Oct 7, 2008  •  In Books, Gadgets

Would You Dump Books to Go Digital?

Sony announced a new Reader Digital Book last week. What sets the PRS-700 from the popular Amazon Kindle is that it has a touchscreen (for easy highlighting and annotating) and the ability to read in landscape mode.


(images from the PRS-700 press release)

 

The very next day, pictures of the Amazon Kindle 2 made its way to The Boy Genius Report. (What impeccible timing! Did Amazon “accidentally” release the photos?)

Me rikey the new design!

As much as analysts tout e-readers as “the next generation of books,” I’m still not sold. Don’t get me wrong – I love technology and new gadgets. I’ve seen the Kindle live, in action, and think it’s pretty dope.

However, nothing can replace the tactile feel of a book. The dry rustling pages between your fingers. The rich texture of leather-bound copies. The smell of newly inked books. The smell of old, musty books. The sharp pain across your fingertips as you mishandle a book and receive a paper cut (sorry, I had to throw that in there because I’m such a klutz).

What do you think? Will books soon become obsolete in your life?

Oct 7, 2008  •  In NYC, Personal

The Perils of NYC

There are two fears that haunt me every day as I move in, out, and about NYC.

The first are subway and sidewalk grates.

I hate walking over grates. There are the obvious reasons, such as my heels getting stuck in them or the fear of treating passerbys to a Marilyn Monroe moment whenever I don a skirt or a dress. However, the main reason I fear grates is because I’m scared that one will fall out from under me.


Unfortunately, I possess neither the grace nor coordination to position my heels
like Ms. Monroe in this famous movie scene. And when my skirt blows up,
I tend to resemble a panicked duck. (image via StrangeCelebrities)

Friends would always scoff at this phobia, pointing to the millions of people who walk over grates every day with no problem. However, my fears were realized when not one but TWO instances of falling grates were reported this year alone.

The second fear involves tunnels.

After making the move to NJ, I officially became part of the “Bridge and Tunnel” crowd. And I’ve always had terrifying nightmares about terrorists bombing a crowded tunnel.

Think about all the tunnels going in and out of the city. Holland. Lincoln. Midtown. Not to mention all the tunnels used by the NJTransit, Amtrak, and PATH trains.

If I were a terrorist, I would definitely hit up one of these tunnels. Security is so lax that it would be like taking candy from a baby.

And on a personal note, I would rather be on a bridge than in a tunnel. Escaping from a bombed bridge would be easier than trying to swim out from a destroyed tunnel, no?

Last Friday, I and thousands of other commuters were subject to massive delays due to “police activity” on I-495, which is the interstate highway that sits directly outside of the Lincoln Tunnel.


See all the buses lined up at the entrance to the tunnel?
I wasn’t even there – I was still at Port Authority! (image via MyFox New York)

I was pissed, because not only did NJTransit fail to inform its passengers the reason for the delay (we found out through our cell phones), I was stuck on a bus for 2+ hours while they refused to let us off to take alternate means of transportation…while we were only 10 ft away from the gate where we had entered the bus.

The reason for this delay were two Snapple bottles filled with “suspicious” material.

Today’s Gothamist shines another light on the issue: considering that suspicious bottles were left by the Lincoln Tunnel four times in the past five weeks, is someone trying to test the Lincoln Tunnel and the Port Authority police?

Paul Nunziato of the Port Authority police union is quoted:

“I would say they’re studying what’s going on at the tunnel. Because
they’ve been able to do it, 7 bottles placed on one of the busiest
roadways in the world and no one sees them no one caught an eye on
them, including the cameras.”

The New York Post dubs the perp “Lincoln Lunatic.”

Because it would be one thing for bottles to be haplessly left by the road, but it is quite another for them to be fastened to entrances, lamp posts, etc.

Scary stuff.

Will my second fear come into realization in the upcoming months?

Oct 6, 2008  •  In NYC

“The Hunt” Strikes Again

Finding a place to buy was no easy task. When I first became interested in becoming a homeowner, I subscribed to major real estate brokers’ email alerts, blogs, and newsletters. I perused listings like a madman. Bankrate.com become the first site I visited every morning. I spent many Saturdays attending open houses, even waiting on lines (I stood on line for 3 hours once) for high-demand listings.

Like many New Yorkers, I became discouraged and frustrated. I lowered my expectations and whittled down my must-have list many times. I cried.

During this time, the NYTimes’ weekly column, The Hunt, became a favorite read. Featuring real-life buyers, the budgets spanned anywhere from sub-$200k to millions. I found comfort in the fact that even millionaires suffered at the hands of NYC real estate.

I still read The Hunt for fun. I sympathize with those whose budgets are similar to mine, struggling to find a place to call home in the nation’s most expensive real estate market. I laugh at those with sky-high budgets, whining about the lack of amenities in multimillion-dollar listings.

Then there are times when I can’t decide whether to laugh or cry. Like yesterday’s The Hunt, when a wealthy divorcee downgrades from a 7,000 sqft mansion in Long Island to a 2 bdrm rental on the Upper West Side. A $6,495/month rental.

Here’s the kicker: her budget was $5,200.

Now, this woman may be able to afford the $1,300 extra a month with no problems. However, considering the current economic situation, I have to wonder what Joyce Cohen (the writer for The Hunt) was smoking when preparing this article. Because over-extending one’s budget had nothing to do with the financial crisis at all.

Oct 3, 2008  •  In Thursday Geek-isms

Thursday (Err…Friday) Geek-isms

As mentioned at the bottom of yesterday’s post, I was away all day yesterday at a showcase for work…then I drank two beers and got sick. Weak sauce! I humbly apologize and will do my very best to make it up to you.

  1. The Woman Who Stuck Out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, mental_floss. I’m not that into baseball, so I had never heard of this woman. However, reading her story made my chest swell up in pride…then instantly deflate as anger took over. Imagine if sexism wasn’t so rampant then, or if this woman had been born today. What a difference she could’ve made!

  2. Mayor Bloomberg Makes His Third Term Limits Pitch, Gothamist. Bloomberg is pushing for a bill that will allow him to run for a third term. With his financial background, many are saying that he can only help with the city’s financial crisis. I always get a bit giddy when I see Bloomberg on the news, because he’s a Hopkins alum and J was in the same fraternity as him…they even drank beer together when he returned one year for alumni weekend!
  3. Nintendo announces new Nintendo DSi with dual cameras, Boy Genius Report.
    As far as I can tell, the biggest change are the two cameras. Am I the
    only one not too excited about this announcement? Most people have
    cameras on their cell phones and carry around separate digital cameras.

  4. MTA Unveils First Ad-Wrapped Subway, Gothamist. As ugly and distracting the ads may be, I support this initiative as it will raise over $125 million.
  5. The 10 Most Stupidly Accurate South Park Song Parodies, Best Week Ever. I swear I was going to write this list! It was in my head – I just never got around to it! Alas, BWE beats me to it due to my laziness.
  6. Why Worry? An Earthquake Will Wipe Us Out Anyway, Curbed. NYC is overdue for a big one – the city can expect a magnitude 5 earthquake sometime in the near future! I wonder what this will do for real estate prices…
  7. Terminal Tips: Play Tetris in Terminal, TUAW. Reason #52984 why Macs are superior!
  8. Leica Family Tree, OnTakingPictures. Leica porn! I love it!
  9. Tyler Durden’s 8 Rules of Innovation, Lateral Action. Inspiring words of wisdom for the sexy, unpredictable, fearless, and innovative alter ego in all of us.
  10. Transformers 2 Will Be Shot in IMAX, Get Ready for Five-Story Transformers, Gizmodo. See ginormous robots be smashed, mashed, and blown up in “the only screen size truly worthy of Michael Bay.”
  11. Library Card Catalog Organization! Stinkerpants. I am so, sooo jealous! As much as I love computers and technology, I love old library card catalogs and am greatly saddened to see them disappear from libraries across the country.
  12. March Madness-Style Bracket Makes Bank Mergers Fun, Consumerist. Creative black humor. It’s sad, but it’s also neat to see it all laid out in a visual format.
Oct 3, 2008  •  In Cute, Personal

RIP Rupert

They say blogging under the influence isn’t safe. Well, reading your Google Reader feeds while buzzed isn’t safe either!

Rupert, the baby deer I wrote about yesterday, has died.

I’m writing this as tears flow down my face. Seriously. Ask J.

You will be missed, Rupert.


***ETA***

I will not be posting my Thurday Geek-isms today. I’m feeling unwell after a day of running around in the cold and (stupidly) drinking. I only had 2 beers but I feel nauseous and feverish. I’m sure you won’t miss me though – the VP debate is on! I promise to write the post tomorrow.