Archive for December 28th, 2006

How we consume food

Having dinner every night with the same person makes you notice things that you don’t normally do. Now, I don’t know if the following difference is a cultural difference or a more personal one, but I think it’s the reason why my JBQ rarely eats all his vegetables.

Let’s say that our main entree consists of a meat chunk and some vegetables (e.g. a pork chop and long green beans, or a beef steak and some peas). The way I eat is that I cut a small bit of the meat, I put it in my mouth and immediately I get a forking out of the vegetables and then mix it in my mouth, munching the two items together. I repeat until I finish my plate, and if some salad is around, I might eat some of it in the midst too. I always make sure that at towards the end of my plate, I have as many veggies left as I have meat, so I can eat them in the same number of “forkings”. AFAIK, all the Greeks I know eat the same way too. We mix several flavors in our mouth.

The way JBQ does it, is this: he cuts meat, he eats it and he repeats until about 1/3 of the meat is out. Then, he takes a forking of the vegetables and he eats that. Then, he continues with the rest of the meat until he has eaten about 2/3s of it at which point takes another stub at the vegetables. After he has eaten all the meat, there are plenty of vegetables left in the plate, at which point he usually eats them alone, and sometimes he just goes half way through to them and then he stops eating them and proceeds to the cheese (French people eat green salad and cheese after the main meal).

No, I don’t think that he is trying to avoid the vegetables. I think the key here is the fact that he never mixes flavors and this forces him to eat too many veggies at once at the end (that usually have minimum flavor) and so he bails out on them. He is used to not eat meat together with something else, I just don’t know if this is the way JBQ eats, or a French thing in general…

Leptoprin must die

I am watching a lot of Discovery, Science and NGC channels usually, I find their documentaries educational. However, due to lower volumes of viewers watching these channels, their commercial rates are lower. This invites lots of crappy startups to advertise their shitty products on these TV channels.

One of these commercials is the ad about Leptoprin, a herbal supplement that supposedly helps you lose weight. They have a patent on their $153-per-bottle product, and its patent No is visible in their ad. My JBQ — who can easily read legalese english for some weird reason– visited the US Patents site and read their patent. Basically, this “product” it’s nothing but very strong dosages of caffeine, with some other useless herbal tea chunks in it. Caffeine is known to work as a MILD appetite depressant, but at what cost? Not only you won’t be able to sleep with these pills, but you will be addicted at the end if you get more than one of these pills per day (1 pill == 4 to 5 espressos).

What is this country doing about this? Nothing so far! Having a free market is one thing, but allowing dangerous and deceptive products to be marketed as ‘elixirs of life’ is another. Dear FTC, bring Leptoprin and all other such snake oil companies DOWN.

The Microsoft laptop non-scandal

ArsTechnica is making a hupla-hupla about Microsoft giving away laptops to reviewers. What’s new here? This is how it’s working since the ’80s, when the computer market exploded. I mean, we get (cheaper) freebies at OSNews too to review them, but this does not mean that we are “sold” to whoever gave us the review unit (we also disclose WHO gave it to us). In fact, if you read most of *my* reviews, they usually paint a bleak picture of the product as it lists all faults one by one (because, yes, I am very difficult to please).

It is funny that everyone goes against Microsoft, but no one goes against, let’s say, Nokia. Nokia is known to give away as a loan some of their high-end phones to ~20 bloggers for a period of about 3 months (without full disclosure by the bloggers being necessary as to how they got the gadget), and then they request these devices back! The blogger must write at least 2-3 articles per month about the product (in other words they must do MORE WORK than Microsoft is requesting from its bloggers), and not only that, but they have to give the gadget back!

FYI, I have no such dealings with either Nokia or MS, but even if I had, I don’t see the problem. Review units are ESSENTIAL to write reviews, and these review units are 99% of the time either coming from a big reseller or the manufacturing company itself. That’s how it works, and it needs no disclosure of any sort, because that’s the DEFAULT way of getting hardware or software to review. That’s how C|Net does it, that’s how WSJ does it, that’s how OSNews does it. If that’s not the way ArsTechnica does it, then they are the ones who are losing out. The only thing that the reviewer must do, is to be TRUTHFUL in his review and list the faults he/she finds. And I am personally making sure of that (and it’s in fact one of the reasons that I am hated for, especially for my software-based reviews). Don’t worry, the company who gave you the gadget/software very rarely gets angry with you for writing a potentially negative review. There are no strings attached (or NDAs, or agreements of any sort). In fact, I had more readers being angry at me for being too negative on a review, rather that the companies who gave me the review unit. Only in one instance all these years I had a spat with the manufacturing company over a negative review I wrote. So, what’s Ars’ problem again?

But sure, let’s re-iterate one more time as to how evil Microsoft is. Cause this is a popular thought. We don’t want to be unpopular, now do we?