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Messages - Md. Abul Bashar

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121
Story, Article & Poetry / A Soldier is Born to Die
« on: June 17, 2017, 03:21:28 PM »
A Soldier is Born to Die


If I die in a combat zone,
Box me up and send me home,
Put my medals on my chest,
Tell my mom I did my best,
Tell my dad not to bow,
He won't get tension from me now,
Tell my brother to study perfectly,
Keys of my bike will be his permanently,
Tell my sister not to be upset,
Her brother will not rise after sunset,
Tell my love not to cry...
Because I am a soldier, born to die....



(Collected)

122
Incident Response: How To Keep Tech Problems from Becoming People Problems
When one of your IT services is on fire there is no time to waste. Especially if that fire is blocking your users from getting stuff done. Rapid resolution tends to eclipse all else during an incident, often causing your team to ignore or forget pieces of the incident response process – like keeping people in the loop.
It's one of those little problems that compounds into a big one if not handled correctly. Pretty soon, you're stuck in an endless loop of shoulder-taps and email threads, trying to explain to the CEO why things went wrong. While there's no shortage of tools to help your team detect, alert, swarm on, and resolve incidents, even the best tools can't replace clear communication to internal and external stakeholders.
And let’s be real: The stakes can be high, very high. Reputation, customer attrition, time spent on damage control, just to name a few.
Luckily, downtime doesn't have to turn into a customer service nightmare. Informed users are happy users. But first you need to know who to communicate to, how to reach them, and how to do it with the least friction and fewest resources possible.
Communication during times like this is like ripples from a rock tossed into a pond. The circles closest to the incident get the biggest, most frequent and most immediate feedback. This is your core on-call team – AKA the folks who need to identify and fix the problem. It's a small circle, but the ripples (communication) need to be big, immediate, and frequent. As you move further from the core circle — to adjacent IT teams, managers, the organization as whole, end users and the general public — the audience gets bigger, but the ripples get smaller and less frequent.
While every organization is different, in general it helps to think of these audiences as 5 distinct groups that need to be communicated with:
1.   Core on-call team: The first to know something is wrong, almost immediately upon impact (usually from monitoring and alerting tools).
2.   Front-line support team: Those who will be directly answering questions and giving customers updates during the incident. It’s an incredibly important role, so this team must get the right information to pass along to end users.
3.   Managers and executive team: The core team needs to communicate with this group so they know what's going on, the potential impact on the following two groups, and hopefully an estimate of how long it could last.
4.   General employee population: Employees need to be kept informed as services they rely on go down and up. Proactively communicating with these users means less "what's the status of this" questions, fewer duplicate IT support tickets, and more focus to fix the problem at hand.
5.   External customers: If the incident affects external customers some communication must be sent out to explain the problem and when they can expect a fix – or at least an update every nth amount of time. For issues that are still currently affecting your customers’ ability to use your product, we recommend never going more than one hour without sending an update. You should also always indicate when to expect the next update. If it is a severe enough incident – especially one involving security or data loss – you will definitely want to expedite external comms and pull in the necessary other teams (legal, HR, security, etc.)
xMatters and StatusPage are tools that have an interesting intersection between integrating solutions across your technology stack and then communicating status information out to drive workflow. With some of the biggest cloud companies as customers, we've seen how the highest-performing IT teams are resolving incidents more efficiently while keeping users happier through a solid incident communication plan.
Creating your own incident communication plan:
Before an incident:
•   Define priority/severity levels (how many users are affected, how long the incident lasts, etc.)
•   Create incident templates for common issues to save time between detection to communication
•   Document defined roles during an incident (how to identify the incident commander, who owns the communication, etc.)
•   Determine how to communicate with affected users (what channels will be used for each priority level, etc.)
 During an incident:
1.   Communication with first responders: Alert those "on-call" and make sure they know where to go for more information about the problem. A tool like xMatters can help drive resolution by relaying data between systems while engaging the right people.  This way, you never have to worry about keeping your technology infrastructure aligned with key resolution processes.
2.   Communication with affected users (both internal and external) and other stakeholders (i.e. executives): Use your pre-determined channel(s) to tell users what's going on. This may be e-mail, a blog, Twitter, or a status page where they can subscribe to notifications about services they care about most.  Whatever tool you choose to use, we recommend that you identify one as your primary communication vehicle and funnel everyone there from the other channels. For example, we have a dedicated status page but we also tweet out updates and display a notice in our webapp during downtime. The tweets and in-webapp notices funnel users back to the status page for the full story.

After an incident:
•   Hold a retrospective on the incident and figure out what (if any) post-incident comms are necessary -- as well as what you can do to prevent similar incidents from happening again.
•   If necessary, send out your postmortem to affected users. A good postmortem can actually generate a lot of goodwill with your customers. Ideally it will enable you to:
o   Apologize personally
o   Explain exactly what happened and how your team was able to fix it
o   Talk about your plan to avoid a similar situation in the future
Even 99.99% of uptime means 52 minutes of downtime a year. Every IT team should be prepared for those 54+ minutes. Providing legendary service isn't just about resolving incidents quickly – it's also keeping users informed while you do.  Learn more about using xMatters for IT alerting and StatusPage for IT incident communication and see how they can work together to increase transparency.


123
English / Robi Tagor's Poem
« on: June 14, 2017, 04:18:51 PM »
Robi Tagor's  Poem......

124
English / American English Vs British English
« on: June 13, 2017, 04:11:01 PM »
American English Vs British English

125
English / Quatation
« on: June 12, 2017, 05:14:39 PM »

"To be or not to be
That is the question"..............W. Shakespeare


126
Vocabulary: Parts of a House.....

127
Learning Vocabulary with Images......
Vocabulary: Parts of a House.......

128
English / Bitcoin, new form of Currency.....
« on: June 10, 2017, 02:50:39 PM »
What Is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a new form of currency that is used within the digital world. It was created in 2009 and is being used more and more today.

 

This currency can be used to purchased anything electronically just as you would use normal currency like dollars, euros, or pesos. It is run by a network of machines who process each transaction and keep track of the numbers using mathematical algorithms. The best thing about it is that anyone is able to test these machines to make sure they are operating appropriately.
Why use Bitcoin?
There are many benefits to using bitcoin. One of them being that it is anonymous. Meaning it is not registered or linked to an actual individual. The currency is registered to an address, and you can have multiple addresses. It also isn’t run or owned by any one corporation or authority. Which in turn means that no one is in control of your currency. As mentioned above it is run by a network of machines. Another benefit to using bitcoin is that, unlike a bank account, these accounts are extremely easy and quick to set up. An address is quick and easy to set up, no personal questions asked. It is very budget friendly and cost effective.
Who Controls The Bitcoin Network?
No one! There isn’t an absolute authority who reigns over the currency. Therefore no one can deduct currency from your account unless you take action. It is controlled by all of the users of it’s currency. Everyone who decides to use it, decides which software and version they will be using. Even though there are developers updating the software constantly, they can not dictate what is being done with the bitcoin. This is a very nice incentive in using it because the owner has complete and absolute control in what happens within their accounts.


How Does Bitcoin Work?
From the stand point of the average consumer, bitcoin is just a program that acts as a virtual wallet. You can send currency through this program, as well as receive it. From a computing stand point, the entire network uses something called a “Block Chain”. What this “Block Chain” does is contain every single transaction ever made using bitcoins. Any computer running the software has access to the block chain and can verify transactions. Also every unique address has a unique electronic signature, which gives the owner of the address complete control of what comes out of his or her account. A transaction can not take place with out that unique signature. So you can see how secure using bitcoin can be.


129
Private University Ranking 2017 in Bangladesh
Private University Ranking 2017 in Bangladesh (January Edition)
 
Student in a library surrounded by piles of books
At present there are 129 public and private universities in Bangladesh. The numbers of public universities are 37 while private universities are 92. The first public university is The University of Dhaka, established in 1921. The establishment of private university is relatively a new phenomenon in this country. In early 1990s, private sector came forward to establish universities. Since then country experienced a spectacular growth in private universities– they were mostly in and around Dhaka.
Factors (variables) related to quality of higher education
Nine critical factors to revitalize quality of higher education are: teacher quality, method and content, peer quality, direct facilities, indirect facilities, administrative efficacy, political climate, gender effects and expected satisfaction with higher education.
Quality Assurance Mechanism
At present, quality is the main concern at the country’s tertiary level education. There is no regular review or critical review of the courses that is essential for quality maintenance and enhancement. Generally there is no evaluation criterion to evaluate course curriculum, mission, vision, faculty quality, student quality, transparency in management, student evaluation, etc related to quality assurance. Most quality control is exercised through administrative review by the departmental head/chairman or deans of the faculties in the universities.
Dominated by two subjects
Private universities are offering market oriented or job oriented subjects. According to Act a PU at least need to open two faculties. So, BBA and Computer science are the common courses offered in private universities under two faculties.
Criteria of Private University Ranking in Bangladesh
The StudyBarta Ranking are designed to help prospective students make informed comparisons of leading universities in Bangladesh. The ranking assesses university performance across some areas like: academic reputation, research, reputations of faculty members, teaching methodology, Employability,  Student-to-faculty ratio, permanent campus etc.
Ranking of all Private Universities in Bangladesh 2017 (January Edition)
1.   East West University (EWU)
2.   Independent University Bangladesh (IUB)
3.   BRAC University (BRACU)
4.   North South University (NSU)
5.   Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology (AUST)
6.   United International University (UIU)
7.   Daffodil International University (DIU)
8.   University of Asia Pacific (UAP)
9.   American International University-Bangladesh (AIUB)
10.   Green University of Bangladesh
11.   Southeast University
12.   University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh
13.   International University of Business Agriculture and Technology
14.   Stamford University Bangladesh
15.   International Islamic University Chittagong
16.   Eastern University Bangladesh
17.   Bangladesh University of Business and Technology
18.   Bangladesh Army International University of Science & Technology, Comilla
19.   Army University of Engineering and Technology (BAUET), Qadirabad
20.   Army University of Science and Technology(BAUST), Saidpur
21.   University of Development Alternative
22.   Notre Dame University Bangladesh
23.   Northern University Bangladesh
24.   Primeasia University
25.   State University of Bangladesh
26.   Chittagong Independent University (CIU)
27.   Bangladesh University
28.   ASA University Bangladesh
29.   Gono University
30.   Manarat International University
31.   BGMEA University of Fashion & Technology
32.   Prime University
33.   East Delta University
34.   Shanto-Mariam University of Creative Technology
35.   University of Science & Technology Chittagong
36.   BGC Trust University Bangladesh
37.   Uttara University
38.   World University of Bangladesh
39.   University of Information Technology & Sciences
40.   Presidency University
41.   Premier University Chittagong
42.   Metropolitan University Sylhet
43.   Sylhet International University
44.   City University
45.   Bangladesh Islami University
46.   Dhaka International University
47.   Victoria University of Bangladesh
48.   Canadian University of Bangladesh
49.   European University of Bangladesh
50.   Hamdard University Bangladesh
51.   The Millenium University
52.   North East University Bangladesh
53.   Britannia University
54.   People’s University of Bangladesh
55.   CCN University of Science & Technology
56.   Central University of Science and Technology
57.   Coxs Bazar International University
58.   Exim Bank Agricultural University, Bangladesh
59.   Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib University
60.   Royal University of Dhaka
61.   Port City International University
62.   Khwaja Yunus Ali University
63.   University of South Asia
64.   Central Women’s University
65.   Sonargaon University
66.   Fareast International University
67.   Pundro University of Science & Technology
68.   Bangladesh University of Health Sciences
69.   Feni University
70.   First Capital University of Bangladesh
71.   Northern University of Business & Technology, Khulna
72.   German University Bangladesh
73.   Rajshahi Science & Technology University (RSTU), Natore
74.   Global University Bangladesh
75.   Ishakha International University, Bangladesh
76.   Leading University, Sylhet
77.   Varendra University
78.   North Bengal International University
79.   North Western University, Khulna
80.   Rabindra Moitri University, Kushtia
81.   Ranada Prasad Shaha University
82.   Times University Bangladesh
83.   University of Creative Technology, Chittagong
84.   Anwer Khan Modern University
85.   Z H Sikder University of Science & Technology
86.   The International University of Scholars
87.   N.P.I University of Bangladesh
88.   Atish Dipankar University of Science & Technology
89.   Asian University of Bangladesh
90.   Southern University Bangladesh
91.   Queens University
92.   IBAIS University


130
English / How to enhance brain activity
« on: June 08, 2017, 12:27:08 PM »
How to enhance brain activity
 
How to distinguish a smart man from a fool? To study a general certificate? Or maybe ask to pass one of the many IQ tests: if you score above 120 points, it means you are smart, about 100 - average and below - a complete fool?
A genius in mathematics can not deal with the simplest life situation (it often happens) and a quick-minded is sometimes incapable of performing elementary calculations.
Not a single test can objectively answer the question of human intelligence: most of them can be prepared by learning to solve standard problems. Other factors - education, social or racial origin - also do not give an objective view of the intellectual indicators of a particular subject.
The human brain, enclosed in the skull, has been a great mystery to scientists for a long time. You can argue about assessing a person's reasonableness but there is something all experts are agree: a person is able to develop his brain constantly learning and stimulating certain abilities in the process of work.
We present you 10 ways to improve brain function. With their help you can learn to think faster, absorb a large amount of new information and quickly use it.
BRAIN TRAINING
It can include any form of regular mental activity. Math lovers will prefer to solve algebra and geometry problems. Simpler exercises include numbers and alphabetic rebuses, sudoku or crossword puzzles.
Regular reading, blogging, discussions on interesting topics - all these keep you brain toned. But even in normal everyday life you can come up with many ways to train your mental abilities.
Scientists offer, for example, to make regularly changes in your habits: get up on the other leg, experiment with gait, brush your teeth with the other hand, etc. All these are simple but interesting tasks that contribute to brain activity.
 
A SOUND MIND IN A SOUND BODY
The correct diet and regular exercises are the key to increasing the life-sustaining activity of the human brain.
Be sure to include in your diet proteins: eggs, fish, lean meat. Vegetables and fruits will provide the necessary amount of vitamins and minerals. Nuts and green tea are recommended for enhancing brain activity by experts.
Physical exercises not only develop and keep muscles and joints toned but also develop coordination which is excellent mental workout especially if you constantly add new elements and techniques.
Physical activity also increases blood pressure, improves blood circulation that means the brain is better provided with glucose and oxygen.
 
MEDITATION
Various meditation techniques appeared thousands of years ago and since that time have been developing. The world's largest firms recommend meditation to their employees. Science agrees with them: an MRI scan of people practicing meditation has shown that classes change the structure of their brain.
According to experts people with the help of meditation can significantly improve their memory and raise the level of attention. Regardless of what type of meditation you choose one thing is common for all of them: achieving peace with the help of breathing techniques and complete silence. Concentration on measured right breathing helps a person relax, calm down and get the necessary energy boost.
 
“SMART" BACTERIA
Recently in 2010 experts from The Sage Colleges in the US made an interesting discovery. They found that a common type of Mycobacterium vaccae, put into mice, had a positive effect on their mental abilities. Animals become less aggressive they better find a way out of the maze.
After studying the brain of the mouse the scientists found out that due to the bacterium the level of growth of neurons increased and in the forebrain that is responsible for high thinking, the amount of serotonin increased.
This bacterium can be found in ordinary street mud. Of course do not make dirt part of your diet; To get in touch with the "smart" bacteria you can, for example, when walking through the park or working outdoors in the garden.
SLEEP AND ONCE AGAIN SLEEP
Why a person needs to sleep what happens to him during the night's rest from ancient times scientists and mystics are occupied with this. For a long time experts believed that the brain "turns off" during sleep and resting recharging for a new day. Experiments have shown that the human brain works in a dream but at a minimal level.
In particular, during the rest there is a redistribution of new information its "cataloging by folders". In fact, during a sleep short-term information turns into a long-term one.
Lack of sleep or sleeping difficulty can cause a significant decrease in mental abilities, loss of necessary information and a number of other problems. A long and healthy sleep on the contrary increases strength of the brain, contributes to the concentration of attention.
Scientists recommend sleeping an average from 6 to 8 hours a day, although the sleep regime depends on the individual characteristics of each person's body.
So, we sum up: mental and physical exercises, meditation, outdoor walks, a balanced diet and a healthy sleep. Daily following these principles will allow everyone to improve brain activity and develop their intellectual abilities.
COFFEE
Norepinephrine and dopamine are important mediators for maintaining concentration and good tone. Their production can stimulate the correct intake of caffeine.
Enough one or two cups of an aromatic drink a day - coffee in large quantities is harmful to health, it causes over excitation, as a result the ability to think normally can be disturbed . Arrhythmia, tremor, headache, anxiety, sleep disturbances - these are the side effects that await coffee lovers who take more than four cups a day.
 
INTUITION TRAINING
In addition to direct benefit targeted intuition training can activate a special part of the brain behind the right ear. For example, when talking you can do the following mental exercise: try to predict what the interlocutor wants to say, to watch train of his thoughts with facial gesture, etc.
STUDYING OF FOREIGN LANGUAGE
Scientists have proved that people who speak several languages can quickly and efficiently switch from one task to another. In addition, regular memorization of foreign words is an excellent memory training.
There is a great number of ways to learn a language independently. You can, for example, start watching cartoons in a foreign language, first with subtitles, and then without.
Do not worry if at first everything is not clear. The content of dialogues can be easily guessed by the context and the language constructs contained therein are repeated countless times; Soon they will become familiar to you. Then you can switch to serials and films.
NEW HOBBY
Learning new unfamiliar activities is an excellent charging for the brain. It is better to choose a hobby that requires physical activity and increased coordination.
For example, juggling is considered a great charge for the brain. Women usually prefer knitting as a new hobby and men - fishing, hunting and gardening.
CLASSICAL MUSIC
Western psychologists recommend to accustom children since childhood to classical music, especially to Mozart. Properly selected music can give a good impulse to the creative activity of our brain.
In 1995 psychologists set up an interesting experiment in rats: 30 rats were made to listen to Sonata by Mozart for two pianos every day for two months.
After 60 days they did test tasks much faster and more correctly than the other group of rodents who spent the same period of time in silence and peace.


131
English / Being an Introvert Can Make You Rich
« on: February 27, 2016, 04:19:57 PM »
Introverts tend to be more careful and thoughtful when making decisions.

In her book “Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength,” psychologist Dr. Laurie Helgoe writes:
“Introversion, when embraced, is a wellspring of riches.”
Although Dr. Helgoe’s book is primarily about helping people accept and use their introverted personalities to achieve success, this particular phrase in her book inspires yet another possibility: Introverts’ nature can help them achieve a literal “wellspring of riches.”
To put it another way, an introvert personality can absolutely make you wealthy. Just look at Bill Gates. Bestselling author of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” and introvert expert Susan Cain said that the Microsoft co-founder is an introvert, reports The Huffington Post. And, his net worth is nearly $80 billion, according to Forbes.
So you see, being an introvert has its perks — especially when it comes to achieving financial success.
Introverts vs. Extroverts: Key Differences
According to the Myers-Briggs personality test, the introvert personality gains energy from within and not from external sources. For this reason, many people mistake introverts for being shy, but that’s not necessarily true of all introverts. There are many introverts who are comfortable speaking in large groups and being leaders at work. There are even introverts who make a living in the performing arts and as college professors. The only difference is that they need time to themselves after a long day to recharge.
Energy levels and preferred lengths of face-to-face interaction aren’t the only notable or even the most interesting differences between extroverts and introverts. In fact, it’s the more subtle and unique layers of introverts that make them especially well-suited to build long-term wealth. Below are some examples:

Introverts Are Less Impulsive
Many introverts can identify with the following statement, according to MyersBriggs.org: “I take time to reflect so that I have a clear idea of what I’ll be doing when I decide to act.” Introverts are known for being disciplined and careful decision makers, two traits that are perfect for long-term wealth building. As author and money expert Robert Kiyosaki said, “It’s not how much money you make, but how much money you keep” that makes you wealthy.
Dr. Maryam Jahdi, a resident physician in the department of psychiatry and behavioral health at Ohio State University, said introverts are not impulsive because their “behavior is guided more by consequences and less by rewards.” And one study, as reported by LiveScience.com, backs up Jahdi’s statement; it found that introverts “tend to delay rewards” instead of jumping on “immediate gratification.”
Conversely, a 2013 study by Cornell University professor Richard Depue and graduate student Yu Fu found that extroverts actually have a different brain chemistry than introverts. They release more dopamine than introverts when they experience rewards, like accomplishing a monetary goal or eating delicious food. “In extroverts, this dopamine response to rewards is more robust so they experience more frequent activation of strong positive emotions,” Depue reportedly said.
A more recent study entitled “The Bergen Shopping Addiction Scale” published in September by the journal Frontiers in Psychology states, “Extroversion has been positively associated with shopping addiction, suggesting extroverts may be using shopping to uphold their social status and sustain their social attractiveness, such as buying a new outfit and accessories for every occasion.” For these reasons, it might be more challenging for some extroverts to control spending and have enough financial discipline to build wealth for the future.
Introverts Make Smart Investment Decisions
When it comes to investing, Dr. Jahdi said, “Being an introvert could influence becoming wealthy in the future because a lot of financial decisions are based on avoiding bad decisions, negative consequences and missed opportunities. Whereas an extrovert is more guided by immediate rewards to reinforce positive feelings — the feelings you get when you make a fun purchase, as opposed to waiting several years to see a good return on investment.”
Overall, successful investing demands careful contemplation, and introverted thinking by its very nature couldn’t conceive of acting rashly without researching something as serious as investing. Meanwhile, some extroverts tend to be thrill-seekers and impulsive, which means they might be “prone to making unduly risky investment decisions, while the quiet introvert might have more solid, research-based instincts,” reports Reuters.
According to a recent U.S. News interview with Cain, “introverts like to process slowly and deeply before they speak or act, and are comfortable with delayed gratification.” She also explained to Reuters this is the reason why legendary investor Warren Buffett is so successful. Cain said Buffett is “a classic example of an introvert taking careful, well-calibrated risks.”
Introverts Excel in the Workplace
In addition to being careful spenders and thoughtful investors, introverts also excel in the workplace, which can help them make more money and land promotions. Although they might not be the most outspoken or social employees, introverts can apply what author and global speaker Jennifer Kahnweiler calls the 4P’s — preparation, presence, push and practice — to become leaders in the workplace.
Introverts are also thoughtful and conscientious. Marti Olsen Laney, author of “The Introvert Advantage” told CNN that introverts have leadership qualities that set them apart from extroverts. “You really see a pattern of being conscientious, wanting to do a good job, being creative, good at problem solving,” she said.
According to a recent study at the University of Michigan Retirement Research Center, “Individuals who are at the 85th percentile of conscientiousness earn about $1,500 more per year than the average American, which amounts to about $96,000 more in lifetime earnings and $158,000 more in lifetime savings.”
Finding Meaning in It All
Researchers have enjoyed studying the differences between introverts and extroverts for quite some time. While extroverts have quite literally enjoyed their time in the spotlight and as leaders, recent research and publications show that this really is the time for introverts to shine. If you’re an introvert, you’re more than capable of utilizing you unique gifts and skills to achieve financial wealth and success.

132
Indeed so mam..............

133
According to a new study, the human memory is capable of storing 10 times more information than previously thought. That puts it “in the same ballpark” as the capabilities of the entire internet, according to the authors.
Researchers from the Salk Institute in California found that synapses, which connect the nerves in our brain, can be divided into 26 different size categories.
Up until now, scientists have considered three sizes for synapses: Small, medium, and large. The more specific measurements mean the researchers have a better idea of how synapses work, and therefor how our memories function. They also help explain how the seemingly sloppy synapses can power our brain’s sophisticated abilities.
The Salk researchers explained their methodology and findings in a statement:
Researchers used advanced microscopy and computational algorithms they had developed to image rat brains and reconstruct the connectivity, shapes, volumes and surface area of the brain tissue down to a nanomolecular level.
The scientists expected the synapses would be roughly similar in size, but were surprised to discover the synapses were nearly identical.
The difference in size between the synapses pairs was just 8%. The researcher note why that matters:
Because the memory capacity of neurons is dependent upon synapse size, this eight percent difference turned out to be a key number the team could then plug into their algorithmic models of the brain to measure how much information could potentially be stored in synaptic connections… the team determined there could be about 26 categories of sizes of synapses, rather than just a few.
…and how that translates to our memory’s capacity:
In computer terms, 26 sizes of synapses correspond to about 4.7 “bits” of information. Previously, it was thought that the brain was capable of just one to two bits for short and long memory storage in the hippocampus.
The researchers’ paper was published in eLife. Co-senior author Terry Sejnowski called his team’s discovery “a real bombshell in the field of neuroscience,” adding, “Our new measurements of the brain’s memory capacity increase conservative estimates by a factor of 10 to at least a petabyte, in the same ballpark as the World Wide Web.”
Some, however, are calling that characterization into question. Over at Gizmodo, George Dvorsky points out that one petabyte is still far below the full breadth of the internet, writing:
The Salk researchers appear to be overstating it a bit. If we consider the Big Four—Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook—their servers alone store at least 1,200 petabytes between them. That excludes the rest of the Web, including storage providers like Dropbox, Barracuda, and SugarSync.
Dvorsky says that a more accurate yardstick would be the Library of Congress which, per the researchers’ new calculation, would take up just a quarter of our memory’s capacity. Still pretty amazing.

134
English / Re: Black Coffee:You may be a psychopath
« on: January 16, 2016, 04:58:55 PM »
That's great............

135
English / INSIDE MARK ZUCKERBERG'S BOLD PLAN FOR THE FUTURE OF FACEBOOK
« on: January 06, 2016, 04:44:48 PM »


INSIDE MARK ZUCKERBERG'S BOLD PLAN FOR THE FUTURE OF FACEBOOK
Facebook is firing on all cylinders. Now Mark Zuckerberg is looking to the decade ahead, from AI to VR to drones.
"Mark is fixing stuff."
I’m killing time in the Frank Gehry–designed Building 20, whose signature feature is its soaring 434,000 square feet of open space, the latest addition to Facebook’s campus in Menlo Park, California. A PR handler is explaining why CEO Mark Zuckerberg is running slightly behind schedule for our chat. I express surprise. Mark still fixes stuff?
"To say he’s actively involved," she confides, "is an understatement. He notices things that are broken before anybody."
As recently as 2012, the year Zuckerberg set a personal goal to code every day, that might have meant he had detected something glitch on Facebook’s site and was reprogramming it himself. When he emerges a few minutes later, unspecified stuff presumably fixed, we sit down on adjacent couches in a fishbowl conference room near his desk in Building 20, and Zuckerberg makes it clear that those days are gone. "If we’re trying to build a world-class News Feed, and a world-class messaging product, and a world-class search product, and a world-class ad system, and invent virtual reality, and build drones, I can’t write every line of code," he tells me. "I can’t write any lines of code."

READ MORE
•   Inside Mark Zuckerberg's Bold Plan For The Future Of Facebook
•   Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook, and Fast Company: Six Cover Stories (So Far)
•   Seven Years Of Self-Improvement For Mark Zuckerberg And Facebook
•   How Facebook Turned Messenger From a Feature Into a Startup
•   How Facebook Keeps Scaling Its Culture
The Facebook of today—and tomorrow—is far more expansive than it was just a few years ago. It’s easy to forget that when the company filed to go public on February 1, 2012, it was just a single website and an app that the experts weren’t sure could ever be profitable. Now, "a billion and a half people use the main, core Facebook service, and that’s growing. But 900 million people use WhatsApp, and that’s an important part of the whole ecosystem now," Zuckerberg says. "Four hundred million people use Instagram, 700 million people use Messen¬ger, and 700 million people use Groups. Increasingly, we’re just going to go more and more in this direction."
To further grow these services and any others that Facebook develops or acquires, Zuckerberg is betting his company’s future on three major technology initiatives. One is developing advanced artificial intelligence that can help Facebook understand what matters to users. The second is virtual reality, in the form of Oculus VR, the groundbreaking company that Facebook acquired in March 2014 for $2 billion, which Zuckerberg believes will be the next major technology we use to interact with each other. And the third is bringing the Internet, including Facebook, of course, to the 4 billion–plus humans who aren’t yet connected, even if it requires flying a drone over a village and beaming data down via laser. Given the robust health of Facebook’s business, Zuckerberg is comfortable lavishing attention and resources on these visions. Facebook gave Fast Company wide-ranging access to Zuckerberg, his senior leadership team, and others to delve into the company’s audacious plans to shape the next decade.


HOW ZUCK USES FACEBOOK
Mark Zuckerberg has been using his own creation longer than anyone. Today, his posts give insight into his interests and activities—and no matter the subject, Facebook’s mission of making the world more open and connected always seems to be top of mind.


HE’S STATESMANLIKE
140,140 likes
If you see a photo of Zuckerberg in a suit and tie, the odds are high that he’s meeting with an international dignitary. In September, he hosted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a town-hall forum on Facebook’s campus. Modi endorsed the power of social media to keep government accountable.



HE’S HUMAN
1,767,632 likes
On July 31, Zuckerberg posted that his wife, Priscilla Chan, was expecting a baby girl after three miscarriages: "You feel so hopeful when you learn you’re going to have a child. You start imagining who they’ll become and dreaming of hopes for their future. You start making plans, and then they’re gone."


 
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HE TAKES STANCES
291,731 likes
When the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, Zuckerberg posted a graphic showing the growth in Facebook LGBT groups since 2008. "Our country was founded on the promise that all people are created equal, and today we took another step toward achieving that promise."



HE CELEBRATES SUCCESS
60,997 likes
"Our community reached a nice milestone today," Zuckerberg wrote in February. More than 2 million small businesses were buying ads on Facebook—which he said was good for those companies, their customers, and the economy. Left unstated: It’s also very good for Facebook.



HE'S PLAYFUL
991,333 likes
In April, Zuckerberg donned sunglasses to pose with action star Vin Diesel, who dropped by Facebook to talk about what it’s like to have 87 million followers. He was stoked—"I’m looking forward to seeing Fast & Furious 7 tonight!"—and noted that Diesel writes all his own Facebook posts.
In the tech industry, there’s nothing weird about setting goals so lofty that they sound unachievable. Google CEO Larry Page, for instance, is so invested in the virtue of gambling on disparate, wildly ambitious projects—from self-driving cars to smart contact lenses—that he restructured his company around the concept in August, making Google’s core businesses a division of a new idea factory called Alphabet. Zuckerberg, by contrast, isn’t interested in doing everything—just the things he views as deeply related to his company’s central vision, and crucial to it. "There are different ways to do innovation," he says, drawing a stark contrast without ever mentioning Page, Google, or Alphabet. "You can plant a lot of seeds, not be committed to any particular one of them, but just see what grows. And this really isn’t how we’ve approached this. We go mission-first, then focus on the pieces we need and go deep on them, and be committed to them." Facebook’s mission is "to give everyone in the world the power to share and make the world more open and connected," as Zuckerberg says, explaining that he is now spending a third of his time overseeing these future initiatives. "These things can’t fail. We need to get them to work in order to achieve the mission."
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When Facebook was morphing from Ivy League college project to Silicon Valley startup, Zuckerberg had not only "never run a company—he’d never been in a company," marvels Marc Andreessen, the browser pioneer, venture capitalist, Facebook board member, and longtime Zuckerberg confidant. "He’s learned everything he knows about business in the last 10 years. And now he’s one of the best CEOs in the world."
Whether because Zuckerberg, 31, started so young, or because he retains his youthful demeanor and gray-T-shirt work uniform, he has been underestimated for almost as long as his company has existed. Facebook wouldn’t work outside Harvard. It wouldn’t work outside elite colleges. It wouldn’t work among the general populace. It couldn’t topple My Space. It couldn’t make enough money to justify its valuation. It couldn’t hold on to teenagers once their parents signed up. It wouldn’t matter as much on smartphones as it had on PCs. It couldn’t make enough money on mobile to satisfy Wall Street.
Zuckerberg and his team have overcome every doubt. Nine out of ten of the 1.55 billion people a month who use Facebook access it on a mobile device at least part of the time, and more than three-quarters of its $4.3 billion in advertising revenue in the third quarter of 2015 came from mobile users. The company runs four of the six largest social platforms in the world (all but Google’s YouTube and Tencent’s WeChat) and is wildly profitable. Three years ago, when the company revealed that 1 billion people logged in to the service in one month, the news was astounding. Last August, 1 billion people used Facebook on a single Monday, and it felt inevitable.
When I ask people close to Zuckerberg how, exactly, he has pulled off these achievements, I don’t hear a lot of anecdotes about him swooping in and personally making genius-level decisions that suddenly changed everything. Instead, they praise his inquisitiveness, persistence, ability to deploy resources, and devotion to improving Facebook and himself. He has a knack for carving up grand plans into small, doable victories. "Most of our conversation was about long-term strategy, and then we’d backtrack from there to what we should do over the next month," says Bret Taylor, who worked as Facebook’s CTO from 2009 to 2012 and who was at the company when it corrected course after a famously bumpy first attempt at putting the service on smartphones. "It’s one of the main reasons why Facebook is where it is today."
Zuckerberg "is a total inspiration in how much he cares about his work and in how hard he works," says Chris Cox, who dropped out of a Stanford graduate program in 2005 to join the company as a software engineer and is now chief product officer—and is so integral to its culture that he still speaks with every new employee as part of his or her orientation. "For all of us who work with him, it’s like, Man, he is so good at improving."
Sue Desmond-Hellmann is a Facebook board member and CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which puts her in close proximity to two prodigies who quit Harvard to seek fortunes out west. Both Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, she says, "have this sense of relentlessness. ‘Why can’t that happen? Why can’t we accomplish this?’ It can be fun to be around that. It can also be like, ‘Oh. My. God.’ "
When I meet with COO Sheryl Sandberg, she shares a personal story of a family gathering involving the making of s’mores. It captures several of Zuckerberg’s preternatural gifts. "Mark said, ‘I’m going to make a marshmallow,’ " she tells me in her conference room, which is adorned with a framed drawing of her as Spider-Woman. “I looked at my friend and said, ‘He’s going to make the perfect marshmallow.’ Because he’s going to be the one out of all of us who is going to have the patience. In order to make the right marshmallow, you can’t do it right in the fire, because then it gets burnt. You can’t walk away. You actually have to sit there for five to 10 minutes with the marshmallow above the flame, but not too close, so that it gets completely heated but doesn’t burn. And the only person who’s actually willing to do that is Mark. Because he is that focused and that determined. I’ve never met anyone with more perseverance than Mark Zuckerberg."
In hindsight, there were two particular moments that have put Facebook in the enviable position of being able to pursue its most audacious dreams. The first was a recruiting spree back in 2007–2008, when the company concluded that it needed more players with serious Silicon Valley experience. A significant percentage of the current leadership joined during this time, including Sandberg, who came from Google to be the principal architect of the business. From Mozilla, the Firefox browser purveyor, Zuckerberg hired Mike Schroepfer—known universally as Schrep—who ultimately replaced Taylor as CTO.
"The amount of trust and bandwidth that you build up working with someone for five, seven, 10 years? It’s just awesome," says Zuckerberg. "I care about openness and connectedness in a global sense. [Sandberg] has the emotional warmth and ability to connect with people that allows us to live that mission inside the company. She’s even better than people think she is." As for Schrep, "he’s just extraordinary at the patience and composure you need for managing long-term projects."
 "ONE OF OUR GOALS," ZUCKERBERG SAYS, "IS TO GET BETTER THAN HUMAN LEVEL AT ALL OF THE PRIMARY SENSES."
Zuckerberg, unlike many of his rivals, has been able to keep his leadership team stable. Their cohesiveness led to the second key moment: the Instagram acquisition and its subsequent success.
When Facebook announced that it was buying the photo-sharing juggernaut in April 2012, less than six weeks before its IPO, a flurry of articles followed with titles such as "Five Ways Facebook Will Ruin In¬stagram." Instead, the deal became a model for how businesses in Facebook’s portfolio get managed. Zuckerberg left cofounders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger in charge, encouraged them to preserve their own culture, and gave them access to tools—from Facebook’s recruiting team to its spam-fighting technologies—that helped them get where they were planning to go anyway, only faster.
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"Schrep and I work day-to-day, operationally, on how we build our team, where we hire from, organizational stuff," says Systrom, Instagram’s lanky, bearded CEO. "Mark and I work most closely on product. And Sheryl and I work most closely on advertising and strategic issues around policy. Imagine getting to have Mark, Sheryl, and Schrep on your board. Many companies in the Valley would kill to have that. And we get it by default, which is pretty sweet." Instagram’s user base tripled in the 10 months after the acquisition announcement, to 100 million monthly users, then doubled in the next 13 months. (It now boasts 400 million users.)
Naomi Gleit VP, product, social good: "We are taking a data-driven, product-driven approach to doing good in the world. You’re interested in certain causes, and you’re also interested in the causes that your friends are interested in, so we’re trying to take a social angle."
The lessons Facebook learned from the deal may have been as valuable as Instagram’s revenue potential. It began pursuing major acquisitions more aggressively—it acquired WhatsApp and Oculus in early 2014—and then found itself looking at its own services with fresh eyes. Zuckerberg hired PayPal president David Marcus to run its chat product, Messenger, and decided to remove it from Facebook’s smartphone version, forcing users to download a stand-alone app. "We were all incredibly uncomfortable with that," says a former Facebook employee who was present when Zuckerberg explained his rationale. "But he had thought it through carefully, the core use cases and the competitive situation." A little over a year later, Messenger’s active user base more than tripled.
Splitting Messenger off from Facebook let Marcus begin to build his own business model, one akin to China’s messaging behemoth WeChat. Messenger has its own app store, with partners such as ESPN offering animated GIFs, and a feature that allows companies (including e-commerce retailers Everlane and Zulily) to conduct customer service—from delivery tracking to returns—within Messenger. "We’re not in a rush," says Marcus. "But over time, we can build a really good business out of these interactions."
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Three thousand miles away from Facebook’s Menlo Park headquar¬ters, in an office building in New York’s Noho neighborhood that was once a Wanamaker department store, a researcher named Rob Fergus is showing me software designed to identify objects in a video stream. Computers have long struggled to learn what’s happening in video, which contains so much more data than text or a still photo. He points a webcam that’s attached to a laptop running his program at a remote control. The software, which is so computationally intensive that it causes the cooling fans inside his laptop to kick in at a full, ear-piercing blast, thinks the remote is a turtle. He focuses the camera on a computer mouse. Once again, it thinks it’s spotted a turtle. Only occasionally does it correctly identify an item.









UP AND TO THE RIGHT
Facebook’s growth machine is what gives the company its currency to pursue AI, VR, and connectivity.

 


FACEBOOK MONTHLY ACTIVE USERS/POPULATION
U.S. and Canada: 213 M out of 365 M
Europe: 311 M out of 738 M
Asia-Pacific: 496 M out of 4.3 B
Rest of the world: 471 M out of 1.7 B
REVENUE IN 2015 Q2
U.S. and Canada: $1,826 M
Europe: $987 M
Asia-Pacific: $605 M
Rest of the world: $409 M
TIME SPENT MONTHLY BY U.S. 18- TO 34-YEAR-OLDS
Facebook: 25.7 hours
Instagram: 7 hours
Snapchat: 5.9 hours
Tumblr: 5.7 hours
Twitter: 3.5 hours
Sources: Facebook 2015 Q2 Earnings Report; comScore 2015 U.S. Mobile App Report
Fergus looks sheepish. But the point of the demonstration isn’t to prove that Facebook is ready to roll out this AI feature, just that they’re working on it.
If you’ve ever felt like your Facebook News Feed is filled with people you don’t care about sharing thoughts you didn’t particularly want to hear, you’ll appreciate why Facebook is pushing to further the art of artificial intelligence. In its current form, the social network is still far better at collecting vast amounts of data than understanding what that data means. Advanced AI could help emphasize the stuff that’s truly relevant to you, keeping you on the service longer and boosting your attractiveness as a subject for targeted advertising. "Facebook is working to be at the center of the world of AI because it will affect Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger," says Systrom. "It’s broadly applicable to all social products."
Facebook has dabbled in AI for years. In 2010, for example, it introduced facial-recognition technology to identify people in photos. In late 2013, though, Zuckerberg came to believe that AI—which he calls "one of the hardest engineering challenges of our time"—was central to the company’s future and decided to establish a lab devoted to it. He began courting Yann LeCun, a New York University faculty member and world-class expert in deep learning, to run it. Unlike the archetypal young turk Facebook employee, the 55-year-old, Paris-born LeCun is an éminence grise of his craft, with decades of experience studying machine vision, pattern recognition, and other technologies with the potential to make the social network smarter.
LeCun, however, was disinclined to leave academia or New York. When Zuckerberg thinks Facebook needs something, though, he refuses to treat obstacles as obstacles. He offered to let LeCun set up Facebook AI Research’s headquarters in Manhattan and retain his professorship on the side. LeCun came aboard. Problem solved.
Because Zuckerberg would not be able to interact with LeCun in person on a daily basis, he had the AI researchers who did work at Facebook’s main campus sit near him so he could learn from them. "When we moved to the new building, we ended up being separated from Zuck by about 10 yards," LeCun chuckles. "He said, ‘No, this is too far, move closer.’ ”And so they did. (This is a signature move that Zuckerberg uses to absorb new material; when the team prepared Facebook’s Timeline feature in 2011, he placed key design talent near his desk, and he seated Systrom near him after the Instagram acquisition.)
The mandate for the 50-person AI team is also vintage Zuckerberg: Aim ridiculously high, and focus on where you want to go over the long term. "One of our goals for the next five to 10 years," Zuckerberg tells me, "is to basically get better than human level at all of the primary human senses: vision, hearing, language, general cognition. Taste and smell, we’re not that worried about," he deadpans. "For now."
In part, the AI effort is an attempt to prepare Facebook for an era in which devices from wristwatches to cars will be connected, and the density of incoming information which the service will have to deal with will grow exponentially. "There's just going to be a lot more data generated about what's happening in the world, and the conventional models and systems that we have today won't scale," says Jay Parikh, the company's VP of engineering. "If there's 10x or 20x or 50x more things happening around you in the world, then you're going to need these really, really intelligent systems like what Yann and his team are building."
But Fergus and his fellow researchers have the freedom to start small rather than think immediately of the massive data problems posed by services with several hundred million users or more. Antoine Bordes, who relocated from a French university to join the New York team (though there’s now a Paris branch because the city is also a hotbed of AI talent), is teaching a computer concepts such as "John is in the playground" and "John picked up the football" in order to help it learn to answer queries such as "Where is the football?" Everything draws on a vocabulary of just 50 words, a purposefully dinky number chosen so that researchers can tell exactly what’s going on. "This is not big data," says Bordes, who is wearing a T-shirt depicting a robot boxing a dinosaur. "This is super small data."
"I JOKE THAT THE LAB HAS PAID FOR ITSELF OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS WITH WORK THEY’VE ALREADY DONE," SAYS SCHROEPFER.
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LeCun has given Facebook a lab with a strong university like feel. Rather than having to make sure their work lines up with Facebook’s product plans, researchers—many of them fellow academics—can pursue their passions while a separate group, Applied Machine Learning, is
responsible for figuring out how to turn the lab’s breakthroughs into features. "The senior research scientists, you don’t tell them what to work on," LeCun says. "They tell you what’s interesting."
Technologies incubated by LeCun and his team are already popping up in Facebook products such as Moments, a new app that scours your phone’s camera roll for snapshots of friends, then lets you share those photos with those people. "Most researchers do care about their stuff having practical relevance," says Fergus, who is technically still on leave from NYU, where he worked alongside LeCun. "In academia, a great outcome is you publish a paper that people seem to like at a conference."
LeCun’s work is directly affecting Facebook’s bottom line, in the form of better spam-prevention tools and software to verify that ads are up to company standards, a task that was once a labor-intensive manual process. "I joke that the lab has paid for itself over the next five years with work they’ve already done," says Schroepfer.
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Palmer Luckey and I are flapping our arms in adjoining isolation-booth-like rooms in Oculus’s quarters in Building 18 on Facebook’s campus. In the virtual-reality world we’re sharing, though, Luckey, the endearing 23-year-old wunderkind who founded Oculus VR in his parents’ garage in 2011, has transmogrified himself into a hovering, cartoony head and hands, and we’re playing antigravity Ping-Pong. Next, we set off fireworks together and he shoots me with a zap gun, which instantly shrinks me to the size of a gnat as he towers above me.
A few days later, when I meet with Zuckerberg for our first conversation, he’s eager to talk about Oculus Ping-Pong even before I begin asking him questions. As he delineates the pleasures that user-adjustable physics bring to table tennis, his expression takes on some of the same goofy glee I’d experienced. (Zuckerberg, a gamer himself, is a devotee of Civilization, a venerable game series that Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe worked on in a previous life. The goal of the original 1991 version of Civ—"build an empire to stand the test of time"—neatly encapsulates its appeal to the Zuckerbergian brain.)
Mike Schroepfer, CTO: "I have one hand in the day-to-day and one hand in the future. It’s a little bit crazy-making at times, but it’s important that our core business continues to do well. Because that is what allows us to aggressively invest in these longer-term things."
Anyone who’s had his or her mind blown by a few minutes of Oculus time in a 3-D, 360-degree world can appreciate why Zuckerberg is grinning. But if Oculus was only about games, it wouldn’t be an obvious fit for his mission-first vision of Facebook’s future. His interest in VR dates back to his experience with, of all things, phones. When the modern smartphone was being born—Apple’s iPhone debuted in 2007 and Google’s Android in 2008—Facebook was a red-hot startup, but there was no way it could have written its own mobile platform from scratch, let alone persuaded the rest of the industry to adopt it. By 2013, when it had a bit more clout, Facebook created Home, which slathered a Facebook-based veneer on top of Android. The notable flop reinforced the limitations of building on someone else’s operating system. "One of my big regrets," Zuckerberg says wistfully, "is that Facebook hasn’t had a major chance to shape the mobile operating system ecosystem." (The company has done okay on smartphones: Multiple studies show that Facebook captures more of users’ mobile time than any other service.)
Oculus, then, represents two big bets in one: that VR will be the next major computing platform, supplanting phones the same way that handheld devices usurped desktops—and that human nature won’t change. "If you look at how people spend time on all computing platforms, whether it’s phones or desktops before that, about 40% is spent on some kind of communications and media," Zuckerberg says. "Over the long term, when [Oculus] becomes a more mature platform, I would bet that it’s going to be that same 40% of the time spent doing social interactions and things like that. And that’s what we know. That’s what we can do." Already, Oculus helped out with Facebook’s new 360-degree video feature that debuted last September.
Before Zuckerberg’s vision can be realized, Oculus needs to start shipping its Rift headsets. The Facebook acquisition didn’t change the company’s near-term goal, which is to offer a version of Rift aimed at hard-core gamers. The closest Iribe has gotten to disclosing how much the headset will cost is saying that the all-in investment, including a PC, will be about $1,500. That includes an Xbox One gamepad, provided through a surprise deal with Microsoft. The Oculus Touch hand controllers, which are as much of a revelation as the headset and necessary for tasks such as wielding a Ping-Pong paddle, will cost extra and arrive later.
Oculus might have prospered as an independent company; among other accomplishments, it had already scored the most spectacular hiring coup imaginable by signing on legendary game programmer John Carmack (who helped create the landmark first-person shooter Doom) as its CTO. But like Instagram, it has benefited from Facebook ownership. "We have supercharged recruiting," says Iribe when I chat with him moments after the June media event in San Francisco, where he showed off the Oculus Touch controllers for the first time. "We were 60 or 70 people when we got acquired. And we’re 360-plus today. It’s just incredible how fast we’ve been able to grow."
Oculus has also taken full advantage of Zuckerberg’s penchant for strategic acquisitions. "We come to him and say, ‘Hey, there’s this brilliant group of computer-vision scientists, and if they were here and working on this feature, it might be able to land in the next product or a product in two generations,’ " says Iribe, who has quietly snapped up five small companies since Oculus officially became part of Facebook in July 2014. "And he’s like, ‘Okay, let’s go do this.’ "
As usual with a new venture, Zuckerberg is taking an uncommonly patient approach to making money from Oculus. "Over the long term, we need to make sure it’s sustainable," he says. "But sustainable could mean selling it at break-even and having a business around software or some other part of the platform, which is actually something that we’re much better attuned to."
For Facebook, judging Oculus based on its potential is second nature. "We’ve got a five- to 10-year R&D road map for Oculus that’s very clear about what problems we need to go take down and how we’re going to do it," Schroepfer tells me. "And so we’re just going to build better and better sensors and hardware and software that’s going to allow you to do more and more and that’s going to create these amazing experiences."
Lori Goler VP, People: "People here want their work to matter and their contribution to matter. And they want to work with an amazing team of people who challenge them every day. They actually say, ‘I don’t ever want to be the smartest person in the room.’"
Not everyone is as convinced of Zuckerberg’s VR dreams. Wall Street, for one, is having trouble peering quite so far ahead. "I worry a bit about expectations," says Colin Sebastian, senior analyst at Robert W. Baird. "Consumers have dreams of seamlessly entering these interactive environments and interacting with friends. The tech is early and the virtual environments are very basic." And the competition is intense. Sony andHTC also have VR headsets coming out next year. Then there’s Google, with itsCardboard viewer that offers VR using just a smartphone and a paper case for as little as $15. Cardboard is nowhere near as compelling as Oculus, but it’s cheap, approachable, and available right now.
Zuckerberg has bigger ideas in mind for what Oculus could become. When he discusses the company, he consistently refers to "VR and AR," the latter being augmented reality, the technology that layers virtual objects into the real world. (Imagine a fictional character appearing in front of you to interact with you in your home.) AR underpins Microsoft’s forthcoming HoloLens product as well as the stealthy, much-buzzed-about Magic Leap. In October, both Zuckerberg and Iribe confirmed publicly that Oculus is indeed working on augmented reality. If Oculus can squeeze its technology into something that looks more like a pair of glasses and lets you see the real world as well as the virtual one, "it could be the last electronics device that a lot of people need to buy," Zuckerberg muses. And this time around, Facebook would be the company selling it.
"IF YOU’RE THE AVERAGE CONNECTED FACEBOOK USER IN THE U.S., YOU SPEND A DOLLAR A DAY IMPLICITLY ON DATA," SANDBERG EXPLAINS.
Facebook has succeeded because it has continuously found a way to scale—its service, its business, and its ambitions. "The Facebook of today is in so many ways exactly like the Facebook of 2008," says VP of people Lori Goler, who joined the company that year, when it had a mere 80 million users and less than one-twentieth its current head count. "The culture is the same. The values are the same. Mark’s tremendous vision, intellect, learning mind-set—all of that is the same. What’s changed is we have a lot more resources now in terms of the business growing and the number of people we have to help us move the world forward."
With the company now reaching almost 1.5 billion people, Zuckerberg can raise that last part—moving the world forward—to a new level. In August 2014, he appointed product VP Naomi Gleit, one of the company’s longest-serving employees (she joined in 2005), to manage dozens of staffers dedicated exclusively to implementing functionality that helps Facebook members do good. A donation tool, launched last year, allows users to respond to disasters by giving money, a task that—Facebook being Facebook—it sees as an engineering problem that should be attacked through continuous iteration. "I geek out on this, but with the Ebola campaign we asked users to select a donation amount," explains Gleit. "We also asked them to pick a specific charity that they wanted to donate to." This proved confusing to users and did not produce as much giving as Facebook hoped. "With the Nepal campaign we reduced it from five steps to two," Gleit says. "We had a preselected donation amount, and we chose multiple charities and then distributed among them equally."
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Tools like this "maybe only can happen on Facebook, or can happen uniquely well on Facebook," says Zuckerberg (who, along with his wife, Priscilla Chan, a pediatrician, has given $1.6 billion to various causes). "I think about the organ-donation listing work that we did. The Safety Check stuff that we’ve done, where 150 million people were notified of their friends being safe in the [Nepal] earthquake. You can only do that if you’ve mapped out what people’s relationships are, and you have a sense of where people are in the world, and you have a tool that they’re checking every day." He’s right: Facebook can indeed do things no other company can.
But it can’t do anything for people who remain disconnected from the digital world. "If we really want to connect everyone in the world and give everyone the ability to have a voice and share what they want with the people around them, then you can’t just build the biggest Internet service," Zuckerberg says. "You also have to help grow the Internet." In 2013, Facebook enlisted Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung, and other tech giants to help it found Internet.org, the global-connectivity initiative dedicated to bringing the Internet to the 60% of people worldwide who aren’t yet online.
The effort is a hybrid of short-term altruism and long-term capitalism. "The fundamental connectivity problem is a financial one," Sandberg explains. "For 90% of the people, it’s cost. The World Bank puts absolute poverty at about $1.25 a day. One in six people live under that. If you’re the average connected Facebook user in the U.S., you spend a dollar a day implicitly on data. So the business models have to change, and the cost needs to go down. And that’s what we’re trying to do."
"It’s not lost on our businesses that as economic standings improve, there will be opportunities, but that’s not the initial goal," adds Matt Grob, CTO of Qualcomm. "We’ve seen throughout the world that when you provide improved connectivity, people are more able to educate their children and participate in political and government activities and sell their wares or find jobs."
Internet. org’s first effort—an app offering free access to Facebook, news, search, job listings, and other services—is live in India, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Africa, and 24 other countries. Facebook has deployed it in collaboration with local wireless carriers, and 15 million people are using it. But the app has received pushback on multiple grounds, particularly for offering only certain curated services rather than the full, unbridled Internet—a violation, critics say, of net neutrality principles.
The debate has been particularly heated in India: Investor Mahesh Murthy charged that giving poor people free access to a sliver of the web amounted to "economic racism," and several major media companies that had joined the effort pulled out.
Yael Maguire director, Connectivity Lab: "Our focus is technologies that can advance the state of the art by at least an order of magnitude. We don’t want to make something better by a factor of two or three, because the rest of the industry is going to do that."
For Facebook, releasing something, gauging reaction, and then tweaking as necessary is not only normal but also a badge of honor—after all, one of the company’s guiding principles is "Done is better than perfect." When I ask Zuckerberg about the controversy, he says, "Internet.org is working. We’ve learned a lot from our efforts already. We’ve listened to a lot of feedback from people in the communities we’re connecting and have responded by making significant changes to the program." Among other adjustments, it’s made the app more secure and private and now let’s any third-party service submit itself for inclusion, subject to technical restrictions. Given time, the company might get the Internet.org app to a place that’s relatively uncontroversial. Even now, it has its allies. "I firmly believe that at this point, some Internet is better than no Internet," says Helani Galpaya, CEO of LIRNEasia, a communications think tank based in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
For the places on earth where there’s currently no Internet, Facebook and Internet.org are tackling that issue too. In terms of land area, explains Yael Maguire, director of Facebook’s Connectivity Lab, "there’s only 10% of the world that is not able to connect if they pulled out a phone. The focus for this lab, going back to the mission of the company, is to figure out how we can connect the last 10%."
Talking with Maguire, you quickly see why Zuckerberg entrusted him with this challenge: The way he rattles off stats and facts and calmly deconstructs goals that sound nearly impossible is reminiscent of his boss’s own manner. Facebook opened the Connectivity Lab in March 2014, and Maguire and his team have concluded that the answer to their challenge is a drone—although Maguire prefers the less-politicized (though not exactly catchy) term HAPI Link, which is short for high-altitude platform Internet link. By charging an unmanned aerial vehicle’s battery via solar power and flying it at 60,000 to 90,000 feet, above weather and conventional aircraft, the company believes it could efficiently send high-speed Internet access down to where it is needed via laser.
Facebook began the project with more hardware engineering experience than you might imagine. It started accumulating this more than a half-decade ago, when execs decided that the best way to deliver Facebook reliably and efficiently to hundreds of millions of people was to construct its own data centers and fill them with its own servers. That path led to the Open Compute Project, Maguire’s purview at Facebook prior to the Connectivity Lab, which created power-efficient, easy-to-repair servers that the company could install by the thousands in data centers located everywhere from Prine¬ville, Oregon, to Luleå, Sweden. Rather than treat its designs as proprietary, Facebook shared them with the rest of the industry via a not-for-profit that grew to include support from Apple, Dell, HP, Intel, and Microsoft, among others.
"When I joined, we didn’t have mechanical engineers," says Open Compute Project Foundation board member Frank Frankovsky, who headed hardware design for Facebook’s servers before leaving in 2014 to cofound a storage startup. "We hired some of the best in the world. And guess what? Drones need mechanical engineers, too."
The company acquired instant expertise in unmanned aeronautics in March 2014 by plunking down $20 million for Ascenta, a U.K.–based startup founded by Andrew Cox, whose previous efforts included a military drone that set a world record by staying aloft for almost two weeks.
As in the past, hearing Mark Zuckerberg explain his vision proved to be a powerful recruiting tool. "I personally called up the guy who’s leading our laser-communications effort, who was working at [NASA’s] Jet Propulsion Laboratory," he recalls. "And he said, ‘What? Why are you calling me?’ And I said, ‘Because we’re connecting the world, and I want you to come in and meet the team, and this is something that’s really important to me, and I think we can make a big difference.’ ”Even in the retelling, Zuckerberg makes it sound urgent.
Fourteen months after the Ascenta acquisition, Facebook announced that it had a full-scale prototype, dubbed Aquila and crafted from ultra-lightweight carbon fiber. An empty next-generation Boeing 737-600 airliner weighs upwards of 80,000 pounds and has a 113-foot wingspan; Aquila has a 138-foot wingspan, yet weighs only 880 pounds. The company plans to begin test flights by the end of 2015. Once the planes are manufactured, Facebook plans to partner with local telcos to deploy them.
For all the quick progress the Connectivity Lab has made, much remains to be done. It’s still developing the battery technology necessary to keep the drone in the air for three months, the company’s goal. And though it’s figured out how to use lasers to transmit data at blistering speeds in the tens of gigabits per second, thanks to technology borrowed from Facebook’s data centers, it is still ironing out the details of drone-to-ground communication.
Then there are the FAA regulations, which require that every drone have a dedicated pilot on the ground controlling it, a restriction that Maguire says would make Aquila economically unworkable (the same is true of Google’s Project Loon Internet balloons; the two fierce competitors are collaborating to work through some of the policy implications). The solution? Computer science. "We need good machine-learning algorithms and control algorithms," Maguire says, "to make it so that you have 1,000 planes per pilot or . . . I don’t know what the number is, but somewhere between 25 and 1,000."
Zuckerberg, who personally researched and wrote a meaty, unsigned Facebook white paper on the state of connectivity, is, as usual, unfazed. And with 54% of the voting power of Facebook stock in his control, bouncing ideas off his board of directors is as close as he ever gets to seeking permission for his plans. "The myth is that Mark makes decisions and informs the board," says director Andreessen. "The reality is that we have very detailed discussions."
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As Zuckerberg recalls, the board asked him, “You’re going to spend how many billions of dollars on this? And how is this going to make money?’ And I said, ‘Well, I don’t have a direct plan now, but I just believe that if we connect these folks it will be good. And it will help those economies grow. And those people have better lives. And I think some portion of that will come back to us over some period of time.’ "
Zuckerberg has earned the right to trust his gut. "At the beginning of Facebook, I didn’t have an idea of how this was going to be a good business," he tells me. "I just thought it was a good thing to do." He pauses. "Very few people thought it was going to be a good business early on, which is why almost no one else tried to do it."
Today, everyone understands: Not worrying about whether Facebook was a good business turned out to be a great way to do business. Zuckerberg has recalibrated his ambitions accordingly. As Andreessen tells me, "This is a guy who’s 31. He’s got a 40- or 50-year runway. I don’t even know if there’s a precedent."



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