Monthly Archives: August 2011

Why You Shouldn’t Go to School

Okay, so homeschooling definitely isn’t cool…like, at all. Since most of you weren’t homeschooled and aren’t socially inept (I assume), these facts and figures don’t really apply to you. But, since you’re already here you might as well read them anyway. Maybe it’ll help you deal with your super awkward roommate who was homeschooled. Who knows?


Via: Online College Source

Bonus: Yes. Just Yes.

15 Very Common And Absurd Google Searches

Collected by businessinsider

We’re not sure why your poop is green.

Is it that hard to stop singing?

Capers are a little mysterious…

We’ve been wondering the same thing about the iPhone 5.

Who can’t spell lose?

What is planking?

And why are people planking?

It IS peculiar that cats purr and dogs eat grass.

Aw, cheer up buddy.

Do kids really do all of those things?

We’re pretty sure other people are real.

Yup, it is a little crazy to talk to yourself, and it is definitely crazy to eat clay.

We did try to lick our elbow after reading this.

Sure, you can have a cheezburger.

Facebook, care to answer?

Bonus: The new London 2012 logo


Written by Kenan Malik

I am writing a longer and more reflective piece, but in the meantime here are five quick points about the riots in London and elsewhere:


This is not a rerun of the inner city riots that shook Britain in the late seventies and the eighties. Those riots were a direct challenge to oppressive policing and to mass unemployment. They threatened the social fabric of Britain’s inner cities and forced the government to rethink its mechanisms of social control.  Today’s riots may have made the Metropolitan police look inept, revealed politicians as out of touch and brought mayhem to some parts of London, Liverpool and Birmingham. But there is little sense that they pose a challenge to social order, in the way that the 80s riots did, or that they are in any sense ‘insurrectionary’, as Darcus Howe described those revolts. Rather today’s riots amounted to the trashing of some of the poorest areas in the city. On Friday night, when the riots began in Tottenham, there was some political content to the violence, an inchoate response to the shooting of Mark Duggan (whose death looks increasingly like a police killing rather than the outcome of an exchange of fire). By Saturday the riots had descended largely into arson and looting with little sense of political motive or cause.


The riots are not about race.  Many on the left have seen them as a response to racist policing. Many on the right have been pouring out racist bile against ‘immigrants’. In fact race has played little role in the violence. This is not to deny that young black men continue to be the primary target of police stop and search (an issue that has been shamefully ignored in recent years). Nor is it to deny that there is a legacy of bitterness about, and resentment of, police tactics in many inner city communities.  But the riots were not in any way defined by racial divisions, antagonisms or resentments.


The polarisation between the claim that ‘the riots are a response to unemployment and wasted lives’ and the insistence ‘the violence constitutes mere criminality’ makes little sense. There is clearly more to the riots than simple random hooliganism. But that does not mean that the riots, as many have claimed, are protests against disenfranchisement, social exclusion and wasted lives. In fact, it’s precisely because of disenfranchisement, social exclusion and wasted lives that these are not ‘protests’ in any meaningful sense, but a mixture of incoherent rage, gang thuggery and teenage mayhem.  Disengaged not just from the political process (largely because politicians, especially those on the left, have disengaged from them), but also from a sense of the community or the collective, there is a generation (in fact more than a generation) with no focus for their anger and resentment, no sense that they can change society and no reason to feel responsible for the consequences of their actions. That is very different from suggesting that the riots were caused by, a response to, or a protest against, unemployment, austerity and the cuts.


We should ignore anyone who talks about what ‘the community’ wants or needs.  So called ‘community leaders’ are very much part of the problem.


Mindless though the rioters may be, those who call for the army to be unleashed, curfews to be imposed, or ‘robust policing’ to be used, are more mindless still, and more dangerous.

(Apologies for a lack of links in the piece. I am off grid at the moment. I will update the piece with links later.)


Bonus: Cafeteria ninja

57 Things I’ve Learned Founding 3 Tech Companies

Written by Jason Goldberg

I’ve been founding and helping run technology companies since 1999.  My latest company is  Here are 57 lessons I’ve learned along the way.  I could have listed 100+ but I didn’t want to bore you.

1. Build something you are personally passionate about.  You are your best focus group.

2. User experience matters a lot.  Most products that fail do so because users don’t understand how to get value from them.  Many product fail by being too complex.

3. Be technical.  You don’t have to write code but you do have to understand how it is built and how it works.

4. The CEO of a startup must, must, must be the product manager. He/she must own the functional user experience.

5. Stack rank your features.  No two features are ever created equal.  You can’t do everything all at once.  Force prioritization.

6. Use a bug tracking system and religiously manage development action items from it.

7. Ship it.  You’ll never know how good your product is until real people touch it and give you feedback.

8. Ship it fast and ship it often.  Don’t worry about adding that extra feature.  Ship the bare minimum feature set required in order to start gathering user feedback.  Get feedback, repeat the process, and ship the next version and the next version as quickly as possible.  If you’re taking more than 3 months to launch your first consumer-facing product, you’re taking too long.  If you’re taking more than 3 weeks to ship updates, you’re taking too long.  Ship small stuff weekly, if not several times per week.  Ship significant releases in 3 week intervals.

9. The only thing that matters is how good your product is.  All the rest is noise.

10. The only judge of how good your product is is how much your users use it.

11. Therefore (adding #’s 9 + 10):  In the early days the key determinant of your future success is traction.  Spend the majority of your time figuring out how to cultivate pockets of traction amongst your early adopters and optimize around that traction.  Traction begets more traction if you are able to jump on it.

12. You’re doing really well if 50% of what you originally planned on doing turns out to actually work.  Follow your users as much as possible.

13. But don’t rely on focus groups to tell you what to build.  Focus groups can tell you what to fix and help you identify potentially interesting kernels for you to hone in on, but you still need to figure out how to synthesize such input and where to take your users.

14. Most people really only heavily use about 5 to 7 services.  If you want to be an important product and a big business, you will need to figure out how to fit into one of those 5 to 7 services, which means capturing your user’s fascination, enthusiasm, and trust.  You need to give your users a real reason to add you into their time.

15. Try to ride an existing wave vs. creating your own market.  If you can, catch onto an emerging macro trend and ride it.

16. Find yourself a “sherpa.”  This is someone who has done it before — raised money, done deals, worked with startups.  Give this person 1 to 2% of your company in exchange for their time.  Rely on them to open doors to future investors.  Use them as a sounding board for corporate development issues.  Don’t do this by committee.  Advisory boards never amount to much.  Find one person, make them your sherpa, and lean on them.

17. Work with the best possible people for your project, regardless of where they are located.

18. Co-locate as best possible but be willing to travel to remote offices to make multiple offices work.  Online collaboration maxes out at 3 to 4 weeks apart, which means you need to commit to traveling almost monthly to make remote offices work.

19. Work with people you like to be around.  There’s no sense in going to war with people you don’t like.

20. Work with people you trust like family.

21. Work from home as long as you can.

22. Position your desk in a way in which you are staring at your co-founders and they are staring at you.  If you aren’t enjoying looking at each other each day, you’re working with the wrong people.

23. Use a tool like Yammer to share internally what you’re working on.  It’s easier for many people (especially developers) to post a status update than to write an email.

24. Use a file sharing service like basecamp for your team.  It’s impossible for everyone to keep track of every file sent to their email in-box.  Use basecamp so there’s a history and central repository.

25. Figure out quickly what you are personally really good at and focus your personal time around those activities.  Let other people do the other stuff.

26. Surround yourself with people who fill your gaps.  Let them do the stuff they are better at.  Don’t do their jobs.

27. Work with people who are smarter than you at certain things.

28. Work with people who argue with you and tell you no.

29. Be willing to fight like hell during the day but still love each other when you go home.

30. Work with people who are passionate about solving the specific problem you are trying to solve.  Passion for building a business is not enough; there needs to be passion for your customer and solving your customer’s problem.

31. Push the people around you to care as much as you do.

32. Be loyal.  Cultivate and coach people vs. churning through them.

33. You’re never as right as you think you are.

34. Go to the gym and/or run at least 4 times per week.  Keep your body in shape if you want to keep your mind in shape.

35. Don’t drink on airplanes unless you are on a flight of longer than 8 hours. It ruins you and wastes your time.

36. Choose your investors based on who you want to work with, be friends with, and get advice from.

37. Don’t choose your investors based on valuation.  A couple of dilution points here or there wont matter in the long run but working with the right people will.

38. Raise as little money as possible when you first start.  Force yourself to be budget constrained as it will cause you to carefully spend each dollar like it is your last.

39. Once you have some traction, raise more money than you need but not more than you know what to do with.  This is tricky.  Don’t skimp on fundraising because of dilution fears.

40. Spend every dollar like it is your last.

41. Know what kind of company you are trying to build.  There are very few Googles and Facebooks.  A good outcome for your business might be a $10M exit or a $20M exit or a $100M exit or no exit at all.  Plan for the business you want to build.  Don’t just shoot for the moon.  From a money-in-your-pocket and return on time spent standpoint, owning 20% of a $20M exit in 2 years is much better than owning 3% of a $100M business in 5 years.

42. Related to #41, understand whether your business is a VC business or not. A VC business is expected to deliver 10x returns to investors.  That means if you’re taking money with a $5M post-money valuation, the expectation is that you are building for a minimum $50M exit.  $10M post-money valuation = $100M target.  That’s not to say that you might not sell the company for less and everyone involved might be happy with that outcome, but that’s not what you are signing up for when you take VC money with such a valuation.  Know what the implications of taking VC money are and what it means for expectations on you.

43. Make sure your personal business goals are aligned with the goals of your investors.  The business will only succeed if you are motivated.  Investors can’t force the business to succeed.  And they certainly can’t force a CEO to care.

44. Conferences are generally a waste of time.

45. Smile.  Laugh.  Wear funny socks. I wear funny socks to remind myself to not settle for boring and to be creative.

46. Do something, anything that shows you’re not just a robot.  Let people get to know the real you.

47. Hang a lantern on your hangups.

48. Wear your company’s t-shirts everywhere.

49. Do your own customer service.

50. Tell a good story.

51. But don’t lie.  Ever.

52. Find inspiration in the people around you.

53. Have fun every single day.  If it’s not fun, stop doing it.  No one is making you.

54. It’s true what they say in sales, you’re only as good as your last sale.

55. Make mistakes, but learn from them.  I’ve made hundreds.

56. Mature, but don’t grow up.

57. Never give up.

Bonus: So, I found a dirty car today…

How to unplug from Facebook, Twitter and Google+

Written by Jessica Guynn

The three popular social networking sites each offer ways to tune out or turn off accounts. Facebook and Twitter users can opt to take a break or deactivate. Google+ users can hide, downgrade or delete accounts.

Smartphone users in India

College students in Mumbai, India, use their smartphones. The number of active Facebook accounts in India jumped to 32 million this year, according to, which tracks user data at the Palo Alto company. Facebook is the most popular social networking site on the Web with more than 750 million users. (Kainaz Amaria, Bloomberg / August 7, 2011)

Tired of being friended and poked on Facebook? Just not that into your followers onTwitter? Google+ making you feel less than totally happy? Here’s how to unplug from three popular social networking sites.


It’s the most popular social networking site on the Web with more than 750 million users. There are three ways to tune out or turn off Facebook.

•Take a break

If there’s a chance you might make up with Facebook, this is a good temporary option. Turn off email notifications, remove the Facebook app from your phone, take the website out of your bookmarks and generally cleanse your online existence of all unwanted reminders of Facebook.

How to do it: Go to “account settings” under the account menu. Select the “notifications” tab and remove the check next to the alerts you don’t want to receive. The downside: Your friends may still tag you in photos, write on your wall or send you messages and, when you don’t respond, may think you lack basic social skills.


If you are not sure you want to quit Facebook forever, you can deactivate your account. You will disappear on Facebook immediately. People will not be able to search for you or view any of your information. But Facebook will save all of your wall posts, photos, messages and other personal information in case you have a change of heart.

How to do it: Go to “account settings” and select the “security” tab. The last option at the bottom of the page is “deactivate your account.” Click on the link. Be forewarned: Like a jilted lover practiced in the art of emotional blackmail, Facebook will try to talk you out of leaving by showing you pictures of close friends who will miss you. To reactivate your account: Log in with your email address and password.


If you want to scrub every last detail of your existence from Facebook, you can permanently delete your account.

How to do it: Unlike deactivating, deleting is not an option under account settings. Instead, click on “Help Center” from the account menu. Type “delete” into the search box. Select the option: “How do I permanently delete my account?” Scroll down to “submit your request here.” Or you can type in this link:

Click on the link and you will get a message asking you to verify that you want to delete your account. Click the “submit” button. Facebook will ask for your password and will perform a security check. Facebook will not delete your account for 14 days. During that time, it will email you to verify that you are the one deleting the account, not an impersonator trying to wreak havoc on your social life.

After 14 days, all of your information will be permanently removed from Facebook. Some of your information will remain on Facebook’s backup servers for as long as 90 days but will not be available to Facebook users and will not be personally identifiable. If you log into your Facebook account or log into another website using your Facebook account during the 14-day grace period, you will be asked to confirm or cancel your request to delete your account.

Insider tip: You may want to ditch Facebook, but maybe not all of your personal information. Before deleting your Facebook account, you can download your profile, wall posts, messages and more from Facebook. From “account settings,” click on “download a copy of your Facebook data.”


Twitter has as many as 400 million monthly users who send out 200 million tweets a day. There are two ways to quit.

•Take a break

Not quite ready to bid farewell to all your followers? Follow the same instructions as for Facebook. Turn off email notifications (consider leaving on direct messages if you hear from anyone important that way), blot out all those pesky reminders of Twitter on your computer and phone, and take a timeout from scanning and sending 140-character messages.

How to do it: Click “settings” from the top right of your Twitter account. Click on “notifications.” Uncheck the boxes for the notifications you do not want to receive and click save.


The only other option is to permanently remove your profile and information from Twitter. Note that this process takes 30 days. After 30 days, there is no way to restore your account.

How to do it: Click “settings” from the menu. Click “deactivate my account” at the bottom of the page. Enter your password. Verify that you want to deactivate.

Insider tip: If you want to use your email address to create another account during those 30 days, take these steps before deactivating your account. Go to “settings.” In the user name field, choose a new user name. In the email address field, change your email address to a new address. Confirm the new email address via a link Twitter sends to you. Then deactivate. This way your email address and user name will be available to create a new account during the 30-day deactivation period. If you change your mind during those 30 days, you can request that your account be restored at


It’s still invitation only, but already more than 25 million people are test-driving Google’s new social networking service. If you have given Google+ a spin but have had enough, you have three options.


You can hide everything but your name and photo from public view without deleting or losing access to your stuff. But remember, that means people you have shared stuff with in the past will still have access to it.

How to do it: Go to your profile page. Click the “edit profile” button on the top right. Then click each field of the profile and adjust the setting from being visible to “anyone on the Web” to “only you” (or to very small circles).


Downgrading your Google+ account will still give you access to Gmail and other Google products. But your Google+ posts, circles and other content will disappear immediately.

How to do it: Go to the “settings” menu and click on “account overview.” Under “services” you will find the option: “Delete profile and remove associated social features.”


Deleting your account is about as radical as you can get. Not only will you lose access to Google+, but you will also lose access to all Google products including your Gmail email address.

How to do it: Go to the “settings” menu and click on “account overview.” Under “services” you will find the option: “Close account and delete all services and information associated with it.”

Insider tip: Google offers “data liberation,” meaning you can save your photos, profile information, contacts, circles, stream posts and Buzz posts on your computer in “zip” files. You can access that service at It does not include Gmail. Instructions for getting your data out of Gmail can be found at

Bonus: Remember the little trees you would get with a McDonalds happy meal 20 years ago? Here’s mine this morning…..

Bought some US stocks

Written by Rob Delaney

I just bought some shares in an index fund that tracks the Wilshire 5000, which means I just bought shares in the 5000 largest American companies. I did this because I wish to take substantive action against Standard & Poor’s downgrade of US credit. Standard & Poor’s, and to a lesser degree, Fitch and Moody bear much responsibility for the global recession from which we are trying to extricate ourselves. They maintained AAA ratings for companies run by abject criminals who knowingly, consciously, and systematically lied to US citizens and citizens of the world at large. Thus, they are culpable in the collapse of many banks (my own included) and their actions, among other things, drove thousands of families from their homes. As such, their opinion is worthless to me and it should be worthless to you.

I am not rich. I don’t make enough through SAG or the WGA to qualify for health insurance. I currently make my living writing for magazines and performing live comedy, though I have worked in factories, publicly traded corporations, schools and newspapers at other times in my life.

But based on reports from S&P in 2008, their forecasts and analysis, and the human beings who write and disseminate them have been so wildly incorrect, not to mention nefarious and motivated by political gain, that I thought it was time to buy some stock in the U.S. of A.

I am NOT saying that our Congress isn’t a GLOW IN THE DARK EMBARRASSING DISASTER. They are. How could they not expect negative consequences from their shameful, childish performance over the past months?

What I am saying is that I believe in me, and I believe in you and I believe in elbow grease, objectivity and history. Did you see the recession coming? Did it announce itself and tell you when it would arrive? No, it did not. Nor will recovery. So quit whining. Pessimism is for losers.

So to paraphrase Warren Buffet, whose sterling, brick and mortar, brilliantly run, cash-rich company Berkshire Hathaway was ALSO downgraded by S&P in the past, “American stocks are on sale.” Why not pick some up? I did. And I’m a 34 year old, hard working husband and father who gives a shit about the country he lives in and doesn’t take orders from S&P, CNN, or Congress. I give them. And so do you.

Bonus: This cop is the T-1000

This cop is the T-1000

5 Effective Ways Mobile Applications Help You Get Better Grades

Written by

The use of mobile applications continues to increase, as more smart phone devices get into the hands of students around the world. While many of the mobile applications hitting the market are games that provide sporadic escapes of entertainment, there are specialized applications that will actually help you get that “A” in history class. No matter what you need, there is definitely an app for you that will help you get better grades. Here are five effective ways how mobile applications can help you get better grades.


1. Quickly reference important information

There are loads of mobile applications that have hit the market allowing students to effectively reference highly specialized detailed information. This information is nearly impossible to remember without using the chart stuffed in your binder or wasting time searching through a book. One such example of a mobile application is the New Oxford Dictionary Application on the iPhone.

Oxford American Dictionary App

If you come across a word that you don’t know the meaning of, simply pull out your phone, pull up the New Oxford Dictionary Application, nd look up the word! In a matter of ten seconds, you will have the word, the meaning, and the language of origin, along with many other important pieces of information about the word.

One other such application that is highly valuable to students is Periodic on the iPhone. This gives you the entire periodic table to reference for that dreaded chemistry homework that you would rather have a friend do for you.

Periodic Table App

Why this helps you get better grades: Being able to quickly reference important information using mobile applications will contribute to your success in getting better grades because by getting things done more efficiently and accurately, it will help you complete assignments quickly and ensure that you are always getting the right answer every time!

2. Plug and chug formulas


How many times have you solved the quadratic formula by hand? I am sure that number is way more times than you can count, or would like to remember for that matter!

With the power of new innovative mobile applications, solving equations like the quadratic formula and others become a breeze. No longer will you have to suffer from writer’s cramp writing out the same formula repeatedly…instead you can use a simple mobile application!

One such application that helps you solve the quadratic formula is the Quadradic Formula Solver for iPhone. Simply plug in the numbers that you need to solve for (a,b,c), press the solve button, and you will have your answer in less than a second.

Quadratic Formula Solver

Why this helps you get better grades: Obviously many other applications solve universal math equations quickly! Having these plug and chug applications on your phone to solve math or science problems will help you check your work so it is always accurate and cut down homework time, while helping you get the good grades you have always wanted to achieve!

3. Study materials in your pocket

Book with Pens

Have you ever wanted to study for a test, but didn’t have your study cards with you? Or had to study the vocabulary for your foreign language class, but forgot to pack your cards in your back pack?

There is a mobile application that allows you to create your own flashcards to study on the fly! Flashcards Deluxe on the iPhone allows you to customize and study every little bit of your vocabulary or assignment essentials.

Flashcards Deluxe App

Why this helps you get better grades: Since your mobile device is small and compact, having this application on your phone makes so much sense. This is a fun application to help you study for that next big exam, while ensuring good grades.

4. Increase productivity and prioritization of assignments

Post It Notes

As a student, your time is extremely valuable, and sometimes it is understandable that things fall through the cracks with everything you are juggling. Between homework, projects, and social time with friends sometimes everything can seem somewhat overwhelming.

Knowing when that next exam or homework assignment is due is a crucial part to earning good grades. iStudiez Pro on the iPhone gives you that freedom, and brings you peace of mind knowing it will help you stay on top of your crazy, busy schedule.

iStudiez Pro

Why this helps you get better grades: By staying on top of your schedule, and because this application does all of the thinking and managing for you, there is no way you will miss a deadline, or forget to accomplish a homework assignment. Put this application to work for you in your studies and watch your grades soar!

5. Organize quick notes and ideas effectively

Light Bulb

Have you ever been in class listening to a lecture and realized how much you hate taking notes the traditional boring way? Or even worse, have you stopped taking notes because your hand just couldn’t take it anymore?

If you answered “yes” to either of those questions, you are in luck! There are mobile applications on all mobile devices that give you the freedom to take notes and organize them in an interesting way so that you understand them on your terms.

Some applications that help you take notes and organize them in creatively are Mindmeister and iBlueSky .


Why this helps you get better grades: By using these types of applications, they allow your brain to see and organize information that you learn in a way that may be easier for you to remember. You can reference information easier in the future because you won’t be searching through lines of text to find what you are looking for. This will definitely help you get better grades as you exercise your mind using these apps to take notes, and remember the most important facts!

To Infinity And Beyond

Buzz Lightyear

The mobile application market is growing rapidly. The capabilities of applications are constantly improving. Fortunately, applications have advanced to the school front to make our lives easier and help us earn better grades. It’s exciting to think about where the mobile market will be in the next two years.

Bonus: Guy travels the world and shoots 1 second of footage in each location, awesomeness ensues.

That truck driver you flipped off? Let me tell you his story.

Written by startribune

Let me tell you a little about the truck driver you just flipped off because he was passing another truck, and you had to cancel the cruise control and slow down until he completed the pass and moved back over.

His truck is governed to 68 miles an hour, because the company he leases it from believes it keeps him and the public and the equipment safer.

The truck he passed was probably running under 65 mph to conserve fuel. You see, the best these trucks do for fuel economy is about 8 miles per gallon. With fuel at almost $4 per gallon — well, you do the math. And, yes, that driver pays for his own fuel.

He needs to be 1,014 miles from where he loaded in two days. And he can’t fudge his federally mandated driver log, because he no longer does it on paper; he is logged electronically.

He can drive 11 hours in a 14-hour period; then he must take a 10-hour break. And considering that the shipper where he loaded held him up for five hours because it is understaffed, he now needs to run without stopping for lunch and dinner breaks.

If he misses his delivery appointment, he will be rescheduled for the next day, because the receiver has booked its docks solid (and has cut staff to a minimum). That means the driver sits, losing 500-plus miles for the week.

Which means his profit will be cut, and he will take less money home to his family. Most of these guys are gone 10 days, and home for a day and a half, and take home an average of $500 a week if everything goes well.

You can’t tell by looking at him, but two hours ago he took a call informing him that his only sister was involved in a car accident, and though everything possible was done to save her, she died. They had flown her to a trauma hospital in Detroit, but it was too late.

He hadn’t seen her since last Christmas, but they talked on the phone every week. The load he is pulling is going to Atlanta, and he will probably not be able to get to the funeral.

His dispatcher will do everything possible to get him there, but the chances are slim. So he has hardly noticed your displeasure at having to slow down for him. It’s not that he doesn’t care; he’s just numb.

Everything you buy at the store and everything you order online moves by truck. Planes and trains can’t get it to your house or grocery store. We are dependent on trucks to move product from the airport and the rail yards to the stores and our homes.

Every day, experienced and qualified drivers give it up because the government, the traffic and the greedy companies involved in trucking have drained their enthusiasm for this life.

They take a job at a factory if they can find it, and are replaced by an inexperienced youngster dreaming of the open road. This inexperience leads to late deliveries, causing shortages and higher prices at the store, and crashes that lead to unnecessary deaths.

It is even possible that is what led to the death of this driver’s sister.

This is a true story; it happened last week. The driver’s name is Harold, and I am his dispatcher.

Dan Hanson, of Belle Plaine, Minn., is a fleet manager.

Bonus: Asked a friend to take photos of me skydiving. This is the only one he took.