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最值得关注的八家创业公司

April 20, 2012 Leave a comment

《程序员》杂志官网

via 最值得关注的八家创业公司.

The Honest Company

创始人:著名女演员Jessica Alba和美国社交购物网站Shoedazzle联合创始人Brian Lee

创建时间:2012年1月

该公司主要销售无毒性的婴儿产品。Alba希望将The Honest Company打造成这种品牌,并以此提供安全且精致的用品,该公司将拥有自己完整的生产流程,从产品设计到生产再到销售都将包括其中。

点评:曾被Business Insider评为最酷的创业公司,想法很好:销售无毒或无化学毒性的婴儿产品。但这是一个巨大的红海市场,什么是Honest最独一无二的极致卖点?并不是很清晰。

Peek

创始人:前Artsy营销总监Ruzwana Bashir和前Pipewise工程总监Oskar Bruening

创建时间:2012年1月

该公司目前为止还不算是科技公司,但其刚刚宣布了新一轮的融资,以为即将推出的科技业务作准备。该公司将成为帮助旅行者查找和预订高质量旅游体验和旅游活动的场所。

点评:该公司的投资方包括Eric Schmidt,什么吸引了Google执行董事长Eric Schmidt的眼光?是人,还是项目?也许两者都有。如果高端旅游查找和体验能跟互联网有一个很好的结合,还是很值得期待的。

PandoDaily

创始人:美国科技博客网站TechCrunch前撰稿人Sarah Lacy

创建时间:2012年1月

该公司将是一家科技博客网站,即“记录硅谷的场所”。

点评:她要做TechCrunch2.0吗?答案是肯定的。PandoDaily的确继承了TechCrunch曾经的精华:1. 撰写高质量的科技内容和独家消息;2. 与著名科技写手合作;3. 创业发现。我相信PandoDaily会成为一个很不错的科技博客,但她到底能对TechCrunch的模式产生多大的升级,目前并没有看到太多动作。升级方向是社区化,但这可需要大投资,250万美元是不够花的。

Engagio

创始人:知名企业战略和全球化解决方案顾问William Mougayar

创建时间:2012年2月

Engagio是一个管理社交媒体评论意见和消息的“收集箱”,它不会捕捉每一条消息或Facebook的每个信息。相反,Engagio只是收集那些回复用户行动的信息。该公司主要从Twitter、Facebook、Google+、HackerNews、Tumblr、Foursquare、LinkedIn和Disqus等社交网站收集信息。

点评:社交网络优化是搜索引擎优化之后的一块大市场,因为社交网络正在成为最大的流量分配中心Facebook对很多网站的引流已经超过了Google(中国因为QQ空间、微博都没花心思在内容生态上,所以百度还是中心),流量从哪里来,自然要优化哪里。这个市场大有可为,Engagio也确实在解决真实的问题。

 CruiseWise

创始人:前Mamram产品经理AmitAharonir和Boston Coonsulting Group项目负责人Steve Davis

创建时间:2012年2月

该公司是一家为客户筹划航游行程提供搜索和预订工具的网站,同时也为游客提供旅游指导意见。

点评:据说2012年邮轮的市场规模将达到340亿美元,网络订票是一个很有价值的问题。从用户操作效率来讲,在一个地方搞定所有的旅游预订是最好的,Expedia收购CruiseWise,也许是美满的结局。

Banters

创始人:Lauren Leto

创建时间:2012年1月

该公司可以让用户使用类似Siri的技术往博客上发布文本内容。目前,如果用户将Banters的电话号码添加到地址簿中,那么用户所说的任何内容也都将可以张贴到该网站上。

点评:在互联网覆盖度如此之高的今天,以没有网络环境为出发点构建出来的业务真有点开倒车。一年半达到6万用户的情况下继续踩油门,祝福Banters在途中发现美丽的风景。

QuBit

创始人:两位前Google产品经理Emre Baran、Daniel Shellard和前Google营销经理Ian McCaig

创建时间:2010年1月

QuBit让内容所有者和电子商务网站可以获得消费者数据分析并提供更个性化的Web商务体验。让网站所有者不需要彻底修改其现有的内容管理系统或Web设计就能获得更多的收入。

点评:数据挖掘和数据分析,随着互联网的进化以及移动互联网的发展,绝对是一个黄金机会点。

Pinterest

创始人:Google产品顾问Ben Silbermann

创建时间:2010年3月正式上线

Pinterest创办于2011年,仅从字面上就能大致了解这家网站的定位:图钉(Pin)与兴趣(interest)。也就是说,它是基于视觉分享的社交网站,是“个人版猎酷工具”,用户可以把自己感兴趣的东西,用图钉钉在钉板上,或归类收藏,或与朋友分享。每个图钉背后也都藏着一个“故事”。

点评:Pinterest绝对是当之无愧的酷公司。目前,国内已经诞生超过30家类Pinterest网站,不过它的牛X你学不会:1. 史上没有一家公司比Pinterest更快达到美国单月1千万不重复到访人数。2. 2012年以来,每日用户成长已超过145%;3. 所产生的推荐连结流量超过YouTube、Google+与LinkedIn总合。4. 使用者男女比率为13 : 87。

本文部分资料源于Business Insider

本文选自《程序员》杂志2012年04期,未经允许不得转载。如需转载请联系 market@csdn.net

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Reading CS Classics

April 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Latest Issue

via Reading CS Classics.

[article image]

Credit: Geet Duggal

We often focus so much of our attention on our particular research areas that we do not fully utilize the potential coming from the core theoretical computer science. We lack the fundamental theoretical knowledge of the field. Moreover, the computer science classics are unknown to many computer scientists. Knowledge of the theories of computer science helps in understanding the limitations of the field. This directly influences your ongoing research by providing you with new perspectives and insights. In addition, the stories of the pioneers of the field inspire young professionals, provide a common history to unite the community, and facilitate the recognition of computer science as an independent science and profession.

With these ideas in mind, I organized CS classics meetings in my computer engineering department during the last summer term. Our group selected a subset of classics to initialize the project. The selected classics and their respective ordering reflected our personal interests; in the end, they become part of a coherent whole.

It can be a good practice for CS professionals to compile their own list of classics that highlights some key scientific concepts of the field. Such an attempt improves the understanding of the field and serves as a valuable source of reference, as this Viewpoint attests. Our group discussed these CS classics:

  • “The Emperor’s Old Clothes,” C.A.R. Hoare
  • “An Axiomatic Basis for Computer Programming,” C.A.R. Hoare
  • “Gödel’s Undecidability Theorem,” S.F. Andrilli
  • “Computing Machinery and Intelligence,” A.M. Turing
  • “Reflections on Trusting Trust,” K. Thompson
  • “The Humble Programmer,” E.W. Dijkstra
  • “An Interview with Edsger W. Dijkstra,” P. Frana
  • “Computer Programming as an Art,” D. Knuth
  • “The ‘Art’ of Being Donald Knuth,” E. Feigenbaum
  • “Donald Knuth: A Life’s Work Interrupted,” E. Feigenbaum

We found these intellectual gatherings quite useful and subsequently decided to make the CS classics group reading a regular activity of our academic environment. Here, I give an overview of the classics we discussed and encourage further reading.

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Classics Overview

In reading Hoare,6,7 you learn about the computing industry of the 1960s and 1970s in Britain. The programming languages community of those years was also well described in the reading. Hoare wrote a more efficient sort algorithm than the one invented by D.L. Shell.9 When he had the opportunity to hear about the recursive procedures in an ALGOL 60 course, Hoare realized this mechanism is the right way of expressing his new sort algorithm, which is the original QuickSort. The moral of this example is that one should communicate with people to seek better solutions to the problems at hand and extend the existing solutions. His remark on simplification is of high importance as well. A simple, reliable core is critical for a programming language, an operating system, and even for any software product. With this realization, Hoare provides a foundation for the formal proofs of programs by an algebraic assertions-based approach, which is named as “An Axiomatic Basis for Computer Programming.”7


Knowledge of the theories of computer science helps in understanding the limitations of the field.


Gödel’s undecidability theorem1 states that any mathematical system containing all the theorems of arithmetic is an incomplete system. This opens the way for Turing to introduce the famous halting problem: There is no general algorithm that can always correctly predict whether a randomly selected computer program will run or not.11Before knowing about Gödel and his undecidability theorem, Turing stands out as the most prominent figure in computer science. After you hear about Gödel’s work, you realize Turing is standing on the shoulders of giants. The proof of the undecidability theorem has important implications for computer science by introducing the Gödel numbering scheme, which introduces unique numbering to each symbol, formula, or proof in the system. This system is the basis of the computer numbering systems that provide unique representation to every programming construct: due to this property, code can be treated as data.

The idea of this unique numbering system can be better explained by the challenge of writing a source program that, when compiled and executed, will produce as output an exact copy of its source. It is a Turing machine SELF that is printing itself. The SELF machine is constructed such that it contains two concatenated machines and one of them is the Gödel number equivalent of the other. Such a self-reproducing program is introduced by Ken Thompson in “Reflections on Trusting Trust”10 as the most primitive version of today’s trojans. When you see the scientific layers on top of each other like the one presented, you begin to appreciate the real beauty of science and the scientific developments.

By reading Dijkstra independent from his contemporary Hoare you have information about the computing environment of that era. To make a correct assessment of that time period and the products that were launched, independent but consistent views are required. In this sense, Dijkstra and Hoare’s identical views on ALGOL 60 help us appreciate this programming language. Additionally, the realization of the recursion mechanism by both is spectacular—a good example of the axiom “great minds think alike.”

Dijkstra’s dialogue with his professor cannot be overlooked. Most significant is his realization of the high intellectual challenge of programming and the professor’s encouragement that made him one of the greatest minds of computer programming.5

One lesson comes from the huge abstraction capability/potential inherent in computer science. Abstraction is extending the viewpoint in a way that the specificities of the problem can be reflected in a better way rather than being vague. The tools we work with can then have vital importance in abstracting. Dijkstra’s comment on computing tools is remarkable in this sense:2 he states that computing tools have direct influence on the thinking habits of their users. If you constrain yourself with one specific tool, your thinking becomes constrained in the boundaries of this tool. You continue to stay at the same level of thinking as the creator of this tool in accordance with the famous quote by Einstein: “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”


Reading CS classics widens your perspective by introducing stable, timeless ideas.


Donald Knuth is extraordinary with his perspective on computer programming.3,4 His definition of programming identifies the right balance between conceptual clarity and implementation efficiency. He says: “Programming is the art of telling another human being what one wants the computer to do.”

In understanding the importance of this definition, one should realize it is beyond the traditional definition of the task of telling a computer what to do. Knuth’s viewpoint is more encompassing and is helpful in understanding the diversity and convergence of programming languages. Moreover, it points out an important trade-off between conceptual clarity and implementation efficiency. When the task is to define a job to a computer, low-level instructions are better in terms of execution efficiency. However, people have difficulty in understanding such written code. When you try to describe a task to a human being, you can skip some steps because humans are good at filling in the blanks; machines have difficulty doing this. The best is to compromise: to discuss the task at a high level but in a manner that can be converted into a machine-processable format as indicated by Knuth’s prodigious statement.

Knuth’s opinions about tools are similarly noteworthy.8 Like Dijkstra, he thinks the tools we utilize have direct influences on what we accomplish. He puts emphasis on the artistic aspect of programming. According to him, the beauty and aesthetics of tools improves the enjoyment of users and enhances their thinking habits. Combining the assessments of Dijkstra and Knuth, what we (plan to) do is not independent of how we (plan to) do it. The process is a good indicator of the resultant product most of the time.

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Conclusion

Reading CS classics widens your perspective by introducing stable, timeless ideas. You escape the popular themes of your times and evaluate the field from a more literal position. You learn about the qualities that make a person a great scientist. You realize those people are delighted to think over problems. By learning the history of computers and studying the lives and works of eminent computer scientists we all recognize the true merit of being part of such a respectful profession and privileged community.

I hope this Viewpoint raises readers’ interest in CS classics, causes CS professionals to revise their reading lists to include these books and articles, and inspires them to further extend their classics library. Time spent on the classics is not wasted but is an investment in your career as a researcher as well as an educator.

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References

1. Andrilli, S.F. Gödel’s Undecidability Theorem. Applications of Discrete Mathematics. J.G. Michaels and K.H. Rosen, Eds. McGraw-Hill, 1991.

2. Dijkstra, E.W. The humble programmer. Commun. ACM 51, 10 (Oct. 1972), 859–866; DOI: 10.1145/355604.361591.

3. Feigenbaum, E. Donald Knuth: A life’s work interrupted. Shustek, L., Ed. Commun. ACM 51, 8 (Aug. 2008), 31–35; DOI: 10.1145/1378704.1378715.

4. Feigenbaum, E. The ‘art’ of being Donald Knuth. Shustek, L., Ed. Commun. ACM 51, 7 (July 2008), 35–39; DOI: 10.1145/1364782.1364794.

5. Frana, P. An interview with Edsger W. Dijkstra. T.J. Misa, Ed. Commun. ACM 53, 8 (Aug. 2010), 41–47; DOI: 10.1145/1787234.1787249.

6. Hoare, C.A.R. The emperor’s old clothes. Commun. ACM 24, 2 (Feb. 1981), 75–83; DOI: 10.1145/358549.358561.

7. Hoare, C.A.R. An axiomatic basis for computer programming. Commun. ACM 12, 10 (Oct. 1969), 576–580; DOI: 10.1145/363235.363259.

8. Knuth, D.E. Computer programming as an art. Commun. ACM 17, 12 (Dec. 1974), 667–673; DOI: 10.1145/361604.361612.

9. Shell, D.L. A high-speed sorting procedure. Commun. ACM 2, 7 (July 1959), 30–32; DOI: 10.1145/368370.368387.

10. Thompson, K. Reflections on trusting trust. Commun. ACM 27, 8 (Aug. 1984), 761–763; DOI: 10.1145/358198.358210.

11. Turing, A.M. I—Computing machinery and intelligence. Mind LIX, 236 (1950), 433–460; http://mind.oxfordjournals.org/content/LIX/236/433.full.pdf+html External Link

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Author

Selma Tekir (selmatekir@iyte.edu.tr) is a postdoctoral instructor in the Department of Computer Engineering at Izmir Institute of Technology in Turkey.

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Footnotes

I would like to thank Burcu Külahçioğlu, Murat Özkan, and Serap Şahin for the joyful CS classics meeting we had.


Copyright held by author.

The Digital Library is published by the Association for Computing Machinery. Copyright © 2012 ACM, Inc.

Categories: IT Observation Tags: ,

3Q大战,一流的司法才能使中国互联网走出丛林

April 19, 2012 Leave a comment

via 3Q大战,一流的司法才能使中国互联网走出丛林.

3Q大战,一流的司法才能使中国互联网走出丛林

很多人都对201011月份发生的腾讯QQ与奇虎360的那场大战记忆犹新,这一场神仙架让数以亿计的无辜网民躺着中了枪。这场“中国互联网的第一次世界大战”惊动了党中央,几天后就被工信部等三部委联合叫停。

时隔一年半之后,3Q的“第二次世界大战”开始上演。413日,广东省高院宣布360已经针对腾讯公司在3Q大战期间滥用QQ的市场支配地位,强制用户卸载已安装的360软件,已向广东省高院提起反垄断诉讼,并索赔1.5亿人民币。418日,广东高院对该案进行公开审理,控辩双方交锋激烈,基于案件的复杂性,法庭未作出当庭裁决,将择日宣判。

    一年多前的那场大战,是政府部门用行政力量,以维稳的方式平息的。很显然,这种方式并未真正解决中国互联网行业规范的缺乏问题,捂盖子维稳的做法只能掩盖一时的问题,中国互联网业界亟需一个公正明晰的法规体系来结束“丛林状态”。 此案的判决,将对我国反垄断和反不正当竞争领域的法律推进提供重要借鉴,将注定在我国互联网发展史上写下浓重的一笔。

首先,我国的反垄断诉讼极少,这也是广东省首例反垄断纠纷案,这与实施垄断行为的那些企业,与公权力有着千丝万缕的联系不无关系。在很多人觉得告国企垄断没什么胜算的时候,两个民营互联网企业之间的反垄断诉讼就会提供一个很好的法律参照。

另外,这一诉讼的最主要的价值在于,它扫描出了我国互联网管理的四大法制漏洞:缺乏一套完善的反垄断法律体系、一套有效的知识产权保护体系、一套公正的经济纠纷调解体系、一套强大的消费者权益保护体系。整个行业还处于莽荒状态,还是奉行丛林文化。大量存在的滥用市场支配地位进行搭售、以及大量抄袭、扫描盗窃隐私的行为,扼杀了中国互联网的创新精神。搜狐创始人张朝阳就曾直言:“二流的司法只能产生二流的产业。”

美国是世界互联网领域的霸主,其成长和壮大的每一步,都离不开先进的法律系统的规范与保护。当年微软仅仅因为模仿了苹果的鼠标,就被罚款数亿美元;而微软一直处在美国司法的严密监视之下,防止其利用优势地位限制竞争性产品的存在;Facebook的创始人因为在创业时期听取了一位同学的创意而有剽窃嫌疑,被判支付那位同学六千五百万美元。

我国互联网领域的丛林状态也暴露出了立法机制的一些缺陷。英美是普通法系国家,可以通过判例的积累来及时对各种新领域做出规范,这种判例的渐进积累既保证了法律体系的稳定,也保证了对于新出现的法律问题也能及时跟上。而我国是大陆法系国家,主要依靠制定的成文发条来规范,这往往会导致法律滞后或者过度立法的问题,在高科技和创新层出不穷的互联网领域,这一点就体现得尤为明显。

解决这一问题需从两方面着手,首先应该明确,我们的成文法必须是建筑在人性和人们对正义的基本感知基础上的,与其说成文法是立法部门的创造,不如说是在生活中去寻找和发现的自然法。虽然法条不能细化到每个领域,但这并不意味着一个新领域能完全逃脱基本法律原则的管辖。

比如,此次的被告腾讯公司,多年来一直陷入各种抄袭的指责,就在此案开庭前一周,还被网易公开要求停止抄袭其产品。另外,事实上QQ已经成了人们的一个基础通信工具,究竟能不能企业说停就停?还有在此次大战中揭露出来的客户端软件涉嫌大肆扫描用户隐私数据的问题,这些虽然未必有具体的法条直接管辖,但人们基于基本的正义直觉,并不难作出判断。我们的司法体系可以考虑沿用反垄断法、消费者权益法等法律的基本原则来处理这类案件。

另一方面,由于现代社会的专业化与分工越来越细,高度集权的立法体制已经显露出来越来越多的弊端。在新经济形势层出不穷的现代社会,我们的立法资源必须对基层开放,充分吸收行业公约等一线资源,更多地使用案例指导制度来弥补法条的滞后与不足。

与其它行业相比,中国的互联网行业是市场化程度高的行业,也取得了举世瞩目的成就,在世界范围内体现了中国人创造力和聪明才智,但高度的市场竞争并不等于不需要规则和裁判,法律环境的滞后已经严重阻碍了中国互联网业的创新与进步,非改不可的时刻已经到来。

原载本期《南方周末》

Categories: China, China, IT Observation Tags: , ,
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