Friday, December 09, 2005

The Doctor is In

Sorry I've been incognito for a while -- I'm in the whirlwind of exams, finals, projects, and job interviews -- all the activities you go through when finishing school. But I had to poke my head out of hibernation to talk about this new find: A band called Tree Wave.

They make innovative music using obsolete computer equipment (including a Commodore 64 and a Dot Matrix printer) and female vocals. But before you dismiss the band's concept as too out there to possibly be any good, give them a listen. In the words of one reviewer

" isn't the bleep and bloop-fest you might expect, it is really quite lush...."

and another

"...they make remarkably sublime music...strangely beautiful, but definitely warm inside...."

The guy takes advantage of an analog synth built in to a Commodore 64 -- who would have thought! Here's a link to some of their songs.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

World's first undersea restaurant

Babzi mentions the Hilton Maldives Resort on Rangali Island, this restaurant claims to be the first with an underwater view -- about 5 metres below the Indian Ocean. You can read more about it here.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

At the beach at 4am

A few weekends ago, I experienced my first Beverely Hills wedding. There I met tons of cousins I never knew I had. It was kind of funny because I took a look at the map my parents were using to drive to an afterparty. The address? In Beverely Hills, 90210 :) This picture was taken after the party, when one of the locals took us to the town then to the beach.

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At the beach in Santa Monica, 4am in the morning :) Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Whitewater Rafting

In Seattle, people seem to enjoy nature more often -- by going on hikes, camping, etc. This weekend I went whitewater rafting with some friends from Microsoft. Shown below is a 14 foot drop at one part of the journey. I'm the guy on left in the front row. Posted by Picasa
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Thursday, June 23, 2005

Today, my team at Microsoft took the day off, to volunteer as laborers at Habitat for Humanity -- a charity that helps build homes for the homeless. We've just arrived at the construction site, waiting to be assigned our tasks. Posted by Hello
Damn. This is what I call "a hike." Posted by Hello
Another shot from the hiking trip Posted by Hello
I snapped this shot during a recent hike. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

This blog was cited in alumni newsletter

This appeared in this month's MIT Alumni Association newsletter

"Full of photos of everything from transparent concrete to lights attached to bicycle spokes, notes on how to hack a Pepsi bottle, and thoughts from a negotiation class called Playing to Win vs. Playing Not to Lose, engineering systems division graduate student Hooman Katirai offers a humorous and insightful look at life in his blog, Treadmill to Infinity."

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Thought of the Day: On Taking Risks

"Looking back in 20 years, you are less likely to regret the risks you took now, than those risks you did not take."
-Author Unknown

Friday, April 22, 2005

Playing to Win vs. Playing Not to Lose

I realized in negotiation class today that some people play to win, while others play "not to lose."

To use a baseball analogy, people who "play to win," feel comfortable walking a batter to load the bases. They are fine with trusting people and taking some calculated risks if it increases their chances of winning.

On the other hand, people who "play not to lose," are driven by their fear of getting hurt. They seek to protect themselves at all costs. They are very hesitant to trust other people and are pre-occupied with avoiding risks.

Of course, there is a spectrum between these two extremes. But my life philosophy is that a strategy solely focused on "playing not to lose" isn't very effective.

Years ago my father told me to "never do business with people you don't trust, because in the end you will always lose." No matter how comprehensive your contract, no matter how airtight your patent, they will find a way around it.

If you find yourself emphasizing the "playing not to lose" mode of thinking when crafting a partnership, ask yourself "am I dealing with people I don't trust?"

An obsession with protecting oneself from harm doesn't serve to create anything of value. It's what can be termed a "negative" strategy, because it is focused on what you "don't want to happen."

If you are to truly benefit from the what a partnership can bring, you need to also foster a culture of co-operation that make partnerships work and to clarify the benefits of the partnership both to yourself and your partners. This is a "positive strategy" insofar as it focusea on what "you want to happen."

Lacking a positive strategy, you are basically assuming your partnership will fail.

So the optimal solution seems to be the middle road: (1) introduce safeguards into your agreements but (2) Develop a vision of a successful partnership and (3) clarify and publicize both for yourself, your partners, and employees, the benefits of the partnership and (4) to maximize the chance of success, find ways to allow people at all levels in both organizations to foster strong working relationships.

Transparent Concrete

While waiting to meet someone in the library, I browsed Domus (an amazing Italian Designer magazine), and noticed they had an article on transparent concrete. They were trying to figure out how to use the new medium. One of their pictures was very beautiful. The picture below, is not as beautiful as the one I saw. But it should give you an idea of this new medium.

Bicycle Lights that can display computer generated patterns!

Attach this to a spinning bicycle wheel,

and you get this:

A blue version:

the thing can even connect to a palm pilot to display custom text:

Hokey Spokes are unique bicycle safety lights that allow riders to display computer generated images while riding at night.

I wouldn't want to be seen riding with these lights, but they are pretty remarkable.

I found this while browsing Cool Neon's store.
Speaking of which, Cool Neon sells plastic wires that glow when connected to a power source. You can make some pretty funky stuff using this wire; for instance, check this "modded case" out:

Some of my friends created interesting halloween costumes using Cool Wire. Speaking of which I'm trying to find an excuse to use some too -- it's only $1.00 per foot on sale and it lasts 800 to 3000 hours.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Nice way of putting it

I love how this guy describes the Adobe-Macromedia merger:

In the classic 1966 Michelangelo Antonioni film, "Blow-Up," the protagonist is at a small rock concert where pandemonium breaks out as the lead guitarist throws his guitar into the audience -- putting it up for grabs.

A fight ensues. Somehow, the protagonist ends up with the guitar and scoots into the street chased by an angry mob -- all demanding the instrument. Soon he looks back and the mob is gone. He looks at the guitar one last time, then throws it into the trash.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Dorri's Birthday

Tonight, the MIT Baha'i club and some friends celebrated Dorri Ziai's birthday. Finally: an excuse to buy one of those layered scents! Posted by Hello
The guys at Dorri's party Posted by Hello
Dorri & Norah at Dorri's B-day party Posted by Hello

Boston Marathon

At 109 years old, the Boston Marathon is the oldest and most well-known North American marathon. What amazes me, is how it matter-of-factly swings through streets in my little neighborhood. People crowd the sidelines along the entire route to cheer the runners on. Every time a runner passed the crowd would applause and goad the runners on by saying things like "Yeah! you can do it! Good job!" This picture was taken a mile before the finish line. Posted by Hello

Marathon pics

Emmanuel and I at the Marathon (on Commonwealth Ave) Posted by Hello

Monday, April 18, 2005

Friday, April 15, 2005

Pepsi bottles ... hacked!

While at the campus convenience store I noticed one guy carefully examining Pepsi bottles. I realized he was trying to figure out which bottles would let him win a free song (Pepsi is running a promotion where 1 in 3 bottles contains a code that will let you download one free song from Apple's iTunes music store).

"Can you actually figure out which ones have a free song?" I asked him.

"Sure" he says,

"it's easy! -- Just tip the bottle, and look from the bottom to read the bottle cap. If it says 'sorry try again,' your outta luck but if you can't make out what it's saying, it's probably the random code you have to type in to get a free song -- In fact, here's a winning bottle" he says as hands me bottle before walking off.

But the bottle he gave me was of the "diet" variety, so I had to find my own winning bottle. I tried what he said and to my amazement it worked! In about 10 seconds, I too walked off with a winning bottle. Now I'm off to pick my free song.