Recent Updates Page 2 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Michael Krakovskiy 5:06 pm on July 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    How To Become Rich By Reading (Not Writing) A Self-Help Book 

    There’s a moment in just about every reader’s life. A moment when you get a temptation to pick up and read a self-help book. Well, what if I’ll learn how to win friends and influence people (you do it with positive thinking), study the 7 habits of the highly effective people (most of the habits have to do with positive thinking and buying a nice leather organizer), learn “the Secret” (“the Secret” is positive thinking), get things done (you write down all your brilliant ideas in a whole bunch of folders and buy a really nice label printer) — maybe then I’ll become rich, you think.

    random self-help book

    Yes, the self-help industry probably created a lot of millionaires. Most of them are the people who sell the books, seminars and organizing tchotchkes. I’ve also heard about one dude who found an obscure Victorian era self-help book, scanned it, replaced all the outdated words in it, turned it into an eBook and made some serious bank selling it on a website.

    Maybe there are people who have awoken the giant within and now have a 4 hour work week. I simply don’t know. I’ve met a few billionaires and a many millionaires, and I’ve listened to many of them telling the story of how they became rich. Most of the stories involved luck, very good sales and people skills, perseverance, and hard work. But only twice I’ve heard a self-help book with a preposterous title mentioned by these people. This book did wonders for them. I’ll tell you what this book if you’ll buy my book or send me $100 via PayPal. Well, all right, since you’ve been reading my blog for so long I’ll tell you. That one book is … drumroll … Sams Teach Yourself Perl in 24 Hours. The funny thing is that wealth creation can be accomplished with magic words that look similar to this:

    my $dbh = DBI->connect(
            "DBI:$driver:$database",
            $user, $password,
        ) or die $DBI::errstr;
    

    Side note: there’s no apostrophe in “Sams” because the company is named after not after somebody named Sam, but after Howard W. Sams, a contemporary of Dale Carnegie.

    In any case, the internet is lousy with stories of absolutely ordinary people who became rich after picking up a computer language book. You don’t believe me? Read this one and let me know what you think.

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 9:35 pm on July 25, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    The Turkish Coffee Syndrome 

    There are two Turkish restaurants near my house. Both are inexpensive, authentic places ran by native Turks. They sell the usual fare: lamb shish kabobs, adana kabobs, cigara boregs, tripe soup, fresh Turkish bread. There’s one thing that is missing from the menu: Turkish coffee.


    Photo by vagabondtravels

    That’s right. I’ve asked for it a number of times, and I’ve heard numerous other restaurant patrons ask for it only to be told that it’s not on the menu. Recently a friend of mine, also incredulous at this glaring omission, asked our waiter why exactly Turkish coffee is not served there. The waiter, apologetic, explained that they used to serve Turkish coffee in the past, but it encouraged local retirees to take up the valuable table spots while buying a single cup of coffee. He pointed out that they now migrated to the nearby Dunkin’ Donuts, where now you can’t find an empty table.

    Interestingly enough, prior to learning the mystery of the missing coffee, me and my friend were talking about certain technological deficiencies which were caused not so much by stupidity, but by near-pure malice. I also told him about my (now over a decade old) theory that I call “Reverse Hanlon’s Razor“. I think “the Turkish coffee syndrome” is a much catchier name.

    In looking at CMS design or hosting nightmare, I often remember this passage from Ellen Ullman’s book:

    “It’s more like you’re hired as a plumber to work in an old house
    full of ancient, leaky pipes laid out by some long-gone plumbers who
    were even weirder than you are. Most of the time you spend scratching
    your head and thinking: Why the fuck did they do that?”

    Well, sometimes it is stupidity. But more often than not the problem is not technogenic in nature. Often it’s political or business-driven. It’s not that the restaurant owners don’t know how to make Turkish coffee. The coffee pots (cezve) and finely ground coffee are sold next door. It’s not even that it takes too long to make the coffee (although that might be a part of the reason). It’s just that the rents in my neighborhood are very high and the table space is at premium, and coffee drinkers tend to linger.

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 12:32 pm on January 8, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Valuable Photos 

    An acquaintance of mine spends a lot of money on travel and cameras, more than just about anyone I know. But you won’t find photos of famous landmarks amongst his pictures unless he’ll find a way to take a picture of something that nobody photographs – like a bathroom or a service entrance. His photos will stand the test of time.

    Collectors of old photos know this: photographers have a herd mentality. In early photographs portraits are very common, but pictures of anything other than people are rare. Yes, old cameras were bulky and hard to use outside, but it’s still not a good reason: the earliest surviving photo is a view out of a window.

    There’s a type of a photo that I despise the most: one of a flower. If you have an expensive camera with a nice lens you can go to a botanical garden and take a hundred gorgeous pictures of pretty plants with a pretty blurred background (coin-a-sewers of this type of photos like to discuss “bokeh” – the quality of the blurred background specific to a lens).

    And then there’s one type that I like a lot: pictures of workspaces. My advice to you is to take more of those. Forget flowers, sunsets and landmarks: looking back you’ll enjoy these much more.

    Here’s a blurry photo of my doorman’s desk from college years:
    Screenshot 1:8:13 7:26 AM

    And here’s my desk at TV Guide.
    Screenshot 1:8:13 7:06 AM

    A co-worker of mine kept a picture of his old workspace instead of anything else. He could never explain why he did it, but I found it funny enough to take a picture of it. I always kind of wished I had the foresight to keep taking pictures of my desks recursively – which is a great idea, I think.

    Screenshot 1:8:13 7:00 AM-3

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel