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April 13, 2006

'Fatal Error' — How (and why) the language of the Internet reflects its origins in the crazed, sleep–deprived, hypercaffeinated brains of early programmers


Let's say you've been working on a project for months, every waking moment thinking in code.

Your relationships (if you ever had any) are shot, your mail is unopened, you've gained weight from all the garbage junk food and physical inactivity, you don't even know the month much less the day or date, you don't look so hot and you don't smell very good — but none of that matters.

Now, let's say someone interrupts you to ask what kind of message would be good if email can't be delivered.

Do you think you'd reflect and say, hmmm, how about, "We were unable to deliver your email after several attempts?"

How about "Fatal Error" — how's that sound — does that work for you?

Thought so.

Maybe add "Permanent" to punch it up a bit.


And that's how I think the term came into being (in a manner of speaking — I wasn't there but you can bet it wasn't the result of months of focus groups).


And that's all I have to say about that.

April 13, 2006 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

We get email: From Michael Webber, one of the three principals of ForkLiftTraders.com


This morning at 9:58 a.m. ET in came the following.

Not one word has been omitted.

    Dear Joseph:

    A new comment has been submitted to your weblog "bookofjoe," on the post "ForkLiftTrader.com."

    Comment from:

    Name: MICHAEL


    Thanks Joe.

    It is wonderful to know that the electronic world can offer me this kind of exposure.

    This new forum has given me the ability to sell forklifts from Hawaii to Pakistan and even Australia and Uruguay.

    Welcome to the future.

    If people buy forkifts across the globe can you imagine the possibilities in the future for electronic commerce?



All I can say is well done, Michael: while your fellow forklift dealers were sitting around waiting for someone to come in and buy one, you took the opposite approach — you stood up.

Haha, just kidding.

Michael makes a profound point, one that should resonate powerfully with all those whose businesses depend on the sale of real things, goods and objects, to wit: if you can sell forklifts globally you can sell anything.

I've been saying for years here that people think way too small and provincially.

For example, whenever I point out to a book reviewer who notes that a book was just published in England and is due to be published in the U.S. next year that anyone in the States can purchase the U.K. version from Amazon U.K. just as quickly and inexpensively now as you'll be able to next year from Amazon U.S. after the book is published here, the sound I hear is the sound of the phone that don't ring 'cause you know it's him.

Bonus: the book will arrive via the Royal Mail so fast it'll make your head spin.

If you don't believe me just ask Shawn Lea, my head crack team researcher.


And that's all I have to say about that.

April 13, 2006 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dell De-Crapifier


Jason York introduced it just three days ago on his blog, yorkspace.com, and already it's making waves on the internet.

When I wrote this post last evening there were already 60 comments most of which raved about the wondrous free application.

Tuesday Digg picked it up, saying "This is an article about a script that was created to remove unwanted software from a Dell PC. It can be run on a new PC to get rid of all the trialware that comes pre-installed. It runs completely unattended!"

Jason York rules.

But he still shoulda got a Mac.

April 13, 2006 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Solar–Powered Mosquito Repeller


It there anything that's not solar–powered these days?

Cars, I guess — for now.

Though the boys and girls of the University of Virginia's solar car skunk works (below, with their latest model),


down the street from me, would take issue with the statement above.

But I digress.

From the website:

    Solar Mosquito Repeller

    Using high-frequency sounds to repel annoying, biting mosquitos, this summer essential works without bothering you or your pets.

    Simply place it on your picnic table or deck to keeps pests away.

    Operates on two AA batteries (included) that recharge by day with the unit's solar panel.

    3-1/2"H x 3" sq. radius.

    Covers a 15 ft. area.

    Plastic and metal.


I have a feeling the copywriter meant "15 square ft." — don't you think?

Which means that you're good within a square measuring (can you do it in your head? I sure can't anymore, though when I was in junior high and had an I.Q. in triple figures I could do a quite a nice approximation pretty darn quickly) 3.8729833 feet on a side.

That's about 3 feet, 10 inches in case you're having one of those days where multiplying by 12 in your head just isn't gonna happen.


April 13, 2006 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Arrival of Rain — by Josephine Jacobsen

At midnight
it began to rain.

The sound of rain everywhere
fills my hollow ear.
The dry weeks round I was not thinking of that sound—
two sounds, the sound
of falling and the sound of drinking—
now here.

Dusty root darkens and the stubble sharpening
its cruel shafts, softens;
my hollow ear harkening
hears stubble green and moisten,
all drinking, all darkening;
the liquid beaded sigh
of sound, two sounds
everywhere and here
in the hollow avid ear.

All need is dry.
Rain is the metaphor.

April 13, 2006 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Swoon Seat


They definitely need to attend the bookofjoe Product Naming Seminar™.

From the website:

    Curvaceous Chaise

    Lightweight, Folding Chaise Looks Great on Your Deck, Feels Great on Your Back, Travels Great To The Beach!

    Just lie back on our Curvaceous Chaise with a good book and a cold drink and you’ll spend hours doing absolutely nothing!

    Cool, breathable mesh fabric lets breezes circulate — resists UV and mold.

    Lightweight aluminum frame can’t rust or corrode — weighs a feathery 7 lbs. yet supports 300 lbs.

    Folds neatly in half


    and comes with a shoulder strap — so you can carry Curvaceous to the beach with minimal effort.

    Includes full-width pillow for dozing comfort!


"You'll spend hours doing absolutely nothing!"

Memo to Curvaceous Chaise maker: my readers (and I) have been doing this since forever without owning one of your chairs.

Well, that's not really accurate — something close to nothing is more like it.

But I digress.

We are reminded also of the coolest chaise of the year to date, namely the Neo-Nordic Skateboard Chair (below)


from Igland Design in Norway.

You will note that they originally named it the Alet Chair but quickly rechristened it after attending last year's Product Naming Seminar™.

Tuition, in case you'd like to start putting pennies in your piggy bank in the hope of making it to this year's, is... no, I'm gonna step up the level of my game — "Price Upon Request."

This freeloading stuff is coming to an end real soon now, just you wait and see.

But gee — there I go again.

The Curvaceous Chaise comes in (below, from right) Blue Curacao, Lemon, Kiwi, or Crimson.


You will note that the very appealing Tangerine–colored one up top is no longer available.

Too bad they didn't figure that out before they published their catalog and made it the poster child chair for their website.


April 13, 2006 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack



I read about this new company yesterday in Kevin Maney's USA Today column.

BlogBurst went live in February of this year but you know me — always 60 days late and more dollars short.

The company syndicates blogs and sells the content to publishers like the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, USA Today, etc.

The newspapers feature the blogs and headlines of the posts they choose and then the papers' readers, if they're so inclined, can click to go to your blog and read the full post.

Sounds pretty cool to me.

I applied for admission and in about 30 seconds received an email back saying "Welcome."

Which means either they liked what I had to offer or they're desperate.

You know me — my glass is always half full so I'm going with the former.

BlogBurst says that there's money in it for me in the future but I think that's about as likely as finding the pony that kid in Ronald Reagan's favorite story knows is in the barn somewhere under the pile.

No matter.


We will watch the BlogBurst space and future bookofjoe traffic patterns with interest.

April 13, 2006 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Stóri Dímon — My first Icelandic cheese


You never forget your very first.

In this case it happened only moments ago so one would hardly think such a thing possible absent Korsakoff's syndrome.

I happened on the cylindrical wooden container at Whole Foods yesterday, browsing as I was in the cheese department.

Never saw cheese from Iceland before so I studied the box.

It was all in Icelandic and I saw that somewhere along the line Reykjavik was involved — that's the only word I could read.

So I bought one ($7.99) and waited until this morning to try it.


Impossible to tell what's going inside from the outside.

Still cheeses run deep.

There was only one thing for it: enter.

And so I did.

What I saw is what you see below.


You can't see, though, that the cheese was nicely yielding to my knife.

It's a veined cheese somewhat similar in appearance and consistency to Saga Blue, a mild cheese out of Denmark which is closer to Brie than to the more potent veined cheeses of other countries.

Stóri Dímond is creamy with a faint bite, not nearly as intense as that of Cabrales or the classic blue–veined cheeses of France.

Smooth, very silky mouthfeel.

Quite nice and a definite keeper.

I had the crack research team delve deeper into the subject of Icelandic cheese and learned, among other things, that about 100 different cheeses are produced in the tiny nation of 300,000 people.

The team also found an Icelandic company that ships a variety of Icelandic cheeses globally.

There is no question that the Icelandic cheese space is worth exploring in more depth when the bookofjoe World Tour makes its stop in that nation.

I do so like the Ice.

April 13, 2006 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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