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July 19, 2009

Turns out not all Kindle owners had their Orwell books deleted


The penny just dropped.

Yes, Amazon deleted "1984" and "Animal Farm" Friday.

But the Kindle only works in areas of the U.S. covered by Amazon's Whispernet.

So Amazon couldn't have deleted those two books from Kindles which at the time of the deletion were outside those coverage areas, including every other country in the world.

I wonder if when those owners reenter a Kindle coverage zone the books will be deleted or if it was a one-time signal, apparently not to be repeated ever again, according to Brad Stone's story in yesterday's New York Times.

Wrote Stone, "Amazon effectively acknowledged that the deletions were a bad idea. 'We are changing our systems so that in the future we will not remove books from customers’ devices in these circumstances,' Mr. Herdener [an Amazon spokesman] said.

July 19, 2009 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

High-Tech Travel Cap


Above, the X-ray.

From the website:


Scottevest TEC Hat

A hat designed for high-tech travel


Scottevest’s TEC (Technology Enabled Clothing) Hat protects your head, holds your essential items and even helps manage the wires from your iPod, MP3 player or cell phone.

It features a Velcro-sealed pocket under the brim and a zippered pocket on the right side of the cap.


Both are perfect for carrying cash, a credit card or a key.

The high-quality, stone-washed cotton construction gives it that instant "broken-in" look, and the Coolmax® inner lining keeps you cool and comfortable no matter what you’re doing.

One size fits most.



Stone, Gray or Black.


July 19, 2009 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Drop.io — 'This file will self-destruct' (whenever you want it to)


Clive Thompson's article about this new website in the August 2009 issue of Wired magazine brought it to my attention.

Long story short: "When you upload a file, the service asks you to put an expiration date on it. It could be a month, a few hours, even 'after five people have seen it.' If you don't set a date, the default is one year. And when that time arrives, the file is deleted."

They should add an option to let you have stuff disappear after you die.

Sure, if you have your wits about you, you steadily toss out things you wouldn't want people to find once you're gone.

Easily enough done in the real world.

Though I must say that sometimes I sigh as I consign bits of the past to oblivion, wishing there were a way to keep them from other eyes yet available to mine....


Thompson continued, "The result? Of the tens of millions of files uploaded to Drop.io in the past year and a half, two-thirds no longer exist. As company founder and CEO Sam Lessin says, Drop.io files are 'like little wormholes that pop into and out of existence for a specific purpose.'"

July 19, 2009 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Ice Cream Pushup Cones


Ooh, I'll take a set.

I loved pushups when I was a kid.

Back then they contained sherbet, as I recall.

I see them sometimes at 7-Eleven and often get one for old times' sake.

From the website:


Ice Cream Cool Cones


Bright, reusable push cones offer ice cream fun without the mess.

Simply scoop ice cream into tube, then push up handle to enjoy every bite.

Protective cap allows airtight freezer storage.



Four for $7.99 (ice cream not included).

July 19, 2009 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: One step beyond elite controllers of HIV are those who are completely immune

Yes, there are those among us who cannot be infected with HIV, no matter what.

Even better than controlling the virus once it's inside your body is the ability to prevent it from ever taking root.

Here's Charles Slack's Winter 2009 protomag.com article about these individuals and the tantalizing prospect of using their biological advantage to create a path to protecting the rest of humanity.


Another Route to a Cure?

One step ahead of elite controllers: people who are immune to HIV infection.

Elite controllers are not the only people able to resist AIDS; within another tiny group, a genetic mutation called delta 32 renders T cells (HIV’s usual targets) impenetrable — and in fact, protects them from becoming infected in the first place. It was stem cells from one of these exceptional individuals that German physicians used to purportedly cure a man of HIV infection, an achievement that was presented to scientists at a think tank at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in early 2008 and that received widespread publicity following a Wall Street Journal article in November. The results were startling: Almost two years after receiving two stem cell transplants in an attempt to cure his leukemia, the patient, a 40-year-old American who also had AIDS, stopped all HIV medications. With no detectable trace of the virus, he appears “functionally cured” of AIDS, according to scientists at the think tank who reviewed the case.

Though the word cure led to a spate of coverage, prominent AIDS researchers and even the physicians who performed the transplant cautioned against optimism. The rarity of the mutation, the cost of the procedure (around $250,000) and the dangers involved (infection and immune system complications yield a mortality rate as high as 30%) make transplants impractical for addressing the worldwide AIDS epidemic, they say.

However intriguing, the German case represents, at best, a lone victory. In an article on the Website of the Foundation for AIDS Research, Jeffrey Laurence, a physician and senior scientific consultant for the organization, says it’s unknown to what extent delta 32 was actually necessary; it’s conceivable that the very process of undergoing stem cell transplants played a major role in eliminating the patient’s AIDS.

In this case, as with elite controllers, answers may not be known until researchers better understand the basic workings of the immune system and how the virus subverts them.

July 19, 2009 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Lighted Portable Dry-Erase Magnetized Memo Board w/ Integrated Fold-Down Stand and Penholder


Is that a memo board in your pocket or — never mind, joe.

"Compact message board flashes with blue light to get attention."

Requires 3 AA batteries (not included).

Includes dry-erase pen with eraser.

Penholder atop board.

4.75" x 3.25".


July 19, 2009 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

WhereIWrite.org — 'Fantasy & Science Fiction Authors in Their Creative Spaces'


Res ipsa loquitur.


From the August 2009 Wired magazine: "While visiting Michael Swanwick's home, photographer Kyle Cassidy charmed his way into taking a peek at the author's workspace. Cassidy say he felt as if he'd 'cracked open Swanwick's skull and seen inside his genius.' Thus began a project: snapping photos at the lairs of award-winning authors like Joe Haldeman, Gregory Frost, Piers Anthony, and Neil Gaiman. It's 'Cribs' for the literary set."


Pictured from the top down in their lairs: Joe Haldeman, Frederik Pohl and Ben Bova.

July 19, 2009 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Can Caddy


From the website:


Can Caddy

Space-saving can caddy keeps drinks ready to go.

Each handy plastic rack stacks and holds four soda or beer cans.

Slim-line vertical design fits in refrigerator door to maximize space.

Easy-carry handle lets you tote it to picnics, sporting events, fishing trips — anywhere you want a drink on the go.

11.5"H x 4.25"W x 3"D.



Two for $7.98 (libations not included)/

July 19, 2009 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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