Sunday, August 31, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
Absinthe was banned in the US for over 90 years because of its alleged psychoactive properties. But studies of century-old absinthe samples show that absinthe drinkers were just very very drunk.
"The long-cherished idea that absinthe, an anise-flavored alcoholic beverage with a history of use by artists like Van Gogh and Picasso, is or ever was hallucinogenic might have met its death by data today.
"German scientists put old bottles of the substance to the test and found that the liquid is 70 percent alcohol (140 proof) and 0 percent hallucination." -Wired Blog
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Once I built a railroad, I made it run, made it race against time.
Once I built a railroad; now it's done. Brother, can you spare a dime?
Full credit here to Chrysler for actually showing autoworkers in this advert. Most car makers would prefer you to think your car was made by robots and untouched by a human hand.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Just like one of of those old ASCII images, but this time a video using dice.
I like the black and white dice. They create the right mood for the music. But the coloured dice are flashy, distracting and unnecessary.
This animation technique would be suitable for dark, disturbing, melancholic music such as "Bukowski" by Modest Mouse.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Houseboats at Waldo Point and an Auto body shop on Gate Five Road. These areas are normally dry. The very high tides are not a problem for the houseboats, and most of the businesses are on tall foundations. The body shop is not so lucky. I've been inside, and the floors are very clean...
Next to the flooded body shop on Gate 5 Road is a property that never floods. Strangely, this property has two 6 inch pipes running from the rear to the street. Those pipes were carrying tidal water that was flooding the street and a property across the street. I wonder why?
Friday, August 22, 2008
Crate and Barrel has a great store at O'Farrell and Stockton. I find my way there every December to buy gifts or to buy dinning room essentials for us. I like to look down from the upper floors at shoppers across the street crowding the window displays at Macy's. Very Norman Rockwell. Even on the 24th of December this store is a civilized place to shop, and the Customer Service is superb. So how could Crate and Barrel be better? It could be less expensive. And so it is...
CB2, which up until now has only had an online presence, has opened a 8,000 square foot showroom on Ellis near Stockton in San Francisco.
SF Curbed doesn't care for CB2. Their headline was "Poor Design Whores Await CB2". I won't argue with them that much of CB2's stock is rubbish, but I think SF Curbed is holding CB2 to a high standard. Instead of comparing CB2 to DWR or Room And Board, they should compare it to IKEA. It's a place where you have to wade through the dregs to find the well designed and well made bargains. You have to be discerning to separate the wheat from the chaff at CB2 or IKEA. If you are not discerning, then you will be a "poor design whore".
Thursday, August 21, 2008
I fail to understand the advantage of the large diameter car wheels that are the current fashion.
The wheels require very low-profile tyres that give the car a poor ride quality and poor handling (unless the car has race car suspension geometry). Their excessive weight and rotational inertia have a negative effect on acceleration, braking, and steering. The large wheels also make the stock brakes look puny, suggesting the owner can't afford the matching large diameter brake rotors.
Even when it's done correctly it looks tacky.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
The UCSF Parnassus campus is a hodgepodge of building styles squeezed on to the side of Mount Sutro. Its compactness is perhaps its only virtue. There is no open space. Most of the buildings are institutional multi-storey boxes.
The oldest remaining building on the UCSF Parnassus campus is the 1917 Beaux Arts Hall, now usually referred to as UC Hall. It was designed by Lewis P. Hobart who also designed Grace Cathedral on Nob Hill. The building is being considered for demolition in 2009.
To find out more, go to this site.
Categories:San Francisco Architecture
There appear to be two ways to compile an Olympic medal count: Either total medals per country, or total gold medals per country.
According to the International Olympic Committee there is no official ranking of countries, and the Olympics are between athletes, not nations. But on the I.O.C. website they do list countries according to gold medal count. And rightly so. After all, a bronze is not equal to a gold.
So, according to the method used by US media, the US is ahead in the medal count. But according to the method used by the I.O.C., China is ahead.
From NBC and other American news media:
From the Official Website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games:
Friday, August 15, 2008
These environentally themed globes are cropping-up all over the City. Most of them are trite. The main sponsor is a car company. I saw one globe featuring a quote from Bill Clinton. And another promoted Bio-fuel. All very tame and not very helpful. Disappointing.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Things I've noticed about the iPhone:
1) Since updating to firmware 2.0 the iPhone no long causes induction
interference in nearby speakers . Good.
2) When I fastforward through video podcasts, the picture and sound
go out of sync.
3) For-fee WiFi spots automatically take over my internet connection
from EDGE, tying up my internet connection until I disable WiFi.
4) I've been using an application that introduces a new screen
gesture. Scrolling side to side by dragging two fingers across the
Could this be how Apple will implement highlight/copy/paste?
5) If I enter the wrong password to a secure website, such as a bank, then the browser tries repeatedly to login until the site eventually locks me out.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
View the map from one angle and you'll see the streets. Tilt it and you see the neighbourhoods. Tilt it more and you see the bus and subway lines. I bought the Manhattan map a few years ago. Now there's a Second City version.
I find this map to be more entertaining than useful. Because it's a folding map, it's almost impossible to hold the entire map on the same plane. So I usually end up with each unfolded section of the map displaying a different function, and I can only examine one section at a time. Nice idea that doesn't work in practice.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Your flying car was in Sausalito today. I didn't get to see inside the trailer, but here are some images from the Terrafugia website:
The Transition (Compromise would be a more accurate name) might work. It might fly and it might drive. But really, what's the point? Building a flying car is like climbing Mt. Everest. If you succeed, you congratulate yourself and go home.
Saturday, August 09, 2008
Coffee shop chair no.14 by Michael Thonet has been in continuous production since 1865, making it one of the most successful mass produced products ever. It's made from six pieces of wood held together with screws and bolts, with a cane seat.
Thonet experimented with lamination to make curved wood, but finally settled on steaming the wood to curve it. A process called Bentwood.
(Does this remind anyone of Eames?)
Friday, August 08, 2008
Thursday, August 07, 2008
I've tried several social photo Apps for the iPhone (Clowdy, Zintin,etc ), but Exposure for iPhone is the most interesting so far. Subscribers link their Flickr accounts to Exposure, so a lot of the photos are already Geotagged.
It will be fun finding photos taken near where we live, or wherever we go. Images that complete strangers find interesting!
Here are some photos taken by people within 100 metres of home:
Categories:San Francisco Gadgets
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
This is a free note organizer for the iPhone. Sounds pretty ordinary, but it works so well:
Use the iPhone camera or screen capture to take a photo of something with text in it. Save it to Evernote. The Evernote server uses OCR to pick out the words and use them as tags for the note! Every word of text, and every clear image of a word becomes a tag for that note. Finding that one particular note among hundreds of notes becomes easy. Amazing!
Example: Here's a page from Lani's Blog. It's a review of the Belkin Cush Top that I wanted to buy.
I used screen capture, then added the image to my Evernotes.
Later I couldn't remember the name of the product, but I did remember that the blog post included a mention of Lani's brother Sherman. I searched Evernotes for "Sherman" and located the correct note.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
The original Range Rover was a small and athletic vehicle compared to the one we have today. It was popular with wealthy farmers who made full use of the off road ability and on road comfort and performance.
The seller doesn't say, but I'd guess this is a mid 1970's 4-speed manual with vinyl seats and rubber mats. Perfect for a farmer then and now.
For sale on Craigslist.
Monday, August 04, 2008
If a light saber and a boom microphone had a baby.
Made with 18 LED lights. Twist one end for on/off. Twist the other end to rotate a shade under the lights. Telescopes. Also sold as a floor lamp. $350. Warm (not hot) to the touch.
Sunday, August 03, 2008
The GoPro toy digicam is finally working reliably and recording ~50 minutes of video to the 2GB SD card.
None of the problems I experienced were really the responsibility of the manufacturer. This little gadget is just very sensitive to the type of battaries being used, and a warning to that effect is stated more than once in the instructions.
I bought the GoPro handlebar clamp from REI (they sell GoPro products), and it mounts the camera inconspicuously on my bicycle.
Categories:Movies Gadgets SanFrancisco
Friday, August 01, 2008
This is an honest solution for organising rechargeable gadgets. The ChargerFrame restricts the mess of tangled wires to the inside of the frame and doesn't pretend to keep it neat and tidy in there. The green button is the on/off master switch.