Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Google User Research

Interested in helping Google make our products better? Sign up for a usability study. If you're chosen you can either come to a Google office to participate or do it remotely.

When you sign up, use the referral code "CandyCane".

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

Writers Strike

Here's a great explanation of what the writer's strike is all about. It seems to me that the writers are totally getting hosed here, and I really haven't heard anything from the studios to debate that. I really hope this doesn't continue long enough to kill Lost for the season...

Monday, November 5, 2007

Poorly Targeted Advertising

With the recent NSA wiretapping scandal this really isn't the best placement for an AT&T advertisment... (from my Google Reader feeds)

Friday, September 28, 2007

From "They" to "We"

Yesterday was my one month anniversary at Google. While having a conversation the other day with a friend I caught myself using the word "we" to describe something that Google was doing. I'm not sure when I made the transition from using "they" or "Google" to "we".

I'm curious, how long would you say the typical transition time between "they" and "we" is when starting a new job? Is it a quicker transition when moving between teams within an organization (I would assume it is)?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Moving On

Today is my last day at Vorsite. I've accepted a position at Google in Manhattan as a Customer Solutions Engineer (more on that later). I'm taking a week of and will be starting to commute again on August 27th.

Looking back at my two years with Vorsite, there's been a lot of great experiences. I got to travel a ton. Here's a map of all of the places I was during my tenure (green marks are conferences, blue marks are customer site visits). I'll miss working with my Vorsite co-workers, but I couldn't be more excited about the opportunities ahead at Google.

Here's a brief taste of what's ahead with a picture from the cafeteria (please forgive the pun).

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Apple ASPX

Last night my wife and I went to the Apple store in midtown Manhattan to buy a MacBook Pro for her fledgling graphic design business. While there the salesman talked me into buying a $109 printer/scanner/copier/fax that came with a $100 rebate when purchased with the MacBook. Basic enough to scan business receipts and the like and the great thing is, everything just works (with the Mac at least).

When I got home and started filling out the paperwork for the rebate I noticed there was a way to do it online. After filling out the questions on the Apple site, I was redirected to the rebate processing center's site to download a PDF to print and include in my submission. Look what caught my eye in the URL:

ASPX. That's classic.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Google Reader's Shared Items

Once upon a time I used to put together a weekly list of things I found interesting enough to comment on but where I didn't have a whole lot to say about it. At some point I moved to a bi-weekly list, then stopped doing it all together. I've been using Google Reader for quite some time now and just realized that the "Shared Items" feature could serve some good use here.

So, if you care to see a list of some of the interesting things I've found in my travels of about 150 RSS feeds, you can:

  1. Visit my Google Reader shared items page
  2. See the shared items badge on the homepage of the blog
  3. Subscribe to a feed of these items
When you have option #3, I don't know why you'd go with 1 or 2, but that's up to you.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

J.J. Abrams is a Genius

I have no idea how I missed out on the Internet hype for this one. Apparently before showings of Transformers there's been this clip for a movie coming out in January which currently has no title (it's going by the name Cloverfield for now).

J.J. Abrams is the executive producer of probably my favorite show on TV, Lost, and now he's marketing a movie with the same kind of viral mystery that has made Lost such a phenomenon. So now not only is lost still seven months away, now this movie is going to probably be an enigma for the next six months too...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Subway Complaint

Someone over on The Consumerist posted a hilarious and true compliant about Subway sandwich construction. This always bothered me, I'm happy to know I'm not alone.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Mika Brzezinski Is My Hero

Is there seriously only one person on the main-stream news media that has the cajones to do this?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

CAPTCHA Made Useful

I'm generally annoyed when I visit a site and I'm faced with a CAPTCHA to either register or post a comment. I'm well aware that computer-aided spam is a huge problem on the Internet but it always seemed to me that there either had to be a better way to solve the problem... or maybe there was a way to utilize my wasted time better. The only problem is I'm obviously not smart enough to come up with one.

Enter reCAPTCHA. Feel free to read that link in detail, but the basics are now CAPTCHA challenges can serve a common good, digitizing hard-to-OCR books.

Even cooler is reCAPTCHA's Mailhide service. With Mailhide you can feel much safer providing your e-mail address on a web site as it will be locked behind a CAPTCHA challenge. Check out the right side of the main page to see how this works in practice.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Trading With Zecco

I read a few personal finance blogs, and when I saw an discussion about an online brokerage offering free trading, I was quite skeptical. After a little research, it turns out that is really on the up-and-up.

Obviously the free trades are not intended for the active day-trader, I'm sure they can blow through 10 trades in the first half hour of the day.

Free stock purchases virtually eliminate the entry barrier for small scale investors like myself. One of the things I always wanted to do was fund an investment account monthly with a small portion of my after-tax earnings (after funding my 401(k) and IRAs), but purchasing a few shares of a company for $100-$200 with a commission on both the buy- and sell-side would result in a 10-20% guaranteed loss every time (figuring for a $10 commission). Now with Zecco, I can buy five or six ETFs, a share at at time, without getting robbed during the transaction. It appears that buying in small lots like one or three shares will cost you a bit on execution price (i.e. I put in a market buy order for an ETF trading at $72.10 and I paid $72.30, which for three shares cost me $0.60) the cost is far outweighed by being able to trickle my money in over time and not try to time the market.

I'm assuming that Zecco makes a majority of their money through charging margin interest, and since they don't seem to be advertising heavily and relying on word-of-mouth traffic I guess that's how they can afford to execute free trades.

P.S. Yes, I'm aware the links to Zecco go to an offer for a free ITunes card. If I get free stuff for having a blog what's the point? :-)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Moved to Blogger

I've grown tired of keeping my blog software up-to-date, so I've decided to move my blog over to Blogger. If you're reading this post in a news-reader that means the FeedBurner feed has been correctly updated.

I will not be moving old posts here (unless I can find an exceptionally easy way to do so).