Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Venezuela, Twitter, and a couple of cool gadgets.

Here's a NYT blog post about the murder rate in Venezuela. Seems worse every time I see it...

On a lighter note, here's a cool Twitter map. See what the world is talking about!

And, a couple of cool tech stuff. Intel has a four screen laptop. It looks cool, but when you watch a video, the video controls should stay on a mini-screen. For any media, the media controls should stay on the mini-screen.

Microsoft has a concept they're playing with--the dual-screen "courier" booklet. This seems almost like what netbooks should be. There could also be on on-screen full-size keyboard, with half of the keyboard on each screen. This gadget almost looks like a PDA-like device.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Best of Houston, Houston Press

Houston connoisseurs rejoice! Houston Press's Best of Houston list is out! While I don't agree with all of the winners (Cheap Seats, Coach, Coffee, Empanadas, Greek Restaurant), it's a good starting place for discussion.

Best Cheap Seats
Winner: Astros
Should be: Dynamo or Aeros

Are you kidding me? While there are sometimes deals on Astros tickets, it isn't usually very cheap. For much less, you can see a Dynamo game or an Aeros game. The Dynamo are at the top of their league and feature a number of national team players, and the Aeros... well, hockey means you can watch fights. How's that for testosterone? They each also sometimes have deals.

Best Coach
Winner: Some Katy football coach
Should be: Dom Kinnear, Dynamo

I don't think there's even a comparison between a high school coach and a pro anything coach. Kinnear also has helped develop younger players to stars (Stu Holden, who got robbed for best Dynamo, but the guy who won is also a good player). Another acceptable option might be UH football coach Kevin Sumlin, but I think it's too early to tell.

Best Coffee
Winner: CoffeeGroundz
Should be: Catalina

All right, this isn't as much of a tragedy, but the CoffeeGroundz is just a popular choice, not necessarily a good choice. If you want good coffee, though, there are a number of better choices. Catalina, Taft Street Coffee, Minuti, Salento, and so on.

Best Empanadas
Winner: The Original Marini's
Should be: Tuttopane or Shell (in Katy)

Marini's was another popular choice. It's in a part of Houston that gets a lot of traffic. If you're willing to drive farther out, though, you can find some empanada treasures. And, yes, there is a Shell gas station in Katy where you can get great empanadas. Plus, you can get them either fried or baked.

Best Greek Restaurant
Winner: Yia Yia's Greek Restaurant
Should be: Alexander the Great.

Truth is, there are a bunch of great Greek restaurants in Houston, and Yia Yia's isn't a bad choice. However, it's also in the great-location category. Yia Yia's is good but overpriced, and Niko Niko's is a much better deal and is more homey. Droubi's is good, Phoenicia is good... truth is, if you want great Greek food that is well worth the price, go to Alexander (though, this also happens to be in a great location).

Also, benjy's should have won something.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fast Flip, Product Ideas, Calendar, and Zune HD

Google announces the new service Fast Flip, an attempt to make reading the news more like reading a newspaper. Try it out!

Weight in on Product Ideas for Google Docs. I'd like analysis tools in spreadsheets, personally. Seems like Google is coming out with a Google Moderator-powered Product Ideas page for each of their products.

Staying organized with Google Calendar. Is it obvious I like Google?

The Zune HD actually looks cool. I wonder how the apps will be once they come out (email would be nice).

Thursday, September 17, 2009

GoogleOS, your power usage, Wii price, and 43 marathons

On Google's quest for an operating system.

Some neat energy-saving gadgets. A power clock! It doesn't tell you what time it is, but it tells you when you use your power. Also, there are solar-powered blinds that absorb light during the day and emit light at night. I hope you can turn them off when you want to sleep.

Might the Wii be getting a price cut? Everyone else is cutting prices.

43 marathons in 51 days. Wow, Eddie Izzard is amazing.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Console wars, the internet, Velazquez, and DSL speeds

If you can trust the data, it looks like the XBox 360 and the PS3 may have finally caught up with the Wii. For a week. Yay for price cuts. Then again, the Wii has dominated so long, they probably can't catch up in total sales. Still, the top selling console is the DS.

An article on the history and future of the internet. September 1 marked its birthday, as well as for Google Chrome and Gmail.

Here's an article on a painting by the old Spanish master Velazquez. Makes me think of Alatriste.

Some guys in South Africa, complaining about their slow internet connection, claimed that a carrier pigeon would carry data faster than their DSL line. They set up a race.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Cool sites, cultural cities, OLED laptops, and a Walkman.

Companies that people should be aware of, use, and potentially spread to Houston: Mint, Red Fin, White Fence, Zipcar, and Kiva.

Houston ranked #8 in the Forbes list of America's Cultural Tourism Capitals. Houston probably should have ranked a bit higher--especially considering we have more visitors than most of the cities ranked higher and we also have a more broad definition of "cultural" than most cities. Still, it's nice to be recognized.

Samsung says that they'll have an OLED laptop in around Q3 of next year. It's already been pushed back, and I think it'll get pushed back again. OLEDs are super low power consumption and super high quality, so I'm pretty excited about it. And, it's a neat prototype. There's no touchpad on there, but I'm thinking it'd be neat if there were a toggle key that turned the alpha keys into one big touchpad. Ah, to dream...

Sony's coming out with a new Walkman. I like the long battery life, and recording the FM radio is neat. FM-DVR anyone? I wonder when we'll have digital radio on these things.

Enjoy the holiday weekend, everyone!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Cameras and phones.

Canon how has an image stabilizing lens. No more blurry pictures?

Nokia has a mini smart phone. Looks nice, but I'm not sure if people want the smaller screen.

Speaking of phones, the LG BL40 Chocolate Touch looks pretty nice. I just wish more phones would take advantage of the (free) Android OS and its apps. They can use their own interface, but using a shared OS means easier access to apps. Why recreate the wheel?

But, speaking of phones and apps, the iPhone's apps seems to be what slows down AT&T's network, leading to endless frustration. When you can't make a call, the phone is no good.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tetris, North Korea, health care, and PS3s.

Tetris makes you smrtr! It increases brain efficiency, but I think the point of the research is brain stimulation, not Tetris versus other forms of stimulation.

North Korea being relatively conciliatory? Another try at a peace treaty, but I don't think they can backpedal fast enough.

A neat video on the need for universal health insurance.

Almost three-quarters of PS3 owners have seen at least one blu-ray. That seems low to me, actually.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ashby, OLEDS, flavor tripping, and the projector camera

Although it's been scaled back, the Ashby high-rise project has finally been approved! High housing prices in that area signal high demand, and more such projects need to get started in that area. Hopefully future projects will be larger. Hopefully, these projects will also alleviate the traffic into and out of that part of town during the rush hours.

OLEDs are getting cheaper! ... Supposedly. I keep wanting to put off buying stuff so I can get cooler stuff later.

Flavor tripping tomorrow!

The projector camera I mentioned before is delayed until October. Still, it's pretty cool.