Category Archives: Culture

Brooks Brothers: Cutting to the Chase

I don’t do a lot of online clothes shopping, so I apologize if this is the norm. I suspect it isn’t the default.

There’s a current sale (May 9-12, 2012) at Brooks Brothers, and their Non-Iron dress shirts are pretty nifty.

Once you go to their site, it looks like this:

Brooks Brothers website sales page Screenshot

Not the prettiest page you’ve ever seen, but it cuts to the chase. This lets you only search for clothes in stock that’s your size. Brilliant! I could care less if there’s a $200 item marked down to $8 if it’s size XXL.

After selecting a size, you’re taken to a page where you don’t have to choose between View 15 per page OR View 25 per page OR View 50 per page.

Shirts Search Results page Screenshot

For my search, it shows all results on one page since bandwidth in 2012 America isn’t as much as problem as dial up 10 years ago.

UI/UX/design isn’t about looking pretty. It’s about having something that’s simple/easy/intuitive to use and gets the task done. In this case, I was able to search only the relevant sized dress shirts, add to cart, and checkout (without creating a user account) quickly.

The Man in the Arena

Posting this bit by Theodore Roosevelt so that I can find it easily. It’s not a new quote (it dates back to 1910), but it’s so true. Critics are just that.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Pier 15 – Downtown NYC

Pier 15 is just South of the famous South St Seaport in downtown Manhattan.

Street Side Entrance

With the Winter weather over, Pier 15 is a great place to soak up the Vitamin D on a lunch break for those near Wall St.

Pier 15 with South St Seaport in Background

Pier 15 is a two level structure, and they’ve applied to serve drinks here during Summer.

Stairs up to the Rooftop Lawns

From the upper level, you can see the Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Williamsburg Bridges.

East River Bridges

Upper Level looking Downward

SHoP did a great job here.

Northern Staircase looking towards Brooklyn

 

Upper Floor View towards Brooklyn

Wooden Upper Floor View towards South

From Pier 15, as well as most of the Southern portion of the East River, you can see the helipad and Governors Island.

Downwards View of Seating and Planted Area

 

Seating Area View from Ground Level

The design (including furniture) is mostly well done.

Large Open Space next to the East River (Facing Brooklyn)

 

Small Enclosed Tiered Seating Facing South

Pier 15 has a great, open air dynamic that allows many people to use the space at the same time.

Lower Level Room with South St Seaport Reflected

 

From Front to Back: Pier 15, the East River, and Brooklyn

With Winter behind us, this park will continue to get more and more attractive to the public.

The internet is a series of filters on top of filters

I read Jason Kottke via RSS. He posts videos or interesting links with short descriptions. I’ve read his site for over several years, and I only found about his site when he got hate for trying out micropatrons. Kottke does a good job posting obscure content that he filters (or “curates” as is the popular buzzword today).

In his Verge interview, he says:

…the web is now largely filters on top of filters on top of filters.

This is an amazing observation, and in retrospect after reading it, it was pretty obvious all along. Stuff gets tossed onto youtube, wordpress, forums, etc., and re-shared all over social networks.

The latest meme.jpg gets a LOL, quickly becomes overplayed, and we all move onto the next one. That’s great, except with Sturgeon’s Law applied, 90% of everything is crap on the internet.

I never used Summify, so I can’t say how effective their filtering is. Their fun video makes it look like it’s able to cut out the fat from your daily content. Of course, Summify is yet another filter on top of filters.

Filtering content to cut out irrelevant content is great, but I’d like to draw a distinction between two ways of browsing filtered news.

The first is where you’re browsing news for the sake of browsing. You want to get through all the news that’s fit to read, theoretically give yourself an information advantage for unforeseen situations, and kill some time. When you’re in the first mode, the worst thing that can happen is you run out of news to read. You hit RSS zero (which is not an easy task) and scramble for any content you can get.

The second is the opposite of the first one. In the first scenario, you have time to kill. The second one assumes you don’t have time to spare, but yet you want to get your news. In this second scenario, you only care about the big things. You don’t care for linkbait rants that passes for news today. You want news that is highly relevant and/or actionable.

Different news reading requires different filters. Whereas casual news browsing casts a wide net, highly summarized news demands a tight filter.

I’m not sure how these filters would be best implemented, perhaps some sort of trainable machine learning system? Facebook has top stories, but in my experience these supposedly relevant/interesting stories are as relevant as rolling the dice on my friend lists’ statuses.

It would be interesting if there was a go-to source of news that had a binary switch: 1.) show me any/all stories that I might care about and don’t stop or 2.) only show me !!! things. In the second situation, it has to be possible that there would be no news at all to report on some days.

Ron Johnson: We want [jcp] to be your favorite store.

Last year, Ron Johnson left Apple as Senior Vice President of Retail Operations to become J.C. Penney’s (JCP) CEO. Before joining Apple, he was at Target. As Gruber points out today, “The Ron Johnson Era at JC Penney Has Begun.”

jcp Ad by Ken Segall

Johnson took out a two-page ad in several major newspapers with the mission of turning JCP into your favorite store. This is an amazing leadership step that sets the tone and gives an extremely ambitious goal to its employees.

This amazes me because you can see how he’s cutting out the bullshit. With the realization that almost everything sold at JCP is on sale (~72% of the time, discounted over 50%), he’s getting rid of confusing sales. Everything will just be at the sale price without consumers deciphering “SALE 60% off” tags, “Save an Additional 40%” signs, etc. plastered everywhere. Also, he’s implementing about “100 sleek, neat sections” into stores.

As a consumer, I find it extremely hard to imagine a future scenario where JCP is my go-to choice for anything, let alone my favorite store. That doesn’t mean I can’t give Johnson points for trying. If my company was in mass market retail and needed to turn around sales, stealing an A-level player from Steve Job’s pick for retail operations is as good as it gets.

I don’t have any vested interests with JCP performing well or poorly. But given the choice, I’d like to see Johnson turnaround in real-time a company that most people have completely written off as irrelevant (like Apple ten years ago). It would make a good case study.

(via daring fireball)

Jay and Kanye at The Garden

Watch The Throne Tour @ Madison Square Garden

For the Nov. 7th Watch The Throne show at Madison Square Garden, Jay-Z & Kanye performed for a solid two and a half hours. No cameos, no breaks.

With two rising light cube platforms, the two took turns throwing out bits from WTT and their own albums.

This list of songs performed is not 100% accurate (since I knew all of Kanye’s but not every last one of Jay-Z’s):

H.A.M.
Who Gon Stop Me
Otis
Welcome To The Jungle
Gotta Have It
Big Pimpin'
Can't Tell Me Nothing
Flashing Lights
Through The Wire
Jesus Walks
Diamonds from Sierra Leone
Public Service Announcement
U Don't Know
Run This Town
Monster
Power
Made In America
New Day
Hard Knock Life
Izzo (H.O.V.A.)
Empire State Of Mind
Runaway
Heartless
Stronger
On To The Next One
Dirt Off Your Shoulder
I'm A Hustler Baby
Good Life
Touch The Sky
All Of The Lights
Gold Digger
99 Problems
No Church In The Wild
Lift Off
Niggas in Paris
Niggas in Paris
Niggas in Paris
Encore
Lucifer
Money Ain't A Thang
Can I Get A...
Get Em High
All Falls Down
Why I Love You

The performances were strong and relentless. Most of the full songs performed were from WTT, while their own tracks were cherry picked.

Liked:

  • Jay-Z & Kanye West took down The Garden for a full 2.5 hours, no breaks
  • Kanye’s set included Jesus Walks, Flashing Lights, Through The Wire
  • Great, affordable seats – thank you Citi pre-sale
  • Allowed to bring in phones/cameras/food – security didn’t care

Sucked:

  • 2 hour delay of absolutely nothing between the 7:30p start and the 9:30p actual start
  • The Garden robs you blind – $5 for a bottle of water, sans bottle
  • Illicit drugs in the air, hard to breathe throughout the show
  • No guest appearances – not a game breaker, but the audience expected it

It’s great to be able to cross off watching Jay perform at home from my bucket list.

Next Bond Film Title: Skyfall

Hollywood Reporter reveals that the 23rd Bond installment will be titled:

Skyfall

Director Sam Mendes indicated the movie would involve shooting at the following locations:

London, Shanghai, Istanbul, Turkey, and Scotland

As with any Bond film, I’ll be eager to see it in theaters once released. With the 007 franchise, you can love it or hate it, but you know exactly what kind of movie you’re going to get.

(via df)

Is the answer to any headline that ends in a question ‘yes’?

No.

newspaper

Via HN, Wikipedia states Betteridge’s Law of Headlines:

Any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word ‘no’.

If you think about it, this makes sense. Articles that could be answered by ‘yes’ choose to state the news in the headline rather than asking a fake question.

Or as Wikipedia explains it, “The maxim trends towards being universally true because of a simple principle of headline writing: if a story has enough sources to have a high chance of accuracy, a headline will be assertive”.

This interests me as it’s a news headline hack that tends to work. Find out the answer without having to go past the jump.

The elevator of success is out of service. So please take the stairs.

The elevator of success is out of service. So please take the stairs.

That’s the great opening line from EggsTravaganza, a local NYC food cart, in the video below. I’m sure they didn’t come up with it, but it’s a great saying.

This reminds me of Mark Cuban’s post about how he fought the good fight non-stop to get where he is today.