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Mike Bergelson
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The Globe and Mail put up a poll this morning asking readers to estimate how their giving (of time and money) has changed over the past five years. I think this is a great idea because, at a minimum, it will raise consciousness around this issue, at a time when many are (justifiably) focused inward.

This did spark an idea - who's working on the TripIt for charitable giving? I explore the idea a bit in my blog (linked below). Curious to know if anyone's working on this.

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One of the benefits of Skype ending up at Microsoft is that the latter will push (or at least support) the former's developer enablement strategy.

Say what you will about Microsoft - one criticism that's tough to levy on them is a lack of developer centricity. The ability to embed Skype video in Windows and Mac applications (and eventually browser-based apps) will help unlock a huge amount of innovation around video.

I'm particularly interested in applications targeted at the Boomers. Someone will take VNC and SkypeKit and create a super-simple, accessible application that allows GenX and GenY to troubleshoot their parents' computers while connecting them more easily with their grandkids.

In fact, if you hear of anyone doing this, please let me know. I've got a handful of ideas in this area based on some research I did a few months back.

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The instructional videos created by the USPTO are amazingly high production quality (and are pretty funny in a super geeky kind of way). I just wish they'd funnel some of their budget to improving poor old TESS.

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In case you don't know who George Watsky is, you should watch this video. If you do know who George Watsky is, you should watch this video.

This is from the May 2011 YouthSpeaks Bay Area finals event where the top spoken word performers from local high schools competed to join the Bay Area's team in the national finals.

This is well worth the ~ 7 minutes. He absolutely kills it. If you start watching, be prepared to watch the whole thing b/c the last minute brings it all home.

I believe it's difficult to walk away from this video uninspired. Some of his language is magical, e.g., "Scared is just 'cared' with a lisp." This is considerably more meaningful in the context of his talk, especially when you consider that he's speaking to a room full of aspiring poet performers, many from under-funded high schools, who routinely exposes themselves on stage in front of hundreds of their teenage peers.

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Love it when Sergey doesn't flinch when the guy next to him says the Googleplex is in Redmond. And that he points out that Google has around 170 employees...
Speaking of Sergey Brin, this is amusing from 2000. A panel of ... humans tries to figure out which of the three male bipedal apes is the Google co-founder.

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Can't wait to give Spot and Beauty's bagels a try...hopefully they'll bring a bit of much-needed NYC and Montreal bagelry, respectively, to the Bay Area.

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The War Against Food Trucks

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It's about time - McDonalds announces they'll make Happy Meals more healthful. This reminds me of Santa Clara County's April 2010 ban on providing toys with fast food meals that don't meet certain minimum nutrition guidelines.

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I'm not compelled by the arguments raised in this NYT article against food trucks, viz.:

# Restaurateurs sick competition drive up outside their windows - I've never been a fan of protectionism. Set the markets free, baby.
# Streets clog - how so? The trucks don't want to spend time in traffic any more than we do; they avoid peak traffic periods wherever possible. It's possible that pedestrians spill onto the streets around carts, but I think that's a pretty rare exception.
# Parking disappears - not sure about this one; parking restrictions should be enforced (as they most certainly are in NYC). How many trucks are we talking about? Even if SFO had 500 trucks, they would take up less than half of 1% of all street parking spaces in the city (half of that if you include off-street parking)
# Crowds and diesel fumes annoy the neighbors - fair enough on the diesel fuel from generators; this is definitely an issue. The trucks don't often park in residential neighborhoods, though. They tend to gravitate towards places with, umm, lots of foot traffic.

I say keep 'em rolling. The more the merrier.

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According to a recently published (and cleverly conceived) article by +Alexia Tsotsis, technology is the new smoking...but no one's ever looked cool tweeting (not endorsing smoking, natch). On the plus side, checking into foursquare doesn't make your clothes reek.
To continue the metaphor, it seems that Googling can, in fact, have a deleterious physical impact (on our brains). Psychologists recently found that reliable access to sophisticated algorithmic search engines may be reducing our ability to recall information.

As many of us have likely experienced for ourselves (can't be sure I can control for age-related memory loss in my n=1 study), knowing that you can rely on Google reduces the effort we put into remembering information we know we can find online.
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