Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Lack of Cool Makes It Cool

The picture above is of the coffee I had this morning. I had to go to Walmart to get some stuff for the Potluck at work and just happened to see this on the shelf. While not the best cafe mocha in the world, it is a very cool idea. I can't even begin to imagine the huge number of jobs out there where the workers would love to have some warm coffee readily available but can't because of a lack of ability to heat things during their work day.

They way the coffee heats is genius in its simplicity. Located under the bottom of the cup is a small button that you push on before opening the coffee. When you push it, a small container of water is punctured on the inside. The water flows into another opening which contains Quicklime, or Calcium Oxide (CaO). The reaction between H2O and CaO is exothermic, meaning it creates heat. This is kept separate from the coffee, which is good since the end result, Ca(OH)2, can be a health hazard if you are over exposed (besides the fact it would make your coffee task pretty bad). After about 5-8 minutes heat sensitive ink on the side of the package changes from pink to white and your coffee is ready to drink. 

I think the cost of it was about a $1.50, although I'm not sure since there isn't a price on the can and I already through away the receipt 

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Nickle and Dimed to frustration

Christmas came early for me thias year, in the form of my new G1 phone that I'm currently writting this blog entry from. It was a gift from my Mom and Dad but, because I ordered it myself to make things easier on everyone, I got it about 2 weeks early.

So far I'm really impressed with it for all the reasons I'm always really impressed with Google. It is a great quality product that meets all the expectations set by the name Google. Which isn't to say it is perfect, it's not, but Google has never been a company that promised perfection.

My favorite thing about the phone is the operating system being open source. In an age where almost every company is trying to nickle aand dime their customers to death, especially Verizon who I had before this, the G1 has none of that feel and this is mostly thanks to the open source operating system. With Verizon, any time you wanted to use the phone for something other than making a phone call or sending a text, you could almost guarantee that there would be an extra charge associated with it. Which would have been fine if it was 1990 and all a phone was used for was communication but that's just not the case any longer. Want to back up your contact list, that will be an extra two dollars, want to download music to your phone, that will be an extra dollar, want to look at a map, extra $9.00 a month for the navigator service, and so on and so forth. With my G1, all I have to pay for is my basic phone package and my basic internet package. From there I can load whatever applications and files I want on the phone for no additional charge. I don't feel forced to use a particular service by a particular company like I did with Verizon. Google has even gone so far as to offer a G1 that is completely unlocked right out of the box, although I did go with the T-mobile one for ease of use.

Besides getting my new phone, there hasn't been a whole lot going on lately. Kristin and I have been spending a decent amount of time trying to figure out all of the arrangements that need to be made when you plan on visiting two sets of parents over the Christmas holiday. It now looks like I'll be taking about a week longer off of work than what I had wanted. My original plan was to work in between Christmas and New Years for a few days and again on the Friday after New Years. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately, I haven't decided yet) due to Caterpillar policy I'm going to have to take the entire week after Christmas off.

I also got a new car about a week ago. I finally had enough of dumping money into the Explorer, which seemed to have become the black hole of my finances, so I traded it in for a 2006 Saturn Vue. My new SUV (the EPA's classification of it, not mine. It is a crossover as far as I can tell) has a much more "suburban" feel than the Explorer did, which I could certainly do without. But, in an age when gas could be back up at $4.00 a gallon in no time and the C02 coming out of my car seems to be driving Mother Nature insane, sacrifices had to be made. So, while I've still got a car I can use for camping, driving in snow, and just about every other non-off road use I can think of, I won't be taking the Vue mudding any time soon.