South Bay Apartment Hunting and Exciting News!

I've been waiting all week to post this, hoping I'd come up with something brilliant to say, but when it comes down to it, I'm just extremely happy. Last weekend, my girlfriend Megan was out here to look for apartments in the South Bay, and amazingly she found not one, not two, but THREE great apartments in 24 hours of looking. Yet, somehow it took me a month to find one...hmmm...

Anyhow, she had a bit of a decision to make on which apartment to take, centered around which neighborhood would feel most like home for her. It got me thinking a lot about what makes a home a home and how each persons' needs differ when choosing a new home. She wound up choosing an apartment in Santa Clara, which I thought was the right choice. It's by the university, ensuring an active neighborhood and, more importantly, near her aunt and cousin.

Looking back on my own transition this year, I feel that I have been able to make the bay area a home, but one thing has always been missing: my family. Having Megan out here will help a lot, but I certainly still miss my family dearly. More broadly, I wonder how greater mobility will impact the American (or global) family unit over the next few decades. More and more people are going away from home for school, moving often for new jobs, and even living abroad. I'd like to think that technology will enable more people to work remotely and remove the pressure to move away from family, or at least keep family more connected when apart, but thus far I don't see either happening as effectively as it should.

In the near term, though, I'm thrilled that Megan will be out here and that my best friend Mike (of I'm With Stupid fame) and my parents will be visiting this summer. Maybe I'll even convince them all to move out here, who knows? Last time my family came to visit was when my sister and brother-in-law came to see me in Boston- and they moved there months later. So, can't say it's so far-fetched. :)


Three More Years of The Office AND a Spin-off!?!? What a day!

Straight from Ricky Gervais' blog comes exciting news for fans of The Office:

Had some great news today about the American version of The Office.

Steve Carell (now one of the most bankable film stars in the world) has just signed up for another three years with us. He is the hardest working man in Hollywood and the harder he works the better it is for me. I mean... well done Steve you are wonderful.

I couldn't agree more. But perhaps even more exciting is word of a potential spinoff of The Office:

We are also working on a spinoff series of The American Office but I can't tell you anything about that yet.

I can't imagine what the spinoff would be. I hope they won't go the path of Grey's (i.e. ruining the show by removing one of your best characters and putting her into a horrible new show where her talent is wasted). But it begs the question: what character is interesting enough to have their own show? I could see a year-long spin-off of Ryan in jail, or perhaps a new life for Toby in Costa Rica, but would either have legs? The one pilot I've thought of for a while, but would be terrified to see is a closer look inside Creed's World.

Anyone else have ideas?

I'll leave you with one of many classic Michael Scott moments:
Would I rather be feared or loved? Um... Easy, both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.


Apple 2.0: Android vs. iPhone: ‘This is where the pain happens’

In the spirit of fairness, wanted to post a response to the Wired article that I shared, entitled Google's Open Source Android Phone Will Free the Wireless Web. This one comes from the Apple2.0 blog, written by Fortune's Philip Elmer-DeWitt.

The debate is really heating up over which platform will win the hearts and minds of mobile users and developers. Feel free to chime in by commenting here!

A snippet:

"Google’s plan may yet work. But for Wired, the timing of Roth’s piece could hardly be worse. Not only did it arrive in the middle Apple’s carefully orchestrated drumroll for the July 11 iPhone 3G launch, but it landed just as the Wall Street Journal was reporting that Google’s plans have hit two serious roadblocks.

The first roadblock is the carriers. As Roth reports, Google was already having trouble getting the mobile phone operators to play along. The country’s two biggest — Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T), with a combined market share of 54% — passed...So Google went with the third and fourth best, T-Mobile (DT) and Sprint Nextel (S). Now the Journal reports that T-Mobile won’t have any Android phones ready before the fourth quarter and has been sucking up so much of Google’s time with its demands that Sprint won’t have anything this year at all....

...Even more critical, if Google hopes to build a vibrant software platform, are the snarls developers are running into. As the Journal reports:

...“Some developers say it is easier to work with Apple’s programming tools than Google’s because of the familiarity with the company’s Macintosh operating system."

Read the full article, Android vs. iPhone: ‘This is where the pain happens’, here.

Thanks to Justin McCarthy for bringing this article to my attention.

The History of, and Prospects for Google's Android

I get a lot of questions about what "that Google phone is all about." What people are actually asking about is Android, the open-sourced software platform that Google is offering to wireless carriers and handset manufacturers to stimulate innovation in the mobile space. This morning I came across a great Wired article that explains (in language we can all understand) the history of Android, its prospects and why it matters. Here's a teaser:

"Is this interesting to Google?" That's what Andy Rubin was asking Larry Page. It was a spring day in 2005, and the two were in a conference room just off the main lobby at Google's headquarters. A simple yes and Rubin would have walked away happy...

...Rubin walked to the whiteboard and began his pitch. There were nearly 700 million cell phones sold each year compared with fewer than 200 million PCs — and the gap was widening. Increasingly, he said, phones were the way people wanted to connect with each other and with everything else. Yet the mobile industry was stuck in the dark ages...mobile was a tyrannical, closed system, repelling all innovators and disrupters who tried to gain entrance.

Rubin said his startup, called Android, had the solution: a free, open source mobile platform that any coder could write for and any handset maker could install...It would be a global, open operating system for the wireless future.

...Every year since 2002, the wireless sector managed to place at or near the top of the Better Business Bureau's tally of the most complained-about industries. Americans would rather do business with a used-car salesman or a collection agent than with a customer service rep for, say, T-Mobile or Motorola. And who could blame them? The plans were expensive, pricing was complex and capricious, and the phones never lived up to expectations. Constant innovation, the first principle of Page and Rubin's world, was anathema to phone companies. There had to be pent-up demand out there for something better.

So was Rubin's pitch interesting to Page? Absolutely. But he didn't want to stick his logo on Rubin's phone. Or write a supportive email. He had a better idea: Google would buy Android.

You can read the full article, Google's Open Source Android Phone Will Free the Wireless Web, by Daniel Roth here. Also, the response from Fortune's Apple2.0 blog here.


Efficient Solar Energy from MIT Students

Back in November, I posted some notes on a talk John Doerr gave at Google about the need for economically viable solutions in Greentech. Tonight, I read about an MIT team that would make him proud.

The students have made a dramatic improvement in the efficiency of collecting solar energy, producing an inexpensive parabolic solar dish that they claim could repay itself in under 2 years (vs. 10 years for earlier solar technologies). This piqued my interest, as a two-year time horizon could help solar energy fall within the investment criteria of many large corporations and governments, potentially accelerating adoption of the technology. Even better, as the students' professor explains, "all of the materials are inexpensive and accessible anywhere in the world."

You can read the full article here. Be sure to watch their video; to demonstrate the power of the dish they show it incinerating a wooden beam in seconds.

Also, read-up on Google.org's RE less than C initiative to fund the development of renewable energy sources that are cheaper than coal on a per-unit basis. Why is this so important? Watch this short video, which explains why replacing coal in a cost-effective manner will be critical as China industrializes.

Our Time Is Up

A therapist discovers he has 6 weeks to live and gets brutally honest, but what is the impact on his patients? An interesting commentary on the unpredictable nature of life and change, this short film is a well-made stab at the age-old question: "If you knew you had ___ to live, what would you do differently?" Naturally, it begs the question: what would the world be like if we all behaved as if we had 6 weeks to live?


Start-Up Spotlight: SpinVox on Newsnight

Thought I'd share this interesting 10 minute clip on a British start-up called SpinVox. I'm sharing in part because I think voice to text services such as SpinVox and Jott have massive potential, but also because the program does a good job of showing the issues that keep start-up execs up at night. If you're interested in the start-up world, it's worth a look.

And to comment on Christina's assertion at the end, I likely would blog much more frequently if I had a reliable voice to text blogging interface. That said, how would they monetize the service? Would it have to be subscription-based?


Tom Brokaw Reports Death of Tim Russert

Very sad news yesterday on the passing of Tim Russert, a journalist whom I've admired for years for his integrity and ability to cut to the core of political matters, exposing the often muddied truth on both sides of the aisle. He will be missed dearly, in this election cycle and many yet to come. My thoughts go out to his family in this trying time.


Megan forwarded this to me. I've often thought the magic of social networking was in how it merges with real world interaction. But this video makes you think maybe it's better as it's own little world...