Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Shufflin' Along

So I bought an ipod shuffle a couple of weekends ago, and I really like it!

At first, I thought the lack of an LCD screen would really bug me. And it sort of did at first, since I felt like I was listening to this giant vacuum of songs, and I just felt like I had no control what I listened to.

Then I thought about it some more, and decided to think of the shuffle as a "personal radio" -- so now, when I listen I treat it more like a radio, where I hope a song I like comes on, but I have no expectation of being able to control what's next. And I really like it that way!

Another thing that I've done is pared down the playlist on my ipod so that only my current favorite songs are on the shuffle -- no listening to music I'm sick of.

I think the best part about the shuffle is that its really simple, light and easy to use. I used to have an ipod mini (which was sadly stolen) and every morning, I would have to fumble to turn it on, scroll to a song/playlist, etc. It was also heavy and added extra weight to my bag, and I constantly worried about dropping it or damaging it. I eventually stopped using it every day, since it was such a hassle to take it out of a case, turn it on, pick a song, press play, etc. As you can see, I'm supremely lazy. :)

With the shuffle, its the size of a stick of gum. I don't worry about dropping it at all, since its so light and since there are no options, in the morning its easy to turn it on, stick the earphones in my ear and press play. No choices and easy listening. Since my commute is so short, its really nice to have something simple to use.

And I use it to move music around from one computer to another.

The only thing I wish the shuffle could do is play one song over and over. Hehe, I'm the kind of person that likes to play a song to death! Oh well!

Check out this blog entry on how to use the ipod shuffle function better. (Create your own 5-star radio!)

Monday, June 27, 2005

Success and Perception

Two more interesting stories from Malcolm Gladwell:

Fred Soper, DDT and the Killing of Mosquitos [New Yorker]

"Today, of course, DDT is a symbol of all that is dangerous about man's attempts to interfere with nature.... With DDT as his weapon, Soper almost saved the world from one of its most lethal afflictions. Had he succeeded, we would not today be writing DDT's obituary. We would view it in the same heroic light as penicillin and the polio vaccine."

On the Difficulty of Drug Testing and Super-Athletes [New Yorker]

"Perhaps the best example of how murky the drug issue has become is the case of Ben Johnson, the Canadian sprinter who won the one hundred metres at the Seoul Olympics, in 1988. Johnson set a new world record, then failed a post-race drug test and was promptly stripped of his gold medal and suspended from international competition...

"Francis [Johnson's coach] describes his bewilderment at being informed that his star runner had failed a drug test--for the anabolic steroid stanozolol. "I was floored," Francis writes: "To my knowledge, Ben had never injected stanozolol... After seven years of using steroids, Ben knew what he was doing. It was inconceivable to me that he might take stanozolol on his own and jeopardize the most important race of his life."

So Johnson was caught using steroids, not because he was taking the drug he tested positive for, but because of "lax" security in international competitions and "botched" testing.

Gladwell then questions the success of Flo Jo:
"At the age of twenty-eight--when most athletes are beginning their decline--Griffith Joyner transformed herself in one season from a career-long better-than-average sprinter to the fastest female sprinter in history. Of course, FloJo never failed a drug test. But what does that prove? FloJo went on to make a fortune as a corporate spokeswoman. Johnson's suspension cost him an estimated twenty-five million dollars in lost endorsements. The real lesson of the Seoul Olympics may simply have been that Johnson was a very unlucky man."

How much success is luck? And what will people do to ensure their success, especially if they won't be competitive if they don't do what their competitors are doing?

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Decisions, Decisions

Interesting case study on an entrepreneur facing a career decision:

"I've often felt that fear is a strong motivator. That sounds negative when you say it, but you don't want to look like an idiot in front of your friends, you don't want to blow good opportunities, you don't want to say something dumb in an important meeting, so you do your homework. So in a funny way, fear of failure can lead to success."
-- Heidi Roizen

Hmmm, but what if you're not afraid enough of failure? What drives you to want to succeed?

And more:
"This point goes back to when my fiancé died in college. I remember getting his final paycheck two weeks after he died. I remember looking at it-- he used to make about three bucks an hour-- and I remember thinking, "Gosh, I just wish I could buy back this many hours, so I could at least talk to him one more time".

Thursday Reading List

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

16 Days in April

Katie Holmes' Missing Days [Fox News]

Article speculates about "16 days in April during which no one seems to know where she [Katie] was".

The article says:
"On April 4, she had not yet made the acquaintance of Tom Cruise... Four days later, Holmes was still in New York and was photographed at VH1's "Save the Music" concert. She still had not met Cruise... Sometime that week, her friends say, she flew to Los Angeles for a meeting with Cruise about a role in "Mission: Impossible 3." The meeting took place after April 11... The next time anyone heard from Holmes was on April 27, when she appeared in public as Cruise's girlfriend and love of his life.

"Somewhere during that time, she decided to fire both her manager and agent, each of whom she had been with for years and who were devoted to her."

Gosh, I wonder what's going on?!

Did she go to pieces in April?

Failure to Failure

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm"
- Winston Churchill

Monday, June 20, 2005

Links! Links!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Eighty Percent

"Eighty percent of success is showing up." - Woody Allen

Friday, June 17, 2005

Life as Mary Poppins

What's it like to be "Mary Poppins"? [Disney Blog]

One blogger discusses her life playing fabled Disney characters in Florida:
"I was Mary Poppins this morning at the Grand Floridian Resort breakfast where I greet guests in the lobby before they are seated for their meal where four additional characters visit them at their table. Some children like to draw pictures of their favorite characters at home or at their table and give them to us as a gift which makes dining a bit more fun for the characters. Before our first set I was talking to the Mad Hatter from the film Alice in Wonderland about these pictures when he mentioned that he had never been given a child-drawn picture before because kids never thought to draw him. Without his knowing I began plotting with children in the lobby to overwhelm the Mad Hatter with their pictures."

Hilarious!

Unfortunately, she's closed her blog off to public views..

Lucas and Spielberg


Check out this article from Slate on the "rivalry" between Lucas and Spielberg:
"The two men first met in 1967, when an 18-year-old Spielberg saw Lucas' debut feature THX 1138 at a student film festival at UCLA. Spielberg had been rejected from UCLA because of poor grades and had enrolled instead in the rudimentary film course at California State College at Long Beach...

"THX 1138, he [Spielberg] said, made him "jealous to the marrow of my bones. I was 18 years old and had directed 15 short films by that time, and this little movie was better than all of my movies combined."

" "Since I'd met Steven, I was curious about the movie and thought I'd sneak upstairs and catch 10 or 15 minutes. Once I started watching I couldn't tear myself away. ... I thought, This guy is really sharp. I've got to get to know him better." [Lucas on Spielberg]

Two movie titans who really did conquer American cinema!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Illegal and Lawless

Observation: when things are made illegal, people hesitate to report crimes relating to the illegal act, even if the crimes are more severe and more serious than the initially illegal item.

For example, take marijuana. Marijuana is a pretty innocuous drug, but its definitely illegal. So say you were trying to buy some marijuana, but then someone robbed you and stabbed you.

Well the robbery and the stabbing are for sure worse than the act of trying to buy and use marijuana.

Unfortunately, a crime such as this may go unreported and thus unregulated by the government or legal authorities.

Maybe this particular crime would be reported, since the consequences of having marijuana aren't as severe as say, dealing with crack cocaine or something like that.

But the point remains, by making something taboo, we plunge that act along with other more terrible acts into chaos. (I'm not sure what the solution is though.. this is just an observation.)

This is why the Belgian experiment to legalize prostitution (WSJ - password required) is so interesting. You can also sample this lawlessness phenomenon by viewing the movie Maria Full of Grace, a story of a young pregnant woman who agrees to become a drug mule in hopes of achieving economic prosperity. Great movie, sad story in some respects, highly recommended.

Thursday Links

  • Kottke watches Primer, the Grand Jury winner at the Sundance Festival in 2004:
    "In Primer, the main characters find themselves in a situation where they can (almost) literally do anything they want with their lives. But instead of opening their lives up to an infinite range of possibilities, they find themselves constrained by their circumstances."

    I'm going to add this movie to my queue at Blockbuster -- if they have it.
  • Steve Job's turn to do a commencement address, this time for the students at Stanford.

    I didn't cry when I read this one, however, Jobs is a lucky guy!

    We have to take these words:
    "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition."

    to heart!

  • How to answer the question of "Should I buy additional rental care insurance?" [Sound Money Tips]

    The upshot? It depends.. Blah, who wants to hear that!

  • Cream Puffs Rise to Meet Demand [USA Today]

    Beard Papa is set to conquer the world! Jon spotted a shaved ice special there last weekend, too.

  • Lessons in Gratitude at the Kitchen Sink [NYT]

    Its tough to be grateful for what you have...

Sometimes Technology Just Gets in the Way

Bob Gurr, one of the heads behind the creation Disneyland, reminisces about work and life without technology:
"Running a business was so simple. You had time to perform actual work since you were not busy typing memos, reports, and such. You were not in the publishing business using Xerox and page collators. Email never got in the way of reading the vast amount of inbox copies of all the great communications from hundreds of co-workers. No, you did REAL WORK. Thank God, we built Disneyland before Mr. Xerox invented his publishing empire.
Why WRITE stuff when you DO stuff...

"The projects would not need coordinators or project managers. Everyone did the coordinator stuff as a matter of course while doing the work. Today if a coordinator came around to gather info, you'd have to stop your work just to explain details to some new soul who had little knowledge of what the work entailed. Managing the work can stop the work! Why have long meetings followed by reams of reports circulated to other folks. Look at all the modern business tools we have today. When we were building Disneyland, none of them had been invented yet, so they could not interfere with our WORK!"

So true! With everyone reading and writing reports on everything, who is actually creating things and producing something tangible?

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Williams Commencement Address

Reading the commencement address Thomas Friedman gave at Williams College just made me cry. I know, I am such a softie, but I just couldn't help it!

You know when you read something and there's a story about someone kind and generous, and you get this foreboding feeling, like, oh no, something happened to that person. Well, I had that moment while I was reading his commencement address and even though I was expecting it, it still made me cry!

In any case, here are some words from Mark Twain that carry the heart of his speech:
"Always work like you don't need the money. Always fall in love like you've never been hurt. Always dance like nobody is watching. And always -- always -- live like it's heaven on earth."

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Saturday Reading

Friday, June 10, 2005

pbWiki

Been playing around with a neat tool called pbwiki..

Basically the service is a hosted, web-based wiki. Really easy to set up, you just enter your WikiName and email address and voila they will set up a password-protected wiki for you.

You can also share the passwords with friends for group collaboration.

So far, I like the service quite a bit. Its super duper easy to create another page, link to outside pages and edit what's already there.

The only questions I have are:
  • How can I be certain the data will still be there? What if the service goes down?
    pbwiki provides a downloadable zip file of the wiki pages, so I guess I can just periodically download them. That's nice, but the question remains, what if I become dependent on this tool and it becomes no longer available?

  • How secure is my data?
    How do I know that someone isn't going to hack into their database and steal my information? I mean, obviously, right now I've put nothing of importance into the wiki, but at some point, there might be personal data that I want to make sure no one can access.

  • What's the size limit?
    Right now, pbwiki hasn't specified a size limit on the number of pages that can be made or anything, but this issue does concern me, because I tend to be an information hound -- what if I surpass their unspecified limit?


You know, I guess if pbwiki was backed up by a major Internet provider like Google or Yahoo I would probably feel better about using it.. But, cool little innovations like this don't typically come from juggernauts, though, huh?

So, anyway, this is a cool information manager! Try it out.. its very easy!

(P.S. Some other info managers to try are Evernote and Onfolio.)

Head of the Class, But Not Ahead in Life

Interesting article on valedictorians in a recent issue of the New Yorker:
""Few of the valedictorians seem destined for intellectual eminence or for creative work outside of familiar career paths... Dedicated to the well-rounded ideal-- to be a valedictorian, after all, you must excel in classes that don't interest you or are poorly taught-- the valedictorians had 'used their strong work ethic to pursue multiple academic and extracurricular interest. None was obsessed with a single talent area to which he or she subordinated school and social involvement.

This marks a difference, Arnold said, from what we know about many eminent achievers, who tend to evince an early passion for a particular field...

Valedictorians, by contrast, conformed to the expectations of school and carefully chose careers that were likely to be socially and financially secure: "As a rule, valedictorians relegated their early interests to hobbies, second majors, or regretted dead ends. The serious athletes among the valedictorians never pursued sports occupations. Most of the high school musicians hung up their instruments during college."

Are valedictorians doomed to a life of comfortable mediocrity??

Why Blogs Are Great

I really enjoy and like reading blogs because the writers are much more HONEST.

Usually, when you read a news article or book or marketing document from a business, the person doesn't necessarily let their voice shine through. They don't say what they REALLY think. Instead, things get couched in all sorts of euphemisms.

Like, I recently read a posting about the new double-decker Airbus plane that is going to be super-giant and hold many people. The PR says that there will be nice lounges and places to hang out on the plane.

A blogger said, "Yeah right, with poor airlines and price-conscious travelers, people are going to get packed in like sardines."

And that's so true!

Its so refreshing to hear a voice of honesty and truth, without regard to (1) what advertisers think or (2) what a company is going to think. People can tell so many lies, especially if their livelihood is at stake.

Thursday, June 9, 2005

Weekday Reading List

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

BBQ and the City

Aaah, it seems that more and more BBQ restaurants have opened shop in NYC.

Here are some resources:
  • Recent NYT article on "Urban BBQ" and the festival coming up on Saturday/Sunday

  • Official Website for Big Apple BBQ - sponsors of the Third Annual Big Apple BarbeCUE Block Party from June 11 to June 12, 12 - 6 pm at Madison Square Park (23rd and Madison)

  • Some restaurants in the city:
    • Righteous Urban BBQ aka R.U.B. (23rd St b/w 7th and 8th Ave) [Menu Pages]
      http://www.rubbbq.net/ might be the official website, but its unclear, and in any case, no information is up yet.

      A blurb from New York Mag about R.U.B.:
      "A collaboration between Paul Kirk, who is, apparently, the Lance Armstrong of the competition-barbecue circuit—although, in person, he more closely resembles Wilford Brimley—and Andrew Fischel, a ’cue-crazed tech-world dropout from Roslyn."

    • Daisy May's BBQ USA

      Blurb from New York Mag:
      "decent pulled-pork sandwich and beef short ribs as big as cricket bats, but the real surprises are sides like mashed sweet potatoes folded with vanilla cream, and thick baked beans with burnt ends"

Monday, June 6, 2005

Fun Baby Names Website

Go to http://www.babynamewizard.com/namevoyager/lnv0105.html.. its a really cool graphical tool that charts the popularity of baby names over time.

For example, try typing in "Paris" -- the name has really soared in popularity in recent years!

Dumpling War!

Curbed comments on the war brewing between two dumpling locations in the East Village.

"Dumpling Man Lucas Lin is pissed that the not-yet-open competition [Plump Dumpling] has been flaunting a smiley-faced dumpling logo that is similar to his own. He had his lawyer fire off a cease-and-desist letter, he's threatening to spy on the store, he's putting up incendiary flyers."

We stopped by and tried the dumplings at Dumpling Man a couple of weeks ago -- pretty good, but not stupendous either. We noticed the flyer denouncing local competitor Plump Dumpling while we were there.. Hmm, if he hadn't had that flyer up, we wouldn't even have realized Plump Dumpling existed! Is any publicity good publicity (at least for Plump Dumpling?)?

With all this buzz, I'm sure there will be quite a few curious souls checking out Plump Dumpling once (if) it ever opens!

Whoa! For the full story, go to Curbed.

Sunday, June 5, 2005

A Vast Directory of Wonderful Things

Description of a vast store of goods -- listings:
"had run to over a thousand pages, listing tens of thousands of items in twenty-four departments: music... stoves... drugs, vehicles, shoes... sewing machines... sporting goods, dry goods, hardware, groceries, furniture and baby [toys], jewelry, optical goods, books... men's clothing, men's furnishings, bicycles... Each page was a distinct site, offering a reader in- depth explanations and descriptions well beyond what he would expect if he went to a store, talked to a sales clerk, and personally examined a product."
(Courtesy of Malcolm Gladwell [apologies, I do not mean to make this blog the cult of Gladwell])

Gosh, which store is this? Sounds a lot like Amazon.com, doesn't it?

Actually, the store being described above was

Sunday Links

Mergers and Incentives

Check out this great NYT article on mergers and acquisitions and the disconnect between manager incentives and shareholder benefits. Agent-principle failures at work!

Some choice quotes from the article below:

"Unfortunately, shareholders find out how much of a merger's costs will wind up in the pockets of one or both company's executives only after the deals are announced. And because uncovering the payouts requires digging through complex corporate filings, some shareholders never learn about them at all."


''I speak with senior executives in the course of my research,'' Robert Bruner, the Darden business school professor, told me. ''They all tell stories about how they are charged with maintaining earnings growth. They can only get 5 to 6 percent growth organically, yet the C.E.O. has set a target that is much more ambitious, and they must make up the difference by acquisitions.'' Bruner is critical of this process, which he calls financial cosmetics. ''It invites the creation of growth for appearance rather than growth that creates wealth for investors and society,'' he says.


''It is not too strong an expression to say that investors have become addicted to these transactions.'' [- James A. Fanto (professor at Brooklyn Law School)]


''The only thing people get paid for these days is growth, not running a company well,'' Jack Ciesielski, editor of The Analyst's Accounting Observer in Baltimore, says. ''The cult of growth will always encourage companies to buy other companies to paper over the valleys in their earnings patterns.''


"An academic study from 2000 examined the relationship between chief-executive compensation and mergers in the banking world. Richard T. Bliss, a professor at Babson College in Massachusetts, and Richard J. Rosen, then a professor at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, studied bank mergers that occurred from 1986 to 1995. They found that these deals had a positive effect on the size of executive compensation and that even when an acquiring bank's stock declined following a merger, the compensation paid to the chiefs running the institutions grew significantly enough to offset any losses to their stockholdings.


''The net result is that even mergers which reduce shareholder value can be in a manager's private interest,'' Bliss and Rosen concluded.


"In addition, Bebchuk [professor of law, economics and finance at Harvard Law School] claims, after a firm is acquired, its directors often step down. As a result, they have less reason to be worried about confronting angry shareholders. "


"One apparent drawback to these enormous payments is the enormous tax bill they generate for executives. Happily for them, however, their contracts almost always require the companies to pay those bills. Enter the so-called excise tax gross-up provisions, which can be so colossal that, according to one pay expert, a major merger was scuttled not long ago because the cost of covering executives' tax bills generated by the deal exceeded $100 million."


''It is not uncommon to see opportunistic transactions take place following a large drop in the target company's stock price or periods of chronic underperformance. It would seem illogical in situations like this that target executives would be 'rewarded' with a severance payout that can often approach three times their annual salary and bonus.'' [Tim Ranzetta, president of a compensation analysis firm]


"What may be most troubling about the lavish benefits and perquisites paid to executives is that they are doled out even as lower-level employees at the merging companies lose their jobs."

Saturday, June 4, 2005

Tax Breaks for Businesses - Good or Evil?

Interesting analysis from Coyote Blog on Business Relocations and the Prisoners Dilemna:
"One of the favorite past-times of local and state politicians is to hand out grants, subsidies, and tax breaks for businesses to relocate to their district. "

Coyote Blog posits three explanations for these "wasteful" subsidies:
  1. Politics - satisfy interests of both political parties
  2. Politicians like to buy votes with others' dough
  3. Its a "prisoner's dilemma" -- you're better off if everyone doesn't play the game, but if your opponent plays, then you're f---ed!

Pretty interesting take on this...

Take a look!

Friday, June 3, 2005

The Lure of Ana

Cult-Like Lure of Ana [AP]

What is the Ana Creed? "A litany of beliefs about control and starvation." Ana is short for anorexia nervosa, the relentless pursuit of thinness

Gosh, this is terrible...

Dr. Mae Sokol often treats young patients in her Omaha, Neb., practice who personify their eating disorder beyond just Ana. To them, bulimia is "Mia." And an eating disorder often becomes "Ed."


What's the solution?

DRM and the New Yorker

I am very excited about the imminent arrival of the full archives of The New Yorker in DVD form! I can't wait!

However, the question remains, why has the New Yorker chosen to offer its wealth of articles in an electronic (and potentially piratable) format? And if the New Yorker is wiling to do it, why won't authors of books today offer their books in DVD format?

The most obvious reason I can think of is that the New Yorker archives are currently not monetized. Old issues sit in stacks in the living rooms and dens of people's homes, but perhaps the New Yorker has not had much success in selling old articles; or in making those articles accessible to the general public.

(Yes, you may have found an exhilarating article in a June 1997 article in the New Yorker, but can you remember which issue you found the article in? Can you remember who wrote the article? Can you even find it again?)

So by offering up the archives on DVD, The New Yorker can accomplish two goals: first, and foremost, the publication can monetize an extremely valuable asset which currently (probably) does not produce that much revenue and secondly, the New Yorker can make available its rich history of content to people everywhere (much more accessible) and perhaps attract new readers to a subscription to the New Yorker.

If you think about it, the incremental cost to the New Yorker to sell these DVD's is almost zero. All the money and effort poured into creating these articles has been spent. The sweat, the tears, the editing, the late nights, all DONE.

This kind of goes back to the (by-now tired) concept of the Long Tail -- it may cost a great deal to create content today (think of multi-million dollar films) but the cost to show another person the film once the film is created is peanuts relative to the cost of creation. And so it’s possible and very profitable to generate more and more sales from existing content.

So why won't authors of books offer their titles in the same manner?

Maybe the books themselves are too small (once digitized) and don't require a full DVD. This results in further consequences, since the size being small, not dissimilar in size to an MP3, could make the content more susceptible to pirating and trading online. Thus, the format cries out for restrictive "digital rights management" (so that you can only read the book once on your computer and the moment your computer dies or is upgraded, you lose the book that you spent $20 to buy, since the book is only as good as your existing machine.)

In addition, authors have an obvious alternative to offering their wares on DVD or in electronic format, just sell the books in physical form. Unlike the New Yorker, authors can continue to sell their books in physical bookstores as long as the publishers are willing to print the books. The books will sell even if they are no longer in print -- an active and enthusiastic market for used books exists on Amazon.com, for example.

The New Yorker, however, does not currently sell or make back-issues available in physical form at a bookstore. There is thus a limited revenue opportunity and distribution mechanism for back issues and old articles. (And not only that, since there are so many articles, there exists the problem of a reader even locating the article and recognizing that yes the article exists and that they may want to purchase the article.)

The opportunities and risks for a book writer and a magazine such as the New Yorker are completely different.

Thus, unfortunately, I doubt we will see more books/written content made available in DVD format. Too bad!

Tragedy and Blogging

This is old news, but very tragic and shocking!!

Last month, two people were murdered in Queens... the blog entry of one of the victims lead to the discovery and subsequent arrest of the killer. Read the rest of the story here.

How terrible!! (The slayings, not that the proper person was identified.)

"Lin - who was picked up at his Flushing home on Friday - told cops that he set upon Simon Ng after failing to find any money in Sharon's bedroom.

Lin tied Simon Ng up and stabbed him repeatedly in the chest with a butcher knife, cops said.

It was not clear how much time passed before Sharon Ng came home at 9:30 p.m. Cops said Lin pounced on her as she entered the home and stabbed her repeatedly in the neck."

May they rest in peace..

Thursday, June 2, 2005

Paperless Society?

Brilliant review by Malcolm Gladwell of the book, The Myth of the Paperless Office, by Abigail Sellen and Richard Harper.

The book addresses the reasons why the paperless office has not come into being, despite numerous attempts to make our world "paperless".

In fact, "every country in the Western world uses more paper today, on a per-capita basis, than it did ten years ago."

Piracy Paranoia

NY Times profiles a device which downloads TV shows called Akimbo

Unfortunately, DRM and piracy paranoia sort of destroys the value of the box... don't content providers understand that humans like to collect things?

Humans collect all sorts of random things, from baseball cards to bottle caps to beer bottles. Isn't it not surprising that people hesitate to pay for things that evaporate after a month?

Given that you have to pay $3 just to download a TV show, and then... after a month or even two weeks, it disappears, well, why is it surprising that very few sign up for the service?

Deep Throat's Unveiling

The Story of the Unveiling of Deep Throat [WPO]

This quote makes me feel sad... did Felt want his identity revealed?

"The Vanity Fair story muddies the issue somewhat. O'Connor notes in the story that Felt told him, "I'm the guy they called Deep Throat," but the context is lacking. For one thing, O'Connor played a dual role: He was providing the Felt family with legal advice while also writing a magazine story, which meant that Felt's revelation may have been information provided under attorney-client privilege and therefore not subject to unilateral disclosure.

What's more, as O'Connor makes clear in his story, the Felt family was seeking to profit from Felt's secret identity and therefore had an incentive to pressure a clearly conflicted Felt into going public."

New Yorker in Digital Format!

80 Years of The New Yorker to Be Offered in Disc Form [NYT]

I'm definitely going to buy this!! Out this fall.. if you feel like buying me a belated birthday present, this would be great! :)

The only problem is -- will it be annoying to read it on-screen? And according to the article, the "magazine plans to issue annual updates to the disc collection" -- does that mean I have to buy the whole thing again every year? Or will they provide just a disc with the latest year?

Come on -- let's offer some other books/publications in this manner! I would totally buy them!

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Internet Shopping and Other Links

  • Internet merchants sometimes charge difference prices to different customers for the same products [AP]

    "Amazon.com outraged some customers in September 2000 after one buyer deleted the electronic tags on his computer that identified him as a regular customer and noticed the price of a DVD changed from $26.24 to $22.74. The company said it was the result of a random price test and offered to refund buyers who paid the higher prices".

    Wow, I am really shocked by this! I assumed prices fluctuated due to market forces, but I didn't realize retailers set prices based on where you've surfed on the net...

    The lack of transparency is mind-boggling!