Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Book Review Catch Up: Behemoth

Behemoth is the sequel to previously reviewed Leviathan
by Scott Westerfeld.  It continues to follow the adventures of Midshipman Deryn Sharp and Aleksandar Ferdinand during an alternate universe World War I.

The book continues to show the integration of the Darwinists, gene-splicers, and Clankers, engineers, on the Leviathan.

I don't want to say too much about the plot of the book as it is the second in a planned trilogy.  Go back and read my review on the first book for more information and I'm sure you'll want to buy this book.

The Anthropology of Coffee

A good three part look at the anthropology of coffee.  Thanks to Boing Boing for the link.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Book Review Catch Up: Pluto

If you were ever a fan of Astro Boy you will love Pluto. The 8 volume Pluto series is based off of an Astro Boy story The Greatest Robot on Earth by manga god Osamu Tezuka.

Pluto really is a love letter to Tezuka by one of the most popular and prominant manga artists of our time Naoki Urasawa.  The art in all of the volumes is absolutely gorgeous while the story has been updated with a more adult bent.  We follow Gesicht (see picture left) in his attempts to solve the case of a string of robot and human deaths.

I loved the entire series but not because I was an Astro Boy fan but because it was such a great story with art to complement it. I'm rating this series a buy.

Is Coffee Losing it's Edge?

A recent study shows that 18-24 year olds prefer caffeinated energy drinks to coffee.  If this trend continues coffee may be dethroned as the dominate energy drink.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Book Review Catch Up: The Lost Fleet Series

The Lost Fleet is a six book series of military sci-fi written by Jack Campbell. In the first book of the series Dauntless we are introduced to Captain Black Jack Geary who has just been thawed out of suspended animation after 100 years.  Captain Geary has been elevated to near mythical levels by the Alliance as he used his command to fight a delaying action at the beginning of the war over 100 years ago. The Alliance forces find Geary on the way to attack the Syndicate home system in a bid to end the war. They see the resurrection of Geary as a good omen. However, they are about to fall in a Syndicate trap. One that only Geary can save them from.

I really liked this series a lot, reading all the books in a 3 week period.  The writer has a military background and he writes the naval battles very well using some realistic physics.  The books are not all space battles though and they offer some good characterization, albeit over a small number of main characters.

It was also very interesting to me to see the parallels between Captain Geary and King Arthur.  Arthur is supposed to return to Britain to save them in their time of greatest need and that's exactly what Geary is doing here for the Alliance.

I recommend all the books in this series as a buy.

LifeHacker's Guide to Tea

A great write up on tea from

Friday, November 19, 2010

PSA: Talking to Your Kids....About Star Wars

Don't let your kids find out about Star Wars on their own. Have the talk for both your sake's.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Buy 1, Get 1

Starting today and running until November 21st Starbucks is offering up a buy one get one free offer on holiday drinks between the hours of 2pm and 5pm. This offer is good at stores in the US and Canada.

MMMmmm...Peppermint Hot Chocolate!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Web Comics Wednesday: Our Valued Customers

Well this isn't exactly news to anyone following comic blogs lately but I had to add my vote for Our Valued Customers as a great new web comic. Basically it is a one panel gag strip about real things over heard at a comic book shop. It is always funny and often profane so it is not exactly safe for work or kids.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Tim Hortons Closing 36 Stores....In America

Tim Hortons is closing 36 stores in New England.  I must admit when I originally read that headline on that story I was confused as I've never seen a Tim Hortons close here in Canada.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Vorkosigan Series as Free eBooks

Amazing science fiction book publisher Baen has released almost all of the Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold as free eBooks.  I've read all of the Vorkosigan series up until the latest novel Cryoburn and throughly enjoyed all of them.

The series follows Miles Vorkosigan on a series of adventures.  What makes things interesting with the series is that the books were not written in chronological order.  This may sound a bit confusing but it is very easy to pick up any book in the series and get a solid read without having to know anything about the other books.

I'd rate all of these books a buy if there weren't already free!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Brew Drip Coffee at Work for the Masses!

Following Friday's post if you are looking to make a bit more than one cup of drip coffee you may want to look into the Chemex 6-Cup Coffee Maker.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Brew Drip Coffee at Work

If you are a fan of drip coffee but not the swill they usually serve in company break rooms you may be interested in the Melitta Perfect Brew Filter Cone.  Just supply your own paper filter and coffee then add hot water and you'll have a perfect brew at work.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wine and Beer to be Offered at Starbucks?

Starbucks is mulling over offering alcohol in it's stores. They are doing a test drive with one of their newer stores in Seattle. I for one would prefer to keep my pretentious coffee drinkers separate from my pretentious wine drinkers.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Starbucks Digital Network Launch

The Starbucks Digital Network has been launched.  As much as I'm a fan of their coffee this doesn't make me want to go to Starbucks anymore than usual.  Digital content that is only available at the coffee house just doesn't appeal to me.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Most Awesome Thing Ever! Part 5

Wow! This is pretty impressive. I followed this link from Boing Boing and had my mind blown with an article on this sideways coffee shop in NYC.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Coffee and Tea Help Prevent Brain Tumours

Preliminary results show that coffee and tea are linked to lower incidents of brain tumours. This is excellent news considering how much of the stuff I drink.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Use Non Fat Milk for Better Foam

Courtesy of Lifehacker they've linked to a TLC article on the 10 Things Your Barista Doesn't Want You to Know. Number 3 is to use non fat milk for your lattes which is something I always do as I find it makes for a more flavorful brew.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010


So earlier this week Marvel talent scout C.B. Cebulski said that Marvel did not accept written submissions to which artist Katie Cook responded "HOW i am supposed to submit my pitch for the all kitten cast of the avengers?" which then prompted artist, writer, letterer Chris Eliopoulos then responded by posting a drawing of Catlactus. That's when things got crazy with artist from all over posting their own renditions of Marvel characters as cats.

The best place to see all the posts are over at Agent M's blog.  You really should check them out as they are very fun.

The example that I'm using here in this post is by Mike Maihack. Mike has a number of prints of his MRVLCATS entries available for pre-order. Proceeds go towards Siamese Rescue.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Most Awesome Thing Ever! Part 4

I saw this post on Boing Boing the other day, neither the author of the post nor I know if this is a joke or not but if it isn't it now holds the title for Most Awesome Thing Ever.  Apparently you can go to and order a bag of those delightfully stale marsh mallows you would get in a box of Lucky Charms.

As a child I used to bug my mother incessantly during trips to the grocery store to buy me a box of Lucky Charms.  She always said she'd buy me a box if I promised to eat the cereal as well as the marsh mallows to which I replied "I will" but I was lying.  That oat based cereal was horrible and I just wanted my greedy little hands on those marsh mallows.  What can I tell you I was spoiled as a child.

Now as an adult I can get my own bag of marsh mallows directly from the internet.  I just have to hide them on my daughter.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Before you Upgrade to iTunes 10

I thought I was getting ahead of the game by upgrading to iTunes 10 in advance of the release of iOS 4.1. I was awaiting the new iOS version in order to fix some slow down issues on my older iPhone 3G.  This morning I decided it was time for the big upgrade and well it could've gone smoother.

After my phone was flattened with the new OS it refused to connect to iTunes.  The reason for this was quite simple, the iPodService.exe would not start on my Windows XP SP3 computer.  I did a quick search on the web and I discovered I was not the only person with this problem.

Luckily a fix was suggested.  The process is as follows:

1. Uninstall iTunes 10
2. Install iTunes 9.2.1
3. After the install, copy the "C:\Program Files\iPod" folder to an alternate location.
4. Uninstall iTunes 9.2.1
5. Install iTunes 10
6. When the error pops up during installation, overwrite C:\Program Files\iPod with the previously copied folder.
7. The install will complete successfully and iTunes 10 will run normally.

Basically, the older version of iPodService.exe does not have the same bug as the one in iTunes 10.  By using this procedure I was able to complete the upgrade of my phone to iOS 4.1 and get it out of the bricked state it was in.  No word yet on when Apple will be providing a fix but they are looking into it.

Note: Friends of mine who sync their iPhone to a Mac do not have this problem with iTunes 10.

Where has Tall Gone?

It looks like Starbucks is rolling out new drive through menus that omit the tall size.  This is confusing customers as they are asking if they can still order the tall size.  The Consumerists wonders if this is a way for Starbucks to push people towards ordering the larger more expensive sizes.

For those of you not up on the Starbucks vernacular the sizes Tall, Grande and Venti conform to the small, medium and large sizes that you usually see when you are ordering a drink.  Something you may not be aware of is that Starbucks also offers a Short size for most drinks which is smaller and less expensive than the Tall size.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Terry Fox Run 2010

Once again this year I am proudly supporting The Terry Fox Foundation in its ongoing work to fund innovative and progressive cancer research programs.

I very much hope you will consider making a donation in support of my effort, confident in the knowledge that your kindness will impact the lives of so many people living with cancer. I share the following message with you, as I believe it reflects the core philosophy of this organization and one of the many reasons I choose to support it:
The Terry Fox Foundation firmly believes in its obligation to be fully transparent in all matters relating to fiscal reporting. With only 3 cents of every dollar raised going towards administration, and ten cents going towards fundraising costs, the Foundation is an industry leader in fundraising accountability.
You can donate to me directly and securely by accessing my personal fundraising page:

Thank you in advance for your generosity and support of my goal.
Simon Mac Donald

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

Flavored Via on it's Way

It looks like Starbucks is going to be introducing flavored versions of it's Via instant coffee.  I've never been a big fan of flavored coffees but the market for them is definitely out there.  I'm a little surprised to see Starbucks getting into flavored instant but I guess it was inevitable after they started selling flavored grounds in super markets this summer.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Blackberry Starbucks App Available Today

If you have Blackberry and you are interested in paying for your Starbucks coffee with your mobile device then you are in luck as the new app is released today.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Brew, Not Buy Your Own Tea

Not that this should come to a shock to anyone but researches have found that brewed tea is much healthier than the bottled variety.  Mostly due to the fact that home brewed teas have up to 20 times the polyphenols, antioxidants which are believed to fight cancer, than the store bought kind.  Plus, a cup of tea at home will cost you about 10 cents for the tea bag and water while a bottle of tea will run you over $1.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Book Review: The Girl Who Played with Fire

I don't have time to write about how good The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson is as I am too busy reading the final book in the trilogy. I think you all should just go out and buy the whole series.