Saturday, March 28, 2009

Popularity Dialer and TrapCall - stuff for work I am so using this to get out of meetings and shit. And I bet this uses the ANI number to determine the "true" caller ID

Speech to Text Services

sites to remember for work...

Friday, March 27, 2009

Books I'm Reading 8) 13 Things That Don't Make Sense: The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of Our Time by Michael Brooks

The wonderful thing about science is it's constant search for insight. Religion as well searches for insight but at times where things are uncertain, religion often takes the out of saying that it is impossible to know the will of God. In this book, the topics covered, things like homeopathy, cold fusion, the varying of values that science calls "constants", the origin of life, there's a good level of discussion and explanation but an infuriating lack of conclusion. And I suppose such should be expected from something that discusses mysteries of science.

I did learn some things and some of it I already knew and that is, in the end, as much as I could hope for. Yet I am distraught by the lack of conclusion. Perhaps it's just a flaw in my personality that likes to see conclusion. For example, I'm not a believer in the placebo effect. And yet I'm sure that in some ways I've seen the success of the placebo effect in my life. I know better, or like to thing better, and yet still can't explain the conclusions I've experienced in my own life.

If you want a complicated but interesting read, this book is good. If you want to walk away with answers...go be a researcher and get a doctorate in astrophysics and find out how to find dark energy and the Higgs boson. Or go find God.

Books I'm Reading 7) I Can't Accept Not Trying by Michael Jordan (yeah that Michael Jordan)

This is actually an old book. Back in 1994 I had my first eye surgery for a retinal detachment. When I first went into the eye doctors office downstairs from the office was a bookstore and my father got me this book. Which is kind of ironic when you consider that it's a book and after surgery for retinal detachment your eye is basically covered in gauze for a few weeks. But yeah....

I guess I was reading this again because it reminded me of something: you need to be aware of consequences but not be afraid of them. Too many times in life we're afraid to take chances because we're afraid of failing. Now there's a difference here between being afraid of the consequences and owning up to the consequences. Failing to own up to your failures is why I have to pay 25% fucking interest on my credit cards when Citi is getting 5% loans from the federal government with MY MOTHERFUCKING TAXES.

But that doesn't mean it's the same thing as not taking risks. You need to be smart about it. You need to be aware of what the consequence of action is. You need to be prepared to eat those consequences, but in the end, I can't accept not taking those risks because it prevents me from succeeding. And that I suppose is one of the great lessons in life that we all need to learn. Some people learn that quicker than others. Sometimes we forget it and need to be reminded.

And don't get me wrong, there are lots of things in life that I regret doing, but if I had to do it all over again, I would do it all the same...except maybe I would try harder to punch a dolphin. But I don't regret taking those chances, I don't regret the actions, only the inactions; and as much as I hate to waste my time, I also hate to waste an opportunity. What can I learn from an experience? What does that experience say about who I've become and who I can become? Where does the journey take me? And so this book serves as a nice reminder to always be open to the possibilities...and be ready, at a seconds notice, to punch a dolphin.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

domain names and TV shows

so I'm watching the show How I Met Your Mother and one of the characters mentions a website (see link) and I really appreciate the fact that either the writers or proucers (and I'm guessing not the network) actually took the time to register the domain name and create a fake site. I am most impressed by the fact that the fake site uses pictures of Alan Thicke on the website because it's incredibly hilarious Awesome!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Books I'm Reading 6) Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Yeah, yeah. it's cliche to say that the book was better than the movie. But it's usually true. The Hunt For Red October, Sphere, Jaws...Well okay maybe not Jaws, that movie was badass but still, with regards to Neil Gaiman's work, it's true. I remember seeing but not reading the initial DC print in the mid-90's and it looked interesting but not interesting enough to buy over whatever I didn't have in my John Grisham or Tom Clancy collection.

So to be fair this was also an audiobook. I love audiobooks more than movies. They let you create your own picture in your imagination and I'm tied to whatever crap some director is putting on a screen (that you Michal Bay you fucking tool) and in this case you get to hear the Author read his own work. You hear things as the author heard them in his own head when he was writing it. And that's a wonderful thing.

There are some pretty significant differences between the novel and the movie. Al Pacino's character doesn't exist in the book, there's no fight with the witches at the end and the book takes on a different mood. It's not a fairy tale as much as it is a tale about the beauty inherent in the journey and the wonder of exploration. It takes place over the course of many years and not a week or so as in the movie and this allows the story to take on a much different flow. You wander with injured characters (Yvaine for example broke her leg when she fell and walks with a limp for the entire story) through decades of exploration and travels.

But the big idea of the book isn't in the differences between the book and the movie, it's in the key similarity of forcing you to wonder what would happen if you took that step to cross the wall? Most of us live in a box. Hell, I do, but that which lies beyond the wall and that which the community says you need to be protected from, may hold your destiny. Also it's got a stroke of reality since there's a few spicy bits and in the end of the novel Tristan dies and Yvaine is immortal so she lives on, where in the movie they both fly off in the typical fairy tale ending.

Again another selection of escapism. In reality I've got a few different books I'm reading at the moment. I just happen to finish these escapist books faster. Trying to digest a book like "Return on Customer" which is probably my next to finish, takes time and I want to take notes so I can write up a nice 20 page report entitled "Stop fucking doing it wrong!" that I can leave on my boss' desk for him to give to the President of the company.

But I digress....again. There are for whom a little escapism is necessary and who find that growing up isn't always what you need to do. Should you find yourself in a situation where you think your life can use a little more of the faery tales and the fantastic, this is a great book to read...or to listen to Neil Gaiman read as the case may be.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Books I'm Reading 5) The Ninja Handbook (I Look Forward To Killing You Soon) by Douglas Sarine

I have lots of questions and the best place to get answers is from a Ninja. Hence I'm a huge fan of the Ask A Ninja podcast. It's important to get accurate information about killing people, how to deal with three-headed, demon infested, man-eating manatees, and how to make the perfect Mojito.

the Ninja Handbook is the next best thing to having a real Ninja to ask questions of in person. Why? Well because if you work at it hard enough, you may just be good enough to break the laws of physics and become a Ninja too. Or you might just get lazy, thumb through the book then go back to Saved by the Bell reruns.

The book itself is hilarious and was another one of those diversions I've been finding important lately. So look, you can download the audio version for free, but go buy the book. It's that good. Hell, buy two copies of the book. One for you and one for your boss so you can leave it on his desk with a post-it note that says "I look forward to killing you soon!"

Friday, March 20, 2009

Dan Ariely on social norms and cheating

In a talk entitled Our Buggy Moral Code Dan Ariely discuesses cheating and social norms. Of significant note

0. Intuition is usually bullshit. Prove it.

1. a lot of people cheat just a little bit
2. when we remind people of their morality, cheating goes down.
3. when we can distance ourselves from the objective of the cheating (for example money) cheating will go up
4. when we see people cheating around us, and those people are part of our community, cheating goes up.
5. when we see people cheating around us, and those people are a part of an oppoistional community, cheating goes down

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Books I'm Reading 4) The Bro Code by Barney Stinson

I should start by saying that I find it amusing anytime a fiction sitcom character is given author credit for a book. It's one thing to write under a pseudonym, it's entire another thing to give author credit to a fictional character. I mean, it's like granting George Jetson the patent for the Sprocket. That said, I needed something funny. I'm not in much of a fuuny mode lately and this was a nice little interlude to my ongoing self pity streak.

Now I should say here that I'm a big fan of Neil Patrick Harris. Great comic timing and totally knows how to play over the top characters...and Barney Stinson is entirely an over the top character. It's also important to remember kids, before you act, think: WWNPHD?

The nice thing about this book is that it's not just a long running joke that's just a printed tie-in to the show How I Met Your Mother. I mean, it's got a deeper meaning if you enjoy the show but it's funny all on its own. But that's part of the beauty of the show overall. There's little things like websites mentioned on the show that (I presume) the producers and writers have actually taken the time to build semi-credible websites for, so it's not a single thing here or there but all a big tie-in. Cross platform marketing, gotta love it.

Now I'm generally of the mindset that rules are meant to be broken and certainly some of these are but there's a few that could totally work. The Lemon Law, for example, I think should be a real law. Things not working out on a date, you can walk away in the first five minutes, no questions asked, no reasons given. It's beautiful. And it's probably that kind of thing that make me horrible at dating.

I'm not saying it's the greatest piece of comedic fiction, but it was a nice distraction and damn hilarious. And come on, I can't get books published under my own name but they give author cred to a fictional character. I mean really...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Books I'm Reading 3) I Am America (And So Can You) by Stephen Colbert

So to be honest I actually just listened to the audio book version because it was on Audible, so I should probably put up the Audible link but eh whatever. It was interesting, I guess I prefer America: The Book more but this was good. I don't often watch the Colbert Report anymore. I understand the appeal it's just not my kind of thing. I prefer the Daily Show. Theis book however was good, the way in which Colbert lays out a lot of social structure of America is hilarious and the over-the-top way in which "his character" plays out his vision of America is always entertaining. All in all worth the purchase on Audible, might have been better to buy the actual book and see what kind of graphics they had to go along with some of the material.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


America's Next Top Broken Nose

Saturday, March 14, 2009 Storytellers

A nice channel to go through on

Of the ones I've watched thus far, Mike Rowe's is pretty interesting and surprising, Ed Ulbrich's was interesting for the techno geek in me, Newton Aduaka's story about a child soldier is amazing, Carmen Agra Deedy is an incredible storyteller, but they're all just ridiculously good.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Free Diver Kills Shark

okay so a free diver killing a shark by hand, underwater. That is the new definition of badass.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

TED 2009 - Willie Smits

My background is technically electical engineering, I always liked to think of it more like systems engineering. It's all about how things interact and how the overall system works. This talk from Willie Smits about restoring a rainforest is one of the best examples I can think of for overall systems engineering. How do the different forces that would naturally be competing work together to form a system that benefits all. It's goddamn amazing.

TED 2009 - Pattie Maes demos the Sixth Sense

you know it's scary when the world gets closer to the point where a Tom Cruise movie is reality. Touch and gesture sensitive devices which at mass production prices would probably cost less than the iPhone. Damn. That's just geek sexy. - Mike Rowe - Dirty Jobs Sheep

I put this here because of what Mike Rowe describs as talking in pictures. Now granted I find it absolutely fucking hilarious but still, it's also one of those important stories.

Of important note, the big thing I take from this is to question the normal thinking. They're often misconceptions.

Don Norman TED Talks fro 2003

3 ways design is tied to emotion

Depth first = stress.
Breadth first = happy. Prone to interruptions and out of the box thinking.

Monday, March 09, 2009

The Importance of Storytelling

Even if it involves crazy internet romance with Australians sometimes there are stories that just need to be told

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Genetically Happy People

...and of course now I have REM playig in my head...Tiny Happy People....REM....Seriously, I'm not that fucking old.

People genetically predisposed to being happy.So all you happy people need to realize genetically predisposed to my outlook on life and smiling at me does not fix it. And I won't try to change you by pouring my half empty cup of tea over your head.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Books I'm Reading 2) Jonathan Gullible: A Free Market Odyssey by Ken Schoolland

This was the other book I finished, actually finished it this morning. Okay first off for a guy that teaches at HPU and a book that was published in Hawaii, I have to say that to the best of my knowledge there is no flower called a "pikaki" and you're editors should be fucking shot. It's a "pikake" and yes it's only one letter but then it's the differece between an author named kin and an author named ken and in this case his family should disown him for writing such a lame book.

To be honest I don't even remember where I got this book> i've had it for some time and never read it because it looked like it was written for 10 year olds...and maybe it was. Maybe I just think that the entire message was completely bass ackwards. The whole thing revoles around some idiot kid who gets swept away in a storm and ends up in a strange land but gets all confused by the backwards ass culture he finds...think gulliver's travels but like for poli sci 200 level classes.

I mean I get it, government can be corrupt and the free market should be allowed to....blah blah blah, the entire thing is full of crap. Because at any point in human history people would not put up with a 10'th of the crap the people on the island have to go through, they would fucking riot and overthrow the government. Hell the French beheaded the bad leaders....THE FRENCH!!!!

Look, maybe I'm just not the intended audience, I mean the book wasn't totally horrible it just offended all the parts of my brain that want to, you know, think. Here's the thing Ken, I don't like government much either but you need a balance. You know why it's called a 'free market'? Because we like to lie all the fucking time. If we didn't have regulations imposed on the free market you have no basis on which society can be forme. I think the current state of my portfolio and the lack of decent government oversight into financial markets should serve as some evidence that an unregulated free market isn't exactly a bright fucking idea.

My problem isn't with the idea that the free market can be beneficial, my problem is that the entire parable was so fucking one sided that government is corrupt and government programs are bad and people should be allowed to choose and....just fucking shut it. It's not that I wouldn't reccomend this book. It's that I don't find the desire to recycle so strong that I would go and buy the copies in print just so the paper could be put to better use.

Books I'm Reading 1) Grace Under Fire by Andrew Carroll (ed.)

So i'm going to try to start something here mostly because I have time to kill. I've got this stack of books that I have but haven't read yet and I'm going to try to write a short note about them as I finish. In the past two nights I've finished two of them. If I can burn through them fast enough maybe I'll hit up Amazon for more. There's like half a dozen other titles I have on my list now. Plus since I'm not really watching TV any more, it's nice to have something to do in the evenings since the someone I used to do in the evenings happens to be moving to Cali next week....and I'm not bitter.

Okay, so Andrew Carroll never served a day in the military. He has however edited a ridiculously fine collection of letters from people who have. I read his other book "War Letters" some time ago and picked this one up at a Borders because I recognized the name. I'm not particularly religious. Hell, my religious veiws pretty much end at "I have to pay child support but God doesn't doesn't and that doesn't seem right." But I digress. The book is awesome...wait I said I was going to try to use that word less. The book is amazing.

The letters, particularly of some of the ones from older wars, he's got this set of letters from the Civil War for example, are just something I never really thought much of before. It's a glimpse into the moment of someone's life that you don't usually get to see. A letter from a father to a son he's never met in person trying to figure out where God is in some of the most Godforsaken conflicts in modern history. They tell stories that need to be told.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Things to remember - get back up
via Tim Ferriss's blog something to remember

Sunday, March 01, 2009

I have a new hero

his name is Sergei and he died of a heart attack after fucking for 12 hrs.

I now believe in God

seriously Kirk all it takes is banannas to make me believe in God. Well Kick Cameron and banannas