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Maradona as the head coach of Argentina
Friday, October 31, 2008

People don't hold back when giving their opinion about football:
    Enough beatifying Maradona. My mother is the person I love the most in the world, but that?s no reason to make her coach of the national team or president of the republic.

It's an interesting choice for Argentina: he's been coach only once and had a "record of two wins, three losses and six draws before abandoning the post."

He was a great player, but I'm not sure he'll be a good coach. Either way, the world and I are waiting to be proved wrong.

11:20 AM | 0 comment(s) |

It's cool, but so what?
Monday, October 27, 2008

Twitter is cool, but what's the point? I mean, what is the point to keep paying the bill on its servers if the company has no real business model. I'm not the only one to wonder this, as there have been countless people writing about the same thing. The magical future model seems to be, as usual, advertising or subscription fees. Are any of these feasible money makers for the company?

I'm skeptical on the success of either of these alternatives. On the one hand, we go to great lengths to avoid seeing advertising on web pages. So how would you feel if your twitter stream is full of contextual ads a la google? I know I wouldn't like it. On the other hand, would anyone pay for such a simple service? Twitter is a free service, with a very low barrier of entry, i.e., it's easy to create. I agree that the infrastructure is expensive, but only because of the volume: the technology to make this thing tick is not out of the reach of most of us.

The unknown variable in this reality equation, however, is if twitter has been able to create enough incumbency amongst its user. We as a crowd are fickle, and we move from trendy thing to trendy thing. Is twitter the next new new thing? It has been for a while, and seems to be more now. "A lot more people -- and businesses -- are finding new ways to tweet", writes Jessica E. Vascellaro, from the Wall Street Journal, in her catchy tag line of her article Twitter Goes Mainstream. (I won't go into the details of what mainstream means here, as I don't think the app has gone mainstream: how many of you use twitter?)

The success of twitter rests of the network effect (the network has more value depending on how many users there are): if companies are convinced that this short-message distribution system is worth a license, then it will become the standard; however, if there are no users using twitter, why would any sane CEO agree to pay for the service? We've seen this before, haven't we?

Regardless of corporate acceptance, twitter has another option to survive its success. It's the acquisition route, which is more realistic. Google or Yahoo are sure looking at it (I'm speculating, I don't know if they are). Facebook, on the other hand, is unlikely to look at it, as they should be able to create their own twitter-like platform in no time. I'm actually surprised it's not out there yet.

In the mean time, twitt away. I just recently started using it, so I'm not too sure of what it is or its use; and yes, I have heard all the descriptions that people want to give it. I agree, it's cool...but so what?

6:44 PM | 2 comment(s) |

Brands gone wild
Sunday, October 26, 2008

As far as plastic sandals go, Crocs are all right. I had a pair that I wore to go to the beach or just to go get ice-cream: they were easy to wear, but not easy on the eyes. The shoes are kind of ugly and once everyone and their dog started wearing them the appeal was lost to me.

The makers of these rubber-molded sandals want to diversify their brand and have created an array of shoes that don't seem to have a defined market: Crocs boots, Crocs winter shoes, Crocs safety boots (I kid you not). Needless to say, these things should neither be worn during the winter nor while working with heavy machinery around: they are plastic molded sandals, enough said.

8:40 PM | 0 comment(s) |

$2,000 for a cell phone? Oh, my...
Thursday, October 23, 2008

I wonder what else it does, besides being a cell phone, for that price tag. It looks pretty, though.

8:30 AM | 2 comment(s) |

Follow me...
Wednesday, October 22, 2008

...Why don't you follow me?

3:01 PM | 0 comment(s) |

What a load of crap, says I the blogger
Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Twitter, Flickr, Facebook Make Blogs Look So 2004.

11:18 AM | 0 comment(s) |

The Ada progamming language was a successful misinformation strategy put in action
Saturday, October 18, 2008

I don't know what to make of this essay: I Have a Feeling We're Not In Emerald City Anymore.

To give you a taste of this twisted, humorous, yet true (?) story, I quote part of its introduction:
    By piecing together information from unclassified documents, we are now able--for the first time--to bring you the real story of the Ada Project, whose secrecy, scope and cost rival those of the Manhattan Project.


    The Ada Project was inspired by the unexpected success of the IBM System/360 architecture behind the Iron Curtain. The Ada Project's wizards {the Ada Project was conceived at Kirtland AFB, NM, near Roswell} reasoned that if the Soviets could be lured into copying the 360 architecture, they could also be lured into copying the Ada language, and if this language were fiendishly designed to make real-time systems essentially impossible to program, then the Soviet military machine would grind to a halt.

    Although Ada would also severely impact American software productivity, it was felt that--just as cancer-fighting chemotherapy nearly kills healthy tissue while it kills tumors--the healthier US economy would be better able to bear the severe burden of an unproductive software industry than the Soviet economy could. Thus, while American geeks were inferior to Soviet geeks, our Elbonian hordes could beat their Mongolian hordes.
In summary, the idea was to engineer the most inefficient programming language and then convince the Soviets that it was better than anything out there. Once adopted, the whole Soviet Union would crumble leaving the USA as one of the most powerful nations on earth. It's funny, right?

10:21 PM | 0 comment(s) |

Office Music

I've never been able to productively work with the radio on. I can work with the TV on, but never with music around me. I do all right when listening to music with my headphones on, but it has to be the music of my choosing.

I remember doing some contract work, a few years back, for a large organization here in Canada; during the day the local classical rock station was on all day long. I could never concentrate. In time the music is to become white noise, but my brain just couldn't filter it.

Depending on the effect required, there are benefits to having ambiance music playing. For example, if you want those skateboarders out of your stores, play classical music and they will be gone in no time. I'm guessing your tolerance for Mozart, Bach, or Beethoven is linearly correlated with your age: the younger you are, the less you like classical music.

As per music in the work place, I wish someone like Hawthorne et al. would have got around to testing if music could make you more productive in an office setting. I'm sure there are studies, which I don't want to dig out, about this horrible music playing all day. I find the whole experience of someone choosing the music I hear a torture tactic. Now imagine being forced to listen to 80s rock all day long. (Well, not forced, as I was there by choice--but you know what I mean: once in the building, the music is just there...playing...and playing...).

Music can calm you down or can make you dance; nevertheless, music should be an option to your workers and not a corporate mandate. Note that I don't mean to remove music form the ultra-hip stores of our times (A&F, Starbucks, etc.); these stores' image are based on what music is playing in the background or how strong the perfume the "fungeneers" are wearing. I get that and I wouldn't change a thing. I'm talking about the data processing centers with cubicles, amber or green colored computer screens, and countless of printers around. Do they (or did they) need soft-rock playing out corporate speakers mounted to the ceiling? I know I neither needed it nor liked it.

In case you like classical music, you can find a few free broadcast stations on the web--just make sure you you have headphones around: not everyone likes it.

8:37 PM | 1 comment(s) |

Train Emergency Break Exception?

If I pulled the train emergency break (for no real emergency) the second the train is stopping at a scheduled stop, would anyone know if the emergency cord was pulled? And if no one notices, would the fine apply?

9:04 AM | 1 comment(s) |

The definition of recursion...
Wednesday, October 08, 2008


5:48 PM | 2 comment(s) |

One of Messi's best goals
Monday, October 06, 2008

This is neither the most elegant nor the most technically difficult goal in Messi's career; however, this is one of his best goals.

Let me elaborate.

After negotiations to move to any power-house team in the world have been completed and multimillion dollar contracts have been signed, football is just a game. Because it's just a game, playing football is fun.

Messi's goal is the type of goal you score against friends while playing on the street during summer afternoons. You know what I'm talking about: the goal you score playing in your neighborhood fields; the goal you score when it's getting late and your mom is calling to come inside for dinner and the challenge "the last goal wins the game" is thrown into the air; the goal you get into fights over, because the other team claims you cheated. These are the best goals: you'll laugh about them the next day and everyone will point out how much of a cheater you are, but deep inside everyone knows that they would have done the same thing.

Can you argue against this being one one of Messi's best goals? This goal is pure joy; this goal is part of the beautiful game; this goal is pura picardia. (If you don't know what that means, recall Maradona's hand-of-god goal in Mexico 86.)

The validity of this goal comes down to the rules. For example, everyone knows that the wall is requested by the team shooting the free kick. When the wall is requested, the game is stopped and the game resumes until the ref blows his whistle and, typically, someone shoots to net or crosses the ball. If the team shooting the free kick doesn't request the wall, any player can put the ball in game at any time. Messi, knowing the rules, shot to goal without requesting the wall and hence no whistle necessary--and hence, a clever goal.

Because of this rule, coaches teach players at a very young age that someone needs to go in front of the ball whenever a foul is granted--always. This ensures that the other team can't just put the ball in play whenever they feel like it. If a player is in front of the ball obstructing it, then the wall is requested and players of the opposing team must line up 10 yards away from the ball. This is an easy lesson forgotten in the heat of the game; and even professionals need to be reminded of it--however painful and embarrassing the lessons is.

6:36 PM | 0 comment(s) |

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