Armen Chakmakjian

Archive for May, 2009|Monthly archive page

kindle software on the ipod touch

In Literature, Random, Science Fiction, Social Media, technology on May 30, 2009 at 2:55 pm

can i give myself a big


I just loaded the kindle software on my wife’s ipod touch.   And then loaded the kindle excerpt of my book Urtaru.

You know sometimes I have so much technology around I forget that I can do the simplest things.

Not having a kindle just yet (I’m holding out for the DX) this is the next best thing.  And seeing what my book looks like (not in a pdf, not rendered on the simulator…and in color!) is just awesome.

Now all I need is enough sales to move to Martha’s Vineyard and live the rest of my life of a yeoman writer…watching the atlantic ocean waves lap the rocks at the seawall in front of my mansion…ok, I’m waking up now…I’m sitting here in Panera bread a yeoman blogger. 🙂

By the way if you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about please visit my book website


In Movie, Science Fiction on May 30, 2009 at 12:10 am

I’m in the middle of watching the 1984 Dino Di Laurentis/David Lynch version of Dune.  We rented it on the AppleTV.   Funny, after 25 years, it seems a much better movie than what I remember.  The acting is still pretty bad (William Shatner would be considering underacting in this flick)

I have to say though, that this movie is quite closer to the book than the Sci-Fi series, at least from the perspective of its Darkness.  I still like the Sci-Fi channel version, but this is quite interesting.

One thing about this is that it is much more “cold war” than the later version.  Much more “military’

How to lose a game but win at life…

In Random on May 28, 2009 at 2:11 am

Tonight I had the pleasure and simultaneous sadness of watching my sons at their final basketball game at the Arlington Boys’ and Girls’ Club.  My older son who played from about the time he was 7 to 13 years old, started coaching part time and then full time 2 seasons ago, and coached my other son’s teams during all three sessions each year.

I’m very proud of both of them for different reasons.  My older one is the consummate athlete.  He doesn’t play basketball in high school, his athletic muse being track, but he coaches basketball with zest at the boys club.  The kids really listen to him.  The parents come up to him and thank him each game (he’s the only coach who is not a father).

I see him rally his troops when they are down to give them hope and admonish them when they make the same mistake over and over again.  I see him comforting a player who gets subbed out and watches the team lose.  I’ve also seen him ribbing and getting a ribbing from the other coaches who are my contemporaries.  Life skills he’s acquired that he hopefully will carry when he moves on to large enterprises.

The younger one is not an athlete in the pure sense, he’s more bookish.  He played because he had to (at first) and I think over time he has acquired the taste for the competition.  I really enjoyed watching my older son attempt to tell my younger son what to do when he went out next.  The younger one, not as assertive physically, grew 4 inches this year and suddenly discovered how he could use his size and weight to push kids around that he wasn’t able to before.  Watching him boxing-out a kid that only 1 year ago dominated him was quite a site.

Last week I watched my younger one hit a 3 pointer with seconds to go and break the back of the other team.  It was his first 3 pointer in 5 years of playing.  There was a time where he couldn’t push the ball from the foul line and hit the rim.   This week, I saw him hit a critical turnaround jumper with a minute to go to preserve a lead.

But all things comes to an end.  In the final two seconds of the game, the best player on the other team got an inbounds, passed two defenders and hit a shotput-like 3 ptr to tie the game.  In overtime, my sons’ team lost, and the disappointment was palpable with both of them, but particularly poignant with my older son.  He’d no longer be involved in the league in which he was so intimately involved for 10 years.  I could see the disappointment in his eyes.  I could see him trying to compose himself so he could walk with his team and shake hands with the winning team.  It was a bittersweet moment for the whole family.

Life though is like that.  You work your tail off and sometimes no matter how close you were with 7 seconds to go, you might end up having to be brave.  I remember when the ball went through Buckner’s legs.  I was up here in Boston, a Southern Connecticut NY Mets fan…watching them seemingly curl up against my other team, the Boston Red Sox.  I loved both these teams because neither one were the accursed Yankees (or the Hollywood Dodgers).  In that split second as the ball went through Buckner’s legs, while I was trying to adjust myself to the thought of a Red Sox victory that was going to be bittersweet, I suddenly had to deal with the fact that the Mets lived another day.  Happy and Sad.  Like tonight.

Event: Entrepreneurship in the Age of Cloud Computing

In Random on May 26, 2009 at 7:06 pm

Beside my book promotions and other random things I think about, my day job gets me involved in things like this.

Entrepreneurship in the Age of Cloud Computing

Date: Thursday, June 11, 2009
Time: 1:15 p.m to 5:15pm, then networking opportunity to 7:00pm.
Location: Bentley Adamian theatre, Bentley University, 175 Forest Street, Waltham, MA 02452 (map)

This is a great opportunity to meet Scott Cook, one of Intuit’s Founders and find out what he’s thinking.

Forgotten more than they know…yet…

In College, Differential Equations, LaPlace Transforms on May 23, 2009 at 4:28 am

So I was looking for a particular book today on my bookshelf and hidden behind a door I found my differential equations book from college. Mixing problems was my first thought.  I kinda chuckled seeing its frayed edges and pulled it off the shelf.  I took this class winter quarter sophmore year, just before all the EE classes started in earnest.  That’d be oh about 25 years ago.

I got really scared when I opened up the book randomly to a page and I saw my first lessons on LaPlace transforms.

Then I was thinking how many Fourier and LaPlace transforms I had to do AFTER I had this class…in continuous and digital signal processing classes, control theory and other EE classes.  Stuff that I never use any more. I know people who still do, but I don’t.

Flipping back a few pages I saw exercises for which I vaguely remembered that I would replace y=x^r in the equation x^2 y” + x y’ + y = 0  (this was at the beginning of chapter 4).  I seemed to remember that y” and y’ were the 2nd and 1st derivative of y…but it was a fuzzy memory.

So thinking at that moment as my kids are high school age and getting into the meat of their studies (and I have no idea what fields they might go into when they go to college), that I’ve forgotten so much that I’ve probably forgotten more than they’ve been taught so far.  That’s not me being arrogant, the point of it is that in any technical field (science, medicine, engineering) you have to learn a LOT of stuff that is at any point hugely important.  And then you begin to insidiously and slowly forget the stuff because you don’t need it all.   I haven’t done a LaPlace transform in about 21 years…There has just no reason even as I helped debug boards and wrote code that looked like benchtop equipment.   I wonder what they teach kids in college these days because you can go on sites on the internet now and you can type in equations and the site will solve the equation for you and convolve things.

Anyway it was an interesting trip down memory lane.

Capture, resonance and exchange in the social media world…

In Random, Social Media, technology, web 2.0 on May 22, 2009 at 11:46 pm

So I’ve been watching the activity on my blog, and through google analytics on my site.  I can pretty much see where people are coming from and how long they stay and with a little effort, I could see where they go.  One way I can tell where they go is that they end up clicking on adsense ads on my site, and WP does a good job of telling me where people clicked out of my blog.

That being said, I’m starting to form a concept that has 3 parts.   These are capture, resonance and exchange.

The capture is ads or searches or links (twitter/facebook/digg) that lead people to your property.   That’s very measurable.

The resonance is inverse of bounce rate except that it is a higher level of abstraction.  It really is how long you can keep people in your orbit.   So if a person sees a link on one of my tweets, ends up poking around my website (which I watch through google analytics) then goes over to my blog (at which I can see some level of stats on WP) or my facebook product fan page (which also gives some level of stats).    So resonance is that ability to keep someone in your world for one moment longer learning something they didn’t know.

Finally there is exchange.  Exchange is when people click on an adsense ad you’ve place or go to your product site (like where my book is on Amazon) and turn that into a financial transaction.    It’s pretty interesting to track people in the waves that they come in and see them end up at one of the $$ endpoints.  On some of them (like adsense) I get paid for every click.  On Amazon, they get there and either buy or they don’t.

To some extent once they’ve left the site and gone onto adsense or Amazon, I’ve lost them for now or for good. I get a few cents for the adsense click or I may make a sale of my book.  but in either case, the interaction ends at that point.

So as an experiment for this weekend, I’m going to point you people to a couple of my links and see where they end up.

My Amazon site

My Blog (which you are on)

My website

My Digg profile

My twitter profile

My facebook profile

My facebook product page

my linkedin profile

I’ll let you know the results…on Monday night (Memorial Day)


Star Trek: The Awesome Generation

In 60's Television, Science Fiction on May 11, 2009 at 12:57 am

OK late in the day today I saw the new Star Trek movie. It was a great movie. Excellent story, excellent special effects, hilarious dialogue

Being that it is an altered timeline from the original (by the very nature of the plot) it was actually fresh and not just an in between Jonathan Archer and ST:TOS…Ya know, the way that all the series and movies began to go I was worried that the Borg would make a reappearance. But they don’t…Phew!

There was a lot to enjoy in this movie. Both the new Spock and the new Kirk were well played…and the cool thing here was that the new Kirk doesn’t always get saved by Spock…well at least not by his contemporary Spock anyway.

The Kobayashi Maru reference was excellent. It was excellent seeing Kirk outsmart Spock.

Bones completely cracked me up. The characterization there was spot on…

There were a lot of little references that only trekkies would get…”how do we know he didn’t invent it” (Scotty to Bones: STIV) vs “you haven’t invented it yet” (Spock to Scotty)…Christopher Pike in the wheel chair again turning over control to Kirk; not exactly how it happened the first time. Now we have Chekov on the bridge, where he wasn’t in the original TV series until after Kahn (so Kahn should not have recognized him).

One of the things that this movie shows is that the command cadre of the Enterprise was the best of the best from a star fleet perspective…

I was quite impressed. The line that got me laughing the most though was at the about the normal farewell “being somewhat self-serving” I was howling.


Online Document Collaboration Experiment

In Random on May 8, 2009 at 1:05 am

So I did this unplanned experiment where teams that I was working with doing my MBA classes used collaborative tools (for the first time). Here are the results in pictures. Roughly speaking none of these people had ever tried any of these kinds of tools, but they were relatively facile with MS office. I think it is telling how different each product set approaches collaboration.

The three tool sets that were tried were, Buzzword/, and Google Docs. Here’s the reaction of the people: