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November 2007 Archives

November 2, 2007

Google Reader, Google Trends and Google News

In this new age, of "stickiness" (read about this term in Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point) is more important than clicks, I celebrate these apps.

Love these new apps. I never got into blog aggregators, but I really like Google Reader. The interface looks similar to the gmail interface so it's really easy to scan through relevant articles. There's an auto-feature that after you click on an entry, the entry drops so you can read more of the summary, then it'll mark it as read. If you want to read the rest of the article, there's a link that will open the article up as a separate tab. The one thing that's fabulous is that you can share feeds. I haven't tried that yet, but I hope it's less cumbersome than opening up my gmail account, searching for an email address, copying and pasting into the form box, and sending the article. Hopefully Google Reader addresses these issues. It's like for:anne tags in Del.icio.us, but this is for rss feeds/subscriptions/articles (?) Oh well, sharing is great, and if there's away not to clog my email, even better.
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Also a plus, there are NO ADS, YAY!!! We'll see how long that lasts, but I hope it stays this way because ads are extremely distracting when you want to READ, my $0.02.

Love these apps in Facebook, Google Trends and Google News. Google News is fabulous because you can personalize news feeds by keywords.
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Like the content of Google Trends, however it doesn't update/refresh automatically when I login to my profile page. I would probably read it more if it did.
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Tinyurl.com is pretty brilliant. It shortens the long url and gives you a short one with their domain name in it. This tool is becoming more and more helpful, as URLs get longer and longer. This is more helpful when sending email to people who are confused when they copy and paste text-wrapped links.

November 3, 2007

Yahoo! Mash

Can Yahoo! compete with Facebook? I'm not sure if their site offers any novel uses for "networking." Here's the article. If you want an invite, go to this link. I'm not networked out, since I just joined Doostang (a combination of FB, LinkedIn, Monster), but I don't want to join if it's going to be an exact replica of Facebook, which seems like what Sean P. Aune is saying. I'll pass for now.

So far, I really like Doostang. I'm reading more of the discussions. So far some interesting topics are "how to obtain a venture capital technology job" and "seeking your opinion for two job offers." The jobs offered on Doostang are targeted for business people, but they're higher-skilled jobs as oppose to Monster, such as "buyer for some major retail store" or senior analyst positions, all requiring MBA's. Some of these jobs require you to be in some kind of group, which requires you to add 20 friends to your network, which seems to be a bit of a paradox (since the community felt the small world network). Anyway, I have yet to explore this site.

The NYTimes just added...

A blog aggregator to their tech section on their site. I wonder how many clicks their getting, if any. I'm not sure if I'll use this tool yet, since I'm subscribed to newsletters and using Google Reader, which pretty much does the same thing, except I get all my tech and business, design and art news from the NY Times, Los Angeles Times and other blogs. Second, would I add my subscription to BlogRunner? Probably not, since most of the stories in tech and business from the NY Times overlap. I don't need a third subscription to overlap. LESS IS MORE. There are a lot of blog aggregators out there, but maybe they're trying to tap into the market of business execs that don't know if blog aggregators exist. My take on that, is that you're late, and you should focus your energies on retail on a slower market.

Really enjoyed reading the comments on this story from the ReadWriteWeb site. I agree with the first commenter (point taken), the second one goes on a superfluous rant and at the very end, plugs his blog (blah blah blah).

To consolidate private student loans or not to...

That is the question. This question popped up on several mailing lists with no direct answer. Here is what I'm doing:

Amidst special offers to consolidate, I am not going to.

Here's why?
NYU had a deal with Citibank (private student loans) to offer prime minus 1%, without it ever to exceed 8.25% or 8.5%. I believe if you consolidate your loan, you loose that offer. So anyway, I just called Sallie Mae with one of their special offer coupon codes, waited 15 minutes to talk to a rep, who told me that if I consolidated the loans, the interest rate would be between 7.75% to - 14.25% (yikes!), depending on your credit. ARE THEY KIDDING? I thought consolidation was to bump the interest lower, kind of like taking out a second mortgage. 14.25% is like not taking a loan out, and just using your credit card to pay for school, jeez, at least you could get 100,000 frequent flyer miles if you use a rewards credit card. 7.75% is if you have good credit. So I told that rep, look my interest rates are 7.25%, why would I want to use your service? And continued to tell her that Citibank offers a consolidation deal where it's prime minus .5% if you consolidate with them AND register to pay online, and then after 36 months of paying they know off another .5%. And she said that Sallie Mae doesn't do offer incentives like that. Also, don't go through the process of applying to see what rate you get because they do a credit check (similar to applying for a credit card), which adversely affects your credit score. What ever happened to the story that broke out about all these loan officers of various schools getting incentives from Citibank? I thought Citibank Student Loan Corporation was going to pay $33.7 billion to 2 million students. When is that schedule to happen? I called Sallie Mae (who was involved in that scandal), and of course the reps outsourced to India, didn't really know anything about that story. How convenient...

Reading the FINE PRINT:

PRO
-If you want to consolidate your loans to have one payment each month.
-It want to reduce your monthly payment amounts (but you'll end up paying your loan longer and more).


CONS
-Sacrificing the NYU deal that was made with Citibank (prime minus 1% capped at 8.5%).
-You might have 2 or 3 payments, but if you're organized, this shouldn't bother you. You have to write out a separate check for each loan. Don't assume that you can add your loan amounts with Citibank, your payment will just go to one loan and not the others, then you'll incur late fees. Just kind of view these annoyances as micro payments.

Sidebar Comment:
Interesting story about Citigroup, CEO, Charles Prince, resigns after emergency meeting, but don't feel sorry for him because he gets to take part of our loan money home, specifically this amount:

$87 million on top of the roughly $53.1 million in pay he took home in the last four years... plus a pension worth $1.74 million and another one million stock options (estimated at $4 million).

Why you should be a Democrat if you're a student and borrowing money?

Why this sloth should be skewered? He spins and wins his yacht. Funny that the New York Times link named this file 02jabba. Does that name coincide with Jabba, the Hutt because he kind of looks like Jabba anyway.

Wouldn't it be neat if Michael Moore did a documentary on privatizing student loans?

November 6, 2007

Kickstart

Aside from Mash, Yahoo created Kickstart, which is kind of a little bit like Facebook and LinkedIn. I filled out my profile, but now what? How do I interact with others?

Dragon's Den

Move over The Big Idea and The Apprentice...

Nick's dad, Ron, just recommended this fabulous venture show, called Dragon's Den on Fox. Of course, it takes place in the U.K. and everything is in pounds. But it's interesting to see what products make it, and how people pitch their ideas. One American sits on the panel, and seems to be the techie.

Like this show that most other business shows because you can get an idea of how and if an idea is creative or not based on if the vc's put there money where there mouth is. Also, you can learn some business strategies, such as using figures when you pitch (e.g. Peter gave one of the examples). So far, from the two episodes that I've watched, I noticed that NYU Stern's lectures are right on target, especially professor Glen Okun's suggestions on what pages are most important in a business plan. Most of these vc's really invest in passionate people (vc's taking the role of mentors) or the innovative product (making sure the logic is there). Ron also told us this advice, but it's more prevalent in the actions in this show.

November 7, 2007

Jeff Koons at Christie’s on Sale

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For $12 million. There are five: blue, green, red, pink, and yellow (this one is currently being processed). The green, red and pink belong to private collectors. The blue diamond is currently on exhibit in front of the Christie's building.

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NOTE: Buyer of (blue) diamond, please contact me if you would like to purchase the hi-res versions of these photos. I can give you a deal ;) (cheaper than $13 million).

November 9, 2007

There You Go Again: Orwell Comes to America

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I was able to attend this (part I) forum on Propaganda Then and Now: What Orwell Did and Didn't Know at the New York Public Library. Among the panelists were Konstanty Gerbert, Masha Gessen, Jack Miles and George Soros. Orville Schell was the moderator, who authored What Orwell Didn't Know: Propaganda and the New Face of American Politics (released November 5, 2007). I was a little disappointed that George Soros didn't sign my book. However, I enjoyed his presentation on cognition, perception in periphery versus subconscious, and the danger of "News-speak," a term that Orwell uses, and bringing truth back to the news. There were some interesting questions were asked like "thoughts on strategizing propaganda used in financial markets." I often wonder about that when I read news stories about "the price of oil barrels." Anyway, I wish I went to the other talks forums: "deceiving images, the science of manipulation (part 2)" and "solutions, the future of political landscape (part 3). Will post my notes on my wiki.

Kind of a peculiar note, they were broadcasting this on Second Life.

November 18, 2007

In need of plants?

Looking for nurseries in New York City. Well, I found several on 28th Street. They're pretty reasonably priced and there are a variety of species than the typical ones sold at Home Depot and Gristedes Market. We bought three from Chad (I believe the second nursery from McDonald's). He really knew the species and genus, which species thrive in sunlight and low light, and was informative on care for each plant. We bought a succulent plant, called "Panda," a "Buddha" plant, and a "Peace Lily." The more color a plant has, the more sunlight it needs.

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Chad in this photo.

Pay phone

Aside from the subways, I'm assuming this is probably one of the last pay phones in this city, since almost everyone has a mobile phone. In subways, there is little cellphone reception, so I can see the need for it I guess.

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Student video, taped Downtown NYC

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I am guessing that this is a student video production. The scene that they shot was kind of funny... four dudes looking like condoms, and one character without a tip. The character without the tip knocks a dude in condom uniform off a wheelchair. The humor kind of reminds me of Michel Gondry's funny poop video.

MUJI and CB2 open in SoHO, NYC

The MUJI store opened on Friday, and there were lines outside the store to get into the store, and lines in the store to purchase. There were lots of containers and little knick-knacks, office supplies, furniture and clothes. A lot of the stuff is over my price point. I almost bought this whiteboard, until I found that it cost $40. What I find handy is the plastic case for business cards. I would skip the line, and just go to the MoMA store a block and a half away.

As for the CB2 store, they sell contemporary furniture and house ware for slightly less than parent company Crate and Barrel.

Just in time for the holidays...

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Ad technology in physical spaces

On my way to the 4 train on Lexington and 42nd Street, I walked through Helmsley tunnel, and saw these ads. Interesting how they piece together four parts, and it's run on some pulley system. Didn't see it run though (weekend?) but it may not be animate anyway.

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November 21, 2007

Sculptures...

with interesting forms. These images are for Ron Sears, who is an artist in Jerseyville Illinois, and works with metal. The first sculpture reminds me of David Smith's works.

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November 22, 2007

Design Bookstore in NYC

Urban Center Books, The Municipal Art Society of New York

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I found this design bookstore that covers just about every design book or magazine, even if you're searching for something so obscure. This reminds me of Hennessy and Ingalls (design/architecture/art/photography bookstore in Los Angeles, located at one of the cross streets of Third Street Promenade). I stumbled upon this bookstore, while I visited the Jane Jacobs exhibition (457 Madison Avenue at 51st Street). Clay Shirky's Network Effects class introduced Jane Jacob's book The Death and Life of Great American Cities. The exhibit is amazing, which I'll probably post later, but to give you a hint, Jane Jacobs is the New York version of Eleanor Roosevelt.

This store has books on different materials (glass, metal, concrete, building structure, lightweight/mobile), typologies (medical, offices, healthcare, restaurants, retail, pools/spas, sports/leisure, high rise), construction (concrete, wood, facades), sustainability, architecture, photography, typography, urban planning, foreign (books from Japan, Germany, etc). I asked if this store is permanent, and it is. They just have longer hours during the Jane Jacobs exhibition.

Here are some sample books:

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About November 2007

This page contains all entries posted to keeyool.com in November 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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