5G

The Need For Speed : 5G

Struggling to make a list of apps or utilities on my phone where 5G becomes a game changer.

Yes streaming could be better — but it’s not unusable, and with the collapse of net neutrality who knows what true though-put will happen if you are on a competitive network .

Does my email need to be faster? do texts or maps or any of the basic utilities? What exactly are the immersive experiences?

How essential is any of this past the need for better coverage and signal. Best I can tell for the first few years 5G will make your phone work like you expected it to.

At this point it’s unclear with 5G, one minute it’s a national threat– the next– a negotiation tactic. It’s not one but two attack vectors and it hasn’t been deployed. NYT: Russia is attacking 5G with health disinformation campaigns – Your 5G Phone Won’t Hurt You. But Russia Wants You to Think Otherwise.


Supper Club: May and Pets

May brought rain and more rain–I think we ended up one non-rainy day for every ten rainy days. The keywords for this month’s Supper Club  with M and T would be cheer and relaxation. I reconfirmed T’s seafood allergy list and settled on a Hawaiian theme, including a festive pineapple! (thank you Village Party Store)

Menu: How can one not feel on holiday surrounded by poke and a metallic fringed pineapple?! I decided to make one big poke salad and small individual tasting bowls vs. going family sharing platters for everything. After reviewing many recipes, I learned there is a basic “dressing” so it would be easy to mix and match.

Spicy Tofu and Pickled Shiitake Mushrooms over Glass Noodles
Yellowtail with Crunchy Pear and Wakame
Ahi Tuna with Avocado and Wakame

Drink: Crisp White Wine

Dessert: I have baked a lot of shortbread in my life and while each batch was tasty and immediately finished off, I attributed it to more the irresistible pull of butter and sugar. Some were too soft, too tender or too much like a sugar cookie. I would add nuts, lemon and poppy. I finally found one that seems just right  Melissa Clark’s Shortbread, 10 Ways recipe. I opted to add some matcha (thank you Ippudo) and white chocolate. Matcha is bitter so it’s tricky not to get carried away and add too much.

Matcha and White Chocolate Shortbread

Conversation: Pets

We adopted a rescue dog almost two years ago from a great organization called Unleashed founded by Dr. Stacy Radin, who married her passions for girl empowerment and animal rescue.  A neighbor had adopted their puppy from Unleashed and was, unbeknownst to me, sending rescue puppy pictures to my husband.  The next thing we knew, I was filling out an application form, scheduling an interview with Stacy and started getting pictures of potential dog matches.

Adoption Pic

Unleashed prides itself on matching dogs with owners so we were required to meet the rescue pup, spend a few hours with her and get reviewed by her foster host.  Our potential puppy was named Princess Rainbow by the girls. She was coming up from South Carolina that weekend and we could meet her in a few days.

We trekked to her foster home on a hot summer day and got to know her.  And as the story goes, we fell in love and picked her up a few days later.  We literally had adopted a dog in about a week!

We had a list of potential names but the one she responded to was Miette (French for “little crumb” or the tender sweet part of a baguette).

Miette at the Beach

In adopting the dog which seemed all-consuming, M and T got more than an earful (and umpteen pictures) about our new family member.  Neither have been or are dog owners so Miette is our Supper Club mascot.

Miette with Aloha Pineapple

When we have the occasional Supper Club at my place, Miette is the lucky recipient of treats and toys . . . and decorations inspector!

manipulated media

A significant ‘manipulated media’ incident yesterday, With two separate doctored videos circulating, both focused on the mental health of the officers in the highest positions in the country.  

Manipulated Media Swarms

This narrative is not new it also took place in the last election cycle. This post is not about politics it’s about the use of swarm behaviors on social media driven by manipulated media produced to drive men to action.

Legacy Media Reinforcement

First slowed-down footage made to make The Speaker of the House look drunk clocked millions of views on Facebook. Then a doctored [change the content or appearance of in order to deceive; falsify.] clip of stumbles also towards the ends of illustrating mental instability was RT by the POTUS then verbally followed up at an media event .

Never Goes Away

Warnings about being manipulated by deep fake video footage is prevalent in the news.  While that my be a danger a much lower tech of altered, edited and ultimately doctored video that spreads on social media is working just fine.

These digital swarms targeted with harms before content is flagged, identified, qualified and more often than not — never ‘taken down’.  In a rare case of a take down the material never disappears it only gets renamed and populates again to other accounts and networks.

Cheap Fakes Big Distraction

Threat scenarios around deep-fake videos speak of the perfect combo of early generation mobile handsets, poor picture quality due to bandwidth in 3rd world countries as the example environment for manipulated videos to spread.

Yesterday here in the US doctored, edited slowed-down footage playing out on iPhones and the web with an audience of ripe receptors worked just fine. The term ‘cheap fake’ is also what we are falling for and talking about vs issues at hand. Look over here.

Digital Literacy.

Our collective digital literacy is an all time low- dispute the text, question the camera, deny the video. All video networks need to label manipulated media ASAP. There are unique qualities to un-edited, edited, and manipulated we need to unpack them and the language around this media better.


Side Bar

An article in the New York Times Style Magazine by Kurt Soller entitled, “At Restaurants, Thank You for Not Sharing:After a decade of treating every plate like a pie, individual dishes are making a welcome comeback,” caught my eye. For over ten years, I have been attributing a quote I thought I read from Julia Child that she did not share any dishes she ordered at restaurants. If someone wanted to taste something, they would have to order it for themselves; and not having any poor sap with merely one bite after passing it around to everyone.  For the life of me, I cannot for the life of me remember where I read it and I cannot find it online after multiple clever search queries. It seems like something she would say, doesn’t it?

The main point is that I have always agreed that one shouldn’t feel obligated to share; or if you really did just want a bite of a particular dish, then to ask if anyone also wants a bite.  And I do feel that this has started to be more common over the last half decade.

The article goes on with “Living in the “sharing economy,” we are accustomed to apportioning cars, offices and, yes, plates of food. Lately, though, chefs and diners seem to have grown weary of the communal experience.” Seems like quite an enormous leap to lump sharing plates with the sharing economy, as even the author acknowledges that tapas and most Chinese dishes are inherently meant to be shared.  Also, an enormous leap to pronounce that chefs and diners alike are done with the communal experience, let alone sharing a plate. Yes, there is the cubicle dining experience aka Solo Dining Booth at Ichiran. But I still see many a community table at new restaurants, ones short on space like Niche to massive spaces like Tetsu. I also found that ending the piece with fluffy political discourse (socialism vs. democracy) and stringng together random dining annoyances to be neither cute nor clever. It truly bummed me out that what started out as an interesting read, turned into and ended in such a shallow way.

Like I said, I loved trotting out that Julia Child quote over the years and I thought this article would provide more cultural insights or at least a few more quotes for my arsenal.  I do think that sharing plates did seem more prevalent at one time but perhaps that was timed with an influx of casual dining overall. The point now is that sharing is just one way of eating; just a preference by some diners. Speak up if you don’t want to share and use that Julia Child quote as a shield against looking selfish!  

Mercado Little Spain

Observations from my first visit

José Andrés came onto my radar when molecular gastronomy was still all the rage and his restaurant, The Bazaar, at the SLS hotel in Los Angeles received four stars from the LA Times in 2009.  I think I visited not too long after and while I enjoyed it, I wasn’t as bowled over as I was with Grant Achatz’s Alinea in Chicago.  I followed the growth of his empire in the U.S., watched him make guest appearances on TV shows, and his tireless charitable activism.

I prepared for my visit to his Hudson Yards project, Mercado Little Spain by reading Eater critic Robert Sietsema’s early review.  

Atmosphere and design: Unlike most of the rest of Hudson Yards, this place feels warm and happy.  The food stalls are splashed with red; some walls have murals, and many of the servers wear red tee-shirts.  Also, no dark mood lighting or unfriendly fluorescence. Fortunately, the one light setting is on cheerful. Also, even when almost every part of Mercado is bustling, I can hear the wait staff and I can hold conversation in a regular voice.  

Tapas: It was before 8pm on a weekday and the Mercado was full with every seat taken and most of the standing tables occupied. Preferring not to be at a restaurant to allow for some food stall roaming, we had to make a few rounds before we spied two seats open at La Barra.  We each settle for a glass of wine (a rosé, and a white wine from Catalonia) and two tapas (very crisped bread topped with tomato seeds and sardines; and a tortilla topped with white shrimp). Tapas number one was simple and tasty, and we joked we could buy the three ingredients from the market and make a platter at home.  Tapas number two was simple but not so tasty. The tortilla is like a thin egg crepe layer which was asked to be cooked to medium; and topped with six small shrimp. I could not taste any seasoning on anything. And honestly, the soft on soft textures did not work and we did not finish this small plate. The two drinks, two tapas with tip came to $60.  

We headed to the Bravas food stall, ordered patatas bravas with aioli ($8), and sidled up to a standing table and speared the crunchy potato cubes with our toothpicks.  Hot and crispy and hit the spot.

We decided for one more drink and seeing two open stools at Vino, we took our seats on the corner.  Turns out the menu as identical to La Barra. This time we settled on chorizo wrapped in thin potato which was basically like a potato chip rolling a chorizo tootsie roll. And it tasted like you expected: spicy wrapped in crunchy. The two glasses and the tapas and tip came to about $42.

Market: This pickings are pretty small so one cannot compare it to Eataly. It is akin to a gift shop compared to someplace like Despaña in Soho.  

Overall: I may try to visit one of the restaurants but my overall first impression is that MLS is definitely a fun place for drinks with nibbles. It is on the pricey side but the pickings are slim in that neighborhood. The food feels kinda secondary but it does seem like a work in progress so definitely worth another gander.

Side note: While probably not in the purview of Mercado, the access to and from the Hudson Yards shops is pretty depressing. The red carpet looks like a remnant with a few posters hanging on bare walls to provide some connection and transition.  Also, for some reason, fire drills were being conducted without notice so the very sturdy looking gate was down. This was all the more annoying because the escalators were running so you could get downstairs but were only met with a closed gate. Fortunately, a security guard noticed this and keyed the door gate to reopen, and we were met with folks on the other side wondering what was going on.

Mercado Little Spain, 10 Hudson Yards, New York, NY 10001

Hot New Restaurant Lists: My Gripes (and Hopes)

I love trying new restaurants. I always have.  I was just musing to a friend while sitting at a counter at José Andrés’ Mercado Little Spain how I never became a ‘regular’ anywhere because I preferred to try something new as opposed to eating off the same menu over and over be it in Tokyo, Chicago, the Bay Area, or Washington, D.C or here in New York City.

Eater’s “Hottest Restaurants” and GrubStreet’s “Restaurant Power Rankings” are the lists I check regularly when I want to find a new restaurant to try in NYC.  That said, I also read Florence Fabricant’s from The New York Times’ “Off the Menu” column and occasionally, I’ll broaden a new restaurant search to include Time Out, Thrillist, The Infatuation, and The New Yorker, etc.  Yes, there are the Yelps and Zagats but they focus less on the latest restaurant openings.

What kind of restaurant news person am I?  I admit that food and dining stories are something I read on a daily basis. I will also admit that I am probably an anomaly in how frequently I check these restaurant lists but I’d like to think that means my opinions are pretty well informed. I came to mainly look to these two lists because of Eater and New York Magazine’s commitment to the food category. I trust them because they consistently put out news and I am comfortable with their main reviewers, Ryan Sutton and Adam Platt.  

But now, my overall opinion after following these lists for years and more recently, on a weekly basis, is that they aren’t that aren’t all that helpful in informing of what restaurants are “hot” or “buzzy.”

Eater’s “Hottest Restaurants in Manhattan Right Now”is updated monthly. I am not clear what criteria are using in the ranking list. I get why some of the restaurants are on the list but I really can’t find a rhyme or reason as to ranking.  I appreciate that the list can get random but it seems that the top three should be clearer? Its sister list “Eater’s 38 Essential Restaurants in NYC” also bothers me.  Balthazar was at the top of this list for seemingly years, and when it finally moved, it pretty much precipitously fell off the list.  It did not seem to me that each of the establishments are continually visited, or if they are, the new data illustrating why the restaurants should keep their ranking isn’t clear.  And what criteria are used to make the list? It seems that diversity of cuisine and atmosphere count for something but then it doesn’t make sense that there is any ranking vs. it being an alphabetized list.

As for GrubStreet’s weekly “Restaurant Power Rankings,” they are upfront about the subjectivity of their list and say criteria is mainly buzz which can certainly embody a lot of variables. I started to look at this list a bit more because it is weekly, and seems to be more of a ‘new’ list. I liked that it sems to cull through the myriad of openings and pull out ones from hot chefs, etc.  But then, I started to notice that Adam Platt’s recently reviewed restaurants could sit on the list if he liked a dish or two for weeks. It started to seem that their own buzz and cross-promotion of sister articles affected their list.

In the same way that I made peace with Pete Well’s endless two-star reviews with seemingly random anointment of one- and two-star ratings, I totally get that these lists are subjective and can feel pretty stale, or indiscriminate and arbitrary at times.  

But I am a stickler for managing expectations so I am bummed that these lists are not consistently true to their names, and are not always helpful finding the restaurants that are new and worthy of checking out.  Do I smell an opportunity?

Diversity in Design + AI

Series: Data Ethics and Diversity

Intersecting issues of data ethics (privacy, etc) and diversity.

Trans-inclusive Design [alistapart.com ] issues touching on content, images, forms, databases, IA, privacy, and AI—just enough to get you thinking about the decisions you make every day and some specific ideas to get you started.

Diversity & Inclusion Resources [aiga] There’s a lot of information about Diversity & Inclusion out there. We’ve compiled it in one place, so that whether you’re an AIGA chapter leader or a designer looking to learn more, you can start with a slew of great resources all in one place.

diversity.ai Preventing racial, age, gender, disability and other discrimination by humans and A.I. using the latest advances in Artificial Intelligence

Google’s the People + AI Guidebook This Guidebook will help you build human-centered AI products. It’ll enable you to avoid common mistakes, design excellent experiences, and focus on people as you build AI-driven applications. It was written for user experience (UX) professionals and product managers as a way to help create a human-centered approach to AI on their product teams. However, this Guidebook should be useful to anyone in any role wanting to build AI products in a more human-centered way.

In The Papers

Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition

For me one of the fastest ways of learning is through my eyes.

arXiv:1905.01817 [pdf, other] Extracting human emotions at different places based on facial expressions and spatial clustering analysis

arXiv:1905.01920 [pdf, other] FaceShapeGene: A Disentangled Shape Representation for Flexible Face Image Editing

A favorite this week – pattern recog. for fashion recommendations…

arXiv:1905.03703 [pdf, other] Learning fashion compatibility across apparel categories for outfit recommendation

Data Ethics and Diversity Practices

Every organization needs to have strategies in place around data ethics — the impact of what is collected, how, retention, use and ownership. The sister strategy to this is proper process that makes inclusion and diversity a practice as a part of everything from product design, operations, management culture, core values, …everything.

To paraphrase an old AT&T advert — If you are not — ‘you will’

The implications for every organization critical. Executed wrong it can cost billions in the data department alone. Privacy is finally something people are talking about. Its opaqueness and abstraction being peeled away and people are horrified about unethical practices, lack of disclosure and all the associated  implications. See- social media any day of the week.

If you are launching any product and have not checked it against being culturally or morally tone-deaf , designed with diversity, and data ethics in mind — you are doing it wrong.

This is an area of focus of mine both as an investment thesis and providing strategies for success. Data ethics is a business advantage with both profit and cost implications. Diversity in everything you do – the right way with equall. The intersection of the two is a partnership for trust.  

Weekend Cooking

The weekend was a parade of rain clouds and sometimes just clouds.  Maybe that was why it was hard to do anything that required too much fussing, as well as fussing over.  

About every six to eight days, I need to make our dog, Miette, a batch of homemade meatballs. It started when she was about 5 months old and discovering she had a bit of a sensitive stomach.  We started to keep her meals to dry food supplemented with meatballs of ground chicken, brown rice, sweet potato and occasionally chopped spinach to keep her regular. It has been working so I whip up a batch almost every week.

Miette’s Meatballs

A hearty and comforting lunch of chili was up next. Over the years, I have tried a bunch of recipes, from regional ones like Cincinnati chili, to trying different peppers like chipotle but I think I like the straight-up ground beef chili with green peppers, beans and the usual suspect spice list like chili powder and cumin the best. Maybe it’s because I like the toppings of chopped red onion, sharp cheddar cheese and the occasional dollop of sour cream, so having the chili be flavorful but overly powerful is ideal.

Two-Bean Chili with Ground Beef and Peppers

Cookies were calling our name and the original plan was to make oatmeal raisin. I busily browsed for thin crispy but slightly chewy versions. On Serious Eats, I saw a recipe mimicking Tates cookies which I thought would be worth trying. I started measuring out ingredients and was actually more than halfway through before I realized this recipe was actually for chocolate chip cookies (bad tagging it seems).  So I rolled with it as I had some Valrohna chocolate chips in the pantry. The recipe called for using cane sugar and using a food processor to mix chopped cold butter chunks into the flour mixture, which is different from room temperature butter sticks and creaming it with sugar.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Like I said, I was not up to fussing too much so using  a spoon (versus an ice cream scoop) and putting one row too many on a sheet, resulted in a batch of ‘rustic/artisan’ cookies.  They were indeed chewy and a little crisp around the edges. Glad I made only half a batch which still yielded almost two dozen cookies.  They tasted very similar to Toll House cookies but maybe more flat.

Now despite using butter and eggs in this recipe, I had actually been trying to minimize dairy use as allergy season gets going. I made some almond milk to put in coffee.

Almond Milk

Using leftovers from chorizo patatas and roast broccoli, I decided to make empanadas.  I searched high and low for a dough recipe that would not yield a tough exterior. I also did not want to use puff pastry.  I found a recipe with rave reviews with words like ‘flaky’, ‘ best,’ and ‘delicious.’ It called for vinegar which I found interesting and a few reviewers who had tried several empanada dough recipes called this specific ingredient out as being the game-changer.  

Chorizo-Potato and Broccoli Cheese Empanadas

I only had biscuit cutter rings which were too small so just hand-rolled out the dough and used fork tines to crimp them closed.  I also used an egg wash (some recipes called for melted butter but I worried that it would burn).

The results was a dozen of haphazardly shaped empanadas that were a tad too dry. The dough was not flaky but relatively tender.  I made up a mustard dipping sauce as well as a BBQ sauce to have something to moisten the empanadas. My husband pointed out that most of the empanadas he has had were dry so my batch fell in line with his expectations.  I was a bit bummed out as it was a lot of work, and that maybe just eating the leftovers would have been tastier than making them into fillings and making empanada dough. Lesson learned. Empanadas are not my thing.