Okay folks, here is the latest on BabyCenter. Yay! I get to buy the Bugaboo stroller to push a goddamn infant for a “stroll through the woods”. The woods? Where the hell do these people live, Never Neverland?
Okay, I am totally shocked and awed by this idea that was all over the news today. Microsoft has decided to enter the yet-nascent but bound-to-be-huge market of “surface computing”. ReadWriteWeb has an interesting article here: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/microsoft_surface.php#more
This is basically a Vista box out of which you build coffee tables. Check out these pimping photos of a dude selecting photos off the surface of the table. Also check out: http://www.microsoft.com/surface/
Okay, so far so good. Steve Ballmer has the following quote: “We see this as a multi-billion dollar category, and we envision a time when surface computing technologies will be pervasive, from tabletops and counters to the hallway mirror”.
So what are some interesting applications of Surface?
a) Microsoft Surface Bed: Whenever I sleep, a woman’s voice comes on, screaming at me for putting my butt on it. Juvenile? Natch. But it makes me laugh. Additionally, it reboots itself at 3am on account of “DLL failures”.
b) Microsoft Surface Hallway Mirror: This one I stole from Steve “ChairHurler” Ballmer. Whenever I walk in the mirror’s line of vision, a disembodied voice calls me fat, ugly and stupid to boot. Alternatively, it shows me aspirational photos of good-looking dudes so I can aspire to become someone else in my lifetime. Finally, it plays pranks on me – what a kick to wake up and find a full-body reflection of a coked-out Lindsay Lohan in the mirror. Hilarious!!
c) Starbucks Order Manager: A tabletop computer that allows you to enter Starbucks orders, which are then wirelessly transmitted to a barista behind the counter. Except that if you order a “half caf one pump soy latte with half a nutrasweet and no whip”, the table responds with a “Thank you, asshole” and suddenly encounters wireless connectivity issues.
What do you guys think? Got others for me?
I’m one of those guys who tends to fail miserably at meeting women in a bar. Success in the bar scene requires some combination of the following things:
a) Caveman agression. If you’ve ever set foot in a stereotypical meat market nightclub, you know what I mean.
b) Good looks. Nuff said.
c) Dumb luck. The probability of the stars aligning correctly is simply a function of how often one is willing to subjugate themselves to the sales guy’s ultimate motto: “Throw shit at the wall and see what sticks”. Unfortunately, if you plan on holding down a fulltime job and career, c) is simply a theoretical possibility, much like the appearance of BigFoot.
Add to this one undeniable fact: men in general are creeps, assholes and perverts. Every woman I know has been approached with a creepy line delivered with absolute confidence by some jackass who lives in his Mom’s basement. Justifiably so, then, women in bars tend to look at men through what I call the “sex offender prism”. Through this prism, you are the creepy pervert rocking your Mom’s basement. You are a creep who uses lines like, “Are you an airport? Coz my heart just took off!” or “I’m new in town, can I have directions to your apartment?”. In your spare time, you cavort with seedy hookers and stalk innocent women. All in all, you have very little chance of meeting anyone and are destined to die alone.
That being said, I’ve always found it much easier to meet women out and about conducting errands. Safeway, Starbucks, Borders, at the post office, walking down the street, you name it. Once the sex offender prism disappears, she can see you for what you always pretend to be: smart, funny, confident and successful. Never mind the fact that you are unemployed, recycle jokes from Chapelle, Seinfeld and Rock and took your SATs with a killer hangover. You have the advantage here.
There are few unequivocal truths in this ever-changing world of ours: “Jon Stewart rules” is one of them. We all know that the Daily Show skyrocketed to popularity after he took over, aided in so small part by the ability of politicians, lobbyists and gay evangelicals to supply gold mines of humor over the last few years.
There are precious few days, however, when a segment combining Jon Stewart + one of the fake journalists hits a real home run. Today was one of those days.
Aasif Mandvi, the lil Indo boy on the Daily Show who serves as journalistic catchall for Middle Eastern, Indian, Paki and (sometimes) Latin happenings shone today during his erudite “discussion” of the much-maligned immigration bill. Since Congress in their infinite wisdom passed a point system for green card approval (knowledge of English, working in science, ability to do trig, etc. count for points), Stewart asked the obvious elephant-in-the-room question: Doesnt this go against the founding principles of this nation? What the hell happened to “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”??
To which Aasif responded: “America has re-branded their immigration policy”.
The new brand tagline? What Can Brown Do For You?
In the days when Google opaquely records all my browsing history on the Web, it is only natural to be sort of look over one’s shoulder before visiting a, um, questionable site. Outside of the usual risks of being exposed as the sex offender you really are on the inside, the other problem is being labeled incorrectly in everybody’s personalization efforts.
Take my example. I recently landed a cushy, kick-ass gig at Kosmix Corp. (www.kosmix.com) as a product manager for the health vertical (www.righthealth.com); more about the gig later, but part of the job is to know the health/wellness space inside out. Naturally, this involves trolling the Web actively looking for results for queries such as “untreated herpes”, “18 and pregnant”, both real-world queries gleaned from a data source that I wont disclose.
Suffice it to say, then, that the other part of the job involves throwing up more often than a coked-out Kate Moss during a purging period.
Since the health space is targeted at the baby boomer types as well as women in their thirties and up, I’ve also had to sign up for a lot of services that could be considered a question mark in a 24 year old straight man’s “web career”. If you look at my del.icio.us list, you’d be surprised to find sites related to pregnancy, infant growth charts, herpes and diabetic foot infections. One word: yum.
I’m not proud to say that today I signed up for http://www.babycenter.com. Is it sad that I thought a couple of minutes before specifying the “due date” of my as-yet unborn baby? Is it pathetic that I paused carefully for a second, then checked off the box that asked: “Are you trying to become pregnant?”.
No, it ain’t. If people can eat bugs on national TV in pursuit of the American dream, I sure as hell can become preggers online.
Much has been said about how hard it can be to name a blog. It makes picking a baby’s name trivially simple (my top choices: “Ubuntu”, “PirateKing” or the ever-popular “Rain”). I came across this problem recently; trust me, it is enough of a pain to convince one of the benefits of birth control.
So why “bit bubble”? Did I pick it so my sister could buckle over laughing, call all her friends about this “major” geek that she was related to? Well, maybe , just a tad, since geeks are supposedly cool now and it’s the closest kind of personality I can pretend to own (badass biker seems more out of reach).
But I also picked it because it truly does represent life in Palo Alto, life in Silicon Valley, life in the Bay Area at large. You tell me – where else can you walk into a cafe and hear some dude having a minor orgasm over a “tag cloud”?
But seriously – when I was growing up in little old Nasik, India (gratuitous Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasik), we owned a crummy old “colour” TV, a tape player and a clock radio that my father was especially proud of since it made the long journey from 220-volt Austin, Texas to 440-volt Nasik, India. That’s it. No Tivo, no iPod, no LCD, no shiny Macbook, no GPS, no Blackberry, not even a goddamn PC. And we were, according to the wonderful folks who measure social strata, “upper middle class”.
So it is with a strange realization of a parallel universe that I live my life in Palo Alto, putting up good-naturedly with my mother’s anthropological gems of conclusions such as: “You Americans listen to the iPod to avoid human contact”. I try not to smirk the latte liberal’s smirk when my college buddies in Missouri excitedly herald the “arrival” of Facebook. And I most certainly pay no attention to people drooling over tag clouds, twitter and Justin Kan.
Hearing about Justin Kan before the Today show breaks the “news” to the world at large is the privilege (or price, actually, in this case) of living in the bit bubble. And that’s why I picked this name for my blog.
Welcome to this blog. Here are the things I will talk about:
- Technology companies, trends and other things that will prove that I’m somewhat smart or incredibly stupid (often times in the same breath).
- My experiences as a product manager at a small Internet startup (www.kosmix.com).
- My experiences as a developer at Microsoft, Ning and Voltage Security.
- My journey from Bombay, India to Kansas City, MO (don’t ask) to Stanford, CA to Palo Alto, CA.
- Standup comedy.
- Pop culture.