Monday, August 31, 2009

Nokia N85 for $250

This one rocks. For $250 for unlocked phone with free shipping, nobody can beat it. WiFi, 3G, micro-SD, FM radio, GPS, dual-camera, 5 Megapixels, autofocus, video recording, digital player and recorder... somebody, please, stop me!

Die Blackberry.

Posted via web from opportunity__cost

AT&T in its beauty

This is a real face of AT&T.

Translation: we try to screw up everything so badly so you'd never come back.

FAIL: But you still do.
Please, don't visit us.
Sorry, we cannot come with more reasons why we're not working.

Posted via email from opportunity__cost

Moving from Blogger & LiveJournal to Posterous

I would not lie.  I already like Posterous.  And I would like to move to its platform.

However, I do have a history.  I've spent some time on LiveJournal and also spent more then a year on a Blogger.

Well, yeah, Posterous provides a way how to import your old posts into new blog.  Sorta.  However, what they don't do, is what someone would call after-surgery support.  This is something that I would need after I'll change my domain name into Posterous.

Here is a quick example.

I've got a plenty of posts in my LiveJournal blog, some of the are permalinked in many places.  I've got even more posts in my Blogger blog, also permalinked a lot on other places.  Both of them could serve the same domain name --  (Actually only Blogger did, but this doesn't matter for the problem described.  Both of them are capable to.)  

If I'm going to do it straight, I'll get all previous links unavailable, showing the main page of Posterous for all of them.  However, Posterous knows about other blogs linked to my account.  

And now let me make my idea straight.  Whenever my domain name is accessed, with the link which doesn't belong to Posterous, why wouldn't Posterous take all pages that cannot be accessed, and ping all of the blogs connected to my account?  See the example below: 

Connected to
Escape character is '^]'.
GET /watches-are-all-about-crowns HTTP/1.1

HTTP/1.1 404 Not Found
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
Cache-Control: no-cache, no-store, max-age=0, must-revalidate
Pragma: no-cache
Expires: Fri, 01 Jan 1990 00:00:00 GMT
Date: Tue, 01 Sep 2009 03:50:32 GMT
X-Content-Type-Options: nosniff
Content-Length: 3145
Server: GFE/2.0

Both Blogger & LiveJournal send 404 for the page that cannot be accessed (see example above and below).  That's pretty much enough for Posterous to get the idea and reiterate to the next blog.  

Connected to
Escape character is '^]'.
GET /watches-are-all-about-crowns HTTP/1.1

HTTP/1.0 404 Not Found
Date: Tue, 01 Sep 2009 03:52:56 GMT
Server: Apache
Set-Cookie: ljuniq=29DseGDlRGgAela:1251777176:pgstats0:m0; expires=Saturday, 31-Oct-2009 03:52:56 GMT;; path=/
Cache-Control: private, proxy-revalidate
ETag: "0822932ab1b464b3cab41b54693934ff"
Content-length: 1829
Keep-Alive: timeout=30, max=100
Connection: keep-alive
Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8
Content-Language: en

It looks like a very easy fix, that could be embedded into piece of code that is responsible for showing main page, when the page is not found.  However, such an easy solution would actually give a tool for many people to make Posterous there primary resource for blogging, leaving all other blogs still alive, but fading to the background.  

P.S. One more ouch!  I can't import my LiveJournal entries.  This sucks!  I'd love to.

Posted via email from opportunity__cost

Looking for a technical co-founder for a buddy!

I have one goal, one motive, and one ulterior motive in writing this post. My goal is to help my colleague and buddy, Justin Isaf, find a co-founder for his new web startup. My motivation for doing this is that Justin is a good guy and a passionate entrepreneur with an excellent idea and domain-specific expertise and I want to do him a solid. My ulterior motive is I want to use the service Justin is developing for my own company, and sooner rather than later!

My fellow colleague from both LA (even though I'm in SF now, this doesn't change anything) and TheFunded Founder Institute program is urging to help our other colleague from the FI to find a technical co-founder for his new Web startup.

Justin is incredibly smart, passionate and experienced guy in his space. If you're looking for the next big thing, ping either me or Mark back, and we'll get you in touch.

Posted via web from opportunity__cost

My post about watches and crowns

My post about watches and crowns is also available at and also

 They are basically links to the same post, but rendered in Posterous and Blogger. If I'll decide to change the platform from Blogger to Posterous, the permanent links to will be lost, which is sad. However, using the direct ones will help you to reach whatever you're looking for.

 P.S. It's sad the Posterous' search on the right column when asking for 'watches' doesn't show up anything. I have got a plenty of posts related to watches, both in subject and body of the posts. It is strange that you cannot find anything, guys.

Posted via email from opportunity__cost

How to get rid of T-Mobile. Free.

Tmobile will be raising overage rates September 1st, and customers can use it to cancel without early termination fee.

Well, big thanks to the smart guys at Consumerist pointing us to, those who are fed up with T-mobile, but stuck with long contract, can now use the changes in T-mobile policy and cancel without paying the cancellation fee or whatever else is involved.

Yep, you will have to fight for your rights. But this should not be surprising to you (if you have spent at least several years in US). Telecoms working with consumers love to give them a hard time and neglect their rights.

At least you have a possibility now.

P.S. I'm a T-mobile customer and okay with its service. I would say even more. I'm okay with the less service I'm getting from T-mobile in favor of not dealing with AT&T. ;)

Posted via web from opportunity__cost


Я программирую на Java и RoR, но я не программист.

Я профессиональный специалист в Scrum и PMP, но я не менеджер.

Кто я?

Мне кажется в этот момент уже не важно что делаешь, более важно что ты уже сделал

Posted via email from opportunity__cost

The story of MySpace

Going over the Stealing MySpace book. I had less time today for reading, however, I hope to gain later tonight. I still don't know what is the good number of pages I should keep reading not to weaken everything else.

 Anyway, speaking about the book. I almost half finished it. And now I know what makes the reading harder for me. Sometimes, it's just like a set of facts, arguments and thoughts about some particular problem or situation around MySpace's life. Sometimes it's so bad, that you're reading it and then asking yourself -- why the heck did I just read about?

  From the other side, the books is great insight into life of MySpace, and is a great demonstration of differences between IT business in LA and SF. Sometimes the difference is so real, so you think you can touch it.

 So far I can recommend this book a lot. While it's not something you will quote later (yeah, I think it's pretty unlikely), the author did a great job on getting deep into details of building, selling and running MySpace.

Posted via email from opportunity__cost

New Praesto Aviator

There are a great many variations on the WWII-inspired aviator's watch; today it's my pleasure to introduce a new company, Praesto. The name is from Latin, meaning "To be outstanding; to excel." Praesto (the company) is actually a new project from the people at the Giovino Watch Company, who have for years been making watches for other brands. Praesto is their chance to make their own watches, using the design skills of Russ Schwenkler.

With all of that as prelude, let's meet their first model, due to ship this fall, the "Modern Fliegeruhr - Aviator":

  • 316L stainless steel case, 44mm, bead-blasted finish, screw-down crown.
  • Waterproof to an unusual 200m (660ft)
  • Sapphire crystal
  • MDV super-bright lume from Lum-Tec
  • Decorated Miyota 8245 movement with offset subseconds
  • Three dial/case variations available (detailed below)
  • Preorder now for $365/$395, or 25% more when they ship in December.

Nice review on the new brand making aviator-inspired watches. However, while they definitely have got something in it (look at this picture -- it's just awesome), and can't fight the feeling there is something wrong with them, too. I should say the price is a little bit high, too. Other then that, could be a great addition to collection of pilot watches.

Posted via web from opportunity__cost

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Posterous gives us 1GB. But of what?

How much space do I get?

You get up to 1 GB of space for personal use. If you need more, tell us. Think of us as your Gmail account for online publishing -- post everything and don't worry about space. We'll be rolling out more space and unlimited premium accounts in the months ahead.

Well, while I was looking through features of Posterous, I've managed to find this piece about space provided.

What actually is it? What kind of space are they talking about? It seems to me the only thing I have is my blog posts, but no data storage is provided. Or do they have a place for data storage as well? I don't really get it.

Anyways, so far so good. I feel like I'm getting in love with this service. Almost sold to it.

Posted via web from opportunity__cost

Looking into Posterous

Hi everyone,

I'm looking into Posterous and the tight integration within their platform.  So far it looks pretty interesting and useful.  I probably will not be happy enough with rich emails composing from my, but we'll figure this out later.

I'll keep running my blog on for whatever it takes, and anyway Posterous known to be good at handling own domain name for blogs.  It will stay linked to Blogger yet.

They still miss comments integration with disqus, and I think they don't have a better way to work feedburner's feed, but it looks like they are moving forward in this direction, too.

So talk to you later.

Alexander Prohorenko |

Posted via email from iwhite's posterous

Some Ruby stuff

This morning I've got a questions from a friend and really couldn't give him a good answer. It's about a rather simple Ruby structure.

module Test
 def self.included(base)
  class << base
   def tester
    puts 'some message' + "\n"

class Test2
 include Test


Speaking about the following block:

 def self.included(base)
  class << base
   def tester
    puts 'some message' + "\n"

So what does really happen here? We're overriding the self.included which is called whenever Test module is included by other class or module (Test2) and Test2 is passed as the single argument to it.

Moving forward, whenever we're getting a callback to self.included, we're extending the class (Test2) with tester method which does something.

What I was wondering about is why tester is called there. Because if we miss including Test there we'll get NameError: undefined local variable or method `tester' for Test2:Class exception.

So basically, my real question is what make sense of using such a structure of the code? I bet the example I was given is not complete enough to understand this.

What do you think?

Did Twitter screw up something?

Well, promptly after writing a quick post on reading for GMAT, I mentioned that my blog miss something. My Twitter feed.

At the same time, though, my Twitter account actually works just fine. Hopefully, this is rather minor issue, although it looks like it stays for several minutes so far.

On the other note, what are you using for online annotating of screenshots, images and whatever note? I'm talking about all these fancy notes, comments, blocks, arrows -- I mean -- all the things you're using to communicate your visuals to somebody else?

I've tried PicBite, but actually didn't like it at all. The only thing it can do is this pretty silly rectangle with strange-direction pointing arrow, that I can't change, but can add a second one (or maybe third, and forth, and fifth...).

The good thing about it that it was easy to upload and it automatically advised to resize the image (good point!).

The bad thing (except that it doesn't do much), that it can't host the image to be shown, as well as doesn't give me a good way to download it and so on and so forth.

So what's your secret weapon in annotating things online?

Reading for GMAT

I definitely acknowledge that I need to read more to improve my verbal GMAT, in particular, the Reading Comprehension section.

I do have a long list of books to read. Typically, they are non-fiction books, business related or bios. My current one is Stealing MySpace. It's pretty entertaining I should say.

However, I normally cannot read more then 40-50 pages without being interrupted. With ~350 pages total, it will take me a week to get the book done and this is pretty poor progress. While such amount of reading is comfortable for me, I feel that I need to at least double it.

How much do you read?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Does this Mail2Blogger really work?

Wondering, how good is this Mail2Blogger feature in Blogger?  I might be wrong, but last time I've used it, it didn't know anything about bold typing, as well as had some formatting issues.

(Here is the picture.)

So if everything looks pretty much plain text to you, it is FAIL.  Well, otherwise, good job! and maybe I'll start using it now.

Crownless watches

Oops, every time when I'm thinking that I've found the most rare crown position, I'm about to discover one more pearl in the sand.

And today I'd like to tell you about crown-less watches. No, not like quartz ones without crown, but mechanical ones without crown. At all.

No crown. While it might be not so rare design approach nowadays -- frankly speaking I never looked into it -- it probably still pretty hard to spot around. A good and descriptive representative in this group would be a Hardwood watches, that started in early 1920's. They got rid of crown at all, using the kinetic energy of the wrist for winding and using a rotating bezel as a setting mechanism. I believe all of the Hardwood watches are using the same design principle, but I'd like mention the Hardwood Steel 516.10.11 here.

- Hardwood Steel

Hopefully, this one is not the end of my challenge, but just a start of hunting down the rare and unusual crown positions. :)

See the complete list of crowns on watches here in my blog.

Crowns and the power of community

Since I wrote the first blog post about crowns on watches, even despite on a very short period passed, I discovered many more different models of watches, that utilize the unusual position of a crown.

Community rocks.

Even my recent blog post about 8 o'clock watches, which I thought to be a "steal", can be appended today by one more sample.

8 o'clock.
One of the pretty mature examples is Citizen Promaster. I think there are several models featuring the 8 o'clock crown, but this particular one is NY0054-04EB and it's pretty inexpensive.

- Citizen Promaster

So as for now I pretty much nailed down my list to all positions, but 5 & 7 and 1 & 11. While I'm starting to think that there is a reason for that -- placing a crown there will disturb either side of the lug, so why bother? -- it makes my challenge even more exciting to hunt them down.

Stay with me. ;)

See the complete list of crowns on watches here in my blog.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Crown on 8 o'clock

I've got one more addition to my collection of crowns.

8 o'clock. The only one watch (I am aware about) that has a crown on 8 o'clock is Dievas Vortex and at the moment of writing this post it's only available for pre-orders. Looks like extremely rare position (I really never came around it until today), but is very cool.

- Dievas Vortex

See the complete list of crowns on watches here in my blog.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Crown on the back

Few more things to be added to my collection of crowns.

The crown on the back side of the watches. There are many samples in this category, however, the most of them, that I found, were vintage ones. Good examples are Jaeger LeCoultre (JLC) Futurematic and Bulova Accutron 214, both submitted to be by fellow WUS member SkooterNB. (Thanks!)

- JLC Futurematic

- Bulova Accutron 214

I remember seeing a great post or article about how these crowns are supposed to work, but I have problems finding it again. I'm going to look through my bookmarks and browsing history and put a link to it.

See the complete list of crowns on watches here in my blog.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Done with Kaplan's book!

Finally, I'm done with that one.

Pages 512 through 546 is a good cheat sheet you might one to examine and maybe memorize something.

Everything else is nothing you can benefit from. Frankly speaking, this book is no good. Don't buy it. And don't buy the next one, 2010 or whatever they call it. Publishers tend to be pretty easy on numbers, but bad on added value.

Two next books are official guides for quantitative and verbal sections. These two are pretty thin ones, and I'm going to give them an extra pressure.

Have more books to go anyways. Two EZ books on math, I'm also planning to read more and more, as well as acquiring Sentence Correction one from Manhattan GMAT. As I said, I'm going to read a lot. I believe that's the only practice I can get for verbal piece (other then SC).

Bear with me.

Crowns (cont'd)

It looks like my last post about watches and crowns created some resonance around.

I've started a similar topic on WUS and run a poll on it. By the way -- I love polls. That's a great tool to learn what people think even if they hate to comment.

Many good results came so far. First of all, the watches with crown on the back. These ones are going to be added shortly, as soon as I'll sort out my bookmarks or get some insights into such watches. From what I know, the back-crowned watches are mostly vintage ones.

The other thing. It looks like the most of people who commented the post do like 3 o'clock crowns. However, according to the poll, almost 50% of the people who answered, like the unusual positions of the crown. That's all an interesting stats that I think some watchmakers should take into consideration.

It'd be interesting how the poll develops. I try to keep an eye on it and crosspost the changes here.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Watches are all about crowns

This is going to be a long post. Be prepared...

As you probably already know, I have passion in watches. I like to wear them, collect them, read and talk about the them.

However, what you probably never knew, is that I'm finding a special beauty in the crown position on the watches.

Nowadays you can find watches with as much crowns as you wish. However, I'm more conservative on this matter. I prefer just one (and an extra rare case -- two crowns on Anonimo's Firenze Dual Time, but that's for reason), with maybe a few accompanying buttons. But it should be only one crown, and I prefer it to take the major positioning on watches.

So here comes my list of crown positions on watches. Ideally, it would be great if I can make this list the most complete one, so I'd keep this blog post updated whenever I'll get any more additions to it (also posted separately, so you don't have to look back all the time).

So here we go:

1 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

2 o'clock. Pretty unusual position. Several watches in this category, Vostok Kommandirskie (with several version like Paratrooper, Tank, etc), Guiliano Mazzuoli Manometro S, and of course I can't forget about Dino Zei San Marco one.

- Vostok Kommandirskie

- Guiliano Mazzuoli Manometro S

- Dino Zei San Marco

Of course, there are might be more watches in this group, however, I feel that they are pretty well represented here.

3 o'clock.
Well, the crown on 3 o'clock is no doubts the most popular position. The majority of watches have crown on the right side, right on the 3 o'clock. My collection of 6 watches has 5 watches with crown on 3 (at the moment of writing this).

The image is clickable in case you want to see more details.

4 o'clock. Anonimo is very rich on watches with crown on 4 o'clock. But the most I like Anonimo Professionale GMT. Other then that, there also plenty of other brands are putting crown on 4 o'clock, mostly for diving watches. To name a few Doxa Sub 250, Sinn 1U and many others.

- Anonimo Professionale GMT

- Doxa Sub 250

- Sinn U1

5 o'clock. I don't know any. Send it to me!

6 o'clock. Very rare position, Anonimo Militare and Firenze Dual Time (a little bit cheatish, as they have two crowns actually). Also, there is vintage Breitling Pult Bullhead dated 1970's that is a good sample.

- Anonimo Militare
- Anonimo Firenze Dual Time

- Breitling Pult Bullhead

7 o'clock.
I don't know any. Send it to me!

8 o'clock. Originally, I though this position to be almost impossible to find, however I was wrong. So far I discovered at least two different watches featuring crown on 8 o'clock. That first one that has a crown on 8 o'clock is Dievas Vortex and as of end of August 2009 it's only available for pre-orders. The other one is pretty mature Citizen Promaster. I think there are several models featuring the 8 o'clock crown, but this particular one is NY0054-04EB and it's pretty inexpensive. 8 o'clock still looks like extremely rare position, but is very cool.

- Dievas Vortex

- Citizen Promaster

9 o'clock. Pretty popular crown position for watches. Sometimes it's called left side crown.

I find it typically on watches to be worn on right hand or with a huge crowns. I've got one watch, Moscow Classic "Vodolaz" 3133/01461051, with crown on 9 o'clock.

- Moscow Classic "Vodolaz"

The image is clickable or you can see more photos of my Moscow Classic watches at my Flickr page.

You can easily found more cases of putting crown on the left side just by googling this.

10 o'clock. The few ones that I know so far is Giuliano Mazzuoli Manometro designed for left handed users, and Haffstreuner Blockade or very similar Rebosus RS002.

- Giuliano Mazzuoli Manometro

- Haffstreuner Blockade
- Rebosus RS002
11 o'clock. I don't know any. Send it to me!

12 o'clock. That's a pretty rare position, and I believe it to be one of the most beautiful. Well, the 6 o'clock one is also great though. I didn't see a lot of watches with 0 or 12 o'clock crown. Sometimes, people refer to them like crown on top or lugs-placed crowns. They are Anonimo Firenze Dual Time (not really, as they have two movements), one of the rarest Seiko Spring Drive Spacewalk, Bovet Sportster Saguaro (and many more Bovet models) and few fashion watches like Quicksilver ones.

- Anonimo Firenze Dual Time
- Seiko Spring Drive Spacewalk

- Quicksilver HEDI
- Bovet Sportster Saguaro

There is one more type of unusual crown positions here. While it doesn't fit the other positions well, it's still a great design approach worth mentioning.

The crown on the back side of the watches. There are many samples in this category, however, the most of them, that I found, were vintage ones. Good examples are Jaeger LeCoultre (JLC) Futurematic and Bulova Accutron 214, both submitted to be by fellow WUS member SkooterNB. (Thanks!)

- JLC Futurematic

- Bulova Accutron 214

I remember seeing a great post or article about how these crowns are supposed to work, but I have problems finding it again. I'm going to look through my bookmarks and browsing history and put a link to it.

One more rare design to mention is crown-less watches. No, not like quartz ones without crown, but mechanical ones without crown. At all.

No crown. While it might be not so rare design approach nowadays -- frankly speaking I never looked into it -- it probably still pretty hard to spot around. A good and descriptive representative in this group would be a Hardwood watches, that started in early 1920's. They got rid of crown at all, using the kinetic energy of the wrist for winding and using a rotating bezel as a setting mechanism. I believe all of the Hardwood watches are using the same design principle, but I'd like mention the Hardwood Steel 516.10.11 here.

- Hardwood Steel
Well, that's it. I'll do my best to keep this list up to date and once again, I'd greatly appreciate your help with nailing down rare crown positions. Or if you just know any gorgeous watches that you want me to mention, please also send it to me.

(I still don't know anything about watches with crown positions on 5, 7 and 11 o'clock.)


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

MySpace & iLike

I am always was interested where iLike is heading to actually.

Now I now. To MySpace.

First I met founders of iLike at the Startup School in 2007 at Stanford. That was my first time I was attending this very interesting YC event, driving there for a night from Southern California.

One of the best speeches there was given by Max Levchin. Frankly speaking, thanks to that event in Stanford, I was able to get in touch with Max later on and he gave me some advises on startup ideas, that I was working on those days. Thanks, Max.

Anyway, the first time I hear about iLike was there. It was one of the closing speeches and iLike was presented by its founders -- Ali and Hardi Portovi. I never knew anything about either guys or company before that event, however, I should say I wasn't active enough in startup scene to know them.

Recently after the event, I heard about iLike once again. It was associated with launch of Facebook's platform, which featured a very few applications, including iLike. And they ended up with too much traffic going back and forth, and they were spending countless hours trying to find somebody who can supply with with many-many servers, to handle all this traffic.

Well and basically that's all I know. I never heard (or didn't pay enough attention) to news associated with iLike, and I think they were not that impressive anyway. So everytime I was seeing iLike somewhere, I was questioning myself -- what is it all about?


Some more GMAT scores

While I didn't expect to, I was able to complete the verbal section of GMAT exam in about 60-70 minutes. I believe on exam you are given 75 minutes for 41 questions. So I was pretty much close, however, I'm not sure if it's okay for the exam -- the level of distraction and just emotional pressure is going to be higher.

The numbers were bad. While I'm hunting for low 700's for exam, I just scored low 600's now (according to Kaplan's spreadsheet). Once again, I missed the whole block of questions, consecutive, also in the middle of the test. I'm starting to think that it happens whenever I'm loosing the focus, but recover later on. I need to think more about that.

I'm afraid to think that I'll need more then a month to get my scores to a better level. I don't feel solid on some of the questions, and I know I need to do better. (Well, I'm almost sure I can.)

I found a lot of people struggling to improve by 100 points score with less then 4 weeks timeframe and fail. Well, some people still believe it's possible if you'll study 4-6 hours a day, but lets make it real -- it's not gonna happen even if you'll take a leave from a day job. You just can't do this unless you're going nuts about making 100 points improvement within such short period of time. (Besides, some people believe that all these "books" scores of 600+ can end up pretty close to 700 on a real exam and vice-verse. You never know.)

Anyway, I can't do 4 hours a day on GMAT. The best I can is 2-2.5 hours with an extra hour or 1.5 for reading books. I can't read too much fiction stuff that is recommended in GMAT Club forums, but I do love business books.

So this is my plan. And well, I'm not planning to schedule a test yet, so I don't have any time limits so far. Whenever I'll feel confident with verbal & quantitative parts, I want to write at least 15-20 essays on AWA (AI & AA). This will take me about a week or so. Only after that I'm going to run for the test.

On the other note, I really don't understand people who went to GMAT and got 720-740 and then still came back for a higher score (and often fail). While with the most schools you can suggest which score to consider, I really can't get the reasons -- why did you waste your time and hunt for something more then 720? GMAT is not the only, and, frankly speaking, not the most important piece. Whatever men.

Well, I guess that's all for now. Not much happening around there. I recently got Stealing MySpace book on my Kindle. I didn't have a chance to read it, but heard a lot of positive feedback about the book.

I'm almost there to close a deal with one of the gyms around (month to month, don't even dare to think I'm going to sign a contract :). I think it's going to be 24 hour fitness, even if I don't like it. We'll see.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Smashing Magazine

Немного старая новость, но взгляд упал на receipt от Smashing Magazine и решил написать.

Есть такой удивительно интересный ресурс как Smashing Magazine. Не будучи сам дизайнером, если бы точнее -- довольно далек от этого -- все равно мой интерес к UI и UX постоянно подпитываю вниманием к подобным ресурсам.

И вот, Smashing Magazine, решил издать первую книгу, я бы назвал ее более как сборник полезных правил при подходе к дизайну.

Книги самой пока нет, и ожидается в сентрябре, однако уже можно сейчас сделать pre-order заплатив на 20% дешевле ожидаемой цены тут.

Мне кажется это довольно небольшая цена за книгу с подобным наполнением.

Себе уже купил.

Poor scores and everything else

Well, I took my chance to complete the quantitative section of the sample exam section from Kaplan's book. Frankly speaking, I was planning to get at least low 80%'s, however, I failed, and got higher 50%s.

I just missed the huge block of consecutive questions. They don't look similar for me, but I missed literally all of them. Some of them are careless ones, but speaking about other ones I remember being rather confident about. They definitely weren't the fast-answer-ones, but I thought that I took my time and getting really close. I was pretty wrong.

Pages 438-442 are really interesting from the standpoint of calculating of your score and getting to idea what GMAT score does it relate to. While I understand that it's a rough estimation, at least it's something to operate, right?

According to that table, I can allow myself less then 10% of wrong answers in the verbal section still to get close to 700's score. I'm not sure I can make it, I think the best I can do is 20% of wrong ones, but still it's a good food for thoughts and work on my skills.

On the other note, I'm helping a friend of mine with her car over the last several days. It's about 7 years old and rarely driven, mostly on short distances, pretty well cared, with no too much enthusiasm about though. ;) But they don't drive too far, so they don't really need an everyday-ready-for-a-ride one.

As everybody knows already, shit happens. It happen the day when my friend planned a long run and something went just wrong. As we figured out it was a crankshaft sensor. And while this is not a complete failure, the car just goes into some kind of emergency loop and keep on low rpm's, but you can still drive at 70-80 mph on the freeway to get to the service.

Whatever, it happens Sunday evening. The craziest thing is that in the capital of California -- Sacramento -- in the country that has so many cars around -- there is no 24x7 car service to get the car fixed. You just supposed to stay until Monday, wait for the part to arrive (an extra 24 hours!), and then, maybe, get it fixed. That's a freaking startup idea here. Get those services, get a Web locator for them and you are a) saving money b) saving nervous system which goes nuts when something is wrong, but you have no idea what and what to do now.

I had many different cars in Ukraine. I think my youngest one was a brand new (pretty big failure ;), the oldest one was dated 1993 in 2004 I guess. Yes, 10-years-old cars can be a headache. However, the driving conditions were way different those days.

Here, in US, I had only two cars. One was 3 years old SUV, Mitsubishi Outlander, still on a dealership warranty for 2 or 3 years more (or 30K, whatever comes first), so I cared very little about it. My present one is 2 years old Toyota Prius, but I got it brand new, and it's covered for 7 years by manufacturer, unless I will keep my driving habits and keep increasing mileage up (I have a warranty cap at 100K miles).

Anyway, all I want to say that sometimes the car that is over 7 years old might be a more expensive investment, then getting a new one. Typically, I think that an average working family get allow themselves to get a new car every 5 years. Keep it less luxurious if it's too expensive, but get a new one.

A friend of mine has already wasted $1.2K for servicing her 7 years old car (damn, it doesn't sound old, does it?) and nobody knows what's coming next. And this could be money for a down payment for a new car.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Word Problems

Starting from page 345 I got into Strategies and Practices part of the book, with the opening Chapter 10 of Word Problems. The first few blocks didn't impress me. Some silly principles described in writing -- it's more like something that every person should understand himself, but not learn about.

The picking numbers principles is useful, however, I found it pretty inappropriate for examples shown there -- they can be easier solved with plain math (0.8 * 1.3 -- is it something that is hard to calculate?).

Kaplan's 3 step method for word problems in data sufficiency questions looks absurd to me. Totally.

The Chapter 10 is over now with nothing useful taken. (Read: don't buy this book.)

The Chapter 11 is AWA. While they articulate that you need to learn how to type quickly, I'd be much happier if they would tell me "how quickly"? I'm pretty comfortable with keyboard, but I know people who go way crazier in typing.

Page 364 says that the length of essay is not a factor. However, I remember references to the fact, that the length of essay still rather important thing.

As always, a point of using transitional phrases, like first, therefore, since and for example.

As always, examples in this book really suck. The Analysis if an Issue one starts like they are going to tell me the process of writing an essay step by step (which is good, by the way), but suddenly they just come up with something that my essay might look like with a whole essay text shown.

The book says I should avoid opening sentences with there is or there are. I should mention I'm doing this quite often. ;) I also should not refer to myself needlessly. (Is this a really weak point?)

In Chapter 12, which is about taking control of the test, the authors raise the question of importance of answering the first questions correctly ..."on the GMAT, if you can get the first 10 questions right, you can get lots of later questions wrong and still score get a high percentile score". I believe this is one of the most arguable point of view about the GMAT. However, I don't know who's right here.

What I really like in the book is page 392. It's a sample GMAT practice test answer sheet, which you can scan and print in many copies for your own test process. It looks pretty nice, except I would prefer to see in a few different layouts, the one which is shown is very tied to original exam format, while I normally take about 40-50 questions per session, grouped by sections and the type of the questions, rarely mixed.

Page 400 opens up a full-length practice test. I run just through 25 questions of quantitative part. Hopefully will finish the rest later tonight or the first tomorrow morning. Wondering about the score.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Status update

Completed the Data Sufficiency section in the morning. Didn't actually do much. It looks like I lost some traction and need to get back on course.

Three days in gym so far. The only good thing is it's very close. I can put shorts and t-shirt, jump into the car or (better, but tougher) take a quick walk to it. Actually, 0.4 miles away and it's 8 minutes walk according to Google. Basically, that's the only good thing about it. ;)

Found a nice watches that I'm failing to identify. Here they are. Looks like german and a little bit steampunkish, but nice.

Today is a pretty warm day. It's about 85+ here in SF corridor to the Valley. I guess the temperature goes way up if you'll got south.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


I just got back from my first day (of the 14 days free trial) at 24 hour fitness in Millbrae. Yes, the one which is Super Sport.

Likely, I wasn't given a hard time by the sales guy (actually, sales gal), but it doesn't change much. Whatever happens, I'm not going to waste fifty something a month for the gym which is one third of LA Fitness in Pasadena.

I can get the same shit at any regular 24 hour fitness gym (Daly City, San Mateo or Pacifica's one), paying as little as $10-20/month. Yes, the regular gyms are about 5 miles away from my place, while this one is just a mile or even less. This doesn't change anything.

The gym is fine, but crowded. About 80-90% of it was taken. Well, yeah, I know the timing wasn't good -- I've got there around 6pm and stayed for an hour - an hour and a half. However, still not nice to see in the gym you're paying high fifty for.

The equipment is good enough, pretty new (I believe two to three years old), about one fifth of cardio machines have got private small LCD TVs with just 5 or 6 channels on: news, sports, new, sport and I guess some entertainment channel, which had some prank show on it. Good enough, but that's it.

I did only cardio today -- haven't been in gym for a while so don't want to wake up tomorrow totally broken. Usually I have about 30 minutes on cardio, and about 30 minutes with 4-5 machines and free weights, closing with 15 minutes on light cardio. (Yes, I'm loosing weight.)

Normally, if I will keep and intensive schedule, I can get 20 pounds less in about 2-3 months. That's my plan for today.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Data Sufficiency

It looks like I'm opening a new chapter from the Kaplan's book and gain the same (or higher) level of frustration almost right away. It happens with the Data Sufficiency chapter as well.

Four to five pages about nothing. Some points that they put a stress on which lead to nothing meaningful. More like: know the topics and think sufficiently. Damn, that's funny.

Very often I saw the AD-BCE combo for DS questions (in different books). Kaplan's editors decided to go further and changed it to ABD-CE. What a heck? But I need to make it clear -- in sample questions and answers later on they've used the AD-BCE approach also.

Once again I'm confused by the example of guessing in DS problems. While definitely, this is something I'm going to do whenever I'll stuck, the sample question could be solved with two or three math equations with no guessing at all.

I would prefer to see more small, but useful tips & tricks to be remembered as x^2 - y^2 then x != y (sorry for a little bit programmish style), m^3 is even (or odd) when m is even (or odd), square root of m is even, then m is even, and so on.

I could not complete the 50 questions quiz tonight, as I'm a little bit pressed in time -- need to complete the memcache part of the code for one of the projects, as well as prepare a little bit for upcoming session at Founder Insitute on selecting key vendors for your company.

My experience is pretty poor on this topic, however, I believe it's pretty sufficient for the needs of small company. Definitely gotta learn more to run something bigger then 20-30 people's one. Hopefully, today is the day to learn the missing points.

I've completed the 40 questions (10 missed), but with so disgusting score, that I would not do anything anymore in a hurry. Too many careless errors, however, with an a lot of concept errors, too.

On the other note, just upgraded Firefox on my Macbook Pro. Wondering why it provided me with numerous 3.0.x updates, when 3.5.x was available for a while?

So I downloaded it manually and installed over. So far so good, feels faster and nicer, however, interesting how much time will it take to fuck up the whole thing again? ;) (My previous FF 3.0.x was freaking slow, but I didn't want to rebuild the profile.)

I also try to download Arthur Hailey's The Moneychangers to my Kindle. Even that it's written in 1975, I've been told that it reads pretty well for 2009. I'm going to give it a try. It's not available in native Kindle format, so I'm hunting the sites for either plain text, PDFs or DOC or whatever they have available. I've got a few downloaded copies with a pretty broken lineage, so I need a better one. However, after half an hour of looking for the good copy, I didn't find any. It looks like all of them are the same one. So I decided to get the audio book of it, to use in the gym.

Monday, August 3, 2009

New names for common things

Okay, so now the Problem Solving chapter at Kaplan's wastebook. Once again, not impressed.

Picking Numbers -- while there is no doubt substituting numbers is a useful technique on GMAT exam, why does every single book published get its own name for it? This drives me mad.

In four examples on using Picking Numbers, I found only two of them (50% if you wish :) appropriate for that technique. I was able to quickly solve the other two with tricking and substituting numbers, but with plain old math.

Backsolving -- I don't know how trustful is that, but sounds intriguing. If it works, I guess this is the first valuable tip so far from this book. Unfortunately, out of 2 examples, I should say only one was appropriate choice. (Still 50% :) The other one could be easily be solved with just "thinking in numbers". Very easy. I'll try Backsolving on some real questions though -- interesting to see how good is that in real life.

Guessing. Damn, while I will guess if I'm stuck -- and this is pretty intuitive -- I would prefer to see some really hardcore question as an example for that, instead of simple proportion of alcohol & water question. What can stuck you there?? The only thing is well stated was Don't guess blindly. I second that.

Basically, that's all you can get from this chapter. Nothing more. You need a separate book to "wake up" your math knowledge. This is one does not give you anything.

I've run the sample 50 questions quiz, scored about 86% correct, I think I will do better with a few tries more and reading the correct answers (which suck by the way! in Kaplan's book). Had a few guesses though (wrong ones :), so need some more concepts to work one.

Next one is Data Sufficiency and I already waiting for the clueless theory part with moderate level of questions coming after it. Good practice anyway, but don't buy, if you ask.

On the other note, I won one of the free tickets to TechCrunch50 2009 that will take place on September 14-15th 2009. I mean, I didn't really get it in my hands, yet, but I don't think that there are any doubts after the confirmation. :)

I don't think I will be make it on Tuesday (and if so, I'll have to leave early, and maybe back afternoon), but I'll be there for Monday. And I would be happy to meet all of you, who're also coming, have some beer or whatever they serve. (Yes, I'm a beer-man.)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Reading Comprehension

Done with the set of 50 questions quiz on Reading Comprehension.

The questions are okay. I tried to keep 80-90% success rate over the track, however, the uncomfortable place which I used to work at added some discomfort and I missed the set of several questions in the end, getting down to ~75% of correct answers.

I still don't know how will this adjust to a real score. My originally idea was that scoring 65%+ on both verbal and math can be matched to high 600's or low 700's. Never got any confirmation for that, yet. ;)

Overall RC questions come easy when they're talking about something you can absorb (say, business topics), and come pretty bad when they're up to bacterias, molecules or other shit. (I never liked chemistry in school.)

So well, half of the book is done, but I still kind of miss the feeling of learning something new. Just 150 sample questions and that's it. The next part is math, but it feels like it's not going to be any better.

Now off-topic note. I can't stop wondering how low can be the price of vacation booked some time in advance.

The moderate room at South Lake Tahoe, CA in the middle of August could be booked for less then $145/5 weekdays, very close to the lake, cable TV & Internet, microwave & fridge, air conditioning, with pool & SPA on-site and continental breakfast included. Damn, that's hot. The room is good for 2 adults, sharing one king bed. If you're lucky, you might find a deal for two queen size beds for the same price (or close).

To compare, I recently talked to a friend of mine in Ukraine, who was struggling to book a "room" in Crimea (on Azov sea). The owners charged him ~$12/day per person, and the "room" is to be shared between 2 adults, more like a big-box-type-of-container, featuring nothing but two full-sized beds and few steps between them to "get up and out". The luckiest ones will get a fan in the room.


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Kaplan's SC & few things more

I'm not going top write a lot, but a quick note -- I've just complete a quick quiz from Kaplan's book on Sentence Correction (50 questions).

My results were rather poor this time -- about 70% correct still. While I didn't improve my concentration issue, I also found myself having weak skills in this section (even when sometimes it seems easier).

Most of the time the questions were okay, but I didn't really like the explanations (too much and broad words, too little samples) and I found those explanations to work very bad for non-native English speaker like I am.

I think I have to agree with many other reviewers who said that verbal piece is very poor in Kaplan's book. I still have to see the math one.

On the other note, I have printed a 14 days free coupon for 24 hour fitness gym, so I'm planning to activate it within next few days and get back my everyday gym habit.

I've also spent some time looking around gyms nearby, that actually suck big times here, in Northern California. I keep remembering my bad and ugly LA Fitness gym in Pasadena, which charged me twenty something a month with no contract, had three levels of gym machines, sauna, steaming room and few more gyms in driving distance (~5-10 miles) with pool, basketball court, racket ball (wrong spelling?) rooms and few more bonuses on the top.

While I thought LA Fitness to be rather moderate gym, here, in Northern California, it would be cream on the top of all. Unfortunately, LA Fitness has no network in this part of California.

I looked at Bally's, Fitness 19, 24 hour Fitness, Equinox, local YMCA and few more. Ugh, didn't like anything (or didn't get a match price-wise ;).

However, have to choose, so the cheapest solution is getting a prepaid certificate for 24 hour fitness. It's still about 5-6 miles away from my place, and while there is one close by, but it's a Super-Sport one. This actually one more ugly thing about gyms here. This is one level several years old and absolutely unremarkable gym with no pool and very poor amenities is charging fifty something per month, while regular one can be bought for twenty something (and I'm not talking about Costco's certificates out there!).

Whatever, we'll see what I'll end up with. :)

Tomorrow is Reading Comprehension section.