random thoughts

Human auditory perception and “missing fundamentals”

Did you know there’s interesting technology built around using higher-order harmonics to “fake” people into thinking they are hearing low bass sounds?

This is done because some speakers can’t produce the low frequencies needed for the bass sounds.  So taking advantage of human auditory perception, you can generate a certain pattern of higher frequency harmonics.  Our brains believe we are hearing the low frequency because we “fill-in” the missing fundamental frequency.  Pretty awesome!

Read more about it on Wikipedia!


End of Corporate Abuse

Recently, I attended an interesting event where Ellie Cachette presented her new web project http://endcorpabuse.com

End Corporate Abuse

It’s a great way to let people share their bad experiences with companies that abuse their power.  In her example, thousands of people were infected with HIV from infected blood from Bayer, a pharmaceutical company.  Instead of recalling the tainted product, they went ahead and sold it, figuring it would be much cheaper to get sued later.  And it was cheaper.  Meanwhile, the families of infected loved ones had to fight for 10+ years in lawsuits to even (1) find out there were thousands of infected people, and (2) to get any recovery.  By then, their loved ones had no doubt suffered.

I’m glad Ellie came up with a great solution.  It’s something I have been wanting to see, ways to use social networks and the Internet to stop all the corporate abuse.  This is not about improving customer service or addressing product problems, like GetSatisfaction helps do.  This gives all of us the power to highlight unethical practices of companies.  Imagine how this could have addressed the isseus with Goldman Sachs, AIG, Citibank, GM, and other companies who take advantage of the average American.

Stop Corporate Abuse!

Hello world!

Finally restarted my blog started.  Lots to share, just haven’t had the time to write.

Updates coming soon!

Opposing Attributes of Social Data

Last year Andreas Weigend taught Stats 252 at Stanford and shared the following list of opposing characteristics of data communication:

Structured Unstructured
Symmetric Asymmetric
Relevance Chronological
Synchronous Asynchronous
Searchable Not Searchable
Private Public
Broad Narrow
One-time Ongoing
Spontaneous Planned
Short-term Identity Persistent Identity
Push Pull

It’s always interesting to see the different startup companies focusing on different aspects of data.

There’s more to this list, so make a comment and add to this list.

Google Profiles & Future of User ID

Get a Vanity URL for your Google Profile Now

Read the article about Google’s vanity pages. Why do you think Google is doing this?
Imagine, through the signup process, they ask you to fill out personal information about your hobbies, interests, hometown, etc. Doesn’t that sound a lot like FaceBook profile?
Imagine the applications. Often people sign into Google b/c they’re checking email or doing a Google Search. This means Google can better target ads to you when you’re doing either of those actions.
Also, note they are asking you to “hook up” your other Google services that you use (like Picasa or YouTube). It’s like asking you to let them identify you when you are logged in at those places too. Then they can again push you more “relevant” material (i.e. ads).

Ever wonder what is wrong with US management?

Someone send this to me recently, and of all the jokes on Jokes of 2008, the following seems most interesting about US management.

General Motors versus Toyota

A Japanese company (Toyota) and an American company (General Motors) decided to have a canoe race on the Missouri River. Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance before the race.

On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile. The Americans, very discouraged and depressed, decided to investigate the reason for the crushing defeat. A management team made up of senior management was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action. Their conclusion was the Japanese had 8 people rowing and 1 person steering, while the American team had 8 people steering and 1 person rowing.

Feeling a deeper study was in order, American management hired a consulting company and paid them a large amount of money for a second opinion. They advised, of course, that too many people were steering the boat, while not enough people were rowing.

Not sure of how to utilize that information, but wanting to prevent another loss to the Japanese, the rowing team’s management structure was totally reorganized to 4 steering supervisors, 3 area steering superintendents and 1 assistant superintendent steering manager. They also implemented a new performance system that would give the 1 person rowing the boat greater incentive to work harder. It was called the ‘Rowing Team Quality First Program,’ with meetings, dinners and free pens for the rower. There was discussion of getting new paddles, canoes and other equipment, extra vacation days for practices and bonuses.

The next year the Japanese won by two miles. Humiliated, the American management laid off the rower for poor performance, halted development of a new canoe, sold the paddles, and canceled all capital investments for new equipment. The money saved was distributed to the Senior Executives as bonuses and the next year’s racing team was outsourced to India.

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