Monday, July 25, 2005

[happy hour] World Cafe (Venice, CA)

Free pizza during happy hour. Yes, it's awesome. The atmosphere, the decor are also awesome. The lounge area is actually, really a lounge. With cool ottomans and sofa chairs around the room. There is also a parking lot down the street which costs $5. Not cheap, but hey, you can make it up in free pizza. A great place to relax with my local friends, and to show off Santa Monica coolness to my out-of-town friends.

2820 Main St
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 392-1661

[report] Sid Meier's Pirates!

I have been sober from real-time-strategy games years since I nuked Age of Empires from my computer after playing for eight hours straight (and it was just the demo version).

Until last Sunday when Pierre brought home Sid Meier's Pirates. Since then the days have been unusually long and blurry. We finally retired our Pirate from his successful career tonight, winning a happily ever after ending for our little guy. I'm free at last! Raarrrgh!

For the record, here are the fan and the official sites.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

[find] Social network analysis

Thanks to Friendster, everyone knows what social networking is. But to make it a business app and process that can bring considerable ROI, now that's really interesting. The CIO magazine did an article on this very topic.

[tech] Favorite free software, util, and services

File Explorer

Xplorer2 Lite: Finally found a great little file explorer that gives me tabs (Tabs really are your friends). Its memory footprint is a fraction of the regular Windows Explorer and its packed with all kinds of goodies on its menus. Just lovely.

Text Editor

TextPad: New Winner as of Aug 2006. Reason: RegExp search-and-replace that works on multiple documents at one time, plus, deeply flexible macro recording and shortcut assignments. (Thanks Serge)

PSPad: After hours of searching and reviewing. I declare PSPad the winner! It has all my required features: RegExp Search, Document Tabs, FTP Client, Column Mode, Customizable Tab Size, Syntax Highlighting, Code Explorer .... I can even type in a URL and have it open up the HTML right in the editor. And of course, it's Free.

Another highly worthy contender is the Crimson Editor.


DeskView: This tiny program make your desktop actually usable. It turns those awful icons (that take up way too much space and doesn't show you the full filename), into a wonderfully pratical "list" view. I can't track down the original author. But I am oh-so-very-grateful.

Screen Capture and Edit

FastStone Screen Capture and Photobie: I'm a fan of software that does a boat-load on tiny footprint. These two programs combined are less than 2MB installed. Use FastStone to capture the screenshot, then drop it into Photobie to do quick annotations.

System Maintenance

CCleaner: This great tool shows me how much junk all those uninstallers leave behind. It cleans. It's fast.

Website Stats

StatCounter: Shows refers and extracts search engine keywords that directed traffic to your site.

System Monitoring

FileMon: Monitors file system activities.
ProcessMon: Way better than your good'ol Windows Task Manager

Hats off to all the amazing developers who put these tools together. You make software cool.

Audio Recorder and Editor

Audacity: Record audio right from your PC mic input. Can record and edit multiple tracks and host of other features.

Bless the freeware developers!

Monday, July 11, 2005

[find] Keyword toolkit

- Google Keyword Analysis
- Overture Keyword Selector Tool
- WordTracker

[find] A story on caffeine

Great story in the National Geographic about Caffeine, and the fun history of Red Bull.

Things I didn't know:
- Red Bull was created by an Austrian who was a toothpaste salesman in late 1980s.
- Red Bull's success came from the brilliant marketing strategy "You don't drink Red Bull. You use it"
- Red Bull came to US in 1997 and now sells 2 billion cans a year.
- Diet Coke has way more caffeine (46.5 mg) than regular Coke (34.5 mg), says the CSPI
- Tired: Caffeinated water. Wired: Caffeinated panty hose.
- Red Bull + tequila = Bullgarita

Sunday, July 10, 2005

[eats] Zankou Chicken (Los Angeles, CA)

The bad news is, since I've had Zankou's chicken, it's been really hard to go back to Costco's roasted chicken. Zankou is a fast food restaurant and they serve the food good and fast. Their chickens have crispy skin with a lemony flavor. The rest, just tastey. And their hummus is terribly addictive. You can pass on the beef selections though. They are too dry and not nearly as good as the chicks, I mean, chickens.

1716 S Sepulveda Blvd
(Just south of Santa Monica Blvd)
Los Angeles, CA

[find] Interactive real estate map

Nice summary view of the State of Market by WSJ. You can also go back to see historial trends across the nation.

Monday, July 04, 2005

[report] Scrabble

After watching Word Wars, we were inspired and fascinated by Scrabble.

As soon as we read through the Official Rules, we immediately set out to enhance them. Here are the additional rules (have only been tested on two-player game so far)

1. Take 1 drink if your opponent makes a 6 letter word. Take 1 additional drink for every letter beyond 6.

2. In additional to rule 1, take 1 drink if your opponent makes a 10-point word. And take 1 additional drink for every 5 points beyond 10.

3. Challenge: If you challenge your opponent, your opponent can choose to either:

3.1 Admit the word was b.s. and take the drink penalty according to rule 1 and 2

3.2 Or, accept the challenge and look the word up in the dictionary. Obviously, the loser of the challenge drinks, and the loser shall drink twice the regular drink penalty.

Can you think of much better ways to sharpen the mind?