Taking errors to new heights


We rely on computers for a lot in public — scoreboards, timetables, ATMs, etc. For the most part, it’s seamless. When it fails in a harmless way, it’s funny.
DSC00085.JPGDuring a vacation last summer, I saw two displays “crash” with Windows error messages in the space of a few hours in Salt Lake City.
One was a huge storefront display on Main Street across from the Gallivan Center TRAX station. It seemed like an elegant way to reuse a vacant storefront. However, that morning, there was a giant error window instead of pithy notes about upcoming events.
It appeared that the program driving the whole storefront display had crashed and needed attention. It probably got a decent amount of attention during that morning’s commute.
A little while later, I headed to the Clark Planetarium in the Gateway Center. While I’m learning about “our” sun, I notice _another_ error message — the screen saver apparently wouldn’t engage.
This error was probably less noticeable — it was a smaller monitor placed way above people’s heads. Nonetheless, I let the museum staff know in case they can fix the problem.
As someone who is a little oriented towards technology, I have the desire to try and fix the problem even if it’s none of my business — like at the Dave & Buster’s in San Jose.

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Newspapers cutting back on delivery days

20090330_MIDN.jpg If I blogged every time a newspaper reduced the days it published, I would’ve been a fairly busy man. Thankfully (and sadly), the Associated Press has compiled all of these papers in a list.
The lengthy list details publications that cut days since last year. It doesn’t include newspapers that have closed entirely (such as the Rocky Mountain News and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer).
That list includes the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News (an Enterprise-Record sister paper), which dropped four publishing weekdays starting today. I’m interested to see how that unfolds. There was higher than anticipated demand for their e-Editions this morning.
It’s a reminder of the industry that is in great flux.
In other news, cartoon journalist Brenda Starr has been furloughed.

Saturday DVD release of “Twilight” is brilliant

Although I’m not the target audience to watch “Twilight,” I have to say the
Saturday release for the DVD is a stroke of brilliance.
If you need a refresher about what the movie is about, it’s a tale of “forbidden love between a vampire and a mortal.”
Most DVDs come out on Tuesday, but there’s nothing as far as I know to prevent a Saturday release. It’s like movies at the theater — most come out on Friday, but they can come out on other days as needed.
In the case of “Twilight,” it’s a great idea. The target audience for the film seems to be teenage girls. I can imagine the DVD fitting in well with many weekend activities, including get-togethers. A quick search shows several DVD parties are being set up (including in York, Pa..)
I like these group experiences although they can be easily mocked by outsiders. They are some of the things that make the cult movie experience worthwhile for the participants.

Corned beef and pizza — a winning combination


When someone says St. Patrick’s Day, one might typically think about the traditional foods — corned beef, potatoes, cabbage, etc. Like most holiday foods, people try to mix things up with variations often with mixed results. I can report that the corned beef and cabbage pizza from Woodstock’s Pizza is a superlative success.

After my radio show, I headed out into downtown Chico to catch a little of the St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Most of the parties appeared to have wound down — I definitely saw a lot of people (and police activity) at about 8:30 p.m. Things were different post-midnight, and the crowds had largely dissipated.

The crowd at Woodstock’s was modest and there was no line. I quickly queued up for a slice of their evening special — the previously mentioned corned beef and cabbage pizza. The photo used on promotions was not totally appealing, it looked like a straightforward slice.

A regular-sized slice was $2.50, a steal for the treat I was about to eat.

The slice looked like a pretty normal piece of pizza. The melted mozzarella cheese concealed the thinly sliced cabbage and pesto sauce. The exception was the dark ruby-red chunks of corned beef scattered about.

Taking a bite, there was a great melange of flavor. The cabbage added texture and the tinniest bit of cabbage-y taste to the cheese and pesto sauce.

I was skeptical about the corned beef. The meat looked more like dry jerky instead of the roast served at the dinner table or the hash served at breakfast.

The corned beef succeeded beyond my wildest expectations. The texture wasn’t overly dry. The savory, salty flavor of the meat helped to bring the entire slice together. It reminded me of the Canadian bacon served on Hawaiian pizzas, but more nuanced and potent.

Without the corned beef and cabbage, the pesto may have been overwhelming and the slice wouldn’t have worked.

This cabbage and corned beef pizza definitely stands apart in the world of reinventing traditional foods.