Thursday, October 28, 2010

Di Fara pizza place video

Here's a really nice video about one of the best pizza joints in New York. The guy's been putting together these pies for over 40 years, in the same little store.

I love how time has rusted everything to gold in this place.

This almost makes me want to go see a Bollywood film...almost

Nutella scandal

Damn. I love Nutella but I am finding their marketing techniques most despicable, almost heinous. I just saw one of their adverts on tv which said that a serving of Nutella contains a bunch of hazlnuts, milk, and cocoa. The advert clearly gave the impression that these were the primary ingredients of the spread, if not the only ingredients. Surely not?


Here's the reality. I pulled this ingredients list from the Sainsbury's shopping site: "Sugar, Vegetable Oil, Hazelnuts (13%), Fat-Reduced Cocoa (7.4%), Skimmed Milk Powder (6.6%), Whey Powder, Emulsifier (Soy Lecithin), Vanillin."

Imagine the advert stating the real first three ingredients of sugar, oil and hazlenuts (just 13%). Doesn't sounds so appetising, does it? Not that there's anything wrong with a bit of sugar or oil, but we shouldn't be misled in this way.

Nutella's own FAQ is pretty shocking as it follows a similar vein, with the company pushing the spread as part of a healthy breakfast. Come on, surely any breakfast is healthier without Nutella? What's worse is how the site is clearly targeted at children and how they evade listing the main ingredients. For example, in the question "What are Nutella's ingredients?" the firm provides this label, which doesn't state the ingredients at all:

Somebody should complain. Scratch that, somebody has just complained. I'm doing it for the children. I'm not quite ready to boycott the spread, delicious that it is, but it just aint tastin' so sweet anymore.

Monday, October 25, 2010

How to saute a mushroom without it going mushy

This should be a tweet. Still learning. Anyway, follow these simple instructions for kick ass mushrooms. Just made 'em like he said and they tasted five types of fantastic.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Adobe sucks eggs

My laptop battery is dying and my wifi signal is weak. Shall I use my time wisely? Nah, I think I'll fire off another rant at Adobe:

Dear Adobe,

Did you know that you suck eggs big time? Yes, big rotten eggs. You suck them and burp the horrid nasty gases all over your customer base. Okay, so you have some cracking software, but that's not enough. As a company, you are a disgust, a disgust you hear!

I have already abandoned Acrobat Reader due to it's constant checking for updates and incessant reminding to upgrade to the latest version with this or that incremental improvement. I'm not interested and never have been. I just want to be able to view pdf's quickly damn it. Indeed, most people really aren't fussed whether the latest version of your reader has an extra icon that does something we aren't ever going to use. Most of us really don't care. Okay, so we may find some value in going from, say Acrobat Reader 2.0 to 4.0, but all the versions in between - we don't care. Anyway, I got rid of your reader when it pestered me so much that I thought you guys were one step away from having an Adobe representative knock on my door in the early hours, beseeching me to upgrade.

Were my Adobe problems over with though? Oh no. Only today, my Firefox browser told me that my Flash software was out of date, so I did a quick install of your latest version. No probs? Simples? Oh, no, probs. Always probs with Adobe. You see, this time you managed to sneakily install a copy of Macafee Scan Plus on my machine by hiding a check box out of my line of sight, you little gits. I've uninstalled it now, but you have now annoyed me so much that I don't want to come across any of your products again.

It's quite a feat really, for while your free software has the potential to encourage people to upgrade to paid-for versions and to other Adobe products, your corporate strategy is eliminating all such benefit by breeding a long standing hatred for anything Adobe.

Yes, if it's Adobe, I'll always look somewhere else first. You have become nothing but a last resort. If I can do without, do without I shall.

Rant over. I feel cleansed.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Vogel bread

I've been hooked on Vogel's original kibbled loaf ever since I had a few sheets of the stuff at my sisters. The toast are absolutely first rate, and are extremely fine when buttered liberally and eaten hot. Om nom nom, crumbs everywhere, om nom nom.

Unfortunately, I am now in a state of bread eating overdrive. My weekly loaf has gone already, and I only bought it on Saturday.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Great spam comment

'domainku gak pake www malah 404 not found pakai www malah ke adsense for domain. piye iki?'

This was posted by a commentor called 'Software Gratis'. Pretty cool. It's got no outbound links and seems to be talking about a 404 error and something to do with adsense. Google translate says 'cannot translate Javanese to English'. Most queer.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Stephen Fry on Wagner (X-Factor)

At the time of posting, this Wagner-Fry X-factor edit only had 308 viewings. A crime.

The Social Network

Great great film. It's up there with the best of 'em this year.

Yes, the geeks have inherited the world.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Privileges revoked

Humbuggery to it all. The generation above me were handed a one-way bet on the housing market and a free education. My generation is struggling to get on the housing market but at least we made it through university without paying through-the-nose fees. Shortly after I graduated, tuition fees rose to about £5k a year, burdening the next batch of students with a hefty debt on graduation. Now universities are facing eye watering cuts in state funding, with fees potentially rising to over £10k a year. When these poor kids graduate, they will be faced with a large tax burden to support the privilege, grey haired, degree-laden masses, who will be sucking the young ones dry with escalating health care and pension bills. No, I cannot blame today's youth for feeling a teeby bit hard done by.

I think this situation is completely unfair, but it is also unavoidable (the system is broken in a big way). To help matters, perhaps everyone who has graduated in recent decades should pay a fee to keep their degrees. Maybe an average of £1000 on an inflation adjusted basis, adjusted also for the nature of the degree and the individuals income to date (the government has tax records at its disposal). This would help quite a bit, reducing the feel of discontent between generations. How politically acceptable is such a retrospective tax - has such a thing ever been done? Well, yes, kind of, as we do see windfall taxes in industry.

On the grand scale, however, I don't see how we can maintain the status quo. Higher education needs to get its finances in shape. Perhaps with technology in a position to sweep over the old pack-em-in-halls-and-make-em-take-notes approach, with the capacity to knock the cost of teaching the marginal student to negligible levels, this deathly cutting of state spending could well be the spur the system requires. The incentive will certainly be there to provide greater value for money as price becomes a meaningful incentive for decision making.

Personally, I think many students went to university because it was free, or very cheap, and because it was simply the done thing. If you could go, you would go, no question. I don't really know if I am better or worse for my degree as I have no idea of where I would be had I not gone to university.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Manimal no more

A few years ago, I enquired as to the whereabouts of Manimal. Alas, I have news that the actor who played him has passed away. We can only hope he gets reincarnated as a hawk or a panther.

Now this is a film poster

No idea about the film though.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A GAP in their originality



They almost did it all: a switch to Helvetica, losing the serif, entering the world of the lower case (cheesy, sterile corporate image in the top right - a la PwC). The only thing GAP didn't do was to go all out lower case. Oh my.

In a last minute switcheroo, Gap have done an about face and rejected their new logo. Others will take it's place.

Saturday, October 09, 2010


Wow wee ... poor Mrs Watanabe.

Looking at the dodgy charts on-line, the previous low is at 79.80.

PS - I would have got carried out on this trade a while ago, what with my primal urge to help the Japanese economy by being short the jpy.

Friday, October 08, 2010

This New Yorker ipad advertisement reeks of cool

with the cool being provided by Jason Schwartzman (he looks like Tom Cruise, but he is infact the nephew of Francis Ford Coppola (Godfather) and son of Talia Shire (aka Adrian in Rocky)

Chinese whisper review idea

I just had an idea for a simple social media experiment: Person A reviews a piece of art work (e.g. book, film, song) and posts their review to Youtube. Person B reviews the review. Person C reviews the review of the review, and so on, creating a potentially infinite chain of reviews. It could make for a very interesting web-site.

These are the things one thinks off when they should be learning how to prepare consolidated statements of income.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

On life inside the US prison system (by a lifer)

It's quite a sad piece, but it's very well written:

"Prison is that part of the developed world least altered by civilization, by modernity, by the growth of any consciousness of peaceful interaction. In here, the old scourges hold sway in epidemic proportions. Racism, tribalism, all the old “isms” are still vital and dominant, still driving behavior and ruining lives. In a sense, prisons are society’s dustbins, the dumps into which are swept not only the various miscreants but also the various felonious ideas no longer acceptable in polite company.

The cold season is here...

Here are some interesting snippets from a Barnes & Noble interview with the author of a new book called "Ah-Choo!"

... One of the big myths, I think, about colds is that having a weakened immune system means being susceptible to colds. And that's really not the case. The wisdom now is if you want to tamp down a cold, boosting any element in the immune system may be the last thing you want to do. In fact, you could create cold symptoms without injecting a cold virus at all. Just injecting the body's own inflammatory agents will give you the symptoms of the cold. So exciting those agents, by boosting immunity, may only worsen the effects.

... There's a whole range of factors that affect susceptibility. Age is one of them; susceptibility declines over time. Each time you catch a cold from a particular virus, the body creates an antibody and you won't get it again. So a teenager will catch more colds than someone who's in their 50s or 60s. And we know that there are other factors, such as sleep and stress. People who sleep fewer than seven hours a night are three times more likely to get colds than longer sleepers. And chronic stress is another indicator for increased susceptibility.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Vitamin D ... supplement if deficient

It isn't a damning report, but a Cochrane Report on vitamin D given to healthy children (i.e, those with normal levels of vitamin D) found that the results '... do not support vitamin D supplementation to improve bone density in healthy children with normal vitamin D levels, but suggest that supplementation of deficient children may be clinically useful.'

Immortality on hold, perhaps.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010


Just spent a few minutes reading about the many different ways that people enjoy Weetabix. There is the standard cold milk, cold milk with sugar, hot milk, mashed up biscuit in either milk or water, biscuits eaten cold without any liquid but instead spread with butter or jam, or both, or even peanut butter. I have searched several discussions on this key topic and can find no others who have enjoyed said cereal in the same fashion as me and my sisters when we were young 'uns: hot milk, sugar, and a dollop of butter melted on top. Now that's a breakfast, right there.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Film: The Other Guys

The cop buddy movie lives on, and how.

Be warned, this film is pretty mental.

**** (it get's an extra star for Will Ferrel's character .... a forensic accountant!)