Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Charting a course in China

I'm going to China next month to visit my brother. We're doing some traveling when there.

Planning this trip has been fun.

The zoom out feature of Google Maps has seriously "misled" me to the point that he and I managed to chart a vast course of some 4000 miles for our travels by train in China. We are now revising, and some airplanes are involved.

It feels like cheating but that's what happens when you zoom in and realize you have essentially been planning a 10-day trip on this scale: Vancouver > San Francisco > Yosemite > Albuquerque > Colorado Rockies > Yellowstone > Vancouver.

Most of these connections require a 20-ish-hour train ride. I think that we calculated 3 days of train alone, leaving 7 days for 6 destinations. Hmm.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Working with grandma

Me: Why don't I type up your manuscript while I'm here?
Grandma: Shouldn't we go to the store and get one of those zip things? For storage?
Me: It's just a document. It shouldn't take up too much space. We're not recording it, after all. Just typing it.
Grandma: On a typewriter?
Me: On my laptop.
Grandma: Oh... so we'll store it on your laptop. And then how will we get it onto my computer? Is it transferable?
Me: I can email you the files.
Grandma: Just like that!

Friday, August 27, 2010

You are not alone

Last night, my company held a house party to inaugurate our new community office next door. Lots of people showed up and it was a great, great shindig.

Rewind to early May. Emboldened by the Jello experiment, I had tried something new: a mad lib for our neighbors. It was a line from Green Eggs and Ham:

I waited a few days, bleakly watching dozens of windows for signs of life.


Disappointed, and tired of not being able to see the world, I took it all down after a few days.

Fast-forward to 2pm yesterday, when we decided to invite those self-same neighbors to our company party, again via window-messaging service.

Up went the signs: House party, 11th floor, 6:30pm. Answers.com.

Our office manager balked. What if they thought we were stalking them? I persisted. We might be opening our doors to the crisp design-firm employees directly opposite to show up and complain about our mocking their assistant's target-motif shirt by drawing a target of our own and posting it on our window one day. (He hasn't worn the shirt since.)

But we might also be opening the door to the lovely folks behind Bill Cosby's Jello-endorsing, window-brightening smile.

It was worth a shot.

At 6:30pm, and I arrive at the party after a long and tiring day involving the muck that is semantic web, a delicious new spec, and a dash home to walk my dog. When I get there, my coworkers rush at me in excitement - look who it is! It's the Jello guy from across the street!

Indeed it was: James, textile printer and lover of Jello. Hi, James!

The best part? James did, back in May, prepare a response for the mad lib. Somewhere in his dark office there are a noun, an animal, a food and a name printed out and ready to post. If I had only waited a little while longer, they would have made it to his window.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Hello, anybody out there?

I work in midtown Manhattan.

Last week, I put this up on my office window.

A few days went by with no response, so yesterday at the suggestion of a coworker I changed it to "JELLO."

A few hours later, look who appeared on the opposite window.

I thought that was pretty nifty creative genius.

They replied again, still stuck on Jell-o.

Well, ok.

Update: It turned out that wasn't the end of the story. So the story continues in this post. Also, there is a great short film inspired by the same idea, directed by Patrick Hughes.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Welcome Drafty

I'm testing Drafty, a new platform for posting to multiple services from a single location.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Help raise money for nonprofits by answering questions on WikiAnswers

Hey friends and family,

We at WikiAnswers are holding our second AnswerThon next month, and we're adding a special community twist.
Last time, the person who contributed the most answers won a big prize.
This time, we are working with 5 non-profit organizations to help them raise money.

Here's how it works:

1. Register here. You'll need to create a WikiAnswers username so that we can keep track of your contributions.

2. Pick a team - that's the non-profit you're playing for. There are 5 to choose from and you can read about them here.

3. Get familiar with WikiAnswers so that come July 26...

4. you can sign in with your username and answer as many questions as possible over the weekend. Answers must be at least 3 sentences long to count (no "I don't know" or "Google it!" answers will be considered in your total). The more questions you answer, the more points your non-profit team scores.

5. The non-profits with the most questions answered will receive a HUGE donation - and you made it possible.

Here is the prize list...

The FIRST PLACE charity, with participants who answer the most questions in two days, will receive a $5,000 donation.

The SECOND PLACE charity will receive a $1,500 donation.

The THIRD PLACE charity will receive a $500 donation.

The top 10 individual contributors who answer the most questions according to the rules of the AnswerThon will each receive an official WikiAnswers t-shirt.

Our team worked really hard to put this together and the non-profits deserve every penny. (And of course it's just fun to answer questions... no matter who you are or what your specialty, you always have knowledge or wisdom to contribute about something.) So...

Please sign up and mark your calendars for July 26!


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Send him up!

There's this tenacious guy, Michel Fournier, who wants to break the sound barrier with his own body. He wants to jump out of a hot air balloon from an altitude of 130,000 feet. So far he hasn't been able to get off the ground... he's persistent, though.

A month ago, I didn't know he existed. Now that I know, I really want it to work out for him (but yeah, honestly, it's a me thing. I need to see him make this incredible jump).

During his most recent attempt (in May), much of his financial investment blew away when his balloon took off without him. So I started a site, SendHimUp, to help contribute to the next round. Maybe, just maybe, this will be The One.

You can read more about him at his site, Le Grand Saut (the Great Jump).