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August 04, 2005
Google is hiring two chefs

Gray Hat Search Engine News has a funny take about a Google job posting for two executive chefs.

For the foodies who are interested, you can find a more culinary summary of the job opportunity at the GoogleBlog.

Posted by Gus at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)

July 24, 2005
Google Maps of the Moon

In honor of the first manned Moon landing, which took place on July 20, 1969, Google added some NASA imagery to the Maps interface -- check out their use of Google Maps technology on Google Moon.

And they have a sense of humor – check out their job posting for their lunar location called Google Copernicus Center.

Update: It's looks like Google's sense of humor is getting more cheesy -- zoom in all the way on the moon image to find out why.

Update 2: We're also playing with a Google Map of Miami, Florida. We're plotting local restaurants, hotels, and real estate. The Miami Map is in beta. The official launch is August 3, 2005.

Posted by Gus at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2005
Google Maps - Miami Fire/Rescue Incidents combines data from fire and rescue events across the country with the Google Map. The Miami-Dade County feed is refreshed every 10 minutes. Users can also search by street, and setup alerts, to be notified when incidents happen on streets they wish to monitor.

Future additions will include city-based RSS police/fire/911 feeds, and radius-searching.

Posted by Michelle at 09:10 AM | Comments (0)

July 13, 2005
Google currency conversion tool

Google added a new currency conversion tool to their help page. I just used it to convert "70 miles to kilometers".

Source: Google Help Desk

Posted by Gus at 07:28 PM | Comments (0)

June 10, 2005
Google Maps - Florida Sexual Predators

This week, the Miami Beach City Commission passed a law that bars convicted sex offenders from living within a half mile of schools or other places where children gather. This City of Miami is voting on a similar law, next week.

Coincedently I came across this Google maps hack that tracks sexual preditors in Florida. Just type in your zip code and see who lives nearby.

Posted by Gus at 03:11 PM | Comments (0)

Disposable video cameras

CVS Pharmacy, with 6 stores in Miami Beach, is selling disposable digital video cameras. The $30 pocket-sized cameras can capture up to 20 minutes of video and sound. CVS then will process the camera for $13 and return a DVD.

Source: Wired

Update: BoingBoing says...

"enterprising hackers are racing to reverse-engineer the camcorder so that they can extract their own video and make multiple uses of the camera without paying repeatedly. A hacker has posted the pinouts for the camera on a Linux site, so victory is surely in hand:

1 no connection
2 ground
3 no connection
4 Battery + (probably used to verify the battery level when recycling)
5 no connection
6 USB +5V
7 ground
8 USB Data +
9 USB Data -
10 ground

Pins 6 - 9 is the only pins needed to connect to a USB port.

Posted by Gus at 08:09 AM | Comments (0)

June 08, 2005
All nine of Beethoven's symphonies

The BBC is releasing all nine of Beethoven's symphonies (five are up now) as MP3s. I downloaded Symphony 1 (29 MB) using a DSL connection and it took 21 minutes.

Thanks: Boing Boing

Posted by Gus at 11:15 AM | Comments (0)

Tony Montana action figure

I'm happy to announce the release of the Tony Montana action figure from Brian DePalma's 1983 cult-classic film "Scarface".

Tony Montana Action Figure Features:

• Real cloth outfit with a white suit and red silk shirt
• M-92 pistol, switchblade knife, and wad of $20 bills
• Al Pacino likeness with scar, tattoo, and gold chain

Nine voice phrases captured from the film

• Why don't you try sticking your head up your *** - see if it fits.
• You got good stuff here, class A ****.
• I kill a communist for fun, but for a green card, I carve him up real nice.
• Uh-oh!
• Chi Chi, Chi Chi, get the yeyo!
• This country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women.
• All I Have in this world is my ***** and my word, and I don't break 'em for nobody, understand?
• I bury those cockaroaches! [Listen]

Your Price: $45.00

Now, I wouldn't pay $45 for a doll, but I love the movie. My favorite line is when Robert Loggia is on his knees, pleading for his life and Tony says "I'm not gonna kill you." Then Tony turns to his partner and says "Manolo, shoot that piece a ****" (bang).

If you have a favorite scene from the movie post it in the comments.

Posted by Gus at 08:12 AM | Comments (4)

June 07, 2005
Wi-Fi connections on United Airlines

United Airlines and Verizon Airfone have become the first companies to receive Federal Aviation Administration approval to install the necessary cabin equipment to enable passenger and crew use of wireless technology (Wi-Fi) devices on board U.S. domestic commercial aircraft while in flight.

The date that customers can begin using Wi-Fi devices on United has yet to be determined by the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) scheduled "Air-to-Ground" auction to be held in the coming months, where service rights will be awarded to one or more providers for onboard passenger access to the Internet.

Posted by Gus at 08:54 AM | Comments (0)

"Transparency in Teleconferencing"

John J Nance from ABC News has written an interesting article that forsees the Airlines greatest future competition is "transparency in teleconferencing" and it's coming impact on the Airline Industry.

"When it matures to the status of transparency — when people can sit in two different parts of the planet and see and hear each other with the same degree of transparency we've achieved with voice communications — two very large challenges to commercial aviation will begin to roll across the industry like an economic hurricane — a change driven first by convenience, and then by cost.

Imagine sitting in a comfortable, well-appointed boardroom with your counterparts in full color and essentially three-dimensional clarity across the table in what appears to be the other half of the same room — when in fact they're in Tokyo or London and presented to your eyes as a high-definition, digitally reassembled, liquid crystal image on a seemingly transparent glass wall that divides the table. When someone speaks, you hear his or her voice coming from the same place you see their image. No cameras jerk around, eye contact is instant and easy, and documents can be exchanged in full color by very high-speed facsimile devices built into the table. Add to this a new breed of service organizations that will specialize in catering the same lunch on the same plates on both sides of an ocean, and you have what we in aviation have understood for a very long time: The effectiveness of good simulation. With the realism of a flight simulator, you're essentially together, with the exception that trying to shake hands through the glass won't work.

Now, imagine a cost of $40 per person per day versus $400 to $600 and you see why, when the technology matures to achieve transparency (where the medium no longer gets in the way), businesses simply won't have a choice. The result will be a massive decline in business airline travel.

He's right. Already, I've seen a Blackberry and Instant Messenging transform many small businesses.

But $40 for three-dimensional clarity, with high-speed faxes, and lunch off the same plates sounds too good to be true.

I'd pay $100 for a service like that. What's it worth to you? Post your answers in the comments.

Source: ABC News

Posted by Gus at 07:28 AM | Comments (0)

June 02, 2005
One Word Movies

Ask OneWordMovie [Flash] for any term and then watch as it produces a movie made from image search results of Google and others.

I serched: miamibeach411, keithrichards, (and a few adult-related queries) and the movies we're impressive to say the least ;-)

It gave Blogoscoped a headache, but you can control the speed and fps if you start to feel dizzy.

Posted by Gus at 09:44 AM | Comments (0)

May 30, 2005
Click Red

Blogoscoped has a fun game on his site called ClickRed. – It's very easy to play - all you need to do is click the red square (but watch out, it’s moving, and clicking anything else takes you back to the previous level).

Posted by Gus at 07:26 PM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2005
Real estate listings on the web

In an effort to resolve a dispute with the Department of Justice that has gone on for over a year and a half, the National Association of Realators will look into developing a single policy regarding the way property listings are displayed on the internet. Among the antitrust issues from the DOJ's standpoing has been whether or not agents could withhold their listings from some online websites.

"The NAR will try to develop a policy that is acceptable to both the NAR and the DOJ. The NAR has long held that real estate professionals should retain the right to control whether and how their own listings may be used or displayed by other real estate professionals."

The implelmentation of the NAR's Virtual Office Web site (VOW) policy has been postponed to January 1, 2006, in hopes that the two sides could reach an agreement on this issue.

Read more Miami real estate news.


Posted by Gus at 12:58 PM | Comments (1)

May 20, 2005
Hurricane Adrian projected path

Is it too early to be tracking Hurricane Adrian? The Flablog doesn't think so. Take a look at the map of Adrian's projected path.

Meanwhile, this juicy florida blog also says that that NOAA Hurricane website fans can chill about Sen. Santorum's bill threatening the site. It's still without a single co-sponsor.

Posted by Gus at 12:30 PM | Comments (0)

South Florida: Spam capital of the world

I'm aware South Beach is the dog shit capital of the world, but I had no idea South Florida was the SPAM capital of the world.

The Sun-Sentinel recently published a story about how South Florida is home to more spammers than any other place in the world according to Spamhaus. The reason for this seems to be Florida's long history with dirty business. Among the interesting tidbits is evidence that the amount of spam worldwide fell for a while after last year's hurricanes.

Come to think of it, last year during the storms our DSL connection was down for a few weeks.

Apparently the FBI office in Miami is so overwhelmed with fraud claims that they can only look at the major cases.

Source: Slashdot

Posted by Gus at 11:42 AM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2005
Google Maps - Cheap Gas

Ahding made a Google Maps hack to find cheap gas.

Thanks Blogoscoped

Posted by Gus at 12:56 PM | Comments (0)

May 09, 2005
iPod vending machines

iPod vending machines are coming soon to an airport near you.

"Apparently, when a customer inserts their credit card to acquire a music player on an impulse buy, a robot arm selects the device and drops it gently to the serving hatch."

Links: MacWorld, Pic

Posted by Gus at 01:46 PM | Comments (0)

May 06, 2005
Specialized Search Engines

Search engines come in all shapes and sizes. For instance, Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. MiamiBeach411 is a local search engine that connects businesses, news, and events to the web.

This is a site you should know about -- ZabaSearch is a search engine that specializes in personal data. Here is what Wired had to say:

"A search for personal data on -- one of the most comprehensive personal-data search engines on the net -- tends to elicit one of two reactions from first-timers: terror or curiosity. Which reaction often depends on whether you are searching for someone else's data, or your own.

ZabaSearch queries return a wealth of info sometimes dating back more than 10 years: residential addresses, phone numbers both listed and unlisted, birth year, even satellite photos of people's homes."

I gave it a test and the results are very accurate.

Here are some other specialized search engines that aren't so scary:

Encarta, Wikipedia

Magazine articles:
AJR Newslink Magazines

Newspaper articles:
AJR Newslink Newspaper Index

Current news:
Google News

Radio stations:

Literature in the public domain:
OnLine Books Page, Search eBooks, Bartleby Library

Copyrighted books in print:
Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Google Images, Pics4Learning, Fagan Finder, ebay Postcards, Corbis

Images, sounds, videos of animals:

Images and info about any product of the last two centuries:


Primary source documents:
Library of Congress American Memory

Federal (U.S.) legislation:

Company information:
Thomas Register, Industrial Quick Search

Biographical Dictionary,, Biography-Center, Lives

Perry-Castañeda, Maptech MapServer (topo)

Country profiles:
CIA Factbook, Atlapedia, Kiosk: Journal of Geopolitics

Military information:

State & county profiles:
US Census Dept QuickFacts

Medical information:


U.S. Patent Office

Movies, actors:
Internet Movie Database

TV episodes:

Shareware & freeware:
VersionTracker, C|Net Download, Tucows

Even more:
Search-Engines2, Webquest, Search Engine Colossus

Did I miss anyone?

Posted by Gus at 07:00 AM | Comments (1)

May 05, 2005
Inflatable travel pillow

Travel pillows are a must. I always kick myself when I forget to bring one on a trip.

The average travel pillow leaves much to be desired. Because of the fillers---usually styrofoam, microbeads, or buckwheat hulls---the pillows make strange crunchy noises everytime you move your head.

The good folks at Eagle Creek must have had these complaints in mind when they designed the inflatable Comfort Travel Pillow ($15). The pillow's self-sealing Air Flow valve allows you to inflate the pillow in three deep breaths, and because there's no filler material, strange crunchy noises have been eliminated.

Posted by Gus at 12:04 PM | Comments (0)

May 04, 2005
Passport Update: Mo Money Mo Problems

If you're an American thinking of heading to the Caribbean next winter, keep in mind that under the new Homeland Security regulations you'll need a passport to re-enter the US on your return. Starting December 31 of this year, all travelers entering the US by air or sea from the Caribbean, Bermuda, Central America, and South America will need to show a passport. Likewise, a passport will be needed to enter the country from Canada and Mexico starting December 31 of 2006.

Other recent passport legislation includes the addition of a $12 surcharge on new applications and renewals. The surcharge will finance the department's high-tech upgrade of passports to include computer chips containing a scannable copy of the data page and photo.

The Department of State planned to introduce these new passports in late 2005 but that date has been pushed back due to continued research on the security of the proposed design.

The government had long maintained that the passport chips to be used could be read from only 10 cm away. But at least one test showed that a reader could read a passport chip from 30 feet away.

Because the government had decided not to encrypt data contained on passport chips, the chips exposed passport holders to privacy risks, such as skimming and eavesdropping.

Skimming occurs when an intruder with a reading device in the vicinity of the passport holder surreptitiously reads the electronic information on the chip without the passport holder knowing. Eavesdropping occurs when an intruder intercepts data as it's being transmitted from the chip to an authorized reader.

If you are applying for a passport or renewing your current one, be sure to use the most current forms, available on the department's website.

Sources: Wired, Fodor's

Posted by Gus at 08:06 AM | Comments (1)

April 27, 2005
Wi-Fi coming to a hotel near you

At the North American Wi-Fi Symposium, wireless providers unveiled their offerings for the hospitality and travel industry:

“Airports, restaurants, hotels and resorts are becoming virtual mini-cities,” said Jim Bailey, director of Hotel Technology and Services with Intercontinental Hotels Group.

Travelers are driving the need for every segment of the hospitality industry to adopt and offer wireless capabilities so that seamless communications while they are on the road can be maintained with their home or office networks or the world at large.”

I expect Wi-Fi, VoIP and RFID tags will impact the hospitality industry quite a bit.

By 2007, there will be 31 million Wi-Fi, or wireless, users in North America, up from 16.5 million today and 1.6 million in 1992.

On a related note, yesterday I posted a list of Hotels in Miami Beach that offer internet access.

Source: Buyer Interactive

Posted by Gus at 01:29 PM | Comments (0)

April 26, 2005
Hotels with internet access

Miami Beach Hotels are adding free Wi-Fi high speed internet access as an amenity for their guests.

Many local hotels offer free Wi-Fi in guest rooms as well as public areas like lobbies, meeting rooms, restaurants, and poolside. Other hotels may charge a fee, ranging from $10 to $15 per day. Check with the hotels for their policies.

Below is a list of hotels in Miami Beach that provide high speed internet access for hotel guests:

Casa Grande
Eden Roc
Ocean Five
Park Central
Ritz Carlton
RIU Floirda
Royal Palm
Shore Club
St. Augustine
The Hotel

You'll need to be a hotel guest to access the free internet access in the guest rooms, but the Wi-Fi in public areas may be available to non-guests. ;-)

Posted by Gus at 12:03 PM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2005
Travel Soother

Unwanted noise is a given when you travel, but now you can tune it out with a clever new toy called the Travel Soother. This device is a radio/alarm clock from Sharper Image that comes with a built-in ambient sound feature that can play 20 different "soundscapes" to help ease you into a blissful nights sleep.

Posted by Gus at 07:54 PM | Comments (0)

April 20, 2005
Miami RSS - Tracking with Bloglines

Okay, so i'm fairly new to blogging, and have just learned about RSS -- the acronym means Really Simple Syndication -- RSS feeds are files that tell you what is new on a site.

Tracking RSS feeds is a great way to stay up-to-date on news and information that interests you.

What you will learn
This post is intended to get you to the point where reading and using RSS is simple. Including subscribing to RSS feeds and using the most popular web based feed reader: Bloglines.

There are many other ways to subscribe to RSS feeds. There are other good aggregators out there including MyYahoo, but the point here though is to get you up to speed in the fastest time possible.

Open an Account at Bloglines
First, get a bloglines account - just follow the instructions, it's very simple and should only take a minute.

Start out with some good feeds
Below is a list of some of the better Florida related blogs and travel news resources - the links themselves are special, they will automaticlally take you to your Bloglines account and prompt you to subscribe to the feed. Give it a try, you should find the interface very self explanatory...

Miami News Blog
Yahoo Miami News
NBC6 Local News
About (Miami/Miami Beach)
MSNBC: Travel
CNN: Travel
Travel Channel News
NYT - Travel
Miami Hearld: Infomaniac
Miami New Times

A few more blogs of general interest

Fodore’s Travel Wire
Dave Barry Blog
Bark Bark Woof Woof
Hidden City
Miami Huricane
Hotel Chatter
Hospitality News
In Flight

And those you just can’t live without

Boing Boing
Doc Searls

Checking Your Feeds & Subscribing to More
Bloglines updates once an hour, so all you need to do now is bookmark your feeds page and check it a few times a day to keep up with the feeds you've subscribed to.

To subscribe to other sites you'll need to first check that they actually have a feed. Usually you'll see an orange XML button, or a specific bloglines subscribe button somewhere in the navigation. You can see MiamiBeach411’s just to the right at the top of the page. If there is a specific Bloglines one, then just click it, if not, grab the url of the XML link and then go to your bloglines account. On the left panel, you'll see a link to "add" – just click it and paste the XML URL into the form and your done.
It's just that easy.

Also see:
Using Bloglines: How to keep up with dozens of blogs everyday (pics)

Posted by Gus at 11:53 AM | Comments (0)

Webmaster to the Pope

A Jacksonville, Florida-based writer purchased the rights to on April 1 -- more than two-and-a-half weeks before Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger announced that he would assume the papacy under the name of Benedict XVI.

Thankfully, the writer is a man of high moral values. He said that he bought the domains as a game -- not as a way to make money by cybersquatting. Besides, he added, "If I didn't do it, someone less reputable would."

Source: Wired

Posted by Gus at 08:02 AM | Comments (0)

April 18, 2005
Miami biotechnology village

Research laboratories now under construction at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center are part of a plan to transform two gritty city neighborhoods into a biotechnology village — an urban version of the Scripps project under way in rural Palm Beach County.

Miami City Manager Joe Arriola says...

"it will be a live-work-play research community with high-rise space for health and biotech businesses. Plus, it will include accessible housing for the staff and scientists who will work there — all of it a few miles from Miami Beach, the city's downtown and Miami International Airport."

"We're acquiring some land east and west of I-95. Believe me, we're going to create a new city."

The City reports to be streamlining the permitting process, rewriting its zoning, and coordinating planning for the entire region through a process it's calling the Miami Partnership.

Source: Palm Beach Post

Posted by Gus at 08:30 PM | Comments (0)

Google Maps - Miami real estate

Paul Rademacher combines Craigslist real estate listing with Google Maps to make for a very interesting application.

To view up-to date-real estate listings across the country, click the map, select a city, and choose: For Rent or For Sale.

Thanks, Blogoscoped.

Posted by Gus at 04:53 PM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2005
Hotel role-playing game

Are you dreaming of a vacation, but lacking the necessary funds? Habbo Hotel is an online role-playing game designed for 13 to 18 year olds. Users can log into the hotel, create their own character, and communicate with other people.

What's impressive is each month the site has 3.6 million visitors.


Posted by Gus at 07:55 AM | Comments (0)

April 05, 2005
Florida Straits drug research

Reefs along the Florida Straits may lead potential cures for diseases such as cancer and Alzheimers.

On Monday, the Harbor Branch drug discovery group began a 2-week expedition to explore the Florida Straits in search of organisms that produce chemicals with the potential to cure diseases .

The work will include the first submersible exploration of the remote Cay Sal Bank, which encompasses a number of small, uninhabited islands 30 miles north of Cuba. Researchers expect to discover pristine reefs that could lead to a new reputation for the area as the source of lifesaving drugs.

Regular dispatches and photos from the expedition will be posted here.

Posted by Gus at 02:59 PM | Comments (0)

Google Satellite Maps

The Google Blog announced that Google has unveiled a new feature that will enable its users to zoom in on homes and businesses using satellite images. This marks the first time Google has offered free access to high-tech maps through its search engine. Users previously had to pay $29.95 to download a version of Keyhole's basic software package.

"Google believes most people will like the convenience of generating a satellite image with a few clicks of a computer mouse. The company envisions people using the service as a way to scout a hotel's proximity to the beach for a possible vacation or size up the neighborhood where an apartment is for rent."

To give Google Satellite Maps a whirl, click “Satellite” on the right, and try entering “33139”.

Posted by Gus at 09:37 AM | Comments (0)

April 01, 2005
Business Travelers Prefer Booking Online

According to emarketer, Business travelers are keeping online travels sites busy and booking online.

"In 2003, 57% said they preferred to book online. Two years later, the figure has risen to 71%. Meanwhile, those who prefer using a travel agent, either on the phone or in person, has fallen from 39% to 24%."

Hey, all you Business travelers out there, you can book hotels in Miami Beach at Miami Beach 411, or call us at 1-800-573-6351.

Posted by Gus at 09:54 AM | Comments (0)

March 28, 2005
The Captain backlash

Captain Morgan and his new blog are taking a beating from some of the brightest minds in the blogosphere.

Robert Scoble says...

"No comments? Lame. That tells us you don't think we're important enough to listen to. No RSS? Lame. That tells us you don't want connectors/sneezers/influentials to talk about you and you don't want anyone to have a relationship with you on THEIR TERMS. No real human author? That tells us that you aren't passionate or authoritative about your product and you aren't willing to get over your fear of talking with real customers."

The Head Lemur joins in...

"The captain will perform a community service as some kid will get on the site, join the club, get the rum and get his silly ass killed. The parents will sue for millions and despite all the disclaimers, privacy statements, and lawyerly, they will win and make the captain do a 9000 city tour for Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

gapingvoid's "The "Beyond Lame" Award of The Week goes to..."

Now, I'm not hating on Captain's blog. I just started blogging myself, but I did notice the hundreds of comments on the website. It seems strange that a such a new blog would have so many comments. You don't think the marketing department at Captain Morgan’s Rum would stoop so low as to stuffing comments, do you?

Posted by Gus at 05:06 PM | Comments (2)

Podcasting in South Beach

Have you heard of "podcasting"? It's best described as blogging meets radio meets ipod.

Podcasting is a web-based broadcast medium. A podcast is like an audio magazine article: a listner receives audio programs delivered via the internet, and can listen to them at their leisure.

The medium started gaining exposure after former MTV VJ, Adam Curry, did a live podcast as he walked around South Beach. Adam calls it a "soundseeing tour." It's like a sightseeing tour, except that you experience the tour through sound instead of sight.

urlgreyhot sums it up nicely...

"What I really loved about this podcast is that it really creates what he refers to as the "theater of the mind". On his walk, you hear: street construction sounds; a chat he has with a crazy misanthropic passerby who seems to care a lot about getting a swimming pool and a Walmart in South Beach; lots of Spanish as he passes sidewalk cafes; and a chat with DuoLive, some Brooklyn kids selling their CDs."

If you have 30 minutes, Adam's South Beach podcast is definitely worth a listen.

Posted by Gus at 05:30 AM | Comments (1)
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Google is hiring two chefs
Google Maps of the Moon
Google Maps - Miami Fire/Rescue Incidents
Google currency conversion tool
Google Maps - Florida Sexual Predators
Disposable video cameras
All nine of Beethoven's symphonies
Tony Montana action figure
Wi-Fi connections on United Airlines
"Transparency in Teleconferencing"
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