tag:elgan.com,2013:/posts Mike Elgan 2021-05-13T16:07:24Z Mike Elgan tag:elgan.com,2013:Post/1690396 2021-05-13T16:07:23Z 2021-05-13T16:07:24Z Is branding that's just basically humming a trend on the rise?

After Phil Libin named his Zoom background tool "mmhmm," this website builder came out called "mmm."

Are we just going to humming and grunting brand names now?
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Mike Elgan
tag:elgan.com,2013:Post/1690367 2021-05-13T14:48:46Z 2021-05-13T14:48:47Z Here's what I think about the future of robots
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Mike Elgan
tag:elgan.com,2013:Post/1690100 2021-05-12T18:37:35Z 2021-05-12T18:37:35Z You can buy amazing Oaxacan corn seeds on Etsy and grow your own

Why would you grow boring yellow corn, when you can grow THIS?

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Mike Elgan
tag:elgan.com,2013:Post/1690015 2021-05-12T18:22:15Z 2021-05-12T18:23:03Z Mike's List: Why governments will give you cash, a free house or special residency to move

In this edition of Mike's List: They want you to move so bad they'll give you cash, a house or a special visa! Plus: home food printing, 3D-printed vitamins, catching crooks with cookies, and more! Get the newsletter here.

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Mike Elgan
tag:elgan.com,2013:Post/1689810 2021-05-11T23:22:37Z 2021-05-11T23:22:37Z He's right! I didn't believe he'd use my Mexican kitchen as his Zoom background!

Nick Jaynes, a mutual follow on Twitter, is using the picture I took of my kitchen in Oaxaca as his Zoom background. Love it!! 

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Mike Elgan
tag:elgan.com,2013:Post/1689651 2021-05-11T16:16:52Z 2021-05-11T16:16:53Z Super electric windy hike in the hills South of Oaxaca

So much fun. I love the climate here. 
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Mike Elgan
tag:elgan.com,2013:Post/1689647 2021-05-11T16:01:13Z 2021-05-11T16:01:13Z Fantastic day yesterday in the Oaxaca Valley with great friends, great food and a great hike on these windy hills

The wind was high and gusty, with rain and lightning on the horizon, supercharging the atmosphere with electricity. 
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Mike Elgan
tag:elgan.com,2013:Post/1689188 2021-05-10T13:58:44Z 2021-05-10T13:58:44Z Haha! My son brought ham to a picnic

My daughter-in-law, Nadia, gave my son, Kevin, a Spanish ham for his birthday in March (specifically a jamón serrano). 

It's the gift that keeps on giving. He's sicing ham on every social occasion -- including, I learned on Instagram, a Mother's Day picnic. 
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Mike Elgan
tag:elgan.com,2013:Post/1688981 2021-05-09T22:57:36Z 2021-05-09T22:57:36Z How holograms, deepfakes, and AR are raising the dead

Considering his final frontier, 90-year-old Star Trek star William Shatner recently decided to boldly go into an Los Angeles studio and turn himself into a ghost.

Shatner spent five days recording a StoryFile, a type of interactive video created by a company also called StoryFile. Portions of the recording, which were captured by 3D cameras, will be “tagged” using StoryFile’s proprietary system. Later, Shatner’s ghost will be beamed to his family members, to fans via the internet, and possibly to museums and entertainment venues. People will be able to ask Shatner’s ghost questions. StoryFile’s system will “play” the answers, creating the illusion that William Shatner lives, even long after he passes on.

Welcome to the new spiritualism.

A hundred years ago, the idle rich of Europe and America indulged a fascination with the great beyond. A quasi-religious movement called Spiritualism, which began in the 1830s and rose in popularity during times of great trauma, such as during the U.S.’s Civil War. The movement peaked in the years between 1918 and the early 1920s, when Spiritualist ideas spilled over into mainstream popular culture.

The rich and famous went nuts for conjuring the dead 100 years ago. And now, they’re at it again.
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Mike Elgan
tag:elgan.com,2013:Post/1688898 2021-05-09T17:38:50Z 2021-05-09T17:38:51Z Nothing more Oaxacan than black mole on black ceramics
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Mike Elgan
tag:elgan.com,2013:Post/1688874 2021-05-09T16:19:13Z 2021-05-09T16:19:13Z Brunch in Oaxaca

In the courtyard of Criollo. 
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Mike Elgan
tag:elgan.com,2013:Post/1688872 2021-05-09T16:09:02Z 2021-05-09T16:09:03Z Tomatoes originated in Mexico, and Mexico has all the tomatoes (this is a tree tomato)
The taste and texture are more like a tropical fruit. 
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Mike Elgan
tag:elgan.com,2013:Post/1688852 2021-05-09T15:04:50Z 2021-05-09T15:04:51Z Mezcal cocktails with Amira and Jackie

Amira and I met up with Jackie (another hardcore Oaxaca enthusiast) for dinner and a couple bars last night. So much fun!
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Mike Elgan
tag:elgan.com,2013:Post/1688687 2021-05-09T01:23:33Z 2021-05-09T01:23:34Z Pickled chayote squash
With a side of potato chips!
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Mike Elgan
tag:elgan.com,2013:Post/1687975 2021-05-07T02:18:08Z 2021-05-07T02:18:09Z What it’s like for a somewhat tall person in an airplane bathroom
Can’t imagine what it’s like in there for very tall peeps. 
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Mike Elgan
tag:elgan.com,2013:Post/1687904 2021-05-06T20:30:25Z 2021-05-06T20:30:25Z Flying back to Mexico and writing about cloud computing with this view to inspire me
We came back to the US just to get vaccinated, and now we're heading "home" to Oaxaca. We'll be there two more weeks, then back to California for a little while -- then off to Europe!
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Mike Elgan
tag:elgan.com,2013:Post/1687832 2021-05-06T15:35:58Z 2021-05-06T15:35:58Z Squishyface is a LEGO Maniac
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Mike Elgan
tag:elgan.com,2013:Post/1687818 2021-05-06T15:06:01Z 2021-05-06T15:06:01Z Cinco de Mayo celebrations at Kevin and Nadia’s house were delicious!
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Mike Elgan
tag:elgan.com,2013:Post/1686800 2021-05-03T17:18:56Z 2021-05-03T17:18:56Z Getting vaccinated was fast, easy and painless
An acquaintance who works at this vaccination center said they’re set up to do 10,000 shots a day, but that the demand is so low now they’re doing only 1,000 per day. 
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Mike Elgan
tag:elgan.com,2013:Post/1686767 2021-05-03T16:03:34Z 2021-05-03T16:03:34Z Look at that smile. So happy to be getting vaccinated.
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Mike Elgan
tag:elgan.com,2013:Post/1686765 2021-05-03T16:00:38Z 2021-05-03T16:00:39Z Getting my first Pfizer vaccine shot
In San Jose, California, at the Santa Clara Convention Center. 
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Mike Elgan
tag:elgan.com,2013:Post/1685401 2021-04-30T13:25:14Z 2021-04-30T13:26:03Z Here's something I never tried before: grilled cheese in a corn husk

Had this delicious cheese on a crunchy roasted tortilla with very spicy and delicious salsa at a market food stall inside the market at Ocotlán de Morelos, Mexico. The husk was literally on fire when they served it. 
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Mike Elgan
tag:elgan.com,2013:Post/1684965 2021-04-29T14:53:19Z 2021-04-29T14:53:19Z Do you ever make coffee, then leave it on the counter, sit down and go: "Hey, where's my coffee?"

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Mike Elgan
tag:elgan.com,2013:Post/1684314 2021-04-27T23:51:49Z 2021-04-27T23:51:49Z Tip for lazy nomads
Set up some devices, like your ebook reader, using your phone’s hotspot. That way, you don’t have to reconfigure the WiFi network in each new location. ]]>
Mike Elgan
tag:elgan.com,2013:Post/1684052 2021-04-27T14:57:16Z 2021-04-27T14:57:17Z One reason Oaxaca is so covid-safe is that the restaurants don't have roofs

The old and charming part of Oaxaca where we live right now has a lucky feature, and it's one of the reasons we chose to shelter in place here during the pandemic: Most of the restaurants either have no roof, or, if they do, place the dining on top of the roof. You can go out to dinner to most of the restaurants, and you're still outside. 

Another reason is that nearly everyone wears masks. And there's plenty of space, so everyone can keep their distance. 

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Mike Elgan
tag:elgan.com,2013:Post/1683884 2021-04-27T01:28:33Z 2021-04-27T01:28:34Z Pulque
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Mike Elgan
tag:elgan.com,2013:Post/1683683 2021-04-26T18:33:05Z 2021-04-29T15:50:17Z Update: I'm still stuck in Oaxaca
Now that we're eligible for vaccines, we're trying to fly to the US for a few days from Oaxaca (the place where we've been sheltering in place) to get our first vaccine shot. 

We had a flight booked for last Tuesday, and got a Covid test for that flight (these are the tests where they shove a long Q-tip through each nostril all the way to the back of your nasal cavity), but when it was time to go to the airport we realized that we had left our passports at our previous residence. 

We re-booked the flight, got a second Covid test, and then realized that we had booked a flight that cost $800 more than it should have. 

So we booked another, cheaper flight for today, got a third Covid test. 

When we went to the airport this morning at 6am, protesters were blocking the airport, not letting anyone in or out. (Our taxi driver says they're students paid by a local politician trying to drum up controversy and support through protests.) We went back to our apartment. 

Then, our flight was rescheduled. We took another taxi to the airport. And it was still blocked. The airline rescheduled our flight for later. 

So later, we took a third taxi back to the airport, and found that it was still blocked. American Airlines didn't update the flight information until 10 minutes after boarding time started, so we spent 45 minutes standing in the hot sun at the entrance to the airport (where I took these photos).

We talked to the protesters, and they made it clear they had no intention of leaving anytime soon. 

Now we're trying to book a flight for next week. We'll need to take a 4th Covid test. 

Each Covid test costs $100. Each round-trip to the airport costs $25. This is getting expensive. 

(We're lucky that we have an apartment to go to. Otherwise we'd been standing outside the airport like hundreds of other travelers right now.)

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Mike Elgan
tag:elgan.com,2013:Post/1683158 2021-04-25T15:07:14Z 2021-04-25T15:07:14Z Canned rocks? Why, Japan? Why?

A privately owned railway in Japan called the Choshi Electric Railway operates on only four miles of tracks. Business is bad, so the company is trying to monetize in part by selling rocks from under the tracks. In cans! Why, Japan? Why? 

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Mike Elgan
tag:elgan.com,2013:Post/1683157 2021-04-25T14:59:21Z 2021-04-25T16:38:47Z Now you can chat with Einstein

A company called UneeQ has created an artificial intelligence (AI) digital version of Albert Einstein. The company's "conversational and experiential" AI enables what the company calls a "meaningful experience with one of history's greatest minds." The software faithfully re-creates Einstein's personality, according to the company. 

Einstein's voice was created by Aflorithmic. His face was created by Goodbye Kansas Studios. And his knowledge comes from WolframAlpha.

Is virtual Albert Einstein believable? It's all relative. 

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Mike Elgan
tag:elgan.com,2013:Post/1682332 2021-04-25T14:08:45Z 2021-04-25T14:15:16Z It's time to get over your block block

People are funny about blocking others on social media.

Both blockers and the blocked act like blocking is at least a rude affront and at worst an act of aggression.

People who block are sometimes accused of being intellectual cowards who can't stand disagreement.

The act of blocking is seen by some as how filter bubbles are created, resulting in a delusional social experience where everyone agrees.

I'm here to tell you that blocking is none of these things.

It helps to embrace my "cocktail party" metaphor for social media. Just like a cocktail party, we use social sites like Twitter or Facebook in order to enjoy the company of others, have stimulating conversations, cultivate relationships among people we want to know better and to learn new things.

Every user's account, in this metaphor, is their home, to which they can invite to their party anyone they choose for any reason they choose.

Anyone invited is free to accept the invitation, or decline it, and for any reason they choose.

The act of blocking someone is akin to choosing to not invite them to your party.

Reticence to block is precisely what makes Twitter uncivil. If you're inviting everyone to your party, including the serial disruptors, jerks and sociopaths, then you shouldn't blame Twitter -- you're the one who invited those people by not blocking them. 

Twitter has 330 million active monthly users. You will never interact with 99.9% of them. Blocking is merely an opportunity to exert a little control over some of the people you will never in the future interact with. It’s the other side of the following coin. Blocking is good. Blocking is right. Blocking improves Twitter. Blocking turns Twitter into a perfect cocktail party. 

So stop complaining about Twitter. And start blocking like it’s a bodily function.

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Mike Elgan