Saturday, November 7, 2009

Super High Output a No-SHO: Ford and the Dumbing Down of America

Apparently, Ford has little regard for its potential customers and their intellect. It feels either their memories are too short or their brains are too full to understand S.H.O. versus "SHO."

In 1989, Ford set the automotive world afire with with the 3.0L, 220hp, V6, Taurus Super High Output, or S.H.O.

Back in the day, we were impressed with 220 hp from a naturally aspirated V6.

Today, Ford has revived the S.H.O. moniker for a 3.5L 365hp, twin-turbo charged V6. To be honest, 365 hp from a 3.5L, force inducted engine can hardly be considered "Super High Output", but come on! "SHO?" Have you no shame?

Interestingly, this is not the first occasion Ford has taken to spoon feed a naming convention to its customers. Take for instance the 1993-1998 Lincoln Mk VIII. If you were interested in one of babies, you would go to your local dealership and inquire about the "Lincoln Mark Eight". Today, after skipping the Mk IX, we have the MKX. Ford apparently felt customers had so much difficulty with Roman Numerals that they couldn't be troubled with the name "Mark Ten" so they have thrown in the towel and refer to the vehicle as the "MKX".

Aside from being a complete departure from decades of "Mark" names, this adds to the confusion in the alphabet soup names of the Luxury market.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Order Of Operations

We all remember FOIL from Algebra I.


Following these steps was the key to unlocking binomials. While almost everybody is able to maneuver through basic Algebra, why do I see the order of operations violated so many times during everyday life?

How many people do you see fill their paper cup with piping hot coffee before putting on a cup sleeve?

Isn't it much easier, quicker and safer to put the sleeve on before filling it with a potentially law-suit inducing, hot, beverage?

I can't wait for Android 2.0! My Treo 700P's days are numbered

I am so excited about the coming barrage of Android phones. I have been a sideline fan of the iPhone since it was released, only to quickly realize, it was still an Apple product :(

I quickly got on the Palm Pre bandwangon, only to discover it was simply an iPhone-lite. By lite, I don't mean to imply that it is less capable than the iPhone, but rather it was developed in the same walled garden vein as the iPhone, by ex-Apple employees.
  • No Expansion Card
  • No Video @ Launch
  • Sacrifice usability for style- ie. Useless center button in lieu of a time / motion saving directional pad
  • <100>
  • Limited memory allotted to Apps in System Memory
I wish Palm had adopted the Android platform and customized it to the extend they appear to have made WinMo usable on their earlier WinMo phones.

Today, I get a lot out of my 750P. More than the iPhone has to offer regarding streaming podcasts with Kinoma. I can stream my TV to my phone via Slingplayer Mobile and am not tied to WiFi networks.

It seems SlingMedia has such a bad taste in its mouth from creating a marginalized Slingplayer Mobile for the iPhone that only works on a WiFi network, that they are not anxious to develop an app for the Android or Palm community. Let them know what you think here. UPDATE 1.10.10

I checked out the HTC Hero on Sprint's launch day. Loved the phone and Sense UI interface, Despised the virtual keyboard. NOTE: I have since heard there is an extensive calibration process that I did not try. Hopefully that will make the keyboard at least as good as the iPhone, which I can barely tolerate.

Next up, Samsung Moment. I have never been much of a physical keyboard fan, but no longer have Palm's Graffiti to rely on. The Moment should be miles ahead of the Hero with its keyboard. The improved processor and flash is also attractive as well, but it is without Sense UI.

The DROID on Verizon seems to incorporate a much improved Android 2.0 interface with a physical keyboard and fast processor.

If Verizon hadn't lied to me on multiple occasions, I would be lining up for the new DROID. Motorola's questionable user interfaces of the RAZR also make me wary of the end-all-be-all, iPhone killer that Droid is made out to be.

Hopefully I will make the jump soon!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Google Listen - Android's Answer to Kinoma Player?

It looks like the PalmOS legacy may be one step closer to being overtaken by the iPhone, WebOS and Android tri-fecta. With the October 11th release of the HTC Hero, it seems like I will finally make the jump into the modern era of smartphones. I really, really wanted to like the Palm Pre, but there is too much Apple influence and it is growing too slowly for my tastes at the moment, I may check back with Palm WebOS in a year or so, but the HTC Hero with the Sense UI have me really intrigued right now. What did Palm do in anticipation of the Hero launch? They served up the Pixi with a fantastic form factor, but dumbed it down by omitting WiFi and an external memory slot.

I have been a hold-out Treo 700P user for over 3 years. I wanted to like the iPhone when it was introduced. I went to the Apple store the day after it was launched and played with the stunning GUI for over 30 minutes before admitting it was definitely not for me. Simple? Yes. Easy to use? Check. Useful? Not Quite.

I am so accustomed to:

Kinoma Player- I listen to podcasts literally every day. NPR hourly news multiple times, TED talks on occasion, Adam Carolla, This Week in Google. I don't have a set listening schedule and I can't be bothered with subscribing to podcasts in iTunes and downloading them to my phone. I want to find and listen to casts instantaneously. Kinoma player allows me to do this on my Treo 700P. The user interface is tired, yet functional after all these years.

-----> Google Listen and DoggCatcher both seem to offer the functionality of Kinoma on a modern platform. I am VERY enouraged by this.

ents to Go- Creating and editing real MS Office documents and syncing them with my laptop. Rarely does a day go by that I don't jot a business idea or blog post into a word file. I could use a "cloud" version of google docs, but I do find myself on planes enough that I am much more comfortable with native files. For all you sneering about my comments regarding audio streaming above, calm down. When I am preparing for a trip, I may stream & download a few podcasts to the phone in the airport lounge prior to boarding. I like to keep my options open all the time.

----->Available for $29.99 in the Android Market! I paid $30 for Kinoma player and a similar amount for Docs 2 Go several Palm OS devices ago.

SlingPlayer- This is the tricky one. iPhone has a useless version of this that restricts use to WiFi networks only. If I have access to a WiFi network, there is a good chance that:
A. I am at Home and can watch my own TV
B. I am in a public location that does not lend itself to uninterrupted TV viewing.

Sling seems unwilling to develop an app for Android. Orb seems like it may be a convoluted option.

Google Android Slingbox Update 9-11-09

Sling has officially "declined" the feedback started in the ROCK THE VOTE post.

Click here and you may still leave comments and vote for this idea.

UPDATE 1-10-10 - Good News! Flash 10.1 will (finally) Bring Slingbox to Android & Palm Web OS

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Oxymoron: "Graffiti Artist"

Villaragosa. Urban decay. Los Angeles.

Words that depress rather than inspire.

It would probably be a challenge to reach back into the depths of Los Angeles' storied history to a point that the city actually inspired the imagination of the country. I am sure there were days when the lure of Hollywood cast its glow on the image of Los Angeles, but those days are long gone.

Today the city is an ill managed symbol of class segregation. West LA and the Rest of LA. Disney-like idyllic living (albeit at a huge monetary cost) west of the 405 and gang-land east of the 405.

It kills me when middle class Gen Xers hop on the "urban" bandw

agon and glorify the efforts of mediocre vandals.

Tagging is everywhere in LA. For those of you that like to think the

tagging is somehow artistic, I challenge you to travel to Paris, where the tagging is actually much more pleasant to look at, but still very annoying.

It shocked and depressed me to find the following stories helping a bedridden tagger use technology to tag again (thankfully in a less permanent manner).

Eyewriter & LAist

I wouldn't be surprised if these clowns offered to do the tagger a favor and trace his virtual tags with actual paint.

TemptOne or TempTone is the name of this clown and he has a much more well traveled website than this blog. He also has sponsors that I plan on avoiding.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Thinkpad, It's the little things

Since Lenovo's purchase of the ThinkPad brand of business oriented laptops from IBM, they have made subtle changes to the product without really diluting the features that made the IBM's so great.

In my opinion, there have been two, minute changes that annoyed me in the Lenovo era.

1. The Power, Volume and Access IBM keys- The design of these keys changed on from the T40 series to the T60 series. The keys looked cheap. I have no data to prove that the design was driven by cost savings concerns, but they sure appeared to be that way.
2. The Blue and Red highlights on the TrackPoint were removed. It seems hard to argue that this was not a cost savings effort. Although I never look at the keyboard or TrackPoint when I type, I have to say I missed the color contrast with the stark black (which I loved).

David Hill, ThinkPad Designer, has given us a breif peak at the a new ThinkPad. The video below shows small improvements to the proven keyboard. Simply increasing the size of the ESC and Delete keys seems like a no-brainer, now that they took that step...

Items 1 & 2 have also been addressed:
New Volume & Power Buttons

Touchpad Color
The keys in the video have the color accents and I beleive the newer X300's also have this feature.

David, keep up the good work!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Keep Learning- Small Tips; Firefox, Excel Keyboard Shortcuts

Keep learning. Strive to be more efficient. Ask questions, but make sure you answer them. Especially those things that bother you everyday.

Today I finally learned how to tab between TABS in Firefox and Google Chrome (probably works in IE too, but I care so little about IE, I won't even take the time to open it and check while I write this post)

Here it is ladies and gentlemen:

Cntrl+Page Up/Cntrl+Page Down

Simple, Easy and Elusive.

Just so happens this same shortcut works with Excel to toggle between TABS.

Enjoy it and keep answering your own questions.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Kinoma Player, Slingbox, Pandora & Documents to Go, PALM PRE is Ready to ROLL!

The Palm Pre release is rapidly approaching and I am excited to put my Treo 700P behind me. I have resisted temptation to migrate to the iPhone's walled garden and it seems I will be rewarded for the wait.

The 700P is closing in on three years old and was essetially the last innovation Palm offered up before going dark (aside from the lower priced Centro line). The once vaunted Palm OS was left for dead years before it even hit the 700P. Developers kludged together great applications for the Palm platform before users had been exposed to Apple's "App" marketing speak.

Today I can watch my home TV with SlingPlayer,
STREAM podcasts with Kinoma Player and create MS Office documents with DataViz Documents to Go. The iPhone can't really do any of the above. You can stream select podcasts if there is an App associated with them and Pandora is a great way to stream music, but that's it. No SlingPlayer and no native MS Office Docs. I forgot to mention I can take videos on the 700P as well.

Enter The Pre

Kinoma was the must-have for me to move to the Pre. I literally use this to stream several podcasts everyday. UPDATE 6.17.09- Motion Apps does not support sound at this time. From the Motion Apps Blog: "
Classic v1.0 does not support sound but Classic v1.1 will provide a level of support for streaming audio. Classic v1.1 will be released very soon after the initial launch of v1.0 and will be available as a free upgrade to all existing users of Classic v1.0"

Not sure how sync will work.

Note Graphics are hyperlinked.

What is the Pre
Graffiti 1 Input was the most satisfying method of input for PDAs/Phones. Xerox sued over its use and forced the similar, but crappy, Graffiti 2 on future Palm users. Graffiti 2 and Americans unwillingness to learn new things sealed Graffiti's fate. You could use it with all Palm OS systems with the touch screen, but my understanding is the iPhone and the Pre screens are not capable of stylus input. A true shame and I hope Graffiti will make a comeback. Chinese character input practically dictates the use of a stylus and Asian demand may bring back Graffiti in some form in the future.

VIDEO- I have literally taken less than 20 videos over the 3 years with my 700P, but it seems like a step back giving up this functionality. Rumors claim video will be available at, or shortly after launch.

SD Card- Teal Backup was a lifesaver on my 700P. Say I am in a foreign country without cell access and I am using my Treo as a PDA with trip information. If the phone crashes and wipes all my data, I simply have to go to the backup and restore EVERYTHING (aside from a few custom settings). This scenario happened to me in China, and somewhere else. It is not uncommon and the SD card is the perfect solution, not the CLOUD!

Monday, May 18, 2009, Hello, Internet, We've been waiting for you... stormed onto the scene May 15th offer a plethora of data accessible by simple query. Were Google searches the web for information, Wolframalpha searches databases to provide you with succinct information on a variety of tops ranging from historical weather to calculus. It will even help with crossword puzzles!

WRA, I have taken the liberty to apply the obligatory acronym, comes in a day and age when the new-ness of the internet has worn off. People have stopped exploring, stopped "Surfing" and have likely become comfortable with a handful of sites they use every day. Google for search, Google News for current events, Gmail for email and Facebook or Twitter for social networking.

Getting back to basics and realizing there is an un-manageable amount of data out there in cyberspace that has to be tracked down discretely where its content owner/provider has posted it has really taken the fun out of exploring. The time it takes to peruse Wikipedia and scan an article for a few bits of pertinent information may not seem like a lot, but it is all essentially wasted time.

Yahoo Pipes has allowed the common user to build pipes with little knowledge of the workings of the internet to distill live information into RSS Feeds. These feeds are read by readers such as Google Reader. This gets streams of information in one area, but the user is still tasked with distilling the information down to data.

WRA is the tool, the brute force, that is the next step of the internet. Forget about Web 2.0 where stoners were supposed to revolutionize the net by commenting on the taco stand down the street. WFA is a useful, shift in the way we interact with the web and begin to treat it like a gigantic lookup table of all digitally indexed information.

Is WRA a threat to Google? Those who claim it is are missing the point. Using a point to access and calculate reams of data does not compete with the ability to search stories and context. WRA has created a niche and hopefully will start the ball rolling on the next iteration of the web.

At this point, I have only played with WRA a couple hours and watched their 13 minute "quick" introduction. I am anxious to learn their method of accessing data, do they host it or point to existing databases? What db standards are they using and how easily can they point to new data sources? What vetting process goes into testing the data before it goes into production?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Beyond VLOOKUP: Using Names & INDIRECT Function

Using named ranges has several benefits:
  • Formulas are easier to follow if they use logical names instead of cell references.
  • If your ranges change size, grow in length or some other dimension, you can easily change the definition of the range to accommodate the change. If you do not use names, you would have to change the cell references in all of your formulas.
  • You can use the INDIRECT function to refer to ranges
Naming Cells/Ranges:
Highlight the cell or range of cells and then type the name in the cell reference box.

This function is so powerful, so useful and so underutilized, I am afraid I might not be able to do it complete justice.

  1. Indirect will allow you to reference individual cells by building a reference within a formula: Want to retrieve the value in Cell A1? Use this formula: =INDIRECT("A1")
  2. The true power of INDIRECT comes from its ability to build a name. Put the name of an variable or range in one cell and then add a number to it: Example Cell B9 contains RANGE and you want to reference RANGE2 =INDIRECT(B1,"2")
  3. Building names is very handy when using functions like VLOOKUP that refer to ranges or arrays of data. See example below with two ranges of data: RANGE1 = B3:C7 & RANGE2 = E3:F7

I have lost faith in the entire ANTM Franchise

Aminat Ayinde was eliminated as the 2nd runner-up for cycle 12 of America's Next Top Model. The foundations of reality TV have been rocked. I don't know if I can dedicate any more time to the ANTM Franchise. Justice has not been served.

I would have accepted Teyona winning with Aminat runner-up, but Crazy Eyes getting 2nd place? The chick that was jealous of people who have bloody noses?? Not cool.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

KERS-less Toyota, an Oxymoron?

The company who brought you the Prius, the most successful name in hybrid technology, can't be bothered to show up to the 2009 F1 grid with a KERS system? What gives?

Toyota's engine chief, Luca Marmorini, feels the system is "primitive" compared to what Toyota already has used in a hybrid Supra racer as well as the street going Prius. Both the Supra HV and the Prius recover energy from all four wheels and the current FIA regulations only allow use of the rear wheels.

While the system may not be the most sophisticated system, doesn't it send the wrong image by selling hybrid technology on the road and critizing it on the track?

Williams, a team powered by Toyota, is bucking convention and developing a flywheel based KERS system. All other teams have chosen to use batteries to store the kinetic energy or forgoe the system entirely.

The image shows what can happen with a battery based KERS system. BMW's crew member was shocked when he touched the steering wheel and sidepod after a test session. Lets hope KERS does not turn into a disaster on par with refueling mishaps we have seen in the past.

Bye, Bye, NASCAR!

Finally some good news comes out of Obama's Auto Task Force. The group is getting a reputation for off the cuff/knee jerk reactions. First forcing Rick Wagoner to resign and now, on a much more positive note, forcing GM & Chrysler to withdraw from NASCAR sponsorship/involvement after the 2009 season. I had been bracing for the 2012 Pelosi GTxi SS/RT Sport Edition:

In a move that is certain to cost him the White House in the 2012 election, Obama has put his foot down and stated, “NASCAR is a racing series that regulates down to the smallest detail of the cars, where a car badged a Chevrolet or Dodge differs only marginally from a Ford or a Toyota. There’s no technological development to speak of.” While this statement is true, millions of NASCAR fans are sure to see things differently.

The NASCAR series, originally started by groups of whiskey runners racing when they weren't outrunning authorities (really), has been stuck in the 1950's with solid axle rear ends, lack of fuel injection, and 4-Speed (You heard me) Transmissions. This graphic from the Hendrick website comically points out the differences between a NASCAR Car Of Tomorrow & the 2009 Chevy Monte Carlo.

To see how important NASCAR feels the manufacturers are to the sport just look at this graphic of the points standings. Notice the prominent placement of the manufacturers?

I caught myself before publishing this as a story because I could not track down the press release. It was so good and has gotten so much press, I had to re-visit it today. Enjoy! How long before this joke becomes reality? Keep your tax paying, GM & Chrysler owning fingers crossed!

From Car & Driver, the original April Fool's Day article:

Obama Orders Chevrolet and Dodge Out Of NASCAR - Car News

In a move sure to spark outrage, the White House announced today that GM and Chrysler must cease participation in NASCAR at the end of the 2009 season if they hope to receive any additional financial aid from the government. Companies around the globe—Honda and Audi, to name two—have drawn down racing operations, and NASCAR itself has already felt the pinch in the form of reduced team spending. A complete withdrawal from America’s premier racing series is expected to save more than $250 million between GM and Chrysler, a substantial amount considering the drastic measures being implemented elsewhere.“Automakers used to operate on the principle of ‘win on Sunday, sell on Monday,’ but the Auto Task Force’s research just doesn’t validate that as true,” said the statement from President Obama. While fans have decried the Car of Tomorrow for heavily limiting what little personalization the cookie-cutter series had previously allowed to participating manufacturers, and drivers have slammed its brick-like aerodynamics and unpredictable handling, even the governmental oversight committee sees that the full-scale regulation of the cars leaves the manufacturers very little space for research and development. “NASCAR is a racing series that regulates down to the smallest detail of the cars, where a car badged a Chevrolet or Dodge differs only marginally from a Ford or a Toyota. There’s no technological development to speak of.”

The statement goes on further to say the same demand will be made of Ford if it asks for government assistance. “In order to receive this money, corporations must demonstrate they will spend it wisely. Racing has been said to improve on-road technology, but frankly, NASCAR almost flaunts its standing among the lowest-tech forms of motorsport. NASCAR is not proven to drive advancements that transfer from the racetrack to the road, and this nation’s way forward does not hinge on decades-old technology. We need new, and we need innovation.”

The President realizes this will be an unpopular call, but stands behind the decision, saying, “This is an obvious cut to make, but it is not an easy one. This administration is not ignoring the tremendous sentimental value and emotional appeal NASCAR holds for so many Americans. But now is not the time for sentiment and nostalgia; now is a time for decisive financial action. If our automotive industry is to emerge from this recession intact, then these difficult decisions must be made.”

Both Chevrolet and Dodge see the move as only temporary, and fully expect to resume racing in NASCAR as soon as they have stabilized and the government’s hand in their operations is minimized. “There is nothing really to say at this point,” said one representative, who wished to remain anonymous. “We’ve been doing this since the beginning, and we always assumed we’d be doing this until the end. Heck, nobody ever thought to think that there would be an end. But we ain’t done. As soon as this is over, we’re taking back our spot at the top.”

NASCAR officials remain tight-lipped about the call, but sources say series president Mike Helton and team managers are exploring several options, including other manufacturers to fill Chevrolet and Dodge’s vacated positions. Given the company’s recent interest in motorsport and the steady cash-flow and V-8 engine provided by its new Genesis sedan, sources indicate that NASCAR is pinging Hyundai to gauge the Korean company’s interest in occupying a spot in NASCAR. “Toyota was not well-received their first year in the sport, nor was their first season an easy one,” the source says. “But they learned, they applied the lessons, and they have proven very competitive this year.”

If Hyundai does indeed join the series, there will no doubt be a steep learning curve, and the move would leave Ford the lone domestic battling a pair of Asian makes in America’s most popular racing series. We wonder, however, how long NASCAR could hold that title without two of its most storied participants.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Reliving Childhood: The Oregon Trail

After 20+ years away from the Apple IIe, I decided to invest a few seconds in a Google search to find an Apple emulator. I wanted to relive a little of my past and play The Oregon Trail!

Not the crappy Ponzi scheme of the Oregon Trail on Facebook, THE REAL Oregon trail.

I hopped on and was able to enjoy The Oregon Trail as God intended, with sound effects.

I loaded up the wagon and put the pedal to the metal and made the journey in my first attempt! Success! All those years of schooling really paid off!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dollar General, A Real Find!

I love a good deal, now, more than ever! For years I have managed to avoid $.99 stores assuming they were several steps below Walmart the socio-economic ladder. Although, I was partially correct, I didn't realize what I had been missing!

I recently took a bold step and visited my local Dollar General store. For years I mistook this store as a check cashing place similar to Dollar Tree.

I was surprised to find a wide selection of pretty much everything. I immediately headed for the facial tissue and stocked up on several boxes of off-brand tissue for a buck a box. Kleenx has hit $1.99 in Vons and I was keen to give this a shot. I wasn't disappointed with the quality and headed back to the DG when I needed more tissue.

My second visit made me realize DG is like the TJ Maxx of small box stores. The inventory and brand availability is in constant flux. When I returned to my facial tissue isle, this time I found Scott brand tissue where the off-brand had been. Again, I stocked up, but was a little disappointed because these boxes did not have as many tissues as the offbrand.

No trip to the DG is complete without a trip to the candy isle! They have a wide selection of almost all of your childhood favorites. Everlasting Gobstoppers, Runts and Spree usually end up in my basket.

A Costco/Sam's membership will probably save you money over some of the items in DG such as tooth brushes, but if you are not looking for a gross of 12 toothbrushes at a time, DG may be the way to go.

Dollar General Tips:
  • Cleaning Products- Bleach, Comet, Rubber Gloves & Sponges
  • Candy- Halloween candy is a no-brainer
  • One-Use Food Containers
  • Trash Bags
  • Greeting Cards- When was the last time you bought a card for less than $2.50?
  • Don't get caught up in the frenzy, I have noticed some food items and other miscellaneous that actually are sold for less than a dollar in other stores.
  • Try to combine your DG visits with a trip to your favorite grocery store. This will allow you to get everything on your list if you hit the DG first.

2009 F1 Regulation Changes- More & More Like NASCAR

Coming off the most exciting season in recent memory and probably the most competitive season on record, 2009 brings a plethora of changes to the pinnacle of racing, F1.

This silly/informative video from Red Bull outlines many of the rule changes for the new season.

It is comforting to know they will still be driving cars as Sebastian Vettle points out in the video.

F1 is basically a spec series these days with frozen engine designs, 18,000RPM rev limits and spec Bridgestone tires. (note, Bridgestone has locked up F1 & Moto GP as the exclusive tire supplier for each series) In the near future, customer cars will be allowed on the grid, making F1 a VERY expensive version of Champ Car (Actually Indy Car).

Look for KERS to be an interesting topic this season. Many teams seem to be struggling with it and I doubt it will be a lasting feature in the series.

Monday, February 9, 2009

It's What I Like: Vinturi Wine Aerator

It seems all too often, I don't have the time to open a bottle of wine and let it breathe before drinking. The taste and bouquet of almost all reds seem to improve after sitting open for ten minutes or so. If you are like me, you don't plan your life in the 15 minute increments required to enjoy great wine that has been open prior to drinking.

A decanter does the job, but it seems like a hassle and I don't own one.

This Christmas, I discovered the Vinturi. I got one as a gift for my girlfriend. Ironically , she had the same idea and gave me one too!

The concept is simple, You pour the wine through a venturi with air holes on the side. The wine and air mix during the pour, creating a satisfying sound and properly aerating your wine, glass by glass.

The Vinturi is made of high quality acrylic, sits in an attractive rubber stand and even has its own carrying pouch.

I was worried that holding the wine bottle in one hand and the glass in the other would prove difficult. I was thinking about making a stand for the Vinturi, but found the process is actually pretty easy to accomplish although you may spill a few drops from time to time.

The improvement can be remarkable with some wines. The instructions recommend use with reds and whites. I don't notice as big of impact with the whites, but haven't tried nearly as many whites as reds.

Bottom Line: The Vinturi costs about as much as two decent bottles of wine and can end up paying for itself by turning around a bottle or two of wine you may deem undrinkable at first taste.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Old Media: Commercials Still Matter

This MasterCard Commercial reminds me why Old Media is not dead.

I am:
  • Male aged 18-35
  • Have Digital Cable - (I made the switch already!)
  • Have a DVR
  • 90%+ of all TV I watch is DVR Recordings

Even though all the above are true. I still find myself talking to friends and family about TV commercials I have seen.

How can this be?

The answer is simple and may be hard for many to admit. Ready for it?

You & I are LAZY (Or at least easily distracted)

A typical TV viewing session occurs when I get home from work, check my DVR and choose a show. I have a short attention span so I will usually read a magazine or look at the internet during playback. The DVR will allow me to repeat things I miss due to my lack of focus. I have the remote on my lap, but I am not vigilant about fast forwarding through EVERY commercial. If something catches my eye, I will actually rewind the DVR to catch a commercial. I can't be the only consumer in America with this behaivor.

Tonight, I was watching an episode of Seinfeld (in real-time). I was at the computer and noticed Peyton Manning droning on about something. I rewound the DVR and watched the commercial. I was so interested in the commercial, I went to to see more. (A couple years back you could have Peyton yell insults at your friend about their mini-van.) To complete the Old Media are not dead theme, I have embedded the commercial below. MasterCard was not saavy enough to allow users to grab the embed code on, but has posted it on YouTube.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tear Tips: Dead Cell Phone? Forgotten Phone #'s

In today's technology obsessed world, you probably don't devote too much time to memorizing phone numbers. Your cell phone has a handy directory that prevents you from committing even your friend's area codes to memory. This is all well and good until the day you are away from home with a dead cell phone. Perhaps your battery is dead. Maybe you broke your screen. Regardless of what happened, you need to make a phone call and realize you haven't committed your girlfriend's # to memory.

It will typically be much easier to find a working phone than it will to remember a number you probably have never committed to memory.

Solution: Print the number of a few key people in small font and tape that inside of the removable battery cover on your cell phone. (Sorry iPhone users, Steve Jobs doesn't want you to get out of a tight spot). You may also consider including your work # or cell # for someone to call if the phone is found. Admittedly, the likelyhood someone who "finds" your phone will go to the trouble of disassembling it to determine its owner may be small, but there is a chance. At least it would help you identify the phone if it is found.

Tear Tips: Easily Keep Change in Your Wallet

Tired of receiving $0.92 of change? Don't want to keep annoying change in your pocket?

Tear Tip:
Tape 2 dimes on a card in your wallet. You will never be without change again! A card that without a magnetic strip (Medical Insurance Card) works best. The clear tape can be messy after you remove a dime and then re-apply another. To avoid the sticky mess, clean the card before adding new coins, window cleaner should do the trick.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

AutoIndustry 2009: It's Going to Be a Long Year

Nissan is using the test track at the Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Sutherland facility to park unsold inventory.


Photo from UK Gaurdian

Monday, January 12, 2009

Great Time Waster: Volvo FH16 700 Lorry

Brings back memories of B-School and the Orbitz golf games!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Hey Brother! Welcome Back Palm!

Michael Bluth, (Jason Bateman) from Arrested Development, made a surprise appearance today during Palm's CES keynote.

Palm appeared to rise from the ashes today with their take on the iPhone form factor with a slick, sliding keyboard. You may have heard a small wimper at 11:30AM PST when Windows Mobile Officially became irrelevant.

My Quick Take:
I am so glad I stuck it out with my tattered 700P for all these years. I wanted to jump headfirst into the walled garden of the iPhone, but Apple's arrogance prevented me.

  • Not APPLE!
  • Gestures under the screen!- cool idea
  • Form factor. Same weight as the iPhone + physical keyboard.
  • Replaceable battery (I actually don't care that the iPhone's battery is not removable, but this is a plus for the Pre)
  • Re-charge, Cable Free!
  • DataViz Sponsorship=Documents to Go= NATIVE MS FILES on device
  • Wi-Fi
  • Why no SD Card?
  • 8GB? why not 32GB?
  • 3MP Camera?
  • What is the battery life?
  • Track ball :(
  • MobiTV sponsorship? Will SlingBox still work?
  • Will current Palm aps work?
  • Desktop Sync? So much emphasis on the cloud, will it still sync native files with my laptop? I NEED native files to work on when I am on a plane and outside Wi-Fi/Cell coverage.
  • Push Email? Corporate Email Support?- Will Corp Email be left to WinMo? (see WinMo comment above)
  • No Stylus- Handwriting Recognition seems to be a thing of the past with smart phones. I miss Grafitti I.
We will obviously learn much more about this device in the coming months. Release is for the first half of 2009, but it has yet to be certified at this point so anything sooner than June seems unlikely.