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Silicon Alley Insider’s POOR, LAME Digg Analysis

December 20, 2008 1 comment

I’m usually an SAI fan (and always thought Digg was overhyped for what they’d built), but this “analysis” of Digg’s business is exceedingly shoddy (original: http://www.alleyinsider.com/2008/12/diggs-miserable-business)

Here is a point-by-point rebuttal:

  • Why is Digg’s burn 14 million dollars? Any good Silicon Valley estimate for a 4 year old company will tell you that the average employee costs close to 200k. At 60ish employees (guessing), Digg is mostly burning on salary and G&A with the remainder going to site operations. 22 million users and a decent amount  of data moved around, that shit ain’t free. 
  • The post proves DIDDLY-SQUAT about Microsoft’s ad targeting. AFAI can tell, they took one screenshot of a run-of-site (untargeted ad) and called it out as an “indictment” of Microsoft. Clearly the writer has never sold ads or worked with ad traffickers. I’m not saying MS is awesome but I am saying that the post has ZERO INFORMATION one way or the other. 
  • Out of the 22 million visits via Quantcast, only 11 million are US based. The other 11 million may as well be nonexistent because ad marketplaces in other countries are underdeveloped or nonexistent. Worse, US advertisers frequently limit their ads to run on US traffic only, thereby capping the ad sellthrough for Digg in spite of high traffic. Facebook faces a similar problem in its display ad inventory vis a vis international users. 

So – can someone make some sort of substantive argument?

Update: TC posted a pretty decent take on the issue. Most of Digg’s burn is probably engineers that are working on a self-serve ad product. I for one can believe that this might be interesting (certainly more interesting than Facebook’s sorry excuse for a self-serve ad product).

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OMG. Horrendous search results from Live.com

December 18, 2008 Leave a comment

I just couldn’t resist posting these results even though I understand that this may strike you as rather obvious. 

Query: “Brazil nightclub dress code” (don’t worry, I’m not weird, just heading to Brasil)

Results: PATHETIC

I mean, Good Grief, better to give me a blank page. 

http://search.live.com/results.aspx?q=brazil+night+club+dress+code&go=&form=QBLH&qs=AS

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On the Santa Clara DMV

December 17, 2008 Leave a comment

Here’s a tip for anyone that’s smart enough to look up the DMV on Google (as opposed to the DMV’s own ratty-ass site).

a) The Redwood City DMV sucks worse than being stuck on a deserted island with Kevin Federline and Barry Manilow. Also, its closed until January 2009 and the DMV site fails to declare so (nice work, folks).

b) The Santa Clara DMV is awesome. Its like being stuck on a deserted island with insert_hot_girl_of_choice_here. Okay, its really not that great, but its pretty damn good as far as DMVs go. I understand that the bar is low-ish but trust me on this one. I went this morning and was seen in 15 minutes. Baller! The older Vietnamese gentleman who verified that I was indeed capable of putting registration stickers on my plates was extremely nice. Nice and DMV don’t usually mix, so this was a pleasant surprise. Also, it seems like the Santa Clara is filled with new immigrants who are there for driving tests and not for registration, etc.

You can thank me later.

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Thanks for NOT screwing up Google Chrome, GOOG

December 12, 2008 1 comment

Not that my opinion matters…but when did that ever stop me from opening my voluminous trap? Okay, when Chrome came out and won me over with its slick UI, its Road Runner-esque speed and its general awesomeness, I was worried that Google would let it languish for months on end with a 0.xx version and no real improvements. 

Thank God that’s not the case. Chrome 1.0 just came out, and one of these days us Mac users will have one too 🙂

Thanks GOOG.

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Interesting Kosmix topic page: Rio de Janeiro

December 8, 2008 2 comments

I’m such an old fogey. I’m going to Brazil in two weeks and actually bought a dead-tree book to prepare. Went to Borders, browsed the travel shelf, the works. Jokes aside, its amazing how paper books are still USEFUL when traveling to a foreign city that doesn’t speak English. 

I also happened upon the Kosmix topic page late in the day and found a few useful things that would have been hard to come by anywhere else (eventful is just one example). 

http://www.kosmix.com/topic/rio_de_janeiro

Categories: life

Slumdog Millionaire Movie Review

December 8, 2008 3 comments

In four words: DO NOT MISS IT.

As someone that revels in the joys of biting sarcasm and the cynicism of all around me, I for once find myself stripped of my ability to strike a less than effusive tone. Slumdog Millionaire – which I initially avoided like I would a ridiculous Bollywood romp, then got curious about after good word and mouth and great reviews – hit me in the solar plexus and left me laughing, tearing up, getting angry, getting sad, cringing, laughing and tearing up again. It was a color-filled rollercoaster as any movie set in Bombay ought to be, and I loved every minute of it.

A lot of people have referred to Danny Boyle‘s improbable yet delicious rags-to-riches tale of a young orphan Dickensian. While that is certainly a compliment, it robs the movie of its very Indian, very Bombay-esque essence. The sights, the sounds, the colors, the pitch-perfect crass slum Hindi, the wretched settings in which slum dwellers eke out an existence, the inhumanity and the glorious humanity of it all is INDIAN above all else. The movie is an Indian movie at heart – how ironic, then, that it took an international crew to create such memorable fare while Bollywood continues to wallow in the dimwitted mind-numbing shit and piss they churn out with robotic frequency, each movie doing a more miserable job of aping the gringos than the last.

Not to give anything away but the story centers around a young lad named Jamal Malik who grew up in the sprawling slums of Bombay with his slightly older and far edgier brother Salim. The Muslim brothers know nothing but squalor and poverty and violence and learn to live their lives on the precipice of death. They beg, cheat, steal and con European tourists to get by. They cuss, punch, kill and maim to protect each other and the dignity of those around them. One brother ends up in a lowly white collar gig, a marginal loser on the fringe of a society where success is nowadays symbolized by a headset and a feeble attempt at a foreign accent (a gross exaggeration, no doubt, but valid for this movie). The other brother, armed with a Colt and a willingness to bend the rules turns player. No prizes for guessing who turns millionaire in the end.

Most of the characters are well written and the movie consciously avoids Bollywood stereotypes of dancing around trees and other nonsense. The fact that they reserve a Bollywood-like dance for the very end of the movie before the credits is a welcome change and a fitting rebuke of traditional Bollywood; it shows that one can make a great movie with a great soundtrack that is hugely entertaining without resorting to the path of least resistance.

Parts of the love story between the main character (Dev) and his lifelong squeeze are a stretch at best and hackneyed at worst. But this is a minor peccadillo and takes almost nothing away from the soaring splendor that is Slumdog Millionaire.

So to recap: DO NOT MISS IT.

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Don’t let the (Wal-Mart) barbarians through the gate

December 4, 2008 Leave a comment

I’m going to pull an anti-Palin and play my elitist card. Where does Apple get off selling a device that I dropped 400 bucks on (and others spent more) at WAL-MART??

And to add insult to injury, Apple wants to price it at 99 dollars. Good Lord. Nothing says snobbery and Apple cultishness like a device you can buy after saving extra-extra-always-low-prices on Crocs. 

I might give my membership card back.

Categories: life, snarky, tech