January 25, 2007

Hotmail! Windows Mail Live Offers 4GB of Mail Space

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 1/25/2007 04:51:00 AM
Microsoft is upping the ante in webmail storage with 4GB of space. I hope they release this soon. These 4GB mail boxes are supposed to launch in Spring 2007. Other features
  • 4GB inboxes from Spring 2007 *New*
  • Attachments upto 20MB
  • No advertisements (across several Windows Live services, including Mail, Mail desktop and Spaces)
  • Microsoft Outlook access
  • No disabling of your account due to inactivity
  • Yearly cost remains at €19.99, expected £14.99 and $19.99 when launched in other regions
I'm hoping this gets Yahoo and Google to up their limits as I'm running up on the 2GB limit on Y! It's causing major headaches. Deleting mail is such a waste of time.

Windows Live Mail Beta is in Release M9 so things are looking good. It's faster than Hotmail.

You can take a test drive.

Sign up for Windows Live Mail Beta here.

January 24, 2007

Dirt Meets Reality - Brandy in Deadly Car Crash

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 1/24/2007 07:15:00 PM
If you watch the show "Dirt" starring Courtney Cox, then you know that in the pilot episode, a Hollywood powercouple get into a huge car crash - staged in part by the scheming husband - so they can get back into the spotlight of Hollywood! Dirt finally meets reality. R&B singer Brandy was involved in a 4-way in LA.

Actress and R&B singer Brandy was involved in a fatal, four-car accident on a Los Angeles freeway last month that started when her sports utility vehicle hit another car from behind, police said on Wednesday.

The 27-year-old former star of the TV comedy "Moesha" was not injured, but the driver of the car she rear-ended with her Land Rover in the December 30 crash died, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The crash probably wasn't staged but it does bring Brandy back into the public eye. She seems to have disappeared recently but now she is back.

Stuck at the Airport, Shafted by United

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 1/24/2007 04:34:00 PM
I hate airlines. They are the worst and most inefficently run organizations in the world even after all the bankruptcies. Case in point: United Airlines UAL Corporation (NYSE UAUA). I got to the airport with plenty of time to spare, but the airline attendant refused to check me in. I had well over 45 minutes left. She literally ignored me when I got to the counter and left. I asked her where she was going and she just never looked back. Gee. I guess maybe I'm not the most handsome guy in the world, but lady, have some respect. It's called the service industry for a reason.

Well, that little setback did me in, because after that snafu, I hit the 45 minute cut-off for luggage check in - apparently another one of those carefully thought out rules for preventing terrorists like me from boarding planes. I had to repack everything into trash bags and go carry on. Wonder where I got those bags? They keep them behind the counter. Rolls and rolls of them. Makes me wonder how many travelers they put through the ringer. There must have been 1000 plastic trash bags rolled up in that cylinder sitting behind the counter.

After more foray into trashdom, I got in line with my poof bag ready for the security screening, yet another useless tactic that the Bush administration invented to create useless jobs. That was another disaster. These screeners apparently had never heard of prioritizing customers by time of departure (never mind queuing theory), because they just shrugged when I asked whether I can get past the front of the line because, well, my flight was lifting off in 10 minutes. Another useless smile and shrug. What do these people get paid for? Smile and shrug.

Thankfully a few of the travelers were more accomodating than the screeners. I got through in 5 minutes flat and raced for the gate. Plane was still there. On the tarmac. Good I thought. Wrong. The clever attendants had decided to close the gate. Shafted. By United.

This whole episode makes me wonder how much dead weight still lies in these newly rejuvenated airlines. It makes me wonder about metrics like:

how many "breaks" the typical airline checkin attendant takes on the clock
how many useless security screeners just stand around waiting for the sheep to herd themselves
how many rolls of plastic bags the airlines consume just so they can make you repack your bag

Now, I don't mean to be a union hater or a union breaker. In fact, I'm all for the little guy. But when the little guy acts like a little tyrant, you have to believe that part of the reason that airline check in attendants dare to act like that has to do with the fact that the union protects their jobs. In any other industry, customer care people would be fired for being so rude or useless to their customers. But not the airline industry.

So, here I am, stuck at the airport, shafted by United, a bankrupt airline that has emerged from financial ruin but is still service-wise bankrupt. Much has not changed. Aside from a new balance sheet, a lot less debt, there's still plenty of dead weight hanging around. With service like this, who would choose to fly the friendly skies?

Update: I've now found out that the flight I was supposed to be on was overbooked by United. They were giving $600 tickets away to people who would take the next flight out. Unbelievable! I was there and they gave my confirmed seat away to someone else. I wouldn't be surprised if they purposely cutoff baggage checkin early everyday and make a hassle for their customers so they can take solve their overbooking problem. I'm not surprised to see them do this. What does surprise me is that Congress and the DOT hasn't looked into this. They're ripping people off.

More Update: The ultimate irony on this ticket fiasco ... they gave $600 to people with seats willing to take the next flight but ... they charged ME an extra $100 to book me on their next flight because they wouldn't check in my luggage. Nice. Very well done United. Glenn Tilton, Mr. UAL Corporation Chairman, you are a class act. You made me jump through hoops for you, you had me stuff my luggage in a trash bag, and you shut the boarding gate in front of me as I approached the boarding gate - only to have me clamoring back to you to rebook my ticket on your next departing flight. Never has an airline seen such customer loyalty after all that abuse. Never has an airline traveler had so few choices of airlines to fly. Never have I seen a company more worthy of bankruptcy than United Airlines.

January 23, 2007

Details of the New Ranking Method for Yahoo Search Marketing Ads

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 1/23/2007 10:51:00 PM
Below is the email from Yahoo about the new ad ranking system for Panama.

Bid Amount and Ad Quality will Determine an Ad's Rank in Search Results Beginning February 5, 2007 in the U.S.

With new features like ad testing, geo-targeting and fast ad activation, the new Sponsored Search gives you more ways to connect with customers searching for what you sell.

On February 5, 2007, we are introducing a new ranking model in the U.S. that considers an ad's quality and bid amount. The new model is designed to help you spend less time in bidding wars and more time creating the most relevant, effective ads, which can help drive better results for your business.

Here's a quick summary of this important change:

* Both bid amount and ad quality will determine an ad's rank in search results beginning February 5, 2007.
* This will replace the current method, in which ads are ranked by bid amount only (bid-to-position).
* This is designed to allow you to focus less on competitive bidding practices and more on the quality of your ads.
* By improving the quality of your ads and making them more relevant to users, you may be rewarded with a better ranking and/or a lower cost for your ads.

Example of How Ads May be Ranked
The graphic below helps illustrate a scenario that may result from this change:

Note: The graphic above is provided for illustrative purposes only, and will not actually appear in your account.

What is "Ad Quality"?
Ad quality is determined by:

1. The ad's historical performance - its click-through rate relative to competitors and normalized for position.
2. The ad's expected performance - determined by various relevance factors considered by Yahoo!'s ranking algorithms, relative to other ads displayed at the same time.

Overall ad quality is displayed in a graphical form by the quality index.

Other Important Things to Know

* We recommend that you review your current max bids. Keep in mind you may be charged up to this amount. Learn More
* Standard match type ads will no longer receive priority placement over Advanced match type ads. Learn More
* Fewer Sponsored Search results may now appear at the very top of the page for certain search terms. Learn More
* Starting on February 5 there will be a transition period during which forecasting tools will accumulate more data about the new ranking model to provide better traffic estimates. Learn More

Google v Yahoo - Now the Real Battle Begins

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 1/23/2007 04:19:00 PM
Yahoo reported results. The stock is up - guess the numbers weren't that bad. But the real news is that Yahoo is rolling out its new ad portal Panama a month ahead of schedule on February 5th according to the press release. This brewing battle in PPC ads is now just about the begin. I've been seeing steadily declining CTRs and RPCs on my Yahoo ads and lord only knows how much more of the money that Yahoo/Google AdSense is taking from me. I just wish they would be more transparent. After all, I'm not a walking bank account for them, but sometimes, when you don't know the revenue share, you feel kind of taken. Who knows how they're adjusting the numbers you know?

That brings me to my point which is this: How much of Yahoo's upside this quarter was actually due to taking more revenue share from Yahoo partners vs taking in more ad dollars in total. Is the pie growing or is their revenue sharing growing? One? The other? Or both?

My hunch is that Yahoo is taking more rev share - just my take. Same thing with Google. They're taking more rev share. After all, the metrics aren't that rosy. Revenue per page dipped 3%.

That is why I am so glad that Yahoo is launching Panama because it will create more competition between Yahoo and Google which is good for publishers.

Oh, and by the way, Sue Decker is probably in line for the top job. She's the second person who got to talk in the earnings press release. That's a hot spot to be in. If Panama succeeds, she's it. If it doesn't, she's probably out. No pressure baby.

The New Hedge Fund Honchos - Summer and Snow Partners

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 1/23/2007 06:45:00 AM
If money is power, then the boys and girls on Capitol Hill all ought to be running hedge funds, because the money flows like there's no tomorrow. It's now looking like hedge funds are the preferred retired professions for the old dogs of the Hill. Larry Summers and John Snow have joined hedge funds and Madeleine Albright has gotten a cool 300 million euros from a Dutch pension fund. Albright's funds called ... you got it ... Albright Capital Management. John Snow is at Cerberus Capital Management and Larry Summers is at DE Shaw.

Why did these people get the money? Connections.

``We see a lot of potential in emerging markets for economic growth,'' Jelle Beenen, a portfolio manager at PGGM, said in an interview. ``The reason that investing there is always a problem is there are issues like fraud and political instability, so that's why there's value in political-risk management and the involvement of Secretary Albright is a valuable one.''

The truth is that connections are more myth than reality. Sh*t happens, even to bright people.

IBM Gets Into Social Networking - Is It Over?

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 1/23/2007 02:56:00 AM
You have to wonder whether this is the peak of social networking when IBM decides to get into the game with Lotus Connections.

U.S. computer giant IBM Corp. Monday unveiled social-networking software like MySpace, YouTube, and Flickr, but for corporate use.
IBM's Lotus Connections, which IBM dubbed "business-grade social computing," lets business people post personal profiles about their expertise and interests and Web logs for ongoing commentaries. It also lets them connect with like-minded communities for online work collaboration, manage group products online and share documents and Web sites through bookmarks.
"Social software tools will become so much a part of the fabric of an enterprise's collaborative environment that it will be like air -- enterprises won't be able to imagine life without it," IBM said in a statement.
IBM did not provide pricing information or forecast sales. It said shipments would start by June.
Microsoft Corp.'s Windows SharePoint Services, a 5-year-old product with 85 million users, added social-networking features in its latest version, unveiled in November.

January 21, 2007

Industrial Bank of China IPO - Sells 1 Billion Shares

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 1/21/2007 09:35:00 PM
Everything is big when it comes to China. The Industrial Bank of China (China Industrial Bank / 兴业银行) will be selling 1 billion shares in an IPO. It's known as IBC but the url is CIB as in ... http://www.cib.com.cn Weird huh? I guess everything in China is backwards - no pun intended.

Industrial Bank plans to sell 1 billion A shares at between 15 yuan and 15.98 yuan each to investors, the company said in a statement today. The sale would be the third biggest bank stock offering on the mainland, following Bank of China's 20 billion yuan offer of June 2006 and the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China's sale of 46.6 billion yuan last year.

Good for a 30% bump.

The relatively low pricing means Industrial Bank's shares are almost certain to surge on listing -- many analysts believe the stock may rise to 20 yuan on its debut.

But allocation? Probably slim. And it's not all that cheap.

Industrial Bank Co Ltd (SHA 601166) said it has set the price range for its planned listing in Shanghai at 15.00-15.98 yuan per share.

That translates to a price-to-earnings ratio of between 30.5 and 32.5 times the company's diluted 2005 earnings, the company said in a statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

30 times earnings. Not exactly a steal. Not expensive either. I say buy it and flip it.

Chinese HomePage for CIB
English HomePage for CIB

Spooks Target Air Force Officers Via MySpace

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 1/21/2007 09:33:00 PM
Using MySpace to do counterintelligence sounds brilliant.

The Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations is warning airmen to exercise caution when using the popular Internet social networking site MySpace.com.

The warning comes after OSI Special Agent Ryan Amedure investigated several airmen who were solicited “specific information” via MySpace.com about RAF Lakenheath in the past several months.

It gets the Mr. Wave Theory big thumbs up for most innovative use of a useless technology. Soon, SIG-INT will be scanning MySpace and officers will be posing as teenage girls soliciting the names, numbers, and addresses of Air Force officer and other highly placed military personnel.

Who knows? Maybe Rumsfeld is on MySpace. OK. That might be taking it a little too far. I take that back.

Google Gets More Servers

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 1/21/2007 09:28:00 PM

The original Google server was not enough to handle Google's search traffic, so Google has decided to build more servers. Doesn't it look like a spaghetti farm rather than a server farm?

Continuing the breakneck expansion of its computing capability, Google is opening a $600 million data center in Lenoir, N.C.

According to state officials, the new server farm could create up to 210 jobs, potentially making it as big as a giant facility Google is completing in The Dalles, Ore., on the banks of the Columbia River.

There is a bit of give and take here.

Google also is receiving a state grant that could be worth as much as $4.8 million.

And of course Microsoft wouldn't want to be left out.

On Tuesday, city officials in San Antonio announced that Microsoft will build a $550 million data center there.

How to Get More Space on Yahoo Mail?

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 1/21/2007 09:20:00 PM
I'm running into a ceiling on Yahoo Mail and it's becoming a real pain. Every couple of days, I'm running into the ceiling - or close to it - which means I have to delete the junk mail in my inbox. I wish they would give me more space. Does anyone have luck with getting more space or is the 2GB limit a hard limit? I would be curious to hear from those of you who are more tech savvy.

I checked Gmail and it looks like the limit there is 2.8 GB which is great, but judging from the rate at which I receive mail, that might only last a few months. Hmmm. Who can solve my problem? Please raise your hand.