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Know Your Coffee: 9 Things

| March 6, 2014 | 0 Comments

I love coffee. Not the buzz, but the actual coffee taste. I know, that might be weird to you, especially if coffee is simply a means to get you up and going in the morning. I have purchased dozens of specialty machines. I’ve ground, tamped, pressed, and Keurig’d (did I just invent a word?) coffee.

Lately, I’ve tried to cut down. I struggle with general anxiety disorder (GAD) and everyone I’ve read or talked to has said that caffeine doesn’t help. Still, I need the bean. 

I got a kick out of this list of 9 things you should know about coffee.

1. A healthy daily dose of caffeine can be very different depending on who you are.

Don’t I know it. I used to be able to drink a double espresso at 10 pm at night and sleep like a baby. My personal assistant at work can’t have coffee after 11 am, or she’ll be up for weeks.

2. There’s no standard amount of caffeine in each cup of coffee—even within the same brand. 

I guess I should have known this, but never really gave it a lot of thought. I just figured if I was drinking equal amounts of coffee from the french press, the caffeine all worked out in the end.

3. Caffeinated beverage manufacturers are not required by the Food and Drug Administration to label how much caffeine is contained in their product.

Not surprised. I don’t believe in the data on labels. It’s about selling me stuff. Labels will contain only as much as needed to get me to buy the product, coffee included.

4. Your grandparents probably drank twice as much coffee as you do. 

So, that explains it. Gramma was wired – all day. No wonder she could work so hard for so many hours in any given day.

5. Pro athletes everywhere depend on caffeine—which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. 

…and a lot of other substances, right Lance Armstrong?

6. Keurig cups—those little disposable, single-serve cups of coffee with a special dispenser—are here to stay.

I’m proof of that. Even at $.75 per cup, I’ve dumped plenty of plastic in a few land fills.

7. Mixing caffeine and alcohol hasn’t been proven to be inherently unhealthy. But the resulting behaviors can be dangerous, potentially even fatal. 

Translation: “blow your brain apart”. I’ll pass.

8. Caffeine could be way better for us—and also way worse—than we know. 

See above. Coffee doesn’t play well with sufferers of GAD.

9. You’re not as much of a coffee buff as you think. 

That’s right. While I love drinking it, and appreciating the taste of different types, I’m not that much of a geek. I don’t care a wit about a fruity or smoky tone.

The real issue about coffee is, I still can’t believe I willingly pay $4 or $5 for a cup of it, when my ancestor’s got along with a 3 pound can of Folgers for $6.99 which would last a couple of months. I refuse to look at my bank statements to see how much I spend on the glorious drink. 

Somethings about coffee should just be left unknown.

2 Step Authentication is Your Friend

| August 4, 2012 | 0 Comments

Do you use the same password on multiple computers? Have you kept using the same password for years? If the answer to both of these questions is “Yes”, then you’re asking to be hacked. But wait, you say, why would anyone want to hack me? I don’t have any secret information that anyone would want.

You’re right. You don’t. People could care less about the first picture taken of your newborn baby, your music folder, or the last episode of Mad Men you just downloaded and watched. You know who does care?

You do. And you would hate it if all of the stuff you love to save, a decade of photos, your entire music catalog, your banking information, your tax records, and your email archive went “poof” into thin air.

Forget about the rule of backing up. Few people really do it well, or do it at all. Apple’s Time Machine has helped, and now the cloud services from Google, Dropbox, Skydrive (and a slew of others) have made it easier to store things so you can get access from multiple machines and locations. Yet for all the advantages of simplicity, the only thing standing between you and someone whose main interest is wiping your devices clean is that password you thought up years ago. You know, the one that starts with the number 1 and ends with the number 6. Or the easiest password to remember — the word “password”. You’d be amazed how many people use “abc123″.

I’d like to say that my devices and online services have been completely secure for years. They haven’t been. I’d like to say that I’ve used distinct passwords. I haven’t. All of this changed today after I read this:

Yes, I was hacked. Hard.

This is the story of one Mat Honan, a recent employee of Gizmodo. Mat’s iPhone was reset, then, one by one, his other devices were wiped. Then his Google account was deleted. Then, his Twitter account was taken over.

All in a matter of minutes.

Read his story. Then, run out and enable 2 Step Authentication for your Google account. Change the passwords in the services you use to something other than “monkey”. Do it now. If you’re an IT geek, read up on Two-Factor Authentication. The wikipedia article should keep you busy for awhile.

Don’t be Mat.

MORE: Gizmodo story

Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid

| August 3, 2012 | 0 Comments

I peed in the Olympic pool“.

“Dudes, it’s 2012″

| August 2, 2012 | 0 Comments

This is pure awesome.

Feel Good Video of the Day

| August 1, 2012 | 0 Comments

What’s more pleasurable than stringing up a politician? Too bad the public was unprepared and left the tomatoes at home.

Olympic Badminton Players Game the System

| August 1, 2012 | 0 Comments

It’s easy to view the games in London as an exhibit of what the human body can do when put to the test. Unfortunately, in many cases that same human body is being fed artificial substances that make it do un-natural things. Doping in sports is legend, and it finds its way into every training room. But this isn’t a treaty on the issue of drugs in the veins of athletes. It is something more far reaching than the modern phenomenon of human growth hormones. It’s called…

Gaming the system.

Badminton officials took the extraordinary step of tossing out four pairs of women — two from South Korea and one each from China and Indonesia — for deliberately trying to lose their preliminary matches Tuesday night, the latest judging controversy to sweep through the Olympics.

The federation determined at a disciplinary hearing that the players in two separate matches tried to serve into the net and hit shots out of bounds. Their play led to hoots and catcalls from the packed house at Wembley Arena, with some fans yelling, “Off, off, off.” In one match, a Danish umpire warned the players that they could be thrown out by flashing a black card, a rare action in the sport.

Why would anyone who has trained for years to get to the Olympic Games in the hopes of winning a medal do something as stupid as this? Throwing a game? Really? The explanation is rather simple.

Even before the disqualifications, the matches Tuesday triggered hand-wringing throughout the sport. This is the first Olympics to include preliminary rounds in which four teams play one another once to determine who will advance to the knockout stage. The extra preliminary round was designed to give all teams — including those from weaker countries that might have been knocked out after one match under the old rules — a chance to play at least three times.

All four pairs who played Tuesday had secured spots in the quarterfinals, so jockeying for an opponent — not winning or losing — was the imperative.

Because the Chinese so dominate the sport and are so numerous in the tournament, they have an incentive not to play one another when possible. And because they are so good, teams from other countries do their best to avoid the Chinese until they have no choice.

Throwing matches has been a persistent problem, and some players and officials have accused the Chinese of being the worst offenders.

Bottom line? Officials inserted the extra preliminary round to give weaker teams another shot at winning, even after they proved themselves unworthy of championship play.

Kind of like giving everyone a trophy.

Better yet, call it, T-Ball.

I don’t get it. If your country doesn’t have a Badminton team it can field that can survive with the toughest (in this case, the Chinese), then why enter the championship at all? Are Olympic officials hoping for a rare moment where the Chinese completely choke and the team from the Cook Islands wins gold? What’s the likelihood of that? A million to one?

Or is it merely that the fix is in? Are the Olympics so tainted by money and political prowess that they’ve become the modern day Twenty-One?

Where is the crack unbiased investigative reporter when you need one? Oh wait, I already know that answer. There are none.

In the 24/7 wired world we live in, hi-jinks like this will be easier to expose. I think it is more widespread than most people realize, and I’m worried now that the games have been tainted for decades. We’re due an Olympic sized overhaul of athletic competition. Does the will exist to bring the games back to their original intention?