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May 1, 2006

My favorite picture of the year


You're looking at it.

I saw it on page 39 of the latest Cloudveil catalog and tracked down the photographer, Jeff Diener of Jackson, Wyoming.

I asked him if I could use the photo in bookofjoe and guess what?

Not only did he reply but he said yes!

How cool is that?

Thanks, Jeff — you are hereby declared the Official Photographer of bookofjoe.

Unless you think that's a career setback, in which case just give me a holler and I'll rescind the job offer.


[via Jeff Diener and jeffdiener.com]

May 1, 2006 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Handheld Lightning Detector — Find it before it finds you


"Easy-use lightning detector may save your life."

Tell us more.

From the website:

    Lightning Detector

    Stories about unexpected, lightning-related deaths are shocking [!].

    They happen in every state and in everyday places like football fields, golf courses and beaches.

    Your ability to get early warning of approaching strikes could save your life.

    This pager-sized lightning detector shows lightning activity from as far away as 40 miles.

    An audible alarm sounds when there is a strike and a corresponding LED light


    illuminates accordingly at lightning distances of 20 to 40 miles, 12 to 24 miles, 6 to 12 miles, and within 6 miles.

    It also tracks storm direction so you know if danger is headed your way.

    • Color-coded LEDs show direction of storm

    • Compact size clips to belts, golf bags, backpacks

    • Alarm sounds before and while lightning is in striking distance

    • Up to 100 hours of reliable operation with a single set of two AA batteries (included)

    • 3"H x 2"W



Prediction: the lightning detector of 2050 will not require batteries but, rather, will run off the energy of lightning fields.

That is, nothing will happen when you're not near lightning but as you approach an electrically-charged area the device will indicate — via vibration, sound and light displays — the strength of lightning activity.

Yet another glimpse of future technology brought to you by the bookofjoe wormHole Transit Authority™ (wHTA).

May 1, 2006 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Google SketchUp — '3-D Drawing for the Masses'


So read the headline over yesterday's story in the Washington Post Business section by Yuki Noguchi about Google's latest gift to the world.

She wrote that it's "a bit like Etch A Sketch gone 3-D."

Here's the article.

    Google Debuts 3-D Drawing for the Masses

    Google Inc. has come out with something that's a bit like Etch A Sketch gone 3-D.

    The search giant's latest free software program, called Google SketchUp, allows users to use a basic mouse to drag-and-click their way to recreating their house, erecting a fantastic sculpture or sizing up a potential kitchen redesign.

    "3-D is probably one of the most expressive tools to express dreams," said Brad Schell, who founded Boulder, Colo.-based SketchUp in 1999, sold the company to Google last month and still manages the product.

    Most existing three-dimensional drawing software is highly technical and hard to use, he said, so it limits the audience to architects, structural engineers, graphics artists and the like.

    By comparison, Google SketchUp, the free version of SketchUp's software available for download at http://sketchup.google.com, consists of less than a dozen basic commands for drawing.

    Clicking and dragging a line creates a trapezoidal shape; another adjustment to the height creates a box.

    Using another tool, it's possible to rotate and pan around the created structure, so you can view it from any angle, including from below.

    Curves, lines and texture can also be added, and the software comes with stock images of people, benches, trees and more.

    SketchUp is linked with Google Earth, the satellite mapping tool that allows a user to surf and zoom into locations around the globe.

    Using the two tools in tandem, a user can, for example, create a rendition of major landmarks such as the leaning tower of Pisa and share that image with anyone who might be interested in checking out models other users have created for that location.

    Developers could use the tool to set up a model of a development that will be completed in three years.

    Retailer chains might use it to show the floor plans of each store so a customer can check it out beforehand.

    Family members might use the ability to share images to chime in on various preferences for a home remodel. Hobbyists might try to recreate historic buildings in their original form.

    "Our mission here is to empower a whole bunch of people to express themselves on 3-D," Schnell said.

    Google Maps will still be viewable without all the various creations, as well.

    Schnell said he expected people's creations to add more truth than fiction to the mapping database.

    He said professional architects and the like have said that they will incorporate it into their drawings, so that clients can look at a new doorway, for example, from different angles.

    "I've modeled my own house down to the doorknobs and keyholes," which are shaped and sized accurately, based on the real things, Schnell said.

    SketchUp has been selling a professional version of its software for $495.

    It allows users to transfer images and communicate about them so that an architect can send blueprints to builders and other vendors, for example, or print the models in large form, he said.

May 1, 2006 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

LED Light-Up Toilet Seat


From the website:

    Cordless Light-Up Toilet Seat

    Just lift the lid and ten blue LED lights send a soft glow around the seat.

    Fun novelty or helpful bathroom nightlight?

    You decide.

    Powered by 3 AA batteries (not included).

    Bubble design in the lucite.


May 1, 2006 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Saturday, May 6 is Free Comic Book Day


This coming Saturday, May 6, is the fifth annual Free Comic Book Day.

Joe Field of Flying Colors Comics in Concord, California dreamed it up.

He noted that last year's celebration brought over 1,000 people to his store, with over a third of them making their first visit.

The day features signings by writers and artists and events all over the world.

Check the website for the one nearest you.

[via Evan Narcisse and the Washington Post]

May 1, 2006 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Talking Countdown Timer/Clock


From the website:

    Compact Talking Timer and Clock

    This pint-sized talking digital timer has a clear female voice that announces the time for you or acts as a timer to count down the time left.

    You can simultaneously and independently operate the countup timer, talking countdown timer and talking clock.

    You can set 6 different alarm sounds to notify you of different activities.

    The maximum countup and countdown time is 23 hours, 59 minutes, 59 seconds.

    The countdown timer automatically restarts when it reaches 0:00.

    The Talking Timer is small enough to carry in your pocket or attach to your belt.

    The belt clip also has a magnet so you can put it on your refrigerator.

    Comes with a stand so you can set it on your desk.

    Use the talking timer as a cooking timer, to tell you how much time is left on your parking meter, in your exercise routine, as a reminder for pill taking, appointments and more!

    Measures 3"H x 2.5"W x 1"D.


"You can simultaneously and independently operate the countup timer, talking countdown timer and talking clock."

I don't think so.

TechnoDolts™ need not apply.

Everyone else, step right up: $14.99 (batteries included).

May 1, 2006 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Now where did I put that owner's manual?


Everyone knows that if you can't figure out what's wrong with a product you're supposed to consult the owner's manual.

Which disappeared into the civilian equivalent of anesthesia hyperspace long ago.

But wait — there's hope.

So it would appear from the contents of an email received this morning from self-confessed joehead Brian Nelson.

Here is what he wrote:

    Whether you're a TechnoDolt™ or TechnoGeek™ (my TM) you're bound to need to look at that owner's manual that you can't find anymore.

    "Rats!" You say?

    Well, check out this website: www.usersmanualguide.com/

    Self-described as having "User Manuals and User Guides for many pieces of equipment like mobile phones, photo cameras, mother board, monitors, software, tv, dvd, and others...."

    You may be saved from the frustration of living in a TechnoGadget[™?] world.




I had the crack research team investigate and they report that there are hundreds of manuals,


from Panasonic, Sharp, Casio, Yamaha, Funai, ICOM, Philips, Motorola and Samsung, all available as free PDF downloads.

[via Brian Nelson]

May 1, 2006 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cast Iron Skillet-4-1


This looks like a significant addition to the perfect grilled cheese sandwich space.

    Cast Iron Sandwich Pan

    Cast iron skillet for one is the perfect size for toasting a scrumptious sandwich any time of the day!

    The handy, compact design makes cooking and clean-up a snap, and it doesn't take up too much cupboard space.



May 1, 2006 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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