On this new 3rd & Fairfax podcast, the guest is writer Mike Schur who talks about the range of his impressive career that started with being put in charge of the "Weekend Update" segment of SNL with Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon, moving on to the writing staff for The Office for its first four seasons. From there, he co-created Parks and Recreation. And then co-creating Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Finally, he gets into his latest series that he created last season, The Good Place. As I wrote on this pages earlier here, I love the show and am a big fan of its charm, whimsy and inventiveness, and particularly its willingness to try "different." One "Spoiler Alert" -- if you're still catching up on the show, there is a discussion of the season finale. As you might imagine, it's a lively and fun interview -- as well as charming and even at times self-effacing.
It's time for another Writers Workbench column, though this month there's nothing high-techie about it. There really isn't anything techie about it, period. Because the column deals with products that are of interest to a writer, or sometimes someone in the entertainment industry, that takes into consideration things for a home office -- or what you might want to use as part of a freelance business. And that sometimes means lugging your office and work around with you.
So, this month we look at an attache from (of all places) a very good tech company, as well as a piece of small luggage for a business trip.
As always, because it's so convoluted to format the column, and because it's already been formatted on the Writers Guild of America website, for which it's originally written, I'll make it simpler all around and just link to it here.
It's time again for another edition of The Writers Workbench. And this month we have another column on, of all things...portable chargers. Amazing, yes, I know. (The last one though earlier in the year was on solar chargers only, so we're back to more standard ones -- though each with a difference.)
I don't quite know why I like portable charging, but I find the technology so fascinating and often elegant and multi-functional. For instance this month, there's a portable charger that you can easily carry with you -- but it comes with cables that let you use the device to jump-start your car.
As always, it's a convoluted process to code the column, so rather than go through all that, I'm just going to link to the already-coded column on the Writers Guild of America website, which you can find here. It's also on the Huffington Post, but because the column is written initially for the WGA Online, this is the slightly-more comprehensive first, with more photos and TWW endnotes.
It's that time again for this month's The Writers Workbench tech review column. This time around, we look at small, portable speakers. (One of them especially-small -- the size of your thumb, with quite respectable sound, considering the size.)
I wasn't bowled over by any of them, though one of the larger models from Divoom was pretty good. And the only reason I downgraded that thumb-sized speaker from X-Mini is because they haven't another, almost-exact same model that includes Bluetooth and therefore can be connected wirelessly. But the corded-model here is almost half the price of its Bluetooth cousin, so it's worth considering.
As always, because it's convoluted to re-code the article for these pages, I make things much easier on myself by linking to the column on the WGA website. You can find it here.
I have a new The Writers Workbench column posted -- this on portable power charging options. I can't quite fully explain why I like portable chargers, but I do. A lot of it is the efficient design, combined with usefulness.
Anyway, as I've noted in the past, it's too convoluted to re-code the column for here, so instead I'll give you the link here, for thems what are interested. It's on both the Huffington Post and Writers Guild of America Online (for whom the column is initially written), and this is the WGA link, which generally includes more graphics and the TWW Notes at the end. You can find it here.
There are some standard, but well-made products here, but also several different, interesting ones. Most notable are a portable battery that allows for charging a laptop (very useful on long plane flights), a pocket battery pack small enough to keep in your glove compartment that can actually charge your dead car battery (!), and a fascinating "inverter" that sits in your car's cup holder and uses the car's battery -- via the cigarette lighter -- allowing you to plug in appliances, which can be beneficial during a power failure.
I have a new Writers Workbench tech review column. This one is about -- flashlights. Yes, flashlights. In this case, three new LED products from Energizer. I was initially going to include them in a larger column, but I liked them all so much I decided to focus on them alone. They're really quite good. No, really.
How good? Good enough to get their own column. In fairness, they aren't all just flashlights precisely, but sort of lanterns, as well. But still...when's the last time you saw a review (let alone a home column) on flashlights?
As I've mentioned in the past, it's too much of a convoluted mess trying to re-code the columns for the site here, so I provide a link to it instead. It's on both the Huffington Post and the Writers Guild Online (for whom the column is initially written), but the best version is WGA's since it include the TWW Notes at the end. You can find it here.
This month, The Writers Workbench has an article about TV from a remote and mobile perspective. As I've mentioned in the past, it's quite a bit time-consuming to re-code the article from its original location on the Writers Guild Online, or the re-publication on the Huffington Post. So, instead, it's far easier to provide a link to it, here.
One caveat, which I address in the article: this was written a long while ago, and a couple of the products are now discontinued. However, they're still available and at a drastically-reduced price. So, if the description of the products sound interesting and fit your needs, they can be had for a huge savings.
There's somewhat a tale to why this got delayed so long.
The column began life about a yearas a piece about Mobile TV, a new upcoming protocol for being able to watch digital TV on handheld devices while moving around (like in a car). Because it's so new, there aren't many channels it works with yet, so I thought I'd wait until there were more, and the protocol was more mature. And I waited. And waited.
Then I figured I should look for other mobile-ish TV products and expand the article that way. So, I came up with a couple of remote products.
In the meantime, one of the remotes (from Logitech) was about to release a software update, so I waited for that to test. I was glad I did, because it was one of the best software updates of any product I've come across in 15 years of reviewing. They resolved almost all my quibbles and even came up with some new improvements.
And so, finally, I got around to saying "Enough!" and published the sucker. And here at last 'tis.
This month's column has been posted on the Huffington Post, and you can find it here. As I've mentioned previous, this is where I beg understanding for laziness. Because of all the links and graphics, it's not so exhausting to re-format the thing. And so I just provide the link to what's already been done.
This month is a look at cases for the iPod touch. If you have an iPhone, however, there should be a bit of overlap since most of the companies have twins. In a perfect world I'd have reviewed cases for the iPhone, but hey, you can only review what you got -- and I have an iPod touch...
By the way, even if you're not in the market for a case, whether for an iPod, iPhone, or other Smartphone, the article is worth checking out for the discussion of protective screens. There's some interesting information, I think, as a result of a test I was able to do about scratching a phone's screen. It's near the bottom of the article and looks at products from Zagg and Wrapsol. (Both are bizarrely impressive, but I preferred the Zagg.)
This month's "The Writers Workbench" tech review column has now been posted on both the Writers Guild Online website here, and on the Huffington Post. I'm linking to the article, rather than posting it here directly because...well, honestly, it takes a lot of coding to embed all the product graphics and website links, and it's just a Whole Lot Easier to link to it. (And I'm linking the the WGA version because it's more full and includes more graphics and the TWW Notes at the end, with little tidbits of newsy items of interest.
This month covers products that might be of interest if you travel and want to take your office with you on the road. The products covered are --
• iTwin -- an interesting device that links you with your home computer
• Kingston Wi-Drive -- a highly portable device that expands the storage capacity of your phone or tablet
• Macally mHUB -- this expands the limited USB ports on your laptop.
• ZAGGkeys Flex Keyboard -- a very small, but usable portable wireless keyboard that connects wirelessly to
• Scosche freeKEY Keyboard -- a bizarre portable keyboard made of rubber that literally can roll up. (Honest.)
• Macally USBpower - a versatile power charger plug with international adapters and car adapter.
• Aviiq Portable Charging Station -- an interesting pack that eliminates the need to carry multiple charging cords.
Okay, here's proof about that Scosche keyboard. It really does roll up.
The other day, I wrote about my favorite performer, Harry Secombe. I mentioned that he had appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show to sing two songs, one of them "If I Ruled the World," the huge hit from the musical Pickwick (based on Dickens's novel), which he was starring in, then on Broadway. This is a video of that performance -- not just the song, but almost the full scene, from November, 1965. As you might imagine, for purely personal reasons, having nothing to do with history or relevance to others, it's one of my favorite videos. But it's a total pleasure for all, anyway. It's the full company from the show, and features Roy Castle as his valet, Sam Weller.
By the way, Castle, like Harry Secombe, got a Tony nomination for his role. Interestingly, when the musical got revived by the Chichester Festival 30 years later, with Secombe re-creating his starring role, Castle also appeared in the production, though this time as Sam's father, Tony Weller. (Secombe became great friends with Castle, and his graciousness show at the end, in his exchange with Ed Sullivan.)
Anyway, here's the performance. As I mentioned previously, Pickwick has been mistaken for a political candidate during a local election and is impressed to make a speech. Totally out of his depth, his valet first gives him some advice. Some of the dialogue has been changed so as not to confuse the viewing audience. Instead of calling out, "We want Slumkey," the public calls for Pickwick.
Robert J. Elisberg is a two-time recipient of the Lucille Ball Award for comedy screenwriting. He's written for film, TV, the stage, and two best-selling novels, and is a regular columnist for the Huffington Post and the Writers Guild of America. Among his other writing, he has a long-time column on technology (which he sometimes understands), and co-wrote a book on world travel. As a lyricist, he is a member of ASCAP, and has contributed to numerous publications.