david touve

Ass-backwards Analytics: From single case studies to general rules, from big data to little exceptions

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People respond to data, or the lack thereof, in interesting ways. Two tendencies that I have encountered as people respond to data (in excess or in shortage) would be that of (1) ascribing rules to the exceptions (i.e., inferring general rules from single case studies), or (2) asserting exceptions to the rules (i.e., highlighting slim exceptions when presented with big data patterns). I think of these tendencies as biases, because I believe they may represent some underlying processing errors our brains fall into when dealing with data, particularly given the…read more

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Why you should care about the three words “First Sale Doctrine” and an upcoming Supreme Court decision.

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A case is now headed to the Supreme Court and the decision on this case could have significant implications for the market for copyrighted works here in the US.  The question is whether works copyrighted in the US but produced overseas have been “lawfully” produced such that our First Sale doctrine would apply. First Sale leads to the following scenario:  You go to the a store and buy a textbook or DVD.  After a few reads or views, you decide to sell that textbook or DVD, or rent it to…read more

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Why Spotify’s “Play” button is an unfortunate hack.

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Spotify’s “Play” button is an unfortunate hack. In the same way that Google’s “Onebox” play button that was momentarily embedded in search pages (remember 2009, anyone?) was a cruddy hack. although somewhat less of an unfortunate hack than Spotify’s. So, what’s the problem?  Well, everything comes in three’s so there are three parts to this problem. (1) Music is so much a part of human culture these days, of web culture no less, that the necessity of playing the file through the Spotify app is ultimately of function of a…read more

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