Monthly Archives: February 2011

In a world of bad flash sites, Christian Louboutin’s ranks right up there

You have to see it. It is almost an anti-web site. As if to say: most web sites are accessible and understandable and easy to navigate, but we do not want to be like most web sites, therefore we will be none of those things. They even messed up the blog. Dreadful.

Great shoes. Awful site. See Christian Louboutin official web site. Luxury french shoe and bag designer. and you will see why.


Where does the US get most of its oil? It’s not from the Middle East. It’s from North America

According to this, Crude Oil and Total Petroleum Imports Top 15 Countries, as of November 2010, the top source of crude oil for the US is…Canada. Followed by Mexico. Indeed, of the top 15 countries that import oil to the US, 51.33% of them are in North America. If we add the rest of the Americas, 60.04% comes from there. If you combined the imports of the “West” (i.e. Canada and European nations), you have 34.28%. All in all, the United States got over 75% of its crude oil from non Arab states in November of 2010.

Often when you hear talk about oil, you would get the impression that the US got all of its oil from the Middle East. If anything, most of it comes from elsewhere. And the biggest importer exporter of oil to the US is Canada.

Something to keep in mind.

P.S. Fixed a number of typos in this post (“it’s” now “its” and “importer” now “exporter”)

The secret of life (and a great graphic to boot)

Comes from Moritz Resl. It’s this:

It is simple. It is not easy.

Via Swissmiss.

Is blogging dying?

No, I don’t think so, although if you were to just skim the top of this article, you might think so, Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites Like Twitter – Instead, read the entire article: it’s a great overview of what is happening in social media in 2011.

I would like to add that regardless of the platform, what is happening is that it getting easier to share information with others, and people are capitalizing on this. Furthermore, more and more people are using these tools. Alot of what people are doing now could be done with minicomputers in the 80s and PCs and BBSs in the 90s. Now, however, the tools are easier, better, and more pervasive, and many many more people have access to them. I expect by 2020, there will be even more platforms and a wider and richer way to share information. It’s exciting. Whethere blogs wax or wane is besides the point in the longer term.

The creation of the face of Watson, IBM’s supercomputer

With lots of possible choices, how did IBM and team come up with it? Fast Company Design has a good article on how Joshua Davis Created the Face of Watson, IBM’s Jeopardy Supercomputer.


The great Bill Cunningham is the subject of a documentary!

And it is coming out soon! I have been a fan of The great Bill Cunningham (as I wrote previously here) and I hope alot of people go out to see this film.

Here’s the trailer:

There is alot going on here, but one thing that struck me immediately was the contrast between his home and the home of the many people who comment on him. There’s a simple description of Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby: I was within and without. Bill seems like that too.

How to make your own Coca-Cola

Like the recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken, the recipe for Coca-Cola was, I thought, some great mystery. Well according to This American Life, it is not, and you are seeing a copy in that photograph. Because that is hard to read, the good folks of This American Life have not only given the details on the recipe, but they tell you where you can get the more obscure ingredients and how you should mix them.

It is something that is fascinating yet not worth the effort, to me. I’d prefer to get my Coke from a bottle, premade. Still, the article is worthwhile.

Friday Night Music: the ageless Sade sings Is It a Crime?

YouTube – sade Is It a Crime? lovers live – HighQuality Mode(HQ)

The miracle of snow and winter

For people who are used to winter, snow can seem a nuisance at the very least. But as these people show in this video, YouTube – Snow is a miracle!, it can be anything but:

I wrote more about that here and here.

Installing Ubuntu on my Netbook

What propelled me to do this was simple: my HP Mini book had a “disk” failure and the operating system was unavailable. The problem with the HP netbook is that the restore CDs are …CDs! And the netbook has no CD of course. I tried various ways to get them onto a USB, but without much success.

Eventually this is what I did. I went here and after being convinced this was a good idea, I followed this: It worked mostly well, save for my wireless. I needed to connect directly to the Internet via a cable, then install network drivers (the proprietary wireless broadcom driver. It’s the STA, not the b43). Then I needed to shutdown and restart the netbook and the wireless came on. I had to play around with it, but eventually I got it to work. That part required some patience.

Ubuntu gets installed on a USB pen drive, so you need one of those. It also uses some software called the Universal-USB-Installer. That worked well for me. However I found another software package,  UNetbootin, that worked well for some other distros of Linux like Puppy. Both are worth a look.

I never went back to Windows XP. By the way, I had used a software package called MagicISO to turn my HP CDs into ISO files to burn to a USB drive. However, I was not able to boot from those USB drives this way: not sure why. Nonetheless, while I like XP, I am happy to move on.

The Death of the Music Industry?

From the CHART OF THE DAY: The Death Of The Music Industry, comes this:

I think there could be an argument made that the music industry overcharged in the prime of the CD era, and what could be seen as “death” is really the effect of competition in the form of digital and other sources. I am sure that the music industry would blame it all on free downloads, but I think there is more to it than that. For example, I’d like to add a demographic argument as well. I believe part of the decline is due to an aging population that doesn’t buy music as often.

Regardless, it is a dramatic drop.

Zoho Docs to Blog

body{background-color:#ffffff;direction:ltr;font-family:verdana;font-size:10pt;line-height:1.2;padding-top:0.5in;padding-right:1in;padding-bottom:0.5in;padding-left:1in;border:0px;margin:0in;}table { font-size: 10pt;}

Zoho is a great service, and I like their Docs service in particular. I see they have a new feature whereby you can post to a blog. I am going to test this out here.

Want to know more? Goto

Technorati Tags    

Good intentions resulting in bad design: A Coat to Help Detroit’s Homeless

I came across this on the GOOD web site: A Coat to Help Detroit’s Homeless – Design – GOOD. Here’s what they say:

Detroit has counted over 18,000 homeless people in its population… After spending months talking to people on the city’s streets, design student Veronika Scott envisioned a way she could help, by designing a coat which could allow homeless people to stay warm, but also preserve their dignity. She designed what’s essentially a wearable sleeping bag, which she named the Elements S[urvival] coat. Scott, who is a student at the Center for Creative Studies, has chronicled her work at a blog called The Empowerment Plan, where she goes into great detail about the coat’s development. She shelled out $2,000 of her own money to construct several prototypes made from Tyvek, the insulating wrap you see gracing new construction.

I admire much about this, but when I think of it, I ask myself: would I wear this coat, and the answer is no. It may keep the wearer warm, but it is like wearing a sandwich board that says I am poor and homeless. It’s not a coat I would want to wear, and I would be surprised if there are alot of people wearing this design of coat. Now if you asked me what kind of coat I would want to wear,  poor or not, I’d say I want to wear one that keeps me warm and is the same if not better than most others. Given that,  I would recommend designers design coats that way. Focus on designing low cost coats that are warm and don’t stand out, or stand out in a positive way. People may not be immediately be struck by the design of it, but people who appreciate good design will appreciate what you did. And people who are desperate for a warm coat will appreciate that, too.

You can read more about it here. I like what she is getting at lately in the blog, namely it is not about the coat but more about empowering individuals. I think that’s smart, and much more important. So kudos to her for that. As for the coat….let’s see.

Mood indigo: style and the importance of details

I like this image alot, from of course, The Sartorialist (On the Street….Mercer Street, New York)

There’s nothing extravagant in the way this man dresses, but there are lots of little things that add up to a great deal. Many of the items here are conservative or toned down, but the overall impression his look gives is anything but boring. He’s got a great haircut, for one. The glasses look to be RayBan Wayfarers, but they have a bit more style than that. The shirt and tie are classic patterns, but put them together with the scarf and the jacket, the great combination of white and indigo and light gray, and it is rather smart. Also the tie is a nice narrow width and the lapels of the jacket frame his face well. It all adds up to something very stylish and well done.

A great day in Egypt

Captured by al Jazeera.

The sound of jubilation.

YouTube – Tahrir Sq reacts to resignation of President Mubarak

“There is something in the soul that cries out for freedom”

President Obama on the resignation of President Mubarak and the revolution in Egypt.

A very subtle statement. And given how much aid the U.S. gives to Egypt and the Egyptian military in particular, it is a great example of speaking softly and carrying a big stick. I have great hopes for positive change in Egypt, and I hope the U.S. can play a part in supporting the growth of freedom and democracy there, even if it is first and foremost for Egyptians to do so.

YouTube – Obama on Mubarak Resignation: ‘Egypt Will Never Be the Same’

Four Reasons Why Americans (and Canadians?) Aren’t Saving Money


Household income is stagnant, the job market is dismal, the tax system discourages saving, and it’s still relatively easy for the poor to borrow money.

The debate here is worthwhile: Four Reasons Why Americans Aren’t Saving Money. It’s easy to take a Puritanical stance and say people should try harder. There is some truth in that. But if the above four reasons were relaxed, people would save more.

Thursday Night Music: Dirty Projectors Perform “No Intention”


YouTube – Dirty Projectors Perform “No Intention” on SIRIUS XMU

Tough crowds: La Scala and the Apollo

Most audiences are polite. Most, but not all. Two venues noted for their tough audiences are La Scala in Milan and The Apollo in NYC. Here’s the famed tenor Roberto Alagna getting booed off the stage at La Scala:

And here’s a young Lauren Hill standing up to and winning over an audience initially booing her at the Apollo.

In Focus: The Atlantic makes a smart move towards The Big Picture

According to Jason Kottke, The Atlantic has taken on Alan Taylor, previously at’s The Big Picture, to work on their new similar like site: In Focus.

Naturally it has superb photography presented much like The Big Picture. Smart move of the Atlantic.  Go see.

It’s great to see that publication becoming better and better online. Hats off to them, and any print publication that wants a lesson on how to make the move from print to web would do well to study what they have done and are doing.

Where to go to get something for your favourite nerd/geek for this Valentine’s Day?

Nerd Valentine‘s got you covered. For example:

I know! Ingenious! Seriously, you don’t need to know what it means, but your nerd valentine will immediately recognize it and love it. There’s something for font geeks, photography nerds, audiogeeks, and of course computer dweebs….you name it, they have something for that special someone on your list. Give it a visit.

Want to save a tree? Use this new PDF format from WWF, called…..WWF

Not WTF, but WWF. It’s a brilliant idea: create a document format that people can’t print and they won’t. Indeed, I have often heard people say, when they are printing PDF files, that they are not “printing” but “killing a tree”. You can take the ax out of their hands by using this format.

P.S. Yes, I know some tech savvy people will likely be able to get around this, but the other 99+% won’t bother and will go with this.

For more info, see: Save as WWF, Save a Tree : Home

Sarah Carr and Egypt’s Uprising

Sarah Carr is a journalist who has some great photos of Egypt’s uprising on Flickr. This is one of my favourites. Please a) visit her flickr sets and b) note her Creative Commons reserved rights.

How to make a perfect cake for Valentine’s Day?

Well, if you follow this Heart Cake Tutorial from the i am baker blog, you could end up with something as beautiful as this:

How DO you get the heart in there? Well, it is a very clever thing indeed, but not too difficult. (Well, not too difficult if you are used to baking cakes.) Go to the site and see.

The Oatmeal has a Tumble Log!

The Oatmeal has a blog on Tumblr! It’s rude and crude and very funny. You should check it out. (P.S. This depiction of old men in a locker room is bang on!…I don’t even want to know about old women in a locker room….I might faint.)

What NOT to put on your resume

Give HR people a reason to forward your resume on. How? Don’t use these words: LinkedIn Shows What Words to Avoid

You have a great resume. Make sure the right people see it. Be creative. And good luck.

Friday Night Music: LUST FOR LIFE – GIRLS


The world is getting heavier – and that is not necessarily bad

The Washington Post has a great interactive graphic showing how the “world” is gaining weight since the 1980s. (Weight of the world: Change in the world’s BMI since 1980 | The Washington Post). As they say:

With a few exceptions, the average body mass index in most countries has risen since 1980, according to a project that tracked risk factors for heart disease and stroke in 199 countries over 28 years

Some thoughts on that:

  • Overall the average age of the world is getting older. Older people will normally be heavier than younger people. Aging may have something to do with weight gain.
  • In the wealthier parts of the world, gaining weight could be seen as a sign of a poor diet overall. However, for the poorer parts of the world, gaining weight could be a sign of a better diet. Gaining weight is not necessarily bad.
  • In Europe, the overall weight gain is less. Mind you, they also tend to be overweight. This could be a sign that in developed parts of the world, there is an effort to cut back.

I recommend you check it out. It is quite good.

How to be stupid using Social Media. Kenneth Cole sets the bar

As this TechCrunch article shows, it is amazingly easy to damage your reputation quickly using social media:
@KennethCole Sets New Bar For Social Media Stupidity [Update: And Removes Tweet]. The amount of backlash Kenneth Cole took from this one tweet is remarkable. It’s worth reading the article to see just how quickly things spiraled downward.

What is a fair price for Internet service in Canada

The Globe and Mail‘s Hugh Thompson has an excellent run down on this. The key quote from the article:

Assuming an inflated cost of 10 cents per gigabyte, it means that Bell, Shaw and Rogers are charging consumers between 10 and 50 times what it costs them to deliver data. This on top of their regular monthly Internet pricing! While I agree that heavy users should be prepared to pay more once they have reached their bandwidth caps, a fair price would be much closer to 10 cents per GB than the inflated $1-to-$5-per-gigabyte charge sanctioned by the CRTC.

I highly recommend the article: great analysis and reporting.

The Nicolas Cage Movie Matrix

What can I say? A) This is brilliant B) I have seen too many Nicolas Cage movies (though mostly the ones above the X axis).

Behold: The Nicolas Cage Matrix – Movie Feature –
(Also found via The Daily What)

Why do people think professional wrestling is rigged?

I mean, c’mon, this is the most impressive use of hypnosis ever!

That’s the Most Illegal Thing I’ve Seen in the History of Wrestling! (via The Daily What)