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September 7, 2005

We get email: from Oleksij Rak of Altopix


What's Altopix?

It's a new company that's created a directory called "The Maps Explorer" featuring interesting Google maps.

Apparently just outa beta — or maybe still in beta, who really knows and what does beta mean anymore, I mean, consider Gmail... — and way too sophisto for moi but not for you, smart girls and boys.

I've decided that the key to blogging success is to have readers who are smarter than I am.


I can't miss.

Here's Oleksij's email, which came in yesterday afternoon.

    Greetings to anesthesiologists :), Sorry, don’t know your name. Joe?

    I was browsing your blog - http://www.bookofjoe.com - and discovered that once you were interested in Google maps-related resources.

    We’ve created a directory of interesting Google maps locations and are planning to extend it to scholar geography purposes (some teachers contacted us with this idea) and maybe create some universal geo informational directory.

    Currently it's just a rather large directory of locations with previews.…

    So… if you are interested, that may be just another theme for your blog :)

    Take a look at http://www.explorer.altopix.com/

    And, btw, we are planning to start collecting url geographical locations.

    We didn’t create any UI for that yet but feel free to email me location (longitude/latitude, country, state and city) of your site(s) and I’ll add it(them) as another location in our directory.

    Best wishes,
    Feel free to contact me,

    Oleksij Rak
    The Altopix Team

Interesting, isn't it, how both Google and the iPod have spawned immensely popular spin–offs created by people who've taken the platform and used it as a launching pad for a zillion and one unanticipated applications?

How do you spell podcast?

What's most fascinating to me about these thousand–and–one extensions is that the base can be either a piece of software or hardware: it really doesn't matter anymore if an idea originates with bits or atoms.

Oleksij Rak — now there's a name to conjure with....

September 7, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Clip–On Extendable Back Scratcher


I love this thing and if I were still in academic anesthesia I'd buy one in a heartbeat.

What fun to pull this puppy out of your pocket and point to all your important data with the little hand.

When someone asks a dumb question — or even a smart one — you use the scratching function on your head or back or wherever seems most appropriate.

Or you simply point it at the offender and say, "Talk to the hand."


6.5" long extending to 20".

Stainless steel.

A steal at $8.95 here.

Hey — they don't mention it on the website but you could also eat with this thing.

It's a pointer... it's a back scratcher... it's a fork... it's... Superman!

September 7, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Automatic Sentiment Analysis — Software that analyzes the news and grades its tone


Earlier this year Corpora Software of Surrey, U.K. released Sentiment, an analytical application for gauging the tone of news stories and then sorting them into one of three classes, each accompanied by a handy graphic indicator:

• A green smiley for positive

• A yellow blah face for neutral

• A red frowny face for negative


Perhaps — but consider that, as the company notes, human readers aren't perfect either, and human analysts are only able to process about 10 articles an hour while Sentiment can go through 10 every second — 36,000 an hour.

And Sentiment doesn't need coffee or bathroom breaks.

The company acknowledges that its machine isn't perfect but then, neither are humans.

For example, three expert readers are likely to agree about an article 85% of the time; about 90% of non–experts will agree with this consensus.

Sentiment agrees with the same expert consensus about 80% of the time.


Here's a link to an article in New Scientist about this novel program.

September 7, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Spiral 5–Prong Alligator Clip Memo Holder


Got memos?

$8.95 here.

September 7, 2005 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Official bookofjoe vest


Slowly but steadily, I'm moving into merchandising.

It's being done very quietly — so much so that the companies selling bookofjoe clothing and suchlike aren't even aware they're doing it.

Of course, there's one small problem with this under the radar approach: bookofjoe's cash register, like the phone in the great country song, don't ring.

No matter: we're out for far bigger game than mere lucre.

Clean or filthy. But I digress.

From Patagonia comes this sporty vest for women, made of fabric whose fibers have variegated lengths, a mix of long coarse strands and short downy fibers, to "enhance compressibility, breathability, stretch and warmth."

Stretch panels along the torso and backs of the armholes give a more contoured fit.

"Femininely shaped."


$89 here in what they choose to call — at least, for the time being — "Dry Lime."

September 7, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack



From German designer Mareike Gast comes this novel combination.


She writes, "Often sitting in the armchair is not free from actually watching TV. In the TV–Chair I combine the two actions of sitting and watching TV in a new way, as well as separate them."


Perfect for when the neighbors come by to complain about how loud the TV is.


"What TV?" you say as you sit there comfortably in your cushy chair.


"Must be the other neighbors."

[via AW]

September 7, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: Wheaties Vitamins


Talk about brand extension: earlier this year General Mills rolled out Wheaties and Total brand multivitamins.

I don't know how I missed it but I did: only in yesterday's Washington Post story by Ben Harder did I get the word.

Each cordovan–colored Total pill contains at least 100% of the daily minimum requirement of 17 vitamins and minerals.

It also has 5 milligrams of black pepper extract — "for better absorption of vitamins and minerals" — claims General Mills.

"A peppery bite is noticeable to some consumers," wrote Harder.

The Wheaties pill is similar to the Total vitamin in its vitamin and mineral content but adds lutein, lycopene, green tea extract and coenzyme Q10.

Coenzyme Q10?

Tell you what, that one wasn't in my textbooks in med school, that's for sure. But I digress.

Want to swallow your Wheaties whole?

$5.99 for 50 tablets here.

But perhaps mademoiselle would prefer something in the Total line?

No problema.


$5.99 for 50 tablets here.

"Everything you think do and say
is in the pill you took today."

Hey, wait a minute — that wasn't supposed to happen until 3535.

September 7, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack



Not for cards but for your feet.

    From the website:

    Just slip a pair of Shufflers over muddy footwear and go inside to answer the phone, get a snack or take a break.

    Shufflers contain the mud and moisture, and you won't spend time unlacing and relacing.

I don't know that I need them but it might be nice to have them handy when my plumber stops by: invariably I'm left with a trail of mud and dirt that requires serious effort to remove from everywhere he's been.

But you know what?

I never say a word to him because 1) he shows up more or less when he says he will, and 2) he does what he does well enough that eroding his job satisfaction vis–a–vis me has a far greater potential opportunity cost than a little clean–up elbow grease on my part.

Shufflers are made of heavy–duty polyester and washable and one size fits most.

$19.95 here.

Not recommended if you have children; they will think they're for wear in the mud and then cheerily track through the house to show you how they did just what they thought you said to do.

September 7, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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