RSS Feeds

I talked yesterday about NetNewsWire and RSS versions of websites.

To this end, I’m now making two RSS feeds of this site available:

The first is simply the current news items as they appear on this page (“this page” assumes you’re reading this in a browser, of course). The second is a reverse chronological list of the discussion from readers about items that have appeared here; this is a much easier way (I’ve found, in the 5 minutes I’ve been using it) of following these items.


Adventures in Public Relations

Speaking of Island Tel, er, Aliant, they announced their SMS messaging network today with great fanfare. Here’s a clip from their news release:

The service is being marketed to two distinct groups – to businesspeople who will likely use text messaging to ‘ease the pressure’ of demands of work and family – and to youth who are expected to use the service mainly for making social plans and staying in touch with friends.
“Hello Kenneth, it is your youth friend Wil’ chatting. I would like to make some social plans with you for the forenoon. Are you agreeable?”

“Alas William, I am not, as I have alternate social plans with my chums. It is nice to be able to ease the pressure with this technologic marvel, agree you not?”

But perhaps I judge too harshly, for the release continues:

Reports out of the UK also point to an SMS language of abbreviations catching on such as PC (please call) and BCNU (be seeing you) and a resurgence in use of the old telegram favorites such as TTFN (ta ta for now).
It is nice to see that the reports from the UK have finally reached Aliant Headquarters in Halifax; I presume they were travelling on the Royal Mail Schooner, which would explain the company’s starry-eyed amazement at this “new phenomenon.”

But I shouldn’t make such fun of my sporting partners so.

Chocolate Bar Alert

I am usually not a fan of the OhHenry bar — if only because of their inane advertising.

But the new “limited edition” OhHenry bar with honey roasted peanuts is dreamy. Something about salt and sugar and peanuts and chocolate is really, really good.
OhHenry Bar Wrapper

An earlier version of this “limited edition” OhHenry won an award from the Packaging Association of Canada. The designer’s statement was as follows:

The inspiration for this award winning package design came during the client briefing when the bar was described as having an “explosion of honey roasted peanuts.” Working with Hershey’s technical team, we recommended a foil substrait for strongest shelf impact.
I don’t know whether to be happy or sad that it is someone’s job to think about things like this — to be excited at the prospect of translating “explosion of honey roasted peanuts” into a yellow panorama of flying peanuts.

Comparing that original design to the one above, I wonder if the client blurted out something like “it’s like a wave of saucy sticky stingy honey bee goodness.”

Tales from the Wal-Mart

I thought that Wal-Mart was supposed a “customer connected, always tuned it” kind of retailer, with virtual electrodes tied into the consumer consciousness so that if North America wakes up wanting green peanut butter on Monday morning, they’ll find it at Wal-Mart on Tuesday.

Tonight we went to Wal-Mart to buy a fan for Oliver’s room. We went to Wal-Mart because it was 8:41 p.m. when this need struck us, and we knew Wal-Mart was open later than anywhere else.

Because we shop so little at the store, the layout of Wal-Mart doesn’t exactly make sense to me. I know where the diapers are, and the Oreos, but everything else seems randomly assigned to zones that don’t reflect my stuff classification guidelines.

So we wandered from “small appliances” to “housewares” to “hardware” to “sporting goods” — all possible locations for a fan — until I gave in and asked a clerk.

“No, we don’t have fans,” he said.

“Don’t have them right now, or you don’t carry them at all,” I replied.

“No, we carry them, but they’re out of season right now. Would an air cleaner do?”

It is 11:24 p.m. It is August. It is 22 degrees outside right now, down from almost 30 degrees earlier in the day. If there is a season for fans, this is it.

We drove up the hill to Canadian Tire. We forgot they were open until 9:30, and found them open. They had about 25 varieties of fans in stock running from $12 to $160. We bought a Twindow, our 4th — it’s a well-made dual fan with several speeds and thermostatic control that fits between the window and the sill.

Is this an aberation, or is Wal-Mart not all it’s cracked up to be?