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January 2008 Archives

January 2, 2008

Virgin America Geekiness


I just flew on Virgin America, and was pretty impressed with their cool technology. They have a new media system catered to the youth and the hipsters.

1. There safety video is an amusing animation, which is slightly sarcastic in humor, fun to watch, even twice (JFK<>LAX).virginamerica01.jpg

2. While some airlines have customizable screens, what is really refreshing is that you're not limited to the conventional channels like CNN, which is also offered. You can watch some indie shows, like Current TV, clips from Boing Boing or cable shows Dexter and The Tudors.

3. Another option is to buy a movie. You have a choice from the new releases, indie and foreign films. I didn't see a lot of people use this feature because they were either watching a movie on their laptops or iPods. The people sitting next to me brought their own portable DVD player and headphone jack splitter.

4. Not that I'm a parent or anything, but if you are, and you're worried about your kids watching violent or explicitly sexual content (e.g. while watching Top Model, VH1 broadcasted some lengthy ads that may be sexually explicit, Rock of Love), you can control that here.

5. You can order food with your credit card. While some airlines encourage their passengers to bring exact change or have their passengers wait while the flight attendants find change, Virgin America has a system where you can order food and pay with your credit card. This is such a convenience. The other nice thing about this display is that you can watch continue to watch your show, while you select your food. I would say to order early because when I tried to order potato chips during the latter half of the flight, they were all out (dynamic/real-time tracking). I watched a lot of people use this feature.


6. This system records what shows and songs you listen to, so let's say if you dozed, and wanted to continue watching the shows, you can easily find them here.

7. Interesting controller. One side has the controllers, similar to a remote, just in case people are timid with the touch screen interface. The side of the controller has a magnetic scanner for your credit card, and the back is a full key pad to facilitate chatting between seats, and browsing the internet (not yet working). The keypad feels slightly awkward to type on because of it's elongated shape, and you have to hold down the blue button while simultaneously typing the symbol (I wasn't used to this because my BlackBerry shift button stays put).




8. Another cool feature is the chat between seats. At first, I really didn't understand why anyone would use this because one of the journalist on Current TV boast about meeting that cute dude in aisle 8. And actually the journalist tried several times getting people to chat with her. When I tried the chat room, and I was the only one there. On the flight back, I happen to bump into a friend of mine who was sitting in a different row, and we chatted for awhile. I don't think there is a way of chatting while simultaneously watching a show, but anyway it's a novel feature.

9. I'm not sure if this is a feature yet (multi-player), but it would've been cool to be able to play a game with my friend. I tried playing the clown game three times, but then had to reboot it 3x as well (at least they use Linux). The only thing that I thought was awkward about the game controller is the way you have to press the red button to "start" and the green button to "escape." Other than that, it looks pretty slick.


10. Last but not least, Virgin America promoting cool brands like Google, and Method soap (found in the bathroom). Also, their design of icons have that "web 2.0" aesthetic.


For more larger resolution pix, checkout my Flickr site later. Btw, you can only check in one bag, any additional bags cost $10, which is still relatively cheap, even for an oversized weirdly-shape package.

January 6, 2008

Los Angeles Koreatown Eatery, Sul Lung Tang

This is a soup that takes hours to cook, and this restaurant does it right. It's on 8th Street and Serrano (on the Southeast corner). This is as authentic as it gets as the menu is mostly in Korean. They cook the broth in 3 huge vats. If you have a hangover, or feeling slightly less energized, most Korean eat this soup. They also cook their rice with chestnuts and dates in a stone pot.





Cheap fruit in Los Angeles

All I can say is that if you visit Los Angeles, take advantage of the cheap prices in fruit. Just 89 cents per pound for oranges and grapefruit, and my favorite, the Asian pear, fairly inexpensive, compared to 2 oranges for $1.29 or more in New York. Also, I was able to buy a watermelon and kiwi, fruits out of season in other climates.




Fry's in Los Angeles

If you are a geek, techie or nerd, Fry's is a place to visit. They have branches all over Los Angeles, but the ones that I like to visit is the one in Burbank and Manhattan. Before heading to Fry's, check out the last page of the business section or top news section of the Los Angeles Times, most deals are published there. They sell heat guns, solder tips, capacitors, kits, tv's, computers, cameras, and the list goes on. They partner up with Outpost.com, but their web deals are not as good as visiting the store.


I bought a lot of cables and surge protectors from their this holiday, but Circuit City was more competitive with prices. I was able to purchase an HP PC (360 GB hard drive, 2 GB ram, etc.) and 19 inch monitor for $480 before taxes, which is a steal.

I don't remember seeing a Yahoo! headquarters across from Fry's. Anyway, this is off of the 5 freeway, and very close to the Burbank airport.


January 7, 2008

Holiday in Los Angeles

These two homes always deck their lawns for the holidays. Both in Hancock Park vicinity.




Pinz Bowling Center in Los Angeles, CA

Visit Pinz in Studio City. Jerry's Deli is close-by. Atmosphere is kind of club-like and fun. New technology and video displays.




Barney's Sustainable Display

Aluminum cans, bottle caps, and cardboard are materials that Barney's Department Store used in their display to encourage people to recycle.







An elegant play with balance...





Bookends with a simple and elegant design

Made of acrylic...



Bowling Interface


No more tracking scores with paper, this interface keeps track of all the scores of all players and shows a 3-dimensional replay with even a humorous graphic if you knock all the pins down.




Dom Perignon, 2008


My sister was lucky to obtain a bottle of Dom Perignon, which she opened for our toast to 2008. It takes 7 years to mature a bottle of champagne. It came in an elegant box that had two sophisticated clasps that added to this pleasant experience. Although the little booklet extensively described the taste of this champagne, I really didn't know what it was going to taste like. It's light and bubbly, and not to sweet. I would probably order this for a very special occasion.






Cheers! Have a Happy and Prosperous Year

Facebook and New Hampshire Debates


I was pretty impressed with how progressive ABC network was with their broadcast of the New Hampshire Debates. In an effort to get the youth involved, they integrated Facebook into their program. At first, I thought it was because Microsoft owned NBC that they were involved with Facebook, but I don't think they own ABC. Nevertheless, I watched both parties address issues. My only criticism was that the moderators should have asked the same questions to all candidates of both parties, even though their intention was to bring up questions that posed weaknesses to each of the parties. Anyway, it was interesting to watch the Facebook polls on television, a convergence with traditional media with the web.



For some reason, I thought Ron Paul presented the strongest arguments, and I thought Mitt Romney appeared superficial. I agreed with Bill Richardson's strong stance on Pakistan, and second Hillary Clinton's views on foreign policy. In any case, my vote will probably go to the candidate who best addresses the national health care issue, and issues that affect aging Baby Boomers. That's because my mom is paying ~$800.00 per month for insurance, which seems pretty excessive.

January 23, 2008

Public Trash to motivate recycling...

Found these in San Francisco, and I wish New York public waste baskets looked like this. This was in a residential neighborhood, so the recycle cavity probably wouldn't overfill as it would in New York. Anyway, I really liked the design of it, function and form.




When I was in San Francisco, I just wanted to do the offbeat and non-conventional tourist activities like visit the fortune cookie factory, the Exploratorium, and Audium (found in Fodor's under off-beat activities).

Audium is a theatre of sound-sculptured space.

I'm going to attempt to describe this experience. You walk into this space and take a seat with 40 other people. And the light dims to complete darkness, and Stan Shaff, who is the composer, plays random sounds of various objects and environment, and electronic sounds that scatter throughout the space through 136 speakers. It reminds me of when you're laying on the beach, and you can hear the sounds of the surroundings around you (i.e. kids playing, conversations, crashing waves, the water guy selling water, etc.)

Anyway, it was a one of a kind experience, and I would recommend it to anyone. Also after, check out the Stan's setup. They look analog with a lot of knobs, which is pretty cool for any electronics guru or techie. Also, after the performance, there's a Q&A session with Stan.

1616 Bush Street
San Francisco, CA 94109
Friday and Saturday, starts at 8:30pm
BUT get there at 8:00pm (there's free coffee in the lounge so you can chat with your friends), they don't take anyone who's late.
Admission: $15

Compositions and Performace by Stan Shaff
Equipment Design by Doug McEachern

January 26, 2008

Classic Sichuan in Lower San Francisco


This is probably one of the best Sichuan restaurants I've tried. The other Sichuan place that I love is in New York, and their specialty is hot pot. It's on Canal Street. Anyway, if you like spicy, then Sichuan restaurants are probably your best bet. Some friends of ours took us to this place (thanks Shumin and Tao), located in Millbrae, one of the last stops on the Bart (Millbrae) in San Francisco. It's in between San Fran and Silicon Valley. They have starters like boiled peanuts and pickled cabbage. My favorite was probably the cold noodles. I've tried them in Sichuan restaurants in New York, but they're missing a flavor. This restaurant (I think) adds sesame oil because it has a slight nutty flavor. The other dishes I loved were the beef and tripe, fish and shrimp. Anyway all of it was really good.

Classic Sichuan
148 El Camino Real
Millbrae, CA 94030
Tel. 650.692.3388


Dolores Park, San Francisco


Dolores Park has an amazing view of the city skyline of San Francisco. Even though it's cold, people still layout in the park. I read that sometimes they call it Dolores Beach because people sunbathe there. I found the Pirate Store (sister store to the Super Hero Supply Store in New York) a couple of blocks from this park. They were closed, but I believe they may have a secret tutoring center as well. Kudos.


Shots of the closed Pirate Store...


Slide as a substitute for stairs?

I took this photo of a house that had a slide. If I were 7, I would want to live there. Actually at the top, to the right of the slide was a wet suit, so maybe it's still being used.


El Castillito, San Francisco


This is probably one of my top 10 burrito places. It was also voted "Citybest," and it's super cheap. This burrito feeds two and costs ~$7.00. I tried to photograph the plastic utensil to give you sense of scale of how big the burrito is. You can look the address on Citysearch, but it's on Mission Street. Take the F, and when you see a Safeway, get off that stop.



January 31, 2008

Another Great Eatery and Dessert Spot in San Francisco

Italian and Brazilian Fusion Cuisine
1548 Stockton Street
San Francisco, CA 94133

I recommend the pumpkin, shrimp and rice dish. Don't eat dessert there because there's a fabulous gelato place right across the street called Probuzione Propria.

Burgermeister in San Francisco

This is a burger chain, so I'm not really sure if they franchise out of the city, but if you're in SF, I highly recommend trying their garlic fries.


About January 2008

This page contains all entries posted to keeyool.com in January 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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