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Generation Text: FB me

Going back through some older links, an opinion piece on CNN titled Generation Text: FB me was an interesting read:

I tried to reach my teenage daughter the other day. I left a voice mail, sent an e-mail message and finally texted her and told her to check both and call me back.

Seconds later, she texted back one letter: "K." She is 19 and has been sending and receiving upwards of 3,000 texts per month. One month, she hit 7,500! She is not unusual at all.

Dr. Rosen has some other interesting facts on his blog posts Welcome to the iGeneration:
According to our research studies, Baby Boomers spend about nine and a half hours daily with media, Generation Xers are immersed in media 15 hours per day and older Net Geners (18- to 29-years-old) consume nearly 20 media hours per day.
High school students spend upwards of 30 hours a week online, mostly for entertainment and socializing with friends. They spend one to two hours a day communicating on social networks such as MySpace and Facebook.
A Harris Interactive national survey of teens has even shown that 47% of the 2,089 nationally-sampled teens could compose text messages blindfolded.
It is going to be fascinating to see how these habits, now firmly entrenched, interact with the workplaces of today. I wonder if the day of feeling out and out of touch is approaching.
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Do not lose this bag

Lifehacker suggests packing a gun to protect valuables from airline theft. Checked bags containing weapons are tracked much more intensively (for obvious reasons) so the idea would seem to hold up.

A one-time investment in a $20 starter pistol is probably a lot cheaper than full insurance over the long run and could* reduce the possible hassle of delays or loss also. I wonder how much abuse a provision like this would have to have before the additional tracking becomes meaningless and another tier of treatment is needed.

(* Reminds me of the time I used a faulty touchscreen on a self-check-in terminal for an Alaska flight and it recorded me as planning to carry a weapon in my hand luggage. If a paper boarding pass could ever be described as panic-stricken the big, bold "!!!!!NOT VALID FOR TRAVEL!!!!!!" message came pretty close)

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Microsoft data center pictures

A post on Gizmodo has some good pictures and short video of the container-based approach for housing machines in some Microsoft data centers such as the ones used to run Bing.

Working on the software side of cloud services, it is at times easy to forget how much hardware, infrastructure, sophistication exists in these mega deployments. While it's important to understand the characteristics of the deployment environment when building applications, at the same time it's really remarkable how easy it is to deploy code at a large-scale onto thousands of machines without even knowing which state they're physically in.

I do wonder whether one day we'll look at these huge data centers and find them quaint relics of the past, a throwback to when there were efficiency gains to be had by physically consolidating the weak computing power of the day. That day is still a good way away.

The Microsoft Datacenters blog actually has some interesting longer posts on the topic. The Global Foundation Services site also has some deeper whitepapers too.

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Result counts for search phrases

I liked this week's comic over at xkcd titled Google results for various phrases:

Using result counts in this manner isn't exactly scientific as in most cases they're only estimates rather than exact numbers. However, for fun like this it's probably good enough especially comparing among like queries.

Value parameter sweeps (my IQ is <X>) are only one way of looking at this. Performing similar analysis against time with query volume, published document count, visit counts, or a combination of all of these can be similarly enlightening. Unfortunately, the whole technique is somewhat dependent on the reliability of the underlying data. As the data implies the typical internet citizen has an IQ of 147, there's definitely some bias in here somewhere but of course the results of an in-person verbal survey might be similarly skewed if not validated in some other way.

There's a a post over at Google Operating System titled Data Mining Using Google which actually has a clever mashup with Google Spreadsheets too.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_ZaGO7GjCqAI/S6C8-BDgkrI/AAAAAAAASYI/b2MCbrXSPFo/s640/xkcd-numbers.png