Tron mini-ramp

This is pretty awesome.  Here I am thinking about building a treehouse, or maybe even a ‘treehouse mini-ramp’.

But maybe I should up the ante a little and build one of these instead.

Tron Legacy Premiere – A Light Session from ENESS on Vimeo.

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Manual to the world #4

ManhattanI know, it’s only part 4 in this series and it’s already the second time I’m featuring a map.  I’ve explained before that I love maps and I really couldn’t resist this one.  It’s so interesting to see how racially divided New York City (still) is.  It would be even more interesting to see an extra layer on this map showing average rent prices. Or would that not be politically correct?

It’s no surprise to see that my neighborhood is primarily Hispanic (80%) but I was surprised to see there are so few black people (4%).  White people are pretty well represented at 15%.  That doesn’t sound like much, but the neighborhood bordering us has 83% whites which tilts the scale.  Up in Washington Heights and Inwood, Broadway is seen as a divider between the primarily Hispanic neighborhoods in the East and the white neighborhoods in the West.  It’s interesting to see how accurate this seems to be.

BrooklynThe division is even more pronounced in a couple other places.  Just have a look at 96th street on the Upper East Side.  And check out how Flatbush Avenue and Prospect Park divide Brooklyn.

Further reading: Mapping America — Census Bureau 2005-9 American Community Survey – NYTimes.com.

Yahoo planning to shut down Delicious

Unfortunately it looks like the rumor of the day is true:  Yahoo is planning to shut down the Delicious bookmarking service.  After Apple’s shutdown of Lala, this is another one of my favorite web services that gets closed after being acquired by a bigger company. I guess Mark Zuckerberg knew what he was doing when he turned down Yahoo’s offer to buy Facebook.  Nothing is free, especially not when it’s free of ads(1). I’m just glad I own all of the content that I publish here.  Somewhere in my old fashioned paper notebook I keep a list of web services I use. I should have a look at that list and make sure that the services I care about can be exported and backed up easily.

“Part of our organizational streamlining involves cutting our investment in under performing or off-strategy products to put better focus on our core strengths and fund new innovation in the next year and beyond,[…]”
{Statement provided by Yahoo, via CNET }

(1)Except of course true open source initiatives like WordPress.org

Le Pain Quotidien on Facebook

Because I like to know what the soup of the day is without walking over to Le Pain Quotidien, I follow them (@lepainquotidien) on Twitter.  While I originally started following them for this very mundane and practical reason, I’ve been surprised at how well they use this channel to communicate with their customers.

One of the things I like is that they don’t send out a million tweets everyday. Some companies and individuals I follow, tweet so much that I’m tempted to stop following them altogether.  And if I continue to follow them, I hardly ever read their tweets anymore. I’m looking at you @mashable and @nytimes! A twitter feed is not an RSS feed! Sometimes less is more.  On Twitter, less is almost always more!
Another admirable characteristic is that they occasionally reply to people that have mentioned them, but only if they have something worthwhile to say, not systematically and definitely not through some automated process. This way they really show their customers that there are real people behind the brand. However much we all hate the term social media, there is a reason why these media are supposed to be social.

OK, so these are two examples of why Le Pain Quotidien has a healthy Twitter strategy. Surely, they are not the only company that does things right? Why single them out? I could say it’s because they are Belgian and so am I.  But if that was the reason, I could have also used @waffletruck as an example because they are Belgian too and they have a pretty good Twitter feed too. The real reason is this link that @lepainquotidien tweeted yesterday.  “Ever wondered why we serve our organic coffee in bowls?” Honestly? No, I haven’t.  But now that you mention it, I am curious to know.  If you are too, you’ll have to follow the link to read all about it.
You’ll find a cute, tongue-in-cheek explanation of something as trivial as the absence of handles on their cups.  They briefly touch upon a number of details that makes the company a little more unique and a lot more like-able.

I don’t know who was behind this, it might have been a marketing agency, or it might have been someone in their own marketing team.  It doesn’t matter.  I think it’s a great example of using the individual strengths of both Twitter and Facebook.  I love how they used Twitter to get my attention and, with a little teaser, pulled me over to their Facebook page. Furthermore, once they had my attention they didn’t ruin it by trying to sell me something.  Instead they gave me something that I’ll be able to remember and smile about the next time I have one of their hot drinks from a bowl.

December first resolutions

I never make New Year’s resolutions.  Mostly because I don’t think they are a good way to change a bad behavior, but also because I like to be a little different.  It’s not advisable to be too different though, and change is usually a good thing.  So this year, I am making December First Resolutions:

1.  Get up early. Early according to my standards that is.  More about this in a later entry. Continue reading December first resolutions

Manual to the world #3

Happy Buy Nothing Day!  That’s right, Black Friday is also Buy Nothing Day.  The one day each year that we (or at least some of us) actively revolt against the culture of consumption.  It’s the day after Thanksgiving and for me today is about hanging out with the family, relaxing and taking a little break from the rat race.  Going out shopping doesn’t really fit into this picture, so no Black Friday for me… Continue reading Manual to the world #3