Monthly Archives: April 2009


Swheat Scoop

I hope Swheat Scoop is ready to quadruple their sales overnight, because I’m endorsing their product.

I mentioned in a previous post how I love clumping litter, right? But the clay-based stuff I used had some annoying properties. It had a great tendency to stick to kitty’s paws, and then slowly drop out later. Little bits of litter ended up on most of the furniture and all the major areas of the floor. Little poky bits that hurt bare feet and scratched hardwood floors. The little bits that didn’t end up on the floor ended up matted into paw hair and/or ingested by my very clean cat.

One can talk about the environmental benefits of wheat litter, and those _are_ good, but it’s the improvement in the tracking properties that really sells me on the stuff. It sticks less, so that it doesn’t get spread around as much in the first place. If it does get spread around, it’s a lot less annoying on the feet and less damaging to the floor. If she does ingest some of the litter during cleaning, I’m not nearly as worried about the toxic effects on the kitty. It clumps just as well and has less overall mass when discarded.

The only bad thing is that the stuff is harder to sweep up with my sweeper (this fairly cool thing), because the grains are very light and are more likely to just get kicked away before they’re swept up than the heavier gravel grains. Well, and you might complain about the price. I haven’t done any actual tracking of how long a pound lasts, but when you look at it in the store, it definitely costs more per pound than a lot of the other stuff. If you’re the type of person that says “$0.50 a day? For a cat!? Outrageous!”, then you may be wary. I should try to figure out how much it really does cost per day; I’ll tell you if I do…


Crap-canceling headphones

You know, we’re near the point where technology can provide us with crap-canceling headphones. You combine three existing technologies:

  • noise-canceling
  • automatic song identification
  • ubiquitous WiFi or cellular data streaming

and make headphones that can automatically recognize crappy songs playing near you (say, on the radio at a restaurant), download the song, and play a complement waveform to cancel out the song without canceling things like the conversation you’re trying to have. Don’t be surprised if you discover subliminal advertisements this way, either.


“Delivery on Demand”

For the approximately 0 readers of this blog who live around here and who haven’t already heard about this from me: go use Delivery on Demand Iowa. It’s a nice little delivery service to get stuff from places that don’t otherwise deliver. In my case, I got a bunch of cat litter delivered quickly and easily.

They’re just getting started, so give ’em some business to encourage them to continue.



I wonder if the term ‘exception’ in computer programming should be renamed. Both the name, and the way that exceptions are treated in typical programming languages, seem to relegate exception handling to a lower status. But really, in a lot of cases, good systems can become great ones via well-designed exception handling.

I recently moved. Long before I did, I placed a pre-order on Amazon. When it came about time to ship the item, Amazon sent me a mail saying “The address on this order is no longer in your address book, are you sure you want to ship it there, or do you want to use another address?”.

Having sorta implemented an e-commerce system, and having pondered them to varying degrees over the years, I never really thought of the “customer moved between when the order was placed and when it shipped” case. I’d be willing to bet that many e-commerce solutions out there don’t very adequately handle that ‘exception’. But I’m glad Amazon’s does.