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On SF Cabbie Stereotypes

This has got to be a new category on this blog; if I’m spending 40 bucks a week on cabs, I may as well as write about WTF these guys talk about. Angry cabbie, loquacious cabbie, porno cabbie, gearhead cabbie. Its all coming.

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Sprint Customer Service sucks beyond belief

I thought I was going to be more productive with a mobile broadband card. I gutted my previous provider – cingular – in favor of Sprint, which supposedly has better data service.

Wrong answer! I’ve spent three hours this weekend trying to get this goddamn thing activated, to no avail.

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Wag of the finger to Yelp: Reviews aren’t exposed via RSS

April 13, 2008 Leave a comment

[So I copied Steven Colbert in the title; sue me]

Okay, I’ve started to use Yelp pretty regularly to navigate my move up to the city. I’ve always been impressed by the strength of the community in San Francisco and just how many diverse points of view make their way into reviews of almost every spot out there. The Yelp Talk feature is most excellent – both times I’ve left questions, I’ve gotten north of 10 responses. Within an hour! Now that’s an engaged, passionate community.

Here is what’s bullshit: my reviews (or anyone else’s, for that matter) aren’t available via RSS. Why? Why can’t I, if I choose to, follow a friend’s reviews on Google Reader? Why can’t I send a feed of my own reviews to friends or link that feed to my main line blog feed?

In one word: pageviews? And that’s why Nick Carr says that “It’s worth remembering that the business model of Web 2.0 social networks is the sharecropping model“. For a site whose very existence relies upon users contributing content, shouldn’t it try to let that content free in some limited form?

Did I miss something here?

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Fun factoid you didn’t know: ATM out of network charges

April 13, 2008 Leave a comment

Read this in Fortune magazine this evening while busting my hump at the gym: every year, banks make 4 billion dollars in revenue from the annoying-as-hell $1.50 ATM charge thats applied and grudgingly accepted while we find ourselves out of network.

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A good Kansas photo

April 13, 2008 2 comments

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Going to the Giants game, peeps!

April 12, 2008 Leave a comment

With a Saint Louis fan, no less! Giants play Cardinals at 115PST, I’ll be there ignoring the sport of baseball and drinking beers while staring out onto the water. Yeah!

Good thing Giants games aren’t like Raider games, my friends would get killed. That would be no fun.

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On the Scrubs Season Seven Premiere

April 11, 2008 Leave a comment

In two words: it stank. That was NOT funny, Bill Lawrence. Come on!

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On why Kosmix is da bomb for commute monkeys

April 11, 2008 1 comment

This is not a shameless plug for the good folks that fund my expensive Star Wars costume habit (that was a joke, you nerds). This is an acknowledgment of my kickass ultra cheap commute thanks to Kosmix.

As you know, I recently moved up from my little hovel in Palo Alto to, well, a little hovel up in San Francisco. I live close to the Caltrain station on 4th and King as well as 280. I’ve been desperately trying to figure out how best to commute 45 minutes one way and not whine about it. Also note that my job implicitly requires me to show up at work 4-5 days a week. No cushy work from home action for me.

So you do the math: 80 miles a day, 5 days a week, at a bone-crushing 4.08 per gallon and 20 miles per gallon. I’ll save you the time – its in the 350 dollar neighborhood. That doesn’t even include weekend driving, wear and tear and the hidden costs of road rage (serious).

So how kickass is it that Kosmix pays for 50% of my Caltrain tickets *and* pre-taxes that bad boy to give me an additional saving?

Add that stuff up: 48 dollars for a 10 ride from Caltrain, out of which Big K paid for half. 96 bucks a month, minus tax benefits 🙂 Add to that the sixty bucks I ponied up for a laptop wireless card and you’re looking at a 140 dollar per month outlay.

I could buy a goddamn iPhone every two months! How sweet is that?

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On Caltrain, suicides and 3G phone cards

This has got to be one of the oddest mornings in a while.

I woke up at 640am – highly unusual for me – to be able to catch the 759 baby bullet from SF to Mountain View. I got ready ahead of time and took a leisurely walk down to the Muni stop outside my apartment – also an unusual circumstance given that I’m usually hauling ass down the street like a Kenyan at the Olympics.

I got on the train five minutes ahead of time and tested out – for the first time – my brand new 3G wireless card, which by the way works like a champ.

I made it all the way to Menlo Park before the train came to a screeching halt. Why? Because someone had just committed suicide. Yes, its true. And I’m liveblogging this on the train right outside Menlo Park.

While a human death is absolutely nothing to trivialize, God bless the Internet. I’m getting stuff done while I wait.

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On creative Moghul cruelty

April 7, 2008 1 comment

My last purchase at Borders before I bounced outta Palo Alto was an audiobook titled “Taj Mahal”, an account of the history and circumstances behind the construction of The Taj Mahal, that wondrous monument to love and loss.

Naturally, since the Taj was constructed by Shah Jehan, the book spends considerable time discussing the Moghul dynasty – all the way back to Babar. I’ll post separately about the book itself, but the one thing that stands out with special starkness is the creative cruelty of the Moghul dynasty when punishing rebels, thieves and other miscreants.

Here are some fun examples:

  • Babar, when he found that his cook had tried to poison him, literally “skinned him alive”
  • Jehangir, who was supposedly way too enamored by cruelty, enjoyed watching while elephants trampled upon and killed criminals.
  • Jehangir’s son Khusrao, who staged multiple unsuccessful rebellions, was blinded by the rubbing of a corrosive fluid in his eyes and the subsequent stitching of his brows. This was a lesser punishment than the actual gouging of eyeballs, also a common practice of Timur (from whom the Moghuls descended).
  • Akbar is known to have walled up a concubine. Alive. This one scared the crap out of me.
  • Jehangir, while punishing Khusrao’s accomplices, had one of them stitched into the internals of an oxen and the other into the stomach of an ass. You can’t make this shit up.
  • Akbar, well known as an efficient administrator of a large empire, put the fear of God in bandits by setting up stakes at regular checkpoints on large trunk roads. On these stakes were spitted sets of 3 human heads each, stacked on top of each other.

Crazy, huh?

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