Saturday, December 26, 2009

First steps to effective time management

This is important to manage your time effectively, right?

For me, as for the highly addicted to emails person, I found it very important to optimize my time for emailing back and forth. Truth to be told, I never managed to use the "silent hours", when no email is accessed. I'm pretty connected all the time (except for some very rare occasions) so dropping this communication channel intentionally never sounded like a good plan for me.

However, within the time, I feel that this distracts me more and more. So I decided to review my emailing habits and find out if there is any reasonable time limits that I can incorporate into my daily schedule. What is more important, I was looking for a good excuse for setting a strict hours with absolutely no email access.

So the research comes first. I've started with a quick Ruby script to retrieve the date & time of messages in my Sent mailbox.

Here is the direct link to it:

This script gives me the CSV form of hour of the day and emails sent during this hour. I don't have a huge number of emails on with my current Gmail account, so it did work well for me in the way it is.

The next step is building a visual representation of these numbers. This is how it looks like for me:

Here is the direct link to it:

Well, what can I say now. This creates a potentially different issue for me.

This chart does not look very disordered to me. But it looks busy. I feel that I can squeeze two-three hours into one. This sounds like a good idea, because the most of these things are unlikely to be important to get an answer the same minute or even hour. Say, a slack of two-three hours might be okay. Keeping in mind that they most of my contacts have my emergency contact.

However, I still feel like this is something I might want to do gradually. By cutting one piece at a time. And probably I'll be starting with the very early and very late hours first.

# Posted via email from opportunity__cost

The Cost of Customer Acquisition can’t afford to ignore the cost of customer acquisition. The earlier you work on this the better, as many of the best techniques require you to build your product differently.

It is also important to ask yourself the question: can my business realistically expect to acquire customers for considerably less than the amount that I can monetize them?

Very nice insight into Customer Acquisition process.

If you don't understand this, do not start your business, until you understand every single word out of here.

# Posted via web from opportunity__cost

Friday, December 25, 2009

Как оказаться featured в App Store?

Очень откровенный и подробный расказ о том как сделать игру и оказаться в featured в AppStore. Еще приятнее что создатель игры - украинец.


# Posted via web from opportunity__cost

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Вы все еще не любите чай из пакетиков?

# Posted via web from opportunity__cost

The Smashing Book!

Wow, my copy of The Smashing Book is just arrived. It is much smaller than it looks, but hopefully, this doesn't change the content. :)

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Flickr pushes HEAD into production

Flickr is somewhat unique in that it uses a code repository with no branches; everything is checked into head, and head is pushed to production several times a day. This works well for bug fixes that we want to go out immediately, but presents a problem when we’re working on a new feature that takes several months to complete. How do we solve that problem? With flags and flippers!

I really like this approach. It's definitely far from perfect, but gives a feeling of tech importance and value that is live. Every single moment.

Conclusion: worth considering for your project.

# Posted via web from opportunity__cost

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Online savings review by mere-mortal

Recently I had a chance to review three online banks for personal savings: HSBC DirectAlly (ex GMAC) and Personal Savings from American Express.

I would not give you a comparison list like the most money  saving sites do.  They are rarely useful for making a final decision.  I'll just cover the most important points for a regular customer, like myself.

  • Both HSBC and Ally have a debit card attached to your account. (This is good.)
  • Both of them are subject to the federal rules for withdrawals from savings account.  Which is neither bad or good, it is just the way it is.  
  • Amex doesn't provide either debit card or checks for money withdrawals.  Online only.

  • Ally gives a better rate than HSBC (1.50% v. 1.35% at the moment of writing this).
  • Ally has a history of rebranding that it tries to run away from. (Personally, I had no chance to work with GMAC before, so it doesn't make any difference for me.)
  • Amex is a pretty strong brand.  Not perfect though, like the most of banks.

Account setup:
  • Ally account setup is very quick.  Super quick.
  • HSBC is super slow on setting up account.  It includes both online and offline steps that can make you hate the idea of working with them somewhere in the middle of the process.
  • Amex supposed to be quick, but if they put you for manual processing (what happen to me) they are slow.  But better than HSBC anyways.

Verify an account:
  • Ally and Amex are pretty quick on verifying accounts.
  • HSBC is slow.

Transferring money:
  • HSBC is super slow on transferring money.  They disappear from your account next day, and travel somewhere for around 3 business days.  Than they show up at HSBC, but it still takes a day or so to become available.
  • Amex is doubtful.  The money disappear next day, and appear on the account the same day, but as "current balance".  "Available balance" stays zero.  According to customer support, they take full 5 business days to make the money posted as "available balance".  They say the money don't loose interest, because it's counted on the "current balance", however, I never double-checked them myself.  (They can probably lie.  This happens with banks.)
  • I don't have much experience with Ally yet.  I'll try that shortly.

That's it.  Feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions, I'd be happy to give you some insights and save you some time.

# Posted via email from opportunity__cost

Amazon's Kindle DRM is broken

According to a translated writeup of the Kindle hack here, Amazon engineers went to considerable lengths to prevent their DRM from being tampered with. The Kindle for PC uses a separate session key to encrypt and decrypt each book "and they seem to have done a reasonable job on the obfuscation," the author says.

The crack comes courtesy of a piece of software titled unswindle, and it's available here. Once installed, proprietary Amazon ebooks can be converted into the open Mobi format.

Personally, I think that DRM is only a headache. Amazon is probably making enough money on selling e-books, so why not allow them to be portable anywhere? Making books more available would make a bigger impact on shrinking the size of market of illegal ebooks floating around, instead of adding new protections here.

# Posted via web from opportunity__cost

Robots are everywhere...

These new devices on SJPD officers immediately reminded me about... the guy.


# Posted via web from opportunity__cost

Nokia N900

This one looks super cool to me.

I don't know how good is it in real-life, but such an unusual unboxing experience should be something worth trying.

It *is* expensive but already sold on Amazon so I'm waiting to get the price down to four hundreds. :)

# Posted via web from opportunity__cost

Health Care in the US

The United States is the only industrialized country that does not have universal health care. Despite exorbitant spending, health care results are mixed at best.

As I said, the system is so freaking broken. This is not a choice anymore. And it has to be fixed.

# Posted via web from opportunity__cost

The Smashing Book

The book has 300 pages in all, full of practical and useful knowledge for designers and Web developers. It contains 10 chapters and is printed in full color. The book is a paperback and is 8.27 × 5.5 inches (21 × 14 cm).

The book is available exclusively from Smashing Magazine and nowhere else. This first and only Smashing Book looks at Web design rules of thumb, color theory, usability guidelines, user interface design, best coding and optimization practices, as well as typography, marketing, branding and exclusive insights from top designers across the globe.

It was written by Jacob Gube (SixRevisions), Dmitry Fadeev (UsabilityPost), Chris Spooner (Spoongraphics), Darius A Monsef IV (, Alessandro Cattaneo (with co-editing by Jon Tan), Steven Snell (VandelayDesign), David Leggett (UXBooth), Andrew Maier (UXBooth), Kayla Knight (regular writer on SM), Yves Peters (, René Schmidt (system administrator of our servers) and the Smashing Magazine editorial team, Vitaly Friedman and Sven Lennartz.

While I can hardly wait for my copy of The Smashing Book to arrive, I was unpleasantly surprised that the shipping time is 30-40 days. Damn. I'd never call this *free shipping* if I'd knew. But I'm hoping for the best and that the book is worth it.

# Posted via web from opportunity__cost

Monday, December 21, 2009

(Don't) Ask a Stupid Question

You can ask “the crowd” all kinds of questions, but if you don’t stop to think about the best way to ask your question, you’re likely to get unexpected and unreliable results. You might call it the GIGO theory of research design.

Pretty good post on how to ask questions and how not to get fooled by answers. Very nice.

# Posted via web from opportunity__cost

How programmers see each other...

How different programmers see each other. Pretty cool.

# Posted via web from opportunity__cost

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Improving bounce rate with Google Website Optimizer

As many of you already know, Google Website Optimizer (GWO) is a nice add-on to Google Analytics (GA) to run A/B/.. and multivariate tests for your pages. And while A/B test is pretty simple thing to do, multivariate tests are more fun.

However, working with some sites, you can't always specify the conversion page very well, the goal of your tests. If it's not an ecommerce one, or lacks a typical login / sing-up pair, you're probably hitting an "information resource". But such sites still need some work to be done, to get a better feedback and user retention. I would say, testing them for bounce rate and improving it later would be the nice thing to do.

Unfortunately, it's not very straightforward with GWO. You're still supposed to specify a page that will serve as conversion trigger.

One solution is that the bounce rate can be calculated by looking backwards, by looking at the conversions to any page. It's easy to do if you've got only one or two outbound links on your page. However, in the real life, it's unlikely to happen. Pages have dozens of outbound links. Going for all of them and putting a conversion script is probably doable, but such a headache.

But likely this can be done with a very simple Javascript. Let try to test the sample landing page. First of all, let's put the control script at the top.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Define the testing blocks.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

And put the tracking code right before the body.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The landing page is set up. Now, we can start with the conversion page. You can use the same one as conversion page in your GWO experiment. However, you don't need to add any tracking code to it (yet).

What we should do know, is to add a simple Javascript that will re-write all outbound links and will add an onclick action to them. In this action, Javascript will do the call to GWO and register a conversion. This simple JS should be put right before the closing body.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

[code lang="html]


That easy. You might get an error while validating the conversion script, but you can easily copy & paste the content of script into file, and do offline validation for it.

Basically, that's it. You can finish setting up this experiment and run it. Here's how you will see results.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Have fun!

# Posted via email from opportunity__cost

Friday, December 11, 2009

Are you using todo's ?

I think I am finally managed how to use todo's in the most optimal way.  At least, for myself.

First of all, after trying out many different things, I've found myself using Remember The Milk all the time.  I think I just understood that there is no silver bullet and no product that I'd give all my love to, until I'll build it myself.  But it might not be worth it, as I can live with existing ones.

So here they are, my major points.

  1. I don't put todo's if I don't put a due date for them.  No due date - nothing to do.  (This point really helped!)
  2. If I have more than 2 things for the specific day, I prioritize it with RTM's three levels of priority.  It works the best, although, I'm not really excited with the way how I see this in RTM, but... whatever.
  3. Every night I do review the todo's for tomorrow (or the next soonest date).  If you missed something, change the due date.  Someone might find this addictive, but probably because of my psychotype, I find that the need to reschedule something gives me more pressure than missed due date.
  4. Don't plan strategy, plan actions.  If you can't do this in one or two steps, it's not one todo, but two or more.  I think the GTD principle shares the same approach.
  5. I didn't manage to handle dependencies very effectively, but I keep myself pretty much organized with due date & priority combo.
  6. Probably todo's are not the right thing for repetitive actions, but I'd probably play more with that.
  7. Todo's are not your day schedule.  And I found myself unable to keep a decent schedule (although sometimes it's pretty tempting to).

Have fun!

# Posted via email from opportunity__cost

Why am I not using Chrome, yet

While a lot of my friends are hooked up on Google Chrome already, on both Macs and PCs, I still deny using it instead of my Firefox.  

No, it's not like I'm in love with FF.  I actually don't like it, as it feels occasionally buggy, memory leaking and rather slow.  (Comparing to Chrome.)

But I do use FF extensions.

The most important ones are:

  1. Delicious - damn, that's an every day thing.
  2. HttpFox - yes, I do use it and quite often.

Also, I'd be happy to have:

  1. Firebug & PageSpeed - these two are also quite important ones, although I keep them disabled the most of time, as they make FF unbelievable slow (even if I'm not using them).
  2. Affiliator - the thing that adds an option to right click menu on Amazon's pages to copy to clipboard the page's URL with my associate ID embedded.
  3. Selenium IDE - it's helpful, but occasionally.

I also have a set of so-called plugins.  They include Flip4Mac WMP, Google Talk, QuickTime, Shockwave, Silverlight, VLC and probably something else, that I don't care that much.

Google Chrome does have an extensions now.  They even have a Delicious one already.  But it looks like extensions are not available on Mac platforms, yet. (Some people say they to be available after the weekend.)

But I'm looking into it...

P.S. Isn't it too much Google, yet?

# Posted via email from opportunity__cost

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Amazon's stopped converting PDF for free?

"Damn, no!" - that was what I though when I send a PDF to my email and... got it back.  Not like really back, but it was saying:

You can download the file(s) here Dont Just Roll the Dice.pdf, then transfer the file(s) by connecting Kindle to your computer over USB. 

instead of:

You can download the file(s) here Dont Just Roll the Dice.azw, then transfer the file(s) by connecting Kindle to your computer over USB. 

And, well, it was the PDF there.  The original one.  However, after a quick call to Amazon (I like their call-to-phone feature with always less then 1 minute of waiting time for me), I found out that they actually rolled a new version, that requires to put word "convert" in the subject line now.

Now it worked.

However, while you manage to keep me pretty happy during the full cycle of communication with me, how did you manage to screw so badly with new "feature" out and even not including anything in the email you send back?

Well, my wild guess is that you desperately need beta testers for the native PDF support that you've in the new firmware, so that's the way to push people to try and see it.  And I feel that I'm not that wrong in this direction.

I don't feel really hurt because of this, but I still think you need to be less tricky (if it's intentional) or think a step ahead (if it's a glitch).  Yeah, I know the Nook is being trashed badly last days, but still its an option.

# Posted via email from opportunity__cost

Getting back on the track

It looks like I got off the track last month.  Almost no blog posts, only passive Twitter streaming, sounds like nobody is here.  

Well, not the real truth is here though.  I was quite busy with some stuff.  Adium has broken support for Twitter now, I don't know why, but yesterday's fresh snapshot and build couldn't authenticate me still.  So probably this explains my only passive reading list there, but no active tweets, other that occasional mobile shouts.

My blog was keeping silence mostly because this is the way it is.  It looks like my blogging activity is mainly sinusoid, or something similar to a sine wave with very relatively slow ups, sharp peaks and quick drops.  Maybe it's because I don't blog much about my day job anymore, I'm doing a lot of tech stuff that is pretty custom tailored and I don't feel like sharing it (probably because of too tiny or lack of auditory for this posts at all), and my product management ventures didn't reach those stages when I'd start seeing a lot of value there to share with others.

But I'll put my wheels back on.

Whatever, but life is going on.  I had a chance to attend Percona's new one-day training in San Francisco, which was about Developing High Performance, Scalable Applications.  That was a pioneering one, but very good. It was a training course aimed at developers building applications with MySQL, and while I'm not 100% hands-on developer anymore these day, I do build applications with MySQL.  The training covered the topics on how to optimize queries, common design mistakes in MySQL, case-studies on how to solve various theorhetical application problem and  briefly on architecture decisions that should be made in applications.  I'm pretty happy with what I spent a day for.

I also read the Deploying Rails Applications book and almost done with Designing Social Interfaces.  I liked them both, and I can probably suggest both of them, so let me put some stress on what I didn't like instead:

Deploying Rails Applications:
  1. It's a very great overview of the things around, but feels like too much of them.  Getting a better idea of what to apply and when with a good structure would probably do a better job here.
  2. It's a little bit light and hard at the same time, probably the wrong mix of content.
  3. If you do have an administration skills, you probably find the book more like, "okay, okay, got it, okay, cool - I'm done with it, what's next?".
  4. I hate to repeat myself, but once again, it felt to me that too much stuff that probably doesn't need to be mixed together.
  5. I still recommend it.

Designing Social Interfaces:
  1. While I'm supposed to say bad things, I still want to say I really liked the book.  It's probably not the rocket science, but it's very good.
  2. I felt like the author(s) got bored in the middle of the book, so did I, but it looks like he's recovering closer to the end of it (and so do I). :)
  3. Too much of Yahoo, and particularly Flickr.  I love Flickr, but too much of cliches from it.
  4. The books if pretty decent and I highly recommend it.  I still have few chapters to finish, but they'd probably not make it worse.

So basically that's it and see you around...

# Posted via email from opportunity__cost

Friday, November 20, 2009

Yahoo! Pipes for Twitter's Reading List

I've managed to create a very nice and probably useful Yahoo! Pipe to manage my Twitter friend's feed as a reading list.

As you know, nowadays it's a common practice to post interesting links to your Twitter feed. Even I personally hooked up my Google Reader with the help of Twitterfeed to post articles that I want to share directly to my feed on Twitter. Works well, except that I miss a lot of links. I can't read my friends feed all day long (and I'm following only a hundred or so people). So whenever I read the feed (very occasionally) I can hit the shared links of only that period of time. I don't browse history or anything like that.

However, I'd probably like to read all the links that they advice to visit. I'm pretty picky about whom I'm following. You can call it social news. Where your social circle is doing the job on filtering the news for you. And you end up with a list of "pre-approved" things that you're safe to go with, without high risk of wasting your time.

Anyways so I run into this venture and built a quick hack for myself.

I call it Twitter Reading List. You put your name & password in there (yeah, I can be a asshole and copy your data, so take a look at the source first if you're afraid of it :), and you will get a RSS feed of all posts from your Twitter friends, whom you follow and who posted something interesting. This pipe will fetch a title of it for you, as well as link it to direct link to whatever your friend wants you to read.

Well, yeah, on the negative side, I don't like the idea of sending my password plain-text, but... whatever. One more thing, it looks like it's limited to some specific number of posts there. It's probably possible to overcome, I don't know.

So fire it up, link to your Google Reader or any other favorite news reader and have fun!

P.S. IT IS buggy. It's a dirty hack and I need to fix the regexp for URLs among many other things, but it works.

P.P.S. Yahoo! Pipes rock. This is definitely a great way to easily sketch up a tool and use it right away. Try it yourself.

# Posted via email from opportunity__cost

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Краткое введение в экономику говна

Сначала никакой экономики не было, а было одно говно и ягоды.
А потом прошло несколько тысяч лет.

Удивительный опус на тему говна. Не требует умственных усилий, однако, скрывает обучающих подтекст. :)

# Posted via web from opportunity__cost

Sunday, November 15, 2009

"Tough" questions from GMAT 800

I saw a number of positive reviews for the sample questions from the Kaplan GMAT 800 book (now Kaplan GMAT Advanced).  Not a problem, just got a copy for myself, and went through it.

To avoid confusion, I completed only Critical Reasoning part of it.  However, making in average 75% of correct answers (1 mistake in every 4 questions set), I got some serious doubts about extraordinary type of questions there.  

They are good, but not much more.  

On the other note, format of the book is really weird.  I don't like it.  I believe the willingness to do a guidebook drove them to such a style, but it doesn't help at all.  I'd prefer something closer to a "classic" approach, when I clearly have a set of questions to work through, and the answers to clearly state correct answer, but not looking for it in the several blocks of explanations.

# Posted via email from opportunity__cost

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Funnel Analysis from Mixpanel

Figuring out your funnels is one of the most important things you can do to increase your quantitative understanding of your website. It's critical to get the starting measurements - the dropoff and conversion rates - before you change anything.  That's the only way you can know the effect of the changes you make. By constantly tweaking and measuring, you should be able to really improve your number of conversions.

Mixpanel has a set of functions that can be really useful for a company in the Web. While I still had no chance to compare their functionality to what Google Analytics provides, other than being real-time, I'm planning to spend some more time playing with it.

Mixpanel has a free 10K "data points" account ( which is sorta confusing for a person like me. I'm more like thinking in visits, page views or things like that. But thanks to Tim Trefren from Mixpanel, who explained this to me:

"A data point is counted every time you track a visitor action. So, in terms of pageviews/month - if you track one event per page, you will use exactly the same number of data points as pageviews."

And, well, Mixpanel wouldn't be something you'll use to put on every page (like you can do with Google Analytics). You'd want to put it only on subset of them, linking to specific actions. Or you will probably use Mixpanel's API to assign "data points" to some triggers in your Web application' actions. This is, by the way, could be also a pretty useful feature.

# Posted via web from opportunity__cost

Friday, November 13, 2009

В каждом из нас... человек-паук!

В каждом из нас есть немного человека-паука. Найди себя!

# Posted via web from opportunity__cost

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Microsoft, it's your call

There is something that I'd like Microsoft to pay a better attention to.  It's the partnership with third party telemarketers.  

Like Ivy from CSG Openline who's for the second time calls me at 7am to both my home and private cell (from number 888-834-8586) trying to tell me about something from Microsoft.  Certainly she apologies, however, she acknowledges that it's 7am in the morning and she knew that before placing a call.  What the heck she was expecting for?  Am I sleeping and dreaming about somebody from Microsoft to call me and tell me about some crazy shit?  I'm not that lonely.  

So, please, stop it. Once is an accident.  Twice is a negligence.  Third time would be pattern and nobody will enjoy it, take my word for it.

# Posted via email from opportunity__cost

Monday, November 9, 2009

Invicta's Russian Diver for $99

You've got less then 24 hours to purchase this Russian Diver's inspired watch by Invicta for just $99. That's is a pretty nice deal.

They put Swiss quartz movement in, screw-down crown with a cap, very attractive rubber bracelet with buckle, decent lume and 53 mm in diameter (not including crown).

With MSRP of $575 (ridiculous, like there is anybody who pays MSRP for Invicta), however the regular price rarely goes down the $200 bucks and typically is around $249 for a piece.

Give it a shot. Pretty decent watch for those who like the Russian Diver's style but doesn't want to break a bank for it.

# Posted via web from opportunity__cost

Saturday, November 7, 2009

No freakin calendar out there?

Keeping in mind that it's 2009 coming to its end, I'm really surprised to not been able to find any good calendaring software that just integrates everywhere. It's only recently Google has enabled the CalDAV access for iCal, so now, thanks God!, I can manage all my calendars both online and on my Mac laptop.

However, not that fast.  

My iPhone (come on, isn't is the greatest thing since sliced bread? :) can sync with iCal (not a decent approach for cloud-computing trending era), but fails to show any other calendars attached to my account.  In addition to such a boomer, it gets synced with the weirdest name you can imagine (but who cares).  I've also tried setting up a separate CalDAV account for calendar on iPhone as well as establishing Google sync through Exchange protocol - none of these things can show any additional calendars (called delegates in iCal). 


Here is an idea.  While so trendy cloud-computing managing panels are growing so fast, it looks like people managed to miss very basic things.  The managing panel for Mail-AddressBook-Calendar kind of stuff.  That has inputs and outputs, and dashboard.  Manageable with drag and drop.  Say, I want the Google Calendar, Google Mail and Yahoo Address Book (or, screw it, just native Mac Address  These are inputs.  Outputs are connectors to any type of software you can imagine.  Dashboard is one screen that allows to work flawlessly with you stuff.  That's it.  That easy.


# Posted via email from opportunity__cost

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Вконтакте решили поспамить

Подонки с Вконтакта.ру решили спамить онлайн.

Странная стратегия, конечно. При таком жутком переводе своего спама на английских язык, ко всему еще.

Или это какая-то новая инициатива, и это личное дело каждого теперь?

# Posted via email from opportunity__cost

One o'clock watches

After some period of silence, I'm ready to add the one o'clock watches to my collection of crows.

One o'clock.  While it's a little cheat, the limited edition from Vacheron Constantin Les Historiques line, the Historiques American 1921 has a cushion-shaped case with a crown positioned at 1 o'clock.  However, if you'll read the dial, it's on 12 o'clock.  Either way, it doesn't make it less interesting for me.

- Historiques American 1921

I still miss crown positions at 5, 7 and 11 o'clock.  You're more than welcome to send your links to unusual and interesting crown positions, and I'd be happy to add the to my collection.

The full collection of crowns' positions is here at

# Posted via email from opportunity__cost

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Must-know idioms for GMAT

The following GMAT idioms list is based upon official GMAT sentence correction questions that the test-makers publicly released.

Practice these idioms using our proprietary sentence correction questions.

GMAT Idiom Book1 Question2 Answer Page3
Official Guide for GMAT Review (12th Edition)
x is more than y 12th Edition 4 686
unlike x, y 12th Edition 20 694
in contrast with x, y 12th Edition 20 694
in contrast to x, y 12th Edition 20 694
estimate to be 12th Edition 27 698
the same to x as to y 12th Edition 32 700
depends on whether x 12th Edition 34 701
so x that y 12th Edition 37 702
targeted ... at 12th Edition 40 704
rivalry between x and y 12th Edition 44 706
expended on 12th Edition 46 707
the ability ... to 12th Edition 51 710
x is to y what w is to z 12th Edition 58 714
amount of x 12th Edition 74 722
attributes x to y 12th Edition 79 724
not just because of x, but because of y 12th Edition 83 726
distinctions between x and y 12th Edition 96 733
either x or y 12th Edition 109 740
to consider x y 12th Edition 117 745
less successful than 12th Edition 123 748
so x that y 12th Edition 124 748
x is dated at z years old 12th Edition 140 756
Official Guide for GMAT Review (11th Edition)
x is more than y 11th Edition 2 662
in contrast with x, y 11th Edition 16 669
estimated to be 11th Edition 21 671
in danger of 11th Edition 27 673
seem + infinitive 11th Edition 29 674
as much as 11th Edition 30 674
to credit x with 11th Edition 31 674
as many ... as 11th Edition 37 676
between x and y 11th Edition 40 678
require x to do y 11th Edition 53 684
restrictions on x 11th Edition 54 685
not only x ... but also y 11th Edition 55 685
there is no doubt that 11th Edition 58 686
as a means to 11th Edition 60 688
attribute x to y 11th Edition 67 691
as many as 11th Edition 76 695
used x as y 11th Edition 79 696
not x, but rather y 11th Edition 87 700
order x to be y 11th Edition 92 702
just as x, so y 11th Edition 99 706
distinguish between x and y 11th Edition 107 710
both x and y 11th Edition 112 713
so x that y 11th Edition 118 716
Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review
not...but Verbal Review 4 256
the rising cost Verbal Review 8 258
range from x to y Verbal Review 9 258
except for + noun Verbal Review 13 260
between x and y Verbal Review 14 260
to mistake x for y Verbal Review 17 261
to think of x as y Verbal Review 20 262
with the aim of + (verb)ing Verbal Review 25 264
not only x ... but also y Verbal Review 46 274
prohibit x from doing y Verbal Review 48 275
more x than y Verbal Review 50 276
not only x ... but also y Verbal Review 52 277
so x that y Verbal Review 58 280
not x, but rather y Verbal Review 60 281
not only ... but also Verbal Review 66 284
in order to x Verbal Review 69 285
as x as Verbal Review 75 288
worried about Verbal Review 81 291
either x or y Verbal Review 84 292
better served by x than by y Verbal Review 89 295
ordered x to do y Verbal Review 90 295
both x and y Verbal Review 93 297
x rose almost as fast as y Verbal Review 94 297
between x and y Verbal Review 95 298
more x than y Verbal Review 98 299
x rather than y Verbal Review 99 300
isolated from Verbal Review 106 300
not only x ... but also y Verbal Review 108 304
as a result of Verbal Review 113 307

This GMAT idioms list is available in PDF format.

For those who are too cheap to buy himself or herself a copy of Manhattan GMAT "Sentence Correction GMAT Preparation Guide", here is the list of the most popular GMAT idioms that are likely already known by native speakers, and must be memorized by non-native speakers (like I am).

For those who do own a book, take a look at chapter 9, page 142. I am not sure I would be able to memorize all that, but at least I have one more useful guide to refer to.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bridgestone QR-LPD

Damn, so when would we see it introduced to ebooks market?

It seems pretty slow though. But clearly their screens are bigger than Kindle's 6" or even DX 9".

Anyway eink's fragility is bad. Pretty bad.

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Sentence Correction must-have book

There is one book that is absolutely must have for you to do well on Sentence Correction part of GMAT.

That's a "Sentence Correction GMAT Preparation Guide" by Manhattan GMAT.

They do not have any either sample GMAT questions or a bunch of tests to try yourself on. But they did their best to cover a lot of potential tricks taken by GMAT creators to find your gaps in English. I'm really surprised and really excited about going through this. I just came to Chapter 4 and I have already learned a bunch of stuff. This is so great.

However, I do miss the sample GMAT questions. The books sends me to Official Guide and this is sorta lame. Been there, done that.

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A/B to increase user engagement

The question becomes 'do you want a smaller, highly engaged community, or a larger, less engaged community?' There's no easy answer here; it's more of a think-long-and-hard sort of situation that greatly depends on individual aspects of your startup.

Great blog post on using A/B testing to increase user engagement and some conclusions made.

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Russian officials know watches

Russian politicians watches 35

Yeah, Russians know watches. :) Photos of Russian officials and their watches, starts from a little bit more $1K for a piece topping with $1M for a piece. Nice.

P.S. Don't ask why economy sucks.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How to get a bunch of beta users in a few weeks

Find small blogs (10k-50k subscribers) relevant to your market and offer them 100-1000 signups with a custom-branded demo code.  The blogger likes getting an exclusive for her readers, and the readers like getting insider access to a hot new tool.  Contact a bunch of them at once, we felt lucky to have a roughly 20% hit rate.

Pretty creative, nice idea of bringing people on for beta testing your product. You know, once you release something, it's always a headache: "So what's up now?" Following this advice could give you at least a starting point.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Got Perfect Credit? You Could Be Charged For It!

Earlier this month Bank of America started notifying customers like Mullen-Kress that they will be charged a new annual fee of $29 to $99.

Oh no. Four years ago, when I came from Ukraine to US, I was surprised how many people are building their lives around their credit scores. I was, like: "What the heck? The biggest contributors to economy and stability of country are the most affected by any change in this. People who don't care, they keep not paying any attention at all. Banks are taking earners money and throw away to bring more assholes, who just don't care."

I can explain to myself while I keep paying my Bank of America's credit card's fee, which is $29 annually. It was my first one, starting from secured credit card, which I put a $100 to get $500 credit limit (which was actually the best deal I could get around), eventually morphing into more appropriate type of the card, but keeping $29 annual fee (I got it, BofA!). However, any other card that will ask for money will go straight the trash. I'll be the one who doesn't care, but I'm not going to give you any cent more for working my ass off.

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Apple patents ad-supported Mac OS

I have no freakin' idea how this will work, and how useful is it going to be, but sounds cool. I believe there is a huge part of Mac users who're mostly "netbook"-type, so interrupting anything in their world would be painful, but acceptable.

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Scalability at Facebook

Facebook has grown into one of the largest sites on the Internet today serving over 200 billion pages per month. The nature of social data makes engineering a site for this level of scale a particularly challenging proposition. In this presentation, I will discuss the aspects of social data that present challenges for scalability and will describe the the core architectural components and design principles that Facebook has used to address these challenges. In addition, I will discuss emerging technologies that offer new opportunities for building cost-effective high performance web architectures.

Jeff Rothschild (VP of Technology at Facebook) talks about scalability at Facebook. Jeff has a long history in IT and was founder of Veritas. Click on "click here for webcast" to see the recorded video from the lecture.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009


Here they are some Jokers!

Sorry for the look. :) His hair was constantly peeling off.

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Friday, October 23, 2009


This is cool stuff.

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ApacheCon Evening Meetups

ApacheCon hosts evening meetups.  If you're interested in any of these popular open source projects (NoSql, Tomcat, Lucene, Hadoop, Subversion, etc), come and join for an evening of presentations and discussion with the creators and committers working on the projects themselves.  Hosted by and located at the ApacheCon, these five special community meetings are taking taking place on the days before the ApacheCon conference in Amsterdam. 

Location of meetups is Oakland, CA.

Monday 2nd (BarCamp Apache during the day)
20:00 - 22:00  NoSqlMeetup  Room 1&2
20:00 - 22:00 Tomcat Room 6

Tuesday 3rd (BarCamp Apache during the day)
20:00 - 22:00 Lucene Room 1&2
20:00 - 22:00 OSGi/Felix Room 3
20:00 - 22:00 Traffic Server Podling Room 4

Thursday 5th
20:00 - 22:00 Content Tech 1&2
20:00 - 22:00 Web Services 3
20:00 - 22:00 SocialAndWidgetsMeetup
20:00 - 22:00 Web Crawlers Room 5
20:00 - 22:00 Hadoop Room 6
20:00 - 22:00 Subversion Room 7

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Typo hunter's on the road again

Typos happen.  Sometimes they don't bother you much.  Sometimes, the do.  Like in the books that have question and answer combos.

Like, you know, for the quantitative part of GMAT, for example.

Yes, I'm talking about the EZ basic math workbook.

It has a lot of typos.  What's worse, it has a lot of errors, too.  Like the one show above, which is page 113, question #20.  Twice 32 equals 64, but not 62.  Where the heck is editor?  Proofreader?  Anybody else?

It's not the only example, but I just wanted to show you that reviews like this (even if it's the only one), should not be ignored:

there are a lot of examples in the book that are completely wrong. The further you go in the book the worse it gets. Its like the author got exhausted by the end.

1) a question will ask you about blue ribbons but will calculate due to green ribbons.
2) some of the combinatorics questions have missing combinations that the question is asking about.

I can go on and on ...

The book is very easy and has bunch of errors. Work with it at your own risk.

BTW to put some weight behind my words: I have already taken GMAT and got above 700. 

Take care.

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Seiko Izul

One of the greatest watches you can see. Very rare, I should say. Rather big, I think something around 50 mm. The bad thing is that they are probably Japanese only versions and if found, will retail for not less then $8,000. But definitely an eye-stopper.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Shopping for watches movements

So I have entered into an alliance with Sea-Gull of China and Soprod of Switzerland, and will be offering their movements. Unless we offer a special Vintage piece, we will NOT be offering ANY ETA based watches. This is not saying I am limiting the range to these companies; other options are still being investigated.

While movement choice, as both technically and price driven, it is more, an ethical choice.

Great post about making a movements choice by Orange Watch Company (ORANGE). What problems do small watches manufacturers face from the very first steps of watchmaking.

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EZ Basic Math

Okay, I've got 200 more sample questions and 2 parts left from the EZ basic math workbook.

Listen. Get it if your math is really bad. I mean, you really suck. Or you feel like you suck. Otherwise, you don't need it. It sucks to be able to solve all samples. I'm not the brightest guy, but it's too easy even for me.

So I'm planning to take a pause with math and get back to Sentence Correction.

And only after it I'm going to spend more time with EZ advanced math workbook. I hope it would be way more interesting, because I found myself doing pretty well with The Quest for 700: Weekly GMAT Challenge posted every Wednesday on with answer following Thursday. Otherwise, screw the Amazon's reviews for EZ books, because they're wrong. Anyway I don't like the format of EZ books. I'd prefer to stay closer to GMAT format, because, well, you know... this is for GMAT. Why is it titled so, huh?

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Must read books and resources

Books/Blogs for Startups

Must Read Books
Strategy Books for Startups
New Product Introduction Methodologies
“Marketing as Strategy” Books
“War as Strategy” Books
Marketing Communications Books
Startup Nuts & Bolts
Product Design
Culture/Human Resources
Venture Capital
Must Read Blogs

One of the best lists of books and resources from Silicon Valley legend Steve Blank.

The only thing that could be better is to accompany this list with the list from the Lean Startup Circle discussion here:

For my personal taste, I'm really interested in the Clara Shih's "The Facebook Era":

I didn't read it yet, but heard a lot of very positive thoughts about. I'm planning to add it to my reading list shortly.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Google releases API for A/B and multivariate testing

Google Website Optimizer, a powerful tool that allows website owners to split traffic and test the effectiveness and conversion rates for an array of variables, has traditionally required a lot of back-and-forth between any given site and the Website Optimizer interface.

Google releases an API and is allowing site owners to conduct multivariate and A/B testing from their own platform. I'm not sure how well does it compare to Mixpanel or similar products, but I'm planning to find some time for it.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rails in a Nutshell

Rails in a Nutshell

This is the draft of upcoming O'Reilly book. Feel free to read and comment. :)

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Эфир с Женей Чичваркиным

Каждую неделю, по пятницам, Русская Служба Новостей приглашает в эфир Евгения Чичваркина.  Это конечно не "серия откровенний от бизнесмена в ссылке", но послушать не помешает. 

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Monday, October 19, 2009

My progress with EZ basic math

While I didn't spend a decent time with the book, the results so far so good. Out of almost 200 questions, I've yellow-marked 4 or 5 solutions, even scoring the 100% correct answers. Those solutions were a little bit easier way comparing to what I chose.

This is quite a nice number to see, however, I was expecting for something more challenging. It's easy to be a smart guy when you're facing very basic problems, isn't it? :) I'm starting to think that getting a basic math workbook was not so good idea. I should start from advanced one. However, I'm not going to drop out now, and I'm going to complete it.

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Saturday, October 17, 2009


Будьте осторожны!

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I need your vote!!

My little kid is excited to become the next Gap Model.  I have submitted his entry to the Gap Casting Call, the search of the next baby faces.

I really need your votes. Please, support my kid!  

It will take just a few minutes of your time, but will be super helpful to my ego. :)

It's just a few clicks, but can shape my son's life in a very different way. And finally, this can be just a lot of fun.  :)

Thank you!

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Friday, October 16, 2009

New edition of 4-Hour Workweek

Tim Ferris is about to release his new edition of so popular The 4-Hour Workweek.

It's available for pre-order on Amazon already. He claims to add a lot of exclusive content there, so the cost of less then $15 is nothing comparing to what you'll learn from it.

If you didn't read it, go for it faster.

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EZ Basic Math for GMAT

Well, I'm pissed of.  

First of all, this title sucks.  How do you imaging me telling a friend about this book when it has some many words inside?  Do they all make sense?  Doubt so.

I've read so many positives reviews about EZ books for GMAT.  Speaking about this specific book it was like 7 five-stars and 1 one-star.  None of the did mention that the basic book is so freakin' basic.

I've went through almost a hundred of questions so far, and none of them are challenging.  They are basic.  But I'll keep going.  Hopefully, this book will undercover some hidden gem and it will make me happier about the twenty I spent.

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