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Showing posts from September, 2007

Make a Traffic Light Think Your Bike Is A Car

Ever wonder what makes a traffic light turn green? Some people think it's timing; others are sure there are weight sensors in the road. Still others claim it's some sort of camera system. But actually, it's magnetic field detectors: coils in the road detect large metallic masses over a plate by the stop line, and the traffic light begins its cycle. No cross traffic, no need for a light change. Slick, eh? Except if you ride a bike. See, those carbon and aluminum frames are great for speed and lightweight...but not for telling magnetic sensors you are there. Result? Every morning, I face the ethical dilemma of either waiting for a car to pull up to a certain light so I can turn left...or run the light. Guess what wins most days? However, my lawbreaking may be at an end. The Green Light Trigger pumps out a strong enough field to fool those sensors into believing my Fuji Robauix is a Ford F-150. No, it doesn't override lights like emergency vehicles, but mounted to the bas

A $50 Steak From A $5 One

A warning: Vegans, vegetarians, and folks who don't care for red meat, if the title of this post and the photo don't give it away, skip this one. The rest of you? Welcome to the world of food hacking. I'm not talking advanced chemistry here, but simple, easy ways to make your food taste better. And today, we're talking about one of the few foods I can actually cook: steak. See that steak? You think you're looking at a $5 steak, covered in salt, right? Wrong. You are actually looking at the metamorphosis of a $5 steak into one that you'd weep with carnivorous joy at consuming in Morton's or Smith & Wollensky. T hanks to this amazing blog post, we are that much closer to beef heaven. Fellow meat lovers, I share your joy at the treasure we are aboutto behold.The world...and the grill..will never be the same.

The End of Dependence on Fossil Fuel?

I don't know how much longer John Kanzius has left to live; he's clearly been the object of more than a few contracts on his life from Big Oil, as he has unveiled the tunning discovery that he's found a way to make seawater burn as a fuel. I know, seems impossible, but he actually has stumbled onto a way that releases and ignites the hydrogen from the most plentiful substance on earth. Not just a weak flame, this sucker burns at a test tube melting 3000 degrees. John, happy to start the PayPal fund for your Kevlar vest...or maybe you can just invent a force field, while you're at it? :-) Watch this amazing discovery in action:

What's stopping me from an iPhone?

So…the obvious question I get, being both a big fan of Apple's design, and my obvious lust for the ultimate mobile convergence device is: will I buy the iPhone? Obviously, with the recent price cut, I continue to get these questions in ever increasing frequency. Instead of giving my regular "Well..." answer, I've decided to take a critical look if I can be an iPhone user by looking at the applications and functions I use every day in my Palm Treo 680, and see how my current solution set stacks up. I'm going to score each of these, and, at the end, if the iPhone has a high score, I'm headed to the Apple store for a test drive. Contacts. I have over 6000 contacts in my phone. I know, it seems insane, but I'm like the packrat of all time when it comes to contacts. Plus, I keep notes on each, photos, etc. Finding a contact in the Palm is easy: just start typing. With 6K+ contacts, it can be a little laggy, but generally not an issue. With the iPhone, while yo

A Tale Of Two Companies And Loyalty

Publishing this in both of my blogs. Two very interesting things this week happened that illustrated how two consumer electronics companies view being loyal to their customers...with surprising differences. The first is Palm . Now, I'll preface this by saying I have been a very loyal Palm user for many years. I was entranced by the Palm III, years ago, and I have stuck with it: A Palm V, a Palm Vx, Handspring Visor, Handspring Visor Prism, VisorPhone, Tungsten T, Palm TX, and now my Treo 680. Through them all, I have always marveled at Palm's singleminded focus on usability and features: I have looked at alternatives every time, and settled on Palm's offering. Yet there's no denying that Palm has clearly lost any shred of a leadership position: the Danger devices, the ever improving (but still painful) Windows Mobile, and now the iPhone have all eclipsed Palm's innovation. Heck, even the new Blackberrys are getting in on the act. Palm's answer? The Foleo , which

The United States of Circuit City

"Papers, please." Sounds like a line out of a Nazi guard in an old war movie, right? Wrong. These were words (paraphrased) uttered in Brooklyn, Ohio, this very weekend by not just one ill informed individual, but two. Unfortunately, one was a Circuit City store manager and one, unbelievably, was a police officer. If you've ever bought something from a large electronics store, you've always accepted the annoyance of having to show your receipt and have your package inspected as you leave. What you might not have expected are the consequences for not doing so. Worse, you probably don't know your rights in this regard. This man did, and exercised them both this weekend. His reward? Arrested on trumped up charges. You can't believe this until you read it. By the way, Circuit City is not the only one who has gotten out of control with this. Similar stories of multiple Best Buy's are far too common. As a former electronics retail store manager, I can honestly s

Take a Flight with Google Earth

The headlines scream every day: although Google will deny it, they are clearly taking aim at Microsoft's desktop dominance by releasing free versions of traditionally paid software. Word? Hell, check out Google Docs. Excel? Um, there's this Google Spreadsheet. But now, Google has really upped the ante on Microsoft's monopolistic hold on a segment of desktop software: Google Earth now has a Flight Simulator mode. Yep, it's true. Just download the latest version of Google Earth , fire it up, and hit Ctrl+Alt+A. Voila, you're ready to fly. No, this not just a flythrough: takeoffs, landings, but with Googlicious real maps and terrain. Want to take a spin with a prop pusher? Gotcha. Looking for a racier challenge? How about an F-16 Viper? And yes, it's FREE. Oh, Mac users? Yeah, you get in on Air Google, too. Someone's just gotta add in a real-time audio layer for United's Channel 9, mapped to the location you are flying, and we've got a whole new entry i