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November 17, 2008

Françoise Hardy sings Leonard Cohen's 'Suzanne'

His 1967 song made him a star.

Ms. Hardy's December 31, 1968 New Year's Eve performance above featured lyrics translated by Graeme Allwright and appears on her 1968 album "Comment Te Dire Adieu."

She sang an English version on her 1970 album"One Nine Seven Zero."

November 17, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Solar Clock


What goes around comes around... as it were.

Now you can tell time with the sun — just like your Druid ancestors.

From the website:

    Solar Clock

    This handy solar-powered clock [designed by Adrian Allen] is as handsome as it is practical and eco-friendly.

    With a smart and simple solar panel on its front it's a far cry from the days of those dodgy calculators you had to hold under a bright light to use.

    But as well as being functional, this little clock has a clean and unfussy design that lets you stand it up whichever way you want.

    To boot, its solar power means that you'll never be caught in the twilight zone wondering what the time really is after a night-time power cut.

    Supplied with two sets of hands (long & short) to give you the options of freestanding or wall-mounted.




[via Alistair Why]

November 17, 2008 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Human-Powered Mobile Treadmill — Just when I thought I'd found the ultimate iteration, along comes this puppy...

Last week's "My next treadmill" post is suddenly inoperative, what with the appearance on the scene of the one featured in the video above.

Long story short: It's alive!

At least it's mobile, one of the cardinal signs of life.

Wrote the good folk at Burbia:

    Consider This The Stupidest Exercise Machine You'll Ever See

    Sometimes you come upon something so ridiculous, so on-its-face laughably stupid, you just want to stop everything and enjoy. That's what we did when we first saw this investors' demo video of SpeedFit, a new concept in exercise technology: The Mobile Treadmill... a treadmill designed specially to move/walk down the street while you're treading.

    Because, let's see, walking down the street without a treadmill is too tough?


Then there's Abbas Raza's review on 3quarksdaily:

    The proud creators of SpeedFit are now looking for investors

    Seriously — and this vid is their pitch. Sure, if you want to walk or run down the street for exercise, you can... walk or run down the street. But with SpeedFit, now you can do the exact same thing only on a contraption that costs a ton of money, is a pain in the ass (it's one heavy mo-fo), is a potential traffic hazard and can only barely turn corners. Kind of like marketing a spanking new heart-lung ventilator-machine to 100% healthy people who are perfectly capable of breathing on their own. Sign us up!


I like how at the end of the video the treadmill pulls up even with a Porsche.

Made me invent a new bumper sticker right then and there, to wit:


Catchy, what?

[via ShanMonster and Nikolas R. Schiller]

November 17, 2008 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

World's Smallest Universal Slim USB Car Charger — Price: 1 Cent


No tricks!

My friend Thomas over at USBFever just tipped me to his company's holiday gift to the masses, as follows:

    Hi Joseph,

    Just a message to you that we have a cool item on sale for one cent.

    Even with $2.99 shipping, the price is $3!


Tell you what, that beats — by a Podunk/country mile — the best price you'll find anywhere in the world for such a device, whether it's down the street at Radio Shack or Akihabara.

From the website:

Universal Slim USB Car Charger

We want to fight against the so-called 'Financial Tsunami' with you.
We want you to be one of our customers!
We wish you Merry Christmas too!

So we've arranged this quality USB Car charger for you.

The cost is US$0.01 with a $2.99 shipping charge.

As the quantity is limited and we want more people to benefit from it, so basically each person is limited to one, however, we understand that some people may also want this as a gift for their family, loves... we allow everyone to buy up to a maximum of 10 in a time but we also charge the item's shipping cost, so each additional item is US$3 including the shipping charge.

In other words, 10 chargers cost a total of $30.

It is at the basis of first-come-first-serve and we reserve all the rights to have more terms and conditions as we deem it is suitable at any time.

For shipment, we normally ship this item out in ~5-7 days, we will try our best to ship in 2 days, however.


• Ergonomic: 110° angle makes the USB connector in a safe place that you will not accidentally bump/knock into

• Probably world's smallest

• High power (1000mA)

• Sleek surface



• Input: DC 12-24V DC (simply just plug into your car lighter socket)

• Works with any USB charger cable

• Output: DC 5V/1000mA

• LED power indicator

This accessory can charge the following devices:

• iPhone 3G (or iPhone 2.0)
• iPhone 2G (or iPhone 1.0)
• iPod Touch 1st/2nd Gen
• iPod Classic
• iPod 3rd Gen
• iPod 4th Gen (Photo)
• iPod 5th Gen (Video)
• iPod Nano 2nd/3rd/4th Gen
• iPod Mini
• Other USB-powered devices


1 cent (tell Thomas I sent you and he might even give it to you free — just kidding).

November 17, 2008 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Verlyn Klinkenborg on real maps and virtual worlds


Verlyn Klinkenborg's November 12, 2008 New York Times "Editorial Observer" feature opened with a commentary on the ongoing effort to create a new interactive map of the New York City sewer system but quickly broadened its focus — as his essays are wont to do — to a meditation on the nature of maps in general, to wit: "In other words, a surface map is really a map to all the maps hidden within it.... In a sense, it approximates how we tend to know the world."

The Times piece follows.

    Map Upon Map: New Dimensions in What Maps Can Do

    I was struck, several months ago, by a piece in The Times about the effort to create a new interactive map of the New York City sewer system. For nearly a decade, the Bureau of Water and Sewer Operations — a branch of the Department of Environmental Protection — has been scanning its archive of old engineering maps onto what will soon be a digital map of the system.

    Most of those old maps are covered with notes about changes and updates to the system, as are the tens of thousands of index cards that also record field data about the grid beneath us. Some of those maps and cards date back a century and a half, and the system they describe — 6,000-plus miles of pipe — is both a study in sober city planning and a miracle of improvisation.

    Most of us will never get to use the result of all this underground mapping — after all, it’s sensitive information. But we do get to use the surface map of the city that was created to provide a reference grid for the Department of Environmental Protection’s subterranean map. (It can be found at ,a href="http://gis.nyc.gov/doitt/cm/CityMap.htm">http://gis.nyc.gov/doitt/cm/CityMap.htm)

    At first, NYCityMap feels a little clunky, especially if you’re used to navigating in Google Maps. But what’s interesting are its hidden dimensions. With a few clicks, you can pull up an unbelievable wealth of information about any address or neighborhood. You can find the nearest greenmarket, the year of construction on almost any building, the record of restaurant inspections in the neighboring blocks, etc. In other words, the surface map is really a map to all the maps hidden within it. It is an extensive municipal guide to New York City, organized geographically.

    There is a pleasing logic to this kind of organization, to layer after layer of data embedded within a scalable map. In a sense, it approximates how we tend to know the world.

    Think of returning to your neighborhood after a trip or driving to your parents’ house. You can almost feel the increasing depth of your knowledge as the terrain becomes more familiar. What you know isn’t just the superficial arrangement of streets and highways. You have a rich array of geographically organized information, some of it practical — how far to the good grocery store — and some of it emotional.

    It’s easy to assume that the real revolution in mapping is the global positioning satellite and Google revolution — the ability to pinpoint yourself in real time on a digital map using G.P.S. technology and to move effortlessly around the globe, at increasing levels of detail, as you can in Google Maps and Google Earth. But the real revolution lies in the layering of data onto these already kinetic methods of viewing the world. In a very real sense, the virtual planet becomes our index to what we know about the actual planet.

    Curiously, this shift in the information that maps contain only heightens the romance of what I can’t help calling flat maps. I think of one of my favorite maps of all time — the old AAA map to what it guilelessly called Indian Country, the Navajo Reservation and the Southwest. The map itself is an evocative piece of work — somehow far more suggestive of the resonance in that rugged landscape than most maps usually are. But I like my copy because it was my dad’s and because I can visualize so many of the roads that trail across it and because I kept a mileage log, from one cross-country trip, in the margin.

    What we gather in maps is shared information, and what we take from them is, so often, personal. And that is their beauty, whether they are digital and overlaid with information or flat. Sooner or later you drive off the edge of the map you’re using and into your private knowledge of the world around you. The maps that will never be drawn are the ones that live in our own heads.

    I could, if I put my mind to it, lay down a map of all the fencing on my farm, where the posts stand, where the wires intersect, where the electricity enters and where the repairs are needed. I could map out the circular spots where the pigs have lived over the years, as if they were ancient settlements. But in the end I would only be mapping it for myself, and the map I need is already in my head.

November 17, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Precision Spoon Scale — 'Fine tune your recipes'


There are those who will think outside the kitchen space.

For example, my one-off drug dealer dorm roommate back at UCLA my sophomore year, who would have found this tool far preferable to the balancing scale he used to weigh his wares.

He specialized in speed but offered cocaine, mary jane, LSD, peyote and shrooms for those who liked a little variety.

He told me I was welcome to anything that interested me — free — but me, I wasn't the type and never took him up on the offer.

Instead, I recall a very pleasant year going to sleep while his little desk lamp focused on his ledgers and materials as he worked throughout the night, happily fueled by his own 100% pure product.

But I digress.

From the website:

Precision Spoon Scale — Fine Tune Your Recipes

If you're a serious chef, you know that volumetric measurement is terribly imprecise. Let's say you're making biscuits. The recipe says 1 cup of flour, but are we talking 200 grams or 270 grams? Depending on humidity, or how much your flour was compacted when you scooped it, that could make the difference between light and flaky and hockey pucks.

With baking, precision is absolutely vital. Measure your wet ingredients and your dry ingredients with our new ultra-precise spoon scale. With two spoons included, you can scoop out just the right amount of sugar, or even one-tenth of a gram of salt! To get this level of precision, you'd normally need a separate scale, but we've combined two immensely useful kitchen gadgets into one, and we love dual-use devices in the kitchen!

The graduated scales on the sides of the spoon will help you measure out your volumetric measurements, or you can use the LCD display built into the handle to measure the weight. It can weigh as little as one one-tenth of a gram all the way to 300 grams. So, whether you're trying to faithfully recreate grandma's secret recipe for gingerbread cookies or fine-tune your barbecue spice rub, you'll need to have precision on your side. Grab your spoon and go! Allez cuisiner!



• Combination spoon and scale

• Switchable between grams and ounces

• Graduations on the spoon measure volume

• Precise from 0.1 to 300g (0.005 to 10.5oz)

• Measures 23cm x 5cm x 2.5cm (9" x 2" x 1")

• Weight approx. 90g (3oz) including batteries (included)



November 17, 2008 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Name Generator — 'A name generating tool for authors'

Think outside the authorial space — say that of aliases, etc.

From the website:

    Name Generator

    Our name generator can spit out over 463 billion different first and last name combinations.

    To make it a more interesting and useful tool, when you find a name that strikes your fancy, you can assign "tags" to that name to describe it.

    It might be characteristics for an imaginary person who has that name, your first thoughts upon viewing the name, or even describing the name itself — it's up to you.


[via Milena]

November 17, 2008 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Waterproof Boot Vase


Traditional Czech blue onion pattern.

Designed by Maxim Velcovsky.

Left or Right.



November 17, 2008 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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