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May 27, 2018

Win-Win: Gift Certificates Shouldn't Have Expiration Dates


I often receive gift certificates (above, an exemplar from a couple weeks ago) for finishing among the top three in my age group at various local 5k races.

Some certificates have expiration dates, some don't.

The other day it occurred to me that both merchant and recipient benefit if the certificate has no expiration date.

From the merchant's point of view, since there's no pressure to use it by whenever, it's more likely to be put aside somewhere or lost: that's money in the bank.

The possessor of an undated certificate is happier not to have to use it by a certain date.

Making it undated also obviates the sort of irritation I felt recently when I finally decided to use a Chick-Fil-A sandwich gift certificate I won last year only to be told when I presented it at the drive-up window that it had expired December 31, 2017.


May 27, 2018 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Black Garlic


From Atlas Obscura:



Garlic growers have to find creative ways to preserve their harvest.

If left in a warm, humid environment for a few weeks, the pungent bulbs turn inky black.

Despite appearances, the yield isn't spoiled.

This fermented, savory iteration is simply called "black garlic."

By placing garlic in particular conditions, farmers induce the Maillard reaction — a chemical process responsible for the umami taste of seared meat.


The bulb's innards take on a sticky, jellied texture. As the enzymes that impart its characteristic sharpness break down, the garlic also develops sweet, savory, and earthy qualities.

Tasters liken the flavor to deep, caramelized, aged balsamic.

The shadowy ingredient has a long history as a health food in Korea.


In Japan, ramen chefs use black garlic oil to add an umami kick to steaming broth.

Italian restaurants also feature the savory bulb in spreads, in dressings, or as an accoutrement for meat and seafood.

Cooks sometimes dry and powder the cloves into a savory sprinkle that enhances dishes, akin to MSG.

At-home chefs can create their own black garlic, too.


Setting a rice cooker to "warm" will create an optimal environment, as long as you’re willing to wait for a couple weeks.

May 27, 2018 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)


Screen Shot 2018-05-25 at 12.38.11 PM

From CNET:


Would you wear this muzzle around the office for private calling?

A new accessory called BloxVox muffles your phone conversations in an open office. Just don't share it.

Back in January of 2017 I discovered a product at CES called HushMe that I described as "the weirdest, yet most useful wireless headphone ever created."

It was a voice-muffling contraption that that kept people around you from hearing your phone conversations.

HushMe seemed pretty unique but it now has competition. 

BloxVox, a new "voice privacy tool," has made its debut on Kickstarter and the entrepreneur behind it, Greg Umhoefer, says it's better than HushMe.

It's also different.

First, it's more compact.

Second, it's designed to work with your existing headphones that have an inline microphone, which tucks into a slit in the BloxVox.

Yes, it sounds weird, and I'm not going to spend any more time explaining it because the best way to understand it is to watch the video below.

However, I will point out that there's a little air hole in the front that allows you to breathe and have some air circulate in the muzzle (this seems like an important feature).

To be clear, I haven't tried Bloxvox yet — I'm just writing about it.



May 27, 2018 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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