Saturday, October 31, 2009

Kid Cudi Wallpaper

I've never seen the alternate/inside cover of "Man On the Moon" till today. I decided something needed to happen to bring the front and back together.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


People flock like no other to the E-Class AMG (various flavors, but in general), and that goes well in head-to-head competition with the M5. I certainly see more E-Class AMG's around, but that's simply because I think it seems more luxurious while maintaining its bad-ass attitude on the exterior. But certainly BMW is making some good money off that M5, right? The M3 is tearing apart the C-Class AMG as far as I can see - the M3 has long been the gold standard of its class and there's good reason for that. Now let's take a look at the high-performance luxury flagship sedan - the 7 Series vs. S- Class. Both do well in terms of sales, but when it comes to downright luxury, few people want the BMW. But there's not even a choice for those who want a kick out of their behemoth sedan - there is no M7!! There is only the S-Class AMGs, which are exorbitantly priced and are selling extremely well. Why can't BMW plop a nice turbocharged engine in their standard 7 and run with it? Maybe just use the same one from the M6? I feel like there's money on the table. And yeah, the Alpina B7 isn't enough. Make it production and not impossibly rare!

Grammer Policing: Alumnus/Alumna License Plate

So every day while driving around I see many of these license plate holders that let me know where somebody went to college, as it says "Alumni College X". The point of the message is usually to convey that the driver of the car is an alumnus/na of the school, right? Or is it to serve as a source or pride for the alumni association? I have seen some plates that explicitly state "Alumni Association" - I have no issues with this. However, I have met far too many people, even from good schools (the people who flaunt this invariably went to an Ivy or Stanford, but certainly something with a brand name), who don't properly use the singular and plural versions of alumnus/alumni. What's going on here?

If I had a million dollars...

If only legal and not under the imminent threat of legal action from Apple, I would love to take what Psystar did for desktops and extend it to laptops (but inversely). My ideal computer, after some consideration this evening, has presented itself to me. Though I love the look of the newest Dell Studio XPS 13 and Adamo, they're still trying. The MacBook Pro on the other hand, doesn't. It just is. And it is very well. Without trying, it makes the statement that it gets the job done. But as far as I'm concerned, it doesn't as long as its running OSX. So what would I do if I had some more cash? Install Windows 7, the best operating system available (in my opinion of course) on as many of these MBP's as possible. And of course, I need to revert to having two REAL mouse BUTTONS in addition to my fancy touchpad. I'm just not sold on this whole finger gesture movement, because even the most deft of my friends aren't as fast as I am with my PC touchpad with all its "unnatural" number of buttons.

In conclusion:
Best laptop ever = MacBook Pro (13 or 15, as preferred) + Windows 7 + Buttons on touchpad.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Twitter Hotkey

Finally, exactly what was needed for massive numbers of Twitter posts. An app that comes with its own Hotkey and doesn't require me to read and look at all the other posts when I want to post myself. Twitter Autohotkey Script, which includes TinyURL support (why not I'm not sure, since its better...) as well, just lets you simply press Windows-T to easily launch a box which you can type in your tweet. No need for Launchy, Quicksilver, or anything complicated. Furthermore, unlike standard desktop Twitter clients, it is lightweight (currently under 4 MB memory footprint) and doesn't show me tweets when I don't want to read them. Sometimes I just want to get my thoughts out without reading others (whereas other times I want to read without writing)... this in addition to my previously mentioned Chrome Application Shortcut seems to be the simplest, most elegant solution.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Why Twitter Clients?

Call me ignorant, but with a fast-loading website, I don't see the need for desktop Twitter clients. I update my status probably a couple times a day and I don't find it too difficult to update it quickly. My current setup:

- Rocketdock with a Twitter icon
- Google Chrome application shortcut, saved password

It works beautifully. One click access and I can update my status quickly... why TweetDeck? I might start using this gadget though.

Monday, March 30, 2009

What Facebook Needs to do before it Obsoletes Twitter

Have a "status friend" list which is specially tailored to provide the loose-friendship status that Twitter offers (200,000 people follow Shaq, but I don't think he wants that many Facebook friends!)

have a desktop-level app or a easy to access way to update status (like Twitter's supposedly awesome API)

Also, it should take a tip from replies on Twitter and make it a single click to reply to wall posts. Currently, i have to click on wall-to wall and another click to post. Why isn't it easier?

The integration of Twitter status into Facebook would be hard to get right, but user-wise it could have much more impact. Also, my friendship base on Facebook is much more developed and applicable to my daily life than Twitter. If one of my friends "tweets" (facebook tweets) that there's something going on in the quad, it is more applicable to me than someone I follow responding to something that I know nothing about.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Viewing Tabs

Just an idea: what if there were a cool, quick way to look at all the tabs open in a browser session (for any browser, but personally I'm interested in Chrome or IE8). It could be Expose-style where a quick shortcut key shows you thumbnails of all the current tabs, or perhaps Aero-peek style where you can a thumbnail of them as you go over the tab. This would be extremely helpful for long sessions where you have many things that you're going back and forth between. Personally I would find it exceptionally useful when I'm doing research on scientific journal articles and I find myself looking back at certain pages often while reading others.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

ShareThis - Bringing the Social Web Together

I just saw this when trying to share a post on (the post was hilarious, and I'd quote it here, but they removed it) when I saw the "share this" button in the corner. I've seen it on other sites but not used it. Upon going back to those sites, they seem nice but the multiple buttons kind of puts me off and reminds me how much consolidation is needed in the social web space. Honestly, somebody needs to pony up some cash and buy out their competitors, integrate their strengths, and becoming powerful. Anyway, so this button is clear, has all the sites, and works quite well! It seems there's one called "AddThis", which is similar but seems less powerful. I'm guessing these have been around for a while, but not so much on the sites I frequent - Ars Technica, the NYT, the WSJ (which has a weirdly limited set), even Lifehacker! I highly suggest any bloggers out there to include this in their site, and for the time being allow easy expression through any medium, until some consolidation occurs. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Mac-Like Apps on PC

So lately I've been trying out some apps that simulate Mac-style functionality/prettiness on a PC. Needless to say, they suck in comparison. But they get close. Here's some issues:

Yahoo! Widgets: Same thing as below on Switcher - I want to be able to hit the same button to get out of it, rather than having to click. And it needs to work better to not get "stuck" after the Heads-Up display. Some way to be able to use other widgets would be nice too. But overall it does an alright job. It's just not as smooth as it could be!

Update: I take it back. For some reason I decided to give Y! Widgets another shot (perhaps because negative feedback loops are really boring), and it randomly works. My current setup includes a 24-style clock (with sound at the end of the hour), an egg-shaped iTunes controller, stock ticker, a text-file read/write compatible post it note widget (exactly what I wanted), and weather. I set it up only to show on "Heads up", without any annoying dock. 

Rocketdock: haha. This one is even better than OSX's dock. Wayyyyy better.

Switcher: a "peek" style switch, where I can hit the shortcut to see all windows laid out, and then hit it again once I've check on the window I want. This integrates the Aero-peek style functionality seen in Vista and more in Windows 7, and works like Mac's Switcher as well. I wish I could close windows when I see all the thumbnails. That would be really cool.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Why Can't Google Break Out Its Apps?

All the important Google apps that I use every day are all offered on my iPhone - Calendar, Docs, Gmail, [Reader]). But they're all stuck in that stupid Google Mobile app. Why? It's sure nice to have them all in the same app, nicely locked away, but by iPhone 3.0 (which should allow app grouping/folders), I'm pretty adamant that Google gets its act together and makes it a one-touch click to any one of their apps. I don't care about a two touch to all apps as much as one-touch to a select few. What's the point of having GReader on my iPhone if it takes approximately 5 seconds to open up Google Mobile and then another three to load the non-offline supported GReader for iPhone? They should be separate apps (or offered as both) and Reader should be more like the third party apps that offer sync through it (Byline, Feeds, Gazette, Doppler). Or just dead-simple and sleek like NetNewsWire. Don't even get me started on how ugly GReader web looks compared to NewsGator online. Functionality is better in Google's, sure (with sharing and tagging, etc.), but I love to read the news when it looks nice. 

Monday, March 9, 2009

Programmed Cell Death

Almost every biology book and PowerPoint in lectures refers to apoptosis as "programmed cell death". But really, apoptosis need not be "programmed" - it's a result of intracellular pathways sure, but usually it's caused by some extracellular signal - death ligands, physiological signals, etc. "Programmed" gives the connotation of something innate, which refers more to the Hayflick limit or something than apoptosis which is less predictable. Anyway, rant.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Thoughts on Once You're Lucky, Twice You're Good

While reading Once You're Lucky, Twice You're Good by Sarah Lacy, I've been wondering about the Silicon Valley built by insiders and what was built by outsiders. Several "old tech" bastions like HP (both founders grew up in Palo Alto and the area), Intel (Moore, born in SF), and Apple (Jobs and Woz, from Homestead High School ) all have strong links between their founders and growing up in the Valley. On the flip side, many of the companies started during the opportunistic dot com boom were started by outsiders who flocked from MIT, Urbana-Champaign, and other such places (PayPal and others started this way). However, there's no super-strong trend that I can state. However, what I want to explore is if there is an effect here... what does a company started by someone who grew up in the Valley look like?

I've found in my work at Homestead FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) that many kids whose parents work at tech companies and who see VC's Ferraris driving around Sand Hill and Foothill have a different view of the world than those who come here with a EE/CS degree in hand. Realizing the potential and culture of the Valley early on in one's life has to have some sort of effect - does it make us more wary or get us started earlier? Definitely, we tend to consider venture as a much more likely source of funding of startups than do people who see business start on the East Coast, where loans are more the norm. Entrepreneurship seems to be baked right into us, whereas coming out of East Coast schools, investment banking is more the norm and entrepreneurs are more like the golden nuggets stashed away, waiting to pop out. I'm going to have to keep reading this book, but there's something here.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Freakonomics Approach to iPhone Success

There have been a plethora of blog entries on why the iPhone is successful, and of course countless long meetings up in Redmond, Sunnyvale, and Canada (RIM). Of course I am split between my hometown rivals Apple  (from Cupertino, where I went to high school) and Palm  (from Sunnyvale, where I grew up). But the fact is, I now own and use an iPhone, despite my years of having a "Palm Desktop" shortcut on my now bare desktop.

So why is the iPhone successful? I'm going to take a stab at it Freakonomics style, by looking at the seemingly small things that can make a big difference. What was seen with the iPhone was a big launch for the original, but no where near the traction that the 3G hit the ground running with. This is shown much more clearly with the recent Engadget post about "Days to a Million". Did the public really care that much about GPS? Who even knew much about 3G vs. Edge last June? I highly doubt it was the small cosmetic change. Essentially, it was a re-grand opening. With a new price (and a higher AT&T bill). This re-grand opening allowed people to get in on the hype all over again, and this time, with a multi-country launch, it was much stronger, reaching the 1 million mark in about 3 or 4 days. So what am I attributing part of this to?

The bounce-back feature. This is one of the features that Apple is actually planning to sue Palm over, as it is part of their huge portfolio of patents concerning the iPhone and Pre wars. As the lawyers describe in their analysis of the patents, the bounce-back feature when scrolling to the end of the page (in contacts, email, a web page, music...) is a well known iPhone feature. As is the swishing between pages of Apps, though that was somewhat rare in the original iPhone unless you happened to add webapp shortcuts. But still, you could slide around the Springboard. What I find is iPhone owners do this quite consistently even if they're not emailing or texting someone as Blackberry addicts are. So regardless of whether they have a need to use their phone, since it looks cool and its distractingly fun, they're using them. This puts the device in the face of "dumbphone" users and entrances them. Many may say since Blackberry users are constantly emailing people even from the airport terminal, this has the same effect. But I think not - these people look tethered to their devices because they have to, whereas iPhone users are so delighted by the swooshing, flipping, and bouncing, that they are practically a guerilla marketing campaign. 

This brings me back to the multiple launches. This phenomenon caught my eye back with the original iPhone, and by the time the 3G came along, I felt very compelled to buy at least an iPod touch, and I did. I swooshed and bounced for a while, till I realized I could swoosh and bounch and flip much more comfortably on my phone than with two devices in my pocket. The second launch allowed me to do that, because I felt like it was a new product (though I have the original iPhone), and those mesmerized by these simple animations on their friends' or coworkers' originals when and bought the 3G. 

Do you think this was a significant contributor to the iPhone hysteria? Or a contributor at all?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Google Docs in Education

I recently used a Google spreadsheet in my studies (first time, because I finally feel as though people would rather use it in collaboration) this week. We had a long list of terms to study in a Human Physiology class and therefore I created the spreadsheet and shared it all of my friends. The definitions required by the professor are very demanding and need to be thorough, so I figured with many eyes on it we could all get a good set to study from. We pulled from old exams, books, class notes, and PowerPoints. Finally we ended up with a nice set. Even better for me, I used previously mentioned gFlash to load them as flashcards onto my iPhone and study whenever I had the chance to. With some citation features, this would be great for my current journal paper, as I have about 5 people contributing and editing it. But alas, its still in beta... What would be great, and I look forward to in the next iteration of Word, as part of Office 14, is to instantly throw a local copy of a document into the cloud. This would be able to work regardless of my sharing profile in Windows, as I feel like that would complicate things. From there I should be two clicks away from choosing my friends in Google/Yahoo/Outlook Contacts, and having them collaborate on it just like Google docs. But then, I want the functionality of pulling it back down from the cloud/using sync tools so I have the regular functionality of Word too. Hint hint....

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Evolution - Survival of the Fittest

When you consider the centralization of the nervous system as an evolutionary trend and the unlikeliness that a single change confers a tangible change in fitness, it becomes more obvious that one need not be more fit but just not the least fit. This allows for the propagation of some sort of neutral adaptations, while allowing longer-term adaptations that require multiple changes in a lineage, such as nervous system centralization.