Be a good netizen

For those of you with way too much time and a bit of niche knowledge, here are two really good ways to help out on the net. The best part is that neither is commercial. Wikipedia is a collaborative encyclopedia where anyone can post. DMOZ is the open source directory project( the backbone of the netscape and google directories). I highly recommend contributing or helping edit, both are sites that represent all of the good community aspects of the internet.

Free con call (from lifehacker)

FreeConference.com - Free Telephone Conference Call Service This is fantastic, I don't know how they fund it, but now you never have to worry about expensive con-call services again

color logo

color logo
Originally uploaded by hkarmark.
The updated harshkarma logo, with a not too subtle nod to Mondrian



Wired 13.04: La Vida Robot Four highschool students win a national robotics competition against universities such as MIT. The underwater robot cost the kids only $800 as opposed to MIT's 11k. Oh and all of the kids are illegal aliens, someone give these amazing kids a grant or corp sponsorship!!!



So I've tried it before, and it's never looked good, but once again...I am growing facial hair. In college I briefly had a ridiculous goatee, and once for haloween I grew a scruffy pirate beard, but this time I think I'm gonna do it for real for a little while. So far I'm one week into the effort, and it looks really bad, but the purpose of this beard isn't for me to look great, just to look older.

Right now I haven't started shaping it in any real way aside from shaving my neck. I need to figure out what kind of shape I want to go with. In a couple days I'll post a pic and take suggestions for how to shape the beard so it can look anything other than ridiculous.

Once nice thing about trying this in Rome is the ubiquity of ugly facial hair. Many Romans have no idea how absurd they look, and at the office you can appear professional with a week of stubble (Rome is an odd city). Now I have another little side project, I think half of the appeal is the whole evil-harsh aspect of growing some facial hair. Of course once I start working on projects other than my current one, I will have to shave it. But till then I'm gonna have some fun with it ( right now I kind of look like an east european math grad student in the midst of finals).

Google...we need to talk

Where to begin? We've been seeing eachother since late 98 from your humble beginnings as only a search engine, back when I would still visit you, hotbot, metacrawler and a few others to discover content. Back then I still believed in bookmarks, instead of just turning to you for access to everything. Sure I've occasionally used other sites like kartoo for it's semantic relational appeal, dogpile for it's commerce heavy focus, even yahoo just to kick around the inktomi engine, but every day I come back to google. You've added a lot of functionality in the past years and it's brought us much closer. Blogger, Orkut, Picasa, Translation tools, Sets, Local, Google SMS, News, and the abillity to search the usenet have all made my life easier, but it's getting out of hand. You provide my only view of the internet, and are the primary channel through which I receive and disseminate information. I'm not alone, you've seduced all of the geeks I know with your technology and approach to information on the internet. But our relationship has gotten out of control, I'm way too dependant on you, I need to start using other technologies. I'm looking for other search engines and I'm going to move out. I'm in search of some nice server space and I'm moving to an MT blog in a month or so, I might still use the blogger api, and I'll never stop using your search, translate, and well... everything from the labs, but I need some space. And as you index this page, I hope you understand


oqo I want it almost as much as I wanted my mac

oqo: store So this is not new news, it's been available for a while, but this is the first ultraportable computer I'd really want if I lived in the states. With wifi coverage getting really good these days this thing has the potential to be really useful. Also with bluetooth and skype out it makes that cell phone a whole lot less cool



ThriftDeluxe - DIY For the Hip Jam the signal, one tshirt at a time

Viral marketing

Fimoculous.com: Feeding On Itself a blog post on viral marketing campaigns like subservient chicken. Runs down a list of a few of these campaigns and gives appropriate props to Crispint Porter + Bogusky

I pity the fool!

I gotta start posting ads like this and seeing what kind of response I get, cause I love it when a plan comes together.


Scary article of doom...

This article at lifeaftertheoilcrash.net is an extremely scary and vaguely plausible tale of our world descending into chaos. Time to buy arable land, seeds, guns, and solar cells, it's the end of the world as we know it, and I see an oppportunity in oil futures. This could be the perfect hook for my cult. Now I just have to get people worked up about it...


CYA from ID theft

Supposedly a corporate attorney sent the following out to the employees in his company, but whether or not that's true a lot of this is great advice. Personally I think 2 is a little sketchy because MasterCard's official policy is that a card without a signature is not valid. I personally have both the sig and check id written on the back of the card.

===Original mail===
1. The next time you order checks have only your initials (instead of first name) and last name put on them. If someone takes your checkbook, they will not know if you sign your checks with just your initials or your first name, but your bank will know how you sign your checks.

2. Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put "PHOTO ID REQUIRED".

3. When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the "For" line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check processing channels won't have access to it.

4. Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a PO Box use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a PO Box, use your work address. Never have your SS# printed on your checks. (DUH!) You can add it if it is necessary. But if you have it printed, anyone can get it.

5. Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine. Do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. I also carry a photocopy of my passport when I travel either here or abroad. We've all heard horror stories about fraud that's committed on us in stealing a name, address, Social Security number, credit cards.

Unfortunately, I, an attorney, have firsthand knowledge because my wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the thieve(s) ordered an expensive monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line approved to buy a Gateway computer, received a PIN number from DMV to change my driving record information online, and more. But here's some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know:

1. We have been told we should cancel our credit cards immediately. But the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them.

2. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc., were stolen. This proves to credit providers you were diligent, and this is a first step toward an investigation
(if there ever is one).

But here's what is perhaps most important of all : (I never even thought to do this.)

3. Call the 3 national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number. I had never heard of doing that until advised by a bank that called to tell me an application for credit was made over the Internet in my name. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.

By the time I was advised to do this, almost two weeks after the theft, all the damage had been done. There are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves' purchases, none of which I knew about before placing the alert. Since then, no additional damage has been done, and the thieves threw my wallet away This weekend (someone turned it in). It seems to have stopped them dead in their tracks.

Now, here are the numbers you always need to contact about your wallet, etc., has been stolen:

1.) Equifax: 1-800-525-6285

2.) Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742

3.) Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289

4.) Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271


Smart shoes

USATODAY.com - Adidas puts computer on new footing. That's right robotic (kinda) shoes. Now I'm big on better living though technology, but come on $250 for a shoe that doesn't have gps, any sort of wireless, or lasers...come on. On the plus side it supposedly adapts to your runing style and the terrain to provide dynamic support, but I feel most of us would just benefit from having a lighter shoe, or 3 different types of shoes each specialized for terrain types. Even the top of the line new balance is 20% less expensive

Frank Gehry's natural language watch at fossil

The Fossil Gehry Watch is pretty cool. Using an lcd display sliced a hundred ways to reproduce his handwriting, the watch displays the time using two numbers and his handwritten script for time representations like " 20 till 11," and "half past 10." I've always been big on non-standard time representations like eleeno watches, which can be found at tokyoflash, and a couple others at thinkgeek, but it's nice to see this kind of thing hitting the mainstream. Also worth taking a look at on the fossil site are the stark watches, and the build your own.


Who steals a sportcoat?

So I don't do much in the way of personal posts on this thing, but seriously, who steals a sportcoat in a restaurant!?!?!? I was eating at a mexican restaurant in pza Quiriti on friday night and when I returned to my seat after dancing someone had nicked my sportcoat. It wasn't particularly expensive for a coat ( not cheap either), but this kinda sucks. I don't have a ton of clothes out here, so now sometime this week I have to go out and get a coat of some type...che katso. I guess I'll take it as an excuse to find sometheing a little more unusual. Of course, that leaves me with a whole workweek without adequate clothing...balls.


Why should scientologists have all the fun? or Stop asking questions, and join the fold

How tough could it be to start a religion. As my dad once jokingly said, it's the next step in the economy: products, services, complex services, complex services supersized with an ideology. Before I go any further, I want to be clear that I'm not mocking any real religions here (I am of course mocking scientology, cause man, is that a screwy set of beliefs). Maybe religion is too strong a word, but a cult like organization that people will have some faith in and devote some time and money to is what I'm shooting for. I would of course use it for personal profit, but somewhere in there I'd also try and use it to do some good intelligently. This cult would be very fixated on this life rather than the next, hell maybe I'll call it something lame like the goodlife. Like all good religions there will be some sort of a manifesto that lays out the ethos, but how does one make the transition from club to cult. I guess the first step is the book, then the next step is seed money for spreading the publication like other pamphlet spread religions. I'm also going to need a charismatic or respectable figurehead for my religion, I don't have the ego, nor the ability to pull that off. The basic hook will be along the lines of "want to lead a better life with minimal effort." After the book comes out everything else will have to be worked out.


The Baby Name Wizard's NameVoyager

The Baby Name Wizard's NameVoyager. This thing is a great little visualization tool for looking a the popularity of various names at various times in america. And of course, Harsh was not in the top 1000 names of any decade so far which is always a good thing because it's much easier to build a brand with a unique, or at least rare, name.