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Tell a friend index card philosophy

Indexed

I spotted Indexed, another blog-turned-book success story, in the Chronicle Books store the other day. Indexed represents two great ideas: first, it’s a novel use for index cards (other than, say, Getting Things Done with a Hipster PDA or other office applications), and it’s also an inspired concept for a blog. ThisIsIndexed.com is one of those brilliant ideas, like the Million Dollar Homepage — simple, clever, and enviably unique (which translates into lucrative).

Every weekday, author Jessica Hagy — copywriter, doodler, and philosophical statistician — publishes a diagram or an equation that succinctly captures an insight into modern life. The index card doodles range from the trivial to the thought-provoking, most often amusing and challenging in terms of how fast you can "get it." Hagy covers topics as diverse as shelter-versus-purebred canines, drifter cuisine, the boggling math of emotion, and undergoing water torture (both voluntary and involuntary). Hagy includes larger, more complex figures in the 5×7 section.

Kindred spirit Hugh MacLeod, author of gapingvoid, also admires Indexed. Chronicle Books published a couple of companion products, the Indexed book of postcards — (because, go figure, index cards are the perfect size for postcards!) — as well as the Indexed notebook.

Posted August 13, 2009 by Mariva in arts, blog-turned-book, books, business, entertainment, fun, gifts, humor, innovations, media

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Tell a friend Macworld 2010: free Expo pass

Macworld Expo 2010

In San Francisco during February 9-13, 2010? Attend the Macworld Expo for free! (The Expo pass is a $25 value. Offer expires August 30, 2009.)

2010 will be the first year in which Apple, Inc. itself is not officially a part of Macworld Conference and Expo. This comes after a noticeable slowdown after last year’s Macworld, during which Steve Jobs was conspicuously absent due to serious illness, and Apple marketer Phil Schiller adequately — but unglamorously — filled in as keynote presenter. It’s up to David Pogue, tech pundit and pianist beloved and admired by much of the Apple community, to step in for next year’s keynote — (Pogue calls it the "The Anti-Keynote") — which, if nothing else, will probably be entertaining for geeks and music lovers.

Posted August 12, 2009 by Mariva in business, city, community, innovations, social, technology, travel

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Tell a friend The Point: leveraging tipping points to achieve Big Goals

The Point

Got vision? Ready to inspire others to do something big? If you’ve got an idea, what you need to do next is build a powerful network of like-minded enthusiasts to achieve a common goal. Yeah, you could create yet another Facebook group or Twitter hash tag — or you could try The Point, which has developed software technology that allows organizers to leverage tipping points. Specifically, you can use The Point to start a campaign to raise money (minus five percent for The Point — if the campaign successfully reaches a minimum threshold that you decide) or to enlist volunteers for a cause, such as eliminating high fructose corn syrup from soda or developing wind farms. Once you’ve launched your campaign, you can embed a widget on your site to publicize it.

Current campaigns are organized into channels, like Education, Music, Politics, Technology, and so on. The "Social Experiments" channel hosts some interesting and amusing campaigns, and compelling public dares and calls to action are filed under "Challenges". You’ll find the best organized campaigns in the "Popular" section, along with many Groupon deals (because Groupon, a successful commercial project, is The Point’s biggest and most successful "campaign").

Posted August 11, 2009 by Mariva in community, deals, innovations, media, resources, shopping, social, technology

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Tell a friend Groupon: a mini revolution in deal shopping

Groupon collective deals

Groupon is a refreshingly unique concept in deal-seeking, utilizing the power of collective interest. (Groupon is a successful commercial project of The Point, which has developed software technology to leverage tipping points.) The way it works is, every day Groupon offers a new deal on something you might want to purchase locally — entertainment, dining, recreation, fashion, products, health and beauty services, and other services — and if enough people commit to buying it at the discounted rate, then everyone in that lucky group gets the same discount. There are three catches: you have a 24-hour window in which to make the commitment, the offer could sell out, and if the number of interested consumers fails to meet the minimum threshold, the deal is off. So you must decide quickly, and it helps to get your local friends and associates interested in the same bargain you’re going for.

Posted August 10, 2009 by Mariva in business, city, deals, innovations, shopping, technology

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Tell a friend collapsible, theft-resistant commuter bicycle

If you’re in the market for a commuter bicycle, be on the lookout for the collapsible, theft-deterrent Biomega Boston. The Biomega Boston features a cable that locks into place as a structural part of the frame. In order for the bicycle to function, a key is inserted into a lock that keeps the cable taut and firm; without the key, the cable is slack and the frame collapses. The bike, once the cable is slack, can be folded for easy storage in the office or at home. (If a would-be thief cuts the cable, the bicycle is rendered unrideable via collapsing frame. For the owner of the bicycle, though, the cable can be replaced to restore function — although the ease of repair and theftproofness is debatable.)

Posted October 17, 2008 by Mariva in city, fitness, gadgets, innovations, technology, travel

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Tell a friend Batter Blaster pancakes

Batter Blaster

This is a story about pancakes. It begins in one of my favorite places. Let me explain.

San Francisco is not the densest city by any means, but space is at a premium nonetheless. So when a single store occupies an entire city block — a large city block — that is a big store in San Francisco. The experience of shopping at the only Costco in San Francisco feels like half-privilege, half-pandemonium. Wheeling a ginormous cart around the street-width aisles of Costco, for me, is a guilty pleasure. There’s only so much paper towel and laundry detergent I really need, but I find any excuse to go. I would imagine that anyone who’d grown up behind the Iron Curtain might bask in the consumer abundance of Costco as a sort of earthly paradise.

In one of the refrigerated aisles, an entire case contained shelf upon shelf of bright golden-yellow spray cans. I thought nothing of the spray cans at first, assuming that the cans were just a brand of whipped cream I hadn’t seen before. But I did a double-take as I noticed something horrifying on the cans: the word batter. Costco, you’ve got to be kidding me, right? Batter — (pancake and waffle, that is, not cake) — in a spray can? Look, spray cheese is bad enough, but spray batter heralds the end of civilization.

Perhaps even more amazing was that the word organic also appeared on the can. I’ve been brainwashed by Whole Foods, I admit, but when I see the word organic, I automatically think healthy. (Or at least healthy-wannbe.) Was it possible for something healthy to be stored in spray can — which, by defnition, indicates processed food? Who could have predicted that I would stumble onto such a paradox in the refrigerated section of Costco? Organic and spray can seem like matter and antimatter: how can they simultaneously occupy the same space?

Posted September 9, 2008 by Mariva in business, edibles, health, innovations, kitchen

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Tell a friend U2 3D

U2 3D

I accidentally invited bleeding-edge tech journalist Robert Scoble to a private Kyte party. How it unfolded is a little embarrassing, but suffice it to say that the moral of the story is, don’t be Twittering first thing in the morning when you should be busy getting some work done anyway.

After drinks and deep-fried snacks at Johnny Foley’s Irish Pub & Restaurant, the Kyte team, along with Scoble and his Fast Company podcast producer Rocky Barbanica (a disarmingly affable fellow, despite looking like someone who drives a Harley and could be menacing in a dark alley), headed over to the Metreon to see U2 3D in the IMAX movie theatre.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, and, to be honest, I probably would have been more excited at the outset by a presentation of Aliens of the Deep or Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon. With a movie of a U2 concert, I assumed I’d get bored and space out, wishing I could be Twittering from my mobile phone without being rude to my fellow attendees who’d prefer to sit in pitch-darkness. (I was wrong about the movie; read on.)

It’s not that I dislike U2. In fact, in the ’80s I used to listen incessantly to War on vinyl, lifting the needle at the end of "Seconds" and setting it down at the beginning of "Sunday Bloody Sunday" over and over again, sometimes taking a break from this two-set to listen to "Drowning Man" or "40." When I lived in "Oblique House," a small temporary co-op in Oberlin, Ohio during the summer of 1989, a friend who was a studio musician tuned his guitar to The Joshua Tree and played impeccable renditions of "Where the Streets Have No Name," "I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For," and "In God’s Country." He emulated The Edge’s signature textural style (although neither of us remembers if he’d used delay taps to mimic the "shimmer" effect). Better even than listening to the album on a top-of-the-line sound system, it sounded like a private U2 concert in our house. Later, when I traveled through the southwest, I couldn’t look at any of the ubiquitous Joshua trees without thinking of the eponymous album. Tangentially, Boo owns an original Negativland’s U2 EP (rereleased under another title), purchased just before U2′s former label Island Records sued Negativland, a controversial lawsuit that the U2 members themselves thought was "very heavy."

But I stopped buying albums after Achtung Baby and years later realized that I’d quit listening to U2′s newer stuff altogether — with the possible exception of "Beautiful Day" from All That You Can’t Leave Behind (simply because it was unavoidable in the media and the public sphere). It wasn’t intentional on my part; perhaps it was because the anger and intensity of War (still my favorite U2 album) appealed to me more than the sweeter, feel-good material of later years. (It’s analogous to — though not as extreme as — my erstwhile enthrallment with Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy in the early ’90s before Michael Franti turned into a hippie peacenik; his sound mellowed out and got boring, at least compared to his previous musical incarnations. If I wanted tepid, unchallenging music, I’d listen to smooth jazz.)

Nevertheless, it’s fairly easy to get in the mood for a U2 concert, virtual or live. U2 is like The Beatles, comprising a solid, talented quartet of British Isles musicians with names memorized by millions around the globe, known for their iconic radio hits as much as for their social activism. At this point, U2 is classic — and one would be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t like their music.

Posted January 30, 2008 by Mariva in entertainment, innovations, media, movies, music, technology

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Tell a friend 1980 nostalgia

Rubik's Cube: 1980 nostalgia

VH1 used to be the second-rate music video channel, targeting an audience about a decade older than MTV’s. But now VH1′s programming generally comprises time-wasting, guilty-pleasure filler shows, like I Love Toys. The show’s pointless exercise in conjuring nostalgia inspired me to dredge up my own memories of the not-too-distant past.

 

Posted April 3, 2006 by Mariva in fashion, fun, gadgets, games, innovations

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Tell a friend time management haiku

work, home, health, friends, sleep
not enough hours in the day
just treading water
  time management: watching the clock

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
by David Allen

The Time Trap: The Classic Book on Time Management
by Alec MacKenzie

Time Tactics of Very Successful People
by B. Eugene Griessman

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
(and other books by Stephen R. Covey & family)

Posted March 24, 2006 by Mariva in books, business, career, innovations, resources

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Tell a friend feel-good commercials

feel-good commercials

I realize that advertising represents (and sometimes causes) many of the ills of our society, but I can’t help it — as something of a pop culture aesthete, I love me a good commercial. I think this is because I appreciate good design, clever concepts and creativity in any form. For better or worse — whether subsidizing theater companies and museums or hiring the best illustrators, writers and cinematographers — corporations have become the new patrons of the arts. I’m often astonished at how compelling the commercials for Volkswagon, Apple and Coca-Cola are.

Posted March 22, 2006 by Mariva in arts, business, entertainment, health, innovations, movies

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