Saturday, December 30, 2006

internet discoveries

Three new discoveries today:
  • DivShare - an unlimited, permanent, file-sharing service (no registration required).
  • VideoJug - a load of how-to videos on a wide array of subjects (here's one on mulled wine creation - note to N.O .: the alcohol does not evaporate).
  • ViralVideoChart - a ranking of the most blogged about videos now/today/this week (this is funny).

The 80/20 Principle & Maverick

Recently, I have read "Maverick" by Ricardo Semler and "The 80/20 Principle" by Richard Koch.

Maverick - explores what happens when a company embraces participatory management. The results are very impressive though I am not sure how quickly it can be introduced (a certain paradigm shift in thinking needs to occur within the workforce and that requires a certain amount of trust/education/will). Anyway, please read it and let me know what you think - I am interested in discussions about this (read the reviews on amazon for an overview).

80/20 - I liked this quote early on in the book:
  • When I was student at Oxford, my tutor told me never to go to lectures. "Books can be read far faster," he explained. "But never read a book from cover to cover, except for pleasure. When you are working, find out what the book is saying much faster than you would by reading it through. Read the conclusion, then the introduction, then the conclusion again, then dip lightly into any interesting bits." What he was really saying was that 80 percent of the value of the book can be found in 20 percent or fewer of its pages and absorbed in 20 percent of the time most people would take to read it through.
Taking his advice, I skim read the book which basically looks at the 80/20 rule from various angles and tries to apply it to just about everything (I want to think some more about this and how it applies to my investment strategy - 20% of my portfolio is likely generating 80% of my returns).

The book also contains the following quote from General Erich Von Manstein (1887-1973) on the German Officer Corps which I think there is some truth to.
  • There are only four types of officer. First, there are the lazy, stupid ones. Leave them alone, they do no harm…Second, there are the hard- working, intelligent ones. They make excellent staff officers, ensuring that every detail is properly considered. Third, there are the hard- working, stupid ones. These people are a menace and must be fired at once. They create irrelevant work for everybody. Finally, there are the intelligent, lazy ones. They are suited for the highest office.

(Lifehack has an article that discusses how it applies to the workplace.)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Hard Sudoku Variant

I came across this Sudoku variant (Greater than Sudoku - forget about the partial sums at the side they are from a different puzzle variant) whilst investigating a puzzle from the recent vanishingpointgame (where the key is "wh0isl0ki") viral marketing campaign. It is not as bad as it sounds in this article (about half-way down; where it is taken from) but will probably take an hour or so to solve - If you have a lot of freetime this festive period then remember it is good to think!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Present to self

So, I went ahead and got myself a present on Christmas eve. I got the "World's Most Advanced Mouse" :-). It had some really good reviews and I figured I seem to be spending more time than ever working with electronic documents, so...

After using it for a while now I have to admit that it is pretty sweet. It is a Logitech MX Revolution and has the following:
  • Low friction contact pads
  • Geared mouse wheel (for fast scrolling and fine movements)
  • Browser back and forward buttons (though you can program them to do other things)
  • Search highlighted term button (mine now googles)
  • Thumbwheel for alt-tab like application switching
  • Wireless (=bluetooth?) - so no wires
  • High-precision laser so works also off troublesome surfaces (I need to check this)
  • Rechargeable battery and indicator (survives about 15 days off one charge) and charger
  • Auto-battery conservation when not used for a while

Saturday, December 23, 2006


There are some interesting videos of funky fluids and driver's license applications up on my Google Reader shared feeds (Payara's recent reads from the sidebar). Have a look (dated Dec 22nd)!

Bayesian stuff

I think I hinted that I was going to write some stuff up about Bayes theorem a while back but never got around to it. :-)

Recently, I came across some items though that probably do a better job of explaining it than I could so I present them here for your delight.

An article describing how Bayesian probability (Proof here) is non-intuitive (plug the numbers from here in this calculator).

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Will it Blend ?

What is this guy on ?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Milgram's experiment

I came across the Milgram experiment (psychology) today whilst reading a profile about Derren Brown - scary but fascinating stuff!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A joke

One day, while a woodcutter was cutting a branch of a tree above a river, his axe fell into the river. When he cried out, the Lord appeared and asked, "Why are you crying?"

The woodcutter replied that his axe has fallen into water, and he needed the axe to make his living.

The Lord went down in the water and reappeared with a golden axe. "Is this your axe?" the Lord asked. The woodcutter replied, "No."

The Lord again went down and came up with a silver axe. "Is this your axe?" the Lord asked. Again, the woodcutter replied, "No."

The Lord went down again and came up with an iron axe. "Is this your axe?" the Lord asked. "Yes," he replied. The Lord was pleased with the man's honesty and gave him all three axes to keep, and the woodcutter went home happy.

Some time later, the woodcutter was walking with his wife along the riverbank, and his wife fell into the river. When he cried out, the Lord again appeared and asked him, "Why are you crying?" "Oh Lord, my wife has fallen into the water!"

The Lord went down into the water and came up with Angelina Jolie. "Is this your wife?" the Lord asked. "Yes!" cried the woodcutter.

The Lord was furious. "You lied! That is an untruth!" The woodcutter fell to his knees and cried, "Oh, forgive me, Lord. It is a misunderstanding. You see, if I had said 'no' to Angelina Jolie, You would have come up with Catherine Zeta-Jones. Then if I also said 'no' to her, you would have come up with my wife. Had I then said 'yes,' you would have given me all three. Lord, I am a poor man, and am not able to take care of all three wives, and I love my wife such that I don't want her to share me with anyone, so THAT'S why I said yes to Angelina Jolie."

The moral of this story is: Whenever a man lies, it is for a good and honourable reason, and for the benefit of others…MOSTLY his wife’s!

That's our story, and we're sticking to it.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

new low-tech project idea ?

This type of project is becoming more appealing to me - perhaps I am just looking for an excuse to spend an inordinate amount of time doing something in a low-tech way...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Good week

So far this week is proving to be a good one:
  • I have managed two times out of three to get back over my "semi-fit" threshold on the rowing machine (ergo). Now I am within 3.5% of my best distance over this time (30 mins) - my travelling in the latter part of this year has had an intensely adverse affect on my fitness, so it is good to see it coming back. My goals for the year are out, but hopefully next year will see more traction (though I did read a scary article about the annual decrease in oxygen uptake once you are above a certain age - which I am).
  • Today - we got our first payment (an actual cheque!) since incorporating our company and should have another payment via bank transfer by the end of this week!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

"Awesome" the only word that truly captures the depth of this idea.