Snippets From A Fast-Changing World

An independent observer looks at things differently to someone who is right in the middle.

Why I, Jeff Bezos, Keep Spending Billions On Amazon R&D

Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com CEO

Random forests, naïve Bayesian estimators, RESTful services, gossip protocols, eventual consistency, data sharding, anti-entropy, Byzantine quorum, erasure coding, vector clocks … walk into certain Amazon meetings, and you may momentarily think you’ve stumbled into a computer science lecture...more

How Amazon has outsmarted the music industry (and Apple)

By Ed Bott | March 30, 2011, 2:21pm PDT

What Apple took away, Amazon has restored.

I’m talking, of course, about Lala, the pioneering digital music service that Apple purchased in December 2009 and shut down more than a year ago. The first thing Apple did, almost immediately after purchasing the company, was to disable its Music Mover feature, which allowed Lala members to upload their personal music collections to a cloud-based locker where they could play it from any web browser.

Yesterday, with the double-barreled launch of its Cloud Drive storage service and the tightly linked Cloud Player, Amazon brought that capability back to a mass audience. They’ve executed their strategy brilliantly, and they’ve painted the recording industry and their archrival Apple into a corner...more

You’ve still got mail

By Chris Nuttall in San Francisco Published: March 10 2011

I rediscovered my old AOL e-mail account this week and was taken down e-memory lane as the famous “You’ve Got Mail!” message boomed from the PC speaker as I signed in. After years of neglect and only spam in my inbox, it was like a voice from beyond the grave – and with the same old US accent they never localised for the UK with a British voice proclaiming: “Post Is Here!”

I had logged in because I was taking the pulse of e-mail in general. Its obituary has been written repeatedly by the media over the past 10 years – strangled by spam in 2003, smothered by social networks in 2007 and razed by real-time communication such as Google Wave in 2009, before predictions of being finished off by Facebook Messagesthis year...more