Buying Guides

Dave asked me what review sites I use as he uses “”:, I use a different site for each specialty area. And some notes on what’s the right buys…

1. The best reviews on video cameras. Canon HF-10 looks like the winner as HD camcorder
2. An overview site with links to the very best photography sites. is the best amongts them. Recommend the Nikon d40x, Nikkor 18-200 lense
3. Another overview site for pc and console games.
4. Seems like the last site left with any decent unbiased reviews of computer peripherals like monitors, printers, etc. I cross check with PC World.
5. Reviews on ipod and iphone accessories.
6. Car and driver. Where I get best car information for performance. Consumer Reports for reliability.
7 Skiing Magazine. Unfortunately their web site is beyond awful, so I get in print their annual ski guide. They are less good on boots.
8. Bicycling Magazine. Same problems as skiing, their website is awful, but print annual bike guides are good. is decent for mountain bikes.
9. Conde Nast Traveler. Their annual review of top hotels is really good. Website is ok.
10. Wine spectator. Actually I really use what costco shows on their bins. Calculate the lowest cost for each point over 90 (that is, if you find a wine at $15 that is 92 points, I buy it over a $50 bottle rated at 93 🙂
11. When I want to buy a new hard drive which is amazingly often.
12. When I want to figure out what processor to buy and the theory behind it. A good check on when to buy PCs since PC vendors are essentially on the Intel schedule.
13. so I don’t end up buying a Mac one week before it is obsolete.
14. store ratings for Mac peripheral ratings and isn’t well indexed but is best place to figure out if an Apple-made peripheral or products stinks.

Soros on the economy

Minds over Money: The godfather of global investors – May. 14, 2008

Where is your money now?

A. Mostly in my endowment fund, a good portion of which I had farmed out to other money managers. When I saw what I considered the most serious financial crisis of my lifetime, I came out of retirement and set up an account to hedge their positions.

Q. How?

A. I went short [bet against] the dollar, U.S. and European stocks and Treasury bonds. I went long [invested in] emerging markets. That worked last year, but this year bonds kept going up and emerging markets down. So I’m about even.

Q. Should Money readers do the same?

A. You’d have to be pretty nimble. I think most investors would be best off in safe, inflation-indexed Treasuries, even though they’re quite expensive now.


Minds over Money: The godfather of global investors – May. 14, 2008

The days of rapid financial wealth creation are over. We’re now in a period of wealth destruction. It is going to be very hard to preserve your wealth in these circumstances.

Darrell is a genius

Here are some of the things he has selected…for us. He’s great and some good choices for others that are thinking about small business applications:

* “Fonality”: IP PBX and also a PC Magazine editors choce. They sell a hardware box. $1000 is the software charge for standard. Professional is $2K with the main additional things being FindMe/FollowMe and also provides conference bridging for free. The basic $1K thing looks good, for an additional $1K, you get FindMe that routs calls from the PBX to your mobile and Boomerang which does the reverse. They also have this thing called HUD which let’s you manage calls from your PC. Then you don’t have to buy some big dedicated thingy for your receptionist. They sell them with the hardware and also you have to buy handsets from them. You can upgrade to a mini-tower HP PC with onsite service for $650
* “Broadvox”: These guys sell the actual SIP trunks you use to make calls. So they connect to the Fonality server in your office over your broadband provider (Cogent in our case) and then these guys convert it into a connection to the public switched network. This is technically called “SIP Trunking”: The “GO!Anywhere”: gives you toll-free, long distance, international and unlimited local calling.

Finally, to connect to the internet, some choices are:

* “Watchguard”: About $2K gets you a firewall. Personally, I think it is quite a bit of money, but it probably doesn’t pay to skimp.
* “Cogent”: It depends on your building, but finding a building with fiber connection directly takes you out of the $400/month for a 1.4Mbps T-1 into getting 100Mbps or even more directly to the internet. Their “On-Net”: application let’s you check to see if your building is one of the lucky 1,215 in the US and Europe that are connected. They offer 100Mbps, 1Gbps and 500Kbps

Changing Default Application

While there is an application you can download and that makes it easy to change the default application. “”: has an obscure way to do it that doesn’t require a download:

# Click on the file that you want to change. For instance, foo.mpg
# Choose File/Get Info
# You will see a pane with all the file information. Now, this is really unintuitive, click on the “Open With:”
# Select from the pulldown a different application. The Change all… button lights up and click on it

So not too obvious, that it is on the Get Info, but it works!


Dave was asking me about webcams. Since we use Macs mainly, I haven’t really studied the PC market (all Macs have iSight webcams which are decent, but most importantly built in).

“”: has an amazing number of webcam reviews. He likes the “Creative Notebook Pro”:, but the top rated notebook one is the “Logitech Quick Cam Pro Notebook”: I have one of these and I must say its pretty good.

If you have a desktop, then he recommends the “Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000”: I have an earlier model and must say it provides really great quality. Again the main thing is the image quality is really great.

Password protect WordPress

This is an old post, but “cre8d design”: explains how to password protect your blog. The simplest way is the “registered only”: plugin. With this plugin, only registered users can actually see your blog.

Instant PhD in biotech

Ok, so here is a primer, also known as PhD in a blog entry:

Plasmid – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A plasmid is an extra-chromosomal DNA molecule separate from the chromosomal DNA which is capable of replicating independently of the chromosomal DNA.[1] In many cases, it is circular and double-stranded. Plasmids usually occur naturally in bacteria

Genetic Recombination in Bacteria

Many bacteria can acquire new genes by taking up DNA molecules (e.g., a plasmid) from their surroundings. The ability to deliberately transform the bacterium E. coli has made possible the cloning of many genes — including human genes — and the development of the biotechnology industry.

Homologous recombination – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Homologous recombination is a type of genetic recombination, a process of physical rearrangement occurring between two strands of DNA. Homologous recombination involves the alignment of similar sequences, a crossover between the aligned DNA strands, and breaking and repair of the DNA to produce an exchange of material between the strands. The process of homologous recombination naturally occurs in organisms and is also utilized as a molecular biology technique for introducing genetic changes into an organism.

Transvection (genetics) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Transvection is an epigenetic phenomenon that results from an interaction between an allele on one chromosome and the corresponding allele on the homologous chromosome. Transvection can lead to either gene activation or repression. Formally (see quote from Lewis, below), it can also occur between nonallelic regions of the genome as well as regions of the genome that are not transcribed.

A/Brisbane and current flu season – FluTrackers

# Four viruses were characterized as A/Wisconsin/67/2005-like, the influenza A (H3) component of the 2007-08 influenza vaccine for the Northern Hemisphere.
# Fourteen viruses were characterized as A/Brisbane/10/2007-like. A/Brisbane/10/2007 is a recent antigenic variant which evolved from A/Wisconsin/67/2005-like. A/Brisbane/10/2007-like virus is the recommended influenza A (H3) component for the 2008 Southern Hemisphere vaccine.
# One virus showed somewhat reduced titers with antisera produced against A/Wisconsin/67/2005 and A/Brisbane/10/2007.

BJ5183 EC cells : MP Biomedicals : Buy Online

BJ5183 EC are electrocompetent (EC) Escherichia coli cells used in the AdEasyâ„¢ system for homologous recombination. Genotype: endA sbcBC recBC galK met thi-1 bioT hsdR (Strr)


The HA gene. It encodes the hemagglutinin. 3 distinct hemagglutinins, H1, H2, and H3) are found in human infections; 13 others have been found in animal flu viruses.
2. The NA gene. It encodes the neuraminidase. 2 different neuraminidases (N1 and N2) have been found in human viruses; 7 others in other animals.

lyophilized – definition of lyophilized by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia.

lyophilized – used of tissue or blood or serum or other biological substances; dried by freezing in a high vacuum

master cell bank | | Dictionary & Translation by Babylon

master cell bank
a culture of fully characterized cells processed together to ensure uniformity and stability and used to prepare the working cell banks for production.

Ion exchange – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An important area of the application is extraction and purification of biologically produced substances such as amino acids and proteins.

Immunogenicity – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Immunogenicity is the ability of a particular substance, which is called the antigen, to provoke an immune response.

The CRA Training Institute | Preparing Professionals for Clinical Research Since 1989

A Clinical Research Associate (CRA) can also be called a Monitor, a Clinical Monitor, a Trial Monitor or a Medical Monitor. The title will vary from company to company. The job description will be the same. A CRA is an individual employed by a pharmaceutical or medical device manufacturer, by a contract research organization (CRO) usually acting on a sponsor’s behalf

Recombinant Protein – Protein Sciences Corporation – SARS vaccine, influenza vaccines

FluBlØk™, or recombinant hemagglutinin (rHA), is a patented subunit influenza vaccine

Future Medicine – Future Virology – 3(2):167 – Summary

Matrix protein (M)2 is an Influenza A, type III membrane protein with an extracellular domain (ectodomain of M2 [M2e]) of 23 amino acid residues, which is strongly conserved across virus strains. M2 fulfills an important biological function in the life cycle of the Influenza A virus and has been a target of antiviral drugs. M2e has generated much interest as a potential vaccine target, and a clinical M2e vaccine trial was initiated in 2007.

GAMBIA: Malaria vaccine can reduce risk of infection:Health and Medicine News – Medilinks Africa

“The trials showed that the risk of infection was reduced in those who received the RTSS malaria vaccine. Investigators estimated that vaccine efficacy in the first year was 34 percent, and in the second year after a booster dose, 47 percent.

Stryker Mobile Gun System

!! Watched a “Future Weapons”: with the kids and some great footage on the new “Stryker”:

There are lots of variants and “M1128 Styker Mobile Gun System”: !>! This is one big gun on one small platform.

Age of Empire Asian Dynasty Error 1305

Rebuilding Age of Empires and got error 1305 it is a little confusing, but it turned out the CD was dirty with junk. So if you get this, it is either a real problem or clean your CD!


This is an error that results from trying to read from a file and may also be due to a corrupt cab file or other corrupted file on the CD, or a file that’s copied to the temp directory that hits a flaky sector. If it’s not the CD-Rom or the CD drive, then move the temp location. Related information from Microsoft Technical Support:

Seattle to Beijing Nonstops

Hurray at last, you don’t have to go down to San Francisco and then fly by Seattle. The best routings now to Shanghai are:

# United to ANA. This leaves 1PM and arrives in Shanghai via Narita at 9PM. There is a long layover in Narita
# Air Canada. Go up to Vancouver and then over to Shanghai nonstop. It is an old 767 and the business class seats aren’t super comfy, but it is short. You have to take a 9AM shuttle to catch the 11AM. Also if you get the cool Nexus card, then crossing through is really fast.
# Hainan to Beijing starts in June with a flight that uses an A330. It is a chinese airline, so I’d expect the service to be OK, but the plane to be amazing. They use the kinda layback seats that are 180 degrees, but you sleep slanted like ANA and Qantas has in business class. It leaves 2PM and arrives in Beijing 4PM. So you then have to fly to Shanghai. I’d bet it is a little faster net, net, and you’d get to Shanghai at say 8PM.
# Northwest to Beijing. This begins March 2009. so is something to keep in mind. Of course Northwest planes are super old. But you become instant MVP Gold on this given the distance 🙂