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Showing posts from December, 2007

When You Wish Upon A List...

This holiday, I was struck by an attendee at our house for the annual holiday feast, who watched the frenzied opening of gifts. See, most of the folks who were opening gifts were delighted to see items that they had asked for on their Wishlists, mostly from Amazon, so they were not just excited to have the gifts, but which of their wishlist items they were. My friend watched the excitement, and hear the constant cries of, "oh, good, you got me THAT one!" She asked, "Wait a minute: you all bought each other things off of lists you all made?" When we laughed and said yes, she shook her head and admitted it was a pretty good idea. Wishlists: only took us 5000 years to tell each other what we want. As fate had it, my wishlist item arived:my very own Doomsday USB Hub. Now, I can end a meeting in style. Thanks!

First Class Movie Theaters

Courtesy of my nephew, Jeremy, I learned of the next foray by movie theater owners to attract patrons to the overpriced movie theater experience: First Class. Called Lux, National Amusements is piloting the program in it's Randolph, MA, location. The premise? Pay an additional $10, and you get a perk-filled evening, including: - In-Seat dining , from a menu that ranges from Chicken Satay appetizers, to panini sandwiches to personal pizzas, which you order from your seat and summon your server with a push of a button. Prices are unknown, but you do get $5 off with your ticket. - Alcoholic beverages. Great applause; now I can finally tolerate seeing Adam Sandler. - Lux Level preferred parking area exclusively for Lux Level patrons. - Ultimate service, brushing your car off in snowy winter weather, or offering an umbrella on those unexpected rainy days. - Escort to the Lux Level auditorium - Coat check service available - Deep-cushioned, custom designed seats. - Wait service at t

Great/Horrible Art in Lego

My friend Steff is visiting Legoland USA right now, and pointed out with delight the Lego rendition of San Francisco's Justin Herman Plaza in Lego, complete with it's trademark love-it-or-despise-it water sculpture. The sculpture, entitled "Fountain," by Armand Vaillancourt , has been inspiring adoration and hatred since 1971. Some think it's a set of sewer pipes, other see it as an Escher drawing come to life. In any case, Charles's reaction was priceless upon seeing the photo: "I like how there's a firetruck there to help evacuate those that have viewed the sculpture and need to be rescued." Thanks, Steff. Photo courtesy of Flickr user Tempo .

Spokeo: Pulse, without Plaxo

As you may have noticed, I've been become more and more fascinated with the evolution of Web 2.0 to harness the "cloud" of the Web to make the online world more relevant. In other words, using the web to enhance the social nature of interactions. This hearkens back to my early days as a BBS sysop, and actually has the potential to make the web ubiquitous. I've been quite congratulatory towards Plaxo for recognizing one of the key tenets of this, the ability to automatically discover interactions, and display and classify them, in the form of Plaxo's Pulse , which gives you a "news feed" of what your connections are doing, all over the web. I've also mentioned that Plaxo sometimes, rightly or wrongly, gets a bad rap as being a Facebook imitator or worse, but I have to tell you, the Pulse is addictive: like all good "push" applications, it keeps you up to date on everything. But what if you could have Pulse, without Plaxo? Enter Spokeo , whic

The Treo 680 Gets Updated

Yep, it's here. What's in it? This software update provides device enhancements including improved Bluetooth® wireless performance for some headsets and car kits, audio quality, and media file functionality in Messaging. In addition, you'll get brand new features such as Push To Talk, for walkie-talkie functionality, and Microsoft's Direct Push Technology to get your latest email, appointments, and contacts sent directly to you, and more. * Push to Talk – With Push to Talk, you can use your Treo 680 like a walkie-talkie to talk to one person or a group of up to 29. A quick glance at your smartphone shows whether family, friends, and coworkers are available to talk before you call. * Corporate email as it arrives – Have your corporate email delivered to you with Microsoft® Direct Push Technology. Accept or decline meeting invites on the go and have your work calendar updated automatically. With the ability to access your company directory wirelessly, you can qui

Sentenced to the Mall

In this noble season of embracing consumerism, one intrepid reporter attempted to spend every waking business hour (and more) for a solid week inside the High Temple of Consumeria, the aptly named Mall of America, in Minnesota. The result? An epic descent of man along the lines of Joseph Conrad. Join me, on this amazing voyage of the damned, will you? Oh, and happy holidays! ;-)

"What do you want me to do, learn to stutter?"

Loyalty Lab is on the move, heading to the legendary 111 Sutter St., home to one of history's greatest literary detectives, Sam Spade. Talk about a building steeped in tradition, this one is practically dripping with it. As the Fat Man from the black bird's tale once said, "These are facts, historical facts, not schoolbook history, not Mr. Well's history, but history nevertheless." View Larger Map See you in the funny papers.

Dog emails dog

Brian, as they say, be careful what you wish for. Who is Brian? Brian is an intern at Not familiar with them? They are an online storage company: a virtual drive, if you will. My Netvibes membership introduced them to me. I rarely use them, but thought they were generally fine for a free storage service. Then Brian contacted me. See, Brian noticed I was blogging about Picnik , a great photo editing tool for free online. Brian, out of the goodness of his heart, thought I might like to know about's service to do the same; he even took the time to email my Gmail account to tell me. Hello, My name is Brian, I'm an intern working at I saw your post about editing photos online and I wanted to write to you in case you would be interested in knowing now lets users edit photos online as well. Using our OpenBox platform, users can now right-click on any image and edit it instantly, for free. OpenBox is a platform which lets developers write software that

Cruise on down to Nokia Avvenu

Interesting news, as Nokia has purchased Avvenu . Not familiar with Avvenu? Not surprising, if you weren't a Palm OS user. They make a little program that lives on your PC, making the files available to be accessed with a mobile phone. The revenue model was invisible, so it was always a little headscratching. As to access, well, it was OK, but never amazing. And the idea of having all of your files open to be accessed by anyone hitting a URL and entering a username and password always seemed a bit harebrained to me. On the odder side, Nokia immediately discontinued access outside the US and killed Avvenu's streaming music service in favor of their own. Here's what they had to say: Dear Avvenu Customer, As a registered user of the Avvenu service, we wanted to let you know that Nokia and Avvenu have signed an agreement under which Nokia has acquired Avvenu Inc. Nokia intends to continue the Avvenu Access 'n Share service, and enhance Avvenu's secure remote access and

RT: the re-emergence continues

The media spin on the re-emergence of Richard Thalheimer continues. First, a cover story in San Francisco Weekly. Now, the LA Times spins the tale of the fascinating mercurial man and his rise, fall, and (he hopes) rise again. As I have said before here: don't count RT out. These articles aren't random, after all: it's clear he's positioning for a classic comeback story. And with the way The Sharper Image is heading these days...who knows how the story might end?

Woot Off: get your REAL holiday deals on!

Last night's Woot-Off is going strong. In fact, I forgot to turn off the cell last night, so every 5 minutes a buzz awoke me to the newest Woot limited deal. I've already missed a great PC for $250, but there's still more. If you are a Yahoo Widgets user, check out the Woot!Widget to keep track on your desktop of today's unreal deals.

'Tis the Season...

Yup, it is. And, although it sounds arrogant, wishlists have made life a LOT easier. Amazon is still the gold standard, but even they don't have everything. I looked for a universal wishlist that would give me the simplicity of the Amazon one, but alas, it was not to be found. Coming close is : it offers a universal wishlist that brings you to the etailer's page to complete the transaction, then mark the item as purchased in a companion browser window. While not automatic, it's pretty close! So, here's a list of where to find suggestions (as you don't want to be asking me): Josh's Universal Wishlist (I'm listing things not on my Amazon list here for this year; let's see if it works out, and if it does, I'll move my Amazon list there.) Amy's Universal Wishlist Josh's Amazon Wishlist Amy's Amazon Wishlist Amy's Wishlist (Yeah!) Our Wishlist And Thanks.

Netiquette 2.0

Back in the pre-Web 2.0, pre-Web 1.0, pre-World Wide Web, and even pre-AOL, there were Bulletin Board Systems (BBS): isolated archipelagos of folks who shared their interests in forums and chat rooms to the point of obsessiveness. Like any isolated culture, each BBS evolves its own feel, with folks naturally gravitating to a certain form of behavior. And all was good in the world. In the late 80's/early 90's, BBS operators started to connect their BBS'. Suddenly, you had an influx of new users participating in forums, violating unspoken rules and taboos, and the first "flame wars" erupted. Longtime BBS users were turned off: their vibrant forums were descending into annoyance, and their primary goals of connecting with like-minded folks were being thwarted. BBS participation started to drop. What to do? BBS system operators ("Sysops") saw the threat to their nascent network, precursors of today's Web, and decided to take action. They drafted a set of