Archive for July, 2009

If you’ve been wondering what to do with you brand new iPhone 3GS, this is a good start:

(worth checking out just for the soundtrack 🙂 )

The song is generated using a software called Vocaloid.

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I recently ran into a cool start-up based in the Bay Area focused on person to person renting (disclosure: I am now affiliated with Rentalic :)).

Rentalic’s concept is to make true person to person renting possible for things like tools, and other household items that are used infrequently. For example if you have a book lying around that you like but read only rarely, maybe you’d like to rent it out to someone for the weekend and make a few dollars in return. Maybe its a box of tools that would otherwise sit in a garage all year. It’s great for things like video game consoles, wouldn’t it be great to rent a PS3 when your college buddies are visiting?

If any readers of this blog are interested you should visit www.rentalic.com and sign up for the Beta.

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I completed the math portion of the pre-matriculation assessments today. I had previously done the Excel assessment which was painful, much more so than I expected it to be. The test is largely trying to find out if you know the convoluted menu system of Excel 2007. So, if you are someone who’s been using Office 2003 for a long time and you get stuff done in ’07 largely with the help of “compatibility” shortcuts, the Excel assessment is a nightmare. I also noticed some differences between the Excel menus presented in the test and my version of ’07. Likely some version differences but not ideal for this type of assignment I think.

More embarrasingly, I managed to fail the calculus portion of the math assessment, ouch!

On my housing situation, unfortunately I’m still assigned to a Munger Studio, which is the most expensive of the housing options. I think I’ll try to transfer myself to an Escondido studio during first week of class through the reassignment process.

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drag_me_to_hellI managed to catch one of the last showings of Drag Me to Hell (Sam Raimi horror flick) over the weekend (despite some protests from my wife!).

For a while, we were literally the only people in the theator. A guy actually looked down from the projector room, saw us and switched the trailers on.

If you are a fan of Raimi’s Evil Dead, this is a must see. I actually preferred this to Evil Dead. Although it’s a horror movie this has some pretty funny sections too. “Here kitty kitty” those who’ve seen the movie will get that one.

In general if you like horror, you should run to the movies to catch this before it goes off the big screen. It’s a beautifully directed, scary, funny, gross movie with a great cast as well. If you are a Transformers 2 fan however, skip this!

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In a surprising move, Amazon has dropped the price of the bestselling version of it’s Kindle reader (the Kindle 2) to 299. The K2 is already available at the new lower price through Amazon.com. My guess is that this is an attempt to preempt aggressive moves by cheap readers like Cool-er, BeBook, and the Sony Reader. At $299, I think the Kindle with built-in wireless delivery capabilities presents a compelling proposition.

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Over the last couple of days, I’ve been reaching out to “raters” at work for my 360 degree feedback assessment. This is one of the required assignments for the GSB and is used in STRAMGT 207 – a first quarter Strategic Leadership class. The assessment has about 70 questions attempting to assess various skills and behaviors.

For example under “managing self” you have questions such as:

Publicly acknowledges own weaknesses when appropriate.

Recovers quickly from setbacks and frustrations.

Expresses emotions productively.

Struggles with change.

Lacks self-confidence.

Easily thwarted.

Takes responsibility for mistakes.

Expresses contrary opinions that benefit discussion.

I rated myself pretty low on my self assessment, can’t wait to see what all the raters think (the individual ratings are not shared, with only an average provided once school starts).

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yelp logoI took my car in for a quick service and oil change at my local auto dealer yesterday. I ended up paying something like $40 for an oil change. When I asked for a tire rotation, I was proposed the next level “15,000 mile service” which would cost $240. After declining the offer, I promptly wrote a review of my experience on Yelp.

5 minutes after posting my review, the owner of the dealership messaged me, apologizing for my experience, explaining how my car uses an expensive type of oil and offering me a free tire rotation.

I’m not a frequent Yelper by any means, but I was amazed by how powerful a single review can be. I almost felt guilty reading the email from the apologetic owner. This is truly unprecedented power to consumers. Is it too much power? I’m not sure yet, I think in some cases like a small shop with only a few customers it could be.

If you have thoughts about this, please post a comment below.

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Microsoft is doing a pretty good pre-order promotion for Windows 7 that offers upgrade versions of the new operating system at a greater than 50% discount. Amazon is making the deal even sweeter by offering free release day delivery of Windows 7.

Unless you bought a notebook since June 26th with Windows Vista, this will be the cheapest upgrade path. Based on my experience with Windows 7, I think its a significant improvement over Vista and at $49.99 (for Home Premium) a must have.

This end July 11th or when supplies end, so get on it soon!


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