Archive for February, 2014

The other day I went on a job interview which could only mean one thing: I spent the night before frantically trying to find a dress shirt that I could button all the way up!  Over twenty dress shirts to chose from and yet I could not find a single one that I could button around the neck.  Either I’ve gained weight, my shirts have shrunk, or there is a global conspiracy going on involving the Illuminati and a plot to prevent me from advancing my career.  I’m voting for the latter but I digress.

The point of the matter is that we have a serious problem on our hands.  Not on the scale of cancer or world hunger mind you but a serious problem nonetheless for a man’s inability to find a dress shirt that consistently fits is fast becoming an epidemic.   How many times has a man worn a shirt that was too tight around the neck to an interview or an important business meeting?  To a wedding?  How many jobs have been lost because a shirt was too tight causing a lack of blood flow to the brain?  How many relationships have been ruined for this same reason?  I’m sure there are countless examples of each.  In fact, the next time you are at a wedding and you sit through a horrific best man speech don’t just assume that this was someone who was drunk or ill prepared.  Rather consider the possibility that this was a man whose dress shirt was too tight around the neck.

Thankfully I have come up with the perfect solution!  An adjustable dress shirt!  Made out of an elastic band the collar on these shirts would be capable of contracting or expanding as needed.  It won’t be realistic to consider this a “one size fits all shirt”.  Rather, there would be suitable ranges established.  Someone like myself for example could buy a shirt with neck size range 15-18.  That would be pretty much cover any conceivable weight gain or loss that I may experience.  Unless of course someone steals this idea from me causing me to binge eat glazed Pop Ems out of depression.  In which case, all bets are off.

This idea may sound a little bit far fetched but if you ask me it makes perfect sense.  I mean if we have belts and adjustable elastic bands for our waists why not for our necks?  After all, both change in size over time so it’s only logical.  Hopefully the rest of the World will think so too and it will only be a matter of time before I’m pitching this idea on Shark Tank.  In the meantime if anyone wants about 20 size 16 dress shirts you know where to find me.

I have about 20 dress shirts, none of which I can wear with a tie. Isn’t this a problem worth fixing?

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#421 – WWE Network

Since I’m going to admit that I have a school supply fetish I might as well also admit that I still watch wrestling.  It’s a guilty pleasure.  Akin to a woman watching the Real Housewives of Wherever.  Just an excuse to escape the drudgery of a 9 to 5 job and hearken back to one’s childhood when life was care free.

Speaking of which I fondly remember all those times as a kid, either late at night or early on a Saturday morning, when I would scroll through the channels on my TV hoping that I would stumble across a wrestling show of some kind.  It didn’t matter if it was WWF, WCW, ECW, or some guy at the local gym who bought time on PBS.  If there was wrestling on TV I would watch it and then proceed to beat the holy hell out of the cushions on my couch.

Ever since then I’ve long held the belief that their should be a full time channel dedicated to wrestling.  With multiple weekly live shows there certainly would be no shortage of programming.  All you’d have to do is secure the rights to some old footage from other promotions and you’d be good to go.

Well as it turns out my vision is finally coming to fruition for the WWE is launching their very own network today!  Available on cell phones, tablets, and set top boxes this network will feature a host of archived shows as well as all new original programming such as reality TV shows and pre-game and post-game shows for Monday Night Raw and Pay Per Views.  But here’s the best part: For $10 a month not only do you get access to a ton of archived content and original programming but you also get all 12 of their monthly Pay Per Views.  Considering that each event usually costs $40-50 a pop that is a tremendous value.  As Bleacher Report states, “Basically, the way the pricing works out, if you get two or more PPVs annually, you have zero reason to not get the network…”

Of course there are plenty of reasons for everyone else to not get the network.  Such as the fact that the WWE’s on air product is not very good right now and that watching Chainsaw Charlie and Cactus Jake vs. the Quebecers anytime you want is not all that exciting.  On the other hand, having the opportunity to watch Doink the Clown anytime you want for just $10 a month is a pretty good deal.

I’m a cheap bastard so I’m not sure yet if I’m going to buy it.  If anything I’ll probably wait until right before Wrestlemania to get it.  Ah, who am I kidding?  It’s probably inevitable that I’m going to cave in and get it before the night is out.  After all, there’s only so long you can hold out before Hulkamania runs wild over you!

Is a network dedicated to wrestling the Greatest Idea Ever?

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#420 – Week In Review

As usual there was a lot happening this week.  From LinkedIn opening up its publishing platform to all members to Google trying to expand Fiber to over 30 new cities to the return of Heroes there was no shortage of interesting developments to talk about.  However, there were three significant happenings that blew those out of the water.

1.  Wound Healing Glue:  

I knew a kid in elementary school who loved glue.  Loved it so much that he would eat it!!!  Now we’re all about to love glue just as much thanks to researchers who have invented a new glue like substance that heals wounds quickly.

The Huffington Post sums it up best:

“In the movies, superheroes’ and vampires’ wounds heal so quickly that life-threatening cuts and gashes close up in minutes. These super healing abilities may be out of reach, but researchers in Switzerland have now engineered a substance called a growth factor that makes cuts and broken bones heal more quickly, by remaining near the damaged tissue longer than it would naturally.”

Just don’t try to eat it.

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2.  Nanotechnology Breakthrough:

There are some people who believe that we will never be able to cure cancer.  That we should instead be focusing our efforts on therapies to manage living with it instead of trying to eradicate it.  Those people need to think again.  That’s because the latest nanotechnology breakthrough could allow us to manipulate cells from inside of them!

As the Verge states, “Scientists at Penn State University have successfully controlled tiny nanomotors inside living human cells. Consisting of tiny, rocket-shaped bits of metal, the nanomotors were propelled by ultrasonic waves and steered with magnets. Researcher Tom Mallouk wasn’t afraid to talk up potential future applications, saying that the technology could one day be used to ‘treat cancer and other diseases by mechanically manipulating cells from the inside.'”

3.  Computer Chips In Food Packaging:

We send and receive text messages nowadays for all kinds of reasons almost all of them meaningless. In the future that may change thanks to new computer chips that can be embedded in food packaging as these chips would send us a text message whenever our food is about to spoil.  I think this idea has a lot of merit but I would prefer it if I could be alerted when it is the optimal time to eat something such as when it comes to deciding which banana to eat as I almost always eat them too soon!!

As you can see there was a ton of amazing things happening this week.  So much so that Nike’s plan to create actual working sneakers with power laces like the ones rocked by Marty McFly in the Back to the Future movies didn’t even make the cut although they probably should have!

Are real life power laces the Greatest Idea Ever?

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#419 – Receipt App

The latest in a series of posts about potential new apps.

Last month in a post about some of my random thoughts I wrote about an idea for an app that helps you keep track of and easily access your receipts by storing a digital copy of them.  Here’s what I had to say at the time:

“There are a lot of great banking apps out there that help you better manage your finances but I have yet to see an app that helps you manage your receipts.  Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to do that?  All you’d have to do is  take a picture of your receipt and then the app will sort through the data, update your budget automatically, and send you a monthly report on all your spending.  It could even send a report to your accountant at year’s end to help you file your taxes.  You also won’t have to keep paper receipts in your wallet or in a file at home anymore and you could even use this app in a store if you ever wanted to return something.  Better yet forget about taking a picture of the receipt.  Whenever you buy something the store could send an electronic receipt directly to this app for future reference eliminating the need for paper receipts all together.”

Since that time I’ve come to find out that there are a few apps out there that digitally manage your receipts including one called OneReceipt that pulls digital receipts from your email inbox.  However, that app doesn’t go as far as I’d like it to.  Rather, what I’m looking for is an app that can keep track of our spending without us even having to think about it.  There would be no need to scan in receipts with our phones or have receipts pulled in from our email.  Instead, the app would work silently in the background, following us wherever we go, keeping track of our spending at all times, and automatically saving a receipt without us even having any knowledge of the fact that this took place.  It would even create a receipt for cash based transactions such as when we are tipping someone for services rendered.

My motivation for creating this enhanced receipts app is that a recent business trip convinced me just how much this app is really needed.  From airline bag fees to cab fares to parkway tolls to parking meters there was a whole litany of things that I wound up having to pay for almost all of which I either couldn’t get a receipt for or forgot to.  Now I’m out hundreds of dollars.

That wouldn’t be the case if there was an app that could take have taken care of all of my expenses for me.  Something simple and easy to use that did all its work in the shadows so that I wouldn’t have had to even think about receipts at all.  Something that could have, I don’t know, actually let me focus on the business I was supposed to be conducting!  

I know that some of this isn’t technologically feasible yet and the rest of it may be a massive invasion of privacy since we’d essentially be creating an app that could track our every move and keep dips on all of our spending but at the same time that doesn’t diminish the fact that I still really, really want it.

Wouldn’t it be great if we had an app that automatically saved receipts for all our spending?

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#418 – Electroceuticals

I have to live everyday with back pain as the result of a car accident five years ago.  I’ve tried physical therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, and pain management therapies and nothing has worked.  I’m not a candidate for surgery and no amount of pain killers will help.  It would seem as though all hope is lost for me.  But what if there was a better way?  What if there was a way to alleviate my pain?  What if there was a way to return me back to normal?  Well as it turns out there soon might be thanks to a promising new medical field known as bioelectronics and it’s corresponding class of medication known as electroceuticals.

What exactly is that?  According to Wired, “it is the field of developing medicines that use electrical impulses to modulate the body’s neural circuits. Virtually all of the body’s organs and functions are regulated through circuits of neurons communicating through electrical impulses. The theory is that if you can accurately map the neural signatures of certain diseases, you could then stimulate or inhibit the malfunctioning pathways with tiny electrodes in order to restore health, without having to flood the system with molecular medicines.”

Sounds promising.  But does it actually work?  The answer is a resounding yes as the article in Wired explains, “The fruits of Tracey’s efforts were encapsulated in 2012, when he travelled to Bosnia to implant a vagus nerve stimulator into the neck of a human patient with disabling rheumatoid arthritis. After years of debilitating pain in his joints, the patient is now in clinical remission. Eight weeks after the surgery he returned to work, performed manual labour and drove a delivery truck. The theory was, at least in this case, confirmed.”

I know that this research still has a long ways to go and may never reach mainstream acceptance but I for one am excited to see where this exciting new field of medicine heads.  Hopefully, there will soon be a new way of treating certain injuries and illnesses in an attempt to provide people like me with new options for long suffering pain.

Are electroceuticals the next big thing in medicine?

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#417 – Body Odor ID

Science fiction has long portrayed futuristic identification systems involving iris scanners.  Fortunately, modern day scientists, presumably scared by movies portraying villains who rip out people’s eyeballs in order to gain access to secure information, have had other ideas.  For example, there is the Nymi Bracelet that uses our heartbeats as a unique way of proving that we are who we say we are and there is also a new system that measures the blood vessels in our face.  But the latest method proposed by Spanish researchers takes the cake for they want to use a person’s body odor as their ID.

According to the Verge, “every person has their own distinct odor that stays steady most of the time. As such, a person’s bouquet can be traced back to them with an accuracy rate of 85 percent or higher. With that in mind, Ilía Systems created a sensor for smell detection. While it’s not as accurate an indicator of identity as, say, a bloodhound trained to track by scent, it is sensitive enough to detect volatile elements in body odor. Armed with this sensor, GB2S hopes that body odor can be used in such scenarios as airport security checkpoints and national borders.”

That sounds good and even passes the proverbial smell test (pun intended) by why exactly would we want to implement a smell based ID system when there are so many other methods available to us and more seemingly on the way?  As Gizmag explains the answer is simple: “people can sometimes be reluctant to place their finger or eye up to a scanner, particularly if they’ve got a criminal record. Odor-reading sensors, however, could conceivably just give those people an unobtrusive sniff as they passed by.”

While I think that this idea does have some actual scientific merit to it I am also a little bit apprehensive of it at the same time as I feel that it would be rather easy to cover up one’s natural body odor.  An evil doer wouldn’t even need to go to great lengths to concoct some kind of chemical agent that changes your smell.  All they’d have to do is run to the store and pick up some Axe Body Spray!

Is this what the future of personal identification will look like?

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I have a school supply fetish and I’m not afraid to admit it.  Okay, well that’s not entirely true considering that I waited until after I went on a recent job interview to post this.  But that’s beside the point.  The point is that there’s just something about a pack of blank index cards that gets me going.  Call it the promise of unfulfilled potential.  For me Staples isn’t just another store.  It’s an oasis of awesomeness.  Whether we’re talking about mechanical pencils, electric staplers, protractors, highlighters or post it notes makes no difference.  Anything and everything that could be considered a school supply is fair game.  Even spiral notebooks.  The more pages the better!  What’s that you say?  You’ve found a vintage trapper keeper!!! Oh boy, oh boy!!

I know how silly it sounds to admit all this but I don’t care.  School supplies are awesome and I don’t care what anyone says.  So much so that one year for my birthday when asked what I wanted I didn’t say a new bicycle or video games or clothes or anything else a normal kid might suggest.  Rather I said a shopping spree to buy more school supplies.  Pieces of oak tag.  Glue.  White out sticks.  Sign here flags.  I wanted it all.  Anything I could get my hands on.  I never really had any intention of using any of these things.  It’s not like I wanted them to do my homework.  I just wanted to have them around.  I just liked knowing that if I ever wanted to use them I could have access to them.  Some kids collected baseball cards.  I collected school supplies.

Any jealousy between my sister and I can be traced, not to the fact that she attended better schools or got to play with better toys, but rather, to the fact that she got better school supplies than I did.  She would get the electric pencil sharpener.  I would get the crappy plastic hand held sharpener.  She would get the three hole puncher.  I would get the one hole puncher.  She would get a pack of fine tip sharpies.  I would get a box of crayons.  She would get the really awesome pen that had four colors in one.   I would get some kind of cheap pen that they gave out for free at the bank.

But those days are long gone.  Now it’s my time to turn the tables and get a school supply that makes my sister infinitely jealous of me.  Ladies and gentlemen I present to you a new high tech pen from Pininfarina that never runs out of ink!  Without a doubt this is soon going to be everyone’s favorite pen.

So how does it work?  According to Dvice,  “Instead of using ink like a pen or graphite like a pencil, the tip of the 4.Ever Cabiano is made from a special metal alloy called Ethergraph. This lays down a fine line on the paper much like a pencil, only this line is permanent like the ink left by a ballpoint pen. The real trick, though, is the tip itself won’t wear out, and will continue to write forever.”

There’s no word yet on how much this amazing pen is going to cost but one can assume that it’s not going to be cheap.  I don’t mind the steep price though.  Just as long as my sister doesn’t get one first.

Is a pen that never runs out of ink the greatest idea ever?

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