Happy Holidays: UNICEF, pecans, Google, magicJack

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Frisco Christmas Lights Yesterday we had some snowy driving when returning from Washington on I-84 (in between The Dalles and Hood River), but that was nothing compared to the beating the Midwest has been getting this December. Reminds me of why I moved to the Mid-Willamette Valley and out of the freezing snowlands.

You need to watch this video: Frisco Christmas Lights – Wizards in Winter. Last year this guy synchronized a huge residential Christmas light display to the song “Wizards in Winter” by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. He did it for his town this year (with inferior results): Carol of the Bells – Frisco Square 2007. Note: This guy from Texas is not to be confused with electrical engineer Carson Williams from Ohio who became famous for doing the same thing in 2005.

See this: UNICEF Photo of the Year 2007. It’s a photo of an 11-year-old Afghan girl and her 40-year-old husband. Her parents gave her up because they needed money.

Play this: UNICEF’s Ayiti: The Cost of Life. Perhaps while considering the uneven distribution of wealth that allows important products like this to exist: Hasbro’s dancing I-CY Penguin. WTF?

You know what’s delicious? Valdosta Pecans Nut Blend by Sahale Snacks. And I don’t even like pecans that much. It’s a mix of pecans, sweet cranberries, black pepper, and orange zest. I think the black pepper is what really sends it over the top into greatness. Valdosta Pecans by Sahale Snacks I plan to try all of their other nut blends. According to the Sahale Snacks website, the most common Oregon stores in which to find Sahale Snacks are Target and Ray’s Food Place.

With all of the candies that have been circulating through the office this holiday season, I was reminded of three of my favorite childhood treats I almost never eat anymore: Swedish Fish (seems like we often had a giant yellow paperboard box of these around), malted milk balls, and this bubble gum-flavored ice cream (with colorful little gumballs) that I used to get on special occasions from a little store where I grew up. Not sure I’d have a taste for bubble gum ice cream anymore.

In web development news: I’ve been updating the Google Analytics tracking code for all of the websites I maintain to take advantage of new features, including better graphing. Have you migrated your Google Analytics code yet? Here are the details for the new “ga.js” tracking code installation. The old “urchin.js” code will still work though for at least another year, according to Google. Google Analytics says: Announcing new graphing tools, ga.js tracking, and six new languages.

A friend of mine has been raving about magicJack. For only a $40 piece of hardware, you acquire a phone number that you can use for free local and long distance calling from anywhere, all via a USB device that plugs into an ordinary landline phone. “Never pay a monthly phone bill again!” Behold the new wonders of VoIP!

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