Monthly Archives: August 2007

Design Solution So Simple It’s Brilliant


Now why didn’t I think of this?!

The photo above is from the Vogue Living Australia’s Autumn/Winter 2007 issue. The firm that made it can be found here. Not much else to see there but contact information though and the firm is Down Under.

Functional and well designed from what I see. The trick would be getting the load bearing figured out so the drawers don’t pop out when you climb them I’m sure. I wonder what kind of mechanism the craftsmen employed? Any Aussies that know more about these? Please let us know.


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Parlor Trick + Internet Marketing + VOIP = Criss Angel Brillance


Parlor Trick 21st Century style.

Add one part video datebase programming.

Add one part VOIP.

Add a dash of showmanship.

You have Criss Angel MINDFREAK.

Enter a name and phone number because HE will find you and call …

From the A&E Show “Criss Angel Mind Freak.”


Filed under Advertising, Computing, Internet, Marketing, Media, TV

Review of


One of my cell phones decided that its battery had had enough of recharging itself and thus it became clear that I needed to get a new phone or get a replacement battery.

After suffering through a meatspace in-person visit at the local Verizon store where the local employees idea of salesmanship was making me wait to buy a phone while they helped some clueless soccer Mom pick out the best color matched set of cases and ear buds, I quickly decided that Verizon could suck lemons and I would opt for a battery replacement instead of adding another two years to the current contract. The %@#$ with a new phone.

After calling another local retail storefront about getting a replacement battery for my Samsung SCH-A650, it was clear that ‘going local’ was going to be expensive ($35 for the battery and two week lull to get it)….thanks but no thanks.

So, why not web troll? I’m glad that I did and found a solid source for some gear at very low prices. Helllooo,!

At only $14 plus another $3 in shipping, I had a replacement battery show up at my door within one week and it fit like a glove. That’s a savings of over 50% friends and it was shipped cross-country.

The battery is only a 1100 mAh, 3.7V, Li-ion but a deal is a deal. Plus, the check out cart was easy to use and quick (no multiple last stabs to cross sell me crap). A confirmation email came the same day and another confirmation email that the order was being processed was provided a few days later. Nice! None of you are shocked at how often these basic steps to success get screwed up I am sure.

Check them out if you need replacement gear. I recommend it.

Note: TwoADay does not have any agreement / arrangement with but if they chose to reward us with schwag after reading this review we would gladly accept it.

UPDATE:  Loyal readers – Here is a coupon code for $5.00 off of your purchase of $25 or more from the site:  BC5FREE

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Filed under Computing, Gadgets, Internet, mobile

Apple Sez iPhone Hack? Hack Away!

There are at least two announced hacks announced that have “unlocked” most aspects of the iPhone to use on another network.

The simpler one is the Turbo SIM – which slips over your old SIM card (with some scissoring required) and you are able to use the phone overseas (presumably not the visual voicemail since that is tied to AT&T). The company is reporting a run on them so on eBay right now, it’s going for over $300-$500. You can download the company’s PDF sell sheet here.



The original price was around $80 USD.

From the scant reports, it seems to work – you are able to make & receive calls, SMS, and access the internet, YouTube, etc, etc … except for the visual voicemail – all for snipping your SIM card which if it fails is easily replaced for $5-$20 – though now at $500 for the Turbo SIM, hey, it’s your money. I could definitely see a market for this – not only can you boast that you too are a hacker, anywhere outside of the US (including the non AT&T state of Vermont), you will be one of the first to have 98% functionality of an iPhone.

No one is sure if Apple can close this loophole with a phone upgrade … but then, you can always skip the auto upgrades and auto sync.

The newer option is much more complicated but since it involves opening the iPhone itself and soldering along with command line software installation, since it involves soldering, it apparently cannot be reversed by an update from Apple.

Again, everything but visual voicemail works. The kid has even posted a do it yourself instructions (that’s him above in the YouTube doing a demo).

Of course, 98% of Americans cannot solder two pieces of discarded metal together let alone try and drop solder on a 2″ piece of an integrated circuit board worth $500 dollars AND then install line command software … so, good luck – better buy iPhones in bulk just to to be safe.

And what’s Apple’s take on all this?

Bwhahahaha. BRING IT ON.

Buy ALL the iPhones you want at FULL RETAIL. Void the warranty – buy another one – unofficially, of course – we are not going to encourage it but what do we care?

There is no hidden level or hidden features in an iPhone and there is no subsidy on an iPhone. Apple makes money on every one they sell. If you want to void the warranty – hey whatever.

You want to hack one to carry overseas to plant the seeds of viral one-on-one word-of-mouth marketing across THE GLOBE as our ambassador, hey, alright with us.

You want to add EVEN more CACHET to the iPhone, alright – we’ll take it.

Unlike the original MOVIELINK box that downloaded movies into a hard drive so if you could hack it, you’d have access to dozens of movies “free.”

There is not much free about a $500 phone. You still have to buy one and if you open it and break it, you have to buy another one.

Sure, Apple might lose a little on new customer signup program with AT&T but honestly, how many Turbo SIM’s will be sold? 10,000? How many people will rip open an iPhone to solder it themselves and load command line software … 1,000?

So, something like this?

2 More PR interns – $150,000

11,000 New phones sold – @6.5 million

11,000 lost AT&T revenue – @$2.5 million

11,000 worldwide brand ambassadors and all the free, tsunami giant wave of publicity?


So Apple wins by winning and Apple wins by “losing.”


Another Option – Could Not Be More Illegal If They Tried …

Or you can just get this … now knockoffs are nothing new in the US (Charles Dickens used to complain that the colonies just pirated his books and paid him no royalties) but adding the Apple logo seems to take a veer off into totally illegal territory … hope this guy selling this is not in the US – he can be Michael Vick’s bunkie.


Filed under Advertising, Apple, Computing, Financial, Gadgets, Internet, iPhone, Marketing, Media, mobile

Philippine Brand Dried Mango Balls

Most Americans cannot say the phrase ‘balls’ without lapsing into a juvenile titters (or using the phrase ‘titters’ but that’s another story).

Ball – singular form is acceptable when describing sports but the plural form even when involved in sports usually ends with someone with, “That’s what she said.”

So, they are unwilling to try a lot of Asian foods which gets ends in the descriptive phrase, “balls.” Of course, it simply means round object in a direct translation and what else is a round sphere but a ball. So, while fish & shrimp balls are not the seafood equivalent of a Rocky Mountain oyster, most Americans are leery.

From “Philippine Brand” who most people might know from their yummy dried mango stripes … even Costco sells it … the only thing bad about them is you cannot stop after 3 or 4 strips but maybe after 25 …


And now, we have mango balls from “Philippine Brand.”


I’ll wait for the tittering to quiet down before continuing.

The one advantage is that they are individually wrapped so you can grab a handful and take them where-ever or be the odd person on the block who gives these out on Halloween.

There is one major difference between these and the strips – you would never guess that they are the same product or company. They taste vaguely like mangos but if I never told you, you might not be able to really guess. The mango balls are much darker in color and coated with sugar crystals – they are almost tart but not quite. Unlike the strips from the main meat of the mango, these are presumably whatever is left over that they then mash into a ball shape. Bt thy are priced cheaply so if you want a slightly more tart mango in handy individually wrapped balls, here ya go … and you could argue that the mango strips in the lovely mango flavor probably have been processed to retain its lovely mango coloring while these are a more natural coloring of mango pieces rolled into a ball shape.

So, a decent line extension but nothing outstanding – though again, if they tasted as good as the mango strips, I could probably eat this bag in 2 minutes …

You’ll also notice it says “Export Quality” meaning the domestic quality is worse? Or is it like beef rating where U.S. Choice is the lowest USDA beef rating?

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Filed under Food, Retail

Great 404 Page Error Design Roundup


Smashing Magazine recently provided a very in-depth look at 404 error pages and then asked their readers to get on the stick and create some kick*ss 404 error pages with the best ones posted for your viewing pleasure.

Read on how wit and some design sense might just let you keep some of your readers from wandering away from all of your hard work online.

Here are a few gems you should go visit:




There are too many others worth mentioning so go take a look. Hopefully, it will help make ‘page not found’ locations a little more palatable.

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Filed under Internet, Marketing, Media

Mattel Pixar Cars Checklist: It’s What to Collect-Part II – 217 CARS?


There is a new Disney Blu-Ray trailer for CARS.

In one section of the trailer, they discuss a Blu-Ray only feature, click on a CAR during the movie and it jumps to a name and guide of the car … noting that there are 217 cars in CARS … and by slowing down and looking at the trailer, we can see names for characters we were just guessing at …

The Governernator? Really SVEN:


Or the Dinoco Helicopter which Mattel calls Dinoco Helicopter? He has a name … Rotor Turbosky:


Or RPM #64? RPM is just his sponsor – he is really Winford Bradford Rutherford … no, really …


The guy on the freeway with the mattress poorly tied to the top? Leroy Traffik …


Or the BIGGEST surprise of all? Apple car #84 is named … wait for it … Matthew Overtaker …


(He’s in the bottom row, cut off in the quick DVD preview edits).

And some of the pit crews … ‘Petrol’ Pulaski & Not Chuck …

petrol-pulaski.jpg not-chuck.jpg

Other Racers … Darren Leadfoot (#52), and a couple incomplete names: Ralph Carl …(#117), Sage Vander … (#30 or #80) (?), and Barney Stormin looks and sounds like a tuner race car – is that a spoiler we’re seeing? (UPDATE – turns out he’s the barnstormin’ biplane which makes sense AND he’s actually coming out as a diecast “car,” there was a placard showing he’s coming-soon at Comic Con – I forgot all about it.)

darren-leadfoot.jpg barney-stormin.jpg

ralph-carl.jpg sage-vander.jpg

Lots of old timers get names placed with CARS … I’m going to presume the ones that are not puns of auto-related words are named after Pixar people? Derek ‘Decals’ Dobbs, Edwin Kranks, Milton Calypeer & Timothy ‘Timezone’ Truecoat.

derek-decals-dobbs.jpg edwin-kranks.jpg

milton-calypeer.jpg timothy-timezone-truecoat.jpg

And a couple trucks: Dustin Mellows & Miles ‘Meattruck’ Malone

dustin-mellows.jpg miles-meattruck-malone.jpg

Newer CARS include … a pair of Maseratis(?) – Antonio Veloce Eccellente & Costanzo Dell (incomplete last name) … and Dan Sclarkenberg & another of the RV named Syd Vanderkamper.

antonio-veloce-eccellente.jpg costanzo-dell.jpg dan-sclarkenberg.jpg

skip-ricter.jpg syd-vanderkamper.jpg

I think she was identified on screen in the movie as Chuki but it might’ve been in Japanese …


And yes, the blimp & the jet also have a box so presumably they have a name also … both were only partially visible on the DVD video preview edits so we’ll have to wait until November …


So, now, go and find their appearance in the movie – some are easy like SVEN & CHUKI but others, not so much … and Barney Stormin … let me know when you find him based on the meager clue.

Here is the link to one section of the trailer:

This is what the pages look like from the DVD:



Here’s what a typical page looks like – seems very cool … though oddly, some of the names have changed like the Apple car is not Matthew Overtaker anymore but his name seems to be Mac iCar


And of course, don’t forget to buy the Blu Ray DVD to get the “free” limited CAR (details below)

FULL SIZED versions of the screenshot can be viewed here at FLICKR.



If you want a recap of the Mattel Pixar CARS line from the beginning.

Mattel Pixar Cars Checklist: It’s What to Collect

Unlike other toys/hot items that stay hot for a few weeks or months – this Mattel Pixar CARS diecast line has pretty been SIZZLING for 16 months – not just rare but almost un-heard of.

Of course, we would love to tell you that if you show up here at 7:00 AM, you are assured of seeing it on the shelve un-touched … or course, that is not really possible with this line due to real demand and eBay “re-distribution” demand but we have tried to sum up why it’s seems impossible and some buying tips that while not foolproof, might make things slightly easier …

Mattel Pixar Cars: I Want to Buy But Where?


First, one way to skip the driving around is to buy sealed cases, here is a brief rundown on what that is AND what are the CARS coming this holiday season (the last two months of 2007):

Mattel Pixar Cars Checklist: New Sealed Boxes

And what’s coming in 2008:

Mattel Pixar Cars Checklist: New Sealed Boxes Holiday 2007 & 2008

Or what the latest on the shelf cards & CARS look like?

Mattel Pixar: What’s in Stores Now


For those on the intermediate & advanced stages of this obsession (yes, I has the fever! I has the fever 🙂 ) … you’ll want a “field guide” to spotting what’s what:

A Basic Checklist (in spreadsheet form)

The checklist offers a few versions on how you like your poison 😉

Then of course, a more indepth guideline on how to collect them – just one of each? one of each available on a different card?

Mattel Pixar Cars Checklist: How to Collect

As you progress further, you might need or want a guide to understanding what do the three different designs on the front indicate and how complete of a collector you want to be:

Mattel Pixar Cars Checklist: Card Backs

Info on the Blu-Ray Dinoco “Blu” CAR

The LIMITED & EXCLUSIVE Disney Blu-Ray “Blu” Dinoco McQueen


Of course, by now, you’ll want to know everything and plan your budget carefully … Mattel will definitely release 35/36 of the Piston Cup Racers in one massive collector’s set but will they release them in smaller sets? Our speculation on why rioting is probably not necessary:

Mattel Pixar Cars: All the Piston Cup CARS-Speedway of the South Box Set

Did you know the Blu-Ray DVD (for HDTV’s) will include a “name-spotter” feature that will let you see the names of 217 CARS within the movie?

Mattel Pixar Cars Checklist: It’s What to Collect-Part II – 217 CARS?

And while we’re at it – pure speculation on our part as to what might be coming next?

Mattel Pixar Cars: What’s Coming in 2008 or 2009

Mattel Pixar Cars: What’s Coming in 2008 or 2009? Part II

Mattel Pixar Cars: Mia & Tia – All the Possible Variants


Details on the Mattel sponsorship & CARS charity auction for CAAF (Children Affected by AIDS Foundation):

Mattel Pixar Cars & Children Affected by AIDS Charity Auction

While Frank the Combine on eBay seems enticing, you might want to know that he’s very small and all plastic but there are some other options …

Mattel Pixar CARS Movie: Frank the Combine – eBay Warning

Too much money in your bank account – starting collecting the other CARS line …

NEW Mini Adventures CARS & Playsets

The Sarge Recall:

Mattel Recalls Pixar CARS Sarge Diecast Metal Car

Nothing very insightful about what’s coming but still good to know that CARS is bringing in money and everything is looking smooth.

Mattel Pixar Cars: 3rd Quarter 2007 Earnings-Financial Numbers


Yes, more speculation & answers on our part but the stars and other things seem to be syncing up for a 2011 sequel:

Pixar CARS 2 Sequel: Rumors, Rumors, Rumors


Filed under Apple, Film, Gadgets, Marketing, Retail, Toys, TV