Nov 20, 2011

Getting it done with good ol' fashioned failure.

Now one can get into a good debate as to whether or not austerity in these uncertain economic times globally is in fact the right direction for this country, but I believe it's difficult to debate the sheer political genius in how this nation's version of austerity is being implemented.  I'll explain:

I think it's pretty clear that the super committee is going to fail to come to any sort of agreement, however, I believe – despite not hearing a single similar opinion in the press, or blogosphere – that impasse was part of the political plan to begin with.

Sure, the inability to come to agreement will look like failure in the eyes of the public. But I believe to those architects of the joint select committee as part of the Budget Control Act of 2011, "failure" will, in actuality indicate to them that their plan has succeeded.

Am I mad in thinking this entire concept of a super committee may well be one of the most ingenious political devices to come around in years?  I mean, it's happening right before our eyes: $1 trillion in cuts to the federal budget and not a single member of our government will be hated for it! 

I suspect this first go may just be a test, one that we'll likely see repeated, and ultimately designed to level those fiscal albatrosses that truly threaten the long term economic stability of the United States: the sacred budgetary allocations whose mere mention of cutting would be tantamount to political suicide.  They're now exposed, for the first time in a long time, to this "zero responsibility" scheme. 

This "Super Committee", which involves a relatively small and obscure (to the majority of the public anyway) number; being six of each opposing party, can now indignantly storm out of whatever chamber they've been ensconced in, nodding their heads, furiously pointing their fingers and, as usual, off to collect ever-more money from their impassioned base whilst espousing ever-more extreme and inflammatory allegations against their opposition.  It would seem just another day in Washington but for the fact that, by default, they just came to agreement on cutting a trillion dollars from our budget!

So Congress just keep doing-nothing, but now they do it in order to get things done! 

No political power is lost, if anything it'll be gained, and $1 trillion gets gutted from our budget.  It's the new Alice in Wonderland political environment we live in, but I'm encouraged by what I assume is evidence that pragmatism  of this structure which predicted failure, in fact embraced failure as the centerpiece of its newly found political super-weapon.

Nov 3, 2011

Gmails new look, & a fix for its annoying "feedback" button!

If you're just looking for the fix to the annoying "feedback" popup on the new Gmail look, then skip to the bottom.  There you'll find the solution in boldface-type...

Anyhow, not sure if you've been invited to switch to the new Gmail look; but if not, or if you've postponed it, I thought I'd give you a link to upgrade yours:

The link also contains a compact and helpful tutorial which outlines some of the improvements to the system that go beyond looks alone.

You'll probably notice there's more to this change in Gmail's look than looks alone: there are also some interesting improvements to functionality as well.  I believe the most significant change of all — and perhaps the most significant change implemented by Google to one of their systems in a while — is their first implementation of a truly "dynamic UI" in Gmail.  

Of course you'll continue be able to specify how you want the UI to appear, but in this particular instance, the dynamic UI enables a type of functionality in Gmail that automatically responds to and manipulates its interface and screen layout in response to how YOU use it!  This all works in an effort to better accommodate your unique preferences and particular use-idiosyncrasies without your having to take the time or thought to specify them yourself.

I LOVE this genre of technology and am really excited to see it deployed on Gmail.  Anyhow, the main reason I decided to write about it was to get you thinking about how you too can use this type of technology in the near future.  Specifically, you might be able to leverage you may already know about your users to adapt your service(s) automatically in better accommodating them. 
This of course is all in contrast to how it's been done since the dawn of commercialism, which has been to put the burden of "accommodating" (to a product or service) entirely on the user in forcing them to "accommodate to" the product or service they wanted to use.  

The attitudes of conventional static (vs. "dynamic") deployments of products and services have caused us as consumers to expect to be instructed by the company on the proper use of their wares.  That's in stark contrast to the possibilities that automated-change which allows us to instruct our product or service on our preferred method(s) of use by simply using it. 

Typically companies tell us that we need to:

" this button to make our widget do X", or "if you need to change X, then pickup the phone and call 800-xxx-xxxx..."

In the coming shift to dynamic and automated usage-based change, the examples above will transition from "the way it's always been to the way things were" very quickly.  Instead of being forced to follow rigid use instructions, companies will initially offer choice-sets or modes of use to their customers; and will remain flexible while they listen to and watch for hints users leave to their particular preferences.  Then, based on the data they collect from the user in response to that flexibility, they'll ultimately organize their product/UI/service/etc to the exact preferences of each individual user.

The concept of dynamic auto-customization (which may be dubbed "mass customization" or "mass personalization"...) that I'm trying to articulate in this post will soon be a reality, and I'm all but certain will be one that will significantly favor those businesses that adopt it earlier than their competition!
Something to think about...
Anyhow, it's a bit ironic, but in this new deployment I found myself being ritually haunted by a persistent button that pops up on the bottom of the screen begging me to learn “about the new look | send feedback”...grrr!  I kept swatting its "X" close button only to have it persist...even after I yielded and input my thoughtful feedback...the thing kept coming after me like some senile zombie, begging FEEDBACK!!!

Enough was enough, and thanks to Jabba Laci's post the solution was simple:

So, if you too have been annoyed by the constant “about the new look | send feedback” button popup that came along with the new Gmail look, then you can stop it by downloading adblockplus.  

For Firefox it can be found here:

or here:

once downloaded, simply add this filter:[class="GcwpPb-MEmzyf GcwpPb-bEO5kc"]
For Google Chrome you'll find the add-on here: 
and there you have it, no more requests for feedback popups! 
Christian Hunter
Austin, Texas 

Oct 26, 2011

Shareholders beg Netflix to: "Turn It Off!"

Netflix (NFLX) got into content recently, at least proverbially, in producing a horror flick that's got its shareholders begging management to "turn it off"!

Many of you who own shares already know, and those 20+ million of you with a Netflix subscription will find out (if you haven't already) that the company arbitrarily split its two service types (its conventional DVD's by mail, and its new and expanding bank of movies and shows available by streaming) which were both sold for a combined $9.99 and backed them down to $7.99 each, or $15.98 total.  While not a devastatingly significant amount of money for those who actively use the service, the arbitrary and ham-fisted methods used were resented by even the most rabid Netflix Evangalists.

These price hikes were not without consequence either.  However, I thought it worth mentioning that this stock is now trading at $77.  It was $300 just this last July! 

Barf Indeed!

So post-bloodbath the contrarian in me is immediately interested.  I've always been attracted to this kind of panic selling and understanding the underlying story driving this type of capitulation.  This isn't to say I believe there'll be an immediate sharp rebound in the company's stock price, but whenever there's an abrupt rush to a limited number of exits, you're typically dealing with a glut of especially "weak hands" willing to sell at nearly any price. 

The stock was priced to perfection, but now however, considering its 40% year-over-year top-line growth and what appears to be a new emphasis on bottom-line directed from the top (in perhaps the most inept fashion I've seen from a company with the kind of good-faith Netflix has in a long time!) this company is looking to be an speculative play worthy of a second look by those with strong stomachs.

Of course, if I were to intent on building a position in Amazon, I wouldn't do so right away, but instead would "leg in", and buy in thirds over the next couple of months or so while the realities of the recent panic are digested, and the actual performance dynamic of the company in this all-important holiday season are better understood.

As a parting thought, I was fortunate enough to have Marc Randolph, co-founder of Netflix, serve on the board of directors of one of my businesses for a couple of years, and in that time I routinely found myself left slack-jawed by his brilliance!  He'd occasionally drop the answer to a complex problem...not an idea or clue that might get us to the answer...the whole thing w/ a bow on it!   I count Marc among the most naturally gifted businessmen I've ever had the pleasure of working with.  Now I don't know Reed Hastings, but from what I'm told he's running that place with similar cognitive, these guys, while clearly not immune to mistakes, are some really smart SOB's with a damn good track record and a over 20 million subscribers in a high-growth industry!  The company is certainly worthy of a closer look...  

Christian Hunter
Austin, Texas

Sep 18, 2011

Google thinks I look like Meryl Streep...and a Japanese schoolgirl

Google took another brave step to seal its position as info-overlord when it launched its "Google Image Search".  It took me a second to register, but yeah, they're talking about using images, not text, to perform searches on their engine!

I needed a picture, and of course it wasn't but 2 seconds later that a picture of my own grill was streaking across the screen in a show of subconscious vanity, to be shoved into this new visual hive-mind:

What?  I needed a pic...

I don't know what I expected, but the results were impressive...

All was well with the world, I had a new tool to find my own face with, and Google....well Google decided to do what apparently my friends, family, hell even my own girlfriend were too afraid to tell me all these years....that I look like almost 50% female, about 10% baby'esque, and the balance a hybrid between Simon Cowell, Meryl Streep, some totally random dudes and chicks, oh, and a seductive Japanese schoolgirl:

Now having had some time to digest this all, I think what really hurts the most isn't so much looking like a totally awesome baby, but that I find myselves so much more attractive in how Google sees me than I do in the mirror...

Now might be the right time (only you can know when you're ready) to learn the honest truth about what you really look like...if you're ready, check it out through this shortcut:

And if you're up for some honest sharing, let me see a pic of what your friends and family have been hiding from you all these years...

Case Mate "accidentally" revealed iPhone case by mistake!

So iPhone case vendor Case Mate "accidentally" throttled its own website traffic by leaking pictures which revealed the shape and form of the wildly anticipated Apple iPhone 5.  They pulled down the page, and replaced it with what I have to admit may be the best published list of rumors on the phone I have yet read.

Among Case Mate's list of "rumored new features", they assert that the new iphone 5 will take on a completely different form than its predecessors (um, I'm gonna guess less of a speculation seeing as they were given the physical specs by Apple?), believing it to be even thinner than the 4, and wide enough to accommodate a large 4 inch screen.

Outfitted with an 8 megapixel camera, and an A5 dual processor (like what's in the iPad2), it should also be capable of storing movies, pictures, and sound files in Apples' iCloud.

Perhaps the coolest speculated attribute will be its ability to charge using a wireless system (similar to this).  Consensus is we're very likely a week or less away from its announced ship date, which most believe will be mid-October.

Christian Hunter
Austin, Texas

CaseMate accidentally throttles pre-orders for its cases

Sep 16, 2011

Washington pukes up another embarrassment...

The optimist in me was, for a moment, excited to hear that President Obama was signing into law today a bill that won bipartisan support in the legislature; the "America Invents Act".

Hard to "f" that one up I figured: I'm all for America, I think invention is generally awesome, and since the United States as a nation patents roughly twice its next closest competitor, I thought what could be wrong with further strengthening our proclivity for invention as a nation?  There were smiles all around as Obama put pen to paper; while MSNBC heralded the act as the first significant overhaul of Patent and Trademark law since the 50's.


But I'm getting ahead of myself.  

It didn't take me much longer than five or so minutes of investigation before the evidence of another Washington ball-dropping contest became evident; among my favorites were the remarks made by the Deputy Director of Intellectual Property Division of Beijing's High People's Court after analyzing a first generation draft of the bill.  He put it best when he said:

"[the new legislation] is friendlier to the infringers than to the [inventors] in general, as it will make the [US] patent less reliable, easier to be challenged, and cheaper to be infringed." 

He went on to say:

"It is not bad news for developing countries which have fewer patents. Many Chinese companies are excluded from the market because of patent infringement accusations. This bill will give the companies from developing countries more freedom and flexibility to challenge the relative US patent for doing business in US and make it less costly to infringe."
Well, way to go Washington!  Thanks again for puking in the collective faces of one of the few remaining holdouts that support America's "innovative exceptionalism": the individual American inventor.

But maybe we needed sweeping change?  Maybe we should be alarmed that China is applying for and receiving more patents than the US, eh?  Well let's have a look at the net National Intellectual Property deficits or surplus' for some of the largest economies in the world (2009 Statistics from the World Bank):

• Canada: -$4.5 billion (we love those guys, but besides the word "hoser", which is awesome, when was the last time you looked forward to getting that sweet new thingamabob from Canada, eh?

• China: -$10.6 billion (NEGATIVE $10 billion!  oh, burn!  although they are outpacing us in getting patents for things, what was the name of that last Chinese invented pill that cured us of....oh, yeah, sore spot)

• France: +$4.1 billion (viva la France!  who knew they were slinging that many Peugot's over there!)

• India: -$1.6 billion (not bad, makin progress)          

• Japan: +$4.85 billion (sweet...anyone surprised?) 

• Russia: -$3.61 billion (I suppose the patents on Vodka and 90 Megaton nuclear warheads expired some time ago)

• UK: +$2.8 billion (respect...and from that little ol' island!)  

• US: +$64.5 billion (what the sh*t!!?  yeah, that's a net +$64.5 BILLION)

Actually, our gross IP export surplus as a nation is a whopping +$90 BILLION/year!

Okay, so now I'm unclear why we're overhauling our patent system?  Let's have a look at what this legislation will really are the most salient highlights:

Now, thanks to this sweet new legislation, if you the hardworking software engineer, nutritionist, chemical engineer, entrepreneur, actually succeed in inventing something that works after all your months or years of toiling away, well Uncle Sam now rewards you with a switch from the "FTI" ("First to Invent") to a much totally ridiculously insanely unfair "FTF" (First to File), as in "you can have your invention LITERALLY stolen from you by another individual or corporate competitor who happens to run down to the Patent and Trademark office and files for a patent on it faster than you"!  Holy #@$%!  Is anyone paying attention!?

But it actually gets far more ridiculous in that this bill REMOVES the longstanding requirement that the invention being filed for actually be able to work!  So, he who files faster [read: pays the USPTO more fees] wins...yay.  So what type of entity would you guess is more likely to have the patent filing protocols and requisite battery of IP attorneys needed to get timely patent protection?  If you guessed the individual American inventor, you're an idiot.  If you guessed the big greasy too-big-to-fail corporation, you win a monster shagging session by Washington!  yay?

I know, I know, just one more thing before you go: it'll cost a billion dollars to implement this smoldering rancid cesspool of bureaucratic dog barf.

Way to go Washington!  Thanks so so much for the...

Christian Hunter
Austin, Texas

Sep 11, 2011

I doubt today will ever lose its bite

I remember being out to dinner a handful of years ago with my sisters and brother in law on this same difficult day of the year; a usually jovial and spirited group, not one of us was ourselves, and it didn't take long for the conversation to turn to what we knew was pressing on us all.  One thing I remember of significance in our discussion that evening was our agreement that nothing in the years that had passed between then and that terrible morning on September 11th had done a thing to blunt the violent impact of its anniversaries.  We wondered then how the distance of so many years could be so totally impotent in buffering us from feeling an empty ache in our chests, and the same degree of repulsion, year after year.

Some networks this morning aired the unfolding of it all in New York, it featured simultaneous to-the-minute clips from hundreds of vantage points in the hours that spanned the first tower being struck, and the second's collapse.  I watched it all the way through this morning as I did ten years ago, mesmerized, just the same now as I was then.   

When I was in my teens I would occasionally go on the job with my mom's boyfriend into the city.  We'd leave late in the night, and I remember him wearing a perpetual smile, in part because his normally grueling 3.5-hour commute downtown (each way...I kid you not) from Connecticut where we lived, took a lightening fast 2 hours instead; but I think it was mostly the kid in him that still reveled in his having license as a network engineer to rip into the walls and pull up the floorboards of offices (like the ones Merrill Lynch had in the twin towers), and do so with impunity.  

I remember then, and in every subsequent trip having a unique discomfort with the awesome height of those towers.  Unlike the Empire State Building, where I always felt comfortable on the observation deck, to my mind perhaps, the towers breached an instinctual altitude threshold, defying a limit that I trusted anything man-made to withstand.  

In my own base form of exposure therapy, I once decided to approach the floor-to-ceiling glass of the tower and press my face against it to get perspective; to face my fear.  I remember then, for a split second, I was struck with a genuine paralysis.  I was also struck by an almost "affectionate" appreciation for that seemingly impenetrable glass which, when I finally managed to force myself to look down, revealed that seemingly endless slab of stitched-together steel which seemed to tenuously anchor me in the air.   

That memory drove an even deeper sympathetic horror for those in the towers who, on that morning, facing scorching heat, confusion, and carnage, made the last human decision they would ever make and stepped out into the open air, off the edge, to the ends of their lives.  I myself can't imagine anything that would cause me to willingly move toward that massive window in my memory if it were missing.  Yet there they were, in droves, stealing back their final decision to die as they chose.   I pray I'll never see anything again in my life that will match the heart-wrenching scenes of those men and women who, maybe out of love, maybe out of a basic want for companionship during their last terrifying moments alive, stepped out off the tower ledges in tandem, clutching one another's hands to their ends.

I'm now familiar with those scenes of that mornings nightmare; but that familiarity does nothing in the least to numb its effect on me.  And today, despite all the life I've been so fortunate to live in-between, the tragedy and remembrance cuts with the same violence and forces me to the same confusing heights of both fury and sympathy; a chronobiological nightmarish memory of a day that will continue to have implications on me, and us all, to the very ends of our own lives.

This year however, for a number of reasons, I've been thinking about the shape of those implications – much of which have been molded by our own hands – through a different lens, one that has me wondering whether we as a nation have, in our actions since, properly honored our dead?  

I wish I could know if they'd be satisfied with our vengeance, or our remembrance in their honor?  Would they be surprised by the depth their deaths have touched us all, or the ferocity with which we've shaken the world in their names?  While we could never truly know the answer to that question, I find myself at a loss to even speculate.

A 17th century English poet penned one of my favorite quotes when he wrote that "Living well is the best revenge".  The very thought applied to this national challenge seemed blasphemous.  Still, that quote keeps nagging at me, and it does offer some strange sense of relief-in-clarity when considered against the backdrop of such graphic hate-inspiring loss (of the kind we'll see until we can't anymore this next 24 hours).  

Now I don't mean to suggest for a moment that we ought to ignore, or have ignored any threats of a similar nature to our nation in favor of living in national hedonic bliss; but the idea of running this violent treadmill of increasingly lethal international retribution doesn't sit right either.  Many would have an entirely defensible point in pointing out that the actions taken, which were given energy-to and cascaded from that fateful day, required a far more advanced calculus than divining the collective wishes of its dead.  

But today, in remembrance of all those we lost, that question looms larger on my mind than any other, and I feel a sense of duty to question "what would they want us to do now?".

Christian Hunter
Austin, Texas

Aug 6, 2011

Peeing in the corner

I responded to a lengthy post on this evening which featured the typical "we're totally f'ing f'd!" back-and-forth and decided to chime in.  Thought I'd "leverage" it into a blog post:

"Okay, now I know mine isn't popular prevailing opinion today, but after a lot of thought over the years about what the proper ratio of debt a nation desirous of high-growth and low inflation should carry, and I have to disagree: I don't think we're over-leveraged at all.  

That isn't to say I think we're spending the right amounts of money in the right places, I don't.  I'm a Libertarian-leaning Conservative (I know, how does this reconcile?) and I believe that the governments job ought to be limited to insuring adequate defense of its citizens health and property, and promotion of a fair and robust economy. 

However, as a question of pure economics, I believe we should have taken-on more debt, ESPECIALLY if we believed hard times are ahead.  At the core of the question is the term "leverage".  In business you understand that leverage is essential as a term to any CEO in wont of building anything of greatness; it accelerates growth and often hastens arrival at the desired end-state.  An inability to leverage a governments revenue and asset-base invariably lead to the same disastrous outcome for a nation as it would a business.

Economic leverage typically requires at least one but typically both revenue inflows and assets (a collateral base).  It maddens me to no end that all the bird-brained media chicken-littles have America peeing in the corner in terror inre our being over-leveraged; they are never neglect in speaking about spending deficits and gross national debt, I also often hear about "$40 trillion in unfunded liabilities in the next thousand years...squawk squawk"...but let me ask you: when was the last time you heard ANYONE in the media mention our our stock of Broad or Narrow Money, of Foreign or Domestic Credit, or our National Balance Sheet?  Never?

Same here.  

How many companies would you buy (or sell for that matter) if the assets of the business weren't taken into account?  Obviously rhetorical, because only a maniac or invalid would do such a thing.  So why I ask is the media screeching about important policy when such absolutely fundamental elements of it are completely ignored?  My guess is because we, by and large, as a public aren't yet educated on such things.

What's the bottom line on America, Inc.'s Balance Sheet?

Rutledge Capital's analysis pegs it at roughly $188 Trillion.

Now that, THAT is a big number."

Aug 5, 2011

We should be taking on more debt, not less...

Hey all,

Who knows someone at MSNBC?  I desperately want to storm onto the set of "Morning Joe" to let Mika Brzeznski know that "sanity is on sale at Checkstand 4!" (where there's definitely not a line, thanks in part to her morning squawking and squealing about the US national debt).

Every morning I watch slack-jawed as she whips the cast and guests of the show into a whimpering peeing-in-the-corner frenzy!  Today she reported that our "infrastructure is collapsing", and that "society is on the brink of collapse"...REALLY?

I suppose scary headlines = higher viewership = more $ for media, and until that dynamic is checked, it'll be more of the same scaremongering.  What I'd like to know is: "Who though is going to sue her on behalf of sanity and reason for defamation?".

Is the national debt a concern?  Yes, always, especially in weaker economic periods, but there are numerous compelling examples of the economic strength of the United States being (conveniently) overlooked today in favor of more perspiration-worthy headlines:

In order to even begin considering whether we are barreling into economic oblivion, we must put our national debt into perspective, and to do that, we could use the same methods used to understand the relative financial health of any individual, household, or a company for that matter, and when making such a determination step-one is looking at an entity's "assets vs. liabilities".

However, joining Mika's terror stampede requires skipping step-one on a wholesale level.  I for one can't remember the last time I heard anyone on the news even attempt to inventory the balance sheet of the US, or the value of the economic assets of "America, Inc.".

Our national debt "looks" high as a number, but contrast with our GDP, it looks, well, fairly normal.  However, in contrast with our national assets?  Well, frankly, it looks insufficient.  Meaning: at the rates the US Treasury could be borrowing right now, IT'S NUTS TO NOT TAKE ON MORE DEBT!

As a percent of GDP, our total national debt (much of which, by the way, is owned by the people of the US) isn't even equal to one years worth of our GDP (which is between 60-95% depending on whether we include intra-government debt)!  Historically it's been 120% of GDP before.  In fact, at present levels, our debt as a % of GDP ranks us (as a nation) somewhere around 45th worldwide; below that of France, Canada, and many other nations not in the news.

I could go on and on, but I'll quit for now with this final statistic:  The present value of America, Inc.'s total economy is estimated to be between $188-$200+ TRILLION.

Now that, that's a big number!

Has anyone heard our debt framed in those terms?

Christian Hunter
Austin, Texas

Total Government Debt as % of GDP Internationally:


Jul 28, 2011


Finally, there's a word for the organic looking drawings of buildings – skyscrapers in particular – that I've been doing since I was a kid: biomimicry

Apparently this term applies to all types of man-made things, from cars to homes, and I can't help but think that Antoni Gaudi deserves more credit as the early father of such thinking.

Anyhow, I found a useful taxonomy for biomimicry I thought I'd share.  Have a look:

Biomimicry defined graphically

And here also are some structures that have adopted this new architectural discipline:

Building?  Nope.  Have a closer look and you might see the influence of a bat in this US military commissioned spy-plane featuring a translucent exoskeleton:

Airplane biomimicry

The auto designer for the Volkswagen Kai-Nalu derived his inspiration for this beautiful example of biomimicry from ocean waves washing over dark rocks on the beach.  The end-result is this stunning example of biomimicry; with translucent glass wrapped-around this cars ocean-slick rock-like surface. 
Car biomimicry

Here is a look at a totally novel looking (and functioning) building biomime:
Building biomimicry
Christian Hunter
Austin, Texas

Jul 9, 2011

No Friends, No Klout, No Service!

Imagine a world in which powerful companies not only know who your friends are, and how many (or few) of them you have, but they actually care how "cool" you are...a lot!

Imagine further that each time you reach out to connect with a company – to order more supplies, bitch about a painfully inadequate product release, or simply to get help using what you bought – that company has already made up its mind, based on how cool you are, how much "Klout" you have, if they'll allow you to speak with one of their coveted agents by phone in real-time, or if you'll be relegated to their online "knowledgebase", or worse, "voicemail-jail"! 

Well, the fact is that companies are already beginning to roll out the red carpet for the digital in-crowd, but those with crusty haggard "friend" profiles, or who've let their once robust level of social interaction shrivel to the occasional "Happy Birthday", will soon find themselves charged full-fare, but seated in the back of the plane, nibbling stale nuts between helping bathroom-goers open and close the door!

No Refunds for Nerds!

Sound like alarmist social-science-fiction?  If so, well, ehem, I'd like to introduce you to  This San Francisco based still-under-the-radar upstart recently had $10mm in funding stuffed into its corporate pockets by the Midas of all Sand Hill VC's: Kleiner Perkins.  Klout may be the new kid, but they're already running with coolest crowd in The Valley. 

The web-service sports a spartan yet compelling UI that is quick to impress, and it appears this uber-social-monitor watches not only the number of relationships you have, but measures how "cool" and influential your relationships are, and also how often you interact with each!  They don't stop there (cue eerie organ music), they also eavesdrop on the relative "quality" of the communication you have with your network of relationships, then track whether your communications actually spur some sort of action...and the list of creepy-but-cool capabilities goes on.  

Impressive?  Very. 

Disturbing?  Very...if you're a nerd. 

You see, if Klout has its way, the socio-sphere will soon be so well mapped that, love it or hate it, your popularity and influence will act much like your credit score in determining whether you'll live your virtual life in the lap of luxury, or wander aimlessly in online squalor, dejected, with access to the internet limited to .biz and .us domain extensions only….eheh, okay, that last part might have been an exaggeration, but in case you're thinking you'll have plenty of time to stop being such an asshole to everyone, or aren't concerned because you plan to join "the twitter" next year; well a visit to the company's "Klout for Developers" webpage might just do the trick in sobering you up quick: It appears that Klout can already cite examples of its clients actively "sorting" (read: "discriminating") incoming support requests based on the Klout "score" of their clients customer base (read: Klout helps you spend money on those that might spread the word to their network...the nerds can wait).

So in the not too distant future, if you have a less than pain-free experience testing some new home solar-nasal-hair-removing-laser, and you desire to take the manufacturer up on their money back guarantee; well, here's to hoping you have a lot of friends, because it appears this popularity contest has already begun!

Christian Hunter

Austin, Texas

May 1, 2011

What your email address says about your tech skills

Got a good laugh out of this!

Apr 18, 2011

Chilling Battlefield 3 Footage!

I was certifiably addicted to BF2, literally playing through entire weekends...Now BF3, aww, oh man, I just don't know, uh, I already feel crazed! The footage! This friggin commercial is a warning to those who value their time!

Feb 10, 2011

Google's available by phone!

At long last humans actually exist at Google! This is likely to be a game changer for a company who's been firing on all cylinders yet couldn't seem to get that sometimes, just sometimes, we humans need to be able to pick up the phone and actually talk to them!

If you too have ever been frustrated with Google taking an action like, say, shutting off your adwords account doing tens of thousands of clicks every month for no reason, well, now you'll have the luxury of asking them "what's up?". To reach them, dial 1-866-2GOOGLE !


Christian Hunter

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