What would you do?

Quick hypothetical: You’re at the library, and you pull a copy of The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell from the shelf. Before bringing it to the front desk to check out, you flip through the pages, and an envelope falls out. You pick it up, and it’s stamped and sealed and addressed to a P.O. Box one town over. What would you do with it?

Followup: Would your answer change if it came out of:

  • ... a volume of Encyclopedia Britannica?
  • ... Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkhaban by J. K. Rowling?
  • ... The Infernal Machine: A History of Terrorism by Matthew Carr?
  • ... a book on the new releases shelf?
  • ... a magazine?

If no to all of the above, is there any case where your answer would be different?

Biggest gift under 20 dollars

Gedanken game time: What is the largest (in volume) gift you could buy or make for under $20? Some ground rules:

  1. You can't get anything for free. i.e. "ask family and friends for all of their packing peanuts."
  2. On the other hand, anything you can make or do yourself is okay. Inflating balloons with your own breath, for instance.
  3. No one else can help you. This is an individual project.
  4. Machines and devices to help you are okay, but buying anything you don't already own will go towards the $20.
  5. On the other hand, things you already own can't be used as a part of the end-result.
  6. You have to be able to bring the gift itself to a party.
  7. The party is in one week.

USB cable nastiness

I am in need of a product that I am virtually sure exists.  I can’t, for the life of me, seem to find a place that sells this product — although I suspect that’s just a difficulty with putting my thoughts into search terms.  I also am even having a difficulty envisioning what it might look like.  So I ask for your help.  I need some way to easily keep all of my different USB cables (iPod, Palm, phone, camera, video camera, et al) as easily accessible and not-ugly as possible.  Requirements:

  • A hub, or at least some way to not have to reach around my tower to get the right cable plugged in.  I only have six USB ports, and including my keyboard, mouse, and printer, I have far more devices, so there currently ends up being a lot of juggling.
  • Some sort of cable hiding solution.  Cable ugliness is the number one cause of premature death, followed closely by the goddamn Nihilanth.
  • The cables should be easy to remove, so that I don't have to spend fifteen minutes pulling one out just to bring it to a friend's house.
Just a simple USB hub that I can plug things into solves the biggest part of the problem: the pain of juggling.  But I still have to keep the cables neatly tucked away in a little bin next to the desk.  Is there a better solution that I'm missing?  I can't be the only person with this problem.

Could Wii Sports be bundled with the Wii?

It’s been a very long time since a Nintendo console was launched with a bundled game. The last one was, believe it or not, the Super Nintendo (bundled with the pinnacle of platformers: Super Mario World) in 1991. Wii Fanboy has a great feature about “Wii Sports”, a collection of little games that was the centerpiece of Nintendo’s E3 demos, and has been covered in detail. Could it be bundled with the Wii? Should it be?

How console manufacturers can fail to bundle a game with the console is beyond me. Console prices have gotten high enough. Parents considering the purchase for their kids have to also pick a game or three to add to the tab? Ridiculous.

Make Mag link dump

Since I switched from Bloglines to a local install of reBlog (see the Lifehacker post by Mathowie), I’ve been using it to save links to stuff that I find interesting, but don’t feel are quite important enough to post as individual things here. So I’ll probably start doing something like what Khatt’s been doing: occasional link dumps. Here’s four things I’ve enjoyed lately from Make Magazine’s great blog:

Future message

I was reading through this AskMe today, and it started me thinking. Emailing yourself five or ten years in the future isn’t a difficult problem (in fact, that thread includes several solutions). But what would be the most reliable way to get a message to yourself in, say, 50 years? Not necessarily an email, and inexpensiveness and plausibility are important (becoming President and renaming the country “Hello Future Me” won’t work).

Would Doc Brown’s method of sending a letter from 1888 1885 to Marty standing in the road (not even an address) in 1955 even work back then? I doubt it. How could it be done today?

Achewood 1/20/05

Somehow, I think Vlad’s idea in today’s Achewood would really be popular (in an ironic pop-culture Subservient chicken-esque sorta way). With a free afternoon, a few sandwiches and fixins, and a hungry woman, we could probably fake it.

Update: Is this somehow related?

I consider The Wave to

I consider The Wave to be the single greatest work that Mankind has ever created. A hundred thousand diverse individuals can – and often do – work together with no clear leadership or supervision. A single individual’s responsibility is quite simple. So simple, in fact, that even the most dimwitted participants would be able to figure out what they should do. In comparison, the Pyramids and the Parthenon aren’t even worth mentioning.

Oh, and I started working at Priceline today.