Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

This is actually an interesting report. I’ve always suspected that the oft-repeated "U.S. is lagging in broadband" wasn’t quite as dire as the proponents suggest, but having said that we still need a more competitive broadband marketplace to ensure that we increase broadband availability nationwide, proliferate services on top of broadband, and lastly, do it at price points that all levels of society can afford.

Actually, allow me to rephrase that, we don’t need a MORE competitive marketplace… we just need to start with a marketplace that has ACTUAL COMPETITION.

By that logic, the report concluded that countries like Turkey and Portugal, which fall behind the United States in the OECD rankings, are actually making better use of what it calls "national endowments." Countries like Denmark and Norway, which top the United States on the OECD charts, are "under performing" considering their demographic and economic realities, and nations such as Japan and Korea hailed as broadband "miracles" are really pretty average, the report said.

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Jack Odell, 1920-2007

Of course you are probably wondering who Jack Odell is… he’s the creator of the venerable Matchbox toy. For $20 you can get an entire garage full of these indestructible toys, and regardless of how old you are you can still have fun with them.

My son has an entire basket of hot rods, race cars, trucks, and special purpose vehicles and he just loves playing with them. A handful stuffed in his backpack are a non-battery-powered distractor when the need arises. When I cleaned out the chimney in our house a few years ago I found a handful of matchbox toys stuffed in the cleanout, they were probably 30 years old and I hosed them off and gave them to my son. He still has them.

Matchbox toys are Barbie for boys and share the top shelf in the toy hall of fame with the diminutive blond from El Segundo.

The WSJ article on Odell is sub only, here’s a link to a copy of the article. The detail in these toys always amazed me, with attention to detail a trait Odell was well known for apparently.

His eye for detail and abilities as a die-cutter led to realistic dashboard dials and hoods and trunks that opened. Car companies, sensing free advertising, eagerly provided blueprints to ensure accurate reproduction. Clad in a white apron and sporting a close-trimmed mustache, Mr. Odell could be found checking on quality on the factory floor.

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Plaxo at Mashup Camp

I was at Mashup Camp today and saw a couple of interesting companies, but the one standout was Plaxo. While watching the demo I commented out loud "wow, that’s like a Facebook feed but for the rest of the web" and just as I said that, Foremski looked at me and nodded "yeah". Cool stuff, gonna check it out more closely.

I also thought Lignup was pretty interesting.

Be sure to check in with Susan Scrupski later, I’m sure she will be posting more coverage of the event.

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