A Japanese point-of-sale system has the native cunning to recognize baked goods of its own accord, a surprisingly tricky computer vision problem:
Brain Corporation has developed a system that can individually identify all kinds of baked goods on a tray, in just one second. A trial has started at a Tokyo bakery store.
This technology was co-developed with the University of Hyogo. This is the world's first trial of such a system in actual work at a cash register.
Bakery goods POS visual recognition system on trial in Tokyo bakery
Uber, a spunky startup that's made a name for itself by using mobile devices to hook up people with rolling stock -- starting with an app that let idle limo drivers in San Francisco know about people who couldn't get a cab due to the city's notoriously dysfunctional taxi regulations -- has a great new stunt. They're giving ice-cream truck drivers and people who want ice-cream the ability to understand each others' needs: if you're willing to buy five or more ice-creams, you can signal that and nearby truck-drivers will see and respond to your desire. The service is available in Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, and Washington DC.
* You can request ice cream by selecting the ‘ice cream cone icon’ in your Uber app.
* Set the location where you want the ice cream truck to show up and tap ‘request ice cream delivery here.’
* You’ll receive an ETA and be able to communicate with the driver.
* The ice cream truck will deliver five ice creams (you will have the option to order more when the truck arrives).
* We’ll bill your credit card card on file $12 for each bundle you order and hook you up with some sweet Uber swag.
(via Hacker News)
The McDonald's sponsorship deal at the Security Games in London meant that Olympic workers are not allowed to buy chips (AKA fries) unless they come with fish. A chorus of complaints from site workers has led to a relaxation of the sponsorship terms so that workers (but not visitors) can buy their chips from the vendor of their choice, even if they're not served with fish.
From The Guardian's Robert Booth:
It all results from one of the stranger twists of Olympic planning. McDonald's sponsorship deal included the exclusive right to sell chips in and around Olympic venues. Other caterers had negotiated special rights to serve chips with fish – but not chips on their own, or with anything else.
Cue frustrated scenes at the lunch counter in the ceremonies catering area where staff were toiling over the staging for Danny Boyle's 27 July opening extravaganza. "Please understand this is not the decision of the staff who are serving up your meals who, given the choice, would gladly give it to you, however they are not allowed to," read a notice pinned up by staff. "Please do not give the staff grief, this will only lead to us removing fish and chips completely."
"It's sorted," said a spokesman for Locog. "We have spoken to McDonald's about it."
But the embargo will hold in other areas. That means no chips with anything other than fish anywhere else in the park unless spectators dine at McDonald's.
I know a couple of people on the lighting and automation crew at the Security Games and they report that there's a mass lunchtime exodus from the site by its workers every day as they troop off to find anything to eat that isn't McDonald's.
Chip-hungry Olympic workers celebrate freedom from McDonald's monopoly
(Image: Big Mac meal with Chocolate Shake, Fillet-O-Fish, Chicken McNuggets - McDonalds, Hume Hwy AUD16.80, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from avlxyz's photostream)
Click Clack Gorilla's "ode to spaghettieis" celebrates a German ice-cream dish that looks like spaghetti Bolognese. The noodles are extruded white ice-cream. It was invented in 1969, and remains popular.
It really looks like spaghetti, doesn’t it? I imagine that it is made using a machine much like the one that came with the Play Dough restaurant set I had as a child. (Yep, it is, says the internet. Shops use a fancy automatic press, and you can make it at home with any old noodle press.) I’ve never tried it myself, but I’m willing to bet that it’s as much fun to make as it is to eat. A heap of noodle-shaped vanilla ice cream on a bed of whipped cream and covered in strawberry sauce and coconut chips (or nut chips)? Yum.
But the whimsy doesn’t stop there. Oh no! There are other varieties. Carbonara (with a brownish liquor sauce and nuts), and oh crap I can’t remember the rest (I was at the ice cream shop a couple of hours ago, but I’m going to have to call breastfeeding brain on this one). Just take my word for it. It’s a theme with a number of amusing variations.
When Spaghettieis and I met, we fell in love instantly. It was tasty, it was novel, it was cheap (2 DM to the dollar in those days), and it was responsible for at least half of the ten pounds I gained during our month-long high school exchange. I ate it every chance I got, which turned out to be every day during our final week in Krefeld. But the pounds melted back off once I was out of the land of noodle ice cream and sandwiches for breakfast. Did I say yum?
german food: an ode to spaghettieis
(Image: Untitled, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from lainetrees's photostream)
Wikipedia's "Generic citrus sodas" lists 27 (as of this writing) generic equivalents to Mountain Dew/Mello Yello/Sun Drop. "In deference to Mountain Dew's leading position in the market for citrus sodas, most brands of generic citrus soda have the word 'Mountain' in their names." Read aloud in a rush, they're a kind of tone-poem about marketing, dental caries, and caffeine shakes.
1 Citrus Drop/Citrus Drop Xtreme
2 Citrus Pop
3 Heee Haw
4 Hillbilly Holler
5 Kountry Mist
6 Mountain Breeze
7 Mountain Drops
8 Mountain Explosion
9 Mountain Frost
10 Mountain Fury
11 Mountain Holler
12 Mountain Lightning
13 Mountain Lion
14 Mountain Maze
15 Mountain Mellow
16 Mountain Mist
17 Mountain Moondrops
18 Mountain Roar
19 Mountain Rush
20 Mountain Splash
21 Mountain W
22 Mountain Wave
23 Mountain Yeller
24 Mountain Rush
25 Mt. Chill
27 Rocky Mist
Generic citrus sodas
(Thanks, Fipi Lele!)
A1 Concepts "Let's Pizza" vending machines are robots that scratch-bake pizzas in three minutes, to order. In this video, the Let's Pizza is demonstrated by a model (made extra weird by dubbing from some unknown language) in the world's most painful looking stilettos, who stresses again and again how hygienic the machine is, producing pizzas "untouched by human hands" and "in a human-free environment." Your robo-pizza is thus prepared "with a guarantee of total hygiene." The dubbing, the rubegoldbergian gadgetry and the strange, squeamish emphasis on hygiene (as though pizza from a mere human kitchen comes covered in boogers, stray pubic hairs and a thin film of DNA) combine to make this the greatest product demo of all time, ever, in the history of the universe.
The brainchild of Italian entrepreneur Claudio Torghel, the machine will be distributed by A1 Concepts, based out of the Netherlands. It's expected to hit our shores later this year, according to the industry website Pizza Marketplace. The company is expected to set up its U.S. headquarters in Atlanta.
Just what America needs: Pizza vending machines
Miss Cakehead sends us these "Incredible and gross chicken feet cake pops created for the Evil Cake Shop by Miss Insomnia Tulip."
The feet are made from vanilla & raspberry cake, triple dipped in white chocolate with the pop hand painted to resemble a boiled chicken foot; the chicken dipping sauce pop (top) covered with coloured piping gel; the battered chicken foot pop is covered with the dipping sauce and crushed citrus sprinkles to resemble batter. Ruddy amazing Yorkshire based baking talent and a really innovative cake pop design to boot.
Boiled Chicken Feet – Extreme Cake Pops
(Thanks, Miss Cakehead)
AKMA Adam sez, "After three years of living in Glasgow, we couldn't miss the opportunity to return to Cozy Noodle in Evanston -- our favourite restaurant here, where we used to live. We love the food and service, but the thing that sets Cozy apart is its vertiginously happy-mutant decor. The dining room was busy tonight, but I managed a few photos of the collections of Pez dispensers, Beanie Babies, licesnse plates, joke signs, bobbleheads, old-time radios, robots, lunch boxes, and fruit cans. No trip to Evanston will be complete without checking out Cozy's coections. And ask for the Chicken Rama (they'll substitute tofu for the chicken, if you're a vegetarian as I am. Mmmmmmmm!)"
Cozy Noodle [Flickr]
Saipancakes, who normally makes astounding pancakes like the ones above, had a rather spectacular pancakefail (right), prompting him to inaugurate an ugly pancake contest: "Rules: 1. It must be mostly pancake batter, and cooked like a pancake; 2. You (or someone) must eat it. You have until Saturday, May 19, to send me a photo of your creation. Winner will be chosen by my 4-year-old son. Honorable mentions will also be included on the site. Send your photo(s), title, and explanation to..."
Ugly Pancake Contest
The Salon Professionnel du Chocolat's Fujisan is a candle made of chocolate. As it burns down, it oozes molten chocolate onto the cake in which it is mounted. I imagine this would require a lot of patience on the part of the dessert-eater, but it might make a cool centerpiece that the host lights up just before clearing the main course plates.
FUJISAN plays with 2 inescapable elements of birthdays: the candle and the chocolate cake. The idea is to revisit the "fondant au chocolat" by using the candle to obtain the warm heart of the cake. Planted in the biscuit, the chocolate candle melts little by little it and fills the "crater" of the cake. So, the time of a song, the fondant gets ready under our eyes.
The Flickr stream of Jason Liebig -- previously featured for his sticker and packaging photos -- is a good place to go for some bloated, semi-sickened post-Easter-sweets perusal. His "Easter"-tagged candy wrappers include groovy 1960s Life Savers holiday packaging, 1970s Fuzzy Bunny packaging, and an extraordinary 1978 Rodda Candy Company ad (pictured here). All of them are available at very high rez (the one pictured here can be had at 4962 px wide!). I love Liebig's feed of odd candy packaging and ephemera, and was moved by his "collector heartbreak" story about the troubles of shipping rare old paper through the US mail.
JasonLiebig's photostream / Tags / easter
In the Boing Boing store, a bubblegum-based label-writer. Feed it with any standard bubblegum tape, and stamp your message into it before you begin your chewy chewing for choosy chewers.
Bubble Roll Message Maker
UK chancellor George Osborne was confronted on his government's decision to charge value-added tax (VAT) on hot take-away food like pasties. Labour MP John Mann asked Osborne when he'd last had a pasty from Gregg's, a chain of bakeries. Osborne couldn't recall. But PM David Cameron was ready for the question when it next arose at a press conference, stating "I think the last one I bought was from the West Cornwall Pasty Company. I seem to remember I was in Leeds station at the time and the choice was whether to have one of their small ones or one of their large ones. I have got a feeling I opted for the large one, and very good it was too."
The West Cornwall Pasty Company outlet at Leeds station has been gone for two years; there was another pasty baker there, the Cornish Bakehouse, but it closed last week. Patrick Wintour and Martin Wainwright explain in the Guardian:
Despite U-turns on most things this week, Downing Street stuck to its line and insisted that the prime minister had eaten a pasty at Leeds station, but the date was unclear, and possibly the purveyors had not been West Cornwall Pasty Company.
This was just as well, since Gavin Williams, the ungrateful boss of David Cameron's favourite pasty-makers, was not interested in Cameron's endorsement of his product. He wanted "clarity and leadership" from the prime minister.
But clarity is a rare commodity in this area, since it seems a pasty can avoid VAT if it is served cold at the counter and then warmed elsewhere in the shop.
Pasty row hots up for David Cameron
(Image: Cornish Pasty 2, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from hammer51012's photostream)
If you can make homemade corn syrup, you can make homemade marshmallows. If you can make homemade marshmallows, you can make homemade Lucky Charms marshmallows. If you can do that, you are become death, destroyer of worlds.
That said, making homemade Lucky Charms is not for everyone.
You can read that sentence as a warning or as a challenge to be one of the few who are up to the task. I will never make them again. That's not because they turned out poorly. No, quite the opposite - they were amazing! However, homemade Lucky Charms were so labor-intensive that both Jonathan and I are still recovering - we have blisters on our thumbs from continuous pressing on cookie cutters (Jonathan had to take over after my fingers hurt so much that I couldn't cut anymore).
Homemade Lucky Charms - Are You Up for the Challenge? ~ Cupcake Project (via Geekologie)
Just look at them.