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Archive for April, 2010

How to enable real-time collaboration in Google Docs word-processor

Posted in Google, Hacks, User Experience on April 22nd, 2010 by leodirac – 1 Comment

Google recently launched some major improvements to their online document-editing suite.  The spreadsheets are faster and more powerful.  But IMHO the most interesting change is an update to the word-processor (originally known as Writely) which allows for real-time collaboration.  Now the text documents act like the spreadsheets do. You can see where in the document […]

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Apple and Wal-Mart: Bargaining on your behalf for lower prices

Posted in Analysis, Apple, Business, Economics, Gadgets, Geek on April 20th, 2010 by leodirac – 1 Comment

Even though Apple products are expensive, there’s a surprising similarity between Apple and Wal-Mart: both companies push hard on other parts of the value chain to deliver lower prices for consumers. In Walmart’s case, it’s generally suppliers who get squeezed.  Walmart demands that manufacturers of goods produce them at the lowest possible price so that Walmart can […]

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How Apple Segments the Market

Posted in Analysis, Apple, Business, Gadgets, Geek, Marketing on April 19th, 2010 by leodirac – 2 Comments

Apple has done a fabulous job in recent years of asserting itself as a major player in the computer industry.  One of their tools for accomplishing this has been a fanatical commitment to high-quality products.  They strive to make every product they offer to be the best in its class, and they’ve largely succeeded at […]

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How training in Physics is relevant to work at Google

Posted in Ego, Google, Physics, Science, Tech Industry on April 17th, 2010 by leodirac – Comments Off on How training in Physics is relevant to work at Google

As promised, I gave a talk at the Pacific Northwest Association of College Physicists conference today.  The topic was Physics at Google, or more specifically, “How a background in physics helps to solve Google’s engineering challenges.  Real-world examples of how making the world’s information accessible and useful leans on the principals of physics.”  My slides […]

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Space Weather

Posted in Geek, Physics, Science on April 16th, 2010 by leodirac – Comments Off on Space Weather

Recently some of my friends were discussing solar activity, and I learned that there’s a system for rating geomagnetic storms.  This recent one was a G3, which is fairly common and not that serious.  But about once per month on average there will be a G4 storm which can interfere with GPS navigation and even […]

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Omnipotent Self-Aware Botnets

Posted in Geek, Humor, Seattle, Uploading on April 11th, 2010 by leodirac – 1 Comment

My buddy Scotto wrote a play titled “When I come to my senses, I’m alive!” which will be performed at Annex Theater on April 23 –  May 22.  I read an early draft of the script and am quite excited to see it performed. I don’t want to give too much away, but from watching […]

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Why Republicans are better at staying on message

Posted in Policy, Societal Values on April 6th, 2010 by leodirac – Comments Off on Why Republicans are better at staying on message

The dating site OkCupid has some brilliant mathematicians behind it.  They get you to answer all sorts of questions about your personal preferences to various situations or ideas, and then run mad statistics to figure out who would be good romantic partners for you.  It’s surprisingly effective.  I never had any good dates out of […]

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Blue Brain: the first steps towards uploading

Posted in Philosophy, Transhumanism, Uploading on April 5th, 2010 by leodirac – Comments Off on Blue Brain: the first steps towards uploading

The Blue Brain Project describes itself as: The Blue Brain Project is the first comprehensive attempt to reverse-engineer the mammalian brain, in order to understand brain function and dysfunction through detailed simulations. Others have described it as “a step toward the superbrain” or even “the most interesting project in human history.” I agree that this project […]

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iPad pre-launch security

Posted in Apple, Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, Geek, Humor on April 3rd, 2010 by leodirac – Comments Off on iPad pre-launch security

Arrington managed to get his hands on an iPad for a test drive before launch day, presumably from a company that had been given one to build apps for it. His description of the security under which these devices were loaned out is so funny I just have to share it with y’all… Scores of […]

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Clean Water For Kenya

Posted in Philanthropy, Societal Values, Travel on April 2nd, 2010 by leodirac – 1 Comment

My business school buddy Jeremy Farkas is heading off to Kenya soon.  He says: I’ll be developing marketing and distribution programs to broaden access to clean water for families living on as little as a few dollars a day.  Every year over 1.6 million people, largely children under the age of 5, die of diseases […]

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