Saturday, April 30, 2005

Silly Things, Ordinary Things

The most important things that will happen to you will often come as a result of silly things -- ordinary things.

-- Chaim Potok

Powerful Men Swimming Together Nude

NYTimes has an article about rich and powerful men and their desire to swim together naked:

After long days spent defending their positions atop New York's most competitive fields, Manhattan's alpha males need to unwind. From mistresses to treadmills, these men have as many forms of relaxation as sources of stress. But some of the city's titans have a secret. They meet around private pools in private clubs and swim together, naked.

The club's membership is no less distinguished. George Plimpton frequented it for decades, and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg was also a member, although he resigned in an egalitarian gesture before becoming mayor. Members include a leveraged buyout king, Henry R. Kravis, and a Greek Prince, Pavlos.

Is there a naked swimming club for women out there somewhere?

Friday, April 29, 2005

Evernote Nevermore

Okay, well I've been trying out Evernote for the past couple of days, and unfortunately, its not going to end up being my HOLY GRAIL personal info manager.

Why not?
  1. Its waay to hard to navigate within the application.
    I have to pick up my mouse constantly in order to move from note to note, or to navigate within a note, especially one that I've locked (prevented from being edited -- particularly useful for web clippings). When I'm reading stuff I've clipped, it gets really annoying not to be able to hit page down. Or if I'm scanning through the notes, its annoying not to be able to skip to the next one quickly.
  2. There's no index.
    I've only added about 20 different notes, and its already a pain to scroll through them. I'd like to see an index with all the titles of the notes, so that I can jump to the one I want quickly. What if I forget the category I put a note in?
  3. There's no place to put a title or specify keywords/tags.
    And its so annoying to have to manually check off the categories and subcategories at every point.
  4. Evernote isn't really portable.
    I go from my desktop at home to my laptop to Kane's laptop, and sometimes I travel, so what if I'm at an Internet kiosk and I just want to check something quickly? Its really not possible to do that with this application.

    Yes, they are going to add a "synchronize" feature that will be subscription based, but having to constantly synchronize is annoying! Who wants to keep backing up stuff and then making sure things sync between PDA and laptop and desktop etc.? We all have a million gadgets we use, why can't it just access one point instead of keep multiple copies of the same thing?
  5. I don't like how the options for each note are at the top of the note.
    What if you're in the middle of a note and want to add another category? Since scrolling to the top is so tedious, it ends up being a giant hassle. Meta data should exist outside of the note.

Progress on the eBook Front

Cool ebook gadget from Sony called Librie.

Sony Librie

Uses the eink technology I discussed in an earlier post, so the screen looks like newspaper! Very neat. Unfortunately, the gadget only has 10 MB of built in memory (which is literally NOTHING) and only supports Sony Memory stick... aaah, why can't someone combine an iPod with eink technology?!

Apple, where are you?

(Thanks to
kottke for the information!)

  • Buy the Librie here for $600.
  • Read the wiki entry
  • Boing Boing's comments
  • Another review from

    As for permanent content, well there ain't any! Not yet anyway. So right now, if you don't keep buyin' the crappy book, you have 60 days to finish it, or you gotta buy it again.

    Gosh, crippled DRM management -- this is really not the way to go... don't companies understand that usable content is what drives purchases of gadgets??

    People aren't going to buy the ebook just because its cool. They will buy it so they can read news articles, so they can read books, research reports, or even read papers and textbooks.

    Shouldn't the gadget let you put your stuff on it??

Intergenerational Amnesia

I've been reading the book 102 minutes, an account of the last 102 minutes in the World Trade Center towers.

Its a totally riveting account of people's struggles for life in the burning towers.

Anyway, one thing that has really struck me is that people always forget lessons learned by one generation and have to RELEARN. Its as though we don't take warnings seriously unless we experience the pain ourselves.

I can think of several examples:

    Real Motives

    • Google's shift in strategy [Fortune]
      Very interesting... are they shifting strategy because their view has changed, or is it because they've become a revenue-hungry public company?!
    • Wow, is Silver Lake going to buy out Sun Microsystems?
    • Darth Vader's blog
      Hehehe, the journal of Darth Vader, servant to his Supreme Excellency, the Emperor Palatine
    • The Business of Animationa
      A commentary on the biz.. and why animated films are so hard

    • Being nice is overrated [SF Chronicle]

      "I worked for Rupert Murdoch for four years. He was not a nice guy, even when he was trying to be. But he always told me the truth, even when it was not a truth I wanted to hear. It was a really easy gig, even when it was hard. I knew how I would be judged."

      Do you want the truth or do you want to hear something nice?

      Now, this doesn't mean be horrible and cruel. Just be honest, if you can.

    Vegas! Vegas! Vegas!

    Vegas! Vegas! Vegas!

    I've been reading the book Bringing Down the House. Its a very easy read -- I've only spent maybe an hour reading it, and I'm already halfway through the book.

    [This differs materially from my experiences reading The New Yorker.]

    Well, whenever I read a book, I always want to know what other people thought about it, want to see some discussion around the plot or characters or whatever. So I went to the Amazon website to see other reader's reviews.

    The interesting thing is that one of the reviewers commented that he felt the whole story was a lie. As in, there is no proof any of this really happened!

    And you know... the main character's name "Kevin Lewis" isn't his real name. What proof do we really have that this isn't a long drawn-out dream of Kevin, as told to Ben Mezrich?

    I mean, I do believe that its one hell of a story. And I think the reviewer said something along the lines like, feeling that this is a true story makes is more exciting/interesting.. I guess that is true! I mean, if I read the story feeling like it was fiction (made-up) instead of being excited about a group of MIT kids actually making mad bucks off a large casino, maybe I wouldn't be as interested.

    I guess this goes back to the question, if a tree falls in a forest and no one saw or heard it, did it really fall?

    Is the past just a dream that we made up?

    Studies have shown that people's perception of the past often differs materially from their feelings when they lived through it.

    Thursday, April 28, 2005

    Green Monster

    Green Monster at Astor Place [New Yorker]

    The first thing you think when you see the new luxury apartment building at Astor Place—a slick, undulating tower clad in sparkly green glass—is that it doesn’t belong in the neighborhood.

    The article notes that each apartment starts at $2mm!

    Bubble, bubble toil and trouble

    Oh and more on why Freakonomics is interesting:

    They also discovered large disparities in the language used in the listings of agent versus non-agent homes. The agent's listings used words that evoke specific, luxurious images, while listings for non-agent houses used vague, nebulous language. The more evocative language resulted in an average of 3+% higher sales prices.

    Correlated To Higher Sales Price

    Correlated To Lower Sales Price

    Correlated To Higher Sales Price

    Correlated To Lower Sales Price

    Correlated To Higher Sales Price

    Correlated To Lower Sales Price

    Correlated To Higher Sales Price

    Correlated To Lower Sales Price

    Correlated To Higher Sales Price

    Correlated To Lower Sales Price
    Great neighborhood

    (Thanks to Shaun for the nice summary!)

    Wednesday, April 27, 2005


    Cool note-taking software highlighted by the WSJ called Evernote.

    You don't have individual documents in EverNote. You simply open the program, and everything you've written or pasted is there, much as if you were opening a traditional notebook, the sort you used in school. So you might see a bunch of letters, reports and diary entries, all on the same long scrolling screen. Finding individual entries is easy, as we shall see, and the program constantly saves your work automatically.

    You can, of course, type traditional text into EverNote. But it will accept much more. For example, when you install the program, it places a button at the top of Internet Explorer. When you are surfing the Web and come across a page you want to keep, you press the EverNote button, and the page -- graphics and all -- is quickly pasted as a new note in EverNote. It's like you clipped a page from a magazine and pasted it in your notebook.

    Very neat. I always like to keep notebooks filled with all the information that I come across, and given that we find information in all sorts of places, its nice to have one repository we can dump it in.

    Keeping and storing information is one thing, how about making it accessible and easy to find? Hopefully, Evernote will do that, too.

    For now, its in beta and its still free, so get it while you can.

    (Oh and here's a link to a blogger's assessment of Evernote -- very positive!)

    Mac users can try NoteTaker -- its $70, though.

    Now can someone put a tool like this on the Internet so that my notes will be accessible anywhere I go?

    Wait, I guess that's what this blog is!

    Duly noted

    True Happiness

    True happiness consists not in the multitude of friends,
    but in the worth and choice.

    -- Ben Johnson

    Tuesday, April 26, 2005

    Discount Moviemaking

    • How to Finance a Blockbuster [Slate] via [Hacking Netflix]

      Lara Croft

      As paradoxical and absurd as it sounds, it's cheaper for a Hollywood studio to make a big-budget action movie than to make a shoestring art film like Sideways.

      Aaah, use foreign tax loopholes to save money on flicks, brilliant!
    • Deadly Train Crash in Tokyo [Gothamist]
      Oh no! Trains in Tokyo are the most efficient that I've ever seen... sounds like the pressure of perfection for the 23-year old conductor got to be too much!

    Mobile Websurfing

    For all you mobile web-surfers (c'mon I know you're out there), there's a cool site called Wapedia.

    Basically, its Wikipedia on WAP!

    Isn't it fun to read the encyclopedia?

    Westie Banner

    Monday, April 25, 2005

    Mind Your Own Beeswax

    Nobody minds your business like you do

    -- Charles Collin

    Sunday, April 24, 2005

    Crooks at Enron

    They've done it - there's a documentary out about the crooks at Enron. Does anyone want to watch it with me?

    I think it looks fascinating!

    Check out the NYT review here.

    Theodore Roosevelt

    It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

    -Theodore Roosevelt

    Saturday, April 23, 2005

    Conquering Poseidon

    Me, Angela and Kane stayed in tonight, ate takeout and watched Riding Giants on my projector.

    I think I must've said, "That's crazy" about 20 times.

    waimea bay by David M. French, Jr.

    The film is a documentary chronicling surfers in the 20th century and their quest to ride the biggest wave yet.

    Its truly incredible though. Can you imagine a 100 foot wave? Given that the height of my ceilings are 12 feet -- and I can't even fathom falling from that height, what must it be like to soar at death-defying speeds on a water demon?

    The film was highly entertaining... all the surfers seemed pretty humble, considering their achievements.

    One thing that struck me was that the surfers get depressed if they don't see good waves. Its as if they go into wave withdrawal or something.

    It makes me think, they are always after the next bigger and better wave. Its this never-ending quest for more, more, more. Maybe I am being too jaded here, but why can't they be satisfied with what they have?

    I suppose it does get boring. Why surf Waimea Bay when you could surf Peahi?

    And, I think something about surfing seems very pure. When you're out there, maybe its when you really realize your insignificance.

    Why do people climb Mount Everest? (Have you read this devastating account of a Mt. Everest expedition - Into Thin Air?)

    Why does Bethany Hamilton continue to surf and compete, even after losing her arm to a shark while surfing? (Any relation to Laird?)

    I don't know... but Riding Giants was definitely riveting.

    Oh and for a less intense surfing movie, check out Blue Crush.

    NY Times Link Generator

    Very neat... you know how if you read an article on the NY Times, after a while, the article becomes an "archive" and you can no longer access it for free?

    Well if you go to the website below and input the original link to the article, it will generate "permanent" links to articles in the Times. As in, you will always be able to get back to the original article. Very cool!

    Check it out here:

    Why does this work? Userland (which is the userid associated with the generated links) has a partnership with the NY Times whereby links generated by Userland will continue to work indefinitely.

    ... special coding tells the Times's server that the link is coming from a weblog, and now and in the future, this link will work without a fee to access the archive... If you link in to the Times archive through a link generated by the Radio UserLand aggregator, or compatible software, the link will continue to work in the future, as long as there is no substantial abuse to this system.

    Hmm, what would be considered "abuse"?

    For more details, read the explanation.

    Friday, April 22, 2005

    Friday Links

    Ju Network

    Have you ever heard of Ju Network?

    Kane went to Korea recently, and he brought these amazing lycra nylons from the Ju Network.

    I guess the Ju Network is all the rage in Korea or something. I dunno.

    They have these little rubbery things on the bottom that give me some traction when I'm walking around.. its sort of a weird sensation.

    Anyway, so far these nylons have been super tough. They've been strong, yet supportive.

    I would say I'd endorse them, however, they have not yet been put through many "laundry tests", so I'll have to report back after that.

    Since the Ju website is in Korean, I'm having trouble understanding what exactly it is and why its so amazing.. it looks like just another corporation? Or a direct seller of private label merchandise?

    Here's a photo of the who appears to be the CEO of this enterprise.

    Thursday, April 21, 2005

    Craigs List + Google Maps

    Neat UI interface that combines Craigs List housing lists (rental and sales) and Google Maps.

    Check it out here:

    Wednesday, April 20, 2005

    VC Blogs

    I've been reading some VC blogs lately, and it seems like they mostly use the Movable Type platform. As in they pay $4.95 a month to be hosted on Typepad or have installed the software and are hosted somewhere.

    Some of them use Blogger.

    How come they don't use Wordpress?

    Seems weird to me.

    Maybe its because Wordpress is Opensource and free?

    They have to support products that make money, right?

    Or maybe Wordpress is just too "techy" and they want to use the platform that the masses would use?

    In addition, most of them have 3 column layouts and are very hard to look at design-wise. It might a limitation of Typepad/MovableType (I feel like you need to really know CSS/html to modify the template).

    However, you would think that since these guys are champions of new technology and innovation, they would have user-friendly and clear layouts.

    Instead, they are cluttered, crowded, confusing...

    That being said, its easier to be a critic than a performer. And content matters more than the container, however, a clear container makes it easier to find what you're looking for.

    [And to be fair, not all of them have crowded, confusing layouts.]

    Some VC blogs to check out (in no particular order):

    Test of our Progress

    The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little

    --Franklin Roosevelt

    Tuesday, April 19, 2005

    America vs. the Rest of the World

    Healthcare in America vs. healthcare in the rest of the world [Wash. Monthly]

    Here are the percentages of Americans who say they are "fairly or very satisfied" with their own health system: Poor: 45%, Elderly: 61% and Everyone else: 34% ...

    First, the elderly in America, who are covered by a state-run national healthcare system (Medicare and Medicaid) are way more satisfied with their healthcare than everyone else. As it happens, the elderly in other countries also tend to report higher satisfaction levels than other people, but usually by just a few percentage points. In America, where the elderly are covered by a national system and others aren't, the elderly are more satisfied by a whopping 27 percentage points.

    Second, even the poor are more satisfied with their healthcare than the rest of us. The poor generally rely on a combination of Medicaid, emergency rooms, and free clinics for their healthcare, a system that's hard to beat for sheer inefficiency and appalling service.

    Very interesting.

    Why won't American support a national healthcare system? I suppose it feels too socialist.

    (Credits to Brad Delong for the clipping.)

    Gotta persist!

    Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men of talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

    -- Calvin Coolidge

    Work, work, work!

    Read on the web

    Yahoo! News Relaunch

    An inside look at Yahoo! News
    Wow, they are integrating an RSS reader into Yahoo! News.. pretty cool!

    I checked out the interface a couple days ago, and I think I still like the old UI. Maybe its just hard to get used to change?

    Monday, April 18, 2005

    The Good Samaritan

    No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he'd only had good intentions. He had money as well.

    -- Margaret Thatcher

    Morgan Stanley Continues to Flail

    • Hoping to Steal Some Talent, Rivals Circle Morgan Stanley [NYT]

      Among the rainmakers pursued by competitors has been Stephen R. Munger, chairman of the bank's mergers and acquisitions department, who has been approached by Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and others, according to bankers who have been briefed on the situation. Other top mergers and acquisitions bankers, including Paul J. Taubman and Raymond J. McGuire, are considered prize targets of rival firms, too, these bankers say....

      With Mr. Purcell's new focus on loyalty - Mr. Pandit was forced out because he declared his fidelity to Morgan Stanley, not Mr. Purcell - and the rapid promotion of Stephen S. Crawford and Zoe Cruz to co-presidents, many investment bankers claim that the firm's spirit of meritocracy is fading.

      Hmmm, looks like the brain drain is going to continue.. What's more important loyalty or meritocracy?
    • Bloggers aren't safe! [NYT]

      As the practice of blogging has spread, employees like Mr. Kennedy are coming to the realization that corporations, which spend millions of dollars protecting their brands, are under no particular obligation to tolerate threats, real or perceived, from the activities of people who become identified with those brands, even if it is on their personal Web sites.

      They are also learning that the law offers no special protections for blogging - certainly no more than for any other off-duty activity.

    • Mark Jen’s life @ Plaxo
      Former Google employee, new Plaxo employee. Another "dooced".

    What should Blockbuster do?

    What should Blockbuster do? [WSJ]

    It's a familiar situation: a once-dominant business generating lots of cash whose market is slowly dying. Other companies facing the same situation include Time Warner Inc.'s America Online Internet service and Eastman Kodak Co.'s traditional film business. In all cases, the quandary is the same. Should management use the cash generated by the existing but doomed business to diversify into something new but risky? Or should it preserve cash and return it to shareholders, such as through higher dividends, and wring as much value as possible out of the final days?

    Mr. Antioco[, Blockbuster's CEO,] argues that Blockbuster has no choice but to try to reinvent itself. He says any attempt to simply milk the cash from Blockbuster's traditional rental business won't work for very long. He estimates that the market for renting videos in stores is down 17% since 2001 and could decline 3% a year for at least the next three years.

    I have to agree with Antioco. Maybe its a risky, but he has an opportunity to turn around the business and create something new.

    There is a paradigm shift occurring in content delivery.. but who has the answer? Is it going to be VOD via cable, video through Google or are the RBOC's going to team up with the birds to come up with an offering?

    Its a battle for the money of the couch potatoes!

    The only certain winner is the consumer...

    Sunday, April 17, 2005

    Thomas Mann

    Thomas Mann said that,

    Introspection is the first step towards transformation… after knowing himself, nobody can continue being the same.

    Hhmm, but if you do continue to be the same maybe you are happy with who you are.

    Weekend Links

    Saturday, April 16, 2005

    Forever Climbing Mount Everest

    I finished read Sushi for Beginners, by Marian Keyes, a while ago. In it, there's an exchange that I find very telling:

    "But there's more to life than being the best."

    A scornful laugh. "No, there isn't."

    "But you are the best. You're so young and successful, why isn't it enough"

    "That's the trouble with success," Lisa muttered. "You've got to continually top yourself."

    How could she explain that the more she got the more she wanted? Every coup left her empty, chasing the next one in the hope that perhaps then she'd feel like she'd arrived. Satisfaction was fleeting and elusive and success simply whetted her appetite for more and more and more.

    And then later in the book:

    She's always been the sum of her triumphs. One success stacked on top of another made Lisa who she was... our lives are a succession of experiences and the broken ones count as much as the perfect ones

    Poor girl, but so true. I agree that that is the trouble with success. You become addicted to it, and it becomes a drug that you need more and more and more of. But when does it all end? When do you finally realize that you have enough? What will give long-lasting satisfaction? Not shopping, not consuming, not eating... But what?

    I feel that I've definitely been guilty of the pursuit of fleeting passions-- like being the best, being super-successful. But, lately I have been realizing how superficial and short each shining moment is. When you finally achieve "success", you're happy, you're on top of the world. But then, moments later, that high starts to fade away, and you have to start climbing again, since things always change, glories fade away. If you decide to take a look back, you'll see the carcasses of things sacrificed, and realize that its might not be worth it. As Lisa did, eventually, in the book.
    • New York Observer article on "The Netflix Neurosis"

      "Maximizers." Extreme Maximizers are correlated with clinical depression, according to Mr.Schwartz. "Assume you’re the kind of person that needs to get the best," he said. "So what does that mean? It means you have to examine all the possibilities, otherwise how do you know it was the best? The alternative is someone who is satisfied with ‘just good enough.’ You don’t have to examine all the options—you only find the one that meets your standards and then you stop looking. But if you need to have the best, the search has to be exhaustive. But it can’t be exhaustive in the world we live in. At some point, you stop and pull the trigger, and there’s this doubt in your mind: ‘If I’d looked a little longer or looked a little different, I’d have done better.’

      Isn't that interesting? I feel like a lot of people I know are extreme maximizers. Maybe its just people from [insert Ivy League School]? But, people from [same Ivy League School] are never satisfied with good enough. They have to keep looking and looking until almost every stone is overturned before we settle down, if that ever even happens. Sort of goes along with the neverending quest for success.

    Housework or your Life

    Why hiring help is good for your relationships and your health

    Friday, April 15, 2005

    Attitude on Life

    The longer I live the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.

    Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do.

    It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home.

    The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable.

    The only thing that we can do is to play on the one string we have and that is our attitude…

    I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our attitudes

    -- Charles Swindoll

    Google Video Launches and Other Links

    Thursday, April 14, 2005

    Curie & Jo's Wedding Photos

    Here are some pix from the wedding ceremony last February:

    The Newlyweds
    The Newlyweds

    Me and Kane
    Me and Kane

    The Wedding Party
    The Wedding Party

    Another shot of the wedding party
    The wedding party being silly

    Curie, Jo and the Bridesmaids
    Curie, Jo & the Bridesmaids

    The Wedding Cake
    The Wedding Cake

    Trader Joe on 14th


    This just in, Amy Langfield reports that the tentative location for Trader Joe's in Manhattan is 14th St between 3rd and 4th Ave.

    Right in my 'hood! :-D


    Wednesday, April 13, 2005

    Insights from Johnny Carson

    1. Learn to laugh at yourself
    2. Never lose the curiousity of childhood: "Go on asking questions about the nature of things and how they work, and don't stop until you get the answers."
    3. Study the art of compromise, which implies willingness to be convinced by other people's arguments: "Stay loose. In Marriage, above all, compromise is the name of the game."
    4. Having picked a profession, feel no compulsion to stick to it: "If you don't like it, stop doing it. Never continue in a job you don't enjoy."
    -- Johnny Carson

    Tuesday, April 12, 2005


    Interesting book coming out called Freakonomics...

    Here's the description:

    Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? Why do drug dealers still live with their moms? How much do parents really matter? What kind of impact did Roe v. Wade have on violent crime? ... [Steven D. Levitt] is a much-heralded young scholar who studies the riddles of everyday life-from cheating and crime to sports and child-rearing - and whose conclusions regularly turn the conventional wisdom on its head.

    Its so interesting to think about economics in the context of decision-making and human actions. Basically, the authors use data to discover surprising new things about people and how we function.

    Very neat!

    Did you see the article called What the Bagel Man Saw last year? Levitt wrote that article as well (with co-author Stephen J. Dubner)! In that article, Levitt describes a man who has a bagel business. The bagel man (who happened to have an advance degree in economics) would leave a box of bagels in the kitchen along with a box for money at each company he sold to.

    Whether you pay for your bagel or not is basically Scout's honor -- no one is there to police you.

    What did he discover?
    • He has identified two great overriding predictors of a company's honesty: morale and size. Paul F. has noted a strong correlation between high payment rates and an office where people seem to like their boss and their work.

    • Weather, for instance, has a major effect on the payment rate. Unseasonably pleasant weather inspires people to pay a significantly higher rate. Unseasonably cold weather, meanwhile, makes people cheat prolifically; so does heavy rain and wind.

    • But he will say that telecom companies have robbed him blind, and another bagel-delivery man found that law firms aren't worth the trouble.

    • He also says he believes that employees further up the corporate ladder cheat more than those down below.... Maybe, he says, the executives stole bagels out of a sense of entitlement. (Or maybe cheating is how they got to be executives.)

    Dubner also wrote an article recently in the New York Times about a young economics professor at Harvard who has done very interesting work...

    Roland G. Fryer Jr. is 27 years old and he is an assistant professor of economics at Harvard and he is black. Yes, 27 is young to be any kind of professor anywhere. But after what might charitably be called a slow start in the scholarly life, Fryer has been in a big hurry to catch up. He was in fact only 25 when he went on the job market, gaining offers from -- well, just about everywhere. He abruptly ended his job search by accepting an invitation to join the Society of Fellows at Harvard, one of academia's most prestigious research posts. This meant he wouldn't be teaching anywhere for three years. The Harvard economics department told Fryer to take its offer anyway; he could have an office and defer his teaching obligation until the fellowship was done.

    Anyway, check out the the author's blog.. Neat stuff!

    Related posts:

    Thomas Keller

    It's all about repetition,'' he says, "and finding true satisfaction in repetition is one of my strong points.

    --Thomas Keller of The French Laundry and Per Se

    Monday, April 11, 2005

    Cool Image Host

    I just want to point out a really awesome website called

    ImageShack hosts images for free!

    Image Hosted by

    Yes, that's right, it costs absolutely nothing to host an image with them.

    Basically, you go to their site, click on the "Browse" button and select the image you want them to host. After you upload the image, the site will give you a bunch of ways to access the image -- basically url's to the image.

    The maximum file size is 1,024 kilobytes. Images are available "forever".

    This service is perfect for posting things up on auction sites like ebay or selling things on Craig's List.

    I honestly have no idea how they make money, I guess they do have an accounts/credits feature now, but still... it can't be cheap to host all these images!!

    You could donate money to them though.

    In any case, they are awesome and I love their service!

    Sunday, April 10, 2005

    Special Buds

    Coolhunting finds some special earbuds to improve hearing at concerts and with your ipod!

    After I posted about EarLove, earplugs that help reduce harmful decibel levels at live shows, I decided to poke around the inventor’s website. There I discovered Etymotic’s 6isolator Earphones, a set of in-ear earphones designed in the same manner as EarLove, but as a sonic helper specifically for iPods.

    Hmmm, these the same ones I bought for Kane? 6isolator headphones

    Linklicious April 10

    • The Slow Fadeout of Rent-Regulated Apartments [NYT]
      Ack. Fewer and fewer rent-regulated apartments in NYC!

      There are more eviction proceedings in Manhattan than in any other borough, he said, with landlords frequently claiming that the residents don't live there full time, or that they sublet illegally.

    • Young real estate mogul

      Mr. Yang, 25, owns two apartments in Midtown Manhattan... He started three years ago.

      If you had some capital in 2002, you could be a mini-real estate mogul today! However, its unclear whether or not there is a currently a housing bubble, are prices going to go up forever?

      The article states that he often overbids to win apartments. Is that really a great idea, especially if you're investing? I wonder how he gets around the co-op association rules...
    • Mammoth remains unearthed in California [AP]
    • A 25-year-old Massachusetts Institute of Technology student has invented a revolutionary alarm clock that makes sleepyheads find it to quiet it.
      Hide and seek alarm clock
      I've seen info on this clock all over the place for the past month. But wouldn't you just ignore it? I guess the loud bleeping noises would get on your nerves after a while. Why not just put your alarm far from your bed, but close enough to wake you up? That would seem to do the same thing.

    Saturday, April 9, 2005

    Spicy Crab

    I got a package from Tom today. Four little stuffed animals (sort of look like colorful cotton balls with googly eyes) and a bag of Spicy Crab potato chips from Lays. Oh and a package of hand-created drawings from China.

    Thanks, Tom!

    Super Models Only, No Sleep Required

    Last night, I had a mini America's Next Top Model marathon. Okay, I guess watching two episodes in a row doesn't count as a marathon.

    In any case, I sat down to watch blotches grow all over Michelle's face, the tough wrestler from Indiana. I watched all the models get sprayed with water and greased up for a "sexy, mechanic" shoot.

    How fun! [Well, maybe getting sprayed with water and getting blown by a giant fan isn't exactly fun...]

    I haven't decided who my favorite is yet this season. Last season, I liked YaYa even though I know she was kind of a snob. A pretty and intelligent snob, though!

    Maybe Tiffany? The skinny black girl with a reformed attitude? Naima, the multi-ethnic girl with the honeyed-voice and mohawk?

    Hmmm.. But for some reason, Brittany the XXX girl and Keenya get on my nerves. I know they are becoming best friends forever, but is staying in a fancy hotel and getting room service really that wonderful? Okay, maybe I am getting cynical.

    I wonder what's happened to the other winners? Eva the diva I see plastered all over these Cover Girl promotions during the show, but what happened to Yoanna and Adrianne?? Have they found fame and success?

    Or is Adrianne still wearing dog-collar chokers and pumping iron?

    Watching all these episodes, I still went to sleep late and got up relatively early today, and for some reason I'm not exhausted!

    Is it due to the chocolate golden buttercream cupcake I ate last night?!

    Friday, April 8, 2005

    If you give a man a fish, he will have a single meal. If you teach him how to fish, he will eat all his life.

    Carpal Tunnel Woes

    I think that I am starting to get carpal tunnel... too much time spent doing repetitive keystrokes on the keyboard!!

    During 1998, an estimated three of every 10,000 workers lost time from work because of carpal tunnel syndrome. Half of these workers missed more than 10 days of work. The average lifetime cost of carpal tunnel syndrome, including medical bills and lost time from work, is estimated to be about $30,000 for each injured worker.

    How can systems and processes be developed in such a way to prevent future problems?

    And I'm straining my eyes squinting at the computer monitor.. I think I am going blind!

    Thinking about it some more, I think that the design of a system can go a long way towards preventing or causing things such as carpal tunnel or car accidents.

    Good job design minimizes awkward wrist positions and tasks with repetitive motions.
    Redesigning tools is also important. One study in a poultry processing plant found that workers who used standard knives were prone to carpal tunnel syndrome. When the workers started using knives with a bent handle, they no longer needed to bend their wrists while cutting the meat


    Links for April 8

    Easy Transportation Method

    1. Easy transportation method for suburban areas

      As we all know, more people under 50 in the U.S. die from car accidents than any other cause of death (including cancer, heart attacks, etc.). Further, teens are at particularly high risk for dying in a car accident.

      The curren

    Thursday, April 7, 2005


    Neat blog called Drawn! "is a collaborative weblog for illustrators, artists, cartoonists, and anyone who likes to draw."
    Really neat looking! Fun thing to check out if/when you're bored
    We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
    -- Albert Einstein

    Wednesday, April 6, 2005

    Mystery of the -gry

    This website answers the riddle of the -gry below, but frankly, I don't understand the response!

    There are three words in the English language that end with "gry." One is hungry and the other is angry. What is the third word? Everyone uses this word every day, everyone knows what it means, and knows what it stands for.

    Does anyone care to explain?!

    Tuesday, April 5, 2005

    The APC

    I walked into the post office today to mail a package to a friend and of course there was a super long line. It being tax season, why should I expect any different?

    Well then, I spotted the Automated Postal Center and there was no line there!!

    So I walked over, weighed my packaged and in 2 seconds, I had printed out postage along with delivery confirmation. I even bought a book of stamps (I lost my old book, if you find it, can you let me know?)!

    Then I took my package, dropped it into this giant mailbox and walked out.

    All of this is less than 3 minutes!

    Technology is great!

    (What I don't understand is why people choose to wait in line instead of using the the kiosk or whatever? Whenever I check in at the airport, I use a kiosk. When I buy groceries, I use the do-it-yourself check-out. Why stand in line for hours?!)

    I think the APC, as the post office is calling it, is great especially for frequent users of ebay and other online services. Instead of waiting forever to weigh a package and buy postage, you can do it instantly.

    Of course, what's going to stop some psycho from dumping in explosives or a bomb into the giant mailbox? That is sort of scary...

    Click here to learn some interesting facts about the APC.

    Stranded in an elevator

    Chinese deliverymen stranded in elevator for three days [NYT]

    A restaurant deliveryman who immigrated from China and speaks virtually no English spent three days unnoticed in a stalled high-rise elevator in the Bronx as an intensive search swirled around him, the police said today.

    Poor guy! I can't believe the building is so poorly maintained!!

    "You have to pray every time you get in the elevator not to get caught," one resident [said].

    Monday, April 4, 2005

    Social Order of Bees

    The social order of bees
    Kind of reminds you of humans, doesn't it?

    Saturday, April 2, 2005

    Solutions to Everyday Problems - ePaper

    In the spirit of "see a need, fill a need", I am going to list a gripe that I wish someone would come up with a solution for:ePaper

    I know this is in the works, I just wish someone would come out with it sooner. Whenever I have to travel, I end up turning into a pack mule. Loaded down with stacks and stacks of paper that I (i) need to read or (ii) need information from, I quickly have to decide what's super important and what can be carried in electronic form in my laptop. Since I usually can't decide, I end up carrying several extra tons of paper with me on trips.

    While this process of filtering is good, there are always moments of, crap I am out of battery power, but I need to access x, y or z document. And if my computer is functioning, its totally painful to have to read long pdf documents or long text on the screen. That's why I think a flat, flexible, portable piece of ePaper could be awesome.

    The gadget I'm thinking about would be extremely light, and it would read like a black/white piece of printed paper (this is since I think color is more expensive). I'd be able to quickly load up the latest copy of the Wall Street Journal (which I only subscribe to online anyway), or a book I'm interested in or financial documents on companies I'm researching.

    So basically, it would be a piece of paper, only enhanced. Long battery life is essential (maybe it could be rechargeable) and if it was Wi-Fi enabled, that would be so awesome. Is there any solution out there that would work?

    I know a gig of memory can easily fit onto a flash drive, maybe some kind of data storage like that could be used in conjunction with this ePaper device.

    If someone comes out with this product, I will totally buy it!!

    Seen and heard - the brilliant scientists at eInk are coming up with something, NY Times reports on it, Gizmodo checks out a epaper prototype from Hitachi, a digital book reader that is yet to debut, Polymer's rollable digital paper -- sort of looks clunky and a whole page from Gizmodo devoted to the topic

    Monsoon / Tornado in NYC

    Its supposed to rain buckets in the city this weekend... so far, it hasn't been so bad, but it is sort of windy. All the umbrellas in my apartment are partially broken, but they are functional enough I guess.

    I am so exhausted today. Got to get more sleep!

    Readable Fonts

    Microsoft to introduce six new typefaces designed specifically for reading on the screen

    Awesome. Most of the things that I read are on my computer screen. Unfortunately, I can't really tell the difference between all the fonts. Besides having sound-alike names (Cambria, Constantina, Calibri, Candara, Corbel, Consolas) they all pretty much look alike (beyond the monospaced typeface) with and without serifs. In any case, I am all for readability. I swear I am seriously going blind staring at my computer screen all day.

    I originally heard about this from jason santa maria. Also, here's a study on the usability of popular online fonts.