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
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.
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.