August 2006

Cool bartender weblog

by Michael Alderete on 8/28/2006

Rochelle found the weblog of Jeffrey Morgenthaler, and I ended up reading it for an hour. Nice writing, and some fun stories and insights from an experienced bartender. Eight Things You Should Never Say to Your Bartender was the one that caught Rochelle’s eye, and I was gratified to see that we’d never done any of those things. (When we are traveling we will ask about fun things to do in town, but only if the bar’s not busy, and the bartender has time and interest in chatting.)

In addition to stories and so on, he’s also got recipes and histories of favorite cocktails. While I’d certainly make a different choice for tequila than he does, the recipes all sound interesting, especially the Richmond Gimlet and the Brisa, both his own creations. Recommended reading.

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FON Wi-Fi service

by Michael Alderete on 8/26/2006

Back in November 2005, Robert X. Cringely wrote about something he alternatively called the Google Cube and the Google Box. Bob’s description of the Box’s capabilities and Google’s plans for it were rather grandiose, but buried at the end of the column was something I thought was a solid business idea:

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Get free audiobooks from Brilliance Audio

by Michael Alderete on 8/25/2006 · 7 comments

I posted previously about BMW’s free audiobooks, a collection of four short stories, professionally read and available in MP3 format. I’ve only listened to one completely so far, and while the product placement was, shall we say, distinct, the story and the reader were both very good.

I recently stumbled across another source for high-quality spoken word fiction. THRILLER is a free podcast from Brilliance Audio, which offers five of the “thriller” short stories from a collection of 30, all by well-known, best-selling authors. Here the financial motive is more obvious; if you like the five freebies, you might buy the whole collection.

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Thoughts on Mac OS X 10.5 (“Leopard”)

by Michael Alderete on 8/23/2006

I watched the Apple WWDC Keynote video stream last week, and have been following the reactions online about features demonstrated for the next version of Mac OS X, 10.5 (“Leopard”). A lot of people (especially non-Mac users) have commented that features like Spaces and even Time Machine have already been done on other operating systems, or as third-party utilities for OS X. They’re missing the point. What’s great about these new features in Leopard is their accessibility to normal people, i.e., their simple interfaces.

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How to improve audiobooks

by Michael Alderete on 8/21/2006 · 2 comments

Kirk McElhearn, a noted author on topics like the iPod, iTunes, podcasting and the Mac, has written a short article Digital Audiobooks: Taking Them to the Next Generation, musing about what should be done to audiobooks to take advantage of the possibilities offered by the iPod and other digital players. In particular, he calls out the need for better chapter markers, and better handling of material which cannot be read, or is often skipped, like illustrations and endnotes.

I’ve had similar frustrations.

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Tequila recommendations

by Michael Alderete on 8/20/2006 · 6 comments

When Rochelle and I go out, and especially when we travel, we often run into other tequila enthusiasts. Many of them are just beginning their appreciation of this fine spirit, and the number one question we get is “what is your favorite tequila?” We always disappoint, because we can never limit ourselves to one, or even a couple. We tell them what we can, point to good selections on the current bar’s list (part of our “love the one you’re with” philosophy), and promise to follow up with recommendations. But we have never attempted write down a list of our favorite tequilas. Until now.

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