in Libraries/Info Sci, Links, Ramblings

Extraneous data

I have a an odd fascination with pointless data that will never be of real use to me in daily life. Here’s a few links in that spirit:

Enter in a tracking number from any service – UPS, USPS, FedEX, or DHL – to and this site does a whole suite of processing on the tracking information. You can view the raw timestamps just like on each carrier’s official site, as well as view a map of progress, an RSS feed or email notifications, a grand total transit time, and a calculated average speed of your delivery. My recent order from Barnes & Noble made it here in 48 hours and 45 minutes, with an average speed of 61.52mph. A lot of these features (especially the RSS feed) really should be provided by the shippers themselves. But until they do, this works nicely.

I recently received a “bag of crap” from Periodically they sell a random pile of items for $1 under that name. My package included a Thermohawk 200 no touch thermometer. It measures the infrared radiation coming off an object, instead of the more traditional air or interior temperature. So, for example, my microwaved pizza was 118 degrees. My laptop’s screen is running at 86 degrees. By and large it seems pretty accurate compared to my more traditional thermometer, but I’m a bit concerned that my forehead measures as 91.5F… Of course, I have no practical use for the thing, but for $1? Not too shabby. has a fun gimmick – it monitors the progress of your Xbox Live gamer profile, and automatically updates a blog as if it was written by your console. You can see what my Xbox thinks of me here.

That’s all for now!