Scientists build first working quantum network – mind-bogglingly powerful

Scientists at the Quantum Dynamics division of the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (MPQ) in Garching, Germany announced Wednesday that they have built the very first, elementary quantum network comprised of a pair of entangled atoms that transmit information to each other via single photons.

That and a couple of bucks will get you a cup of coffee, plus anything from a perfectly secure data exchange system to the massive scaling via distributed processing of the already mind-bogglingly powerful, if theoretical, potential of a standalone quantum computer.

These are indeed heady days for the pioneers of quantum computing, with each news cycle seemingly bringing forth a major breakthrough in a subatomic frontier that appears poised to revolutionize how our calculating machines deliver us everything from satellite mapping to LOLcats.

 

Building it was the hardest part:

…had to figure out a means of exercising “perfect control” over all the components in their quantum network, which first meant getting the two atoms that make up the network’s receptor nodes to somehow stay stationary, because a couple of free-floating atoms wouldn’t be able to communicate with the photons relaying information between the two very efficiently.

The team was able to fix their atoms in optical cavities, basically a couple of highly reflective mirrors a short distance from each other, by means of fine-tuned laser beams.

keep readingPC Mag

The return of the newspaper barons – very rich (and political) owners

Folks with several hundred million dollars and outspoken opinions have been buying up newspapers. The Omaha Herald, San Diego Union Tribune, Portland Press Herald, and Philadelphia Inquirer.

At the end of last year, Warren E. Buffett bought The Omaha World-Herald through his company, Berkshire Hathaway. This would be the same Mr. Buffett who told his annual shareholder meeting in 2009 that newspapers faced “unending losses” and that he would not buy most of them “at any price.” Yet there he was, ponying up $200 million for a relatively small regional newspaper in Berkshire Hathaway’s hometown.

And he is not alone. Douglas F. Manchester, a very rich developer, bought The San Diego Union Tribune at about the same time, for a reported $110 million. At the end of last month, S. Donald Sussman, a hedge fund manager and philanthropist who is married to a congresswoman, Chellie Pingree, bought a stake in the company that owns The Portland Press Herald in Maine.

And then word came at the beginning of last week that a group of very rich, very influential Philadelphia businessmen — including George E. Norcross III, a Democratic power broker in Southern New Jersey, and Lewis Katz, the parking magnate — bought the Philadelphia Media Network, which owns The Inquirer, The Daily News and Philly.com.

via NY Times

What does this mean?

If you pull back a few thousand feet, you can see newspapers coming full circle. Before World War II, newspapers were mostly owned by political and business interests who used them to push an agenda.

People like William Randolph Hearst and Robert McCormick wielded their newspapers as cudgels to get their way. It was only when newspapers began making all kinds of money in the postwar era that they were professionalized and infused with editorial standards.

“We are going back to a form of ownership that dominated in an earlier era,” said Alan D. Mutter, a newspaper and technology consultant. “As newspapers become less impressive businesses, people are going to buy them as trophies or bully pulpits or some other form of personal expression.”

“People just have to be aware that other agendas exist”

California launches a statewide network of charging stations for electric vehicles

Governor Brown joined with the California Public Utilities Commission today to announce a $120 million dollar settlement with NRG Energy Inc. that will fund the construction of a statewide network of charging stations for zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), including at least 200 public fast-charging stations and another 10,000 plug-in units at 1,000 locations across the state. The settlement stems from California’s energy crisis.

The network of charging stations funded by the settlement will be installed in the San Francisco Bay Area, the San Joaquin Valley, the Los Angeles Basin and San Diego County.

“Through the settlement, EVs will become a viable transportation option for many Californians who do not have the option to have a charging station at their residence.”

The Executive Order issued today by the Governor sets the following targets:

  • By 2015, all major cities in California will have adequate infrastructure and be “zero-emission vehicle ready”;
  • By 2020, adequate infrastructure to support 1 million zero-emission vehicles in California;
  • By 2025, there will be 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road in California; and
  • By 2050, virtually all personal transportation in the State will be based on zero-emission vehicles.

via ca.gov

 

Just one question, not addressed in the announcement, is charging at the stations free?

What will be the cost for a full charge?

 

// photos via NCDOT Comms and gwyst

ESPN proves it's dominance, the 2011 year in review, records all over the field

Pulled from the company’s year in review, 2011:

In 2011, ESPN experienced record consumption cin its core television business and across digital platforms.

198 million Americans watched ESPN networks in the fourth quarter to date (85% of cable homes)

ESPN.com remained number one among sports fans for average audience, setting a sports category record in September.

ESPN Radio reaches 24 million listeners a week via more than 700 stations nationwide.

ESPN International spans 200 countries and territories on all seven continents and includes 48 television networks reaching over 350 million subscribers in 16 languages

ESPN the Magazine hit a new high with a record of nearly 16 million readers per issue in Fall 2011, and was the top magazine among men 18-34 for the fourth consecutive year.

ESPN Mobile attracted 70 percent of users seeking sports content. Partly due to the use of ESPN apps: ScoreCenter, ESPNRadio,  & Bowl Bound.

ESPN is:

  • 8 television networks in the U.S.
  • 48 international networks
  • 750 radio affiliates
  • 18 web sites
  • 5 channels in HD
  • The first 3D TV network
  • 13 international editions of SportsCenter
  • Largest mobile sports operation
  • 7,000 employees worldwide.

Continue reading ESPN proves it's dominance, the 2011 year in review, records all over the field

ESPN proves it’s dominance, the 2011 year in review, records all over the field

Pulled from the company’s year in review, 2011:

In 2011, ESPN experienced record consumption cin its core television business and across digital platforms.

198 million Americans watched ESPN networks in the fourth quarter to date (85% of cable homes)

ESPN.com remained number one among sports fans for average audience, setting a sports category record in September.

ESPN Radio reaches 24 million listeners a week via more than 700 stations nationwide.

ESPN International spans 200 countries and territories on all seven continents and includes 48 television networks reaching over 350 million subscribers in 16 languages

ESPN the Magazine hit a new high with a record of nearly 16 million readers per issue in Fall 2011, and was the top magazine among men 18-34 for the fourth consecutive year.

ESPN Mobile attracted 70 percent of users seeking sports content. Partly due to the use of ESPN apps: ScoreCenter, ESPNRadio,  & Bowl Bound.

ESPN is:

  • 8 television networks in the U.S.
  • 48 international networks
  • 750 radio affiliates
  • 18 web sites
  • 5 channels in HD
  • The first 3D TV network
  • 13 international editions of SportsCenter
  • Largest mobile sports operation
  • 7,000 employees worldwide.

Continue reading ESPN proves it’s dominance, the 2011 year in review, records all over the field

Is Craigslist is done for? (nope)

This is part 2 and it messes everything up.

Part 1 was incredibly convincing and most of us bought the argument, hook-line and sinker.

We were ready to write-off Craigslist.

Now, I present the counter-argument. This piece will completely change your mind. It will challenge you to re-think everything and in my case, put Craigslist back on the map for good.

Enjoy.

PS – It works better if you read the original piece first: Is Craigslist done for? (yep)

From Quora

Josh Hannah argues that the premise of this question is false and that Craigslist “has been disrupted.” He mistakenly confuses “competition” with “disruption.”

Craigslist has not been disrupted.

Disruption means to “drastically alter or destroy the structure of (something).” By definition this means that disruption is easy to spot. Something new comes along and crushes an existing business model or technology or product.

Here are a few examples:

Business model disruption:

  • Craigslist disrupted classified advertising
  • CPA disrupted CPM
  • Free has disrupted numerous other industries (telecom, media, etc)

Technology disruption:

  • Cars disrupted horses
  • Downloadable media disrupted CD’s & DVD’s
  • Digital photography disrupted film

Product disruption:

  • Facebook disrupted MySpace
  • Google disrupted AltaVista & co

In every case:

  • The disruption happened suddenly (within a few years)
  • The disruptor’s value proposition was unambiguous
  • Usually a single replacement (business model, tech, product) filled the void

This is what disruption looks like with websites:

This is what disruption looks with offline businesses:

This is not disruption:

…Nor is this:

Josh argues that:

“Bad sites with network effects show much slower decay in use than they should based on their absolute quality. (think eBay.) Bad sites who price most of their product at free show incredibly slow decay in use. (think Craigslist).”

All of this is true, but this is precisely why Craigslist is not being disrupted: It already benefits from enormous network effects, which aren’t being replicated by its myriad competitors. Even if all the sites below shared the same audience as Craigslist (they’re not even close), these users would be split across 30 different sites:


Yes, plenty of people are picking apart categories and trying to improve upon the product, the UI, or the way the information is presented. This has been happening for years and many of these companies have gone under. If you think about it, these companies aren’t really competing directly with Craigslist because Craigslist–unlike every site above–is free.

To argue the image above is indicative of disruption is to misunderstand why Craigslist is successful. How many companies compete with Google in search, advertising, social, apps, mobile? Sheer volume of competition does not signal disruption.As I wrote previously, Craigslist benefits from a killer product/business model combo that protects it from the effects of these startups:

Craigslist = Simple + Free + Network effects + Anonymous

It’s very, very hard to compete with something that gets the job done well enough and is free.

People can criticize the product/UI/search all day long, but minor tweaking is not going to disrupt Craigslist–particularly if it happens across 30+ fragmented sites. Most people have a status quo bias…they must see substantial and compelling benefits to changing their behavior. They won’t learn about all the sites listed above just so they can get a slight UI improvement when they want to unload their couch or casually rent a hooker. (Frequent escort renters might disagree with me :).

Even if someone rolled all 30 of these sites into one competitor with better features, UI, search, etc it’s still unlikely to succeed because of the power of network effects. Craigslist has them. The other guy don’t. And no one can afford to buy these network effects unless they plan to charge for their services. And if they plan to charge then they’re back to square one.

In summary (and forgive me for mashing these answers together):

This is a winner take all business that’s supported by incredible network effects, great brand equity, a degree of trust and familiarity. No upstart is going to unseat Craigslist without a huge & foolish capital investment. The only way Craigslist will be disrupted is if consumer behavior shifts radically away from free, online, and anonymous.

A New Design for 1X57

A little over three years ago Amy and I were walking the streets of DC talking about starting a business. After working together for two years, side by side, day-in, day-out, we realized anything we did individually paled in comparison to what we could do together. Despite butting heads on numerous occasions and dealing with myriad complications, unknowns, and doubts, we took the plunge and made it happen. 1X57 was born.

In the name we found an expression of who we are. It is the place where we first met in 2006, where we both found mentors to guide and shape our careers, where we found a sense of purpose and where we were inspired to imagine the possibilities. It also became a place out of reach for us, out of touch, if only because of where our path is leading us.

With 1X57, we are re-creating the ideals and values amplified in a place that opened our eyes and expanded our minds, to bring together work and creativity that excites us and contributes to a better world. The starting point for me has been writing on our blog, a way to bring together the intellectually curious people of the world, to discuss the most compelling and intriguing topics of the day. Posts like Can Every Child Get Sraight A’s, Steve Jobs Sabbaticals, Democracy in the World, and Who are the Best in DC Tech? are my way of sorting through questions I have while contributing to a communal discussion.

When we first launched 1X57, we were just happy to have a placeholder for the domain name and a theme that allowed us to get our thoughts out. In version 2.0, we wanted a whole lot more.

With so many projects under our belt and a growing number of speeches and interviews, we needed a space for bios, projects, and press. The blog needed an ability to feature our popular articles that the web seems to love. We also wanted a way to highlight local companies (DC, Baltimore) and must-see events.

Overall, version 2.0 represents a big step forward for the company. Expanded features, new components, and much more capability including a beta.1X57.com area in which to experiment.

The new theme represents a minimal blank-slate approach that allows our work to come through in full color, while offering a newspaper-style reading layout.

Below are screenshots of the same page viewed as version 1.0:

screenshot of v1.0 of 1x57 - why social network will win best picture

Version 2.0:

version 2.0 1x57 social network best picture

We hope you enjoy the site. Let us know if anything is broken, if you miss anything, or would like to see something added and/or changed.

Steve