Thursday, November 20, 2008

Nokia N96

Nokia just sent me one of their new N96 video phones to try out, so I'll be putting it through its paces over the next few weeks. Look for some impromptu footage here on the blog as well as on the Nokia viNe site. So far, it looks like a pretty capable device for both still and video work on the fly. It's a little on the big/heavy side for a phone, but if the picture quality is what I expect the extra heft will be worth it: 5 megapixel camera with built in flash and video lights, Carl Zeiss lens, digital zoom, and it shoots MP4 video at up to 30 frames per second VGA. This is all married to a full-featured multi-media device that combines a digital media player, live TV, and web/e-mail connectivity with built-in wireless internet, true GPS, and all the features you'd expect in a top-notch phone. The key will be living with it to see if the integration truly works. I'm hoping it does, as it could be the first device that would allow me to replace a Flip-type camcorder, GPS, and smart phone with one fairly small unit that's with me all the time.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What Supplies Do I Need?

Posted on the AOTD Forum by DanTheMan:

Q - I am thinking of putting together a small home bar. I am looking to invest in a shaker set, and there seem to be quite a few options. I can go 16oz, 18oz or 28oz. Which would be my best choice?

Also, what tools would you say are essential for someone just starting their bar?

A - My go-to shaker setup is a stainless steel 28 oz. tin (available at any restaurant supply store or online at sites like Instawares for under $3) paired with a standard 16 oz. pint glass (about $1) and a 4-prong stainless bar strainer (under $2). Since the whole setup costs less than six bucks, I usually keep two sets in the house for parties and one in the car just to be sure I have quality tools if called upon to bartend at someone else's place (which will happen all the time once people know you mix). Avoid consumer sets like those sold at Linens-N-Things, Target, etc., as they're way overpriced and just don't work as well.

Beyond that, all you really need is a bag of pour spouts (also available online or at a restaurant supply store for about $12) and lots of hand towels and you're good to go. If you want to get more complicated, I'd add a muddler (splurge a bit here and get the VIVA! Stick from New York Bar Store -- at $10 it's the best muddler I've ever used), a twister (for making citrus twists properly, under $10), and a 3.25" x 24" drink mat ($9). The next level would add a set of Store-N-Pour containers for juices, a glass rimmer for salting glasses, a bar caddy to hold cocktail napkins/straws/stirrers, and a garnish tray. Anything beyond that and you're basically opening a restaurant!

One thing people do tend to overlook when they're setting up a home bar is glassware, and ironically it's probably the most important element. Be sure to a have a good selection of commercial-quality glasses in all the standard service sizes: pint, white wine (for home use you can serve both red and white in these), highball, and martini glasses are the minimum. From there, you can add red wine glasses, champagne flutes, rocks, and cordial glasses. Again, I'd go to a restaurant supply store or online site like Instawares. If you plan on hosting a lot of parties, just buy a case of each and keep the boxes to store the glassware in a closet or garage when you're not using them.

Good luck and let me know how it goes!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Episode 67: Shark Ice

Anthony travels to Positano, Italy, and discovers a new orange-flavored martini!

Right click and "Save As" to download Video | Phone Format | PSP

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