web-browsersMy friends, my colleagues and students alike know my passion for Apple products (and my parallel dislike for Microsoft ones). My only deviation from total devotion to the iPod-iPhone-iPad-Mac range is due to the iPhone not having a large enough display to read books and papers comfortably. I sweat every time that my students (whose majority are Windows-orthodox) present me with problems deriving from using some applications on a Microsoft-based machine (this happens routinely with the application OmegaT in my course on computer-aided translation). Continue reading

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Fake papers and real conferences

fakeA couple of weeks ago I was refereeing some papers for a conference. Amidst the bunch of  regular papers (some very good, some good, some borderline, and some to be rejected), there were two that left me puzzled. They were written by the same author (who, I found out later, is a well known name in his field) and had strange-but-not-too-much titles. However, after reading a few lines, I had a really strange feeling: Continue reading

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How to run a paper mill

Cover-millMany years ago, while sifting through the shelves of one of my favorite bookshops (Foyles at Charing Cross Road, London), I found out a nice booklet that seemed to be out of place. The book was "How to run a paper mill", but it was not about "mashing up trees and processing them into Fine White Wove" (in the words of the author, John Woodwark, a now retired professor at Bath University). Actually, the book was a light but serious introduction to writing academic papers. After many years, it is still one of my favorite readings, and I consider it much more useful than most "how to.." guides to writing. A few days ago, that title resounded in my head when I read the following piece of news (actually appeared on Science last November): Continue reading

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Speed limits for translation

typewriterLast week, I was giving a class in my course on Computer Science for Foreign Languages, when, to justify the use of translation memories as an essential aid for the professional translator, I had to provide some figures about the related efficiency increase (we are quants anyway…). Producers of translation memory software claim that it can boost productivity by even 70%. Is that claim justified? Continue reading

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The right price for our personal data

privacyFor a long time academic researchers have tried to understand how much people value their privacy, i.e., their personal data in a panorama where information about customers' habits and attitudes is the key to more profitable business. The answers have been found to depend on the context and on the personal condition of the individual customer. Continue reading

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A look at GECON 2013

GeconLast month I have attended the GECON 2013 conference. The long name of the conference is The 10th International Conference on Economics of Grids, Clouds, Systems, and Services. Very well hosted by the colleagues at the University of Zaragoza in Spain, GECON is one of the few conferences dedicated to the intersection of economics, networking, and computer science (my foremost field of research). This year's event has been jointly chaired by Jörn AltmannKurt VanmechelenOmer F. Rana, and Jose Angel Bañares. The proceedings have been published by Springer in the well known LNCS series (volume 8193). The conference has increased its coverage, traditionally focused on grids and clouds, to include a wider array of topics. The overall numbers of papers accepted for presentation has been 20, organized around the following 7 sessions: Business model, Energy Consumption, Resource allocation, Work in progress on resource allocation, Work in progress on pricing, Quality of service, Work in progress on utility and ROI modeling. The inclusion of Work in progress sessions has allowed to increase somewhat the number of presentations with respect to the latest editions.

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Videogame consoles: a no-profit business

videogamesLast week, I was assembling some material for my class in the "Techno-economic analysis of ICT projects" course. I wanted to give my students some real world figures on profit margins in the ICT field. As an appetizer for youngsters more and more attracted by entertainment apps, I decided to  give a look at the market of videogame consoles. Well, though the phenomenon is not new, I was surprised by what I found out after a short search on the Internet…  Continue reading

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Concentration risks in the smartphone operating systems market: Android's market power

iosandroidThe risk of  concentration in the hands of one or few companies is a continuing issue in today's markets.  While the newspapers have carefully followed the European Union Microsoft competition case or the dominance of Google in the search market, the same attention has not been devoted to the market of mobile operating systems, where a strongly dominant position has emerged in the latest years. In order to explore such a case, we have collected the data made available by Gartner Continue reading

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SMS messages on the declining path, or are they?

smsA few months have passed since Neelie Kroes' tweet announcing chat apps overtaking SMS. It's time to take a thorough look at the phenomenon, and crunch some numbers. Continue reading

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The evolution of Internet traffic

SandvineThe Canadian company Sandvine releases a very welcome report on the evolution of Internet traffic twice a year. Sandvine is a market leader in network policy control. Though its company mission certainly gives it a vantage point as an observer of Internet phenomena, the data collection details are not disclosed. Its series of reports, Continue reading

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