Posted by Steve on Sat, 11/22/2008 - 10:45pm

I've been neglecting my blog, and my house for that matter, but for a good reason.  This summer a client and I were chatting about an idea for networking public health-related blogs.  He described his concept as a clearinghouse for blogs on a given topic, such as child health, where users would have a single point of access to selected RSS feeds on a given subject.

"Wait," sez me.  "That sounds like HouseBlogs for the wellness community." So I sent him to HouseBlogs and he told me it was similar to what he envisioned. He wanted a few additional features, like a Wiki, a virtual "home page" where the publisher could talk about his organization, answer user questions, post links to other resources and manage his own feed, and a Slashdot-type of ratings system. Okay, the last idea was mine.  No harm in up-selling an eager client.

BrooklynRowHouse Site Redesign

Posted by Steve on Mon, 11/17/2008 - 11:17am

Working on your house blog is a lot like working on your house.  You get a microscopic obsession with details like a hairline crack in your newly painted wall and a lockset that's a little too sloppy.  And, of course, you know where all the "hacks" you made are and they'll bug you for years, or at least until early Alzheimers kicks in.

What lines?

Posted by Steve on Tue, 11/04/2008 - 5:00pm

I took the dogs out for their walk this morning and decided to cruise my local polling place (the High School of Telecommunication Arts and Sciences... and, no, I don't have a clue what they teach there) to get an idea of how long my wait was gonna be. I figured it would probably be somewhere between the aggravation of the checkout line at the Hamilton Ave Home Depot and Zep reunion tickets.

Cops and Robbers

Posted by Steve on Mon, 10/27/2008 - 2:30am

So we're experiencing a sudden crime wave in my peaceful 'hood. Nobody's said WHY this is happening but according to The Brooklyn Paper:

During a 28-day period starting on Sept. 5, crooks broke into 39 residences in Bay Ridge — an increase of more than 60 percent compared to the same four-week periods in 2007 and 2006, when there were 24 and 21 burglaries respectively.

Leaf Vacuums and Big Ideas

Posted by Steve on Thu, 10/23/2008 - 12:06am

In my relentless quest to acquire every possible tool before I leave this planet, this weekend I picked up a leaf vacuum.

Thanks to my neighbor's regrettable decision to plant a bunch of poplars in his yard, all of which grew to over 60 feet in a few short years, my back yard maintenance has increased several-fold, especially this time of year. If you have any experience with poplars you know that they shed like sheepdogs. It was all the excuse I needed to invest in a new electric tool. No more acoustic brooms for me!

Lowes carried Black & Decker, Toro and Troy-Bilt. They were all 12 amps, all fairly heavy, all injection molded plastic and they're probably all made in the same Chinese factory. So I looked for details on the box to close the sale. The B&D had a "metal impeller". I wasn't sure what difference that made, but it was ten bucks more than the others so it had to be better, right?

I wanted to write a review of the Black & Decker but it died on me five minutes into its maiden voyage. The motor started making a clicking noise, slowed down, started smoking... I took that as a clue.

I've never had much luck with Black & Decker, from the toaster oven that caught fire to the power screwdriver than came apart in my hand. Okay, their stuff is pure crap. I mostly acquire B&D junk only by way of well-meaning gift givers. Folks, I have no product advertisers here for a reason.

Lowes took the return in good spirit. The nice lady at the return desk said, "Another one, huh?" I thought she was asking if I wanted to replace it, which I didn't. Instead, without looking up she pointed at the wall where there were two more expired B&D leaf vacs.


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