Thursday, July 27, 2006

Silicon Valley Pickup Lines

I normally don't post content from gossip rag Valleywag, but this list of terrible Silicon Valley pickup lines warranted an exception:

1) Let me show you my Om face. [invented by Kevin Burton]
2) Nice shoes. Wanna TechCrunch?
3) There's a launch party in my pants and you're invited.
4) I see I'm already giving you a liquidation event.
5) Let's mashup.
6) Let's go park on Sand Hill Road.
7) Can I take you South of Market?
8) Looks like your Yahoo could use a Flickr.
9) Are your YouTubes tied?
10) I'm in UI, can I be in U?
11) You're so fine I'd drink your Kool-Aid.
12) Just you, me, and my podcast audience.
13) I wanna go voip, voip, voip.

Of course, the best pickup line these days (now that Larry is married again) is:

"Hi, I'm Sergey Brin."

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Ken Jennings Rocks

You may recall Ken Jennings as the record-breaking Jeopardy champ who won millions. It turns out that Ken has both a blog and a pretty good sense of humor.

Ken recently posted a satirical call for Jeopardy to modernize, with such suggestions as:

Fourth, why are there no physical challenges? It doesn’t have to be Nickelodeon déclassé, buckets of green ooze falling from the ceiling. It could be tasteful and restrained. Like, if you know the answer, you have to run from your podium to the gameboard, jump up to touch the clue in question, and give the answer. “What is an Arby-Q?” Then you run back to your podium to select again. Some of these contestants, frankly, could use the exercise. Oh, also, there are angry bees.

Astoundingly, the New York Post then ran a story about how Jennings was biting the hand that fed him.

This led to a fine riposte by Jennings:

I’ve met Michael Starr a couple times, and he always seemed like a nice enough guy. Which leaves me wondering: does he know how asinine this non-story is? Despite working for the Post, I’m sure his reading comprehension is just fine. He knows there’s no way I was genuinely calling for angry bees and ventriloquist’s dummies to be added to the Jeopardy! format. It’s a humor piece, and one which gets its laughs from the outrageous non sequiturs it proposes, not the ripeness of its target for criticism. For the record: I’ve loved Jeopardy! since I was a kid, as anyone who talks to me for about five minutes knows. Making goofy jokes about TV shows isn’t “bashing.” I believe it’s the whole reason Al Gore invented the Internet.

I love the Internets.

Quote of the Day: On Parenting

"The days are long, but the years are short."

From Gretchen Rubin, author of "The Happiness Project."

I Believe That Bloggers Are The Future

The greaaaaatest gift of allllll....

Thank you, Whitney Houston, for implanting that crappy song in my head in the 1980s.

Anytime someone tries to tell you that blogging is a fad, point them to the results of this Experience Inc. study:

22% of college students write blogs.

Given the state of our educational system, it would only be mildly surprising that only 22% were capable of writing anything, which just underscores the sea change at work.

And blogs are simply the spearhead for the rest of CGM. Anyone who questions whether there are enough people interested in creating content should simply consider the fact that over 1/5 of college students are already doing it.

I wonder if there is an opportunity for a college-focused blogging network? Maybe you create a directory of blogs for each graduating class--I know I'd love a list of my classmates' blogs.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Cell Phone Woes And Google Suckiness

I'm in the market for a camera phone (so that I can take pictures of the kids) that works on T-Mobile, and when I sat down to figure out which one to get, I thought it would be a cinch. WRONG!

An hour later, my head was spinning. There wasn't a single site where I could find what I wanted (a list of T-Mobile compatible phones with a 1 megapixel or better camera). Hell, it took 45 minutes just to find out that most of the cameras I had been considering only had 0.3 megapixel cameras--something T-Mobile didn't reveal anywhere on their Web site.

Google searching was worse than useless, repeatedly directing me to spam sites loaded with AdSense ads. I was so disgusted, I'm not going to bother linking to anyone, though I will say that PriceGrabber was the best of a revolting lot.

At this rate, I'm actually going to have to drive to a T-Mobile store to talk with a salesperson (horror of horrors)!

How do you find the right phone? Where is the Consumer Reports of cell phones?

I find it hard to believe that a multi-billion dollar industry like this doesn't have a better way to provide product information. If it doesn't, there's a helluva business opportunity waiting for one of you to tackle it!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

What Ails The Democratic Party, Part 379

I continue to be fascinated by the ongoing frustration of the Democratic party here in the United States. Despite facing an opposing party led by one of the most unpopular Presidents in history, many of whose leaders are tainted by corruption scandals (no offense to Republicans, just stating the facts), there is an overwhelming sense that the Democrats will once again self-destruct in both 2006 and 2008.

To add fuel to the fire comes this scorching article from American Conservative: "What's Wrong With the Democrats."

Bear in mind that this is a piece written from an explicitly conservative point of view. It also includes liberal sprinklings of passages that are guaranteed to offend. Take this doozy for example:

Many elements within the Democratic Party can’t actually stand each other. The white “lifestyle” liberals welcome minorities as allies because they believe being on the same side as African-Americans against the white majority validates their feelings of self-worth. Yet to be frank—not that they would ever say it in so many words—they also regard blacks and Hispanics as scandalously reactionary on such crucial issues (to them) as gay marriage.

Meanwhile, the racial minorities are heavily Democratic both for newfangled identity reasons and for old-fashioned ethnic clout purposes that St. Tammany himself would have understood, but they are also more culturally conservative and view their white allies as smug, out-of-touch, and patronizing.

Moreover, although this is kept out of the press except when the occasional Jesse Jackson “Hymietown” outburst breaks through, more than a few minority Democrats disdain the lifestyle Democrats as Jews or perverts or Jewish perverts.

Nonetheless, the piece is filled with perceptive insights and statistics that illustrate the author's main point: Because the Democrats have defined themselves in opposition to the white male oppressor, they can't attract a majority for the simple fact that white people account for 79% of actual voters.

Crucially, the Democrats garner the votes of merely one out of three of America’s wedded white guys—the demographic segment that, to a fair if impolitic approximation, not only runs the country but also keeps the country running. Because Democrats have increasingly alienated the group that, more than any other, gets things done in America, it’s become implausible for Democrats to portray themselves as the natural governing party. Thus they have become dependent upon Republican miscues, which, luckily for the Democrats (although not for the country), have been abundant.

The piece also touches on another characteristic which I think is counter-productive, the tendency to look down on "the flyover states" or what Nixon once referred to as "the silent majority."

(As a side note, shouldn't Nixon's crimes have given the White House to the Democrats for a generation? As moral and kind a man as he seems to be, Jimmy Carter's disastrous presidency has to take some of the blame for 25 years of Republican hegemony.)

The Democrats’ fundamental weakness is that even after four decades of their strenuously celebrating the moral supremacy of every organized minority, our political system remains, more or less, one of majority rule. It’s hard to win a majority if you don’t personally want to be part of the majority because your ego centers around visualizing yourself as better than the average American. If you don’t like the American majority, either in principle or in person, the majority won’t like you.

While many "red state" residents also look down on the "blue staters" as perverts on the bullet train to Satan, moral censure has always been easier to swallow than snobbery. We Americans may dislike a good two-shoes, but we hate snobs even more, which is why every 4 years we witness two millionaires who went to Ivy League schools competing to burnish their "common man" credentials.

A few other tidbits:

On the tendency for Democrats to sympathize with exactly the folks who turn off heartland voters:

Although we are constantly assured today that America was unified throughout the Cold War in opposition to the Soviet Union, the public at least vaguely recalls that during the Reagan years much of the Democratic Party wanted to beg the Soviets for mercy, almost up to the day the evil empire collapsed.

The Democrats’ other mark of Cain is the horrific 1964-1996 crime wave unleashed by the Great Society. After almost a quarter of a million excess murders and the reduction of great American cities like Detroit to wastelands, it was finally quelled by the old conservative nostrums of cutting welfare and locking crooks up and throwing away the key.

These were not fluke mistakes. Instead, they explain the unpopularity of the Democrats. Their common denominator was the Democrats’ tendency to sympathize more with foreign enemies and domestic delinquents than with their own country and their fellow citizens.

On why uniting behind a hatred of George W. Bush is not enough:

The Democrats can seldom appeal to one of their blocs without offending another, so the main message they can all agree upon is how much they hate George W. Bush. The problem with that strategy is that, yes, admittedly, the president is a national disgrace, but that also reflects badly on the nation that twice elected him, so a large fraction of patriotic Americans don’t want to hear it.

And an absolutely fascinating statistical fact that links housing costs with votes:

Housing differs sharply in price between red and blue America. Bush carried the 20 states with the cheapest housing costs, while Kerry won the nine states with the most expensive. And the mortgage gap has been growing. Bush was victorious in the 26 states with the least home price inflation since 1980. Kerry triumphed in the 14 states with the most.