Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I should have grown up to be a researcher. Easy money – no stress.

Take this for example: someone made money doing a survey that discovers the vast majority of men at a nude beach don’t object to seeing nude females.

Well, duh.

As a follow up, the survey team will find out if the majority of people in a steak house restaurant object to seeing medium rare prime rib.

Here is another interesting study: IQ Dips More on Email Than Pot. The study claims that distractions from emails and instant messages make people


Where was I?

Oh, right.

I was wondering how one could measure a change in IQ during periods of high-tech intrusiveness. IQ isn’t like blood pressure, as far as I know – but then I see a lot of email, so maybe I’m getting dumb. Who cares? Let’s chat!

Even if your research doesn’t pan out – just make something up. There is good money in fake numbers.

I’d like to start publishing my own research white papers. I’ve decided to start analyzing raw data at my disposal – like the log files for OdeToCode. Here is a break down of RSS readers hitting the site since July 1.

Name % of hits
SharpReader 38.1%
RssBandit 23.6%
NewsGator 17.2%
OmeaReader 10.4%
RssReader 5.6%
FeedDemon 3.0%
Others < 3%

Based upon these statistics, I’ve concluded that .NET is the only viable platform for building a popular RSS feed reader. I plan to publish these findings alongside some glossy pie charts and sell them to analysts in need of market research.

Who wants to invest?

Kaisa M. LIndahl Wednesday, July 13, 2005
I see your rather humorous point, but here's a thought: Dig up some Linux-oriented blog and do the same research for RSS feed readers based on that blog's logs. Will they all be Linux-based, or are they too .NET based?
roy Wednesday, July 13, 2005
I'll help you out with your research. I read your blog daily and I guess I fall into the "Others" category. I use "Sage" which is an extension that is built into Firefox. I thought it'ld be more popular. It's simple and easy to use.
scott Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Interesting, Roy. I wasn't aware of Sage. Would the agent string look like "Mozilla/5.0+(Sage)" perhaps?

To tell the truth - I might have missed some RSS readers because I only picked out the ones I recognize. Kaisa saw through me.

Now I am fully disclosed, and exposed as a sham researcher.

Thanks, Roy and Kaisa.
roy Wednesday, July 13, 2005
I honestly don't know! I'm at work and can't setup any sniffing tools to check it out, but I would guess that it starts with Mozilla something. May not add its name though.
optionsScalper Wednesday, July 13, 2005

As you point out and are informed by Roy and Kaisa, research is not an easy thing. It's difficult to determine 1) Hypothesis 2) Characterization and Construction of model 3) Experiment and Data Collection and 4) Analysis and Evaluation. Most problems in research start with the hypothesis and don't fully consider the questions asked. Data collection is another area where bias is introduced. The measure of independent events in the scientific process is subject to bias. Let me give you an example:

HYPOTHESIS: Do nude females eating medium rare prime rib that have just checked their emails prefer .NET or Java based RSS readers?
CHARACTERIZATION: Purchase 30 pounds of prime rib. Host a dinner at the house for any and all strippers in your town/city. Provide wireless email access at the house.
MODEL CONSTRUCTION: None needed; just invite. Wait, install hidden cameras all over the house. Make sure wife (or girlfriend or whatever) and kids are gone for the weekend.
EXPERIMENT: Ask all women to strip, serve dinner and send each woman an email. Provide the women with an RSS feed and a number of different RSS readers.
DATA COLLECTION: See hidden cameras above. Other forms of data "collection" are permitted as well.
ANALYSIS: Review hidden camera footage. If time permits, review polaroids (that the women should sign to validate the set of observations).

I'll leave the evaluation to you. As you can see, it is easy to construct a hypothesis. It is further clearer that the observations in this experiment may become biased as most observations from the data collection phase ignore the choice of RSS reader.

I use SharpReader. I wasn't aware that RSS was available on Linux boxes or in Java (just kidding).

scott Wednesday, July 13, 2005
I wouldn't need to publish to make money on that, O. Just upload selected images to a pay per view site...

I think I'd need volunteers to help out.

I can cook prime rib, though. I am practiced in the arts of blackened rib. Or is that blackened arts of rib. Whichever.

Gotta go. IM calls.
research Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Btw, I totally agree about the whole email/IM/phone call distraction making you dumb. I can feel myself getting dumb as I work :-P

I'm a software designer, but I have to support everything I write as well as other pieces of legacy software, and we also have internal IM and internal client can also call you.

It's very hard to think solutions through when every hour you're being interrupted.
roy Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Just ran Ethereal while I was using Sage.

User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Sage)

Is what it puts out.
scott Thursday, July 14, 2005
Thanks, Roy. IM kills me. Especially when a perfect storm arises and there are like four people blinking windows at you. Argh!
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