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May 26, 2011

How much would you pay for search?


A really interesting essay by Kevin Kelly on this subject.

Long story short: he says he'd gladly pay $500 a year.

Me too.


Excerpts from Kelly's piece follow.

How much would you pay for search if it were not free? Let's pretend it's an alternate world, or maybe sometime in the future, and there is no free search. You have to pay for your Google, or Bing, or whatever. How much would you be willing to pay?

I would pay up to $500 per year. It's that valuable to me. What about you?

Would most people pay a dollar per day for search if they had to? Maybe. They might pay a dollar per search, which is another way of paying.

We can ask the same question about other free services. How much would you pay for Wikipedia, if it were not free? Since Wikipedia entries often appear at the top of Google searches, it is hard to unravel this question from the last. But I would, in theory, be willing to subscribe to Wikipedia for at least the cost of a subscription to the New York Times or the Economist, which is several hundred a year, or maybe $15 per month.

Ditto for Google Maps, or Yelp. How much time would it take to get the same service by other means? I probably save several hours per day. The differential is so great that I could simply not do it if it had to be done by other means.

This is the great gift of the free web. It has made some goods so cheap to acquire — like answers, encyclopedia facts, directions, weather reports, recommendations — that we generate entirely new realms of activity by doing far more of them. More is different. We ask so many more questions than before that this ask-and-answer is something new. Have you ever wondered where all our questions were before search engines? We didn't even bother to ask them.

I don't think the zero-price option (ZPO) will go away. We'll always have that choice, probably supported by the interruption of our attention by ads or similar devices. But I imagine the option of paying for search, maybe much better than the free version, will become a choice in the future. And my guess that the price of paid search (and paid Wikipedia, paid maps, paid recommendations) will be close to the replacement costs — about $1 per day.


May 26, 2011 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Ray-Ban Folding Wayfarers


Tom Cruise's favorite shades


updated with a hinge in the center for easy pocket carry.

Screen shot 2011-05-25 at 3.36.26 PM



[via Svpply]

May 26, 2011 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Best error pages on the web





Screen shot 2011-05-25 at 10.23.08 PM




Screen shot 2011-05-25 at 10.24.26 PM



[via the 404 Error — Page Not Found]

May 26, 2011 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Luna 5 Encore


From websites:


All-in-one docking station/audio system for iPhone, iPod and MP3 players, with digital FM radio and 5-driver speaker system.

Unique floating dock with resonance control to minimize feedback and vibration.

Auxiliary input allows other audio sources to be connected.




May 26, 2011 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bridgstone Beaver Super Bowl Commercial: Still Wonderful

I never get tired of watching it.

Even better MOS.

May 26, 2011 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Fan Plate


Handmade by Vancouver-based Heather Dahl.




[via Svpply]

May 26, 2011 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fruit Fly on a Treadmill

Caption for the video above: "Fruit fly tethered in a virtual reality system. The fly is tethered by its head with the brain exposed to a microscope. The upper left image shows a single fluorescing cell in the brain. This cell responds to motion in a single lateral direction in the visual field. The blue bars are a simulation of the virtual world that the animal sees."

The video was uploaded by Dr. Gus K. Lott III, designer of the high speed motion tracking system used in this project.

The work was published in 2010 in Nature Methods: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nmeth.1468

It was also highlighted in the June 2011 issue of Wired magazine in an article entitled "Micro Machinist."

Below, a related video published last year.

Its caption: "A fly on a 6-millimeter ball runs to match the direction of a moving blue pattern (top left)."

More on Dr. Lott's technology adventures: "He built a fly-scale virtual reality system, with a treadmill made out of a ping-pong ball and an optical mouse. A tethered fly would run on the ball, while the optical components would track the ball's movement. He surrounded the system with speakers that generated enticing cricket chirps — the fly being studied uses a live cricket as a nest for its eggs. Changing the pitch of the chirps presented the fly with a choice of virtual crickets."

But you say "enough chatter, we want more video."

I hear you.

Below, another of his videos, this one entitled "Fly Olympics."

The caption: "This test run on fruit flies as part of Janelia Farm’s Fly Olympiad studies movement in response to light. Ultraviolet lights simulating the sky turn on and off at alternate ends of the tubes. Flies normally run toward the light, indicated by a green X. The flies in the bottom two tubes show this normal behavior; these are normal flies you might find in the wild. The other tubes contain flies bred to have certain neurons turned off; these run away from light. This test shows how a few neurons can encode complex behaviors (like running to or away from light)."

Dr. Lott's blog, Data and the Divine, offers abundant food for thought.

May 26, 2011 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Neon Tape


Six rolls: $5.

May 26, 2011 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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