January 03, 2006
Grand Canyon Skywalk
This past weekend I was reading the new (January) issue of Wired magazine and when I turned page 41 over to page 42, I started to feel a sense of vertigo as I looked at the picture above, of the soon-to–open Skywalk that juts out from the rock face, some 4,000 feet in the air over the Grand Canyon.
Here's the story, by Sean Hamilton Alexander, about an attraction I won't ever visit.
- Do Look Down
The view may terrify you, but there's no cause for alarm.
The Skywalk, which juts out into the air some 4,000 feet above the Grand Canyon floor, promises to be as safe as a trip to the fridge.
The super-strong structure is anchored to four bedrock footings with 88 steel rods.
Altogether, the steel and glass Skywalk can support 34,000 tons (think 71 fully loaded Boeing 747s).
It's designed to handle 100-mph winds and withstand a magnitude-7 earthquake.
The $30 million project, backed by businessman David Jin and the Hualapai Tribe, is slated to open this summer.
It's an effort to attract some of the 4 million tourists who visit the south rim of the Big Ditch every year.
The Skywalk will be part of a complex on the west rim that includes the Hualapai Ranch and Indian Village, which will offer dining, shopping, and Native American exhibits and entertainment.
A stroll on the Skywalk will cost $25.
At least the sunsets are still free.
Swarovski Crystal Mickey Mouse Pez Dispenser
- From the website:
Individually handcrafted by the artisans at Katherine Baumann of Beverly Hills, these Pez dispensers feature America's most famous cartoon characters, immortalized in Swarovski crystal.
Each is paired with its own keepsake suede pouch and measures approximately 5"H x 2"L x 1"W.
Just not that into Mickey?
Hey — he's just not that into you, either.
But I digress.
Minnie Mouse, Donald and Daisy Duck (below)
are also available.
Each originally cost $175 but they're now reduced over 40% to a sweet $87.99 here (Pez not included).
Contact — and other issues relating to bookofjoe
About two or three times a week, on average, someone leaves a comment to the effect that they tried to email me but couldn't so they're using the comments for that purpose.
Hey — I've had to do that myself on occasion with blogs that don't have an email address that I can locate.
But mine is right up top on the home page — firstname.lastname@example.org [Go Bruins!] — and I know the link works 'cause whenever someone tells me they couldn't email me I test it.
Perhaps it's the same phenomenon that leads people to send email asking me to sell them Bathing Ape shoes, Texas Native Inertia Nutcrackers (and replacement rubber bands), a License Plate Map, SHIFT bicycles, and many other things I happen to write about.
I also get requests to build another Folding Footbridge (as a private commission — I forwarded that one to Thomas Heatherwick); for the dimensions of the Hot Tub Zamboni, the residential address and home phone number of Christian R. Fabre aka Swami Pranavanendra Brahmendra Avadhuta, Mariah Carey's email address, and things of that ilk.
I try to help when I can — you know that — but even if I had private information you wanted about someone I wouldn't tell you.
You'd be surprised to learn the boldface names who read bookofjoe and decide to get in touch.
Anyhow, here's another email address for you in case the one above doesn't work: email@example.com
If that one fails too then I guess it's back to the old comment trick.
Glancing up at the topics I alluded to above I realize that this is one weird blog, dudette and dude....
Belt Clip Bag Dispenser
How many times have you wished you had a plastic bag handy?
Happens every day, if you're anything [not] like me.
End those bagless moments with this handy–dandy nifty–swifty Belt Clip Bag Dispenser.
From the website:
- New! Clip-On Bag Dispenser keeps small trash bags handy!
Clips to your belt while walking the dog, or to your car visor for quick pick-ups on the go.
Holds four bags.
Plastic, 3¾ x 3¾ x 2".
$7.98 here (Bags not included).
Anyone can bring in the new year with a bang but only you can do it with a bag.
So fashion forward I wouldn't be surprised to see it on some of the models in Marc Jacobs'
upcoming spring show in Milan.
bookofjoe website a failure
On the brighter side, I scored much higher than Yahoo's main page on an assessment by Search Engine Optimizer's free web page analyzer tool.
From Sitening, Search Engine Optimizer Analyzer looks at the underlying structure of your website, focusing on:
• web standards
• semantic structure
• obsolete HTML
• improper use of table elements
• inline styles
• download size and time
• outgoing links
• top keywords
It takes less than a minute to spit out a numerical score on a 0–100 scale, 100 being best, along with a feature–by–feature analysis of your website and a brief description of what you're doing right and wrong and how you can improve it, ideally by hiring them.
The average score is 57.
I scored 55, below average and putting me in the red zone — "unacceptable" — along with the majority of sites analyzed.
On the other hand, as I noted in my opening sentence, Yahoo's main page scored 30, which would seem to indicate that tens of millions of dollars don't necessarily make things better.
But what makes me not too disheartened about my poor score is the the quick and dirty "rubber to the road" test I just ran.
In it, I timed how look it took for bookofjoe to come up and then for Search Engine Analyzer's home page to appear.
The same: both pages loaded almost instantly.
Now, you can say that my test is meaningless and stupid and measures nothing but I will tell you in response that it doesn't matter how well your page is optimized for search engines or how great its content if it takes so long to load that people get tired of waiting and leave without ever seeing it.
That's still the case with a large proportion of web pages, both commercial and personal.
Then I had an idea.
Hey, it happens, what can I say?
I went back for a second opinion or, in this case, a re–analysis of my website.
And guess what?
In ten minutes bookofjoe had somehow shaped itself up: I got a 65 the second time around, which the Analyzer said was "satisfactory" though it still needs work.
Full disclosure: you will note that 55 was the score for http://bookofjoe.com and the 65 was received by http://www.bookofjoe.com.
If simply adding www makes that big a difference — I mean, bookofjoe is the same no matter which URL you use to get there — then something's wrong with the measuring tool, it seems to me.
But what do I know, after all, being a TechnoDolt™ and all?
Man goes to a psychiatrist.
Psychiatrist says what's the problem?
Man says I think I'm crazy.
Psychiatrist listens to the guy for a while then says, you are.
Man says, I want a second opinion.
Psychiatrist says, you're ugly too.
But guess what?
We're not done yet with this Analyzer tool.
I had the crack research team explore the Analyzer more deeply using supersecret search techniques even Google and the NSA haven't incorporated into their algorithms.
Some of my kid spies have, though: that's how I twigged to them.
But I digress.
Lo and behold, after hours of work the team found a perfect site!
But some people, it appears, are a bit harder to please than others: the Analyzer said of this site, "Although your web page may not be perfectly optimized, it contains most of the elements necessary for search engine optimization."
Gimme a break.
I'm reminded here of Eve Babitz's epigram, "I'm easy to please — but hard to satisfy."
Not me — satisfaction happens here on a daily basis.
Looking at that perfect web page it suddenly becomes obvious as to what to do to optimize your web site: have almost no content on your page so the search engines can home right in on it.
What a joke.
[via Giv & Doe]
BehindTheMedspeak: Interactive Neurological Examination
Here is a most interesting website.
On it, a neurologist takes you through an entire detailed neurological examination, with video demonstrations for each section.
If you spend some time here you will know as much neurology as most general and family practitioners.
Now, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, true; but the flip side, i.e., "knowledge is power," is also a truth.
How can these two ideas be reconciled?
That's not my problem; maybe it's yours if your name's Wittgenstein.
Anyhow, watching some of the video clips took me back to my third year med school rotation in neurology.
That was one tough area for me: there is so much to know and memorize.
In contrast, we used to say about dermatology (I don't know how true it remains in 2006 but I suspect it's still useful): "Dry on the wet; wet on the dry; if that doesn't work use steroids."
World Wide Words
Bet you can't say it really fast five times.
I sure couldn't.
But that's not why we're here, is it, to see what I can't do?
If we were, why, we'd never run out of material.
Michael Quinion (below)
has, among other things, worked in radio (BBC), served as curator of the Cider House Museum in Hereford, England, and currently runs Touchstone Associates, a consultancy which does all manner of word–related things.
In 1996 he started World Wide Words.
Among his other activities these days is providing citations and advice for the Oxford English Dictionary.
According to his biography, "He also wrote a third of the entries for the second edition of the Oxford Dictionary of New Words and for a while compiled a weekly "New Words" column in the Daily Telegraph.
So I think his bona fides — no, that's not a good dog, sorry about the "My Weekly Reader" joke but it's the only one I remember — are hereby established.
You may now feel free to move about the word world.
Meanwhile, I'm still trying to figure out how to establish my own bona fides.
New Wave Jelli Lap Desk
Sure, the catalog calls it a cutting board but we know better.
From the website:
- Nonporous cutting board resists odors and won't dull knives
Made of nonabsorbent, odor-resistant polypropylene.
14.5" x 11".
In blue or red.
After you've finished your work, break out your lunch or dinner and feel the joy of multi–purposing.
I know you so well.
For those who need that certain je ne sais quois in a lap desk — or cutting board — consider the "Gripper" (below).
From the website:
- "Gripper" non–slip cutting board will not move, no matter how hard you chop
Hundreds of soft–grip feet on the underside anchor this board firmly for safe, stable cutting, slicing and chopping.
Made of polypropylene and TPE plastic.
14" x 11".
In pink, blue, orange or red.
Note: you will probably get more work done with the smooth side up: if you choose the contrarian approach, well, fasten your seat belt 'cause it's gonna be a bumpy ride.
I'm just saying.