Research & Analysis of Today’s Internet

Bridging the Digital Divide—Education Isn’t the Solution

When people talk about “digital divide”, they are usually referring to the lack of access to technology, especially to the Internet, for the underprivileged. Although this problem still exists in the US, it is continually improving, and has become a lesser concern. The new digital divide in the US has to do with how we use information technologies. Even between two people who have access to the same technologies, a significant difference can be found in what they are able to do with them. To bridge this gap, we need to figure out what creates this gap.

The roles technologies play in our…

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What We Can Learn About Startup from Lighting a Campfire

Many startups have this strategy: “Let’s get as many users as possible, and worry about monetizing later.” And, some startups have the opposite problem where their monetization strategy is sound but cannot build enough user traction. I use an analogy of building a campfire to describe these problems. Square, for instance, was able to build user traction very quickly because their card reader was revolutionary. They struck the fire-starter rod once, and the tinder (shaved pieces of wood or pieces of paper) caught on fire immediately. It started spreading quickly to the kindling (small pieces…

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Arbitrage Economy—Why We All Have to Be a Business Major

In the old days, if you tried to sell baskets that you weaved, the main criteria by which your potential customers made their purchasing decisions was how useful they were and how nice they looked. Today, the main criteria is how cheaply they can buy the same thing elsewhere. I would call this “arbitrage economy” because it’s about gaining from market discrepancies/inaccuracies (finding something cheaper in one market and selling it for more in another market). Arbitrage was a game that only the social elites who had access to necessary information played in the old days; now everyone plays…

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Different Types of Image Files Explained

This is the most common technical question we get: “What format should I save my image in?” There are many different types of image files and most people do not understand the differences. In this article, I’m going to tell you what you need to know in order to choose the right format for your purpose.

There are two ways to interpret visual information digitally. One way is to record the step-by-step instructions, like a cooking recipe. For instance, your computer writes down: “Use a blue pen with a thickness of 3 pixels. Start drawing a straight line at the location X=120 and Y=324, and end…

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What Makes a Good Logo?

Everyone has an opinion about certain things in life like music, food, politics, and parenting. I think logo design is one of them. It doesn’t matter if you are a plumber or a lawyer, you would have opinions about logos. This is what makes logo design one of the biggest challenges in graphic design. The larger the business is, the more difficult it would be to settle on a logo that can reasonably satisfy all the decision makers. Ultimately a logo should not be about pleasing everyone who works for the company, because what they like personally is a separate issue from how well it works in the…

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Skills Gap—Why Teaching Kids How to Code Is Not the Solution

Recently there has been a lot of talk about “skills gap”. Although there are 4 million unfilled jobs, 11 million people remain unemployed in the US. The most common solution suggested by many, including President Obama, is to attract more people to “STEM” fields (science, technology, engineering, and math). I believe this is misguided, or too short-sighted. By the time our kids in high school graduate from college, STEM fields may already be crowded. The key to closing the skills gap isn’t to choose a field with higher demand, but to increase the speed at which we learn any skills. The main…

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Now the Only Job Left in the World Is...

To commoditize everyone else’s job. Let me explain what I mean by that. 99designs.com is a good example. Let’s say, you need a logo designed for your business. You describe what you want, post it on 99designs.com, and a bunch of designers from around the world would design a logo and present it to you. You only pay the winner. It’s a great service. It takes advantage of the fact that somewhere in the world there are always some people who are willing to design a logo for free because it’s fun. But if you are a professional designer, this is bad news. Now your career has been commoditized by…

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There Is No Such Thing As Communication Skill

Just as we cannot objectively measure greatness of love, we cannot objectively measure effectiveness of communication either. Nobody can be a great lover to everyone, and nobody can be a great communicator to everyone. On a résumé or a help wanted ad, it is useless to list “communication skills”. Everyone is a good communicator to the people they surround themselves with. Nobody thinks they lack “communication skills”. In fact, if someone claims he has “great communication skills”, it is a pretty good sign that he has a poor understanding of what communication is. If you need someone to…

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AngularJS and Memory Leaks

AngularJS is a great front-end framework, and I love it, but it appears that a lot of people are complaining about memory leaks. I spent last 2 days trying to isolate the cause of my memory leak too, but it turns out that mine was rather Heisenbergian, that is, the act of observing caused the problem! Before you start looking into memory leaks in AngularJS, you should make sure that you do two things:

1. Comment out all of your console.log() functions in your source. The log function apparently retains a reference to the variable that it outputted. So, if you do something like…

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Why We Should Not Be Tied to Any Medium

In the past 10 years, digital photography has disrupted the market of photographers so much that many of them are now struggling to survive. There are many reasons but one of the most significant factors is the accessibility of the medium. Digital cameras allow us to take as many photos as we want at no cost. In the days of film, the cost of film and processing was a significant barrier to entry; once photographers crossed the barrier, they were in good shape. The barrier protected them from a flood of wannabe photographers. Another barrier to entry was technical competence. Photography used…

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