News, Quotes, Thought & Misc

Google Plus & Google Apps

Google Plus is starting to offer games on their new entry to social networking. However, they still haven’t figured out how to let Google App users (you know, the people who pay google to use Gmail on their own domain) join the service. It seems odd to roll things out to you paying customers last.

Are Ebooks a Good Deal?

I’ve seen from several sources that students are buying ebooks in record numbers.  I can understand the advantage of ebooks, but the economics are usually pretty poor. If you buy a real book, take care of it and sell it to someone taking the class next semester, I think you’ll have a hard time justifying the cost of ebooks. Of course if everyone switches to ebooks, you won’t have anyone to sell it to.

Thoughts on Presidential Campaigns

Anyone that wants the presidency so much that he’ll spend two years organizing and campaigning for it is not to be trusted with the office. ~ David Broder (source)

Zen Koans and Programming

A koan is a story or question where you can’t logically deduce the meaning, but using intuition you can figure it out. It is a part of the way Zen Buddhism is taught. It turns out, it is a very effective way to teach programming languages. Programming language koans generally consist of an ambiguous question or statement followed by a line of code that is broken.  You have to fix it somehow and the ambiguous statement provides clues, but not the answer. If you are looking to learn a programming language, trying searching for a set of koans for it.  Here are a few.

Khan Academy

If you haven’t seen Khan Academy for awhile, you really should check it out.  It covers the bulk of what someone would learn through high-school in easy-to-approach 5 to 10 videos.  They have added a number of exercises–particularly on the math side of things along with video game style achievements.

American Express Concierge

My experience with Amex Concierge has been a bit hit or miss.  I recently asked them to deliver a book for me to a foreign country where it needed to be there by a certain date. They told me it would get their two days ahead of schedule, but it didn’t end up arriving until several days late. This might not have been their fault because it was in an area where street addresses are a bit non-formal. Anyway while talking to the person who called to apologize, I learned that they often get called on to retrieve articles left in foreign hotel rooms.  This guy was telling me about how difficult it was to get a diamond ring back out of India because of their laws on shipping valuables out of the country.


  1. Deb says

    Are eBooks a Good Deal? For students I’d say it is the best deal available. eTexts can be purchased if the student expects to get future use out it (career reference books). If you plan to sell back a hard-copy, you have to hope the school is still using the same edition next semester, and you have to be careful to keep it in pristine condition. eTexts can be rented at a substantial savings to the student and no worries about obsolete editions at the end of the semester. Meanwhile, you can carry all of your eTexts with you all of the time. You can read them on your computer, tablet, ereader device, smart phone….. You can highlight them, insert bookmarks, print out sections as needed, and not worry about devaluing your investment. Ever had a book stolen or destroyed by unexpected rain/plumbing accidents or left on the subway by accident? Can’t happen with an eText. Accidentally delete your eText, you can download it again from the source. Want to loan it to a friend for the weekend? That is also an option with eBooks, depending on the publisher.

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