Defining Social Algorithm

The word social is currently in vogue, we have social networking, social software, social bookmarking, and now social algorithm. Social networking is the activity, social software are the tools which make social networking possible, but what is a social algorithm?

The following tries to define what a social algorithm is.

Social Networking.

Let us look at the examples. Famous social networking sites include Flickr, YouTube, MySpace, Friendster, Wikipedia, Facebook, del.icio.us and the the virtual gaming world of Second Life. Bookmarking and tagging are considered social network activities. The purpose of the network is for people to rendezvous, collaborate, or just sharing something (photos, music, movies, information, etc).

Social Software.

Social software are the tools which make it possible for people to network. These range from email, mailing lists, RSS, IRC, instant messaging, Napster like P2P, blogs, wikis, AJAX, Web 2, etc. Their characteristic is that the networking must be interactive, and bottom-up (users provide content). These software used to be called group-ware. Some of these software are quite old, but some others like blogs are more recent. Wikis have been around ever since Ward Cunningham, the father of Wiki started it, but it was then considered for geeks only, and have been accepted widely only in the last couple of years. Some software are documented using wikis, and businesses, educational institutions have started to make use of it.

Algorithms.

So, what is a social algorithm? An algorithm is like a cooking recipe or computer program with step-by-step instructions to execute a procedure. Algorithms are stated in pseudo-code, easy for people to understand, and are more abstract than computer programs. The programs are said to implement some algorithm, being a machine level translation of the pseudo-code.

Although most algorithms are numerical, they need not be, as shown in cooking recipes, logical unification algorithm, string matching, face recognition, etc.

Agent based.

Social algorithms differs from general algorithms in that they involve agents, and the algorithm is the result of the interaction of the agents. The ant colony algorithm is an example, with ants as the agents, and used to solve some problem, such as the shortest path or the traveling salesman problem. Social algorithms can used for distributed problem solving as the ant colony algorithm, but need not be.

It is said that Google’s PageRank algorithm is the decisive factor for Google to win the battle of the web. The PageRank algorithm ranks websites using many criteria, including the number of inbound links, each with a weight which is the PageRank of the referring site (the algorithm is recursive and almost real-time).

To have an idea of the algorithm, here is a description:

The original PageRank algorithm was described by Lawrence Page and Sergey Brin in several publications.

It is given by

PR(A) = (1-d) + d (PR(T1)/C(T1) + … + PR(Tn)/C(Tn))

where

PR(A) is the PageRank of page A,

PR(Ti) is the PageRank of pages Ti which link to page A,

C(Ti) is the number of outbound links on page Ti and

d is a damping factor which can be set between 0 and 1.

Since PageRank defines ranking of sites in a search, it affects many things, and in the last analysis, many people who derive income from the sites. Hence people, who are the agents here, try to modify their site parameters to increase their ranks. This is commonly known as SEO: search engine optimization.

This is an example where the algorithm provides rules for the social network, and in so doing modifies the agents behavior or actions. Abuse of the algorithm have occurred, in one case, someone builds websites based on (almost) links only with no content, but manages to get a high PageRank. Such anomalies will be probably be taken care of, as the PageRank algorithm is also evolving.

Internet auctions and reverse auctions such as provided by EBay, are also algorithms which provide the rules of the game, where we are the players.

Digg.com is a social bookmarking site, the original suggestion is given 1 digg, and people can digg again if they like the suggestion, or undug it if they don’t. The number of diggs in indicative of the suggestion’s popularity. This system will favor groups of people who collaborate to digg each other suggestions.

We see that social algorithms have weaknesses, often exploited by certain people. Hence the need for improving social algorithms.

Netflix is a famous case, they have offered one million dollars to anyone who can improve the accuracy of their existing algorithm by 10%.

Non human players and avatars.

Back to the definition of social algorithm as a multi-agent based algorithm, where the agents are people, we feel that this definition must be enlarged to include cases where people are substituted by animals or software surrogates. I would consider a simulation of the Digg algorithm, or a simulation of market trading using intelligent agents as social algorithms. So is the ant colony algorithm, which substitutes animals for people. Likewise swarms, flocks, etc.

Cellular automata is a border case, it is agent based all right, but often used to simulate physical, and chemical processes. If use to mimic human activity, it would be a social algorithm.

The evolution algorithm as an abstraction of the Darwinian process is also a social algorithm.

Genetic algorithms and its variations are included here.

Evolutionary Game Theory.

The field of social algorithms intersects with evolutionary game theory. Game theory studies strategies use by the agents, for example in trading, auctions, marketing, voting etc. The prisoner’s dilemma sets a game for 2 prisoners, but it can be iterated and played in a population, which then becomes a social algorithm.

If you have ever played Second Life, you know how complicated social algorithms can be. In the virtual world, the whole life, including economics, relations, and property, is defined by algorithms.



Source by Soei Tan

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Lead Generation Techniques for Real Estate Wholesalers

Many people are overwhelmed when they look into real estate as a possible income stream. Aside from the nervousness hesitation to put out legal contracts constantly, there is an obstacle before they are even able to make an offer on a single property. That obstacle is in the pursuit of actually finding motivated sellers.

Leads are the bread and butter of any successful real estate wholesaler. Without leads, the wannabe investor will spin their wheels. You will find that cash buyers are pretty easy to find when compared to getting motivated sellers to contact you.

Lead generation is your answer. For the next few minutes, you will discover some incredible ways to pull in those motivated seller leads. You will discover the trade secrets of a 20+ year internet marketing veteran that just so happens to be a real estate wholesaler. Let’s get started!

Do you find sellers, or do sellers find you?

There are many methods wholesalers use to reach motivated sellers. Many of them require you to reach out to them. Others will allow them to reach out to you. I am a huge fan of having the motivated seller contact me. Why? Because if they are contacting me, then I know they are more likely to be motivated in the traditional sense. They will be much more open to a discount offer, or even creative financing terms, or subject 2 if there is little to no equity on the property.

While I prefer that the seller contacts me, I am not one to close a door on a gift horse. Every lead is a good lead, and a potential assignment fee. This is why I am going to recommend that you employ as many of these techniques as your time, budget, and determination will allow.

Before you begin, you will want to follow a standard format for your ads. Here is an example…

We Buy Houses

ANY Area, ANY Condition.

Zero Closing Costs, “AS-IS”

Call Now! (555)-555-5555

This will not necessarily be the case for post cards and letters however. You can find that format by searching Google for “yellow letter”.

  • Yellow letters and post cards

The “yellow letter” or post card are excellent sources of done deals. The problem is that a mass mailing can be expensive, even at a single piece cost of $.40 cents per post card. You will need to send between 1,000 and 2,000 to secure a couple of deals. On top of it, the best method is to send it 6 times to the same people before moving on to the next list. That’s about $400 to $800 per mailing times 6. When you are already established in the wholesale game, that cost is easy to absorb thanks to the many assignment fees you’ve collected. When first starting out however, you may not be able to manage that.

The yellow letter is targeted towards a direct mailing list of homeowners with equity and other factors. ListSource is a popular provider of such lists. I have obtained ‘small lists’ of about 180 addresses and names for about $50 or so. You can import the list into a yellow letter or post card mailer service such as BigYellowLetter or any of the various others.

  • Lead websites

As someone who started in the website design and internet marketing business way back in the teenage years, I am always creating websites whenever I get an itch to start a business or collect leads. One of my favorite website backbones is WordPress due to it’s ease of use, ability to optimize for search engines, and the mere fact that I can create multiple variations of lead pages targeting different campaigns.

A wholesaler without a lead website isn’t a wholesaler at all. Not everyone wants to, or has the option to call you. Just providing a phone number on your ad materials isn’t enough. A URL should always be provided as an option, and the visitor should be able to reach you through an intricate contact form that collects information about the house they want to sell you.

When creating your lead site, make sure that you ask all of the appropriate questions so you can analyze the deal ahead of any discussions with the seller. I have an example down below. I like to collect the address, contact info, property type and info, description of needed repairs, etc. I even include an option for them to tell me whether or not they would be willing to hold a note for all, or a portion of their equity. This leaves the option for creative financing in the event that the property is not ideal for a cash offer (low to no equity).

  • Social media

I spend hours every day on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media websites interacting with others, promoting, and just trying to drum up traffic to my website and lead conversions.

Be careful to provide the right ratio of content vs ads however. Over posting ads can be annoying to followers and friends. It would be a good idea to provide fresh articles, resources, ideas, quotes, and other goodies to keep a follower interested long enough to convert them down the road.

  • Newsletter

As an internet marketer, I know the value of building a list. But who is going to want to just hand over their name and email address to a stranger? Someone who is getting something for free of course!

To build a newsletter, you first need to offer something of value for free in exchange for their name and email address. This is often an eBook, or even something smaller such as a 10 page ‘report’. Your report would contain some simple information that teaches them something that they want to know. In order to get access to the report, they must first submit their name and email address. They can then download the report via a confirmation email you send them automatically afterwards. This is email list building 101. Follow this blueprint, and you can have a massive list in 30 days or less.

  • Blogging

Don’t just have a lead site. Blog on it regularly. You can write articles ahead of time, and schedule them to publish week after week. This way, they are getting new content on a regular basis.

In addition to value for your readers, blogs are great for search engine traffic. Content is king. This means that every time you publish a new article, you run the risk of showing up on the first page of Google or another search engine for your target search terms. This will bring in motivated sellers to your lead site (if you convert them), and it can also attract cash buyers if you are targeting them as well.

  • Forums

As before with social media, I have to warn you not to spam forums either. But forums can be excellent sources of leads if you are smart about it and actually contribute. Forums provide a place for you to add your URL and contact information in a signature. This signature would show up whenever you post on the forum, and interested parties can follow you.

I like to join credit repair forums, bankruptcy and back tax forums, and give advice. You can get motivated sellers who are in preforeclosure this way. Just avoid posting urls while giving your advice, as that is considered spammy. Rely wholly on the signature you be your golden goose, and you can’t fail!

You can also join real estate investment forums like EquityPaper or BiggerPockets, and interact with other investors. This can be a chance to co-wholesale deals with other wholesalers who may not have a cash buyer for a certain property. You may be able to help them, and share in the assignment fee.

  • Newspapers

I’m sure you have seen a newspaper before. They still exist, and many people read them. In the classifieds section, you will see other ads just like the one I mentioned earlier. Give it a shot, and see how fast you get calls or leads through your website.

Newspapers can be expensive, but there are some smaller ones with more manageable fees.

  • Podcasts

I have gotten quite a few commercials done and played on live and recorded podcasts. They were bought and paid for through Fiverr, and certainly affordable. You can get an ad played for $5, or a little more for larger podcasts. You can get gig extras which also have your ad mentioned on the podcast’s social media accounts, permanent links on their podcast website, and other goodies.

You can also create your own real estate podcast, and gain a bunch of new listeners to promote to here and there.

  • YouTube

YouTube channels have to be one of the greatest methods of generating a following, and converting to leads. You can manage to do a simple 15 minute video every week, and publish it can’t you?

It can take some time to build a following, but soon enough you will see thousands of new followers ready to absorb what you are putting out there. They will share your content and spread the word. Do not fall asleep on YouTube marketing. It truly is a heavy hitter.

Put your creative juices to work, and come up with some excellent lead generating ideas. You may be surprised at what you come up with!



Source by Brandon Connell

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Cooking Vegetables With Waterless Cookware – Part 2

Cooking vegetables correctly does not have to be a guessing situation. By following a few simple directions, you can insure that your fresh or frozen vegetables will turn out tasty, appealing and cooked to perfection every time.

Cooking Fresh Vegetables

To cook fresh vegetables, place the vegetables in a pan that is almost completely full once vegetables are inserted. When cooking with waterless cookware, cooking vegetables in too large a pan for the quantity you are cooking can be a problem. Then rinse your vegetables with cold water and pour the excess water off. The water that clings to the vegetables plus the vegetable’s own natural moisture will provide enough moisture for cooking the waterless way.

Cover the pan, close the vent and cook over medium-low heat. When the cover spins freely on a cushion of water, the vapor seal has formed. Cook according to the time chart that follows: Do not peek. Doing so not only lengthens the cooking time but also increases the risk of burning your vegetables because the vapor seal is broken. When finished cooking, test for doneness with a fork.  If not done, cover the pan, close the vent and add 2 to 3 Tbsp. of water to the rim to reestablish the vapor seal. Cook over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes.

Cooking Frozen Vegetables

Do not defrost the vegetables. Again the size of pan used for cooking the vegetables is important. Once the vegetables have been placed in the pan, your pan should be almost completely full. Rinse your vegetables with cold water and pour the excess water off. The water that clings to the vegetables plus its own natural moisture will provide enough moisture for cooking.

Cover the pan, close the vent and cook over medium-low heat. When the cover spins freely on a cushion of water, the vapor seal has formed. Cook according to the time chart. Do not peek. Removing the cover will destroy the vapor seal, lengthen the cooking time, and possibly cause the vegetables to burn.

Cooking Times for Vegetables:

Artichokes (whole) (30 to 45)

Artichoke hearts (10 to 15)

Asparagus (10 to 15)

Beans, green (fresh, cut) (15 to 20)

Beans, green (fresh, French cut) (10 to 15)

Beans, green (frozen) (10 to 12)

Beans, Lima (fresh) (30 to 35)

Beans, Lima (frozen) (10 to 12)

Beets (whole) (35 to 40)

Broccoli (15 to 20)

Brussels Sprouts (15 to 20)

Cabbage, shredded (10 to 15)

Carrots, sliced (15 to 20)

Cauliflower (10 to 15)

Corn (fresh) (15 to 20)

Corn (frozen) (10 to 12)

Eggplant (5 to 8)

Greens (10 to 12)

Leeks (12 to 15)

Mushrooms (5 to 10)

Okra (15 to 20)

Onions (whole) (15 to 20)

Parsnips (sliced) (15 to 20)

Peas (frozen) (5 to 7)

Potatoes (quartered) (20 to 25)

Potatoes (whole) (30 to 35)

Potatoes, sweet (30 to 35)

Spinach (frozen) (8 to 10)

Spinach (fresh) (15 to 20)

Squash, summer (yellow) 15 to 20)

Squash, winter (25 to 30)

Squash, zucchini (20 to 25)

Tomatoes (10 to 15)

Turnips and rutabagas (25 to 30)

*Cooking times reflect the time after the vapor seal is formed, which usually takes 3 to 5 minutes. Note: To keep your vegetables hot and ready to serve, keep the cover on and the vent closed. The vegetables will stay hot in the pan for about 20 to 25 minutes.

Don’t let the concept of cooking waterless scare you. When you try it, you will soon discover how easy it is to actually use waterless cookware if you follow the above principles. Yes, cooking with waterless cookware is healthy because vegetables cook in their own natural juices, but you will soon discover how tasty and uniquely flavorful your prepared meals actually are. The Gourmets Cookware offers a wide variety of quality waterless stainless steel products along with tips and healthy recipes that can be easily adapted to your waterless cookware.



Source by Marcia Klun

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The Role of Internet in Business

The internet plays a major role in every aspect of our modern life. Internet technologies play a major role in business. As a business owner, knowing the role of internet in business will help you take advantage of the powerful opportunities it offers to grow you business and make operations more effective.

Here are different ways in which the internet has contributed to the success and growth of businesses.

Communication: The internet makes communication fast and cost efficient. Businesses use internet technologies such as Skype internet and video calls, email and video conferencing to make communication virtually instant.

Growth: The internet plays a big role in the growth of businesses. It gives businesses an opportunity to reach a wider global audience. Promoting through the internet is also a way to increase sales and reach the desired growth level. Business can also expand by having an online division.

Marketing: One of the role of internet in business involves marketing and advertising. Most businesses are taking advantage of the internet to market their products and services to a global audience. The most notable internet technologies here include search engines such as Google.

Networking and Recruiting: Social networking websites play a role in business networking by connecting like-minded professionals. Through the internet, people have found business partners and great employees.

Outsourcing services:The internet has helped cut costs by outsourcing services to countries where it is cheaper to provide these services. Apart from the cost reduction through the outsourcing role of internet in business, outsourcing enables businesses to concentrate on their core services and become more efficient.

Online Shopping Role: One role of internet in business is the birth of ecommerce websites and online payment solutions that allow people to shop online from the comfort of their own homes.

New Opportunities: The internet has opened up new business opportunities and giving rise to a group of successful online business owners. This is a powerful role as anyone can now start an online business.

The role of internet in business cannot be overstated. New businesses are taking advantage of the powerful role the internet plays in business to grow and succeed at a faster rate than was previously possible. Traditional businesses are also not being left behind as they are creating online divisions. A business owner can only ignore the role the internet plays in business at the peril of his or her business.



Source by Rich Riley

How to Make Restaurant Quality Coffee At Home

Have you ever wondered how restaurants get their coffee to taste so good?

First of all, restaurants are in the business of pampering you so they devote much more time to the perfection of a good cup of coffee. Sometimes I’ll remember a restaurant just because of their excellent coffee.

So what are their secrets and how can you duplicate this recipe at home? It may surprise you to find out that the French Press brewing method could be the secret in achieving that restaurant quality taste.

Most fine restaurants use a press pot, also known as the French Press, which produces an extremely rich cup of coffee.

Press pot coffee is coffee steeped for 3-4 minutes between 195 to 205 degrees F. It produces a thicker and much richer taste than an auto-drip machine can produce.

A disadvantage of the French Press is it may leave trace amounts of coffee sediment. But the rich taste more than makes up for the small amount of sediment at the bottom of your cup.

So first, start off with a quality medium roast coffee, which is what most restaurants use. I can give you a couple of good recommendations.

Seattle’s Best Breakfast Blend, Starbucks Breakfast Blend or Starbucks Sulawesi Coffee is 3 excellent choices. These are full-bodied coffees yet very smooth tasting. They are some of our best sellers at PerfectCoffees.com and work well for French Press brewing.

You want to grind the coffee slightly larger than you would for drip coffee. Too fine of a grind will produce a bitter cup of coffee. If your grind is too coarse, the coffee will taste weak. A quality grinder is the best thing you can do to improve the taste of French press coffee.

Remove the plunger from the press pot and put 1 rounded tablespoon of coarse ground coffee per each 6oz. of water into the pot. You can adjust this to your own taste.

Coffee is 99% water so use clean filtered or bottled water free from chlorine and other minerals that affect the taste of coffee.

Boil the water and remove it from the heat for five minutes before you pour it. This will give you the 195 to 205 degree water that is ideal to brew with. Now pour the 195 to 205 degree water over the ground coffee.

Stir the coffee to get total saturation of the grounds then place the plunger on top of the pot and let the coffee steep for 3 to 4 minutes.

Depress the plunger slowly to push the grounds to the bottom of the pot.

Serve all the coffee in the pot after the 3 to 4 minutes of steeping. Otherwise the coffee will keep getting stronger.

If you have any left, you can always transfer it to a clean, preheated air pot or a stainless steel Thermos. This will keep the coffee hot about an hour without hurting the flavor.

The French press brewing method definitely takes more time but gives us the result we are looking for. Restaurant quality coffee in the comfort of your own home.

Copyright © 2004 PerfectCoffees.com. All Rights Reserved.

This article may be re-published “as is” (unedited) as long as the author’s bio paragraph (resource box) and copyright information is included. The URLs in the resource box should be set as hyperlinks if used on a web page.



Source by Gary Gresham

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