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Archive for August, 2010

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A tale of two bridges…

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Someone at work pointed this out to me the other day.

Here is the world-famous Sydney Harbor bridge in Sydney, Australia, which people travel from all over the world to see, climb, and photograph the surrounding scenery from, particularly the famous opera house:

And here is the not-at-all famous Bayonne Bridge in Bayonne, New Jersey, which people typically only think about if it’s mentioned on the local traffic report, and wouldn’t climb it unless they worked for the State of New Jersey and were being paid to paint or repair it:

Odd how differently we treat these two structures, given that they are almost identical bridges.

Just goes to show: context is EVERYTHING…

Categories: Random Acts of Blogging | 2 Comments »

Unlikely Twins, Part XVII

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

It’s hard to think of two more different personalities, and both were born on August 29th…

John McCain,
Successfully Became Known as One of the Whitest Men in America
Michael Jackson,
Tried and Failed at the Very Same Task

Categories: Unlikely Twins | 2 Comments »

New York City Sights – The Times Square Kiss

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

Walking through Times Square the other day, I came across this giant statue, appropriately standing right near the famous U.S. Army Recruiting Station where the famous VJ-Day Kiss took place back in 1945:

A couple of days later, it was gone. I have no idea from where it came, nor where it went. I’m just glad I took a picture of it so I know I didn’t dream it…

Categories: New York, New York | 4 Comments »

ISBS Review: The Apple iPad

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

When Apple’s iPad first came out, I wrote this:

As things stand today, if someone were to buy me one as a gift, I’d gladly give it a permanent home in my laptop bag, where it would replace my (old and aging) iPod and probably also my Kindle.

I also linked to this nifty flow chart, which made the (rather satirical) point that while the device is super cool, there’s no real reason to own one, and that this sticking point, along with the high price tag, was going to keep all but the uber-fanboys away.

In the ensuing seven months, I found myself a good rationale reason to own one, bought it, and have been cataloging its pluses and minuses in anticipation of writing this review. For the ADHD crowd, I’ll start with the conclusion, and then we’ll get into the details below the fold.


Overall, I’ll give the iPad an A-. It lives up to the hype in almost every way that matters – coolness factor, ease of use, convenience, functionality, and its ability to integrate itself into one’s daily life. Like any device, it has its downsides, but most of them are relatively minor, and almost all of them are software based, which means they will likely be solved in the coming months. The “why do I need one?” problem still exists, and many people will reach the opposite conclusion that I reached, opting instead for a netbook, an iPhone/iPod Touch, a Kindle/Nook/Sony Reader, or some other combination of gadgetry that checks off the list of iPad enabled functionality. If you get past that question, though, I can almost guarantee that you’ll be satisfied with your purchase.

For those who would like to know more, proceed below with reckless abandon. For everyone else, here’s a video of a man with no arms who plays the piano with his feet.

Read the rest of this entry »

Categories: Tech Talk | 13 Comments »

Unlikely Twins, Part XVI

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

One of these men became the leader of his country, the other became a FOX News television host. In any case, had things turned out differently, summit meetings on August 24th could have involved birthday cake:

Mike Huckabee,
Conservative American Politician
Yasser Arafat,
Former PLO Leader, Terrorist and Headwear Trend Setter

Categories: Unlikely Twins | No Comments »

By Popular Demand: The Mickey Mouse Watch

Friday, August 20th, 2010

In my (almost) annual post about Beloit College’s Mindset List, I called attention to an item suggesting that today’s college freshmen don’t have an instinct to look at their wrist to tell time in the same way that, er…, those of us “of a certain age” still do. This prompted my blogging buddy, Jason Bennion, and I to start a small discussion about cool wristwatches, in which I mentioned my custom-made Mickey Mouse watch. Jason said the story sounded “intriguing,” and well, as anyone who’s ever read this blog knows, I don’t need too much of an incentive to tell a story.

So, here goes: the story of my watch. First, let us take a moment to pray that the copyright gods are dealing with something much more important (like whether or not Wikipedia can display the FBI’s seal?) OK, let’s go…

Read the rest of this entry »

Categories: Family Matters, The Disneyverse | 8 Comments »

Unlikely Twins, Part XV

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Each August 19th, these two guys were likely doing very different things. OR WERE THEY?!?

Gene Roddenberry,
Boldly Went Where No Man had Gone Before
Bill Clinton,
Boldly Went Where . . . Hmm…..

Categories: Unlikely Twins | 2 Comments »

According to the Class of 2014…

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

It’s that time of year again – the new Beloit College Mindset List is out.

As in past years (2007, 2009), I direct you to the link above for the whole list, but will highlight my favorite items here:

Most students entering college for the first time this fall—the Class of 2014—were born in 1992. For these students…

1. Few in the class know how to write in cursive.
19. They never twisted the coiled handset wire aimlessly around their wrists while chatting on the phone.
25. Leno and Letterman have always been trading insults on opposing networks.
28. They’ve never recognized that pointing to their wrists was a request for the time of day.
32. Czechoslovakia has never existed.
36. Adhesive strips have always been available in varying skin tones.
46. Nirvana is on the classic oldies station.
50. Toothpaste tubes have always stood up on their caps.
58. Beethoven has always been a dog.
65. Michelangelo [has always been] a computer virus.
71. The nation has never approved of the job Congress is doing.

Last year’s list didn’t have as much of the intended shock value for me, but some of these are truly eye-opening.

For instance, kids aren’t taught to write in cursive anymore? Now that I think about it, I was taught in second grade. My older son is entering fifth grade, and while I think he was taught, I haven’t seen him do it in ages (he either prints or types now). My younger son is entering second grade and, to my knowledge, has not been taught yet. I understand that it’s a dying skill, but how strange that one day, fairly soon, there won’t be any people in the country that can write in script…

Similarly, my kids had “toy” wristwatches for a while (“toy” in quotes because while they were adorned with cartoon characters and such, they actually did work as watches). Today, though, they both have iPod Touch devices, and would likely turn to them to get the time than to an archaic device that is strapped to their wrist and only doesn’t do anything but tell the time.

As for adhesive strips, I’ll only add that when I worked a part-time summer job at Johnson & Johnson many years ago, I saw hundreds of letters that people wrote in suggesting that J&J make band-aids in different skin colors. At the time, J&J’s response was to make clear band-aids, which still strikes me as a better idea than what Beloit is saying exists today.

Finally, if it really is true that Congress has an eighteen year streak with approval ratings below 50%, then I think it says as much about the usefulness of this particular opinion poll question as it does about Congress.

That’s my list of favorites. Check out the whole list and share your favorites in the comments below…

Categories: Random Acts of Blogging | 9 Comments »

Can they *DO* that?

Monday, August 16th, 2010

I came across a T-Mobile billboard ad the other day which contained a rather interesting disclaimer:

In case you can’t read it, here it is blown up:

…and in case you can’t read that, here’s what it says:

T-mobile and the magenta color are registered trademarks of Deutsche Telekom AG. (c) 2010 T-Mobile USA, Inc.

So, question: can they really trademark the color magenta? If so, I can see a class-action lawsuit against every kid who ever used a box of Crayola crayons coming. And you thought those RIAA folks were bad…

Categories: Random Acts of Blogging, The World Wide Weird | 5 Comments »

New York City Sights – Jets for Sale?

Friday, August 13th, 2010

Typically, the first year of a new sports stadium brings large crowds of casual, but curious, fans out to the stadium. In the case of the New York Jets (and, to a lesser extent, the New York Giants, who share the new stadium with them), their decision to require a personal seat license for each season ticket (often running into thousands of dollars in addition to the cost of the seat for next season) has left them with some very angry, lifelong fans and quite a few available seats. I didn’t realize how bad it was until I saw these folks, dressed in New York Jets jerseys, on the streets of New York, handing out fliers to buy tickets to the games.

And to add insult to injury, someone on the street was harassing them about ticket prices, prompting one of them to yell “I am not a Jet! I am not a Jet!” to passersby. I’m sure this is not what the Jets had in mind for a marketing strategy…

Categories: New York, New York, Sports Talk | 2 Comments »

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