Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Get Restaurant Ratings on your desktop

You may already have an assortment of widgets on your computer... small applications for Konfabulator or the Macintosh Dashboard. My new favorite is the RestaurantRatingz widget, which lets you quickly look up ratings and reviews for local restuarants. True, the reviews are already available on the RestaurantRatingz.com website, but when I am working in my web browser, I don't like to open a lot of extra windows. Somehow the widget just seems more convenient, and I suspect I will use it more often.

The widget was developed by Intertron Software, and you can download it from their website at www.inertron.com/widgets/.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Any Guesses?

El Cotoro loves gadgets! In the information age, there's something satisfying about a well-designed device you can hold in your hand... whatever it does! This particular gadget is for applying postage stamps! It takes a standard Post Office roll of 100 self-adhesive stamps. Drag it across an envelope, and it quickly and neatly applies one postage stamp. You might not think you'd ever need a gadget like this... until you have to apply stamps to 5000 postcards for a volunteer organization!

You can buy it on the Internet for less than $20. Just search for "Premier Stamp Affixer"

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Long Now

The purpose of The Long Now Foundation is to help people to think in longer terms... thousands of years, rather than a few weeks or months.

To foster longer thinking, they have several projects, including a website, Long Bets, where you can place "bets" on future events (though the timeframe for most of the bets seems dissapointingly short!)

Perhaps the most intriguing project is the 10,000 Year Clock. The idea is to build a mechanical clock in a chamber under the Nevada desert which, with regular maintenance, will operate for 10,000 years. There is no timeframe for the project, but prototypes have been built, operating principles defined, and donations are being accepted.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


I had never really thought much about LEDs, until a friend showed me the GlowBug.com website. The GlowBug site is entirely devoted to LED lights of all kinds... flashlights, keychains, lamps, lanterns, headlights, and even booklights.

I learned a lot from GlowBug. Did you know that the life expectancy of an LED is 5 to 10 years of continuous use? Or that they consume less than 1/10 the electricity of equivalent lightbulbs? LEDs are also much less fragile than lightbulbs. (They don't break when you drop your flashlight!)

While still too expensive to replace household lightbulbs, LEDs are very affordable for flashlights and other "portable" applications. Plus... they're cool! (Literally, because unlike lightbulbs, LEDs waste very little energy in the form of heat.)