Japanese Beverage Report: Capsela

Just got back from a trip downtown in the heat, so I thought I’d crack a cool beverage from Japan. I decided to try Capsela first.

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You’ll note that the label makes a point of mentioning its vitamin content. The bottle is sort of capsule-shaped also. This might explain why it reminds me faintly of some sort of medicine. It’s not carbonated, slightly viscous, sour and not at all sweet, and lemon-flavored. It also has little round yellow blobs floating in it.

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Those blobs have nearly neutral bouyancy, which is a neat trick. This beverage may have been inspired by Orbitz, another blob-laden soft drink that appeared (briefly) on the American beverage market about 10 years ago and met with dismal failure. The blobs themselvs are about the consistency of cooked peas, minus their skins. Yes, they’re a little odd. read more

Exotic Beverages From Japan

I just received something wonderful from our dear friend Rafael: a selection of unusual soft drinks from Japan:

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Yes, that really is blue Pepsi there on the left, and a pink Canada Dry product. I’ll post descriptions of each as I try them over the coming days.

Impressively Bad Customer Service from Belkin

I used to think of Belkin as an above-average source of stuff for computers like cables and adapters and stuff. They may or may not be that, but now I have no reason to think that they support their products any better than anyone else who sells Chinese cables and adapters and stuff. I have a Belkin UPS for one of my computers. It’s a fine unit, no complaints with it. Its little LED and beeper informed me recently that its battery had expired. This was no great surprise; batteries wear out, and I’ve had the unit for awhile. read more

Exoskeleton for Paraplegics

This is impressive: a company in Israel is currently conducting clinical trials of a powered exoskeleton which enables a person with paralyzed legs to stand, sit, walk, ascend/descend stairs, etc. Part of the cleverness of the design is its relative simplicity: It doesn’t try to do all of the balancing for the wearer; the wearer uses regular crutches for balance. There’s a short article with a video here with links to a longer article and the company’s website.

And People Tell Me That My Hobbies Are Strange

I’m sure you’ve thought to yourself on more than one occasion–maybe even today–that what the world needs is a website which catalogues the packets of condiments that you get at fast-food restaurants. (You know, the little plastic envelope-like things that contain ketchup and mustard and stuff.) Maybe it’s crossed your mind that there are so many of these packets that such a site would have to let you sort them by type, by brand, and even by country of origin. Maybe you’ve even thought that you should build such a site yourself but just haven’t quite gotten around to it. read more

Ravenland Arts

My extremely talented and imaginative cousin Ziggy has a new website up at http://ravenland.com. Click that link and take a look at photos of her amazing sculpture and stoneware. I owe a lot to her; she had a profound influence on my musical tastes and overall aesthetic, giving me my first exposure to the likes of Devo, the Ramones, Kraftwerk, Gary Numan, Brian Eno, etc. during my formative years. There’s a good chance that I wouldn’t be doing much of what I do now if it weren’t for her. read more

Make Your Canon Camera Better, For Free

Recently I found out about a wondrous thing called CHDK. CHDK is software that adds a number of useful features to Canon digital cameras. It can do things from the mundane, like adding a better battery-level indicator to the display, to the esoteric, like ultra-long and ultra-short exposures. It can even run little scripts so your camera can do stuff by itself, like taking a series of photos for time-lapse movies. It’s completely free and it doesn’t permanently alter your camera in any way, so it won’t even void your warranty. read more

Nice Photography Blog

I ran across Trey Ratcliff’s blog recently. Trey Ratcliff does spectacular photography using a technique called HDR. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range; essentially it’s a method of combining several exposures to reproduce a wider range of contrast values than can be captured with a single exposure. Trey’s apparently something of a photoblogging celebrity; he’s won a number of awards and his work has been (is?) exhibited in the Smithsonian. I found the blog because I’m interested in HDR photos and he has a good tutorial on his site. read more

Plagarism, Or Just Being Lame?

Let me state up front that I find this more amusing than anything else. One of my old cohorts at Cycling ’74, Gregory Taylor, brought this video to my attention:

I don’t speak Spanish(?) so I can only guess at what’s being said, but it appears to be an excerpt from a Peruvian television show in which someone is showing off various things made with Max/MSP/Jitter. The amusing part is that this person must not be terribly creative, because one of the installations is nothing more than a demo patch that comes with Jitter. I know this because I built the patch. (It was about the only thing I did with Jitter; I didn’t have the time while working for Cycling ’74 to learn Jitter, and I didn’t have the inclination to learn it after leaving.) Its output is quite distinctive. It’s the wavy abstract stuff that first appears at 0:30 in the video and then again at 1:30 through 1:50. read more