How not to roll out a new product

July 30, 2008

Unless the goal was to attract some sort of “Mr. Fix-It” venture capitalist with a hero complex, I don’t quite get what the ambitious dreamers behind Cuil were up to this week when they launched their allegedly-Google-killing-but-actually-completely-not-ready-for-prime-time-or-even-4-am-as-a-program-listed-as-“paid-programming”-on-channel-576-for-that-matter search engine, backed by a mountain of braggadocious hype aimed at the very uber-techies who they surely must have known would (rightly) tear their project to shreds. Cuil’s PR guy surely is not having his best week ever.

And if their goal was, indeed, to attract some sort of “Mr. Fix-It” venture capitalist with a hero complex, I fondly wish them the very best and ask them to kindly pass the message on to him that, boy, do I have a few half-baked, pie-in-the-sky ideas worth very expensive fixing!

Posted by Joe Paone


Did you look in an alfalfa field?

July 29, 2008

This is a random thought by Katie, but do you remember time capsules?

In third grade my teacher asked  our class to bring “personally significant” items to school for a time capsule. I can’t remember what I contributed, probably a Popple (younger colleagues, please tell me you know what that is!). This capsule (probably a cardboard box, now that I (try to) think about it) was buried in the school yard in hopes that when uncovered years later, the lucky trove hunter would be able to easily identify our class, our eight-year old “culture”, and the current events of 1986. Years later Beverly Hills 90210 dedicated an entire episode to this topic. I don’t know why I know that. Actually, yes I do. 🙂

I, for one, would LOVE to see what contribution I made in third grade. I’d probably be embarrassed at the selection. Not that any item I deem “personally significant” in 2008 would be more suitable. My iPod is NOT going into the ground.

Were time capsules a fad? Did anyone else partake in this activity? Do you still? Where are they? Will anyone care enough to retrieve it, or does that entirely contradict the point of the time capsule? 

I really would like to know.

What, you ask, prompted this stream of consciousness? I read about the man who recently tried to change in $20 million in decaying $100 bills for clean cash from the government. His explanation as to where he found $20 MILLION: Somebody dug up a tree and there it was; a relative found a treasure map (Goonies come to life!); and, it was found in a suitcase buried in an alfalfa field! …an alfalfa field, OF COURSE! Maybe our time capsules are there.

Posted by: Katie


What’s in a name?

July 24, 2008

Banjo, Moxie CrimeFighter, Pilot Inspektor, Ocean, Audio Science.

I’m not just throwing out random words here. You probably recognize some of these as celebrity baby names. It seems to be a common trend with those in Hollywood to name their child the most ridiculous thing ever.

I suppose it goes with the hipster/against the grain/to cool for school image. And maybe when you have millions of dollars you can get away with that. But are they really thinking of the child? I mean, it was bad enough being called Molly McButter on the school bus (coworkers, don’t get any ideas). What would you do if your name was Sage Moonblood? (True story. Sylvester Stalone is a weird dude.)

What’s worse, is that now regular everyday people are jumping on the crazy name bandgwagon. And the authorities aren’t taking it lightly.

A judge in New Zealand recently held a child as a ward of the court until her parents changed her name.

What was it?

Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii.

According to Yahoo News, New Zealand law does not allow names that would cause offense to a reasonable person.

“Registration officials blocked some names, including Fish and Chips, Yeah Detroit, Keenan Got Lucy and Sex Fruit, but allowed others , including Number 16 Bus Shelter and Violence.”

I don’t know if this trend will ever go away. It will be interesting to see if these kids turn around and go with the old standbys like Jonathan, Jennifer and Thomas for their kids.

In the meantime, Apple, Coco and newly born Peanut can all hang out together. They certainly sound like a tasty group.

Posted by: Molly


My “Green” Adventure

July 22, 2008

As of today, my house has gone green…to a small extent. Built in 1860, my old Victorian home doesn’t make it easy for my fiancé and I to be very environmentally conscious. The walls, made with horsehair and lattice, aren’t insulated (with the exception of the two rooms we just renovated). As the saying goes however, “they just don’t build things like they used to” as it requires a surprisingly small amount to keep the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

In these dog days of summer, the one thing that we have noticed is our attic gets incredibly hot (we considered transforming it into a sauna). Because of the heat in the attic, the second floor was getting very warm – the heat was just pouring down through the ceiling and although the insulation is new, it wasn’t doing the trick. We decided it was time to do something about it, and we installed an attic ventilation system.  With my fiancé being a firefighter he was cautious to put in an electric system – with our electrical system being VERY old he feared the possibility of a fire. After some consideration and research we decided on a solar powered system. It only cost about $75 more than the electrical powered systems so we decided to go for it. The installation took him and a friend only 1 ½ hours to complete, and just like that we are saving ourselves enough in heat and cooling costs that the system will pay for itself in the next year.

We might not have installed solar panels and figured out how to recycle and reuse our water, but we did manage to save ourselves a little bit of money on energy costs – and get a tax write-off! It just goes to show you that you don’t have to be an ecogeek and small things can help to decrease your footprint on the environment as well as save a little green in the wallet.

Posted by: Lauren

 


Feet feast fit for a fish?

July 21, 2008

Maybe it is paranoia, but I will assume that I am not the only female who spends a little time filing and painting her nails before getting a manicure/pedicure or coifing my hair before visiting the stylist. I want these (aesthetic) professionals to know that even though I blatantly ignore the recommended upkeep routine for the three months since my last appointment, I really do appreciate their time, patience, and most importantly discretion for not outing me in front of other patrons with a deserved observation such as “Wow, your roots are a mess!”. 

I am reluctant to have pedicures for this exact reason. I have always been an athlete and let’s just say that Eddie Murphy’s character in Boomerang would be FAR from enchanted by the general state of my feet. After reading an article on the new “doctor fish treatment” this morning, I am absolutely petrified to have another pedicure. Forget the notion of being outed by the trusted nail technician, how about a school of FISH!

Today’s article entitled Pay to have fish nibble the skin off your feet highlights a Virginia-based spa that has recorded approximately 5,000 customers that have “taken the plunge” by offering their feet as fish food and experiencing this new (to Western culture, anyway) pedicure technique. 

  • Target – “Everyone who likes to have nice feet”
  • Cost – $15 for 35 minutes or $50 for 30 minutes 
  • Pain – None, though customers do report a “tingling sensation”
  • Deemed – Sanitary if using individual foot pools
  • Confirmation of my fear – “The communal pool also presented its own problem: At times the fish would flock to the feet of an individual with a surplus of dead skin, leaving others with a dearth of fish. ‘It would sometimes be embarrassing for them but it was also really hilarious,’ Ho said.”

REAL hilarious.

Doctor Fish Pedicure

Doctor Fish Pedicure

Posted by Katie


Oldest Blogger Dies.

July 15, 2008

Considering my grandmother just learned how to use a microwave, it’s refreshing and amazing for me to read about the 108 year old woman in Australia who recently passed away, taking the title of “World’s Oldest Blogger” along with her. I never knew about Olive Riley’s blog (http://www.allaboutolive.com.au/) until she was dead yet something about a person born in 1899 STARTING a blog after she had already hit the century mark is to me, an amazing accomplishment.

Credited by elderly folks around the world with helping them overcome their fear of computers and technology, Olive was not only an inspiration to her peers but to anyone who read this story. This is a woman who never SAW a telephone until she was 20 years old yet managed to build the 7000th most read blog in the world (out of 80+ million).

In an age where everyone seems to be after their 15 minutes, it’s nice to see the youngest of 12 children born before modern times receive adulation for a life well-lived.

G’day Olive, RIP!

-Nick


A Nod to Glenn Beck

July 11, 2008

I am exactly a week late and have missed all 4th of July firework displays for the second year in a row due to other “activities” while vacationing on Nantucket. This entry will serve as my 4th of July celebration.

This morning I ran across Glenn Beck’s What’s Right with America? Plenty commentary on CNN.com. If you haven’t read it (and if you are not an eternal pessimist), I encourage you to.

To preface this post, I like to call myself “a 2-4” (think surveys) personality. I rarely entirely agree or completely disagree; there is always a grey area populated by challenging viewpoints which one should consider. I am not a vocal patriot, nor do I share political views in part because I am, admittedly, not as educated about world/national issues as I should be, and also because our office breeds individuals who are far more impassioned and opinionated about these topics. Today, however, I’m going to break the “no religion, no politics, no sensitive issue” blog policy and give a “KS Thumbs Up” to Glenn Beck’s article. I whole-heartedly agree!

In a cluster of news stories citing economic woes, murders, (insert topics) in the world, it is refreshing to read an article that briefly recognizes the benefits of living in the US. I have lived abroad and the next time I growl at the ever-growing health insurance deduction from my paycheck, I will try to remember that never again do I want to be a patient within another country’s socialized healthcare system. (Please don’t misunderstand me, there is definitely dramatic room for improvement here, specifically in RI.) And the next time “someone” tells me to shut off Lee Greenwood (which I DO play annually on 9/11 and 7/4), I’ll turn the music up.

Posted by Katie