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One Year after a Cancer Diagnosis

Wed, 13 Jan 2010 04:15:00 GMT

Today was sort of a surreal day for me. Exactly one year ago today, I was sitting in the ambulatory surgery center at Weill-Cornell Medical Center waiting for an orchiectomy. This was after a whirlwind diagnosis between Christmas and New Year’s, where I went from having a little back pain to finding out I had cancer. And exactly one year ago today, I learned that the cancer had spread and I would need additional treatment.

I’m still trying to get my head around everything that happened. While it’s obviously had a permanent impact on my life, it is also very weird to think that this all happened within the past 12 months. Maybe it was just the way I’ve been dealing with it, but it feels like the distant past to me now.

What was perhaps even more surreal, however, was the fact – exactly one year later – I spent all morning at Weill-Cornell Medical Center going through nearly the same battery of tests. This year, the CAT scan and blood tests showed nothing and my appointment with Dr. Scherr was decidedly more positive. Of course, simply spending a few hours in the hospital – especially on the anniversary of such a fateful day – brings with it a wave and range of emotions that was difficult for me to fully comprehend. I have been simultaneously angry and grateful and nervous and relieved and relaxed and terrified today.

On the whole, I feel absolutely wonderful. I’m in better shape now than I have been in years – of course, working Equinox will help with that. There are still some lingering side effects from the surgery and chemotherapy - the most notable of which is neuropathy, which basically means occasional numbness and tingling in my feet and arms, cramping in my legs, and related complications – but overall I have very little to complain about.

I’ve talked a lot in the past about how adversity figures in and how this experience has made me a stronger person – but I decided I also want to be able to say that literally. After turning 30 and beating cancer, I decided a good goal was  to beat my personal bests in weightlifting. So, consider this my public commitment - by the end of this year, I will either do a single rep of 550 lbs or do 35 reps of 225 lbs. I’ve only started lifting heavy again in recent weeks, but I think this is something I can do… and I will literally be able to say I cam out of this thing stronger.

(image) (image)



Why Paying to Pitch is Necessarily a Scam

Thu, 29 Oct 2009 13:06:00 GMT

There's been a bit of a backlash recently - spawned primarily by Jason Calacanis' post - against angel groups that charge entrepreneurs relatively significant sums to pitch their ideas. As Jason puts it, this is an “injustice” and an “abuse of power” – that the poor, desperate entrepreneurs shouldn't be footing the bill for any expenses for the rich angels they are seeking money from. In principle, I think we can all agree with this. Much of the focus here has been on exposing the bad behavior of these investors, but I think the problem is deeper than that. In other words: By paying to pitch, entrepreneurs are actually hurting their already slim chances of raising money. Early-stage ventures have a high rate of failure. We all know that high-tech ventures – especially in the nascent stages – have a very high rate of failure. David Rose shed some last , he expects seven out of every ten investments to bust, two to make their money back, and one to carry the rest of the portfolio. (I may have the specific numbers wrong, so feel free to correct me). Now keep in mind - this isn't one in ten companies that pitches him - this is one in ten that David actually chooses to invest in. One has to assume that David and his peers get pitched by an order of magnitude (or two) more companies than they actually invest in. Paying for access to investors is likely a negative indicator of success. There are a variety of motivations behind why a company might pay for access to investors, but for the most part none of them reflect positively on the company’s chance of success. With the rise of social tools, investors (both VCs and individual angels) are increasingly more accessible than ever before. Entrepreneurs with a good team, product and/or idea should be able to get a meeting without paying for the right to pitch. Moreover, if an entrepreneur is not resourceful or confident enough to get a meeting with a potential investor, why do we think said entrepreneur will be any more resourceful in terms of actually building a successful business (which we already established is a difficult thing to do)? In other cases, entrepreneurs were resourceful enough to get introductions, but the investors declined to hear their pitch. If this happens repeatedly, it should be a pretty strong signal that there is something fundamentally wrong with the business or how it is presented. Paying money to pitch isn’t going to fix those problems. Another group of entrepreneurs who pay to pitch are those who are desperate, as mentioned in Exhibit B. First of all, if you're running out of money, spending more on it to pitch doesn't seem like the best route to me. And, just like in dating, if you're desperate for cash then investors are going to see that and are not going to be as attracted to you. Again, this is a situation where paying just to be in front of the investor isn’t going to solve underlying problems. Sophisticated investors should not invest in any company that pays to pitch them. If an investor expects even the majority of the small group of businesses that make the investment cut to fail, then he or she would be foolish to invest in a company that has demonstrated that they are more likely to fail than the average business. First of all, if they did chose to invest, they are effectively taking valuable resources away from the company which will hurt its chance of being successful and providing a return on said investment. Moreover, it should give the investor pause in terms of how the entrepreneur may spend the investor’s money going forward.  Understanding this dynamic, a sophisticated investor should not invest in any company that paid for that access. I recently had an exchange with Joe Rubin from Funding Post about the Perfect Venture Conference they are running. The event will bring "20 early-stage technology companies" and "40+ VC and Angels" together for a full day of one-on-one pitches.[...]



9/11

Sat, 12 Sep 2009 01:08:49 GMT

8 years later – and on the eve of my 30th birthday – I figured I would once again repost what I first wrote here several years back. On the morning of September 11th, 2001, I went to work at 1 Liberty Plaza across the street from the World Trade Center. We happened to have a global department meeting that morning, so I had passed through the transit hub at the base of the WTC earlier than usual - 7:45 instead of 8:45. I still remember the sound of the first plane. I was in a conference room on the 12th floor facing south, so we couldn't actually see what was going on at the time. The paper and ash looked like confetti, and our first reaction was that it was some sort of ticker tape parade. Without television or radio, we had no sense of what was going on. I called and woke my girlfriend who was living a few blocks south at the base of West St. My plan was to come down to her apartment and figure out what to do. I watched the second plane hit, and by the time I got to her building it had already been evacuated. Standing in Battery Park, I stared at the burning towers. It was only as I watched the first tower fall that I began to understand the gravity of the situation. I simply stood there in shock with countless others as a cloud of dust and debris and God knows what else enveloped us. I was on the FDR ramp on my way uptown and did not see the second tower fall. At this point, everything was pretty much a blur. Things hadn't quite sunk in, but all I could think about was where my girlfriend (now wife) was. I finally got through to my parents on a landline. Tara was ok. She wisely ran to the ferry terminal and managed to get on the last ferry off of Manhattan and was making her way to a friend's apartment in Jersey City.   All trains leaving the city were closed, so I eventually ended up at Chris' apartment, a good friend who I worked with and who left the office with me. We eventually met my father for dinner who was still in his office a few blocks away coordinating things. I don't remember what I ate or what was said that night. The only thing I really remember was how grateful I was to be sitting with my father and a few close friends, knowing my mother and sister and girlfriend were all safe. The greatest gift was waking up on my birthday the next morning at home with those I love and learning that none of my family and friends had been taken. There were 2,749 other families that were not so lucky, and my heart goes out to each and every one. I still don't fully understand the impact that day had on my life and I don't know that I ever will. I do know, however, that I never forget September 11th, 2001. [...]



Friday Fun: The Quick Brown Fox Jumped Over the Lazy Dog

Fri, 31 Jul 2009 17:19:58 GMT

I’m sure you’ve all heard the titular phrase, which contains all of the letters in the English alphabet and is often used to test typewriters or keyboards (or, these days, to showcase fonts).

Well, it really does happen.

(via Caroline)

(image) (image)



Fixing LCD Image Persistence on Multi-Monitor Systems

Thu, 23 Jul 2009 12:59:29 GMT

When I first installed Windows 7, the power management was not working properly and the screensaver would not kick in nor woo. After I forgot to manually turn off the monitors one night, Something was wrong with power management when I first installed Windows 7 and my monitors did not shut nor did the screensaver kick in. As a result of that first night, I noticed a terrible “ghosting” effect that resembled the burn in of a CRT. Fortunately, it turns out that burn in (or, more accurately, image persistence) is not permanent with LCDs. Though it is said that letting the monitors “relax” for a few days will fix the issue, it didn’t go away for me. Another common solution, however, is to use a solid white image as a screensaver – this basically burns in a white image and eliminates the ghosted image that was there before. Another approach to removing LCD image persistence is to first create a solid white image and display the image as a screensaver covering the entire display area for an extended period of time, which operates the pixels in a uniform ON state rather than an OFF state as with turning the display off. One issue I ran into though is that all of photo screensavers didn’t quite work with multiple monitor setups. Rather, they would show the white image on the primary monitor and have the other screens blank. Though this wouldn’t cause new burn-in, it obviously wouldn’t fix the issue that I had on each of my three monitors. However, I was able to use UltraMon to achieve this, using the default integrated screensaver and changing the background color to be white. (Speaking of which - even with the new keyboard shortcuts in Windows 7, UltraMon is essential for multi-monitor setups. A new version was just released with proper Windows 7 support as well).        So, my monitors turn white after 2 minutes and then turn off after 30 minutes (based on the power settings). I’ve been running this for a day now and already I’ve noticed some of the ghosting is reduced. I’ll update this post again after a few more days to see how well it works. Oh, and if you’re going to do this, it’s probably a good idea to reduce the brightness on your monitors so you don’t burn out the backlight bulb. Don’t make it a long-term thing either – once you’ve fixed the image persistence, you can go back to your previous settings. -- As a side note, if you’re having similar issues with power management in Vista or Windows 7, there’s a new command line utility that can help you troubleshoot the problem. In my case, I was easily able to identify a USB driver that was preventing the system from entering the suspend state, and the issue was fixed as soon as I updated that particular driver. [...]



Augmented Reality on the iPhone

Tue, 14 Jul 2009 18:45:08 GMT

Wow… this iPhone app from acrossair is just too cool (via The iPhone FAQ).

Instead of a static map, Nearest Tube displays subway information in real-time, overlaid in 3D on top of live video of the user's surroundings. Holding the iPhone 3GS horizontal will show arrows pointing to different train stops, and tilting the device upwards will overlay signs in the direction of different stops. These signs look like a heads-up-display, and give more information about how far away the station is and what lines connect there.

You really need to see this thing in action:

If you ask me, that’s much cooler than that app that’s been getting a lot of press about where to stand on the subway. (That’s something that is most useful during rush hour and most New Yorkers have figured that out already!).

(image) (image)



MSI X340 two weeks later

Mon, 15 Jun 2009 21:58:00 GMT

Ok, many reviewers have knocked the MSI X340’s keyboard, build quality, reflective screen, and touchpad.  I still have some gripes with the touchpad, it is too sensitive and I have contorted my typing style to avoid touching it while typing.  For those who don’t rest their wrists while they are typing will be fine, unfortunately that eliminates most people who use notebooks on their laps as their wrist are used to keep the notebook from falling off.

So for me I have to say that the slim for factor has really made the difference for me.  I can now say I understand what the MacBook Air owners experience with their notebooks.  For me I couldn’t justify the price tag for a MacBook Air but in the light of the recent price cuts, it is ever so more tempting.

The Core 2 Solo SU3500 processor coupled with a 2.5” SATA II 320GB hard disk has made the performance very respectable.  For day to day use I have not seen a performance issue and it even beats our my two year old Core 2 Duo in perceived performance with a SATA I drive.  I suspect that this is mainly due to the faster SATA II hard disk.  It is also nice that it has an HDMI connector so I can connect directly to my TV to watch videos or share photographs that are on my PC.

The laptop has no issues with any video that I want to play, DIVX, XVID, h264 etc.  Even my Canon 5D MK II HD video plays without any hiccups.  (You need to use VLC or some other player other than Windows media player of course)

All in all I am happy with the weight and portability, it fits my needs and is very functional.

One final observation is I do wish the price was a little less (who doesn’t), especially with other vendors offering slightly heavier but more powerful configurations for less.

(image) (image)



Sushi Hiro is My Hero

Wed, 10 Jun 2009 21:48:00 GMT

Finding good sushi in London is more of a challenge than I expected.  (Finding good food in London is more of a challenge than I expected.)  Overall I've been disappointed with Japanese food in London because I can't find soba noodles in dashi and it's difficult to find udon or ramen.  Most of the sushi places I've encountered don't have specialty fish or cuts such as aji or ingawa or oh-toro.  Also, you can forget getting things like maguro nato with a raw quail egg on top. When it comes to sushi, most of the time it's overpriced and not always made by Japanese chefs.  While neither are high quality, I find myself going to Wasabi and Itsu out of convenience.  However the truth is I have some kind of moral problem with the amount of plastic wrap and garbage I produce when I eat at Wasabi.  I also have a hard time with mass produced sushi because of my worry about overfishing tuna.  Tuna fishing is one of my favorite hobbies when I'm in the US and even recreational fishing, which amounts to a fractional amount of the tuna harvested, is being heavely regulated by the reduction in the oceans tuna stock due to commerical fishing.  To that end, I applaud the move Itsu has made recently to remove bluefin tuna from their menu though I think it's a bit silly that Pret A Manger has removed their tuna sandwich.  Canned tuna usually comes from albacore which is much more abundant.  So long story short... because of the quality and environmental factors amongst others I don't like to eat at places that mass produce sushi. Back to the topic at hand, that is finding good sushi in London.  One of my friends who lived in London for about 7 or 8 years had moved back to the NYC right before I moved to London.  She gave me a list of restaurants and places to try.  One of them was Sushi Hiro.  I did some research of my own and as it turns out Sushi Hiro had plenty of recommendations from all over the web.  It also appears on TimeOut's London's top 50 restaurants, London's best restaurants for dining alone, and London's best cheap eats lists.  So, of course, I decided to give it a go.  Located right across from the Ealing Common Station in Zone 3, Sushi Hiro is a bit of a ride for me but no transfers necessary as it's on the District Line which I can pick up from my nearest tube station.  It's a rather unassuming place.  Not much in the way of decor neither outside nor inside.  Plain white surroundings with the main stage being the sushi bar which looks pretty battle worn.  Despite the rather cold decor, the mainly Japanese clientele that were around the evening that I was there all seemed to feel right at home.  You don't get a menu at Sushi Hiro but rather just a sheet with the fish of the day.  You select the type of fish you want and the style ie nigiri sushi, sashimi, or hand roll or from their less than creative list of rolls.  Nothing fancy to be seen here.  I don't remember seeing anything in the way of hot dishes or soups other than of course miso soup.  Clearly Sushi Hiro was all about the sushi.  So sushi I had.  Their list included the standard salmon, tuna, yellowtail, etc as well as some speciality fish such as aji, ingawa, and oh-toro.  There were even items I've never seen or heard of before which is odd for me as I'm pretty experimental with my sushi.  The quality of the fish and the preparation were exquisite and the price very reasonable.  The rolls could have been a bit more innovative but for the everyday roll they were quite good.  I'd highly recommend Sushi Hiro and it's saved me from the otherwise poor sushi I've been having in London. Reservations are a *must*.  Trying to [...]



The mission to find the best burritos in London - Take 1

Mon, 08 Jun 2009 21:35:00 GMT

For the past 15 months of my life I've been moaning and groaning about not being able to get decent Mexican food in London.  Where was my Chipotle?  Where was the El Torito?  I wasn't asking for much!  These are just chains for God's sake.  It's not like I was looking for amazing mole or carne asada from the hole in the wall Mexicans joints the line many of the streets in the US serving up the best Mexican around.  Where was even a decent plate of nachos?  For the most part, getting nachos in London is like ordering a big bowl of soggy Doritos covered in sweet chutney-like salsa, horrible cheese, and cover with tons of sour cream.  I just couldn't get it.  Making decent nachos isn't rocket science but to the English maybe it is. I've tried Chiquito in Leicester Square in my desperation for a good burrito on Cinco de Mayo.  Maybe I should have know the place would be horrible because of it's tourist trap location.  Maybe I should have known when the waiter didn't even realize it was Cinco de Mayo and they had nothing going on in the place to celebrate.  Or maybe, I should have known because I'd been there a few months before and I didn't learn my lesson the first time.  I had also been to Mestizo a had some success with their food but it was a sit-down and they didn't serve a decent burrito.  So this Saturday after having a strong craving for a burrito I went on a mission to find the best burritos I could in London.  After some intense research, I had a list of several places to try.  However I found that a few of them were food carts that only opened at lunch on weekdays.  I quickly disqualified those and I decided on two places to try: Chilango Tortilla Both places have locations on Upper Street near Angel Station.  Despite that their location is a bit out of the way for me, I decided I could hit two birds with one stone and make my way up there.  I resolved to try them both back-to-back that day since I had little time to go back. They both serve up burritos in a Chipotle type manner.  You select a burrito, fajita burrito, or a bowl.  Then pick your beans, meat, and toppings.  Either had barbacoa but each had a chicken, steak, and pork option.  I stayed consistent with both of my orders getting the steak so I could do a comparison.  Much the way I do at Chipotle, I got white rice, black beans, cheese, tomato salsa and the house's spiciest salsa, with guacamole on my steak burrito.  Neither had an option of corn salsa which was somewhat disappointing.  However, both had Cholula hot sauce on their table which I was happy to see.  They both also sold beer.  They offered similar seating with long, shared tables and some outdoor seating.  Chilango also had upstairs seating and some stools by the window and was larger overall.  As for decor, neither was over the top.  Chilango was white with some floral patterns similar to the ones on their website but had an overall feel similar to a small Chipotle.  Tortilla on the other hand was a bit darker with wooden tables. First I went to Chilango. The steak was somewhat chewy.  However, I had the last of their steak before they brought out the new batch.  In fact, I almost went for the chicken instead due to the fact that I don't like getting the lasts of any of the meat at burrito places since you don't know how long it's been there.  Aside from the chewiness the steak and overall burrito tasted quite good.  They offered what appeared to be a tomatillo based hot sauce as opposed to a red hot sauce.  I quite like salsa verde so that worked out for me.  It also had a nice kick.  With a bottle of water, my total[...]



Disappointed in a "promotion" of sorts

Mon, 08 Jun 2009 20:58:00 GMT

So like I said my first post is about office politics and not about the food and drink I plan to mainly focus on.  In this cause, however, I just simply need to vent.  I've been for all intents and purposes promoted at work today.  Apparently it was decided last Thursday but I only found out today.  Instead of being overjoyed, I'm frankly disappointed, nervous, and down right frustrated.  Now I don't mean to be a whiner about something good happening to me but I think maybe this will shed some light on the situation: I work in IT on a agile project.  We employ a development approach called Scrum and until this point I've been a Java lead.  I was pretty proud of that fact since I've only really been doing Java development for the past 9 months.  All my prior work experience was in C# to that point and, while they are similar, I was picked out of a lot of talented Java developers with many years of experience.  I think that there are many reasons I got selected as a Java lead, some because I proved myself to be capable and some that were purely political.  Nonetheless, I took on the role about 3 months after picking up Java and with good success.  I credit much of that success to the talented team that worked with me.  So, life was good.  I was learning a lot and felt things were going in the right direction.  Now to give you some needed background on our project team structure, developers report to a development lead, in my case Java lead, who report to a Scrum Master who reports to the senior management committee.  The team size overall is large, so despite this being overly hierarchical, it works for us. Today, I got told by my Scrum Master that decision was made by senior management that I was now the Scrum Master and he was now reporting to me.  Came somewhat out of left field.  While this is a "promotion" to a certain degree, I couldn't help but feel like: The decision was unwarranted as he was doing a good job It was silly to remove a senior person and replace him with a new relatively new and unproven Java developer Comments I made to management about issues on the team were manipulated to push him out rather than fixing the process which was the true problem Some of this had to do with bad management overall I'm happy enough to be promoted due to my accomplishments and even happy enough to accept a promotion due to political reasons.  However, a promotion due to dirty politics and ill contrived notions of how development should work truly disappoints me.  It all seems like a cover up by an project manager who found himself pushed into a corner.  This isn't the first time this particular project manager has done tried to place blame on others therefore getting them demoted so I can only anticipate that he tries to do the same with me when he gets into another bind.  Unfortunately for him, I have a different policial and organizational role than the other guys he's pushed aside in the past.  It won't be as easy with me and I hope he recognizes that.  I have more to lose than the guys before me so, though I'd rather not have to fight, I'd have no choice.  Let's hope it doesn't come down to that. [...]



Introduction to my blog and to me (kind of)

Mon, 08 Jun 2009 20:04:00 GMT

So after a long hiatus from the blog world, I decided to start blogging again.  I had moved to London from New York and so much of what I saw intrigued me.  Some pissed me off, some made me laugh, and much of it just didn't compute.  In many ways, despite the fact that we spoke the same language, there was a massive divide in communication between many of the people who lived here and me.  I felt a need to chronicle my thoughts and experiences and so I asked Tim if he would be so kind as to host a blog for me on /*.  Seemed like there is no better place for my comments than a place named /*.  So about 15 months after the fact, I'm finally posting my first entry.  First, why it too me so long to write my first post is a long story.  Let's just say last year was one of the most bizarre years of my life.  Maybe I'll have time for the sob story later but to cut the the chase in many ways I'm happy I had some time to absorb London before writing anything.  While it would have been good to see how my perspective has evolved over the past 15 months I've been here, much of what I thought about things earlier has changed.  Not to mention, I probably would have pissed people off with some of my earlier opinions on life here. That being said, the purpose of this blog is not to keep from pissing people off.  In fact, you'll find that a good percentage of my posts will be opinionated and unapologetically so.  But most good blogs are.  Instead of these opinions being about society, people, and the day-to-day grind of London, I'm going to focus on restaurants, bars, and travel.  I also don't really intend on using this blog as a place for my work focused ideas, etc.  However, I reserve every right to speak on anything I feel like.  Opinions on things in general will pop into the mix and, in fact, my first post after this will be about office politics.  At the moment, I plan on these types of posts being the outliers and not the norm but this blog, like my thoughts on London, may evolve.  As you may have noticed from the /* comments remark earlier, I'm an IT guy.  (For you non-IT folk look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slash_(punctuation)#Programming).  I have been traveling around the Europe quite a bit during my stay and tonight makes only the 3 night I've cooked at home since I've moved here.  That means I do a lot of eating out, going out to bars, and the visiting of a lot of different places.  I'm hoping this blog motivates me to do more of that so I have material to report back on.  My friends have always said I should be a food critic so maybe this is my chance to do that as well.  I genuinely hope people enjoy reading the content I write and that it makes their experiences at the restaurants, bars, and cities in Europe better.  So I can be as subjective and opinionated as I want without any repercussions, I'm going to stay relatively vague beyond that about who I am. So with that, welcome to my blog and I hope to make you a regular reader. [...]



Anti-Glare Screens / Screen Protectors

Thu, 04 Jun 2009 12:03:00 GMT

As I mentioned in my previous posting about the MSI X340 the screen is highly reflective, so much so that you will never use it in an outdoor environment.

With that said, I have been using a screen protector for my Toshiba M400.  Now on the M400 the screen protector is a little annoying since it does cut some of the brightness, but this doesn’t seem to be much of a problem on the X340, even at the lowest brightness setting.

I will post a picture of my screen installation later but for now I just ordered a screen that is slightly larger in length and width of the X340’s screen and I trimmed the protector to fit.  Now I can see the screen with a bright background and reflection isn’t as distracting…

When you order the screen you should find one that is 1/4 inch wider/longer that the visible portion of the screen.  The screen protector is attached using low-tack double sided tape.  In any case wander over to www.strongengineering.com to take a look.

-Alex

(image) (image)



MSI X340 Touchpad Driver

Tue, 02 Jun 2009 12:01:00 GMT

One of the most talked about things on the MSI forums is the lack of drivers for the Sentelic touchpad.  Someone even went to the extreme of replacing the touchpad with the Synaptics equivalent.  The main issues with the Sentelic touchpad are:

  1. MSI doesn’t provide drivers
  2. Sentelic cannot use the familiar scroll to the left and right like the Synaptics touchpad, instead it just uses a prolonged click gesture to scroll up and down, which is not the same experience as sliding your finger up and down.
  3. Multi-touch is the future, why don’t you include a multi-touchpad?

In any case the MSI X340 uses the Sentelic touchpad.  As you can see from the MSI driver download site, the drivers are missing.  So what are we to do?  Google is your friend here…I think I downloaded the file from one of the links on this forum post.

The driver works just fine under Windows 7 RC (7100).  Also you might want to download the System Control Manager from the MSI driver site. 

(image) (image)



MSI x340

Sat, 30 May 2009 03:46:00 GMT

The MacBook Air and the Lenovo x301 have really put ultra-thin notebooks in the lime light.  Unfortunately due to the price and the economic climate, the new media favorite are the low cost/light weight/and long life netbooks. (Netbooks typically have a low powered processor, have a 10” screen or smaller, 1GB to 2GB of RAM, No Optical Drive and cost less than $500) MSI has broken the trend of both netbooks and ultra expensive ultra-thin notebooks with their X series.  (X320, X340, X600) Both the X320 and the X340 share the same thin chassis similar in size and weight to the MacBook Air, except that the X320 uses a netbook class processor and the X340 is using a Core 2 Solo 1.4GHz processor.  The X600 is a 15.6” ultra-thin notebook. Laptop Magazine has a MacBook Air vs. X340 comparison article.  They also did a very nice review of the X340. For me the most important characteristics for a new notebook was (1) Size and (2) Multimedia (HD) capability.  I have other 4+ pound laptops with Intel Core 2 Duo processors so I don’t necessarily need power. Just as I received the X340, DELL had released their Studio 14z which trumps the X340 in specs, NVidia GeForce 9400M graphics, Core 2 Duo processors,and 3-5 GB RAM for just around the same price albeit adding a pound and a half of weight. Later this summer, Lenovo will release their S12 (NVidia ION platform) and U350 which will make the choice to buy the MSI X340 even harder. Overall I agree with all the points from Laptop Mag… The keyboard is mushy and flexes too much.  The screen is pretty bright and has good contrast but is suffers from some poor viewing angles from above and below.  Side to side angles seem to be ok. The labeling of the Fn icons is weird, it took me a while to figure out why the WiFi wasn’t working.  (Had to refer to the manual) I don’t like the glowing MSI logo on the back of the screen The screen is very reflective.  So it may not do very well in bright areas I would never drop this notebook.  It may not survive. HD video plays well with Windows Media Player Canon 5D MKII H.264 video still needs to be played in VLC on Windows 7 RC 2-3 hour HD video playback is good 8 cell battery should provide even longer life (Hopefully it will be released soon) If you need something with more kick than a NetBook and don’t want to shell out for a MacBook Air, Dell Adamo, or Thinkpad X301 then the MSI X340 is for you today.  If you can wait until August then I think the Lenovo U350 may be a better buy and from the looks of it better build quality. For me this will be great to entertain the kids on trips and it will be light enough to carry back and forth to work. [...]



Weekend Reading #5

Fri, 24 Apr 2009 10:36:29 GMT

It's a big one today as I'm still getting caught up on a backlog from my treatment weeks. General/Business: The Wisdom of Crowds and the Importance of Diversity Parenting Advice Needed (an interesting story about incentive systems) Writing Decisions: Anticipating readers' objections Forget the Fail Whale: Twitter Jumps the Shark Customer Development: The definitive resource Leaving Amazon: What I learned over the last four years Getting PR coverage - Identifying blogs Venture Hacks - What is the minimum viable product? 7 Reasons CEOs Fail Startup: Has Your Startup Hit a Dead End? Dead-End? Spin-off a derivative business Don't Launch Don't Launch? But the New York Times is on the phone! How to build companies that matter Advice on Equity Entrepreneur's Report by Brad Feld  Analytics for Startups: What should I track?  Pivoting: Yogi Berra wisdom for startups  Firefox is missing the point (Seth Godin on why users recommend something) Startups: Overnight Success Takes Years  Seth Godin's 7 tips for Startups in a Down Market Technical: Recommender Systems and Collaborative Filtering Help rid the world of IE6 [...]