Friday, December 05, 2008

Have you developed evil tech today?

I've always respected Google's 'Don't be evil' moto, although it can get blurry on occasion (think China censorship), I like to believe they try and follow it as much as possible. Well I trust them more than I do Facebook.

Technology is being infused into more of our lives. Everything is being connected and I look forward to the day when my refrigerator tells me I need to get some more milk as I'm running low. (Maybe even automatically orders it).

As engineers, we have great power in the world today. We can build anything.

With this is mind, I think it's beneficial to constantly question how are skills are being used in the world.

Since I've come to the US, I've been exposed to more of the unpleasant sides of capitalism. Anything to make a buck. Overly complex packages being offered (e.g cable/cellphone service), and then getting nickel 'n dimed. grrhh
I'm sure the same thing happens in the UK, I would like to think to a lesser degree. (Maybe this is a tad unrealistic)

Are you doing good or are you doing evil? You might not know if your doing good, but you should know if your leaning in the wrong direction.

There are two things, I've said I'll never get involved in. One is military tech and the other is pornography.

However cool you think military tech is with all those laser guided missiles, it still kills people. TV never shows you aftermath. If they did, it would hopefully make us more hesitate in entering that endeavor.

It's naive to think its only going to be used against bad people. Putting aside how sometimes you can miss bad people, what about when that tech gets in the hands of bad people. e.g Taliban was armed by the US to fight the russians or in the current conflicts, M16s are somehow being used to shoot at the allied troops. No I'm not some anti-war nut..

Pornography is obvious. I have nothing against it. Living in the SF Bay area, I'm not some religious conservative fruitcake, I'm liberal as the next guy. People are free to do what they want. I'm talking about development of it and in particular my development of it. It's just not something I want to devote my life force in producing.

There's a whole bunch of other stuff I'm a little concerned with. Privacy is one.
Yes.. privacy is moot nowadays. If it can help sell more targeted products I can live with it (well with ad blockers I rarely have to deal with it). Yahoo got a lot of trouble when they ratted on a dissendent.

Are there things your doing that your less than proud of? Post annonymously if your concerned.

Maybe its time to stop feeling bad and do that startup you've always thought about?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No more.

I just read this article about quiting you job. Seth Godin says we should quit more often. That we should not be as forgiving as we are to our work.

So... I've resigned from my startup.. to do..... I don't know.. we'll see.. :-)
It might end up as a sabbatical.. I'm hoping something more.

I came to California to learn more about startups and entrepreneurism.
I've engrossed myself in the tech scene and tried to learn as much as possible about being an entrepreneur and startups.

Unfortunately, you don't really experience anything unless you DO. Unless your a founder, you don't really experience the no-win problems that they face.

I follow this twitter.. recently it had a great tweet:

“Do or do not... there is no try.” ~Yoda

Paul Graham says 'Starting a company is like jumping off a cliff and trying to build an airplane on the way down.'

Time to jump.. The direction is clear.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Furnace of Argument

I was reading Tom Preston-Werner blog about how to meet your next cofounder.

I loved one of his lines: "Truly good decisions are forged from the furnace of argument, not plucked like daisies from the pasture of a peaceful mind."

It's soo very much the way I think. I don't know if its just me (or a California thing), but I've come to notice more and more people not engaging. Treating people with kid gloves, is annoying as hell. It wastes soo much time and a form of politics.

Maybe its a cultural thing.. Coming from the finance industry in London/Chicago/NewYork, people don't pull punches. It was honest.

Maybe I'm just an aggressive annoying sod. (If I am, please tell me). I like to believe that I think Outside-the-Bun (I love that 2002 taco bell commercial).

If I'm told its not the way we do things, I'll try it anyway and flow against the stream.

It's served me well so far.. it generally produces non-conventional approaches.

Why don't you try it? It's also makes your dull day a lot more interesting. :)


Garbage is such a cool band. I found them on youtube and watching the videos again, I can see why I really got into them.

It really brings back memories of university and how I used to dress. :)

I love 'Push it', it kinda sums up on my outlook on life. If you don't push it to the edge, what's the point? Your just wasting air.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Stop watching Lost and start doing stuff!

Great video from Gary Vaynerchuck from Wine Library speaking at Web 2.0 Expo.

I can really relate to a lot of things he talks about. I'm thinking about where I am now and what the future holds.

  • A lot of people are doing stuff they hate. There's no reason to do that anymore.

  • Listen to your users, care about them. Do stuff to help them don't just listen and brush it off.

  • Stop crying and keep hustling. Were building business here.. have a business model.. make some cash along the way.

  • Be happy.. do stuff you love. Believe in what your doing.. or get out NOW.

  • Build your personal brand / brand equity.

  • The game is changing.. the people that used to control content (newspapers, tv networks) no longer do.

  • Work 9-5pm, spend some time with your family, 7pm-2pm is when you can work. Stop watching Lost!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Stephen Fry explains GNU

Stephen Fry (a very well known comedian in the UK) explains all about GNU in a video he produced.

Although I use MacOSX extensively, I really see the benefit of using gnu/linux as the server. I have VPS (w/ slicehost.. great btw!) and use Centos.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Power of the Dollar

I was reading an interesting article called Why People Hate Capitalism, which I passionately agree with.

People complain about US jobs going abroad, but still stock up on Wal-mart where most things comes from overseas. They get the most cheapest goods they can get and then complain about american jobs and how everything seems to break in a matter of weeks/months. There is an endless cycle of consumption that on occasion, sickens me.

You might suggest people don't have a choice.. That's rubbish. People always have a choice. They still have the money for expensive phones with expensive plans, huge LCDs watching premium movie channels, SUVs and go out to fancy restaurants potentially employing illegal workers.

Repeat after me, I HAVE A CHOICE. Now what are you going to do about it?

Heres a list of things I've actively tried to change by using my spending power.
  • Use the public transportation. Cars are too big and inefficient in the US (compared to Europe where I've from). Concerned about terrorism in the middle east? What's more patriotic by limiting the amount of fuel you consume and limiting the dollars going into questionable regimes

  • I don't (or try not to) buy anything with High Fructose Corn Syrup. There's been lots of press on how truly bad this stuff is and it's in a LOT of commodity goods sold in the US. Do yourself a favour and read up on it.

  • I've discovered New-Balance trainers, which they make in the US. I used to be a Nike guy, but I've got sick of all the bad press of alledgly 9 years olds, working for a next to nothing and Nike selling them for $100 a pop.

  • Organics food. I'm trying to use as much as possible, although its a little more expensive. The amount of chemicals that get sprayed on your food produce is incredible.

  • Meat. I've a vegetarian, but a cow is not supposed to be the size of a Hummer. Only here they are that big. Think about why.. It can't be good.

Anyway.. hopefully something to think about..

Friday, August 08, 2008

Twitter comedy sketch

Oh this link is sooo funny.. The rise and fall of Twitter.. LOL

Monday, August 04, 2008

Travelers' Laptops May Be Detained At Border

I saw this on the washington post.

Travelers' Laptops May Be Detained At Border.
Federal agents may take a traveler's laptop computer or other electronic device to an off-site location for an unspecified period of time without any suspicion of wrongdoing, as part of border search policies the Department of Homeland Security recently disclosed.

WTF?? Can you imagine if other countries (say in Europe) started doing this? I would expect US citizens be up in arms, but this is being tolerated here.

I don't understand the reasoning. Don't they understand that with the internet there is a free flow of information (its in the tubes!). PGP file, ftp to outside the US.. done.

Is there really an assumption that bad people are stupid enough to cross the border with a laptop of questionable material?

Land Of the Free


Monday, July 28, 2008

VR-like head units with wii

Wow.. I just this utube video about using the wii-remote which is mounted on your head to change the picture of your monitor.

By tracking where your head is compared to the tv, it appears you get a real sense of 3D. I'm really looking forward to see how this progresses.

Here's his main site. I'm gobsmacked on how cool this is. It's very similar to Microsoft's surface technology. This might be the future of UI design.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Confused on how to do CSS?

Maybe you find those "Designing websites with CSS" to dry. Maybe you this form of communication is more digestible for you!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

PoW camps

Interesting article written by the economist RA Radford while spending time at a Prisoner of War camp.

He talks about how it from an economic perspective.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Railsconf in 36 minutes

I'm watching Railsconf in 36 minutes. 3 days compressed. Interesting to get the names of the presenters that you didn't get a chance to see and links for further investigations.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Free running is mad!

Just saw this video. Its called Free Running and is based on Parkour. Its Crazy!

Free running is a physical art, in which participants (free runners) use the urban and rural areas to perform movements through its structures focused on freedom and beauty. It incorporates efficient movements from parkour, adds aesthetic vaults and other acrobatics, such as tricking and street stunts,

Thursday, June 05, 2008


I've knocked up a little rss news portal aka popurls called NewsPuppet.

Please take a look and let me know if you have any comments. At the moment, the feeds can't be adjusted. There's lots more improvement that can be made into user customization and amount of feeds and categories.

It's written in RoR if your interested.

RailsConf 2008

Last week, I ventured forth into Portland (thats in Oregan) to RailsConf08.

It's quite an event.. Lots of technical presentations, lots of networking and general shooting the breeze.

Something that I found particular valuable, were the Birds-of-a-Feather sections. These are less formal than the others.

Overall a great time.. I look forward to investigating more of these:

- Pool Party: Autoscaling on EC2
- Quick and easy custom servers using EventMachine
- Skynet - A Ruby Map/Reduce Framework

I have an interest in cloud computing and dynamically allocating resources to handle load; it was good to talk to people who are actively using it.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Elements of Sustainable Companies

Sequoia is one (if not the top) VC firm in the Silicon Valley and shows us what they are looking for in a startup. Elements of Sustainable Companies highlights certain traits like 'Clarity of Purpose, Large Markets, Pain Killers" that is essential for startup to focus on.

Monday, March 03, 2008


Remember in the old days when you ran xeyes on your xwindows display?

Things have certainly progressed. Freaky!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Idea evaluation

Just saw an interesting post from Evan Williams, cofounder of Twitter, about the best way to evaluate ideas:

-How difficult will it be to launch a worthwhile version 1.0?
-Is it clear why people should use it?
-How much value can you ultimately deliver?
-How many people may ultimately use it?
-How many people may ultimately use it?
-How will people learn about your product?
-How hard will it be to extract the money?
-Do you really want it to exist in the world?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Optimus Maximus

Looks like we may see the Optimus Maximus RSN. Engadget has a video.

I love how you can paint on the keys... Is this the future?

Why have static keys? Keyboards with come different symbols for english, hindi, sanskrit etc.


Back in few years ago, when I was working in finance in NY, we had a phrase called JDI - "Just Do It" from the Nike ad. In fact it was usually delivered as JFDI. (I'm sure you can work it out)

This is the way on Wall St.. you get used to it. It sounds scary and I suppose it it.. However it toughens you up. When you can trust your colleagues to get things done and they on you, you'll be surprised on what can be achieved.

This hasn't been my experience since coming to the West Coast. Things are more 'fluffy' here. People takes other peoples 'feelings' into account. Maybe its because I'm an INTP and so makes me less patient.

Case in point, it's taken 2.5 months to get a machine sorted out. (That's install linux on it and configure it for our setup.. WTF!?). A piece of configuration (5 mins works) can take 3-4 weeks to get done (huh?) and nobody seems to say.. WTF RU DOING? JFDI!

I've rebuilt my VPS in about a day, with not much clue what I was doing. A trained, skilled admin should be able to do it in super-quick time. Maybe its all this VC money that people are bathing in...

This is when I start letting out a bit of NY. I try and not push people too much.. I try to be nice. Give people a chance.. but if your taking the piss, then you deserve everything that comes your way.

Hence the reason for this post.. :) I read this article and it made me think back.

It's labelled 'Do it Fucking Now.'.

Read it and take it to heart. You'll be surprised on how awesome you can be.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Letter to America

Theres a great post funny floating called 'John Cleese’s “Letter to America”'.

I need to save this for July 4th. :-)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Life advice

Some great advice on how to live your life.

Database verses MapReduce

You might have noticed that there's been a discussion by some dbase guys about how MapReduce is a step backwards.

The article is a little shortsighted IMHO. It's quite well known that databases DO NOT SCALE. Trying running a distributed database on 10,000 machines. In order to get the scalability of facebook, google etc you have to take the data OUT of the database, and generally dump them in memcached.

In any case, here's a nice response to the above article by someone who works for (but not speaking for) google.

An award

Mywaves the startup I work at has just won Best Mobile Video Service award at Global Mobile Awards 2008. Here's the press release.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Macworld again... *sigh*

I love this time of year. Xmas has passed, my birthday has just passed a few days ago... I can look forward to Macworld and think about xmas/birthday presents I can buy for myself.

What you don't do that? Duuhh.. :)

This year was good. I'm thinking its time to get the Apple TV and the Apple Air. I'm also leaning toward the iTouch rather than the iPhone.

I just don't do verbal. I don't like to chit-chat and talk bollocks.. fortunately my Mrs doesn't either.

I also don't want to commit to a 2 year contract. I think carriers suck more in the US... or maybe they just have more power.

In any case.. Loren Feldman again best sums up macworld.


Friday, January 04, 2008

Fate of Facebook

I was watching a vlog by Loren Feldman (I wish we had more of that NY attitude in Bay Area) about his departure from Facebook.

I tend to agree. Facebook really doesn't offer me *anything*. I'm fed up of it and specifically people who are on it.

Listen.. I try and update my status, ping people and generally interact, but I've noticed that more and more people just can't be bothered to be social.
I thought that was the point of joining a social network? The use of technology to maintain social relationships. Hello?

I've come to to conclusion that people join these things becz its cool and their friends are there or for marketing. Once the've had their initial fill they don't bother logging in again. Grrhh..

With Scoble being temporarily kicked off Facebook (he was breaking the TOS by extracting his own data), leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. The whole Beacon incident has made me realize that I can't trust Facebook to the same degree that I trust Google.