Tab roundup for December 2008
Om Malik’s blog design, and themes as a business
I stumbled upon Om.Is.Me…, Om Malik’s private blog, and was taken away by the design. For one, its hosted at wordpress.com (something I’m thinking I might do at some stage, if it was less rigid). But more importantly, what I noticed was the design – I was really taken away by the blog theme. Its designed by GNV & Partners, and it looks snazzy.
Is there big business in WordPress themes? If their website was in English, I’d be a little more interested… Largely because I have to theme at least two WordPress sites in the near future, and I’m not looking forward to mastering CSS, etc.
What do custom WordPress themes go for? How many folk pay for themes?
Found this via Twitter (thanks @achitnis), and it Hackerspaces reminded me a lot of coworking. When in Melbourne, I always pined of a co-working space (I believe, Joe’s Garage came close to it – upstairs, anyway). Now that I’m in Kuala Lumpur a lot more, I am wondering if a warehouse somewhere, might make sense…
Cybercafes in Japan, offering physical addresses to the homeless
Read Cyber cafe offers address to homeless. I didn’t know that cybercafe’s in Tokyo gave away a free email address (maybe they don’t, but they might give you access to one), but I was impressed that comic books and unlimited beverages were a norm. Kudos to Cyber @ Cafe offering long-term lodging and an official registered address (important, when PO BOXes aren’t acceptable or you’re homeless).
Takemitsu Karitachi, used to sleep on park benches, but he doesn’t have to anymore:
This simple service is vital for the 50 semi-permanent residents of the cafe, many of whom have taken refuge here after being laid off abruptly during the current recession.
Takemitsu Karitachi, a contract worker at a nearby factory, is one of the many people who have been sleeping at the cafe every night for the past two months since he lost his office job and his apartment.
Karitachi, who used to roam the streets and hopped between various Internet cafes for months, says he is now relieved to have found a more permanent home — even if it’s a cubicle just slightly bigger than the back seat of a car.
BMW India sales records
It stunned me when I found out that in 2007, BMW only sold 1,338 cars, and in 2008, plans to sell 2,800 units. The sales ratio between the BMW 5 and 3 series is 55:45 (so the one’s buying a BMW, actually have a lot more disposable income than one would think).
I don’t know the cost of a BMW in India, but if its prohibitively expensive as it is in Malaysia (what is it, up to 300% excise duty?), I’m surprised the numbers are a lot lower. Seeing a BMW (or a Mercedes) on the road in Malaysia is very common – yuppies are driving 3-series cars (BMW 320), straight into their first management job, willing to fork out RM220,000+, and paying it off over seven or nine years.
Lucky for me, I don’t think of a car as a status symbol (and think that people that do, are rather daft).
Read Paul Graham’s After Credentials. It is probably his best essay in recent time, and its very pertinent to those living in Asia.
Not only in South Korea, but in most parts of Asia, education is touted as being very important. Quotes like “In our country, college entrance exams determine 70 to 80 percent of a person’s future,” don’t surprise me. Paul thinks its old fashioned – I tend to agree. Today’s universities are not more than cram universities.
The problem comes when parents use direct methods: when they are able to use their own wealth or power as a substitute for their children’s qualities.
Let’s think about what credentials are for. What they are, functionally, is a way of predicting performance. If you could measure actual performance, you wouldn’t need them.
This doesn’t work in small companies. Even if your colleagues were impressed by your credentials, they’d soon be parted from you if your performance didn’t match, because the company would go out of business and the people would be dispersed.
In a world of small companies, performance is all anyone cares about. People hiring for a startup don’t care whether you’ve even graduated from college, let alone which one. All they care about is what you can do. Which is in fact all that should matter, even in a large organization.
The whole article is interesting. There is a good analysis of the big company versus small company paradigm, as well as the fact that people want instant (and not deferred) rewards.
I predict that within Asia, in the next two decades, hiring based on your after credentials (first bachelors, then masters, possibly doctorate eventually), are going to be a thing of the past.
Lawyers use Facebook to serve notices
Via The Age:
Canberra lawyers have won the right to serve legally binding court documents by posting them on defendants’ Facebook sites.
In a ruling that could make legal and internet history, a Supreme Court judge ruled last week lawyers could use the social networking site to serve court notices.
Email and even mobile phone text messages have been used before to serve court notices, but the Canberra lawyers who secured the ruling are claiming service by Facebook as a world first.
“The Facebook profiles showed the defendants’ dates of birth, email addresses and friend lists and the co-defendants were friends with one another,” a spokesman for the firm said.
On perfumes, and smell
This is interesting, The scent of a man. Very captivating, here are a few select quotes:
They already knew that appropriate scents can improve the mood of those who wear them. What they discovered, though, as they will describe in a forthcoming edition of the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, is that when a man changes his natural body odour it can alter his self-confidence to such an extent that it also changes how attractive women find him.
They found that those who had been given the commercial fragrance showed an increase in self-confidence. … What was surprising was that their self-confidence improved to such an extent that women who could watch them but not smell them noticed. They were, however, unable to distinguish between the groups when shown only still photographs of the men, suggesting it was the men’s movement and bearing, rather than their physical appearance, that was making the difference.
Perhaps the greatest takeaway was: “The sexes themselves smell different, too, and women can glean information about a man’s social status from his smell alone.””
Women can smell success?