For the past couple of years, my husband and I have been in love with geeking out on Google Earth. For whatever reason, we’ve never done it together. Last night, him and the little girl devised a game. He found our house and then they pretend to take off into the stratosphere. Then a click of the button, they come plummeting back to Earth, but are saved by splashing into the pool. I joined in bring the boy with me. OMG. We must be geeks, but that was seriously fun. We each had our own blast off and splash down noises. I’m sure the neighbors were like, “What the hell could they possibly be doing?” But in Spanish.
TSUNAMI TUESDAY: Election tools February 5, 2008
Google and Twitter teamed up for a very interesting project. It’s a map of people twittering.
Um…when you type it out, it sounds stupid, but you should check to see what the average uninformed voter twitters about.
First the time lady, now pay phones December 4, 2007
AT&T is making it hard to deal with the fact that it’s 2007 and we still don’t have no freakin’ flying cars. They’re getting rid of their pay phones.
Okay, that’s a bit dramatic. According to the LA Times article I read this morning, they’re actually just selling them off. As you’re probably aware most of the pay phones you see on the street are owned by independent companies anyway, so it’s not that bad. I mean, if you run out of juice on your mobile and see a phone that doesn’t seem to be covered in semen and Slurpee, then you’ll be good to go. If you have change.
AT&T and Verizon Communications Inc. are the last two major companies still in the business. BellSouth Corp. unloaded its pay phones in 2003, before AT&T acquired the company at the end of last year, and Qwest Communications International Inc. sold its pay phone division in 2004.
Verizon spokesman Jim Smith said the New York-based company, which has 225,000 pay phones in 28 states and the District of Columbia, had no current plans to quit the business.
Willard Nichols, president of the American Public Communications Council Inc., which represents independent pay phone owners, said he saw a bright future.
“I honestly don’t think the demise of pay phones is around the corner,” he said, noting that Americans make an estimated 1.7 billion calls from pay phones every year. “Particularly for the poor segments of the U.S. population, the pay phone is a lifeline.”
You know that last part is true. When I was homeless, I relied on pay phones a lot. I had a weekly call setup with my grandmother and she knew the number to call me on at that specific time. What actually urged me to get a cell phone was that fateful day in ’00 when my car broke down in Beverly Hills and it took me almost an hour to find a phone. I walked all over that useless city trying to find a pay phone, at least one that worked. Still, I don’t want pay phones to ever not exist again. I like them. Even if I don’t ever use them.
Kindle revisited November 28, 2007
I wrote about Kindle, Amazon’s new ebook the other day. After I wrote that post, something about the name kept bothering me. Yesterday morning, I realized that ‘kindle’ brings to mind fire, which equals book-burning, which makes you think that they chose the name Kindle to prove that their new gadget is a textile book killer.
Or maybe I’m just jumping to conclusions.
I wasn’t going to mention my thoughts, but then in this morning’s LA Times, there’s an article in the business section on Kindle. I scanned it looking to see if the author picked up on the name thing and he did. David Colker writes:
Kindle (the name is a reference to the word “inspire,” according to the packaging, but there’s an unfortunate association with book burning) sports a 3½-inch-by-4¾-inch screen and a miniature keyboard.
Kindle. Another ebook. November 26, 2007
Megan Daum’s recently run op-ed in the LA Times, alerted me to a new gadget. Kindle. Yet another ebook offering, with the difference being it’s wireless and you can also get 250 blogs on your gear. Daum’s article opens with something I’m very familiar with: checking out what people read in airports:
One of the many uses of air travel is the opportunity it provides to take a snapshot of the public’s reading tastes. Sure, bestseller lists rank what’s popular, but if you want to do more detailed market research — to know what kinds of people are reading what kinds of books, and how many pages into them they fall asleep — there is no better vantage point than the aisle of a jetliner. It is from there that my extremely scientific research has produced data suggesting the following: Readers of mass-market thrillers often wear Dockers and polo shirts bearing company logos; readers of books like “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” can often be found in business class or first class (it works, folks!); and, almost without exception, there will be a young person in the last row traveling with nothing but a knapsack and reading Camus for the explicit purpose of striking up a conversation with a sexually desirable fellow passenger.
To add my own, middle-aged dyed blonde women traveling with young kids usually read self-help books about being a better lover, parent (divorce parents big!) or taking care of aging parents tops. According to my airline travels, young (under the age of 33ish) Asian females prefer to spend their time reading magazines about celebrities, unless it’s a book for school. Middle-aged black people tend to read book on Black history or self-help books on finances or entrepreneurship. Young white guys who look like they’re liberal arts majors will have a book with a “deep” subject, but will usually wind up falling asleep or playing a game. Young black guys who look like business majors usually read magazines on music or fashion.
What gets me is that what people read on the airplane doesn’t always translate to what they read at their vacation destination. Anyone who’s been to Vegas or any resort for a week sees that. That “serious” book read on the plane gives way to romance novels or something worse, like Dr. Phil or something.
But Daum’s point is that this Kindle thing will have an effect on how you judge people by the cover of their books. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m something of a book snob. If I see self-help book, I cringe inside. Internally, I call people who read Dr. Phil books for help names. If I see a person carrying a magazine about celebrities I won’t ask them for directions. If they ask me something I talk S-L-O-W, which I don’t mean to do, but it happens. I know that I get weird looks because my magazine reading are either about gardening, interior design or jewelry making.
Like other, more obvious objects of personal style, such as clothes and furniture, which have evolved from mere expressions of taste to markers of character, books provide the outside observer with clues as to what sort of person we are. And although these clues might be deceptive (who’s to say a Rhodes scholar can’t dip into a monster-truck magazine when he’s so inclined?), there’s no getting around the fact that, for many of us, we are what we read. Half the fun of going into a new friend’s home is surveying the contents of his or her bookshelves. It’s much more accessible than a diary — and often more revealing.
My books of choice are sci-fi or mystery, but I’ve also carried architecture, green building and design or gardening books on a plane. I think if I were a white guy, my books wouldn’t give people pause. Or maybe it’s because you rarely see black women reading at the airport that people stare. When you come to my house, you’d think that we don’t read that much because everything else is out in the garage. The books on the shelf are a good representation of who we are. There is sci-fi, gardening, architecture, ancient language books, books on Greek and Roman history and myth (useful as sci-fi references), and science books. I don’t know how to deal with people who don’t have books. I have a few friends like that and I find that I don’t really trust them. I mean, who doesn’t read? Maybe those people have always had Kindle and I just didn’t know. Hmmmm….
Daum mentions that Amazon sold out of Kindles while she was writing her article and put them on backorder. That sounds like a lot of people eager for an ebook. I think I’ll stick with my phone. I can access the entire internet over it, read ebooks, do spreadsheets, email, take pictures and listen to music. Granted the screen on my phone is like 1/6 the size of Kindle’s but I’ll also save $400.
Microsoft Surface September 7, 2007
Am I a chump or what. I want this. NOW. I don’t know how I missed the announcement of the Microsoft Surface, but I’d be a happy lady if someone bought me one for my birthday. I found this little gem on YouTube via a parody video:
It’s pretty funny. “Instead of playing with your kids, you can watch videos of them playing by themselves.” I also liked the part, “And if your mom has $10K lying around, she can get a table and you can send a postcard. For free.” HAHAHA I laugh, but I was smitten. I’m thinking of taking equity out of my house to get one. Okay, not really, but I do want one bad.
Here’s a video of Bill Gates boring the hell out of you:
Actually, I love the commercial usage aspect of it. Hell, I’d open a restaurant just to buy some of these tables. Screw the W with their “here’s your handheld device”. My place will have a table with pics of what you’re going to order. COOL. I’m also smitten with the sharing capabilities. When the lady dragged the music to her mp3 player, I was just about done. The part where the pics from the camera appeared on the table. Oh. My. God. Was it good for you? Just that alone would be perfect for work. Adrian and I could go over photos together for usage, without me yelling, “NO! The one that ends in 0947! 47! FOUR. SEVEN.” (It’s not funny. Keep in mind he sits behind me. )
I thought the map thing was kinda lame. Most smartphones today (I have the same phone in the video) have GPS capability, but I have a GPS anyway, so why would go online to get directions? Initially, I thought, “Well, you can share that info with your friends easier.”, but not really. I can beam the same info to my husband’s phone via my phone OR my GPS.
The only thing I’m wondering about is printing capabilities. I’m sure it’s Bluetooth-enabled, but are printers nowadays Bluetoothed (yes, I made up a word)? Yeah, I’m going to get one. It’ll be the best tax write-off we’ve ever purchased.