Monthly Archives

October 2013

Left v Right

Right Brain vs. Left Brain Test

By | Insight | No Comments

I’m currently working on developing a business with a couple of my friends. The company is called Kikai Mining. We answer the question: How do I innovate?

One key aspect of innovation is being creative. I’ve long known that I’m a relatively balanced left brain (analytical) / right brain (creative) individual, but I’ve never put it to the test. Today, I did.

Many sites today offer a free creativity test, but I decided to take one offered by The Art Institutes. It’s was a quick test that had me answering questions about what I like, how I like to learn and what I like to do with my time.

Here are the results:

53% left brain / 47% right brain

Great. Confirmed what I already suspected.

What I found more interesting was what followed because there are predominant traits that fall under each category. I’ll paste what they are below:

Predominant Left Brain Trait > Linear Processing

Linear processing is a method by the left hemisphere to process information. In this process, the left brain takes pieces of information, lines them up, and proceeds to arrange them into an order from which it may draw a conclusion. The information is processed from parts to a whole in a straight, forward, and logical progression.

Your Linear Analysis

When processing information using this method, you will occasionally feel the need to see the “whole picture” before you are able to achieve results. At other times, you are able to piece all of the parts together in a straight and logical progression to form a whole, which then enables you to understand what you have processing. The information, your mood, and your level of comfortable are all factors that determine your response to a linear processing problem.

Predominant Right Brain Trait > Concrete Processing

Concrete processing is a method associated with the right hemisphere that is used for processing things that can be seen or touched. It processes much of the information you receive from real objects. For example, a right-brained person is not just satisfied that a mathematical formula may work, but will want to know why it works. A strongly concrete person often finds it easier to solve a mathematical problem by “drawing it out” because it allows them to visualize it. The more a concrete person can visualize something the easier it is for them to understand it.

Your Concrete Analysis

You are strong in concrete processing. When you process information about things that can be seen or touched you show great comfort. But when contemplating something without concrete form, you may have difficulty, and attempt to understand what is trying to be processed in visual terms. For example, if solving a math problem, it would help you to “draw out” the problem and visualize it. Only after visualization, would you feel comfortable solving it.


This test was pretty spot on for me. Certainly there are some nuances here, but for a test that was designed for the masses I’m pretty impressed.

Take the test for yourself at and let me know what you think.

Other Tests

The High Line

The High Line Park

By | Photography, Travel | No Comments

My friend suggested my wife and I check out the new High Line Park while we were in New York this past weekend. He made an excellent suggestion.

The park is a repurposed, old section of the elevated train system on the west side of Manhattan. My understanding is that it was an unused and deteriorating piece of history that was being reclaimed by mother nature. Some very smart people saw this and figured, why not speed things along.

The High Line

Now in place is an amazing urban natural escape. A place where people can truly elevate above the chaotic streets and enjoy nature outside of Central Park. You can read more about it on their website

The next time you are in Manhattan, make the trip.

Empire State Building

JB and Camilo

Reconnecting with Old Friends

By | Startups | No Comments

I had the distinct pleasure of reconnecting with my old college friend, Camilo, this weekend while in New York City. We met each other while studying in Barcelona during our time at Penn State. We had a lot to catch up on and great to have him meet my wife and good friend.

It had been 9 years since we last saw each other due to mixed schedules and living in separate countries. You see, Camilo currently lives in Bogot√°, Colombia. It’s not really a good excuse, but it’s been a reality. I want to go and this visit has renewed that interest.

I wanted to share what he has been up to. Camilo has helped form a startup business down in Panama. The company is called Lion Trader ( They have created a tool that is able to quickly harness the activities of the best traders in the business and allow you to benefit by mimicking their actions. Essentially using the power of social monitoring to allow everyone to benefit. Certainly this method has some inherent risks, but so does buying into a Twitter IPO. Check it out and see what you think. I’m always interested in disruptive methods in established businesses, but even more when it’s a good friend of mine.

Where did the Black Nav Bar in Gmail go?

By | How To, Software | No Comments

Do you use Gmail and logged in today only to find that your navigation bar for other Google apps/services was missing? Took me a minute, but found the answer so thought I’d share.



Turns out that Google thought they’d get some screen real estate back in your browser window and replace the black nav bar with a single button. If you use Chrome, you’ll find a similar button on the far left of your bookmarks bar and is labeled ‘Apps.’


A Photo Lesson: f/1.4 vs. f/5.6

By | How To, Photography | No Comments

Thought I’d post about f/1.4 (wider) vs. f/5.6 (narrower) lens apertures. I’m not going to get into the science behind this, but instead show a practical difference in how your photos will look.

If you look at the image above you’ll see a fairly sizable difference. Here are some more details:


– blurred background (known as bokeh)
– darkened image borders (known as vignette)


– sharper background (wider area in focus = wider depth of field)
– corner exposure more uniform (less vignette)

Why use f/1.4?

This setting means your aperture is wide open on your lens. This will let in the maximum amount of light and result in a very shallow depth of field (high bokeh). This is a perfect setting if you want your subject to really stand out and you want to get that ‘artistic’ look of a photograph. It’s also great in really low light as you can keep your ISO low and your shutter speed fast. I really like to use this when taking portraits.

Note: not all lenses can go to f/1.4. As a matter of fact, most lenses can only go as wide as F/3.5. I think it’s worth the investment to get a lens that can achieve f/2.8 or wider and you’ll be able to achieve these nice photographic styles.


Why use f/5.6?

I used f/5.6 as the example in this post because it just happened to be what I shot today, but for all purposes this could be any of the smaller apertures like f/8, f/10, f/11, and above.


I use the smaller apertures if I want to capture the background because it’s just as interesting as the subject; or it happens to be the subject. Definitely use f/8 and smaller if you’re shooting landscapes.

A couple more thoughts

If you’re shooting with a larger sensor camera (e.g., full frame or APS-C) you will likely still find a nice background blur at f/5.6.

The closer you are to your subject, the narrower your depth of field will be. This is true for all apertures, but is more pronounced the wider you have you lens open (smaller aperture numbers).


30 Days of Photos: Self-Portrait

By | Photography | 2 Comments

30 days of photos have come to a close. The task started with a Self-Portrait so it makes sense that it closes with the same. This time around I had Shannon take the picture while I chose the shot. Maybe not a technical self-portrait, but I’m leaving this one up for interpretation.

Should you do a 30 days of photos

Yes. Without a question. Whether you like to take photos or want to get into it, it’s a lot of fun thinking every day about how you can embody a theme into an image. It’s a perfect creative booster in your life so go out and give it a try.

What else?

I’ve been trying to get photography into my daily life and this was a perfect way to do so. I found myself carrying my camera more often. I was looking for things I don’t normally see. It was a brilliant exercise in photography to continue to fine tune my craft. I’m already looking forward to my next one of these. Maybe 365 days of photos?

Square Cash for Easy Payments

By | Technology | No Comments

Square, popular smartphone/tablet payment solution, has release an easy way to pay for anything using your debit card. It’s called Square Cash.

The way it works:

  1. Download the application to your iPhone or Android device.
  2. Enter how much you need to pay someone.
  3. The app then composes an email where you enter the email address of the recipient. The CC line is auto-populated with what Square needs to make this work.
  4. Send the email.
  5. You receive an email in your inbox with a link to finish the payment.
  6. The link takes you to their website where you enter your debit card number, expiration and zip code.
  7. Click send and you’re all done. The money is automatically deducted from your debit account and added to the recipient’s.

Is it secure?

Time will tell. From what I’ve read, Square assures that it’s secure even with no PIN codes, usernames or passwords.