’s annoying video

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I can’t believe is still putting auto-play video on their homepage. You might as well start using the blink tag or use a really lame animated GIF. Apple has some video ads out there, but you have to hit play first. Same with Google’s video ads. I just want to check a few scores ESPN, not here some video start playing over the music I am already listening to.

links for 2006-11-20

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Will it sell blenders?

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Will It Blend? is one of the best viral marketing campaigns ever. It’s a more exciting version of David Letterman’s extremely bland Will It Float? gag. An old man with a lab coat puts crazy things in a blender and watches the results.Crazy things like golf balls and a whole can of coke (aluminum and all!). The videos are produced by BlendTec, which sells high-end blenders for both home and commercial use. They are not average blenders, a quick look at any of the videos or a price tag (starting at $399!) makes that clear. Despite the price, I’m guessing they are going to sell a ton of them. The best part is there is almost no cost to the campaign, the videos are cheap to host and the host Tom Dickson is BlendTec’s CEO. Over at YouTube they are tearing it up.

Will it blend? That is the question.

MacBook Pro received

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I got a visit from FedEx this morning and finally got to play with this. It runs like a champ. There are only a couple case changes from the 1st gen MBP, namely FireWire 800 and a hidden status light for the built-in iSight (you can only see the light when it’s on, in the off state you just see the silver bezel). Windows Vista RC1 installed like a champ with Parallels Desktop, it can even run full screen while I use OS X on my desktop screen. So far so good, but I’m still busy copying stuff over and making it my own.

New baby

Filed under: Apple | 2 Comments

Just pulled the trigger on my new favorite possession, a Core 2 Duo equipped MacBook Pro. Should be here next week. My PowerBook has put in over 3 years of service and hasn’t had any significant problems. It will be around 2010 when I upgrade the next time if I keep the MBP as long.

I also snapped up a V640 EV-DO card today for when it comes, as my old PC5740 won’t fit.

Here are the specs:

MacBook Pro, 15-inch, 2.33GHz
3GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM – 1x2GB, 1x1GB
MacBook Pro 15-inch Widescreen Display
200GB Serial ATA Drive @ 4200 rpm
2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
SuperDrive 6x (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)

Nokia N80i with the Gizmo Project

I got a Nokia N80 Internet Edition up and running making internet VoIP calls over SIP via WiFi through the Gizmo Project. That’s a mouthful of nasty acronyms, but it’s really neat. The phonebook has space for internet calling numbers (which are actually more like email addresses, in the format of sip:username@provider.tld) and the phone’s now configured to use my Gizmo account when I select one of these entries. It works almost instantly for VoIP to VoIP calls, but there is a significant lag on VoIP to landline calls (using the N80 to call a non VoIP number through Gizmo) which makes that function unusable at the moment. Incoming calls ring on the mobile phone really well. I’d love to get this configured with Vonage, but I don’t think they have their SIP stuff opened up yet. They are still stuck trying to sell softphone software… Ugh.

These directions worked fine, except that it wouldn’t work using a transport type of TCP. I set it to the default setting of any and it worked, I’m guessing my situation needed UDP.

Nick Denton on the Food Network

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He’s not quitting blogging, but I just spotted Nick Denton on the Food Network. Not as a guest or host, but as background b-roll in the trendy Noho Star restaurant. It was during Rachael Ray (no words can explain how horrible she is, but she probably already has a stupid acronym for it… EVOO my ass).

And no worries, Denton isn’t wearing a huge diamond–that glint of bling is the LED flash on a Nokia N80.

Car rental when under 25

Filed under: News | 10 Comments

I’ve never had to rent a car before now, but I always heard it was hard to do until age 25. Over the past few years the major rental companies have loosened the rules a bit, thanks in part to some lawsuits. Oddly enough one of the first lawsuits was in New York, but that state now has the highest surcharges I’ve seen ($100 a day sometimes!). There is a lot of age discrimination in the US still, both for the young and old, but it doesn’t get nearly the attention that fun things like racism do.

I’m renting in Texas and checked all of the big companies, here are the surcharges added on for being young. These fees may vary by state, but I checked a few other states besides New York and they all seemed close. Some companies are just more youth friendly. Unless you’re military or work for a company with a corporate account, NY is about the only place people under 21 can rent a car in the US. You’ll pay through the nose for it though.

I decided to go with the company with the lowest surcharge and in the event of a tie then the lowest fee for a comparable vehicle. I’m voting with my wallet, I want to reward the most youth friendly company with my business. I wasn’t expecting limitations (not being able to rent certain classes of vehicles), but this is the normal practice. I was looking to rent either a premium or luxury car.

After my research I had an easy decision, Enterprise Rent A Car. It’s far and away the best deal. That makes sense though, Enterprise got huge by going after an undertapped market–off-airport rentals. Apparently they are going after another huge overlooked market. Another nice thing about Enterprise is that I can actually rent something with a V6.

Hopefully someone will find this useful, these companies often bury the information several clicks deep. The information may change and as already stated, is not accurate in all 50 states. NY is different for most if not all of the companies.

US Car rental daily surcharges for ages 21-24

Company Fee Limitations
Enterprise $0 None
Hertz $27/$37 N/A Fee based on class
National $25 N/A

Spam calls from 866-383-0986?

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I’ve gotten several calls over the past few months from 866-383-0986. I finally stayed on the line a long time and someone came on. It was the same Indian guy who wants my fax number that everyone else was talking about. After refusing my request to put me on their do not call list (which is illegal despite his claims to the contrary) he hung up on me. Calling the number does no good, it doesn’t even ring. Someone else who was annoyed did a little more digging. It’s tied to WHOIS data which isn’t surprising, but calling one-off seems like a lot of work to collect fax numbers.

I filed a complaint with and if you have been called, do the same.

links for 2006-09-07

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