Aug 10, 2010

Land Line Telephones

According to the latest survey from the National Center for Health Statistics, nearly 25 percent of Americans have given up their landlines for a cell phone. Another 22 million Americans pay for a VoIP service like Vonage for calls. That leaves over 100 million households still plugged in.

Only 5 percent of adults age 65 or older live in wireless-only households. Last year AT&T petitioned the government to set a date for the removal of all land lines in the US.

Block That Call

There are many ways to block calls using the various carriers, but some are difficult and some cost a monthly fee and some smart phones have apps to do it.

If you have a regular cell phone and there is someone you just do not wish to talk to, use the call ringing feature. Just put in the offending number and assign a no ring-tone, so when that person calls, your phone will not ring.

Zenith Space Command

In 1956, the first widely used TV remote control had four buttons (power, volume, channel up, channel down) but no batteries. Press a button, and a tiny hammer inside the remote would strike an aluminum rod, transmitting an ultrahigh-frequency tone to control the set. They were affectionately known as clickers, because they actually clicked when you pressed the buttons.

Pictured remote outside and inside. Back then they only had a few channels to scroll through, and all TVs were black and white, so it was not a big deal.

I read that you could sometimes drop a coin on it and it would change channels. The Space Command lasted more than 25 years before being replaced by remotes using infrared technology. Before these slick devices, they actually had a remote that was physically wired directly to the TV. . . and before that they had kids that they would tell to go change the channel, or turn up the volume.

Bacon Lunch Box

Speaking of way back when, do you remember when people actually took lunch boxes to work? Here is one I will bet you never saw, a bacon lunch box. Makes me hungry just looking at it. Ha!

Aug 6, 2010

Billboards Read You

In Tokyo, Japan, there are digital advertising billboards being trialled. They are fitted with cameras that read the gender and age group of people looking at them to tailor specific commercial messages.

A consortium of 11 railway companies launched the one-year pilot project in June and has set up 27 of the high-tech advertising displays in subway commuter stations around Tokyo.

The camera can distinguish a person’s sex and approximate age if the person walks in front of the display looks at the screen for a second. If data for different locations is analyzed, companies can provide interactive advertisements "which meet the interest of people who use the station at a certain time," the project said in a statement. Scary when pictures you are looking at look back at you.

Water Painting or Painting Water

Just came across this video of the Turkish art of painting water. It is a bit long, but you can skip a few parts if you want to see it in a hurry. The end is amazing. LINK

What's in a Name

Richard Gere's real middle name is Tiffany.


Chief Seattle (more correctly known as Seathl) was the leader of the Suquamish and Duwamish Native American tribes and was known for his daring courage and leadership. He gained control of six of the local tribes while maintaining a good relationship with the Europeans.

In 1852 out of respect, the early settlers at Duwamps renamed the town Seattle.

More Water Art

This has been around for a while, but you may not have seen it. It is a fountain in a Japan mall that actually paints pictures and letters in the spray. A bit long, but fantastic technology taken to a new level. LINK

Roy Rogers' Horse Trigger

The stuffed animal brought in $266,500 at a Christie's auction in July. Many fondly remember the movies or the TV shows featuring Roy Rogers (King of the Cowboys), Dale Evans, Gabby Hayes, Pat Brady, and the Sons of the Pioneers singing group. Dale Evans wrote the theme song used in the fifties TV series. 

Quick, what was the name of Dale Evans Horse? Do you remember the name of the jeep form the TV series? Hey, do you remember the Roy Rogers' fast food chain?

OK, Buttermilk, Nellybelle, and Roy Rogers, respectively. Roy's real name was Lenoard Slye. Somehow that just doesn't have the same ring to it. Happy trails to you.

Aug 3, 2010

Value of a College Degree

Unemployment percent as of June, 2010

Total, 25 years and over. . . . . . . . . . . 8.2

Less than a high school diploma. . . . 14.1
High school graduate, no college. . .  10.8
Some college or associate degree.  .  .8.2
Bachelor’s degree and higher. . . . . . . 4.4

Handy Uses for the Windows Key

Do you use that 'Windows Key' on the lower right of your keyboard? It has many uses.

For instance, if you just hit it, it brings up your programs from the start button. If you hold it down and hit m it takes you to your desktop. Hold it down and hit e and it opens up the computer screen. Hold it down and hit f and you go directly to the search screen.

Bacon Lettuce Tomato Monster

One pound of fried bacon on a toasted Italian bread, sans lettuce and tomato. Haven't tried it, but it is on my ToDo list.

Interesting Misnomers

Arabic numerals originated in India.

Tin cans and tin foil are constructed from aluminum, not tin.

Danish pastries were invented in Austria.

Dry cleaning is really liquid cleaning and uses naphtha to clean your clothes.

Pencil lead is really graphite, not lead.

Koala bears are marsupials, not bears.

Panama hats originate from Ecuador, not Panama.

Peanuts are legumes, not nuts.

Cataract Surgery

The earliest records of cataract surgery are from the Bible as well as early Hindu records. Cataract surgery was known to the Indian physician Sushruta, 6th century BC. In India, cataract surgery was performed with a special tool called the Jabamukhi Salaka, a curved needle used to loosen the lens and push the cataract out of the field of vision. The eye would later be soaked with warm butter and then bandaged. Though this method was successful, Susruta cautioned that cataract surgery should only be performed when absolutely necessary.