April 09, 2005
Zen Weather Forecaster
Made by Ambient Devices in Cambridge, Massachusetts, this frosted glass box changes colors along with the outside temperature.
You just plug it in.
The device's receiver searches for Ambient's radio network and, after locking on, responds to the temperature information it receives.
The genius of the object is that Ambient has programmed it to display colors corresponding to the temperatures as shown in standard weather maps like USA Today's.
Bonus: if rain or snow are on the way the box pulses subtly.
World's Best Brie: Rouge et Noir — Made in the U.S.A.
France is still reeling from the aftershock of the results of last month's International Food and Drink Exhibition Top Cheese competition.
It's almost as bad as the day that has gone down in infamy in French wine circles: May 24, 1976.
That was the day a blind tasting of French versus American wines by French wine critics in Paris resulted in the American wines being deemed "clearly superior."
The French have never gotten over it.
Rouge et Noir Brie (above), which breaks all the rules of traditional French Brie, won the award for top cheese at the London event.
Rouge et Noir's Brie is very small — a wheel is a mere eight ounces compared to the classic wheels of French Brie, which are a foot across and weigh about five pounds.
Rouge et Noir is also pasteurized, unlike French Bries, and the American product has more butterfat than French Brie.
The best part of all is that you can buy three wheels of the world's best Brie for $35 here (including shipping).
Rouge et Noir is made by Marin French Cheese in Petaluma, California.
Back when I lived in LA, you could buy it — and I did — at any supermarket.
And it was delicious then too.
[via Florence Fabricant and the New York Times]
bookofjoe can make money for you in your spare time
Earlier this week I was reading yet another article about "click fraud", which is threatening to destroy the advertising golden goose that has been enriching Google and Yahoo and many other sites.
I read the following sentence: "When web users search with Google or Yahoo, they often see small text ads alongside the results."
Wait a minute, I thought.
I put bookofjoe in the Google search box and got 50,500 results, with one ad alongside.
But then I started putting in words along with bookofjoe.
Words like "pencils" (above).
And I'll be darned if lots of ads didn't appear alongside the results for each search (above).
Go ahead, try it yourself.
The article went on to say that if a person clicked on one of those ads, advertisers then paid a fee to Google.
That's very nice for Google but it doesn't do a whole lot for me.
So what I'm doing with bookofjoe is creating a profit center for search engines — I'm the center and they get all the profit.
Now, if I liked I could sign up for Google's AdSense program and start making money from bookofjoe.
There's no doubt about that.
But then you'd have to look at ads every time you stopped by.
I don't know about you but I like having a place to go that's quiet and commercial-free.
So I think I'll just keep on keeping on the way I am until someone makes a compelling case for changing.
Meet Mariah Carey
Being a joehead means you get all sorts of perks denied the average Joe.
For example, this heads-up from this morning's New York Times on Tuesday's upcoming [latest] unveiling of the "new" Mariah Carey.
"Be one of the first to purchase Mariah Carey's latest CD, 'The Emancipation of Mimi,' at our new store in NoHo Manhattan."
No, that's not where and when you meet her, booboo: when you purchase her CD you "receive a wristband that could put you toward the front of the line to meet her at 7 p.m."
Mariah's handlers must have drunk some particularly potent Kool-Aid 'cause last I looked, when Paris Hilton unveiled her new perfume a few months ago there was no "could" nor was there any "toward."
You "did" receive a wristband for the line.
Oh, yeah, one more thing: don't bother bringing any sketchy stuff you may have acquired and expect Mariah to autograph it for you: you'll be outa there in a New York minute.
Not that any of my readers would have that sort of thing lying around anyway.
On another note, let me say that this is the second time in the past two weeks I've been delighted to be able to put up a post using a graphic from a New York Times ad, something I simply couldn't do prior to subscribing to the online edition at NewsStand.
Another perk of NewsStand is that many pictures which appear in black and white in the print edition are in their original color online.
Big, big difference and much better.
Floating Solar-Powered Fountain
With one of these you'll be queen of the pool.
It's a floating, 9-inch diameter device with solar panels that transform the sun's rays into energy sufficient to power a built-in fountain that sprays jets up to 17" high.
"Simply float the fountain and allow direct sunlight to shine, powering the filtered, low-voltage pump."
Safe, easy to use, no batteries, no wiring, no operating costs.
[No] plug and play.
You get 3 interchangeable fountain heads for varying spray formations.
PETA's Top 10 Vegetarian–Friendly Ballparks
And the winner is... SBC Park, home of the San Francisco Giants.
The champion offers both a veggie dog and a veggie burger; vegetarian sushi; fruit platters; edamame; and portobello mushroom sandwiches, among its many other delights.
Here's the list, in order of veggie-friendliness:
1.) SBC Park, San Francisco - The Giants offer both a veggie dog and a veggie burger, vegetarian sushi, fruit platters, edamame (salted soybean pods, a local favorite), and delicious portobello mushroom sandwiches.
2.) McAfee Coliseum, Oakland - A’s fans can choose between a vegetarian hot dog, a veggie burger, a savory bean pie, a tofu burger, baked potatoes, a fruit cup and salads.
3.) Coors Field, Colorado - This year at Coors Field, animal-friendly fans can feast on veggie burgers, vegetable wraps, grilled vegetable burritos, and a delicious grilled panini sandwich with mushrooms and roasted red bell peppers
4.) Rogers Centre, Toronto - With a vegetarian hot dog, a veggie burger, a vegetable sub, a fruit cup, and a garden wrap, Canada’s only remaining MLB team comes through, big-time, for the country’s throngs of vegetarian and health-conscious baseball fans
5.) Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia - At Citizens Bank Park, a delicious flame-grilled Gardenburger leads the way, along with a gourmet tomato pizza (made without any artery-clogging cheese). In addition, the Phillies are offering nachos with salsa, jumbo pretzels, fresh salads, and a unique PB&J "pocket" for kids. This is the first year that this proud franchise has cracked PETA’s list.
6.) Tropicana Field, Tampa - The Devil Rays offer a tasty plate of beans and rice, a hearty veggie burger, a bean burrito, and a "bloomin’ onion."
7.) Minute Maid Park, Houston - Vegetarian baseball fans in the Lone Star State have a reliable ally in the Astros, who have made PETA’s list three times in the last four years. A scrumptious veggie dog, vegetarian burritos, baked potatoes, and fresh salads will power Houston fans all the way to October.
8.) Miller Park, Milwaukee - The Brewers were never a basement-dweller in the minds of their vegetarian fans. After making PETA’s Top 10 two years ago, the Brewers are back this year, boasting a vegetarian burger, "nachos grande" (that can be ordered without cheese), a veggie dog, a fruit cup, and a garden salad.
9.) Bank One Ballpark, Phoenix - Arizona has landed itself on PETA’s list for the first time ever with a hearty veggie burger, a vegetarian sub, and a variety of fruit cups and salads, plus the old standbys: Cracker Jack, French fries, popcorn, and peanuts.
10.) Dolphins Stadium, Miami tie - Newly acquired Carlos Delgado means the Marlins will have plenty of power on the field, and so will the fans in the stands as they munch on protein-packed, cholesterol-free veggie burgers and veggie dogs, along with fresh garden salads.
10.) PNC Park, Pittsburgh tie- Cracking PETA’s list for the first time ever, Pirates diehards can snack on a tasty grilled veggie wrap, fresh salads, and delicious potato-and-onion pierogies.
[via Ben Maller ]
The Genius of Pepperidge Farm's Naming Architecture
The most interesting things I find online are those I stumble upon by accident.
Like the material on this website about how Pepperidge Farm's strategy for naming its cookies is the opposite of what most people might do.
I mean, have you ever stopped to wonder why the milk chocolate with macadamia nut cookie is called "Sausalito?"
And why "Tahoe" is the name for their white chocolate and macadamia cookie?
Last I looked macadamia nuts grew in Hawaii, not the Bay Area and certainly not along the California-Nevada border.
Why isn't this cookie named "Kona?"
Read the detailed, nicely written explanation on the website and learn why naming something after its literally appropriate moniker keeps things small and why, by contrast, giving a cookie a name that makes it "bigger" than its ingredients and "bigger" than cookies elevates it beyond nuts and chocolate and cookies into a different psychological space.
"When a brand can rise above the goods and services it offers and create a loftier connection with its audience, indeed it has found a recipe for success."
Major Tom to ground control: I've got my rocket strapped to my back.
Somebody light this firecracker, already.
Weather Watch with Pop-Up Propeller
Yeah, it'll tell you the time and a whole lot more but the thing that gives it place of pride on this Saturday morning, opening bookofjoe for the day, is the "Pop-Up Windspeed Propeller" (above).
Oh, man, will you look at it, whirring around and giving you your readout?
There are other features, to be sure:
• Easy-to-read LCD face with 3-second electroluminescent backlight
• Time mode with 12/24 hour time, day, date, dual alarms with hourly chime
• 24-hour chronograph that retains up to 10 lap times
• 24-hour countdown timer with 5 pre-set times and user-selected time
• Three-phase countdown timer for yacht racing (!)
• Altimeter with absolute and relative settings in meters and feet
• Thermometer with Celsius and Fahrenheit readings
• Barometer with metric and English measurements
• Pressure tendency graph that shows the change in air pressure over the last 6 to 9 hours
• Pressure tendency sensitivity setting
• Pop-up propeller for measuring windspeed
• Windspeed mode with maximum, average and current windspeed readings, Beaufort Scale windspeed measurement, and wind-chill factor
• Mechanical compass built into the windspeed propeller
• Low battery indicator
• Watch fob
• Neck cord
• Nylon watch cover
• Nylon carrying pouch
• Watch battery
That's an awful lot of instrumentation, all packed into a handy little wrist-worn device.
Why, with one of these you could be your own weather channel.
$149.98 here, in yellow or black.
To fully appreciate that propeller feature, which in and of itself makes this sui generis, I think you really have to have the yellow version.
Sure, Batman would be opting for the black but you're not Batman, are you?