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Monday, August 08, 2005

Stats lesson: When n is small, everything sucks

I got on Amazon.com today to browse around, and I realized that I've only purchased three things from that website: a Charlie Brown video, a Stereolab album and a Palm expansion card. And the Charlie Brown video was a gift. I realized this because Amazon kept serving me recommendations for tons of Charlie Brown, Stereolab and Palm crap. I guess Amazon's vaunted customer-profiling system either got lazy and unimaginative, or just couldn't figure out what the hell those three things have to do with one another. So in order for Amazon's targeted offers to make any sense to me, I've got to flesh out my wish list. I'll spend a little while adding everything I can think of. Feel free to buy influence. UPDATE: Wow. Once I rated a few pages of stuff, the system got pretty good at identifying preferences. I'm guessing I fit the "college dude" profile, because I'm getting recommendations for lots of National Lampoon movies and books about poker. And a KENNY ROGERS album? What the hell is that about? Other quirks include filing "Coming to America" in the Drama section. Um, okay. Some server in a rack at a massive Amazon server farm somewhere is snickering at me.

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