November 2006 Archives

November 30, 2006

Virtual pals 'soar in importance'

BBC NEWS | Technology | Virtual pals 'soar in importance'

A survey found 43% of online networkers from the US felt "as strongly" about their web community as they did about their real-world friends.

It also revealed net-users had made an average of 4.6 virtual pals this year.

I'm not surprised. It would seem that I do make more online acquaintances than real-world ones, but that's largely because the internet is my primary recreational outlet.

I remember my first real online friend. I met her in a MUsh (remember those?) and for some strange reason we chatted it up. In the first conversation she asked me, "Are you gay???" which was not so shocking considering our first conversation largely revolved around musicals. We said a lot of silly things and that was that.

We got to a point with the silly conversations that we basically roamed the MUsh as a duo. Talked increasingly about more serious, real-world stuff as well. Ultimately, we talked at least every weekday, no exceptions. When I made my very first blog, I asked her to collab with me and we did so for quite a while.

Ultimately she went off to do the LiveJournal thing and I incorporated the blog format in my personal site, creating what is now leftsider. We kept in touch for years; she frantically contacted me to see if I was ok during 9/11(I was); I spent hours and hours lending an ear and opinion on rocky relationships (which ultimately turned out better than I predicted, apparently). I don't really keep in touch now, but I do drop in and see what's new on her site periodically.

Online relationships have often been touted as a pure form. There is only the mind to understand; peers, appearance, and socio-cultural differences are largely made irrelevant. What can we learn from online relationships that can be translated into our real-world relations? Is there anything that should be added to our online relationships to make them more relevant and publically viable?

06.05 daegu

06.05 daegu, originally uploaded by Frulwinn.

If you've been to asia, you understand.

Never Lose Luggage Again

Wired News: Never Lose Luggage Again

Why stick the cost to the airline or airport? Add the dime to the cost of the luggage, with the RFID tag placed in a damage-resistant, universal location.

There is no need for the manufacturer--or the purchaser, for that matter--to ever know the number so it would never be a privacy/tracking issue. As long as the numbers assigned are unique enough that two bags won't have the same number in a random airport, I think that would be problem solved. What do you think?

Manhattan Projects

Wired 14.12: START

The world's cities are getting taller – and fast. Between 2001 and 2012, almost as many skyscrapers will be constructed as were built in the entire 20th century.

Makes sense to me. Why sprawl when you can climb? A recent conversation that I had with a friend, however, pointed out one drawback to my recent promotion of urban living; pollution.

While I haven't any indication that pollution per person increases in an urban setting, it is more concentrated due to the density of the population. This is evidenced by the cloud of smog that is present over many major cities. He noted that even 20 years ago in New York if you left the window open you'd find a layer of dust/soot/something covering your household items. Tasty.

What solutions do we have for pollution in highly concentrated areas? anyone know?

Almost two pounds for a dollar

Pound hits new peaks | | Guardian Unlimited Business

The pound continued its advance towards the $2 level this morning, hitting fresh 14-year peaks on the back of a Nationwide housing survey which showed house prices are continuing to rise strongly.

Microsoft Vista released for sale

BBC NEWS | Business | Microsoft Vista released for sale

I had the opportunity to play with this (and office 2007! wow!) last week and I was just floored. Despite the fact that it's late, it's feature-stripped, and, well, it's Microsoft, this is a BEAST of an OS.

Unless those things that Jobs "kept secret" about Lepoard are really, really, fantastic (note to self: why haven't I played with lepoard yet?), I see Vista and Lepoard to be largely on the same playing field.

This really makes no difference however. I still say buy a mac. Hardware supports both OS, and both Apple and MS will say "Thanks for buying!" It's a win-win-win(you) situation.

November 28, 2006

nyc in mono - bicycle rider

nyc in mono - bicycle rider, originally uploaded by youngdoo.

U.S. Daily Paints Roh as Sorry Lame Duck

Digital Chosunilbo (English Edition) : U.S. Daily Paints Roh as Sorry Lame Duck .

I tell ya; even Google Reader can't help kicking a man while he's down (11% popularity ratings? ouch!).

In related news, which couldn't have been more conveniently placed in my reader, More Chickens Die Near Epicenter of Bird Flu Outbreak

Schools urged to run more trips

BBC NEWS | UK | Education | Schools urged to run more trips

Mr Johnson wants schools to use the wealth of museums, art galleries and outdoor education centres on their doorsteps and further afield to inspire and motivate pupils.

"Learning outside the classroom should be at the heart of schools' curriculums and ethos," he said.

"Children can gain valuable learning experiences, from going on cultural visits overseas to teachers simply using their school grounds imaginatively.

"Educational visits and out-of-school teaching can bring learning to life by deepening young people's understanding of the environment, history and culture and improving their personal development."

Too bad this guy isn't in the United States. I was talking with a coworker today who said that no international organization should have a North American as CEO if they really want to have an international perspective and direction. While I think this may be a stretch, it is much more likely for a non-American to have experience multiple cultures firsthand. What can we do to change that?

The Political Assassinations of 2006

Foreign Policy: The List: The Political Assassinations of 2006

The shooting death of Lebanese Minister Pierre Gemayel and the poisoning of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko were the most prominent political murders of 2006. But, as this week’s List shows, their assassinations aren’t the only ones setting off political crises and stoking intrigue.

DC $300 million in the hole?

District Faces $300 Million Budget Shortfall -

The District government faces up to $300 million in unanticipated expenditures over the next two years, presenting an early test for Mayor-elect Adrian M. Fenty and his pledge to improve service delivery without raising taxes.

November 25, 2006

Slim Pickings From Trillions Spent on English Education

Digital Chosunilbo (English Edition) : Slim Pickings From Trillions Spent on English Education

The amount corresponds to a staggering 1.9 percent of Korea’s GDP of W806.6 trillion, and 47.5 percent of the W30.1 trillion budget for education. But despite that, Koreans’ command of the English language remains quite poor, the report says. The Swiss-based International Institute for Management Development ranked Koreans’ English skills 35th out of 61 countries. The Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC), which offers information on the business environment in East Asia, pointed to Korea as the country where English communication is the most difficult among 12 Asian nations.

There is so much I could say about this...but I think instead I'm just going to do something about it.

S4 from NY to Seattle

VWvortex Forums: What happens when you let 2 mk1 kids drive your S4 from NY to Seattle? (56k, not a chance)

Cute. I wish I had time on my hands to live frivolously like this. Actually, I'd just settle for the S4. :)

Do you have a type A personality?

Blogthings - Do You Have a Type A Personality?

***You Have A Type A- Personality***

You are one of the most balanced people around
Motivated and focused, you are good at getting what you want
You rule at success, but success doesn't rule you.

When it's playtime, you really know how to kick back
Whether it's hanging out with friends or doing something you love!
You live life to the fullest - encorporating the best of both worlds.

I don't buy it. Picked up from Koream Thinking, Who apparently is a B+.

November 21, 2006

Personal TV

Jan Chipchase - Future Perfect: Personal TV

One of the surprising findings of a recent research study we did in South Korea was the extent to which Mobile TV was used in the home. Given the competition in the home from large screens, good audio, high definition and known content why would anyone watch mobile TV in the home space?

Would this apply in the US? I feel like it would for me, but I've already noted that I don't necessarily feel qualified to represent the everyday man.

November 20, 2006

Hijacking intelligence

Mind Hacks: Hijacking intelligence

CAPTCHAs are the boxes of distorted text that you are asked to identify when you enter data or register with some websites. There's an example on the left. The idea is that they prevent automated sign-ups and spamming because it is relatively easy for humans to identify the distorted letters, but beyond the capabilities of most software.

Rogue advertising is big business on the net, and CAPTCHAs have become a significant barrier for people who rely on spam to make a quick buck selling dodgy Viagra, penis enlargement pills or grey-market imports. One way of getting round such security measures would be to enlist large numbers of people who type in the solutions. This is where the naked naked celebrities come in.

According to news reports, porn sites have been set up which require the user to solve a CAPTCHA to view the content. The CAPTCHAs, of course, are taken from other websites, and every user who provides the correct answer in their bid to see naked flesh also opens a door for spammers to automatically register another account or post another advert.

Just one example of how easy it can be to use the general population as a means for questionable ends.

Is there a problem, officer?

Is there a problem, officer?, originally uploaded by razorbern.

Jay-Z plays seven cities in a day

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Jay-Z plays seven cities in a day

Rapper Jay-Z has completed a marathon series of concerts across the US to mark his comeback.The 36-year-old singer staged seven 30-minute concerts across the country in 24 hours.

There's a reason why some people are consistently successful, and it had little (if anything) to do with luck. How deliberate are you to ensure the success of your comeback...or arrival?

Help Jan find his next job

Jan Chipchase - Future Perfect: Friday Pop Quiz - Free Blinged Nano

I'll gift this Shibuya blinged iPod Nano to the first person who can guess my job come January 1st 2007. Bonus points for naming the city and country I'll be living in and, gosh, the name of my employer.

Post your answers to the comments.

The glittering prize will be shipped to one lucky winner once I figure out the answer myself.

Nice way to find out who your readers are....and possibly an innovative way to obtain a list of potential employers? I've guessed twice, despite the fact that the nano is rather garish.

Employment by the Numbers

Employment by the Numbers -

Black men made large gains in employment during the economic boom between 1996 and 2000, increasing their employment rate by 2.4 percent compared with a 1.5 percent increase overall. But they lost more ground than the rest of the workforce between 2001 and 2006, falling 3 percent compared with a 1.2 percent decline among all workers.

One of a few interesting facts about Black males in employia.

November 19, 2006

How I've changed

I experienced a good bit of mental trauma coming back to the US. I was talking with a friend recently and he noted that my philosophies have changed considerably in the past two years. Now that the dust has settled, I'm starting to realize it myself.

Socialism vs. Capitalism in the western world. Before I left, this friend and I were on opposite sides of this topic's spectrum. He believed in a more socialist society. I didn't deny the merit of such a scenario, but noted that it was a theory that required total adherence. Just one person who seeks his own over others could potentially throw the whole thing off--which, I argued, is why there are no successful examples of such a society today. Man is, by nature, a capitalist; therefore it is only this way that can be realistically prescribed.
Now, I still thing that socialist theories are well intentioned but ultimately flawed, and for much the same reason that I did before. However, I no longer think that man is capitalist by nature. Instead, I feel that most people are in a self-induced coma. In this coma, you are not expected to do, feel, think, or act in any way other than what the coma prescribes. The machine moves so smoothly--so efficiently--that it really is more effort to live deliberately. The mass of the population lives to exist as part of the mass, with most people completely unaware of exactly how much choice exists in their life. Of the few who do realize, many choose not to decide to avoid a life of redundant explanation and ostracized social friction. It's all very Matrix-like.
The remaining people--those who realize their ability to live different and choose to do so--are responsible for the direction and provision of structure for the rest of society. Most of these people use this to their own gain and profit; hence, capitalism. I like to think that making people aware of their dormancy should be a requirement; if you choose to avoid deliberacy, however, I feel no guilt providing the services to supply your demand.
Still pro-capitalism, but from a decidedly different perspective. This is the view that prompted him to express how I've changed.

Status, Automobiles. Recently I had a friend who complained to me how he had been hoodwinked by his wife and, as a result, was the proud owner of a BMW X5. He is a BMW enthusiast, but he felt it was unnecessary to take on the payments when his current vehicle was paid for and drove just fine. Less than six months later, however, he is the proud owner of a Porsche Boxster.
To be honest, I love cars as a status symbol. When I arrive, I want to have a car that lets people know such. Because I feel that all of your things should be indicative of who you are (not who you're aspiring to be), I can't justify a status-symbol car at this point in my life. In fact, the beat-up car I currently own is probably quite indicative of my life right now. ha.
For economical reasons, I am more in favor of public transportation than private, which means that outside of the status symbol realm, a car is largely excessive to me; an expensive car, even more so. As I currently feel that I will never own another car for the rest of my life, I cannot help but feel a tinge of sadness that all of these philosophies show how much the paths of my friend and I have diverged.

Thinking about you thinking about me. I had some very fun times in my life, and I sort of built a reputation of being a very fortunate fellow. In fact, I was fortunate--perhaps downright lucky--but because of this my life revolved around spin. I knew about luxurious things I couldn't afford, places I'd never been to, and made acquaintance with people who were largely out of my league. I had to, in order to maintain my good standing and reputation. It wasn't a bad thing, because I learned so much and enjoyed every minute of it; but as I prepared to really pursue the school thing and go abroad, I found myself retelling the same stories....because my self-extraction from the spin left me with only the inertia to work with.
Today, I'm in contact with very few of my old friends. I'm in little contact with anyone, really, as I focus on work and school. But I'm building spin again. This time, it's self-created; it's the culmination of the ideas I'm brewing, the new things I'm learning, and the application of any(and every-)thing to practical life. Think tanks are du jour; speaking engagements are becoming more common. this time, I'm really looking to move the world and build my reputation on function rather than form.

I feel as if these and other changes are a move forward; I love the idea of being progressive, and I don't want to rest on my current laurels. I want to move forward and see, do, and be more. And like they say: Change is good.


bulbs, originally uploaded by Literal Salmon.

November 17, 2006

PS3 crime spree, part II: Fall of man

November 16, 2006

Super-Easy Blendy Backgrounds

A List Apart: Articles: Super-Easy Blendy Backgrounds

Define "super-easy." Very useful, though.

November 15, 2006

Many Nations’ Forests Regrow, Study Finds

Many Nations’ Forests Regrow, Study Finds - New York Times

“From the new data it seems possible that we could reverse a global trend that many people thought was irreversible,” said Pekka Kauppi of the University of Helsinki in Finland, a lead author of the study, which appears today in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

November 14, 2006

Singapore makes WiFi free

Singapore makes WiFi free, adds computer subsidies - Engadget

Don't know how I missed this little bit of information about my favorite place in Asia. I cannot tell you how much value a country-wide wifi connection gets in my book. It's unmeasurable, being the geek that I am.

How much savings should you have?

I Will Teach You To Be Rich: How much savings should you have at age 25, 35, and 45?

There is actually some pretty good data on this question, but I need to go to the library to find it.

I say this is equivalent to "Sure, I can dunk...I just don't have the right shoes on today" Web copout. Granted, Ramit usually coughs up the goods, so I can't badger him too much.

Haynes Brain Manual

Mind Hacks: Haynes Brain Manual

Haynes, the maker of the well-known manuals on car mechanics, have released a Haynes Brain Manual (ISBN 1844253716) that gives tips and advice on keeping your mind and brain running smoothly.

Interesting....maybe something to add to the dreaded Christmas wishlist.

November 13, 2006

155 Homes Apiece ???

The Korea Times : 155 Homes Apiece for 'Home-Rich'

How many homes do you think you need to own to make the list of the top 100 ``home-rich'' people in South Korea?

It's 57. The 100 richest, in terms of the number of homes, had at least 57 units as of August 2005, according to the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs. The top 100 home-rich people have as many as 15,464 housing units in total.

Successor tells of hard job following Bill Gates

Successor tells of hard job following Bill Gates | Technology | Guardian Unlimited Technology

"There's a certain mythology around any leader, particularly Bill, who's a really talented guy," said Mr Ozzie. "He will always have an amazing level of soft power, and people want to follow him. The organisation reveres him and wants to do what he wants."

November 10, 2006

Chinese Physician Elected Head of WHO

Chinese Physician Elected Head of WHO -

Chan's appointment, confirmed by a vote of WHO's 193 member nations, is a diplomatic coup for China. She is the first Chinese national to head a major U.N. agency.

An ode to Jim Blomo

I Will Teach You To Be Rich: An ode to Jim Blomo

A couple months ago, Jim jokingly asked me, "Why don't you ever write about me on your site?" That surprised me and I thought about it for a while. Too often, personal-finance blogs berate people for failing to plan and manage every aspect of their financial future, or only focus on the outlier issues. It's easy to spend every day writing about the things that we're not doing, and I think I've fallen into that trap a little bit. But I want to celebrate the people who have taken the time to set up their accounts right, thought hard about investing and saving, and created an infrastructure so that it actually gets easier over time. That's rich.

November 9, 2006


rain, originally uploaded by goopymart.

You can do it if you try :)

Twitter / Leftsider

If you're looking for an exercise in brilliant stupidity, I've decided to only send twitter messages that contain exactly 7 words from now until American Thanksgiving, November 23. You can see my palabric prowess (you like how I just turned a spanish noun into an english adjective, don'tcha?) on my main page, stage left. Why not join up and try it with me? I'll add you, no questions asked.

PS - Twitter now works with IM too, if you're not into the mobile text messaging thing.

Thinking like a Genius

Separating Truth from Tradition

How do we define truth? In an overwhelming amount of situations, we observe truth only in the perspectives that are natural to us. This is not unusual; after all, how can you view something from a perspective that you do not know?

This idea alone is enough to interest me in lifetime of discovery and exploration. My world is one-dimensional until I view it from the position of another. My truth, indeed, lies flat until viewed from all sides. This is important because only through this process can we separate truth from tradition.

This is an idea that has fascinated me for sometime now. I first noticed it when I travelled to Tanzania in 2001. During my stay I discovered that the format of church worship in Christian churches was much the same as it was in North America. Order of the service, style of the building of worship, even dress in many cases was identical to an old-school, conservative church.

While it was comforting to find something that was similar to my style of living, I realized almost immediately that this format had little to no relevance in the everyday lives of the people. The contrast between their weekday and their day of Christian worship was like night and day. How could these people understand a God who was supposed to be a daily companion and provider if the only way they knew to be in touch with him was through a foreign module? Could they have been given a new religion that was not so entwined with geographical tradition?

For a long time, I thought about the division of truth and tradition. Specifically, I examined my religious principles. But, eventually, this koan of sorts has permeated into my entire life philosophy. Questions of what I study, who I admire, where I live, how I commute and even the purpose of this site have been re-processed through this intellectual strainer, in hopes of a more refined, less defaulted lifestyle.

I believe that life should be deliberate. You are not required to deliberate upon tradition; rather, it completely allows you to be free of any responsibility to assessing and validating your course. Of course you can choose to follow tradition, but few people do that. It's quite often a choice unmade; a default instituted.

In a statement, to live is a completely and markedly different experience than to exist. Which experience allows you a better opportunity to understand truth more fully?

A post about a post about quotes

Anil Dash: Quotes

There is something that just screams "boring" about posting a link to another blog's listing of interesting quotes. Let's face it: a post of quotes is pretty boring on its own.

That's what I thought when I noticed Anil's entry in my bloated reader; I'm glad, however, that I didn't skip it. First one may be the coolest quote I've read in a while.


parking, originally uploaded by nabenori.

my next transportation purchase may very well look like this

The Consequences of Walking in the Wrong Door

Jan Chipchase - Future Perfect: The Consequences of Walking in the Wrong Door

So I flip a mental coin and walk in, do what I need to do, clean-up and walk out. And its one the way out that I meet the heavy set gent, walking out the other door.

Ha! Classic. Very good segue into understanding how important design is to making decisions--and how designers have a responsibility to consumers to make their experience clear.

N.Korea Nukes Won’t Upset Power Balance: Roh

Digital Chosunilbo (English Edition) : N.Korea Nukes Won’t Upset Power Balance: Roh

Sometimes I really wonder what this guy is smoking. I don't know what on earth this administration is thinking. Editorials in this paper are hilarious in their Roh-induced bewilderment. I look to his replacement like many US residents look to Bush's.

November 8, 2006

Review of Sony Ericsson K790a Review: Sony Ericsson K790a

Mobile phone manufacturers are a lot like... hibiscus leaves? Hotel chains? Umm.. zoo animals! Sure! Nokia is like a cotton-topped tamarin, all preened and fancy and slick, but yet there's something about them makes you want to punch them in the face. Motorola's phones are like an giraffe, sleek and impressive from a distance, but rough, gangly, and awkward up close, and then they honk and spit garbage on your pants. Samsung is like a dromedary camel... oh, for goodness sakes, this is terrible.

Here's what I'm trying to say. Until Apple becomes the Apple of Mobile Phones, we have Sony Ericsson.

Oh my goofy gulai is he right. My classmate has this phone and I nearly creamed in my pants. I know that is so totally offensive as that it would never be on this site....but that's really how I felt. Like it was something sexual. This is the first cellphone envy I've felt since I returned from Korea....and boy did it hit me hard.

Streaming my life away

Adactio: Journal - Streaming my life away

I’ve mocked up my own little life stream, tracking my Twitter, Flickr,,, and blog posts. It’s a quick’n’dirty script that isn’t doing any caching. The important thing is that it’s keeping the context of the permalinks (song, link, photo, or blog post) and displaying them ordered by date and time. What I’d really like to do is display the same information in a more time-based interface: a calendar, or timeline.

This is actually pretty neat. I think it's a great idea. Actually, could this hold up as evidence to an alibi?

Scientists Warn of Depletion of Ocean Fish in 40 Years

Digital Chosunilbo (English Edition) : Scientists Warn of Depletion of Ocean Fish in 40 Years

I also heard this on NPR the other day...I wonder how pessimistic the study actually is.

A new study shows that the oceans' fish are being depleted so fast that eating seafood might be just a memory in 40 years. The researchers say more is at stake than our diet, for they find the dwindling of fish stocks hurts the world economically and the ocean environmentally. Researchers say it is not too late to reverse the trend.

November 6, 2006

Network Disconnect?

Last night, I scanned through a copy of the October 30 issue of Time, which gave stats about America, its population, and what we think and believe. I came to realize that, if the information given was accurate, I have very little interaction with the American world at all.

The first thing that blew my mind was that America is overwhelmingly white. Now I grew up in rural america--so rural that it wasn't until going away for high school that I met an asian--but I always assumed that there were nearly as many blacks as whites, and a growing hispanic population that was preparing to surpass black is the default minority. But according to the article, whites are 80% of the nation. Amazing.

It also said that for every 1,000 people only 455 are employed. This was stunning. less than half of the nation's inhabitants work. Now I know that this number includes children, seniors, and students, but it's still a sobering thought. Additionally, the type of major jobs people are working was significantly lower in skill than what I had anticipated.

I guess living near the nation's capital has distorted my expectations. Perhaps Washington, D.C., is a microcosm of the world--not of the United States. Either way, I'm completely floored. If I can't believe these facts about my country, how can I know the answer to questions about it's longevity and efficiency?

And now that we're thinking, just who are the people who we connect with through social networks? Are they the high end of the scale, rather than the average joe? Are their visions indicative of the masses? Are their views even relevant to the masses? As a humorous aside, this would explain to me the popularity of MySpace.....:P

Just the other day I was thinking about myself (particularly some of the opportunities I've recently been given to be closer to the spotlight) and wondered if I was getting just a little overvalued in my own mind. I, the person still in school, still working jobs that I can just barely tolerate, spouting of things that I think sound visionary--am I just fooling myself into ego-stroking? Now, with this information, I wonder whether what I say even matters anymore. And if it does, just how much further ahead are the leaders of the pack?

How the Rich Get Richer

A Look at the Numbers: How the Rich Get Richer

What they fail to mention is that 90% of Americans, given the same amount of wealth, would do the exact same thing. And of the ten percent that wouldn't, a the percentage of those whose involvement in humanitarian issues would diminish would most likely triple those whose involvement increased.

Mudslinging is dreadfully easy.

November 1, 2006

Improving on greatness

fru: i really like the google calendar idea.
fru: i've seen you've already posted some stuff
leftsider: my life currently is a series of events that I haven't managed to forget
leftsider: I'd like to improve on that.

Quote of the day

Quote of the Day:

"Traditions are group efforts to keep the unexpected from happening." -Barbara Tober