Tuesday, April 25, 2006

So ends another chapter

So after being president of the RUTTC for three straight years, we're finally going to have a change. I believe things are more organized now such that we'll be much better off. For starters, the new president Ethan is actually good enough to be on the varsity team and has the skill and greater pedagogical ability to back up his authority. At practice our VP and best player Adam organized a going away/graduation party for me with snack and drinks to which several members of the club contributed and I appreciated the gesture. What I didn't do was give any farewell statements or remarks and I think I should prepare something for next weeks practice which will be the last on my college career. I'm pretty excited about it as Adam asked our coach Chetan Baboor to give me a private lesson, but I'm also a bit hesitant as it might seem like hogging our coach.

Over the years I've met and befriended cool people, experienced so much enthusiasm, witnessed high levels of athleticism and improvement, and certainly made a lot of mistakes in my involvement in the table tennis club and I really plan to reflect on them and perhaps share what I hope is beneficial and motivating to the rest of the club next Saturday.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Walmart Approach?

Will cheap LEGAL dvds that more accurately reflect the cost of distribution win out over similarly priced illegal DVDs? In China? Time Warner is trying to sell The Aviator in cardboard packaging for the equivalent of USD 1.50.

SOURCE: Gizmodo

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Robert Jordan Get Well Project

Matalina over at Dragonmount is organizing a Get Well Talent Display campaign to keep Robert Jordan's spirits high as he undergoes his treatment for amyloidosis. The gist of it is to get as many people to contribute what they can to a website in the form of poetry, art, design, or anything creative and well-intentioned. Here's the project info. The deadline for submissions is May 11th. To find out more about Jordan's condition, read up on his personal blog.

I'm trying to figure out what I can contribute, but the best I can think of right now is an animated gif or a get well badge of some sort that includes a rel tag of some sort that can be traced by Technorati.

SOURCE: Dragonmount

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Apple's outgrown its headquarters

Why does this news make me so happy? Not that this in and of itself would make them more likely to hire me, but according to Reuters, Steve Jobs announced to the city council of Cupertino that that Apple is building a new headquarters a mile away from the old one. Due to the company's tremendous growth in recent years, they've "rented every scrap of building [they] could find in Cupertino".

SOURCE: Reuters [via Google Finance]

Apple's earnings for Q2 beat expectations modestly. I don't have any apple stock in real life anymore, btw. Bonus, via TUAW, video of the initial iPod launch.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Keynote delivery tool

I came across this combined vibrating timer/slide advancer/laser pointer on Buy.com last week and I figured I would share it here because it's remotely Apple related. Its wireless adapter dongle slides out and is conveniently stored in the top of the device.

Logitech USB Presenter   Logitech USB Presenter - timer button

One thing essential to giving presentations like Steve is having a magical presentation tool like Steve's blue box.

Steve Jobs Blue Presentation Clicker
Source: alt1040.com

Saturday, April 15, 2006

One share one vote?

Today I received a proxy statement for Google's Annual Shareholder Meeting. The only thing I stumbled upon was this question:
According to Google's proxy statement, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Eric Schmidt (founders and CEO) own only 25.5% of Google, Inc. (as of 3/17/06). Together with the rest of their Board of Directors, they own just under 30%. You won't see those percentages anywhere else, and even if you do, they'd carry as little weight as they do here because the triumvirate holds 84.8% of the special privately traded Class B stock. They are convertible into Class A stock for sale, but if held, they count 10 times as much as the Class A shares that you and I can buy on NASDAQ. I did some more arithmetic and figured that the combined vote of Larry, Sergey and Eric's Class A and B shares is equal to more than two thirds of any corporate vote. Since we know that the directors are recommending against the above proposal, barring Larry and Sergey (themselves directors) both voting for it, the probability of the above motion passing is zero.

Whether I say yes or no to the above question is clearly not going to make a difference and even if it did, it'd be 1 out of 1098435728. I'd like to put this in a bit of perspective, though. You know those people who paid 85 dollars for a share of Class A stock back in 2004? They all knew what they were getting themselves into because they were required to read the prospectus that made it all very clear in the first or second page.

First of all, unless I think the company's doing a terrible job, I don't see how people would change their minds about increasing their power to decide who serves on the board of directors. Second, their supply of Class B stock (which is can only be publicly traded as Class A) is disappearing with every conversion and subsequent sale as Class A stock. Larry and Sergey are unlikely to eternally hold this stock, and over the past 2 years, Larry and Sergey sold about 18% of their Class B stock. Thirdly, any fair recapitalization would probably involve either a conversion of the super shares into a greater number of regular shares thereby increasing the number of shares and potentially decreasing the price.

There were a number of other things that crossed my mind as I considered my choice. One of which was that if we can't trust people make decisions about who would best run a search company, how can we trust them to make decisions about who to run our countries? Didn't Google recently kowtow to China and give in to the Communist government (I happen to think that exposing more of our information economy to more people is good, btw)? These issues aren't exactly analagous due to the distinctions between a corporation and a polity. Corporations are at the mercy of consumers. The shareholders control the corporation by virtue of property rights, because they either started the company (Larry and Sergey) or the chose to pay for a part of it (Class A shareholders). We can choose who we give our patronage. We don't have to use Google. In contrast, we are all citizens of our respective countries, in my case, the United States. No one can buy and I can't (and won't) sell my citizenship. But, I sure as hell (well, sure as heck) can sell my share in Google.

Essentially, Google is not a completely publicly owned company and I'm assuming few are. I don't presume to know a lot about finance, but having read what Google's asked its shareholder to read, I agree with their recommendation.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Google's serious about Calendar

Finally, after the initial speculation over a year ago, Google's Calendar application is live. Considering that it's been in development for over a year, this is certainly something that wasn't made using someone's 20% time (it's definitely not in Google Labs) and is a core feature. I'm waiting to try the Gmail integration where it detects events in emails and lets you add them to your calendar. I just wish this was out earlier.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Let's just say my next PC will be a Mac

Great, now Apple will be even harder to resist with Bootcamp. It even lets you burn all the Windows drivers for presumable every Intel Mac.

SOURCE: Forbes [via Google Finance]

Naked Day and the word persons

If my site looks weird, it's because it's Naked Day. I hope it's not too much of an eyesore. Naked Day is to web standards as fasting is to food. Now if only this site's compliance with web standards actually validated, right?

The other topic of this post, is the word persons. I finally appreciate the use of the word (or so I thin me if I'm wrong) to refer to several distinct individuals as opposed to the use of the word people to refer to a group of people or several groups of people.


Sunday, April 02, 2006

Three birthdays

So, this weekend marked several things. I'll mention them not in order of priority, but of occurrence. I went to Swarthmore with my debate partner Marielle for our last collegiate debate tournament. We had a pretty good time and were even able to come back the same day. It's no longer ambiguous whether I'm to be classified (by virtue of tournaments attended) as a novice or varsity debater. I really will miss the tournaments.

Next, I noticed that Gmail had put up a birthday logo with confetti and a candle. I originally thought it was in honor of Apple's 30th, but it it just occurred to me that it's Gmail's birthday as well, since the product was announced on 4/1/04.

Now, the most significant celebration, one that's been deferred by our part of his circle for almost a month, is my friend Jehangir's birthday. We had hibachi at Benihana, and watched our food being cooked in front of us along with a good amount of culinary-implement flourishes and rhythms, vegetarian offenses and a bottle of sake.

I think it may have been the first group organizing efforts I've undertaken and it was largely successful due to help in regards to transportation, ideas, and implementation. I might update this post later. more

Thanks, Greg, btw for the birthday cake picture link.