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Archive for June, 2007

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Like taking candy from a baby…

Thursday, June 14th, 2007


A massive toy recall could have millions of parents taking their children’s favourite toys away.

On Wednesday, RC2 Corp. recalled about 1.5 million Thomas the Tank Engine wooden railway toys in Canada and the United States, due to concerns that the paint used on them may contain lead.

My kids are pretty much past this stage, but I can tell you from experience that taking away a Thomas the Train toy from a kid who already has one (or, in some cases, dozens) will not be a pleasant experience…

Categories: Random Acts of Blogging | 1 Comment »

A Bad Start…

Monday, June 11th, 2007

I’ve avoided blogging about the Paris Hilton saga, because I find the whole thing to be nothing more than a trumped up soap opera, starring Paris Hilton as the forlorn victim, and our criminal justice system as the bumbling fool.

That said, today’s episode, in which Paris calls her mother from jail while her mother is coincidentally on the phone with none other than Barbara Walters, who promptly launches into an interview which is then immediately released to the media hounds, contained two rather irresistible quotes. First, Paris on her on-screen persona:

“I used to act dumb,” [Paris] told Babs. “It was an act. That act is no longer cute. It is not who I am, nor do I want to be that person for the young girls who look up to me.”

Next, Paris Hilton on what it’s like to be in jail:

“I was severely depressed and felt as if I was in a cage…It was a horrible experience.”

Well, Paris, it’s like this: you ARE in a cage. That’s the whole idea. So much for losing the “dumb” act for those young girls who look up to you…

Tune in next week, when every activist group you can think of sues the LA County Sheriff to get someone in their group free publicity equal treatment under the law. Future episodes will also include interviews with Paris’ new spiritual advisor, her dramatic release from prison, her declaration that she’s found God, and the launch of her new Ronald McDonald-like home for children.

Oh, and as long as I’m here, one last note: the article I linked to above (from E! Online) is flanked by an add for Paris’ reality show, The Simple Life, with a new episode airing this Sunday at 10pm on E!. Coincidence? No more than anything else in this post, I suspect…

Categories: News and/or Media | No Comments »

Yankee Stadium Blogging…

Sunday, June 10th, 2007

Reporting live from Yankee Stadium…It’s Bat Day today in the Bronx.

The game started at 1:05. It is currently 1:30, and there are already 3 bats available for sale on eBay.

I have two (one for each kid), and on my way to my seat, someone offered me $200 for one of them. He obviously doesn’t understand the need to have two of anything when you have two children…

Categories: Money Talk, Sports Talk | 2 Comments »

Calling all Nick Ut fans…

Saturday, June 9th, 2007

So this is weird: the guy who took this picture also took this picture.

Which do you think will wind up earning him more money?

Categories: Random Acts of Blogging | 4 Comments »

Sign of the Times…

Friday, June 8th, 2007

My son, Avery, in the car this afternoon, passing a bank: Daddy, what does ATM stand for?

Me: Automatic Teller Machine

Avery: Daddy, what’s a teller?

Categories: Family Matters, The Future is Now | No Comments »

Fancy Gift Cards…

Friday, June 8th, 2007

My son just got a Target Gift Card for his birthday. Check it out:

My, we’ve come quite a way with these things, haven’t we?

Categories: Random Acts of Blogging | 1 Comment »

Best PC Accessory ever…

Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

OK, what’s cool about this isn’t so much that it’s a beverage chiller, but that it’s a beverage chiller that plugs into a USB port.


Categories: Tech Talk | 3 Comments »

The Many Fortunes of Alex Rodriguez

Monday, June 4th, 2007

After a disappointing post-season last year, talk around New York baseball fans/writers was about whether or not the Yankees should trade Alex Rodriguez.

A-Rod silenced those voices this year, by having what could arguably be called the best April in the history of baseball: a .355 Batting Average, 14 Home Runs, 34 RBIs, a .415 On-Base Percentage, and an .882 Slugging Percentage. Most of these statistics led the league.

But consider this: what would fans and sportswriters have said if their “28 million dollar man” wound up April with a .235 Batting Average, 5 Home Runs, 11 RBIs, a .361 On-Base Percentage, and an .422 Slugging Percentage?

Because that’s what he did in May.

Of course, April’s stats are the only ones that are published on their own; May’s are baked into the season-to-date numbers, hidden forever to anyone who doesn’t know about ESPN’s Splits page. I get the feeling, though, that had A-Rod’s first two months of 2007 been reversed, and April 30th saw him hitting .235 and embroiled in a couple of on-field and off-field scandals, that the New York sharks would be smelling fresh meat.

Once again, perception meets reality and clocks it upside the head…

Categories: Sports Talk | No Comments »

Microsoft’s Surface Computing

Saturday, June 2nd, 2007

Check out this demo of Milan, Microsoft’s new “Surface Computing” product. It’s a really slick, touch screen computer built into the surface of a table. They’ve got some silly applications (a paint program), as well as some more interesting ones, like a photo slideshow/viewer where pictures and video can be moved around the table and resized by stretching them (a la Apple’s iPhone), and a restaurant application that shows interactive menus (the restaurant kind, not the computer kind).

It can also recognize real world objects. The glass of wine you ordered can be tagged so when you put it on the table, the table can “label” it with the kind of wine, the winery, or other advertising/promotional content. And when you’re paying the bill, it can recognize your credit card, and let you split up the bill by dragging pictures of what you ate onto your credit card (not an icon depicting your card, mind you, but the card itself). When you’re done, there’s a “Pay” button on the table that applies the charge to the card.

CNET’s review says the units will cost roughly $10,000 and will start appearing in stores, casinos, hotel lobbies and other public spaces soon. I think this is one of those breakthrough technologies that needs some critical mass to really catch on. Once that happens, mass volume production could make it cheap enough to show up on desks in offices and schools, as well as various places in the home. The kitchen table is an obvious choice, where something very much like the restaurant application would be useful. But what about the bathroom vanity? Imagine a vanity that identified your medication for you, told you how much to take, or reminded you when it was time to refill the prescription.

Back in the ’90s, my employer had a “vision of the future” center that would postulate just these kinds of things, but the Internet was brand new then, and desktop/touchscreen technology had not advanced to this point. Now, it seems like we’ve achieved a point where it would pass the Mom & Dad test

Categories: Tech Talk, The Future is Now | 2 Comments »

How People Found Me – May Edition

Friday, June 1st, 2007

The second of my two monthly features is the familiar How People Found Me, because when it’s not about the pageviews, it’s all about the keywords.

I’ve chosen to do this in two sections – categories and keywords.

The Categories

Category Count
Billy Joel 163
Technology 140
Celebrity Look Alikes 80
Overrated Films 21
DSL 20
Al Gore 18
Steven Wright 17

My four posts on Billy Joel’s latest tour and single release (the playlist, the concert review, the song review, and the song lyrics) have been a HUGE Google magnet. In the month of May, 163 different search queries brought people to one of these four posts. That’s more than five unique queries per day!

Similarly, my various posts about technology issues (specifically Blogger, Google, Outlook, Yahoo Mail, my new Dell PC and HP Laptop, and my Tech Guide reviews) have caught the attention of 140 unique queries. And a couple of posts I made on a lark about a site that does face recognition and suggests celebrity look alikes has garnered 80 unique queries.

The others on this list are smaller, but they surprised me in terms of how many people would think to search on them. A post on some random Top 20 Over-rated Films of All Time list generated 21 queries. A Ramblings article I wrote in December of 2004 about DSL installation brought in 20 queries. My review of Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth yielded 18, and a couple of jokes I heard Steven Wright tell on Letterman one night brought on 17 (many of which, by the way, were flawed attempts to quote the actual text of Wright’s jokes).

The Keywords

All told, over 700 queries resulted in hits to Familygreenberg.com in May. Here are some that I found the most interesting:

Query Rank / # of Results Comments
current event on tapeworms 1 / 217,000 That’s me – worldwide authority on tapeworm news!
upsilon sigma alpha 3 / 745,000 It was just a joke! Upsilon Sigma Alpha = USA
oprah face recognition software 4 / 249,000 People really need software to recognize Oprah’s face?
how to spell “”google”" as a verb 7 / 258,000 Err…G-O-O-G-L-E?!?
jerry seinfeld phil mickelson 7 / 13,800 Funniest golf game ever
taylor hicks is sleeping in bed 8 / 168,000 As opposed to sleeping . . . where, exactly?
cartoon technophobe mother 8 / 715 Sounds like a rather arcane cartoon…
miraculous recoveries from female online liars 12 / 44,800 Those female online liars – they sure know how to bounce back!
whats the point in sleeping 13 (and 14!) / 8,560,000 I ask myself this all the time…
pronounce water philadelphia 19 / 269,000 Must have been some out-of-towner who couldn’t get water in Philly & turned to Google…
will you give me some information about what happens to an underwater ecosystem after an earthquake? 35 / 45,500 This isn’t that strange a query, I was just ammused at how the person spoke to Google like it was a person…
hasselhoff eating pizza 41 / 125,000 Obviously a slow news day…
elton john”" and “”tired of singing”" 105 / 243,000 Maybe he should write the words & let that other guy sing, then…
working out porten 180 / 115,000 Now here’s one of the few Google searches where I actually feel like I deserve a higher score!
atlantic city escorts 350 / 1,320,000 Speaking of working out Porten…(ok, that was a cheap shot…)
how much money would have ralph kramden have saved nasa 0 / 233 Pow! Zoom! Right to the moon!!
famous people out of marlboro hs / marlboro nj >500 / 122,000 Really? 122,000 webpages about this? Must be short web pages…
all important people born in oh. >500 / 2,470,000 A slightly longer list (but only slightly…)
greenberg puppy >500 / 122,000 Not in my house…
mac consultants +erode >500 / 102,000 What are they implying here?!?
pun of the year >500 / 1,450,000 To all who knew me growing up – yeah, that’s right – someone googled “pun of the year” and wound up at MY site…
should couples sleep separate at their first wedding night >500 / 1,060,000 Maybe that’s what led to the second wedding night…

Categories: Blogging about Blogs | 1 Comment »

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