GeekSpeak for 2013-09-21

Email Onions and Eat Insects

Disgust, insect protein, onions on sale and other things that disturb.


This episode of GeekSpeak was pre-recorded and we didn’t do our fancy posting – here are some raw notes with links.

Onion sale in India causes Groupon website to crash
http://www.thinkdigit.com/Internet/Onion-sale-crashes-Groupon-Indias-website_17550.html

Flamestower: Lightest, Most Compact USB Charger
http://www.flamestower.com/product/

Insect Protein:
http://www.kunger.at/161540/1591397/overview/farm-432-insect-breeding

Iranian Ministers Open Pages on Banned Facebook
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2013/09/09/world/middleeast/ap-ml-iran-facebook.html?ref=aponline&_r=0
Iran’s entire Cabinet has opened Facebook pages in what is seen as a move toward greater government openness — even though the social media site is blocked in the Islamic Republic.
President Hasan Rouhani office has also opened a page on Facebook that was “liked” by all the ministers.


5 PHRASES YOU SHOULD NEVER USE IN AN EMAIL
<http://www.fastcompany.com/3016932/leadership-now/5-phrases-you-should-never-use-in-an-email?utm_source=facebook>
1) “I HOPE YOU ARE WELL.”
“This ‘hope’ is always followed by a page of boilerplate,” James says. “In any case, if you don’t know me, don’t pretend you care about me.”
So how can we do better than pretending to care about someone? Maybe by actually caring, actually getting to know the other person. Speaking to a journalist, PR folks that have just asked me to have a cup of coffee with them have been able to form an actual human bond rather than a forced relatedness. So when they holler at me, I holler back.
2) “I THOUGHT I WOULD REACH OUT.”
“That expression—which has suddenly gotten popular—always makes me imagine a baby reaching out of a stroller,” James writes.
And we don’t want to infantalize ourselves. So instead of leaning on this passive, vacuous construction, we can simply say what we mean to say about the topic and how it relates to the recipient. We can dispense with the cloudy and opt for the clear.
To quote E.B. White in the Elements of Style:
[T]he proper correction is likely to be not the replacement of one word or set of words by another but the replacement of a vague generality with a definite statement.
So instead of thinking that you would reach out—which is obvious by your writing the message anyway—just express the action you’re asking the recipient to make. If you want a reply, that is.
3) “CAN I PICK YOUR BRAIN?”
As entrepreneur-advisor-professor-author Steve Blank has noted, asking if you can pick someone’s brain is asking for someone’s time without offering anything in return.
What to do instead? Blank says to promise sharing an insight you’ve had along the way, which makes the conversation more of a two-way street. And humans love reciprocation.
4) “BOUNCE AN IDEA OFF YOU.”
See above. (And here.)
5) “SINCERELY YOURS,”
“I have no idea why anybody would put this phrase in a business email,” James writes. “Hey, the Victorian era ended 100 years ago.”
The old-school standard is that you can’t write sincerely unless you know the recipient personally—if you don’t know them, you should use faithfully, which sounds even weirder (reminiscent of an awesome song by Journey). But like singing ballads at karaoke, you should do so with caution.
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Poo Wifi – A Machine That Exchanges Dog Poo for Free Wifi
<http://news.discovery.com/tech/exchange-dog-poo-for-free-wi-fi-120425.htm>
Walking through the park trying to avoid every dog poo that comes in your way is an almost impossible task, but it wouldn’t be a problem if owners would just clean up after their pets. So Internet portal Terra has teamed up with ad agency DDB to create something that would motivate people to actually pick up their dogs turds. After some brainstorming, they came up with Poo Wifi, a machine that offers a free wifi connection in exchange for dog poo.


Onion sale in India causes Groupon website to crash
<http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/9/6/indian-onion-salesignalsworseningeconomy.html>

Groupon, which offers deeply discounted deals on everything from restaurant meals to shoes and watches, offered onions at 9 rupees or about 15 cents a kilogram. Onions can now cost up to 100 rupees a kilogram in India, where much of the population uses the vegetable in almost every meal.

On Thursday, Groupon sold 3,000 kilograms of onions in 44 minutes, causing the website to crash. More than 8,000 kilograms were purchased when Groupon continued the sale on Friday before they sold out.
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Side Projectors
<https://www.sideprojectors.com/project/home>
Website selling startup ideas. SOme interesting angles.
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What Happens to Little Startups After Everyone Forgets?
<http://valleywag.gawker.com/what-happens-to-little-startups-after-everyone-forgets-1246588321>
Disrupt Battlefield’s 2011 selections—far enough removed that they had a chance to run out of money, or make it—to see what state they’re in today.

JUST STRAIGHT-UP DEAD (since 2011):

Do@ was “a slick search engine that searches using apps instead of the web,” and is now gone.
Sonar, an app to “find people by you who you don’t know but should know,” was briefly popular, but is now dead.
ccLoop promised to collect “emails into subscribable ‘loops,’ reducing email clutter,” but now it is dead.
Skylin.es, “a personalized photo stream based on topics and keywords,” is dead.
Deja, “a flashy interface for video discovery and consumption,” is dead.
Karizma, “a video chatting app that connects you with people nearby,” is dead.
Arrived, " a location-aware social planning app that tells you what to do now that you’ve arrived," is dead.
SneakPeeq, “a social shopping site that counts down prices until someone buys an item,” is dead.
Spenz, “pending tracking app with a reward system for usage,” is dead.
Thinkfuse, which made “shareable status reports for your business,” doesn’t anymore, because it is dead.
ThriftDB, “a powerful database tool that’s difficult to describe but very impressive to watch,” (Whoa) is dead.
Lumier, “possibly a skin for Windows,” is dead.
Meporter, “a citizen journalism platform aimed at hyper-local news,” is dead.
CatchFree, “a platform for finding, rating, and recommending free services,” is dead.
Kohort, “a unified service for managing groups and events,” is dead.
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SIGMO
is a voice translating device that will revolutionise the way you are able to communicate and understand other languages.
<http://buysigmo.com>
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Philips hue’
<http://www.newscenter.philips.com/main/standard/news/press/2013/20130807-Philips-expands-the-smart-world-of-hue.wpd#.UgOgimTXTHw>
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Fire charger
<http://www.flamestower.com/FAQ/>
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A book written in disappearing ink [video]
<http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/jacketcopy/2012/06/books-written-in-disappearing-ink.html>
An Indie Argentinian publishing house has come up with an innovative concept, using disappearing ink that simply fades away in two months time.

Dubbed “El Libro que No Puede Esperar” (The Book That Can’t Wait), this interesting format was pioneered by independent Argentinian publishing house Eterna Cadencia, as a way to promote young authors, who ”if people don’t read their first books, never make it to a second.” The intriguing books come sealed in a plastic wrapper, and once that is removed and the books cracked for the first time, the ink begins to age and in 60 days time readers are left with nothing but the covers and a bunch of blank pages. So if you want to get your money’s worth, you really can’t put one of these books down too often, after you’ve bought it.
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Book: Practical Duct Tape Projects Paperback
<http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1620877090/uncrate-20>
Duct tape may be the greatest fix-it-all invention in existence, but it’s also a great material for constructing common, useful items from scratch.
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Save Water: Drink Your Own Sweat
<http://news.discovery.com/tech/save-water-drink-your-own-sweat-130717.htm#mkcpgn=rssnws1>
A group of Swedish do-it-yourselfers decided to take the name literally, and built a machine that takes sweat from your gym clothes and turns it into potable water
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Man Charges $15 to Sharpen Your Pencil by Hand
<http://motherboard.vice.com/read/motherboard-tv-the-finer-points-of-david-rees-artisanal-pencil-sharpener>
You pay David Rees money and he sharpens your pencils. It actually happens.” You can supply your own pencil or you can have Rees sharpen his one of his favorite #2 pencils and ship it to you in a in a display tube with the shavings in a separate bag along with a certificate of authenticity that just happens to mention the pencil is so sharp it is considered a dangerous object. To achieve the desired result, the master sharpener uses all kinds of tools, including general sandpaper, pocket knives and even a special $450 sharpening machine. “It depends on what the client wants to use their pencil for,’’ he says. “That determines the most appropriate pencil technique. Some buy them as inspirational tokens, and others for nostalgic memories of classic No. 2 pencils. There also are journalists who prefer my pencils to pens especially in really cold weather because a pen will freeze up, whereas a pencil won’t.’’
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Japanese Goggles Make Food Look Bigger, Help You Lose Weight
<http://www.odditycentral.com/news/japanese-goggles-make-food-look-bigger-help-you-lose-weight.html>
According to its creators, the pair of goggles actually works. After testing them on a group of 2 men and women, the researchers found that the slimming goggles helped the subject eat 9.3% less cookies than normal, when the tasty treats were shown 50% larger. They also got an interesting result when they set the invention to reduce the size of the cookies by 33%. The people wearing the goggles ate 15% more cookies than those not wearing them.
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Speech Jammer – The Wacky Japanese Device That Stops People from Talking
<http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=USDI3wnTZZg>
Ever came across someone so annoyingly chatty that you wanted to shoot them with an invisible gun and shut them up? Well, you might just be able to, thanks to the Speech Jammer. It’s a Japanese invention that could very well be the perfect answer to all the talkative people out there. The device is said to be powerful enough to jam a person’s speech from up to 98ft away.

Sounds too good to be true, right? The inventors, Kazutaka Kurihara and Koji Tsukada, explain how it works. The prototype invention supposedly records the obnoxious speech with a directional microphone, adds a 0.2 second delay, and then fires it right back at the prattler with the help of a directional speaker. So there’s basically a delay between when the person says something and when they hear their own speech. This would mess with the person so bad, that they would soon be rendered speechless for a while. Perfect! But then, the device itself looks so huge and scary in its current avatar, I think people might shut up the very moment it was pointed at them.


PowerUp® Snap Carbon Fiber Micro Flying Propeller
<http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/1515/?cpg=wnrss&#tabs>
Even the tiniest, simplest thing can go high tech. what was so special about the PowerUp® Snap Carbon Fiber Micro Flying Propeller. The key features are its tiny size (world’s smallest finger launched propeller) and that the shaft (no giggling) is made of carbon fiber. So it’s super tiny and SUPER strong. Plus, all you have to is snap, and off it flies.