Category Archives: California

I have Google Voice

And it’s the coolest thing in the world.  Dr. T and I got the inside skinny about pre-invites (to the nerdiest party in the world), signed up, and then, this Friday, it happened: the launch of the most exciting app since GMAIL–Google Voice.

In the non-geek media world, most people’s first reaction to Google Voice was exactly the same as their first reaction to Gmail or Google Docs (*actually, it’s still most people’s reaction to Google Docs, but more on that in a minute*) …wow, that sure sounds cool, but I’ve already got a cell phone/iPhone/Blackberry/office-line. In an era when we’re all biologically invloved with our communication devices, being able to receive all your calls in the same place with digital tracking might sound redundant/horrible. The market for cheap international calls is still largely the domain of Skype, and digitized calling-cards make Google Credits even more dubious as business propositions go. Fortunately, we’re already perverting the system. As always, the coolest thing about a new Google app isn’t what it’s programmed to do, but what users actually do with it.

If you’re like us (young, over-educated and underemployed) you’re probably living on the fringes of the legitimate world, always scraping together another scheme. Dr. T is starting a business, and I’m constantly freelancing. Unfortunately, out area-codes don’t always match our ambitions. Think nobody’s reading into your prefix? Well, they are.  Case in point: ever tried to work in New York City with a California (###)? Even sources wrinkle their noses at some out-of-city digits. And editors? Fuggetabout it.

But selling stories is small potatos compared to seeking $M’s worth of funding for a clean-energy startup. Selling Silicon Valley with San Fernando Valley extension? Callers immediately know it’s a cell, and worse, they know you’re too young or too broke to have a local number.  Or at least, they used to know it.

Google Voice doesn’t just allow you to manage your analog conversations in a digital format. It also lets you chose your number (or at least, your area-c0de), sort of like a telephonic pseudonym. Do a lot of business in Atlanta?  Sign up in time and you can receive calls (and dial out with your smart phone) from a 404. Not only are you more accessible to persnickety public organs, like schools and others notoriously adverse to dialing out, you’ve got the pale of legitimacy to new local contacts. For the Dr. and I, our (###) always belied how long we had lived in a particular place and how much we really knew about it. I’m stoked to see where other creative types take the newest app in the Google family, even as the tide of approval may be turning for the company.

Now if only I could figure out how to save old txts to my computer…

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Filed under California, Daily Oddities, nyc

Daily Oddities: Monday World Edition

There’s a lot to talk about in the World today, so lets jump right into it. You know about Tehran and you know about Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech, so we’re skipping that and getting straight down into the stuff you didn’t hear.

Russia_06_11_09_Elder_Oligarchs

GLOBE:
More than a billion people go hungry, says the World  Food Program. That’s about as many people who will contract malaria this year, a statistic that’s broken down masterfully by the country in a multi-part feature for the Global Post. Check out India. As long as we’re chatting about weird statistics, who knew that traffic was hazardous to your health? Well, ok, everybody, but who had a study to scientifically prove it’s hazardous to your health? The World Health Organization, that’s WHO. (hahahaha). Finally, a UN commissioned study with empirical evidence that climate change is effecting human migration. Which, if you’ve never heard of Tuvalu, might be news.
In other global news, the Cuban Five, whose pictures were emblazoned across whitewashed walls of local groceries and in the posh lobbies of upscale hotels when I visited Cuba in 2003-04 will not have another day in court, after what is at least five years (one for each of them!) of trying. The five stand accused of spying for Havana.
On the opposite side of the earth (and also in Brooklyn) the Guardian has a retrospective of female suicide bombers, more coverage of the refugees post-Tiger surrender and The New York Times has 4 Brooklynites (none of them M.I.A.) arrested and convicted of sponsoring the Tamil Tigers to the tune of millions. From Flushing or Staten Island, we might have expected…but this!
Some interesting stuff out of Russia: Global Post notices absurdly ostentatious oligarches reining it back. John Vinocur at the Times has some advice for Obama in Moscow next month. In sum: your shit will not work with the Russians, Mr. Smiley Pants President.
Finally, China still defies explanation, US Asians hate girls and Al Gore is once again the butt of a hilarious joke. (Guest Apperance by Rahm Emanuel.  Continue reading

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Filed under 3rd World Imagineering, Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, California, Coney Island, Daily Oddities, Economy, Immigration, India, Los Angeles, Russia, Sri Lanka, Taxis, United Nations

The Absolute Cheapest Fro-Yo there IS

Every bit better than Pinkberry/Red Mango/KiwiBerri/Papamingo/TuttiMelon (notice how YogurtLand wasn’t in that list? That’s because YogurtLand is still better), Quickly’s new take on Korean Fro-Yo is so cheap, you’ll do a double take. And again. Whaaa?

Froyo

What makes Quickly (globally ubiquitous purveyor of Boba) ahead of the game here is 80/20 pricing to quality. While they still beat more boutique yogurt with their fluffy not-too-frozen texture, they’re beating the pants off market leaders like Pinkberry (now synonymous with Korean yogurt) with their price. Not only do they offer a 5 oz yogurt for 89 cents (reduced to 59 on Special), for another 99 cents, you get unlimited toppings. UNLIMITED TOPPINGS.

Now, anyone who knows the current Korean fro-yo craze knows that rub in the “natural” frozen yogurt  market has always been the toppings—an assortment of fresh fruits, nuts and a colorful and healthy-ish selection of bite-sized treats. The yogurt itself is good, but the toppings are what sets it apart, and what attracts the deep-pocketed health conscious consumer who has helped launch this product into the stratosphere. Put fruit on anything, and you are garunteed to snare the health nuts.

But really, toppings is where fro-yo pushers make their rent. For half again the price of a small at Pinkberry, you can get exactly one ounce of one topping. As someone who’s worked in the Frozen Yogurt industry (pre-Pinkberry), I can promise you this much hasn’t changed.

Before you were enjoying it, your yogurt was a huge frozen block (if you’re lucky—otherwise it was a powder), and when you factor in the cost of shipping said blocks, plus the cost and maintanence for the machines that make it into that stuff you so love to eat, the chains aren’t turning  a profit on the juice itself (which is why you will notice Pinkberry employees weighing out each cup before they give it to you). No, toppings, like concessions at a movie theater, is where the real money is. Which is why “tart” yogurt is so genius, because nobody’s going to eat that shit plain.

Which is precisely why Quickly’s fro-yo scheme is so delicious. They can pull the rug out from under their competition without risking any real financial loss. I suggest we all go get one right now.

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Filed under 3rd World Imagineering, California, Economy, Ice Cream Trucks, Los Angeles

Daily Oddities, June 9th/10th

We’re starting this round of Daily Oddities with something everybody wants–a job! Today’s odd job listings include counting bees in New York City and catelouging controlled substances for the NYPD. Awesome much?

Now that you’re gainfully employed, lets take a quick gander around the globe.

GLOBE: Things are getting ridiculous in Russia, where the racing collapse of the post-Soviet economy (again) is producing the largest anti-Putin uprising ever, as even Russians admit Medvyedev has nothing to do with it. In other news, is this the fattest crime reporter you’ve ever seen? Is Moscow the best place ever to major in police blotter?

In India, small time farmers may soon be eligible for micro-insurance policies protecting against climate change. After much whining in at the UN, Sri Lanka has some revised numbers of this year’s war dead (cue streamers). It’s a lite news week for Mexico, where only one horrific, deadly event seems to be capturing headlines. Finally, even more  weirdness emerges on the Cuba front: today, we learn that a US couple in their 70s has been spying on the US for Havana for the past  several decades, before they were duped by American intelligence with Cuban cigars. Really? Continue reading

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Filed under 3rd World Imagineering, Bibliomania, Brighton Beach, California, Coney Island, Eastside, Economy, Immigration, India, Los Angeles, Mexico, Sri Lanka

EASTSIDE UPDATE—LAT scoops 2000 word expose on controversy it invented

Hello! It’s time again to visit the good ship LAT,  where we take you deep deep inside the west coast’s only major newspaper as it struggles for relevance and the $$$ to stay alfloat while draining the youth out of a small but significant generation of would be career reporters. For a fantastic chronicle of the paper’s decline, divert. If you prefer something lighter, keep reading.

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If you’ve followed 3W1’s coverage in the past few months, you’ve probably read a good deal about the LAT/Eastside controversy. If not, the Times this week has a super-duper earnest Hipster vs. Hipspanic smackdown. Xavi Moreno wants you to know, Los Feliz can eat it—it’s not the Eastside.  BTW, Anyone who opted out of the Mixtec spelling of their name need not apply.

Exhibit A: The Eastside that’s east of the river, and the Eastside west of the river (which was first dubbed “Eastside” in a copy error by the LAT, reblogged into ubiquity, and by extension, correctness).  Eastside 1 has existed since the dawn of LA. Eastside 2.0 has existed since the late 2000’s. WINNER: Eastside 1

Exhibit B: The sudden and complete coup of Los Feliz/Echo Park/Silverlake over all that was Venice Beach/West Hollywood/Santa Monica vs. the continously crumbling, gentrification resisitant, educationally crumbling Bernal Heights et al. WINNER: Eastside 2.0.

Exhibit C: Cultural Prowess. As the article points out, Eastside 1 brought us the Chicano power movement, the LA riots, Antonio Villaraigosa and Ruben Salazar. Eastside 2.0 brought us ironic tatoos, zygote crushing skinny-jeans and Brooklyn comparisons galore. WINNER: ?

Whether or not you care, you’ve got to give it up to the rebel east-Eastside. They know how to rebel—

A year ago stickers declaring “This Is Not the Eastside!” were mysteriously plastered on telephone poles and sidewalks along Sunset Boulevard. A group of bloggers from www.laeastside.com also nabbed a stack of tour guides that said “Eastside” and, in symbolic protest, burned them during a potluck party.

That’s right LA. Stick(er) it to the man.

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Filed under 3rd World Imagineering, California, Immigration, The Liberal Media

NYC Keeping it Real: Marriage Equality All About the Benjamins

Subhead: Civil Rights Fail

Well, it’s official folks: the California Supreme Court upheld voters’ ban on same  sex marriage in the Golden State, though it ruled to recognize those marriages performed before the ban took effect in November. A dumb but expected move, leading all my gay friends to simultaneously update their facebook status to 😦

On the Right Coast,  the New York City comptroller announced that legalizing gay marriage in New York would net the local economy some $210 million over the next 5 years (adjusted down to $178m if the economy hits the gay dream wedding market harder than expected).

Continue reading

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Filed under 3rd World Imagineering, California, Economy, Los Angeles, nyc