So Much for Starbucks (2nd Verse)

November 27, 2006

Well, I waved bye-bye to my beloved Barista Aroma today.

It seems that they’ve been recalled, due to a fire hazard of some kind. Starbucks says they’ll send me a check, and suggested I go check out some new DeLonghi brewer at my local emporium of over-roasted coffee and indie xmas music (Starbucks).

Hmph. It’s getting harder and harder to find a decently priced coffee maker that is actually designed to brew a decent cup of coffee. For that matter, it’s getting harder to keep one.

If you’ve bought an 8-cup stainless steel Barista Aroma and haven’t heard from Starbucks, you need to A) unplug it before you burn the house down, and B) call Starbucks and see if it’s one of the recalled units.

Better safe than sorry.

The Challenged Aftermath

November 10, 2004

It’s 8 days past the election, and I don’t recall seeing fear and loathing on this scale since ‘72… Of course, we all remember how that ended up. 

Lawrence Lessig is calling for the release of the exit poll data, which should prove interesting.  It’s beginning to look fairly obvious that if the white-hot spotlight gets trained on the irregularities that occured, our faith in the ability of our country to hold an accurate and fair election is going to be deeply shaken. 

Regardless of whether it was due to malevolence or just incompetence.

Among all of the other FUD out there the last few months, I remember hearing “If Bush gets elected, it’ll be the last election held.” Who knows, this may turn out to be ironicly true—we may find out that much like sending a man to the moon, we no longer have the technology to hold a fair and accurate election. 

If indeed we ever did….

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Summertime in the Deep North

August 8, 2003

For not being terribly thrilled with my own rustic ancesteral homeland, it’s strange that I’m so completely enamoured of The Deep North, a blog recounting the day-to-day life of a pair of authors living in the wilds of remote northern Scotland.

I don’t recall how I found it, but each new post is a complete treat—if I could ever figure out just who these people are, I’d be buying their books too; the descriptions of the charming and eccentric people who wander in and out, and the minutia of life in the highlands is a wonderful and welcome break from the day.

Who knows, maybe it’s just the wee bit of Scot in my background coming oot…

(Maybe it’s more than wee… I seem to recall The Genealogy Aunt saying we go back to some Scottish Clan or another… I’ve got her epic tome tracing the Lawson clan around here somewhere… hmmm…)

I Brake for Beer Commercials

March 19, 2003

AdAge reports that a P&G study finds Tivo Less of a Threat? – apparently people who fast forward through ads with PVRs “still recall those ads at roughly the same rates as people who see them at normal speed in real time.”

I’m not sure if this is more a commentary about the remote control trigger-fingers of those surveyed, or the inattention of those who watch “unaided” TV.

I was an early Tivo adopter, and for the past two and a half years, I’ve considered it one of the slickest pieces of personal technology to hit the shelf—suddenly I watch the TV I want to watch, when I want to watch it. I don’t watch much more or less than I ever did, but I’m at least watching stuff I want to watch when I do plop my butt into the recliner.

But c’mon. One of the first symptoms of the Tivo effect is you quit watching live TV. I’ll pause a program and go do something else for 20 minutes just to get enough buffered up that I can fast forward through the commercials.

Now, as a healthy happily divorced male with normal testosterone levels, I am reasonably adept at spotting beer commercials with great looking women and action movie clips, even at 60x fast foward, and I do stop and watch a reasonable number of them. (This month’s winner—the Killians commercial with “The New Bartender”), but that’s about it. On those few occasions when through lack of planning or watching a less geeky friend’s TV I actually see the rest of the commericals, it’s almost fun, because I haven’t seen most of them before.

Therefore, I’ve got to believe that any reasonable survey would find me blissfully ignorant on the current advertising state of tampons, fast food, or any number of other products.

Which begs the question, just who did they survey? People who don’t know the Tivo button shuffle? (hit fast forward three times at the start of the commercial, and then hit “instant replay” as soon as you see the program come back on; with a little practice, this reliably puts you at the start of that section of content). People too arthritic to hit the buttons? Or was their control group just viewers who have the retention of fruit-flies and don’t remember any more than I do when I see a 30 second antacid commerical fly by in 500 milliseconds?