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October 2, 2009

joeTV — almost there

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Longtime readers will recall that for years I've contended that bookofjoe — the blog — is merely a placeholder for something I dubbed joeTV.

Well, according to Roy Furchgott's "App of the Week" feature in the September 30, 2009 New York Times, if I had a device running Android I could "... broadcast live video and audio from [my] phone to a Web site [Ustream] where friends (and strangers) can view it. (A similar app exists for N-series Nokia phones and the iPhone, though the iPhone version doesn’t support live broadcasting, just saved Web videos.)"

Therein lies the rub for me: I'm just not gonna use a platform not created by Apple.

It's a TechnoDolt™ thing.

But I have to believe that Apple's gonna get with it sooner rather than later and take over this nascent space, at which time you'll be the first to know that joeTV is on the air.

Real soon now.

October 2, 2009 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Snow White's Revenge

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Apply within.

[via 9 to 5 MacBoing Boing Gadgets, and Milena]

October 2, 2009 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fountains of dismay greet Montblanc's 'Gandhi Pen'

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Long story (by Amy Kazmin in the September 30, 2009 Financial Times) short: Swiss luxury penmaker Montblanc has just come out with a $23,000 pen (above) to commemorate the austere, ascetic leader of Indian independence's birth on this date (October 2) in 1869.

Here's the article.

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Fountains of dismay greet Montblanc's 'Gandhi pen'

The Swiss penmaker Montblanc, in a jarring attempt to raise its profile in India, has unveiled a gold-and-silver fountain pen to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi, the independence leader whose austere asceticism was at the heart of his liberation campaign.

The limited-edition Ma­hatma Gandhi pen, priced at Rs1.1m ($23,000, €15,800, £14,400), has an 18-carat solid gold, rhodium-plated nib, engraved with Gandhi’s image, and “a saffron-coloured mandarin garnet” on the clip. The pens were unveiled this week, before the national holiday on Gandhi’s birthday.

Dilip R. Doshi, chairman of Entrack, Montblanc’s distributor in India, said the pen embodied Gandhi’s timeless philosophy of non-violence and respect for all living creatures. “We are creating a thing of simplicity and beauty that will last for centuries,” he said.

But Amit Modi, secretary of the 102-year-old Sabarmati Ashram that Gandhi founded to promote his ideas of radical egalitarianism and simple living, expressed dismay at the product, which he called “not relevant” to Gandhi’s name. “If he had seen this, he would have thrown it away,” Mr Modi said. “I cannot imagine why anybody has done this. We cannot recognise this.”

Indian companies generally shy away from using the image of the Mahatma, given his near-sainted status, and rare commercial uses of his face overseas have generated controversy. Yet the pens have received the blessing of Tushar Gandhi, the Ma­hatma’s often vocal great-grandson, who received €100,001 ($146,000, £91,500) from Montblanc to build a shelter for rescued child labourers.

“I know there is a contradiction between the man they are commemorating and the product they are commemorating him with, but you can’t expect a company like Montblanc to come out with a cheap thing,” he told the Financial Times.

Mr Gandhi, who led the outcry when his illustrious ancestor’s spectacles and other personal items were auctioned abroad this year, said Montblanc had shown “a lot of guts” to dedicate a luxury pen to the independence leader.

But Suhel Seth, a brand expert with Counselage, said using the image of Gandhi – a rare symbol of national unity in an often bitterly divided country – could backfire.

“Look at the illogical marketing,” Mr Seth said. “Montblanc is an elite product, a luxury product. Gandhi stood for everything that was non-elitist. Here is a pen that uses the idiom of a man who believed in third-class travel to promote a first-world product to luxurious desk tops.

“I think it’s such a misread of the Indian psyche. When you tinker around with that symbol of credibility, respect and honour, you risk a backlash that no brand needs or deserves.”

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Below,

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today's Google tribute.

October 2, 2009 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

40 Second Electric Toothbrush

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Good idea, though it does look a little scary.

I mean, come on, who really brushes for two minutes or however long your dentist is always telling you to?

From the website:

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40 Second Electric Toothbrush

This toothbrush thoroughly cleans all of your teeth in 40 seconds, reducing necessary brushing time by 66%.

Unlike typical toothbrushes that only clean one surface at a time, this advanced model has four heads that clean six surfaces — the front, back, and chewing surfaces of both top and bottom teeth — simultaneously.

The electric toothbrush automatically executes the Bass technique, a brushing method recommended by the American Dental Association: the bristles are aligned at a 45º angle and move towards and away from the gums 810 times per minute to remove bacterial plaque from teeth and gums.

The pivoting heads self-adjust to accommodate narrower front teeth and broader back teeth and the bristles have varying lengths to clean prominent tooth surfaces and hard-to-reach spaces.

Two included rechargeable AA batteries provide up to 60 uses after a 12-hour charge.  

Includes four soft bristle brush heads and a tongue cleaner.

7-1/2"L x 1-1/4"W x 1"D.

Charger plugs into AC.

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The caption for the graphic just above: "Unlike typical toothbrushes that only clean one surface at a time, this advanced model has four heads that clean six surfaces — the front, back, and chewing surfaces of both top and bottom teeth — simultaneously.

$99.95.

October 2, 2009 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Online Morse Code Conversion

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Copy that.

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[via Joe Peach]

October 2, 2009 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Paul Smith for Evian — Limited Edition

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Ships October 31, 2009, available in limited quantities until Christmas.

$13.95 (water included).

[via LikeCOOL]

October 2, 2009 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Welcome to the Ogori Mystery Café — Formerly of Kashiwa, Japan

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Long story short: "At this café, you get what the person before you ordered, the next person gets what you ordered."

Excerpts:

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We sat down to catch a break.

A few seconds later, I heard some halting English coming from my left.

"Hello! Please come here!"

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The cashier fumbled for the right words. "Please... buy something!"

OK, this was confusing, because up until this point nobody in Japan had ever outright asked — let alone strongly suggested — I buy anything, ever.

While I was a little uncomfortable, I didn't want to be rude. I grabbed a café menu, quickly translated some Katakana (you'll get surprisingly far in Japan by learning this phonetic alphabet!), and found something I kind-of almost... but not really... wanted.

"I'll take an orange juice, please," I explained, in poor Japanese.

"Hai!," was the eager response.

A few moments later, I picked up my orange juice.

Except it wasn't an orange juice.

It was an apple drink called "Appletizer," some weird candy, and a little card.

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Yeah. Now I was confused.

The guys behind the counter and I immediately launched into a humorous, protracted, Englishanese attempt to understand what the hell just happened. Through judicious fumbling, and after a lot of precise hand-waving and mangled pronouns, it turned out to be something like this:

At this café, you get what the person before you ordered. The next person gets what you ordered.

Welcome to the Ogori Café!

As I sat down to enjoy my surprise Appletizer, loving this insane idea and wondering what would happen if you tried it in America, a Japanese woman approached the cafe. Since she could actually speak Japanese, she could read the large sign at the front and, fortunately or unfortunately, got advance warning of what she was in for. Before making a final decision on what to order, she quietly snuck up to me to try to ask me what I had ordered, knowing that it would be her unwavering refreshment destiny. The staff put a quick stop to her trickery, and I didn't answer.

Of course, regardless of what she ordered, she got the orange juice I ordered a few minutes earlier. But here's one of the moments that make this experiment cool: she actually chose orange juice, just like I did. So she got what she wanted. Ogori Café synchronicity!

Before we left, there was one last thing that had to be done.

Mike went up to the cafe, slapped down a couple thousand yen (~$25), and ordered a little bit of everything: some ice cream, some snacks, some candy, some drinks — a Japanese horn-of-mysterious-plenty intentionally set up as a shocking surprise for the next lucky customer. (After his order, Mike received a single iced coffee.)

As we walked away from the cafe, with just the right amount of delay, we heard an extremely excited "Arigato goazimasu!! Thank you so much!!" yelled in our direction, from an ecstatic mom and her equally excited young son. They truly appreciated the surprise.

It was so worth it.

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For the record, here are the rules of the Ogori Café:

  1. Let's treat the next person. What to treat them with? It's your choice.
  2. Even if it's a group of friends or a family, please form a single-file line. Also, you can't buy twice in a row.
  3. Please enjoy what you get, even if you hate it. (If you really, really hate it, let's quietly give it to another while saying, "It's my treat…")
  4. Let's say "Thank You! (Gochihosama)" if you find the person with your Ogori Café card.
  5. We can't issue a receipt.

The Ogori Café was an unforgettable travel moment, and an idea that has stuck with me: It was a complete surprise in our day. It encouraged communication between total strangers or, in this case, members of the Kashiwa community and a couple of weird guys from Oregon. It forced one to "let go," just for a brief moment, of the total control we're so used to exerting through commerce. It led you to taste something new, that you might not normally have ordered. It was a delight.

Then... as quickly as it appeared, the Ogori cafe was gone.

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[via Adam P. Knave who wrote, "How cool! I really do wish we could try this here. I would go all the time just to order things for other people as a surprise. Best idea EVER!"

October 2, 2009 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Beeriodic Table

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From the website:

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Personalized Beeriodic Table

A dream come true for ale aficionados and chem majors.

An authentic periodic table of the elements (from Al/aluminum through Zn/zinc) gets a sudsy update with each element matched up to an actual microbrew label (from Alpha King to Zen Beer).

Personalize it with any name up to 12 letters.

Framed in black wood.

11"H x 16½"W.

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Since when was Guinnness a microbrew?

Yo, joe — 1760 and thereabouts; now be quiet and go away.

$109.95.

October 2, 2009 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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