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May 28, 2009

iPhone Reader Preview: 'Done and done.' — Waldo Jaquith

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No sooner my May 25, 2009 post on the subject appear than Waldo Jaquith shot back, "done and done."

And so it is.

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Thanks, Waldo.

[and Marshall]

May 28, 2009 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

New Bowl Table No. 3

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Designed

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by

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Sebastian 

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Errazuriz.

May 28, 2009 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Helpful Hints from joeeze: What's the best way to defrost bread?

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Maria Asenjo of Birmingham, Alabama asked this question of Cook's Illustrated, whose crack research team did what they do ever so well to come up with the answer; the exchange, which appears in the July/August 2009 issue, follows.

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Defrosting Sandwich Bread

Q.
I often freeze sandwich bread to prevent it from going stale. What is the best way to defrost the bread? My mother tells me I should zap it in the microwave, but my grandmother says it's best to leave it out at room temperature. Who is right?

A. We thought that removing slices of bread from the freezer and letting them thaw at room temperature would be the best approach, but our assumption was wrong. After having a conversation with our science editor and performing a few experiments, we realized that by leaving the bread at room temperature, we would be submitting it to an environment that would actually stale it.

As frozen bread warms, its starch molecules begin to form crystalline regions, which absorb the water in bread. The process, called retrogradation, will eventually produce a dry, stale texture. The best way to thaw frozen bread is to place the slices on a plate (uncovered) and microwave them on high power for 15 to 25 seconds. This will get the starch and water molecules to break down the crystalline regions, producing soft, ready-to-eat bread.


May 28, 2009 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Cupcake Frosting Flavored Floss

Cupcake floss

Just in from the floss skunk works out back, this running mate of last month's Breakfast Floss.

From the website:

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Frosting Flavored Cupcake Floss

Turn a boring nightly routine into a party in your mouth with Cupcake Floss!

Be careful though, the delicious frosting flavor might turn you into a flossaholic!

Each 2-1/2" tall plastic dispenser contains 27.3 yards of waxed floss.

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$4.95.

[via caroline]

May 28, 2009 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Jim Collins' Secret of Success

Kpokk

Long story short: Be lucky and good — and work like a dog.

That's the gist of Adam Bryant's entertaining story about the business guru, which appeared on the front page of the May 24, 2009 New York Times Business section; excerpts follow.

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Mr. Collins, who is 51, keeps a stopwatch with three separate timers in his pocket at all times, stopping and starting them as he switches activities. Then he regularly logs the times into a spreadsheet. 

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“I think it’s just pure luck,” says Mr. Collins, parsing his track record in an interview here. “You flip a coin and it comes up heads, and you flip a coin and it comes up heads, and you flip a coin and it comes up heads, and one day you have four heads in a row. You can’t really say you made it come up heads.”

****************

Part of the Jim Collins method borrows from other hypersuccessful people. He approaches every aspect of his life with purpose and intensity.

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Four days after his first date with Joanne Ernst in the spring of 1980 — an eight-mile run when both were students at Stanford — they were engaged, and married later that year.

When she announced over breakfast one day that she thought she could win an Ironman Triathlon, Mr. Collins gave up his job at Hewlett-Packard to help her train, be her roadie and negotiate her sponsorships with companies like Nike and Budweiser. Joanne won the 1985 Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon.

Back then, he says, his wife was the better-known half of the couple, and everyone assumed that his name was Jim Ernst.

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This orientation — a willingness to say no and focus on what not to do as much as what to do — stems from a conversation that Mr. Collins had with one of his mentors, the late Peter F. Drucker, the pioneer in social and management theories.

“Do you want to build ideas first and foremost?” he recalls Mr. Drucker asking him, trying to capture his mentor’s Austrian accent. “Zen you must not build a big organization, because zen you will end up managing zat organization.”

Therefore, in Jim Collins’s world, small is beautiful.

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For each book, he hires a research team of university students, up to a dozen at a time, to help him during long summers of work. He is picky about whom he hires, typically from Stanford and the University of Colorado. They’re not always business students; they might be studying law or engineering or biochemistry.

He prefers to learn as much as he can about them before he meets them. “Because if I meet them, I may like them, and then all the assessment of the person is going to be filtered by the fact that I like them, and what I really want to see is the quality of their work,” he says.

So he will look at their transcripts. “If they even have a small glitch in their academic record over the last year, they don’t really get considered,” he says. “I need people who have that just weird need to get everything right.”

If they clear other hurdles, he will finally meet them in person. He’s looking for four intangibles: smart, curious, willing to death-march (“there has to be something in their background that indicates that they just will die before they would fail to complete something to perfection”) and some spark of irreverence (“because it’s in that fertile conversation of disagreement where the best ideas come, or at least the best ideas get tested”).

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Writing is not so much fun — “painful,” “excruciating” and “brutal” is how he describes the process.

It is slow going.

“If I’m going really, really fast, I can do a page of finished text a day, on average,” he says. A 36-page monograph he published, “Good to Great and the Social Sectors,” took him the better part of two years to write. It sold 400,000 copies.

He then gets feedback from a large circle of people. To make sure they don’t hold back, he refers to them as his “critical readers,” and types in large letters atop the manuscript, “Bad First Draft.”

“That gives them the freedom to say, ‘Jim already knows it’s bad, so let me tell him how it’s bad,’ ” he says.

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If I were still in school I would so try with everything I had to get a job on Collins' research team.

I love his approach.

May 28, 2009 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Bird Hook

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A 2007 design by Moa Jantze, Hanna Brogård and Johanna Asshoff of Stockholm-based Jantz Brogård Asshoff.

Stoneware, each bird 5cm x 18cm.

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Apply within.

[via my7475]

May 28, 2009 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

RunPee.com — 'Can you hold it?'

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Long story short: Dan Florio's website lists lulls in movies so viewers can visit the W.C. without missing anything important.

He writes, "Follow @RunPee on Twitter and you can heckle me as I work on the site."

May 28, 2009 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Shake-a-Pix — 'World's first digital photo frame with integrated motion sensor'

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That's different.

From the website:

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Shake-a-Pix Portable Digital Photo Frame

• Simply shake your photo frame to browse through up to 90 photos

• Credit-card size — 6cm x 9cm x 0.6cm (2.4" x 3.5" x 0.2")

• Hold button to stay on single picture

• 2.4" high-contrast TFT display

• Built-in flip-out USB port.

• Auto slide show feature

• 2.5 hour battery life

• Steel and acrylic

• 64MB memory

• Super-slim

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$47.89.

May 28, 2009 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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