Archive for September, 2011

Apple to pull plug on iPod?

Apple makes the most sought after gadgets on the planet, but they may be about to pull the plug on one that helped get the revolution rolling.

Classic is just another way to say outdated.

Classic is just another way to say outdated.

Rumor has it that the iPod Classic (and iPod Shuffle) may be discontinued.

Apple sells millions of iPods, but the Classic and Shuffle don’t have touchscreens, which are the interface of the present and future.

CNET’s Crave gadget blog notes there’s no mention of iPod news in the upcoming Oct. 4 Apple press conference, where details of the iPhone 5 will be announced.

The iPod first appeared 10 years ago … a long time in tech circles … and Apple would rather folks buy an iPhone (or iTouch) than an iPod, which contributed a mere 8 percent of the company’s revenue.

Crave has a great Steve Jobs quote: ”Just get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff.”

The iPod Classic can hold 120 gigabytes of music … which I think is really good, but probably not enough to keep it from going the way …

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‘Stay sober’ pill may save marriages, ruin parties

Good news for those who wear lampshades at company parties: Scientists are developing a “stay sober” pill that should even keep keg stand participants on their feet.

The miracle of pharmacological science will allow responsible drinkers to quit being such buzzkills.

The miracle of pharmacological science will allow responsible drinkers to quit being such buzzkills.

The Telegraph reports the new pill will “stop people embarrassing themelves,” which may also be possible by imbibing moderate amounts and not speaking honestly.

Wily American and Australian scientists are to blame for the Let’s-Get-This-Party-Stopped medicine, which hopefully comes in Scotch and Pale Ale flavors.

Allegedly, the drug focuses on “glial cells” which make up 90 percent of the non-pickled brain. Turn off those cells, which play a part in the immune system, and a Long Island Iced Tea has the same effect as an Arnold Palmer.

Mice given the pill along with rat-killing amounts of booze didn’t stumble or slur their speech, but were unable to dance or even strike up a lively conversation with lady mice.

The …

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Ice cream mascot mistaken for Klansman

Rejoice Atlantans! The longtime reign of Whatizit as the world’s worst mascot has mercifully come to an end.

Florida drivers must not take eye exams.

Florida drivers must not take eye exams.

Unfortunately for the owners of a Florida ice cream shop, their mistake melted their business.

The problem? Motorists driving by the Ocala business are mistaking the white-hooded ice cream cone mascot for a Ku Klux Klan protester.

One woman was “so frightened by the white dollop patrolling the street corner that she called her husband crying and refused to drive through the intersection,” reports

The store manager says she’d never heard of the KKK until rumors started swirling like chocolate syrup atop a 3-scoop parfait on a sunny day.

The fluffy white mascot, adorned with colored sprinkles atop a brown waffle cone torso, has been fired, but it may be too late. Monday, only employees were in the store.

“We’re a friendly environment, family-oriented,” owner Liza Diaz said. “We’re not (racist). We’re very friendly, very …

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Alabama criminals sentenced to time in church

The separation between church and state has narrowed a bit in Alabama, where judges are now sentencing criminals to time behind bars or in a church pew.

Freedom of religion can get weird.

Freedom of religion inspires great works of satire.

WKRG in Mobile reports city judges in nearby Bay Minette began giving non-violent criminals that fateful choice this week.

“Operation Restore Our Community,” which could be called “Operation We Lock Up More People Than We Can Afford,” will save the town of 8,000 a lot of cash, if offenders choose to get right with Jesus (or Allah).

Lawbreakers get to pick the church of their choice, but must check in with the pastor once a week for a year to get off the legal hook.

Bay Minette Police Chief Mike Rowland told WKRG it costs his department about $75 per inmate per day to feed, house and delouse criminals.

So far, 56 churches in North Baldwin County are participating. I bet none are Wiccan.

Rowland says the program doesn’t violate separation of church and state issues, but must …

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Discrimination bake sale half-baked?

CNN doesn’t cover a lot of bake sales, but one in California is getting plenty of media attention.

Half-baked? You decide.

Half-baked? You decide. (from CNN)

A Republican student group at the University of California at Berkeley (that felt weird to type) is selling cookies and brownies, but the price of the baked goods is based on gender and race.

White men pay the most. Native American women eat free. The price list is in the photo.

The stunt is meant to be racist, discriminatory and get attention, organizers say.

Mission accomplished.

The Republican group is upset that the university, like most government agencies, uses gender and race to determine who gets admitted or hired, reports CNN.

Berkeley’s student government has “condemned” the “use of discrimination whether it is in satire or in seriousness by any student group.”

Proceeds from the sale will go to charity.

The unanswered question? Are those brownies any good? And are they packing the mystery ingredient beloved by 1960s Berkeley …

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OnStar reverses course on tracking former customers

UPDATE (9/27): Vehicle tracking company OnStar said Tuesday it is reversing its proposed Terms and Conditions policy changes and will not keep a data connection to customers’ vehicles after the OnStar service is canceled.

“We realize that our proposed amendments did not satisfy our subscribers,” OnStar President Linda Marshall said. “This is why we are leaving the decision in our customers’ hands. We listened, we responded and we hope to maintain the trust of our more than 6 million customers.”

“We regret any confusion or concern we may have caused,” Marshall said.

The press release did not indicate a change in position on the sale of customer data.

ORIGINAL COLUMN (9/21): “Big Brother” is not only watching, but may soon be selling what he sees.

Thanks for the check Mr. Divorce Attorney. Yes, it seems your client's ex either works at the Cheetah or otherwise needed to be there every night last week.

Thanks for the check Mr. Divorce Attorney. Yes, it seems your client's ex either works at the Cheetah or otherwise needed to be there every night last week.

Wired magazine’s “Threat Level” blog says OnStar, a vehicle tracking service …

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Facebook changes News Feed; music up next

Bad news for those with ears and friends with poor taste in music.

Bad news for those with ears and friends with poor taste in music.

The only Facebook constant is change, and user criticism when those changes occur.

Wednesday morning, millions of social media users awoke to a new “News Feed,” and they didn’t like it.

The News Feed, which tells users what their friends are up to, now put the “most interesting” posts at the top.

Commenting on the Facebook Blog, user Brandi Genest Weeks said: “Quite frankly I don’t want Facebook deciding who is most important in my life. I want my news feed to just go chronologically and if I want to hide posts from someone, I will.”

Jennifer Egan Siler writes: “Give us the option to turn this stuff OFF, it’s terrible and makes me want to leave facebook altogether.”

Joi D Cristofori was more direct and even used all caps to make her point: “”SUCKS. IF IT ISN’T BROKE DON’T FIX IT. THIS IS THE MOST GOD AWFUL THING EVER. YOU JUST TURNED ME INTO A HATER AND THAT IN ITSELF IS A SIN, JERK.”

Still, more than 1,300 …

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Ashes to ashes, body to syrup

It’s a choice we all must make: coffin or urn, burial or cremation.

This is not an industrial washing machine.

This is not an industrial washing machine.

Before making a rash decision, consider the new alternative of having yourself, or a loved one, liquefied into a “brown syrup” that can be flushed down a toilet.

The Daily Mail has a good report on the latest in funeral home technology, and says Florida is the seventh U.S. state to legalize “chemical cremation.”

The good folks at Anderson-McQueen funeral home in St. Petersburg were quick to purchase an ’alkaline hydrolysis’ unit from a UK-based company.

The $300,000 machine works by immersing a body in a solution of water and potassium hydroxide, which is then pressurised and heated to 356 degrees Fahrenheit for about three hours.

The result? A few pints of green-brown tinted liquid containing amino acids, peptides, sugars and salts and soft, porous white bone remains which are easily crushed, says the Daily Mail.

The crushed bone can be returned to next of kin as …

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Dead bear in tree no honeymoon for Helen

A dead bear in a tree is no honeymoon for residents of Helen, a Bavarian-themed village tucked away in the Georgia mountains.

Helen is known for lively beerfests, not dead bearfests.

Helen is known for lively beerfests (above), not dead bearfests (below).

Local librarian Deborah Kelley said Monday that the bear, and its accompanying “powerful” stench, has attracted “bunches of people over there right now trying to figure out how to get him down.”

Kelley, who is not trained to identify large omnivores, said it looked to be about a 350-pound black bear caught high up in an oak tree near the library.

She took pictures but said “he was so high up I couldn’t zoom in far enough.” dead-bear

The dead bear has been in the tree, on public property near Unicoi State Park, since last Monday, said Kelley.

City Clerk Kim Smith said the city manager and public works director were thinking of ways to remove the animal corpse from the city-owned tree.

The state Department of Natural resources has been of little help, said Smith.

“When wild animals die in the …

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Redheads rejected by sperm banks

It’s so tough being a redhead the world’s largest sperm bank won’t accept donations.

'Survival of the fittest' at the earliest stage.

'Survival of the fittest' at the earliest stage.

That’s not a joke.

There’s no demand for redheaded babies says Ole Schou, the director of the Cryos International, in Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet.

“I do not think you choose a redhead, unless the partner — for example, the sterile male — has red hair, or because the lone woman has a preference for redheads. And that’s perhaps not so many, especially in the latter case,” said Schou.

The hue and cry of discrimination will not be raised by brunettes with brown eyes, whose sperm is in high demand.

There’s a severe shortage of Indian sperm, said Schou, because India does not allow sperm or eggs to be exported.

Those looking to make $500 for a donation face an upstream battle: Cryos has reached its peak capacity of 70 liters of semen and there’s 600 donors chomping at the tiny cup to give …

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