Friday, January 13, 2006

There is So Much French Maids Can Teach Us

In the new French Maids video podcast, the titular characters teach us how to make a video podcast of our own. Despite the, er, trappings, it truly is a surprisingly clear and concise primer. I would like to see the French Maids tackle all kinds of subjects. From many different angles.

Is There Such a Thing as a Droolworthy Keyboard?

I heard about this on TWIT, and had to see it for myself. The Optimus is a keyboard that uses OLED technology to remap the keys depending on what application you're using. (In the examples below, from typing to Photoshop to Quake) There is an additional group of app-switching keys, seen above.

Already long overdue, the Optimus is now promised for February. If this thing ever really comes out at even a semi-reasonable price -- and it's fully customizable -- it will be very tempting.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Another Great iPod Audio Solution

This one's great for the car. Just plug Ten Technology's flexibleDock into your cigarette lighter, and it gives you clear line-out audio while keeping your iPod charged to boot. They've included adapters to hold any kind of iPod solidly on its gooseneck support. It's been hard to get a hold of, but I finally got mine, and I love it... and as an added bonus, it keeps your iPod nice and high, which is probably safer.

SNL: The Best of Alec Baldwin on DVD

It's coming out on January 24th, long overdue. You can order it at Amazon

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

It's Good To Be the King

Above, Brooke Burke and an unidentified male companion at a Lakers game. Below, Brooke like we like her.

I Never Thought I'd Side With a Cat-Killer

My friends know -- and by now you probably do, too -- how much I love animals. And my heart goes out to this woman who found her 13-year old cat dead on her property.

I even applaud her tenacity in investigating the circumstances surrounding her cat's death, including DNA testing. I've been a longtime supporter of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, an organization that pushes our nation's laws to stop treating animal cruelty and abuse as petty vandalism and to start treating it as the vicious crime it is.

And if she had found out the murderer was a human, I'd personally be donating money to a fund to prosecute that prick to the fullest extent of the law. And if the law was inadequate to punish him, I'd be donating money to help change the law. (That's what the ALDF does.)


In this case, the DNA testing proved that the cat-killer was a dog.

The woman whose cat was killed is asking for the dog to be destroyed. Based on what little I know of the case, I think she is out of line. This was a new dog in the neighborhood, unknown to her, and should not have had access to her cat in the first place. Dogs and cats, as any cartoon viewer can tell you, do not necessarily mix.

Now I'm going to piss some people off, I know, because this is a statement that always causes people to argue online... So let me just warn you, it's not just what I believe, it's common sense, and it's what the Humane Society believes:

Cats belong indoors. Only.

A cat that is indoor-only can live twice to three times as long as a cat that lives outdoors all or part of the time.

The dangers outside are not just dogs. They're bacteria, chemically-treated lawns and gardens, antifreeze, animal traps, toxic plants, pests (including ticks, spiders, scorpions, bats and rats), coyotes, cars, and worst of all, humans.

It's never too late to create a safe and stimulating indoor environment for your cat. Trust me, my cats are indoor only and they get plenty of exercise, stimulation and input. They want for nothing, believe me. Every window gives them a chance to "hunt"... to sneak up on birds. Just without the killing and blood and fleas.

And it's never too late to turn your outdoor cat into an indoor cat. (The Humane Society calls them Safe Cats) It's important to remember that cats don't have long-term memories the way we think of them.

Even a cat that spent the first three years, say, of his life outdoors can be turned into an indoor cat and made happy; it's not like he's pining away for "the good old days." Even if he "goes for the door," he is really moving toward a particularly interesting smell, not trying to "escape." With patience and love and a lot of play, your cat will forget there ever was any place more fun than inside your home. There certainly never was any place safer.

And you'll have a lot more years together. And you'll never need a DNA test.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Bachelor: It's Only January and We Already Have the Best Lines of the Year and the Wacko of the Year

"I'm a doctor, he's a doctor, I was kinda like, 'Oh, yeah, shoo-in.' The reason why I'm here is definitely to find a husband. Hopefully the Bachelor will be that guy because quite frankly my eggs are rotting."

Allie, 33
Crazy Oncologist, before telling the Bachelor that she's ready for "the reproductive phase" of her life.

"You're playing around! You don't want reproduction! You just told me that you don't want me around because you don't want to reproduce!"

Allie after the rose ceremony, where she entered the "roseless phase" of her life.

Stephen Colbert Gets the Year's Top Word... and the Last Word

When the American Dialect Society made its annual selection of the top words of the year, the list included "podcast" and "Katrinagate."

But the word of the year was "truthiness," one introduced by Stephen Colbert on the premiere episode of
The Colbert Report. He used it as a way of "approximating" the truth without letting facts get in the way, in the "close enough" style of Bill O'Reilly that has become Colbert's trademark.

What was strange, especially to Colbert fans, was that the coverage of the story didn't mention Colbert at all. That's because everyone -- including -- pretty much runs the same story: the one from AP.

The AP story had a gimmicky definition by an obscure lexicologist from North Carolina. Why? Who knows?

But when Stephen Colbert returned from vacation tonight he let it be known in no uncertain terms that he was "pissed" (comically so, of course) at the slight, and called out the reporter, Heather Clark, by name. As he has done with others who've displeased him, he pronounced her dead to him.

A Yahoo News story recounts Colbert's ire, and sticks up for him to the point of running Heather Clark's email address. And the video is up at the Colbert Report website, under the title "A Glaring Omission."

(Incidentally, while you're there, you might want to check out "Stephen Vs. Conan," which is Colbert's version of the O'Reilly vs. Letterman fracas.)

When I Congratulated Lindsay Lohan For Admitting She Had an Eating Disorder...

I assumed she had done so. Now, in a statement released to Teen People, she denies saying any such thing. I'm not sure exactly how to apologize for congratulating someone, but I'd like to do it.

Emily's Reasons... Why Not?

Okay, so ERWN was inoffensive enough, I guess, and Heather is so hot and so charming I'll keep coming back for more. I did laugh out loud several times at the wrestling scene (which was several times more than Four Kings... or as much of it as I made it through.) I'll even grant the pilot's far-fetched premise that Emily needed to be reassured as to her attractiveness. Yeah, that's right, you heard me.

I do have to wonder, though, why every unattached woman (and even some of the attached ones) on television or in movies seems to be a magazine or book editor. Occasionally they're in advertising or fashion, I suppose... but aren't there any women in say, the auto industry? Or spirits industry? Or architecture?

If I go in and pitch an idea about a woman who works in the movie or television industry, whomever I'm pitching to will raise their hands and stop me and say, "No movies or TV." Why? What's so frickin' interesting about publishing? I'm so bored with it I can't stand it.

Besides, what difference does it make? It's a show about her personal life, not her work life. If Heather Graham says, "I have to go home, I have a stack of manuscripts to read," is it somehow better than if she says, "I have to go home, I have a stack of scripts to read"?

The major difference between book folk and show folk is that book folk hate show folk and show folk hate themselves.

It's been said that it sometimes seems that every novel published in New York is about a woman who works in New York publishing. If we don't watch it, TV will go the same way.

Now to my next question: How is it that all the single women on TV have a gay male friend? Are there even enough gay men to go around?

A Great Flickr Photoset

From Boing Boing comes this flea market find: beautiful vintage science magazine covers the finder posted on Flickr.

The Bubble Project

The Bubble Project is an attempt to rouse the rabble to rebel against street advertising. If you go to the website, there is a template to print out stickers with the word balloon above. Then they suggest you go around slapping these stickers on bus stop ads and construction site posters and so forth.

Then you or others fill in snarky sayings, photograph them, email them in, and they'll start a gallery.

This is illegal, so I'm not suggesting you do this. I'm merely presenting this to you as a matter of interest. I personally have no dog in this fight, since I live in L.A., where the blight is mostly of the billboard variety.

This project comes from New York, where I'm sure it's more of a problem... although frankly I'm not sure naked construction site walls are better, but hey, everybody got their something.

If they ever come out with a project against those snaggletooth leaflets... You know the ones with tear-off phone numbers for a Free Salsa Lesson or Dodge Dart For Sale,
then I'm on board.

A Really Clever Way To Put An Old Hard Drive To Use

Courtesy of Gizmodo, a hard drive enclosure that plugs into your PSP. Cool.

SNL Sketches Now on iTunes

The "Best of" compilations from SNL are now available for download on iTunes, which is really cool. They even have the best of Christopher Walken, and Schwetty Balls. Unfortunately, they don't have my favorite yet: Best of Phil Hartman.

And for all those who said no one would ever want to buy and download a TV program on iTunes -- and you know who you are -- among the many announcements Steve Jobs made this morning was that in the last three months iTunes has sold more than 8 million of them.

Monday, January 09, 2006

A Powerful Messenger Bag

This is the Eclipse Solar Messenger Bag from Innovus, as featured in Gizmodo. Just stash your cell, PDA, or other electronic geegaw inside and you can trickle charge it, using its car adapter. (As for your laptop, you can stow it inside, but not charge it... in fairness, that would be asking a lot.)

Still, the Eclipse (which is on sale now) is a great idea... s
o much so, it won the CES Innovations Award. Between this and the Cellboost, which I've posted about before, there's no excuse for ever running out of juice.

My New Favorite App is Desktastic

That's the name of it: Desktastic, from Panic, Inc.

It's a fun and easy little program for the Mac that turns your desktop into a piece of scratch paper. Draw, type or doodle anywhere on the desktop that you like, any time inspiration strikes. You can be silly, or (as happens all the time with me) you can jot down a phone number, a name, or a sentence fragment.

You can use the whole desktop, a piece of the desktop, or you can write over your application windows if you want to make notes on top of things. Then you can save the results.

You can use a tablet, the keyboard, even your finger. It's a simple but very useful piece of software, and it's cheap to boot. Check it out.

Note to Future America's Next Top Model Contestants

This actual top model's shoe broke in the middle of a runway walk during Olympus Fashion Week. To my knowledge she was not "eliminated."

Emily's Reasons Why Not

I'm really excited about this show and Jake in Progress and Love Monkey because I just love it when the networks do shows about how hard it is for the insanely attractive to find true love.

Oh no, wait, I forgot... I despise it. Never mind.

Still, I'll watch this at least once because Heather Graham is insanely attractive.

The Real Mystery on Desperate Housewives

It isn't Mary Alice's suicide or Martha Huber's murder or why the new what's-his-face is chained up in the basement.

It's what the fuck happened to Bree's daughter??

Seriously. She used to be on all the time. Then she disappeared for, like, six months. Then she came back for her father's funeral. Then she disappeared for a few more weeks. Then she came back, even though she used to be in the Abstinence Club or something, just to get boned by young Applewhite. Who apparently boned her into oblivion, because she's gone again.

Lindsay's "Diet Secrets"

I applaud Lindsay Lohan for coming clean about her problems to Vanity Fair... and congratulate Us Weekly on their spectacularly bad timing.

Now here's the thing: All the times Lindsay was on interview shows and was asked about her alarming weight loss and said there was no problem and the interviewer let her off the hook and moved on to the next question... What about the culpability there?

How many young girls are watching other singers and actresses on these shows, and what is the responsibility of hosts to be relentless in their questioning? To say, "No, I'm serious, you look horrible, you're fooling no one. Who do you think you're kidding? Get some help now."

If You've Ever Written Something On the Internet and Not Signed Your Name You Might Be Guilty of a Federal Crime

At least if what you wrote "annoys" someone. For more read Declan McCullagh's column on CNET

Creepy? You Bet!

Watch this scary commercial at Video Dog and then shower vigorously.

Rita Cosby

Am I the only one who becomes physically ill when he hears Rita Cosby's strangled, wretched, phlegmy voice?

Tech and Gadgets Increasingly Part of Life, Poll Shows

An AP-Ipsos poll, reported in Wired News, shows that Americans inreasingly consider technological gadgets essential parts of their lives.

Almost half of personal computer owners say they can't imagine life without their computers, with roughly the same percentage of cell phone owners saying the same thing about their phones.

Almost four in ten people with high-speed Internet consider it essential, and about two in ten feel that way about their DVD players, digital cable and CD players.

A third of American households spend more than $200 per month on tech. Forty percent spend between $100 and $150 per month. Forty percent of homes have game consoles, twenty five percent have MP3 players.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Paul Hochman Attends CES... But What Year?

Over the weekend, Today Show Tech Knucklehead Paul Hochman did his Consumer Electronics Show report, which was of dubious value, of course.

But what was most remarkable was that, in a year when many amazing developments were unveiled, he chose to show several products that have been on store shelves for months! Including one that has been on my shelf for months!

Who is this guy??!

Inside the Actor's Studio Has Lost It Completely

Okay, so it was strange when Elton John was on, but okay, he was in Tommy. And it was weird when Jay Leno was on, but he was in American Hot Wax and that movie with Pat Morita.

But now Barbara Walters is going to be on?!

Barbara Walters????!

Where Were These Pens When I Was In School??

From Red Ferret Journal (via the Sync Blog) come these two pens that make cheating in class a cinch. Not that I encourage cheating in class, of course. My one effort at cheating went about as well as the scene in Spies Like Us.

Anyway, first we have the enigmatically-named Baller Cheat Pen, which has a 6.5" window shade of paper inside. It's retractable and erasable, and ready to help you crib away.

Then we have the more-straightforwardly-named Cheater Pen, which writes in invisible ink... invisible until the ultraviolet light in the tail of the pen is shined on the writing.

Again, if you buy these things and end up expelled or suspended or have all your Pirate Points taken away, don't blame me. I never told you to actually use them.

Star Jones is the...??? Well, Read It Yourself, I Still Don't Believe It!

AOL has an "Experts" area, where people like Jean Chatzky and Jake Steinfeld give advice. Good idea, right?

Well, AOL has hired Star Jones to be its "Love Coach."

Yes, that's right, now the ghostly head of Star Jones can help you find the same kind of deep and special love that she has. Among the "burning questions" listed are:

"Where's a good place to meet a man?"
(presumed answer: a bar called The Man Hole)

"How do I know if my man and I have a future?"
(presumed answer: if you have shared interests, like shaving each other's backs)

"What are deal breakers in a relationship?"
(presumed answer: none)