thomas locke hobbs | weblog
travel, latin america, photography, urban planning and stuff.
...and now my New York chronicles

August 30, 2000  
I added my friend Lauren to my friends and family page.

Lauren Geetter

posted by Thomas

Google's Cure for Banner Blindness. ZDnet, August 21, 2000

text-based ads on its site have click-through rates four times higher than the industry average
And the article notes they aim to place the ads within the context of targeted searches. Goto.com's pay for placement model is often maligned but it seems to give pretty good results for general searches. The people who are willing to pay the most, generally, are the ones who have the most value to offer.
posted by Thomas

August 29, 2000  
Compañero. A Biography of Che Guevara. The first chapter, from the New York times.

Che Guevara, photo by Rene Burri

You can also read the review, or buy the book on Amazon. I've only read the first chapter, but it's excellently written with lots of context and an engaging style. Jorge Castañeda is an excellent writer.
posted by Thomas

August 23, 2000  
Pictures of Buenos Aires. I've been scanning more photos of Buenos Aires recently:

posted by Thomas

An e-mail sabbath:

Last month, Mayor Mitsuyasu Ota ordered a computer shutdown in the Japanese town of Hirata -- in which all officials and clerks must write out all correspondence by hand for one day each week. The mayor said he was concerned about over-reliance on computers and a decline in penmanship.
Doesn't sound like a bad idea, actually. From an article in the wall street journal (subscription required) but it's not really worth reading aside from this quote.
posted by Thomas

August 15, 2000  
Magnum Landscape. One of the most incredible photobooks I've ever had the pleasure to browse. The most amazingly constructed landscapes, much more like Paintings. It includes one of my favorite photos; "Sao Paulo" by Rene Burri:

Sao Paulo, by Rene Burri

Picture stolen from Mr. Burri's profile page on the Magnum Agency's website
posted by Thomas

August 10, 2000  
Wall Street Analysts are Complete Idiots. And people who follow their advice deserve what they get. Industry Standard, 31 July 2000, on Amazon's being in the dog house. Read this brilliant insight from one of the better known Wall St. Analysts, Henry Blogget:

Blodget is now a bit sheepish about his infamous Amazon call. "I am glad it went to $400," he says. "I would have expected it to stay there. But it has cost Amazon a lot more money to support the revenue than we had expected." As for his downgrade, Blodget adds: "We should probably have cut our ratings eight months ago. But analysts are always late. The market leads the Street."
Always late? what value, exactly, are they providing then?
posted by Thomas

Don Norman on Edward Tufte. From the CHI-WEB archives, august 4, 2000.

Tufte preaches. I entered into a discussion with him about this once and tried to present some experimental data that one of my students had collected. he refused even to look at it. That is, it isn't that he looked at the data and disagreed with the interpretation or even the collection-- that would be permissible. No, he refused even to look.
And this very interesting response from one of the UI designers for Internet Explorer.
posted by Thomas

August 07, 2000  
Wisdom from Siegfried and Roy. Esquire, August 2000.

Siegfried: If you live with fifty-eight lions and tigers, then you will always have a lot of pussy in the house.

posted by Thomas


Recent Argentina Links on Death and Icons

Argentina Searches Its Soul Over a Suicide. New York Times, August 7, 2000.
Argentina's most esteemed surgeon and a pioneer in the heart bypass operation, committed suicide. But the outpouring of grief seems to be compounding day by day, opening a channel of despair so profound that Argentines are raising the deepest of questions about themselves and their country.
True! My friends have expressed a real embarrassment for their country in talking about the Favaloro case. As one friend of mine said, "He wasn't a crook. He wasn't corrupt. He was very prominent in the US and yet returned to Argentina to do good things. And he ended up killing himself"

Before this, the big news around here was the death of Cuarteto Mega-Star Rodrigo in a car accident, summed up well in this article from the Washington Post:

Pop Icon Joins Evita As Argentine 'Saint' . Washington Post, July 17, 2000.

Rodrigo, who rose from poverty to become a mega-star in the months before his death at age 27, is the latest celebrity to be canonized by the Argentines in what sociologists here describe as a burgeoning cult of popular saints.
And finally, an interesting tid-bit on Evita's death, also from the New York Times, June 6, 2000.
posted by Thomas

Annoying Stunts of Guerrilla Marketers. Industry Standard, July 31, 2000.

No patch of blank real estate is safe from the Internet's most aggressive marketers, who are like graffiti artists with a profit motive...

the basic dynamics of the guerrilla game mean that the bar is raised with each stunt; as the needle on the decibel meter moves farther, one must scream that much louder simply to be heard...

Why not encourage every employee to tattoo the company logo on a bicep – and offer a $1,000 gift certificate to anyone willing to tattoo his or her face?

posted by Thomas

August 02, 2000  
600 mile super colony of ants takes over California. New York Times, August 1, 2000. The colonizing ants are so genetically similar that they all think they belong to the same colony. Instead of fighting eachother they've displaced nearly all other native ant species. Interestingly, this doesn't appear to be a good evolutionary strategy in the long run:

The loss of genetic diversity is generally considered to be detrimental to the survival of a species, said Neil Tsutsui, a graduate student who did the genetics research in Dr. Case's lab. The loss of kinship recognition is an even bigger problem for social insects, he said. The only way female workers, who make up the bulk of the colony, can ensure that their genes get passed on to future generations is by protecting closely related queens. So it is assumed that workers work only for queens who share their genes. But if workers cannot distinguish between their kin and any other ants, they end up working for the whole supercolony. And then there is no way for natural selection to favor any one queen and her workers over any other in the colony.
And now a quote from Charles Darwin:
"It is not the strongest species that will survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change."

posted by Thomas

August 01, 2000  
Better onsite search. Industry Standard, July 25, 2000

Before you start thinking about what software you want to use to implement search, you might want to step back and find out what your customers are already searching for (besides sex).

posted by Thomas

Go to the archive

Send me email: hobbs@post.harvard.edu
Let me know what I've misspelled.

About me

My name's Thomas Locke Hobbs. I used to live in Argentina, now I am in New York City. I grew up in California. I'm a bit suspicious as the value of keeping a weblog, but I do it anyway. Go to my home page for more about me.

Weblogs I read:

Xblog, Virginia Postrel, Signal vs. Noise, Peterme, Obscure Store, Metafilter, Media News, Lonely Planet Daily Scoop, Lightningfield, Kottke, Joel on Software, Dan Bricklin, Camworld, Arts and Letters Daily,

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