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Friday, July 27, 2007

Kijiji = eBay's free classifieds business unit

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Kijiji is free online classified business entity which eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY) launched to an international market two years ago to an international audience just started offering free local classified ads to New York and New Jersey.

Kijiji means village in Swahili (1), and has more-or-less the same features and functionality offered by Craigslist, but with a more user-friendly interface that will not alienate first-time users in the same way that has to some Netizens.

You get to a location either through a Flash map where you hone into your specific area, or use the text links below the interactive map.

Similar to the eBay UI, the items are displayed in a table, with clearly labeled and sortable table headers for price, location and time the ad was posted, together with a thumbnail view of the item. You can also refine your results by type (Looking for vs Offering) and location.

You can also sign up RSS Feeds and/or Kijiji Alerts, a daily email with the newest ads in specific categories.

The service is currently offered in 20 markets, 300 cities for 17 million users worldwide, including: Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey and United States.


  1. Wikipedia:Kijiji

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Puma Basket CC = Heat-sensitive Sneakers


Puma came out with some heat-sensitive sneakers that will change color according to the temperature of your foot and environment. The shades go from olive brown to dark green to dark blue to deep purple. Temperatures below zero celcius will make the sneaker black.

The limited-edition Puma is available for 116.87 USD from the Overkill shop in Berlin.

More details available at

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


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sponsored by AIGA & Apple

Prem Krishnamurthy and Adam Michaels of Project Projects will present some of the studio's recent work and discuss their design process. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Prem is a good friend of mine from college. He is fluent in German and has worked at MetaDesign in Berlin with Erik Spiekermann. He has a very viral personality--a true original. Highly recommended. I'll be going so let me know so we can go together. :)

Wednesday, 25 July 2007
6:30 - 8:00 PM
Apple Store, Soho
103 Prince St
New York, NY

About Project Projects (from the event detail)

Project Projects is a design studio focusing on print, identity, and interactive work for clients in the cultural sector. Founded by Prem Krishnamurthy and Adam Michaels, the studio’s clients include Phaidon, Princeton Architectural Press, Steven Holl Architects, and White Columns. Project Projects also collaborates with architects, artists and writers on independent projects.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Harry Potter Party for Grownups

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J.K. Rowling's final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will be released at midnight on this Friday, July 20th, 2007.

McNally Robinson, the bookstore on Prince St from which Andrew Mass gets his daily dose of caffeine, is hosting a party serving "Magic Punch" which contains "alcohol and other magical ingredients."

Enter the “Independent Muggles for Harry Potter” Sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip for 4 to London

At 10:30, the Scholastic Harry Potter Knight Bus will visit the bookstore.

See full details on McNally Robinson's Web site.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Google Docs Redesign

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Google Docs went through a redesign recently--and they did a fantastic job:

Source: Google Docs & Spreadsheets Tour

Here are some of the highlights that I thought were huge improvements over previous incarnation:

  1. Folders. These function similarly like Gmail's labels (i.e. tags in Yahoo lingo), and a single document can belong to multiple folders simultaneously. When a file is inside a folder, it gets the automatic designation next to the file list when you are viewing all files.

  2. Drag-and-Drop. You can add files to different folders easily by selecting the checkboxes next to your file name and then drag-and-drop to the folders--very handy for mass-labeling files.

  3. Version Control. Every time you save a document, Google Docs keep a previous copy on your files, where you can easily go back to previous iteration. One thing I would love to have would be the ability to perform diffs on the revisions, or some way to see revisions inline.

  4. Collaboration. Taking document-editing a bit further, and you have multi-user collaborative editing. I am still testing this out but it is a really fantastic idea when a large team needs to edit document together, for a proposal, for example.

  5. Search. Searching is Google's bread and butter and we see a huge improvement on document search. You get a drop down list of AJAX-driven drop-down a la Google Suggest before you finish typing your search string.

I am still playing around with it but these new added features have greatly improved my workflow.

The full-page editing is a God-send for editing of my frequently updated profiles on social networks, which generally provide a tinsy area for editing. Now that I use Google Docs to store and edit documents, I am happily enjoying the luxury of creating insanely long profiles on various sites (see my profiles on Facebook, Flickr or LinkedIn). C+P is just two short key-chords away.

Friday, July 13, 2007

TaxiWiz = Know the fare before you go

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TaxiWiz is a Google maps mashup that allow users to search for an esitmated cab fare between two locations.

I like the interesting addition of a drop-down list of airports and landmarks aside from the regular street address input.

TaxiWiz interface screenshot

It is available on the Web as well as mobile editions in seven cities in North America:

2007 = 50 Years of Helvetica

Helvetica lovers rejoice!

  1. 50 Years of Helvetica is currently being shown at MoMA. You'll get plenty of time to hike up to midtown before the show ends on March 31, 2008.

  2. Helvetica, the film.

  3. Helvetica: Homage to a Typeface, the book.

  4. Linotype is having a Helvetica NOW Design Contest, the poster design contest.

    The winners will be selected by popular vote. The voting will be carried out online at starting in mid-October 2007. The winners will be announced in the January 2008 issue of the LinoLetter.

    Linotype will offer prizes to the first three winners. Together the prizes will be worth more than €15,000.

    Submissions will be accepted from July 4–October 4, 2007. Entries will be made public once voting begins and not before that date.


From the MoMA website:

2007 marks the fiftieth anniversary of Max Miedinger and Edouard Hoffmann's design Helvetica, the most ubiquitous of all typefaces. Widely considered the official typeface of the twentieth century, Helvetica communicates with simple, well-proportioned letterforms that convey an aesthetic clarity that is at once universal, neutral, and undeniably modern. In honor of the first typeface acquired for MoMA's collection, the installation presents posters, signage, and other graphic material demonstrating the variety of uses and enduring beauty of this design classic. As a special feature in the exhibition, an excerpt of Gary Hustwit's documentary Helvetica reveals the typeface as we experience it in an everyday context.

If you are a typographer, you owe yourself to visting these events and shopping for these goods.

If you think that Helvetica is just the same as Arial, stop judging typefaces on screen and observe the beauty of type and scrutinize the difference when they are offset-printed.

Also, please stop thinking that Arial is created by Microsoft and thus bad. Arial is designed by Monotype and is provided as an alternative that is a sans-serif that has the same metric values as Helvetica without the hefty licensing premiums for Helvetica.

Another point in mind: Microsoft has commissioned a lot of excellent typefaces, by many renowned type designers--Matthew Carter, for example. Check out Microsoft Typography.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Audience Extras = Great Deals for Broadway Shows

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Recently a friend invited me to see Anti-Gravity: The 2007 Tour in New York, a show which New York Times describes as being "a tribute to human chandelier."

The show was awesome, but box office sales runs from $45-$60. Pretty hefty for me. As it turns out, my friend uses a service called Audience Extras, and it makes all Broadway shows affordable. According to its official description:
  1. Audience Extras (AE) screens for responsible, dependable and discreet people to put in an empty seat when a producer needs extra audience.

  2. It distributes "paper" complimentary tickets in a way that could develop future audiences, that is, on a "free sample" introductory basis.

  3. It uses this "papering" program as an ongoing funding source for non-profit theater.
If you join online, you pay 65 dollars a year and attend as many shows as you like for only $3.00 reservation service charge per ticket.

That's a deal too good to not share.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Competitive intelligence = Know thyself + Know thy enemies

No comments: provides additional information that Google Analytics lack--your competitors' stats.

Would be nice if they have Google Finance's related news cross referencing feature but it's still pretty cool.

View the complete report to get to:
+ Visitors: people counts, ranks, visits
+ Engagement: attention, average stay, pages/visit
+ Growth: velocity

Here are some examples: / / (Complete report) / / (Complete report) / / (Complete report)

Sunday, July 8, 2007


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Life celebrates diversity.
Life celebrates differences.
Life celebrates humanity.

Regardless of age, attire, or build.
Regardless of class, color, or culture.
Regardless of education, flavor, or gender.
Regardless of hair style, income level, or interest.
Regardless of life style, location, or philosophy.
Regardless of profession, physique, or race.
Regardless of religion, role, or sexual taste.

Life is equilibriumism.
Life is everything and nothing.
Life is all of us and none of us.

-- See-ming Lee, 2007.07.07

See photographs of how life celebrates diversity.

Friday, July 6, 2007

City = Brand

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As a special report in the June 14, 2007 issue of Business Week, writer Tom Lowry discusses how New York City Major Michael R. Bloomberg applies brand management techniques to New York City:
  1. New York City = Corporation

  2. Citizen = Customers

  3. Sanitation workers, police officers, clearks, deputy commissioners = Talent

  4. Major = Chief Executive

  5. NYC & Co. = a not-for-profit entity consisted of three existing operations

  6. Annual marketing budget = tripled = $22 million USD

  7. George Fertitta = Brand management for Coca-Cola (KO), Perry Ellis (PERY), Walt Disney = NYC brand management lead

  8. NYC & Co.'s goal = lure 50 million visitors a year by 2015

  9. Branch offices around the world = Presence in 14 cities, with new offices set to open in Seoul, Tokyo and Shanghai in coming months

  10. 311 = 24-hour customer-service

  11. Cost of 311 Startup = $25 million USD

  12. Number of 311 Calls = 49 million since 2003

  13. Number of 311 Round-the-clock call takers = 370

  14. 311 Call data-mining = 1 million less 911 traffic = Inspections for excessive noise up 94% = rodent exterminations up 36%

  15. City Hall meeting rooms glass doors = better and faster communication

  16. Presentations = Easy-to-follow charts and tables

  17. Semiannual mayor's management report of yesteryears = >1,000 pages in 3 printed volumes

  18. Semiannual mayor's management report under Bloomberg's reign = 186 pages, available online, includes many more features than before, including neighborhood data + five-year trends that allow New Yorkers to compare past and present

  19. City Plans + Budget = fully accessible on the city's Web site with specific agency's overhead costs (e.g. pensions + legal claims)

  20. Katherine Olivier = ex-Bloomberg global radio and television operations = executive from the city's Office of Film, Theater + Broadcasting

  21. Within a month of Katherine Olivier's arrival, her 22 employees had new Dell (DELL) flat-screens, and production companies were able to file for permits online

  22. 15% tax credit to film + tv produtions that complete at least 75% of their stage work in the city = generated $2.4 billion in new business = 10,000 new jobs since 2005

  23. Dedicated team of 33 police offers to ease shots in the city = B2B = microcosm of what Bloomberg wanted to do for the entire city

  24. Efficiency in city's film office = maps + diagrams + suggestions of where to shoot during one-on-one meetings with folks in the office
Read the full article:
Business Week / 2007-06-14T11:51-4:00 / Bloomberg: The CEO Mayor / How New York's Mike Bloomberg is creating a new model for public service that places pragmatism before politics

15 Brain Training Tips

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Full article quoted from

“If you nurture your mind, body and spirit, your time will expand. You will gain a new perspective that will allow you to accomplish much more.”

-- Brian Koslow

It’s simple, your brain is at the center of everything you do, all you feel and think, and every nuance of how you relate to people. It’s both the supercomputer that runs your complex life and the tender organ that houses your soul. So it is very important to focus on keeping your brain in shape.

By regularly engaging in the right activities, you can increase your memory, improve your problem-solving skills and boost your creativity. Here are some extra tips on how to keep your brain in top nick.

  1. Just stop. Take 20-30 minutes out of your day to think about nothing. But don’t sleep – you’ve got to meditate. Sit still, reduce sensory input, and try to focus your mind on something like a calm scene or a color (to begin with thinking about something rather than trying to think of ‘nothing’ is easier). A study at the University of Kentucky revealed that subjects who took a late-afternoon test after meditating for 30 minutes had better scores than those who napped for the same time.

  2. Hit the streets. Lace up your running shoes and get moving. A study from the University of Illinois, US, revealed that aerobic exercise actually increases brain volume. They put two groups through different regimens - one did aerobic training three times weekly for one hour; the other group did just stretching and toning exercise. The aerobics group had increased their brain volume and white matter, which forms the connections between neurons.

  3. Mix it up. Exercise has long been hailed as an aid to brain-power longevity. But to ensure you’re not leaving the gas on in your eighties, vary your workout routines now. Try changing things up on a regular basis and you’ll stimulate your brain more because you’re not using the same pathway over and over again.

  4. Read a book. Choose from classic literature, science fiction or personal development books and give your brain a boost. Pick up a novel before your next flight or vacation. On top of the cerebral benefits, the escapism that comes from reading can be very relaxing. Reading helps you exercise your cognitive skills and increase your vocabulary. Do it regularly and you’ll be amazed at the information you absorb, which will make you a more interesting conversationalist.

  5. One-cup-manship. Swilling coffee could be the perfect accompaniment to the cryptic crossword. Austrian researchers measuring brain activity found short-term memory and concentration improved after consuming 100mg of caffeine - equal to an Americano. But after 40 minutes those guinea pigs were back to the dumbness levels of a twice-a-day Deal Or No Deal viewer.

  6. Engage in a debate. A lively discussion can be invigorating. As long as you avoid letting it digress into an argument, you can have a lot of fun debating the pros and cons of an issue with a friend or colleague. Playing with your brain stimulates blood flow and strengthens the connections (synapses) between nerve cells in the brain. You’ll practice your quick thinking skills, logic and creativity. And developing convincing theories on the spot will help you in your career and in your personal relationships.

  7. Grab the Brainbox 360 controller. Believe it or not, playing certain video games can actually be good for your health. You’ll develop stronger visual skills and make decisions 85% faster than non-gamers, say experts from the University of Rochester, New York. Gamers can read the newspaper, recognize a scene or pick out facial features faster in between fragging killer aliens.

  8. Subscribe to a daily newsletter. Make the most out of your web surfing. Whether it’s a “word of the day,” “quote of the day” or “this day in history” newsletter, receiving new information each day will add data to the hard drive in your head. The mental stimulation will increase your comprehension skills. The additional knowledge will also make you sound more worldly and intelligent.

  9. Curry favours. Tuck into a Ruby Murray tonight to clear the mental cobwebs. Scientists from University of California discovered that curcumin – a yellow-coloured compound found in the curry spice turmeric can slow the onset of memory loss. Small doses of curry could also help protect the brain against Alzheimer’s disease - at least that’s the effect in rats. Curries with a yellow tinge will have the highest curcumin count.

  10. Grab a cue and play pool. Rack ‘em up, grab a cue and concentrate on your strategy. Billiard players must focus on the immediate, blocking out distractions as they plan their next moves. Strategic planning increases mental clarity. Concentrating on the immediate helps keep your mind sharp. Furthermore, this game of angles demands that players think in terms of physics, something most of us rarely do in our everyday lives. And it’s a brilliant way to pass the time.

  11. Learn an instrument. A Stanford University research has found for the first time that musical training improves how the brain processes the spoken word. So pull out your old guitar, sign up for piano lessons, or rent a trumpet or a clarinet. Learning how to make music will stimulate your creativity. Reading music provides mental stimulation. Playing an instrument requires powers of recall as well as concentration to maintain tune and tempo.

  12. Being boron. Fat-busting snacks have the added benefit of enhancing your little grey cells. British Nutrition Foundation reports show low-fat dried fruits such as dates are a good source of brain-boosting boron. Get 200g of the fruit down you a day and you’re likely to score higher in motor skills than your raisin-less colleagues.

  13. Fresh air golf playing. Escape to the links and spend a few hours in the fresh air counting birdies, bogeys and mulligans. Just play! It is good for your spirit and good for your brain. Golf is a social sport and a great way to network and relax at the same time. Golfers get mental stimulation using their decision-making skills as they plan stroke strategies. As the sport involves the control of repetitive movements, it instills mind-body discipline.

  14. Less stressed with yoga. Yoga is more than an exercise and you might be surprised at how strenuous it can be. Beyond the physical demands that give your entire body a workout, yoga has great calming and relaxation qualities. Yoga forces you to focus on controlling all your muscles and your breathing. You’ll let your worries slide away, giving your mind a rest from stress.

  15. Build a miniature model. Remember the fun you had as a kid making model airplanes and cars? Recreate that by building a miniature model, it is a great way to activate your brain and keep it in good working condition. Following all those written instructions sharpens your powers of concentration. Focusing on the task at hand will also be very relaxing.

Remember to keep your mental faculties in tip-top shape by giving yourself plenty of opportunities for mental stimulation; by keeping your mind active you’ll reap great brain-boosting benefits.

Artificial Life / J. Craig Venter

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J. Craig Venter, the first scientist who figured out the complete human DNA sequence is at his final phase of creating the first free-living artificial organism by collecting deep-sea organisms last year. It is a bacteria with a few hundred genes. His firm, Synthetic Genomics, Inc will be creating synthetic bugs which produce Ethanol and Hydrogen. The potential benefits of biocomputers are huge, and can be used to create medication, fuels, cleans pollution and detect explosives. (Business Week 2007-06-25 / On The Brink Of Artificial Life / Craig Venter says success is near, but critics blast efforts to patent synthetic organisms)

This verifies The Economist's claim: "What physics was to the 20th century, biology will be to the 21st -- and RNA will be a vital part of it." (The Economist 2007-06-24 / The RNA revolution: Biology's Big Bang)

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