Thursday, October 15, 2009

Consider biking

Few people do it but visiting the Yosemite Valley by bike is very pleasant. You can bring your own bike (this is what I do) if you have a bike carrier for your car. But you can also rent bikes in the park.

More information on the bike trails (including a trail map) and rental information is available here:

I also found a nice video overview of biking in Yosemite:

in reference to: Yosemite National Park - Plan Your Visit (U.S. National Park Service) (view on Google Sidewiki)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

This is a great rule

The original Reasonable Person Principle from CMU is a great way to think about communities of people, especially for online communities when you do not see someone in person:

in reference to:

"In spite of all our best efforts, disconnects and misunderstandings
will still occur. The Reasonable Person Principle is an approach
for working through them. When a disconnect occurs, it often seems
that the other person is behaving unreasonably (“I can't believe X
could have done Y!”). The Reasonable Person Principle says that
you should always assume that other people are behaving reasonably,
even if it doesn't appear that way. Rather than attacking them,
ask questions to find out why they did what they did. Almost always,
you'll discover that there is a reasonable explanation. This way,
you can defuse the situation quickly and move forward constructively."
- Startup Company Culture (view on Google Sidewiki)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Feeds and permalinks

Sidewiki supports feeds for a given web page. Admittedly they are not easy to discover (we're working on improving that) but the are described in our API documentation. Look for "Retrieving Sidewiki entries written for a particular web page" in

Sidewiki also supports permalinks for each post. When you're reading this entry, click on the "Share" menu in the bottom right. The first menu item is "Link" which is a permalink to the post. Here's an example:

You can also use the "Share" menu to share via email, Twitter or Facebook.

in reference to:

"If there was a way to get RSS feeds for SideWiki entries on a per-page basis that would have been amazing. There are multiple organizations, sites and pages that I would like to subscribe to and get constant feeds of what people are saying about the pages. Currently I cannot seem to find an easy way of doing that with SideWiki. There is something about having hyperlinks to your Twitter posts which makes twitter special. Features where I can at-least get permanent links or URLs of SideWiki comments; would have made SideWiki golden."
- ThousandtyOne! - .NET, Life and Logical Thoughts By Rajiv Popat - Google SideWiki - Amazing Story Telling. Interesting Product. (view on Google Sidewiki)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fascinating insight into what we like

Results of the "Sizzle" study by Jonathan Berger are very interesting. They show the subjectivity of what is "good". If you want to know more details, listen to the audio interview on Odeo:

in reference to:

"Jonathan Berger, a professor of music at Stanford University, recently completed a six-year study of his students. Every year he asked new arrivals in his class to listen to the same musical excerpts played in a variety of digital formats—from standard MP3s to high-fidelity uncompressed files—and rate their preferences. Every year, he reports, more and more students preferred the sound of MP3s, particularly for rock music. They've grown accustomed to what Berger calls the percussive sizzle—aka distortion—found in compressed music. To them, that's what music is supposed to sound like."
- The Good Enough Revolution: When Cheap and Simple Is Just Fine

Sunday, May 17, 2009

What happened to second opinion?

The Devil Inside Wired Medicine -

Dr. Howard Croft, who treats patients at rival hospital Columbia St. Mary's Milwaukee, says the software helped him avoid an unneeded ultrasound on a woman who was in denial that her fetus was dead. Another hospital had already confirmed this.

It's incredible that a doctor would do this to a patient. If it happens to you, do not let doctor's bully you. Imagine coming to a doctor for a second opinion and hearing that you're in denial because another hospital already did the test.

Of course some people may be "in denial" but refusing a test to a concerned patient simply because a test has already been done cannot be a guiding principle for doctors.

There are lots of resource online that will help you decide if getting a second opinion makes sense in your case. Here's one:

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Also read Dan Gilbert

What Makes Us Happy? - The Atlantic (June 2009)

Dan Gilbert also wrote a lot about happiness. His book "Stumbling on Happiness" ( is a good read but if you want a short overview, you can watch his youtube video "Why are we happy? Why aren't we happy?":

Friday, March 20, 2009

Important to override

Object (Java 2 Platform SE v1.4.2)

The result should
be a concise but informative representation that is easy for a
person to read.
It is recommended that all subclasses override this method.

Effective Java says more about it:

Unlikely event

BBC NEWS | Middle East | US navy vessels collide in Gulf

Two US navy vessels have collided in the Strait of Hormuz near Iran, lightly injuring 15 sailors, the US navy said.

Such collisions are very rare.

Times are tough

BBC NEWS | Europe | Renault jobs row rocks EU summit

The argument erupted after French industry minister Luc Chatel told French radio that Renault would relocate part of its production from Slovenia to a plant at Flins, near Paris, creating 400 jobs there.

I fear that we will see more of this in the near future