Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Email Portability

I was there at the revolution. Actually at several revolutions - the invention of the PC, of the world wide web, of the cell phone - but the one I'm referring to here is the invention of telephone number portability. We used to be confined by our physical address or by our cell phone provider to a certain set of phone numbers - a certain area code, and a certain first three digits of our phone number. But that's no longer the case. Change location, change carrier, move from landline to cellular, and your phone number can remain the same. By law. It's part of the Telecom Act of 19??. But it's not only law, it's a law that was made feasible by new technology that can look each number up in a database and route it accordingly.

The only exception is if you leave the U.S. In Europe and Asia each cellular provider has their own "area code", and when you call a cell phone, you know you're calling a cell phone, and you know the carrier. Why? Well, a couple of reasons that I can surmise. One is of course the lack of the Telecom Act, but the second is that in Europe and Asia it costs more to call a cell phone then it costs to call a landline. So if I call my mother in Israel on her cell phone it costs me nine cents a minute, versus about two cents a minute on her landline. And it's important to let the caller know that their phone call will cost more, and the only way to do that is to have a separate set of area codes for cell phone numbers. Which still doesn't explain why each cell phone provider has a different area code... Of course the bottom line of all this is that in the U.S. you can choose your phone carrier based on cost and performance, without worrying about having to change your phone number. They don't have that lock on you.

Which brings me to my real frustration, which is the lack of e-mail portability. I've kept it as an article of faith that I don't want to change my e-mail address, because I want to make sure I get all the mail intended for me (junk mail excluded). Well, I'm locked to Earthlink. Now, with my new phone, I'd like to get e-mail on my phone. Well, that doesn't work with Earthlink. They don't provide that service. So my options are all about workarounds. Get a Gmail account, have my e-mail forwarded to Gmail, send my Gmail to my Blackjack, synchronize the two (Gmail and Earthlink) manually... a PAIN... Unfortunately I don't see e-mail portability on the horizon. But if you see differently, please let me know.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Redefining Happiness

Actually, I wrote prematurely. Now I've returned my Nokia E70 and gotten the new Samsung BlackJack. Why? First and foremost because I found the maximum volume on the E70 to be too low. Second, because the gullwing keyboard design which seemed so cool actually ended up being a pain to use. It only works in two handed mode, you can't type with one hand. Third, it's a bit heavy, and fourth, there's no element of cool in its design. Which brings me to the sad conclusion that Nokia (that still holds about 30% of the cell phone market) is on the decline. The Asian manufacturers are winning...

BTW, I have yet to understand the Motorola RAZR phenomena. Never liked that phone...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

That Guitar Shaped Body

A friend of mine once told me that Italians and Africans are ass men, not tit men like the Americans. That's how he explained to me why Italian women don't show cleavage, and seem to be oblivious to the possibility of boob jobs.

My male companions have almost always encouraged me to gain some weight with the hope that my breasts will benefit, so I've always assumed that big breasts are something that men desire, but the American obsession with size EE breasts carries the whole thing a bit too far. The dressing room of my upscale gym is a great place to observe the fruit of L.A. plastic surgeons' labors, I'd say at least 50% of the women there have had some augmentation done, and the results are starting to feel creepy to me. That stretched out look is starting to make my skin crawl.

Now along comes the NYTimes to tell us about another country where the guys are ass men, not tit men. Brazil, where apparently the ideal body type (at least traditionally) is the "guitar shape". You get it. Curvy butt, generous thighs, smaller torso and breasts. This ideal of beauty has been coming under attack from U.S. cultural imperialism. Big boobs and skinny body have become the order of the day...

What can I say...?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Shamu Back on Top Ten

Back in July I wrote about the Shamu article that had been on the New York Times top ten most e-mailed list for over two weeks, a record as far as I could tell.

Well, the exact same article - that was published about half a year ago - is back on the top ten list. How can that be? I don't know. But it made its appearance again a few days ago, and is still on the list. At this point it seems to have a cult following. And to remind you - the article is about how to train your husband in proper behaviour... Per the article, just watch how Shamu is being trained, and utilize the same techniques...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Women Covering Their Tracks

From this weekend's NYTimes: An article claiming that more than ever before, women are paying cash for luxury items - Chanel bags, cashmere sweaters, so they won't have to explain the purchases to their husbands. Even women who earn a good income often prefer that their husband not know of their purchases. It's not worth the argument or the disapproval.

But then the article offers a small anecdote about the hedge fund manager that goes to Atlantic City several times a year and drops about $10,000 each time on the blackjack table. He doesn't tell his wife about it. But then every now and then 6 new pairs of shoes appear in her closet, also unaccounted for.

Well, those shoes, using NYTimes prices, may have cost her $3,000. Compare that to his $10,000 and we get to my pet point, that boys' toys are much more expensive than girls' toys...

Monday, January 15, 2007

Advil for Exercise, Now Fully Endorsed

My online source for interesting factoids and ideaoids, the New York Times, ran an article last week suggesting that if you're mildly injured it's still a good idea to exercise, and the way to do it is to take an anti-inflammatory (aspirin or Advil) in advance...

Good advice. I heard it for the first time a couple of years ago from a friend. I'd been having trouble with yoga, about a half hour into the class my hip muscles would start to cramp, making things not quite as fun as they could be. "Just take two Advil 30 minutes before class" she said, "but not on an empty stomach". It was a miracle solution. Only problem is that yoga is best done on an empty stomach. So here's the solution to that secondary problem. Either take the Advil a couple of hours in advance with food (2.5 hours or more is best for yoga), the Advil will still work, or, if it's last minute, then Advil with a spoonful of yogurt is fine. It won't impede your yoga, and it buffers the caustic feeling of Advil on an empty stomach.

BTW, a few months after discovering this solution I talked with a dancer who told me she always takes a few Advil before every practice. So I'm in good company.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happiness is...

... my new Nokia E70 phone. Amazing.