Don’t Fly During Ramadan

A couple of weeks ago, I was scheduled to take a trip from New York (JFK) to Los Angeles on JetBlue. Every year, my family goes on a one-week pilgrimage, where we put our work on hold and spend time visiting temples, praying, and spending time with family and friends. To my Jewish friends, I […]

Why I Like Neo4j

Earlier this week, I gave a presentation comparing various SQL/NoSQL databases. I provided an overview of five different databases described their particular use cases, but I noticed myself talking about one much more than the rest: Neo4j. Part of this is because Neo4j is one of the least-known database from a list that includes PostgreSQL, […]

Sputnik: Rising Above the Air

Apple has achieved success in large part because it created expectations rather than satisfying them. This marketing strategy paid off for Apple; for example the iPhone wasn’t compared to existing smartphones like the Blackberry, which would have highlighted its relative shortcomings (no copy-and-paste, inferior battery life, AT&T-lock-in, etc.). It was viewed as its own entity […]

Objects & Procedures: A Python and Java Comparison

Earlier today, I had a discussion with another hackNY fellow about whether Java was more strictly object-oriented than Python. While neither language is truly object-oriented in the pure sense, it’s clear to me that Python is hands-down more consistently object-oriented, whereas Java is a mixture of object-oriented and procedural programming. Put another way: Java forces […]

Appropriating Your Cake and Eating It Too

I was very disappointed this evening to find that, with their new API rules, Twitter is trying to eat their cake and still have it too. To put it simply, ask yourself this: would Twitter be what it is today if these policies had existed from the start? Meetup had its own sink-or-swim moment when it […]

The Irrational Choice

Spectator has defined my college experience in a way no other organization could. I first signed up for the mailing list during a prospective students’ visit over four years ago – before I even was a student at Columbia – and have been there ever since. After all that time, having held multiple titles (including […]

Online Piracy: The New ‘War on Drugs’

Recently, I was asked to lead a discussion for a Columbia student group about internet ‘piracy’. The topic isn’t synonymous with SOPA/PIPA/ACTA, but those bills obviously came up. Glenn Greenwald does an excellent job explaining why, even if SOPA is dead, we may still be losing the war. This is what I have to add […]

Marrow Matters

This weekend, a friend of mine sent me a link to the Be The Match registry, which allows people to register to donate bone marrow. Because of the very small chance of finding a match, the registry is in need of more donors, particularly for certain ethnic groups.  The process is simple. You register to […]

How many bloggers does it take to change a lightbulb?

How many computer scientists does it take to change a lightbulb? None – that’s a hardware problem. How many industrial designers does it take to change a lightbulb? None – they just convince you that darkness is a feature. How many hipsters does it take to change a lightbulb? It’s an obscure number… you’ve probably […]