Category Archives: videos

We TV: it’s not just for women and gay men anymore (sort of)

Cable channels directed at women like We and Oxygen are always around to be the butt of a joke (e.g., imagine “Wee!” exclaimed by women and gay men), but there are two really interesting shows on We lately that are worth checking out:

Secret Lives of Women. This show is about the “secret lives” of women, “[f]rom fetishes and fantasies to polygamists to the dirty little secrets of suburbia.” Most of the shows are very interesting and downright compelling– in the most recent episode I watched, “Sex Trade,” there was a story about an Asian pre-med student who works as a high-priced (I mean, not Eliot Spitzer high-priced, but anywhere from a few hundred to several thousands dollars) escort and call girl. (They obscure her face throughout the show, but I swear I know her.) Other past episodes have included topics such as “Plastic Surgery Addicts,” “Cheaters,” “Cougars,” and “Lipstick Lesbians.” The new season premieres on April 1. Check out these clips: “Sex for Sale,” “Why I Am A Cougar,” and “Mommy is a Phone Sex Operator“.

High School Confidential. Now, this is an interesting project: many of us think back and remember how much we’ve changed since high school, but not only that, how much we changed just in the four years while in high school. The show followed 12 girls for four years and now we get to see these girls deal with “sex, drugs, unwanted pregnancy, health crisis, and family chaos — all while trying to discover who they are.” The show particularly resonates for me because I remember many of my friends and myself changing so much from the time we were freshmen to the time we were juniors and seniors– we entered with such an idealistic look at the world and with such a high sense of morality, but real life sets in, slowly for surely, and things change very quickly, including our ideas of right and wrong. For the men out there: check out this show to get some insight into the psycho social mind job high school can be from the female perspective. Check out this video for a taste of what the show is about.

Lumbar Puncture

In the continuing efforts to figure out my chronic headaches, I had a lumbar puncture yesterday; in layman’s terms, you might call it a spinal tap.

When you have an LP (as you may also have heard it called, especially on something like House), there’s a 10-15% chance that you’ll get a severe headache with nausea, but that can usually be avoided by making sure you stay lying flat on your back for a few hours after the procedure and keeping your fluids up. A persistent headache can mean that a proper clot didn’t form at the puncture site and there’s a CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) leak– a microscopic leak, not one that comes oozing out your back, so the headache is the only real tip off that you have one.

Amazingly, after staying strictly in the supine position after the procedure at the doctor’s office and then at home (except for the brief trip to the car in a wheelchair and all and then up the elevator home), I avoided getting a severe headache and hopefully, a CSF leak. Imagine my luck, considering I otherwise have a headache everyday, often all day.

Anyway, thanks to Marina and Charles for taking me to the doctor and taking care of me all day yesterday. For the less squeamish, check out this video of an actual LP.

The Way I Are

I’m back in the Bay after a stressful trip home for the holidays, about which I may or may not write more here, but one thing’s for sure: after listening to it while driving around with my brother of all people, I have become obsessed with this song:

The entire Timbaland album is pretty good; I really like that he’s working in a bunch of different styles, with a bunch of different artists, from Justin Timberlake to Fall Out Boy to Elton John to OneRepublic.

And if you’re curious about the girl singing the hooks in “The Way I Are,” it’s Keri Hilson who has, until now, mainly been a songwriter as part of The Clutch, a strong group of songwriters responsible for a series of hit songs, including Mary J. Blige’s “Take Me As I Am,” but in 2006, signed onto Timbaland’s new label and will be releasing her debut album soon.

You have no YouTube videos

Well, not quite, but within 24-48 hours of putting some of my blog videos on YouTube, two (out of five) clips were taken down for copyright infringement. Both were clips from The Daily Show— interestingly, I had anticipated copyright complaints, but after doing a search for Daily Show clips on YouTube, I saw that there were many that had survived the Viacom YouTube copyright sweep, so I thought I might slip by. Alas, not so much:

YouTube Copyright Notice

Perhaps they’re only actively monitoring new content now– those lazy bastards.

In any case, I’ll scrounge around and try to replace the clips.

Stanford Facebook Class: 10 Million in 10 Weeks


Stanford Facebook Course Final – Stanford World Domination
Originally uploaded by sindy

I’ve been working somewhat with, among others, the instructors (especially BJ Fogg and Dan Ackerman Greenberg) for the Stanford Facebook class CS377W: Creating Engaging Facebook Apps, figuring out how to use Facebook and its application development platform to encourage development of apps to promote student life, aid in teaching and learning, reach out to alumni, and more. (My department, Student Computing, is currently running an app contest to encourage development of just those kinds of apps.) Wednesday night, I attended the class final– a full-blown presentation on the class (including the journey from the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab exploring how to computerize persuasion in 1993 to the development of the class itself), aims of the course, lessons learned, and, most importantly, the apps produced by the class’ 25 student teams.

The class has gotten a lot of hype, especially in the blogosphere, and much of it has been about how students were looking to find the secret to building the next big app and, in turn, making big money from it (check out this WREX-TV, NBC11.com video and try not to be distracted by the dumbed-down and sometimes nonsensical tech imagery for the narration). Much of the class focused on metrics and taking advantage of the viral nature of social networking sites like Facebook– aiming, for each app, a high number of users (especially daily active users) and high engagement (number of page views and time spent with the app). The apps developed, as you can tell from the phrase “10 million in 10 weeks,” were largely successful in achieving these goals with over 10 million installs, over one miliion daily active users, and a handful ranking in Facebook’s top 100 apps (out of over 10,000): Perfect Match, Send Hotness, Hugs, and KissMe (originally based on the Full Moon on the Quad tradition at Stanford). (Sorry if I missed any that reached the top 100.)

However, focusing on getting the largest number of users doesn’t always result in developing the “deepest” or most “socially meaningful” applications– as one commenter put it, even the “Stanford intellectual elite [can be] devoted to producing such monumental drivel.” (Before the Stanford-developed KissMe app, just think of the success of the unbelievably simple Zombies app.) So, instead of focusing on the apps that had the highest number of users, I want to point out two apps that are particularly socially conscious and show how to take advantage of the power of the Facebook network:

  • The Giving Tree – the developers of this app partnered with Kiva to piggy-back on the growing awareness of the power of microlending. Facebook users don’t even need to pony up their own money– instead, once 50 people have added one of the selected businesses to their profile, $25 is pushed to the business using money donated from companies.
  • Save the Rainforest – here, the developers partnered with The Nature Conservancy to take advantage of some of the time Facebook users are spending on the site everyday. Users play a vocabulary game and for every six correct answers, one square foot of the rainforest will be adopted through The Nature Conservancy’s Adopt an Acre program. As of the class’s final presentation night (December 12, 2007), 5,000 square feet had already been saved!

You, like me, are probably trying to reduce the app clutter on your Facebook profile, but if you’re going to use apps, I think these two are certainly worth it.

And with that, I leave you with a short video of Dave McClure leading the audience in The Wave to get them psyched up for the presentations:


You have no (YouTube) Friends

I often embed YouTube videos when I post entries here (I’ve started collecting all posts with video into a single category), but from time to time, I post my own videos. While I used to directly upload my own video files, making both QuickTime and Windows Media Player versions available, with the advent and popularity of YouTube, I decided to start moving my videos there, thus creating my own YouTube channel.

Of course, although I don’t actually care about maintaining an active channel worthy of thousands of subscribers and followers, the sad part is that, in a big box, in big letters, the channel displays a list of your YouTube Friends and mine sadly says “You have no Friends.” That’s a little harsh, don’t you think?

Anyway, if you are more than a casual user on YouTube and want to be my friend (I can’t believe I’m actually writing this), please add me as a friend.

But you know, only if you want to.

Sad. So sad.

Hiccups

During lunchtime discussion today, I found out one of my friends/coworkers has had hiccups in the past for something on the order of 24 hours (I can’t remember if it was more). On top of that, it’s actually happened to him more than once– unbelievable! (There are often days when we discover fascinating things about him, despite his mild-mannered exterior).

After reading about hiccups in Wikipedia, I probably know more than I should ever know about hiccups, but here are a few interesting tidbits:

  • In 1988, Francis Fesmire of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine published his research on “Termination of intractable hiccups with digital rectal massage.” In 2006, he was one of the recipients of the Ig Nobel for medicine for his research. Aside from being “research that makes people laugh and then think,” as the Ig Nobel folks say, the additional interesting thing about this is that there’s an episode of House where a patient who claims to be suffering from hiccups, after being told they will go away on their own, requests a specific treatment/cure that he read about, one that some guy one a prize for. Later, House throws the patient’s file on the counter, telling the nurse to make a note about “drug-seeking behavior.” Dr. Cuddy asks, “Morphine?” House answers, “No, anal-digital stimulation.”
  • As recounted by my friend during our hiccups discussion, Charles Osborne, after slaughtering or weighing a hog (I’ve found conflicting reports on what he was actually doing, but it definitely involved a hog), suffered from hiccups continuously for 68 years, from 1922 to 1990. (He obviously holds the Guinness World Record for “Longest Attack of Hiccups.”) Contrary to what we thought earlier– that he had hiccups all the way until his death– his hiccups actually mysteriously disappeared on their own in 1990, a year before he passed away. Nevertheless, he still managed to live to the ripe old age of 97, marrying at least more than once and fathering several children.

Check out this interview of a girl who had hiccups for five weeks (the video shows her after about three weeks in):

Sexual Harassment and You

California now requires sexual harassment training for all supervisors– among other provisions, this means two hours at least every two years. I just finished my two hours and many of the topics covered were issues I covered during the hiring practices portion of my Masters program. However, aside from topics like supervisor duties and liabilities, protected characteristics and what constitutes illegal discrimination, preventing a hostile work environment and how to handle complaints, the training covers some very interesting case studies. As we jokingly said, if it was sexual harassment training, it would be sexual harassment.

I don’t think I’m breaking any rules by sharing some of these case study examples since they are real world examples of sexual harassment litigation, so here’s a little sampling so you can get an idea of what I’m talking about:

One word: priapism. If you don’t know what this word means, you should learn, especially if you’re a guy, and then check out the 2006 case Arrieta-Colon v. Wal-Mart. Props to Arrieta-Colon in winning the case, but talk about awkward.

That may be sexual harassment, but more importantly, it’s sexual assault. There were one or two examples where one co-worker (usually male) continually made unwanted romantic/sexual advances towards a co-worker (usually female)– advances that weren’t just repeated requests for a date or inappropriate comments, but extended to groping, touching, and more. (Specifically, check out the 2006 case Howard v. Winter as one example.) While admittedly there are serious sexual harassment issues, what about the sexual assault? This type of behavior is illegal not only in terms of creating a hostile work environment, but also because it’s a crime. I don’t know about you, but sexual assault trumps sexual harassment.

Spanking. And lots of it. WTF? There were multiple examples of spanking somehow being introduced into the workplace as a sometimes valid, sometimes invalid form of punishment. Check out the 2002 case Yerry v. Pizza Hut of Southeast Kansas. If someone seriously suggested to me to physically hit or be hit, much less spank or be spanked, as a way to punish someone in the workplace, I think my head would explode. And yet, somehow people involved in such cases went along with this treatment. It’s amazing what people don’t understand about their rights, will put up with to keep their jobs or do to avoid confrontation.

And with that, a little video to lighten the mood: