Roland’s Sunday Smart Trends #219
June 15th, 2008

Adapting Websites to Users

It’s hard to build a website that will please everyone. Some people respond best when they see basic facts on a clean page, others when they have a lot of charts and graphs at their fingertips. Now researchers at MIT’s Sloan School of Management hope to make websites better at selling products by making them adapt automatically to each visitor, presenting information in a way that complements that person’s style of thinking.
Source: Erica Naone, Technology Review, June 9, 2008

Website lets banks bid for customers

In a twist on the Internet tools that help consumers find the cheapest airfares or the hottest deals on a flat-screen television, a new website called turns banks into bidders as they compete in real time to offer customers the best rates on financial products.
Source: Carolyn Y. Johnson, The Boston Globe, June 9, 2008

Turn Delicious bookmarks into recommendations with InSuggest

InSuggest, the recommendation engine I took a look at back in February, has just launched a service that scans your bookmarks to give you links for related reading. The new tool is a derivative of the Web site analyzer which would take any link you dropped in and give you recommendations of similar sites. In that case, users could add up to three sites to get more narrowed results, whereas this tool is focused simply on where you’ve been. For now, it’s limited to Delicious users, but if you’ve got an account there you can plug-in your user name and it will scan over what you’ve bookmarked, offering similar items by tag and link associations.
Source: Josh Lowensohn, CNET’s Webware, June 9, 2008

CIA uses wiki technology to share information

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s Intellipedia project for information-sharing within the nation’s intelligence community is still in the early adoption phase a couple years after its launch, but has become a brand name for an entire suite of related Web 2.0 technologies, two CIA officials involved with the effort said Tuesday. Intellipedia’s core is a wiki, built with the same software as Wikipedia. It resides on three different networks, designated unclassifed, secret and top-secret.
Source: Chris Kanaracus, IDG News Service, June 10, 2008

Managing symptoms by mobile phone may revolutionize cancer care for young people

Researchers are harnessing the powers of digital communications technology to help young cancer patients at home manage the side-effects caused by chemotherapy. They have given the teenagers and young adults specially adapted mobile phones on which the patients can record and send details of all their symptoms to the medical professionals managing their care. The phones are capable of giving basic advice about the most common symptoms, and if the symptoms are serious enough, the phone triggers an alert at the hospital so that specially trained cancer nurses can ring the patient and, if necessary, ask him or her to come into hospital.
Source: Teenage Cancer Trust news release, June 10, 2008

Google’s Joe Kraus on How to Make the Web More Social

Can the Internet be made more social? This is a question with which Joe Kraus, director of product management at Google, constantly has to grapple. He believes every killer app on the web — instant messaging, e-mail, blogging, photo-sharing — has succeeded because it helps people connect with one another. For Kraus, this means the Internet has an inherently social character, but it can be enhanced further — an area he continues to explore through Google initiatives such as Open Social and Friend Connect.

[Note: This is a very long interview.]

Source: Kevin Werbach, Knowledge@Wharton, June 11, 2008

The Law Goes Open Source

A new breed of online services is putting the law within the reach of everybody. […] [Philip Rosenthal and Edward Walters have used 8 years and $7 million to build] an online legal-research service called Fastcase. It uses computer algorithms to perform all the case indexing now done by the thousands of human editors at Westlaw and Lexis. Operating out of a slightly seedy Washington office building, Fastcase brings in less than $10 million a year in revenue, hardly a threat to the Wexis duopoly, which last year roughly split a combined $1.6 billion in pretax profit on sales of $6.5 billion.
Source: Daniel Fisher, Forbes, June 30, 2008 issue

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