Category Archives: Uncategorized

Leap Year!

I just wanted to post today. Also, it was like Y2K for some software, which was really strange.

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Events and Travel in Chicago [Infographic]

Created by Venue Cricket a marketplace for Chicago Event Venues.  You can follow us on twitter @venuecricket.

freezer paper stencil

There are a million (okay, only 145,000 hits) results for freezer paper stencils on Google, so this really won’t be a tutorial. Better crafters than me have written better tutorials. Instead, it’s simply going to be a photolog of my process stenciling three shirts.

1. Supplies gathered.

t shirt

fabric paint Continue reading

Tagged

Re-discovering the wisdom in the aged machine

I met up a friend in the gorgeous Los Angeles City while he is doing this social experiment of teaching and encouraging people to use an old typewriter in a cafe. He is starting a revolution of bringing the old-school analog machine back to our life. It makes us to think a little bit different about the tools we are using everyday, and how we can enjoy life without all the latest technology and gimmicky gadgets . Here is me featuring in his blog

revisiting yourself ….

Venue Cricket Limited Time Promotion

Reposted from the Venue Cricket blog.  Use Venue Cricket to find a venue for your next Chicago event.

The Venue Cricket Team is supporting the growth of our online marketplace by offering some sweet rewards!  From now until 4/31/12 we’ll be giving away Kindles and Wine.

Venue Cricket Promotion

Trend Following Strategy

Ran a  simple back test on EUR/USD daily prices from June 9 1998 to now using a simple trend following strategy.

Starting Equity: $10000

Strategy:

Enter long/short positon when price is at a 20 day high/low. Liquidate position when price is at a 10 day low/high.  Stop loss set at current price -/+ 2 times the average true range of the past 14 days. Size position by a risk of 3% of account equity.

Results:

Ending Equity: $21002.37

Total trades: 123
Total long trades: 59
Total short trades: 64
Total winning long trades: 31
Total winning short trades: 29

A 110% return in 13.5 years. That’s about annual return of 5.7%, excluding commissions and slippage. That’s not bad.

For reference, S&P500 returned 15.26% during the same period.

2008 performance:

———————————————————
Long 15659.6810306093 at 1.4749 on 20080104. STP at 1.448514286. Equity 13773.0621668294
STP 15659.6810306093 at 1.448514286 on 20080121. Equity 13359.8703018246
———————————————————
Long 18182.5836311578 at 1.4972 on 20080226. STP at 1.475157142. Equity 13359.8703018246
Closed 18182.5836311578 at 1.5681 on 20080424. Return 9.64938394104796%. Equity 14649.0154812736
———————————————————
Short 12581.9762811434 at 1.5592 on 20080425. STP at 1.594128572. Equity 14649.0154812736
STP 12581.9762811434 at 1.594128572 on 20080711. Equity 14209.5450168354
———————————————————
Short 16642.5232585075 at 1.5588 on 20080729. STP at 1.584414286. Equity 14209.5450168354
Closed 16642.5232585075 at 1.4323 on 20080917. Return 14.815950754981% Equity 16314.8242090366
———————————————————
Long 9626.6171006968 at 1.4772 on 20080922. STP at 1.426357142. Equity 16314.8242090366
STP 9626.6171006968 at 1.426357142 on 20080930. Equity 15825.3794827655
———————————————————
Short 8708.93520430527 at 1.3817 on 20081002. STP at 1.436214286. Equity 15825.3794827655
Closed 8708.93520430527 at 1.2979 on 20081104. Return 4.61163519595578% Equity 16555.1882528863
———————————————————
Short 8321.18130624339 at 1.2487 on 20081119. STP at 1.308385714. Equity 16555.1882528863
STP 8321.18130624339 at 1.308385714 on 20081211. Equity 16058.5326052997
———————————————————
Long 10991.8246517133 at 1.3375 on 20081212. STP at 1.293671428. Equity 16058.5326052997
Closed 10991.8246517133 at 1.3852 on 20090102. Return 3.26499343852682%. Equity 16582.8426411864

 

Is that a button on your page or are you just happy to see me?

How many times do you come to a web page and are confused on what to do next? Too many links? Too few? What did the author want you to do? Where did they want you to go?

A lack of proper direction can be very frustrating, and very noticeable, while a page that has a clear purpose can feel as comfortable as old sneakers (or southern comfort food, you take your pick). Here is an interesting thought, while you might not know what the creator of the above page wanted you to do; he, the author, did not know either. It is not something that is thought about often, but it should. Proper user interface strategy with nice and visible actions is the biggest differentiator between web sites that are a joy to use and that are  just a pain.

Case in point, one of my clients is a major media and entertainment company. I recently attended a discussion in which 2 VPs, 1 Director and several Managers discussed, for about 30 minutes, what color to make a particular button. Doing the math and assuming an average hourly salary of $150 in this room we see that this client has spent $900 in order to decide the color of a button. You might say that it was a waste of money. I think that it was an investment well spent. After all, this will lead to sales down the road. And in fact this type of work has already paid dividends. After all, this, mouse themed, client is solidly at the top of the industry and only keeps gaining the lead in the markets.

In summary, spend the time to think how your project will look, how your customer will experience it and how you will lead your user to complete their task.

Tagged

“The Inmates are Running the Asylum”

Just started reading This book by Alan Cooper. It is a technologist’s account on why we need to design better interactions between humans and computers and how to do it by focusing on the customer. This sentence was particularly interesting:

“The successful professional for the twenty-first century is either a business-savvy technologist or a technology-savvy businessperson, and I am writing for this person.”

Here, he touches upon something that I have been pondering in the past three and half years: why are so many IT projects failing (and hence needing consultants), even when you put a perfectly capable technology team and an equally capable business team together (and often, especially when both teams are experts at what they do)?  Because, the true business-savvy technologists and technology-savvy businessperson are rare. The elephant in the room seems to come down to the fact that technology-inclined and business-inclined people just have thought processes that are so fundamentally different from each other that it often impedes collaborative communication.

Have you ever been to a meeting with technologists and business folks all in one room where everyone seems to be agreeing, but really talking right across each other? Or are you a business person that feel your IT department produces bad software or a technologist that think your business department is all talks but don’t get down to get anything done? That is because technologists tend to take more of the “how” perspective while business strategists think more about the “why”. Mr. Cooper himself described how he had to resist his urges as a technologist to jump right into the “how” and instead focusing on making a “business case” first by taking on the average product users’ point of view.

You ask, what’s the solution then? Well, here’s an interesting while seemingly unrelated observation: what is it that makes love affairs between a computer geek guy and a art loving, poetry writing girl successful? It’s the same combo of opposite minds, but they sure seem to work out more often than IT projects do.

Essentially, I think it comes down to trust, respect and patient communication. If we are willing to think from the other team’s perspective and really on each other’s strength instead of pointing out our differences, no matter it is a relationship or IT project, it’s more likely to succeed. Easier said than done though.

Either way, rambling aside, it seems that no matter you are a technologist, a designer, or just a technology user, you’ll find some interesting insights in this book. Recommended.

Welcome to a bold experiment.

Please join me in this bold experiment. I along with several other friends will be posting here on a weekly basis. The topics will be vast and varied, keep up with us for a bit and something will surely catch your eye.

There are no topics which are taboo, and everything is accepted. In time, if people are interested we will accept guest bloggers and contributors.

For now, let the experiment begin.

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