Saturday, September 30, 2006

Go Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean

Just when I thought that the Dominos' "brownies with chocolate dipping sauce" sounded like the most repulsive thing that could be consumed (aside from Dominos' pizza), if not the perfect way to end up in a diabetic coma, this new product from Jimmy Dean takes the cake (as it were): Chocolate Chip Pancakes & Sausage on a Stick.
As if sausage and pancakes on a stick weren't bad enough, it's the chocolate chips that make it art. I can feel my waistline expanding just looking at the box. I'm waiting for the new Unhealthy Choice soup, Beef Bullion With Deep-Fried Lard Cubes and M&Ms.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Seeing Double

Perhaps it was all the red wine, but sorry for the double post. Blogger has gone insane.

Red Red Wine

Here's some more good news from the world of health:
A new study finds that moderate red wine consumption, specifically Cabernet Sauvignon, might help reduce the incidence of Alzheimer's disease.
The emphasis, of course, is on "moderate." But then with excessive red wine consumption you'll just not remember things anwyay.

Bugged By Google

Perhaps I have been wrong all along in my belief that humanity's end will come at the hands of evil robots, since there appears to be concrete proof that a giant, 120-foot-long insect is rampaging across Germany as we speak:
A giant bug of an unknown type was discovered in a field in Germany during a recent Google Maps survey. The bug, which measures over 120 feet, was spotted in a field northeast of Arlesberg, halfway between Stuttgart and Numberg, and it is assumed that the bug intends to slowly devour all the people living in the nearby small towns.
Or it could be that the "giant" insect is actually of normal size and was merely caught on the scanner during the imaging process. (I know all software has its bugs, but really!)

Then again, it could be a giant, evil robotic insect, which is a good compromise for resolving a variety of conflicting paranoid delusions.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Going to the Dogs

I think we're going to start seeing even more stories like this:
Dog starts car after eating chip

A breakdown patrol man who came to the rescue of a woman motorist has managed to get her car started using her dog.

Juliette Piesley, 39, had changed the battery in her electronic key fob but was then unable to start her car.

When AA patrolman Kevin Gorman arrived at the scene in Addlestone, Surrey, he found its immobiliser chip was missing.

Ms Piesley said her dog George had eaten something, and realising it was the chip, he put the dog in the front seat and started the car with the key.

Mr Gorman said: "I was glad to get the car started for the member.

"They will now have to take George [the dog] with them in the car until things take their natural course.

"It is the first time that I have had to get a dog to help me to start a car."

Friday, September 22, 2006

The O.C.[D.]

While, on an aesthetic level, I am quite fond of this SquidSoap soap dispenser:
I wonder if the point of it might not go a long way toward creating the next generation of obsessive-compulsive disorder sufferers:
SquidSoap is a fun soap dispenser designed for teaching children healthy hand washing habits.

SquidSoap works by applying a small ink mark on a person's hand when they press the pump to dispense the soap. The ink is designed to wash off after the hands are washed for about15-20 seconds, which is the time recommended by most doctors.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Measure for Measure

Those of you who have some vague idea of what it is that I do for a living--and I would probably have to put myself in that category--may know that, among other things, I am a writer and analyst for TrendWatch Graphic Arts (TWGA), which conducts regular market research into the graphic arts industry. Well, TWGA has now changed its name (to The Industry Measure) and some of its basic focus. The Web site can now be found at

If you've wondered why I rarely post on this blog anymore about media, print, communications, etc., well...the new IM site now has a blog, for which I will be the primary poster. So I have been holding all my "real" blog postings for The Industry Measure, so as not to have to end up writing about the same things twice (well, blog-wise, anyway). So be sure to visit here for my (hopefully) daily blog postings about the state of media and communications.

Blogito Ergo Sum will continue to provide news (or whatever you want to call it), jokes, puns, sarcastic remarks, general silliness, and other random comments about dorky new technologies and silly new gadgets, our imminent doom from rampaging robots, the ways that that society is going to hell in a hula hoop (i.e., cellphones), books and music, and other more creative approaches to blogging.

Fish Out of Water

This is odd:
This Blood Parrot fish rolls the contraption around just by swimming around in its bowl. The sensors and the onboard computer detects [sic] which direction the fish is swimming in, then directs the wheels accordingly.
Put some weapons on it, and the family fish can finally give the cat a little quid pro quo.

Kind of reminds me of Professor Wernstrom's "walking fish suit" from Futurama.

Watch This

Via Gizmodo, we can now all emulate Dick Tracy:
This GSM cellphone wrist watch has a 1-inch OLED screen, and does triband GSM after you drop a SIM card inside. The phone has room for 99 speed dials, and has 40 ringtones built in. Its batteries will last for 80 minutes of standard calls, but the phone has SMS capabilities, and even has Bluetooth for a headset.
Sure, it's dorky, but no dorkier than any other cellphone.

Charge of the Light Brigade

Now this is pretty cool, a giant anglepoise lamp:
To Celebrate the 70th Birthday of the Original 1227 Anglepoise Lamp we have created a three times life size version of the lamp which is handmade in England.
A bit pricey at 275 quid, though.

It reminds me of a Peter Gabriel concert I went to in 1986 where, at one point, as part of the stage show, Gabriel was attacked by what looked like a bunch of giant desk lamps. I don't remember what song it was--although it may even have been "I Don't Remember."

And let's not forget the 1979 Soft Boys song "(I Want to Be an) Anglepoise Lamp."

"No Wire Hangers!"

Maybe Joan Crawford was ahead of her time. Via Boing Boing:
How-To: Build a Robot from a Coat Hanger
In this project, we'll build a little critter out of surprisingly simple, minimal parts. We'll even make use of one of those coat hangers that seem to breed in the bedroom closet. This project is an ingenious little hardware hack dreamt up by a Canadian BEAM enthusiast named Jérôme Demers. It wonderfully illustrates a number of principles of bottom-up, BEAM-friendly robotics.
And the problem with coathanger-based robots is that they can rise up against us--while wearing our own clothes! Insidious, eh?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Genius in France?

From the "please kill me" file (via Gizmodo):
These French cases for your iPod may look like Domokun, but they're definitely French in origin. The felt cases are handmade, and retail for $40 to $50, but who can put a price on cuteness?
Oh, I think I could.

Chairs and Jeers

You know, today's working life is so harried and busy that I find that even walking from one room to another is downtime I can ill-afford. And yet, sometimes I just need to get into another room, but all that lost productivity means...well, I'm sure it means something dire.

So I am happy to learn (via Boing Boing) that someone has invented the hand truck chair. This means I can hire someone to cart me from place to place and I dare not miss even a single nanosecond at the computer or talking on the phone. Ingenious, eh?

Bad Moon Rising

Um, OK...
There's one place you may not have thought to store your valuable computer information. Just look up.

Hollow lava tubes on the Moon could be used as a giant digital library. That's one commercial possibility for the Moon put forth in a white paper by a NASA scientist.

In addition to being able to relay information to Earth like geosynchronous satellites, a lunar-based system could also process and store information, says David McKay.

The lunar computers could be buried in lunar soil, put at the bottom of craters or set into lava tubes, which are subsurface caves in which lava used to flow. Previously, scientists have suggested using lava tubes for human habitation.
They've got a point, I certainly never would have thought of using the Moon as a library. I'm guessing they're probably going to have to be extremely lenient when it comes to late fees.

Actually, I would be in favor of converting the entire Solar System into one big library, organized by planet. All the books on romance can be stored on Venus. All the books on warfare can be stored on Mars. All the books about the sea can be stored on Neptune. All the really big books can be stored on Jupiter. Books about being stiffed by the planetary commission can be stored on Pluto. Fast reads can be stored on Mercury. All the Lord of the Rings books can be stored on Saturn. And, of course, all the books that authors simply pulled out of their asses can be stored on Uranus.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Edward Fingerforks

An interesting idea--wearable finger forks, for those who simultaneously like and don't like eating with their hands.
I'm waiting for finger spoons.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Welcome to the Hellmouth

You know, I was wondering how cellphones could become even more annoying than they are now, and I think I've come across one:
BluScreen, an interactive advertising technology that identifies passers-by using their Bluetooth-enabled cellphones, is being tested at the school of Electronics and Computer Science at Southampton University in the UK.

At the school, the system will chose from different announcements about school events and scheduling. Once out in the real world, the system will present advertisements tailored to individuals.

The BluScreen system has a unique way of determining the ad shown; it holds a microsecond auction in which different advertisers can see the characteristics of the person and then bid on showing an ad. The "winner" of the auction selects the advertisement and pays accordingly.

Obviously, passers-by must have Bluetooth turned on, and profile information marked as available. Participants could influence ad content by the content of their profile.

Developers of the system are interested in having sensors in other parts of the building to build a profile of each individual, to better present them with information (ads) that are relevant to their recent experiences.

If you want to understand this in a more entertainment-oriented setting, take a look at the personalized graphic advertisements from the 2002 movie "Minority Report," directed by Steven Spielberg. The film, derived from the story "Minority Report" by science fiction writer Philip K. Dick, is set some years into the future. It also presents specific ads on screens to individuals after positive identification of the individual has been made.

It appears that the worldwide advertising machine is determined to implement this idea in real life. Another experiment similar to this one was conducted in France earlier this year; see French Billboards Call Your Cellphone for more information. For a look at other science-fictional technologies being implemented in the ad world, take a look at Ad Saturation Approaches 100 Percent. Find out more about BluScreen.
All I can say is, just try it. I will go out of my way to boycott any company that inflicts this kind of torture on me. I was told that there is a cellphone-throwing contest. I think this would be a good way to promote it.

Friday, September 15, 2006

We Have the Technology

This is pretty neat. Says TechNewsWorld:
Claudia Mitchell this week became the first woman to be outfitted with a bionic arm developed by the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Three men have previously been fitted with the arm, which features neuro-control technology that allows an amputee to move his or her prosthetic arm as if it is a real limb simply by thinking.
Not to make light, of course, but I wonder if it makes that really cool Six Million Dollar Man noise.

And, hey, the article has a quote from my former boss:
"Sometimes there's an interesting convergence between science fiction and reality. Other times there's no similarity," James Cavuoto, editor of Neurotech Reports, told TechNewsWorld. "For quadriplegics, they don't need to be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. They just want to be able to comb their own hair and feed themselves again."

The Spinach Armada

In case you missed this, a Blogito Ergo Sum public service announcement: do not buy (or, more importantly, do not eat) bagged spinach:
One person died and dozens of others were sickened in the 10-state outbreak, linked by Food and Drug Administration officials to bagged spinach.
The FDA warned people not to eat bagged spinach and said washing it wouldn't solve the problem because the bacteria are too tightly attached.
And when you see things like this...
Sources of the bacterium include uncooked produce, raw milk, unpasteurized juice, contaminated water and meat, especially undercooked or raw hamburger, the agency says on its Web site.

Last October, the FDA warned people not to eat certain Dole prepackaged salads that were connected to an outbreak of E. coli infections in Minnesota. At least 11 people were sickened.
Funny, you never hear about recalled M&Ms, or E. coli warnings related to potato chips, or tainted Ben & Jerry's ice cream. I think I'm with Woody Allen's Sleeper: at some point it will be the case that the unhealthiest foods will turn out to actually be the healthiest for us.

Pimp My Cam

Auric Goldfinger is alive and well and working for Minox:
The Minox DC1011 Carat...[is] a compact digital camera with 24-karat gold plating and ten 2-millimeter diamonds surrounding its lens.
No indication of what it costs, but if you have to ask...

Discord, Dat Cord...

The "solar system object" (actually, I like that term better than "planet") formerly known as UB313 (or Xena), now has an official name, appropriately chosen:
A new name has been bestowed on the "dwarf planet" whose discovery in 2005 rocked the solar system, sparked debate over "What is a planet?" and ultimately led to Pluto's removal from the planetary family. The dwarf planet, formerly known as 2003 UB313, is now called Eris, after the Greek goddess of discord and strife.
And since "Eris" turns up in crossword puzzles fairly often, I get the feeling that Will Shortz is on the planetary commission. If the next solar system object is named "Etui" or "Epee," I'll know that for certain...

L'eggo My Ego

Via Livescience, from the Society for the Exploration of the Blindingly Obvious:
a new study supports the widely held perception: Celebrities are more in love with themselves than the average person.
Shocking, I know.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Roller Coaster

Just in time for Oktoberfest (or Septoberfest, if we were on Mars), a kit for turning those old CDs into coasters.

I used to use old CDs (such as demo or PR CDs given out at trade shows) as coasters--but that center hole used to cause trouble. Nice to know someone has solved that particular problem.

Back in the day, when CD burning wasn't quite as reliable as it is today, just walking heavily around a CD burner while it was chugging away was enough to render a CD coaster-worthy. Funny, kind of like DVD writing today...

CDs also make good mini-Frisbees. Back in the early 1990s, I took a multimedia course at NYU and worked on a project with a guy who worked for Atlantic Records. He gave me a bunch of promo CDs, one of which was Laura Branigan's Greatest Hits (you know, "Gloria"...and I think that's it, really). Not exactly my cup of tea. As a joke, I gave it to my friend Steven as a birthday gift. Some weeks later, he came over to my apartment and, after he left, I found it mingled into my CD collection. That meant war. So the next time I went over his apartment, I slipped it into his own CD collection. I forget how long we kept that up, until one day he and his wife threw a party and while they were in the kitchen, I put the disc into the CD player. As the strains of "Gloria" came out of the speakers, Steven charged out of the kitchen, pulled the disc from the player, and Frisbeed it out the window. Naturally, when he wasn't looking, I went out and retrieved it. It again got put on the player, again forcibly removed, and again Frisbeed out the window. It hit the ground at a strange angle and broke. At that point, a cab ran it over. Fun times.

Try that with an MP3.