Wednesday, December 23, 2009

On demand players

BBC has just released figures showing Top Gear being top of the iplayer list. However, Google Insight reveals that while the iplayer has been the leading on demand service over 2008, it has been surpassed by ITV player and 4oD this year (in terms of search). 4oD has actually been around the longest.

Monday, December 21, 2009

RATM vs McElderry follow up

Google Insight was right and RATM did win first spot of the charts. My caution last time proved wrong, the dip from last time now actually disappeared because the trend was up even more.

Rage Against the Machine

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

RATM vs McElderry

If you are interested to see who will win the war of the charts, Google Insight gives you some idea. Note that this only goes up to the 12th, RATM seems to have peaked and McElderry might actually win.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

web trends

I have trended some of the buzz words around the internet and new technologies in Google Insight. For about 3 to 4 years web 2.0 or 3.0 was the prevalent topic. However more recently social media and networks (social networks have always been there) are replacing this debate. It’s not so much about the capabilities but about the user interaction. AR is the latest upcomer which will grow big next year (Google is cautious about the forecast here).

Friday, December 04, 2009

Unique visitors

Unique visitors is usually seen as key metric in web analytics. Visitors are tracked via a cookie or a IP number. The IP number method is seen as less reliable as some providers allow users to change their IP number. The safer cookie method has flaws as well because
·         People can turn cookies off or delete them
·         People can access the same website with different devices (home, work, mobile)
·         People can use RSS feeds to access content
I think the second point becomes more important now because with the rise of smart phones most people have 2 devices being able to access the internet. So next time you see unique visitors going up as yourself if that's really the case.
PS: There is another point why an increase in uniques is not significant, the increasing internet audience, this is why reach is actually a better measure.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Amex and Tesco

There has been recent news that Amex wants to follow the Tesco Clubcard (dunnhumby) model and start selling aggregated data to whoever is willing to pay for it. Amex' global customer base of 90m makes Clubcard's 14m look small. However, it will be quite a challenge to filter out data or a segmentation which will appeal to all retailers and consumer goods companies. Amex has a very biased customer base, which is good for targeting (which I understand is not part of this because Amex customers never opted in) but not so good for market research. It would be great if Amex could go a step further and create a journey segmentation which would show how customers shop certain categories. I think it will take years for them to data mine their (90m times hundreds of transactions) database.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Fwd: Delivery Status Notification (Delay)

I emailed my own Google wave account and received this error message. So does that mean wavers cannot communicate with others?

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Mail Delivery Subsystem <>
Date: 2009/12/2
Subject: Delivery Status Notification (Delay)

This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification



Delivery to the following recipient has been delayed:

Message will be retried for 2 more day(s)

Technical details of temporary failure:
Probe failed: Too many resources/connections in use for:

----- Original message -----

MIME-Version: 1.0
Received: by with SMTP id y8mr913742faj.69.1259680916995; Tue,
       01 Dec 2009 07:21:56 -0800 (PST)
Date: Tue, 1 Dec 2009 15:21:56 +0000
Message-ID: <>
Subject: test
From: Dirk Nachbar <>
Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary=0015174c3c1c9680e20479ac513e

Saturday, November 21, 2009

How do people search for restaurants

In the UK, the generic restaurant guide seems to be in decline, Michelin is a famous brand and has peaks in autumn, toptable (reviews and booking) has become more prevalent.

In Germany there is a similar picture. The restaurant guide is in decline, Michelin leads before ADAC and Varta, but in contrast to the UK restaurant review/critique hasn’t quite picked up yet.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

pay for news content?

LONDON - The latest survey of consumers' attitudes to paying for online content shows that 48% of people in the UK would pay for news online and on mobile devices.

Boston Consulting Group surveyed 5,000 people in the UK, the US, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Norway and Finland via Research Now's online research service.
The figure is markedly higher than a previous survey by PaidContent UK, in which just 5% of readers said they would pay to continue reading when asked "What would you do if your favourite news site began charging?".
The BCG survey asked "How much per month are you willing to pay to get online news on your PC or mobile?", including zero as one option in the multiple choice answer.
This is a really interesting difference since almost no-one will pay for what they get for free now, whereas half would pay given payment options. Given various payment options, respondents are less likely to chose no payment.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ransome's Dock

Restaurant in the docks of Battersea. Nice athmosphere and jazz music
in the background. The food could be better. The courgette fritter are
nice though slightly burnt. The fish and chips consisted of mainly
French fries and very little cod. The cod could have been seasoned
better. Nice service. 3/5

Sunday, November 08, 2009

BNP online presence

I am not supporting the BNP in any way.

The Question Time appearance of Nick Griffin has increased traffic to their site massively. In the weeks surrounding the show reach went as high as 0.3% of global traffic (alexa).

Interestingly their reach is higher than that of the three main political parties, even outside the QT period.

The profile from alexa shows that the visitors are mainly middle and retired men with either very low or high education (journalists).

Google Insight reveals that BNP has surpassed Labour as a search term as well. However not as much as the difference in reach - which suggests that many visit the BNP site directly.

Many BNP visitors also visit which is a US White supremacist forum.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

my school

here is a video (in German) of my school in Berlin - Carl von Ossietzky Gymnasium, where in 1988 a student got expelled by the Socialist government and had to go into exile in London

Sunday, October 18, 2009

AI and 2nd life

I am not using Second Life, but I came across the notion that it is artificial intelligence. Now I don't think it is because it's based on actual humans behind avatars creating characters, while the world seems to be fixed, is it? Would 2nd Life pass the Turing test?

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Gran Torino

I have just watched Gran Torino and I think it's an under-rated movie. It is extremely contemporary for many reasons
  • unemployment in post manufacturing US (I assume it was written before GM's collapse)
  • old age
  • racial inequality and brutality
The story is admittingly simple and the movie is carried by Eastwood who has tremendous economy in his acting. Walt's grumpiness and sarcasm is even funny. I also like how the movie plays with the Dirty Harry theme which is then chucked away at the end.

It deserved more awards than it received.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

When should you check in your bags at the airport

I have analysed this problem using 4 scenarios or quadrants. Let's assume it's a big flight and there is two cars which carry the bags from the terminal to the plane.

If you check in the 4th quadrant, then your bag goes to top of 2nd car B and you luggage is loaded as the third, it is unloaded as the second and goes on top of car A which brings the bag to baggage reclaim and the conveyor belt where it will be unloaded first. Reversely if you check in first you'll leave the destination last. This is all based on the first in last out principle and implies 'Take your time'.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


Greenspan's prediction that there will be more financial crises in the future is hardly noteworthy. For one his lax monetary policy caused some of the present crisis, and it is obvious that the capitalist system cannot escape the business cycle (boom and bust). His over-cautiousness now is part of the same animal spirits which caused the crisis in the first place - everyone's a bear now.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Polish power - German quality

This is a slogan I saw at a building site in London.

It seems that the stereotype about Germans that they are thorough and
love detail and has helped me because people think this would apply to
me. Now in fact I am not so much into detail and live the big picture
more - I have a can do attitude which can be at odds with pedantry.

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

8 steps for a successful segmentation


  1. Get an overview of what data is available and at what level (how recent is the data)
  2. Define the purpose of the segmentation (targeting, insight). Does it need to be updated?
  3. Based on (2) define a success criterion (ie it separates pre-defined group A from group B)
  4. Collect the data and normalise it, create an estimation sample
  5. Correlate the data, can you eliminate certain variables (try variable clustering, factor analysis etc)
  6. Start segmenting/clustering (note if you have very few variables maybe you prefer more rigid manual segmentation/classification)
    • Can you re-group certain segments?
    • Repeat until (3) is satisfied
  7. Parameterise segmentation and roll out to rest of population; create a generic process to roll out as population changes
  8. Review usage of segmentation after several months

Friday, August 07, 2009


British Iranian comedians prefer SW14. Saw Shappi Khorsandi and Omid
Djalili in our borough - separately that is.

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

MPs ignore public anger and give themselves 9,000 expenses deal by stealth - Telegraph mobile

Just as bankers return to the good old times, the MPs are at it as
well. They have quietly increased the expense allowance they don't
need to account for with receipts. In this country nothing changes.
Thanks Labour.;s=5coSD7o2tsLCF4v6zerAug02/article/5920660/

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

2 and half year wasted

The ONS has published new GDP figures today which show a large decline in GDP. People might think that four quarters of negative growth will be overcome once the economy starts growing again. In fact real GDP in Q1 2009 was as high as in Q3 2006. This means that the UK is a rich as war 2 and half years ago in real terms. And this neglects any population growth in that time.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

BBC NEWS | Education | Child poverty 'get out' claim

The new poverty legislation is a distraction from the fact that Labour
will miss its own PSA target to halve child poverty by 2010. In fact
in recent years no progress has been made.

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, May 29, 2009

Clive Granger dies

The Nobel prize winning econometrician has died. He introduced the
ideas of cointregration and causality. Great loss.

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Labour and child poverty

It seems to have gone under in the turmoil around the expenses but the latest statistics show that Labour is way off its 2010 target of halving child poverty. The number of children in relative poverty before housing costs has stayed the same between 2006/7 and 2007/8 - at 2.9 million. This means only half a million lifted out of poverty since Labour came into power. Labour is not the party of equality.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Less than a tenth of a percent of delivered spam is clicked on

MTA Delivery




User Site Visits









Kanich et al of Berkeley and UCSD in ‘Spamalytics: An Empirical Analysis of Spam Marketing Conversion’ have run a trial to calculate the spam conversion rates for three bogus campaigns. I have recalculated the rates based on emails actually delivered.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Government internet database

Maybe the u-turn on the internet database has also to do with the realisation what the cost of such a data base would be. Below I am making an estimate of how big an annual data set would be: 503 terabyte. This would need an army of IT specialists to maintain. A query on this data base would probably take a lot of time. And this is a conservative estimate assuming only the URL (and datetime) is kept and no search keywords or so. It also assumes emails are transferred into text and attachments are lost.

Population 60,000,000

Internet users % 73.00%

Internet users 43,800,000
Websites Sites per day 15
Days per week 6
Datetime field 8 byte
URN field 8 byte
Site field 100 byte
Emails Emails per day 15
Text size of email 1000 byte
Email accounts per person 2

Size of annual database 503,388,144,000,000 byte

503,388,144,000 KB

503,388,144 MB

503,388 GB

Size of monthly slice 41,949.01 GB

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Small towns stereotypes

People from small towns and villages are usually either very shy or
over confident because they are overwhelmed or think of themselves
masters of their little universe. Big city people are more likely to
be neurotic.

Sent from my iPhone

Strangling furious customers

Nowadays every one has to be afraid when causing an argument about the
niggly rules at airports. They will probably arrest and question you.
All in the name of terror prevention. But have they ever seen a
terrorist complaining about bad customer service? It's just a means to
continue bad service and strangle the customer's rights.

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Significance Importance Relevance

You can think of these three concepts in a particular order. Significance means that something is possibly true. However, this only counts if it is actually important - has magnitude. Even if it is important, it's not guaranteed to be relevant. For it to be relevant it needs appeal and has to be practical/ implementable. 

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

I have uploaded a brief paper on testing for multi-modality using clustering - here.

In general modality is looked at from a distributional perspective. Silverman’s test uses a kernel density estimate (KDE) to test for modality. But the test statistic is biased and it can only test for one mode hypothesis against another. We propose a different way by looking at a distribution from the top.

Monday, March 23, 2009

what ebay is missing

Two things I think
  • a random button, to help browsing
  • product recommendation, maybe at category level (you liked that mug, why not get the t-shirt)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Wired UK

The CondeNast technology mag Wired is launching in the UK, the site will be here

Mobile news sites

Here is a list of mobile news sites in English and German, which you can access form your iphone, blackbery, or android:

Friday, March 13, 2009

clever Excel format

As this example shows you can apply nice looking formats in Excel, so that a simple date appears as "Friday the 13th" using custom format. You could also do this using the text() function with if processing to allow for the "st", "nd" and "rd".

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mobile sites

Mobile web site (as in accessible to mobiles, no scrolling, faster download) come in 3 forms - varying by how they are accessed:
  • the site switches automatically if you access with a mobile device
  • you need to explicitly visit the mobile site/url
  • it's a normal site reprocessed in mobile format, eg by Google (GWT)

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Hidato problem

I have tried to create a VBA macro which creates a random grid for a hidato puzzle. But I seem not to have cracked it, it keeps getting stuck without any blank fields next to the last number.

You can try to alter my code and maybe you can find a smart rule to avoid traps.


Has anyone noticed the drop in outdoor advertising? Many ads are now
by the government or the outdoor operator themselves. The space must
be really cheap now.

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, March 01, 2009

10000 hours

They say that you have to spend 10000 hours to be good at something. I
have estimated that I have spent 3800 hours using SAS. I think I'll
get there in 2015.

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, February 13, 2009

iPod apps

There are a few iPods apps which are really amazing and for free:
1. Bloomberg: much better than the built in yahoo app and with easy to
read news
2. Public radio: get hundreds of public US radio streams
3. explore music you like and might like for free

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, February 02, 2009

Large and small data set modelling

The problem of modelling with large and small data sets is bascially the problem between population and sample. Most of statistics is based on the idea that we only have a sample of the population. However, with new data collection methods we bscially get the whole lot. This has led to a loss of sophistication in models, since simple hypothesis can be tested by aggregating the data in a table (say). However, I think it's important that sample models stay with us because they can provide insightful statistics (as in statistic) which tell us something about the data.

Friday, January 09, 2009

fake Tory chat

The Labour website has created a fake Tory chat room where they criticise the opposition for having a 'do nothing' approach. While funny for a moment it really is pointless and shows that Labour has the wrong priorities.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Rate cuts

Interest rate cuts must stop now. Millions of savers are penalized for
the wrong reasons. Prudence is gone. Given inflation money actually
loses its value even if held in an account. The bill will come when
the economy picks up again and credit will be dangerously cheap.

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Blue Note turns 70

The famous jazz label turns 70

Unemployment in Germany

Unemployment has been traditionally higher in post 1990 Germany than in the UK, for instance. But recently the social reforms have kicked in and unemployment has fallen. However, given the recession, it is likely to rise again. Here is a map of Germany with recent unemployment rates by Bundesland, last year's rate in brackets. This map shows again that East Germany still lags behind the West in unemployment rates which are the lowest in Bavaria.