My Life with the HTC EVO

The HTC EVO 4G is not the best Android mobile phone out there but Sprint is the only carrier that gets reception at my house. Six months ago I began a rather extensive trial of a few different phones and carriers and balked at the EVO after a 30-day trial.

Certainly Verizon would have service in my area, everybody raves about VZW and after all it’s been 5 years since I last did my trials and found that I live in a cell service black hole, in spite of living roughly 3 miles from downtown LA and just over the hill from Dodger Stadium. This was not the case. Verizon service was equally as non-existent for voice calls as was AT&T. The difference being that AT&T offered me a femtocell signal booster (the 3G Microcell) for free whereas Verizon wanted me to pay $250 for their extender. In fact, when I talked to their technical department, I learned that my area is a known trouble zone and that NO TOWER upgrades were scheduled — it would be at least two years before there was any [better] service.

Continue reading “My Life with the HTC EVO”

10 Best Data Visualization Projects of 2010

Borrowed from one of my fave sites, flowingdata.com

tourists in sf

10. Asteroid Discovery

Scott Manley of the Armagh Observatory visualized 30 years of asteroid discoveries. It’s a straightforward animation that shows planets and asteroids orbiting the sun, with waves of twinkles as discoveries are made. I especially liked the contrast between human and automated discoveries.

Continue reading “10 Best Data Visualization Projects of 2010”

Groupon Gets Charitable with Kiva, DonorsChoose

Groupon Kiva Donors Choose charity donate holiday

$15 for $25 worth of microloan credit to help global entrepreneurs on Kiva.org.”

My first thought upon seeing this was: who pays the other $10? The [not-so] small print below today’s Groupon says that it’s paid for by Groupon (and sponsors). Up to $500,000 of the $800 million to $2 billion in revenues the Chicago-based startup will reportedly take in this year.

That’s a hefty write-off donation for most, and possibly a perk for some Groupon sponsors, and a nice, lucky penny pitched into the pond by a company that allegedly turned down a $6 billion or so buyout offer from Google earlier this month.

Billions in revenue. Huge numbers. It’s important to note how individuals and corporations choose to spend their philanthropic capital and I really like the way Groupon does it here: Empowering regular people to give by subsidizing our donations. I’m sure Groupon wishes it could boast about the kind of repeat transactions that a Kiva.org — where the average user has made 6.5 loans — and what better way to grow it’s community during the holiday giving season by encouraging the habit of giving (or lending) while otherwise luring subscribers to habitually consume on first site of bargain.

Last month, a Kiva.org Groupon raised lead to $100,000 in microloans and Oprah Winfrey promoted Kiva to her audience (for her part, Winfrey was the most charitable celebrity of 2009 with $40 million in donations to various charities, according to The Giving Back Fund. Today’s Kiva Groupon was trumped by a DonorsChoose coupon, which was 60 percent subsidized by the Pershing Square Foundation ($10 for $25). Last May, Groupon and Pershing Square teamed up with DonorsChoose to raise $1 million in funds for public school classrooms in need.

Last week, 17 billionaires, including Steve Case, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffet, Michael Bloomberg and Carl Icahn, announced their intention to give the majority of their wealth to charity — the Giving Pledge.

In an age where it’s so easy to set examples — for better and worse — it’s comforting to see more and more bold acts of goodwill.

I’m a repeat Kiva lender. Are you?