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Tell a friend index card philosophy

Indexed

I spotted Indexed, another blog-turned-book success story, in the Chronicle Books store the other day. Indexed represents two great ideas: first, it’s a novel use for index cards (other than, say, Getting Things Done with a Hipster PDA or other office applications), and it’s also an inspired concept for a blog. ThisIsIndexed.com is one of those brilliant ideas, like the Million Dollar Homepage — simple, clever, and enviably unique (which translates into lucrative).

Every weekday, author Jessica Hagy — copywriter, doodler, and philosophical statistician — publishes a diagram or an equation that succinctly captures an insight into modern life. The index card doodles range from the trivial to the thought-provoking, most often amusing and challenging in terms of how fast you can "get it." Hagy covers topics as diverse as shelter-versus-purebred canines, drifter cuisine, the boggling math of emotion, and undergoing water torture (both voluntary and involuntary). Hagy includes larger, more complex figures in the 5×7 section.

Kindred spirit Hugh MacLeod, author of gapingvoid, also admires Indexed. Chronicle Books published a couple of companion products, the Indexed book of postcards — (because, go figure, index cards are the perfect size for postcards!) — as well as the Indexed notebook.

Posted August 13, 2009 by Mariva in arts, blog-turned-book, books, business, entertainment, fun, gifts, humor, innovations, media

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Tell a friend Macworld 2010: free Expo pass

Macworld Expo 2010

In San Francisco during February 9-13, 2010? Attend the Macworld Expo for free! (The Expo pass is a $25 value. Offer expires August 30, 2009.)

2010 will be the first year in which Apple, Inc. itself is not officially a part of Macworld Conference and Expo. This comes after a noticeable slowdown after last year’s Macworld, during which Steve Jobs was conspicuously absent due to serious illness, and Apple marketer Phil Schiller adequately — but unglamorously — filled in as keynote presenter. It’s up to David Pogue, tech pundit and pianist beloved and admired by much of the Apple community, to step in for next year’s keynote — (Pogue calls it the "The Anti-Keynote") — which, if nothing else, will probably be entertaining for geeks and music lovers.

Posted August 12, 2009 by Mariva in business, city, community, innovations, social, technology, travel

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Tell a friend The Point: leveraging tipping points to achieve Big Goals

The Point

Got vision? Ready to inspire others to do something big? If you’ve got an idea, what you need to do next is build a powerful network of like-minded enthusiasts to achieve a common goal. Yeah, you could create yet another Facebook group or Twitter hash tag — or you could try The Point, which has developed software technology that allows organizers to leverage tipping points. Specifically, you can use The Point to start a campaign to raise money (minus five percent for The Point — if the campaign successfully reaches a minimum threshold that you decide) or to enlist volunteers for a cause, such as eliminating high fructose corn syrup from soda or developing wind farms. Once you’ve launched your campaign, you can embed a widget on your site to publicize it.

Current campaigns are organized into channels, like Education, Music, Politics, Technology, and so on. The "Social Experiments" channel hosts some interesting and amusing campaigns, and compelling public dares and calls to action are filed under "Challenges". You’ll find the best organized campaigns in the "Popular" section, along with many Groupon deals (because Groupon, a successful commercial project, is The Point’s biggest and most successful "campaign").

Posted August 11, 2009 by Mariva in community, deals, innovations, media, resources, shopping, social, technology

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Tell a friend Groupon: a mini revolution in deal shopping

Groupon collective deals

Groupon is a refreshingly unique concept in deal-seeking, utilizing the power of collective interest. (Groupon is a successful commercial project of The Point, which has developed software technology to leverage tipping points.) The way it works is, every day Groupon offers a new deal on something you might want to purchase locally — entertainment, dining, recreation, fashion, products, health and beauty services, and other services — and if enough people commit to buying it at the discounted rate, then everyone in that lucky group gets the same discount. There are three catches: you have a 24-hour window in which to make the commitment, the offer could sell out, and if the number of interested consumers fails to meet the minimum threshold, the deal is off. So you must decide quickly, and it helps to get your local friends and associates interested in the same bargain you’re going for.

Posted August 10, 2009 by Mariva in business, city, deals, innovations, shopping, technology

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Tell a friend the best peanut brittle you can buy

Beer Brittle with Spanish Peanuts, by Anette's Chocolates

You may not get a hankering for peanut brittle often, but when you do, the yen can be inexorable. Making it yourself can be more trouble than it’s worth, and it’s not easy to find high quality peanut brittle in most stores, even in candy shops. (A quick search for "peanut brittle" yields mostly recipes, not readymade shopping sources.)

Enter Anette’s Chocolates by Brent, maker of arguably the best commercially produced peanut brittle in the world. Anette’s is based in Napa, the heart of Northern California’s Wine Country. Napa Valley and surrounding areas are known for their world-class vineyards as well as top-notch microbreweries, artisanal cheese, and gourmet food products. Thus, it makes sense that one of Anette’s most popular products is its Beer Brittle with Spanish Peanuts.

Posted August 4, 2009 by Mariva in edibles, entertaining

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Tell a friend Dear Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki book signing poster in Microsoft Booth at Macworld 2009

To: Mr. Guy Kawasaki
c/o Garage Technology Ventures

Dear Mr. Kawasaki,

The manager of the Microsoft booth at Macworld was going to throw this away after you were finished with your book signing for Reality Check, and I couldn’t bear to see it go into the garbage, so I rescued it.

Then, at the GTD Summit, David Allen inspired me to go through my Inbox (a big pile of random papers) and do a Mind Wipe or a Mind Sweep or whatever he calls it, and I realized that as much as I enjoy looking at a photo of you — (who doesn’t?) — I simply have no use for this.

Again, though, I hate to see it thrown into the trash, so I’m sending it to you care of Garage. Perhaps you can add it to your souvenir collection of professional engagements.

Posted March 23, 2009 by Mariva in audio, books, business, celebrities, media, social, technology

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Tell a friend Making ‘Milk,’ the movie about Harvey Milk

Milk: The Harvey Milk Story casting poster
(photo: Steve Rhodes)

Update: Now that the much-awaited film Milk has premiered, many politically astute observers have noted the parallels between the recent marriage equality demonstrations and the Gay Rights movement of the 1970s that Harvey Milk had come to represent. I will be seeing Milk at the Castro Theatre this weekend, but having participated in both the making of the movie and many of the recent anti-Proposition 8 demonstrations, I feel as though I’ve already seen it. What follows is my story of being one of many extras during the riotous crowd scenes.

* * *

The Castro District in San Francisco, just down the hill from where I live, is abuzz. It’s the most exciting time for the neighborhood since the annual Halloween street party (before it was recently banned) or LGBT Pride weekend, when tourists from all over the world make a pilgrimage to the famous "Gay Mecca." It’s as if the 1970s — when the Castro emerged as the world’s epicenter of the gay liberation movement — is coming alive again. And, in a sense, it is.

Filmmaker Gus Van Sant is in the middle of realizing his long-time dream of directing a biopic of Harvey Milk, a political activist instrumental in creating the gay community and culture of the Castro, as well as the first openly gay man to serve in a substantial political office as San Francisco city supervisor.

Posted November 25, 2008 by Mariva in city, community, fashion, movies, social

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Tell a friend collapsible, theft-resistant commuter bicycle

If you’re in the market for a commuter bicycle, be on the lookout for the collapsible, theft-deterrent Biomega Boston. The Biomega Boston features a cable that locks into place as a structural part of the frame. In order for the bicycle to function, a key is inserted into a lock that keeps the cable taut and firm; without the key, the cable is slack and the frame collapses. The bike, once the cable is slack, can be folded for easy storage in the office or at home. (If a would-be thief cuts the cable, the bicycle is rendered unrideable via collapsing frame. For the owner of the bicycle, though, the cable can be replaced to restore function — although the ease of repair and theftproofness is debatable.)

Posted October 17, 2008 by Mariva in city, fitness, gadgets, innovations, technology, travel

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Tell a friend election toys & info

Vote

Really? There’s an election? Gee, I had no idea.

For anyone living under a rock, the United States is approaching the decision that initiates the peaceful transfer of power (or the Quadrennial Showdown between Good and Evil, take your pick). Some elections are more contentious than others; the race for the impending presidential election on November 4, 2008 may be one of the most heated.

MSNBC produced a slideshow of voter portraits. After viewing just a few photos, though, I could accurately guess the voter’s allegiance. For example, every single African American pictured is voting for Barack Obama. The lobbyist in a business suit is supporting John McCain. The hip young people tend to lean Democratic. The older rural white men are all Republicans. (Well, duh.) While I appreciate the diversity of American citizens featured, the voting populace is full of surprises, and I wish the slideshow reflected some of those instead of reinforcing stereotypes according to the conventional wisdom of demographics.

Tangentially, speaking of demographics, do you know about Generation Jones? Born between 1954 and 1965, “Jonesers” occupy the recently acknowledged generation between Baby Boomers and Generation Xers. For decades, Jonesers had been imprecisely lumped in with Baby Boomers, but their life experiences have been very different from those of Boomers. Instead of worrying about getting drafted into the Vietnam War or dancing in mud at Woodstock, Jonesers were listening to punk rock on their way to the unemployment office in the late ’70s and wondering when Ronald Reagan would get around to mentioning AIDS in the ’80s. (The name Generation Jones, according to Wikipedia, “derives from the slang term jonesing, referring to the unrequited cravings felt by this generation of unfulfilled expectations.”) Both Barack Obama and Sarah Palin are members of Generation Jones, and the Jonesers bloc comprises a potentially large number of swing voters.

Posted October 10, 2008 by Mariva in community, education, media, news, resources

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Tell a friend Batter Blaster pancakes

Batter Blaster

This is a story about pancakes. It begins in one of my favorite places. Let me explain.

San Francisco is not the densest city by any means, but space is at a premium nonetheless. So when a single store occupies an entire city block — a large city block — that is a big store in San Francisco. The experience of shopping at the only Costco in San Francisco feels like half-privilege, half-pandemonium. Wheeling a ginormous cart around the street-width aisles of Costco, for me, is a guilty pleasure. There’s only so much paper towel and laundry detergent I really need, but I find any excuse to go. I would imagine that anyone who’d grown up behind the Iron Curtain might bask in the consumer abundance of Costco as a sort of earthly paradise.

In one of the refrigerated aisles, an entire case contained shelf upon shelf of bright golden-yellow spray cans. I thought nothing of the spray cans at first, assuming that the cans were just a brand of whipped cream I hadn’t seen before. But I did a double-take as I noticed something horrifying on the cans: the word batter. Costco, you’ve got to be kidding me, right? Batter — (pancake and waffle, that is, not cake) — in a spray can? Look, spray cheese is bad enough, but spray batter heralds the end of civilization.

Perhaps even more amazing was that the word organic also appeared on the can. I’ve been brainwashed by Whole Foods, I admit, but when I see the word organic, I automatically think healthy. (Or at least healthy-wannbe.) Was it possible for something healthy to be stored in spray can — which, by defnition, indicates processed food? Who could have predicted that I would stumble onto such a paradox in the refrigerated section of Costco? Organic and spray can seem like matter and antimatter: how can they simultaneously occupy the same space?

Posted September 9, 2008 by Mariva in business, edibles, health, innovations, kitchen

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