Call Failed Please !!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 at 1:26 PM | Filed under ,

Phone reception at Fort Ebey State Park on Whidbey Island got bad at times. This is the strange message my phone gave me when it failed to make an outgoing connection: "Call failed please !!! Try again". This made it only more frustrating that I couldn't get a signal.

Jelly Belly Changes Flavor Lineup

Tuesday, July 21, 2009 at 5:21 PM | Filed under ,

Jelly Belly regularly comes out with new flavors every now and then. Their newest flavor is Chili Mango! It is being added immediately into the Official 50 Flavors (no rookie stage!). I haven't had the chance to try it yet, but Jelly Belly describes it as "fresh mango with a sprinkling of spicy chili." Considering that Mango is one of my least favorite Jelly Belly flavors, as well as the fact that I don't really care for very spicy food, I don't expect myself to enjoy this bean very much. I'll reserve commentary until I've tried it myself, though. Jelly Belly has, however, posted a picture of the bean online. It looks to be a dirty orange color, which might be hard to tell it from some other orange beans, but it also seems to have some dark specks of color too.

Along with Chili Mango, Jelly Belly is adding four other established flavors to the Official 50 Flavors mix: Pomegranate, Sunkist Lime, Mixed Berry Smoothie, and Sour Cherry. Mixed Berry Smoothie, I recall, is very good, and very smooth, and happens to be my favorite of the Smoothie Blend mix. Sour Cherry is also pretty damn good, and it's my favorite of the Sours mix. When Pomegranate was first introduced as a rookie in 2007, I originally dismissed it as Jelly Belly jumping on the health-consciousness bandwagon, but when I tried it, I was pleased by its sweet flavor and slight tartness. (Açaí Berry, which is also based on one of the healthy fad fruits, won the recent flavor vote, and Jelly Belly will be making it a rookie flavor too before long. Sigh, I voted for Honey...) I'm unfamiliar with Sunkist Lime, since I haven't tried the Sunkist Citrus mix but I bet it has a strong, sweet flavor.

To make room in the Official 50 Flavors (Why stop at 50? Variety is the spice of life!), Jelly Belly is retiring five older flavors. Jalapeño is being hurled out, with the door slamming on its butt. Good riddance. Grape Jelly is also gone, which might sound like bad news for the grape crowd, but as long as Jelly Belly keeps making its Soda Pop Shoppe mix, Grape Crush will pass as an alternative. Peanut Butter is also being retired. This is fine by me. For some reason, it reminds me of the Bertie Bott's Ear Wax Bean. I wonder if the peanut-allergic community is celebrating this bean's retirement. Café Latte is gone too. It was hardly one of my favorite flavors, mainly because I'm not really a coffee person. For the coffee aficionados, Cappuccino is still in the mix. Lastly, Caramel Apple is gone, which isn't a huge hit, since Jelly Belly also already has Green Apple, Red Apple, Pineapple, Sour Apple, and Cold Stone Apple Pie. Uh, cross out Pineapple. But still, my Jelly Belly Carnival won't be the same with only Cotton Candy and Caramel Corn...

I am recalling some older flavors Jelly Belly experimented around with. Cinnamon Toast was the most delectable bean I'd ever had. It was sweet and sugary, and even tasted better than the real thing (trust me, I did a taste test—it wasn't a blinded test, though). C'mon, Jelly Belly, please bring this bean back!

Misinformation on Twitter

Monday, July 13, 2009 at 2:05 PM | Filed under ,

I signed into Twitter a few minutes ago to see what was new with all the people I'm following. One of my friends posted about an Amber Alert, giving a brief description of the suspect's vehicle and license plate number. Twitter's a great tool to quickly spread urgent information like this, especially because it takes little effort to help propagate the information. All you have to do is copy and paste!

But I've read online that some people will post false information in such an alert on Twitter, either to see how fast a fake report might spread, or for more deceitful means, such as linking to a website to sell junk or spread computer viruses. I decided to check my friend's tweet against the Amber Alert information posted on the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) website. I found information on the site which seemed to match my friend's description, but the license plate was off in one place!

It's great that Twitter allows for fast distribution of information, and I applaud people for passing along information which may turn out to be very helpful in rescuing these children. However, this is a clear example of how social networking sites like Twitter can also assist in spreading misinformation. The license plate number became a Trending Topic on Twitter, which means that it was among the most-tweeted terms on Twitter. People need to make sure to double-check information against a credible source (the NCMEC site for example) before reposting it.