Routine Order

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A Calender with Writing Cues

March 23rd, 2007 · No Comments

Take a look at this March 2007 Calendar to see what I mean. Pretty neat idea for those with writer’s block – a pithy sentence or phrase that will get your creative juices flowing. I stumbled across this during my evening walk.


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Edit Displayed Page In Your Browser

March 22nd, 2007 · No Comments

Ever wondered what a page would look like without that image/block of text/header? When designing pages, and when in doubt regarding whether or not to have something on your blog/webpage, it might be useful to be able to check what your page would look like without the item in question.

Javascript comes to the rescue. To edit any displayed page in the browser, by selecting and deleting, or adding text/images/stuff, you can visit the page and put the following in the URL Location bar:
javascript:document.body.contentEditable='true'; document.designMode='on'; void 0

Now you will find that you can edit the page, as if it were a word document or something! Go on, try it right now.
(via Free Software Blog)

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A Smack to the Head Will Fix Your Craving

March 20th, 2007 · No Comments

Now I see the truth behind my father’s saying that all I need to stop smoking is a strategically placed smack to the head!

Scientists studying stroke patients are reporting that an injury to a specific part of the brain, near the ear, can instantly and permanently break a smoking habit, effectively erasing the most stubborn of addictions. People with the injury who stopped smoking found that their bodies, as one man put it, “forgot the urge to smoke.”

Scientists Tie Part of Brain to Urge to Smoke – New York Times

The portion of the brain they are currently investigating is called the “insula”. It appears that in all the subjects, the drive to eat food, or other essential activities remains the same. This was not a controlled experiment where they actually injured people in the head, but rather a followup study that was investigating the after effects of head injuries.

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How I Was a Part of the Chipotle Marketing Campaign, and Never Knew It

March 18th, 2007 · 5 Comments

Profitable Marketing: McDonalds, Starbucks and Now is Time for Chipotles Growth Strategy is a look at how Chipotle focuses on word-of-mouth marketing to popularize itself.

Chipotle’s website is minimalist and a lot of fun, too. Their food is better. There is absolutely nothing, and I mean nothing, that I crave more than their burrito-in-a-bowl. I love it. I tried Qdoba’s “naked” burrito, which sounds sexy, but is everything but. Something about the chipotle taste makes me want to go back for more.

Now read Business Week’s article on how Chipotle spends so little on advertising and still manages to grow phenomenally. Instead of serving ads, they serve their A-grade food, for free sometimes:

When Chipotle came to midtown Manhattan last July, it gave burritos away to 6,000 people, some of whom stood in line for two hours. The stunt cost $35,000, figures James W. Adams, Chipotle’s marketing director. In return, the company landed 6,000 new spokespeople. “You could spend that same amount on an ad in The New York Times and you wouldn’t have that many people talking about you,” Adams points out. “The response to the food is almost always positive. It’s unique and it’s tasty.”

Heck there’s even a blog about Chipotle (Where “blog” stands for burrito log, it seems).

I have personally introduced at least 10 people to chipotle. I myself went there first after being told of a friend’s girlfriend who woudn’t eat anywhere else. So what is it that I love about Chipotle?

  1. I like the fact that their food is organic – everything(including the meat) is grown organically, naturally. Admittedly, their beans are not 100% organic, but the fact that they want it to be provides economic incentive to organic farmers
  2. I love the way the food tastes
  3. I love how much food they give, and that you can limit your portions if you want
  4. I love the simplicity of ordering food at Chipotle – fewer choices, but really you can get a lot of variation in taste with the choices offered
  5. I love the music that’s playing at the place – always different, always interesting

I don’t know how many people will end up at a Chipotle’s after reading this, but this I am sure of – you’ll love it, and think it worth every dollar spent.


What 25 years with Greenpeace Feels Like

March 16th, 2007 · No Comments

Brian Fitzgerald write about his 25 years with Greenpeace

Maybe all they had to give was a few bucks. But a few bucks would buy a spark plug. And a spark plug would fire an engine. And an engine would drive an inflatable boat into the path of a harpoon. And those two bucks would be a part of what saved that whale. And saving that whale would be part of what was needed to save the world.

The article has great memoirs, and you can see vividly what life is like for a social volunteer. He talks about how he put his foot in the door, as a door-to-door greenpeace campaigner 25 years ago, and how he has stayed motivated through the years. He says how campaigners are improvisational demographic experts – how they learn to look for the Volvos with the bumper stickers on them (any sticker, he says), and how their spirit drops when they see a truck with a flag decal :)

If there is one article you read today, it should be this one!

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Molecule Jewellery For Scientists and Wannabes

March 14th, 2007 · No Comments

Made With Molecules sells jewelery shaped like molecules. Wonderful gift idea for that science graduate student in your life, or, as in my case, for my significant other who is science-friendly.

Molecule Shaped Jewelery

A selection of items on sale:

serotonin necklace
dopamine necklace
focus necklace
neurotransmitter earrings
estrogen jewelry
caffeine jewelry

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How to Create an Invisible Book Shelf

March 13th, 2007 · No Comments

Invisible Bookshelf

Set up an Invisible Book Shelf for yourself. Of course, the
key to it is that you butcher a book that you don’t want anymore, but all in all, it is a pretty cool effect.

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How to Report Copyright Violations to Google

March 12th, 2007 · No Comments

If someone is copying your content and putting it on their website without your express permission, you have every right to complain to Google. You complaint has to follow the prescribed form. In searching for how to report a violation, where someone was copying and reproducing stuff from another blog of mine on their “re-blog” site, I had a tough time finding the details.

One would think Google would list the procedure and make it easier for you to report violation, but unfortunately, that is not the case.

In my case, this chap was aggregating and reproducing my feed in full without my permission. I tried leaving a comment asking him to stop, but I never heard back. So, just for kicks, I decided to send a letter to Google.

Searching yielded the answer. The procedure for reporting copyright violations to Google is described in detail in the Google DMCA page. You have to follow the nine steps, checking them off as you complete them, and mail a regular letter to the given address, or fax it to the given number.

Your complaint will then be displayed at the ChillingEffects clearinghouse.

With any luck, Google will take steps to suspend the offender’s adsense account (hey, at least they won’t make money using your content), or you can initiate further legal action and seek reparation.

I’ll wait and see what happens with my request.

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Pulling the plug on email

March 10th, 2007 · 1 Comment

Everybodys talking, but no one says a word – John Lennon

In offices and schools all around the developed world, people talk more online and less offline, and so John Lennon turns out to be a visionary ahead of this time.


I read the quote at this article that describes one editor’s effort to stop using email:Tom Hodgkinson: Why I decided to pull the plug on email | Technology | Guardian Unlimited Technology. While it may be impossible to entirely do away with email, at least for work and professional matters, you don’t have to give email up to send a card, or a letter by regular mail.

Donald Knuth stopped using email before a lot of us knew what it was. Yes, he stopped using email in 1990(!) and after using it for 15 years too, no less! Knuth is famous for his multi-series volume on the art of computer programming and algorithms – arguably one of the greatest computer scientists and educators alive. When I read about his not using email, I thought that he had not been using it for a while, and so, naturally, he did not have as big a problem as someone who wanted to stop using email now would.

I predict that in another 20-25 years, text-based email will be defunct. Replaced by portable communication devices and digital secretaries that filter and prioritize things for you, using advanced intelligent systems concepts, such as natural language processing, data mining and neural networks. You will wear or carry a thing barely larger than a cellphone, to which people will be able to send voice/video. You don’t have to see/hear all of it, only the ones deserving your attention.

Technology has always been only one half of the equation – the other, more unpredictable, half has been sociology and to a smaller extent anthropology. The human race moves in unpredictable ways, adopting some technologies and sticking to them for a long, long time instead of thrusting towards the next stage improvement. Sometimes I think about roads and wonder why we humans have covered such a large percentage of our earth with roads, when, eventually we won’t be using them (already aren’t) for but the shortest journeys. Why not use some technology that does not leave such a huge scar on the planet? Something with a smaller footprint.

But I digress – for now, email is essential, unavoidable.

Image: ldanderson on flickr

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Interesting Ad for Ford Mustang

March 10th, 2007 · 1 Comment

Ford Mustang Blur Ad

The blur effect you see in the ad is for real – the billboard uses GE Lexan EXL Semi-transparent Resin to blur whats behind the billboard, regardless of weather, season and lighting. See Ian Hart’s page for details. Ian was the guy who designed the ads. The ads take the cake for creative use of polymer technology.


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