I still didn't sit through his show any more, and apparently I'm not always the best judge of character. But as one of those elitists who grew up in the suburbs of New York City, what the heck do I know?
Anyway, I tried out my new favorite browser bookmarklet that lets you play an Asteroids-type game on any webpage (thanks to colleague Benny Simon for the link). I took a screencast with ScreenToaster - a really easy way to share audio and video recordings of anything you share on screen - and then uploaded it to YouTube for more visibility.
I could no longer look at Rick's face in our photo together. It pained me to do this, given the fond memories from that nanosecond, but I had to:
This is a little off topic for this blog, but after about 20 comments and counting on photos I posted on Facebook, I had to share a few details on what I was up to this weekend.
I was invited to a dinner party, and the host, knowing my sweet tooth, asked if I'd bring dessert. First, I went to the annual International Food Festival on Ninth Avenue in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood and picked up a couple apple pies - crowd pleasers. But I wanted a little something extra.
Then a flash came to me. A few months back, a friend Mike Fisher noted he made bacon brownies. All he told me about them was that he cooked the bacon in the brownie pans so that the brownies would use the bacon grease.
Building from there, here's how I went about it:
First, I cooked the bacon in the oven at 350. I used a pound of bacon in two brownie pans, one a standard 9x13 and one a bit smaller (give or take). The brand doesn't matter, but I used the thickest, juiciest looking package I could find.
As the bacon cooked, I prepped the brownies from scratch. If you want to do something really quick, use the Kraft iFood Assistant if you have an iPhone or BlackBerry. I tried this and it had some great ideas, including Oreo brownies that I considered, though that would have been overkill for this mission.
I Googled other recipes and found one on AllRecipes for Quick and Easy Brownies with over 600 reviews and nearly five stars, and there were no fancy twists here. It's just sugar, butter, cocoa powder, vanilla, eggs, flour, baking powder, and salt. I scratched the walnuts from the original recipe and used 1 cup of flour instead of 1.5 cups based on feedback from reviewers on making the brownies chewier (actually, I doubled the whole recipe, so 2 cups instead of 3 - I like baking in bulk). One confession: I forgot the baking powder. The brownies still rose and you'd never know the difference; I've eaten enough brownies and couldn't tell. I think the bacon fumes were getting to my brain.
After I prepped the brownie batter, I took the crispy bacon out of the oven and poured most of the bacon grease in a bowl. I used a paper towl dabbed in the grease to fully coat every bit of the inside of the brownie pans, and then poured most of the rest of the grease in the batter itself, stirring some more.
I then poured about half the batter, maybe a bit more, into the pans. Then I layered the bacon on the batter and poured more batter on top. You can see the midpoint below with the smaller pan.
Again, the photo above is before I layered the rest of the batter on top to fully coat it. Then I put the pans in the oven, still at 350 as it was when I first cooked the bacon. The aroma of the oven that had the bacon cooking in it can only help the recipe.
Now I continued to improvise. I still had extra bacon (I bought two pounds and only used one so far). I cooked this in a pan on the stove while the brownies were bacon, getting it fairly crispy. I let this bacon cool for just a minute on a plate lined with paper towel - it wasn't the grease I was after here. Then I moved it right to the food processor, turned it on for a minute, and wound up with homemade bacon bits. Growing up on the fake stuff, this was a real treat - these flavor-packed granules of fresh bacon.
Once the brownies seemed to be five or ten minutes away from fully baked, I opened the oven, slid out the racks, grabbed the bacon bits by the handful, and sprinkled them across all the brownies. I used about a third of a pound of bacon in this, again for the double recipe of brownies. You want to make sure to have enough to get some on every brownie, as this aspect is sheer overkill. It also adds a fun crisp texture to the top of the brownies, and if you wind up taking a bite of a brownie and eat the bacon in the middle first, there's still some extra real bacon on top.
Take the brownies out of the oven when they pass the toothpick test - a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean, without brownie batter clinging to it. And if it seems to take extra long, just don't burn the suckers. For me, perhaps the combo of adding bacon grease to the batter and then forgetting baking powder increased the cooking time. The good news for anyone replicating this: I wasn't being too cautious and even used two plans with very different depths and dimensions, and it all came out well - not a single bite was noticeably overcooked or undercooked.
Here's how the brownies looked when they came out of the oven, this being the larger pan. I missed a few spots with the bacon bits but was trying not to burn myself. That objective was also successfully achieved.
Once the brownies cool enough, cut them with a very sharp knife. You need to slice through the bacon.
Lastly, enjoy! And try not too eat too many in one sitting.
A now annual tradition at the Consumer Electronics Show is the It Won’t Stay in Vegas party for bloggers – it’s a total geekfest within a geekfest, and more or less what you’d expect. This year the scene stealer (besides LeVar Burton and Brent Spiner) was the Quadricopter from Parrot.com.
I’ll admit I couldn’t remember the name of this thing when I first tweeted about it and even when I posted the video. It was just kind of there. It’s controlled by an iPhone (an iPod Touch will work too). This model was the AR.Drone, and what wasn’t readily visible was the augmented reality component, which includes “detecting other AR.Drone in flight, and detecting and positioning markers on the ground.”
You don’t need to know all of the technical details, and there are far more than I’ll relay here. On its surface, it’s just a cooler, more stable version of remote control vehicles. I recently played around with some cheap RC helicopter from a toy store and there was really no way to prevent it from crashing; some of the controls didn’t even work. So this already is better – check the video to see how ridiculously stable it is.
When you start digging deeper though, seeing how augmented reality plays a role, and how mobile devices like the iPhone can interact more with physical devices, it becomes much more of a marvel as a sign of where technology, gaming, and mobile media are heading.
Originally published in MediaPost's Social Media Insider
one of the most critical, controversial issues of our time. It's been the subjectofmorecolumns
than MySpace. Even the Talmud, the great repository of Jewish debate and
wisdom, is at a loss to comment on it. Yes, in what's undoubtedly the greatest
miracle since the time the Maccabees kept their temple menorah burning with a
small jar of oil, the gift of Jewdar continues to shed light on how marketers
are targeting their ads.
I've wanted to return to this for months, ever since Jeremy Bloom
reached out to me in August about his business KosherHam.com,
a humorous T-shirt site that claims, "Wearing anything else just isn't
kosher." He even noted that my
new BFF Perez Hilton has been spotted in his gear.
I was intrigued when Bloom said that he's been honing his Jewdar - in
this context, the act of targeting Jews through advertising, specifically on
Facebook - and that he'd be willing to share all his secrets with me. He wrote,
"I am constantly behaviorally targeting different demos, but the most
receptive audiences with some of the highest click-through rates and
lowest CPMs seem to be Jews." He tests religiously, trying different
subject lines, ad copy, targeting, and models and T-shirts in the photos.
He's able to reach Jews largely through the keywords field in
Facebook's self-service ads that target users based on their interests.
Facebook won't target users by religion specifically, but if they list
"Jewish" or Jews" as interests, they're fair game. Bloom further
targets users in major cities with large Jewish populations. This will
inherently mean some non-Jews see the ads -- but hey, they're welcome to buy
So what keywords does Bloom use to find Jews? The eclectic roster
includes: Jew, Jewish, Hebrew, Israel, Hillel, Sigma Alpha Mu, Zeta Beta Tau,
Annie Hall, Brooklyn, bagels, deli, Chinese food, Matisyahu, Phish, jam bands,
being Jewish, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Seinfeld, Hebrew
Hammer, Heeb Magazine, and Fiddler on the Roof. If you don't know what some of
these mean or what they have to do with Judaism, you're probably out of the
After perusing the list, I wondered how some of these would do
head to head. Bloom indulged me and ran some trials in four different brackets:
City, Comedian, Cuisine, and Music. Bids were set at 34 cents CPM. The top
performing ads were those with the highest click-through rate (CTR) and lowest cost-per-click
(CPC). And the winners are...
City: New York vs. Los Angeles
Subject Lines: NY Jews Love Kosherham, LA Jews Love Kosherham
Winner: LA gets the Oscar, with 18% CTR and 16 cents CPC, coasting
past NY's 12% CTR and 23 cents CPC.
Comedian: Seinfeld vs. Woody Allen
Subject Lines: Seinfeld Fans Love Us, Woody Allen Fans Love Us
Winner: Woody Allen kvetches up the clicks, with 33% CTR and 8
cents CPC, while Seinfeld's 13% CTR and 21 cents CPC showed signs of shrinkage.
Cuisine: Bagels vs. Deli
Subject Lines: Shirts for Bagel Fanatics, Shirts for Deli Fanatics
Winner: Bagels win by a shmear, with 13% CTR and 19 cents CPC,
overstuffing Deli's tournament-worst 6% CTR and 44 cents CPC.
Music: Phish vs. Matisyahu
Subject Lines: Shirts for Phish Fans, Shirts for Matisyahu Fans
Winner: Phish hoists
up its tournament-best 55% and 5 cent CPC, out-jamming Matisyahu's 27% CTR and
10 cent CPC.
I asked Bloom if he could explain why Phish has so much mazel in hooking
Phacebook -- er, Facebook -- users. He cited a number of reasons: the right age
demographic, the loyal Phish fan base of liberal Jews, and the shared interests
in certain botanical exploits reflected
in Kosher Ham's apparel.
More importantly, I asked about conversion rates. It's great to
get a lot of clicks, but do Jews on Facebook convert? (It's just getting too
easy, sorry.) He says he was able to track a couple sales from the Phish ads
directly, and he also notices spikes when running ads from people who go
directly to KosherHam.com or search for it. With search, Google has performed
especially well, as has AIM Search -- Boom thinks people find shirts they like
and share them via instant message.
So it turns out Jewdar is a little easier to understand than the
Zohar, Maimonedes' "Guide to the Perplexed," and my fourth-grade
Hebrew teacher's accent. And it's not foolproof, as there are probably a few
Woody Allen fans in New York who didn't go to a Jewish sleepaway camp. But if a
guy can start a site called KosherHam and sell T-shirts about getting the
munchies for unleavened bread to Jewish Phish fans on Facebook, I've got to
think he's on to something.
When you sign up, you’re encouraged to write a message to the Google Wave team, and it notes “haikus, sonnets, and ASCII art all accepted.” I figured there would be a lot of haiku, so I went with a limerick, shown below, and then in text form if you’re accessing this without images. It’s not my finest poetry, but if it lets me in any sooner than other users, I’ll let you know. (Okay, reading it again, I should never show my face around an Irish pub again – this really won’t help my chances any.)
There was once a Goog tool called Wave That got many a journalist's rave It's not yet in beta But makes the Web greata' So let me in - Berkowitz, Dave
President-CEO Nancy Hill told attendees that the group, for years known as the American Association of Advertising Agencies, has officially traded its name for its more commonly used acronym, the 4A's.
The American Association of Retired Persons is no longer the American Association of Retired Persons. It is AARP, and Horace B. Deets, its executive director, insists that, ''It is no longer an acronym.''
What’s next? The American Automobile Association? The American Anthropological Association? Share your predictions in the comments.
When you have to go on the go, where do you go? Yes, even the
vertical of toilet search engines is rife with competition.
There may be some kinds of searches that are more critical, like
when you have an emergency need for a plumber or a proctologist. But on that
curve of searches that are both critical to your well-being and likely to arise
in an average month, the need for a good bathroom search engine hits that sweet
spot; parents with young children will find such engines especially useful.
It's time to seek out the No. 1 bathroom search engine, even when you
really need number two.
Divorcing Ms. P
the first such engine I heard of, works for San Francisco, Los Angeles, or
Manhattan. I had used it once before successfully, but when I tried my home
intersection (28th St and 3rd Ave) or ZIP code from my
Samsung Omnia, it couldn't locate me. It worked better when I entered my
building number, though the first location that came up was a children's
barbershop, which I'd probably avoid, especially since I don't have kids. The
barber's bathroom was rated five rolls of toilet paper, but it was from a
single anonymous rating, and I wasn't sure how many rolls could be awarded.
Could the owner have tried to game the system? To make matters worse, the first
Starbucks it listed didn't exist, the map didn't work even for the wrong
address, and there is one closer than it indicated (I should know; I live above
one). Rating: 2 squares out of 5.
When entering my ZIP code on "premier toilet search
the results were generally five blocks from me, which won't help in case of an
emergency. But if you know your ZIP code, you're probably near home or work and
have easy access to facilities. Diaroogle fared much better when searching by
address, bringing up the first listing for a bar across the street, with a
description that included so much detail it noted high quality toilets are
downstairs, as opposed to the more pedestrian ground-level stalls. Another
plus: very clear Google maps. The site did miss quite a few other restrooms
nearby. Then again, the descriptions for some locations are so good, they
make great bathroom reading material. Consider another bar described as
"about as charming as TGI Fridays... in West Virginia." An iPhone app
is also available. Rating: 3.5 squares.
says it's in beta and means it. This site isn't yet ready for mobile, or for
mass usage. In all of New York, it has 35 listings, disproportionately in the
West Village. Rating: Half a square. I considered another half but it stuck to
What about word of mouth? I downloaded the Where's the Bathroom
iPhone app that will play a recording of the phrase "Where's the
bathroom?" in sixteen languages. Some of the world's most spoken languages
are missing, so you won't have any luck learning the question in Hindi,
Bengali, or Japanese. But if you happen to run into some Armenians or
Mongolians and want a polite way to excuse yourself, this app will serve you
well for a mere 99 cents. Rating: 1.5 squares.
Don't Squeeze the App
Where's the Bathroom was one of the four apps that came up in a
search for "bathroom" in the iPhone store; the other three were for
bathroom diversions so you could have something to do when you got there. I had
read about another app sponsored by Charmin, but it wasn't coming up under the
brand name or "bathroom." I did find it by searching for
"sit," which led me to SitOrSquat.
The Charmin app asked me to register, but I'd imagine that
wouldn't be my first priority if I was accessing such an app in a time of need.
I skipped that and it brought up a number of bathrooms within a block or two,
noting for quite a number of them which ones were open, with pictures for the
vast majority. A separate option listed bathrooms with changing tables (the
nearest one was a bookstore a few blocks away whose bathroom was rated two
stars for being "surprisingly unclean"). There weren't many ratings
ye, but I'd easily go with this. You can also find it at SitorSquat.com.
Rating: 4.5 squares.
So what about the major search engines? Trying the mobile versions
of Google and Yahoo, all I get are home renovation and real estate sites.
Rating: 0 squares. When you've got to go, go to a specialist.
David Berkowitz is Vice President of Emerging Media digital agency 360i. A frequent speaker and media pundit, he has been published hundreds of times in MediaPost, Ad Age, eMarketer, Mashable, and elsewhere. Get to know him in the links below the blog's header.