David Kramer's high-entropy blog

Research Before You Buy

Geeks and non-geeks alike should do their research when buying electronic devices to make sure they can actually do what they want, and don’t have unacceptable attributes. In this post I’ll give some examples, and some helpful guidelines.


The Art of War for Women

Disclaimers: This is not a new book, nor have I read it.  I have read reviews of it, and am recommending its concept here, but can’t honestly recommend the book, not having read it.  OK, that probably sounds awkward, but there you have it.

I found this review of the book The Art of War for Women: Sun Tzu’s Ancient Strategies and Wisdom for Winning at Work, which is a modern interpretation an application of the original The Ar Of War by Sun Tzu, now thousands of years old, yet still relevant.  The reason I am promoting this book’s view of the original work is simple: It points out that The Art Of War is not just relevant to war.  It is relevant in any situation where you are facing one or more parties with conflicting goals, or competing for the same resource.  It could be at work, or dating, or politics, or even dealing with your relatives.  It’s mostly about finding your strengths and the others’ weaknesses and using both to your advantage.  It’s about looking for things in your environment that can help you.  It’s about focus and balance.

Read on…


Buy A Truck, Get A AK-47

USA Today has this post in their blog: Dealer offers AK-47 with each new truck purchase.  Well, they get a voucher for an AK-47.  They still need to be legally allowed to get a rifle, and go through the waiting period (no loopholes that I can see), but this is some brilliant marketing.  By the way, the civillian AK-47 is only semi-automatic, and not super-accurate.


Woot.com turns 5, and still as fun as ever

woot.com, the online geek store phenomenon that sells one item each day, turned 5 last Sunday.

This is one of the more fun way to get deals on the InterTubes.  [almost] every day, at 12:00CST, they put up a new item for sale, and sell that one item until they run out, or 12:00CST the next day.  There’s a lively discussion forum to discuss the products among the other wooters.  Another great thing about woot is they write very funny descriptions of the products.

Every now and again, there’s a woot-off, where they sell a bunch of things in rapid succession, and deprive geeks worldwide of much-needed sleep and focus at work.

I’ve bought several things there, and have always been happy with them.  Just be aware that their cheap shipping is VERY slow.

Mortimer & Monte: In the Break Room
from Woot Video on Vimeo.

Worst Barbecue Ever

Check out this YouTube video showing the Barbecook grill.  This is ridiculous.  I get poked fun at because I grill with gas (then again, I often grill three times a week, and in the dead of winter).  But here you have a grill that uses coal, but the food’s never directly over the coals.  I’m sorry, if the drippings aren’t hitting the heat source, and that flavor ending up back on the food, it ain’t grilling.


Microsoft Rebrands Its “Live Search” As “Bing”

Slashdot brings us this article on Microsoft trying to invent the search engine.  Again.  Because what hotter name could you possibly think of for a search engine than “Bing”?  Note that it’s Bing as in cherries, not Bling as in jewelry.

I did reply to the post with a Faulty Financial Comparison warning for comparing Microsoft’s net loss to Google’s gross profits


A later article on FastCompany filled in some more details.  The big new functionality in Bing is that you don’t just tell it keywords to match linguistically with, you tell it the kind of thing you’re looking for (a business, a person, a service, a book,…) and it uses its “Decision Engine” to return pages on that kind of thing.   I hope it’s either very good or very bad.  Because if it’s sorta OK, it will get in the way of true Semantic Web work that can solve these problems right.

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