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January 7, 2008

'The stress is crushing in what we do' — blogger Michael Arrington, founder of TechCrunch


I had a feeling I was doing it all wrong but now I have proof.

See, the thing is, I don't feel any stress at all here at bookofjoe where, as Robert de Niro so memorably remarked in "Taxi Driver," "... I'm the only one here."

You could look it up.

But I digress.

Today's New York Times Business section story by Dan Fost is headlined, "Some Brand-Name Bloggers Say Stress Of Posting Is a Hazard to Their Health."


I've never felt better.

Maybe things will change when I get big — real big.

In the meantime, here's the Times article.

    Some Brand-Name Bloggers Say Stress of Posting Is a Hazard to Their Health

    Om Malik’s blog, GigaOm, regularly breaks news about the technology industry. Last week, the journalist turned blogger broke a big story about himself. Mr. Malik, 41, blogged that he had suffered a heart attack on Dec. 28.

    “I was able to walk into the hospital for treatment that night and have been recovering here ever since,” Mr. Malik wrote. “With the support of my family and my team, I am on the road to a full recovery. I am going to be O.K.”

    His heart attack — and his blogging about it — raises the issue of what happens when a blogger becomes a name brand.

    “The trouble with a personal brand is, you’re yoked to a machine,” said Paul Kedrosky, a friend of Mr. Malik’s who runs the Infectious Greed blog. “You feel huge pressure to not just do a lot, but to do a lot with your name on it. You have pressure to not just be the C.E.O., but at the same time to write, and to do it all on a shoestring. Put it all together, and it’s a recipe for stress through the roof.”

    Mr. Malik has 12 employees, including a chief operating officer, and editors run some of his blogs, Yet, “It’s his name on the door,” Mr. Kedrosky said. “People want to know what Om Malik thinks. People want to see posts with Om Malik’s byline.”

    Paul Walborsky, the chief operating officer for Mr. Malik’s company, Giga Omni Media, played down stress as a factor in Mr. Malik’s health. He noted Mr. Malik’s incessant smoking of cigars and cigarettes was a more likely cause.

    In his post last Thursday, Mr. Malik blamed a variety of vices. “Friends and family have purged my apartment of smokes, scotch and all my favorite fatty foods — I am even going to be drinking decaf,” wrote Mr. Malik. His online avatar features a drawing of him wearing a press fedora and chomping a cigar, and until he rented an office last year he worked largely out of a Starbucks in San Francisco.

    The day after his blog, more than 800 people had posted comments on Mr. Malik’s site wishing him a speedy recovery and offering lessons from their own health ailments. The sympathy rolled in from fellow journalists, start-up chief executives, venture capitalists, public relations professionals and, naturally, other tech bloggers.

    Despite joining the exhortations that “we need you,” Mr. Kedrosky also warned, “If you come back to blogging before I give you permission, I’ll be at your door to take away your MacBook.”

    Mr. Malik, a native of India, has written for tech and business magazines including Forbes, Red Herring and the recently shuttered Business 2.0. GigaOm started as his personal blog, but he left Business 2.0 in 2006 when venture capitalists financed his idea to turn the blog into a business.

    It now operates several Web sites, including Web Worker Daily, NewTeeVee, Earth2Tech and Found/Read, each of which has its own arsenal of staff and freelance contributors.

    Michael Arrington, who founded the popular TechCrunch blog, said he did not know to what extent stress had to do with Mr. Malik’s attack, “but the stress is crushing in what we do.”

    “I was a corporate lawyer and an entrepreneur, and I know about working all the time. But now, you’re always worried a big story is breaking in your e-mail, and if you wait an hour, you’ll miss it. Every morning when I wake up, the panic hits and I have to see my e-mail as soon as possible.”

January 7, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Store 'N Slide Organizer



From the website:

    Store 'N Slide™ Organizer

    Transform nooks into major storage!

    The small opening between the fridge and wall… the tight spot in your laundry room or garage.

    The Store ’N Slide Organizer helps to max out even the smallest spaces with a unique sliding rail system.

    A patented “magic” ball mechanism automatically adjusts to a handle’s thickness, giving the things you hang a firm hold — simply lift out to remove.

    Perfect for organizing mops, brooms, cleaning supplies and more!

    Can be mounted to slide to the left or right.

    17¼"W x 4¼"H x 4"D.

    Plastic and metal.



$19.95 (mop, broom etc. not included).

January 7, 2008 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Blast From the Past: How to use bubble wrap


It's been over three years since this first appeared and I figure by now 95% of those who read it originally have tossed me overboard.

Conversely, most people reading this weren't here back then.

Without further ado, then, the still-valid October 9, 2004 post, repeated.

How to use bubble wrap

Nothing is too small to escape my notice.

FunFact: half of all people are misusing bubble wrap.

The correct way to use bubble wrap is to put the bubbles on the inside.

Otherwise, you're not gonna be happy with the 3-D puzzle you receive in lieu of your Marcel Wanders


Egg Vase.

If you feel the need to further explore the wonders of bubble wrap, by all means, go for it.

January 7, 2008 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Pet Shower Curtain


Reminds me of those integrated gloves they use in nuclear and biosafety level 4 facilities.

From the website:

    Pet Shower Curtain

    Let her shake! No water will get on you or the floor.

    Do you only bathe your dog when it's warm outside, then resort to paying the groomer when there's a chill in the air?

    This pet shower curtain makes bathing at home in the bathtub easier and safer for you both.

    The full-arm waterproof gloves built into this see-through shower curtain let you stay clean and dry while you shampoo and rinse your dog.

    Even if she gets in a stinky mess, there's a barrier between you and her.

    Keep in place all the time — use as a liner, or only extend on her bath day.


January 7, 2008 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Everything's better with kitty litter — especially leftover meds


Lauran Neergaard's November 6, 2007 Associated Press story explained why, and follows.

    Got unused meds? Don't flush them, mix with cat litter

    It's time to pooper-scoop your leftover medicine.

    Mixing cough syrup, Vicodin or Lipitor with cat litter is the new advice on getting rid of unused medications. Preferably, used cat litter.

    It's a compromise, better for the environment than flushing — and one that renders dangerous medicines too yucky to try if children, pets or drug abusers stumble through the trash.

    A government experiment is about to send that advice straight to thousands of patients who use potent painkillers, sleeping pills and other controlled substances.

    Why? Prescription drug abuse is on the rise, and research suggests more than half of people who misuse those drugs get them for free from a friend or relative. In other words, having leftovers in the medicine cabinet is a risky idea. Anyone visiting your house could swipe them.

    So 6,300 pharmacies around the country have signed up for a pilot project with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. When patients fill prescriptions for a list of abuse-prone medicines, from Ambien to Vicodin, the pharmacist also will hand over a flyer urging them to take the cat-litter step if they don't wind up using all their pills.

    Not a cat owner? Old coffee grounds work, or doggie doo, even sawdust. Just seal the meds and the, er, goop in a plastic bag before tossing in the trash.

    "We don't want to assert that this is a panacea for the larger problem," says SAMHSA's Dr. H. Westley Clark. "It just provides them with a caveat that these are not things you can just lay around."

    But the concern isn't only about controlled substances. How to best dispose of any medicine, whether prescription or over-the-counter, is a growing issue.

    Unfortunately, "we don't have a silver bullet," says Joe Starinchak of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

    No one knows just how many unused drugs Americans dump each year, or how many are hoarded because patients simply don't know what to do with them or that they should dispose of them.

    Once, patients were told to flush old drugs down the toilet. No more — do not flush unless you have one of the few prescriptions that the Food and Drug Administration specifically labels for flushing.

    That's because antibiotics, hormones and other drugs are being found in waterways, raising worrisome questions about potential health and environmental effects.

    Already, studies have linked hormone exposure to fish abnormalities. Germs exposed to antibiotics in the environment may become more drug-resistant.

    Some communities set aside "take-back" days to return leftover doses to pharmacies or other collection sites for hazardous-waste incineration.

    The Environmental Protection Agency recently funded a novel pilot program by the University of Maine to see if consumers will mail back unused drugs — a program that local officials estimate could cull up to 1.5 tons of medications.

    But it's not clear if incineration is better for the environment than the slow seepage from a landfill, cautions the Fish and Wildlife Service's Starinchak.

    Plus, take-back programs require legal oversight to make sure what's collected isn't then diverted for illegal use.

    Starinchak calls the yucky-bag disposal method interim advice — the top recommendation until more research can determine the best way to balance the human health, environmental and legal issues.

    So early next year, Fish and Wildlife will team with the American Pharmacists Association for a larger campaign called SMARxT Disposal. The campaign will spread this latest advice through even more drugstores, to purchasers of all types of medicine.

    "There is a $64,000 question here: Whether people really will get rid of it," says Carol J. Boyd, director of the University of Michigan's Institute for Research on Women and Gender and a well- known specialist on drug diversion.

    Say you're prescribed a week's worth of Vicodin for pain after a car crash, and you use only three days' worth. Most people would keep the rest, to avoid paying for more if they suffer serious pain for some other reason later. Boyd isn't sure how to counter that money issue.

    But keeping the leftovers makes them accessible for misuse by children, other relatives or visitors. Stealing aside, Boyd's research uncovered that friends and family openly share these pills — "Use this, it helped me" — even with teens and college students, apparently not realizing there could be serious health consequences.

    "The public needs to know this," Boyd says of the disposal advice. "What's not easy is, we don't know if it's working."


The cartoon up top is by Mark Parisi.

January 7, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

World's first landline phone custom ringtone player


Why should cellphone users have all the fun?

From websites:

    World's First Home Telephone Custom Ringtone Player

    This is the first device that personalizes your landline telephone with songs, movie sound-clips, or comedic greetings that play when someone calls.

    If you have caller ID, you can use the included PC software to assign unique ringtones to friends, family, and unwanted 800 numbers so you can identify a caller by ear.

    Ringtones are downloaded from your PC to the unit via the included USB cable.

    The player connects between your home's telephone jack and your telephone so it can read caller ID information, but it will not interrupt normal service.

    The device holds up to 10 free ringtones and comes with credits for additional downloads from a library of thousands of popular songs and audio clips from the manufacturer's website.

    A slot for a Flash SD memory card (not included) expands storage up to 1GB (250 ringtones).

    Requires Windows Vista, XP, 2000 SP4, 256MB RAM, 2x CD-ROM drive, and 275MB free hard drive space.

    3"H x 5"W x 1"D.


January 7, 2008 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wikia Search is now open for business — be the first in your cubicle farm to try it


Today's the premiere of Jimmy Wales' latest venture.

Long story short: Wikia Search differs from Google and the rest in one key feature — anyone can access and tweak its source code.

Here's Richard Waters' story about the new venture, from this morning's Financial Times.

    Wikipedia founder launches search engine

    An internet search engine that draws on human recommendations is due to make its first public appearance on Monday, although even its founder warns that it will take some time to tell if the experiment can yield useful results.

    Created by Jimmy Wales, the man behind online encyclopedia Wikipedia, the search service will let users rate the relevance of results on a five-star system, then apply that information to shape future search results shown to others.

    It will also draw on ideas from online social networking to try to establish reputations for its users and decide whose ratings should carry the most weight.

    The success of Wikipedia, now one of the 10 most visited sites on the internet, has guaranteed huge interest in Mr Wales's latest experiment, known as Wikia. In an interview, he said that his aim was "to build a completely freely licensed, open-source search engine" that would be far more transparent than Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and other existing services, which keep their algorithms for ranking search results a secret.

    Sceptics have argued that Mr Wales's more open approach risks exposing his service to the "spammers" who try to trick search engines into promoting their sites. Mr Wales himself predicted that it would take "a minimum of two years" for his service to yield results that were competitive with existing search giants.

    The new Wikia search engine will start with results drawn from its own machine-powered ranking, then try to refine these with ratings from actual users. While the service is open to anyone, only those who sign up, and disclose their identities, are able to submit ratings.

    Unlike the encyclopedia, which is run by a not-for-profit foundation, the Wikia search engine is being built as a commercial venture, and Mr Wales said he hoped eventually to make money from selling advertising on the site.


Good luck, Jimmy!

January 7, 2008 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wearable Sleeping Bag


Makes walking around in your pajamas all day so last century.

From the website:

    Lippi Selk'Bag

    The Lippi Selk'Bag is a revolutionary new sleeping bag system which allows you the maximum mobility you need whilst keeping warm.

    This new concept retains the functionality of the traditional sleeping bag; it's fun, comfortble and mobile!

    Lippi Selk’Bag is available in three different seasonal specifications depending on your requirements.

    Whether you are trekking in the mountains, cosying on the sofa or simply desire to be the coolest cat at a music festival, we have the Selk'Bag for you.


    • Move your legs and arms apart freely

    • Roll with your Selk'Bag, not in it

    • Stand without any trouble, walk, cross your legs and your arms, thanks to its reversible zippers.



Yellow, Green, Light Blue, Dark Red and Brown.


January 7, 2008 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

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