Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Media Makes Me Hungry

I am notorious for watching the Food Network while I eat dinner. I have no problem with fixing myself a huge steak and plopping down on the couch, flipping to channel 35 and listening to Emeril tell me about pot roasts and parfaits.

It seems that the joy of cooking has taken shape across all media, and its presence online is no exception. I am a loyal reader of Slashfood (a site that gets fed into my Bloglines, of course) but suddenly I find myself checking many other obscure food sites as well. Gone are the days of merely posting recipes; consumers are now actively posting instructional videos, step-by-step photos and networking with each other. Here is a list of my favorites:

1) SmittenKitchen
First of all, the name is adorable. Second of all, the photography is so amazing that you find yourself drooling for hours. I am a fan of the "skyscraper cakes" entry, and the woman behind it all seems to have quite a loyal following already.

I come from a family that loves to snack, so what better way to find out about the latest and greatest munchies? features reviews on chips, cookies and everything in between.

3) Tastespotting
A place to showcase pictures of food. 'Nuff said. Caution: do not visit this site on an empty stomach.

4) French Laundry at Home
For those of us who will never experience Thomas Keller's genius at the actual restaurant, we can at least watch this guy attempt to make recipes from the cookbook.

5) TastyFood TV
A "Lifestyle Food TV Network Community for Video Sharing," with helpful user videos. Some of them are lengthy (7 min for tiramisu) and others are much more simple (egg poaching).

6) CookThink
This site poses the simple question "What are you craving?" and then answers it with their database of recipes. This is great for when you want something specific but aren't sure how to prepare it, or what to pair it with.

7) Nook & Pantry
More scrumptious food imagery. Not much else to say, other than they had me at their Nutella Stuffed Brioche French Toast.

Now, please see my previous entry on Nike+. After you read all these food sites, you may need to go for a run or two also. ;)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Training is officially underway for the Nike Women's Marathon (I am running the half marathon, though I have actually considered running the full) which means lots of alcohol-free Friday nights and early weekend runs. While it sounds crazy to sacrifice certain social activities in favor of hardcore cardiovascular exercise, it feels great to run in the morning around the city. Less touristy, more foggy...and super fantastic.

I admit that I have a certain sweet spot for cute running/workout clothes, especially from Nike. While I don't wear Nike running shoes (sticking to Brooks for now), I am a huge fan of their shorts and jackets. Most recently, I invested in Nike+. "Invested" is probably not the most accurate word, since it implies a high cost and a lot of hassle. So far, it has been very easy! All you have to do is attach a small sensor to your shoe, and one to your iPod. Then you create an account on

Today is the first day I'm going to test it out, so I have been poking around on the site and getting my info all set up. I'm already a huge fan, mostly for the following reasons:

1) You can set goals for yourself (based on distance, number of calories you'd like to burn, etc.)
2) Data will be automatically transmitted to, where your progress will be monitored and aggregated
3) You can challenge friends (maybe you both want to run a certain distance, etc.)
4) No, you don't need Nike shoes; there are many companies that sell clips and shoe wallets to help attach the sensor to whatever kind you wear
5) You can set a "Power Song" for extra motivation
6) During your run, Nike+ will periodically tell you your progress (time, pace, etc.)
7) You can download guided workouts that have music as well as training information from coaches
8) It was only $29

While running is an escape for me (especially after a long day of being chained to a computer), I am looking forward to this little bit of technology to help motivate me and keep me on schedule.

If only it could slap my hand for me every time I eat more of this peanut butter cookie...

P.S. I am looking for Power Song suggestions! If anyone has any they want to throw out there, please let me know!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Cool Site Roundup

Shopping sites rolled into one; similar to many comparison shopping sites but with a better interface

Social networking and shopping; allows you to create profiles and share outfit ideas with others

Gives you info from but without all the clutter

Finest example of web 2.0 shopping; you can even shop by color

A service that makes your Mii look more realistic (because who wants to play Wii Sports unless you have a Mii doppelganger?)

Share cab rides with people that are going to the same destinations (still in beta for NY only)

I've included this link purely for fun. I am a huge fan of food blog sites, and this one is far and away one of the coolest (the photography is fabulous!)

Play With Your Food

KFC has hopped on the viral marketing bandwagon with its new campaign for Teriyaki Boneless Wings. Artist Phil Hansen has created a one-of-a-kind mural of Colonel Sanders and the process was videotaped and then uploaded onto YouTube. Don't worry, the full 8-hour production was sped up for the most efficient viewing experience possible. What better way to showcase your new product than to have someone coat their hands and feet in teriyaki sauce then paint a mural on the wall (wow, I think Michaelangelo just turned over in his grave). Consumers are able to bid on the actual painting beginning on July 18.

Between McDonald's and their mommy correspondents to videos of a guy painting with buffalo sauce, has marketing taken a desperate turn toward viral and social media trends?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Ryder's Fireside Corner #3

"The HOTTEST search blog on the net"

I think our friends at MSN AdCenter must have gotten hold of my Christmas wish list. I found lovingly nestled on my desk a gift bag containing the two things I desired most in the whole wide world: Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate and MS Office 2007!!! And boy have I been pleased though at first upload Vista was running like Adam Stalker (slow and awkward) but after downloading the many updates and patches since initial launch I could feel the raw power humming beneath my fingertips.

As for MS Office, I have finally found the venue to unleash my unbridled Excel fury which makes me more powerful than Superman, The Incredible Hulk, Spiderman, and RJ Hilgers combined.

A few of my favorite features:

Vista -
* Desktop gadgets
* Swirly processing icon
* Thumbnail display during Alt + Tab program scrolling
* Overall faster

Office 2007 -
* Excel
- Over one million rows (They heeded my beckon!)
- Additional autofilter selector functions
- Deduplicate, count, average, and more on the fly! (IF functions need not apply)
* Powerpoint, Word, Outlook
- Who cares? Excel 2007, baby!

MSN AdCenter, you just secured yourself a seat at the head table.

-Will add more later, going to play with my new MS software!

Baseball is Good For You

AT&T Park, home to my beloved SF Giants, recently installed solar panels in three areas of the stadium. Combined, they generate approximately 120 kilowatts of electricity (I am no kilowatt expert, but that sounds like a heck of a lot more than 0 kilowatts!). For a city that prides itself on being green and staying on top of environmental issues, even landmarks like this can support all of these efforts.

So even though I won't be able to enjoy my standard ballpark fare (hot dog, nachos, churro- in that order) during the off-season, at least I'll know that AT&T is making contributions to our lovely planet.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

"If you don't mind me asking..."

In a city where the restaurants are amazing, the weather is fair (hey, I like the fog!) and there is always something to do...the rent is going to be high. Friends of mine have been known to come by my apartment and be shocked by the size of the place, mostly because there is a separate dining room and foyer. Naturally, they inquire about my rent and I never have a problem with telling them. But since it's not something I like to broadcast to the entire city, I'm glad that there is now a Rentometer around.

This site, with a very simple and user-friendly interface, allows you to enter an address and see the comparable rent for apartments in the area. This is extremely helpful for people that are looking to move into a new place and don't want to get ripped off by the landlord. As for me, I just wanted to see if the cost of the foyer was really paying off in the long run...

Getting Schooled

From Gordon Ramsay's "perfect scrambled eggs" video to incriminating snippets of your friends doing karaoke, YouTube certainly has it all these days. While some people could argue that YouTube is not exactly a reputable source for most information, you cannot deny the fact that there are some gems buried beneath the exploding mentos/Diet Coke demonstrations and narcoleptic cat videos.

Moshe Pritsker, a former Harvard researcher, decided to turn the popular video sharing site into a vehicle for sharing scientific experiments. Ranging from lizards to stem cells, he has been able to share results and findings with his community in a new way. Check out the wide range of videos on his site called Journal of Visualized Experiments.

My prediction is that YouTube will continue to emerge as a tool for educators. It is a user-friendly method of sharing information that is otherwise difficult to communicate.