Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Battery life is great
Keyboard can be disconnected
Pen allows precision pointing and handwriting
Very fast system
Pro version has full Windows so I can run any software
Good graphics and Windows 8 interface is awesome
Not easy to carry around pen
Overall satisfaction over my iPad:
The use of my iPad has dropped by 80%. The other 20% is because of the apps on the iPad not available on the Windows tablet.
Sunday, January 6, 2013
In the Los Angeles area, LTE coverage is lacking in the Brentwood and Santa Monica area. For example there is no LTE on Federal Ave between Santa Monica and Wilshire area. 3G is even somewhat limited in this area and disconnects all the time. It is horrible. This is interesting considering the population density on these streets.
We hope Sprint improves this as soon as possible as they are missing out on a good chunk of customers in this area.
Hollywood and Downtown have considerably better LTE coverage from Sprint.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
1. During a phone call there is no internet: This is confirmed on both Sprint and Verizon networks that there is no internet during calls on 3G or LTE.
2. After a phone call it takes about 5 to 10 seconds before the internet on the phone starts to work again. Sometimes it will take up to 20 or 30 seconds. This makes it hard to do any tasks right after a phone call. It seems the phone has to reconnect to the network.
Monday, October 15, 2012
Sprint Discount Class Action: Discounts Were Given Without Informing that it is a discount for Employer
We have information of several customers who were deceived by Sprint when they signed up for their Sprint service. The representative told the customers that they would receive discounts between 5% and 27% off of their bill monthly by just signing up with them. They stated they would always get the discounts.
Now Sprint has sent emails to customers telling them that they need to verify their 'employee discounts' or lose them. Many customers have already received emails about losing the discount. None of these customers understood the discount was connected to any employer they had to work for.
The part that is more disturbing is that Sprint representative has stated that Sprint usually does this after an upgrade so if you aren't able to prove your employment, you are basically stuck in a 2 year contract as the issue only comes up after the contract renewal.
The Sprint representatives lied in this manner by telling the customers that they would get the discount by just signing up and did not inform the customers that they actually needed to be employees or members of the specific organization.
If you are a consumer that was effected, please go ahead and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will pass your information to the class action attorneys that contact us.
Friday, October 12, 2012
This is awesome considering the 3G service for Sprint is slow as a turtle. I had 4G service before so I seriously was getting frustrated.
Initial speed test is okay. I will do more tests around Los Angeles as I get more reception around the city.
Update on 10/19/2012: Just got reception at the following locations:
1. Near Crescent Heights and Santa Monica in West Hollywood
2. 9th and Olympic in Downtown Los Angeles
3. Briefly on the 101 freeway in Highlands area
4. Westwood UCLA: LTE near Westwood and Weyburn
See below screenshot, I did another test today and I was able to get faster then below.
Sunday, October 7, 2012
Fortunately, iOS6 has a good developer base.
There are two alternatives:
1. You can download the iPhone version of the YouTube app which is still in the store. The problem here is the app works in the iPhone small screen mode. I wasn't particularly impressed with this.
2. You can download the alternative iPad application called Jasmine which actually allows you to play YouTube music in the background as well. Click here
Jasmine is great because I always wanted to put a piece of music and use my iPad / iPhone for other things, but this was never possible in the regular YouTube application. It is also not possible on the Android. Therefore, with Jasmine you get a better application then the Android version on your beautiful iPad! :)
I will admit, there was one time it crashed. But what program doesn't crash once in a while these days?
We also liked the interface a lot. I was surprised how much better the interface was than the YouTube interface.
Sunday, September 30, 2012
There are two third party programs to download from the application store.
Simply go to the App Store and download:
- PD Maps: This will allow Google Traffic
- Live Street View Free: This will allow you to see street view.
- Hit the little settings on the top left and then hit the lock navigation on the bottom right to lock the navigation.
- Make sure Google traffic is on by hitting settings on the top left. And then on the bottom the second icon from the left that looks like a map. Make sure Map: Google is selected.
- Click the third icon from the left which looks like a car to refresh traffic view.
- Simple copy paste the address you want to see into the bar of the program.
- Click the arrows to navigate through street views.
Friday, September 28, 2012
Waze: Waze is good for figuring out things like traffic lights, police, etc. The traffic on streets was not as good as I thought. Also, the community seems to be small. Even in Los Angeles I am not getting enough community for good traffic on the street level.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Now, I understand free soy stopping as soy is not a cheap product. On the other hand, syrup is just sugar. It doesn't cost Starbucks much for sugar water. I have already sent feedback, and I ask you to do the same, to bring back free syrup at least.
The good news is that now you get a free drink every 12 instead of 15, so that should help the situation.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
1. Very disappointing that near field communication isn't there for iPhone5. Both Galaxy S3 and the new Windows 8 phone will have this.
2. Screen is taller. I am somewhat happy it isn't wider. I currently have a Galaxy S3 and even though I like more screen space, it doesn't fit easily width wise in my hand.
3. Happy about the headphone connector on the bottom. Right now its difficult to put my Samsung in the charger and also plug the headphone in because they are on different sides.
4. Weight is less than the Galaxy 3.
5. On/off is at the top, which is good and bad. I have turned off my Galaxy 3 several times because the same place I hold the phone is the same place the on/off button is located. At the same time, I would rather not reach to the top.
6. There is no way to compare the processor speeds here. The Galaxy S3 is really fast, but I have had to restart it a lot. As far as I know Apple iPhone has less restarts.
7. I was unclear if I can use the speech recognition button on the iPhone5 keyboard. Similar to the iPad keyboard with the mic button. Still waiting to get more information on this. Without voice recognition on my Galaxy S3 I wouldn't be able to survive, so this would cause a problem.
8. The Apple iPhone 5 has 1 gig of ram, the S3 has 2 gigs. Most reviewers and Apple have confirmed the iOS Apple operating system is more efficient and therefore it doesn't need the full 2 gigs of ram. I agree as the iPhone 4s is just as fast as my current S3 phone and it has 512K of ram.
I am thinking I will order the iPhone5 and try it for a while. If I am happy with it I will keep it, if not back to the Galaxy S3.
|Specs||iPhone 5||Samsung Galaxy S3|
|Processor||Apple A6||Samsung Exynos 4 Quad (quad-core)|
|Operating system||iOS 6||Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, TouchWiz UI|
|Storage||16/32/64GB onboard storage, non-expandable||16/32/64GB onboard storage, expandable via a microSD slot|
|Camera||8-megapixel BSI camera||8-megapixel BSI camera|
|Screen||4-inch (1,136 x 640 pixels) IPS||4.8-inch (1,280 x 720 pixels) Super AMOLED|
|Near field communication||No||Yes|
|Dimensions||123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm||136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6mm|
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Just say, "Fees."
Q:What's the difference between a Lawyer and a mosquito?
A:The Lawyer has a briefcase!
A divorce court judge said to the husband,"Mr Geraghty,I have reviewed this case very carefully and I've decided to give your wife $800 a week."
"That's very fair,your honour," he replied. "And every now and then I'll try to send her a few bucks myself."
How come sharks will not bite lawyers?
One day, a priest was walking through a forest, when he came upon a pond. On the pond was a lily-pad, and on the lily-pad was the saddest frog the priest had ever seen!
"Dear frog" the priest asked, "what is the matter? Why re you so sad?"
"Well," said the frog, "I was not always a frog."
"Tell me more" said the priest.
"One day, I was waslking through these woods when I came upon a wicked witch. 'Stand aside witch' I said to her. But alas, she called me a nasty cheeky boy and turned me into a frog."
"But that's terrible! Isn't there anything that can be done to reverse the spell?" asked the priest.
"Well" said the frog, "if a kind person were to take me home for the night, feed me and put me to sleep on their pillow, I am sure I would wake up human again."
"Well, this is your lucky day!" said the priest.
So he took the frog home, fed him and put him to sleep on his pillow. And lo and behold, when he woke up the next morning, there was a 10 year old choir boy in his bead!
"And that Your Honour, is the case for the Defence!"
How many lawyers dose it take to change a light bulb?
3, 1 to climb the ladder, 1 to shake it, and 1 to sue the ladder company.
"You seem to have more than the average share of intelligence for a man of your background," sneered the lawyer at a witness on the stand.
"If I wasn't under oath, I'd return the compliment," replied the witness.
A physician, an engineer, and an attorney were discussing who among them belonged to the oldest of the three professions represented.
The physician said, "Remember, on the sixth day God took a rib from Adam and fashioned Eve, making him the first surgeon. Therefore, medicine is the oldest profession."
The engineer replied, "But, before that, God created the heavens and earth from chaos and confusion, and thus he was the first engineer. Therefore, engineering is an older profession than medicine."
Then, the lawyer spoke up. "Yes," he said, "But who do you think created all of the chaos and confusion?"
"You seem to be in some distress," said the kindly judge to the witness. "Is anything the matter?"
"Well, your Honour," said the witness, "I swore to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, but every time I try, some lawyer objects."
What do you call 5000 dead lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?
A good start!
To help someone before they commit a crime means you are their
To help someone after they commit a crime means you are their attorney.
A lawyer died and was standing in front of St. Peter at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter said, "you can't come in here... you have to go to the other place". But the lawyer was really good and pleaded his case to the point where St. Peter said, "OK... here's what I'll do. You will spend the same amount of time in hell as you did on earth, and then you can spend the rest of eternity up here." The lawyer figured this wasn't too bad of a deal, so he said "OK". St. Peter said, "Great... I'll see you in 350 years.". The lawyer said, "But, how is that possible... I'm only 65 years old!". St Peter said, "We go by billing hours".
A plumber went to the attorneys house to unstop the sink. When he finished he said to the attorney "that will be $400.00." The attorney became irate "What do you mean $400.00, you were only here 20 minutes, that's ridiculous!!" The plumber replied, "I thought the same thing when I was an attorney".
What do you have when you bury six lawyers up to their necks in sand?
Not enough sand
Why is it that if you give a child an encyclopedia, lawyer is always the third thing they look up?
Because the first thing a child looks up is dog. The second is snake. And under snake, the encyclopedia says See Lawyer.
What is the ideal weight of a lawyer?
About three pounds, including the urn.
Did you hear that the Post Office had to recall its series of stamps depicting famous lawyers? People were confused about which side to spit
A Lawyer and the Pope died at the same time, both went to heaven. They were met at the Pearly Gate by St. Peter who conducted them to their rooms. The Pope's room was spartan with bare floor, army cot for a bed, and a single bulb for light. They came to the Lawyer's room. It was huge with wall to wall carpeting, king sized water bed, indirect lighting, color TV, stereo, Jacuzzi and fully stocked bar. The Lawyer said, "There must be a mistake. This must be the Pope's room!" St Peter said, "There's no mistake. This is your room. We have lots of Pope's, but you're our very first Lawyer!"
Saturday, April 21, 2012
While most consumers look at the fat content of products, they should note that salt content is a big issue. Several food product companies have been masking the issue of taste loss from lower fat items by adding additional salt to these items.
One example is Lucerne 50% less fat string cheese. In this case 1 serving, 1 string cheese stick has 230mg of salt. This is equivalent to 9% of the daily salt requirement. A lot for just 1 cheese stick.
Hopefully, consumers, the FDA, and this article will help pressure the food industry to calm down with using so much salt.
Location:Los Angeles, CA,United States
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Will your iPad 2 case fit on the new iPad 3?The height and width of the new iPad 3 and iPad 2 are identical. The difference is in its weight, thickness and a slightly redesigned tapering shell.
The front display is exactly identical to that of the iPad 2, you can expect screen protectors and cases which just cover the front (e.g. Smart Cover) to be perfectly compatible.
In the same aspect, sleeves and other kinds of cases that give enough room for you to easily slip in the tablet should be compatible with the iPad 3.
Hardcover cases which are designed exactly for the iPad 2, will not work on the iPad 3 mainly due to the different tapering and extra thickness.
Simultaneously, other accessories like speaker docks may also pose a problem whereas things like Bluetooth keyboards, charges and cables should be compatible.
Sunday, February 5, 2012
This makes sense as many consumers would not want to just have a smaller version. This would mean the iPad 2 would become a collectors item if there is only one smaller size. We don't think Apple would ever make such a decision and lose customer market share for people who like the bigger screen. If there is a smaller version, there would also be a larger version of the same iPad 3.
Other notable rumored features:
-Face recognition SIRI
-Voice recognition SIRI
-Better graphics (QXGA 2048x1536)
-Upgraded camera resolution
-4GLTE faster internet
-Extended battery life
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
“I could end the deficit in 5 minutes. You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP all sitting members of congress are ineligible for reelection.”
Thursday, August 25, 2011
What is the difference now, a whole lot. Apple has now taken control of much of the smartphone and tablet market. Customers have already purchased plenty of applications that they don't want to give up. Older folks have now learned new technology that they don't want to relearn.
Frankly, Apple culture has become too big and even with 0 new innovations, it could take years for it to go out of style.
- Posted from my iPad2
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Many have been testing the bets of iOS5 for iPad and noticed the higher resolution in the Settings. See image below:
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
1. Browse to http://music.google.com/about/
2. Click on get invite
3. Wait almost 3 weeks for your invitation. Almost all users have reported they have had to wait 3 weeks for an invitation. There is no way around this as of now.
Saturday, June 4, 2011
1. Spammers put together randomly generated email addresses. For example email@example.com may be a legitimate email because the chances someone has that email address will be high.
Spammers are able to put together mass email names and domain combination's that will yield real email addresses.
Examples is they will try firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, etc. They can generate millions of combination's of email addresses.
To figure out if the randomly generated email address is legitimate the spammer puts a image link with a unique URL in a mass email and sends it out.
2. When the user opens the email they will also open the image. At that point he SPAM marketer knows that they have reached a legitimate email because they have unique tracking on that specific URL which maps to the email address.
Most all email services are now blocking these images until the user clicks a button to download the images. (Yahoo, Gmail, hotmail, live.com, etc.)
Unfortunately, the iPad does not have a good way to deal with this. We have gone through the settings and one can only either completely turn off images in email or turn it on. There is no way to only download images for each email.
This problem has been pointed out in several message boards.
We suggest all iPad users to create a feedback on Apple's website so they change this. Enough feedback will force them to make some changes. I have already sent them several emails and have been ignored.
As I have used my iPad, I have noticed more and more SPAM starting to come in as spammers are harvesting my email address by sending me fake emails.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Magnetic connector - Connects the iPad2 from the side to the Smartcover. Very low profile and nice.
Magnetic screen - Don't have to press the on/off button a million times to turn it on and off
Small profile - This is thin and small.
Folding part: The folding part is starting to already wear out after a week and it looks very used.
Dirty: It gets dirty fast as when I flip it over to use it, it absorbes the dirt from the back
Stand: The stand has two problems. One is that since its so light my iPad has already fallen 3 times when I came to touch the screen while standing it up landscape. I used to have a better stand for my iPad 1 which never fell over.
The second problem is that there is no way to stand up the iPad in portrait mode. It will fall over right away.
Back: The back of my iPad2 is not protected. I ended up getting a little bag to put it in when I carry it around.
As soon as someone else makes a smart cover that does the following I am going to get rid of this:
1. Auto on/off cover with magnet
2. Stand landscape/portrait
3. Cover the back.
All we asked for is a good case & cover. “If they had made a case, I think we would have gotten killed,” said Tim Hickman, the founder and chief executive of Hard Candy Cases.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
None, the lightbulb changing feature is blocked. Changing a lightbulb is a feature that will come in the next version which is only available if you buy a new device. Steve Jobs will charge a fee for this feature and no outside programmers will be able to make a lightbulb changing application as may compete with Apples internal iTunes lightbulb changing application which is an additional fee.
Friday, November 5, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
You can just scan the barcode once you go to the page to get it to your phone.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
The scan app for Bank of America is now there for iPhone, iPad, and Android! The limit is now set to $3000 and $15000 for business accounts.
-Update 9/2012 -
Already Chase has created a application for the iPhone where you can use the smart phone camera to take a picture of the check you want to deposit. There is a $1000 limit on the check which makes it somewhat useless for paychecks.
Hopefully, Bank of America will follow suite and since they are proficient in the Android operating system we are hoping they will release it for Android first. This would be great on my HTC Evo 4G, I am sure they will convert a lot of users over. Increase the max deposit and wow Bank of America will be ahead of Chase and have a check deposit application.
I have emailed Bank of America with this suggestion and everyone else should as well. If enough people ask them for the application they will do it. The BOA IT department seems pretty good.
Chase app on iPhone demo:
Friday, April 16, 2010
Before you are able to load a development application to your box, you must enable development mode on your Roku DVP. When you enter the special remote control sequence:
Home 3x, Up 2x, Right, Left, Right, Left, Right
After that you can install Roku Media server and stream videos off your computer by following the instructions at http://github.com/netguy204/roku_media_server/blob/master/README.textile
This is a good workaround for YouTube. All you do is encode and YouTube file you want to MP4 and you can stream it from the Roku.
Friday, March 26, 2010
After emailing support they indicated sometime around March with no exact planned release date. I have seen no indication of anything coming out.
I am encouraging all Android users who want ThinkOrSwim to send them a email asking about it. It is really difficult to not have this trading ability for me.
I guess they want us to use the iPhone just like every other monkey.
When I called Citicards they said that the offer expired. Of course, they don't give care at all because its whatever the computer says.
I even faxed them the letter and they never even got back to me.
I don't understand these kinds of scams they try to run like this.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Traffic Tickets Fines (Effective 01/06/2010)
VC 12814.6 $214
Failure to obey license provisions.
VC 14600(A) $214
Failure to notify DMV of address change within 10 days
Note: The fine may be reduced with valid proof of correction.
VC 16028(A) $796
Failure to provide evidence of financial responsibility (insurance)
Note: This fine may be reduced with proof of insurance on or after the violation date.
VC 21453(A) $436
Failure to stop at a red signal.
VC 22350 $214
Unsafe Speed, 1 to 15 miles over the limit.
VC 22350 $328
Unsafe Speed, 16 to 25 miles over the limit.
VC 22450 $214
Failure to stop at a stop sign.
VC 22454(A) $616
Passing a school bus with flashing red signals.
VC 23123(A) $148
Drive using wireless phone not hands free, First offense
VC 23123(A) $256
Drive using wireless phone not hands free, For each subsequent offense.
VC 23123.5(A) $148
Drive while wireless device to send, read or write text.
VC 23124(B) $148
Minor drive using wireless phone.
VC 22500(I) $976
Parking in a bus loading area.
VC 22507.8(A through C) $976
Violation of disabled parking provisions, first offense.
VC 22507.8(A through C) $1876
Violation of disabled parking provisions, second offense.
VC 26708(A) $178
Unlawful material on vehicle windows.
VC 27150(A and B) $178
Adequate muffler required
VC 27315(D and E) $148
Mandatory use of seat belts.
VC 27360(A and B) $436
Mandatory use of child passenger restraints
Note: This fine may be reduced by completing a court authorized child seat diversion program.
VC 27400 $178
Headsets/Earplugs over both ears.
VC 27803 (A through C) $178
Motorcycle safety helmet requirements.
VC 34506.3 $616
Commercial Driver - Log book violation
VC 4000(A) $256
No evidence of current registration.
Note: The fine may be reduced with valid proof of correction.
VC 4159 $178
Notify DMV of change of address within 10 days.
Note: The fine may be reduced with valid proof of correction.
VC 5200 $178
Display of license plates.
Note: The fine may be reduced with valid proof of correction.
VC 9400 (A through C) $178
Commercial weight fees due.
Note: The fine may be reduced with valid proof of correction.
I had a iPhone for about 3 weeks. The issue I had was there was no reception in my apartment for AT&T. I also soon realized that the Internet was slow with AT&T and that I wouldn't be able to browse the Internet so easily. Another problem was that I had to jailbreak the iPhone and this caused issues when I tried to update. It was a big hassle.
I ended up cancelling and going back to Sprint. Not wanting to keep my old Palm PDA phone I upgraded to the Samsung Moment.
I will have to say that about 95% of the useful apps from my iPhone are available on my new Samsung Moment.
I am also able to receive voice mails just like the iPhone and play them right on the phone.
The Samsung Moment works just as well. The only thing is that since I can run multiple applications, the Android operating system will slow down at times. I guess this is why Apple has blocked multiple applications from running on the iPhone.
Another plus is that there is a keyboard so I can type away as much as I want. I have to admit the keyboard is not as easy to use as the Palm that I had before but faster then typing on the iPhone.
Hopefully, Sprint will release the 2.1 OS update for the Samsung Moment as there are several missing items because of this.
The only problem is that there are about 10% of apps that are still not availible on the Android. I am sure this will continue to change and Google gets more market share.
Too bad Microsoft's platform was not able to take off. They haven't released a new version for a long time and they don't have a good app store.
I also saw the Palm Pre at the store but it was so small I didn't even want to bother with that.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Monday, February 8, 2010
1. The struggle between reality vs virtual machine world.
Example: Should I go outside and play tennis when I can play the virtual tennis game in my living room. Both are fun.
2. Human greed for money.
Example: In many countries workers are exploited to dig up diamonds or gold which are just wants and not needs.
3. How love and happiness is important in life. People are willing to give up anything. For example the main character was willing to forget about getting his legs back to be happy.
Example: If one falls in love in a chat room, it could be so fun that they are willing to just chat on there for the rest of their life. Sometimes, not meeting the person for years.
4. How humans are all connected together. Represented by the tree of life.
Example: If you meet someone in the street chances are that one of your Facebook friends will have them on their friends list and know them.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
I was ready to activate with AT&T, but before I wanted to do a reception test at my work, home, etc. I popped in a international SIM card. Of course, the iPhone was already cracked.
The international SIM card allowed me to to select TMobile network or AT&T network.
To my disbelief, a lot of times the AT&T network did not have good receiption.
The biggest problem was that at home I got No Service receiption with AT&T. It wasn't even a weak signal. 100% no service all over the house.
Even when I have guests, if they are a AT&T customer they get no reception at my place. It is kindof like I have to drop all my AT&T friends. :( Constant conflict.
Sorry AT&T, but your commercials are misleading as the reception bars were not so high. The reception on my Sprint system is much better then AT&T in the Los Angeles area.
The annoying thing is that Apple has made a contract with AT&T which doesn't allow me to even use any other service provider.
Now I have to deal with the Sprint phones and I can't switch. The Palm Pre sucks and I wouldn't touch it with a 10 ft pole. Maybe, I will go the Android route.
Also, I even tried getting the AT&T 3G MicroCell, but I found out its not offered in my area!
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
This is how the city has decided to help the residents of Los Angeles county by hitting their wallets with tickets from $200 to $500+!
We visited the courthouse in Santa Monica today and within 1 hr about 20 people were in line paying their citation tickets.
Of course, this doesn't include the hundreds of others that probably mailed their payment.
This is hard for residents in these bad times. While all other prices go down, the price of citations has been increasing.
Monday, November 9, 2009
There aren't any sex scenes and there aren't many funny scenes either.
Overall, I enjoyed the movie.
Friday, October 16, 2009
I am so shocked by this article explaining how there is bugs in our food. At the same time I really don't care because I have probably already ate so many of these bugs throughout my lifetime. Sometimes its better to just not know. :)
I did some more research and most sites said that these foods are usually boiled (including chocolate and the mushrooms) therefore the insects are already dead and sterilized.
Enjoy the reading at: http://healthmad.com/health/is-your-food-bugged
5 terrifying things in food: http://www.cracked.com/article_15982_5-horrifying-food-additives-youve-probably-eaten-today.html
Most everyone is familiar with shellac as a wood-finishing product. It's often used to give furniture, guitars and even AK-47's that special shine. But did you know it is also commonly used as a food additive? Yep, that's why those jelly beans you gorge on every Easter are so shiny.
But what exactly is shellac?
Are you sure you want to know?
Shellac is derived from the excretions of the Kerria lacca insect, most commonly found in the forests of Thailand.
The Kerria lacca uses the sticky excretion as a means to stick to the trees on which it lives. Candy makers use it to make those treats you love so much shiny and beautiful. Then you eat them. The insects that is.
You see, the process used to harvest the Kerria lacca excretion is a pretty simple one. They just scrape that shit right off the tree. Unfortunately for you and your future enjoyment of shiny candies, this leaves little room for quality control measures to guarantee that the insects themselves aren't scooped up also.
Once that happens, and it almost always does, the insect simply becomes part of the shellac-making process. And the candy-making process. And the candy-eating process.
Before some health nut out there pipes up to tell us they don't eat candy, we'd like to point out that, during the cleaning process, apples lose their natural shine. Care to guess how it's restored?
If all of this is making you a bit queasy, we understand. It's not every day that you find out you've been celebrating the resurrection of Christ by consuming handfuls of insect-infused treats your entire life. But before you head to the medicine cabinet, consider this. That pill you want to take to quell your nausea? It didn't get shiny on its own. Alright, we swear, this is the last time we'll mention that you've been eating insects for a good majority of your life.
Some things are not as they seem. Just like Keith Richards appears to be alive but has really been dead for years, that sugar you put on your cereal in the morning isn't really white. Or at least it doesn't start out that way.
When it starts its sweet, delicious life, sugar is brown--a color deemed to be "undesirable" by the sugar industry. Don't be such racialists, sugar industry! To make their product more acceptable to whitey, sugar companies use a filtering process to strip it of its color. In some cases, the process is a typically boring one, using ions and such. But sugar derived from sugar cane (about a quarter of the sugar in the United States) goes through a ... different process.
Domino, the largest sugar producer in America, uses bone char to filter impurities from its sugar. Bone char is delightfully produced using the bones of cows from India, Pakistan and Afghanistan that have died from "natural causes," like when cows forget to wear a helmet when riding their motorcycles.
The bones are bleached in the sun and sold to marketers who then sell them to the US sugar industry after they've been used by the gelatin industry. What the gelatin industry does with the bones, we don't want to know. The bones are then heated to the point that they become a perfect means of filtering sugar.
We don't know by what alchemy this method purifies the sugar, we're certainly no scientists. But when you tell us that your purification method involves the ground-up bones of a sacrificed animal, well, we're just going to assume Satan is involved.
Carmine can also be identified on food labels as Crimson Lake, Cochineal, Natural Red 4, C.I. 75470 or E120. We mention that because we're guessing you'll want to check for it in the future after reading this.
Oh, and that thing we said about how we'd stop mentioning that you eat bugs? We totally lied. If you're eating something red right now, or if you have recently, have a gander at the label.
There is a strong chance it was made with carmine. And what's that? Are you sitting down?
Carmine is made, literally, from ground-up cochineal insects, which is just a more harrowing way of saying mashed red beetles. Because you're dying to know more, the insects are killed by exposure to heat or immersion in hot water and then dried. Because the abdomen region that houses the fertilized eggs contains the most carmine, it is separated from the rest of the body, ground into a powder and cooked at high temperatures to extract the maximum amount of color.
Then, it's added to that yogurt you ate this morning while lording your health consciousness over the guy in the cubicle next to you who had an Egg McMuffin.
Carmine: Like a bucket of blood, except more disgusting.
But the carmine terror doesn't end there. Food manufacturers are well aware that word has gotten out about exactly what carmine is and that people are less than impressed about it. So a number of crafty manufacturers have resorted to labeling it not as carmine, but instead as "natural color," thereby guaranteeing you'll never really know for sure if your cherry ice cream contains the USDA recommended amount of creepy crawlers.
Nice. Hey, speaking of that ...
When it comes to food, most of us get nervous when people are intentionally vague. We steer clear of that street vendor selling "Meat Soup" and "Food Burritos."
So when you see that a label has included "natural flavor," you should be equally alarmed. If you're thinking the "natural flavor" in your orange candy must obviously come from oranges, think again. If it was from oranges, they would say so, right on the can. It would be a selling point.
The problem is, natural flavor can, literally, be anything that isn't man made. Cat urine could be a natural flavor. If someone discovered that goat jizz added a special zing to ice cream and they could prove that eating it wouldn't make you sick ... natural flavor. We're not saying either of these are in your foods, but you get the idea.
One potentially disturbing example of natural flavor gone bad comes from, where else, McDonald's. Back in 1990, amid constant public outcry about the amount of cholesterol in their french fries, McDonald's started using pure vegetable oil in their fryers.
Wait, what were they using before? Why, beef lard. When they stopped using it, and McDonald's realized fried potatoes don't taste as good without some molten beef added, it was "natural flavor" to the rescue.
When vegetarian groups demanded to know what the mystery flavor was, company reps would only say it was "animal derived."
They wouldn't say what animal. According to the book Fast Food Nation, "Beef is the probable source, although other meats cannot be ruled out. In France, for example, fries are sometimes cooked in duck fat or horse tallow." Horse. Tallow.
Hey, nothing unnatural about that!
In 2006, the FDA approved the use of bacteriophages to fight listeria microbes on lunch meat, wieners and sausages. If you're unfamiliar with the term "bacteriophages," let us put it in a layman's term for you. Viruses.
In this case, six viruses, to be exact. There is an excellent chance that ham sandwich you had for lunch this afternoon was sprayed with a mixture of six different viruses in an effort to fight a microbe that kills hundreds of people a year. Hundreds. Approximately the same number of people that die in plane crashes. Because of this clear and present danger, your lunch meat is slathered with a buffet of viruses.
This probably sounds bad enough already, but wait until you hear Intralytix, the company that developed the bacteriophage mixture, explain exactly how the virus works. "Typical phages have hollow heads that store their viral DNA and tunnel tails with tips that bind to specific molecules on the surface of their target bacteria. The viral DNA is injected through the tail into the host cell, where it directs the production of progeny phages."
We'll take it from here. The battlefield on which this virus vs. microbe war plays out is the bologna that you used this morning to prepare your afternoon lunch. Around the same time the hollow headed bacteriophages were storming the beach at listeria, you were lifting that bologna sandwich to your mouth. Just as the phages were thrusting their hollow, viral DNA-filled tails into the host cells (also living on your sandwich), you were jamming the whole nasty battle right down your oblivious gullet.
If you've ever tried the Subway diet without success, this might be a good time to give it another shot. If thinking about the rampant virus vs. microbe violence you're about to ingest doesn't put you off eating for the rest of the day then nothing will, tubby.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Watch the BMW 5 series vs the Toyota Prius. Note that this BMW is Diesel Engine car which is usually not purchased in the US. The main point is that the Prius is actually very inefficient for a Hybrid car.
Here is another video where they floor a Prius and then the M3 keeps up behind the Prius with the same miles per gallon. Next time you see a Prius speeding ahead of you, you will know the driver is flooring the car and probably wasting the same or more gas then the car you are in.
The SWAT team has arrived and is planning to get the man out. The man is locked in his home and he is refusing to come out. He claims he has active bombs in his home which he may detnate.
We had it before KTLA, but here is the link for their "report" ktla Los Feliz Barricade