the information is flowing into our working memory. When the load exceeds, we are unable to retain the information or to draw connections with other memories. We can’t translate the new material into conceptual knowledge.

Numerous studies show that we read faster as we go online.

Problem is that many different kinds of media coming at us simultaneously.

Office workers often glance at their inbox 30 to 40 times an hour. And every time we shift our attention, the brain has to reorient itself. Increasing the likelihood that we’ll overlook or misinterpret important information.

But we want to be interrupted. Each interruption brings us a valuable piece of information. The neverending stream of new information also plays to our natural tendency to overemphasize the immediate. we crave the new even when we know it’s trivial.

We accept the loss of concentration, focus, and fragmentation of our attention. We rarely stop to think that it might actually make more sense just to tune it all out.

Web browsing strengthens brain functions related to fast-paced problem-solving, particular when it requires spotting patterns in a welter of data. But it would be a serious mistake to conclude the Web is making us smarter.

Patricia Greenfield explains “every medium develops some cognitive skills at the expense of others. The development of visual-spatial skills is weakening deep processing.”

“By including the use of a new medium, we end up with a different brain. As we multitask online, we are training our brain to pay attention to the crap” (Michael Merzenich, pioneer of the field of neuroplasticity)

The problem is that skimming is becoming our dominant mode of thought.

In a metaphorical sense, we are evolving from cultivators of personal knowledge into hunters and gatherers in the electronic data forest. We seem fated to sacrifice much of what makes our minds so interesting.

———–

First thoughts after reading:

1) That’s what I like about the iPad. You are focused on one thing. There is no multitasking. That seems to me is a benefit and big advantage. It forces you to stick to one task.

2) Do not stop reading books!

3) Blogs and tweets repeat the same knowledge. Makes sense, so we have more chances to take the information in.

4) What is with people who will grow up just reading online sources and don’t know text without hyperlinks at all?

5) I will continue reading both, offline/ linear and online/ hyperlinked

6) Everyone has the choice, that skimming is not your dominant mode of thought.

———–

(adapted from The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr, discussed in Wired 6/2010.)

A Pretty Good Day For Trees: E-Books Selling Faster Than Hardcovers At Amazon

Posted in Media, web by aldorf on July 27, 2010

(photo via ifra.net)

In fact, e-books took the lead three month ago, since which time Amazon says it’s sold 143 Kindle books for every 100 hardcover books. What’s more, leaving their physical counterparts in the proverbial dust, e-books have outsold hardcovers at a rate of 180-to-100 over the last four weeks. (via mediapost)

The news marked “a day for the history books — if those will even exist in the future,” quipped The New York Times.

isbn.nu

Posted in web by aldorf on December 24, 2009

And if you like reading more than writing search for books and compare prices at isbn.nu

That’s what killerstartups says about the site:
isbn.nu is a site where bookworms and intellectuals can search for the books they want and compare prices from all over the internet. If you are a both a book lover as well as a bargain hunter, check this out.

This website is ranked 69,069 out of the top 1,000,000 websites.

Quote Of The Day

Posted in Quotes Of The Day by aldorf on September 3, 2009

Anyone can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple.” – Charles Mingus

( from the book “Never Use White Type on a Black Background- And 50 Other Ridiculous Design Rules” )

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