Skip to main content


Showing posts from December, 2006

The Beauty In My Backyard

Having lived in the Bay Area for more than a decade now, I always appreciate it, but sometimes forget just how amazing every place can be. For instance, Christmas Eve Day was an overcast, cold (Northern California cold; all you Midwesterners, pipe down) kind of a day, perfect for a late breakfast to warm the bones. We headed out to try someplace new, the Lighthouse Café in Sausalito: I ride by it on my bike, daily, and it was always busy. Seems like a good sign. **WARNING: Mini Dining Review ahead...skip down if you don't care (also will be posted on Yelp )** The café is right on Bridgeway, the main approach to Sausalito, but before downtown. From the outside, it's kind of cool and kitschy, with a scaled down, two story lighthouse built in to the structure. Inside, small, with a long counter by the open grill, and several booths. Two people service the whole place, plus the cooks. While the look of the place is classic working-class coffee shop, the food and prices are very def

What Superhero are YOU?

Ever wanted to be a superhero? Wondered what your superhero would be like? Let this online quiz help you define yours. Mine: Your results: You are Green Lantern Green Lantern 75% Supergirl 61% Spider-Man 60% Iron Man 55% The Flash 55% Hulk 50% Wonder Woman 46% Superman 45% Batman 45% Catwoman 40% Robin 30% Hot-headed. You have strong will power and a good imagination. Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz Amy's: Your results: You are Green Lantern Green Lantern 80% Wonder Woman 75% Spider-Man 70% Superman 60% The Flash 55% Robin 52% Supergirl 50% Iron Man 50% Catwoman 40% Hulk 35% Batman 30% Hot-headed. You have strong will power and a good imagination. Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz

The Gigapixel Image

An amazing example of Google technology layered on over the ever increasing ability of cameras to capture extremely large images with amazing quality. For instance, this gigapixel image of my hometown, Boston, captured from the Prudential Tower's Skywalk, allows you to drill in so tightly, with such clarity, it allows you to be come a virtual peeping Tom. For instance, take a look at the original image here: Now, here's the Hatch Shell (where the Boston Pops plays on July 4th, miles away: The photo of the Hatch Shell is not a separate photo; it's a zoom of the top left of the 1st photo. You can practically read the names of the composers etched into the steps; that's Mozart's name on the right. Amazing; we're finally getting technology that shows like CSI always supposes we have. Enjoy a virtual visit to a still life of Boston in the summer. See you there!

Great song, BAD new media marketing

I've only recently started to discover some music and artists that are not from before 1990. :-) One of them is Pink , an evolution of Joan Jett, one of my all time favorites. She's got a tough, rough approach that just exudes energy. As NBC launched their inaugural season of Sunday Night Football, they tapped Pink to do a cover of Jett's "I Hate Myself For Loving You" for the opening of the show, called "Waiting All Day For Sunday Night." Check out the clip from the season opener: Catchy, right? She's the modern approach to Hank Williams Jr.'s Monday Night Football montage. In fact, it's a hell of a lot better. Now, here's where it went wrong. It's 2006 (almost 2007): music and ringtones are ubiquitous. Can I buy a clip of this for my MP3 player? No. Ringtone? Uh-uh. How about as a single? Nope. In fact, the ONLY place I can even hear the song is on this YouTube clip. What kind of marketers are these? Put it up on iTunes! Hell, i

How 'Bout them Marin Cowboys?

Hey, I'm not saying I'm ready for Canton, or even Vegas, but I'm proud to say that this year's Loyalty Lab Fantasy Football season came to a pretty satisfying conclusion: Yep, after finishing close to the top the last two seasons, this year the Superbowl was mine. Maybe it was the incentive of having $250 on the line, or maybe I, like my 'Boys, was finally desperate enough for a winning season, but most likely it was a combination of my competition and luck. Want proof? The 3rd place winner, the Exurbanites, was a member who hadn't touched his team since his draft. In the end, it came down to Loyalty Lab's two Russians, and this one came out on top. My powerhouse players this season were Peyton Manning of the Colts (at least he can win a championship in fantasy football), Maurice Jones-Drew of the Jaguars (who? Wasn't Fred Taylor supposed to be the top back?), Marion Barber III of the Cowboys (all he does is score touchdowns), and the sleeper of Marqu

Oooh...a new toy I want!

In the 70's, just as the Walkman was coming of age, there was the coolest portable radio I ever saw: the Bone Radio. It looked like a slightly thick scarf, and it rested on your shoulders and neck; it conducted the sounds of your favorite radio station (AM only, natch) through your bones, giving you your own private sound environment that only you were privy to. Now, a cellphone headset has used the same technology, but reversed it. The Jawbone uses (you guessed it) your jaw to conduct sound; it screens out almost any and all ambient noise. The benefit? You could be driving at, say 80 MPH with the window down, stereo playing...and your caller hears nothing but your voice. I know, hard to believe, but both this review and their website offer some pretty compelling evidence. If all goes well, I may be trading my Plantronics for this one ASAP. eBay, here I come!

Happy holidays

A nice way to spend the holiday, with friends Pete & Lani (who's beautiful new table we are all seated at), Rocky & Eileen, and of course Pauline. Happy holidays! Hope yours was wondrous!

A Christmas Miracle: Man can Fly

Ok, maybe not quite Christmas, as it happened on the 10th, but pretty impressive nonetheless. Remember the promise of the jetpack? You know, the one from the Bond movies, and the vision of the future, where we were all promised that we'd be tooling around in our own flying harness? Hasn't quite worked out that way, yet. Enter, from an unlikely quarter, Yves Rossy. This Swiss daredevil figured out how to not only ride a jetpack, but to strap on some foldable wings to make it a viable, controllable form of transportation. The image here is from the video of his maiden flight; it's amazing to watch him leading a plane with nothing but his body, his jetpack, and his wings. Heck, even beats the Flying Car for dreams come true.

MUCH more than meets the eye

I mentioned about the new Transformers movie that will be Michael Bay's latest summer blockbuster attempt. Well, the new trailer has hit the web, and I have to say, what started as a laughable idea is looking pretty cool. Judge for yourself: Of course, it has the signature Michael Bay I-can't-keep-the-camera-still-for-one-moment style, but the effects look terrific. I'm actually looking forward to this!

A bite from Toast Cafe

Toast Cafe in Mill Valley. My new favorite local comfort food!

AskX and you shall receive?

A Digg posting made me try out's new interface, AskX. They were making fun of the UI, but I have to say, I'm shocked at how good AskX's search results are. Clean, fast, and useful: not just websites, but the sidebar has incredibly useful information. Looking for a movie trailer? Not only do you get the site, but also a preview of the YouTube version on the right, as well as sample images, and more. I have to say, I have been growing increasingly fond of Google's service's, and less fond of their search results. Ask's approach may have converted me: I'll take anything that saves me time on my web searches and makes it easy for me.

Northern California or the North Pole?

What the heck happened to the mild temperate climates of Northern California? I returned home from Chicago this week, only to encounter colder temperatures than Chicago in December! For instance, the picture to the left was out my front door, on the hillside: the entire mulch was covered in a thick blanket of frost! Biking was a trip: it was the first time my new "colder weather gear" was put to the test, and it passed. Slipping on ice was a new sensation, however!

Think Denver's airport has problems?

As seen in Chicago's O'Hare airport this week, by me. Yeah, we all get annoyed by travel, but when you get that annoying McAfee update pop-up that BLOCKS THE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR FLIGHT, it's more than a minor annoyance. Reminds me of some years ago, as San Francisco's new state of the art International terminal was almost opened, and security was a bit more lax, I was able to stroll around the deserted terminal. 42" plasma screens, everywhere you could see, that would show you the most animated updates on your flights...except they all showed Windows errors. Hundreds of them. Now THAT'S when I wish I had a camera!

Dining Review: Umami, San Francisco

The Marina has a new contender for the art of Asian fusion, and it's name is Umami. The former Yoshida-Ya, famous for it's various meat skewers and vast seating is no more. Instead, the building has been gutted, redone, and become an edgy, dark fusion of ultra lounge and restaurant. First, it's impossible to discuss this pace without commenting on décor. It's phenomenal : every detail has been paid attention to. Yes, it's very much on the dark side, but the rice paper wall paper, the rich cherry wood floors and tables and the subtle sandal wood accents are great. The place is more bar than restaurant, at least on the ground floor, and they favor high tables with some of the best stools ever made: woven leather seats, plentifully padded, and mounted on wrought iron stems with fantastic footpegs. Lots of small candles made the dark room alight with small intimate pools. One other note, and a strange one for a dining review: the bathrooms. They have to be seen to be be

The First Amendment in Action

From the "I can't believe these concepts ever get put together" files, I present to you an excellent example of the First Amendment in action...courtesy of Danny Bonaduce. Yes, you read that right: the child star of the 1970's turned shock jock of the 80's and all around reality star of the 90's shows how you can absolutely have a cogent argument. I'll say this: I disagree with what he is saying, but he handles the intrusion into his private time with class, politeness, and directness. He makes his case, and when he can stomach no more, he lets loose. Watch for the part where, before he decides to tell this conspiracy theorist what he really thinks, he first turns to a fellow diner to apologize in advance for his language. Danny Bonaduce, 9/11, Free Speech, and YouTube. Man, the internet is a wonderful thing.

Dining Review: Noonan's Bar & Grill

This week, courtesy of Open Table , I had the chance to try Noonan's Bar & Grill in Larkspur. On the surface, sounds like a typical suburban eatery, but in Marin, things can be a bit different. First, the owner owns several popular brewpubs in the county, including Moylan's and the Marin Brewing Company; neither made a great impression on me, but they are popular among the younger crowd. Second, there's not really much of a singles scene in Marin, but Noonan's seems to have become one of the spots. Despite this, we headed over with trepidation on a Monday night. The menu is surprisingly upscale for a bar & grill; average entree is $24. And the menu is quite unique. For instance, we started with a Trio of Mini Duck Burgers. Yes, you read that right: imagine three "sliders," but with the best duck meat fashioned into a patty, topped with delicious chutney and an impeccable golden egg bread bun. Yum! And the drink list? WOW. three pages of Vodka choices,

A table Pete AND Lani would love

Over on Pete's blog , you'll see some amazing examples of design, especially around furniture and housewares. On Lani's blog, you'll get great insight into setting up a new home, as well as work and movies. What you may not know is the two of them live together as a happy couple. Read their blogs, and you can see their tastes can be both overlapping and extremely divergent. Looks like there's a company out there that decided to make something both of them can truly appreciate. Lani's been recently posting about her search for a dining room table, while Pete's been giving some good examples of innovative furniture designs. DB Fletcher decided both should have some satisfaction, with this radially expanding table. Not radically; radially . Want a larger table? Turn it: It is a circular table which, when rotated at its outer perimeter, doubles its seating capacity, yet astonishingly remains truly circular. The expansion leaves are stored within the table and,

Joss Whedon: This Generation's Gene Roddenberry

I just finished watching all the episodes of Firefly , Joss Whedon's "Western in Space," and was surprised at how enjoyable it was. Whedon , if you don't know, is the man who brought Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel to the small screen, but also has written some surprising big screen diversities, including Toy Story and Alien Resurrection (Alien 4). Firefly was supposed to be his big dream, but it lasted only 13 episodes before Fox canceled it. Like another famous science fiction series that was canceled before it's time, Firefly inspired fans who loved the universe and characters, who are passionate about the show. How passionate? They staged a letter writing campaign to save it, which briefly worked. They held conventions, wrote episodes, and generally made a ruckus enough to convince 20th Century Fox to allow Whedon to make a movie follow up, Serenity . Unfortunately, like the series, it too failed to be a commercial success. The story should have ended th

Josh is SO hard to buy for...not anymore!

Ok, I've heard it a million times: "you're so hard to buy for; what do you want for {fill in the blank}?" I tried to help; I created wishlists, hints, blog posts. Still I get the question. Clearly, it's time to harness the power of the Web to help solve this astounding problem: What I really want is a GPS unit that works with my Palm. Luckily, there are some available. However, I'm not crass enough to suggest someone should drop a couple of Benjamins on it for me. I am crass enough, however, to suggest that friends, coworkers, and anonymous contributors pool their good intentions towards that goal, and this service from ChipIn makes it possible. You contribute the funds, the progress gets updated on the blog, and when the goal is hit, voila! Disbursement, and I'm a few clicks away from that beloved gadget. Beyond just the appreciation, this service is really cool. I opted to let them collect the funds, rather than PayPal, but they support that service, as

New Widgetbox Widgets

Check out two new WidgetBox widgets I've added in the right column. Man, these things keep coming and get cooler and cooler. The Internet Address Book Pidy. Simple: consolidate all your social networking and sharing URLs into a single "badge." Clever. The Google Maps Widget. Paired with a text Widget for a caption, allows me to display a map of where I'm traveling to this week. With how much I've been traveling, always fun to show. WidgetBox makes these things easy. Now, if they'd only integrate all the Google Gadgets, we'd be all set.

The gifts I want don't exist

Such a frustrating holiday for a gadget guy like me, this year. The best gadgets aren't out, and are not quite here. The Treo 680? Close, no cigar. The Blackjack? Version 2 has WiFi and another camera...but not out yet. The Wii? Not until they get the kinks worked out. Take this example. I HATE wires. for years. I have been advocating that, if I had enough money, I would go back to school and get a degree in electrical engineering just to create the wireless power system. For instance, my Sonicare just gets near the cradle, and charges. Why can't every gadget be like that? Well, WildCharge aims to just do that. No brainer for me, right? Sure...but not out until 2007. Sigh. I'll keep that Froogle list stocked...

James Kim: killed by Google Maps?

James Kim's body was found today, ending the search for the tech community member. As I wrote last week, James was always a great part of my tech and media consumption, and I am extremely sad for his family and coworkers. Now the question turns to "How could this happen?" Interestingly, MSNBC suggests part of the blame may lie with our ever-increasing reliance on Google Maps. I have been a victim of this myself: in our driving trip to Dallas and the Southwest in 2001, I used Microsoft's Streets & Trips to plan a scenic drive to Taos...and almost got Amy and I killed, careening off a cliff at 60 MPH, Roadrunner cartoon style. The road went from a flat blacktop in the desert to a dirt trail barely large enough for a single car in 50 feet...and the trail ended above a cliff. This, because I asked Microsoft for a "scenic" route. Looks like there's a market for a new map site: one that uses real-world info. Seems like an ideal Web 2.0 idea: combine so

San Francisco Parking Carma

From the "why didn't someone think of this sooner?" department: a Google Maps mashup showing you near real-time parking space availability in San Francisco. Cool, but I wish it showed all of the parking lots and the cost for hourly and daily parking for each. By the way, if you are looking for a good Google Maps mashup directory, can't go wrong with this site.

We may not be did we not know?

One of the things I love about the web, and interesting news sites like digg , the new Netscape , and Original Signal is stumbling across some sort of piece of information I never knew...and should have. For instance, take this example of a comparatively massive radio signal we received...from space. Yes, all you Contact fans, it actually happened: a full on, ET Phoning Us signal, so powerful it made the person monitoring the signal note "WOW!" on the record, and it has been known as the WOW signal ever since. Now, get this: it happened almost 20 years ago. 2 decades, I never even heard of this. No, it has not been repeated (nor were there any encoded signals captured for special plans for teleporters, alas), which, of course, led to speculation it was an anomaly. Here's the part of the article I found most convincing, however: The signal's original discoverer Jerry Ehman doesn't care to speculate on its source, and he remains scientifically skeptical. "Ev