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January 2013 Archives

January 5, 2013

Literally, my new favorite site for now...

Wish they launched this site before cutting NASA funding:

I really think that some of the failures are more profound than the successes (rockets URL). Either way it is a win-win situation. Thanks NASA and more importantly thanks WTFNASA for highlighting relevant technologies, and making NASA cool again.

Btw, when my dad worked for NASA years ago, and I was a kid. I used to go to his fishing tackle box and break all these cells, not knowing what they were but just attracted to the feel and fragile-ness of this material. I never understood what he worked on, but thought space exploration was really boring. Recently my mother told me he researched solar cell technology there. Had I known that, I don't think I would have gone into his tackle box, but then again, I was 5 at the time.

Thank you, Matthew Evanusa for the referral to this blog.

January 6, 2013

Great video about the possibilities of creative code [using open source software]

One of the professors that teaches in my program, Dan Shiffman and others, talk about the endless possibilities of using creative code, such as Processing (Java), Cinder (C++) and OpenFrameworks that interact with devices such as Kinect.

If interested in Dan Shiffman's new book, click on the links below. His book was a Kickstarter project, documentation here.

I don't know why but I love reading Amazon reviews...

One night, my friends and colleagues and I were talking about several joke-products, which I will not even reference here. But this discussion spurred other products, such as the banana slicer. So my friend, Thomas Deneuville, sends this to me:



Below are some images products that I think are funny. I guess I am a semi-geek because this is what I do for entertainment, read funny reviews, lol.

Okay, this is before a lot of people's time, unless they are bringing Knight Rider and or Baywatch back. I guess this is where all the hours of watching television media really pays off:

Now, what I want to know is why the banana slicer has close to ~1,600 reviews averaged 4.5 star-ratings, yet a used version is listed as $0.01 + $3.99 for shipping:

Now I am assuming that the product managers were probably so happy with their profits and these reviews, that they decided to create a strawberry slicer. Now, I want a version for plantains because the banana flavor is a little too strong for me. Does the strawberry version have a special latch that can remove the stems before slicing?

And there was some discussion that these reviews might be fake, but who cares? I hope those do get paid for providing me free entertainment.

January 8, 2013

Kickstarter stats and best projects of 2012


Ever thought of being a VC or Angel Investor, but couldn't afford to invest or commit? Well, Kickstarter is the platform for you to become an investor on some very cool projects. A group of friends that periodically invest in some interesting projects end up in my feed, which end up becoming a social way to invest. It is empowering and fun!



This comes out to $606.76 per minute.

Just like an annual report (but more interactive and engaging), Kickstarter publishes some stats and some projects for the public, [Just click here to visit]. But I will summarize some of the numbers below. All art belongs to Kickstarter, but I had to modify the screens so they fit in my blog.

Interesting list of categories and how much they made as a group. I believe games win at ~$83 million:

Here is a stat for those in music:

Here are a couple of music projects look pretty interesting (a movement to bring classical or new classical music back):

Now for funny projects that I have to revisit:



Other projects for me to revisit:


Design/Environmental Design/Architecture/Urban Planning

Design/Graphic Design/Urban Planning/Legal (offering "public domain" fonts)

A former colleague of mine, Britta Riley at NYU/ITP grad program founded this project:
Design/Environment/Interior Design/Nutrition/Education


Even Stanford University is teaching Kickstarter for college credit:

And Kickstarter is parodied by major publications like The New Yorker:
The caption reads: "Thanks to Kickstarter, we're buidling a tunnel." Click here to view original.

More funny links:

http://www.kick-stopper.com/ [The Daily Show]

The Onion:

IFC (Portlandia):


Funny or Die [Rated PG-13]:

January 12, 2013

"Ten Reasons to Teach Our Children Music" by Alla Aranovskaya (St. Petersburg String Quartet)

By Alla Aranovskaya (St. Petersburg String Quartet); The quartet's performance of "The Following."

A girl is singing “Jingle Bells” out of tune. She clearly does not have a musical ear! And there’s no room for a piano. Grandma lives too far and can’t take the boy “to the music” (a Russian idiom). Moreover, the child simply has no time and is fully scheduled with French classes, Spanish classes, swimming classes, ballet, gymnastics, yoga, chess club, math tutoring…

There’s no way to add music lessons to these children’s schedules!
But there are good reasons to overcome all those obstacles and still teach children music. These reasons should be made clear to today's parents!

1. To play music is to follow tradition. All aristocrats, Russian as well as European, were taught music. To play music is glossy, shiny, and chic. The study of music builds one’s character, stimulates the intelligence, and stirs the soul. Music is the apotheosis of civilization.

Duke Ellington started to play the piano because girls always gather around a guy who plays music. And how about a girl who plays Scott Joplin’s ragtime music?
Attention, parents of brides!

2. Music exercises develop willpower and discipline: one must practice the instrument constantly and regularly—in winter and summer, on weekdays and holidays—almost with the same persistence with which champions train in the gym and at the rink. But, in contrast to sports heroes, piano playing won’t lead to a broken neck or leg, or even a hand.

Attention, strict parents! Music builds character without risk of injury. How great that it’s possible!

3. While making music, children develop mathematical abilities. They think spatially while fingering the right keys. They manipulate abstract musical figures that represent sounds. They memorize musical texts. And they learn that a piece of music is similar to a mathematical theorem in that you cannot subtract anything from it or add anything to it.

It is not a coincidence that Albert Einstein played the violin, and that professors of physics and mathematics at Oxford University comprise 70% of the members of the University music club.

Attention, parents of future mathematicians and engineers! To make music is more pleasant than to solve difficult science problems under the supervision of a tutoring stick.

4. Music and language are twin brothers. They were born one after the other: first, the elder—music, and then, the younger—verbal speech. And they continue to live together in our brains.

Phrases and sentences, commas and periods, question and exclamation points, exist in both music and speech.

People who play and sing also speak and write better, they memorize foreign words more easily, and they learn grammar more quickly. Many famous writers were also music lovers, including Stendhal, Turgenev, Pasternak, Leo Tolstoy, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Romain Rolland, all of whom spoke more than one foreign language; and all of these writers recommended the study of music to future polyglots.
Attention, wise parents of future journalists and translators! In the beginning was the Word, but before that was the Sound.

5. Music is structural and hierarchical: major works are divided into smaller parts, which in their turn are divided into smaller themes and fragments consisting of tiny phrases and motifs. Spontaneous understanding of musical hierarchy facilitates understanding computers, which are entirely hierarchical and structured as well.

Psychologists have proved that young musicians who studied with the famous Shinichi Suzuki, even if they were not very successful in developing a musical ear and memory, nevertheless easily surpassed their peers in development of structural thinking.

Attention, pragmatic parents of future IT engineers, systems administrators, and programmers! Music leads straight to the top of computer science careers, and that’s why the Microsoft Corporation prefers workers with musical backgrounds.

6. Music lessons develop social and communication skills. After years of study, a child will become acquainted with the gallant and friendly Mozart, the energetic and athletic Prokofiev, the sophisticated and philosophical Bach, and other very different musical personalities. While playing, a child has to portray these composers and bring to the audience their character, style, emotions, voice, and gestures.

Such children are only one step away from the talent of manager! That’s because for a musician, perhaps the most important skill is to understand people and to use this understanding to manage them.

Attention, ambitious parents of future founders of business empires! Music goes from heart to heart, and the most powerful weapon of a top manager is the disarming smile of a “good guy.”

7. Musicians are tenderhearted and courageous at the same time. According to psychologists, male musicians are as sensual as women, and female musicians are as firm in spirit as men. Music softens manners, but to succeed in music, one must be brave.

Attention, sagacious parents who expect help and support in old age! Children who are involved in music are both sympathetic and patient, and will therefore be more willing to care for their elderly parents when the time comes.

8. Music lessons teach children to turn upon a signal immediately. Musicians are less afraid of that terrible word, “deadline.” In a music school, you can’t postpone an audition or a concert to the next day or week. A musician, like an actor on a stage, learns to be ready, no matter what. A child with such experience won’t fail an important test, won’t fumble an employment interview, and won’t delay preparing an important report.

Attention, anxious parents! Music lessons in childhood mean responsibility and artistry in life.

9. Music classes bring up small “Caesars” who can do many things at once. Music teaches children to navigate in multiple concurrent processes; for example, a sight-reading pianist remembers the past, looks to the future, and controls the present, all at the same time.

Music flows at its own pace, and a sight-reading person can’t be interrupted; he can’t relax or take a break. Similarly, the air-traffic controller, computer operator, or stock broker watches multiple screens, listens to many commands, and communicates via multiple phones simultaneously. Music teaches children to think and live in several directions.

Attention, overworked and tired parents! It will be easier for a child-musician to run on multiple life paths and come in first than it is for you.

10. And finally, music is the best way to succeed in life. Why? See paragraphs 1-9.

No wonder that the musical past is shared by many celebrities:
The first story that Agatha Christie wrote was about why it is difficult to play the piano onstage.

In contrast, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice loves most of all to play in public in her dazzling concert dress.

Bill Clinton is sure that if he had never played saxophone, he would never have become president.

Take a look at successful people in any professional field and ask them whether they were engaged in music as a child, even if it was not for long and without much enthusiasm. Of course they were. And we have given you ten good reasons to follow their inspirational example.

If that’s not enough, perhaps our little closing poem will inspire you to offer your children a musical education:

“You make me work so hard,” he said,
“You’re stuffing music in my head.”
“It’s good for you,” his mom replied.
“I hate to practice!” the young boy cried.
The years went by; the young boy played.
His pastimes changed; the piano stayed.
He went along with mother’s plan,
Until that boy became a man:
A man with music in his heart,
Who learned to love a living art.
~ Lilian Duval

January 21, 2013

Very cool startup in charity

Just found this url on the ITP list. This is a great idea. In short, donate your items, sell, and receive a tax receipt.


Also, check out Housingworks and Angel Thrift Shop if in NYC, or Housingworks digital space.


Having trouble holding onto stuff you don't need?

"Do you have a closet full of clothes just taking up valuable real estate that are so old you can't even remember where you got them?"

Maybe this post can help you from one of my favorite blogs, Apartment Therapy. I love this competition on designing "Small," "Little," "Tiny," and the most challenging "Teeny-tiny" spaces:

Referencing Doria Fan and Hilary Spencer for introduction to "Apartment Therapy."

January 25, 2013

Funny video to motherhood/parenthood

This week I attended the WE Festival, and among many topics besides business was work/life balance.

This is hilarious. I wonder what the demographic for people who drive, purchase, rent, lease, own a fiat. I thought I have seen mostly men driving fiats (i.e. designers, architects, etc. -- but this is from my own personal observation from 5 years ago, when I lived in "Car Culture City -- LA). by January 7, 2013, this video received 2 million views [http://www.businessinsider.com/fiats-motherhood-rap-hits-2-million-views-on-youtube-2013-1].

Google Finance does it again...

Is it me, or did I just notice this new module regarding trends on Google Finance?! Amazing, yet again! From an IA/UX point of view, their display of information is so simple and comprehensible (which one would imagine is an easy task to take on, but not so at all!) I love the wealth of information in just 6 screens.





Thought this graph was interesting because it reveals a lot of activity with Halliburton, though I don't know if traders are buying or selling.

I've always reviewed this graph, since I took an Investools tutorial with TD Ameritrade:


Of course the interactive graphic of equity prices are useful, but I am only blogging about these newer features or older features that I just noticed. Enjoy!

January 26, 2013

Now this is motivation to exercise... from funny science feed


Now based on this picture from this site/fb group (they make science fun), were rhinos the inspiration for unicorns as these two Wikipedia entries may suggest:

Elasmotherium ("Thin Plate Beast") is an extinct genus of giant rhinoceros endemic to Eurasia during the Late Pliocene through the Pleistocene, documented from 2.6 Ma to as late as 50,000 years ago, possibly later, in the Late Pleistocene, an approximate span of slightly less than 2.6 million years.
Unicorn Pliny the Elder mentions the oryx and an Indian ox (perhaps a rhinoceros) as one-horned beasts, as well as "a very fierce animal called the monoceros which has the head of the stag, the feet of the elephant, and the tail of the boar, while the rest of the body is like that of the horse; it makes a deep lowing noise, and has a single black horn, which projects from the middle of its forehead, two cubits in length."

This is very clever... A professional resume

Someone created a profile/resume in the form of a product in the template style of Amazon.com, lol.


Being curious as to how much this product/service costs ($999,999 was crossed out), I clicked on to "add to cart" and a contact module pops up:

This is hilarious too:

And he even embedded an ad (the creepy ones that follow you around from site to site but it is the most current-state-of-the-art-ad-technology), which is placed right next to "Most Relevant Professional Experience" subhead:

So, I clicked on that ad, and received an email, so this guy got me to QA his site [very clever]:

Thanks to Randy Quan for this reference.

Free UX ebook resource...

One of my co-workers, Glynn Phillips (btw, an awesome front-end-developer with a keen sense of ux) shared this resource with me:


Amazon lockers

Great design solution for shipping. Lately, I am having to send stuff to my mom's work, though she is semi-retired. She recently told me that the company is not happy with being the mailroom, understandable (though her office has her own personal equipment).

This is fantastic solution. Amazon has a list of lockers that you can mail your parcel/products/gifts too. I can almost see creating a surprise with a scavenger element with a bunch of $3.00 gifts. Maybe if this project is successful, they can help reorganize the post offices.



Thanks to Loida Valentin for the reference.

Love this commercial, do I dare say it?

By Microsoft, Internet Explorer. But they got the generation wrong... I think they meant GenX, not Y.

Laptop Case Prototype

This past Tuesday and Wednesday, I went to ITP's Women Entrepreneurs Festival, and met amazing and inspirational people. This week, I decided to "make" again. That's what we do at ITP.

For the past couple of weeks, I have not found a decent laptop case that I liked. I tried Ted Baker (which resulted in a store credit), Amazon, B&H, Apple, Etsy, etc. They were either to bulky, not protective enough, not constructed well, etc. I am very picky when it comes to these details. So, I decided to create my own prototype with some leftover material I purchased at ITP for this project . In fact, I don't even know where that fabric went. Not having a sewing machine was a big damper, but I am doing this project the Agile way. I basically cut material, and marked it with green thread (because I don't have chalk), and since I can't find my spool of black thread, I decided to pass the project onto a "developer" so to say, lol. That developer being Jeanne Dry Cleaners. I have been going to the tailor there for a couple of years, and she does an awesome job with construction. This developer doesn't speak any English, all Korean (and she kind of reminds me of my mom).

In any case, I showed the owner what I wanted, and he actually had a couple of ideas of his own. The tailor was starting to get nervous that she kept saying in Korean, that she won't work on this project... Typical Korean culture (if they can't do it perfectly, then they won't take the project on). But in Agile methodology, you're suppose to produce and throw a prototype, and it's okay to make mistakes (at least I told her).

I just told the owner that I just want the thread to act like glue so she doesn't have to sew the edges. He offered, but asking the cost, he said it was the same price, so I agreed. In fact, the folds were messed up, that he suggested to fold the batting into thirds. I just agreed, and told him that I wanted it in exact measurements, to which the tailor came over with her ruler. I will see the results of this Agile-physical-project on Tuesday evening.

When the owner asked the cost, I was able to barter the cost from $28 to $23 because it "didn't have to be perfect." So I guess Agile saved me $5.



If this comes out, I might make some cases for my other devices:


This diagram illustrates Agile Methodology:
Credit: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

Last, if you are interested in taking Agile/UX classes, I found one $20 (original price is $100 on Skillshare), but it starts tomorrow. Even $100 is a good deal because I have seen costs anywhere between $150-$1300 (for full certification).

Here is a glimpse of the class (~ 1882 students):

January 27, 2013

Graffiti Art

Just found this cool video on MoMA in regards to graffiti (some research I was doing for an artist):

I <3 Banksy:

Love this series in Israel, just do a googleSearch for Banksy and Israel.

These works remind me of one of my favorite photographers, Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Here is a clip from a documentary, Exit Through the Gift Shop, that captures a Banksy project (Lady Diana Pounds):

Here are some other funny Banksy pieces:
Credit: terminARTors.com

Credit: freshngood.com

Mobile Apps Review

Unblock Me
I saw this teenager play this engaging game of blocks on the N-train bound for Queens. I had to ask her what she was playing, and found out it was a game titled "Unblock Me." Let me say that this game was really addicting. I played a few rounds, requesting help, but then started over again. The objective of the game is clear a horizontal path so that the red block can exit the screen.

After I completed the 22nd round, there was still very cool interstitial promo that appeared from Red Envelope.

Then at the 42nd round, I received another interstitial promo. At this moment, I decided to play until round 66 to see if I can see another promo. I was also feeling pretty comfortable with the game, and trying to master each puzzle round in less than a minute. When I came to round 66, there was no interstitial promo, so I kept playing several rounds until 106th, and still there wasn't any interstitial promo. Then I scanned through my screenshots, and discovered I played for approximately 70 minutes.

The second app I found was on Facebook, and it is titled Poshmark. Basically, it is an app where people can sell their trendy couture fashion, but it has an Instagram and eBay/Craigslist flair, but is a much nicer experience. The other great thing is that there are curated "parties." I posted a couple of items, and today, I received an invite to a party tomorrow night via the app. Very cool. Also, prices are much cheaper than Gilt. And most of the items are one-of-a-kind since they are second-hand.

I am adding that at one of the parties, I read a comment about the insecure financial transactions. I am wondering if they something secure, such as wepay.com or paypal.com.


A not so nice experience. From a recommendation from a friend, I tried this app. I had problems with login, similar to the NBC Olympics app. In the NBC Olympics app, I tried to watch the opening ceremonies, and then when they asked for my cable provider, I deleted and gave it a 1-star rating because this should be free. For example, if I owned a tv, I would be able to watch the ceremonies on one of the free channels. However, asking for information about my cable provider is none of their business.

At first, I saw the Colbert and The Daily Show Network, which prompted me to sign into Facebook. But I could not access any shows and didn't know what this app was about. I then tried signing in by selecting Time Warner, and the same thing happened. So, I am going to delete this and give it a 1-star rating because I couldn't get through login/registration (very annoying). It is unfortunate because I really like Stephen Colbert and The Daily Show, but I can always access their content directly through the web — much bigger screen too!


I am surprised that Apple approved this app.


Great recommendation for InfoVis book by ITP List

I <3 the ITP Alumni list. There was a thread of reading material for information visualization. Of course, various people recommended the Tufte books. But there were 2 books that I purchased. Here is the title of the first one: Now You See It. I tried looking for information but only found the Table of Contents (TOC). Based on the TOC, I purchased it, and was pleasantly surprised.

pg 41 lists attributes of data
• length
• width
• orientation
• size
• shape
• curvature
• enclosure
• spatial grouping
• blur
• hue
• color intensity
• 2-D position
• direction of motion
Here are some photos:

Part-to-Whole and Ranking Patterns

This surprised me because the Part-to-Whole ratio has a visual definition.

Anyway, buy the book if you are interested.

January 29, 2013

Laptop Case Prototype2

So my little experiment incorporating the Agile methodology of designing a partial prototype of a laptop case worked, yay!


The actual designer/seamstress did a great job. She actually went above and beyond. All I asked was to just sew a row in two spots, but she created a cushion using a large stitch width minus the zig zag, seen here. If you have a sewing machine and are capable of making a straight stitch, I say go for it. And if it is not straight or perfect, all the more better. I have no patience so I let an expert handle my work plus I didn't have a measuring tape or ruler, lol.

The two pads fit perfectly. Here is the total cost breakdown:

1 yard of micro suede, which I purchased back in 2005 for my industrial design class costs $36.00. I only use a quarter or a third of the material, so estimating the higher cost comes out to be $18.00.

Batting was only $10.00, which I bought at a cool knitting store in Soho. And it was 100% cotton... amazing. I only used a third, which comes out to $3.50.

Designer/seamstress work: $23.00

I got the case from the Japanese bookstore next to Bryant Park ~$30.00. You don't need a case, just fold the batting in to thirds, and add a zipper. I think my case is as secure as one of those neoprene covers, but I take pride in customizing my work.

They have very cool pens, and I even saw a cork case for an iPad.

Here is the earlier post:

Wikipedia is AWESOME...

Awhile back, I was fortunate enough to travel to Calcutta, India. I was a photographer at Kshitij in IIT Kharagpur, India. IIT is the acronym for Indian Institute of Technology. They are the Asian version of MIT. In fact, I remembered watching a video about a graduate saying that this school was harder to get into than even some of the ivy leagues [source: 60 Minutes].

When I visited, there were robotics competitions and many innovative projects there. I was fortunate to see Jimmy Wales speak. I have always been an advocate of Wikipedia, since I wanted a set of Britannica Encyclopedia, but couldn't really afford it.

In any case, I found these two videos.

Did you ever wonder what happened to OLPC (One Laptop Per Child)? OLPC was founded by Nicholas Negroponte, who is also the founder of MIT Media Lab. Lisa Strausfeld, one of my professors for Information Visualization at ITP, worked on the o/s Sugar. This video documents children in Peru using Wikipedia on OLPC.

Children in Peru write their own history on Wikipedia

International contributors from Wikipedia talk about their experiences and contributions.

Meet some of the awesome people who make Wikipedia

If you are an expert, volunteer!

January 30, 2013

"Jiro Dreams of Sushi" & How to Master Your Domain

One of my favorite documentary movies:

He has a strong work ethic.

Rules from Jeff Weiner's article "From Seinfeld to Sushi: How to Master Your Domain:"

1. Never stop practicing (there is no perfect)
2. Sweat the details
3. Keep chipping away
4. Work clean
5. Be passionate
For more inspiration, please read the chapter from Malcolm Gladwell's book, Outliers on "10,000 hours." Malcolm Gladwell is one of my favorite authors. I highly recommend Tipping Point.
From Jiro on ageism:

There, in the last paragraph of an article announcing the Yankees had re-signed baseball great Ichiro Suzuki, was a quote from Ichiro that read, "I believe the Yankees organization appreciates that there is a difference between a 39-year-old who has played relying only on talent, and a 39-year-old who has prepared, practiced, and thought thoroughly through many experiences for their craft."

Ben Horowitz of a16z just invested in Rap Genius

a16z is cool venture capital company that invests in 150 portfolio companies. They had invested in a couple of my favorite sites, such as Pinterest, Quirky and Fab also invested in this site as well). But the latest site, Rap Genius, is what I am interested in. I am interested in two folds, partly for the feature of annotations, and relations to law studies (statute and case law):

Check out this Yale University Press published book, The Anthology of Rap. I just bought a copy myself for an awesome project.

I picked up this book at the NYPL Live event when I was fortunate enough to see Def Jam present this book. I even had it autographed... Woot! Woot! If you like Beastie Boys and Public Enemy, read this book. Check out some of the cover albums and screenshots of videos:

Def Jam Recordings: The First 25 Years of the Last Great Record Label
by Def Jam, Bill Adler, Dan Charnas and Rick Rubin (Oct 11, 2011)

One of my favorite rap artists is Eminem, check him out on VEVO:

This video is cute, Eminem is going back to high school:

Check out this cool song by Taylor Swift reappropriate Eminem's "Lose Yourself:"

If you like a jazzier rap, check out: Kendrick Lamar - Poetic Justice (Live on SNL). This looks pretty interesting, anything with Saturday Night Live (SNL) is awesome, also on VEVO:

About January 2013

This page contains all entries posted to keeyool.com in January 2013. They are listed from oldest to newest.

December 2012 is the previous archive.

February 2013 is the next archive.

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