Archive for July 2, 2011

E-Commerce: Beyond The Metrics

Gautum Gupta is an associate at General Catalyst Partners, where he focuses on financial services, enterprise IT, consumer services, and new media. You follow him @gRamblings.

For all the excitement around commerce these days, there have been only a few really big changes in the last 100 years. Sears pioneered the mail-order catalog, chains like Walmart consolidated big box retail, and Amazon brought inventory online. After more than 10 years of growth, e-commerce only accounts for about 8% of total commerce in the US. Clearly, we have a long way to go in moving more commerce online. I believe the next evolution in e-commerce—what some refer to as “social commerce”—will use customer identity and data to better personalize and serve customers well beyond what Amazon has done to date.

Commerce, both offline and online, has historically been largely anonymous and impersonal. Offline, customers walk into stores, see the exact same merchandise, are greeted by employees who don’t recognize them, and are all bound to the same terms and conditions on the back of every purchase receipt. Online, the pen and paper of the old mail-order catalog were replaced with drop-down menus and search boxes. Amazon and other sites emerged to provide customers with anything they were looking for at low prices. As disruptive as the online catalog has been, the success of these online stores is measured by three and four letter acronyms: LTV “lifetime value” and COCA “cost of customer acquisition.”

However, a shopping experience cannot be summarized entirely by metrics. When a customer enters a department store to try on new shoes, she may feel the hesitation of not knowing whether it will match with her wardrobe. Or, she might serendipitously spot a pair of heels out of the corner of her eye, but feels frustrated to learn that the pair is not what she expected, not in her exact size, or the deal is just not good enough. These types of shopping roadblocks—psychic swings from purchasing intent to hesitation or frustration—matter more than metrics can describe. The next evolution in e-commerce will evade these roadblocks by knowing this particular customer’s identity and leveraging the data she has made public (explicit implicit preferences) to create a more personal shopping experience for her.

Knowing her identity isn’t restricted to the customer’s name or basic demographic information, but could also include his or her family and friends’ purchasing history, the customer’s likes, style, brand preferences, and influences. In the retail context, her identity allows the retailer to build a relationship with the consumer. When Sears first sold watches through the mail, to build trust with consumers they promised customers that every watch sold would be accurate for at least six years after purchase or else they would fix it free of charge. Just as Sears did in the late 19th Century, the best online retailers today make promises to us: they promise to show and help us discover merchandise we’ll love (personalization), they promise to help us decide what to buy (tools), and they promise that we’ll be delighted by the entire experience, even after we buy (service).

Physical retailers operate under the constraint of finite shelf space and must hope to catch the busy consumer’s eye. In the digital world, with endless choices, truly successful companies will excel at helping consumers find and discover great products. Some companies will even enable consumers to create or customize what they want. Gemvara, a custom jewelry seller, starts by funneling consumers into a specific boutique and then immerses the consumer in customizing a design that catches her eye.

One interesting trend is companies blatantly asking customers to fill out quizzes and surveys that eventually inform their merchandise selection. ShoeDazzle has built a large business around style quizzes that engage women in a fun experience to define their personal style. They use the results of these quizzes and their team of curators like Kim Kardashian to build a showroom specific to each customer. Going forward, by using the customer’s past purchase history, likes, and friend’s purchases, retailers will be able to create a completely personalized experience from the very first visit to their homepage.

Beyond personalization, J. Hilburn, an e-commerce company providing men’s custom clothing, employs a network of Style Advisors who can take their customer’s measurements to help deliver on the company’s promise of a perfect fit. Given that J. Hilburn’s shirts are fully customizable, knowing your measurements is critical in producing a superior product experience. Not every category requires a stylist to help consumers decide what to buy. BirchBox, built to help consumers discover new beauty products, creates content around products and categories they sell to educate consumers on what products to use for various skin / hair types.

In addition to offering the tools to help customers pick the right products, social commerce leaders will excel at providing a better service experience. Proving that customer service extends beyond the checkout process, Modcloth has enabled quick exchanges for its customers whereby customers don’t need to wait for their return to be processed before receiving an exchanged item; instead Modcloth instantly sends a replacement. While it may seem minor, this builds an amazing amount of trust with the consumer.

The future of e-commerce will not solely be defined by how to drive down your cost of acquisition or push up the customer’s lifetime value; it will be defined by the personal relationships retailers have built with customers. Efforts to try to optimize lifetime value without understanding the customer will only generate short term success. The next phase of retailing will not succeed by selling the same goods in the same way to different people. Consumers are willing to share data with retailers in exchange for a radically better shopping experience. The internet has enabled us to move beyond the constraints of the mail-order catalog and physical store while making it easier to acquire data on customers. By understanding these two factors, online retailers will greatly increase the portion of online spend from 8% of total commerce.

Here Are All The Best Android Apps You Missed Out On This Week (GOOG)

andy rubin

Image: AP

See Also:

touchpad title image

android cash


The Android Market hit a big milestone this week, registering more than 4.5 billion apps downloaded.

Add that to Android boss Andy Rubin’s news that more than 500,000 Android devices are being activated each day.

Not bad.

As always, we gathered the best new and updated Android apps from this week. Click below to check ‘em out.

Soak up the season: How summer sparks creativity.

There are hundreds of different job categories- each with its own necessary modus operandi. A landscape designer or wedding caterer can’t realistically decide to take a long summer holiday, just as a Wall Street day trader shouldn’t take up flexible hours. But remember, regardless of your occupation, we all grew up recognizing a renewed sense of dedication in the fall, following a summertime desire for freedom, and those habitual inclinations will never fully cease to exist.

As the ubiquity of the Internet pervades, shifts in the workplace open up opportunities for mobile working, giving us freedom to be productive. But the Internet, and particularly social media, has also encouraged us to be constantly productive. It’s why you may find yourself hustling, self-promoting and tirelessly networking to launch, to pass that milestone. But eventually if you’re not careful… you will burn yourself out. This summer, take moments to enjoy the natural world around you; find action in relaxation and you’ll find the necessary inspiration for innovation. Here’s how today’s entrepreneurs are doing just that.

Take Breaks, Slow Down

“It’s Sunday morning. Take a deep breath. It’s summer time. Go for a walk. Or a run. Play with your family. Take a nap this afternoon. Read a book. Go to a movie. Chill,” writes Brad Feld of The Foundry Group in his recent post titled “Slow Down to Speed Up.” He suggests cancelling unnecessary meetings, calls and lunches. Do you really have to attend every board meeting? Use Skype and Google Video Chat for meetings. Instead of scheduling with others, schedule time with yourself.

“Basically, I’m trying to slow down. If I do this right, I believe I’ll be able to cover even more ground. I think this applies to any entrepreneur, or anyone involved in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. ‘Being really busy’ is seductive – it has nothing to do with getting things done, or actually accomplishing your goals. But there’s something satisfying, or at least addictive, about being so busy that you don’t have time to think or reflect on what is going on around you. This is a big mistake long term as you’ll ultimately make crummy decisions.”

-Brad Feld

According to TNW co-founder @Boris, in order to have ideas that change the world, you need to dive in, absorb the medium, then take a step back to see the opportunity. You do this by breaking the pattern.

He suggests:

Travel to a city you’ve never been before.
Take a walk in the woods, or a long shower.
Read a random page on Wikipedia.
Read a book, visit a museum or talk to a stranger.

NYC entrepreneur Nicholas Gavronsky also wrote a blog post this week about learning to take breaks. In addition to taking mini-vacations every 6 months, Gavronsky sets aside 1-1.5 hours a day to staying fit. He writes,

Many of us, especially aspiring entrepreneurs or those working on a startup, think it’s all about working 24/7, all nighters, and red bull fueled brainstorm sessions. However, the farther I get down my path to becoming an entrepreneur, I am learning that it is critical to take a break and refresh yourself mentally and physically. If not you’ll end up burning out, losing focus, and your productivity will plummet.

If staying fit isn’t your idea of fun, NYC based startup SeatGeek likes to keep its team hydrated during the warm summer months, so they plan frequent team drinkups where they partake in craft beers, cocktails, and most importantly – craft beer in a can. “It’s something we’ve been tracking a trend on (#craftcans) for sometime, because well – cans are more fun, better for the environment, and get colder, faster!” says SeatGeek’s Ben Kessler. When they’re not at a East Village watering hole for a team outing, they can most likely be found at Citi Field or Yankee Stadium catching America’s favorite past time, and soaking up the rays.


On the first official day of summer, the NYC based company, Tumblr hosted its staff at a week long “think tank” in the Hamptons (pictured below).

And they aren’t the only company hacking away in the Hamptons. The founders of Of a Kind, a NYC fashion startup that has harnessed the viral power of Tumblr, have just returned from 3 days in Montauk. “We had a lot of work to do on our investment deck so it was the perfect opportunity to sequester ourselves and buckle down on one project without the distraction of meetings and the day-to-day things that pop up in an office setting. We’ve traveled together a few times since launching and always end up talking a lot about how much the change of scenery and pace is so conducive to creating new ideas, and looking at problems in a different light… It’s the kind of ideation that doesn’t happen when you’re sitting in front of your computer or running between meetings or generally just feeling the stress of the typical work day,” says Of A Kind’s Claire Mazur. Pictured below is her co-founder Erica Cerulo reading HBS case studies on the beach.

Expect the Hamptons-hopping to continue throughout the summer, even for the city’s busiest entrepreneurs.

“Starting the Friday before the holiday weekend, I will be working from a wired house in Montauk. We code or conduct business calls as we watch surfers drive bye with their long boards, or ladies who lunch walk their small dogs in the sun. Summer is the best time of year to appreciate everything nature has to offer, and I find myself most productive when I can think through my daily inbox while breathing fresh air and enjoying the surroundings, including the company of friends. So if you have the luxury of working outside on a summer Friday, do. And if you have the flexibility to change up your office space in the summer, I highly recommend doing so. It clears the mind and helps with productivity, but above all, summer is about fun and freedom.”

-Foodspotting co-founder Soraya Darabi

“I want my life to be totally free, surrounded by friends and family but still working productively on what I enjoy,” said Campbell McKellar, the Founder of Loosecubes during our interview in early May. If you’re traveling abroad and looking for office space, look no further. Loosecubes, based in Dumbo, Brooklyn is a site that wants to set the global workplace free. Functioning as a global workspace community, Loosecubes hosts 1,057 spaces in 229 cities in 29 countries, making it largest network of its kind.

The site now offers spaces in all corners of the world as far-reaching as co-working in the Caribbean, collaborative workspace in the Philippineship spaces in Berlin Germanytrendy spots in London to small town America in Ft. Collins, Colorado. You could say it’s like the Airbnb for workspaces but no one likes cliché metaphors.

I’m thoroughly convinced that a change of scenery forces us to make little shifts in our habits, and its these adaptations that enable us to grow intellectually. So instead of just little breaks, take A BIG BREAK, and work adventurously.

Getting off the Grid

In his recent post titled “Slow Down to Speed Up,” Brad Feld of The Foundry Group writes, “I too am intensely busy. And anyone who knows me knows that I eventually hit a wall, have short term burnout, need to rest / recover, and then get back at it. However, as I’ve gone through this cycle throughout my life, I’m getting smarter about how to handle it. My week a quarter off the grid helps. July in Alaska helps, (although this summer has a fun, European twist).”

I took a 10-day vacation at the beginning of June with my wife. We went to Israel up north to a spa and shut off our phones for 10 days. It was so relaxing. I did miss some things (95% of Weiner-gate and Lebron losing the NBA Championship) but it allowed me to recharge my batteries. It was my first real vacation since joining Aviary a year ago and boy did I need it. Now I am back and focused and ready to pound the pavement. The best part of the summer is that even when leaving the office at 7 or 8pm it’s still light outside!

- Alex Taub, Aviary’s Head of Business Development

I recently took a 5 day holiday in Portugal and left the following vacation responder: At the moment, I’m letting my computer die as I recharge! Prior to taking time off, I had both physically and emotionally exhausted myself trying to meet everyone in London’s tech scene while concurrently keeping tabs on New York news. The result of that 5 day vacation was the inspiration for this post. I felt so grateful for my work, even missed it quite a bit. I returned ready to hit the ground running.

Before taking time off, make sure that you’ve set up delegates for important, time sensitive work and let your colleagues and professional contacts know you’ll be disconnected in advance. If there is something super sensitive going on, you probably shouldn’t be on vacation, right? But as the pace and presence of technology increases, getting off the grid has never been more important. You are not a robot. You are a human. Or, are you? In mid to late March, I polled the Twitterverse on three different Fridays asking them: Do you have problems “unplugging” while on vacation? Press 1 for Yes. Press 2 for No. 87% of those polled answered Yes. One tech reporter said he hadn’t had a vacation in 3.5 years. One startup founder said she needed a reminder of what a vacation is. This past week, I ran the same poll and found 92% of those polled have problems unplugging on vacation.

No one is going to chastise you for checking in every now and again while you’re on holiday. (Well, maybe your wife will.) But there’s no need to beat yourself up over not being able to unplug completely. Technology is awesome, so go ahead, tweet while you tan. But if you need tips to unplug? Leave your smartphone at home, says @emvignapiano, the Head of Social Media for Mondadori. Or, how about heading to a music festival?

Until America gets with it and embraces the 25-day vacation policy of most European nations, you’ll need to be diligent when choosing a vacation spot. Just before she took off on holiday, I caught up with Dorothy McGivney, the founder of Jauntsetter, a free weekly newsletter that rounds up the very best travel deals of the week, picked especially for New Yorkers. For an off-the-grid retreat from New York City, she recommends a little town upstate called Callicoon. The area is relatively undeveloped and its pristine outdoors offer opportunities to get into nature – there’s a stretch of the Delaware River that’s perfect for tubing, and the surrounding Catskill mountains are perfect for hiking. “What I love about it most is that there’s extremely spotty cellphone service in the area and my friends’ home has no WiFi. Meaning there are zero technical distractions: no push notifications lighting up your iPhone, no text messages interrupting dinner – even cooking is a more focused experience. To find a recipe, we read actual cookbooks – imagine that!” she says. (Callicoon is where she decided to quit her job at Google and start Jauntsetter!)

On the West Coast, she recommends trips to Big Sur (pictured above) where the cellphone service in the area is terrible. Enjoy the gorgeous stretch of Pacific coastline with Redwood forests, have drinks overlooking the ocean at The Post Ranch Inn and enjoy a massage at the Esalan Institute followed by a dip in their (clothing optional) hot springs. She highly recommends renting a yurt in the Tree Bones Resort to really soak up the woodsy atmosphere of the area.

If you need inspiration picking a vacation destination, check out Wanderfly, a fun NYC startup aiming to monetize off of the “travel exploration” space. It’s a beautiful idea and a great way to learn about new places during the preliminary planning phase.

“In my line of work it’s actually very important to make sure you don’t stay inside all summer (or any time of year). I recently returned from an amazing 10-day trip to Iceland. The trip recharged both my love for travel and my love for working in travel…The summer is a time to recharge and recoup. It’s important to give yourself more time to think and plan your next course of action…I also think the summer is an important time of year to physically challenge yourself. My long runs give me time to explore the city and enjoy the outdoors, while giving me time to reflect and think about everything from my new favorite summer song to my life working at Wanderfly. A healthy summer life is one that allows you to do everything you love. Also, cold beer and patio seating is very important.”

-Kerrin Sheldon, Wanderfly’s content manager, writer and planker extraordinaire.

For travel logistics, Hipmunk is my all-time favorite flight search app, and it’s just entered the hotel search space. It’s a team of super smart guys in San Francisco who also created Reddit. It filters flights in the most sensible, “Agony” free way. For hotel deals, visit Jetsetter, Gilt Groupe’s travel arm, which provides high-end, curated deals. Also, never forget to check Airbnb and Roomorama for sweet homestays ranging from tree-houses in the Belize to a hot chick’s couch in Copenhagen. And staying organized? TripIt FTW.

I write this to you now from the back porch of my apartment. It’s Friday, 4pm, and I’ve set up small fan to keep my laptop cool and surprisingly, the MacBook Air has impressive screen brightness. I realize not everyone can be productive while bikini blogging, but the next time you hesitate about getting outside and shaking things up, ask yourself: “Are you really going to have that 10 million idea in an overly air-conditioned board room on a Friday afternoon?” Big spaces allow for big ideas. Get outside and soak up summer.

Dirty Gold – California Sunrise by isaidahip

Is Groupon Bad For Small Businesses?

Editor’s note: The following post is a response to our guest series taking a critical look at the daily deals industry. It is written by Vinicius Vacanti, CEO of Yipit, a daily deal aggregator that collects deals from more than 300 daily deal sites.

If you watch the nightly news, you would assume there’s a murder on every block, and if you’ve been reading TechCrunch recently, you would assume Groupon is murdering a small business in every city.

Given the hundreds of thousands of merchants who have run daily deals in the past year, it is inevitable that a few will have had bad experiences.  However, to assume that a handful of these anecdotes fully represent merchants’ experiences with daily deals is insufficient and irresponsible.

A series of guest blog posts by Rocky Agrawal criticize daily deals, advising small businesses to stay away based on examples of where the deals fail to turn a profit for the businesses. While Rocky’s posts are surely well-intentioned, his evidence is largely based on a few anecdotes and a basic misunderstanding of daily deal economics.

As we detail in Yipit’s Daily Deal Industry Report based on more than 100,000 past deals, 43% of offers in May involved merchants running a deal for at least their second time. Can so many merchants be delusional? Clearly some merchants have figured it out.

While I understand and applaud Rocky’s motivation to protect small businesses, can those businesses really afford to ignore a marketing channel that can deliver hundreds, if not thousands of new customers in a cost per acquisition model? Not only are most small businesses struggling, their standard marketing channels of yellow pages and newspapers are becoming less and less effective.

Instead of telling small businesses to avoid daily deals, how about trying to understand why some small businesses are having success?

With that understanding, we could then educate other small businesses on how they might be able to replicate that success themselves.

It’s a Numbers Game

Like most marketing options, daily deals comes down to the numbers. The good news is that most of the key variables that affect the success of a daily deal experience can be optimized by small businesses via daily deal structure and execution.

My co-founder, Jim Moran, wrote a post on the economics of a daily deal including a calculator. While this calculator bakes in a lot of assumptions, it’s the start of a handy tool for small businesses.

The two most important variables that small businesses can optimize are:

Overage: This metric represents how much more revenue the customer generates for the business than the value of the coupon. The larger the overage, the better for the small business. There are many things small businesses can do to increase overage including:

  • Strategically Price the Offer. If you are running a restaurant and the average per person bill is $30, provide a $15 for $30 certificate. The person is likely to bring someone else turning the meal into a $45 for $60 deal.
  • Up-sell the user. In a Hacker News post, this skydiving business does a great job of explaining how they up-sell sky divers into getting videos of their jump (60% of customers) and even a second jump that same day (40% of customers).

Return Rate: This metric represents what percentage of customers come back as a regular customer after using a daily deal. Improving this metric has the potential to deliver the most value for small businesses as indicated by the calculator referenced above. In a report authored by Rice University, often cited as a reason daily deals are challenging, small businesses reported that 20% of customers came back. That’s actually huge! If a company runs a deal that sells 1,000 vouchers, 200 customers will come back. As the calculator above implies, that’s a high enough return rate to make the deals very successful for most small businesses. To improve return rates even further, small businesses can:

  • Surprise and delight daily deal customers. Daily deal customers can be a bit embarrassed to be using a deal. Instead of acting disappointed, small businesses should do the opposite and make them feel welcome. They should thank the customers for coming, tell them the story of the business. It’s actually an easy opportunity to surprise the customer.
  • Offer an incentive for them to come back. With their bill, offer them a 20% discount or, if you’re a restaurant, a free appetizer to come back and try the business again.
  • Collect their contact information. Tell them you often send out notifications for special events and promotions
  • Discount just the first session. If you have a business that involves several sessions like class-based businesses, offer a discount on just the first session. If users like the session, they’ll come back for the rest of the sessions paying full price.

Other factors that improve the economics of a daily deal:

  • Breakage: Anywhere between 10% and 30% of deals aren’t redeemed. North American businesses get to keep the profits associated with those vouchers without incurring the cost.
  • Exposure: Small businesses gets emailed to tens of thousands and, sometimes, hundreds of thousands of users. This exposure is often the entirety of the value provided by most other marketing channels for small businesses.

If small businesses focus on creating the right structure for their daily deal to increase overage and execute on the daily deal experience to increase return rates, daily deals can become a very attractive marketing option.

Not right for everyone

That being said, daily deals in their current form are not right for every business. The vast majority of deals are for spas, salons, restaurants, events, activities and other services. These merchants all have a large fixed cost base, perishable inventory and considerably lower variable costs. Accordingly, their marginal cost on an additional customer is low enough allowing them to discount aggressively. That’s why businesses have been offering discounts for hundreds of years.

On the other hand, traditional retail categories appear the least frequently across the Yipit database, representing less than 10% of all offers.

A powerful tool that shouldn’t be ignored

Daily deals represent a powerful, scalable new cost-per-acquisition marketing channel that small businesses can optimize via strategic pricing and good execution.

If we really want to help small businesses, we should stop telling them to avoid daily deals. Instead, let’s focus our energy on educating small businesses on how they might be able to effectively take advantage of this new marketing channel. Or, I guess we can just keep directing them to yellow pages advertising.

Here’s Google’s Fix For The First Google+ Privacy Flaw (GOOG)

Google+ has a pretty glaring privacy flaw already. 

As the FT’s Tim Bradshaw pointed out, despite the fact that you have private “Circles” like family and friends who only can see your content, anyone can “reshare” that content with their own “circles.” That content can potentially then be reshared with anyone. Sort of like retweets on Twitter, content originally meant for private consumption could end up going viral. 

Since the FT pointed out, Google implemented an interesting fix. Here’s what we saw when we tried to reshare this image:

google+ reshare

Image: Screenshot

What do you think? Is that nudge good enough? Or should Google turn off the functionality altogether?

Don’t Miss Our Exclusive QA With Early Google Exec And Top Superangel Aydin Senkut →

CloudFloor could be a security blanket for the cloud

Imad Mouline Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer

The folks behind Gomez, a company that offered web site performance data and sold to Compuware  in 2009, have returned with another Software-as-a-Service product based on performance, but this time, they’re trying to assure executives of the quality and business worthiness of their cloud investments. CloudFloor, which launched at Structure 2011 last month, has raised $3.1 million from undisclosed investors to build out its SaaS-based product.

CloudFloor, which was founded last year, came out of stealth mode to show off CloudControl, its software which purports to show both IT workers and business managers how their cloudy assets are performing against business goals. The software tracks a variety of metrics such as the cost per instance and the uptime of all your cloud assets and could help bridge the gulf between IT and business that exists today.

However, I’m curious given that much of that gulf exists because when a company owns its own infrastructure it’s sometimes harder for IT to justify the expenses that can go into keeping the infrastructure running. Once that infrastructure is outsourced, paying those hidden costs disappears (or is factored into the price of the service) and the business doesn’t have a hard a time weighing the value of that service for the price. Still, CloudFloor can help business ensure they aren’t paying for unused instances and might be the security blanket executives need to greenlight a cloud deployment.

Related content from GigaOM Pro (subscription req’d):

Here’s The Most Stunning Thing About The Zynga IPO (Z)

zynga empires and allies

Image: Screenshot

Now that we’ve got a bunch of tech IPOs going on, each comes with a bit of hair on the deal that makes a lot of people cry out that this is crazy and we’re back in a bubble.

Pandora’s consistently profitable!

LinkedIn’s got a crazy multiple!

Groupon has that shady non-GAAP accounting

Given all that, the most stunning thing about Zynga’s IPO filing is… nothing. 

There’s nothing particularly shocking about Zynga in its S-1.

And when you remember the revelations of the past IPOs, and the myriad controversies around Zynga and its business model, that is what’s stunning in itself.

Oh sure, there are some questions about Zynga’s business. It’s much less profitable than some people had reported. (Though still profitable!) Its revenue growth is high but its growth in monthly active users seems to have stalled, questioning future growth expectations. It’s an open question whether Zynga can replicate its amazing success on Facebook to mobile platforms, and the S-1 doesn’t shed too much light on that.

So there are some questions. And of course there are! This is a 4-year old company in a fast-paced industry! There’s always going to be risks, and doubts, and unanswered questions. That’s how business, and the world works. 

But there’s no huge, shocking revelation, like we’ve had with other IPOs. 

And that, in itself, is a good thing. It means that, despite all the naysayers, all the bubble-bubble people, internet and social network entrepreneurs are building businesses that are serious, real and successful. 

That’s the biggest news of the Zynga IPO, and it’s a very, very good one.

Don’t Miss: Here’s Who Gets Rich Off The Zynga IPO →

New Wifi Tech Could Double Your Phone’s Battery Life

If you ever get the sense that someone on the wifi network you’re using is hogging all the juice, you may be right. Not only does sharing wifi with others downloading large files interfere with your enjoyment of the latest viral video, but it can majorly drain your battery as well.

A new solution from a Duke University computer science graduate student could alleviate your frustrations and potentially double your battery life by allowing your wifi device to “nap” until more bandwidth is available. This means you might have to wait a couple minutes to watch your video, but that could be a productivity boon anyway.

Justin Manwelier‘s SleepWell is a piece of software that helps maximize download efficiency by alerting the wifi device in your phone when a download is finished on a neighboring device. Most wifi devices have to “stay awake” while waiting for their turn to download, draining a good deal of battery in the process.

“The SleepWell-enabled wifi access points can stagger their activity cycles to minimally overlap with others, ultimately resulting in promising energy gains with negligible loss of performance,” Manwelier said in a statement.

The proximity of wireless devices affects their performance as well, with longer download times in more crowded areas, like cities. And, as cloud computing continues to grow, the reasons for connecting to wifi will increase. Putting a wifi-connected device on standby until a download from another device is complete increases both devices’ battery life.

No word yet on when SleepWell will be released, but once it is, we can all look forward to having more time to surf before seeking out an outlet.

Photo by Florian Boyd

Is Wikileaks trying to take credit for the Egyptian revolution?

The latest revelation from Wikileaks is not a cable that uncovers a country’s well hidden secrets, but is rather a cleverly put together ad parodying the infamous MasterCard commercials, called “What Does it Cost to Change the World?”

In it, the price of Julian Assange’s legal battles, the price incurred by his house arrest, and the amount of money in lost donations are all pitted against the priceless act of “watching the world change as a result of your work.”

The video is, needless to say, impeccably put together, and both the concept and message are strong. The ad, despite having been available online for over a week, has only just caused some ripples in the Egyptian blogosphere

The imagery used in the video is one of the most gruesome and fatal battles that took place between protesters and the Egyptian riot police, on Kasr al Nil Bridge, where many people were brutally run down or shot.

The use of this scene has struck a nerve both with Egyptian activists and with their supporters, questioning Wikileaks decision to take a certain amount of credit for an uprising that was long in the making, pushed forward by an inordinate amount of people who may have possibly never even heard of Wikileaks.

Jillian York, the Director of International Freedom of Expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, says on Twitter:

I would like the Wikileaks ad a lot more if it didn’t seem like Assange was taking credit for the Arab Spring…

On the flip side, it could be said that the use of imagery from the Egyptian uprising is simply symbolic of the kind of effect Wikileaks has had on the world, and no one can deny that it has had an effect. Asma S asks on Twitter,

Is Wikileaks taking credit for the revolution in Egypt? or is everyone just exaggerating?

The video is open to interpretation – are they implying that Wikileaks caused the Egyptian uprising? Or are they simply using it as an image that represents what Wikileaks is capable of doing, because it is so easily identifiable in people’s minds? Watch the video below and let us know what you think.

Interactive dataviz measures Twitter buzz around this year’s Wimbledon tennis tournament

Click on our website (= = = = = = = = = ) Will bring you different surprise. Dear friends, do you want to have some different things? Whether you want to give your relatives and friends, take a few different exotic gifts? Whether you want to buy some cheap benefits of thing? So please, let us begin now!

Plugin from the creators ofBrindes Personalizados :: More at PlulzWordpress Plugins