Observations by and for the vaguely disenchanted.
Risking the wrath of the whatever
from high atop the thing.
(Mediocre Laboratories' web form error message.)
From the guy who invented and sold Woot!, meh.com.
"Pietá? Oh my God, I thought they said piñata!"
Laszlo Toth (Tóth László in Hungarian) (born 1940), is a Hungarian-born Australian geologist. He achieved worldwide notoriety when he vandalized Michelangelo's Pietà statue on May 21, 1972. Toth was not charged with any criminal offense after the incident. He was hospitalized in Italy for two years. On his release, he was immediately deported to Australia, where he apparently still resides. (Full Wikipedia article.)
Every date this week is the same backward:
I swear there's a person at Hamilton Beach whose sole function is to review products before they're manufactured to make certain each contains at least one maddeningly stupid design flaw.
The last Brewmaster® I owned had the dispensing spout so close to the side of the coffeemaker that you could only use "regular" thin-walled coffee cups. Have an insulated cup or one with a slight lip? Watch the amazing Brewmaster® as the coffee pours down the outside walls of your cup!
When I saw this model in the store, I thought... aha! An aluminium pot with a hole in the side! How can you possibly screw this up?
Oh, Hamilton Beach, you adorable knuckleheads... I underestimated you.
At ten cups, the flow slows to a trickle. At six cups, it's below the spout opening. But don't tip the pot, because safety!
This coffee is what's left below the spout opening. It exists to remind you that perfection is a goal to be attempted, not achieved.
As the photos show, at the ten cup mark (60 ounces, using the six-ounce coffee cup standard), the coffee level reaches the top of the spout and the flow slows to a maddening trickle. At four cups (24 ounces), the coffee level drops below the spout. Since the instructions admonish the user not to tip the pot, this means you're waiting forever for the last six accessible cups, and throwing away the remaining four.
So, you may ask, why buy this sterling example of a badly-engineered consumer product and recommend it to others?
Well, it's cheap. It's well-made. It brews ok. It keeps the coffee hot. Its irritating behavior doesn't begin until the bottom of the pot, at which point you should be sufficiently caffeinated to deal with it without flying into a seething rage or collapsing, sobbing uncontrollably, into a fetal position on the kitchen floor.
If your household drinks a lot of coffee, it's more convenient than making several 10-12 cup pots.
And in some perverse way, the fact each Hamilton Beach coffeemaker I've ever owned has had some dumb design element is somewhat endearing.
I picture a decent, dedicated guy in Ohio somewhere working feverishly to come up with the Next Great Thing and, just like Wile E. Coyote, being crushed when the first manufacturing run from China comes in and he realizes he just designed a coffee pot capable of dispensing only 90% of what it produces.
And then some middle manager-type, like Lumbergh in Office Space, saunters over to his cubicle and says, "Ah. Yeah. So I guess we should probably go ahead and have a little talk. Hmm?"
Hey guy, it happens. Hang in there. I'm rooting for you.
Which is why I keep buying HB coffeemakers. It gives me something to anticipate in my advancing years. I used to say I hope I live to see my grandchildren. Now I say I hope I live to see HB produce the perfect coffeemaker.
Who knows? Perhaps when I buy my next unit in two years (the average HB coffeemaker lifespan; about a nickel a day, which isn't bad), they'll have a 16 cup unit with a programmable timer, a spout design that accommodates cups of all sizes, and a pot that fully empties.
And, just for old times' sake, a power cord that's only three inches long.
It's surprising what pops up on Google...
It's U.S. Patent #7,249,057 B2, issued July 24, 2007: "Product Information Supplying Method, Product Information Acquiring Method, Product Information Registering Method And Recording Medium," and the description is equally enlightening:
"There is provided a product information supply method for supplying a user who desires to purchase a product with proper information about a related product that could be bought in combination with the product, so that the user is assisted in purchasing products. Registration of combination information to be supplied to the user is made with a database managed by a service provider server by a person who has bought the above product by means of a registration page so that a lot of combination information is accumulated in the database. The registered information includes not only information specifying a combinable product but also information about the effects of the combination and the ways of using products in combination. The database is searched in response to inquiry information from the user who makes reference to a page of products. Thus, corresponding combination information is extracted from the database and is sent to the user."
I'm no expert in intellectual property law, but- this is something patentable? A database of related products, with the added twist of returning information on "effects of the combination and the ways of using products in combination." You mean like peanut butter and jelly? Gin and tonic? Water and Alka-Seltzer tablets?
Even more puzzling is the reference to one of my old DEC Professional DCL Dialogue columns. It deals with referrals and recommendations for computer hardware and software, but its relevance to this patent eludes me. You can read the column here.
Other stuff that passed across the desktop this week:
I was watching a report on the Weather Channel this morning. The anchor was displaying the front pages of newspapers in communities hit by yesterday's storms. One banner headline read, "Storm Strafes City." The anchor said, "I looked up the word 'strafe,' because I didn't know what it meant. It means to attack something with machine guns or cannons from low-flying airplanes."
I guess that it goes without saying that if you don't know the definition of "strafe," you probably don't know what "metaphor" means, either.
How can someone attend college for four years, obtain a degree in atmospheric science or meteorology, and not know what strafe means?
"On August 15, a resident from the 6300 Block of Crestview Drive found a
chameleon in his front yard. If any resident has lost a chameleon,
please call the South Park Police Department..."
-Park News, September 6, 2013
South Park Police.
Hi, I'm calling about that lost chameleon.
Yes, sir. Can you describe it?
Can you describe it? You know, like what color is it?"
I clean off my computer desktop. Into your eyes.
Apparently this drug gives you a stuporous, frozen expression and the ability to see pharmaceutical company mascots.
The Big Mac was introduced in 1968. It cost 45 cents.
The federal minimum wage was $1.60 an hour.
Excluding taxes, a McDonald's worker could buy 3.5 Big Macs for one hour of work.
The price varies by location, but today a Big Mac is about $3.99.
The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.
One hour of work now equals only 1.8 Big Macs.
Now do you see the problem?
slowest-moving drop caught on camera at last
(h/t Joseph Nebus)
Kelly Nantel, a spokeswoman for the NTSB, said the intern was a student volunteering his time who answered phones but was supposed to pass on questions to official media representatives at the agency. She declined to say if the intern was fired, but the NTSB said in its statement that "appropriate actions will be taken to ensure that such a serious error is not repeated."
I'm sorry, but you can't blame this on the NTSB. My guess is someone at the station called the intern, read the names, and the intern rolled his or her eyes, said "yeah, right," and hung up.
Batman has apparently downsized, lacks collision insurance, and works the early morning shift at a 7-Eleven south of Pittsburgh.
While getting a dish of Breyers ice cream last night, I noticed something odd... the package didn't say "ice cream."
Instead, in the lower right hand corner was the title "Frozen Dairy Dessert."
I visited the Breyers web site. The front page makes several references to ice cream, but no mention of frozen dairy dessert.
I eventually found what I was seeking, about halfway down the FAQ page:
Frozen Dairy Dessert products are made with many of the same high-quality ingredients that are commonly found in Ice Cream– like fresh milk, cream and sugar– and offer a great taste and even smoother texture. According to the FDA, in order for a product to be labeled ice cream, it needs to meet two key requirements:
· Not less than 10% dairy fat
· A percentage of overrun that results in a finished product weighing more than 4.5 pounds per gallon
Anything that does not meet both of those requirements is not considered ice cream.
5) Why did Breyers make the change to Frozen Dairy Dessert?
Our consumers are at the center of every recipe decision we make. We work hard to understand what people want most and work to give them the best possible product experience. People have told us they have various flavor or texture preferences. For example, some tell us that they want a smoother texture, which is what we’re able to deliver with our Frozen Dairy Dessert products.
Yeah, in addition to milk, cream, and sugar, I'd like five different types of gums and stabilizing agents.
And don't forget the corn syrup. Yum.
(New York Times article, "Ice Cream's Identity Crisis": "You might ask what the difference is between ice cream and a frozen dairy dessert, and I might answer that it is the same as the difference between a slice of American cheese and a slice of Kraft Singles American Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product.")
And there's this, and also this: