Daily Giz Wiz 725: Flaming Fruitcake

Episode 725 of the podcast

Flaming Fruitcake
Subject: Review of Flaming Fruitcake
Released:Friday 19 December 2008
Length:about 24 minutes
Download file:dgw0725.mp3 (10.9 MB)

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Short info

From the Gadget Warehouse: The Flaming Fruitcake.

Detailed information

Made by Grandma Keenan Specialty Products, the Flaming Fruitcake looked like a Christmas log but was intended for the fireplace as a combustible log.  Made of sawdust, wax, colour wood and colouring agents, it was not a food product.  "Have fun burning these calories."  "Finally a fruitcake you will enjoy."  Dick got it in 1991 from a PR agent, and the only reference to it on the web one can find is on Living On Earth, 24 December 1993.

Gadget Ideas

Steve Greenberg writes in his book Gadget Nation that it's not enough to have a good idea for a gadget.  It's all about marketing and distribution.

Mad Over Time

The Mad cover with Obama morphing into Alfred E Neuman (Yes We Can't) has been named by Time Magazine as one of the Top 10 Magazine Covers of 2008.  Obama has also been named 2008 Person of the Year.

When Mad first turned itself into a comic magazine, Time's review predicted that it would be a "short-lived satirical pulp".  Not only did Mad continue to thrive, but Warner Bros/Time Warner in due course acquired it and brought it under the same division as Time Magazine.  In the acquisition deal, Bill Gaines slipped a clause into the final draft of the contract reserving to himself the right to be unreasonable.  He also felt confident that the affairs of Mad would be totally unaffected because for the first few years, the new owners wouldn't even realise that they had acquired the new property.

For a fuller account of Mad's management after the acquisition, check back at Episode 68.  For the "unreasonable" contract clause, see Episode 106.

Book Royalty

Dick has written 11 or 12 Mad original paperback books.  For one of them, Dick got $12,000 as an advance payment from the publishers.  Dick was puzzled by the sheer size of the advance, and Bill Gaines explained that the big corporations never read the contract and he inserted a clause that the publishers had to print a million copies.

Powerline Technology

Mike Knox who has been listening to DGW since Episode 1 writes to clarify something about powerline carrier technology (PLC).  In Episode 713, Leo thought that the Belkin Powerline AV Plus Starter Kit would not work in Dick's situation as powerline technology would not work over 2 fuse boxes or power meters.  Mike points out that while there are different implementations of PLC, they will pass through fuse boxes and utilities meters and are completely transparent to the conduction of electricity and any signals multiplexed on to the power.  The signals will stop at utility transformers and will degrade over distance, but can go over to other homes.  Dick's own test has proved Mike right.


Dick has a T-Shirt with a TWiG logo - This Week in Gadgets.

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