Deano’s answer to: “Do other Dropbox-like tools have an app for iPhone?”

An unordered list of Dropbox-like* tools which have an accompanying iOS app:

Jungle Disk
MobileMe iDisk
ZumoCast suspended, may not return?
TrendMicro SafeSync…
Here, File File!

*Not all of these tools share all the features of Dropbox… Nor does Dropbox have all the features of the above alternatives. What they do share are the same principles around cloud/network storage of files, with subsequent remote access from browsers and native iPhone and/or iPad apps.

Do other Dropbox-like tools have an app for iPhone?

Dean Blackburn’s answer to: “What are the best TV series for 1-2 year olds?”

Cooking Shows are an often-overlooked option. Nice in that they are not generally "serials", usually last around 20 minutes without commercials, and show young children not just a wide variety of foods and preparation methods, but also help them understand how what winds up on their plate got there. As everyone knows, the foods on these shows seem to burst with eye-grabbing color, almost impossibly so. Anyway, kids love that!

Gardening Shows, similarly, can be quite good, "low impact" shows, for similar reasons.

During those brief periods of non-wartime, allowing them to see/hear some of what's on the news (in any country besides the United States) can also be a positive experience, especially once they start "axing questions".

As Jameson Quinn said, 1-2 is a bit young for TV in general, but keeping them away from ongoing series as much as possible (except, perhaps, Baby Sign Language instructional videos) is the best way to "trickle in" TV, so that it doesn't become FAR more addictive in later years.

Now that my girl is 3, our regular shows include Doctor Who (TV series) (lots of simpler/pseudo science to discuss, high degrees of creativity and imagination in the plots, and none of the old monsters/effects are very scary to kids these days), Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (some of those topics/themes are pretty dark, but the show was pretty spot-on for pacing, language, and content for the 3-6 set), and Pucca (long story how that started, but with each animated episode lasting only 8 minutes, can be a great "negotiation show" when there isn't enough time before school/lunch/bed).

I think any age below 4-5 is probably too young for solo television/movie watching for children. If they aren't watching with a parent, or at least a couple peers, then the TV watching experience becomes the "dreaded babysitter", rather than a potential conversation starter during or after a given show. With that as your guideline, I suggest the following:

Let your child watch only those shows you would be happy to sit and watch with him/her.

Finally, let me also advise checking in now and then when content may seem too advanced for your child, they start to squirm, or you're concerned it might give them nightmares. If they respond that they're not scared, bored, or otherwise need to be elsewhere (TV can be more interesting sometimes than dry pants, for example), then trust their judgment.

What are the best TV series for 1-2 year olds?

Deano’s answer to: “How do you improve your small talk?”


Invite people to talk about themselves by providing them a safe forum to do so – be neither disinterested clockwatcher, nor obsessed interrogator.

Focus on “how can I be of service to this lovely human being“, and then radiate that. If you aren’t good at radiating, try thinking it, and then slowly exhaling the thought out your nose(*).

Other good invitations to use:

  • Invite them to share their opinion on a subject dear to you (or them)
  • Invite their assistance in some fairly trivial manner, like a parlor trick, or making sure you don’t have toilet paper stuck anywhere you can’t see.
  • Invite them to contact you in the future, because you’ve had such a lovely chat – willingness to exchange contact info raises the bar on how highly you esteem them, which is often understood and reciprocated at some level.
  • If things don’t go well, invite them to speak with a friend of yours, who was “just talking about” some topic of interest to your ‘dud’ conversation partner.

Overall, just try to remember this: small talk is about engaging without offense… Hold back too much, and you won’t ever engage.

(*Totally unscientific fact: Doing so releases subcommunicative pheremones that help convey your thoughts and wishes. Slow steady breathing also helps keep you calm and settled, which makes others feel more at ease. But, seriously, it’s the pheremones. I promise.)

This answer originally appeared on Quora: How do you improve your small talk?

Deano’s answer to: “For those who went to top-tier schools, is it more rude to answer directly when asked what school you attended, or to instead name the city where the school is located? Why?”

This isn’t a top-tier problem. It’s an Ivy problem. It’s not even on the same level – and that’s not meant as arrogance about the quality of education, community, etc.

Ivy League schools are an INSTANT SHORTHAND FOR ELITISM. Hollywood just doesn’t make movies where the slimy rich bastard you’re supposed to hate went to UC Berkeley. People in Iowa just wouldn’t get the joke.

Good Will Hunting wouldn’t work if you swapped out MIT with Stanford, because once you leave the Stanford campus, you’re not deciding between the crackhouse gangsterism of Cambridgeport or the green-beer-fueled Leprechaunarchy of Boston… You’re deciding between getting run over by pre-owned Beemers on University Ave, or brand new Teslas on Sand Hill Road.

Random guy on the street in Jakarta knows Harvard and Yale. Doesn’t know Vanderbilt, UW Madison, Wharton, etc. Just the facts.

Simply put, if you’re not talking about an Ivy, there’s nothing wrong with naming the school, ever. Put those fears to rest.

But, if you are cursed with “old brick” on the resumé, then it does occasionally pay to think twice, and check the guy who’s asking to see if he’s waving a sock full of pennies – or even just a homely Midwestern misconception of how much you must be like Tom Hanks in Volunteers – before answering anything other than “a little town in Connecticut that used to the world capital of ball point pens before the Internet happened.”

This answer originally appeared on Quora: For those who went to top-tier schools, is it more rude to answer directly when asked what school you attended, or to instead name the city where the school is located? Why?

Deano’s answer to: “Couldn’t Facebook and Twitter charge users a very small annual fee to immediately generate massive cash flow?”

The question assumes that it’s an either-or situation. I think Gmail provides a great counterexample for how a paid Facebook might work.

I see it as entirely possible that, once Facebook growth starts to level off, they could “take a few more users off the table” by offering a paid, ad-free alternative for anyone still on the fence. In fact, they’d still be collecting massive amounts of information that could be exploited by advertisers off-site, simply suppressing display of ads to end users WHILE THEY ARE ON FACEBOOK.

Another option would be to simply charge users to opt out of sharing certain data – that is, to basically say that participation in the various information sharing aspects of Facebook is the core business and utility, and required for free use.

The real question is, what would be a fair price to opt-out in that case… Perhaps they could even use variable pricing, and allow users to effectively “buy out” their own display inventory based on how much said user is worth, and which features they wish to turn off? How cool would it be to see the “real cost” of blocking Farmville notifications from my stream? 😉

Either option (or one of several others one could imagine) would pose an opportunity to potential competitors to offer a truly “free” solution; but given that (a) most existing users would simply continue to use the ad-supported version, and (b) migrating from Facebook to another option would be time consuming and difficult, it is unlikely that even such a “mistake” would have a big impact on Facebook market share…

In fact, by offering both “free” and “paid” versions, it’s also possible that Facebook might be able to make inroads with individuals and organizations who currently ban the use of Facebook over privacy and security concerns.

Would I pay $50/year for an ad-less Facebook, as I currently do for Google Apps Premium? If it meant that advertisers no longer had automated access to my home address, then YES, I would happily do so

This answer originally appeared on Quora: Couldn’t Facebook and Twitter charge users a very small annual fee to immediately generate massive cash flow?

Deano’s answer to: “Is the Bollywood film Enthiran better than Avatar?”

The only way it could be meaningfully better, is if they used James Cameron to shoot it in 3D.

(Even Gold Cylons love Enthiran!)

A lot of the humor may come off as very antiquated/cliché, but it fits. Enthiran is essentially a great 80s US action film melded with a great 80s Hong Kong action film. That it’s also a drama, and a romantic comedy, and a retelling of Frankenstein, and about 5 more whole movies (oh, and a multi-tiered dance competition) layered on top is just a bonus. 😉

(It’s also the story of an aspiring medical student, looking very studious here.)

It’s a great film, to be sure… Those who dislike or don’t understand the Bollywood style may disagree. It’s easily the best Indian film I’ve seen, in terms of easy crossover to just about any other world market/mainstream US audience.

(Guns and Leather. Come on, what could be better or more universal?!?)

Avatar, by contrast, is Dances in Wolves in Space. The universe created and referred to is amazing if you think deeply about it, but the actual film/plot on screen pales beside the special effects.

(Okay, blewbs. Blewbs might just be better.)

Neither film wastes a second of screen time being just plain beautiful to look at, but Enthiran excels at keeping your brain exploding with twists, turns, and completely unexpected characters and events constantly added into the plot throughout the film, at times seeming completely non-sensical, but in a way that somehow adds to the whole.

(This reminds me: everyone who saw Bicentennial Man deserves a refund.)

If you haven’t seen either, see both. If you’re trying to decide which to watch again, I’d suggest Enthiran, especially for home viewing – the constant jumps between settings make bathroom/kitchen breaks much easier to manage.

This answer originally appeared on Quora: Is the Bollywood film Enthiran better than James Cameron’s Avatar?

Deano’s answer to: “Why isn’t the film “It’s a Wonderful Life” seen as being more depressing than it is?”

For one thing, the protagonist is no longer trying to kill himself.

(Not until after the holidays, and reality sets in, anyway…)

That said, the main reason the film is not seen as depressing by modern viewers is that it wasn’t filmed more recently. A color version with the current field of acting talent would produce either a much more truthful/depressing version of the film, or one seen as far less entertaining in it’s sugar-coating of current economic realities, presumably on behalf of the wealthy elites still trying to push the message that “hard work and good hearts still win the day”, rather than being horribly crushed by big business folks and the politicians who work for them.

(Your gong-fu may be strong, Jimmy. Goldman-Sachs will still pwn you.)

Thus, by being an older film, in black and white, and calling to mind a more innocent era of the American dream, viewers tend to distance the film from more direct analysis, or “what ifs”, and simply enjoy the nostalgic Christmas-y goodness.

(Nothing, however, can change the fact that your daughter’s name is Zuzu.)

This answer originally appeared on Quora: Why isn’t the film “It’s a Wonderful Life” seen as being more depressing than it is?