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December 13, 2008

Worst news of the week: 'Detroit newspapers may sharply cut home delivery'

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Why do I care so much about what's going down — literally and figuratively — in the Motor City?

Because what's happening there is the canary in the coal mine for those few of us antediluvian, atavistic and anachronistic readers who still think there's nothing like the real thing, inked dead tree matter sitting in our driveways or newspaper boxes every morning, placed there in the wee hours by elves we never see.

It's just not the same thing on a screen, besides which I can't tear out the articles for later posting and reference.

I guess I should've realized the type was on the wall when the Washington Post recently threw its own home delivery network under the bus, instead contracting it out to my Podunk town's Charlottesville Daily Progress's delivery people.

I must've been asleep at the switch.

Of course, I could always blame my crack research team for missing the significance of the Post's move, just as surgeons routinely remark "It's anesthesia's fault" whenever they encounter intraoperative problems.

But I digress.

The hoofbeats are getting louder every day, so much so that it seems to me a matter of months, not years, before the equivalent of "The Last Wave" hits U.S. newpapers and washes them all away.

I keep imploring a certain New York Times freelancer (she knows who she is so I won't embarrass her any more than I already have) to get her eponymous website up and running while she still has a print base but she's like me, a procrastinator who doesn't want to do something that frankly is a big pain in the butt at first, instead replying to a recent email from me that "I'm not letting checks from the Times gather dust."

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Come on, girlfriend — it's time.

December 13, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Pocket Food Support Kit

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From websites:
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Squishy Bowl Set — Pocket Food Support

Our favorite thing to eat is food and our favorite things to drink are liquids.

Sometimes it's hard to eat and drink at work because people use up all the paper cups and don't tell anyone.

And if you want a nice bowl of cereal, forget about it (unless you've brought a bowl from home).

We have the solution: the Squishy Bowl Set — two bulbous pieces of food-grade silicone that will rock your world forever.

The key to the Squishy Bowl set is this: the bowl and cup are squishy (we think that's how they got their name).

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You can shove them in a pocket, backpack, laptop bag, belly button (if it's big enough), and more.

They pop back into shape and are ready to go.

And the best part is how you clean them — to quote Backpacker magazine, "just turn one inside out and lick it."

Or let an office dog do it.

Either way, these highly portable, highly adaptive, microwave- (temperature-resistant to 400°F) and dishwasher-safe bowls and cups will make sure you never go hungry or thirsty again (food and beverage not included).

Bowl capacity: 16 oz.; 5"Ø.

Cup capacity: 6 oz.; 3"Ø.
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Slate (pictured), Tomato, Lime or Blue.

$16.98.

December 13, 2008 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Why the Financial Times is like General Motors

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Both organizations have rich histories and corporate cultures so embedded within their DNA that, as is the case with a viral sequence in a chromosome, nothing short of the organism's demise can prevent it from functioning as programmed.

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Witness this December 10, 2008 entry from the blog of the FT's chief foreign affairs columinst, Gideon Rachman: "I knew that there was something odd going on, when I woke up at 7am on Tuesday and found that over 200 e-mails had arrived in the seven hours that I had been in bed. It turned out that my article on world government had been "Drudged" — ie put on the much-read Drudge Report and this had set off a torrent of e-mail traffic.

"The pace of comments — and their vituperative tone — persuaded the blog-masters here to shut down the comments section on that article pretty quickly."

Oh. my. God.

The FT's "blog-masters" — obviously brain-dead when it comes to understanding how 21st-century media work and why it can bring huge returns if leveraged properly — pulled the plug on what could've been an opening for the fusty FT onto the world's bleeding edge tech stage.

I'm reminded of how, a few months ago, when I questioned the sourcing of a Wall Street Journal piece by David Foster Wallace, the paper's web team immediately took down the comments section for Wallace's essay.

That won't work, people.

Trust me....

In the WSJ's defense, the comments section — including mine — reappeared some time later.

Maybe a subsequent post I wrote noting my Stalinesque airbrushing hit a nerve.

Rachman showed about the same degree of incomprehension of the difference between the real world and flame space as the WSJ in his follow-up blog post of December 11, 2008 which began, "I think I’m going to take the precaution of closing the comments section on this posting, before I open it — so to speak."

The future is not very bright for those who aren't willing to stand out here in virtual space and take their licks.


December 13, 2008 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

LED Ear Warmers

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From the website:

    LED Ear Warmers Let You Hear And Be Seen By Traffic

    Going out for a cold weather run?

    Our LED Ear Warmers keep you toasty warm, yet are thin enough so you can hear traffic and stay safe.

    For night runs, the built-in LED light strip projects an easily visible bright red light.

    Can be left on or in flash mode to keep you safe in the dark.

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Note: If you live in a Podunk town like I do, something like this will only make you a more inviting target to yahoos who enjoy throwing things at you from their cars after dark.

Trust me on this: A few years ago I got hit right in the chest by something that proved, upon entering a lighted area, to be a raw egg.

The oval red imprint took over a week to disappear.

Fair warning.

$39.95.

December 13, 2008 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

LiveNewsCameras.com — It is what it says

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The world through a lens — a whole slew of lenses.

[via Virginia Heffernan's "The Medium" column in last Sunday's New York Times magazine]

December 13, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Baby's First MP3 Player — 'A music box for the 21st century'

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From websites:

    Baby's First MP3 Player

    A music box for the 21st century

    While MP3 players trend toward smaller and more function-filled with every iteration, tiny and complicated isn't really what you want in a toddler-friendly product.

    The important adjectives there are ones like "non-toxic," "durable," and "easy-to-find-when-misplaced-under-a-pile-of-toys."

    Baby's First MP3 Player is music to our ears, literally.

    It's a large rugged single-piece design, molded from rubber that meets FDA food-grade specifications.

    Three large buttons invite baby to play or stop the songs, and also hide a super-secret menu for parents which includes volume control, a must-have on any product for little ones.

    Instead of subjecting your iPod to curious little fingers, give your little ones their own MP3 player to do with as they wish.

    Your iPod will thank you.


    Specifications:

    Music preloaded from award-winning artist Susie Tallman & Friends and Jim Weiss, award-winning storyteller

    1 GB memory (16 hours at 128 kbit/s data rate)

    LCD display (track number and battery status)

    Headphone jack (headphones not included)

    1 AA battery (included) for 40 hours of use

    AC adapter jack (AC adapter not included)

    Programmable automatic shut-off timer

    Three programmable playlists

    USB port (cable included)

    Hidden volume control

    Integrated speaker

    For ages 0-6 years

    6-1/2"H

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Blue or Violet.

$59.95.

December 13, 2008 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Helpful Hints from joeeze: How to cut an onion

The debate's been raging since agriculture began — across to yield rings or pole-to-pole (far less visually appealing).

The returns are in, via Charles Kelsey's article headlined "Basic Vegetable Prep," appearing in the just-out January/February 2009 issue of Cook's Illustrated.

Wrote Kelsey, "The way in which onions are sliced makes no difference to flavor, but we find it does affect appearance, especially in soups, stews, and braises. Cooked in liquid, onions sliced against the grain (parallel with the root end) turn lifeless and wormy-looking. Sliced with the grain (pole-to-pole), onions retain more shape and become a more significant component of a dish."

There it is, then.

Nothing too large, nothing too small when it comes to improving your life — that's what we're all about.

Please note that in the video up top, the guy starts out by correctly slicing the onion in half pole-to-pole, then inexplicably lapses into half-rings for his grand finale.

Don't be like him.

Your pot roast will thank you.


December 13, 2008 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Carabiner Camera — Episode 2: Simpler, cheaper and easier to control

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Prolly 'cause it's intended for children (read TechnoDolts™, for whom the big-time iteration featured here this past Wednesday is way too complicated).

From websites:

Bean Sprout Carabiner Camera

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Camera fun for your little one

Help your little adventurer capture memories everywhere with the Bean Sprout Carabiner Camera.

The perfect size for younger fun lovers, this carabiner is the perfect way to introduce digital camera technology.

Plus, with the clip-on design, it's easier for your kids to keep up with.

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Features:

• LCD display [not viewfinder screen] so you can read photo count status and see the settings

• Camera automatically goes into Sleep Mode after 30 seconds of inactivity to extend battery life

• Self-timer mode automatically takes a picture after 10 seconds so you can be in the photo too

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• Continuous mode lets you continuously capture images for up to 3 pictures

• USB port makes it easy to connect your camera to your computer

• Clip-on design makes it easier for kids not to lose the camera

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What's in the box:

• Bean Sprout Carabiner Camera
• User's guide
• USB cable
• A/V cable
• CD-ROM
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Blue: $21.79.

Red: $17.99.

Pink: $20.35.

Yellow: $21.06.

December 13, 2008 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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