Thursday, July 31, 2008

Missing missives

Is the art of letter-writing dead? How long is it since you wrote a letter and sent it off to someone in the post? And is it still "letter-writing" if you type it into a computer? What about if you handwrite it on the screen of your tablet PC? And is the quality of the writing in a letter changed depending on whether it's handwritten or computed? How many drafts/how much editing would you do with a handwritten letter compared with a computer-generated tome? And does it matter - hmmm, can't remember when I last received a letter. I miss them.

Einstein shirts

There are stories that Albert Einstein did not waste his brain bandwidth on the "small stuff" - like having multiple pieces of clothing the same, so he could mix and match (well, maybe not mix and match because supposedly all the shirts were the same and all the pants were the same). Well, I think I may have had an insight into this the other day when I was reading the results of my psychometric testing (part of the outplacement services being provided to me by the company). The results suggest that because of my personality type I may be averse to doing (mundane) administrative tasks - which will come as no surprise to some people. Well, what if Einstein was the same - yes, yes, I know it's a big stretch - and what if he had all his clothes the same so he wasn't forced to make the decision about what to wear each day - so it was really decision phobia rather than good planning/management on his part? Hmm. Food for thought - which you'd have more time for once you removed all those administrative (read: domestic) tasks.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Checking out

If you have a "Do Not Disturb" sign on your hotel door, this is no guarantee that you won't be disturbed by Housekeeping. Speaking with a seasoned travelled recently (Hi Pat) he advised that hotels will sometimes check guests' rooms (he suggested after 3pm but the time would vary between hotels) so staff can verify that the guest hasn't "checked out" (a euphemism). Who knew?

When the chips are down

I hope this is one of the questions at the Trivia Night on Saturday: Which retired organic chemist and food storage technician was buried in one of his inventions - and what was it? (... Play thinking music ...) And the answer is Dr Fredric Baur, who was so proud of his invention of the Pringles Chips container that he asked his family to bury him one - and they did. Well, actually, according to Wikipedia, it was a three-way split, but we won't go there here. Dr Baur also invented freeze-dried ice cream (not to be confused with astronaut ice cream - where you just had to add milk) put it in the freezer, and then, hey presto (some time later) - ice cream. Prior to his work in food and packaging, (Dr) Baur was an aviation physiologist in the Navy doing work on the medical aspects of flight (which only just then struck me as strange ... Navy ... Boats?) In his later life, he became a compliance specialist, with a worldwide reputation in plant sanitation. But he was never as proud of his other achievements as he was of the Pringles technology. So next time you're about to pop a tube ... spare a thought for Dr Baur - without whom it would not have been possible.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


While mall-crawling around a local shopping centre the other day, I was amazed at how much space a group of people had taken over. They were arranged in a huge circle , too large for them to be able to communicate effectively without yelling. How wrong I was. It all became clearer when I realised they needed to be in a big circle because they were all signing - and everyone had to be able to see everyone else so they could catch what was being "said". Our interpretation of the world really does depend on how we see things.

Public kno(w)ledge

Are you an expert on something? Need somewhere to share that knowledge? Don't want it to be Wikipedia? Well, Google's sent out a general invite for users to participate in its new Knol online encyclopaedia service. The service has been available to a select few for the last six months - which is good, because now that it's "open" albeit in Beta, there's some (mostly) health and medical content on site already. You can find out more through or through the home page where you will also find see "A knol is an authoritative article about a specific topic" and "KNOL (TM) A unit of knowledge."

Monday, July 28, 2008


More on animals - well, actually fish … or are they? Latest research suggests that swimmers may soon be just a little safer from shark attacks. Townsville university researchers, working out of nearby Cairns, have been experimenting with ways to keep sharks out of commercial fishing nets. They have found that magnets can repel sharks. Practical applications for swimmers and other water-sporters have not surfaced - but it's a start.

Costly cats

For all the cat lovers out there - it seems a new hybrid species is about to hit Australian shores.Called Savannah Cats, they're a cross between a domestic cat and the serval, an African wild cat. They can jump 1.8m from a standing start, don't fear water, and weigh more than 10kg - which has raised fears that they're going to be a very real threat to native Australian wildlife. Over 2,000 people have signed a petition to keep them out. If they're successful, this will be a disappointment to those who are keen to own a Savannah Cat, each of which supposedly carries a $10,000 price tag.


You're walking over a bridge and you find a pile of clothes, a pair of glasses and a note which says "can't take it any more!" You look over the side of the bridge and see someone in the water. What would you do? Would your (a) dive in and rescue them; (b) leave them be or (c) something else? I'm not sure what I would do because it presents something of an ethical and moral dilemma. Should a person be free to commit suicide? If so, should that be dependent on them being sound of mind - forgetting for a moment that some would say that even contemplating taking your own life all but guarantees that you're not. This scenario happened in a small Australian town earlier this week when a young man dove 10 metres from a bridge into a river to rescue an elderly woman, even though she attempted to fighting them off, even trying to force them both underwater at one stage. She is recovering. So how was he to know if the woman was serious about taking her life - or if her actions were a "cry for help"? Or shouldn't it have mattered? I'm not sure about it and definitely not sure about what the "right" course of action would have been - especially having read reports of people who have survived jumping from San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. Seems that most of them, on the way down, wished they hadn't jumped. There may not be any cut and dried answers for this one. Although perhaps the real question, as reported by The Daily Examiner, was asked by Mrs Shipley, one of the people who helped the two from the water: "What is going on in this woman's life to make her jump off the bridge, doesn't anybody care about her?"

Cafe set

Sometimes, at the end of the day, there's nothing quite like retreating to your favourite coffee shop to sit, sip and watch the world go by. Alas, my regular coffee shop closes at 5 so I've had to search out another in the area and I have to say, it just isn't the same. The coffee isn't as nice (or perhaps it's just different) but it's warm, light and there's free internet (well, there's free internet at the other place as well but only until the person with the unsecured router finds out!) All in all it's fitting the bill after a day in which I realised how hard work it is learning a new skillset so you can look for another job!

Thursday, July 24, 2008


While searching for a "to do" application to use with the iPod Touch I found one which synchronises with a web-based program called Toodledo. This means you can run it on the Touch and make updates as necessary - but it also means you can make changes on the web version - using a real keyboard and with a choice of lists and contexts (important if you are working David Allen's "Getting Things Done" method) and then sync these back to the Touch for offline reference.
Toodledo is available in free or paid versions, is configurable, and is simple to use. And you can just use it as a web app if that's what you want to do - and then print out your to-dos from the site

Low Tech

Earlier this month, five months after Steve Fosset was declared dead following his disappearance in Nevada last year, a search team is on its way to look for him. The difference this time is that they're actually going rather than scouring satellite images as was done at the time. Yes there were surely physical searches back then, but it seemed the only searches we heard about were of people scanning images for plane wreckage that could be measured in tens of pixels.
Other technology in the news: pilgrims heading to World Youth Day (not to be confused with the email of Pope Benefict XVI surfing on the tray of a ute aka utility aka flatbed and promoting World Ute Day) are reported to have left their iPods at home - so they could focus their full attention on the festivities and not be distracted by the technology.
Sent from my iTouch

Bad Apple

Not really but it certainly is not helping me be "good". Of course I'm talking about Apple's new Application Store which allows you to download games and other applications directly to your iPhone or, if you don't have one, to your iPod Touch via WiFi and, for ease, you can also elect to do it with "1 click" so basically it's as easy as it could be to purchase through the store (similar to iTunes). The problem is there's too much good stuff on offer - and while lots of it is free, or costing only a nominal fee, all those little bits add up. Seems like every day I get another invoice copy from Apple and while I love being able to do this, it may be time to deactivate "1 click" so it's not as easy to buy (on impulse). The other problem is that each app eats up a little more of the Touch's memory and while 16GB seems a lot, by the time you've loaded music, videos, photos and PIM data, and a dozen applications, it goes pretty quickly. And yes, Cro-Mag (racing game), Trism (block strategy) and Sudoku are timewasters but the Touch interface makes them very fun to play.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It's no joke

We've all heard the cautionary tales about a traveller who goes out one night, is drugged, and wakes the next morning, worse for wear, in an ice bath, with rudimentary stitches covering the wound where one of his/her kidneys used to be. This is an urban legend according to and America's National Kidney Foundation. But if it wasn't, discovering the work of organ thieves has just become a little harder. Why? Because surgeons have worked out how to remove a kidney through a person's navel. I'm not quite sure how they do it - because I was fairly sure there were organs between the bellybutton and kidneys which would make it difficult - especially if you're working through the navel - but they've done it. It makes kidney removal much easier and has hastened recovery rates. It will change the way people approach operations - similar to the way that the removal of gall bladders has changed over the years - first from requiring a sizeable cut, then able to be done through three small incisions in the abdomen, and now, they too (or it), can be taken out through the navel. The good news about this, and the great hope, is that people will now be more willing to donate a kidney - thereby boosting organ donation rates.

Bear necessities

A few years ago the Sydney Film Festival showed a film called Project Grizzly. It was a very quirky program and we were sure it was a mockumentary (even though I don't think that term had yet made it into common usage). It detailed the story of Troy Hurtubise, a North American who was building, and testing, a suit that he could use to commune with bears. He had made a few versions of the Ursa Suit, each with slightly different attributes, and you can see some of them in this YouTube clip. One of the earliest working versions has just been put up for auction in Toronto. According to a report in Engadget, the starting bid was $500 but the suit would need to attract way more to meet the debts Troy has amassed in living his inventing dream. Even though the Engadget article was posted a couple of weeks ago, I couldn't find anything online about whether the suit sold - but if you want to learn about Troy's other suit - a bullet-proof exoskeleton for use in war zones, and his fire resistant paste, you can visit the Troy Hurtubise page on Wikipedia.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Picture this

Have a picture of the Sydney Opera House that you really like - and want to enter in the House in Focus competition that's currently running? The winner's photograph will be exhibited at the Opera House and they'll take home a HP TouchSmart PC. To upload your photo and vote for your favourite go to the Opera House's website and click on the House in Focus link. Entries a moment ago were up to nearly 2,000 - and some of them are good, very good. It's well worth a visit - and a vote. (A hint: clicking on the photos will bring up the first set of 100; to proceed, go to the last thumbnail using the scroll bar - and click on the last thumbnail to show the larger image and reveal the VIEW MORE link - selecting this then shows the next 100.) The competition closes 30 July - so snap to it.

Monday, July 21, 2008

It is done ...

... Big Brother 2008 Australia is done and not even Pamela Anderson's appearance on this series was enough to prevent the ratings slides. So not good has it been that Channel TEN will not pursue it next year and unless another broadcaster comes to the party, the show will be lost from our shores. (Was that an excited cheer?) It's perhaps fitting that a show which has traditionally had a young demographic will go out with the final series' winner being a 52-year old grandmother. Have to admit the series was always unpredictable.


I would have loved to have been in the US last week for the annual Venthaven event. Held 16-19 July this year, if it isn't already, Venthaven should be a sought-after destination for anyone with the slightest interest in ... wait for it ... Ventriloquism. The Venthaven website is copyright with a notice asking people not go reproduce it which is why I haven''t just copy a slab of it across to show here. But the site's definitely worth a look if you like dummies - although word is that they prefer to be called figures.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Blade runner - update

Some time ago I blogged about Oscar Pistorius, South African Paralympic athlete who had been prevented from participating in the Beijing Olympics. Well, since then, Oscar won the right to try out, but, unfortunately he failed to meet the qualifying time in his final bid last week - even though he ran a personal best in the attempt. Surely Oscar is truly indicative of the Olympic credo Citius, Altius, Fortius ... or, in other words, "Faster, Higher, Stronger". As suggested on the official Beijing Olympics site (available in French, Spanish, English, Mandarin and Arabic) "These three words encourage the athlete to give his or her best during competition, and to view this effort as a victory in itself. The sense of the motto is that being first is not necessarily a priority, but that giving one's best and striving for personal excellence is a worthwhile goal. It can apply equally to athletes and to each one of us." Great job Oscar! You are truly an inspiration, especially given the amount of opposition you faced.
Oscar is now concentrating on his preparations for the 2012 Olympics.


While printing out the nth copy of a document the other day for review and proofing, I pondered the paperless office which was supposed to have been the "way of the future". All of our documents and other communications would be in digital format, and we would never have to print anything again. Hmmm, not necessarily so, I thought as I watched sheet after sheet emerge from the printer - this couldn't really be considered a "paperless" office. But, as luck would have it, just as I thought that (okay, okay, I did say it aloud), the printer stopped ... out of paper ... and I realised, that, indeed, the "paperless office" had come to pass - because I was totally and utterly out of paper. Sometimes, you know, it's just a matter of interpretation!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Cabbages & Condoms

While in Bangkok recently, one of our colleagues took us to a restaurant called Cabbages & Condoms. It was conceptualized to help promote better understanding and acceptance of family planning and to generate funds to support activities of the Population and Community Development Association. The pamphlet for the restaurant advises: Exquisite interior decoration, adorn both private and non-private rooms. And they certainly did - as well as some more non-conventional decorating features. There was a giftshop on site selling traditional souvenirs as well as some more unique rubber items. And, in keeping with the theme, there were some Choc-Orange f(l)avours provided with the bill.

Evolution solution?

Tasmanian Devils have been under threat from a contagious form of cancer which is usually fatal, killing the animals between the ages of 2 and 3. Usual life span for the devils is five to six years. But, as noted in Jurassic Park (and badly paraphrased here), nature will find a way - and scientists on the ground there have noted an increase in females breeding earlier than the usual 2 years old. This could mean that rather than being extinct within 25 years - such is the damage being done by the cancer - the Tasmanian Devil may well survive longer - giving researchers more time to find a vaccine or cure. According to researcher zoologist Menna Jones from the University of Tasmania, and her colleagues, this seems to be the first time an infectious disease has led to increased early reproduction in a mammal and they're suggesting in a paper in the current "Proceedings of the National Academy of Science" that "... there is likely to be strong selection for rapid evolution". Alas, the news reports I read on their findings did not say where Ms Jones was interviewed, except that it was by email. I'd like to think that she was on business in Darwin at the time (although that's unlikely given Darwin is at the other end of Australia!)

High price of fuel

A recent study in the US has shown that as petrol prices go up, the number of deaths from car accidents go down. They found the decrease to be about 33% annually with the greatest effect being for teen drivers. The study was based on data for years between 1985-2006 when petrol reached $2.50 a gallon in the US. With petrol prices there now teetering on, if not over, $5 a gallon the death toll is set to decrease - unless there is a push towards lighter, more fuel efficient cars which will put more people back on the roads, and more use of motorcycles and scooters. The authors of the study were Professors Michael Morrisey of the University of Alabama at Birmingham and David Grabowski of Harvard Medical School, and their observations are good news - especially with nearly 40,000 recorded fatalities on US roads each year.
It would be interesting to see if any similar research has been, or is being done here in Australia. And to see if there is a matching decrease in traffic-related injuries as well.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A noying

I was away when this hit the headlines - but apparently anyone wearing a t-shirt that carries an "annoying" message during World Youth Day (or Days) - happening here in Sydney - now - can be prosecuted. I'm not sure what the penalty is if one is found guilty of being annoying - and I'm also not sure if the following wording would have seen the light of day without the new t-shirt laws: The Pope touched me ... Down Under. Also, what is annoying - and who gets to decide? And will this annoying law continue after the Catholic Youth leave our shores?

Public Service

Catching a train into the City today, I was surprised to see a line of people at the ticket vending machine, trains in both directions due in 2 minutes - and a CityRail employee sitting, idle, in the ticket booth behind a "Closed" sign. Okay so it was probably his tea, or other scheduled, break but in the interest of public (transport) service it was not outside the realms of reasonable expectation to think he could have served some of us. The queue at the machine was one person less by the time the City-bound train arrived - and I was grateful when those before me (going in the opposite direction) kindly let me and another cut in. Alas, this was my first attempt at the machine and, failing miserably, I stepped aside and let someone else in, and resolved to waiting for the next train. "Get a ticket from the booth" the train guard advised. "Can't - there's someone there but there's a Closed sign up and he's just sitting there." The guard nodded, smiled, and said "I'll wait" and he did, holding the train until three of us had mastered the machine and had our tickets. In this time, though, the other train had come and gone and its passengers, minus our helpful guard, were left waiting for the next train. Kind of makes you wonder if it's worth putting on extra services for World Youth Day 2008 if staff aren't on-board as well.
But - a big well-done to our guard - who obviously knows the meaning of public transport!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A new experience

I have spent the afternoon getting re-acquainted with the crew of the StarShip Enterprise: The Next Generation. It has served to make me more curious about Star Trek: The Experience which is currently on show in Las Vegas but about not to be. The Experience is currently housed in the Hilton and includes part simulator, museum, environment and gift shop (mmm Star Trek gift shop) - and, of course, an escape from the lights and gambling that the rest of Vegas has to offer - although that would be fun too. It's due to close in the US's Fall but the good news is that if I (and the other Trekkies who have not yet had the pleasure of the experience) don't make it in time, CBS/Paramount has indicated that they are searching for a new home for Star Trek: The Experience.

Test post

Hmmm - thinking about this in the shower this morning (where I do some of my better thinking) and wondered if the line breaks in blogs sent from GMail somehow relate to that program. One way to find out ...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Technology let-down

What could be worse than not having an iPhone (well, for some people leastways) - having an iPhone that doesn't work. Seems the launch of the iPhone has been plagued by problems so buyers haven't been able to activate their new phones - in this case activate seems to equal load up the software since it comes "bare" in the box. So what's the issue. Consider for a moment that as well as all the new iPhone users, there's also the existing iPhone users wanting to upgrade to the new 2.0 software that gives them the applications available on the newer iPhone plus access to the new Applications Store. Add to this group the existing iPod Touch users who are also trying to access the new 2.0 software because it will also give them the new apps and upgrades and all of a sudden you've got an overloaded system which can then have a flow-on effect - including my system doing unpredictable things that requires an iPod Touch (that would be mine) to be reset back to basic factory mode - including wiping the January upgrade and with it my Mail and Notes applications. Grrrr. I can do without the Maps, Weather and Stocks but really, it's too much like a naked iPod without the others! I'll try to restore again this evening - and hopefully I'll be able to get it back up and operating! Less than happy ... although the good news is that I'm not stuck in the many-people-long-line outside the Apple Store today - although they might be getting iPhones. Mmmm ... iPhone.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Verbage for the modern age

This technological age we are in provides a virtual cornucopia of new words - or old words revisted. Take "anonymize" as a case in point. Anonymize: to make the end user anonymous or unidentifiable. Why is this important - and why now? Viacom, major broadcaster and owner of much audio-visual and programming content is suing Google, and has now been granted access to records from Google's online video sharing network - YouTube. So, in an effort to protect the identify of individual users - who may or may not have been uploading and/or downloading copyrighted material to/from the site - Google wants to anonymize the records before they are released to Viacom. In the report I read they were also talklng about their plan to redact the records, which according to the SlovoEd dictionary, means to remove sensitive information before publication. Whether this is possible, or will be agreed to under the terms of the judgement requesting release of the records, is unclear.

Credit card party trick

It's almost worth trying this to see if it works in Australia or whether it is US-centric. While catching up with the TWIT (This Week in Technology) blog - I am only a couple of months behind at this point - reference was made to unauthorised use of credit cards. Someone on the panel then said that a sure way to have your card suspended was to buy two tanks of gas (aka petrol) and then some Nike shoes. This scenario usually meant your card had been stolen and the responsible young adult male was filling up their tank - to make sure the card worked - then his mate's car, and then - well, you'd be buying shoes too wouldn't you? Or perhaps not, but that's what the profiling has happening next. So, does it work in the US - or are they just saying that - and would it work here in Australia? I'm not sure I want to know that much to try it - but if you are, and do, please share!

Leap of faith

Sydney is on the brink of hosting World Youth Day which will see hordes of Catholic Youth descend on the city. Word is that the emailed quest seeking those willing to "sponsor a lion" for the event has not been a huge success and the visitors will, hopefully, be able to return home untouched save for by the Holy Spirit and the goodwill intrinsic in the event and in the hearts of the locals.
Also here for the event is Pier. And I freely admit that he has captured my attention in a big way. I won't go into the exact details but suffice to say that Pier is a relic, dead these past eighty or so years after dying in his early twenties. An otherwise young, healthy and giving soul, Piers was known for his good works among the poor and ailing - which is where he probably contracted the polio that killed him. But that isn't in itself enough to have raised him to relic status - he is also an incorruptible -one of those few whose body dies not decompose after death. (A quick aside: supposedly this is one reason Catholics are buried rather than cremated - otherwise how else would you be able to disinter the body years later to determine if a person was an incorruptible and taking the first steps on the way to Sainthood?)
Pier arrived late last week and his travelling crate is now on display. That's right. Travelling crate. Neither Pier nor his coffin will be on display for the duration of his visit as his travelling crate must remain sealed. Hmmm. So they are asking us to take it on faith - make a leap of faith - that he is in there and still not tucked up safe and sound at home. (Where is it that all the relics live ... the Vatican?) We shall see ... which in this case is just a figure of speech.

Pick a number

... between 9,000 and 11,000 and this will be the nuimber of laptops that go missing at major US airports each week - yes, each week!. According to a study released by the Ponemon Institute and reported widely in the press over the US Independence Day weekend - over 65% of the lost laptops are never reclaimed. And, on top of the 10,000 laptops lost from large airports, there are another 2,000 laptops lost at medium-sized airports each week. I'm glad I read this after I returned home from the US! Not quite sure how or where the most dangerous situations are but I know our corporate folk warn us about helpful strangers - and about being vigilant when putting the laptop through security checkpoints. (If 12,000 laptops go missing each week, and there are x million people in the US, how long would it be before everyone lost their laptop?)

Bursting the balloon

All hope of finding a live Father Di Carli, the priest who went aloft on a thousand helium-filled party balloons to raise money for a trucker's prayer stop in South America, has been dashed with the discovery of what appears to be his body 683 miles out to sea in the Atlantic Ocean. His reported last words, by satellite phone, soon after he took off on April 20 and was caught in gusting winds, were a plea for help in learning how to work the GPS he had taken with him in case of emergency. GPS would probably stand for Global Positioning Systerm - not God Positioning System as seemed to be indicated in the Wired article I read this morning.

Friday, July 04, 2008

On the up and up

Watermelon has long been a summertime favourite here in Australia, but who knew it could have something besides cooling and refreshing properties? News from Texas today is that watermelon, when consumed in large quantities, can have similar effects to Viagra. It's because it contains cirtruline, which can trigger production of arginine, a compound that helps relax the body's blood vessels a la Viagra. But, even if you're not after the uplifting effect, it's still worth tucking into the watermelon because (a) it tastes good, and (b) it's good for you: the arginine has a positive effect on the heart, circulatory and immune systems. If the share market here hadn't taken a $29bn plunge yesterday, one could almost be tempted to invest in watermelon - once this news get's out, chances are there could be more interest in it.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

What's in store

I do my best - I really do - and anyone who works and/or travels with me knows it ... I am a regular visitor to Starbucks but, you know, I just can't patronise all of them. So it's a concern that the news today carries the story that Starbucks is planning to close 500 stores in the US (as well as the 100 it had already announced). This seems to be because US consumers are feeling the economic pinch ... petrol there is now over $5 a gallon - and coffee can be more expensive than that!!! ... and they're cutting back on things like ... coffee. But it's not all bad news ... Starbucks is planning to continue it's program for opening stores except it will only open 200 next year instead of the usual 250. The report I read carried no indication if non-US stores would also be cut.

Going to the dogs

Can your dog say "Leona Helmsley"? If not, get him (or her) to start practicing now because according to The Mail Online the hotel magnate left a trust valued at several billion pounds to provide for the care of dogs. Yes, yes, of course, her trustees will use their own discretion in distributing the funds (say "Trustee" Fido) but if they are being true to her wishes they will make sure the lion's share goes to the dogs. Known as the "Queen of Mean" Leona had made her intentions quite clear - in a statement in 2003 she had stated that the trust "should be used to help destitute men and women, and provide for the care of dogs". A year later, she removed the "destitute men and women". Lawyers, though, may contest the statement since it was not included in her trust documents or will. Not that being in her will would help - a court last month reduced the inheritance to Leona's dog by £5 million (to a mere £1 million) on the grounds that she was mentally unfit when she made the will.

New York bites

Planning a trip to New York and want to try out one of the newest restaurants on the block? Try out Momofuku Ko if you can - but be warned, you'll need to book online - and there are only 12 (or possibly 14) spaces in the restaurant. Bookings are available via the restaurant's site each morning at 10am and usually fill up within the first two seconds (yes, that was 2 seconds). Award-winning restaurateur and host David Chang offers an eight-course tasting menu, priced at $US100, and includes dishes such as snail-and-ricotta lasagna. According to Steven A Shaw, executive director of The eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, commenting on the ease of securing an online booking when the restaurant first opened to today ... "Now, it's virtually impossible to get in". Hmmm ... so when someone says it's "virtually impossible" to get in to a restaurant where bookings are only made virtually ... does this mean ... that people use "virtually impossible" way too much (see previous item this blog)! However, if you still need a fix and haven't been able to get into Ko, Chang has two other restaurants in New York, Momofuku Noodle Bar and Momofuku Ssam.

Crime Txters

Texting seems to be the way of today, and also the future, so it's not surprising that police in the US have worked out a way to let people text in their crime tips anonymously. Texts are routed through a computer system which encrypts the originating cell/mobile phone number which makes them "virtually impossible to track". The question then, is if it's "virtually impossible" to track something which is happening "virtually" does it mean that it is or is not impossible to track?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Military practice

It's usually Americans at war who are noted for "friendly fire" ie shooting/killing their own or their allies. But the French can also now share that distinction. A military shooting demonstration in France has left 16 people wounded after one of the team loaded his weapon with live ammunition rather than blanks. But it's not the only military display to have gone wrong recently. According to BBC News an elderly spectator provided a soft landing to a member of the RAF Falling Rocks parachute team in Teignmouth on Sunday during a National Veterans' Day event. The spectator is believed to have escaped with minor cuts and bruises.

Special placement

If you were going to put a women's clinic in a department store, particularly a clinic where they did breast screening - where would you put it? Well there is such a facility, the Rose Clinic, on the 3rd Floor of David Jones, Elizabeth Street, Sydney, and it is nestled, almost out of view, behind the bra section.

Ápple action

I was only out of the country for 4 weeks but in that time there has been much action on the Apple front here in Australia:' the Apple Store opened in Sydney; we learned the iPhone was finally coming to Australia (and of course my telco won't have it!), and TV shows are now downloadable via iTunes. I went past the Apple Store yesterday but didn't have time to call in (gasp!) but it looks awesome. Can't wait until they have the iPhone on display - although, I wonder if they will, given that it seems it will only be available through some telcos at this stage. Word is that the distribution model in New Zealand will be slightly different, where you can purchase the phone outright. Will be interesting to see if this does pan out - and whether, if it does, a trip to New Zealand is in our immediate future. Hmmmm. Of course, for that to happen, I'm going to need to know a bit more about the iPhone. If it follows the iPod Touch model in terms of text editing capability, I may not be enticed. (Seriously!) And certainly if I have to pay more for my mobile web needs than I currently am, I won't be able to justify the additional cost. (Seriously!) Roll on July 11 launch date!