Tips for Those Wearing the Fanny Packs

June 27, 2008

I sit in traffic not five minutes from my house and breathe a heavy sigh.  I glance in front of me and notice a truck that has this bumper sticker slapped on the rear fender:

Heh.  I chuckle to myself as the light turns green.  I know it’s not the nicest sentiment in the world.  But the reality of living in a town that spends four months of the year being a haven for what seems like the entire state of Connecticut?  It’s not so nice either.

I don’t blame them for wanting to come here – Rhode Island is a phenomenal place to spend the summer months.  If you can get past the sometimes excessive humidity, you are left with some goregous sunshine to bask in on even more stunning beaches.  There’s some fantastic restaurants serving honest-to-god fresh seafood (don’t let Red Lobster fool you) and to die for ice cream joints.  There’s surfing, shopping, sightseeing and every other possible touristy thing you could think of – even, dare I say it, mini-golf

But I feel, as a native, it is my duty to offer some tips to those who venture into my home state for their annual summer getaway.  Maybe more so for my sanity than for theirs.

  • Rules of the road still apply.  This means needing to use blinkers and driving normal speeds on roads, even if you are trying to locate something.  This also means not randomly braking in the middle of the street to ask some runner where Point Judith is located.  The rest of us would like to continue driving forward please.
  • No shoes, no shirt, NO WAY.  I understand you are on vacation and loving the whole experience of walking around all day on the beach barefoot.  But when you walk into the grocery store to buy food for dinner?  You need to put your shoes BACK on.  Because some of us just came from work and would like to buy fresh veggies without having to stare at your gross feet. 
  • 5:00 p.m. on a Friday is a poor time to go for a scenic drive.  There are many, many of us who are just trying to get home from work. 
  • No, for the seven-millionth time, Rhode Island is not. an. island.  It’s so crazy, isn’t it?  Please stop talking.
  • Perhaps you don’t have seagulls where you are from.  You might not even live near a body of water at all, so I get that you may not understand the nature of these birds.  They are scavengers and they live for scraps of food.  Don’t think you are just going to get away with innocently feeding a tiny piece of bread to one harmless seagull.  Oh no.  One squawk and the entire Northeastern fleet of seagulls will surround you and every poor shmuk who had the unforunate luck of sitting next to you.  And they will be hungry and expect food.  The signs are not for show.  DO.NOT.FEED.THE.SEAGULLS

That’s about all the advice I have for now.  If planning a trip to our neck of the woods, I suggest printing this out and bringing it with you.  It will save you some (deserved) aggression and gestures of unhappiness in the form of raised fingers from the locals if you do.

Posted by: Ashley

If we can’t make fun of ourselves…

June 27, 2008

If you met me you may be shocked to find out that two of my undergraduate years at the University of Rhode Island were spent as an engineering major. Forget Brown’s ivy league status, UR-High in its heyday was highly-regarded as the Ocean State’s most prominent higher education establishments… oh wait, that was Playboy and the school’s ranking as “#1 party school in the nation”. Anyway… URI’s engineering program is ACTUALLY a well-regarded program, but after two years I transferred into the College of Business’ Marketing program; from which I later graduated.

Why the transfer? Then, I told myself (and my engineering father who did NOT appreciate my sentiments at the time) that my classmates were anti-social geeks that I did not want to be surrounded by, nor work with, for the rest of my life. No offense intended. I was a sorority girl (insert comment here). Now, I work in the consumer electronics industry where, I am PROUD to say, I am surrounded by sexy, cutting-edge products and (dare I say) still surrounded by geeks.

While viewing CE industry newsletters this afternoon, I was made aware that CE Pro magazine launched their inaugural “Ultimate Geek Awards”. I am now on the prowl. I am looking for my favorite “Geek”. Finally, an award submission that I am looking forward to completing. So many beloved partners to choose from, so little time.

Not sure what to look for? By providing “innocent” suggestions regarding the characteristics which best describe the Ultimate Geek, CE Pro prompted me to reflect on my dearest co-workers. “Do your co-workers…”

  • Do geeky things in his or her free time? (Yes, yes they do… I have dubbed this “geek-ing out”.)
  • Spend an inordinate amount of time buying, updating and organizing tools (Ashley, you are my deleted email “Go-To Girl” and I love you for it! Becca, Post-it Notes; enough said.)
  • Savor nerd-tastic mags and Web sites (Joe P, I love that you send me daily links to articles that you find for “pitching purposes” only. Admitting it is the first step, Joe.)
  • Wear comfortable shoes (OH the HORROR! Molly, unfortunately you will never be the ultimate Geek.)
  • Be seen encumbered by paraphernalia (hmmm… I’m not touching this one.)

To nominate your beloved geek, check it out on

 Posted by: katie

Who’s Going to Call Us on Our Insufferable B.S. Now?

June 23, 2008

As a journalist, every time I wrote an article, a little part of me wondered how quickly George Carlin would have torn it to shreds.

As a PR person, let’s just say I think the old man would have had some serious issues with me.

To perhaps the foremost American linguist and one of the sharpest and most on-point social critics of the 20th century, I fondly hope you’re enjoying your new role as worm food. But the original version of you will be sorely missed by a society that doesn’t take nearly enough long, hard, honest looks in the mirror at itself.

Posted by Joe Paone

Robot offers love, possibly chafing

June 19, 2008


Between marathon sessions playing World of Warcraft and all the time spent blogging, what single man has time for a meaningful and loving relationship with an imperfect female humanoid? Clearly the Japanese are ahead of the curve when it comes to facilitating love between man and machine as the acclaimed gaming manufacturer Sega is set to launch a robotic female companion known as EMA (Eternal Maiden Actualisation) to the American public in September.

Having clearly defined their audience, the 15-inch tall beauty resembles a miniaturized albeit buxom Star Wars storm trooper. Instead of firing red-hot vaporizing laser beams, however, EMA shares cold, emotionless kisses in her “love mode” while providing companionship for anyone who lacks the skills for human interaction or the ability to create an online dating profile.

A Sega company spokesperson claims, “She’s very lovable and though she’s not a human, she can act like a real girlfriend.” Whether this includes complaining that you drink too much, nagging about household chores or sabotaging my Saturday golf plans to go furniture shopping remains to be seen.

A video of EMA in action can be found here.


Under where?

June 19, 2008

Remember a few years ago when someone sued McDonalds because they burnt themselves on their coffee? It wasn’t long afterwards that every beverage company in the country included the warning: “Caution! Hot Liquid!” on their cups.

At first I used to think these companies must really think we’re stupid. I did a search for warning labels and came up with some gems.

Warning! This product can burn eyes! On a curling iron.

Do not eat toner. On a toner cartridge for a laser printer.

Shin pads cannot protect any part of the body they do not cover. On a pair of shin guards made for bicyclists.

The list goes on and on. And the more I read, the more I discovered, it’s not that the companies think we’re stupid. It’s that some genius poked themselves in the eye with a hot curling iron and decided to sue the manufacturer for negligence. The companies are just trying to cover their own butt.

Speaking of covering butts, I have to stop and wonder what kind of warning Victoria’s Secret is going to issue to shoppers since this headline appeared this morning:

A Los Angeles woman claims she was injured by her Victoria’s Secret thong, prompting her to sue the underwear manufacturer.

Apparently, a woman was injured by her low-rise v-string when a “design problem” caused a decorative metallic piece to fly off the underwear and hit her in the eye.

She filed a product liability lawsuit.

So what can we expect from this incident? Warning: Underwear may be hazardous to your health? Warning: Underwear not for use in eye?

We’ll just have to wait and see.

Posted by: Molly

Life|ware Connects Innoventions Dream Home in Disneyland!

June 17, 2008

Disneyland, together with Life|ware, HP, Microsoft and Taylor Morrison have revamped the “House of the Future” and created the Innoventions Dream Home Exhibit in Disneyland. The 5,000 square foot Innoventions Dream Home is both a show and a showcase, offering guests of all ages a hands-on experience with new in-home technologies, some that are practical and some that are astounding. Life|ware brings the home to life to provide the fictional Elias family with entertainment anywhere in the Home; to recognize each member of the Elias family as he or she enters a room and tailors it to reflect personal preferences; and to help the house run more efficiently with the rhythm of the Elias family’s everyday life. Life|ware showcases a variety of existing products and emerging technologies within Dream Home, enabling guests to interact with each piece and imagine how technology might enhance digital living experiences in their own homes. 

For more information on the Disney Innoventions Dream Home, click here.

Posted by Lauren

Consumer Electronics…30 Years in the Making

June 4, 2008

As we head into the weekend when Big Brown will try to become the first horse to win the Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978, I thought it would be fun to see how far the CE industry has come since Affirmed was outfitted in a blanket of roses.

In 1978…

  • The Consumer Electronic Show was held twice every year, once in the winter and again in the summer
  • Atari was the ultimate gaming console, allowing players to test their stills at Pong
  • Apple demonstrated its 1st working prototype of the Apple II disk drive
  • Microsoft shipped the Microsoft COBOL
  • Digital Equipment opened its first retail store in a mall and offered small computer systems for under $10,000
  • The Starfleet Orion game for the Commodore PET was released
  • RCA announced the SDT200 CED Player, which was the first of its kind to accept discs in caddies 

What were some of your favorite gadgets and systems from 1978?

Posted by Lauren