Thursday, October 21, 2010

Free AWS For 1 Year

AWS Free Usage Tier (Per Month):
  • 750 hours of Amazon EC2 Linux Micro Instance usage (613 MB of memory and 32-bit and 64-bit platform support) – enough hours to run continuously each month*
  • 750 hours of an Elastic Load Balancer plus 15 GB data processing*
  • 10 GB of Amazon Elastic Block Storage, plus 1 million I/Os, 1 GB of snapshot storage, 10,000 snapshot Get Requests and 1,000 snapshot Put Requests*
  • 5 GB of Amazon S3 storage, 20,000 Get Requests, and 2,000 Put Requests*
  • 30 GB per of internet data transfer (15 GB of data transfer “in” and 15 GB of data transfer “out” across all services except Amazon CloudFront)*
  • 25 Amazon SimpleDB Machine Hours and 1 GB of Storage**
  • 100,000 Requests of Amazon Simple Queue Service**
  • 100,000 Requests, 100,000 HTTP notifications and 1,000 email notifications for Amazon Simple Notification Service**

In addition to these services, the AWS Management Console is available at no charge to help you build and manage your application on AWS.

Amazon is giving away the small Linux instances for free starting the 1st of November for 1 year. Sounds like a decent bait for developers.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Steve Jobs - VP, New Product Development

Thirty+ year old business card of Steve Jobs, as Apple Vice President of New Product Development.

Steve Jobs Business Card, Apple Computers circa 1979

Nice. I wasn't even born, yet.

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2 Tools I Enjoy Making Wireframes

After dozens of wireframed projects I found myself using only 2 tools, that I would like to share with you.

Tool number 1: Pencil Project

The only one reason why I put it as number 1, because it is free. Being free is a powerful argument, sometimes a deal breaker.

There are many people who complain about it, but it worked fine for me for a while. Yes, it is buggy, sometimes crashes (never lost any data though) and is not the nicest looking thing out there, but it does its job well. Pencil doesn’t have a native wrapper for Mac, yet, and you have to open it from the Firefox (which I am not using at all).

Tool number 2: Balsamiq Mockups

Well, they don’t deserve to my number 2, actually, because they are almost perfect. I hate Adobe Air wrap-up though, but it’s manageable. Everything else makes it an absolute winner. You will never buy anything better for $79, speaking about mockup editors and wireframing tools. (People who know me, know that I am really conservative about spending money for software, and I am very picky about whom to pay.)

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Jailbreaking Kindle

* Jailbreak

Download the attached file, and unpack it. In here, you'll find a bunch of .bin files, and a src directory.
Leave the directory alone, and upload the correct update_*_install.bin file for your kindle to the root directory of your Kindle.
(As always, k2 means K2 US, k2i means K2 GW, dx means KDX US, dxi means KDX GW, dxg means KDX Graphite, k3g means K3 3G (US [B006]), k3w means K3 WiFi [B008] and k3gb means K3 3G (UK [B00A]).
For a Kindle 2 International, that would be update_jailbreak_k2i_install.bin for example.

Now, eject your Kindle, and go to [HOME] -> [MENU] > Settings -> [MENU] > Update Your Kindle. It should be quick, and it should FAIL (With a U004 error on fw 3.x or with a U006 error on fw 2.x, in the bottom left corner of the screen). It's completely normal, intended, and harmless.

And that's it, your Kindle is now ready to install custom hacks!

* ScreenSavers

Download the attached file, and unpack it. In here, you'll find a bunch of .bin files, and a src directory.

First, upload the correct update_*_install.bin file for your kindle to the root directory of your Kindle.
For a Kindle 2 International, that would be update_ss_0.15.N_k2i_install.bin for example.

Now, eject your Kindle, and go to [HOME] -> [MENU] > Settings -> [MENU] > Update Your Kindle. It should take a couple dozen of seconds.

You shouldn't even need to do a full restart after that .

To change your custom screensavers, plug your Kindle to your computer via USB, and upload them to the linkss/screensavers folder that has been created by the hack. You'll have to restart your Kindle in order to take your new screensavers into account. To that effect, you can either use the autoreboot feature, or simply do a full restart of your Kindle.

To use the autoreboot feature: Just drop a blank file named reboot in the linkss folder (by copying and renaming the already existing "autoreboot" blank file, for example) (or in the linkfonts folder if you also have the fonts hack installed!), and your Kindle will do a quick reboot 10s after you've unplugged it!

If you want to randomize the sequence in which your screensavers will be shown, create a blank file named random in the linkss folder (right alongside the "auto" file), and then do a full restart of your Kindle! This will shuffle your screensavers around on each boot.

* Fonts

Download the attached file, and unpack it. In here, you'll find a bunch of .bin files, and a src directory.
NOTE: Since v3.9.N, this package has been split in two (solely because we were over the attachment size limit ).
The K2, K2I, DX, DXI and DXG packages are in the archive, and the K3G, K3W and K3GB packages are in the archive.

First, upload the correct update_*_install.bin file for your kindle to the root directory of your Kindle.
For a Kindle 2 International, that would be update_fonts_3.9.N_k2i_install.bin for example.

Now, eject your Kindle, and go to [HOME] -> [MENU] > Settings -> [MENU] > Update Your Kindle. It should take a few dozen of seconds. If you're on FW 3.x, and this is your first install, it may seem to hang for about a minute or two on the "Update successful, Your Kindle is restarting..." screen, that's okay.

You shouldn't even need to do a full restart after that .

If you want to change the fonts used by the hack, you'll have to upload them in the linkfonts/fonts directory, strictly following the usual naming scheme. (Type_Style.ttf) (for details on where each font is used, please see this post). The default fonts installed by the hack are the usual non-cjk unicode fonts (Droid Sans, Droid Serif & DejaVu Sans Mono), with the addition of the CJK-aware Droid Fallback if you're on FW 3.x. You'll find a bunch of other prepackaged, ready to use, font sets here, and in the next few replies:

* > Same as the default, only use Droid Sans instead of Droid Serif.

You'll have to restart your Kindle in order to properly take your new fonts into account.

By default, the autoreboot feature is enabled. If you wish to make use of it, don't forget to drop a blank file named reboot in the linkfonts folder (right alongside the "autoreboot" file, by copying and renaming it, for example). When that file is present, your Kindle should automatically do a quick reboot 10s after you've unplugged it.

FW 3.x: If you chose to handle the browser fonts, this will add a considerable overhead to this process (We need to regenerate FontConfig's config & cache). That can take more than a couple of minutes! It'll happen each time you update your fonts, either during the framework startup if you did a full restart, or before the framework restart when using the autoreboot feature!. So, if you're switching fonts on a K3, and you have enabled the browser fonts handling (more on that later), and you use the autoreboot feature, don't be surprised if it takes considerably more than 10s before the framework restarts!

Another thing to take into account with the FW 3.x is that the settings of the rendering engine have changed a bit. It now makes use of the TrueType bytecode hinting instructions of your fonts, and uses them to hint at the most aggressive level. (In terms of FT/FC settings: hinting=true, hintstyle=hintfull, autohint=false). What this means is that fonts without hinting instructions (or with crappy code) will look considerably fuzzier than they did before. It's especially noticeable at small sizes, and in the browser.

If you really want to be able to tweak the browser fonts, and don't care about the overhead involved, just remove the nobrowser file in the linkfonts folder, and Restart your Kindle, and wait. A lot. NOTE: Because regenerating the cache takes so much time, we won't try to handle the browser fonts by default, in order not to waste 5 minutes each font switch.

There's also two new custom fonts used for rendering non-latin scripts. CJK.ttf, like the name implies, is used to render Chinese/Japanese/Korean scripts. After that, there's I18N.ttf, which is used as a fallback. By default, the hack uses the DejaVu Sans font. While it's far more pretty than the vanilla fallback font usually used (code2000), it does seem to support a lot less different types of scripts. Long story short, if you have weird non-latin rendering issues, those are the two fonts you should look at .

If you don't use the autoreboot feature (for exemple if you removed the autoreboot file in the linkfonts folder), you'll have to do at least a framework restart each time you change the fonts. If you have no means of doing a framework restart (ie. via usbnetwork), you'll have to do a full restart via the Settings menu, or by holding the power switch for ~15 seconds). Do note that the autoreboot & Restart methods are both way cleaner (and possibly safer) than the physical hard-reboot (which basically just plugs the battery off for a little while, which explains why your Kindle needs to be unplugged from any power source for this to work).

/!\ Be careful, if you miss a font, the hack won't be applied, so you shouldn't have any problem, but if for some reason, the Kindle software doesn't like one of your custom font, they'll be garbled, or invisible. Also, it may prevent you from actually _seeing_ the Settings page to do the restart. (And actually reading any books, also.) If that happens to you, try one of the three methods described earlier to reboot your Kindle. If you want to avoid this kind of issue, use the autoreboot feature Also, don't remove the other fonts found in the linkfonts/fonts folder. We need them, and the hack won't be applied if they're missing.

FW 3.x: Apparently, even when using the autoreboot feature, some of you are still encountering some of these weird issues (on FW 3.x only!). To workaround this, I have packaged some of these fonts as an update file. Check this post for more details.

If you have some trouble with by briefs instructions, the MR wiki has been updated (with some screenshots):
Fonts Hack:
SS Hack:

NogDog also wrote several blog posts about these hacks (also with screenshots):
Fonts Hack:
SS Hack:

Some people reported losing their collections when installing these hacks... It shouldn't happen, but apparently it's a bug in the vanilla 2.5 firmware, so make sure you do a Whispernet Sync and/or that you make a backup of your system/collections.json file before doing anything .

Don't try to force a custom update by rebooting your Kindle. You should *always* install custom hacks via the Settings page. If the 'Update Your Kindle' link is greyed out, it's because you uploaded the wrong binfile for your device. Don't try to force an install by rebooting. It'll, at best, fail, and at worst, force you to start your Kindle in recovery mode to delete the offending update.

Also note that, while there is a zipfile for the usbnetwok hack attached here, I won't provide any support for it, and I strongly discourage anyone not well versed in bare-bone Linux CLI system administration to even try it. It's far too easy to brick your device/mess up the software with that thing.

It might be an old news, but I recently came by this guide to jailbreaking your Kindle. Normally, you do not need that, as far as I remember, the majority of hacks already embedded with jailbreak, but if you want - you can have it.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Posterous' Analytics is Broken

I was going through the Posterous management dashboard to review some of available functionality (which is, in fact, was not there, but that's a different story) and I got shocked by a number of pageviews of one of my posts.

My post was viewed 40K times.  40 thousand pageviews.  I was, like... I knew I can come up with a couple of interesting things, but... am I that popular?!

Not so fast.  The first time I got upset was when I saw that somehow and suddenly I became 10 times less popular.  See 4,044 vs 42,010.  Oh, this hurts and you are starting to nervously think whom did you call a douche bag or an asshole...

The second time was when I saw my Google Analytics stats.

It was a complete disaster. 2 pageviews versus 42,010.   This is a quite a difference.

Now back to the real world.  Of course I would never believe that I could have 40K eyeballs on that post.  So seeing so many pageviews has pretty much the only one explanation - these are internal or automatic pings or whatever you call them, could be probably done by a caching server or any internal process that I don't even have an idea about.  There are only two things about that: bad and bad.  The bad thing is that a post, that generates 2 real pageviews, probably should be never accessed 40 thousand times by any number of internal processes.  And the bad thing is that such statistics can piss me off, if I'd at any second believe it is real.  

Hopefully the guys at Posterous will fix that as soon as possible.


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Do Not Piss Off Your Customers

The Chargify Twitter account has been responding to complaints all day, and the change has sparked a popular thread on Hacker News. Chargify has responded to the negative feedback by announcing the addition of a ‘Bootstrapping’ plan, which runs $39/month for up to 100 customers and will only be available to Chargify users who signed up before today. But anyone relying on a free plan is out of luck, and it’s not trivial to make the jump from one payment system to another.


Chargify isn’t the only company in this space that’s had to change its pricing model. In March Recurly, which launched with pricing based on per-transaction fees rather than a monthly rate, moved to a flat-rate model. And, as you’d expect, some of its customers weren’t pleased.

My take on this is simple. You should keep your customers happy. You should find the right words or right customers, either one is okay. However, do not take an existing mass and throw it against the wall.

In this specific case, they had to run a long enough campaign to keep early adopters happy, and make the transition smooth. If the new customers who are unhappy but never bothered to take any steps during that campaign to secure their discount or free spot - well, shit happens, move on - however, do not screw up legitimate and loyal users ever.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

FeeFighters Tell All About Credit Card Processing

I have never tried them before, but FeeFighters sound like a good idea to lower your credit card transaction losses.

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Startup Marketing Ideas

Without a powerful narrative, your chances of getting big press and enthusiastic users who spread the word for you approach zero as a limit.

It took me years to figure this out at Smart Bear. At first when someone asked what the Smart Bear tool suite was, I would say:

Smart Bear makes data-mining tools for version control systems.

It's a description so esoteric that, although accurate, not even a hardcore geek would have any idea what it is, much less why it's useful.

Years later, when it was clear that code review software became our sole focus, I got better at describing it:

You know how Word has "track changes" where you can make modifications and comments and show them to someone else? We do that for software developers, integrating with their tools instead of Word and working within their standard practices.

Better, yes, and for a while I thought I nailed it, but still no press. Eventually (thanks to helpful journalists) I realized that I was still just describing what it is rather than why anyone cares. I left it up to the reader to figure out why she should get excited.

Eventually I developed stories like the following, each tuned to a certain category of listener. Here's the one for the journalists:

It's always fun to tell a journalist like you that we enable software developers to review each other's code because your reaction is always: "Wait a minute, you're seriously telling me they don't do this already?" The idea of editing and review is so embedded in your industry you can't imagine life without it, and you're right! You know better than anyone how another set of eyeballs finds important problems.

Of course two heads are better than one, but developers traditionally work in isolation, mainly because there's a dearth of tools which help teams bridge the social gap of an ocean, integrate with incumbent tools, and are lightweight enough to still be fun and relevant.

That's what we do: Bring the benefits of peer review to software development.

Now the reason for excitement is clear: We're transforming how software is created, applying the age-old techniques of peer review to an industry that needs it but where it's traditionally too hard to do. That's a story.

It took me five years to figure out (a) I needed a story and (b) what the story was. It's hard. But one story beats a pile of AdWords A/B tests.

I am not sure why Jason calls those ideas "unusual", although I can not disagree on his other point that there are some many entrepreneurs are try to pitch the common path as something unique, as it is not even funny anymore.

I really liked this story of transformation. You can not get enough of these and they are always great to read. I still remember ours "Social profile synchronization tool" from Atomkeep, which, frankly speaking, has never got transformed (and I'll pass on sharing its variations :) but it was always amazing to see how people react to this: some grap the idea immediately, other understand the words, but get completely messed up with the meaning.

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Customer Discovery - Lean Startup Dojo (San Francisco, CA)

The Lean Startup Dojo is a weekly class focused on mastering the skills that you need to successfully build a Lean Startup.

Your startup won't succeed unless you have a deep understanding of your customers and the problem that you are trying to solve for them. Customer Discovery is the process that Lean Startups use to create this understanding. In this class, you will learn how to:

- find your first customers
- convince them to be interviewed by you
- determine if they'll buy your product
- get referrals to other customers

The Lean Startup Dojo places a strong emphasis on creativity and critical thinking. You will generate multiple approaches to solve each problem that your startup will face while executing Customer Discovery. The instructors and other attendees will assist you in analyzing each solution you propose through the lens of the Lean Startup philosophy. When you leave the class, you'll have a wealth of ideas that you can put to use in your startup.

This class will be taught by Rich Collins under the guidance of Eric Ries.

The cost is $100 per class.

Seriously. This is the best bargain you can get. This class is so under-priced, it will address the skills that you need to get out and talk to customers, includes but not limited to: finding your first customers, convincing them to be interviewed by you, determining if they'll buy your product and getting referrals to other customers. The class is kept to under 10 people, so it will target your own problems.

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Do Not Pretend That You Are Rich

  • 86% of all luxury vehicles are driven by people who are not millionaires.

  • $16 what most millionaires pay for a haircut (including tip)
  • There are many words to describe how so many people end up in financial trouble, but one stands out.


    My haircut is a lil' bit more expensive, and probably this is what keeps me from being a millionaire. ;)

    # Posted via email from opportunity__cost

    Sunday, October 10, 2010

    Update iPhone 4.1 Jailbreakable & Unlockable


    How to Update iPhone 4 to iOS 4.1 Without Updating Baseband 1.59.00

    Step 1

    Step 2

    • Run TinyUmbrella
      ***READ THE README TinyUmbrella README NOW Yes. You Read it.
    • Hit the Start TSS Server button

    Step 3

    • Now open the iTunes. Hold down the SHIFT (Windows) or Alt/Option (Mac) key and hit the Restore button on iTunes.
    • Then browse and select your downloaded iOS 4.1 firmware

    Step 4

    • Let iTunes error with 1004 error (baseband update failed – we want this :) )

    • No simply hit the Kick Device Out of Recovery button on TinyUmbrella.

    That’s it. You have successfully updated iPhone 4 to 4.1 with 1.59.00 baseband.

    This is something I am going to try with either limera1n or greenpois0n Why? Because I want to be able to finally call my friends' iPods with FaceTime by email. :) I want to keep my unlock with ultrasn0w

    P.S. Fresh update - you can not do limera1n with ultrasn0w, so do either greenpois0n, which might also be not an option, if they incorporate limera1n's exploit, or DevTeam suggests to wait PwnageTool>

    # Posted via email from opportunity__cost

    Friday, October 8, 2010

    Groupon Going Wild

    $35 for a 60-Minute Acupuncture and Massage Treatment at Elements Total Health Center in South Pasadena ($85 Value)

    Sounds like a heaven, right? One of the best rated massage salons ( in my area and $35 bucks sounds like a steal. What am I thinking of?! Buy!!

    Lets do a quick calculus first. Still 2 hours left and there already 650 groupons are sold. Each of them is for exactly 1 hour treatment. Salon works for 61 hours a week. So they have at least one person who is already booked for more than 10 weeks in a row. And this person will get paid not more than $17.50/hour (as Groupon typically takes half of the deal). We are talking about quite an upscale salon ($85/hour is a regular rate, salon is well respected, so my wild guess would be that workers are paid fair enough). Of course, not everybody will come. I think 1/3rd will never bother. But we are still talking about 2 freaking months with 61 hours per week for some poor guy to be paid $17.50/month (and this offer is very generous - I'm assuming that the owner will cover all the maintenance loss out of his own pocket, as he wants to bring more clients - or am I fooling myself?)

    So what do you think? Can you enjoy this offer in full or there is some major trap around (and it does not seem to matter much are you being trapped or the vendor)? Someone is getting royally screwed up.

    # Posted via email from opportunity__cost

    Thursday, October 7, 2010

    Bootstrapped, Profitable, & Proud: Envato

    I think it’s interesting that we started with absolutely zero business experience. Three of us were designers, and my big brother was a physicist. This was good because we weren’t risk-averse, we didn’t really know just how much work we were in for, and sometimes we did things that someone with more experience simply might not have thought of doing. On the other hand it wasn’t so good when it came to building strong foundations for the company. Consequently over the course of Envato’s life, we’ve spent a considerable amount of time going back and laying better foundations for things which we simply didn’t know about. If we ever start another company in the future, we’ll know all about how to set it up right to begin with, but on the other hand I’m sure we’ll be a lot more wary of risk.

    Such down to grounds idea, such a late time and such a success. Thumbs up!

    # Posted via email from opportunity__cost

    Two Impacts of A/B Testing On Your SEO Efforts

    ...two major concerns:

    • Content Cloaking: the act of showing different content to search engine bots and actual human visitors. A/B testing software (such as Visual Website Optimizer) swap content on the page using JavaScript, so some users see different content (of variations) and bots see original page only.
    • Duplicate Content: the act of copying content from elsewhere and hosting it on your site. Search engines penalize for such stealing of content because you cannot expect to rank on keywords for the content that isn’t yours. Again, many A/B and multivariate testing software (including VWO) have an option where you can redirect site traffic to different variations of a page which raises this concern.

    Properly done A/B and multivariate testing do not ruin your SEO investments. I have done numerous tests like that and analytics from search engines never pissed me off afterwards. (Triple knock on the wood though. Never say never. :)

    # Posted via email from opportunity__cost

    Do You Want To Test Your Idea?

    While there are plenty of places where you can "test your idea", I have recently came by the few of them:

    1. startupSQUARE
    2. Reincarnation of LazyWeb
    3. LoveMyIdea

    If you know something else that also works, I'd love to hear about them.

    P.S. Neither one of these worked for me. :)

    # Posted via email from opportunity__cost

    Getting Bumbed From A Flight

    Getting bumped from a flight could be either a blessing or a curse. Here's how to make the most of getting bumped, whether it's voluntary or not.

    I have never been bumped from a flight, but frankly speaking I don't flight that much. Odds are small indeed, however, the most people whom I know and who got bumped are not frequent flyers either. And the biggest score was the free upgrade to business class for a 3 hours flight for giving up a whole day in airport (good for my friend, he was local, so he just returned back home). Good to know anyway.

    # Posted via email from opportunity__cost

    Practice Your Elevator Pitch

    Link to a video quote
    To start, select some text from the transcript

    The transcript for this video is loading.

    # Posted via email from opportunity__cost

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010

    Where to See Silicon Valley

    Silicon Valley proper is mostly suburban sprawl. At first glance it doesn't seem there's anything to see. It's not the sort of place that has conspicuous monuments. But if you look, there are subtle signs you're in a place that's different from other places.

    1. Stanford University

    Stanford is a strange place. Structurally it is to an ordinary university what suburbia is to a city. It's enormously spread out, and feels surprisingly empty much of the time. But notice the weather. It's probably perfect. And notice the beautiful mountains to the west. And though you can't see it, cosmopolitan San Francisco is 40 minutes to the north. That combination is much of the reason Silicon Valley grew up around this university and not some other one.

    2. University Ave

    A surprising amount of the work of the Valley is done in the cafes on or just off University Ave in Palo Alto. If you visit on a weekday between 10 and 5, you'll often see founders pitching investors. In case you can't tell, the founders are the ones leaning forward eagerly, and the investors are the ones sitting back with slightly pained expressions.

    3. The Lucky Office

    The office at 165 University Ave was Google's first. Then it was Paypal's. (Now it's Wepay's.) The interesting thing about it is the location. It's a smart move to put a startup in a place with restaurants and people walking around instead of in an office park, because then the people who work there want to stay there, instead of fleeing as soon as conventional working hours end. They go out for dinner together, talk about ideas, and then come back and implement them.

    It's important to realize that Google's current location in an office park is not where they started; it's just where they were forced to move when they needed more space. Facebook was till recently across the street, till they too had to move because they needed more space.

    4. Old Palo Alto

    Palo Alto was not originally a suburb. For the first 100 years or so of its existence, it was a college town out in the countryside. Then in the mid 1950s it was engulfed in a wave of suburbia that raced down the peninsula. But Palo Alto north of Oregon expressway still feels noticeably different from the area around it. It's one of the nicest places in the Valley. The buildings are old (though increasingly they are being torn down and replaced with generic McMansions) and the trees are tall. But houses are very expensive—around $1000 per square foot. This is post-exit Silicon Valley.

    5. Sand Hill Road

    It's interesting to see the VCs' offices on the north side of Sand Hill Road precisely because they're so boringly uniform. The buildings are all more or less the same, their exteriors express very little, and they are arranged in a confusing maze. (I've been visiting them for years and I still occasionally get lost.) It's not a coincidence. These buildings are a pretty accurate reflection of the VC business.

    If you go on a weekday you may see groups of founders there to meet VCs. But mostly you won't see anyone; bustling is the last word you'd use to describe the atmos. Visiting Sand Hill Road reminds you that the opposite of "down and dirty" would be "up and clean."

    6. Castro Street

    It's a tossup whether Castro Street or University Ave should be considered the heart of the Valley now. University Ave would have been 10 years ago. But Palo Alto is getting expensive. Increasingly startups are located in Mountain View, and Palo Alto is a place they come to meet investors. Palo Alto has a lot of different cafes, but there is one that clearly dominates in Mountain View: Red Rock.

    7. Google

    Google spread out from its first building here to a lot of the surrounding ones. But the buildings were built at different times by different people, the place doesn't have the sterile, walled-off feel that a typical large company's headquarters have. It definitely has a flavor of its own though. You sense there is something afoot. The general atmos is vaguely utopian; there are lots of Priuses, and people who look like they drive them.

    You can't get into Google unless you know someone there. It's very much worth seeing inside if you can, though. Ditto for Facebook, at the end of California Ave in Palo Alto, though there is nothing to see outside.

    8. Skyline Drive

    Skyline Drive runs along the crest of the Santa Cruz mountains. On one side is the Valley, and on the other is the sea—which because it's cold and foggy and has few harbors, plays surprisingly little role in the lives of people in the Valley, considering how close it is. Along some parts of Skyline the dominant trees are huge redwoods, and in others they're live oaks. Redwoods mean those are the parts where the fog off the coast comes in at night; redwoods condense rain out of fog. The MROSD manages a collection of great walking trails off Skyline.

    9. 280

    Silicon Valley has two highways running the length of it: 101, which is pretty ugly, and 280, which is one of the more beautiful highways in the world. I always take 280 when I have a choice. Notice the long narrow lake to the west? That's the San Andreas Fault. It runs along the base of the hills, then heads uphill through Portola Valley. One of the MROSD trails runs right along the fault. A string of rich neighborhoods runs along the foothills to the west of 280: Woodside, Portola Valley, Los Altos Hills, Saratoga, Los Gatos.

    SLAC goes right under 280 a little bit south of Sand Hill Road. And a couple miles south of that is the Valley's equivalent of the "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign: The Dish.

    Decent overview of "what to see" in Silicon Valley. Pretty much that's it. :)

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    Monday, October 4, 2010

    Bing vs Google

    Bing 3 – Google 4

    So based on the current results it’s really a very near run thing. I’m quite surprised to see this actually, evidently Bing’s UI is easier to navigate than I might have expected.

    I think a lot of us have learnt behaviors for Google based on years of experience, so Bing is really doing well to stay up there with Google, especially considering the two UIs are quite far apart.

    Both services could obviously make a few small tweaks to their UIs, but as you’d expect with two such popular websites, they are already very streamlined.

    As more people take the test, we can expect to see results to evolve somewhat. Be sure to check back at to see how they change.

    I feel like I am going to give Bing a try and see if it makes me feel better. :)

    # Posted via email from opportunity__cost

    Saturday, October 2, 2010

    Taking the very first step of the Customer Discovery and asking for help

    I'm working on discovering the potential group of customers for the product that I'm thinking of. This is going to be some sort of a communication platform (starting from email and going from there), that is easily accessible and configurable by non-technical people; that will also provide an extended set of tools to optimize and monitor your messaging. (I know: It sounds awkward, but this is just what I'm starting from. :)

    The survey link is:

    If you are starting or working for a consumer-oriented company and use email as a primary communication channel between you and them, I'd really appreciate if you will take a few minutes and complete my survey. Even if you don't think that you really match, but would like to know more, just let me know your contact information and I'd be happy to chat and tell you more about my product.

    Please help me in my Customer Discovery process and fill out the survey:

    Thank you.

    # Posted via email from opportunity__cost