Thursday, October 30, 2008

Short Term Memory

They say that the limit of someone's short term memory is about 7 (but can vary from 3-9).

Check out this little game that helps you test your short term memory by having you memorize an increasing number of objects and then immediately recalling them.

I played for a little bit, and scored a high of 10. This seems like something that would definitely be fun and useful to do on a regular basis and see how much improvement can be made.

(Via Presurfer)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

High Speed Rail

While I don't really want to make this into a politically centered blog, I do want to share with you one of the measures on the ballot here in California this coming election.

Obviously this will mostly affect you if you live in California and haven't decided how you will be voting on Measure 1A yet, but I still think you should pay attention.

Measure 1A is


  • Provides long-distance commuters with a safe, convenient, affordable, and reliable alternative to driving and high gas prices.
  • Reduces traffic congestion on the state’s highways and at the state’s airports.
  • Reduces California’s dependence on foreign oil.
  • Reduces air pollution and global warming greenhouse gases.
  • Establishes a clean, efficient 220 MPH transportation system.
  • Improves existing passenger rail lines serving the state’s major population centers.
  • Provides for California’s growing population.
  • Provides for a bond issue of $9.95 billion to establish high-speed train service linking Southern California counties, the Sacramento/San Joaquin Valley, and the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • Provides that at least 90% of these bond funds shall be spent for specific construction projects, with private and public matching funds required, including, but not limited to, federal funds, funds from revenue bonds, and local funds.
  • Requires that use of all bond funds is subject to independent audits.
  • Appropriates money from the General Fund to pay bond principal and interest.

Summary of Legislative Analyst’s Estimate of Net State and Local Government Fiscal Impact:

  • State costs of about $19.4 billion, assuming 30 years to pay off both principal ($9.95 billion) and interest ($9.5 billion) costs of the bonds. Payments of about $647 million per year.
  • When constructed, additional unknown costs, probably in excess of $1 billion a year, to operate and maintain a high-speed train system. The costs would be at least partially, and potentially fully, offset by passenger fare revenues, depending on ridership.
As you may know, I love Europe, and one of the reasons is the train systems. While this would be a huge investment for the state, I think long term it would be very beneficial both environmentally and economically. Plus, while I am no economist, it seems that large infrastructure projects in times of economic downturns are often what is needed to rectify the problem. And what better way to do this than through a "green collar" job project.

Watch this video from KQED

View Map

The total distance was about 19 miles, and I went with a friend, Andrew E. We took the middle section pretty easy, and the total trip was about 1 hour 45 minutes.

Since I haven't really been bike riding a lot lately, I am already feeling it quite a bit in my legs, and I'm sure tomorrow won't be pretty.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

New Pepsi Logo?

I've been seeing some rumors around the blogosphere about Pepsi changing/updating their logo.

Via Brand New

If this change is in fact real or at least close to what it will be, what do you think?

My impressions are mixed.

First, it is difficult to create brand identity if you continually change your look. The most recognizable logos really don't change that much, and case in point, the Coca-Cola logo remains the same, and happens to be one of those logos.

Second, these changes (mostly for Pepsi) aren't so drastic that they aren't reminiscent of logos of past eras. The red/blue/white circle design is "basically" still there. (Although it does look a little less like the Korean Air logo now)

I also don't think that Pepsi will have as many issues with the logo change as they would if they changed their recipe (like New Coke).

I think the logo looks hip and contemporary, but it all comes down to whether or not the customer will be scared off or intrigued. By changing a logo, which is a huge key to a brand, the actual product needs to be relied on.

One thing I thought was originally cool about the difference between pepsi and diet pepsi logos was that they are slightly different. A product like Diet Pepsi is in fact a competitor to the original of Pepsi. The biggest problem is that when two brands like Diet Pepsi and Pepsi share the same logo it is hard to reconcile the differences of the product while in the same packaging. I thought that the slight differences in logo would do something to differentiate the two products, but I think to be really effective you have to make them completely different brands. The biggest issue with that is it is VERY scary.

What do you think of the new logos?


As the conversation between two great philosophers Pedro and Napoleon went:

Napoleon Dynamite: Well, nobody's going to go out with *me*!
Pedro: Have you asked anybody yet?
Napoleon Dynamite: No, but who would? I don't even have any good skills.
Pedro: What do you mean?
Napoleon Dynamite: You know, like nunchuku skills, bow hunting skills, computer hacking skills... Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills.
Pedro: Aren't you pretty good at drawing, like animals and warriors and stuff?
Napoleon Dynamite: Yes... probably the best that I know of.
Pedro: Just draw a picture of the girl you want to take out... and give it to her for like a gift or something.
Napoleon Dynamite: That's a pretty good idea.

Skills are very important. Skills often define who we are because they determine what we are capable of doing. I've noticed a rash of websites and blogs recently that cater to this niche of skills. Here are a few that I've found related to skills men should have (as this is what I normally pay attention to because I am one).

1001 rules for my unborn son
100 skills every man should know
The Art of Manliness

As well, I just came across this one for women.

30 Skills Every Woman Should Have Before Turning 30

Sammy Hagar Update

Well, it now appears that Sammy Hagar will only be playing one show here at Cabo Wabo in Fresno.

I also realized after my blog post on the subject that Tuesday night won't work for me to check out Sammy and the Wabos. Tuesday nights are now occupied by my Catalyst Tuesday evening events with church. While I might be inclined to skip this coming Tuesday, I would feel really bad because I am in fact leading the group that day. Oh well, maybe next time around.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sammy Hagar Coming to Fresno

As you may know, Fresno recently got a Cabo Wabo, which is pretty special as there are only 3 in the world.

I actually checked out the cantina on opening weekend back in August, and it is fairly impressive.

There have been rumors for a long time that Sammy Hagar himself (founder and creator of Cabo Wabo and member of Van Halen) would be coming to Fresno to visit the new cantina and play a show on the stage. It turns out that he is coming next week for two nights and two free shows!

One of those days happen to fall on my day off, and I am considering heading over there to catch one of the shows. The only problem is that I am doubtful that I could find anyone else to endure waiting in line with me. So if you are reading this, and want to waste a few hours on Tuesday next week waiting in line to see a free Sammy Hagar concert, let me know.

Social Media Phobia

Check out this great post by one of my high school classmates, MasterMaq.

He talks about people's aversions to social media and some great reasons why a) this fear is not warranted and b) this fear can actually end up hurting you and your organization in the long run.

I think this concept of a fear of the unknown obviously has much bigger applications and ramifications, which are alluded to at the beginning of the post with the Batman reference.

Creative Lamp Designs

I really enjoyed looking through this list of the 40 Most Creative Lamp Designs Ever.

I was, however, a little disappointed that the first lamp that popped into my head when I heard the title didn't make the list.

Via Presurfer

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Music of our Lives

Watch this very interesting Swedish short film with "stomp" like musicians who invade someone's flat while they are out and create music with all their stuff. It's called "Music For One Apartment And Six Drummers" and it is by Ola Simonsson and Johannes Stjarne Nillson.

I think it's quite creative and worth a watch.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Luke Mundy hasn't shared in a while which states have (or haven't) been visiting his blog. I finally took a look at my full statistics on Google Analytics from when I first started my blog, and here are the states that have visited my blog. (Most visits at the top)

1. California
2. Virginia
3. Washington
4. New York
5. District of Columbia
6. Illinois
7. Massachusetts
8. Ohio
9. Minnesota
10. North Carolina
11. North Carolina
12. New Jersey
13. Texas
14. Michigan
15. Oregon
16. (Unknown)
17. Georgia
18. Pennsylvania
19. Rhode Island
20. Tennessee
21. Florida
22. Kentucky
23. Arizona
24. Kansas
25. Colorado
26. Missouri
27. Mississippi
28. North Dakota
29. Indiana
30. Oklahoma
31. Maine
32. Wisconsin
33. Connecticut
34. Nebraska
35. Hawaii
36. Louisiana
37. Delaware

With 36 states represented (and a few people from (unknown)) I am only missing 14 states. Not too bad considering I've only been posting for about 7 months.

Design Impacts Marketing

This is a great example as to why good design is so very important. You can spend all the money in the world on marketing, but if your product or service is no good, people are going to find out.

Your marketing efforts are not the only ones for your product or service.

Bird Poop

People and organizations often don't move even though they know the situation is not good.

Via Vertizontal

Presidential Campaigns and Jingles

What would happen if more campaigns used catchy jingles like this?


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Most Coveted Cars

It feels pretty good to have my vehicle listed on Forbes list of Most Coveted Cars.

While my technical wait time was only 13 months, I actually waited over 5 years for the Smart Fortwo to come to the United States. Well worth it.

Via Treehugger

Yakety Sax

I guess I had always known, but I did not fully realize the implications until today.

Almost anything, put to the music of Benny Hill (Yakety Sax by Boots Randolph), is hilarious.

Case in point

Xeni Jardin's post on Boing Boing lists some other videos with the same music that prove this point. I'm just not too sure I agree with the landmines one...

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Downtown Association of Fresno

The Downtown Association of Fresno has their new website up and running.

Check it out at

Downtown Assoc website

It appears to be running a little slowly, and some of the links have been timing out on me, but I do like the look of it.

I guess only time will tell how useful this site will be, and how much people can and will utilize it. The first thing I looked for was an RSS feed, but alas I couldn't find one. I'll keep checking.

Via Fresno Famous

Monday, October 06, 2008

Dark Story 2 or Toy Knight 2

Here's a mashup of the Dark Knight movie trailer with Toy Story 2. It's pretty clever.


Peanut Butter Slices

Want a peanut butter sandwich on the go but you don't want to take a jar of peanut butter, a knife, and anything else this normally calls for? Well the answer is here with New! P.B. Slices.

Similar to cheese slices, these peanut butter slabs come in plastic wrap and make the whole process a little more portable and a little bit easier.

I can't imagine this being better for the environment, with all the extra plastic, but it is a very interesting concept.

Would you buy/use this?

Via UberReview

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Confusing Traffic

I would imagine this road would be a little confusing to figure out where you are going.

Via Aerial Photography

Eyeball It

Are you good at telling if a picture frame is hanging crooked or a corner is 90 degrees?

Try the Eyeballing Game to see how good you are at guess proportions and distances.

I got a 9.99 (because I wasn't reading the directions on the Triangle center and royally screwed up). My best "event" was right angle, with my best score a 0.1.

Via Presurfer

Saturday, October 04, 2008

GameTracker by CBS College Sports

As I was unfortunately unable to attend the Fresno State Bulldogs football game tonight against the University of Hawaii Warriors, I wanted to keep up to date on the score/game.

I have, in the past, followed the games online at with their live GameTracker, which has play-by-play details of the game. It has traditionally been fairly basic with the scoreboard, a two dimensional picture of a field and small icons representing where the ball is etc. on the field.

This season GameTracker has been given an upgrade.

Game Tracker

While the score may not be that comforting, I was very impressed with the visuals on this game tracker. Not only has the scoreboard been given a facelift, but the representation of the field is immensely better. The little icons for ball placement have been replaced with little animations showing the basic outcome of the play and while still not even close to actually being there, it gets you a little closer to the action. The little players pass, run, and kick the ball throughout the field. It is pretty entertaining.

I know the Fresno State Athletics website is run in partnership with CBS College Sports (formerly CSTV) and gives more resources to providing richer content to fans, but I've been pleasantly surprised a few times now in the last few months with the website. They also have a mobile version of which makes browsing on my phone so much better.

Smart Car Brochure

I received in the mail today a brochure from smart USA.

I don't have a lot of experience with buying new cars, and the marketing efforts of car companies after purchasing a vehicle from them.

The brochure I got from smart USA is about CD sized, and it was fairly thick.

It said
smart emergency kit. Thank you for choosing smart. As a token of our appreciation, we're giving you some essential cargo to take along for the ride. This "emergency kit" contains a few fun extras to help keep you moving.

Upon opening the package I came across this:


The next page showed this:


And the next page:


And unfolded, the whole brochure looked like this:


I think this is a really cool idea. It keeps me happy and feeling good about the smart brand, and it didn't cost them more than $20 to make a really meaningful impact on me. I am already their customer, but how much more likely I am to talk them up now (still).

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Vintage Advertisements

Advertising has come a long way, but that doesn't mean it's necessarily gotten better.

Check out these 50 Inspiring Vintage Advertisements to see the many visually inspiring ads of previous generations.

Via Presurfer

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Breakfast Cereal

I have been stocking up on breakfast cereal recently, partly because of some sale prices at Target.

In the last week, I've purchased 8 boxes of cereal (just for myself). 4 boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, 2 boxes of Life, and 2 boxes of Quaker Oatmeal Squares. This brings the total number of boxes of cereal up to 12 in my pantry, which I will be eating over the next couple of weeks. Please remind me over the next little while that I do not need to buy anymore cereal for a bit.

Speaking of cereal, check out The Breakfast Bowl for a couple of posts about cereal boxes selling on eBay for a lot of money.

What Would You Do With $700 Billion

With all this talk about bailouts and whether or not the US government should spend $700 billion on the the financial industry, I really enjoyed this article from WorldChanging.

I think one thing this current event is doing to our culture is affecting the perceived value of money. Since the total of $700 billion is thrown around so much in the media, it is almost starting to seem like it is not so much money. Just remember though, each billion is 1 000 million.