Mobile Phones in 2011: What's better: an iPhone or a BlackBerry? Why?

The iPhone is no doubt extremely well-designed but there are a number of use-cases which cause many business people to stay with BlackBerry:

  • Tactile typing, specifically being able to respond to e-mails while walking down the street, and not having to keep your eyes on the screen
  • Instant messaging.  The iPhone still lags behind in being able to provide real-time IM services on the phone.   This is particularly due to the fact that only a single application may be run at once on the iPhone, while Blackberry allows true background processes
  • Encryption.  Blackberry data is communicated over the air using Triple DES encryption, and the device can maintain onboard data in a (fairly) secure manner.  Apple recently rolled out encryption to onboard data with the 3G S, but it is widely considered inferior to what Blackberry offers

What is healthier: Chipotle or Qdoba?

What are you ordering? Getting your calories from chips vs. a "bowl" will make a huge difference in the health benefits. What you get in this case matters more than which restaurant you get it in.

Both restaurants offer a line-by-line calorie counter, but Chipotle's site gives everything, (Chipotle) and Qdoba's site lists only calories and fat. (Qdoba)  Based only on the standard chicken burrito without sour cream, Qdoba's site tells me that I would be getting less calories and less fat, but I have no idea what gives me the extra fat on Chipotle's site. So it's difficult to make a one-to-one comparison.

Another comparison is chips and guacamole, which again has Chipotle coming in with 800 calories and 46 grams of fat, while Qdoba lists the same offering at 730 calories and 40 grams of fat. Based on these numbers, Qdoba is coming out on top. But they aren't listing their serving sizes, so perhaps Qdoba is simply giving you slightly less food than Chipotle.

I would recommend doing the estimate and going the extra mile to contact Qdoba and ask about serving sizes of your favorite foods to make an apples-to-apples comparison.

How is Quora different from O'Reilly Answers?

O'Reilly Answers is heavily tilted towards technology and computers in particular. There are non-technological threads, but the most popular topics are computer-related. Which is what you'd expect from a site run by a tech-book company.

Quora is a Q&A site that features a greater range of general-interest threads.

How is Quora different from Fluther?

Fluther: The design makes my eyes bleed, in a bad way.  I signed up, and am trying to get a feel for what their seed population of users is like; seems more geeky-engineer personal life decisions, vs. Quora's VC/startup and restaurant focus.

Also, the answers turn into conversations, and are even less helpful than the most insider-joke answers on Quora as a result.  At least here most of the unhelpful stuff goes into comments.  Basically lack of hierarchy leads to badness.

The "realtime preview of what you are typing" is quite possibly the most gratuitous and ugly UI AJAX thing I have ever seen in my life.

What are the major reasons to use Firefox instead of Chrome?

I've tried to switch from Firefox to Chrome, but I can't, mainly because of:

  1. Print preview (…)
  2. Ubiquity (
  3. FoxyTunes (
  4. All-in-One Gestures (…)
  5. Opening a download without saving (…)
  6. Live Bookmarks (…)

(Of course, there are gesture plugins for Chrome, but I haven't found any that I like as much as All-in-One Gestures. I also like Forecastfox more than any Chrome equivalent I've found.)

What are the main differences between Spotify and Lala?

Product differences:

Spotify is a desktop application and Lala runs in a web browser.  This lets Spotify run more smoothly sometimes.

Spotify is mostly ad supported whereas Lala is focused around web songs (selling songs at 10 cents per song.)  It's easier to just listen to a bunch of stuff on Spotify.

Lala has more social features than Spotify (feeds of listening activity, a concept of followers.)  I haven't used Spotify in a while, so I can't remember what, if any, social features it has.

Non-product differences:

Spotify is only available in Europe.  Lala is only available in the US (or at least, this was true the last time I checked.)

Apple just bought Lala.  Spotify is a startup still.

How do different brands of high-end vodka compare in terms of flavor/quality?

It's funny, the top-ranked vodkas always end up being a total surprise. In blind taste tests, people constantly pick Smirnoff as the best:…

What is prized in a vodka is actually flavorlessness, which is pretty much the opposite of all other high-end spirits. For this reason, filtered vodkas are typically the highest rated (as opposed to the ones with fancy bottles which actually have flavor). You might get off fooling the best with a Brita filter:…

Product and Services Comparisons: How is Quora different from Hunch?

With Quora:
– the goal — is to get 90% of information that's in people's heads on to the web.
– how? — through questions and answers. Quora wants to create a question page that becomes the best possible resource for someone who wants to learn about that question.
– for example — if you have a question about a specific company, Quora will be the place for you to find the answer.
– therefore — Quora = Knowledge.

With Hunch:
– the goal — is to help you make decisions.
– how? — by making personalized recommendations for you. Hunch wants to map every person on the web to every object on the web, be it a product, service or person.
– for example — if you're trying to decide on what gift you should buy from  some website like BestBuy, Hunch's recommendation service will help you  decide.
– therefore — Hunch = Decisions.

What are the major product differences among Bud Light, Miller Lite, and Coors Light?

To clarify the misinformation from Shannon, and add to the information provided by Etta…

Bud Light, Miller Lite, and Coors Light are all unique beers that though named after their American Lager brand family, are not just those parent brands with water added to them.  Though early releases of these brands (and my early I mean only in the first year or so of existence) may have been the parent brands with more water, current versions are made different amounts of raw ingredients, different hops, different fermentation profiles, and different filtration profiles.  The American Style Light Lager is its own classification of beer which rose in popularity due to its lower calorie count and driven by some of the best advertising campaigns of the past 20 years.  These mega brands have driven some great packaging innovations from cooler boxes, to color changing cans & labels, and the birth of the aluminum bottle.

As for flavor, I won't speak to Miller Lite because I rarely drink it and haven't had one recently enough to recall any specifics.  Coors Light is a bit sweeter than Bud Light and has a mild taste of tart green apple and is slightly cidery from higher levels of acetaldehyde.  The Bud Light profile will taste a little maltier like a traditional American Style Lager though still sweeter than a Budweiser or Coors Banquet, but with a very clean finish.  The IBUs are +/- 10, resulting in very little bitterness. Both are looking for high marks in "drinkability," i.e. a thin, quenching body and little to no after taste which allows the drinker to reach for that second sip a bit quicker.  They are very approachable beers and pair great with spicy or salty foods, most Asian foods, and best with a nice sunny day!

With any of these beers, and really most of the lager side of the family tree (pretty good chart here (Beer styles of the world), the key is freshness. Beers this light have a taste profile that degrades noticeably with time and temperature exposure.  If you get it, get it fresh and keep it cool and out of light.  Find one that is a few weeks old vs. a couple of months old and you'll be able taste the difference side by side.

Hope this helps answer your question!

What is the best tennis ball machine?

It depends on how much you want to spend. No jokes, there are machines that cost over 10 grand out there, which is crazy. In order to get a solid machine, I would recommend planning to spend between $1000 and $2000. You can get something OK by spending about $800 but you’ll lose out on the nicer features.

There’s a lot to consider, but the main factors are:
Oscillation: AKA, how many spots in the court can the ball machine hit too. Vertical oscillation means that it can hit to the front and back of the court. Horizontal means it can hit side to side. You need to get at least two line oscillation so you can practice using the whole court.

Battery: Get a battery operated machine even if you plan to use it primarily somewhere with power. You won’t regret it. The AC machines aren’t worth it.

Capacity: I recommend a minimum of 150 balls for capacity.

Portability: Get something small enough you can move around in a normal sedan sized car.

Remote: Remotes are a huge plus. Some come with an extra remote (can cost an extra $100) others come with a phone report – like the Spinshot models.

I wrote more on the best tennis ball machine and what models in particular I recommend at my website.