Monthly Archives: September 2009

a nice reminder to backup your files

My computer is toast. Specifically there appears to be a problem with either Windows XP or the file system where Windows resides. Regardless, it is likely going to mean a lot of restoring of files or at least moving them.

Ask yourself; if my computer stopped working right now, do you have a copy of the most important files on my computer? Do I even know which files are important? Have you tested restoring those files and did it work?

If you don’t have a good answer to these questions, look for ways to determine how to answer them today. In the worst case, take your most crucial files and email them to someone or use a service like as a temporary place to put them while you find a longer term solution.

You don’t need a complex solution. In fact backing up your files should be as easy as brushing your teeth! And just as important.

BlackBerry Tour trackball woes

If you are going to buy a BlackBerry, consider this: BlackBerry Tour trackball woes cause rampant returns, analyst says.

I love my BlackBerry for alot of reasons, but I am not a fan of their trackball. I already had to take mine — a Curve — in for repairs in the first year. In talking to a Bell Canada service employee, he said they were going to be able to repair them in the future for $10. (When I took mine in they replaced the whole BlackBerry, not just the trackball). Why is this? Apparently the trackball is suseptible to dirt and dust getting in it and gumming it up.

I wish the BlackBerries still had the scroll wheel as well as the trackball. I would use the wheel for 90% of my work I am sure. The buttons they have there now I never use.

Mail-E? A paper robot that tells you that you have e-mail

If you love WALL-E and you have an ability to build robotic devices, this might be the project for you: Mail-E, a mail-checker robot from Let’s Make Robots!

If you don’t want to make it, it is still interesting to see how it’s done. And if you love the idea of making robots, then you have to check out  Let’s Make Robots!

Why not buy flowers…

On the weekend I was in Dufflet on Yonge in Toronto having a delicious brownie. This particular Dufflet also has a flower shop in it with gorgeous flowers for sale. While I was enjoying my brownie, a woman walked by with a gorgeous bouquet. As she exited, she exclaimed “I am buying them to cheer me up”.

It may seem extravagant to some to buy flowers. You can’t do much with them. But we pay for movies and attend musicals and watch TV shows on cable TV. If anything, flowers last longer and cost less than these diversions. Even my brownie is not something I have to eat. I enjoy it for much more than the calories it provides (and it does provide alot of those!) It’s a small extravagance.

No, flowers are no more extravagant than any of those. If you want to make yourself better, you could do worse than buy flowers. Even one small one, in a tiny vase. Go ahead!

The 50 best foods in the world and where to eat them

It’s a bit of a fool’s game to proclaim the 50 best foods in the world and where to eat them. But I think The Observer makes a good case. For one thing, they say the best places to get certain food like vegetarian curry or sushi are located in their countries of origin and in big cities. That’s not surprising to me. Also, the reviewers are people like Raymond Blanc and Michel Roux: they know their food. If Even if these are not the 50 best foods in the world and where to eat them, you could do alot worse than eat these foods in these places.

I was surprised that the best place for steak was El Carpicho, in Jimenez de Jamuz, Spain. But as they say:

Time magazine called it “the perfect steak”. American Vogue’s exacting food writer Jeffrey Steingarten said it was “probably the greatest steak I’ve ever eaten”. They were referring to an enormous chuletón taken from the central rib section of a 16-year-old Rubia Gallega ox, dry-aged for 90 days, and served in the cellar dining room of a rural bodega named El Capricho, near León in north-west Spain.

Certainly with all of that, it had better be fantastic!

I was not surprised but pleased to see that the best place to eat roast chicken is still L’Ami Louis in Paris.

This Paris fixture, open since 1924, is the ultimate French bistro. Heads of state (Clinton, Gorbachev) and cultural giants (Welles, Hemingway) have come here to feast on sumptuous roast chicken, served whole with matchstick pommes frites and a simple green salad. It’s touristy and expensive and the decor is a bit clichéd, but such details become trivial once the chicken (which inspired Simon Hopkinson to write his much-loved Roast Chicken and Other Stories) turns up at the table.

Sure it’s touristy, but I still aim to get there one day and after a day of fasting, do my utmost to devour one of those delicious chickens with lots of frites and mayo and a bottle of cold, crisp white wine.

(Found on Kottke).

A simple to follow flow chart on how to be happy

Found here.

A great blog: Lens Blog at

Lens blog not only has superb Photojournalism but it also has excellent commentary to go with it. Go see.