Thursday, January 31, 2008

Friday, January 25, 2008

More Winehouse

I feel a little guilty for dropping that Winehouse video where she mauls through it so here's a little redemption. Winehouse and Ronson. Sorry, Columbia don't want no embedding.

Oh the Hypocracy

Here in Quebec/Canada, we have a bunch of pissed off French politicians trying to get elected by singling out immigrants and anglophones for all of the historical linguistic woes of the past, present and future.

This is particularly repugnant because they've singled out immigrants as the cause of decline of the French language and hence are gaining popularity by fanning the flames of intolerance against cultural and religious values that are different from their own.

This is very similar to what the National Front (UK/FR) has been trying to do in Europe for the past few decades.

It's particularly frightening when the leader of a major federal political party can say this in public:

"I say to all the Uncle Toms from Quebec that are in Ottawa who say to us, 'If you want to enforce French, do it in Quebec,' that the federal Labour Code is a federal jurisdiction. It's for them to act ... if they are serious about
recognizing Quebec as a nation."

Gilles Duceppe - Bloc Quebecois

BTW an "Uncle Tom" is an extremely offensive racial pejorative also known as a "house n****", in this case referring to French people who cooperate with the rest of the country. So that's what it's come to in Quebec, politicians are working overtime in Quebec to unite the masses against the threat of immigrants while the local economy slides down the toilet and the Chinese methodically chip away at our manufacturing and processing industries.

Another Nero keeps fiddling while our Rome burns.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Mongoose Mouth

There's something really fascinating about a trainwreck, you cringe and squirm but you can't look away. This one is my fave. It just never fails to crack me up.

The Synthetic Genome - This is Staggering

These scientists have gotten yeast cells to build arbitrary DNA. This is pretty scary because any DNA pattern can be created.

The yeast can build any DNA from a database such as the Human Genome project. From any DNA pattern on file, the DNA created by the yeast can then be dropped into a DNA-less cell and set in motion to start reproducing.

This means that your DNA (and mine) can be stored in a computer and sent somewhere else to be booted up into a cell that might one day become another person. Staggering. This will have major implications for pretty much everything having to do with genetics and molecular biology.

Yikes! Read more here.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

New skin

I reskinned to add a twitter panel. I'm not crazy about this new skin but then again the old one was kind of clunky too.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Amory Lovins

I never heard of him either. As it turns out he's one of the smartest guys on the planet and he's funded by the Pentagon (of all places) in his quest to end the oil endgame. He's an extremely pragmatic dude and makes a ton of sense without flinging tofu at anybody.

Here's a video and here's the website.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Job hunting hints

I put an ad on Craigslist last week for some part time marketing help and then asked the applicants to write me a pitch in under 100 words.

Here's what I got:

  • 52 applicants in 4 days
  • only 9 bothered sending their pitch, 5 had bad grammar (IE: worse than mine)
  • about 15 sent a CV with nothing else in their email
  • about 20 couldn't spell or compose a sentence
  • 1 was an aggressive Internet marketing guy who started blasting me about commissions (WTF??)
  • 1 applicant told me (unsolicited) how confusing my website was and how horrible the color was and proceeded to send me a pitch targeted at geriatric people interested in surfing (double WTF???)

Only one was really enthusiastic, followed my instructions, was professional and wrote a decent pitch. The bar was pretty low but she did a great job and will probably get my business.

So here's some tips for any of you trying to get business from somebody else, this includes you guys/gals who are looking for jobs, selling companies, cars, services, websites, bandwidth, tomatoes or whatever;

PC = Potential Customer

  • Read every word of what was asked and reply with exactly what the PC asked for
  • Even if you have a form letter, add a personalized note that shows you actually understand what your PC wants
  • Be professional, enthusiastic and positive
  • Check your grammar and use your spell checker
  • Throwing a compliment helps but don't blow too much smoke up your PCs ass
  • Criticizing your PC really doesn't help even if you think it was constructive unless they specifically asked for it and even then you should be very careful with your words not to ruffle feathers
  • Stand out without being a clown

Sounds simple right? Then why did only 4 out of 52 MARKETING applicants follow this? I could understand if the job was VP of Cleaning Earwax out of Phones but for fucks sakes why can't a marketing person market themself?

If they aren't professional with me, how are they going to be with my customers?

Monday, January 14, 2008

On Design

I've always thought that Frog Design, SGI, Bang and Olufsen and Porche had the best industrial designs. I never really liked the Apple design vocabulary even though Frog concocted some of it, and I really don't understand why everybody thinks they're so amazing. The thing that I like best about OS/X is the fluidity of motion within the UI but overall I really don't think the ecosystem is as intuitive as most people think it is. The thing I like most about the iPod is that I don't have to use one.

Then again, I've grown up with computers and mainframes from a deep chips & boards and soldering iron perspective so the dummied down metaphors like throwing a drive in the garbage to eject it doesn't make much sense to me. Honestly, I think that glass buttons are like faux hawks, mullets and moustaches. Maybe they were cool in high school once upon a Camaro but they're embarrassing now much like a 50 year old with a pierced ear and a tribal barbed wire armband tattoo.

Having said that, I am really glad that Microsoft mostly ignored Apple when it designed the XBox 360 and Zune and that Nintendo ignored everybody when they designed the Wii. These products are great on their own and despite a rough start, will have a pretty big influence on industrial design going forward.

Another company that I totally forgot about was Braun. As it turns out Apple has been as deeply influenced by Braun as it had been by Xerox back in the day. Check out this article.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Supply and Demand

Market theory states that prices will go up when supply contracts and reverse when the opposite is true. I'm happy to say that I've rented out my villa for 8 weeks at mostly full rate and I've removed my standard discounted ratecard from my website so that I can charge the agents a few percent more to absorb their commissions.

So far I have some upscale clientele who think that the rates are really cheap, a few friends of friends who think that it's fair but pricey and total strangers who want to pay less per person than what a backpacker pays at a campground. My tactic has been to stick to referrals only and even at that, upscale only. I figure that I'll get less business but more upscale repeat business and my team can spend more time making fewer people more happy.

Lets see how this goes - Hilton strategy versus HoJo.

Speaking of market forces, read this.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Three bucks and ten minutes bought me this video at

Battling the beard

About a month ago I bought an electric razor to leave at my country place so I don't look like grizzly Adams on weekends. Unfortunately I haven't had time to go there for a while so I started using the razor in town. It turned out to be pretty useful because I can shave in the shower and after a couple of days, my skin got used to it and I was getting clean and smooth shaves.

Here's the cool thing, I guess my hair started growing straight out instead of at an angle so I just noticed recently that my beard is a lot less like a Fred Flintstone sub-cutaneous grey shadow both right after a shave and at the end of the day. Go figure, by 5:00 my face feels like a pot scrubber but still doesn't look like I've got a dirt-beard. I'm sold on it full time now even though I used to hate these things. Takes a little longer to shave but I'm doubling timing with my zombie in the shower ceremony routine so I'm actually saving time overall.