Archive for the 'technology' Category

Nuclear Duct Tape

Need tape to mend something that needs to last through the next apocalypse? Then 3M has a product for you.

3M™ Performance Plus Nuclear Duct Tape 8979N Slate Blue, 96 mm x 54.8 m

ducttape8979N provides clean removal with little or no sticky adhesive residue for up to 6 months. Sunlight/UV and Water Resistant. Lasts 1 year without degrading. Tape construction consists of high tensile cloth and aggressive adhesive. Designed for permanent and temporary applications. Certified for low leachable halogens and sulfur.

8979N provides clean removal with little or no sticky adhesive residue from most opaque surfaces up to 6 months after application. It offers sunlight UV resistance for up to 1-Year without the backing deteriorating or delaminating. 8979N is designed for both permanent and temporary applications both indoors and outdoors. Typical physical and performance characteristics include; thickness: 13 mils, adhesion to steel: 55 oz. in. width, tensile strength: 36 lbs. in. width, elongation at break: 21%, clean removal indoors and outdoors for 6 months; temperature use range: Up to 200° F (93 deg) C Color: Slate Blue; 60 yard Roll Meets Nuclear Specifications ASME NQA-1. Certified for low leachable halogens and sulfur.

What would you use your nuclear duct tape for?

H/T to Bill (who really needs to start a blog) for the product heads up.

Posted on Friday, March 13th, 2009 by Jeri
Under: technology | 6 Comments »

New Tech Toy

I have been unhappy with my cell service & phone for some time now – there is some a great deal of irony in that – and last last week splurged on a very cool new smartphone and different service.

I acquired the new BlackBerry Storm 9530, and have been slowly learning to navigate the new interface.

The Storm has gotten mixed reviews as a brand new device playing on the Apple iPhone’s playing field. It does have its strengths and weaknesses, but so far (three days) I’ve been happy with mine.

The main reason for my choice (Storm vs. iPhone) is that the Blackberry is primarily a messaging device and phone, and does those two things very, very well, and the media capabilities are adequate but not spectacular. The iPhone is primary a media device, and the phone and messaging are secondary functions.

I also went and played with both for a good period of time, messing around with the user interface and using their touch keyboards to enter text. The Storm’s interface was a bit easier for me to use. I did like the click technology better than I thought I would.

I’m looking forward to finishing its configuration, setting up Outlook and learning to really use it.

Pros so far:
Crisp, clear display screen
Much improved web browser
Physical lock/unlock button

Cons so far:
Battery life isn’t the greatest – about 28 hours
Verizon provided me with *no* activation instructions – I had to google it

Jury’s still out:
Ease of outlook setup
Ease of text entry/interface use
Camera quality (not that it’s a primary camera, but useful in a pinch)

If I have anything substantive to add, I may write a 30-day review.

Posted on Saturday, January 10th, 2009 by Jeri
Under: communication, technology | 4 Comments »

Blog Facelift

I’ve given the blog a winter facelift – new header graphic & font (WC Roughtrade for any that are interested in such things) and shifted my greens toward the cool spectrum to match. I kept the same basic WordPress template, Chameleon, since it’s clean and simple and very easy to work with.

This is the first time Smug Puppies’ header hasn’t included any dog images, although the paw prints are certainly related. That’s not really a bad thing since this blog isn’t really *about* dogs, just named for them.

Input is always welcome.

Posted on Wednesday, January 7th, 2009 by Jeri
Under: technology | 10 Comments »

Hate Keyboards?

H/T to colleague Greg S.

Posted on Tuesday, January 6th, 2009 by Jeri
Under: humor, technology | 2 Comments »

The Great Twitter Experiment

About a month ago, I decided to re-try Twitter.

I made a stab at using social networking media a year or two ago, and it just didn’t click for me – partially because I didn’t really use it, and maybe because the media itself hadn’t reached the tipping point among my peer group. I was on Pownce, Facebook, LinkedIn, BlogCatalog, etc, but did nothing with them.

This time, though, it’s been a fun – and I’d say successful – experiment.

What is Twitter? It’s a microblogging platform, allowing users to post short, 140 character posts via web or cell phone text message to their own user-ID branded page. Users can follow, reply to and direct message each other, giving Twitter feeds the feel of a public instant messaging forum.

Why use a microblogging platform like Twitter? For me, the reasoning was simple – it’s an augment to my blog, a way to say short, snarky, stupid things to the universe and my circle of friends that wouldn’t really merit a blog post of their own.

Others use Twitter to market their blog, to connect with their customers and readers, to solicit relatively timely think-tank feedback from a broad follower base, and to network with a larger circle of acquaintances than they’d typically encounter online.

Why was this try successful?

First, and most importantly, I jumped on the platform at the same time as several other friends, which gave me a built-in conversational group. Twitter is most enjoyable as an interactive medium. I don’t follow everyone indiscriminately, only friends, colleagues and a few highly entertaining authors – the fabulous (and evil) Kate has a superb post on that subject.

Second, I downloaded a third party Twitter application to my desktop that behaves like an IM client. I chose Twhirl – but others use different applications they’re equally happy with. I wouldn’t remember to go check the website nearly as frequently, but checking an application that’s open on my desktop is pretty easy. I also added a Twitter-Facebook connector so my updates flow to Facebook, and a Twitter feed sidebar on my blog.

And, third, I think that this particular type of media has hit its tipping point. While it was popular with early adopters a year ago, it’s becoming fairly widespread; middle-of-the-road techies are now using it as well. Stats show that the user base has grown from 650,000 in Dec 2007 to over 4,000,000 in December of 2008 – that’s huge.

The sad downside of this equation is the growing view of the Twitter userbase as a potential advertising market. The question is out there, on the table – how do advertisers and top Tweeters monetize Twitter? I offer the revolutionary observation that just, maybe, you *don’t*. The conversations about snowpocalypses, grocery store lines, cats and cookies are of far more value in our overstressed, technologically adept society than one more ad-saturated media channel.

Don’t advertise on Twitter pages and feeds. Don’t spam via Twitter. In fact, as much as I value my friends, if they choose to use Twitter to send spam or ad media, I will unfollow them pretty darn promptly because I am not a volunteer ad subject.

In spite of the small spam issue, at the end of the day, I’d say my Twitter experiment has been successful, primarily because it’s been *fun*. I don’t have enough fun things in my life, so I think I’ll keep this one.

Posted on Sunday, December 21st, 2008 by Jeri
Under: communication, friends, technology | 14 Comments »