Jersey Freeze To Go

Apparently they’re going to build an Olive Garden. A freakin’ Olive Garden. More here.

Jersey Freeze is for me the site of many, many memories of going out for ice cream – first with my parents as a child, and then with friends as a teenager. Apparently the summer of 2008 will be its last summer. I will have to make sure to bring my daughter there for one last hurrah.

It was actually my morning bus stop because I went to Rutgers Prep and the furtherest south they wanted to send the bus was Jersey Freeze. I spent many mornings sitting at the tables there waiting for the bus.

Apparently the owner is tired of running the business. I hope someone steps up and buys it to take it over and keep it going, but it hardly seems likely, since the owner bought a liquor license 18 months ago specifically so he would have it for this transaction.

A Freehold landmark bites the dust. Sad.


Why the Kindle wasn’t the solution…

There’s been a lot of talk amongst tech folks about the Amazon Kindle – their new e-book reader. Robert Scoble had some pretty harsh words for it. I agree with him mostly, the thing seems ugly. But past that – every product that comes out is supposedly a solution to a problem, a way to make life easier for us. So here’s the question – does the Kindle make reading books, newspapers, and blog easier for us? In my opinion – the answer is a resounding “no”. Folks don’t want to pay for content they already get on the web, and another device just isn’t the answer for reading books. E-Ink is overrated as a way to read stuff. People are USED to reading other things on the devices they have already.

I think Amazon went the wrong direction – they wanted to give people another device – so that the experience of reading a book would be recreated. But I don’t think people want that. I think what they want is the books they have, or that they buy – on ANY device they already own. I think a service like this would be successful. Buy a book – get a hard copy delivered from Amazon, and have the full text of the book available on whatever device you carry with you during the day, so you don’t necessarily have to carry the book with you all the time. Open up your cell phone that has mobile web access – and read a little bit of the book. Power on your iPod Touch or iPhone and do the same. Your books – everywhere. The only place I think this wouldn’t work would be for folks traveling on airplanes. The solution for that would be to have an offline reader app for most devices that use mobile web. Google already has an offline mail client for those devices – would it be so hard for Amazon to do something like this with books?

Jeff Bezos – are you listening? No one wants a $400 device just to read books. They want their books anywhere, on the device they already have. You could make a mint. Just be sure to give me a piece of the action, since I seem to have been the only person to suggest this so far.


Next Great American Band

I’ve been watching “Next Great American Band” and I have to say – I almost ditched it two episodes ago. I usually love all these musical competition shows. I’m an American Idol addict, and I loved Rock Star in both its INXS and Supernova incarnations.

Next Great American Band was great at the beginning because they got down to business. One two hour show highlighting their auditions and their chosen 12 finalist bands. The shows went on from there with a few weeks of two band eliminations. The bands are VERY diverse, and it’s really too bad that more people aren’t watching because they included a bluegrass band, a big band style band, a group of kids all under 16 doing metal and an all girl punk band. The bands basically have to choose a song from the catalog of a particular songwriter each week, and it’s been great fun seeing them do their interpretations of various pop songs in their own styles.

The first few weeks had them doing Bob Dylan, Elton John & Bernie Taupin, and Billy Joel. Those three have a pretty wide variety of songs to choose from for the bands’ differing styles so the bands did well. Cliff Wagner and the Old #7 doing a BlueGrass version of Elton’s “Honky Cat” was excellent, and Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” was a natural for metal kids Light of Doom (those kids can rock!).

But the week before last – the bands were tasked with the songs of Lieber and Stoller. As great as these songwriters were in their day – their most famous stuff is just…well…so cheesey that it was hard for any band not to sound like a cheesey cover band doing any of their songs. Stuff like” Jailhouse Rock”, “Poison Ivy”, and “Love Potion Number Nine” just doesn’t translate to a modern band in any way, shape or form. Thank goodness SixWire was able to pull off the Michael McDonald song “I Keep Forgettin'” to keep things going or I would have dumped the episode.

That episode had me really nervous about coming back – because if they were going to continue with the cheese – I didn’t want to dip back in. Luckily the show came back with a Rolling Stones episode, and while I don’t love the Stones, it at least brought the show back to some of its more rockin’ roots. The Clark Brothers (an all acoustic southern sounding band with great harmonies) – did an amazing version of “Gimme Shelter”, and Tres Bien (a retro 60s-ish band) nailed “Get Off My Cloud”. Even new wavers Dot Dot Dot made good on “Let’s Spend the Night Together”. I’d have to say the worst was by far the kids of Light of Doom – because the key of “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” was all wrong for a kid just hitting puberty.

So – I’ll head back for another week – and I do recommend you do so too. It’s a really fun show, and even though the bluegrass band was eliminated – there are still some great, unusual bands up there. It’s a music competition, but it’s definitely NOT American Idol. Oh and next week – Rod Stewart songs – should be interesting all around….


Tweets from the weekend

Yeah I’ve been lax about posting the tweets. Here are the few from the weekend:


  • Turkey Day done. Sitting on couch watching TIVO’d Next Great American Band.


  • Up with the kid. Breakfast of waffles. Wife off to work – it’s a daddy/daughter day!
  • Lunch done, rest of house cleanup ensues while kid takes a nap.


  • On way back from touristy day in nyc.


  • Up and at ’em for an hour. Kid just got up.
  • Finshed blowing leaves. Can’t wait for the trees to be bare so I don’t have to do that.




People on occasion ask me why, when I finish an email, I sign my name with that string of symbols.


It looks innocent enough. Sometimes it’s mistaken for just a star, with the two dashes being like a standard two dashes and the star distinguishing my name from any other people named Rob.


In actuality – it’s all three symbols together that make up a long forgotten symbol by pretty much anyone but me.


See – back in the days of 300 baud modems, and BBSs, there was a chat system call DDial. DDial was a local hangout for myself and a bunch of other people in my general locale. I’d log on and spend hours talking to people – some of whom I knew in real life, and some who were purely acquaintances in the pre-internet limited version of cyberspace.


Since the ratio of guys to girls on the chat system was skewed heavily to the guys, any female on the chat system developed a large following from all the guys. One girl in particular – her real name was Lisa – actually developed enough of a following to create her own army of approved guys. To be invited into her exclusive club was a great privelege.


Her online handle was “Streak” – and that little symbol I put by my name is the emoticon representation of what she thought a Streak was – something moving from left to right, and then vanishing out of sight in a “poof”. Needless to say – I was at some point granted entrance to the club of Streak followers, thus allowing me permission to use the three characters in my handle.


Not long after that, I actually met Lisa in person. She drove down from Dunellen to my house in Freehold. I had seen her picture from someone else on the chat system I did know in real life and she was cute. So I convinced her to come for a visit to my house. She got lost on the way, and when she arrived, I was smitten. However, being the dork that I was, I had no idea how to entertain a girl. I invited her up to the computer room where we promptly sat down in front of the computer and logged onto…the….chat system….


Being on the chat system is fun when you are by yourself. With someone else – not so much. I’m sure she was bored out of her mind, even as I typed “Streak here with me!” to all on the chats system listening. Proof that I was privileged enough to get a visit from her was certainly impressive.


But she left an hour later. I’m sure she left because I was such a dork. But I kept the two dashes and star combo in my name, and I have ever since. It’s a throwback to a simpler time, and a unique piece of my history I leave there. I always wonder if I will ever come across anyone else who recognizes it, and I haven’t yet, but I like having it there as a reminder of how far we’ve come online since then. And so…I sign my name with it every time without fail.


Tweets 11/19/07

  • At work and ready to roll a short week. Listening to JerseyToddShow 102.
  • Mothpod 65. Not bad so far.
  • Blue Clocks Green’s “Hemingway” up on iPod. Don’t suppose anyone else knows this song, but it’s a great 80s synth pop song.
  • Anyone else having trouble with their Twitter app on Facebook not updating their status on Facebook?
  • Heroes tonight rocked!


Tweets 11/15, 11/16,11/17, 11/18/07


  • Once again, at work, ready to take calls. Firing up iTunes since it’s quiet yet, though that’s a sure way to get some calls.
  • Mothpod 64….and there goes the phone…..
  • Accident Hash Guitar Hero 3 episode playing now….
  • Bagel place for lunch today. Must fufill the cream cheese and lox craving!
  • Has anyone on Podshow’s “Suck Less” zone gotten more than two surveys to do?
  • Seeing as I got no responses on whether people have gotten to do more than 2 surveys for Podshow’s Suck Less, I guess no one has.


  • Matthew Sweet’s cover of “Livin’ Thing” up on iPod. Maybe I’ll have to find some real ELO later….
  • An hour till I’m outta here for the weekend. D&D tonight, woohoo!
  • Replaced keyboard in laptop. Now I can properly tweet from downstairs!


  • *None*


  • House cleaning and prepping. Turkey day at our house this year. Making significant progress, but lunch is needed to refuel me.


Just when you thought….

….the press for the RIAA (and MPAA) couldn’t get any worse, it does.

Apparently, they are targeting financial aid to colleges and universities.

Instead of going after broadband ISPs, where a lot MORE piracy takes place – they have decided that they actually want colleges and universities to accept that the RIAA/MPAA has the power to get their financial aid revoked if they don’t do what they tell them to, regarding online piracy.

From the article:

Moreover, the draft legislation authorizes (but does not appropriate) funds, controlled by the secretary of education, “to develop, implement, operate, improve, and disseminate programs of prevention, education, and cost-effective technological solutions, to reduce and eliminate the illegal downloading and distribution of intellectual property.” These grants may also be used for the “support of higher education centers that will provide training, technical assistance, evaluation, dissemination, and associated services and assistance to the higher education community [on matters of P2P piracy] as determined by the Secretary and institutions of higher education.”

One comment there – from Laura the Geeky Mom – says it better than I can:

Is there similar legislation for commercial ISPs? Is the government threatening them with removal of subsidies or tax breaks if they don’t educate their users or implement technical solutions? I haven’t seen one and yet, as Green notes, they account for 96% of the download volume.

Thatcher says “We understandably get a little tired of being told how to run our business by people who don’t know anything about it.” In essence, that’s what the RIAA and MPAA are doing through this legislation: telling colleges and universities how to run their business. If we want higher education to improve, what we do NOT want to do is divert resources from teaching and research into policing for the RIAA and MPAA.

I believe in respect for copyright and think that illegal downloading is a problem, but the draconian measures that the RIAA has used do nothing to win the “hearts and minds” of their customers. They have yet to provide good fair use provisions for the use of their catalogs. They continue to use DRM and they sue their customers.

I agree with Green that students should get more involved. If they want to change the laws, they can not only vote with their wallets, but with their ballots—vote out the legislators that support these provisions.

By the way, I’m the DMCA agent for our school. I know how much time and effort it takes to manage copyright violations

I mean look – I want artists to get paid for their work, but the RIAA and MPAA do themselves no favors when they target colleges and universities like this – the very institutions that educate and train the people who may one day work in their industries, and who will remember what the RIAA and MPAA did back when THEY when in college.


Tweets 11/13, 11/14/07


  • At work, checking out email and other stuff.
  • And…the prize for first all-Christmas music station this year goes to WODS in Boston! Why? Why? It’s not even turkey day yet!
  • Wow, 3PM already. Busy afternoon! Half hour till quittin’ time. Just waiting for that bird to squawk!
  • Watching kid play with Polly Pockets. Dreading the eventual cleanup of said toys and their hundrreds of tiny little pieces.


  • Morning. Work is good, nothing broken. Jersey folk – watch out for the fog!
  • Springsteen’s “The River” up on iPod. Such an amazing song.
  • @pheninger: Dora is extremely annoying. It’s that saccharine condescension that gets me….
  • Jon Bon Jovi might run for governor of NJ. Funny piece about it here: