Archive for November, 2002

Computational Biology

Monday, November 25th, 2002

Nature Magazine’s focus on computational biology, a la Cullen:

Computational Biology

Nokia versus Microsoft

Monday, November 25th, 2002

Nokia v Microsoft

Economist’s great article on Microsoft’s push into powering mobile phones. Why?

- mobile phones have far greater mass appeal than PCs in most places in the world – except the United States.

- In Europe, more people use text messages than use the Internet.

- Mobile phone users will surpass 1 billion in 2002, making it greater than the number using fixed-line phones.

- PDAs sell only around 10 million per year

Thus, Microsoft’s strategy is to get into the market. Since the major handsets manufacturers all rejected MS’ offer to make the OS, MS bypassed the OEMs and went straight to the carrier, working with HTC.

Another interesting fact: O2 has sold only 12,000 XDAs (the PPC/Phone Edition device) since summer 2002.

And, a great point: MS has $40B in cash. If other strategies fail, they can always buy an operator and a handset vendor.

Groebner Bases

Sunday, November 24th, 2002

My friend John Jozwiak has held a research interest in Groebner bases for sometime. Why? According to a well-put email he sent me today:

they are the algebraic tool for what is essentially “does this set of rewrite rules define a language which contains this string?”

Put in other terms, John’s saying that these mathematical tools can be used to determine if a sentence is a part of a language – or, if the linguistic description of a language (the “rewrite rules”) can be used to make a given sentence (the “string”).

Could this possible lead to the sort of breakthrough machine translation has been looking for? Perhaps John will comment for us…

H. pylori in Japan

Sunday, November 24th, 2002

Another great find taken directly from Terrie’s Take email newsletter:

As the news article, which appeared in this week’s Daily Yomiuri, says, a study led by the Kyoto University of Medicine has found that there may be a strong link between the high incidence of stomach cancer in Japanese and the fact that 50% of Japanese people are infected by a stomach-based bacteria called Helicobacter pylori. The bacteria, which can be spread through cockroach droppings, are believed to cause ulcers which can eventually lead to stomach cancer. If you eat at ramen shops and other places that don’t clean their eating surfaces regularly, you may have been exposed.

More about H. pylori at

Photo-mail gives 30% better ARPU

Sunday, November 24th, 2002

From Terrie’s Take, a great email newsletter from the publisher of Japan Inc:

It’s official. KDDI, Japan’s second-largest telecoms carrier, has announced that camera-equipped cell phones yield 30% higher ARPU (Average Return Per User) than regular phones. This may be a temporary phenomenon, but if the trend is real, then it represents a major breakthrough for phone companies trying to figure out how to extract more revenue from users, especially from data services. A KDDI representative said that the ARPU for their users is around JPY7,500 ($62.30) per month and that photo-mail users spend around JPY2,000 to JPY3,000 more than that.
(Source: TT commentary from, Nov 18, 2002)

Article in Forbes

Sony U3

Saturday, November 23rd, 2002

The U3, Sony’s smallest Vaio, designed for the crowded train life of Tokyo: – Sony PCG-U3