Products I Want But Do Not Need

* Cymat: Home — metallic foams. Because they just look cool. The resin coated version would be a cool desktop.
* Intensity vacuum. The folding-up-ness is nice.
* Kraft paper sofas. Because no one else will have one. Oh and their felt rocks look cool.
* Floating Jellyfish pool lights
* Highgear adventureplus — all the cool campers will snicker at you
* A finger skateboard game. just strange.
* Wallet optimized for cards. Why more of these don’t exist puzzles me.
* Non contact infrared thermometer. Seems like a totally useless gadget to me. Will go in the drawer with my stud finders.
* Rich on HD camcorders. OK I really need one of these. Really.
* Clamp multimeter. nothing unique here, I just like these.

Products I Want But Do Not Need — April 19 Edition

* Clear airport pass — OK actually I would be stupid not to get this.
* A $209 hammer. I drive like 3 nails a year so clearly I need this
* USB chess game. I have no patience for chess but clearly this would improve my game dramatically
* The Cabestan watch. Gorgeous.
* 1/9 scale V-8.
* Obelisk chairs. I think the rest of the family would barf but these are awesome
* Skycaddie GPS golf accessory. It is very important to my game that I know the exact position of my ball and the pin to the meter. I am pretty sure that my lack of this knowledge is why I have a 36+ handicap.
* Marble machine. Anything like pachinko is cool.
* A watch with built in slot machine. Where does it store all the coins?
* Pipe lamp. Steam engine chic.

Products I Want but Do Not Need

* Toolmonger ? Blog Archive ? Dremel’s Workstation: A Micro Drill Press For $40 — this actually seems like a pretty cool way to get more out of a dremel
* Active Crystals — you can never have enough Swarovski.
* Load-thing — cool looking but is this really a problem?
* Another USB turntable and high torque so you can really drag the needle thru the vinyl
* Belkin grommet shaped usb hubs — this actually seems somewhat brilliant.
* Diamond-tipped screwdriver bits
* Bosch miter saw — this thing seems to have infinite degrees of freedom
* and a howto for making your own plastic vacuum former

Alternatives to water softeners

Hate the feel of softened water. Didn’t really understand the chemistry of water softening until I poked around a little tonight — how does a water softener work, wikipedia topic — apparently water softeners replace the Ca and Mg ions with Na which is less damaging to pipes, etc. But it still makes the water feel slippery. I’d like something that removes the Ca and Mg and leaves nothing behind. A lot of systems claim to do this, some below:

* Water Softener – Water Filter – Water Softners
* Advanced Water Filters
* GMX — this looks way too low capacity
* The Aquafer
* The ScaleBlaster. Also probably too low capacity but I love the name.

I wonder if any of these work. And are cost effective.

Ignition Blog roundup

* 1-800-GOOG-411: the mobile walled garden crumbles ? Bogle’s Blog — Phil on Google’s 411 service — “All of these applications are signs of the coming collapse of the walled garden that carriers have traditionally enacted around voice and data services”
* Rich reminds me of the sustainable seafood guides
* Rahul and Dave point with pride to the launch of couponlooker — congrats guys!
* Phil talks about the new Jobster blog buddy which is pretty cool
* Dave is undoubtedly driving coworkers crazy with his new indoor copter
* Rahul discovers Raymond — Deciding what not to do

Grab bag of software and service notes

* Microsoft Releases FastCGI for IIS | Gadgetopia — once upon a time (3 years ago) I would have been really excited about this. But I am going to certainly switch to a hosted service when my server finally dies so not so exciting anymore.
* Batch upload files to google docs — very helpful
* MyGADs for storing, retrieving factoids — the idea of this really appeals to me tho I can’t say the implementation wowed me.
* Map a list of locations from a google spreadsheet — kind of geeky
* Fontifier to create your own font. But my handwriting sucks.
* Devicelock for securing USB and other ports.
* Chris Pirillo’s recommended screen recorder

Advice for College Admissions Counselors

Please please please — pretend you are a student and go out and attend a week’s worth of college visits at other institutions. I think you will find that there is a lot of mind numbing repetition across the presentations and tours. You all have study abroad programs, intern programs, food service, blue light security on campus, etc etc etc.

What is far more interesting to hear about is the unique aspects of your institution and the community you are in. And maybe a direct compare/contrast between your institution and your most direct “competitors”. And consider doing something different in your presentation than every other college; one school brought in a professor to talk with the kids, this was memorable; another school gave away ice cream sandwiches at the end of the tour, a simple gesture but the kids loved it.

I’d consider running two different info sessions and tours — one for first time college visitors, and one for people who have seen 2 or more schools already.

I guess what I’m saying is think a little more deeply about your audience and what they are going thru, and tune the presentation to them.

Products I Want But Do Not Need

* Kant Slam — Stop Annoying Slamming Of Doors And Gates — OK this seems pretty useful
* Arctic Cat biodiesel ATV via Martin — I have absolutely nowhere to use this
* Venerable Bead Pendants — I’m a sucker for all things glass
* HomeJoule — if I lived in NYC this’d be cool
* Pocket Hole Joinery Made Easy — I’m not much of a woodworker
* Really big duct tape — this is my kind of tool
* Socket wrenches with universal joints – the joint thingy seems pretty useful.
* luggable shopvac. who doesn’t love shopvacs.
* Chain mail gloves — chain mail still has a purpose in 2007
* Garden Rock cum Spotlight — and who doesn’t need more things embedded in rocks.
* Swiss Bikeboard — looks like huge fun
* azimuth watches — awesome looking.
* Relativity Watch — I had a Goofy watch that ran backwards as a kid and loved it.
* Gelaskins ipod skins — better looking than your standard skin

Recent books — mostly airplane reading

* “Sunstroke”:amazon by Jesse Kellerman. Great story of a woman searching in northern Mexico for the truth about her missing boss. Great protagonist. Great supporting cast — I love the stonecutter. Very atmospheric.
* “A Wicked Snow”:amazon by Gregg Olsen. Really choppy. Not a terrible story but uncomfortable to read. Where was the editor? Great cover blurb by lee child but I can’t fully recommend.
* “Mission Flats”:amazon by William Landay. Police mystery set in Boston and Maine. A smalltime Maine chief of police gets involved over his head in a Boston murder conspiracy. Nice twisted ending tho I did anticipate it a little.
* “Without Fail”:amazon by Lee Child. Reacher seems a little more fallible in this tale. Misses obvious clues early and often. And the bad guys show up way too late in the book, bad form for a mystery. So not the best reacher but still entertaining.
* “Blue Light”:amazon by Walter Mosley. Twisty tale of alien consciousness, drugs, psychosis. Hard to tell what really happened and what was imagined. I found myself liking the characters more than I expected.
* “Killing Floot”:amazon by Lee Child. Another slam bang jack reacher tale. Reacher rips the covers off a southern town conspiracy leaving a wake of bodies behind. Don’t screw with reacher. This series continues to be the best airplane books.
* “From Fatigued to Fantastic!”:amazon by Teitelbaum. Good overview of chronic fatigue and potential causes and treatments. Not a cookbook, more of a collection of all the ideas around fatigue.

They're Made Out Of Meat

Stumbled across this story recently, I always loved it — meat.rtf — “You know how when you slap or flap meat, it makes a noise? They talk by flapping their meat at each other. They can even sing by squirting air through their meat.”