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Let’s Go Exploring! Estonia: The Silicon Valley of Europe

If you’ve ever used Skype before,you need to thank Estonia.   Long before it became a global success with 300 million users, it was a tiny start-up in Tallinn. The coders, who also happened to be schoolmates, Ahti Heinla, Priit Kasesalu, and Jaan Tallinn (yup. Apparently a real name), had no idea how far their code would go. They first called it “Skyper” which was short for “Sky peer-to-peer” on account of that fact that it used peer-to-peer sharing protocols and it was passing the information through the air/sky. But then it turns out the name was also taken, so […]

How Much Are You Paying to Work?

“Can you write about how much you’re paying to work?’” We got this e-mail from a reader recently. Apparently, once-upon-a-time I’d mentioned in a post how we don’t realize how much we PAY to work. I said I’d be writing about this in a future post, but then forgot to, you know, write it. Oops. In my defense, there are a lot of saunas and spas in Europe and they’re not going to visit themselves. Anyway…without any more excuses, here’s my better-late-than-never post on how much you’re paying to work: When we’re working, we love focusing on the fatness of […]

Reader Case Update: The South Korean English Teacher Returns

On this blog, we have a lot of fun. We make a bunch of dick jokes, we make fun of home boners, we do a WHOLE lot of MATHING SHIT UP, and, occasionally, we change people’s lives. Hopefully for the better. But as much as I’d like to take as much credit for these cases as I can, the truth is the only thing we can do here is trivially minor. We do some analysis, we provided a few insights, maybe suggest a few changes people could make, and that’s pretty much it. A blog post by itself does nothing. […]

The Hedonic Treadmill of Smart Phones

“Whoa, is that your phone?” We were at Chautauqua Greece and I had whipped out my smart phone to take out a picture. And as soon as I did, it was snatched out of my hands, passed around the group like an alien baby as a crowd of onlookers gawked at my trusty…iPhone 4S.   I remember when I first bought that, all the way back in 2011. Despite working in tech all my life, I had resisted the smart phone revolution for the longest time, instead relying on those quaint little “cell phone” devices that primarily, you know, made […]

Let’s Go Exploring! Riga: A Hidden Foodie Paradise

“Why would I ever buy a house? I pay 380 Euros a month for rent in central Riga and my landlord is basically my slave.” I liked our tour guide, Kaspar, right away. We were on a Riga Free Walking Tour (they don’t have Sandemann’s walking tours in Riga) and a traveller had asked about the cost of housing in Latvia. Then in response to another person asking him about why the cost of living is so low, he launched into a segment called “the miserable and depressing lives of the Latvian people”. Having been on many walking tours, one […]

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