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Showing posts from June, 2006

Coupons on the cellphone

In my ever increasing quest to get rid of paper in favor of electronica, years ago my friend Tim and I had an idea: what if you could display bar codes on a screen, that were scannable? Coupons, movie tickets, and more would instanltly be available, with no printing costs. We looked into it, and decided it would take a lot more money than we had, and smarter people than us. Flash forward 5 years, and it's here. Cellfire has made digital free coupons online, for cell phones. I just downloaded it; here's to the future!

Vegas Hotel Reviews: New York New York

When this one was first built, I shook my head: a roller coaster in the middle of a casino? And what about all of the NYC folks that come to Vegas? Why would they want to stay there? Well, imagine a New York City from the 1930's: all deco, classic institutions, and a recognizable skyline that is actually a scaled down hotel tower. It always had a little chaotic feel to it, with the Coney Island/rollercoaster kid appeal, but it seems to have mellowed over time (or maybe I have?). What I really like about New York New York is the fact that they "stay on message" so well. Every detail is designed to keep with the theme. The casino floors are recognizable city streets and sidewalks; the different gaming areas are themed to major NYC landmarks. Hotel: No idea. Never stayed, but we've heard the rooms could be on the smaller side. They recently added a tasteful fountain of fireboats, commemorating 9/11, which I thought was a great touch. Casino: Extensive, designed to convey

Vegas Hotel Reviews: Monte Carlo

We've been to Vegas many times, and love the whole "it's Disneyworld for adults" feel of the place. Since we've stayed at a few places and checked out most of the others on the Strip, I figured I'd mix my biased reviews and impressions of some with some pix I took on this trip. No order to the list below, just as I think of it. Monte Carlo. This trip, this is where we stayed, for the first time. One of the original "luxury hotels" on the Strip, it still maintains it's facade, but is clearly outshined by the excess around it. Inexpensive rooms, good service (although TripAdvisor folks had different experiences), and right in the middle of the Strip. Next to New York New York, and across from the MGM Grand, the shabby hotels of the past are finally being torn down around it which makes it feel a little isolated. Hotel: Great value, good staff, great rooms. Casino: On the small side, with only a few reasonable minimum tables open. All about the pen


We headed down the road a piece last week to Las Vegas, for some much needed R&R. We drove, as I find long drives in the desert as relaxing as almost anything...until Primm, NV. See, before Primm, it's all desert and mountains..relaxing, but nothing out there. And it seems every time, I fill up the car with gas in Wasco, CA...and am on fumes as I come into the mountains above Primm. So, what is supposed to be relaxing turns into a white knuckled drive, as the low fuel light comes on, and I flash to visions of being eaten by buzzards in the desert. Staggering in the 110 degree heat, as 18 wheelers whip by, I picture crawling through the sand. Then, as I have the car in neutral, and am coasting on the downslope of the hill, wondering if the car manufacturers REALLY meant for the needle on the gas gauge to go beyond "E," the desert shimmers and shakes...and a roller coaster looms up out of the wavering heat, surrounded by casinos, hotels, outlet malls, and, most importan

Barbeque tips from a master

Words of wisdom that I can aspire to, but alas, not live up to, straight from Doug Fleener , motivational speaker and retail god: 1. Get rid of that gas grill. I know, I know, you like the convenience. You like turning a knob and 10 minutes later you're ready to cook. Unfortunately, using a gas grill means sacrificing an incredible amount of flavor. If you do a taste comparison of something cooked on gas versus something cooked on charcoal, you will almost invariably prefer the food cooked over charcoal. Charcoal really is as easy to use as gas. The trick is to have a high quality chimney. Wad up some paper in the bottom, fill that baby up with charcoal, light it and walk away. Fifteen or twenty minutes later you're ready to dump the hot coals in your grill. Sure, it takes a bit more time but it doesn’t involve any more work. 2. Get rid of that starter fluid. The stuff is nasty, leaves a taste, and has a tendency to remove your eyebrows. The chimney is the only way to go. 3.

Nixie Clocks: the stuff of dreams

I remember going to the Museum of Science as a kid, and seeing all the cool future things there; it was like the way the future should be. Nothing fascinated me more than the Nixie computer, however. Not familiar with Nixie tubes? Gaze upon this Nixie Clock gallery, and join me in a smile for the way things could have been.

A comment on my driving

Someone knows where I grew up driving... New Regulations in the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicle's 2006 Handbook: 1. Turn signals will give away your next move. A confident Massachusetts driver avoids using them. 2. Under no circumstance should you maintain a safe distance between you and the car in front of you, because the space will be filled in by somebody else, putting you in an even more dangerous situation. 3. The faster you drive through a red light, the less of a chance you have of getting hit. 4. Warning! Never come to a complete stop at a stop sign. No one expects it and it will result in you being rear-ended. 5. Never get in the way of an older car that needs extensive bodywork, especially with RI, ME, or NH plates. With no insurance, the other operator has nothing to lose. 6. Braking is to be done as hard and late as possible to ensure that your ABS kicks in, giving a vigorous foot massage as the brake pedal violently pulsates. For those of you without ABS,

Trillian Astra is coming!

I thought Trillian, the greatest IM client ever, had gone off into the wilderness, to die. Surprise, surprise: the new version, Astra, is coming. Trillian is one of the few programs I gladly pay for. To me, it is everything done rightin IM, and a worthwhile investment. Heck, it's even portable to other machines! Could it be improved? yes: Jabber support could be better, and webcam integration with MSN, but for everything else, well worth $30. I'll be excited to see what Astra brings!

Deadwood: Going out with a *&%#$%@ bang

It seems the demise is true, BUT the silver lining is that Deadwood is ending it's run with 2 Specials, according to CBS News. Sigh. Just when I was getting girded up. At least I can look forward to a proper ride into the sunset.

"Visual Pollution?" Windbags.

Wind power: natural, renewable, and tecnology has finally evolved to the point that we can put windmills in the middle of the ocean, away from people. This cheap, natural, and fantastic energy source should be embraced by folks paying over $3 a gallon for gas, yes? Nope, say Nantucket and Great Lakes residents. Why? "Visual pollution" of the ocean views. Horseshit. Let me put it in perspective: the windmill off the coast (20 miles!) of Nantucket? Stand on the beach and look where it will be. Hold your thumb up to the horizon. See the space where your thumbnail starts and the tip of your thumb ends? THAT'S the "visual pollution" we are talking about. Let's get our heads out of our oil addicted asses, and start getting real.

Why Google Office will NOT be the killer app

On Tuesday, Google is set to release Google Spreadsheets, their latest webification of a traditional desktop app. They can play it down, but they are clearly going after the Microsoft Office dominance, what with their acquisition of Writely , and the wildly popular Calendar & Gmail. The thing that's missing? Context. In Word, when I mistype or misspell, Word automatically corrects my error. Heck, it even learns what I do. I can't type without it: blogging takes me three times as long because I have to go back and spell check everything I might accidentally fat finger. Until Google can offer that same immediacy, their tools are great, but not indispensable. Figure out how to get Ajax to do THAT, and you have the killer app.

An American In Kuwait - The Blog

Amy's cousin, my friend, and great all around guy Rob Tess is a man not afraid of a challenge. He's been all around the country, with his company, helping to clean up some of the worst sites. Now, he's in, of all places, Kuwait, and rather than an endless stream of emails, he's started a blog. Rob is one of the most amazingly level headed people I have ever met, but he goes with full gusto. His wry perceptions are always great for dinner, weekends, and now, a perspective on an area of the world most of us only know from CNN. A long time ago, my girlfriend's father was working there, and she used to regale me with tales of Kuwait that were equally frightening and mesmerizing. Looks like Rob is already off to describing much of the same. Tune in for his next installment...

Yet ANOTHER great reason to fly JetBlue

Gizmodo is reporting that JetBlue will be offering Internet Acess, but, smartly, NOT cellphone access. Sure, you can still get the annoyance if your seat-mate is using Skype, but most likely, IM will be the preferred method. Man, JetBlue needs to take over the world. Together with Google, they'd be unstoppable, AND do no evil.