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Michael L.

5 Level 5 Contributor
  • 67 Reviews
  • 418 Helpful Votes
  • 1 Thank You

Experience: Computers & Technology, Entertainment, News

Member since April 2007

  • Reviews

    67

  • First Reviews

    48

  • Thank Yous

    1

  • Fans

    6

  • Profile Views

    11,344

Review Distribution

About Me

I am interested in the development of new technologies and how they can benefit society.

How I Can Help

I have a background in computer science, business, and internet technologies.

Interests

museums, music, movies (in no particular order)

67 Reviews by Michael

FlightCar
6/26/13
This is a neat new service which offers travelers free airport parking in exchange for renting their cars out at much lower prices than traditional rental car companies. In addition to providing free parking, they will wash your car and also compensate you if you car is rented while you're gone. For someone who is always debating the best way to get to the airport (and in need of a car wash), I decided to try them out before going out of town for the weekend.

I was able to schedule a drop off just six hours in advance by calling the service -- the FlightCar website doesn't allow you to make appointments online less than 24 hours in advance. Everything went smoothly in the morning. I was especially impressed by the professionalism of the staff, uniforms and branding given how new the service was. When I got back from my trip, I was pleasantly surprised that they washed my car even though it wasn't rented out. However, the shuttle back from the airport didn't show up for 25 min, which was a little longer than expected.

My experience is pretty limited so far, but I will definitely use them again and see how the experience is when someone actually rents my car. I have also not rented from them yet, but hope to try them out after they expand their locations beyond just San Francisco and Boston.
8/24/11
Very cool site that allows you to create meme-based photos or posters with customized text. All the popular memes are on there and the interface is extremely easy to use. It's also a cool place to go to see which memes are trending these days. But at the end of the day, your generated image will only be as funny as your captions are creative...
8/20/11
A sophisticated airfare comparison site which differentiates itself on the amount of data it searches and the speed at which it is able to process and present the results. It has the most airlines and search options of all the travel comparison sites I've seen and even pops up multiple windows to other meta-search engines so that you can compare the results. Another neat feature is the ability to sign up for real-time email alerts on price drops for preselected routes.

They are also known to mine the vast amounts of data to which they have access and perform advanced analytics to understand how and when prices fluctuate. The site publishes these findings in a series of very helpful travel advice articles, explaining to consumers not only the best days to travel, but also the best days to *purchase* tickets. It's definitely worth visiting this site even if just to gain greater insight into how the airline industry works.
4/7/11
As companies like Groupon and LivingSocial continue to explode in popularity, I see many of my friends purchasing hundreds of unnecessary coupons that they never end up using. For those experiencing buyer's remorse from the latest local deals craze, CoupRecoup offers a very valuable service -- it provides a public marketplace for those groupons you can't or don't intend to use anymore. The site basically acts like a craigslist for online coupons, simply connecting buyers and sellers who are then responsible for completing the transaction off the site.

I find the service particularly useful when shopping or browsing for discounted discounts. CoupRecoup makes it very easy to see what the best deals are (after being marked down again in the secondary market), by providing basic sorting and filtering options. Just sort by discount percentage and you'll see things like a month of yoga classes for $10 or one-hour acupuncture sessions for $20. Still completely unnecessary? Yes, but at least I won't feel so bad when I find out I no longer have time to go indoor skydiving.
3/27/11
Neat new site that allows users to search for videos of any television show on the internet and plays them back (but in no particular order). The interface is minimalist and mimics that of an old-school television set. This may be insufficient for those looking for a particular video or used to more controls during video playback. But if you don't mind not knowing what you're watching, how long the clip is, and what's coming next, you may find the simplicity refreshing.

The main problem is that the site runs really slow, presumably because it is pulling the videos from computers all over the world. Hopefully over time the search, loading, and playback will improve so the site can attract a more widespread following.
8/9/10
This is Dave Bruno's blog -- you may know him as the guy who created the 100 Thing Challenge, which basically challenges you to strip yourself of all but 100 of your personal possessions. In an attempt to curb our current obsession with material goods, he endorses living a simpler life in order to achieve lasting happiness. This blog is simple and straightforward -- not that insightful, but a good reminder not to get lost in a world of over-consumption. At the very least, it's a way to participate vicariously in the 100 Thing Challenge by reading about how Dave simplified his life and the resulting inventory of his remaining items.
8/4/10
If you have errands to run, but your time is valuable, try hiring a Runner to do it for you. On TaskRabbit you can name your price and the Runners will do anything from moving items, shopping for you, to taking your clothes to the cleaners. All the Runners are immediately reviewed after completing the task, so you can easily tell who is reliable and trustworthy.

On the flip side, signing up to be a Runner is a great way to generate some extra cash if you are unemployed, self-employed, or just happen to have a lot of free time. A lot of the Runners today happen to be stay-at-home parents looking for part-time work.

Currently the service is only available in Boston and San Francisco, but the site is relatively new and will add cities as it continues to grow.
8/1/10
Project Free TV is a site which links to user uploaded movies and television shows. The site does not actually host any content and acts more like a directory for user submitted online media. However, it does provide a player to stream the videos without having to leave the site. While the quality of the videos can be a bit unpredictable, it's hard to complain about a service which allows you to watch the latest shows and movies that all your friends are talking about.
6/10/10
I find this site fairly useful for discovering activities in your local area. It has a nice mix of nightlife, outdoor activities, and cultural events, so there is always something interesting, no matter what you're in the mood for. I like the way the site is organized, the social features, and the ranking of events by popularity. But I mostly interact with the site through the weekly email, which seems to show more interesting and less mainstream events that I otherwise would never find out about.
6/7/10
I was hanging out with a good friend of mine the other day and noticed some really bad ass rings on her hands. They were silver and black, very large, in a really exotic design. I asked her where she got them and she said three words: Bad Ass Jewelry. Enough said -- check it out. They sell everything including necklaces, pendants, bracelets, and earrings for both guys and girls. Really neat, edgy stuff!
5/11/10
Customer service is top notch -- I found out that my mother was out of town for Mother's Day and called them up the day before to see if I could switch the order. I was able to switch the delivery date to the following week for no extra charge (even though I was using a discounted delivery rate for the holiday). Customer service representative was very friendly and accommodating.

One caveat -- prices are a bit hefty, especially when compared to going direct to local florists. But they do deliver on what they promise and the flowers have always turned out great in my experience.
5/3/10
Most people are already aware of Google's auto complete feature, which tries to guess what someone is searching for based on aggregate data from previous searches. But what most people don't realize is how useful the feature is for conducting societal research.

For example, to see what guys most want from their girlfriends, just type in "how do i get my girlfriend to" and see what pops up. Change "girlfriend" to "boyfriend" to compare the results -- the differences are both hilarious and slightly depressing.

AutoCompleteMe is a site dedicated entirely to the auto complete feature, based mostly on what interesting suggestions ordinary people stumble upon while performing their own searches. What turns up is an entertaining and sometimes insightful look into the zeitgeist and eccentricities of today's society.
4/17/10
Wikileaks is a really unique site which enables anybody to anonymously submit sensitive documents and publishes them for the world to see. Examples include the 2004 U.S. Army manual of operating procedures at Guantanamo Bay and the 2007 Apache helicopter attack in which two Reuters reporters were killed in Baghdad.

Run by former hacker and now internet activist Julian Assange, the site strives to increase transparency among governments and hold them accountable for their actions. Wikileaks dedicates most of its technology to create an uncensorable and untraceable submission process, going to extraordinary lengths to protect the identities of its sources.

While a great idea, the biggest concern I have about Wikileaks is that all of the documents and stories it publishes on the site are hand-picked by an editorial committee, thus greatly influencing what the public actually sees. This puts a lot of power into the hands of those running the site and results in an inevitably biased transparency based solely upon which documents the Wikileaks team deems important enough for us to see.

Conversely, allowing anybody to upload virtually any type of information and disclosing too many of those documents raises serious privacy and security concerns. What is stopping someone from hacking into an innocent's personal email or bank account and posting its contents online? Although the editorial policy at Wikileaks states that they only publish documents that have political or ethical implications, I still worry about where that line is drawn.

Lastly, because its purpose is to generate public awareness and maximize social impact, many of the documents are given sensationalized titles like "Collateral Murder", shortened for more convenient mainstream consumption, and edited to include captions written by the editorial team. If this is a site that truly supports transparency, shouldn't it remain completely objective, simply present the documents as they are uploaded, and let the public form its own opinion?
7/11/08
If you're addicted to your blackberry... - This is my favorite site dedicated to all things blackberry. It was started by one of my best friend's childhood schoolmates and has grown into the premiere destination for blackberry users. The site publishes the latest news and updates in the smartphone market, and supports a vibrant forum community. I particularly like their reviews.

Kevin, the community manager, was one of the first people to get his hands on the highly anticipated Blackberry Bold, which should be coming out later this year. Apparently, he paid an arm and a leg on eBay to purchase one of the three that were available. You can read the review here:

http://crackberry.com/blackberry9000

This phone looks incredible and in my opinion will be hands down the best phone out in the market! I'm not sure when it will be released to the public, but in the meantime, I'll just have to keep getting my crackberry fix by reading about it on this site.
7/10/08
Great way to tour around Napa Valley without having to drive - I used this company a few months ago and the service was spectacular. The chauffeur was fun to talk with and extremely accommodating. We rented a 16-person limo bus, which was great because it doesn't feel as cramped and the bench seating allows you to face your friends the whole time. They let you to put in your own CDs into the speaker system and also provide unlimited bottles of water (which comes in handy when you are doing a lot of drinking, or if it's really hot outside). They also gave us three FREE bottles of very nice champagne, which we drank throughout the day between wineries. Overall, a great service that truly makes you feel special while you're using them.

California Wine Tours charges by the hour, so if you want, they'll pick you up from San Francisco, but remember that you'll be paying for the commute. We got a discounted rate at $125/hour and maximized our time by having the limo meet us in the morning at the V. Sattui winery. Then we spent the rest of the day doing our own tour by having the limo simply drive us around to the wineries we had mapped out for ourselves.

I highly recommend this service for birthdays, bachelorette parties, or just something different to do with your friends. And for the environmentally-conscious, they just rolled out their new hybrid fleet, so you can feel responsible while getting your wine fix.
6/3/08
Hypermiling website that provides tips to double your gas mileage! - Wayne Gerdes, who leads the current hypermiling movement to curb fuel consumption, started and runs this website with lots of tips on how to save gas. Some of the techniques, however, are not for the feint of heart. Wayne is able to get up to 50 mpg on his Honda Accord, but it involves stuff like shutting down your engine on the freeway and coasting at low speeds!

The site also has a lot of practical content, as well as a loyal and active community of fellow "environmentalists" (read: people tired of paying $4.50 for a gallon of gas).
12/15/07
Best customizable online cards - This website has the coolest online card offering on the web today. While the selection is not huge, they allow you to put in the faces of your friends and family directly into the cards! It's hilarious! And it's super easy to use -- the interface is very clean and simple for uploading faces from pictures and putting them into really funny cards.

I just created the Snowball Fight card for my family and it took me only 10 minutes. They got a huge kick out of it when they saw it. I absolutely love the application and will use this site for all my online cards in the future.
TMZ
7/13/07
best celebrity gossip site! - always has the most recent breaking news that no other news site can get! this site is as good as it gets... i love it!
7/11/07
the best list for electronic music - this site is the best place to look at who's hot on the dj charts. i am a big trance fan and i think it's great that year in and year out, the trance djs top the list. will anybody unseat the dutch masters?

i am also a house fan, so i appreciate the presence of sasha. another favorite of mine is his protege, james zabiela.

anybody out there know of any other good dj lists?
CNN
4/29/07
Greatest online video offering today - CNN has done it once again with CNN Pipeline, a great video product that offers three concurrent streams of video content. It is offered in both a downloadable or web-based package and boasts one of the easiest, most intuitive video interfaces out today. Watch out YouTube! If CNN starts offering user-generated content, your kitten video days are numbered...

Michael Has Earned 418 Votes

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Michael L.'s review of Kickstarter earned a Very Helpful vote

Michael L.'s review of Meme Generatorr earned 5 Very Helpful votes

Michael L.'s review of YourMechanic earned 34 Very Helpful votes

Michael L.'s review of HappiestBaby earned a Very Helpful vote

Michael L.'s review of Google Plus earned 7 Very Helpful votes

Michael L.'s review of Walgreens earned 10 Very Helpful votes

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Michael Has Received 1 Thank You

rogerh180
Should-Use-A- D. thanked you for your review of WikiLeaks

“Solid Points.”

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