Hashemian Blog
Web, Finance, Technology, Running

Bob Ross, The Master of Painting

by @ 1:39 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags:

Life as a young man in college can be wild sometimes but one of my greatest memories of peace and tranquility was watching Bob Ross paint on the PBS program, The Joy of Painting.

I don't know how I got hooked, but I loved The Joy of Painting from the first time I saw it and even had my roommates watch along on the old crappy TV that was part of every college kid's furnishing.

Bob Ross was truly skilled, but what set him apart from the others was his soft demeanor, his unmistakable sincerity and his devotion to the art, which was mostly paintings of natural settings like mountains, oceans, meadows and the like.

Ross has been gone for 20 years but his art and his lessons continue to impress the world and I am so happy that someone decided to put many of his programs on YouTube. I have never been artistic and very certain that I will never be. But watching one of his programs guarantees a magical and, dare I say, exciting time where blobs of paint are turned into a majestic masterpiece in half-hour.

Thankfully Bob Ross is now immortally on demand, continuing to inject a bit of peace and sanity into our chaotic and loud world. Happy little clouds to all.

Greece in Turkey

by @ 12:14 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: ,

On a recent trip to Turkey I was astounded to find amazing Greek ruins in the Pamukkale area. That area is famous for its lime-deposited white hills and travertines, but what I found even more interesting were the Greek ruins beyond the hills and the spring-heads.

We sometimes forget how vast the Greek empire was at one time and there are so many remnants of those ancient times outside of Greece. I immensely enjoyed walking among the ruins and getting up close to the architecture and the detailed stone work. At times I was the only person walking in sections of the ruins, just imagining what the place must have looked like in those ancient times.

 

pamukkale5

pamukkale4

pamukkale3

pamukkale2

Pamukkale, Turkey

 

 

Amazon and Walmart

by @ 10:33 am
Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: ,

amazonI don't know what the traders were really expecting when Amazon reported losses two weeks ago. It's the same broken record for the past 20 years. Trust us, we are investing in the future. The future is an awesome alibi because it's always in the, well, future. It'll never come.

So the stock has been sliding since the earnings (or lack thereof) release. Still Amazon's valuation is sky-high with no discernible timeline on when investors will finally see at least an evidence of an earnings turnaround. One must wonder where Amazon gets its money to fund its operations and fill the financial holes quarter after quarter. Perhaps that comes from selling bonds, a cheap way to raise money these days and it does have its own cash reserves.

Now comes the news of Walmart renovating its web site to better compete with Amazon. Walmart is going to have a tough fight on its hands. They can personalize and optimize and modernize their site all they want, but how can one defeat a behemoth that doesn't care about how much money it loses quarter after quarter, year after year?

If only Walmart could convince its investors that losing money is sound business. It's a skill Amazon has polished and perfected since its inception. No doubt Amazon will lose more money in the next quarter and investors will flock back to the stock, bowing and worshiping.

Sparkling Eiffel Tower

by @ 4:39 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: ,

During a recent trip to Paris, I had the chance to visit the iconic Eiffel tower several times and even walk up the stairs to the second level where I had some amazing views of Paris from all directions.

I also visited the Eiffel tower one night and was treated to a beautiful light show. I didn't know it at the time but not only the tower is illuminated at night, but also there is an hourly light show with thousands of sparkling lights flashing. Having the fortune of being there at the right time I took a few consecutive photos with my smartphone.

When I returned home I uploaded my trip photos to my Picasa album and upon reviewing the album I noticed the twinkling Eiffel tower. Picasa has a built-in feature that creates animated GIF's from photos that are taken in close succession and the Eiffel tower light show worked out quite nicely.

So here it is. The shimmering, twinkling, and sparkling Eiffel tower at night. Even the moonlight to the left of the tower twinkles nicely adding to the allure of the animated image. Enjoy.

Sparkling Eiffel Tower

 

2013 NYC Marathon Road Closures

by @ 10:13 am
Filed under: running-hiking,Uncategorized — Tags:

2013 nyc marathonTook me some time on Google to find out about the road closures during the 2013 New York City marathon. Head on over to Gridlock Sam for that info. Figured another entry for this post in the Google index maybe helpful to those searching for this info. Good luck to the runners.

iUniverse, eBooks, and Copyright

by @ 11:14 am
Filed under: technology,Uncategorized,writing — Tags: , ,

back in June 2012 I received an email from iUniverse regarding my book, Financial Markets For The Rest Of Us. In that email iUniverse, my book's publisher, proudly exclaimed that they have converted my book to the EPUB format and have submitted it to multiple sites. Here's an excerpt:

We are glad to inform you that your book, Financial Markets For The Rest Of Us, has been successfully converted to a new eBook file format. This new eBook version, called EPUB, is quickly becoming the new standard for the eBook industry. iUniverse has submitted the new eBook file to our partner eBook vendors to increase the overall distribution of your book.

iUniverse sure made it sound like they did this to help me, the author, but in reality it was more of a self-serving action to exercise control and maximize profits. Eventually I discovered an even bigger issue to deal with than just their EPUB initiative.

A few months ago I noticed that the book I had uploaded to Google Books had been replaced by the iUniverse's PDF and EPUB versions. This meant that iUniverse was not only earning money from the sale of the paper and digital copies, but also from the Google ads displayed alongside the pages of the book online. I am certain that iUniverse was not sharing any of the ad revenues with the authors. Concerned, I contacted Google to inquire about this and was told that I needed to contact iUniverse and request them to stop their automatic list upload. That meant that iUniverse could circumvent my copyright, effectively preventing me from listing my own book on Google Books.

Eventually I was able persuade iUniverse to stop uploading my book to Google Books and regained control of the situation. It took a few months, but I am now back in charge for both the PDF and EPUB versions on Google Books. Google no longer displays advertising alongside the books' pages, so I must assume iUniverse's willingness to relinquish control was somewhat helped along by that fact.

iUniverse was once a decent company for POD (Print On Demand) publishing. Those were the times when paper books were the only choice and POD services were affordable, but that is no longer the case. iUniverse was acquired by Author Solutions, a company that owns other self-publishing businesses, the POD prices are now exorbitant, service is subpar, sales and marketing pitches are incessant and author payments are questionable according to many sources online. In addition the traditional paper book is no longer the only game in town, being slowly replaced by its digital counterpart, the e-book. E-book publishing is relatively simple nearly eliminating the need for a publishing company, although the publishing outfits won't admit this.

As for my book, while iUniverse continues to be the publisher of the paper version as it was from the beginning, I was finally able to bring the digital versions under my own control, allowing me to make my own decisions, be it to offer the EPUB version for a small fee on Google Books, or just make it available in its entirety on my own web site.

P.S. On my next post I will address how I created the e-book version of my book. It was an interesting journey in the world of digital books.

$231,000 Star Trek Rifle

by @ 6:29 pm
Filed under: star trek,Uncategorized

A rifle prop from the original Star Trek pilot was recently sold by an auction house for nearly a quarter of a million dollars.

Normally I would scoff at such excesses, but then this is Star Trek. If I had that kind of disposable money, I would probably splurge quite a bit on the Star Trek memorabilia too. They're after all pretty rare.

'Star Trek' Phaser rifle auctioned off for $231,000

German court bans male circumcision

by @ 11:00 pm
Filed under: religion,Uncategorized — Tags: ,

Nothing like baby penis mutilation to bring Jews and Muslims together. Kudos to this court for banning baby circumcision.

Religious Rite?
-Feel free to cut it off when you're an adult and can make a free choice.

Infection prevention?
-How about general hygiene?

HIV prevention?
-Ever heard of a condom?

German court bans male circumcision, sparks outrage among Jews, Muslims

YouTube Collection - April 1

by @ 8:50 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags:

As I started to watch the clip about YouTube collection I thought, wtf? Why would anyone order a DVD collection of all YouTube videos?

As the April Fool's joke quickly dawned on me, I wondered how much data YouTube actually has and how many DVD's it will fit on. I certainly have no idea, but could it be like 1 million DVD's? That will be like 4 petabytes or so of data.

Perhaps it can be used as an interview question, along with other dumb questions like how many golf balls in a bus or pencil-sized man trapped in a blender 🙂

Star Trek Blood Donation

by @ 11:12 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

After donating a pint of blood to the Red Cross a few days ago, I got a blue mark on my forearm that looked eerily similar to the Star Trek insignia.

As a trekkie, I was only too happy with this temporary tattoo.

Of course it didn't last long and it has pretty much faded now. Oh well, there will be other blood drives.

Older Posts »

Powered by


Read Financial Markets  |   Home  |   Blog  |   Web Tools  |   News  |   Articles  |   FAQ  |   About  |   Contact
Bitcoin: 1K9TzBvQ2oaEb4tX9t2vKDtZouMcpfV6QF
© 2001-2017 Robert Hashemian   Powered by Hashemian.com