My kid will go to Starfleet AcademyWed, 30th Nov '11, 11:14 am::
Imagine a spherical cow in a perfectly competitive market of commodity widgets. That is, ignore intricate details like job satisfaction, industry regulations, and personal pride and prejudices.
Now let the lifetime income of a college graduate be A, high school graduate/dropout be B. Thus the lifetime income benefit of going to college is A-B. If college tuition < A-B, you go to college. Otherwise it is smarter to not go to college. For the past century, tuition has been lower than the lifetime income benefit of going to college so it is rational to go to college if you can make it happen. But tuition has been steadily rising and A-B has been constantly falling. Someday in the future, tuition > A-B and depending on your major/field of study, this might already be true.
For decades now, rational parents have been saving up for their children's college education. It is better to equip the kids with the right tools so they can earn more money in their lifetime than just giving them a lumpsum inheritance that they might squander. But if tuition > A-B, college education is economically inefficient and inheritance seems like the logical choice.
This isn't new. This is exactly what happened before 1950s, before the public was sold the dream that the only way to success is higher education. It is certainly true that in fields of science and engineering, higher education corresponds with higher standards of living and will remain so for the foreseeable future. But if tuition for a BA in Marketing is higher than the lifetime financial benefits that the degree brings, it makes economic sense to forgo the degree. Today, it might still be worth it but 15 years from now, the situation will not be the same.
If you're a parent, you should still save up for your kids but they might not use the funds towards a college education but a downpayment on a house or investment in their own business. To people today who have been raised believing that college degree is a must, this will seem appalling. But if tuition > A-B, it will simply be rational.
Amazon refunded me $75 because price dropped significantly on something I bought two days ago. They no longer offer price-drop guarantees on their products so kudos to their Customer Service team for making an exception. As I'm too lazy to go shopping at retail stores, I end up buying everything on Amazon, from toothpaste and batteries to pet-food and jewelry. No wonder my Mint.com account says that on average I spend over $160/month on Amazon!
I had been pretty stressed with tons of projects over the past few weeks and finally got a chance to relax a bit over the Thanksgiving holiday. I ate a lot of delicious food, slept in late every morning, added finishing touches to KType source code, worked on a bunch of pending projects & reports, and watched two full seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
I also did most of the shopping for our upcoming trip to India. I can't wait to see my family! It's only been a year and a half since I saw them but it feels like a decade. Just counting down the days now.
KType for iPadSat, 19th Nov '11, 9:37 pm::
I don't know why but I could watch two robots playing ping-pong all day. I can't wait for the International Robot Ping-Ping Championship 2020.
- Robot plays table tennis (vs Robot, vs Human)
A humanoid robot system for table tennis playing developed by Zhejiang University, China was recently reported by Chinese media. The system consists of two humanoid robots. Each robot is 55kg in weight, 160cm in height and has 30 Degrees of freedom. This demo shows a rally between these two robots which last 176 strokes(about 2.5 minutes). This video also shows that one humanoid robot can rally with a human player with various ball speed and can strike the ball using either forehand or backhand.
Making a product demoSat, 12th Nov '11, 11:55 am::
I'm making a product demo for KType and wanted to study some examples of well-designed demos before I got started. I'm looking for products that aren't straight-forward (buy plane tickets on your phone) but rather have slightly difficult to explain concepts (home media server that provides playlist sharing and wifi media-streaming without DRM issues). I want to learn how they've taken a complex idea and managed to explain the core concept in a few dialogs or slides.
KType is one of the many software projects out there to help people with speech disabilities. Saying that it "helps people with speech disabilities communicate better" doesn't really drive home the point. There are a hundred apps and devices that try to do the same. What sets it apart is that it is built for unsteady hands and works well even when the user has difficulty in using the iPad touchscreen. In addition to the tons of neat features (make your own keyboard, intelligent suggestions/word-completion), KType is simple enough that anyone can customize it. It is easy for me to write a paragraph extolling the virtues and features of KType but it is really difficult to compress that down to 60-90 seconds of digestible, non-boring video.
After going through hundreds of demos, here are some that I liked for one reason or another (please excuse the lack of capitalization/spelling in my raw notes below):
goab - http://vimeo.com/21386019
soundcloud - http://vimeo.com/31084756
reader - http://vimeo.com/27194571
sugarsync - SugarSync - Access All Your Data Anytime.
mediarover - MediaRover Product Demo
boxee - Boxee - Media Center
Handling Unintentional Multi-Touch Input for KTypeSat, 5th Nov '11, 11:22 am::
I just wrote a short article on how KType deals with the problem of more than one finger unintentionally touching the screen at the same time. It's a real problem for users with unsteady hands because while they try to point with their index or middle finger, their thumb or side of palm keeps touching the screen and dislocates the cursor position. I included lots of diagrams to explain the problem and the solution. Let me know what you think.
It's been almost a year since I hashed out the basic user interface and list of required features for KType. Last night I finished writing the remaining features. I will publish KType version 1.0 in the Apple AppStore after I thoroughly test all the features over the next two weeks. Over the next few months, I will be making instructional videos and updating the KType.net website with FAQs, How-Tos, and support information. It's finally happening! I'm so excited :)
You are welcome, World.Thu, 3rd Nov '11, 4:14 pm::
When preparing my daily meals, I try to maximize the formula: (taste * healthfulness) / (time * cost)
I want to eat delicious and healthy meals while spending as little money and time preparing it as possible. Those who like to cook, do not mind spending 45 minutes preparing a meal that takes 15 minutes to eat but I do not condone such inefficiencies. After a decade of preparing my own food, I have finally optimized my formula to the point where I can share it publicly for the good of mankind.
One can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), two tomatoes, four sweet peppers, and eight leaves of cilantro make for an exponentially filling lunch while providing ample nourishment. I just chop & mix things up and microwave it for 90 seconds. Certainly there are a hundred ways I could have done it better (cook on stove, avoid canned food, grow my own tomatoes etc.) but that would raise the time and cost factors without significantly increasing the taste or health benefits, thereby lowering the overall score. You are welcome, World.
Edit: I should mention that I add a lot of different spices based on my mood. I don't like bland food.