Yesterday, I woke up to several friends asking me whether I had started a company. Turns out, LinkedIn sent many (most?) of my connections an email with "updates" supposedly about me. Here's the email that went out to several friends who were kind enough to forward it to me.

  Newsletter email sent out to my connections on LinkedIn

At first, I thought someone had broken into my account and used it to promote their content. But turns out that a little investigation revealed the truth. Here's what's wrong with this email:

Turns out, there's another Eduardo Pinheiro on LinkedIn (well, many actually), but this one is the actual CEO of Muzzley (note: I do not know him).


So, hopefully this should clarify the situation. 

Note that the email offers a link to report that this is the wrong person, but it's not always obvious that this is a "mined" article from the web and that the matching is loosely based on the name of the person only.

What I think is missing from the algorithm that generated the email is more parsing of the actual contents to better match it to the right author. The snippet of text in the LinkedIn email clearly says this person is the CEO of Muzzley and the person in question is on the LinkedIn network and has a title of CEO and co-founder of that company. So, LinkedIn should improve its parsing some more. As it is, it is just trawling the web looking for names to match to people. I guess I'm the Eduardo Pinheiro with lowest user ID on their database, so it used "first pick" to match, which is pretty poor. As of my last search, there are 467 "Eduardo Pinheiro" on their database. I just happen to be the first one.

Maybe LinkedIn should look to hire some data mining and AI programmers. They may want to look at hiring sites like TopCoder, Hired or Indeed. :-)

Add a comment

Izabel and I just came back from a 3-week trip to Spain. It was our first time there, despite having been to Portugal and France a few times. Here are a few of my impressions and curious facts I learned there.

Add a comment

I appreciate the fact that my Kindle runs for weeks on one charge. I hear the iPad has a week or more of juice before it needs a recharge.

My Android Nexus One needs daily charges, though. When I first ditched my old cell phone, I was unimpressed with the needs of the Nexus One. After all, the old cellphone had a black and white display, no internet and no SMS capabilities (yes, it survived all this time since the Flinstones era). But it could do what I cared about: it took and make calls for over a week on a single charge.

Nowadays, a week or two is the current gold standard for consumer devices. Everyone feels good about a week of untethered freedom.

But is it really enough? Why are we even using week as the unit? It should be years. Yeah, years. Maybe even decades. I'd settle for five years, which seems to be the time I'd want to replace my devices anyway (ok, I admit I'm not a gadget guy nor an early adopter).  I'd be much happier if my devices came pre-charged and the battery wasn't the reason for me to stop using it.

Is this really possible?

Well, let's see. Take this old clock for example.

Functioning alarm clock with 12-year-old battery

It only keeps time. It has a built-in light and alarm, but neither one works anymore. And here's the catch: I bought it almost 12 years ago and it still has the original battery!

I kid you not! I still remember when I bought it: January 1999. It was when I first arrived in the US as a grad student. I bought it on the second day I was in Rochester, NY. I had no personal property other than a suitcase of clothes -- and no proper winter clothes for that matter. Because it's terribly cold in Rochester, a friend took me to the mall to buy a winter jacket and some other stuff. One of the things I bought was this bedside clock so I could tell when it was time to get out of my dorm room (it's still dark when I wake up usually and for winters in Rochester, it's still dark by the time I like to get into the office).

So, eleven years and nine months later, this inexpensive clock still functions on a single AA battery that came with it. I don't know the brand of the battery and I wouldn't dare open it to find out. But I doubt the brand matters. It matters that it's a simple clock. While I wouldn't have expected it to work for more than a year or two on a single "charge", I also would have been very disappointed had it drained its power after a few weeks or months. (I debated blurring the brand name on the clock, but it doesn't matter. Just about any clock can do this. I'm not endorsing this one specifically nor am I affiliated with them.)

Granted, I expect my cellphone to do much more than this clock ever could. But I don't see why I should be happy with a week's worth of charge either. Just because current cellphones can't do it, I shouldn't change my standard. My standard was set long ago by my faithful, almost teenager, alarm clock.

Take note Apple, Amazon, Nokia, Sony, and others. Consumers will be demanding longer battery life going forward. I believe just a short two years from now no one will accept anything less than a month of battery capacity. Maybe even longer.

Add a comment