Tom Insam


In 1999, Germany sold some mobile-phone spectrum by auction, with one rule specifying that any new bid had to exceed the previous high bid by 10 percent. Two serious bidders were involved.

One company bid 18.18 million marks on blocks 1 to 5 and 20 million on blocks 6 to 10. Why the difference? Note that 18.18 million plus 10 percent is just about 20 million. The first company was sending the second a message: ”We think 20 million is the right price: let’s not compete to push it up.” The signaling strategy worked: the auction ended after two rounds, and each bidder got half the blocks at the same low price.


..the document-centric model was never allowed to bloom as we had hoped, to the point where it would differentiate the Mac user experience.

Greg Maletic - OpenDoc

Personally, I feel that nowadays the Mac’s obviously application-centric interface (the dock, application-global menus, etc) is the thing that sets it apart from (and above) Windows’ more fluffy ‘some documents, some apps’ attitude.

I prefer it because it’s more honest as to how the system actually works. Running applications use memory. They take time to start. So a document-based system behaves differently when opening the first document of a give type vs the second document of that type, or closing the last open document of a particular type vs closing any other document.

The iPhone 2

Assume that the iPhone is sim-locked to AT&T (or O2 in this country). When the iPhone 2 arrives, can I move my SIM into one and avoid another 18-month lock-in? Or are Apple going to move beyond mere provider-level locking on this one?


back when nerds were in charge of the internet, you couldn’t use it to find childhood pictures of us.

Facebook invented, and Google have just generalized, an entirely new class of application. Take Dopplr. It’s a social network that does trip tracking and coincidences. This is completely backwards - the social network stuff is overhead that we have to implement so that we can keep trips private and restrict the list of coincidences that you have to manage. Dopplr should really only be about the trips.

Facebook and Google have suddenly enabled a class of application that is the interesting half of this - I can think about the functionality, and sit in someone else’s social network while I do it.

Paul Mison makes an interesting distinction between profile-centric and media-centric social networking services - Facebook being profile-centric and Dopplr, or Flickr, say, being media-centric. This evolution benefits both media-centric services (because they can avoid having to implement all that profile-editing overhead) and profile-centric ones, because they get events to drive return visits. Even heavyweight media items that take a bit of effort (a Flickr photo upload, a long-form blog post) tend to have lighter things attached (comments, usually), and these do very well at driving return traffic.