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Archive for February 2010

Observing Lent

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As stated in Wikipedia, "Lent, in Christian tradition, is the period of the liturgical year leading up to Easter. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer — through prayer, penitence, almsgiving and self-denial — for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, which recalls the events linked to the Passion of Christ and culminates in Easter."

This year, I've decided to forego some of my internet habits in observance of Lent. That means, no Google Reader (most of my time devoted to the internet is there), Buzz, Facebook (I rarely check anyway), web surfing and this blog. 

I'm kind of bummed that I won't get to do my "Weekend Reading" posts, and I had a post queued up regarding "thoughts on marriage" but some things must be sacrificed for the greater good. 

See you on the other side.

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Written by shindz

February 18, 2010 at 12:10 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Weekend Reading

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A lot has happened this week. Toyota recalled the Prius for brake problems, compounding to their recall woes. Google announced its social media efforts called Buzz. And Arsenal beat Liverpool by a hair in one of the most uninspiring matches in history. 

But I want to direct you to this week's interesting reads that has nothing to do with any of the above mentioned.

  • My friend Eric is a Marine. He served in combat not too long ago in Iraq, but now switched roles into reserves so he can go to law school. He wrote some thoughts on his blog about the coming offensive push in Marjah, Afghanistan. He also contemplates the opposite of fear. It's a provocative dive into a Marine's mind and heart
  • Entrepreneur Magazine's columnist George Cloutier has a piece called "Love Your Business More Than Your Family." As the title suggests he advocates for devoting yourself to your business rather than your family if you want to be rich and successful. I think I can write a whole post on this topic, but will leave it up to you to make your opinion regarding it.
  • The top 100 entrepreneurs who didn't go to college by Young Entrepreneur. This received the most comments in my Google Reader and so I share it with you. Is college education necessary? Would you let your kid skip college if he had a great idea for a business? All the questions that hit home now, but wouldn't have just one year ago.
That's all for now. Keep reading.

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Written by shindz

February 12, 2010 at 4:17 pm

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Thoughts on Landon Donovan

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After signing on with Premiership club Everton on a six month loan deal, Landon Donovan has really blossomed into a world class midfielder. His tireless work ethic (rumor has it that he's the most fit and rigorous in training amongst all the US national team players), and constant improvement on the pitch while with the Galaxy has culminated to a strong appearance in England so far.

Funny how these things come about. When Donovan was in Germany warming the bench awhile back, mostly because of age and lack of experience, he complained about his status and came back home. I thought he wasn't strong enough to persevere in Europe, and deduced that he opted to find comfort in a lower and easier league that is the MLS. We often don't like people who can't persevere and be a "team player" or a "company man." We like people to fall in line and become "like the rest of us". 

But Donovan proved everyone wrong and showed that he had indeed what it takes to play in Europe. I guess sometimes you have to get out of a situation to put yourself in a better situation, even if it takes some time to realize it.

Here's to realizing one's dreams, and to leaving, and to taking steps back before taking steps forward. 

*Postscript: Everton beat Chelsea for the first time in ten years, of which Donovan assisted with a goal. 
 

Everton v Chelsea
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Written by shindz

February 11, 2010 at 4:28 am

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Weekend Reading

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I'm starting a new section called "Weekend Reading." And in celebration of this glorious new beginning, I'm writing it while in a car driving across central California heading back to the bay. The Verizon USB modem is good enough to keep me connected and productive. And yes, I'm in the passenger seat. 

I'm a big proponent of reading. A lot of times, my reading on the internet is sporadic and short, further perpetuating the idea that the internet (google) is making us stupid. Of course, ideally we could all balance our quick/surface-level reading with deep reading by picking up a book every so often. But the internet is tremendously valuable in giving access to an unprecedented amount of information. Hence, a weekend post of all the reading I find beneficial, interesting, and sometimes fascinating.This is coming a little late as the weekend is almost over, but better late than never.

  • Rolling Stone's interview with Steve Jobs… from 1994. It's a fascinating read that highlights the vision Jobs had 16 years ago and how some of it has already come into play, or seems to be in the near future. Also, his explanation of object oriented programming to a non-techy journalist is simply brilliant.
  • Jim Stogdill likens the iPad to the Prius. The automobile, after the advent of the catalytic converter became inaccessible to the tinkering of "lay people." The iPad, now may do the same for the computer. 
  • Quote of the Day. Obama responding to the birthers, who simply won't go away.

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Written by shindz

February 8, 2010 at 1:33 am

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Is Social Search The Future?

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Aardvark, the social search engine, recently published a paper titled "Anatomy of a Large Scale Social Search Engine." The title is an ode to Sergey Brin and Larry Page's paper explaining how Google search works, which was aptly called "Anatomy of a Large Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine." And similar to the Google paper, which was published back in 1998, Aardvark submitted the paper to the same WWW conference and was accepted. 

Some of the paper's outlines are showcased in Aardvark's blog, which highlights the difference between the "library" paradigm to search, which is Google searching through already generated webpages, and the "village" paradigm to search, which relies on answers generated at the moment of query. The "village" paradigm, as employed by Aardvark and according to its paper, allows users to use natural language instead of keywords, content is generated on-demand, and the system is fueled by the goodwill of the users (the most social aspect of it all in my opinion).

Further, the success of Aardvark largely relies on the users that actually deliver the answers to queries and thereby provide content. For Google, the point is to have excellent search capabilities through indexing and crawling the web, but for Aardvark, it relies on its network of users and their knowledge, as well as their "enthusiasm" to share their knowledge when someone else is requesting it. In short, it heavily relies upon social relationships for data. It is a human search engine.

My main point of this writing is to say that social search seems to be where the future is headed. Now more than ever, people rely on Facebook (what do my friends think about the movie Avatar?), Twitter (what is going on in Haiti?), and Yelp (is French Laundry that good?) to get their information. If I want to know whether Shanghai Dumpling King is indeed a restaurant worth going to, I'll Yelp it rather than Google it. If I want to see if other Bay Area residents are riding Fixed Gear bikes, I'll use Aardvark rather than a traditional search engine. There's many more illustrations of a move towards social search beyond the few I've mentioned here.

So is social search the future? it seems more likely every day. 

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Written by shindz

February 4, 2010 at 7:31 am

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