Great Balls on Fire A couple of weeks ago, a cell phone turned a Vallejo man into a human fireball. The malfunctioned mobile flared up in 59-year-old Luis Picaso’s front right pocket, igniting his polyester blend pants and nylon shirt, giving him second- and third-degree burns over half his body. Though I don’t wear polyester blends, I do spend the majority of my waking hours with a cell phone dangerously close to a set of my family jewels; might be time to start carrying a man-purse.
Clogged Tubes The “series of tubes” that comprise the Internet (can’t let this Sen. Ted Stevens blunder go) is about to require quadruple bypass surgery. Both Netflix and the creators of Skype have introduced new services that could substantially increase traffic on the cyber highway. Netflix is about to pipe out movies over the Internet in what they are calling Watch Now. I’m guessing it is some kind of streaming service, based on the BBC.com article I read. Users will need a constant connect to Netflix and the film won’t be a download. They will debut the service to a relatively small handful of users, an initial quarter-mill—and only to folks with Windows XP running Vista. That rules this Mac user out for now, but I can still check in with the new TV-on-computers service. The makers of Skype and Kazaa look like they may have a third home run with Joost—pronounced “juiced”—which combines file-sharing software (free download) with television. Though the service will be ad-supported, there will be less advertising than what is presently seen on regular TV. I signed up to be a beta tester: www.joost.com.
Fun In the Dressing Room Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t spend much time in fitting rooms, but this invention just might make me more fashionable: the Magic Mirror. See, I don’t trust my own judgment in clothes, but with this infrared mirror that sends an image to any cell phone, e-mail or PDA, I can try something on in Chico and send an image of me sporting the new threads to my friend Van in New York City. Van (who, unlike me, has a good sense in fashion) can then text me a thumbs-up or thumbs-down, or any comment for that matter, through the mirror. Hmm, guess this thing could get pretty naughty as well.
Bad Pun This is a sad one that you’ve no doubt already heard about. A second North Stater has died from drinking too much water. But instead of someone being bullied into some silly frat boy stunt, this was a mother of three trying to win a Nintendo Wii game console for her kids during a radio contest. Jennifer Strange, 28, died of water intoxication after participating in “Hold your wee for a Wii”—the object being to drink as much water as possible without urinating. Witnesses said they guessed she drank about two gallons, which caused her brain to swell. KDND 107.9, out of Sacramento, subsequently fired 10 members of its morning show staff. Difficult to believe this happened a mere hour and a half from Chico, where 21-year-old Matthew Carrington died in 2005 from the same thing in a hazing incident.