« August 16, 2005 | Main | August 18, 2005 »

August 17, 2005



I am very impressed by this new website which searches for video content.

I first heard about it in yesterday's New York Times story by Richard Siklos.

Why, you might wonder, am I so impressed?

It's really very easy to impress me when it comes to online stuff: just offer something that works.

99% of the stuff I try I can't use because I'm clearly too stupid to understand it.

So anytime I try some new new thing I'm sitting here with "Oh, well," as my default setting.

But guess what just happened a few moments ago?

When I went to the Blinkx website, put a name into the search box (and wouldn't you like to know whose? Only those on my subscription–only site will learn that. But I digress.) and then waited for the inevitable reason why it wouldn't work, such as —

• Need so–and–so plug–in

• Cannot detect your browser

• Cookies not enabled

• Not compatible with Mac

I didn't get any of the above.

Not only that, it searched for video content and then produced a list of results.

But wait: it gets better.

When I clicked on the first search result a video player popped up with a decent–sized (for–the–internet) screen (4" x 3") that actually played the video content in real time/ non–choppy fashion with booming good sound.

I am amazed.

Apparently Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. is trying to acquire closely held Blinkx, a private company, for a sum less than the princely $580 million he paid recently for Intermix Media, which operates MySpace.com.

Hey, Rupert — it's not my money but if I had yours I'd buy Blinkx real quickly before one of your competitors grabs it.

Full disclosure; I have never met nor spoken with Rupert Murdoch nor have I ever had any communication with him.

But if he attempts to buy bookofjoe he better bring plenty of cash — because I don't take American Express.

Try Blinkx here.

No, of course there's no subscription–only bookofjoe.

Not unless someone's out there selling it and not telling me.

Which wouldn't in the least surprise me.

But here's the difference between me and everyone else: I don't care.

Never did and never will.

August 17, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Anti–Hose Catcher


My bad.

What a tease, to get you all excited about finally solving the problem of runs in your hose along with the unsightly laddering that soon follows.

No, this one goes in the garage.

"An age old car washing problem solved" is what the headline says.

The website continues:

"How many times have you yanked on the hose while washing the car only to have it catch under a tire?"

Well, I'll be honest with you: it's been so long since I've washed my car that I really can't remember how many times — but it's been a very long time indeed since the last cleansing.

"Big problem? No. Major frustration provider? Yes."

When I'm annoyed by the hose–tire problem (this is a little like the mind–body problem but on a slightly smaller scale) is when I'm putting air in my tires at a gas station.

The darn hose is always catching under my tires as I make my way around the car.

Think this would work?

Can you see me trotting these nifty yellow devices out of my trunk and placing them around my tires before beginning my inflation routine?

You can?

Get outa here.

More from the website: "This simple solution solves the problem forever."

They're made of plastic and "highly effective."

You get a set of four for $12.99 here.

August 17, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

bookofjoe goes for a run in his new Spira shoes


Not a day went by after my July 30 post about this new shoe technology employing embedded springs than the company's founder, president and CEO, one Andrew B. Krafsur, sent me an email thanking me for featuring his shoe.

He asked me if I wanted to try a pair: you know me, I'm like Mikey in that classic cereal commercial: "He'll eat anything."

So I gave Andrew the go–ahead and lo and behold two days later via Express Delivery came my shoes.

Very exciting.

They look like regular shoes, a huge plus in my view: the dorky Nike Shox are just plug–ugly.

And don't get me started on my Z–Coils: there's $165 down the toilet.

Not only are they so bizarre looking as to mark the wearer as someone to keep an eye on, they're a dreadful running shoe.

My knee started hurting after 20 minutes each of the two times I wore them, and I never have knee pain.

On top of which the shoes are unstable: you can easily sprain or break an ankle by landing wrong.

I tossed those babies in the junk pile. But I digress.

Andrew sent me the Spira Del Sol: it's a "Performance–Cushion Trainer."

Spira makes a broad line of running shoes offering stability, cushion, and performance in various mixes.

They "tune" their shoes by varying the number of springs they insert in the innards.

The tri–spring configuration consists of what you see in the exploded schematics in this post: one spring in the back and two up front.


Their single–spring models put one spring in the heel.

The Del Sol is that type.

Well, I took them out for 50 minutes, a bit longer than usual, and I'm here to report the following:

1) They're nice looking.

2) They're quite comfortable.

3) The shoe is every bit as stable as a conventional running shoe.

4) The ride doesn't feel any different than my other running shoes, by ASICS and Nike.

5) After the run my legs felt excellent, not nearly as tired as usual. Now, this could be the placebo effect, what with wearing this hot new technology, but I don't think so; the next day I did 40 minutes and once again the feeling upon finishing was of not having been hammered, my usual end–of–run status.

I give Spira a big thumbs–up.

If they'd not been any good you simply wouldn't have heard about them here.

I figure that way people will be more apt to let me try stuff, knowing that if I can't say something good, I won't say anything.

You think that's poor practice?

I don't; goodness knows, there are plenty of places that are critical as all heck.

I say, let's have one place online where, for the most part, the sun shines and it never rains.


Call me joeyanna.

August 17, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bible Dry–Liter


This nifty small yellow dry highlighter with a retractable tip "won't soak through delicate Bible pages."

Guess what: it'll also work very nicely outside the scripture space, as legendary producer Bruce Dickinson might say.

Any books with those ultra–thin, almost transparent onion–skin pages will cotton to this device very nicely.

$1.99 here.

Not recommended for priceless manuscripts.

August 17, 2005 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

How to feel rich — for $79


Before I tell you I'm gonna tease you a little, toy with you.

I mean, people do it to me all the time and what goes around should come around, right?



OK then, let's cut to the chase.

But I can't do it just yet without relating when I first felt rich.

It was my freshman year in college, when my loan and scholarship package was sufficient not only to pay my expenses and bills but actually let me buy books I wanted to read.

You must understand that as a boy growing up in Milwaukee I didn't buy books.

I went to the library and occasionally received books as gifts but there was certainly no money available to purchase them.

And if there by some miracle was, it was always paperbacks.

So when I realized that I could afford any books I wished to read, well, at 18 years of age I felt I was a rich man.

That feeling has never really disappeared: if anything, it's deepened with the passing of decades as I can now afford hardbacks.

It is far better to feel rich than to be rich.

The reason: all it takes is a state of mind.

You don't have any anxiety about getting enough because — by definition — you have more than enough.

The pursuit of wealth, for most people I've known engaged in it, is a very stressful undertaking for the simple reason best summarized by Mae West, in another context entirely but it will do nicely here: "More is never enough."

Now to the subject of this post.

When, this past Februrary 2, I read an online letter from Jeff Bezos (below)


announcing Amazon Prime I signed up in about six zeptoseconds, as I noted in my post of February 3.

Because for a $79 annual fee you can order anything, no matter how small or inexpensive, from any of Amazon's stores and have it in two days with free shipping.

In the past week alone I've received, via this route, the following:

• Senseo Coffee Pods

• Mack's Ear Plugs

• Band-Aids

• 3M Document Wedge

That's besides the books and CDs that flow in all the time.

If you want it overnight you pay $3.99 — no ups, no matter how big or heavy.

It's like having a giant shopping mall that's open 24/7 and delivers to your front door for free.

And costs less than any other store around and doesn't charge sales tax.

It's the best $79 I've spent this year and maybe ever.

Because one of the little secrets of happiness is to do more of what you like and less of what you don't.

Just a slight nudging of the scales in your favor has a disproportionate effect on your mood.

So each trip I don't make to the store is time I can spend here with you.

No contest.

I guarantee that if you sign up you will love it.

Or I will refund every penny you paid me for this advice.

Not your $79, though: you've gotta ask Jeff for that.

I mean, I have to draw the line somewhere.

Don't I?

I don't?


Well, then....

August 17, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fiber Optic Nightlight



    From the website:

    Fiber optic nightlight glows in the dark in a rainbow of ever–changing colors!

    Hundreds of delicate strands form a shimmering fan of reds, greens, purples, yellows and whites above the plug–in nightlight.

    Like prairie grass waving in the breeze, the gentle color of fiber optics lend a soothing ambience to any room.

God knows we could all use a little soothing ambience.

10" high.

$9.98 here.

I wonder if this is the equivalent of the bookstore remainder table for the zillions of miles of fiberoptic cable laid down by WorldCom and its ilk back before the telecom bubble burst.


Maybe someone should send one to Bernie Ebbers.

August 17, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cellphones on planes? It's irrelevant: VOIP + Skype is already here


I saw a news story about this last week and then this morning came upon this interesting February 20, 2005 post in the blog of one Edward Vielmetti of Ann Arbor, Michigan.

He wrote about the experience of talking to a friend of his while said friend was over the Atlantic Ocean on an SAS jet returning home from Eastern Europe.

The friend told Vielmetti that he'd simply paid a flat fee of $29 at the outset of the flight for 6 hours of WiFi service, then used his own Skype.

The sound quality was excellent using the built–in microphone on the friend's PowerBook.

As I said: the battle over cellphones on planes is the last war.

Sure, lots of people are fighting it but that doesn't mean you have to.

Whether or not you like the idea of phone calls aboard planes, the horse has left the barn and the door's off its hinges.

Next slide, please.

[via Edward Vielmetti]

August 17, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fire Hose Pants


That's right: these pants are made from the same 100% cotton canvas that once wrapped rubber fire hoses.

Tough stuff.

The company found a supplier of the fabric, softened it by washing and treated it to make it stain– and water–resistant.

All sorts of features (above), including riveted pockets, bar tacks, utility straps, a utility pocket and tuckable flaps.

In brown or navy.

Not a bad price, either: $49.99 here.

August 17, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

« August 16, 2005 | Main | August 18, 2005 »