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Archive for March, 2008

Diving Bell and the Butterfly: Movie Review

March 31, 2008 Leave a comment

I’m not the kinda guy who will willingly walk into a completely artsy movie just for the heck of it. But I do enjoy the occasional flick that is miles away from stuff getting blown up.

I heard about “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” from a coworker and was immediately intrigued with that very unique title. I’m so pleased that I actually watched it.

The movie is about a debonair, flawed and all-too-human French magazine editor who suffers a massive stroke and is basically completely paralyzed except for one eye. As he says, he has his eye, his imagination and his memories.

And what a wonderful imagination it is. The filmmakers take us into the victim’s brain with roving images of glaciers, deserts and gorgeous sights around the globe. They take us to his memories at Lourdes, the French countryside, sex on the beach with a beautiful French woman.

I won’t say much more because I’d hate to ruin it for you, but please do yourself a favor and watch this movie. You won’t regret it.

Categories: movies, reviews

On dating, reading habits, and getting dumped

March 30, 2008 Leave a comment

If you still need to be convinced that women can just as shallow as men when it comes to judging potential mates, take a look at this hilarious essay in The New York Times. Titled “It’s not you, It’s your books”, the essay chronicles quotes from several women (and a few men) who’ve dumped members of the opposite sex for having lowbrow tastes, highbrow tastes and everything in between.

We frequently laugh at all those superficial jackasses on MTV and other trash TV shows (Laguna Beach, Real World, the list goes on) but its nice to remember that shallowness isn’t confined to those folks alone. It comes for free by being human.

Categories: life

Hats off to Mahalo

March 28, 2008 1 comment

I’ve eaten humble pie on this one before but I am so shocked that I’m handing myself another big serving.

In early 2007, no one could have convinced me that the bastard child of Wikipedia and Google had any shot at success. In hindsight, you should know that such a bastard child makes a lot of sense how closely connected the behemoth search engine and the web’s 8th largest site are.

As I always do when bored, I was looking at Quantcast.com for movers and shakers; Mahalo is now reportedly doing one million uniques a month. That’s…amazing.

What is technologically unique about Mahalo? Nothing. The only edge that they have – I think – is that they know what keywords are popping along different dimensions (for example, topical keywords) and they know how to write articles on the fly for them.

While Wikipedia articles are written to suit the fancy of the public at large and (maybe) top Wikipedians, Mahalo’s articles are written with explicit commercial goals. Is the article going to drive traffic? When? How much? Can we serve banners for this article? What’s the CPM? Is there a lot of SEO contention for the term? Can we more topical than the next guy?

Classic case of finding a comfortable niche and settling into it.

And the end product, to be perfectly fair, isn’t half bad. Kudos to them to pulling this off out of nothing.

Categories: mahalo, tech

On my first day on the SF Baby Bullet to Mountain View

March 25, 2008 Leave a comment

Don’t have time to do an extensive post, but here is the ride by the numbers:

  • Number of passengers in coach: 8
  • Number of iPhones: 4
  • Number of laptops: 5
    • Number of Macbooks: 2
  • Time spent aboard: 45 minutes

Social comparisons to any other train system anywhere are probably irrelevant. Too many iPhone toting jackasses in our part of the world – including yours truly.

Categories: apple, life

Back on Venturebeat today

March 21, 2008 Leave a comment

I don’t have anything significant to add today, so I’ll be ultra-lazy and simply announce that I’m back on the professional blogging horse with Venturebeat with this post: http://tinyurl.com/ywsosu

Enjoy. Or not.

Categories: 1

On moving, Yael Naim and the Macbook Air

March 19, 2008 Leave a comment

First off, big news. I’m moving to SF!!!

Anyone that has known me for any extended period of time has heard me couch my move to San Francisco – barely 30 miles away – with larger life metaphors, themes of living outside the comfort zone and so forth. Well, it’s finally happening.

But more on that later.  Let me ask you – do you love the new Macbook Air commercials as much as I do? I mean, do you rewind your DVR mid-stream, roll back to the ad and play it over just to listen to that wonderful song? Do you hear that song because you know that the woman with those pipes is likely smoldering and most definitively European?

You’re right. Congrats! Finally had a few minutes to satisfy my curiosity and look this up; turns out that the husky voice in the commercial has indeed captivated lots of listeners and the singer is a 29 year Israeli-French singer named Yael Naim.

But what blew me away when I finally located the song – named “New Soul” – on YouTube is the fact that the video starts off with the singer moving into a new apartment.

New soul. New beginnings. Moving out. Shaking things up. Making mistakes. Living, damnit. Living.

My little head is about to explode. This is _my_ American-beauty-plastic-bag moment.

Watch the video below:

Categories: life

PowerSet!? Where are you? Are you still here?

March 15, 2008 2 comments

Any idea where everyone from PowerSet has disappeared? Or is it just that I’ve not been keeping my ears close enough to the ground (yes, this is a Last of the Mohicans reference) to know the latest dish?

I saw them at SFBeta in September; I was duly impressed and had a hundred follow-on questions which I didn’t have an opportunity to ask. But fast forward to now – six months from then, and I still have no idea when they are launching. Q2? Q3? How much money will they have burned pre-launch?

Damn, I’m jonesing for an information fix.

Categories: powerset

On hookers, MySpace and the American Dream; Ashley Dupre makes out like a bandit

March 15, 2008 Leave a comment

I don’t know if this shit would happen anywhere else except for wonderful, opportunistic, vulgar, voyeuristic America – and I mean all of those not as a diss to this country but as a statement of fact, a statement of complicit behavior from yours truly.

You already knew that Client No. 9’s unwitting, wannabe Mary J. Blige call girl was going to have some pretty solid opportunities to rake it in right as soon as the New York Times story on her identity broke a few days ago.

Now its established for real. Check out this Post story: http://tinyurl.com/2zm2u5

And the blog post where I found it: http://tinyurl.com/2zypfz

My personal favorite: A perfume endorsed by the hooker named “Client No. 9”.

I wonder what a purchase of that perfume would say about the buyer. Does it mean they admire prostitutes? Does it mean they love Spitzer’s alternative identity? Addicted to reality TV?

Categories: life

History Nerds Rejoice! John Adams comes to HBO

March 14, 2008 2 comments

I realize that this post is effectively destroying any remaining dating mojo that I have. That’s okay, though, the exuberance is well deserved.

If you give more than a rat’s tail about American history, you already have or plan to read David McCullough’s profound, wonderful “John Adams”. Less well known than that crazy old coot Franklin and Mr. Hypocrite Jefferson, Adams was honest, forthright, articulate, god-fearing and fiercely faithful to his wife – in other words, things that I am not and never will be.

So I’m super excited since the story of this great American patriot comes to HBO in the form of an eight part miniseries starting March 16th. Watch it! I know I will, right before I give in to my baser instincts and switch to watching Entourage.

Categories: biography, history Tags: , ,

Diebold, I love you for the new Bank of America ATMs

March 10, 2008 3 comments

I have no idea how new these BOFA machines are, but they must be new. There isnt a single one of these at the Mountain View branch in the building where I work but I found one in Menlo Park yesterday.

No envelopes!!! Hallelujah. I cannot believe that I’ve been getting Susan-Rossed for as long as I’ve had an ATM card like a chump while I could have been using this machine all along. Why was it so hard to invent this thus far? If you’ve got a check, you just drop it in.

But the beauty of it is that the box reads the check and the actual dollar amount. It shows you a photocopy-like image of your check as well as its guess of the dollar amount of the check. No need to handwrite jack. No need to worry that the pen hanging off the side was last touched by a homeless man with herpes who has a bad scratching habit.

Technology 1, Primitive Behavior 0. Booya!

Categories: reviews