Archive for June, 2006

links for 2006-06-22

June 22, 2006 at 3:18 pm

links for 2006-06-21

June 21, 2006 at 3:18 pm

Kiva updates and comments

I think in my mind I was a lot harsher on Kiva when it opened than what I actually wrote here.  But Kiva has expanded (it's partenered with NGOs in Bulgaria, Cambodia, and Palestine, amongst others) which means that increasingly NGOs in these countries are starting to work in the opposite way they traditionally have, they're taking the people around them's ideas and investing in. A similar philosophy has inpsired the Acumen fund and others recently. My original problem was the limitation of scope Kiva seemed like a bit of a moral washing exercise in which the profile and journal of someone was listed, but the archecture of Kiva seemed to ensure that it would limit the number and hence effectiveness of your money to a few individuals. It was in another words, a kinda selective sponsoring of people. My second problem was that it's not a real bank, after all actual growth often comes from the ability of local institutions to further growth. The later problem is something that will probably be answered by an increase in business (a problem that Kiva is obviously helping) the former problem seems to be going away. As the number of partners expands, Kiva is beginning to operate like any other loan organization, it has offices and takes applications and then the lender evaluates the client. I know this might seem cold, but I'm just trying to break it down to it's component parts.

The folks behind Kiva are also training people to be able to post to Kiva with out an agent getting in the way. In one video on their incontext blog, it shows them training people how to get e-mail, and then register for Kiva. One thing that does strike me about this example is that is e-mail needed? After all cell phones are far more popular and cheaper than computers and internet access. In other words, could someone register for kiva, put in their mobile number, and then just return an SMS to verify that the number they entered is their number? The user could then text message in their own loan or be alerted by SMS when their loan is approved.  Additionally, they could then SMS loans for individuals in their area, and then a picture could be snapped when they come to pick up the loan. Anyway, new businesses are now available for your philantrophic needs. I'm starting to like this service more and more as I browse both it's failures and sucesses.

Kiva Tag Micro_finance

June 20, 2006 at 3:26 pm

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June 20, 2006 at 3:18 pm

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June 18, 2006 at 3:18 pm

am I not productive?

About 4 weeks back I was learning (and getting somewhere) in LSL script and also was finishing a book on ruby and also I was on a reading binge. Since then I’ve started Thomas S. Kuhn’s the structure of scientific revoltuons, had about 5 more ideas of things I could do with stuff at Garagak Market in Taipei, failed to learn any more Chinese (I’m still trying to memorize the numbers), and have completely stalled on reading and learning programs. I’ve basically finished gardening for the moment until my cactus either comes or dies and my other pots have now sprouted so I have durians, mangoes, and everything else going. Primarily my days revolve around thinking about the horrible things people could say to me, a slight paranoia around western people (I graciously avoided two art guys who gestured at me at 7-11 the other day giving me the slight hey we’re wearing hip hats too knod (note: this is different than the hair nod given to people with long hair and or dread locks)), obsessing over personal situations, and not reading a book I actually find rather interesting. I’m also playing about 2 and 1/2 hours of counter strike a day and working my way through metroid. I’m also a bit behind with work stuff like tests and demo lessons. Parents have a tendency to instill in you a dread of doing nothing, “I just feel like your floating through life,” my stepmother always said, and laziness has been ascribed as one of my traits by many Asian employers. But, and I’ve been getting into this looking at the other side of it groove, I have been thinking and I have been reading blogs and newspapers and magazines voraciously and more importantly, for some weird reason video games are immersive for me again. I’ve convinced myself at one point that I have a problem, that I don’t do enough, but it seems like the problem is more context. When I lived next a flower market I grew flowers, when I lived in Orlando I did shows, when I lived in Memphis I read a lot, etc. Perhaps the slacker predicimant that’s so often abscribed to us young and remarkably not climbing the socio-economic ladder types is that we aren’t near environments that make creation easy.

June 17, 2006 at 10:46 pm Leave a comment

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June 17, 2006 at 3:17 pm

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June 16, 2006 at 3:17 pm

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June 15, 2006 at 3:18 pm

Review –> Metroid Prime Hunters

The thing that lets me know that Metroid Prime Hunter is a Nintendo game is that like all great Nintendo games it has a defective jump button. Ya know how in Mario Bros you would fall off a cliff when you knew you pressed the jump button? The same thing happens in Hunters which requires you to double tap the screen to jump. You can change this, but I’ve found it to be the most intuitive way to play the game. You consistenly find yourself just barely not making that jump etc, yet at the same time you still have a remarkable sense of control. Anyway, one thing that interests me about Metroid is, is it such a good FPS becuase it was a platforming game before? Would someone just making an FPS think up the eleborate platforming and the rolling sections? Metroid might be better for the translation. It’s ascendance into First Person has made it more distinctive than 9 out of the 10 games that come out per week n the U.S. Parts of Hunters delve deep into platforming dynamics while other parts just focus on run and gun fps side steeping shoot outs. I have no idea what the story to this game is (it seems to revolve around people trying to stop Samus from getting somewhere) becuase I’m playing it in Japanese (yeah they have the american import here, but I was buying a bunch of Naruto games for some kids so I thought I’d stick with the japanese version which has a cooler box anyway).  The levels aren’t terribly different than the ones in Prime, but switching between the planets to return and frag new stuff and open new levels doesn’t get old, mostly becuase once you’ve been there you can usually breeze through the level or just warp 1/2 way into it. Occasionally you run into a recurring battle that gets rather annoying (there’s these robots that disrupt your vision that get annoying after awhile), but your weapons seem to get more powerful each time so the battles become little more than just dodge and purge. What’s surprising though is the level of involvement in each level. Today I found a whole new sector which involves rolling into a ball, working through a platform sector, warping to various timed battles, jumping over the remains of a spaceship, warping to other battles, and to make everything even more annoying, sometimes you warp backwards sometimes you warp forwards. But any game addictive enough that I found myself sweating it back to the ship as the battery light flashed red on my DS is worth playing. I might add that a DS lite might be better for this game. Holding the stylus and using the shoulder button at once can get a bit combersome. Also the screen size is an issue for me, I wish I could expand it or Samus’ visor could magnify the guns’ cursor so I could make better distance shots, but all in all a rather good game.

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June 14, 2006 at 5:19 pm

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