Tuesday February 28, 2006

Shower Soothers

Mentholated Steam

Sudacare Shower Soothers

Have you tried SudaCare Shower Soothers? They look like a giant AlkaSeltzer (or maybe a Ty-D-Bowl pellet. :-) The idea is that you drop it on the floor of the shower, run hot water over it, and breathe in the mentholated steam. Results vary based on who tries them, but it's an interesting idea.

I could smell the menthol when it first started to fizz. I didn't notice any particular decongestant sensation; the effect was more of an aromatherapy kind of thing. Still, kinda nice, if slightly odd when mixed with the aroma of my green tea and lime shampoo. :-) Strangely enough, the menthol scent came back when I ran the blow dryer after stepping out of the shower.

Look for them in your drugstore's cough & cold products aisle.

Shower Soothers ( in category Show & Tell ) - posted at Tue, 28 Feb, 11:19 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday February 27, 2006

Freakonomics

Freakonomics is always engaging, often intriguing, and frequently funny. If they taught economics this way in school, more people would take the course. ...
       Continue reading "Freakonomics"

Freakonomics ( in category Books, Movies, Music ) - posted at Mon, 27 Feb, 08:00 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday February 26, 2006

Weekly Wrap-up 2006_08

The weather was nice until Sunday. Then we got grey skies and rain again. Still, it beats last weekend. Not as cold.


News from the Job Search front: I didn't get the job I wanted. They "decided to go with someone else". Major bummer. :-(

I've applied at Google. It's nearly impossible even to get an interview at Google (if if you're good, which I am. Really!). ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2006_08"

Weekly Wrap-up 2006_08 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Sun, 26 Feb, 23:55 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday February 26, 2006

ArtRage

Candy-box Paint Program

I just found the coolest, niftiest, snazziest, prettiest, eye-candy paint program. If you (or your kids) like to draw or doodle and want to doodle on the computer you should love ArtRage.

ArtRage looks and feels very different from any paint program I've used before. The paints have texture and they can be blended. I just want to play with it! ...
       Continue reading "ArtRage"

ArtRage ( in category Computerware ) - posted at Sun, 26 Feb, 00:05 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday February 25, 2006

Big Mouth Jar

Kraftmayo1-Thm

We've been buying another brand of mayonnaise, but we may switch to Kraft for the convenience of the Big Mouth jar.**

We love this new packaging. It's easy to hold, lightweight, and easy to use. Kraft even put a flat spot inside the opening for scraping extra mayo off the knife when you're ready to close up. Ingenious!


** We could keep buying the other brand, then wash and fill the nifty jar. The taste difference is negligible. I expect we'll balance price vs. convenience.
Big Mouth Jar ( in category Show & Tell ) - posted at Sat, 25 Feb, 20:01 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday February 25, 2006

Treasures 2006_08

Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it.
-- Confucius

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • Hail (pea-sized) bouncing on the roof of the house next door, clattering against our windows, gathering in the grass. An unseasonable storm — fun to watch from cover!

  • A full-bow rainbow, after the storm

...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2006_08"

Treasures 2006_08 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 25 Feb, 00:17 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday February 24, 2006

Tools for Harry Homeowner

Have you ever stopped to consider the wonderful additions we have been able to add to our household toolboxes? ...
       Continue reading "Tools for Harry Homeowner"

Tools for Harry Homeowner ( in category Random Thoughts , Show & Tell ) - posted at Fri, 24 Feb, 01:02 Pacific

Thursday February 23, 2006

Virtual Bookstores

For at least a decade, we have been bemoaning the loss of small, independent booksellers. These neighborhood stores have fallen victim to the behemoths: Borders, Barnes & Noble, and, to some extent, Amazon. (For a while, Crown Books was a big player too, but then it vanished from the scene).

I am hopeful, however, that this trend has not affected used bookstores. If anything, I think the rise of the Internet may be bringing them more business than ever before. From services such as Half.com and Alibris, to the Used & Out of Print booksellers networks run by Amazon and Barnes & Noble, I have instant access to hundreds (if not thousands) of used book shops from my desk. ...
       Continue reading "Virtual Bookstores"

Virtual Bookstores ( in category Books, Movies, Music , Special Interests ) - posted at Thu, 23 Feb, 08:00 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday February 22, 2006

The Death of Handwriting?

Has this happened to you?

We spend our working days tapping into computers. We communicate with each other via email rather than letter. ...
...
       Continue reading "The Death of Handwriting?"

The Death of Handwriting? ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Wed, 22 Feb, 00:05 Pacific | Comments (0)

Tuesday February 21, 2006

The Weblog Handbook

Practical Advice on Creating and Maintaining Your Blog

In today's commentary, I muse about The Weblog Handbook, an excellent book by Rebecca Blood

Read my commentary...

The Weblog Handbook ( in category commentary ) - posted at Tue, 21 Feb, 00:40 Pacific

Monday February 20, 2006

Panda Fix

What could possibly be cuter than a baby panda?

Baby panda ...
       Continue reading "Panda Fix"

Panda Fix ( in category Nature/Cats ) - posted at Mon, 20 Feb, 08:17 Pacific | Comments (1)

Monday February 20, 2006

Weekly Wrap-up 2006_07

The weather was fair and cool for the beginning of the week, darkening on Friday and whipping up a northern storm front (with pea-sized hail mixed into rain) for Saturday. Yikes!


The people with the job I want have been checking my references... No other news on that front. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2006_07"

Weekly Wrap-up 2006_07 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 20 Feb, 00:05 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday February 19, 2006

Recommending Lawrence Block

Is This Supposed to be A Positive Recommendation?

The following review quote was on the back cover of a book we recently purchased:
Die-hard Block fans who have read every title in his Matthew Scudder and Bernie Rhodenbarr series will cheer the return of Evan Tanner, the globe-trotting, adventurous insomniac... readers will enjoy Block's trademark humor and comic characters".

— Library Journal

This seems a bit offputting to me. ...
       Continue reading "Recommending Lawrence Block"

Recommending Lawrence Block ( in category Books, Movies, Music ) - posted at Sun, 19 Feb, 08:00 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday February 18, 2006

Serendipity, Pet Rocks, and The Long Tail

A lot of people want to Get Rich Quick. I don't blame them. In today's commentary, I discuss how a lot of "get rich quick" success stories seem to involve a large element of serendipity.

Read my commentary...

Serendipity, Pet Rocks, and The Long Tail ( in category commentary ) - posted at Sat, 18 Feb, 08:00 Pacific

Saturday February 18, 2006

Treasures 2006_07

For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it. For every truth there is an ear somewhere to hear it. For every love there is a heart somewhere to receive it.
-- Ivan Panin

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • A contrail, slicing diagonally across a cloudy sky (quite impressive)

  • A big fat yellow moon rising over the Bay

...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2006_07"

Treasures 2006_07 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 18 Feb, 00:17 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday February 17, 2006

Sodapop

What do you call that fizzy drink? Is it "Pop"? Or "Soda"? Or do you say "I'll have a Coke" even when the beverage in question is colorless?

Did you know that there are distinct geographical differences in how people refer to carbonated soft drinks? ...
       Continue reading "Sodapop"

Sodapop ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Fri, 17 Feb, 01:05 Pacific | Comments (2)

Thursday February 16, 2006

May We Recommend...

We have a few kitchen appliances and gadgets that really improve our domestic lives. We thought we'd share. ...
       Continue reading "May We Recommend..."

May We Recommend... ( in category Show & Tell ) - posted at Thu, 16 Feb, 00:10 Pacific | Comments (1)

Wednesday February 15, 2006

Professionalism

Software Development is Not Like Auto Mechanics

In today's commentary, I discuss a recent article in The Register that compares professionalism in programmers to profesionalism in auto mechanics.

Read my commentary...

Professionalism ( in category commentary ) - posted at Wed, 15 Feb, 00:05 Pacific

Tuesday February 14, 2006

Happy Anniversary, ENIAC

February 2006, marks the 60th anniversary of ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) a 28 ton behemoth able to handle 5000 additions per second — far faster than any device previously invented. ...
       Continue reading "Happy Anniversary, ENIAC"

Happy Anniversary, ENIAC ( in category In The News , SciTech ) - posted at Tue, 14 Feb, 00:19 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday February 13, 2006

We've Come a Long Way, Baby

When I wrote my Masters Thesis in 1984, I used nroff (a text formatting program) under Unix on a Sun 1 workstation (ser number 285). Rich wrote a driver for an IBM selectric typewriter which we connected as a printer. I hand-fed each sheet of paper, aligned it, pushed the button, checked the result, and reprinted the page if anything was wrong.

It was all pretty high tech for the time. The Macintosh had only been announced in January of that year (and we didn't have one). The laser printer, now so common, would have been prohibitively expensive at that time (even if our computer could use it). A thesis printed on a "standard" dot-matrix printer would have been unacceptable. I was doing pretty well not to hire a typist!

Fast forward... ...
       Continue reading "We've Come a Long Way, Baby"

We've Come a Long Way, Baby ( in category Retrospectoscope ) - posted at Mon, 13 Feb, 08:15 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday February 13, 2006

Weekly Wrap-up 2006_06

The weather was mostly fair this week (except for one night of heavy fog, just in our neighborhood). It was a full moon week too. That's been nice!


This was Rich's first week with the new job and it was a busy one. There's lots to do. So far they seem to like him. Happy clients and lots of work — sounds promising. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2006_06"

Weekly Wrap-up 2006_06 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 13 Feb, 00:06 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday February 12, 2006

Snapshirts

I made a custom "word cloud" t-shirt for myself using the furkids' weblog. for the content. The company I used is called SnapShirts.

...
       Continue reading "Snapshirts"

Snapshirts ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Sun, 12 Feb, 08:08 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday February 12, 2006

Note to FedEx

While we were out of the house today, a FedEx driver delivered a package. In today's commentary, I discuss my reaction to the way he did it.

Read my commentary...

Note to FedEx ( in category commentary ) - posted at Sun, 12 Feb, 00:05 Pacific

Saturday February 11, 2006

Narrowband Connectivity

In the News...

China will pass the US in Broadband Lines by late 2006. US Broadband Penetration Breaks 65% Among Active Internet Users.

The US has fallen to 19th overall in household broadband penetration, and is in danger of being passed by Slovenia in early 2007.

Slovenia?! ...
       Continue reading "Narrowband Connectivity"

Narrowband Connectivity ( in category In The News , WebTech ) - posted at Sat, 11 Feb, 08:00 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday February 11, 2006

Treasures 2006_06

The past is what you remember, imagine you remember, convince yourself you remember, or pretend you remember.
-- Harold Pinter

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week.

  • A pair of redtailed hawks floating overhead, catching an updraft

  • Cocktail shrimp (all I could eat :-)

  • A positive (I think!) job interview, followed by a request for references. This is good, yes?

...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2006_06"

Treasures 2006_06 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 11 Feb, 00:36 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday February 10, 2006

Customer Disservice

In today's commentary, I discuss why it can be so difficult to file problem reports when Customer Service organizations claim to want to help me.

Read my commentary

Customer Disservice ( in category commentary ) - posted at Fri, 10 Feb, 12:54 Pacific

Friday February 10, 2006

Sudoku

There are books in the checkout line at the drugstore. There are ads on the web. It's popular. It's Sudoku.

Maybe it's me... I have always preferred word games. But I just don't "get"Sudoku. I mean, what is up with this?

At least the numbers aren't required to be added together to create some specified result. I originally thought that they were and I was really surprised that a math game would be so popular.

Still, I'm puzzled (pun intended). I guess it's just one of those things... Let's just hope it doesn't start to show up as part of a job interview.

Sudoku ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Fri, 10 Feb, 09:45 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday February 9, 2006

Do You Digg It?

I have started to use digg.

Digg is a technology news website that combines social bookmarking, blogging, RSS, and non-hierarchical editorial control. With digg, users submit stories for review, but rather than allow an editor to decide which stories go on the homepage, the users do.
...
       Continue reading "Do You Digg It?"

Do You Digg It? ( in category Odd Corners , Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Thu, 09 Feb, 08:30 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday February 9, 2006

Commuting To and Fro

In today's commentary I discuss the problems inherent in a regular, lengthy, commute.

Read my commentary.

Commuting To and Fro ( in category commentary ) - posted at Thu, 09 Feb, 00:20 Pacific

Wednesday February 8, 2006

Low Fat Diet Debunked

In the News

The largest study ever to ask whether a low-fat diet reduces the risk of getting cancer or heart disease has found that the diet has no effect.
...
       Continue reading "Low Fat Diet Debunked"

Low Fat Diet Debunked ( in category In The News ) - posted at Wed, 08 Feb, 19:31 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday February 8, 2006

More Communication Sources

I started my weblog in mid-2002. But I really got going in February 2003 (three years ago). I've been typing and posting ever since.

According to Technorati's recent State of the Blogosphere

A new blog is created every second and the phenomenon has grown 60 times larger than it was three years ago,

Wow. ...
       Continue reading "More Communication Sources"

More Communication Sources ( in category Noteworthy , WebTech ) - posted at Wed, 08 Feb, 00:09 Pacific | Comments (0)

Tuesday February 7, 2006

Stepford Employees

In today's commentary I discuss a article posted today at CNNMoney.com, "Federal regulations kick in today that will make Internet job hunting more complicated."

More complicated? It's a lot worse than "more complicated".

Read my commentary.

Stepford Employees ( in category commentary ) - posted at Tue, 07 Feb, 19:14 Pacific

Tuesday February 7, 2006

Now Available On Black

I'm a big fan of t-shirts with writing on them, sort of a "bumpersticker on a shirt". These are often printed in white or bright yellow on black or navy. I scan t-shirt sites and catalogues regularly for interesting new choices. But... I'd love to be able to create my own!

There has been a rise in custom-design sites, but most of those produce shirts with black or colored ink on a light-colored (white, yellow...) shirt. I really want dark green, black, or navy for the shirt color. I think the message shows up better (and smudges don't. :-) ...
       Continue reading "Now Available On Black"

Now Available On Black ( in category Special Interests ) - posted at Tue, 07 Feb, 08:37 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday February 6, 2006

Damn Interesting

I have discovered a very... interesting... website. It's called DamnInteresting.com and it's well, damn interesting! Categories include Alternative Energy, Computing, Disasters, Medical Science, Mysterious, Rights & Privacy, Space Exploration, Wonders of Nature, and Your Tax Dollars at Work. ...
       Continue reading "Damn Interesting"

Damn Interesting ( in category Odd Corners ) - posted at Mon, 06 Feb, 08:33 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday February 6, 2006

Weekly Wrap-up 2006_

The weather was drippy and grey early in the week, with rain on Monday night. It cleared up significantly by the weekend. Saturday and Sunday were blue and lovely, with little white sailboats dotting the Bay!


Rich had a job interview on Monday. He spent most of the day down the Peninsula running errands too. The interview went well and he now has a 4-week contract. If that goes well, we'll hope for an extension or a job offer.

I had two telephone interviews last week that went very well. I have an in-person interview scheduled for this coming Tuesday. ...
       Continue reading "Weekly Wrap-up 2006_"

Weekly Wrap-up 2006_ ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 06 Feb, 00:10 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday February 5, 2006

Splendid Bowl

We don't really care about football. Amend that. We really don't care about football. Football ranks with things like, oh, marketing surveys for toothpaste and the gross national product of Elbonia.

So, when my sister mentioned in a letter that she had spent a day in a hotel room, on an out-of-town weekend trip to Chicago, watching a Steelers game, I thought "Okaaay". That's... a bit of an odd thing to do on an out-of-town weekend.". But, whatever floats your boat. ...
       Continue reading "Splendid Bowl"

Splendid Bowl ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Sun, 05 Feb, 00:10 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday February 4, 2006

Smog Blog

In the News

It was only a matter of time. After Google started using Pigeon ranking, naturally the pigeons would start campaigning for their own blog! ...
       Continue reading "Smog Blog"

Smog Blog ( in category In The News , Odd Corners ) - posted at Sat, 04 Feb, 08:00 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday February 4, 2006

Treasures 2006_05

Memory is the diary that we all carry about with us.
-- Oscar Wilde

Treasures are positive things that strike my fancy, that make me feel happy or thankful or interested. Treasures are memories encapsulated in just a few words. These are my Treasures for the past week. This week I even have photos!

  • The large (pint) jars of pickled ginger on each table at a Japanese restaurant we passed (we should try this place!)

  • Three Great Egrets sighted standing alongside along HWY 280 (as we were driving down the Peninsula). [photo; the photo is from the web, taken of an actual Stanford egret, but not by me.]

  • Ground squirrels on the Stanford campus

...
       Continue reading "Treasures 2006_05"

Treasures 2006_05 ( in category Treasures ) - posted at Sat, 04 Feb, 00:43 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday February 3, 2006

End of An Era, Final Telegram Sent

From a cheap hotel in Dallas on a cold December day
A telegram was traveling on its way
Like a sad old song from somewhere in the distance of a dream
Flashing across the darkness on the telegraph machine.

It said, “From Billy,” at the bottom, “to Baby,” at the top
“Western Union Wire, please help me.” — stop.
“Western Union Wire, don’t leave me.” — stop

Western Union Wire
(Kinky Friedman)

The world's first telegram was sent on May 24, 1844 by inventor Samuel Morse. Over 150 years later, effective January 27, 2006, Western Union has discontinued all Telegram and Commercial Messaging services.

The decline of telegram use goes back at least to the 1980s, when long-distance telephone service became cheap enough to offer a viable alternative in many if not most cases. Faxes didn't help. Email could be counted as the final nail in the coffin.

[ Era Ends: Western Union Stops Sending Telegrams, in LiveScience, January 31, 2006 ]

Did you ever send (or receive) a telegram? ...
       Continue reading "End of An Era, Final Telegram Sent"

End of An Era, Final Telegram Sent ( in category In The News ) - posted at Fri, 03 Feb, 08:05 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday February 2, 2006

Internet Ties

In today's commentary, I discuss my interest in social networking applications and social software.

Read my commentary.

Internet Ties ( in category commentary ) - posted at Thu, 02 Feb, 08:15 Pacific

Thursday February 2, 2006

Linking Up With LinkedIn

I have had a LinkedIn account at the free (aka "Personal") level for almost a year, since February 10, 2005. I joined because a former co-worker suggested it on one of the mailing lists I subscribe to. He queried the list wondering if we had enough mass to make a LinkedIn "group". I was curious, as were others, and we entertained a brief flurry of membership and connection requests.

Things slowed down for a while. Then I began to notice a steady increase in LinkedIn invitations in my Inbox. At this point I have 89 connections and 17 outstanding invitations pending. ...
       Continue reading "Linking Up With LinkedIn"

Linking Up With LinkedIn ( in category Odd Corners , Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Thu, 02 Feb, 08:09 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday February 1, 2006

SuitSat

One of the strangest satellites in the history of the space age is about to go into orbit. Launch date: Feb. 3rd. That's when astronauts onboard the International Space Station (ISS) will hurl an empty spacesuit overboard.
...
"We've equipped a Russian Orlon spacesuit with three batteries, a radio transmitter, and internal sensors to measure temperature and battery power," says [Frank Bauer of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center]. "As SuitSat circles Earth, it will transmit its condition to the ground."

NASA Science News for January 26, 2006

If you have a police scanner or ham radio rig, you'll be able to listen to it "talk" as its orbit passes over wherever you are.

Weird.

SuitSat ( in category In The News , SciTech ) - posted at Wed, 01 Feb, 08:08 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday February 1, 2006

Make Me An Offer

In today's commentary I discuss the fact that, whenever I'm forced, unwillingly, into putting a price on my work, I wonder how best to respond.

Read my commentary.

Make Me An Offer ( in category commentary ) - posted at Wed, 01 Feb, 01:10 Pacific